Author: adminsln

Constantly clamoring to grab the attention of prospective customers, small businesses are competing with a lot of noise. Consumers are cutting through clutter by fast-forwarding television shows, subscribing to ad-free digital radio, installing ad-blockers to browse their favorite websites sans-ads and customizing what’s in their social media feeds.

To avoid getting skipped over or ignored, savvy digital marketers must craft messages that their target audience wants to see. When small businesses communicate with their customers by providing information instead of offering a sales pitch, the consumer will listen. The message and the brand is no longer an interruption, but a valued information provider.

There’s a name for this tricky tactic — it’s called content marketing. Content marketing means consistently creating and distributing information that is valuable and relevant to those people within a small business’s target audience. Ultimately, the goal is for your content to entice a consumer to do business with your company.

You might be thinking, “That’s not what I do — I’m not a writer!” But whether you sell gizmos, fix cars or build homes, content marketing for your company can help you attract and retain customers.

Here are some of the ways content marketing drives results for small businesses.

1. Boosts brand awareness.

Consistency is a key ingredient to a successful content marketing strategy. This means publishing fresh content at a regular frequency, creating many opportunities for a target market to see the company’s name. Your brand becomes familiar to them, and you’ll be top-of-mind the next time they need your services.

2. Builds an identity as a trusted expert.

If there are 10 plumbers in a town but only one provides helpful information that educates the community about plumbing maintenance, problems, options and innovations, that brand will stand out as the expert. By doing this, a brand is demonstrating its expertise, so prospective customers need not question or research its know-how. Since this small business is helping consumers without getting paid for this advice, it will also earn a reputation of being trustworthy.

3. Encourages your customer to take action.

When consumers need to spend money or make time for a service, it’s natural to procrastinate. However, once a consumer gets clear answers to his or her questions, or hears a story that he or she can relate to, that person could finally be motivated to make a purchase or schedule an appointment. Producing content that guides a consumer through the buyer’s journey (awareness, evaluation and purchase) results in more sales.

4. Sharable content brings people in the door.

Creating a steady stream of fresh information on a variety of topics opens several avenues to drive traffic to a website — through search, social media, traditional media and more — which ultimately results in phone calls, orders or foot traffic. Marketing tactics that are already in place, such as pay-per-click advertising, digital banner ads, public relations efforts, social media accounts and search engine optimization don’t work as well without content to promote.

These vehicles need something to talk about and link to. Publishing new, relevant content gives people a reason to click. Covering unique, timely and seasonal topics will interest a broader audience and encourage repeat visitors. It also boosts ranking in search results, making it more likely that potential customers will find your small business before one of your competitors.

5. Keeps your website fresh.

Most consumers today rely on the web to find information they need to make decisions. So, a website often will be a consumer’s first impression of that business. A stagnant, stale website is less interesting and less professional than one with updated content that changes regularly. Undecided consumers who are researching their options might check out a website and social media presence more than once. When they come back, seeing something new and relevant makes their visit a better experience — and shows that the brand is a professional organization.

 

Original article can be found here.

As a small business, it’s important to choose a marketing channel that offers the best results with the most prudent resources. Nowadays, more small businesses prefer social media marketing to other marketing channels, to help increase their brand’s reach, increase sales, and expand their professional network.

In order to know how social media can help promote your business while saving you valuable time and resources, we’ve compiled six tips on social media marketing for small businesses.

Tip #1: Use social media marketing to sell your products and services

Before major social media networks made the foray into e-commerce, the selling relationship for businesses looked like this: listen, help solve problems, and make the sale. With the rise of social selling, the opportunity to connect with potential customers during the research phase got much easier with social media engagement tactics.

Tip #2: Large networks like Twitter can improve your customer relationships

With 72% of people more likely to make a future purchase from a small business after they interact with them on Twitter, there’s no reason for companies not to be on Twitter. The key to finding success on social media is to be on the social network your customers are on—and with over 200 million active users, there’s a high chance many of your customers are on Twitter. Twitter can help your business build relationships with customers, and connect you with the businesses and communities you are interested in.

Tip #3: Social media marketing can drastically increase your reach

Social media advertising has made it possible for companies to increase their reach through targeted ads and sponsored messaging. Social media marketing provides businesses with an opportunity to reach customers across the world—as opposed to a more traditional advertising medium such as a billboard, which is only visible to people on a particular route in a single city.

Tip #4: A LinkedIn business page can expand your professional network

One of the most important social networks, where all businesses, big or small, should have a presence, is LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows businesses to provide authenticity and credibility of their brand through a business page that houses information covering the bases of who, what, and where of your business. It also allows small businesses to be in a space where professionals, potential investors, and customers are.

