Don’t Get Stuck In The “Because We’ve Always Done It This Way” Mindset

How many times have you heard this in your own company: “Well, we’ve always done it this way, so I think it’s safe if we just continue to follow the same plan that we’ve always had. It’s too risky to try to something new.”

There are many companies out there with leadership that thinks this way. And, whether they know it or not, this type of thinking is causing their company to remain stagnant, while other companies grow and surpass them in sales.

If you feel like this is your current mindset, and you’re afraid to move into newer strategies for attracting customers, we’ve got some great encouragement for you today. Keep reading to find out how staying in one place hurts your company, and what you can do to move on.

Stagnation and Poor Growth

Keeping things the way they are isn’t inherently a bad thing. If something is working, and showing continual growth in your company, then, of course, it’s smarter to keep things going the way they are currently going.

But, if you see your company falling behind your competitors in terms of sales and customer growth, then it’s definitely time for you to start a new strategy.

Keeping things “the way they’ve always been” gives customers the impression that you and your company are old, out-of-touch, and unwilling to change.

Customers, especially those in the younger generation, i.e. millennials and younger, are looking for trendy, modern companies where they can spend their money.

One example of being out-of-touch is not having a website for your company. It doesn’t matter if you’re a towing company, a boutique, or an HVAC repairman; you need to have a website for your business.

A website is a place where customers can go to research information about you before they decided to call or come into your store. It also gives people the opportunity to leave reviews, contact you, and find directions toward your business.

Try One Thing New

When you’re trying to decide how to spruce up your business plan, you don’t have to jump in all at once; it’s better to dip your toes in first before taking a full dive.

Start with something simple, like setting up a Facebook Page for your business, or getting your business verified on Google My Business.

Not only are these things simple to do, they also don’t take a lot of commitment. If you don’t see any change in the amount of business you’re getting, then you don’t have to worry about any major consequences. No one will stop shopping with you because you’ve created a Facebook Page or because your business is now verified on Google. It’s a win-win situation for both you, and your customers.

Slowly Broaden Your Horizons

If you see success in the small stuff, then it’s time to move on to re-evaluate some of your major marketing strategies.

A lot of businesses are scared to try new things when it comes to the marketing message, technology, advertising, etc. And this is precisely why many of them get left behind in the dust while their competitors continue to rise.

Start thinking about some new strategies for your business, in 2018 and beyond. Do you need to venture into doing work online advertising? Do you need to rethink your marketing message and tone to be more friendly and relatable instead of completely business-like? Is it time to rebrand your entire company: website, logo, etc.?

These are large-scale decisions that shouldn’t be taken lightly. They require thoughtful consideration between everyone involved in your company, but in the end, they could be the deciding factor between growing your company or losing business.

Easily Add Video Content To Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

You’ve probably heard about this trend: simple blogging is heading out the door. Video marketing is the new king of content.

For the most part, that statement is correct. Although, that doesn’t mean you should drop blogging and traditional content creation altogether. What it does mean, however, is that your business should be pivoting toward adding video to your marketing strategy.

Video content is the most consumed form of content on the internet today. In fact, according to YouTube, almost 5 billion videos are viewed on their website every single day. Not only that, in just one month, users have watched 3.25 billion hours of video content.

Those numbers are staggering, and when we start adding in the number of hours users watch Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat videos, it grows exponentially. It’s hard to comprehend just how many hours of video content exists on the internet, but from these statistics, it should be obvious that it’s time for your company to dive into using video content as well.

Getting Started

In order to have video content for your social media accounts, you’ll first need to create your own video content.

There are lots of great and easy to use video editing software available, and many computers come preloaded with simple editing programs, like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.

There are also great programs that won’t cost you an arm and leg to purchase, such as Movavi.

And if you are really serious about creating videos, and have someone who’s willing to put in the time and effort, Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro are high-end options that offer amazing tools and features to make your videos look as stunning as Hollywood blockbusters.

All of the video editing programs offer helpful tutorials to walk you through the basics of editing and exporting your video creations.

