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August 29th, 2014 by: Chris Marentis

Local marketing experts have long known the importance of being able to find customers within their local geographic area, despite the prevalence of national chains. Now that customers are relying on their smart phones more and more often, there’s now an even greater opportunity to find these customers.

A Brief History of Geomarketing

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When online marketers first began targeting based on location, the method was simple. They simply delivered online ads based on the users’ IP addresses. This method, however, came with several limitations. For instance, if someone is doing Internet research on an upcoming trip, the IP-based targeting would not deliver ads for businesses that are located near their destination.

Thankfully, as people become more connected online, they’re naturally providing advertisers with more information. Through social networks such as Facebook and Foursquare, users provide advertisers with their geographic location, which makes location-based targeting much more accurate. That’s why mobile advertising revenue is expected to skyrocket from $7 billion to more than $30 billion by 2018.  

And thanks to the surging usage of smart phones, advertisers have up-to-the-second data on where their customers can be found at any given time. More than 60 percent of smart phone users say they use apps that require them to provide their location.

Try Geofencing

It’s critical for marketers to catch the right people at the right place at the right time. With the help of geofencing tools, businesses can send alerts, coupons, and messages to any customer who enters into a specific perimeter. That way, customers who are running errands near your business location may be enticed to stop by your store or showroom.

The Possibilities Are Endless

The presence of mobile technology and advanced location-based targeting tools is only on the up and up and will continue to increase over time. In fact, Google is now developing software that will enable billboards to transmit location-based ads to mobile phones in the area.

Tap Into Location-Based Targeting

Despite the dominance of mobile phones, many consumers still spend a significant amount of time at a laptop or desktop computer. Pay-per-click or PPC ads are a great way for businesses to hone in on customers in their geographic area. Because PPC ads are typically targeted based on keywords and location, they’re likely to generate more leads for less money than traditional TV or print ads.

Keep in mind that social media networks enable businesses to offer ads to users based on their geographic location, which enables businesses to offer highly targeted special offers, coupons, and exclusive information to users in a specific geographic location. 

In the end, no matter which type of ad you choose, it’s clear that location matters when it comes to marketing.


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August 27th, 2014 by: Abdul El-Tayef
Abdul El-Tayef

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We’ve come a long way since the invention of the World Wide Web, but the majority of business websites still fail to engage customers, and many may even be turning some customers away. In fact, MarketingGrader handed out a failing grade to more than 70 percent of the business websites reviewed.

Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of web design tips for businesses with struggling websites that are not performing to their full potential.

Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices

Although employees in your industry might spend a majority of their time at a desktop computer, the majority of your customers are using a mobile device to access the web. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to cater to this large segment of customers, who often have trouble reading web pages that don’t fit nicely onto the screen of their handheld devices.

According to local marketing experts, it pays to design a website specifically for mobile. Simple, streamlined designs are instantly appealing to mobile users.

Use Animation Wisely

When it comes to website design, we tend to want to show off our creativity and capability with eye-catching animation, but it’s important to make sure that any flashy animations being used are adding to the overall user experience, not taking away from it. Too much animation is a distraction for users. In general, it’s best to keep it simple.

Keep It Clutter-Free

Some business websites try to do too much. Instead of telling people every single thing about your business, simply tell them what your business does and what they as the customer should do next. An overload on information, links, and images can easily become overwhelming.

Simplify Your Language

Clichés and corporate jargon can be found all over the Internet—but that doesn’t mean they should show up on your website. Instead, use conversational language that gives your business a more personal feel, one that customers will easily comprehend.

Make It Customer-Centric

Rather than focusing on your business’s accolades and achievements, a website should tell customers what you can do for them and how. Keep bragging to a minimum and allow the clarity and usefulness of your website speak to the credibility of your business.

Also, it’s equally important to use your website to present your business as a reliable source of information or entertainment. A solid content creation strategy is a must for any business. Publish blogs, videos, and other resources that give customers a reason to keep coming back.

Give Customers a Clear Call to Action

The ultimate goal of any website is to get customers to complete an action, whether that be to buy a product, schedule an appointment, or sign up for email updates. When customers visit your website, they should know exactly what the next step is without having to think too hard about it. If you give them too many options too quickly, they will just get confused and leave your website.


