Add a Personal Touch
In this age of personal digital communication, business has become all about working towards establishing personal connections with every customer. The more targeted and specific the messaging is of your content, the more effective your business will be with engaging customers. At the very least, include the customer’s name in email messages, and make sure you’re sending messages that are likely to capture their interest, based on their age and location.
Keep It Short and Sweet
It’s important for marketers to remember that each customer is likely receiving dozens of emails each day—every hour, in fact—and very few have the time to read a lengthy, several paragraph email from one recipient. Limit your email messages to one central idea that will serve as the core message, and keep it as brief as you can without leaving out any important details. The idea is to provide customers with just enough information to leave them wanting more.
Optimize Emails for Mobile Devices
More than 80 percent of mobile users are checking email on their phones, therefore make sure that you’re making it as easy as possible for them to read your messages. If they have to adjust their screens or even scroll to the side in order to read your content, they’re likely to give up and toss your message into their junk folder. Being optimized for mobile is key.
The Virtue of Patience
The average sales cycle typically lasts about six months, which simply put, means that it will take roughly six months from the time a buyer becomes aware of your product or service before a purchase is made. Some small businesses assume that the buying process begins when the customer arrives at your website, but actually the awareness phase of the sales cycle often comes with the first contact the customer has with your company, whether it’s an email message, social media post, or pay-per-click ad.
In the meantime, he or she is only considering the purchase but is not physically ready to make that commitment. That’s when local marketing experts need to establish a personal connection, and it may take several contacts with your company before a customer is ready to make a purchase.
Although it’s necessary to be persistent at times, frequent contact with a customer could have an adverse effect if not done correctly, especially if you’re blasting them with automated messages. All you’ll achieve in the end is an annoyed customer who will likely jump ship to a competitor. Keep your contact with customers engaging and personalized, and don’t bombard them with incessant automated emails and phone calls.
With any type of marketing communication, whether it be an email or Facebook post, it’s the tiny details that can make or break it. If your emails are full of typos and grammatical errors, then you’re giving customers a negative impression of your company and of the quality of work that you provide. After all, if you can’t get your own email right, how can your customers trust your business to not make those same simple mistakes with their email marketing or their social media strategy? Your work is a direct reflection of your business. Be sure to read over and edit all forms of communication before being distributed to customers. Once you hit that send button, there is no going back!
Social media has been around for more than a decade now, but some business owners still may have a few things to learn when it comes to using social networking as a tool and where it’s headed in the not too distant future.
Fact 1: Social Media is No Longer Just for the Young
Some local internet marketing professionals may dismiss social media because it’s commonly believed that only “young people” are using it. They question why they should devote any portion of their valuable time to a medium that has an audience comprised of people who typically don’t have much money to spend. This may have been true in the infancy of social media but what if we told you social media is not just a young person’s game anymore. In fact, on Twitter, 55- to 64-year-olds make up the fastest growing segment of users.
Fact 2: Social Media is on the Rise
Today, more than 90 percent of businesses are active on social networking sites, and their budgets for local social media marketing are expected to increase in coming years. In fact, many businesses have plans to double social media’s share of their marketing budget over the next five years. Social media accounts for about 10 percent of most businesses’ marketing budgets, and that figure is also expected to increase two fold. Most likely, the cuts will come from print and television advertising rather than online advertising, which is also expected to increase.
Fact 3: Social Media Impacts All Marketers
Start laying the foundation for an increase in social media involvement now, and set long-term goals for the future. Even though your business may have at one time relied on an intern to maintain your social media presence, now it’s time to recruit an expert to manage your social media strategy. Fortunately, colleges and universities are beginning notice this trend and are working social media more into their marketing curriculum, so it may be time to hire a college graduate who has taken courses on social media.
In fact, you’ll see more and more jobs listings for “Social Media Marketer” jobs, and the field will become more specialized in the years to come. Even if your business doesn’t have the resources to hire an employee who specializes solely in social media, it may be a good idea for your marketing department to learn as much as possible about effective ways to manage your social media presence.
Fact 4: Customers Expect a Quick Response
Research shows that social media users, especially on Twitter, expect quick response times from businesses. More than 50 percent of Twitter users expect a response from a business within the hour, so it’s important to monitor your social networks closely. If it takes you 24 hours to get back to a customer, you’re way too late. After all, wouldn’t you want an answer to your question or complaint as soon as possible?