If you need even more help, YouTube is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to tutorials, and they are completely free!

Where To Post

After you’ve created your video, the next step is to decide where to post it. YouTube is the most obvious destination, and anyone serious about creating content for the internet should have a YouTube account to store all of your videos in one place.

But that doesn’t mean that YouTube is the best place to upload your content if you’re wanting to share videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Facebook has re-engineered its News Feed algorithm many times over the years, but one of the major changes that is important for guaranteeing your content gets seen is its treatment of YouTube links.

Facebook penalizes direct YouTube links on its website by making sure that these links don’t show up in users’ timelines as often as video files that are directly uploaded to Facebook. When posting your video to Facebook, always make sure you’re uploading the video file directly to Facebook. This also guarantees that you’ll be able to view the analytics of your video, to see how many views it’s gotten, how much engagement, etc.

Twitter and Instagram work in the same way, although with Instagram you will have to upload your video content through a mobile device, such as a cellphone or tablet.

Uploading and posting your video content directly ensures that they will be made a priority on users’ timelines, and gives them a greater chance of being viewed by your customers.

Sponsored Content

So what do you do if your video content isn’t performing as well as you’d hoped online?

Sponsored content is the answer you’re seeking.

Whenever you want to boost your post and make sure it gets in front of more people, Facebook and other social sites usually offer a paid sponsored content option.

For Facebook and Instagram, you can set up your sponsored post for both websites from one hub, since Facebook owns Instagram. Usually, Facebook will suggest you boost a post if it is doing well, or if it’s not getting as much interaction as it should. There will be a button that says “Boost Post” on the post itself. Here’s a handy guide from Facebook to get you started.

The great thing about sponsored posts is that you can also target certain groups of people with your video, including those in certain age, gender, and regional groups.

Video content will only continue to grow year by year. Start implementing it into your social media marketing strategy and watch it change your company for the better!

Use Online Contests To Boost Interest In Your Company And Generate Leads

If you’re looking to maximize your company’s brand awareness and generate more leads than ever before, then online contests are a great way to accomplish both of these goals.

An online contest, whether through a social media post or through your website, is a fantastic way to get customers to pay attention to who you are and what your brand has to offer. And who doesn’t love to take their chances and enter a contest in the hopes of winning a great prize?

Websites like Rafflecopter and Woobox make it easy to run social media contests and more with just a few steps.

Need some more info on how online contests can help your business? Here are a few things to consider.

Increase Your Brand Awareness

Online contests, at their core, are meant to be a way to increase your brand awareness online to hundreds and thousands of paying customers.

When you conduct an online contest, you are hoping that a large number of people will participate, and that they will share your contest with their friends and family as well.

Whether it’s through social shares, retweets and reposts, or through good old fashioned word-of-mouth, contests are great ways to make your business known to new customers.

Build Your Fan Base

Are you looking to increase your likes on Facebook, or follower on Twitter and Instagram? What about your newsletter subscribers; could it use a boost as well?

Increasing your Facebook Page likes is usually one of the key results of running a social media contest. You can go from 100 likes to over 1,000 likes with just one contest. And, of course, all of those new likes equal more brand awareness and more visitors to your website.

Fantastic Lead Generator

If you run a contest on your website that simply requires a name and an email address to enter it, then you’ve got an easy way to add to your email subscriber lists for different things, such as promos, newsletters, and even more contests.

Because, chances are, if people have entered your online contest, then they have to have some semblance of interest in your company. Which means they will be great candidates to reach out to, whether through email promos or calls, to see if they would interested in purchasing a product or service from you.

Easy Marketing

When you run a contest with a lot of interaction, you are basically letting your audience do your marketing for you!

For example, a social media contest usually has an entry requirement that instructs participants to share the post in order to be entered into the contest. Every time the post gets shared, it reaches more and more people. Pretty soon, with only a few shares, you have increased your post reach by tenfold or more!

