You are probably aware that recently Mark Zuckerberg has announced changes to the way Facebook will be showing posts. Most business owners are taking this as bad news. I'm not. I take this as an amazing opportunity for business owners who want to use Facebook to get ahead and stand out.
You can read about the change here.
Why do I see this as good news? Simple, Facebook is going to reward posts that get engagement. So, if you own a business and everything you post is a photo of your newest product, or you boasting about selling another car, or hosting an open house, or even a 20% off coupon, you're going to get buried.
Think about it, how long would you stay friends with someone who called you up once or twice a day to tell you.. "I just made some money" or "I want you to buy something from me" but never asked about YOU? You would stop answering the phone after a few days.
Yet that is exactly what 80% of business Facebook pages do. They brag and boast about their products or practically beg you to purchase something.
Smart business owners will now be able to become MORE visible in Facebook and get more value out of it.
The steps are simple, but not easy.
Step 1. Get 10,000 likes to your Facebook Business Page.
Step 2. Get great sources of content.. Interesting content. Content that your audience will enjoy seeing and talking about.
Step 3. Monetize your page to encourage visitors to make a purchase or take advantage of a "Facebook" exclusive.
To get to 10,000 likes you'll either need time or money. I recommend buying Facebook Ads. Just be careful. There are tricks to Facebook advertising and if you don't know them, you could end up paying $1 or more per like. Most businesses do not have $10,000 to spend on "likes". We do provide that service to our clients for 5¢ per like and guarantee REAL people.
Once you have 10,000 likes, you've essentially beaten the "no one will see my posts" problem because even if Facebook limits your posts to 10% of your fans, that's 1,000 people. If 10% of those "like" the post, you'll become a "top story" and Facebook will boost your post to even more of the people who like you. This will help you get even more likes and keep you on top of people's timelines.
Getting great content is fairly easy.. Are you a local business, drawing clients from within a few miles? Go to local news sites and post from there. Sharing local news, attracts and interests local people. If you are a national or international company just look for breaking national or international news. Just avoid political or "hot" topics that will make people angry. The last thing you want is someone boycotting your business because they think you support what they oppose. When you do post something about your business, make it something fun and conversational. Maybe you donated money to a charity. Maybe you had a birthday party for an employee, or surprised a customer with something special. Those are things people like to see and will comment on.
Next, to monetize your page, use the "About" and even your cover photo to make special offers to Facebook customers. These are always on your page so new visitors will see them. We are going to do a tutorial soon on how to get the most out of your about page. Stay tuned.
Finally, what I'm proposing takes time. We use MySocialMediaUSA.com software to handle the tasks. My Social Media USA aggregates great content, making it easy for you to find stories you need. It allows you to schedule posts up to a full year in the future. (We usually schedule a week's worth of posts in about an hour one day each week.) And posts can be scheduled to repeat.
Most important, My Social Media USA allows you to monetize every single post by adding a branding ad. See the 1 minute video below. The software allows you to post articles that have your ad embedded. You can design any kind of ad you want, including simple banners, or collect email addresses, offer products (free or for sale) and if you link it to your Stripe account, you can even accept payments and make sales directly on Facebook.
Normal price is $199 per month. Readers of this article can register for a limited time for 1¢ (YES 1 CENT) for the first month and then pay $29.99 month. That price will lock in and never go up. There are a limited number of licenses available. Don't wait. Sign up by going to: https://mysocialmediausa.com/page/new-customer-special
Getting The Most Out of Social Media
The two biggest mistakes that most businesses make on Social Media are
1. Not doing ANY.
2. Doing too much.
For a lot of business owners it's difficult to navigate the waters of social media. Many decide, it's too much work and not worth the effort so they skip it all together.
Others feel that there are millions of customers on social media, and they try to do everything out there.
We believe both approaches are wrong. Not doing any is wrong for obvious reasons.. Facebook alone has over 1 BILLION monthly users. You simply cannot ignore a potential audience that is that big. However, trying to do every social media option out there will dilute your efforts and you'll never be able to keep up, basically guaranteeing your failure.
We recommend that our clients do no more than 4 different social media platforms.
