Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Marketing Tips to Keep Your Small Business Going During a Crisis

1.    Take a look at opportunities for organic traffic growth. Check out your Google My Business listing. Can you update your store hours, business description, photos? Keeping this fresh may help to improve your rank locally for mobile searches. 

2.    Reach out to happy customers and ask for a Google review. More positive reviews can equate to an increase in online exposure and local SEO plus a boost for your brand.

3.    Set up online ordering. Now’s the perfect time to add a shopping cart to your website for customers who want your products mailed or delivered.

4.    Use video. Can you adopt a new video strategy to boost your business? Engage with clients/prospects in one-on-one video consultations or virtual group webinars. Can you supplement your offline products with online video content? Video consumption is increasing during this crisis, so give it a try!

5.    Gather up and organize your client and prospect email addresses. Help your business ride out the storm by emailing your current customers and giving them coupons, free items, or other things they deem valuable. And use email to keep your customers and prospects informed (ex: change in business hours) and/or reassured (ex: precautions your business is taking during the crisis).
If you don't have an email marketing tool for your business, try out a free trial of Constant Contact which gives you all the tools you need to create professional-looking emails to keep in touch with prospects and clients. 

6.    Remain active on social media. If you have a passionate customer or fan base, they want to hear from you! Even if you're forced to temporarily close or cut back, stay in touch virtually. You'll probably see a lot of support come your way and you'll stay top of mind with your community for when you re-open.      

7.    Run a gift card promotion. Run a special offer on gift cards. This can bring in revenue now and foot traffic or attention to your business later.

Have other ideas or suggestions? Please share in the comments. Or contact me for assistance with your business marketing. jocelynm@marketing-er.com

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Get More Google Reviews to Grow Your Online Presence

Positive Google Reviews can really impact your business.  These independent ratings of your business can increase your credibility and pique the interest of Google searchers when they see your high marks online. Research shows that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation (Bright Local 2018). Because Google is one of the most utilized and trusted search engines, it’s more important than ever to utilize their Reviews.

As you probably know, when you perform a search in Google, the results page will show any businesses that have a Google My Business listing. In this listing, you can profile your contact information, photos, news and gather customer reviews.

One of the greatest benefits of Google Reviews is how they can boost your local search engine ranking. Google favors businesses that have frequent and positive reviews on their Google My Business listing. Additionally, there are no fees associated with leaving or responding to a Google Review.  Great reviews are positive endorsements or free advertising for your business.

How to Get Great Reviews

Come up with a strategy for collecting positive Google Reviews. Consider all the ways you create great experiences and outcomes for your clients and how you can be proactive about securing reviews from them.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Personally Request the Review
Did you just have a great client interaction in your store? Or maybe you’ve spent months on a client project that surpassed its goals? These are great opportunities to personally ask (in person or by phone) for a Google Review. 

2. Add a Google Review Link in Your Email Signature
If you regularly communicate with clients via email and feel confident that your reviews will be positive, add a request and link in your email signature. 

3. Ask Partners and Vendors for Reviews
Business partners and established vendors can attest to what it’s like to work with you. Exchange Reviews to help each other’s SEO and visibility.

Create Your Google Review Link

Clients may be willing to give you that great online review, but you need to make it easy for them. Here are the steps to create a direct link to your Google Review form:

1. Search for your business name in Google

2. Find your Business Listing on the right-hand side of the Google search results page and click on ‘Write a Review’

3. Once the Google Review box pops us, copy the url from the address bar.

4. This is most likely a very long url. Go to www.tinyurl.com to shorten it into a concise link.

Make it a strategic part of your sales and marketing processes to ask happy customers to review your business. Great Google ratings will go a long way in improving your digital presence.

Have questions or need help with your Google My Business Listing or Reviews? Contact Jocelyn Murray for help today. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Leveraging LinkedIn for Business Growth

While most of us have profiles on LinkedIn, have you ever wondering if you're using this social media tool to its fullest? Many of us continue to build 'Contacts' on LinkedIn but rarely utilize them for referrals, introductions, conversations and other ways to expand our businesses.