Participants are also very likely to share the contest with their friends and family, through word of mouth or through forwarded emails, thereby increasing your contest reach even further.

Contests are a great way to increase your brand awareness and generate valuable leads for your business. Start implementing contests in your marketing strategy today and see how it can improve your business.

Facebook Insights Shows You When Your Customers Are Online

Knowing when to post on Facebook can be a hard decision to nail down.

Thankfully, Facebook Insights is here to help. The Insights of your Facebook Page are easy to access, as long as you have an active Facebook Page for your business, and have been posting on it consistently.

Your Insights can tell you a lot about your posts, from which ones get the most engagement, to what your demographics for your followers are, and how that can help you market your business on social media.

Facebook Insights also makes it a lot easier for you to know when your customers are online, and when will be the most likely time for them to see your post organically in their timeline.

Knowing when your customers are most active on Facebook can help you to grow your post reach numbers and, subsequently, your engagement numbers.

So, where do you go to access your Page’s Insights? It’s pretty simple, actually. All you need to do is go to your Facebook Page and then click on the tab at the top of your page that says Insights.

When you get to your Insights page, you’ll see lots of data about your Page that Facebook has compiled for you, including Page Views, Reach, Page Engagements, and more.

To the left of the screen, you’ll see a row of options for different segments of Page data that you can view. You’ll want to click on the option that says Posts to view the date for all the posts you’ve published.

Data on when your fans are online is one of the first things you will see on this page and the main focus that we want to talk about today.

The data that is shown to you on this page is from a 1-week period of time, so you’ll see that it has the data divided up by each day of the week, Sunday through Saturday.

If you hover your mouse over each day, you will see the data line on the graph below move to show you the number of people who were on Facebook at different times during the day.

If you don’t hover your mouse over the days, and just look at the Times graph by itself, it shows you a weekly average of the times that your followers are online. And if you hover your mouse along the graph, you can see an average of how many people were online at any given time during the day.

Data like this can help you determine what times of the day you should be posting your content so that the maximum amount of people can view it. If you’re like most small businesses, a.k.a. ones that don’t have the time or resources to have more than one post a day on your Facebook Page, then you have to make sure you’re posting at the optimal time.

Facebook Insights gives you a lot of easy-to-analyze data that can help you learn about your followers and when they’re online. Make sure you’re utilizing all the free tool that Facebook gives your Page so that you can make the best of it and keep your customers engaged.

Personalize Your Subject Lines To Increase Email Open Rates

Have you ever used a personalized subject line in one of your many emails that you’ve sent out to customers?

You know, something like “You’ll love this deal, Stacy” or “We haven’t heard from you in awhile, Tim.”

Personalized subject lines have proved themselves to be great ways at getting customers to open your emails. And in a world where people get bombarded with hundreds of sales emails a day, open rates are more important than ever.

According to a study conducted by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, personalizing email subject lines increases open rates by 50% and can also lead to a 58% higher click-to-open rate. This was from an analysis of more than 7 billion emails sent in Q2 of 2017.

The study also found that non-personalized subject lines had an open rate of 14.1%, whereas personalized subject lines had a 21.2% open rate.

Another study, by Experian Marketing Services, showed an increase in open rates of almost 42% in some areas!

So, why is there such a noticeable increase when using personalized subject lines compared to non-personalized subject lines?

To put it simply, customers expect you to be more than just a place where they buy things from; they want to feel like they have a personal relationship with you.

Marketers and businesses can’t think of personalized email subject lines as something that only the “fun” companies do for their customers; all customers expect that level of personalization with every company they buy from.

Lots of email providers have simple ways to add first and last name personalizations to your email subject lines, such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc. All you need to know is a little bit of coding, but your email provider should be able to help you out if you need a tutorial.

Personalized email subject lines are no longer a novelty thing that only certain companies do. Implement this marketing technique into your emails, and see the difference it can make in your open rates and more!

Onboarding Emails And How They Can Help Retain Customers

Have you ever sent an email to a new customer reminding them of the product or service they’ve purchased, and how they can get started using it?