Tip #5: Facebook Page can improve your business’s customer support

Providing customer support can be expensive and time-consuming. But, with social media networks like Facebook, you are provided with an outlet to effectively solve customer problems. With the availability to post on your Facebook wall or send private messages, customers can connect directly to companies if and when they have a problem or feedback.

Tip #6: Use your social media presence to manage your brand’s online reputation

Trust is an important element in obtaining customer loyalty, and one of the best ways to gain this trust is giving people easy online access to information about your company. Neglecting your social media presence is one way of losing the opportunity to gain new customers or nurture current relationships. Gain the trust of your current and potential customers by creating social media profiles like a LinkedIn company page, Facebook business Page, Twitter profile, or an Instagram account. This puts a voice (and a face) to your company, which will give people more incentive to trust your brand.

 

Original article posted here.

The holiday season will be here before you know it, and now is the perfect time to map out your digital-marketing campaigns in order to drive the most revenue for your business.

Waiting too long puts you at a severe disadvantage — you need to be ready to capitalize on the increased traffic and the mindset of consumers during this period. They will be ready and willing to click that buy-now button, so run through this quick six-step checklist to make sure your online business is ready for the fast-approaching holiday season.

REMEMBER: Save Local Now is a completely free member benefit. Included in your digital platform: content publishing, email marketing, search engine optimization, and social media sharing.

1. Analyze previous holiday-season data.

This is something so simple, yet many businesses completely ignore the gold mine of data they have available to them. Where did the majority of your holiday traffic that lead to conversions come from last year? Was it email marketing, social media, paid search or organic traffic?

2. Build out holiday-specific landing pages.

You will want to have several landing pages to split test, so rather than scrambling to get them done at the last minute, build them out now. This allows you to start your holiday marketing with a large group to pull data from.

The sooner you are able to clip the poorly performing pages and identify your highest converting landing pages, the sooner you can push the majority of your traffic to the best performing landing pages. You want to make sure you have identified your best performers before the peak of holiday season.

3. Set up your holiday email-marketing campaigns.

There is a good chance that your holiday email offers and funnels will be slightly different than your traditional email campaigns. For example, your traditional conversion funnel might reach the consumer every 10 days with an offer, but during the holiday season you will want to be a little more aggressive. Consumers are in the buying mood — if you wait too long you might lose those potential customers to a competitor that reached them sooner.

4. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

It’s been said a million times — you need a mobile-friendly website. While running your site through Google’s mobile-friendly test is a good start, you need to also test your user experience with real visitors.

Ask friends, family, employees and complete strangers to access your website via their mobile devices and have them navigate your pages, access your offers, submit your forms and attempt to contact your business. You need honest feedback — if something sucks they need to tell you. Holiday visitors are in the buying mindset, so you need to make sure they don’t get frustrated or annoyed while on your website.

5. Map out your holiday content marketing.

It’s never too early to start planning your holiday content. Start chipping away at it now and you can have all of your blog posts scheduled ahead of time.

You will also want to consider increasing your posting frequency during the holiday season. This should be something that you start discussing early with whomever is handling your SEO. You will often want to create your content around holiday specific keywords.

6. Schedule your holiday season social-media posts.

If you aren’t using an automated social-media tool, now is the time to look into it. I use Hootsuite — it costs me less than $120 a year and allows me to schedule posts far in advance. You never want to automate all social media, but it’s nice to know that you always have posts scheduled that can spark interaction and drive website traffic.

Holiday-specific images, hashtags and messages are key — your approach will be a bit different during the holiday season. During peak holiday season, don’t be afraid to throw some direct offers out there — people will be searching for deals and using the correct hashtags and keywords can help attract purchase-ready consumers.

Original Article: http://entm.ag/1NB1ifs

As a small business owner, email marketing is 100% essential. Often times you’ll get sucked into a purchasing a program that leaves you wondering how to write HTML code. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an EASY and FREE email marketing platform? Well, thankfully, there is! Here are the top 6 reasons why your small business should be using email marketing (even if it’s not Save Local Now’s).

  1. Email Marketing is Affordable

With Save Local Now, it’s actually free. We understand small business and we know that things are tight. One thing we often cut is our marketing budget; now, you won’t need to.

  1. Email Marketing is Easy

You could get all fancy with email and make it into something complicated. With SLN, you don’t have to. Create a business promotion on your SLN platform and publish it. From there, it’s as simple as clicking on that little email icon and pushing it out to your personal distribution lists. Get creative and separate your lists; your messaging for new customers and repeat customers should be engaging and – most importantly – different.