1. Facebook, personal and business
4. Pinterest or Instagram.
If your business is the type that allows you to generate "before" and "after" photos or if you have a large variety of products then move Pinterest or Instagram up a notch and move Linkedin down. If you are B2B then Linkedin should be #2 in your priorities.
The Good News.
Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and Instagram are all FREE. You can set up accounts on all those platforms for free. Just because they're free, don't mistake that for valueless. There is great value in Social Media when it's done correctly.
The Next Challenge.
Once you have 2-4 of those set-up the next big challenge is what to post and when to post it. You will need to find great content and time to post it and you should be consistent. Don't post 10 articles in one day and then nothing for the next six weeks. Although we advise our clients to post at least once per day, you must post a minimum of 3-5 strong, quality posts per week. So, how do we define, "great content".. that's easy, or at least it sounds easy. GREAT CONTENT IS ANYTHING THAT YOUR AUDIENCE WILL FIND INTERESTING AND WILL SHARE.
Many businesses think that, for example, if they're a jewelry store, they can only post photos of their jewelry, or a restaurant might think they can only post photos or posts about their food and specials. Nobody really wants to be SOLD to on social media. If your audience sees your posts as self-serving they will stop following you. I handle marketing and advertising for a variety of clients in multiple types of businesses. I post articles on marketing, advertising and being an entrepreneur. Those articles are not recommending that people hire me, they are not promotional for my company but they are VERY useful to my audience and they help me build a bigger and bigger audience daily.
People buy from people they like and trust. When your prospects realize that you are interested in them, that you care about providing great information to them, they will begin to like and trust you more. Then, when they're ready to purchase your goods or services, you are much more likely to be in the best position to sell to them.
Social media marketing is a courtship, not a one night stand. Don't try to force people to buy from you. Build the relationship and the sales will come.
If you need help with your social media marketing we use this tool to find great stories and to brand every post with an banner. It normally it costs $199 per month. This "reader" special allows you to pay only $299 per year.
Proximity Marketing or Beacon Marketing is the latest innovation in reaching people on their cellphones. Google is investing millions of dollars into this technology.
So what is it and why should I care?
Well, Google Chrome is and has been the number 1 browser in the world since 2012. Android phones ship with Google Chrome and there is a version for iPhones. One of the features of Google Chrome's browser is a feature Google calls "the Physical Web". The Physical Web allows consumers to access valuable information directly on their phones instantly without having to open apps. This means, the consumer gets more information faster.
Proximity marketing harnesses the power of Google Chrome and Google's Physical Web to boost YOUR business. Proximity marketing means you are marketing to people in your area (usually within a maximum of 750 feet). Beacons are programmed to transmit your message to nearby cellphones. On iPhones the message is held in the notifications area of the user's phone. On Android phones there is an icon that illuminates on the user's phone to tell them they've received your signal.
We can configure your beacon to broadcast any message that you want to send. For example, a restaurant might put a beacon outside which would put your menu and specials on the person's phone. Realtors can put beacons in houses they are selling and give the person access to a tour of the house, the realtor's business card and neighborhood or other information. Encouraging the prospect to call you from one click on their phone. Retail businesses can list sales, encourage people to sign up to their email or text blasts and invite customers to like your Facebook page, watch your videos or subscribe to your podcasts.
One of the most exciting features of beacons is they work 24/7 365 days per year and broadcast your message to everyone around you. Going to a sporting event, movie or theater? Keep a beacon in your pocket and during down time when people are looking at their phones, they're seeing your message and browsing your offers.
Service businesses can put a beacon in every truck and reach thousands of people every month. When your crew is parked on a street, your message is going to the phones of nearby homeowners and people who walk by. When they stop for lunch your message is going out to every phone, so even when they aren't working, your marketing is working.
Give an extra one to your spouse or kids and your message can be broadcast wherever they are too. The possibilities are limitless.
When you lease beacons from us, we build an SSL secure landing page and point your beacon to that page... That page can then direct people to your main website and list your special offers. To keep them interested we build a very effective landing page with a great offer and call to action. We include monthly changes to your offer at no charge each month.
