While many employees spend their free time daydreaming of becoming financially independent, the entrepreneur is working to make the dream a reality. That is why entrepreneurs are risk-takers by nature.

Entrepreneurs are willing to take that all-important first step of breaking free from the chains of the 9-to-5 grind and take command of their of their own destiny. Instead of driving someone else’s business, they go behind the wheel and follow the course they have charted for their own business success.

Yet, sometimes these very same attributes – ambition, drive, and dedication – can become an entrepreneur’s own worst enemies.

They end up taking on too many tasks most of which are administrative in nature. As a result, a big chunk of their waking hours are spent – rather, wasted – attending to functions that have no direct contribution to their bottom line.

The workday becomes unproductive. The essential tasks or the core functions of the business are left unattended. Goals are not met. Business targets become farther away today compared to yesterday.

By taking on non-essential tasks, the entrepreneur ends up working for his/her business instead of on his/her business. Ironically, the entrepreneur has become an employee of his/her own business.

Is there a way or a process the entrepreneur can use so he/she can focus on the main functions of the business without overlooking the administrative tasks?

The Solution: Outsource Tasks And/Or Services!

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Would you rather spend 2 hours filtering your Inbox or working on a client’s project?
  • Would you like it if your phone keeps ringing every 30 minutes while you are working on your client’s project?
  • Would it be okay with you if the Internet provider cut its service because you unwittingly forgot to pay the latest invoice?

If you answered “No” to these questions, it is time for you to consider outsourcing tasks of your business.

Outsourcing is the process of delegating or transferring predetermined tasks or functions to a third-party service provider.

You can read more about the benefits of outsourcing in our article “How Outsourcing Tasks Can Save You Tons Of Money – And Build Your Business”. In the article, we presented an accounting of how much money you can save through outsourcing.

Essentially, outsourcing is the ideal strategy for entrepreneurs, especially those in the start-up stage, because it is a low-cost, high-value solution. From the article, you will come to understand that with outsourcing, costs are easily managed.

Outsourcing will present you with options that you can use to stretch your finances without compromising the quality of goods and services.

FTE Vs. Outsourced Talent: Which Is The Better Option?

Cost savings are possible because you are taking advantage of comparative advantages that are generated by outsourcing foremost of which is labor.

With outsourcing, you are not hiring full-time employees or FTEs. Instead, you are contracting the services of qualified people or agencies. This distinction between FTE and contracted services is very important!

Let’s compare the FTE and the outsourced talent:

Particulars:FTE:Outsourced Talent:
Rate/Hour (Minimum)$18$8
Work Hours/Day8Flexible
Work Days/Week5 to 6Flexible
Paid Benefits:YesNo
Total Cost:$27/hour$8

As you can see, flexibility is the key differentiator between an outsourced talent and an FTE. When you contract services, you are not obligated by law to pay a minimum wage or designate the mandated work hours per week.

This makes it possible to be more financially flexible with the outsourced talent compared to hiring an FTE.

Here are some real-world examples:

  • Contract the services of a virtual assistant who can manage your administrative tasks 10 hours a week.
  • Outsource content writing services and pay the outsourced talent on a per word or per productive hour basis.
  • Outsource web development/management services to Mountaintop Web Design and pay fixed charges on a monthly basis.

By agreeing on the conditions for payment, you are assured of higher productivity and better quality of work.

According to a study that was presented by productivity coach Steve Pavlina, the average American office worker only puts in 90 minutes of productive work every day.

That is 90 minutes out of 480 total work minutes every day or a productivity rating of only 19%! Yet, America remains the strongest economy in the world.

What happened to the remaining 390 minutes? According to Pavlina, those hours are spent surfing the Internet, taking extended water cooler/coffee breaks,  napping, checking their cell phones, and reading the news.

Guess what? Those hours are paid. This means every time an FTE chit-chats with a another FTE about the latest Netflix movie, you are paying for those minutes.

By outsourcing, you are also increasing your level of productivity because now you can place greater focus on the main enterprise of your business.

A study presented by the Harvard Business Review showed that at most, people can only maintain 100% focus on a given task for 90 minutes. After completing the task, you have to rest the mind for at least 10 minutes.

Assuming an 8-hour work schedule, this means that by outsourcing tasks, you can target 4 to 5 tasks to accomplish every day. That is 360 minutes out of 480 minutes per day or a productivity rating of 75%!

In contrast, a fully-paid FTE who can tender only 90 minutes of productive time per day will possibly only accomplish 1 task per day.

Which Tasks Should You Outsource?

Hopefully, at this point, we have convinced you of how outsourcing can build your business. The question we will answer in this section is which tasks you should outsource.

In the future, we will present a more detailed and comprehensive article on how to take a strategic approach to outsourcing that can scale up your business. For now, we will show you how to identify the tasks that you should outsource in order to streamline costs and increase productivity.

You will need to answer these questions:

  • Which tasks are non-essential or not directly related to my business’ main enterprise?
  • Which tasks will require a higher level of expertise and greater experience?
  • Which tasks are repetitive in nature?
  • Which tasks do I have the tendency to overlook or forget?
  • Which tasks do I greatly dislike doing?

From there, you will probably come up with the same or similar tasks that we have outlined below:

1. Administrative Tasks

For many entrepreneurs, administrative tasks are the necessary evils of running a business. These tasks are categorized as non-essentials, meaning they are not directly related to your business’ main enterprise. However, they play an essential role because administrative tasks keep your business organized and running.

Examples of administrative tasks that you should outsource:

  • E-mail Filtering
  • Calendar Management
  • Appointment Setting
  • Phone Handling
  • Preparing Reports
  • Limited Research
  • Database or CRM Management
  • Bookings and Reservations
  • Preparation of Limited Communication

2. Technical/Specialized Skills

Your business may need to introduce new products and services that require greater skill, a higher level of expertise, and longer tenure. These are skills that you cannot become proficient at simply by watching YouTube videos or reading a “For Dummies” instructional. Otherwise, the quality of work will suffer.

Examples of technical/specialized skills that you should outsource:

  • Website Design/Management
  • Digital Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Content Writing
  • Graphic Design
  • Software App Development
  • Transcription Services
Learn more about the website services we off

3. Customer Support Services

Many businesses stunt their growth because they are only focused on new market development. In so doing, they neglect their current market base or end users of their products or services.

Don’t forget your current end users. They are already your customers. The cost of maintaining them is lower than creating new markets for your products and services. And the returns are much higher because your current end users already made the decision to choose you over the competition.

Having great customer service assures your existing end users that their needs and concerns are always met and addressed right away.

Examples of Customer Support Services that you should outsource:

  • Inbound Phone Support
  • Technical Support Services
  • Email Support
  • After-Sales Surveys or Outbound Call Support
  • Chat Support
  • Content Moderation Services

4. Back-Office Functions

It’s called the back-office because the people who work here are not seen but otherwise play a valuable role in running your business. You can outsource these tasks to qualified third-party service providers and still get great results.

Examples of back-office functions that you should outsource:

  • General Accounting
  • Payroll Preparation
  • Employee Benefits Administration
  • Human Resources Management – Recruitment, interviews, testing, evaluation, and selection

Conclusion

To better understand the value of outsourcing, let’s delve into the mind of the entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs or to be more specific, small to medium scale business owners, are limited by their resources. Even the most successful ones do not have the benefit of liquidity compared to large scale businesses. This is, of course, part of the growth process.

As a small business owner, the immediate challenge is to maintain liquidity before achieving profitability. Effective cash flow management is very important. Thus, an entrepreneur strives to keep operations as lean as possible.

Instead of hiring employees to help him/her run the show, they take on most, if not all of the tasks of the business.

Ask any entrepreneur and they will tell there is nothing they can’t do. Like a superhero, an entrepreneur will take on any challenge and believe they can win it. The reality is, victories are only short-term.

Over the long-run, the number of unproductive workdays has accumulated to a point that the business starts to suffer.

Your best option is to outsource specific tasks or functions. Not only will outsourcing services greatly reduce the costs of running a business but the strategy will help you increase productivity without compromising the quality of work.

If you enjoyed this article and know people who would greatly benefit from it, please feel free to share!

And if you would like to know how Mountaintop can help you get started on your own outsourcing solution, please do not hesitate to give us a call. You can consult with us for 30 minutes free of charge.

desktop with coffee cup - learn more about website design

Whether you are a start-up or a business that has been running for a while, people you meet will surely ask one question:

“Are you on social media?”

There is no denying the power and influence of social media. Of the 4 Billion people who are on the Internet every day, almost 3 Billion are on social media. That’s 75% of the daily Internet users and nearly 40% of the world’s total population.

If you want to build an online presence, you should be on social media.

Or do you?

Is social media the be-all and end-all of online marketing?

Is it possible to survive in a competitive industry without the benefit of social media?

Not only will you survive a competitive industry without the benefit of social media, but you may even thrive.

Is Social Media For Everyone?

If someone wants to lose weight, one of the first things he/she will probably do is take up running.

And why not? Running is a basic skill we learn growing up. It is an activity that you can do anywhere and many people have gotten great weight loss results from running.

However, running is not for everyone. If you have weak joints, running can lead to serious injuries. Likewise, using poor running technique can lead to chronic pain in your feet, knees, and lower back.

Moreover, it is not the only way to lose weight. You can swim, bike, walk, play ball, or work out in a gym.

Of course, exercise alone will not make you lose weight. You have to follow a strict, low calorie, healthy diet. A combination of exercise, diet, and good quality sleep will lead to long-term, sustainable weight loss.

The same can be said about social media. It is not for everyone and social media is not the only way to market and promote your business.

Social media has gained prominence as an online marketing strategy because every business website that writes articles about growing your business invariably has a section devoted to social media.

In fact, we have written about social media in our articles “How to Launch a $100 Digital Marketing Campaign” and “5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Need to Invest in a Digital Marketing Strategy”.

Social media has become such a force of nature that you can easily get swept away by its power and influence.

Big companies such as Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Nike, and Walmart are active on social media. So are major influencers such as Neil Patel, Tim Ferris, Sir Richard Branson, and Warren Buffett.

Social media marketing is also inexpensive. Once you have created an account, you can reach out to people you know and work your way through their contacts list so you can grow your own followers.

From there, it is just a matter of posting content frequently.

Easier said than done.

7 Ways To Grow Your Business Online Besides Social Media

If you haven’t seen quantifiable results from your social media efforts, you are not alone. It takes time to grow your followers organically.

You need to put thought and purpose behind your content. After some time, you will have to use social media analytics to help you pinpoint the types of content that generate the highest levels of engagement.

