Author: adminsln

Summertime and the livin’ is easy…

July is a great month to plan some fun and fresh campaigns for your business. Even though Independence Day has passed, there’s still a lot of great ways you can get your customers to celebrate with you!

1. Christmas in July

Everyone loves to celebrate Christmas, but now you can do it without the chilly weather! Host a Christmas in July party at your place of work. Have people dress up in their santa hats and ugly sweaters! Here in Ohio we love our Great Lakes Brewery Christmas Ale and some businesses even save a keg or two especially for this time of year. Don’t forget to promote your event on Save Local Now for everyone to see!

2. Health and Wellness

Everyone likes to have fun and stay fit during the summer. Host a day that encourages health and wellness. Whether it’s a fun game at the office or a field day of activities, anything that encourages friendly competition can make for a fun day. The best activities will also take advantage of the weather. Why not invite customers and clients and go on a company hike! Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!

3. Join the Community Events

Is there a fair or festival coming up? Join in on the fun! Share updates on social media and take some time to enjoy the activities. If you’re a retailer or restaurant see if you can set up a tent. You’re guaranteed to get new customers and get more involved in the community. These things only come once a year!

4. BBQ

Don’t forget about the food! Grill out with some hot eats and cool treats. Take your office out for ice cream or have a cookout! Invite your loyal customers over for a BBQ. You could also get a gift certificate to the local ice cream place and have a sweepstakes. Our experience is almost anything you can do with food, will make people happy! 😉

5. Summer Romance

Summer is the time for love! Take advantage of that opportunity by offering up exclusives. Have an enter-to-win date night package complete with movie tickets and a gift card to a local restaurant. Promote a special pre-date spa package for your clients. Whatever type of business you have, see if there is something special you can do for couples.

Not only will all of these ideas help build stronger relationships within the staff and with the customers, it will also give you stronger ties to the community. A little planning goes a long way to make some fun for everyone! Best part of all, you can use the Save Local Now platform to promote all these events. So log in, get started, and get out there and enjoy the season!

 

steps to success

Would you like to know how to get that competitive edge and take digital media two, three, even four steps ahead of just simply using social media? Of course you do! It would be silly not to, so sit back, relax and learn your way to the top of this crazy digital world of ours.

Okay, so you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a website. Do you think that is enough to separate you from the millions of other small businesses? (Psst….probably not). However, the fact that you are reading this blog tells me that you are ready to take things to the next level.

So let’s cut to the chase and jump right into the four steps that will create this much needed separation.

 STEP 1: STRATEGIZE TO RISE ABOVE THE OTHER GUYS:   chess strategy

 Ask yourself the who, what, when, where, why and how.

  • Who are you trying to appeal to? (Target Market)
  • In what ways can you effectively appeal to the right clientele?
  • Where are the right places to post your content?
  • When does your customer base most frequently use social media?
  • You are on social media platforms, but why?
  • How can you creatively use social media to engage with your customers?

These are the sort of questions you need to ask yourself. It is not enough to simply be on social media, you must have a strategic plan in place to achieve the results that you want.

Whatever you do, don’t be this guy!

don't be this guySTEP 2: UNDERSTAND THAT SOCIAL MEDIA IS ONLY ONE PIECE OF THE PUZZLE:

Be proud that you have a great Facebook page, Twitter account, Google plus, Instagram, etc. However, to be a big hitter in the game of business and the digital world you must establish something beyond that of social media. Jump on the email marketing boat (Helpful Hints for Email Marketing), become a blogger, create powerful networks with LinkedIn, stick your business logo/icon wherever you go, literally…..be everywhere. Make your name unforgettable!  In fact, “companies that blog 15% or more times per month get 5x more traffic than companies that don’t blog” (30 Digital Marketing Statistics You Can’t Afford To Ignore). Whether it be social media, email, or blogging, those without this online presence are at an obvious disadvantage. Bypassing digital marketing is like saying, “I’m not really looking for more customers.”

analyticsSTEP 3: ANALYTICS IS KEY TO TRACKING SUCCESS

Whenever someone asks me what analytics is or why it is so imperative for businesses to utilize its greatness, I always respond with this analogy: “when you throw spaghetti and meatballs at a wall some of it may stick and some of it may fall miserably to the floor.” Meaning that some things that you post (whether it be deals, events, etc.) get noticed while some may not. Without the analytics, how will you ever know if that 2-for-1 deal you have going on is getting the recognition you’ve hoped? When push comes to shove, analytics will save you time and money!

For a more in-depth look we recently dedicated a post that deals with everything you need to know about analytics and its significance to the business world. Check out the Top Three Reasons you Need Analytics (I am looking at you, small businesses owner).

STEP 4: PIECING IT ALL TOGETHERpiecing it together

You are so close! You have established a presence all over the web; social media, email, blog, LinkedIn and you now have the analytics to track its success. You are not finished just yet, so don’t quit on me!