Fact 5: Photos are Key for Engagement on Facebook
87 percent of shares on Facebook include a photo, which are responsible for most of the user engagement on the site. In contrast, only 2 percent of plain text status updates are shared. So it makes sense for businesses that are on Facebook to focus their efforts on engaging customers with photos, especially on Fridays, which studies have shown is the best day for sparking user engagement on Facebook.
Email marketing has been around for a while now and is believed to be helpful to local internet marketers trying to boost their search engine rankings. Although the direct correlation between email and SEO still eludes us, it’s safe to say that sharing your original content with more online consumers will always pay off for your business.
Here are a few ways you can use email to increase your search engine rankings and drive more traffic to your website.
Get Customers Interested in Your Company
Even though Google doesn’t scan email messages for keywords, it’s always good to get your customers interested in what you have to say. In fact, some customers may prefer to receive updates from your business in their inboxes, which can feel more personal to some people.
Once customers are interested in your content, they’ll visit your website and comment on your blog articles, and they may even share the articles with their friends on social media. Also, you can use email messages to drive people to your social media channels, where they can interact further with your company.
Create Regular Content Consumers Through Email Subscriptions and RSS
Encourage your loyal customers to sign up for email subscriptions and to check out your content on their own through RSS feeds. The advantage of RSS feeds is that they keep people coming back to your website to check for new content, and that increases the number of website page views.
Subscribers may also be more likely to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks, which are scanned by Google and can help improve your search rankings. To learn more about the inner workings of Google, read our informational Google handbook.
Email and RSS subscriptions are also an excellent metric for marketers; the more people sign up, the more they feel they are engaged with customers.
Integrate Email Content with Other Channels
Email marketing may not take as much time as you might think, especially when you consider that email marketing content can be repurposed as blog content or even shortened for social media.
Customers who don’t subscribe will still have access to the great content you wrote for email, and those who are not subscribed may be encouraged to do so.
It’s important to note that email marketing shouldn’t be the only piece of your SEO marketing strategy or even the biggest, but it can attract visitors to your website and build engagement with your customers. And because 74 percent of smartphone users are using their devices to check their emails, it’s best to make sure all of your emails are optimized for mobile devices.
Now that consumers are becoming savvier, they’re less likely to believe what local internet marketers tell them in a single message. Therefore, it takes a unified approach to capture their attention and to foster the credibility of your business. What sets successful businesses apart from the rest is their ability to unify their brand’s messaging and voice with synchronized marketing.
Consistency Is Key
It’s imperative that businesses keep their core messages consistent across both digital and traditional platforms. Not only that, but they must also maintain that same voice from week to week, month to month, and so on. In contrast with integrated marketing, synchronized marketing is not limited to a single campaign or promotion. Your voice and core messaging should remain consistent across all channels, including:
- Customer service
- Website design
- Social media
- Print advertising
- Events and trade shows
Educate Your Employees
To effectively communicate your unified message, it’s important for local businesses to take the time to educate all staff members on the core aspects of the company’s brand. Even if you make an effort to project a consistent image online, your customers will be disappointed if they receive a far different message from a staff member, whether it’s in person, over the phone, or through email.
Content Drives Results
Local marketing experts everywhere agree that content is king. Set your business apart from the competition with high-quality, original content. Once you post to your business blog, you can then share it through various channels and use it to converse with and engage your customers online.
Connect Your Marketing Channels
While most marketers are already cross-promoting their social media networks, not all businesses have established that strong connection between their digital and traditional marketing channels that is needed.
Make sure you’re including your Twitter handle, QR code, or blog URL on your print ads. Connecting your digital and print pieces helps to expand the reach of both forms of marketing. Also, providing information about your online presence makes it more convenient for customers to find you online, where they might be more comfortable.
Bridge the Gap with Mobile Apps
Mobile apps are a great way to lead online customers into your store or shop. Thanks to the information that mobile users provide to these apps, marketers now have the capability of determining where these users are located; then marketers can use this information to deliver coupons and offers that lead the customer into the store.
For businesses that want to get started with synchronized marketing, it may be best to first determine what you want your voice and messages to be. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be the most difficult aspect of marketing. However, once your message is clearly defined, it’s only a matter of maximizing all of your marketing channels and keeping your voice and message consistent.