  1. Email Marketing is Quick

With SLN, you can share a published post to your email list in a matter of minutes. Our email platform does the work for you, bringing in your image and copy so you don’t have to. We’ve also integrated Google Maps into our responsive template (just to make it THAT much easier for consumers to find you).

  1. Email Marketing Delivers Retention 

You’re focused on improving customer experience and retention. Stats prove that email marketing is still the #1 way to do this. Make sure that when you’re sending out an email, you have something purposeful to say. Educate and reward the customers who open your emails every week.

  1. Customers Want Email Marketing 

Even in today’s fast paced world, email is still the preferred communication channel for consumers. With the hundreds of thousands of emails sent out every day, what will make yours different? Be creative, engaging, and honest. If they care about your brand (your product, your service, your staff) then they will open your email. Make sure they continue to.

  1. Email Marketing and ROI

Email marketing delivers revenue. This revenue stems from sharing a message with your following and encouraging them to take action. Blindly sending emails to your distribution list won’t get you anywhere. Know your customers, watch their patterns, educate and reward them. Remember: you are a customer, as well. What email marketing messages stand out to you? What have you responded well to? Don’t be afraid to integrate what’s working for others into your marketing agenda.

5 Tips for Your Small Business Marketing

1. GATHER EMAILS
Ask for business cards or require first time customer’s to provide their email address. Build a network. Use SLN’s free email marketing to share your business promotions and brand personality with the customers who care about you the most.

2. ASK FOR REVIEWS
Reviews and testimonials are the digital “word of mouth.” When you have a happy customer or client, ask them to share their experience on your social media pages. Don’t be afraid to add those reviews as testimonials on your website! Remember: you’ll choose one business over another because you’re friend recommended them. Same goes for social reviews/testimonials!

3. SELL TIME, NOT MONEY
Help your customers see the value of your brand. Save them TIME. Customers relate to “time well spent” more so than you’d think. How can you, your product or your service save customers time that they could otherwise be spending with family and friends?

4. CHANGE IT UP
Brand consistency and familiarity are important. BUT. Don’t be afraid to mix it up a little bit. Incorporate fun, engaging content into your marketing promotions; appeal to the masses. Is Halloween approaching? Give them marketing that they can really sink their teeth into. 😉

5. LEARN FROM YOUR CUSTOMERS
What do you know about your customers? Do they prefer fast service, or good service? Do they pay more when you personalize an email marketing message? Do they want to know more about your brand story and personality? Are they following you on social media? Survey your customers once or twice per year. Ask them what you could do differently, or what product enhancement they’d like to see next.

Check out a list of promotions made from other SLN business members and use them for inspiration!

Food and Drink Category:

  • Call Us Ahead for Fast Pick Up
  • Saturday Afternoon Wine Tasting
  • 1/2 Price Bottle of Wine with Entree Purchase
  • Happy Hour Pricing from 4PM-7PM
  • Tuesday Daily Specials!

Activities and Shopping Categories:

  • $25 Adult Paint Class
  • Ladies Night Out
  • Texas Hold Em Night
  • Help Local Charities
  • Ride for the Red Shield (event)

Health and Fitness Category:

  • 2 Week Free Trial
  • Teen Wellness Class
  • Wise Wednesday Stress Relief Session
  • Did you know? Exercise Improves Your Skin Tone and Color
  • A 1 Hour Work Out is 4% of Your Day – No Excuses

Hair and Beauty Category:

  • Great Haircut, Great Price
  • Free Blow Out!
  • New Bubble Wand In Stock Today
  • Back To School Special for Kids
  • What Are You Using On Your Skin At Home?

Home Category:

  • $500 Down and Quick Move In for Beautiful New Home
  • Your One Stop Glass Shop
  • New Design for Frameless Shower Enclosure
  • Stop By and Tour Our Three Model Homes
  • New Paint Colors in Stock

Automotive Category:

  • $24.95 Oil Change and Tire Rotation
  • $14.95 Wiper Blade Set
  • Get To Know Our Team of Experts
  • Your 1st Call For Transportation
  • Uh Oh! Better Get Maaco!

 

iHeart_Blog

We’re excited to inform you that, just last month, Save Local Now finalized its partnership with iHeart Media! This media powerhouse is now our exclusive radio partner nationwide; this means, no matter the market, partners of SLN can now purchase radio advertising at a discount. The possibilities here are endless: traditional radio, online radio, mobile app, and banner advertisements are all available to you and your members.

With strategic and meaningful partnerships like this, we’re fulfilling our brand promise of leveling the digital playing field for chambers of commerce and their member businesses.

For a market-specific quote, send your request to: marketing@savelocalnow.com.