When it comes to digital marketing the most important thing to remember is to link the pieces of the puzzle together:

  • Post everywhere because “distributing your content across multiple social media platforms and utilizing multiple touch points is vital to building brand awareness and connecting with your audience in ways that seem natural to the people you want to reach.” A Social Media Strategy on Multiple Platforms
  • To effectively engage with your customer base you need to create the perfect posts.
  • Make sure your social media pages are appealing, here’s 5 things you need in order to do that.

Some of the more popular ways that businesses try to establish an online presence is through the use of Constant Contact and Groupon, which are both a good place to start. While they all can help you achieve a pretty decent online presence in their own specified way, it will make your wallets bleed. But if you are looking for a digital marketing platform that can do it all in one attractive and easy to use place then check out Save Local Now……oh, and I forgot to mention…ITS FREE to chamber partners and their members! To learn more, sign up for your free 1-on-1 training! If you’re looking to create that competitive edge I talked about earlier, I know you’ll make the right choice!

At Save Local Now I work one-on-one with businesses to help them learn how to best market themselves using our platform. When I get on a call, one of the most important questions I ask the business is “What is your goal?” This is important for a business to know. This single question determines not only your marketing strategy, but it also defines your business. Sometimes businesses have a goal in mind but they don’t know how to turn that goal into a marketing campaign. This list will help you create better campaigns that are consistent with your goal, relate to the customer, and work for both short term and long term planning.

1. Consider your customer
Are you looking for more general customers, or maybe a different type of customer? My coworker Grace was on a call with a salon who wanted to get more business. The business owner mentioned she carried a line of men’s products but when Grace asked if she had a lot of male clients she said she didn’t. From there they launched a good 6 months worth of ideas on how the Salon could get more male customers and therefore more general customers. This brings me to my next point.

2. Consider your unused product or service
Maybe you run a business and you provide three things. For example, let’s say you offer portrait photography, event videography, and you also have a gallery of finer artwork. Many of the businesses I speak to will have the bulk of their business in one thing (let’s say event videography). When I ask why, many businesses tend to write it off as “no one is really looking for a portrait photographer around here,” or in some other way blame it on the demand of the area. This, my friends, is a cop out. Sometimes people have only heard of one part of your business because of the lack of marketing effort on the businesses part. This could open you up to a whole new wave of customers and a growing prospering business.

3. What’s trending?
These days there is a constant flood of videos, pictures, humorous stories, “content marketing” being pushed our way. Social Media, technology, and even news agencies are great ways to distract any hard working person for literally hours on end. Why not embrace that culture? Did you see that hilarious cat meme from last week? Maybe if the local pet food store had put it in their promotion you would have, AND, had they done so, you would have noticed the 30% OFF sale on cat food. There’s also things like the World Cup/Olympic games/royal weddings to offer cool promotions for. It’s not something we should have to think too hard about. Be creative, and have fun!

4. Educate the masses
Many of the businesses I work with offer up a service and aren’t sure about how they might discount something. What about just offering up some free advice? There are a lot of topics people are concerned about right now; the new healthcare insurance, for instance. Just because you offer a very specialized service does not mean you should ignore your marketing efforts. Seminars, workshops, and classes are a great way to start a relationship and build on it with your future customers!

5. Consider the season
One of the easiest ways to make changes to your marketing efforts is to offer up seasonal specials. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should think up any old discount and slap the word “summer special” on it. Think about what is actually going on during that particular time of year and what people might be attracted to. Summers are a good time to consider weddings and event specials, also anything outdoors related. Spring is a great time for cleaning services or gardening specials. During the Fall season, people are usually thinking about food and family; and, of course, the holidays – always a great time for anyone to market anything as people are doing a lot of shopping. Whatever you offer, try to tie it into what people might already be looking for.

When you are ready to start planning your marketing, I challenge you to first ask “what is my goal?” When you have an answer, write it down. Then, use this list to help you determine how to achieve that goal. Come up with a plan for 3 months, 6 months and a year. Set up attainable but challenging goals at each of these marks and plan a reward for your business when you achieve them. Marketing should be fun and rewarding, but it shouldn’t always be flying by the seat of your pants. AND if you ever need more help, sign up for a training with us!

Local business is all about community, and what better way of promoting the importance of community than charity. Local businesses thrive because of their community’s loyalty and dedication, so it is of the upmost importance that businesses participate in charity work and promote their dedication to their surrounding communities.

What difference can philanthropy make, and is it worth a small business’ time?  Companies that encourage community involvement distinguish themselves from their competitors.  People want to see their own communities thrive, and they also want to build relationships with businesses and brands.  If your small business can give back and earn a customer following, why wouldn’t you?  Helping others, while gaining community exposure, is truly a win-win for all.

