Marketing Tip of the Week: How To Do Native Advertising

In case you are unaware, native advertising is when you attempt to make your advertising look like a natural part of an already existing site. A vendor spotlight here on the FGmarket blog is a perfect example, (And that’s a free service for all our members, by the way. Talk to your sales rep!) but so is any article sponsored by you in your local paper or in your own blog that talks about you and/or your business but isn’t presented in traditional advertisement format.

So how do you do it right?

Make It Relevant

And that works both ways: Your advertisement needs to be relevant to your business and relevant to the audience of the site on which you’re advertising.

The first one seems like a no-brainer, but there are numerous examples of native advertising that has absolutely nothing to do with the company promoting it, especially on the web. But if the customer can’t make an immediate connection between the content and your brand or product, you’re wasting your advertising dollars.

As for the second point, if it doesn’t blend in with the site it’s technically not native. The whole idea is that the content is presented in such a way that it appears to be a natural extension of the site itself.

That being said, it is still important to label paid content as such. The idea is not to deceive the customer, merely make the experience more smooth and engaging than a traditional advert.

Native advertising has proven to be effective for all types of businesses. If you haven’t tried it, you should. And if you are already dipping your toes in the vast ocean of possibilities, make sure it’s being presented properly!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Social Media Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

While there are many campaigns you can design for immediate results, the choice to enter into social media is a process with a slow yield. Sure, when you first start your page, be it on Twitter, Facebook or your other social media site of choice, you will receive a flood of likes, but those are probably all from already established customers or personal friends. Once you’re past that initial onslaught, the pace slows dramatically, and that sudden change can be daunting, especially if you’re not expecting it.

Don’t Be Discouraged

That’s easy to say, but man is it difficult to do, especially if you’re staring at a Like counter or Follower list that never changes. But it’s to be expected. This is social media. It takes time to find people who want to interact with you, and it takes time for you to understand how to interact with them. It’s not as simple as just turning your page into a constant advert for your business. People aren’t fond of commercials, and if all you do is advertise for yourself, they will turn you off.

Follow the 80/20 Rule

What is the 80/20 rule? It’s a social media rule that says 80% of your content should be focused on your followers and 20% should be focused on yourself. Find content that your audience enjoys and direct them to it. Promote the content of industry leaders (especially if those leaders aren’t direct competitors) and show your followers that your page is more than an online billboard for your business. This will build your audience and also make any advertising you actually do that much more effective!

Building an online presence isn’t going to happen overnight, but with some love, care and nurturing, it will eventually blossom. Keep your head up, follow the 80/20 rule and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!

Marketing Tip of the Week: YouTube Matters

As social media platforms go, YouTube may be the internet’s best kept secret, especially among business owners. How often do you think about it as a viable platform for your business? My guess is not often, and that needs to change.

Looking at the Numbers

According to the people at Compete, as of June 2014 YouTube surpassed Facebook for most unique visitors. What does that mean? For the month of June, more people made their first ever visit to YouTube than those who made their first ever visit to Facebook. Okay, great. But what does that mean for marketers? It means that YouTube is growing as a social media platform at a now faster rate than Facebook. It means that YouTube is relevant for your marketing dollars and presence.

Getting Involved

So how do you get into YouTube? Fortunately, it’s easy and requires little in the way of initial investment. All you need to get started is a smartphone with a camera, and you’re on your way. The key to a successful video, be it an advert or just a community post, is the same as any other marketing content: keep it concise, sincere and interesting. And that’s really the key. Not every video you post has to be an advertisement, and they shouldn’t be. Just like with your website and other social media, you should give more than you ask.

Social media marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk calls it the give, give, give ask rule. You should always give three times more than you ask to keep your audience engaged.

YouTube is emerging from Facebook’s shadow. It’s time for business owners to take notice.

Marketing Tip of the Week: 3 Ways to Grow Your Audience

If you’re a small business owner, you are always on the lookout for way to grow your audience. After all, the more people following your page(s) the more opportunity you have to convert them into paying customers. But if you’ve already established yourself on the web, how do you take the next step? Read on to find out more! Continue reading “Marketing Tip of the Week: 3 Ways to Grow Your Audience” »

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.