And it doesn’t end there. The best way to validate your social media efforts is to convert interest into sales. That is an entirely different ballgame.

Just because everybody – or more accurately 3 Billion people – are doing it doesn’t mean that you should also.

It may not be for you.

There are other ways to grow your business online besides social media.

1. Mobile-Responsive Website

If you have a website – good. If you have a mobile responsive website – great!

It would be difficult for your online marketing efforts to bear fruit if your audience cannot access your website from a mobile device. 57% of online traffic comes from mobile devices, especially smartphones.

Mobile-responsiveness is also a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm. If your website is not mobile-responsive, it will not lead to a pleasant experience for users. Google will penalize your website in the search rankings.

2. Optimize Web Content

Writing online is different from writing a college term paper. Yes, you have to check your work for spelling and grammatical errors and the content must be thoroughly researched.

However, when writing Internet-based content, you must always have optimization in mind. Optimizing content makes it easier to get found on the Internet. The fundamental component in content optimization is the use of keywords.

Keywords are the words and phrases used by people to launch a search query. When integrated into your content, keywords will make it easier for the search bots to find and index your page for the SERP.

learn more about website design

3. Content Marketing

A 2018 global survey conducted by Smart Insights showed 20% of marketers believed content marketing was the online process that would have the most significant impact on business.

It should be no surprise because people continually search for content on the Internet. No just any ordinary content. The material that you publish must have the following qualities:

  • Fresh, original
  • Relevant
  • Usable
  • Informative
  • Well-researched
  • Easy to read

By consistently posting quality content on your blog page, you will be able to build a solid base of followers organically. They will consider you a valuable resource in the industry and trust the quality of your content.

Include a blog page on your mobile-responsive website. Then pack it with optimized, keyword-rich, and high-quality content.

4. Integrate Chatbots

Customer service a key component of every business. Great customer service means having the needs, concerns, or issues of your followers and patrons addressed right away.

Chatbots are becoming the norm in how customers interact with websites. In one study, 15% of respondents reported that they have interacted with chatbots over the course of a year.

Chatbots are a convenient way of managing customer service. First, they give precise answers. Second, they are not affected by emotional outbursts or stressful situations. Third, chatbots do not get sick and can run 24/7.

However, if a chatbot gets stumped, make sure it can be programmed to transfer the inquiry to a human customer service agent.

5. Email Marketing

Email marketing may not be as hip or cool as social media but it may well be a more effective online marketing process than Facebook or Twitter.

Take a look at the statistics comparing email to Facebook and Twitter:

  • Number of users – Email: 2.6 Billion, Facebook: 2 Billion. Twitter: 313 Million
  • Percentage of users who check these processes first thing in the morning – Email: 58%, Facebook: 11%, Twitter: 3%
  • Percentage of people who use these processes at least twice daily – Email: 91%, Facebook: 57%, Twitter: 14%
  • Users who made a purchase because of these processes – Email: 66%, Facebook: 20%, Twitter: 6%
  • Customer Acquisition- Email: 7%, Facebook: <1%, Twitter: 0%

Lastly, email has a higher ROI at 21% versus Facebook and Twitter combined at 15%.

6. Search Engine Directories

In the old days, when someone wanted to search up a business, he/she would use the Yellow Pages telephone directory. Today, that person would use search engine directories.

And yes, the Yellow Pages can be found online. This time, YP has other search engine directories as competition. These search engine directories include Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo! Local Listing.

Having your business listed in an online directory is an effective way to get found. This is especially true for retail-type businesses.

According to Google, 80% of Americans use search engine directories to track down a business. 50% of the search has resulted in a visit to the store and 18% of those visits resulted in a sale.

You can read more about search engine directories in our article, “Why Should Retail Locations Be Listed in Search Engines”.

7. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a good strategy to use for building your brand, establishing yourself as an authority, creating natural inbound links and driving traffic to your website.

There are blog sites that allow guest writers to share content on their website. However, it is a good idea to check on the authenticity and reputation of the blog site before making your inquiry.

In the same manner that there are good guest blog networks, there are also bad guest blog networks. You will know who they are because their ground rules sound spurious.

For example, these bad guest blog networks will not allow you to edit content or remove spammy links. Also, a visit to their site will yield a “treasure trove” of poor quality content.

Conclusion

Social media is a great way to build your business online. However, it is not the only way. Also, it may not be the best way to grow your business. As you have read, there are other tools that you can use to give your business the online presence it needs.

The bottom line is, a digital marketing strategy should not be dependent on only one tool. It should utilize a good number of processes that can provide your business with different avenues to achieve its goals.

From there, you can use Analytics to determine which processes are generating good ROI and which ones aren’t. Analytics is an effective tool for fine-tuning your digital marketing campaign.

If Analytics show that your social media marketing strategy is not delivering the results, find out why. Identify the weaknesses and try to institute improvements.

If upon further analysis, the results are not to your satisfaction, do not hesitate to repurpose the resources to other processes that yield better ROI.

Hopefully, we were able to give you some level of objectivity toward social media. Yes, it is powerful and influential. However, it may not be for everyone.

The good thing is there are other tools at your disposal which can be more effective than social media.  

If you liked this article, please feel free to share it. And if you want to learn more about how digital marketing can grow your business, please do not hesitate to give us a call or an email.

Consult with us for 30 minutes free of charge!

We hope to hear from you soon.

Extreme WordPress care - what types of plans we offer

How do businesses start? It all starts with an idea. That light bulb moment is triggered by a moment of inspiration. You have an idea for a product or a service that addresses the needs of a specific market. You believe that you have the experience and expertise to turn your idea into a product with a price that people are willing to pay for.

The next question is going to be a bit more tricky:

“Do you have the experience and expertise to get your product or service in front of the people who may find value in it?”

How Much Should You Spend To Market Your Business?

Marketing is an important function of every business. It helps you build your brand, bring awareness to your products and services, and enhances your reputation as a valuable resource in the industry.

However, in times of economic difficulty, marketing is quite often the first business activity to be cut. This is especially true for small business owners where capital is tight and access to funding is very limited.

According to a survey conducted by HubSpot, securing an adequate budget is the third biggest challenge in marketing.

Small businesses are hesitant to allocate more resources to fund marketing campaigns. Their focus is to keep the business afloat. This means paying off their monthly costs of operations, suppliers, and creditors. Savings are set aside to tide the business over in the event the stream of income slows down to a trickle.

The question is, “How much should you spend to market your business?”

A study conducted by Sageworks revealed that on average, a small business spends an estimated 1% of its annual gross revenues for marketing and advertising activities.

Thus, if a small business on average generates annual gross revenue of $350,000, the owner or proprietor would set aside 1% or $3,500 to take care of its marketing activities for the year.

Is $3,500 a lot of money to spend on marketing?

Alternatively, is $3,500 enough to effectively support a marketing campaign?

Some of you may be thinking, “Well, that’s not much”. Meanwhile, others may be thinking, “Wow! That’s a lot! I can’t afford that!”

The truth is marketing does not have to break the bank. There are ways, methods, and techniques that you can use to ensure your marketing campaign does not lose its stride.

Building The Foundation Of A Cost Effective Marketing Campaign

Before we discuss the best ways to market your business without breaking the bank, it is important to build a solid foundation for your marketing campaign to stand on.

Without a solid foundation, your platform will crumble and fail. The pillars of the foundation are processes that you must undertake before actively working on your marketing strategy.

1. Conduct Research

Research gives your marketing activity direction. The purpose of research is to collect information that will give you valuable insights on your target market; the demographics, likes and dislikes, demand preferences, and tastes.

You need research to help you identify trends and patterns; uncover the latest developments in the industry, potential growth areas as well as risk factors. Research helps you determine what your campaign should be about; its purpose and objectives.

2. Create a Buyer’s Profile

A buyer’s profile is simply a summary of characteristics, attributes, and behavioral patterns that define who your audience is. It will give laser-like focus to your marketing strategies; you know who your market is, their needs, interests, and concerns.

What information should be included in a buyer’s profile?

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Educational Attainment
  • Profession/ Occupation
  • Income Bracket
  • Civil Status
  • Number of Dependents
  • City
  • Preferred Social Media Network

3. Define Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)

Some marketers refer to the UVP as the USP or Unique Selling Proposition. Although they essentially mean the same thing, we prefer to use “Value” instead of “Selling” because the word has greater significance and meaning when it comes to brand building.

As the term implies, UVP refers to your unique offering to your target market. It should answer the question, “Why should you choose me over the competition?” There must be something about your business that will influence the decision-making ability of your target market.

4. Focus on Building Your Brand

This is the third time we have mentioned brand building in this article – and it may not be the last! We cannot simply overemphasize the importance of building your brand. By brand building, we don’t mean just logos and catchy taglines.

Your brand is how your market perceives your business. It is a gradual transition from “what you are” to “who you are”. As such, it is a process that will take time and consistent effort.

All of the tools, techniques, strategies, and processes that you plan to incorporate in your marketing campaign must be aligned with your brand.

5. Identify Your Marketing Objective

“What do I hope to accomplish with our marketing campaign?” This is the underlying question that must be answered by your marketing objective.

A marketing campaign can have different objectives:

  • Build a trustworthy reputation in the industry
  • Acquire followers
  • Promote business, products, and services
  • Generate Leads
  • Increase sales conversion rates
  • Improve search engine rankings
  • Drive more inbound traffic to the website

Ideally, you should only have one objective in order to remain focused. However, you can break down your singular objective into several smaller goals.

For example:

Primary Objective – Increase search rankings

Smaller Goals:

  • Acquire followers
  • Generate Leads
  • Build a trustworthy reputation in the industry
  • Drive more inbound traffic to the website

6. Monitor, Track, and Evaluate Performance

Take advantage of the availability of online analytics such as Google Analytics and the built-in analytics in your social media pages. By monitoring, tracking, and evaluating performance, you will have a better idea if your campaign will deliver the desired outcome.

Learn more about the website services we off

10 Best Ways To Market Your Business Without Breaking The Bank

1. Content Marketing

Content marketing has grown to become one of the most powerful and influential processes in the marketing toolbox. The reason is simple: People are regularly searching for great content.

  • Content can be in the form of blogs, curated articles, videos, images, and other types that can effectively deliver your UVP. Focus on creating great content. This means content that is useful, informative, fresh, engaging, and relevant.
  • Writing blogs and curating articles will only cost you time. Long-form blogs or those with a word count of 2,000 up work best in getting higher search rankings. Including research and rough drafts, it will take you approximately 3-4 hours to write a 2,000-word blog.
  • Start out with two blogs per week. If your goal is to generate leads, your target should be to produce 16 blogs per month.
  • Make sure your blogs are optimized with keywords. Use a free online keyword research tool such as Google Keyword Planner.