Pinterest
August 26th, 2014 by: Alexandra Reichenbach

Already so far, Pinterest’s new messenger feature has received a big thumbs-up from its users and local social media marketing experts alike. Pinterest has been making a series of smart moves that have enabled users to better interact with one another. In the very beginning, users could only send pins to their friends and family members through email. Then starting this past year, they could send pins without having to leave the network, and now with this latest update, they can chat directly about the pin with up to 10 people!

chat-309417_640The messenger will likely prove extremely beneficial to Pinterest users, who combined send a total of 2 million pins each day. Consumers typically use Pinterest to find inspiration for their home-improvement projects and major events, and this new messenger system may further help them collaborate with friends and family members. Pinterest users can also send messages to friends who aren’t on Pinterest, which may be enough to entice non-users to join the network.

How the Messenger Works

The new feature will be available to people who use Pinterest on a desktop or laptop as well as the Android, iPhone, or iPad. Besides the ability to send a standard message to a friend, the messenger also allows people to interact with pins they send and receive. They can post the pin to their own board, share it with another friend, or add it to their favorites. It’s important to note that this feature is more advanced than the private messaging tools found on Facebook and Twitter.

To send a pin, just click on the send icon, which can be found on the left side of the screen, and then type in the name of the recipient. Pinterest keeps track of recent messages, which appear as chat bubbles on the left side of the screen.

What Pinterest’s Messenger Means for Businesses

The introduction of this new feature means that users will likely start spending more time on the network, and businesses may want to take a second look at advertising on Pinterest, particularly if they are part of an industry that lends itself particularly nicely to visual communication, such as landscaping and home remodeling.

Eventually, Pinterest may make it possible for businesses to not only showcase their products and services but also to conduct transactions directly on the site.

But until then, Pinterest will continue to serve as a powerful tool for businesses that want to highlight examples of their best work. The network is growing, and people are spending more time browsing through photos and interacting with their friends. Now is the time for businesses to tap into this great and expanding marketing tool! 


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August 21st, 2014 by: Alexandra Reichenbach

Facebook’s user base is ever growing, and people are seeing more daily content in their news feeds than ever before. Because there are so many people and businesses competing for visibility on Facebook news feeds, your business page content may only be reaching a small percentage of all your followers.

keys-264595_640In fact, it’s likely that only about 6 percent of your followers are seeing your updates. Until a couple of years ago, local social media marketing professionals could count on a large organic reach for all of their Facebook posts, but due to the sheer number of people, businesses, and organizations that are competing for spots on users’ news feeds, it’s now much more difficult to get your message across a wide audience.

What Makes It to News Feeds?

To determine what ends up on users’ news feed, Facebook uses an algorithm that is based on more than 100,000 factors, which include:

  • How often the user interacts with the page
  • How many of the user’s friends like the page
  • When the last comment was made
  • What types of content, such as links or videos, the user typically interacts with

Mix It Up

If you’re like most business owners, you spend a significant amount of your marketing resources crafting posts that will engage your followers, but many of these posts could be going unseen. Fortunately, there are ways to increase your business page’s organic reach.

First, experiment with posting updates outside of business hours. You might find that posting at 7:30 a.m. on weekdays, for instance, is more effective than at 9:00 a.m.

Also, make sure you’re giving your followers variety when it comes to the type of posts you’re publishing. By providing your followers with a variety of posts, you’re increasing the likelihood that a larger number of people will interact with your posts. Keep in mind that Facebook posts aren’t limited to status updates. You can also engage followers by posting:

  • Links to outside resources
  • Links to blog content
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Exclusive Facebook offers
  • Event announcements
  • Milestone announcements

It’s also important to vary the length of your text updates. Some users skip over long blocks of text, and others like more details. You’re more likely to win over followers from both camps if you provide some of both kinds of text posts.

Consider Paid Advertising

One surefire way to increase your Facebook reach is by paying for it. When you compare the cost of Facebook advertising to, say, TV ads or even pay per click advertising such as Google AdWords, Facebook is still the clear winner. For just $0.25, you can reach 1,000 people on Facebook. Reaching 1,000 people through a magazine, however, would cost about $32.