Marketing Tip of the Week: 3 Ways to Connect with Your Audience

Today’s business world requires more connection with our customers than ever before. A company that just provides quality products and good customer service had better also guarantee those products are completely unique. Why? Because everyone provides products, and everyone pride’s themselves on customer service. The only way to truly distinguish yourself from your competitor is through customer connection. So how do you do it?

1. Be Engaging

That sounds vague, but that’s because it can be done in so many ways. People following your site are interested in your products, but just presenting those products won’t get it done. Sure, it might help if you mix up your media with some videos, but mostly you just want to give your audience something to talk about. Offer some new bit of information that they can discuss around the water cooler at work. Get them engaged in your business or products and you’re over halfway there!

2. Listen

Social media isn’t just an outlet for you to make business-themed announcements. It’s also a great forum for you to hear the voice of your customer. But you need to do more than just listen, you should also react to what you’ve heard. Let your customers know you’re listening by doing your best to give them more of what they want.

3. Don’t Forget the Service

While quality and service cannot be your only selling points, they do need to be there. Your level of connection only matters if you are meeting customer expectations in the other areas as well. You must carry the products they want and offer the high caliber customer service they require.

If you want to succeed in today’s business market, you have to be more than a faceless company. You have to get to know your customers and let them get to know you.

Marketing Tip of the Week: 5 Facebook Quick Tips

When the discussion turns to online marketing or social media marketing, Facebook always gets a mention. And it should. It is a monstrous platform in both popularity and potential impact, but like any tool , it has to be used correctly in order to receive the desired effect. Here are 5 quick tips to help you use Facebook the right way!

5 Facebook Quick Tips

  1. Au Naturale – It’s easy. Just be natural. Make your post conversational. Speak to your audience, not at them. It’s not always about selling, sometimes it’s just about connecting. 
  2. Relevance is Key – When the goal is engaging your audience, make sure the topic you’re discussing is current and relevant. If it’s a month or two stale, your response will be lackluster at best.
  3. Pictures > Words - When you can use a picture to replace words, do it. People have a tendency to scroll past text, but a compelling visual image will get their attention every time. Remember, you are competing with every other person and entity on their news feed. They only have a finite amount of time to devote to Facebook, and you want to be sure that your message gets through.
  4. Questions = Engagement – Don’t be afraid to ask your followers questions. They create immediate engagement and let your audience talk to you. The value of hearing your audience’s voice cannot be overstated.
  5. Shorter is Better - If you have a lot to say on a subject, Facebook is not the place to post it. Long-winded posts are better for your blog. Leave your Facebook page for more concise content.

None of this is extremely difficult, but it is important. These tips will help you engage your current audience, build your existing base and limit any drop-off. Social media won’t single-handedly make or break your business, but it can be a big influence. Make sure your experience is a positive one!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Build an Online Audience

Online marketing is difficult at the best of times. Finding a way to discern your voice from all the others clamoring for your audience’s attention can be daunting, but trusting in yourself and your knowledge base is the first step in getting it done. Here are a few tips to help you get noticed!

Post Frequently

It stands to reason that the more you post, the more opportunities you have to get your audience’s attention. But beyond that simple concept is another, less discussed but equally powerful, one. By posting frequently, you have the opportunity to become part of someone’s routine. Once your site is incorporated into an individual’s daily or weekly check-in, you have an open line to promote your business. Keeping your topics relevant and interesting will bring the audience you want, and posting frequently will keep them coming back!

Keep It Simple

This applies to all aspects of your site, not just the content. A simple user interface will ensure that customers understand exactly what to do and exactly where to go to get what they want. And a simple approach to your content serves the same purpose. Even if your business is complex, the benchmark of an expert is in their ability to take a complex subject and boil it down to its simplest form. Focus on what’s important, and cut out all the extraneous material.

Building an online audience doesn’t have to be difficult. But like anything else in business, it does require time and attention. It’s easy to let that go when other issues seem so much more important, but remember that growing your online audience is one of the fundamental building blocks to growing your business!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Marketing For Tomorrow

Content marketing isn’t just about staying on top of and discussing industry trends. It is often most effective when it is looking ahead to trends yet to come. But how do you predict the future? Fortunately, you don’t have to!

Seasonal Marketing

If any of your stock is seasonal, looking ahead is as easy as owning a calendar. The trick is in actually doing it. It’s easy to focus our attention on the here-and-now and neglect what’s to come. But often it’s as simple as understanding what your customers are going through.

Are daily temperatures regularly over 90 degrees? A post extolling the cooler days of Fall to come, and the product you carry that works within that seasonal framework, works for the customer on multiple levels. They connect with the desire for cooler temperatures, and that in turn helps them to connect the product you are showing them with those cooler temperatures. You effectively plant a seed that may not bear immediate fruit, but once the mercury drops your customer will remember.