2. Social Media Marketing

Social media is an effective channel for distributing your online content. First, it caters to a gigantic population of more than 3 Billion users every day. Second, opening a social media business page will not cost you a cent.

However, not all social media networks function in the same way. After all, these are communities.

  • Choose 2-3 platforms that best support your type of business. For example, if you are selling highly-visual merchandise such as smartphones or food, platforms like Instagram and Pinterest would work best for you.
  • Set a posting schedule. The frequency of posting is an important component in social media marketing. Once you have built up a good number of followers, make sure you are always top-of-mind. Post at least once a day. Use Buffer which is a free online social media scheduling tool.

3. Email Marketing

According to a study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Demand Metric, email marketing generates the highest ROI of all online marketing channels.

Compared to social media marketing, direct mail, and paid search which have an ROI of 28%, 27%, and 25% respectively, the ROI for email marketing has been measured at 122%.

  • Build a good-sized list of subscribers. To make this happen, come up with a good Call-to-Action (CTA) such as a free e-book or consultation.
  • Segment your mailing list. Categorize your subscribers based on need, demographics, or online behavior patterns.
  • Focus on high-value content. Newsletters are short-form content; usually, no more than 300 words. Since you have segmented your list, focus on delivering content that directly addresses their specific need.

4. Use Online Search Engine Directories

A study by Google showed that 80% of Americans prefer to use search engine directories to find local businesses. More than that, the same Google study showed that 50% of the respondents visited the local business on the day itself.

What’s in it for the local business? 18% of local businesses who were found on an online search engine directory were able to close the sale! Registering your business in an online search engine directory is a free and easy way to get discovered.

You can read more about online search engine directories and how they can benefit your business in our articles, “Why Should Retail Locations Be Listed In Search Engines?” and “How Can Retail Locations Benefit From A Strong Local Presence”.

5. Consider Paid Advertising

Paid advertising methods like PPC or Pay-Per-Click advertising can give your search rankings an immediate boost because whoever clicks your ad will find themselves on your landing page. With PPC, you only pay whenever someone clicks on your ad.

Find out more about the benefits of paid advertising in our article, “SEO Vs. PPC: Which One Is Better For Your Business?”

6. Build Partnerships

The late great sales guru, Joe Girard, popularly advocated his protagonist approach when negotiating deals.

Girard believed that while parties in a negotiation have different intents, they have a common goal: to land the best arrangement. Therefore, instead of opposing one another, why not help each other?

You can apply the same ideology in marketing your business.

For example, in a food business, suppliers sell you their raw materials to produce your menu items. They want you to succeed so that you will buy more supplies from them. Ask them if they are willing to sponsor a promotional activity.

For example, ask your beverage supplier to provide you with a few cases for free to support the promo. In exchange, allow the supplier to post advertising materials in your restaurant.

7. Reach Out to Your Community

For local businesses, your immediate captive market is the community where you are located. Reach out to them. Let them know how your business can address their needs.

Here are a few examples:

  • If you own a gym business, schedule group workouts for families and friends at the local community center. Most people are intimidated by the thought of walking inside a gym. Bring the gym to them and start building relationships within the community.
  • Look for other local businesses in the area that offer products and services which are complementary to your own. Propose a cross-marketing arrangement. For example, a cake shop owner can set up a cross-marketing arrangement with a flower shop owner.

8. Attend Business Forums and Trade Shows

Business forums and trade shows are effective venues for marketing and promoting your company. Some organizers will charge you a fee in order to participate in the event.

However, these events attract potential end-users of your products and services. The fee could be worth it considering that you are given the opportunity to position your business directly in front of prospective clients or customers.

9. Attend Networking Events

Most networking events are by invitation only. You may have to become a member of an organization to be invited. Another avenue you can take is to join focus groups in your local community and even those within your social media circles.

Networking is a great way to expand your contacts list. Don’t approach the event with the 4C mindset: “Calling Card Collection Contest”. Instead, use the 4B approach: “Build the Best connections that will Benefit your Business”.

You can learn more about networking in our article, “How Can Networking Help My Business Grow”.

Conclusion

We saved the best for last.

Number 10 – Outsource Your Marketing

Why is this your best option for marketing your business?

First, by outsourcing your marketing, you free up time so you can dedicate your precious hours to managing the core functions of your business. As we mentioned earlier – creating content, posting on social media, and measuring results – all of these activities take time.

Second, you leave the implementation in the hands of experienced and well-trained experts. They will do everything – research, content optimization, website management, social media calendar, and content writing – for you. You can be assured of professional quality work every time!

Third, you save more money! If you set up an in-house marketing team, you will have to pay your personnel salaries, benefits and allocate expenses for rent, supplies, utilities, and additional bandwidth.

When you outsource, the service provider takes care of everything. You only have to pay for the services rendered. In many cases, the charges are negotiable. The best outsourcing service providers understand your needs and will render work with respect to your budget.

It is important to outsource marketing only to qualified third-party service providers like us. We know what we are talking about. In fact, we wrote about budget-friendly marketing strategies in our article “How To Set Up A Low Budget But Highly Effective Digital Marketing Campaign”.

If you want to learn more about how we can help you market your business without breaking your bank account, please feel free to give us a call. We will give you a free consultation for up to 30 minutes!

learn more about website design with orange banner

Social media can be a goldmine for your digital marketing strategy. You can “strike oil” if you know where to focus your content marketing process. This is the advantage of having social media analytics. It will help you track, monitor, and evaluate key data so you will have a solid basis for fine-tuning your social media strategy.

4 Benefits Of Using Social Media Analytics

  • Track and measure the performance of every piece of social media content. By identifying the types of content that generated the best results you will be able to re-share the posts that garnered the highest levels of engagement.
  • You will be able to identify the poor performing posts and have accurate data to find ways to improve them.
  • Stay updated on trends; industry developments and changes in audience preferences and behavior so you will have an idea which topics are of great interest to your followers.
  • Pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your current social media marketing campaign so you can identify which strategies generate the highest ROI.

What Is Social Media Analytics?

More than 3 billion people log in to some type of social media platform every day. That is nearly half of the world’s population. Thus, with such a large volume of users, social media will guarantee you of high-level activity. People will be constantly viewing, reading, engaging, sharing, and liking content.

However, not all posts will be viewed, read, engaged on, shared or liked. Some will receive more attention than others. Not all content that is posted on social media will be liked or shared.

If your social media posts seem largely ignored, don’t throw in the towel! Keep in mind that social media networks are communities made up of people with individual behavioral attributes.

People react to posts differently. They may click on your content and read it but they don’t have to like it or share it. That does not mean they didn’t enjoy your content. In fact, they might follow your page after reading your content.

The best way to make heads or tails of how your social media efforts are performing is to use social media analytics. It analyzes data-driven metrics to track and measure the results of your various social media activities.

The Importance Of Setting Goals In Social Media: Types Of Social Media Goals

What drives you to create content for social media? What do you want to accomplish? What are your expectations?

In short, what are your goals for your social media marketing campaign?

Creativity may be the key attribute behind the content marketing process, but you need to channel that creativity toward a specific purpose. While creativity is more of a function of artistic expression, you need data to give your content strategy direction.

Therefore, the first step in designing a social media marketing campaign is to establish your goals.

We noticed during our preliminary meetings with digital marketing clients that they are unsure of their social media marketing goals. There is a common belief that in social media marketing, the goal is all about getting likes, shares, and comments.

While getting a like on your post or having it shared is certainly a great feeling of accomplishment, the result should keep you aligned toward accomplishing your goal.

Here is a rundown of the 5 basic goals that you could have for your social media marketing campaign:

1. Increase Traffic – If you are having trouble increasing traffic to your website, social media marketing is a proven way of driving more site visits.

2. Increase the Number of Followers – Social media is an effective platform to enhance your reputation as an expert. If people find your content a valuable resource or a reliable and consistent source of information, they will not hesitate to follow you.

3. Maximize the Level of Engagement – Your posts will truly become social when someone engages with it. Engagement is interaction and can come in the form of a like, share, or a comment.

This creates an opportunity for you to establish a connection and potentially build on it and gain some future value.

4. Maximize Your Reach and Total Number of Impressions – This is what we were referring to earlier. It does not matter if no one liked your post.

If some people took the time to click on it and read its contents, then you have successfully maximized your reach and number of impressions.

In social media, getting visibility for your content is likewise important. That is why posting frequently is a key strategy.

5. Increase the Rate of Sales Conversions – Ultimately, what you would want to do is to convert interest into sales. You want your website visitor to become a paying customer.

Social media marketing is an organic approach to digital marketing. Unlike paid advertising which is more direct, it may take longer to accomplish your goals but at the same time, a successful social media marketing campaign can create positive residual and sustainable results.

Before coming up with your social media marketing goals, you should make sure these goals are aligned with your business goals.

For example, a startup will have a different social media marketing goal compared to a business that is trying to expand its services.

A startup’s content line up should include the following:

  • Feature on the company; its business, founders, management and staff, the office premises, factory, and operating procedures.
  • Advantages of using the company’s products and services.
  • “How To” and List-Type articles that explain how the company’s business can help its audience find solutions.
  • Product reviews.

An established business that is in the process of scaling its operations can have a content line-up covering the following areas:

  • History of the company’s growth and achievements over the years.
  • Current development plans of the company.
  • An in-depth analysis of trends in the industry.
  • Articles on the company’s socio-civic activities.
  • Client testimonials.

Glossary Of Popular Terms In Social Media Analytics

In order to have an easier time understanding social media analytics and how it can benefit your business, it pays to know some of its most popularly used terms.

  • Actions on Page – This term refers to the number of clicks received by your Call-To-Action (CTA) button and Contact Information.
  • Engagement – Engagement is one of the most important metrics in social media analytics. It measures the number of times someone has interacted with your social media post.
  • Impressions – The number of people who saw or viewed your social media post.
  • Engagement Rate – This is measured by dividing Engagement with the number of impressions.
  • Followers – The term refers to the number of people who have seen your post on their timeline.
  • Page Likes – Refers to the total number of people who have seen and liked your page.
  • Page Previews – Refers to the number of people who have gone over your profile and page name in order to view your content.
  • Page Views – The number of times people have visited and viewed your social media profile page.
  • Post Clicks – Tracks the number of times people have clicked on your post.
  • Post Reach – This metric tracks down and records the number of people who have seen your posts on their screen. Post Reach is measured and categorized as total, promotions, and organic.

How To Use Social Media Analytics

You don’t need to open a business page on every social media network on the Internet. A social media platform is its own community with their own strengths and purposes.

