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: 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 Landing Page Improvement Tips

Your landing page is normally the first thing prospective clients searching for you online will see. If you don’t make it engaging, it will also likely be the last. So what can you do to ensure customers continue to the rest of your content? Read on for three tips that will help you improve your landing page today!

1. Keep Your Message Clear

Your mission of clarity must begin with the first thing your customer sees, your headline. It should be concise, relevant and full of meaning regarding your brand. In this way, the customer knows immediately if they’ve come to the right place for the solution to their problem. From there, continue the theme of short and to the point with throughout your site. The one place you can wander far afield is your blog, but the rest of your site needs to remain on point.

2. Be Interesting

Yes, that’s easy to say but difficult to do. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. Try to be clever. Amusing, and not just with your copy but images too. Never show a stationary image when one capturing action is available. Also, people connect more with faces than objects. So even if you’re advertising a product, use an image of someone holding it or playing with it or eating it and really enjoying themselves. That’s how you buy immediate customer interest.

3. Credibility is King

You are an expert in your field, and your landing page should reflect that. You have to show your customer that you aren’t just there to sell products. You can offer insight into how to use that product or how to make it last longer. Keep the info concise, but make sure that everything you say is absolutely, 100% true and verifiable. That will build your credibility and your relationship with your customer.

Your landing page is your introduction to the internet world. Shouldn’t it be the best page on your site?

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: 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: 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.