What about an email that asks a new customer to check out your social media accounts or your blog?

These are examples of onboarding emails. Onboarding is the process of following up with a customer after they purchase something from you in order to give them an answer to their question, “what’s next?” It also helps get your customers familiarized with your products and services.

For example, if I’m a software company, and you’ve just purchased a new bookkeeping program from me, you’re probably going to either A) immediately start using the program as intended or B) forget about it for awhile, come back to it later when you’re not as busy, and struggle to know where to even begin using it. Most people are going to do scenario B in this illustration.

In scenario B, you have a prime opportunity to send an email to their inbox, reminding them to do something simple, such as activating their service, viewing the online Help Guide for the program, contacting you for questions, etc.

Onboarding through emails can accomplish a number of goals quickly and efficiently for your business. Instead of tying up phone lines, or having to take time to respond to emailed questions, you can simply setup an automated email that sends out to all your new customers whenever you are given their email address.

Want to promote your social media accounts or your blog? There’s an email for that! You can even send new customers an overview type email of your business and include all the places they can find you online (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.)

Are you a website design company that needs to get your customers to submit important information to you so you can finish building a website? Send an email that reminds your new customers to send these things to you.

Don’t be pushy about it, but let them know that this info is important to helping you finish their website in a timely fashion.

Are you a wholesale supplier working in a B2B relationship with another company? Do you send out invoices each month reminding buyers to submit their payments to you? You can use an onboarding email with a new customer to get them to easily setup an online account with you, to make their payment process easy and efficient.

For example, lots of companies now have an Auto Pay system to make paying for products and services easy and always on time. You can use an onboarding email to let new customers know that they can easily set up Auto Pay online by clicking on a link that you include in the email.

Onboarding emails help to show your customers that you’re invested in them and that they’re not just a way for you to make a profit. It’s a great way to retain customers and keep them from switching to a company that could be your competitor.

There’s no shortage of ways that you can use an onboarding email to streamline your work flow, and help your customers out in the process, as well!

Responding To Your Reviews Is The Easiest Way To Gain Online Credibility

How often do you reply to the reviews you get online? Do you only reply to the positive reviews, or do you try to respond to the negative ones as well?

Believe it or not, replying to the reviews you receive, whether they’re positive, negative, or pretty neutral, is a great way to boost your online credibility and even your search engine rankings!

Here’s how it works: whenever you receive a review online, whether it’s on Google, your website, through your FGmarket vendor profile page, or somewhere else, that review is public information. Anyone who visits the reviews section of your company on Google, your website, etc. can see those reviews, and they can see whether or not you acknowledged the reviews.

If I happen to go to your Google reviews and see that you have a lot of reviews, a mix of both positive and negative, but you haven’t responded to any of your customer’s reviews, I might think twice before deciding to buy from you.

That’s because when customers see you have responded to your reviews, however bad they may be, it shows that you are paying attention to what your customers are saying. It shows that you can take criticism of your business, learn from your mistake, and strive to correct the error in the future.

In fact, according to ReviewTrackers.com, 51.7 percent of customers expect a response to their review in seven days or less.

Not only is responding to online reviews a good strategy for building customer trust, it is also one of the ways you can improve your Google rankings.

One of the ways Google knows how to boost some websites in search results over others is how frequently you get and respond to your Google reviews.

According to a recent survey of SEO experts by Chat Meter, 13% of Google local ranking results are determined by reviews and responses to those reviews. That might not seem like much, especially when you consider more important players in the SEO game, such as keywords and mobile optimization, but every little bit counts when it comes to trying to improve your Google search ranking.

Responding to reviews can improve not only the trust between you and your customers, a key factor in the buying cycle, but it can also improve your SEO to get more people to your website!

Don’t be afraid to respond to your online review. It can help your business out in a big way.