A good point of comparison would be Facebook and LinkedIn. Facebook is the largest social media network on the Internet with more than 2 billion users. In comparison, LinkedIn only has 575 million users.

However, the organic reach of Facebook has been declining since 2014. This means fewer people are interacting with published content. One reason for this is Facebook’s decision to transition to an ad agency. There are more ads and marketing content appearing on the news feed and this is turning off many users.

Facebook is a popular source for news and entertainment content. When someone logs into Facebook he/she wants to relax and stay updated on his/her network. Ads are seen as distractions much as they would on regular television.

LinkedIn is primarily a networking platform. People who want to look for jobs, clients, and expand their network of contacts have LinkedIn as their social media platform of choice.

Thus, if you want to use Facebook as the vehicle for your content, post articles that are meant to entertain, provide useful information, and presented in a less formal tone.

In LinkedIn, opinion posts carry more value. For example, if you are in the real estate business, share your opinions on property price trends and the direction of the prime lending rate.

Your choice of social media platforms should have the community, the culture, and the ideal conditions to support your overall social media marketing goals.

There are many social media analytics tools that you can use to measure the performance of your posts. In addition, every social media network has its own built-in analytics. You can use these analytics tools to assess the performance of your posts.

Extreme WordPress care - what types of plans we offer

Here is a summary of the key metrics that you should look into when using any of the following popular social media analytics tools for each network:

1. Facebook

  • Likes – A “like” can be as good as a comment. Take note of the use of emoticons.
  • Comments – Negative comments can give you clues on what to improve on your content.
  • Shares – The higher the number of shares the greater the probability of your content going viral.
  • Referral Traffic – If more people are visiting your website because of your Facebook content, it means you are considered a valuable or credible source of information.
  • Page Views – More page views mean higher exposure for your brand.
  • Engagement Rate – A high engagement rate means more people are interested in your content.
  • Video Metrics – Measures how long people watch your posted video-based content.
  • Page Fan Growth – Focus on your page’s organic growth. The number of followers reflects your status as an authority figure in the industry.
  • Conversions – Measures the level of the persuasiveness of your copy. If your Facebook post leads to a web page with conversion intent, use Google Analytics to monitor the rate of conversions.

2. Twitter

  • Retweets – The higher the number of retweets the greater the opportunity for your tweet to build a larger audience.
  • Replies – Signifies level of engagement; it will let you know if your tweet has resonated with other people in your community.
  • Tweets Linking to You – Measures the number of people talking about your tweet and sharing it with their community.
  • Tweet Likes – Shows you how many people appreciate your content.
  • Tweet Impressions – In a high activity network like Twitter, visibility is very important. The more views, the better for your content and brand building goal.
  • Profile Visits – Gives you an idea of how many people are becoming interested in your business, products, and services.

3. LinkedIn

  • Impressions – Measures how many community members have seen your content.
  • Clicks – The higher the number of clicks, the greater the probability of driving traffic to your website.
  • Interactions – Indicates the level of interest in your content.
  • Engagement Rate – Gives you an idea of the value of your content to its viewers.
  • Visitor Demographics – Gives you an idea of the demographics of the people viewing your content.

4. Instagram

  • Likes – In Instagram, getting a “like” carries more weight compared to Facebook or any other social media network because there are very few data points available in this platform.
  • Comments – Positive comments help your brand became more influential.
  • Engagement Rate – The higher the number, the greater the level of interest in your content.
  • Total Followers – More followers mean greater opportunities to increase the visibility of your brand.

Conclusion

By having a better understanding of your social media data, you will be able to spot trends, identify the posts that are performing very well, and pinpoint flaws in your campaign.

Without analytics, you will miss out on potential opportunities to improve your audience’s overall experience in your social media platforms. You might not be able to catch red flags that could greatly compromise your digital marketing objectives.

It takes tremendous time, effort, and resources to create social media content. For example, a well-researched 2,400-word blog will take around 4 hours to write.

Social media analytics will give your content creation process direction and strategy. It will ensure that your efforts will yield ROI by guiding you to create content that produces the intended results.

Did you enjoy our article? If you have ideas and suggestions on how to effectively use social media analytics, please feel free to share them in our comments section.

If you’re interested in implementing digital marketing strategies for your business, give us a call. We’ll gladly give you a free 30-minute consultation and let you know how our expertise and experience in digital marketing can help take your business to the next level.

learn about web design - desktop, tablet & smart phone on desk - in blue - larger

Small business owners understand the value of marketing. They know it is important to promote the business’ products and services in order to gain traction for the company. However, given their status as a small-scale enterprise, they are constrained by limited resources and tight capital. A marketing campaign will entail costs but it is an investment, not an expense. You should expect a return on your marketing efforts. For small businesses, investing in a digital marketing strategy is the best option because it will give you the highest ROI.

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing

Many entrepreneurs are hesitant to invest in marketing because they are not convinced of the ROI. The entire experience might just end up being an expense.

A lot of the prevailing fears come from their experiences with traditional marketing methods. Examples of traditional marketing methods include distribution of flyers, installation of posters and streamers, and publication of press releases.

From the outset, traditional marketing seems like a good idea. It has been an accepted practice for decades. The number of marketing collaterals can be managed and therefore, allow you to stay within budget.

However, traditional marketing methods have been proven ineffective and inefficient. Distributing flyers is a random act; there is no thought and purpose on whom to give the material to.

The same can be said for the use of posters, streamers, and press releases. How sure are you that the people who come across your traditional marketing collaterals are potential end-users?

And what happens to all of the collaterals that you printed out? Once the campaign is over, they will end up as recyclable materials inside trash receptacles. That is money that is literally wasted.

Finally, it is hard to measure results with traditional marketing. This leads to higher marketing expenses because the small business owner cannot quantify the results of his/her efforts.

He/she will keep printing and distributing until acceptable returns are generated. It becomes a vicious cycle of printing, posting, and disposing of.

Those shortcomings are not found in Digital Marketing. It has all the strengths – and more – of traditional marketing without its weaknesses.

Why Small Businesses Need To Invest In A Digital Marketing Strategy

It’s a digital world that we live in.

There is more than a 65% chance that you are reading this article from a mobile device, most likely your smartphone.

Digital technology has made life and work easier and more convenient. The evolution of mobile technology has taken the benefits of digital to a whole new different level.

For the consumer, digital technology has made information more accessible. The Internet is home to over 1 billion websites. Although only a small majority are active, these websites nonetheless function as valuable resources of information.

Search is the number one activity on the Internet. Every day people are constantly searching for information that covers a need or interest. Now that mobile technology has grown to a point that it accounts for 65% of online traffic, information can be had in the palm of a consumer’s hand.

Likewise, for business owners, digital technology has made the consumer more accessible.

The Internet has become a two-way street. A consumer who needs your products and services can find you online through a variety of avenues. He/she can perform a search, visit your social media page, or look for your business in an online search directory.

But why wait for the customer to find you when you can reach out and find him/her?

This is why small business owners should invest in digital marketing. It creates avenues for you to be found and to find your own customers.

Here are 5 reasons why you should invest in a digital marketing strategy for your small business:

1. The Internet Will Continue to Grow

There is a direct correlation between the growth of the world’s population and the Internet. In 1995, only 16 million people had access to the Internet. This number represented 4% of the world’s population.

Fast- forward to today, and there are 4 billion people online every day. That number accounts for 53% of the world’s population. It is estimated that by 2021, there will be more than 4.6 billion using the Internet on a daily basis.

As the world grows in number, the Internet expands its coverage. More and more countries are opening up their infrastructure to make the Internet accessible to their people.

What do these figures mean?

These figures mean your customers are online. By not having a website, you will not be able to capitalize on the opportunities available on the Internet. If you do not have an online presence, you will be undermining your prospects for growth.

As we mentioned earlier, search is the number one online activity. When a person runs a query, the search engine will present a list of websites on the Search Results Page. How can your business get found if you don’t have a website?

And it’s not enough to have a website. You must have a mobile-responsive website or one that can be viewed on mobile devices.

We discussed the role of the website in our article, “Why Your Website Needs Responsive Design”. It is the first step in developing an effective digital marketing strategy.

If you don’t have one for your business, it is not too late. Give us a call or an email and we’ll get you started right away.

2. Allows You to Optimize Your Budget

Digital Marketing is not only more effective than traditional marketing. It is also more efficient. Instead of randomly distributing collaterals for everyone and anyone to see, you are selectively targeting the recipients of your content.

A targeted or focused marketing approach allows you to optimize your budget. You create content with more thought and purpose. Your blogs, articles, and other types of content such as videos and infographics are intended to provide information that is relevant to the needs of your market.

People who like your content; those who find great value in it, will follow you. They will click on your website and find out more about your business; its products and services.

You don’t have to do everything in one go. You have a Digital Marketing schedule that you can use to plan your content distribution strategy. The schedule is designed according to your budget.

For example, you can start out publishing 4 blogs a month. Once you’ve gained 20% more followers, you can increase the production schedule to 6 blogs per month. As your efforts continue to generate better results, you can slowly scale up your content creation schedule.

computer graphic - curious about the website services we offer

3. Consumers’ Behaviors Have Changed

For the reason that the Internet has made information more accessible, consumers are more discerning about the businesses they decide to patronize. A good example is online reviews. People tend to read online reviews before buying a product:

    • 90% of potential buyers read online reviews before visiting a business.

 

    • Online reviews have the ability to influence 67.7% of buying decisions.

 

  • 84% of consumers report that they trust online reviews in the same way they trust a personal recommendation.

Today’s consumers take the time to conduct research before buying a product. They will take advantage of the various tools provided by the Internet to learn more about a product before buying it.

Other than online reviews, consumers look to the following sources to do their research:

    • Social Media

 

    • Online Search Engine Directories

 

  • Chat Forums

If you don’t have an online presence, your business will never get found by prospective customers. No one will know if your product is good. Having an online review is like word-of-mouth. The difference is that word about your business will go around much faster and travel farther distances.

4. Keeps Your Business Running 24/7

Your website is your storefront window on the Internet. Unlike a brick- and- mortar store, it does not close. Your website is open 24/7.

Potential buyers and clients from all over the world can enter your website, view its contents, and read about your products and services. The content that you have on social media, community blog sites, online reviews, search engine directories can likewise be seen and read by Internet users.

With a website, you will never miss out on opportunities.

For example, you can set up a customer service team composed of remote workers or telecommuters. Whenever you receive inquiries about your products or complaints, your customer service team will be able to attend to them right away.

