Monthly Archives: February 2017

How can I use social media to connect with local customers?

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Female customer with plastic cards and shopping bags looking for local businessFacebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat…all the major social media sites have been touted as the ultimate world-wide connector—and for good reason.  On Facebook alone, statistics show that more than one billion people around the world are active users.  As great as that huge statistic is, if you’re a local business owner or manager, it does little toward meeting your goal of using social media to connect with your local customers and, ultimately, increase your sales.  That’s when it’s time to use a more targeted approach to connect with your local customers on social media so they come back—and to attract new customers in the process.

Share posts and tweets about local events.

If your company is an active part of your community, show it.  Share posts and tweets about local events in your area.  This tactic has a two-fold benefit: 1) it shows you are involved in your local community 2) it gives your customers information they want to see.  This strategy comes with a note of caution, however: be smart about how much you share local events.  You don’t want to push your followers away because they are sick of the same old posts about the same events over and over again.  Share a post or tweet every once in awhile to showcase the event, or to make your customers aware of a need in the community (and a chance to help).

Use social ads.

There is value in using social ads to reach your local customers.  Make sure your ads are targeted locally and relevant (if you don’t know how, outsource your efforts).  Don’t pound your audience over the head with endless advertisements; use ads strategically to boost relevant events or information you know your customers want to see (but can’t because of the decrease in organic business page reach).

Embrace local reviews.

A positive review of your product is worth its weight in gold—especially in the eyes of potential customers looking for a local service or product that can fix their problem.  Enjoy every positive local review, and ask for more.  Make an in-person ask or a sign requesting your customers leave reviews after you’ve helped them, and respond to their reviews and requests as soon as possible (good customer service and interactions spur more!).

Make your live video feeds and videos local news-worthy.

Video is the wave of the future, so use it to your advantage.  Produce videos that catch your audience’s attention about local going-ons and information they care about.  If you have an event, involve your participants in your video for a fun interaction.  If you don’t have the time or the know-how to make that happen, contract your efforts out to the marketing experts that do.

Integrate social media with other local marketing efforts.

One of the most effective ways to use social media to reach your local customers is to integrate it with your other local marketing efforts (we’ve given you a full list of ways to reach your local customers).  One idea: use your social media channels to drive people to the gallery on your website or use your social media to showcase your content marketing efforts (which optimizes your website for search engines).  Here’s how to craft a strategic integrated marketing plan that accomplishes your local goal. Social media helps you connect the dots—between your marketing efforts and you and your local customers.

9 Effective Ways to Reach Your Local Customers

customer buying item after being reached by local marketingIt’s the million dollar question for any local business owner: “how do I reach my local customers?”

Website

If you want to reach local customers, you need to have a solid foundation: a well-built business website.  A solid website has all the information your customers and potential customers could need or want, and a convenient way to contact you.  Though you can’t use the website to overtly reach your customers, your business should have a website that you can direct your customers to when they find your website on search engines, social media, through a content marketing piece, or from email.

We’ve written about the important elements of a solid website before; don’t just open your brochure and start haphazardly putting the text into a website.  Instead, organize the information that your customers want in a format they can easily navigate (or hire the pros to create a website) and that you can easily direct people to from email, social media, and direct mail pieces.

Search engines

Think of SEO technology as a website amplifier.  SEO optimizes your website for search engines, making major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo take note and list your website at the top of search engine results pages.  Not just any SEO technology can do this effectively, so choose your SEO provider carefully.

If you want to use SEO to reach local customers, contact a company that provides local SEO.  Local SEO gets your business at the top of the searches (not ad listings-important!) that pertain to your business by people within 10, 20, and 50 miles of your business.

Social Media

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the major social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat.  If you want to reach your local customers, you need to harness the power of these sites for your business.  Choose the right social media sites that your target audience is on, and make sure you don’t take on more social media marketing than you have time for.  Start by using these tips to grow your social media followings, and be careful not to oversell on your pages.

Even though your goal is to use social media to grow your business, focus on connecting with your audience instead of selling to them.  No one wants to listen to a business that continually broadcasts advertisements at them.  Instead, use humor (when appropriate), excellent customer service (please answer their messages!), relevant information, tips, community information, and anything else your customers want to hear to build trust.

Review Sites

Local review websites don’t help you directly reach out to your customers, but they do help build trust when customers are trying to find you.  When they do, use common internet review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List to your advantage.  Fill out a complete profile on top review sites and ask your customers to post feedback after their experience with your company.  If you have multiple locations, you may have to create numerous profiles.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is exactly what it says: producing content for marketing.  Basically, you write about topics that your audience wants to know about (i.e. tips, advice, checklists, etc.) and use different methods to promote it.  For example, if you are a pet store, you would write about choosing the right food for your cat.  The article would be posted to a blog, then sent out in an email to your customers with pet food specials and scheduled to post to social media.  If you don’t know what to write about, or don’t have the time to write new content, use these tips to select a content marketing firm that can. 