Research shows that giving back has powerful effects. 89% of entrepreneurs donate money, both personally and through their companies, according to a study by Ernst & Young and the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund. What’s more, 62% say giving back makes their companies more successful in the long run (Fidelity Charitable, 2010).

Want to start a philanthropic effort through your small business but don’t know where to start?  Follow these tips to hit the ground running.

Tips:

Build relationships within your community.

  • Look at your community to see what’s important. Are the schools struggling? Does the animal shelter need donations? etc.
  • Building relationships start by making genuine connections with your customers.  Start conversations with them and try to learn a little bit about everyone who comes into your store!
  • The community is where your business operates, and improving this environment adds to the value of your product or service and increases the quality of life for everyone in the environment.

Get your employees on board. 

  • Giving employees an avenue to give back is important for morale and builds a collaborative and inspired team.
  • If your employees love what they’re doing and feel like they’re making a difference, work ethic and attitudes are bound to improve.
  • Volunteering also provides leadership opportunities for employees, which leads to increased staff performance, fulfillment and, ultimately, increased productivity and sales

Let customers know how you’re giving back. 

  • “I’ve found that customers really want to know how you’re making the world a better place,” says Erin Giles, an Aiken, S.C.-based business philanthropy consultant who helps entrepreneurs find causes they’re passionate about and incorporate their message into their business (Lavine, 2013).
  • Moms and Millennials are particularly interested in a business’ corporate social responsibility platform, Giles says (Lavine, 2013).
  • Don’t be afraid to brag about your philanthropic initiatives.  Post notices around your business and your community to let people know about your efforts and encourage others to get involved.

Some suggestions on how to give back:

  • Churches, little league sports leagues, local chapters of the Red Cross and Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Clubs, donations to scholarship funds, sponsorship of a local sports team, etc.
  • Spreading good will establishes your business as the neighborhood do-gooder and community leader.

Big or small, giving back can only benefit your business and your community positively.  Reach out to those who need a helping hand and broaden your appeal at the same time.  Remember to be creative and have fun with whatever philanthropy you choose to pursue.  It’s sure to bring a smile to someone’s face!

Works Cited

Lavine, Lindsay.  “The Power of Giving Back: How Community Involvement Can Boost Your Bottom Line.”  Entrepreneur Magazine.  26 June 2013. <http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226974>. 

“Entrepreneurs are More Likely to Give to Charity.”  Fidelity Charitable. 12 Nov. 2010. <http://www.fidelitycharitable.org/about-us/news/11-12-2010.shtml>.

MktgTips_Header_Small

A common stereotype linked to content marketing is that it’s only for big business. While this stereotype is….well, a stereotype – it’s a stereotype for a reason. At this point, mostly big businesses are taking advantage of content marketing. So what gives, small business? Take your piece of the pie! The flavor? Mixed berry with a heavy side of SALES.

Continue reading “Content Marketing for Small Businesses” »

Summertime is finally here! Now that everyone is out and about in town, it’s time to put your small business outside, as well. Here are 5 great ways to market your business this summer:

1. Get OUTSIDE

The weather is nice and you’re sitting inside; air conditioning is a luxury, but that’s no reason to be stuck indoors. Grab a golf umbrella and set up shop outside your store. At the very least, get out some sidewalk chalk. If you’re place is on a strip or a street with other businesses, collaborate with them and start a sidewalk sale! Events like this will support the community and draw in more visitors. Your can create your event on Save Local Now to help spread the word.

Sidewalk_sale_chalk

auk

2. Parade in Style

Does your community have a parade in the summer? Get involved! There are great marketing opportunities in local parades. You can give out special trinkets that relate to your business or brand, or just keep it simple with candy. Either way, you’re guaranteed to get your name out there.

 

 

6a00e54fba8a73883301127966b8fc28a4-800wi

3. Go to Festivals

If it’s something you might enjoy, look into becoming a vendor. Sell products that people can use like water bottles, tote bags or towels with your name on it. It’s a great way to get new customers and hey, you might enjoy some live music yourself! 

 

sale_template_b

 

4. Get Patriotic

Start a 4th of July promotion through Save Local Now. Even if it’s not a huge sale, getting festive is fun! Hand out small flags with purchase. Show your customer appreciation and your patriotism!

 

 

 

5. Support Local Sports

support_your_team_masthead800x240

 

 

 

Check your community calendar or show up in the recreational areas or on the 5k run sidelines. Show support for your local teams. Pair up with the local ice cream store and give discounts to the little league teams after a hot summer game. People will really appreciate and recognize your efforts.

The goal here is to help out your community. The more your strive to achieve this, the more people will view your business as a significant part of the community. Set the bar high – it all starts with you! Now get out there and enjoy the summer!