If you have social media pages, your customer service team can respond right away to comments from your followers. At the same time, they can moderate your social media pages and remove irrelevant content such as affiliate marketing links and inappropriate comments.

Fast and efficient customer service will help you acquire new clients and maintain existing ones. It shows that you care about your end-users.

5. Track Your Performance and Measure Results in Real Time

The availability of online analytics is the game-changer for Digital Marketing. With online analytics, you track the performance of your Digital Marketing campaign. You can measure results in real time.

Analytics will help you pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your current Digital Marketing strategy. It will give you a snapshot of where your audience comes from and the types of content that interest them.

You have empirical evidence that will show you which processes, tools, or techniques are generating acceptable RPI. Therefore, with analytics, you have a solid basis for making calculated decisions on which processes you should allocate more resources to.

Having the ability to evaluate the performance of your campaign is another reason why Digital Marketing allows you to better optimize your budget.

Conclusion:  Why Businesses Hesitate To Invest In Digital Marketing

Like all small business owners, you must have thought about investing in a digital marketing strategy.

You know consumers are always connected to the Internet. You are aware that consumers and businesses, including your competitors, are becoming increasingly dependent on mobile technology to make decisions that pertain to life and work.

However, doubts and fears exist:

    • “How do I start a digital marketing strategy?”

 

    • “How much will it cost me to maintain a digital marketing strategy? My funds are very tight.”

 

    • “Who will manage my company’s digital marketing strategy? I don’t have the time, experience, and expertise.”

 

    • “What are the risks of a digital marketing strategy and how do I mitigate them? I’ve read stories of businesses being duped by the agency.”

 

  • “What is my expected ROI on my digital marketing strategy if at all?”

As a digital marketing agency, we find these doubts reasonable. We know where the small business owners are coming from because our own clients have posed similar questions to us.

Small business owners have a lot on their plate especially when they are starting out. They have to manage their funds really well. For this reason, marketing gets pushed on the wayside.

By investing in a Digital Marketing strategy, you can put these fears and doubts to rest.

If you want to learn more about Digital Marketing and how you can apply it to your business, give us a call.

We’ll schedule you for a free 30-minute consultation!

Curious about websites - learn more about the website services we offer

Google is the largest and most popularly used search engine on the Internet. When consumers want to find information for specific products and services, they launch a search on Google. In fact, Google has grown so big, it has become a verb. How many times have you told someone to “Google it”?

Everyone knows it. Businesses sign up for Google’s services to get the best results for their online marketing efforts. Marketers will focus their strategies to conform to Google’s ever-changing algorithm. Thus, it can be a very competitive marketplace.

You will need a competitive advantage and this is where having Google reviews come in.

If you’ve heard about Google reviews, we’re here to tell you more about it. We will tell you everything you need to know about Google reviews: why your business needs it and how to get them.

Are you worried about getting bad reviews? Don’t worry! We will show you how to deal with them. Just read on!

What Is A Google Review?

Google Review is a feature that allows consumers to share their experiences with a product or service by writing a review on a business’ Google page or search map listing.

Why did Google decide to introduce a review feature?

The search engine giant has always been big on User Experience (UX). Google wants to provide its users with the best options to address their wants, needs, and concerns.

Reviews are powerful influencers. They have the same effect as client/ customer testimonies. The reason reviews are so powerful is that they are organic. They are perceived as honest and sincere assessments of a business’ product and services. Unlike paid endorsements, the customer has nothing to gain by posting a review.

That is why product views are part of a customer’s research process. They trust consumer reviews. When you look for a specific item at Amazon, it is standard procedure to go through the reviews of the products shown on the search results page.

You tend to gravitate toward the items with the highest number of 5-star reviews and ignore those with low review ratings.

Strong Google reviews will have the same effect on your business.

Let us assume you own a restaurant that serves authentic Thai food in the area of Cherry Creek, Denver, Colorado. Like other smart business owners in the area, you had your restaurant listed in Google My Business and Google Maps.

Over the years, your restaurant has catered to many customers. You may not know it, but some of your customers may have given your restaurant a review.

When someone who is interested in dining at an authentic Thai restaurant in the Cherry Creek area, he/she would patronize the establishment with the highest ratings and best reviews.

If your restaurant is fortunate enough to get the best reviews and highest ratings, it should attract the most number of diners in your area.

Why Are Google Reviews Important For Your Business?

In the previous section, we showed you how Google Reviews benefit the customer and how favorable ones can translate to better business for you.

Now we will discuss the benefits of having Google Reviews for your business. Specifically, why you should encourage more customers to post reviews about their experience with your establishment.

Let us go back to our earlier example.

Put yourself in the position of the customer. Which of these reviews would have the most powerful influence on your decision?

  • “Best Pla Rad Prik I have ever tried! Better than the one I had in Thailand a year ago! The Pad Thai is to die for!” – 5 stars.
  • “The Gaeng Mussaman was too rich. The Pad Kra Prao made the visit worthwhile.” – 3 stars.
  • “Don’t bother! You get a better deal with the microwave stuff they sell in the supermarket.” – 1 star.

Definitely, you would go for the restaurant with the 5-star review. You may decide to dig in deeper and compare other reviews.

The bottom line is, the product reviews got your restaurant noticed. The high ratings and positive reviews immediately increased your visibility.

Aside from enhanced visibility, what are the other benefits of having Google Reviews for your business?

1. Google Reviews Will Improve Your Trust and Credibility Standings

We touched on this benefit earlier in this article. Customer reviews are perceived as honest and sincere. In ways, customer reviews are similar to word-of-mouth advertising.

If you ask a friend for his/her recommendation for the best Thai restaurant in Cherry Creek, you could take him/her up on the suggestion. In fact, 84% of consumers trust reviews as they would the opinions of their friends.

In the case of Google reviews, you can read through a larger volume of recommendations and opinions. And of course, Google is a trusted source of information. The search engine has always placed UX front and center whenever it decides to change its ranking algorithm.

Therefore, by generating consistently good Google reviews, you can effectively improve the trust and credibility standing of your business.

2. Google Reviews Will Influence the Decision-Making Process

The Internet has created a more discerning generation of consumers. They have more access to information and many will go to great lengths to justify their decision to choose one brand over another.

Again, going back to our example, in the event that there are other 5-star rated Thai restaurants in the area, the users will use the posted comments and factors such as location, parking, and seating availability as deciding factors.

However, the reviews and ratings have already pushed your restaurant ahead of the rest of the competition. It has made the decision-making process easier for them and more advantageous for you.

3. Google Reviews Will Increase Your Local Search Ranking

As we mentioned earlier, it is natural for consumers to give more focus on products and services that have been thoroughly reviewed. The more reviews you get, the greater the probability of potential customers searching for your business.

Positive and glowing reviews are indicative of how well your business is managed as well as the quality of its products and services. They will help your business stand out from the rest of the competitors and lend support to your brand-building strategy.

computer graphic - curious about the website services we offer

How To Get More Google Reviews

Hopefully, by now, you have come to a great understanding of why Google Reviews are important for your business. The question is, “How can I get more Google Reviews on my listing?”

We are assuming that you have already listed your business in a search engine directory. Definitely, Google My Business should be on the top of your list. If you want to learn more about search directory listings, you can read our article, “Why Should Retail Locations Be Listed In Search Engines”.

Once you have listed your business in a search engine directory, it is time to shift your focus to getting more Google Reviews:

1. Make Sure Your Listing is Updated, Complete, and Looks Good

Image-based content will attract attention faster than text-based content. This is why it is important that your Google page looks good and visually appealing. Use high-resolution pictures of your products and retail outlet. If you have the budget for it, hire a professional photographer to take the pictures.

It is also important to make sure the information posted on your Google page is updated and complete. Always check the details on your business address, contact numbers, and email address.

2. Invite Your Customers to Write Reviews

Ask and you shall receive.

If you want more Google Reviews, then ask your customers to write them. This might place your business in a dichotomous situation because not all reviews will be positive.

You should expect to receive negative reviews.

Why? For the reason that people’s tastes and preferences are unique and individual, it is not realistic to expect that 100% of reviews will be positive despite your best efforts.

According to a survey conducted by Street Fight, negative experiences result in more reviews than positive experiences. In fact, 95% of people who had a bad experience with a business shared it with others compared to only 87% of consumers.

Given these statistical data, would it still be wise to invite your customers to write reviews? Yes!

Encouraging your customers to write reviews shows that you are genuinely concerned about their happiness, satisfaction, and overall experience with your business.

The best way to extend your invitation is to simply tell them what the Google Review is for. You want feedback from your customers so you can find ways to improve your products and services.

By inviting customers to write reviews, you are creating a personality for your business. It adds a welcome degree of humanity to an entity that consumers know was established for the purpose of earning a profit.

3. Engage Customers Who Have Posted Reviews

As the popular saying goes, “Any review is a good review”.

Even a negative review is a positive development for your business. It means someone took the time to express his/her dissatisfaction or poor experience with your establishment.

The key is how to engage customers who have posted negative reviews.

Here are a few helpful tips for you to consider:

  • First, don’t panic. Breathe. Relax. A negative review is not the end of the world.
  • Look into the review and see if it has merit. If possible, run a Google search or due diligence work on the person who wrote the review. Check your customer records. There is always the possibility of getting a bogus review.
  • Once you have verified the review, tell the customer that you are thankful for their review; specifically, for taking the time to write and post it on your Google page.
  • If the complaint is legitimate, apologize and request that you be allowed to give private messages or to respond via email. Inform the customer that your purpose is to present a resolution to the issue.

Of course, you should likewise respond to positive reviews. State your appreciation for the review and give them real assurances that you will continue to improve your offerings and services.

4. Promote Your Google Page in Social Media

Social media is a great way to reach out and connect to a wide audience. People spend more time on social media than any other website. Make sure you promote your Google Page in your social media business and personal pages.

If you have a website, include the button to your Google Page and encourage your site visitors to write a Google Review. Include a Call-to-Action which states the purpose of the review.

Conclusion

Google reviews are a great way to enhance your online presence. Likewise, it can be an effective tool for building long-term relationships with your customers that are based on trust, transparency, and a commitment to provide excellent user experience.

If you have a brick-and-mortar store, use it to encourage your customers to write reviews. Entice them with discounts or special promos for every review they post on your Google Page. Make sure they can present proof of the review.

Does it matter if the review is favorable or not? No. If the review posted is negative, getting together face-to-face with your customer is an ideal situation for you to address the problem directly.

If you’re interested in getting more Google reviews for your business, leave it to us! We have helped our clients get reviews for their business. At the same time, we have expertly managed, moderated, and turned around negative reviews.