We recently ran a test case with a landscaper and got over 10,000 page views to their landing page in just under 6 weeks. Our pricing is the best in the industry and we are experts and programming your beacons properly. Our current pricing is the monthly hosting and operating charge is $99 per month and includes one beacon. Each additional beacon (pointing to the same offer) is $29.95. You may cancel at any time and as long as you return the beacons there is no cancellation fee. If a beacon fails we replace it free (you must return the defective beacon). If you lose or break a beacon there is a $99 replacement fee during the first year, after one year, we replace them free.
I can't think of a single business that would not benefit from a well run social media marketing campaign but, for today, let's focus on Realtors. Realtors rely on name and face recognition. When someone is buying or selling a home they want an expert and for better or worse, if they see your face more frequently, you become that expert in their minds.
Social Media Marketing is perfect for realtors because it gets your name and face out there in front of potentially thousands and possibly even millions of people. If you use your Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter accounts properly, you can build an audience that sees you as an expert and the day they are finally ready to buy or sell, you will be the person that they think of.
The coolest new service in social media marketing is MySocialMediaUSA.com. They offer a program that allows you to turn any Facebook link, Twitter tweet and Linkedin post into an ad for your business by allowing you to attach a banner to the link. That banner can do anything but putting your name, phone number, email, website and photo on it gets you in front of an unlimited audience.
Are you wasting contacts?
I recently met with a client who wanted to hire me to get them more traffic (visitors) to their website. I've done this in the past for a variety of different companies in different industries. For one client back in 2010 I managed to get them 550 new online sales in three months which was great for them since prior to that they only had 600 customers for the entire year in 2009. They were thrilled at the growth and so was I. I have continued to consult with them and they have continued to grow pretty dramatically every year since.
When the new client said they need more traffic, I knew I could handle that job and we met, set out a plan and got them started. I'm happy to say that by combining better SEO, some display and PPC ads and even a few local newspaper ads, we increased sales by 22% the first six months of 2015 as compared to the entire year of 2014. So that's great, right? Well, no, not to me. I was not completely satisfied with those results and honestly expected more. So I started digging, analyzing every source, every website click and every sale and what I found shocked me a bit. They had told me that they were sure they closed 30 - 50% of their sales opportunities, that they had great sales people and one division actually closed 85% of their appointments. However, it turns out they weren't tracking any data so their belief on their numbers was just a 'hunch'. I set up programs to monitor everything and found out that their closing on actual quotes was 30 - 40%. Not bad, but only 1.4% of all their website traffic ever asked for a quote! Now I knew the real problem.
Don't Waste Contacts!
Do you have any idea how many people visit your website every day or every week or every month or every year? How many of them give you their contact information? If you're not getting any information when they visit then you cannot keep in touch with them (obviously). Every person who visits your website is a potential customer. You want to keep in touch with them. In the long run it will be easier and cheaper to sell to people who already know you and like you than to keep finding new people to attract to your website.
How Do I Get Their Information?
Most people are not simply going to fill out a form for no reason to give you their personal information. However, people will trade their information for something of value, especially if you make it really easy for them. Don't ask for all of their information on the "first date", especially when they don't know much about you. Ask for a name and email address in exchange for something valuable to them. Offer them something; coupons, a white paper, a free download or recipe, something that makes sense for your business. If your clientele are men, contests work really well. They know that once they give you their information that you will email them but if the offer is fair, they'll take it.
Have questions about how this might work for your business? Use the form to the right to submit your question and let us know if you want a private (free) consultation or you want us to answer your question in the blog.
growing with groupon
Groupon is a great way to introduce your business to new customers. Many business owners believe there is an advantage to using Groupon vs traditional advertising because with Groupon (for most deals) you only pay when someone makes a purchase. Many business owners don't even feel like they're PAYING Groupon since the customer pays Groupon and then Groupon pays you. But, don't be misled, Groupon is expensive. (While I acknowledge every deal is different, I'm going to use a basic deal that one of my clients recently did through Groupon).
A restaurant looking to bring in new customers might make a special offer on Groupon. Maybe you offer "Buy Two Pizzas for $11". Normally you would sell two pizzas for $22. So you're essentially offering "buy one, get one free". However, Groupon collects the $11 and pays you $5.50. So now you're selling two pizzas for $5.50.