You’ve claimed your business, and you’ve enhanced your profile. Now, it’s time to post! How often should you post? Does it always need to be a discount? Don’t stress! We’ve broken down the process to make it as fast, easy, and FUN as possible.

We recommend that you start with one to three posts per week on Save Local Now. Remember, as more and more people create posts and promotions for their business, your post is being pushed lower in the feed. The MORE you post, the MORE you’re seen. Put yourself in your consumer’s shoes; what would make you react? What do you offer that would appeal to the consumer? Here are some ideas, based on category, for SLN promotions:

  • Food and Drink:
    • Title: ½ Price Bottles of Wine!
    • Description: Monday nights only! ½ price on bottle wine selection with the purchase of one adult entrée!
  • Shopping:
    • Title: Just in Time for Mother’s Day!
    • Description: Send flowers to that special someone. Mention “Save Local Now” for $7 off!
  • Services:
    • Title: $10 Off SPRING TIME Gift Certificate
    • Description: Receive $10 off a full service groom – perfect for your favorite pooch!

Looking for non-discount related promotions? We’ve got you covered: Non-Discount Promo Ideas

Have you heard the idea that your thoughts become the words you speak? Then those words become beliefs, then actions, habits, character and ultimately, your destiny?

It’s true.

And as society exclaims that small business is local, you stand alongside, beaming with pride.

Unfortunately, your belief manifests into your actions of remaining local, and in doing so, you place limitations on your success. Yes, you may be successful — but only to the few thousand people in your local neighborhood.

The world-view model of location, location, location doesn’t exist anymore for small businesses. You used to be constrained by geography, building relationships with your neighbors, friends and co-workers in anticipation of the limited amount of revenue you’d receive for your products or services month after month.

As the Internet exploded, you realized there was less traffic to your store, less demand for your services and less profit to take home. The global marketplace brought new plumbers to your neighbors, computers direct to their doors and ready-to-eat meals to their kitchen tables.

The world of small business shifted from local to personal in the blink of an eye.

Markets have expanded, and the opportunity to challenge yourself and release the shackles of being “local” is within reach, yet too many entrepreneurs are constrained by a choice to remain local.

You’re an entrepreneur. You’re out to create something great. But, you must choose to change your mindset and shift from local to personal.

The small-business advantage:

As a small business owner, you have many advantages over large corporations in your ability to be agile, make quick decisions and pivot. You’re not constrained by the bureaucracy that plagues larger corporations. You can review the data, make inferences on the trends and shift directions when you choose to do so.

You also have the distinct ability to build close relationships with your customers. Your customers are people that you care about and often know by name. They know they’re not a number to you because you work diligently to provide the high level of quality and customer service that they’ve come to expect from you.

It’s your ability to make personal connections that set you apart from your behemoth counterparts. Like 72 percent of small businesses, you use customer referrals as a way to generate new business offline. You personally follow up with customers to the best of your ability with phone calls, direct mail or emails.

Technology changes the game

If you’re like most small businesses, you don’t have the labor resources that many large companies have. You’re often limited by the number of hours that you’re physically present to answer questions, close the sale and do the work. You know that in order to grow, you’ need to remove the constraints on your time with either labor resources or technology advancements.

The ability to scale efficiencies in your business used to be unheard of. A few short years ago, you managed your accounting using a written weekly bookkeeping record or perhaps you hired a CPA to take care of it for you and waited for their response to your inquires about the financial health of your business. Now, you can have instant access to your books 24/7 and can assess the financial health of your business in a matter of seconds.

Your ability to reach, acquire and nurture new customers has greatly improved as well. Through personalized automated follow up, you can send a response that’s based on your customer’s actions. When customers click an offer in your email, you can follow up with a series of emails that drives them closer and closer to purchase. You can close deals and sell products to anyone, anywhere, anytime without physically being present. You have the power to scale and achieve efficiencies like never before, if you choose that path.

Why small-business success matters

Technology allows you to take your personalized approach and scale it to the masses. You can reach more people than you ever could before. You can impact more lives with what you have to offer, but you have to find the solutions that enable you to shift from local to personal. By taking advantage of technology, you can expand your market outside of your local community and increase your chances of success.

Small-business success matters because it will change the trajectory of the middle class. When small businesses are successful, everyone wins. You win because your confidence grows, you’re providing for your family and living your dream. Your family benefits because you’re positive, present and involved. The local community benefits from more jobs, revenue and philanthropy.

Of course, you can still have a business relationship with the guy down the street. Just don’t limit yourself. Success has no boundaries or geographical limitations. It’s only limited by the constraints that you place upon it.

Original Article Posted by Clate Mask, Co-founder and CEO of Infusionsoft: http://entm.ag/1OeDjDG