Give us a call or drop an email. We will get back to you right away!

learn about web design - desktop, tablet & smart phone on desk - in blue - larger

Digital technology and the Internet have made it easier for retail locations to be found by customers. Before broadband technology made the Internet accessible to everyone on the planet, it was hard for consumers to find businesses that had what they needed. Your fingers would get tired walking through the Yellow Pages. You would have to waste precious time burning the telephone lines calling one retailer after another. With the Internet, it became much easier to build a strong local presence.

The Value Of Having A Strong Local Presence: Does Convenience Trump Branding?

If you forgot your wife’s birthday in 2003, you would be in trouble. Today, you can easily search for the nearest retailer that has her favorite perfume in stock. Likewise, today’s retailers can thank the advances in digital marketing for making it easier for customers to find their businesses.

Unfortunately, very few retailers have taken steps to harness the power of the Internet. According to a survey conducted by SurePayroll, only 26% of small businesses have a website.

There are business-owners who still believe that their digital marketing efforts can achieve results even without a website. They believe running social media and email marketing campaigns will be enough to bring their businesses to the forefront of the consumers’ consciousness.

While social media and email marketing strategies do generate positive results, they are more effective when used as part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

Instead of using these processes as independent sources of traffic, you would be in a better position to optimize their full power if both social media and email marketing were utilized as channels to drive inbound traffic to a website.

In our previous example, if you did forget your wife’s birthday, what would be the first thing you do? You would probably do a quick Google search. If your wife’s favorite perfume is Chance by Chanel, you can run a Google search query for “stores with chance by chanel near me”.

The search results page will feature a list of websites belonging to physical retailers within your area that currently have Chance by Channel in stock. You click on the website that appears first on the search results page.

If the website has chat support, you can engage the agent and find out the perfume’s availability, price, and ask for discounts or promotions. If not, you could simply look for the store number on the website and contact it from your mobile phone.

A website is an important component of your local marketing strategy because the first thing the consumer would do is run a search query. The user may try to find your business on Facebook or Twitter but that would be more time- consuming.

The same can be said for email marketing. Your newsletter could be lost in the pile of emails consumers receive.

Put simply, these processes would make it difficult for you to be top-of-mind. However, as part of a digital marketing strategy, both social media and email marketing can give your website a boost in Google’s search ranking.

According to a study by Google, 76% of consumers who run a search query from their mobile phones will visit the retail location within 24 hours. The best part is 28% of those visits have resulted in a purchase.

If they run a search query and find your website at or near the top of the results page, they will click on your URL. It does not matter if the consumer has not heard of your brand or store. It is all about convenience: “Who can help me find my need in the fastest possible time?”

Let’s go back to our example one more time. If the results page shows a website of a giant retailer, it will take time for the husband to find a store locator that will show the list of locations within his area. Then, he will have to find out which of these locations have Chance by Channel in stock.

Can these tasks be done from the convenience of a smartphone? Yes, but it is time-consuming. In contrast, if your URL comes out on the results page as one of the retail locations in the area, it would make the husband’s search much easier.  

Social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, paid ads, and blogging are great ways to build your brand. However, as far as consumers are concerned, their decisions would be more motivated or influenced by convenience. If you want to fortify your local presence, make sure your business can easily be found online.

How To Develop A Strategy That Will Ensure A Strong Local Presence

In the days before broadband technology, retailers would resort to local area marketing to get their businesses found. Local area marketing strategies included traditional marketing methods such as flyer distributions, installation of posters and streamers, and setting up POP or Point-of-Purchase materials at the cashier area.

The idea was to target consumers within a radius of 5km from the location of the store. Generally, this was referred to as “within walking distance” of the location. For retailers with larger budgets, local area marketing would likewise include publishing ads in community newsletters, running cross-marketing promotions with related businesses, and getting listed in the Yellow Pages.

Traditional marketing methods were quite expensive. They were also not sustainable. Once the ad had run its course, it was discarded. Given the tools available with digital technology, are traditional marketing methods useless for developing local marketing strategies?

Not quite! The reason is some of these methods have evolved and adapted to conform to the requirements of digital technology and the Internet. In combination with digital marketing techniques, these methods can help your retail location develop a strong local presence.

learn more about website design

1. Set Up a Mobile-Responsive Website

Before anything else, you should set up a mobile-responsive website. As we discussed earlier, consumers looking for information will always run an online search first. You should establish your online presence by having an active, mobile-responsive website on the Internet.

If you already have a mobile-responsive website, ask your web developer to run periodic audits. How responsive is it? Your website should be able to accommodate various screen sizes and browsers.

Technology is evolving at light speed. Mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops are consistently improving to meet the demands of the consumers.

Your web developer should also check for site speed. Consumers are not very patient. If your website takes time to download, they may abandon the search and go to your competitor.

2. Set Up Your Social Media Business Pages

Social media marketing will help bring you closer to your customers. You can post more information about your products and services, its benefits, and other useful tips.

You don’t have to set up a business page on every social media network. Choose the ones that can support your digital marketing objectives and highlights the strong points of your business.

For example, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube are best suited for highly-visual products such as cosmetics, perfumes, fashion apparel, and technology devices.

Make sure your social media business pages have the same information published on your website.

3. Get Listed In Search Engines

Think of Search Engine directories like the Yellow Pages on the Internet. As a matter of fact, the Yellow Pages are on the Internet!

Getting listed in search engine directories will make the consumer’s search activity much easier. All the information they need about your business can be found in the search engine directory.

You can find our recommendations on the best search engine directories to list your business in our article, “Why Should Retail Locations Be Listed In Search Engines?” Google My Business should be at the top of your list as Google is the biggest search engine on the Internet.

We also recommend adding high-resolution images of your store and its products to your listing. Also, try to generate positive reviews from Yelp. Google’s ever-evolving search algorithm has included favorable reviews from influential sites such as Yelp as a ranking factor.

4. Set Aside a Budget for Paid Ads

Paid ads are a good way to give your website an immediate boost in the search rankings. Anyone who clicks on your ad will land on your website. You can read more about paid ads in our article, “SEO vs PPC: Which One Is Better For Your Business”.

The great thing about paid ads is that it will appear in search results which are relevant to your industry or type of business. You can be assured that the people who see your ads will have some interest in your products and services.

5. Get Into Cross-Promotional Arrangements

Cross-promotional arrangements are traditional marketing methods that have stood the test of time. They are cost-effective and gives you the opportunity to present your business to a whole new audience. Make sure it is a non-competing business. The best arrangements are those whereby the products or services are complementary of one another.

For example, if you have a bakery, you can enter into cross-promotional arrangements with a floral shop for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas Day.

You can also run cross-promotional arrangements in Pinterest. Going back to our previous example, you can post content about the floral shop on your “Pin Board”. The floral shop will gladly return the favor and post about your cakes in their own Pin Board.

6. Get Involved with the Local Community

If you want to increase your visibility within the area, make sure your presence is felt. You can do this by getting involved with the local community. Every community strives to be active. There are always events and projects that you can be involved with.

For example, if have a Personal Training business, why not offer free exercise classes in the community every Saturday morning? You could also sponsor community events such as a “Fun Run” or a dance marathon.

By getting involved with your community, you increase awareness about your business and give people first- hand experience of what you can do.

Conclusion

While the Internet can give you avenues and channels to promote your business to wide, far-reaching areas, you can likewise localize your scope within proximity of your retail location.

The important thing is to focus on building a strong local presence. This is your captive market. People who reside or work within the area are potential customers. They may have need of your products or services. You should make it easy for them to find your business.

If you want to learn more about digital marketing and other ways to improve your local presence, please give us a call or drop us an email.

learn about web design - desktop, tablet & smart phone on desk - in blue - larger

Digital Marketing is an effective way to promote your business. It is definitely a smart move to outsource your digital marketing to an agency. Even if you have the experience and expertise, your time is best allocated to managing key business functions. Digital marketing agencies not only have the experience and the expertise. They also have the right people to get the job done right. However, the industry is not insured against scammers. How do you know if you are getting ripped off by your Digital Marketing agency?

If you keep buying new hardware from the computer technician and your PC still does not run well, chances you are getting scammed. If your car continues to break down one week after getting it back from the shop, the car repairman could be milking you of your month’s salary. Other than the cost, getting ripped off by supposed “professional” service providers can be a very infuriating experience.

All you want to do is earn an honest living. You put in the time at work so you can generate enough money to pay off your bills, support your family, and live a comfortable life. Sadly, there are people whose business it is to live off your hard work.

They pass themselves off as honest, working-class people; proprietors of an honest business just like you. However, what we don’t see behind the beautiful website home page, the office signages, and the welcome, “sunshine smile” is the ulterior motive.

These are scammers; people who want to make as much money off you through deceptive business practices.

Scammers lurk in every industry, including digital marketing. The people who do this are not beginners. Most of them have been doing this all their lives. How else could they pull it off without remorse or guilt?

They know how to scope out their victims. Just like a shark that nudges its prey before devouring it, these scammers have ways to find out if you are ready for the taking.

If you are not careful, you could end up becoming a statistic. You may become the new notch on their belt and several thousand dollars poorer.

5 Signs Your Digital Marketing Agency Is Ripping You Off

Marketing is an essential component of a business development strategy. This is particularly true for startups. You cannot expect your business to gain traction if you do not promote it through multiple channels.

The process of marketing does not end once the cash registers start ringing. On the contrary, you will have to step it up. Now, you are part of the industry-wide race for customers.

However, you must be smart about your approach to Digital Marketing. Success isn’t contingent on the size of your marketing budget. It comes down to designing strategy, implementing it, and making sure there are contingencies in place to keep the campaign on the right track.

The fact of the matter is, you are at the mercy of your Digital Marketing agency. They are the experts. They have the experience, the knowledge, and the manpower to manage an effective Digital Marketing campaign.

The harsh reality is not every Digital Marketing agency can be trusted. This is a burgeoning industry that creates opportunities for growth for both the client and the service provider. If you are not careful, the success of the Digital Marketing agency will come at your expense.

Here are 5 signs that you are getting ripped off by your digital marketing agency:

1. No Numbers To Support Digital Marketing Campaign’s Performance

In view of all of its advantages over traditional marketing, there is one benefit of Digital Marketing that stands out above the rest. This is Digital Marketing’s ability to track the campaign’s performance and provide you with accurate numbers in real time.

Having numbers allows you to monitor which strategies are working; which ones are contributing to your targeted goal and generating ROI. Real-time data also gives you a better idea of your audience demographics and their online behavioral patterns.

Who are reading the blogs? Where do they come from? How do they access your content? Which time of day and night are they most active? How many of my targeted audience has pushed through with my Call-to-Action?