Encourage Reviews With These Easy Steps

Reviews are important for maintaining customer satisfaction and improving the trust between you and your customers. Not only that, they can also improve your SEO rankings because the big boss in charge of searches, aka Google, pays attention to the reviews you receive, especially through your Google Business listing.

Sometimes, however, it’s hard to get customers to actually leave reviews for your business (well, that is, until they have a negative review to give out. Then, they’re more than happy to tell you how they feel).

Do you need some assistance with getting your customers to leave your more reviews? Here are a few simple things you can do right now to encourage more customer reviews.

Ask For Reviews

The simplest thing you could ever do is just ask people to leave you reviews.

A lot of businesses try everything under the Sun to get people to leave reviews, but they always manage to skip over the easiest strategy: asking for a review.

You can ask for reviews in a ton of different ways: through email, social media, marketing material, or in person.

Simply asking someone for a review is often all you need to do. Many times, customers don’t even know how or where to leave you a review, or that they even have the option to do so.

Make them aware of how important it is to you and your business for them to leave you a review.

Give Them A Reason

Why should someone leave you a review? Aside from the obvious benefits that it gives your business, people need to know why they should even put in the effort to do so.

A lot of businesses have integrated some type of reward for customers who leave them reviews, such as discount codes or free products.

Give your customers a reason to leave you a review, and encourage them with freebies and discounts that give value to the effort they have to put in for leaving a review.

Respond To Reviews

Do you respond to your reviews? No, I’m not just talking about the positive reviews that you receive; those are easy to respond to. I’m talking about ALL of your reviews, both positive and negative.

Responding to reviews gives your business credibility online, and can help boost your SEO rankings in the eyes of Google. Yes, even responding to negative reviews is beneficial to your company.

Remember, however, when you respond to negative reviews, do it in a way that’s both professional and respectful. Never get into a fight with a customer that has left you a negative review, and don’t try to defend yourself over small issues, like a shipping mistake or less than perfect customer service. You can’t please everyone all the time. Remember that when it comes to the reviews you get.

Reviews are extremely beneficial to your perceived integrity and reliability. Make sure you’re getting reviews from customers to not only improve your brand awareness and trust, but also your SEO rankings!

How To Effectively Market Your Brand On Instagram

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms on the internet today. What started out as a simple photo editing app in the early ’10s has evolved into a full-fledged photo-sharing social platform that billions of people around the world use every day.

With its popularity online steadily growing, Instagram is rich with marketing opportunities that you should be taking advantage of every day.

Are you looking for some easy to learn tips on how to effectively market your business on Instagram? We’ve got four simple things that you could be doing right now to make your business stand out from your competition.

Visually Appealing

What kind of photos are you posting on your Instagram? Are they visually appealing photos, full of action and vivid colors, or are they bland, uninteresting, and low quality?

Having good, visually exciting photos is the first step in attracting customers to your Instagram profile and, more importantly, what you’re selling.

Make sure your photos are:

  • High-quality – low-quality photos tend to convey laziness to your customers and make your company look bad.
  • Interesting – find a subject that conveys excitement and worth to your customers. A picture of just your product is boring; a picture of your product being used, or placed in an interesting environment, is exciting.
  • Vivid – You want your pictures to jump out and grab people’s interests. You want their eyes to stay on your post, instead of mindlessly scrolling by. That’s why bright, vivid pictures are leagues better than dim and dull photos.

Hashtag Properly

Are you hashtagging on all of your Instagram posts? It’s easy to forget this simple, but handy tool for tagging your photos, but it’s extremely helpful for getting new followers to find your page.

Hashtags, or the # symbol that you see on posts followed by words, are used to group photos of similar interests together in one place. When you hashtag something like #ecofriendly, your post will be grouped together with all the other posts that used that particular hashtag.

And people routinely search for posts on Instagram that use certain hashtags and keywords. It’s how a lot of accounts are discovered.

Make sure you’re using hashtags in every post, and always make them relevant to what you’re posting about.

Engage With Followers

Are you engaging with your followers in a meaningful way?