The downside to this deal is, you may have done better if you offered "Buy two pizzas for $8" through your own social media. The customer would be happier since the pizza is cheaper and you would have gotten $8 instead of $5.50. However, if you don't have a huge following on social media, you don't have the option of "Do-it-Yourself". Another problem is, over 80% of customers who take advantage of a Groupon offer, don't ever come back to your restaurant to make a purchase at full price. It can take quite a few visits to get a person to become a regular at your retail shop or restaurant.
So How Can I Make Groupon Work for Me?
To get the most out of Groupon (and similar services), you should use it as to gather leads. Using our pizza example, if you lose $5 on every pizza deal, you have basically spent $5 to get a lead. Now you need to turn that lead into a lifelong customer.
If you want Groupon to work for you, you need a plan BEFORE you make your Groupon offer. The best, easiest and least expensive way to make Groupon work is to collect the cellphone numbers of your Groupon purchasers for a Text Marketing (SMS) Campaign.
(Contact us to get special discount offers on text marketing and mobile web apps with texting capabilities).
Once people purchase your Groupon offer, give them the opportunity to save even more, or to get a free gift by subscribing to your text campaign. You know they are interested in your product or service because they've already purchased on Groupon. You know they are looking for value. You can offer them "Exclusive Savings". If you manage the campaign properly, most of the Groupon purchasers will sign up to receive your text messages. This allows you to increase the value of every campaign that you run on Groupon. Suppose you get 25 responses to your Groupon campaign every time you run an offer. You can quickly build a subscriber list and turn those one time bargain hunters into lifelong customers.
If you have questions about how this strategy can help your business, please fill out the form to the right and submit your questions or call 973-220-6859. There is no charge and no obligation.
It seems like the end of 2014, from Thanksgiving right through into New Year's Eve went faster than ever. I know, for me personally, it was a crazy time. I'm working on a few really exciting projects for the new year, I spent time with family and I was able to travel the East Coast to attend some incredibly powerful marketing seminars and take a few classes to make sure that I keep my skills sharp. During that time I also had the opportunity to meet and talk to about a dozen business owners from all over the United States. Their businesses ranged in size from small start ups with only two full time employees, to large corporations with over 100 employees and millions of dollars in revenue annually. The most exciting thing about each of these individual business owners, is they were all focused on their goals for 2015. Even the ones that weren't sure how they were going to grow, seemed to know how much they were hoping to grow and where they wanted to grow.
What about you?
Do you have goals for 2015? I mean specific, hard core, written down goals? If you don't, I suggest you take out a piece of paper and jot down some realistic goals. Don't be vague. Don't write "I want my company to grow". Be specific "I want 50 (or 500, or whatever number of) new customers this year", or "I want to increase sales by 25%". Then start thinking about your plan to reach those goals. What do you need to do every day, every week, every month to move closer to your goals? If you want 50 new customers, you need to make one sale per week. How will you do that? Will you advertise? Will you hire more sales people? What will it take for you to reach your goals? Do you have a budget for those things?
If you're not sure how to set your goals, or what your goals should be, give us a call, 973-220-6859 or use the form on the right to request a free consultation.
I usually only publish articles that I write myself but this one from Inc. Magazine was so good I wanted to share it. It tells you 5 great ways to make you text marketing campaign more effective. Enjoy.
More on Text Marketing
I know the last couple of posts have been on SMS (short message service) or "Text Marketing" but I keep getting asked questions so I figured I would share a little bit more about it. One of the main questions I get asked is "Why do you like text marketing?" I like it because it puts control in the hands of the business and it's very easy to track the results, tweak your campaigns and get your best customers to purchase more frequently. If a business owner will take the time (and we're talking 15 - 30 minutes) to learn how to use it properly (s)he can increase sales dramatically at a very low cost. This is the best way to have instant access to your best customers. Email lists are great but the reality is that in most industries the best you can hope for is to actually only reach about 20% of the customers that you email and many may not open the email for days. If you're running a one day sale that email can easily miss your target audience. On the other hand over 96% of all text messages get read within 3 hours of when they are sent and most are read within 2 minutes. Can you imagine the impact to your sales if you could reach 96% of your best customers with a special offer right now? If you are currently using email blasts then you know the importance of reaching your customers, text marketing allows you to reach more of them and to reach them instantly.