The Digital Marketing agency should provide you with numbers as the basis for assessing the performance of the campaign. A reputable agency is one that is willing to take you through the entire process. And part of the process is realizing that results take time to achieve.

An honest Digital Marketing agency is not afraid to show you that every campaign goes through growth stages. That even the best agencies in the business make mistakes.

However, the advantage of Digital Marketing is that the availability of analytics; these numbers being presented to you, makes it possible for the agency to implement changes in the campaign.

Remember the old saying in business development, “Strategy follows numbers; not the other way around.”

Curious about websites - learn more about the website services we offer

2. The Digital Marketing Agency Does Not Discuss Worst-Case Scenarios

Who wouldn’t want to have a Digital Marketing campaign that generates thousands of dollars from the get-go? However, the harsh reality is that like all ventures, Digital Marketing is a process and all processes take time to bear fruit.

Spurious Digital Marketing agencies will prey on your natural tendency to view only the rosy picture. As a matter of fact, you should be able to spot them as early as the initial presentation.

They probably used a lot of flash and fluff in their PowerPoint; presented big, extravagant keywords and industry buzzwords to convince you that success is guaranteed.

Agencies that focus only on the upsides of the campaign during their project presentation without mentioning the downsides are probably out to scam you.

There is no such thing as the “Perfect Plan”. Especially not in this age of the Internet where every consumer has immediate access to information. People’s tastes and preferences can change without warning. The demographics that were used to create your Buyer’s Persona could change during the campaign.

A trustworthy Digital Marketing agency will discuss the risks in the campaign. They will not paint a rosy picture but instead, they will present a real picture of what you should expect or anticipate. Instead of hyping up results, they want to moderate expectations.

3. Contingency Plans Are Not Discussed

In line with discussing with you the downsides or risks of the campaign are the contingency plans. These are the alternative courses of action that you can take should the initial plan’s performance turn contrary to expectations.

The best way to counter unpredictable markets is to adopt flexible business strategies. This applies to marketing as well. Rigid or highly-structured, tightly-organized strategies will not give you the mobility needed to change course.

Honest Digital Marketing agencies know the importance of having flexible marketing strategies in place. They have prepared contingency plans that can be implemented at any time during the campaign.

If worst-case scenarios were discussed beforehand, the contingency plans are there to assure you the Digital Marketing team will know what to do should any of the undesirable scenarios take place.

4. Digital Marketing Agency Pushes You To “Go Big” Right Off The Bat

If a Digital Marketing agency tells you to “Go big or go home”, or passes this line by you, “Digital marketing is an investment; the larger the investment, the higher the return”, terminate the meeting right away and tell the ad agency to go home.

Another great thing about Digital Marketing is that it is scalable. You can easily add new processes to its framework once analytics validate that results are becoming more consistent. Likewise, you can remove processes that are not generating significant ROI.

A Digital Marketing agency that pushes you to do a massive, ambitious campaign right away with all the bells and whistles, is only thinking about their company’s interests.

There is a direct relationship between the size of your campaign and the needed investment. Put simply, you will need a larger budget to pull off an ambitious campaign.

Every process that is added unto the initial Digital Marketing framework only guarantees one party in the agreement of sure-fire earnings: The agency. You will be footing their bill while the fate of your campaign remains shrouded in uncertainty.

The truth is you don’t have to go big with Digital Marketing right away.

Social media marketing is one of the cornerstones of a sound Digital Marketing strategy. At Mountaintop, we advise our Digital Marketing to choose only 2 to 3 social media marketing platforms to start out with.

Having only 2 to 3 social media platforms to monitor makes it easier to track performance. We also lessen the client’s exposure to risk. With regular analytics and campaign benchmarking, we can determine with greater certainty if we should add or remove processes to the campaign.

5. Your Approval Is Sought On Every Decision

As the client, it is within reason for the agency to discuss any change in plans with you. That is, after all, professional courtesy. However, be wary if your Digital Marketing agency always seeks your stamp of approval in every decision.

Isn’t the Digital Marketing agency the expert in this arrangement? Even if the client funds the campaign, he/she will not be in the best position to give the right call every time.

When the agency seeks your go-signal before implementing a plan or course of action, it may only be doing so to pass accountability to you. If something goes wrong, the agency can just tell you, “Well, you approved it.” On the other hand, if the plan is a success, the agency will bask in the glory and take credit for it.

The keyword in Digital Marketing is collaboration. The agency is the architect of the campaign. The client trusts that his/her best interests will be served by the agency.

The agency should exhibit transparency even before the campaign gets rolling. While no one can predict the outcomes of a Digital Marketing strategy, the agency is responsible for setting expectations. This includes discussing scenarios that run adverse to the campaign and the alternative courses of action.

Conclusion

Because of the popularity of the Internet, mobile technology, and the influence of social media, digital marketing has assumed a more prominent role in the advertising budget. Companies spend millions; even billions, to run the best digital marketing campaigns through the Internet.

A successful digital marketing campaign will give you significant returns on your investment. In contrast, a poorly managed one will result in huge monetary losses.

It can happen to anyone. Even major companies like Procter & Gamble which in 2017 terminated more than $100 Million in ad agreements with agencies that needlessly wasted the company’s money.

For a company like Procter and Gamble which makes $16 Billion in a quarter, $100 Million must feel like a drop in the bucket. The same cannot be said for small to medium- sized businesses that go through unpredictable streams of income and have limited access to capital.

Digital marketing provides small and medium- sized businesses the most cost-efficient marketing option to promote their products and services.

Content such as blogs and videos can be distributed through social media and other Internet-based channels which can reach a wider audience at minimal cost. Pay-per-click (PPC) digital ads target a specific audience. You will only pay for the ad whenever someone clicks on them.

Likewise, content is reusable and therefore, sustainable. The content that you post today can be published 6 months later and still elicit positive results.

For the reason that small and medium scale businesses have limited capital, they should be more careful when dealing with digital marketing agencies. Not only will they fail to achieve their marketing goals, but they will be ripped off and lose hard-earned money.

Have you ever experienced being ripped off by your Digital Marketing agency? Please feel free to share your thoughts on the comments section provided below.

If you want to know more about our Digital Marketing services, please give us a call or drop us an email.

desktop with coffee cup - learn more about website design

For years, marketers were anxious to sound the death knell for email marketing. It seemed to have become irrelevant; its reputation tarnished by shady Ponzi schemes and by cyber-criminals eager to plant their malicious programs into your network. Every year email marketing has proven its naysayers wrong. It remains a powerful tool for driving traffic and converting leads into sales. Email marketing is very much alive and should be part of your digital marketing strategy.

Statistics That Prove Email Marketing Is Very Much Alive

What was the first thing you did this morning after you woke up? If you’re like 60% of Americans, chances are you opened your smartphone and checked your email.

Studies have shown that people read their emails even before they brush their teeth. It’s the first thing that most people do in the morning and for at least 13% of the population, the last thing they do before they go to sleep.

In between breakfast and dinner, people continue to check their emails multiple times every day. Given its popularity of use, it is surprising to think that some marketers believe email is dead.

The truth is, statistics support the effectiveness of email as a tool for digital marketing. Here are some key numbers that prove email marketing continues to produce positive results for businesses:

The most telling statistic is that email, as a medium of communication, continues to grow. From 3.7 Billion email user accounts in 2017, this number is expected to grow to 4.1 Billion in 2021.

With such a large user base, email is an attractive distribution channel for content. It is the first thing people check in the morning and at night. In most cases, people visit their inbox five times per day.

Thus, email gives your content a high probability of being seen and opened. Having your content delivered in a subscriber’s inbox is like having your foot inside the door. All the subscriber needs to do is click through your email and let your content run its course.

Despite these encouraging statistics about email marketing, why have some marketers pronounced it dead?

The answer may have to do with a close relative in the digital marketing family: Social media marketing.

computer graphic - curious about the website services we offer

Email Marketing Versus Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing exploded into the mainstream consciousness when broadband technology made the Internet more accessible in 2004. By this time, the Internet had grown to more than 700 Million users. In comparison, 10 years earlier, the Internet was only accessible to 16 Million people.

Everyone had to be on some form of social media. People had a fun way to connect with family, and old friends. They had a platform where they could upload images and share opinions through the comments section.

Social media’s popularity opened up opportunities for new networks to build communities of users. However, it was Facebook that stood above everyone else. On any given day, there would be 3 Billion people on social media. Of the 3 Billion, 2 Billion would be on Facebook.

Businesses took notice of social media and its influence on consumers. Over time, social media evolved from a pastime and into a powerful driver of content. It seemed that social media’s popularity had swept email marketing on the wayside.

Is social media marketing a more effective distribution channel for content than email marketing?

If you ask, you may find marketers divided between social media marketing and email marketing. The best way to answer the question is to look at the numbers.

How does email marketing stack up to social media marketing in terms of performance and results? More specifically, if you had 3,000 email subscribers and 3,000 Facebook followers, which channel would produce better results for your content?

In a survey of internet marketers, MailMunch found that 60% of them found email marketing to be more effective than social media marketing in distributing content.

One reason is that social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter frequently change their algorithm. The changes have seriously compromised the organic reach of published content.

Some marketers report that only 2 to 5 out of 2,000 followers of Facebook will get to see their content. A study by [email protected] showed that the organic reach of Facebook dropped to only 6% in 2014.

In comparison, email has an average open rate of 21.73%. Therefore, if you were to distribute content via 3,000 email marketing and 3,000 Facebook followers media, these would be your projected results:

  • Email Marketing – 653 will open your email
  • Facebook – 180 will see your message

In terms of click-through rates, again email reigns supreme over social media marketing. Here are the average click-through rates between email marketing, Facebook, and Twitter:

  • Email Marketing – 3.57%
  • Facebook – 0.07%
  • Twitter – 0.03%

Another study on the effectiveness of email marketing showed that it influenced the buying decision of 66% of respondents. The study cited the personalization of content as the main reason why email marketing works so well in converting leads to paying customers.

Highly- respected business consultancy group, McKinsey & Co. likewise entered into the email marketing versus social media marketing debate. In the company’s own study, McKinsey revealed that email marketing helped businesses acquire 40 times more customers than their combined efforts in Facebook and Twitter.