Here are a few ways you can utilize LinkedIn as a sales, marketing and business development tool:

1. Complete your profile
Has LinkedIn rated your profile 100% complete? If not, take the opportunity to get your message across by filling in all aspects of your profile. Give people a reason to want to connect with you. Include the keywords and terms that your potential prospects would use when searching to find your services or products.

2. Join Groups
Groups are a good way to find and communicate with qualified prospects. Join groups that have the same professional, affiliations, goals or interests as you. Try creating a new group if you can't find one that suits your needs.

3. Prospecting
Are you looking for a specific person to connect with? Maybe you're looking for prospects in a certain industry or others with a specific title? Click on LinkedIn's Search field in the upper left-hand corner and choose People in the pull-down menu. Then choose All Filters to the right of the white buttons. Here you’ll find all the options you have to search your LinkedIn connections.

LinkedIn will show you any "shared connections" you have with these prospects to possibly facilitate an introduction. Leverage your current connections to add more.

4. Publish Articles
Publish your professional knowledge and insights on LinkedIn. Publish articles regularly and they’ll become part of your profile and be shared with your connections in their news feeds. Your article can be searchable within and outside of LinkedIn so people who aren’t in your network can find you and connect. To get started, simply click on the Home icon and then click on ‘Write an article’ under the posting box at the top of the page.

Have other questions about how to use LinkedIn? Contact Jocelyn Murray.

How Using Video Can Help You Reach Your Audience

Are you as surprised as I am about these stats? Granted, it’s not as surprising that people, on average, spend over 5 hours per day watching TV, but did you know that YouTube is the third largest search engine on the planet? I’m still not sure why people watch videos with the sound turned off, but yes, YouTube is the third largest search engine behind Google and Bing.

What do these stats mean? The first three social media stats are evidence to me that people like interacting with one other. The video stats are proof that people like to watch videos. So, as speakers, if we want to get ourselves in front of more people, it sounds like video is a great way to do it. I’ll bet you agree, but the thought of standing in front of a camera can be scarier than the thought standing in front of an audience!

Please know that I’m not saying that you have to do videos. What I am suggesting is that while you are continuing to build your platform, getting used to using video is going to provide you with another way to reach your audience. In addition, it may even provide advantages you might not have even thought about, such as:

1. Video gives people a more personal way to get to know you beyond your bio, headshot, and/or website because they get to “meet” you on screen.

2.  Short-and-sweet videos between 1 and 3 minutes provide you with a chance to share content while also showing off your subject matter expertise.

3.  Best of all, in addition to being visible evidence that you can speak to an audience, because you’re posting your videos on one or more social media platforms, it’s visible evidence you'll now have to share with event planners, meeting coordinators, etc., who are looking for new speakers!

I realize that seriously considering video opens up a Pandora’s box full of new questions, such as what platform to use, how to do it, etc. But my purpose here is simply to be informative, NOT to overwhelm you, so I’ll offer you two simple how-to get started thoughts.  

Don’t think that you have to conquer video in one sitting. Instead, take small steps. Come up with one thought, idea, point, tip, or strategy that you can cover in a couple of minutes. Turn on your cell phone and record yourself talking it through. Each time you make a mistake, stop recording, erase it, and start over. Keep taping yourself talking until you’re comfortable.

Once you’re comfortable, figure out which social media channel you’d like to start with. It’ll probably make sense to start with the one you frequent the most, right?

Trust me, you’re not alone if you’re nervous about videotaping yourself. I’m very nervous about it, but I’m working on doing it! So let’s challenge ourselves together. Who knows... one of these days you might get a video newsletter along with my written words!

Authored by guest blogger:  Beth Stoller

Beth Stoller is a relationship-driven person who has a passion for helping people step into their roles as speakers and leaders. In 2014, she combined her savvy organization and logistics skills with her talent for networking and established her speaker’s business, At the Podium, LLC. In 2019, she started ATP’s Business Professionals Speaker Mastermind Group which meets the 2nd Saturday every month.“Speakers can change people’s lives for the better in a moment. That’s one of the reasons I love my work. I get to help business professionals, whether they’re aspiring or seasoned speakers, prepare for and create those moments!” 

Beth has an absolute belief that everyone has gifts, talents, skills, experiences, knowledge, stories, and/or special messages to share. “When knowledgeable professionals start sharing their expertise from the stage, we all benefit.”