In addition to building trust with your audience, content marketing has another benefit.  Adding relevant content to your website can gain the attention of search engines and improve your ranking in search engine listing.

Email Marketing

Connect with your local customers through their inbox—with their consent of course.  Use these tips to build a quality email list (please don’t buy lists) and add sending emails with strong attention-getting headlines and strong call-to-actions to your to-do list.  Make sure your emails are relevant and relatable, and that you give your email subscribers the chance to ‘unsubscribe’ when they want (it’s the law).

Direct Mail

Contrary to the obnoxious naysayers, direct mail as a marketing tactic is not dead.  However, the days of sending direct mail after direct mail pieces out is.  Instead, integrate direct mail into your marketing plan as a targeted effort.  Target customers with services that you know they are going to want to know about, such as an accessory sale for a product they had bought.  In addition to direct mail, use other marketing tactics to spread the word about your sale (i.e. content marketing pieces about product maintenance, social media posts with memes, etc.).    

Advertisements

Whether online or traditional, there is value in advertising.  The key to a successful advertisement (and any marketing tactic, really) is to know who your customers are and advertise in media where they go for information.  If your customer base is younger, look into advertising on search engines or social media.  Make sure you target local customers in online advertisements; if you don’t have the opportunity to target your online ads, you’re not going to reach the potential customers you want.

Marketing Plan

We know a marketing plan is not technically a marketing tactic, but it is an important element of reaching your local customers.  Instead of randomly employing these tactics to drive sales whenever you hit a lull, use a marketing plan to strategically promote your business all year round (here’s how to draft a solid marketing plan for local customers).  If you don’t have the time or expertise, contact a company that can draft a marketing plan and help you reach your local customers.

10 Reasons Your Content Marketing Is a Fail

frustrated young business man irritated that content marketing isn't working“Why isn’t my content marketing getting results?” might be one of the most asked questions out there.  (Right behind, “what is content marketing?” and “why isn’t my social media posts getting any attention?” but those are posts from another day.)  Fact is, many a business manager and owner know enough about content marketing to be dangerous but not effective. Here are some of the most common reasons why your content marketing is stalling out.

You don’t know who you’re writing for

All your content should revolve around your audience.  If you don’t know who that is, you’re not going to write content that they want to read.  Take a second look at identifying your audience, and tweak your efforts accordingly.

You’re not posting regularly

The internet is full of blogs started with good intentions—and good posts—but lacking follow-through.  Content marketing takes commitment.  You’re not going to get continual credit from your online audience and search engines if you don’t continually produce quality content.  If you can’t keep up with your ambitious plan, outsource your efforts to a marketing firm that delivers.

You don’t have a plan

Random posts randomly shared yields random results.  Worst yet, it yields sporadic results that aren’t going to stick with your audience and give long-term results.  Before you start publishing content, create a content publishing calendar that coordinates with your other marketing efforts (both online and offline).  A marketing company can also help you draft a calendar and give you unbiased expertise that makes the calendar effective.

Your content just sits

As satisfying as it might be to hit the ‘post’ button on your blog, content on a blog is static.  Your audience isn’t going to find your content unless you have a strategic promotion plan.  If you want your content to be useful, use it in emails, on social media, on mail pieces, and on other media.

Too many typos

If you want your audience to click away from your content, don’t proof it.  Nothing repels a reader faster than an article full of typos and grammatical errors.  Double check your content before and after posting, and make sure your emails are full of content your teacher would be proud of.  If that task is beyond daunting (and time-consuming), contract your content to company that produces quality content.

Your content just sells, sells, sells

Business owners just want to scream to the world, “buy, buy, buy!”  Your content shouldn’t.  The goal of content is to build trust.  Content that sounds like a walking advertisement is going to do the opposite: make your audience quick to hit the ‘back’ button.  Quality content should have a call to action, but shouldn’t scream at your audience.

Your audience doesn’t care

Why would your audience click if you don’t give them a topic they care about?  Relevance is the name of the game in content marketing—and the way to get clicks and engagement.  Your audience isn’t going to click on your headline if you don’t give them a topic they care about and that’s relevant to their life.

You’re not allocating enough time

As easy as content marketing sounds, it does require a significant amount of time and effort.  Many of our clients have delved into content marketing thinking they have the time, but quickly realize they don’t.  A few paragraphs aren’t going to do; you’re going to have to have the necessary time to produce quality, in-depth content.

You aren’t using quality images in your plan

Notice the caveat: quality images.  The combination of images and text in your content marketing plan serves as a draw for everyone in your audience.  Text-only articles without images or social media posts minus a quality image just isn’t going to get your audience’s attention.

You expect the moon now

Online marketing is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.  If you want to build a quality following that makes all your content marketing efforts worthwhile,  prepare for the long haul OR contact a marketing company that can achieve long-term results (here are tips for choosing the right content marketing company).  There’s no shame or blame when outsourcing your content marketing efforts—only the satisfaction of an effective well-executed content marketing plan.