Content marketing is predicated on you, the expert, passing on your industry knowledge to the customer. So be that expert, and let them know what’s next in line!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Word-of-Mouth Isn’t A Strategy

It’s an easy trap to fall into. Maybe you feel like things are already going well with your business. Maybe you live in a small town. Maybe you feel that you have a solid base of loyal customers who tell you that they sing your praises to everyone who will listen. So why not let the power of word-of-mouth carry you?

It’s An End, Not A Means

In short, word-of-mouth is not how you build a successful business, it’s but one way to know your business is successful. It isn’t the strategy, it’s the result of the strategy. You build interest through social media and content driven marketing. You close with excellent customer service, delivering on your promises and exceeding customer expectations. At that point, you begin to see a groundswell of word-of-mouth.

But even once you’ve achieved it, it isn’t enough to sustain you.

Bad News Sells

Ultimately that’s because bad news is much more popular than good news. For every customer who says good things about your store, there will be many more who find something to complain about. It’s a fact of human nature, and as such, relying on word-of-mouth is unreliable at best. Of course, we’d all like to think that we catch any disgruntled customers and make them happy before they leave, but the reality is that for every vocal customer we help, there are far more who never let their displeasure be known … to you.

Don’t rely on the kindness of strangers to promote your business, make your own strategy and watch your company soar!

Marketing Tip of the Week: How to Handle Those Idea Dry Spells

Content marketing relies almost exclusively on your ideas. After all, you can’t wow your customers with impressive content if you don’t actually have new content. But there’s no guarantee that you’ll have an idea exactly when you need one. Creative dry spells come so make sure you take advantage of days when the ideas flow.

Don’t Limit Yourself

When you sit down to think up your next marketing idea, your brain doesn’t always limit itself to only one. Often, you’ll come up with several different options, though not all are workable. But what then? Do you choose the best and leave the others behind? Why limit yourself to only one successful idea at a time?

Having a deep bench is a personnel staple, but it applies to marketing ideas just as strongly. Not every idea is equal, but all of them have merit. Writing them down, even the ones that feel weak, can have a lot of future value. You may reject an idea today, but when you are struggling to find something for your next post, a list of previous ideas can not only give you decent fodder but can also offer a base to spark you toward your next big idea. Even if you would never use the idea as it sits on your notepad, never underestimate its ability to lead you to the next one you would use.

Use Your People

Okay, so that takes care of future dry spells, but what if you need an idea now?

Involve your staff! Nobody understands the day-to-day customer like the people you employ to serve them. Bringing those folks into your brainstorm sessions can bring a new and potentially exciting perspective. And just like your discarded ideas, even if you don’t get an idea that is workable as is, you may find one that pushes you toward new concepts that you can use.

It’s true that our minds may not always cooperate with our creative needs, but surviving those idea dry spells is a simple task when we use a little forethought.

Marketing Tip of the Week: Facebook Marketing Beyond the Like

Your Facebook page is growing daily. You see the number of “Like”s you’ve received increasing daily so you know your content is getting in the hands of more and more people all the time. And yet, even with all this exposure, you aren’t seeing a significant increase in business. Why?

Identify Your Best Posts

The first thing you want to do is check your metrics. If you have been experimenting with a variety of different approaches, check your posts to see which ones caught the most traction. Facebook is helpful in this regard as it will let you know when you have a post outperforming your standard. They do that in an attempt to get you to pay to promote that post, but it’s helpful to let you know what customers are keying on and what YOUR audience finds the most interesting.

Why is that important? Because it’s not just about getting people to come to your page, it’s about getting them to like and share your content. Everyone’s news feed is full and prioritized by Facebook to show the things they are most interested in seeing. That means that if they don’t actively interact with your page on a regular basis, they run an increasingly large chance of missing your future posts.

Cater To Your Audience

So now you know what content gets the most attention, what do you do with that information? You pander. You create more content in a similar vein. Getting the Like is important, but engaging your customers after the Like is even more important. Engagment keeps them involved with your business and keeps your brand in the front of their minds. And more customers thinking about your business means more visits and more sales!

Customer interaction is the entire point of social media. And their interaction with your page shows their desire to see your content. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to seek them out on other social media. Someone Likes your page on Facebook? Reach out to them on Twitter or Instagram.

When customers express an interest in you, don’t be afraid to express an interest in them.


Marketing Tip of the Week: Find A Topic!

When your focus is content marketing, one of the most difficult things to do is come up with interesting topics. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Topics are everywhere, and here are a few great ways to tease them out!

Google Alerts

Did you know that you can set up Google to tell you what other people in your industry are doing and have it email that information to you? It’s true. Talk about taking the legwork out of hunting down relevant topics! Just open your web browser, navigate to Google (where else) and type in Google Alerts. It will bring you to a page that lists all alerts you have set up (If you weren’t previously aware of this service, that would be zero.) and will allow you to set up new ones.