On a personal note, Beth resides in Trumbull, CT, where she lives with her husband, her son, and their dog Poncho. When Beth’s not working on At the Podium, she pursues other passions which include bookkeeping, tennis, photography, and hanging out with family and friends. Occasionally, you might also see her attempting to hit that little white ball around a golf course (it’s a networking thing).  www.atthepodium.biz

Friday, January 25, 2019

Email Design Checklist

If you've ever created an email campaign and forgot to include an important website link, phone number or social button, then this email design checklist is for you!

Before you schedule your next email newsletter, offer or promotion, be sure to run through these seven check points to ensure that your email communication is on point!

(source: Constant Contact)

Monday, August 27, 2018

Grand Opening Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business

When done right, grand openings can be big attention-getters and can properly introduce your business to the community. A successful grand opening event can effectively launch your company and positively impact your bottom line.

But it takes hard work, preparation and strategic promotions to make a grand opening work.  Here are some marketing activities and ideas to help you make that happen:

Local PR

Write and distribute a press release to the local media to announce your new business and the grand opening event.  Can you put a unique spin on your business and grand opening to get the attention of the press? What will be happening at your launch that will make it an event to remember?

If a celebrity appearance, flash mob, a parade or something really unique is part of your event, let your local radio and TV stations know. A remote broadcast could happen!

In addition to a press release, send media alerts to local reporters inviting them to come to the grand opening. Let them know the day’s schedule of events and which key people (owners, managers, chefs, celebrities, etc.) they can interview. Have media kits including copies of your press release, brochures, bios, etc. available for distribution.

Your Online Presence 

It’s a given that your business’ new website should be up and running well in advance of the grand opening with all the event details posted on the homepage.

Set up your business’ social media pages in advance of your grand opening to build the online buzz early. Develop a hashtag campaign on Twitter and Instagram to draw some attention to your event.  If you have Facebook followers, create an event and use FB’s paid advertising to promote it to a targeted local audience.  Remember to engage and interact with your social followers too.

Are there adjacent businesses, business partners or social media influencers who can promote your event to their followers? Connect with them early on to build mutually beneficial relationships.

Flyers, Postcards etc.

Even in this digital age, printed promotional materials are still a smart way to promote your event. Custom designed grand opening flyers can help you brand and advertise your new business the right way. In advance of your event, post flyers locally, hand them out or leave them behind at local businesses and residences.

Haven’t build up your local email list yet? Send oversize grand opening postcard mailers to businesses and residents in your zip code without purchasing a mailing list. The United States Post Office’s Every Door Direct Mail program lets you send a mailer to any targeted geographical area at postage prices as low as .18 cents per piece. In addition to geographic location, you can target audiences by age and income too.

Promoting your grand opening is a huge opportunity but it's a big undertaking. If it seems like more than you can take on with the launching of your new business, consider hiring a professional!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Amplify Your Business with Google Posts

Are you using Google Posts to enhance your Google My Business Listing on search engine results pages?

If you have your business listed with Google My Business (if you don’t, you should), you can add a content post to share additional information directly below your business listing. Users will see your Google Post on Google search engine results pages (SERPs) and Google Maps when they search for you.

Google Posts are a free and easy way to boost your business listing.  Posts let you provide information about your products, services or events for people who are searching for your business.  In your post, include an image, video, up to 300 words of copy and add a button (Sign up, Learn more, Buy, etc,) that will link the url you specify.

Posts expire after 7 days so be sure to create a new Google Post weekly.

What Should Post?

Your Google Posts can include any type of information that will promote your business or inform users:

Offers/Coupons- Post info about your weekly sale or promotion
Promote a Product or Service- Add a ‘Learn More’ button to your post that links directly to your product or service web page
Events- Offer details and a link to your upcoming event
Announcements- What’s new and what do you need to tell your prospects and customers!

How to Create Google Posts

Sign in at GoogleMyBusiness.com and click on your business listing

On the Menu, click ‘Posts’

Look for the ‘Create New’ or ‘Write Your Post’ prompt

See options to add photos, text, events, and a button to your post. Simply enter the relevant information in each field. Once you’ve created your post, click Preview to see a preview. If it looks good, click Publish in the top right corner of the screen..  

For more marketing tips, visit www.marketing-er.com.