Social media is named that for a reason; it’s supposed to be a place where you can socialize with other users online, and form relationships.

If you get a positive comment on one of your posts, reply to that comment with a “thank you!” or something else that shows appreciation. Don’t be afraid of critical comments, either. Respond to them in a professional manner, to show your customers that you are listening to their critiques.

Post At The Right Times

Finally, you need to make sure you’re posting on Instagram at the right times. What are the right times, though?

Every social media platform is different, but for the most part, posting between 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. (when people are on their lunch break) and 7 – 9 p.m. (around the time when people are home relaxing) are the best times to post on Instagram.

Your results for posting during these times will vary, of course, depending on how often your followers are checking Instagram, but for the most part, these posting times are good rules to follow.

Instagram is a wonderful marketing tool, if you know how to properly utilize it.

Practice these four tips and see how your Instagram presence improves and grows.

Build Up Your Facebook Presence With These Simple Tips

Facebook can be a great marketing tool; it’s not just for sharing cute pics of your dog and arguing about politics anymore.

But like any marketing tool, if you aren’t including good information and updating it to fit the needs of your customers, then it’s useless to you.

It can be easy to forget to manage your  Facebook page with everything else going on during the day. However, it will only take a little bit of time and effort to make these important changes to your Facebook page strategy.

Here are a few simple tips you can use to boost your Facebook page, which will lead to a better overall experience for your customers, and help to boost your online reputation.

Update Your Info

Do you keep the info on your Facebook profile always up-to-date and accurate? When’s the last time you checked it to make sure it still accurately tells customers what your business is about?

A lot of us will either write a quick bio when we first setup the Facebook Page and never look at it again, or skip the bio altogether!

Both of these options, however, are not good for your Facebook Page. Your About tab of your profile is where all the most relevant info to your customers is housed. Everything from contact info to your company’s Story, to your Mission statement and the products you offer, are located in the About section of your profile.

Go back over this information regularly to ensure that customers are getting the best information about your business. Having good info reduces customer questions about simple things, and it also increases the trustworthiness of your company.

Make It Look Good

What have you done to make your profile look pleasing to visitors?

One easy way to spruce up your page is to make sure you have a good profile picture and a cover photo. Many people assume that the profile pic needs to be a picture of their products, or maybe even themselves. But if you’re a business with a professional Facebook Page, you need to make your profile picture your business’s logo.

Similarly, you need to always make sure you have a cover photo for your Page. A cover photo is a photo that occupies the space at the top of your Facebook Page. It allows you to upload a much larger photo to your Page, and it’s a great place to show off some of your awesome products.

Take a look at our Facebook Page for an example of how you can use the cover photo section of your Page.

Regular Posts

How often are you posting on your Facebook Page? You need to make sure you are regularly posting on your page to keep your customers interested and aware of your brand.

As a general rule for Facebook, it’s best to post at least 1 or 2 times per day during the week, and maybe once for the entire weekend. That’s because people tend to get on Facebook, scroll through their news feed a bit, and then get off. The way Facebook’s news feed algorithm works, it is going to show you the most interesting or relevant posts for your first, which means that you have a good chance of showing up at the top of a customer’s news feed if they interact with you a lot.

You don’t want to overwhelm people with too many posts. If all they are seeing are your posts clogging up their feed, they are more likely to Unlike your Page or Unfollow you so they don’t see your posts.

Share It

Last, but certainly not least, you need to share your Facebook Page! What good is having a social media page if no one knows it exists?

Just like you share your contact information and, hopefully, your URL with all of your customers on any piece of marketing material, you also need to share your Facebook Page with them.

Do you have a website? Place a button link to your Facebook Page on it! You need to be promoting all of your social media accounts, not just your Facebook Page, on anything you are showing customers.

Social media can be a great way to get people to your website and buying your products or services.

Facebook is a great way to market your business online. Don’t be afraid to use the platform that over 1 billion people worldwide are using each and every day. Just use these four simple tips to make sure you’re getting all you can get out of your Facebook Page.