Tag Archive : digital

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.

Understanding the trends in digital marketing allows small businesses to compete with bigger companies. Having a strong digital marketing strategy is becoming vital as more people are consistently accessing the web through their mobile devices. Understanding the importance of these digital marketing trends can also help small business owners make smart budgeting decisions to create the biggest impact.

  1. Freshness. An important aspect to consider when looking to boost digital marketing is the freshness of your website. Search engines give more attention to websites that provide a high level of engagement. Features such as polls, social media integration, reviews and frequently updated content provide an advantage over websites without these features. Your website should also contain micro-data, which allows search engines to quickly decipher the information on the website. Finally, having a fast download and user-friendly format is essential. I recommend a Bootstrap framework for a modern look and feel.
  2. Have a Mobile Strategy. Mobile web traffic is expected to surpass desktop traffic in 2014. This is an important point to understand. Approximately 1.2 billion people search the web from a mobile device, and 34% of adultsDigital Marketing now own a tablet. Having a responsive website that automatically adjusts and scales to a mobile device’s format is crucial. Having an app for your business is even better, but creating your own app is very expensive and nearly impossible to maintain.  Adding mobile promotions (with Save Local Now) will also aid in building your mobile traffic.
  3. SEO is Still Important. Despite all the changes and developments over the last 18 months, search engine optimization is still important and needs to be taken into consideration when creating a website and adding content to that website. Making sure the name, address, and phone number of the company are consistent is important. There is still no replacement for content marketing as a key factor in SEO. SEO has been shifting from keyword rankings to the relevance and timeliness of the content.
  4. Invest in Paid Search and Media. Online directories and reviews for websites are an important element of digital marketing. So much so that it is worth an investment to be included in the directories and websites relevant to your business (pssst, you can get these benefits for free with Save Local Now)
  5. Grow Your Social Media Presence. Having a strong social media presence is increasingly important. A company’s level of influence within social media is now linked to search engine optimization and establishing your website as an authority within your niche. Key social media channels you should be involved in are Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (no seriously, Google + is becoming more and more relevant). But be careful, do not plunge into the pitfalls of social media.  Be sure to post quality information, then get back to work!
  6. Customer Reviews are Beneficial. First, it is important to maintain a high quality product and customer service. Customer reviews are very influential to potential customers, and having positive reviews can greatly impact your business. Make sure to regularly review comments, ratings, and reviews left on your website. Responding to reviews will increase engagement with your customers and show potential customers what good service they can expect.
  7. Email Marketing is Still King. With Google removing that annoying “display all images” button, it now allows images to pop up in emails quickly (although there is a restriction to access folders and cache info).  Taking advantage of crafting a message for your customer through email is important. The average SMB has about 2,000 email addresses, and building a professional looking message through email is more important than ever (again, free with Save Local Now!).

By Randall Rothenberg

For most of the past 100 years, if a marketer said he needed a new advertising campaign, everybody knew what that meant. The machine turned on. The marketer called the agency of record’s account team. The account team composed a brief capturing the strategy and called in the wild and wooly creatives to bring it to life. The writers and designers applied their art to one or more of these four finite canvases: the television commercial, full-page print ad, radio ad or billboard. Maybe they would sprinkle in a few coupons. The public played along, too; with no ad blockers or DVRs, they just consumed advertising (or ignored it) en masse. It all just worked.

But it doesn’t anymore. Now, there is no machine or even consensus on the basic definition of advertising. And that is the source of both opportunity and crisis.

Today’s media landscape keeps getting more diverse—it’s broadcast, cable and streaming; it’s online, tablet and smartphone; it’s video, rich media, social media, branded content, banners, apps, in-app advertising and interactive technology products like Sherwin-Williams’ Chip It! It’s even physical interactive gear, like Nike+ Fuelband. Pushed an inch farther, the new Google Chromecast dongle could fit under that marketing classification, and the smart watches on the horizon will be yet another platform.

Meanwhile, what we might term the ideological landscape of advertising has become so varied it’s downright contradictory, even contentious. There are those who insist advertising is and must be social—absent social connectivity a message can no longer be heard. There are those who say advertising is and must be mobile—without a connection to place, it is irrelevant to the sales process. Others say advertising is and must be a utility—it must serve a consumer’s needs, and not just inform. Still others say advertising is and must be liquid—it must create experiences that cross media platform barriers, or else it will barely cross consumers’ awareness threshold.

These perspectives are not only divergent from each other, but each also shapes a particular way of thinking—not just about communications products, but about what advertising and marketing do, how they relate to consumers, and how (if at all) they influence consumers’ attitudes and behaviors.

Digital technologies have put the very definition of advertising and marketing up for grabs. Now, when a marketer asks for a new campaign, the response from the team is literally a question mark. “What kind of campaign?” “Which agencies should we ask for guidance?” “What do all these technology companies do?” “Is anyone right?” “Is everyone right?” “How do we measure success?” Every campaign, if it can even be called that, begins with a blank slate. There are just too many ways it could go.

So what is advertising anyway? Last year during the closed-door judging of the IAB MIXX Awards, the judges fiercely debated just this issue. This year, it’s what we’ll focus on at the 2013 IAB MIXX Conference and Expo, themed appropriately “Advertising is _____?” There, on Sept. 23 and 24, we will showcase these warring points of view, highlight their differences and look for points of commonality.

While it’s true the abundance of ways companies are able to reach consumers and consumers are able to experience brands is great, there’s also a dark side. Imagine if whenever you decided to go someplace new, you were forced to choose whether to take a car, bus, train, plane, bicycle or boat. Imagine if the wrong decision would result in significant extra costs and major problems. Or imagine if the wrong decision meant you couldn’t get there at all. That’s what it’s like for marketing decision makers today. Marketers, agencies and media companies are constantly facing high-risk decisions. They can easily find themselves paddling a boat to China or zipping around the world in a hyperloop.

This nerve-wracking circumstance is a product of the industry’s rapid advancement, but it’s also an inhibitor that the industry, in unison, should endeavor to overcome.

Everyone is being forced to propel themselves beyond their comfort zones. The old way, the traditional way, is obsolete. There’s no place to go but toward the new. Deciphering the truth from the chaos will be hard. But it’s a necessary task. Advertising needs to be redefined; let’s get at it.

Randall Rothenberg (@r2rothenberg) is the president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

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