The other thing that I love about text marketing is the low cost. (Unfortunately that is only true if you choose the correct provider). If you purchase an account from a company like Dealz4.org that gives you unlimited texts for one fixed price (usually $995 per year but lower if you're a Page One For Professionals referral), then you can reach your customers for less than $20 per week. With a fixed price system your costs do NOT increase as you get more subscribers and start to give more offers. That is very important because as your business grows, you will get more subscribers and you'll want to send out more offers and you don't want to have to recalculate your budget every time you plan a text campaign. Having a fixed annual cost gives you a lot of freedom.
Many businesses find that once their text lists are built up sufficiently they can greatly reduce their print and online advertising, so the service can actually pay for itself.
That does bring up one potential negative. You, the business owner, will ultimately be responsible for how well, or how poorly, your text marketing campaign performs. You and your employees will have to encourage people to sign up. Once you have them signed up, you will need to make offers that keep them interested and get them to purchase. We can teach you some of the best practices for getting subscribers to your list but it will come down to how willing are you to actually ask customers to sign up. Dress Barn did a great campaign a few years ago. They simply trained the girls working the sales floor, when they saw a customer with a few items in their hands, they asked "Do you have a smartphone with a text plan?" If the customer said yes, they asked "Would you like to save 10% on your purchases today?" Most customers said yes. Then they explained how to sign up or offered to do the sign up for the customer. Then once they confirmed the sign up, the customer received an automated text with a code the cashier could use to give the 10% discount. That 10% is a small price to pay for the opportunity to market to this customer once a week, or once a month for the next few years. Those customers are the first to know about clearance sales, new inventory and store events. The customers appreciate it and Dress Barn increases their sales. There is no one better to advertise to than someone who ASKS you to send them ads.
Another question is, "Will it work for my business?"
I believe that text marketing can work for almost any type of business however, I always clarify that text marketing is NOT for every business. There are some specific types of businesses that can really do well with it and others that I would advise to not bother. For example, a contractor who builds kitchens is NOT going to do well with text marketing because people who want to rebuild their kitchen are NOT waiting for a text message and once they purchase the service, they should never need it again, unless they buy a new house. Most doctors, dentists and similar professionals will not need text marketing for sales, but there are some ways that it can be used.
We offer free consultations to help you determine what type of marketing is best for your business and if Text Marketing can help you. Call us at 973-220-6859 or fill out the form to the right for a free, no obligation consultation.
There are a lot of advantages to Text Message Marketing. We touched on them in my last post. That was a long post, so I thought I'd write a shorter (and hopefully more concise) primer. Text Message Marketing is also called SMS "Short Message Service" Marketing.
The two biggest advantages of SMS are:
1. It puts the advertiser in control of the message and the timing.
2. People "opt-in" so you know that these are people who WANT to hear from you.
The downside to SMS is:
It requires work on the part of the business owner. You need to educate your staff so that they will educate your customers so your customers will sign up for your SMS program. You see, you can't just purchase a system and then shoot out text messages to everyone's phone. Customers have to sign up and they won't sign up if they don't know how, or worse, if they don't know that you have an opt-in program.
Fortunately, it is very easy to overcome the downside. You can quickly teach your employees how to sign people up and some companies pay a bonus or incentive to the employee who signs up the most customers in a given time frame. You can also put a post card in every customer's bag as they leave explaining the program and including the SMS sign up code. Give customers an incentive to sign up while you have them in your store or restaurant. For example, you could offer 10% off today's purchases if they complete the sign up process. Let them know that they will receive exclusive offers and discounts as a "member" of your text club.
Texting is also great for bands, artists and theaters. Your "members" get notification via text whenever you have a new video, song, show or even an interview available. You can attach photos to a text message and really give your fans a personal touch.
Would you like to learn more? Better yet, would you like to try text marketing for 3-4 months free with absolutely no-obligation? Simply fill out the form to the right and in the Questions box write "free text plan". We've set up a deal through Dealz4.org to give a free demo. At the end of the free trial period, you will be given the option to pay a discounted yearly fee or have the service shut off. NO credit card is required for the free trial and your system will NOT become active unless YOU choose to active it after the trial period. What could be more fair?
*if you decide to keep the service you will receive unlimited texting for $397 per year.
I'm George Louvis