So how does this work? You type in the keyword you are most interested in, how often you’d like the alert and how many listings you’d like to receive and presto! Google will search the web as often as you want for the topics you specify. Instant topic ideas for your content! (And no, you don’t want to copy someone else’s material, but you can take someone else’s idea and make it your own.)

Pick 5

Look for the leaders in your industry who also blog, and pick 5 to follow. They will blog about relevant topics, and you can choose to cover the same topic with your personal slant, or disagree with part or all of their conclusions in a related post that links back to their’s. Interactive content like this is great as it increases the traffic to both blogs, and if they choose to respond to your assessment, can greatly increase the hits on your own!

Personal Experience

The draw of personal experience cannot be overstated. You may think that your story is boring and not worth retelling, but people like to know who they’re doing business with. People are becoming disenchanted with the faceless corporations. As such, any opportunity you have to put a personal face on your business is an opportunity you should seize! Blog about how you got started in the industry. Blog about the biggest challenges you faced in the early years and how you overcame them.

In other words, blog about how you became successful. People are naturally drawn to success (it’s in our DNA), and your story can actually build confidence in your brand!

Don’t let the pressure of new topics keep you from focusing on content. Topics are everywhere, and finding them has never been easier!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Dynamic Headlines!

Quality content. Is there any more important topic in marketing? Is there any more important aspect to your marketing strategy? I would say no, but perhaps there is something equally important. After all, what does your customer see before they see your amazing content? What item draws them into your site and convinces them to read the nuggets you’ve mined out for their viewing pleasure? Your headline, of course!

The Importance of A Good Headline

The headline is there to entice your readers to invest their time in the content you’ve created. That makes its value directly proportional to the value of the content you’ve created. After all, getting the customer to read your content only matters if you’ve provided content worth reading. But having quality content doesn’t matter one whit if no one ever decides to read it. Therefore, your headline and your content are of equal importance and should be treated with equal care.

The Power of Curiosity

A good headline will grab your reader’s attention and entice them to read more. This can be accomplished in many ways, but one of the most popular involves piquing their curiosity with vague text or giving them just enough information that they feel compelled to learn more. An example would be just about any headline you see written for Buzzfeed or UpWorthy. These companies have made their bones using vague intros that draw the reader in. There’s no debate that this method works. Human beings are curious creatures after all, but just because it’s effective for them doesn’t mean that it will work for your needs.

Bringing in the maximum number of readers may sound good on the surface, but with every reward comes risk, and this is no different. Using the curiosity angle will increase your views for sure, but it can also increase your bounce rate. Customers who are enticed to open content they don’t really want to read may be less inclined to come back, and that’s never a good thing. These large companies use this method because they are casting a very wide net. They are willing to lose large percentages of the customers they reach because those that stay more than make it worth it. Most likely, your business caters to a much more select market and may not find that the benefit outweighs the potential cost.

Generating Excitement

Another way to get your customers to click on your content is to use headlines as excitement generators for your topic. That simply means to approach the headline as an opportunity to get your customers hyped up about your content. Use the title of this article for an example. I could have titled it “A discussion of headlines and their importance for your content”, but I didn’t want to put you to sleep before you ever read the first line.

As you can see, there is an art to writing headlines, and it is best learned through practice. There’s no one method that works for everyone, so feel free to experiment, but track the traffic on your content and see how different approaches work for you and your audience.

Marketing Tip of the Week: 3 Social Media Marketing Tips

A few weeks ago I talked about a few specific social media platforms and how best to determine which is best for you and your marketing strategy. (If you missed those posts, they are part 1, part 2, and part 3.) This week I’d like to focus on some general social media tips to improve your footprint on whichever platform you’ve chosen to use.

Social Media Marketing Tips

  1. Images are Your Friend - Using images with your posts is proven to be an extremely effective way to increase clicks, reposts and general interest overall. It’s as true on social media as in any other walk of life, a picture is certainly worth a thousand words.
  2. Post More than Once – What I mean by that is to post the same content multiple times a day. Why? Because your audience may check their site at different times of the day. Posting once in the morning, at midday and again in the evening will garner you the largest audience, and if you cater to a customer base from different time-zones, you have the best opportunity to reach your entire base.
  3. Don’t be Afraid to Re-post – As you build your readership, you may find that information you’ve posted in the past can be relevant to your new audience. You’ll want to avoid posting the same thing within a short period of time, but pulling information you’ve posted 6 months or a year ago and reposting it is more than acceptable, it’s smart. It allows you to reuse material and reduce the amount of new material you have to create while also providing your new audience with information they may find helpful.

Use these tips to help increase your footprint with Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform of your choice. Join me next Friday for yet another Marketing Tip of the Week!