Finally, let’s look at some key data gathered by OptinMonster on the advantages of email marketing over social media marketing:

Metric:Email MarketingFacebookTwitter
Total Number of Users2.7 Billion2 Billion313 Million
First item checked for the day58%11%2%
Daily Use91%57%14%
Preferred Channel for Personal Messages45%4%0%
Accepts content from a company or business they follow44%4%0%
Made a purchase66%20%6%
Acquired customers7%<1%0%
Organic Reach79%1 to 6%<1 to 30%
Results in Positive ROI21%0%15%
Customer Lifetime Value+12%+1%-23%
Open Rate18% (OR), 3.7% (CTR)0.07%0.03%
Full OwnershipYesNoNo

We’re not saying that in view of these figures, you should forego social media marketing in favor of email marketing. Our point is that email marketing continues to remain relevant even in this age of social media.

Email is a proven driver of content that directly gets your message to your targeted audience. Instead of ignoring email marketing, it should be included in your digital marketing campaign strategy.

Conclusion – 3 Reasons Why Your Business Should Do Email Marketing

Hopefully, we’ve convinced you to do email marketing for your business. It is difficult to disprove the effectiveness of email marketing given the sheer volume of data that further validate its overall value.

If numbers aren’t your thing, here are 3 business development- related reasons why you should do email marketing:

1. Email Marketing Is Great For Sharing Content

To be clear, if there is one big advantage that social media has over email marketing is that it is a better vehicle for sharing content. The study conducted by OptinMonster showed that 57% of respondents preferred to share content via Facebook compared to only 4% for email.

However, the strength of sharing content via email marketing is that it is sent by the recipient to a member of his/her community who may be interested in your business’ products and services. The act of sharing becomes an indirect endorsement of your company.

2. Email Marketing Is Measurable

Email marketing is one of the easiest digital marketing tools to measure. You have access to analytics that will let you know the performance of every type of email content. By doing so, you have real-time, accurate data that will give you an idea of which campaign generates a higher ROI.

3. Email Marketing Is Cost- Effective

Email is a low- cost approach to distributing content. You don’t incur costs for printing, office supplies, and distribution. The only recurring costs may be when you decide to acquire and subscribe to email marketing services. Then again, the costs for a monthly subscription are minimal.

Email has been an integral part of life and work for decades. From its early “You’ve Got Mail” days, email remains the most popular item checked on your smartphone. And it will continue to grow over the next few years.

It is estimated that by 2020, there will be 257.7 Billion business and personal emails sent every day.

If you are interested in starting out an email marketing campaign, give us a call or drop us an email. We will get back to you right away. Mountaintop has extensive experience in helping our clients generate long-term and sustainable results with their email campaigns.

We are anxious to hear from you!

And if you have some ideas and suggestions that you would like to share about email marketing and why it is alive and well, please post them in the comments section below.

learn more about website design with laptop

The fact that video content amplifies the effectiveness of digital marketing should not come as a surprise. After all, as digital technology evolves, multimedia becomes a more entertaining experience for users. However, with the wrong approach, your video content could fail to deliver the desired results.

Video: A Powerful Driver Of Online Content

Which one would compel you to try the latest steakhouse in your town? A 30-second video on how a 16-ounce Porterhouse steak is grilled and served on a plate with baked potatoes and steamed vegetables or a one minute read?

In our article “How To Use Video Content In Marketing”, we identified at least five benefits of video for your marketing campaign. Here are three eye-opening statistics that prove including video in your content strategy is a smart decision:

100 Million – The number of hours people watch videos on Facebook.
5 Billion – The number of videos watched on YouTube on a daily basis.
10 Billion – The number of videos viewed on SnapChat

Video is a powerful driver of content because it is more effective and efficient in delivering your message.

It appeals to multiple senses: sight, sound and feel. A 30 to 45 second video can compel a viewer to take action more immediately than text content that will require a reading time of one minute.

However, posting videos for the sake of having video content on your blog or social media will not produce your targeted outcome. On the contrary, it may work against you. The key is to put thought and strategy behind your videos. Like all marketing concepts, it must have direction, purpose and objective.

7 Ways To Harness The Power Of Video For Social Media Marketing and Blogging

The great thing about digital marketing is that it allows you to focus your efforts on a target audience. If you’re offering coaching programs for running, your investment in marketing will yield low returns if your distribution channel reaches more smokers than fitness or running enthusiasts.

Digital marketing has tools that allow you to fine-tune your marketing efforts toward potential buyers of your product or service. Two of its most effective and popular tools are social media marketing and blogging.

These two strategies go hand-in-hand. You can always post your blog on your social media page and include a link back to your website.

Adding a video makes text-based content exponentially more effective. Here are 7 ways you can harness its full power:

1. Choose Your Social Media Platforms

As we had written in our article, “How To Choose The Best Social Media Platform For Your Business”, not all social media platforms can generate the results you want. Some types of businesses work with certain platforms more than others.

If you have a highly-visual product, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube may work for you. If you plan to use videos to launch promotions and to acquire more followers, Twitter and Facebook should be the platforms of your choice.

Don’t spread yourself out too thin. If this is your first time to produce videos, start out with only one or two social media platforms. Having fewer accounts to manage makes it easier to track performance.

2. Identify Your Objective

What do you want your video to accomplish? If you want your video to inform people of what your business does, you should produce an explainer video.

If you want to show your viewers what your product does, you should shoot “How-To” videos. If you want to enhance your reputation as an expert in the industry, you can set up a webinar.

You can have more than one objective, but do not attempt to accomplish all of these objectives in one video. You will come out with convoluted content; its message will go in different directions and lead to disengagement with your audience.

Instead, the best approach would be to come up with a time-table for your objectives. Then produce the videos according to your schedule.

3. Tell A Story

Storytelling remains an effective approach to content marketing because it makes it easier for viewers or readers to process the meaning of your message.

A good story turns the viewer from a mere observer to a vicarious participant. He/she is transported from the computer screen to behind your lens. Storytelling gets the audience more engaged with your content.

4. Keep Video Content Short

Videos are effective but only to a point. Whether it is text-based or video content, people have a short attention span. A study by Microsoft showed that people have an attention span that is shorter than a goldfish.

However, this doesn’t mean you should produce six-second videos. You can’t deliver your message if the video is too short. The length of your video would depend on the type of video you produce.

Here is a guideline you can use to determine the ideal video length:

Explainer Videos – 30 to 90 seconds
“How-To” Videos – 2 to 10 minutes
Webinars – 10 minutes
Customer Testimonials – 10 minutes
Product Reviews – 5 to 10 minutes

As you may have noticed, most types of video content top off at 10 minutes. Below is a chart of the audience engagement level for a webinar. You will see that there is an inverse correlation between engagement and the duration of video content:

Chart courtesy of vidyard.com https://www.vidyard.com/blog/optimal-length-for-b2b-video-funnel/

5. Integrate Video Into Your Digital Marketing Campaign

As effective as videos have been proven to be, it should not be the focal point of your digital marketing campaign. We recommend integrating video as part of your digital marketing campaign to give you a more holistic strategy.

A diversified digital marketing campaign will allow you to reach a wider audience. Remember, not everyone prefers videos over text-based content. Also, some audience members may have difficulty accessing your videos due to problems in Internet connectivity or web hosting issues.

It will also streamline your costs. Text-based content remains an effective medium for delivery and is comparatively cheaper to produce than videos.

Curious about websites - learn more about the website services we offer

6. Invest In Video Hardware

Producing good quality videos will require you to invest in hardware. You have to use hardware that can ensure great image and audio quality.

Now, before you think you will have to break open your bank account, advances in digital technology can make you produce awesome videos on a limited budget!

Here are some suggestions on the types of hardware you can use to produce great video content:

Smartphone – If you have an iPhone 5 or higher, you can be sure to have the ability to shoot amazing videos. For example, the iPhone 6 reportedly can shoot 4K videos which offer great resolution and audio quality.

Camcorders – There are many affordable camcorders that you can buy from online retailers like Amazon or eBay. Many of these cheaper models can still shoot great quality videos.

Tripod – You wouldn’t want your video to give your viewers a migraine! A tripod will keep your camera stable without having to ask someone to hold it for you.

Microphone – A lavalier microphone is cheap but will significantly improve the sound quality of your videos.

If you plan to shoot videos while on the move, you should use handheld sticks for camcorders or smartphones. These handheld sticks have motion-stability sensors which keep your videos stable even while you are moving vigorously.

7. Use Video Editing Apps

There’s no such thing as a perfect video but at the very least, you should try your best to enhance it. Video editing apps will help you bring out the details: color, contrast and reducing unwanted background noise.

If you have the ability to compose music, there are video editing apps that you can use to add an original soundtrack. How about closed-captioning? There are video editing apps that can do that as well. You can find video editing apps for a PC desktop or a mobile device.

It’s all about enhancing user experience. Little things such as coming up with an amazing opening credits scene, speed level changes and perfectly-executed quick cuts can turn your video from ordinary to memorable.

4 Worst Practices When Using Video For Your Blog Or Social Media

It takes time to produce a great video. Your efforts will be wasted if if cannot deliver the expected outcome. These four worst practices are often overlooked but can affect the performance of your video:

1. Self-Hosting The Video

In our article, “Why You Should Never Host Your Own Videos On Your Own Website”, we discussed two ways you can post video content on your website. Embedding a video is a better option than self-hosting a video. It will be more accessible and will give your audience a better viewing experience.

2. Failure To Optimize Video Size

When embedding a video, make sure you optimize its size to the width of your blog page. The width of the video should not exceed that of the blog’s column for the content. You’ll be surprised how observant some of your viewers are. They can easily point out these mistakes and call you out for it.

3. Absence Of Text Content

One of the guiding rules of marketing is to give your audience some context before delivering your content. It is a good idea for viewers to know what to expect before the video rolls on. You can use a closed-caption or transcription app to embed a few sentences that will set up your video content.

4. Does Not Include A Call to Action

Great content should be compelling. It should initiate action. So what do you want the viewer to do after watching your video? Do you want him/her to subscribe to your YouTube channel? Do you want him/her to sign up for your newsletter? Without a Call- to- Action, your efforts as well the viewer’s time would end up being wasted.

Conclusion

Using videos is a brilliant way of adding more value to your social media and blogging content. Integrating video to text-based content is like the one-two punch combination in boxing: it is a classic combination that will yield good results.

However, you need to spend time planning the production schedule of your video. The days of point-and-shoot, ragtag videos are over. Viewers are more discriminating of the quality of video content and its production values.

You do not have to hire a movie company to produce your video. Today’s devices, including the latest versions of the smartphone, are good enough to produce high-quality videos. It also pays to take production levels a step higher by using editing apps to make your video content really stand out.

Are you planning on using videos for your blogs or social media? Give us a call or an email and we can schedule a call or a sit-down meeting at your convenience. Adding videos is definitely a move in the right direction. We will make sure that the videos will help you achieve its intended goal.

desktop with coffee cup - learn more about website design