The reason? There are some popular misconceptions about social media marketing and some secrets that you simply won’t know about unless someone tells you.
Here they are.
#1: The Size of Your Following May Not Matter
One of the biggest misconceptions about social media marketing is that Page Likes equal success. That’s often not the case.
You can create an entertaining account that attracts new followers and not see any change in your bottom line. If that happens, you’re basically whistling in the wind. The time and energy you spend on managing your social media pages isn’t getting you anything in return.
A better bet is to focus on attracting highly qualified and motivated followers who are likely to turn into customers and share your content with their friends.
#2: There’s No Such Thing as Overnight Success
To quote the cliché, social media marketing isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. It takes a lot of time, commitment, and dedication to attract a following and see results from your social media marketing efforts.
In many ways, this misconception relates to the first one. A big following doesn’t equal success. You may spend a lot of money boosting your page and attract a lot of followers. However, if those followers don’t buy from you, the money will have been wasted.
In other words, social media marketing requires an ongoing commitment to excellence. You’ll need to work hard to create valuable and entertaining content – and be willing to tweak your methods to get the results you want.
#3: You Won’t Succeed Without Analysis
Analyzing the results of your social media marketing is a must if you want to grow your business. It’s not enough simply to eyeball your Likes and other obvious metrics. You’re going to need to dig deep to refine your strategy.
Fortunately, most platforms offer basic analytics that you can use to get started. If you pay for a social media management tool, you probably have access to additional reporting and analysis. Either way, it’s essential to use the data you have to test, refine, and re-test your content and strategy.
Even if you’ve done well on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll need to commit to doing the sometimes-tedious legwork that will help you hit on the right strategy to grow your business.
#4: Engagement Is Just as Important as Content
You might create fantastic content on a regular basis, but if you aren’t also setting aside time to engage with your followers, you might as well not bother.
A lot of companies make the mistake of forgetting the “social” in social media. It’s your job to monitor your content, reply to comments, answer questions, and generally make your followers feel that they are important to you.
Engagement can be time-consuming, and it’s one of the reasons that a lot of small businesses don’t do well on social media. You may need to hire someone to monitor your mentions, comments, DMs, and questions to ensure that nothing is falling through the cracks.
#5: Success is Difficult to Predict
The Holy Grail of social media marketing is the viral post. Whether it’s a video, a meme, a photograph, or a blog post, every social media marketer dreams of creating The One – the special post that reaches millions of followers and sends their business into orbit.
We’d love to be able to give you a formula to help you create that perfect post. Sadly, there isn’t one. The best you can do is create the most entertaining, valuable, relevant content you can – and hope that your followers will share it and that it will catch on.
Of course, there are some things that can help your chances of going viral. Humorous content does well, and so does content that’s useful to different groups of people. Instead of focusing on virality, spend your time getting creative – and the rest will, hopefully, follow.
#6: You’ll Need a Creative Team to Help You
Your social media goals may be simple or grand, but either way, it’s important to understand that you may not be able to do everything you need to do without help.
Creativity is a plus when it comes to social media marketing. If all you do is share content from other people or Tweet out information about your products, you’re not going to attract the passionate following you want.
The key is to give your social media manager the creative support they need. That may mean hiring a creative team to work with them. Or, it may be as simple as giving them a creative budget that they can use to hire freelance writers, photographers, and artists to give your social media marketing a boost.
#7: Everything Can Change at a Moment’s Notice
One of the trickiest aspects of social media marketing is that change is normal. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are constantly tweaking their algorithms – and you’ll need to stay on top of the changes they make if you want to do well.
For example, Facebook recently changed its algorithm to prioritize posts from personal connections over those from businesses. As a result, business owners have had to rethink their strategies, work harder to get organic engagement, and increase their Facebook marketing budgets to make sure that their posts reach their followers.
Tracking your performance and engagement can help you in this regard. However, it’s essential to be aware of changes and to adapt your strategy accordingly so you’re not spinning your wheels.
Social media marketing isn’t as easy as it seems…
That much is clear. But, keeping the seven items we’ve outlined here in mind can help you make the most of the time, creative energy, and money you spend to promote your business on social media.
The problem that some local businesses have is that they’re not sure which type of lead magnet will prove to be irresistible to their target audience.
One reason for the confusion is that many of the online resources about creating lead magnets focus on online businesses. Local businesses need to take a different approach. Here are 5 ideas for lead magnets that will help you attract new leads and customers.
#1: The Mini eBook
Our first proven lead magnet idea is the mini eBook. Giving away a book is enticing to consumers because they’re accustomed to paying for books. Getting one for free is exciting and, if you choose your topic wisely, can be enough to get people to fill out a lead form or subscribe to your list.
The key, of course, is choosing a topic that will appeal to the people you want to attract. Here are some suggestions.
#2: The Checklist
The next option is very quick to create and can be useful to your customers. Checklists are one-page items that are designed to help your target audience complete a task or get organized.
Here are a few examples of the kinds of things that make for interesting checklists:
#5: The Resource Guide
Resource guides can be sort of a hybrid between an eBook and a checklist. It’s always helpful to provide your audience with something they can put to practical use – and a resource guide does precisely that.
Your resource guide might be focused on a service you provide. A party planner might include a list of local caterers and other related service providers in their resource guide.
You might also provide a list of resources to help your clients do something. A tax attorney might put together a list of online resources that includes links to the IRS website and other resources to help clients prepare to file their taxes.
#4: Case Study
What if your business is service-based? If that’s the case, you may want to consider creating a detailed case study as your lead magnet.
A case study isn’t actionable the same way an eBook or checklist might be, but it can be the ideal way to illustrate the value you can provide to your clients.
For example, a wedding planner might create a case study that demonstrates her ability to organize a beautiful wedding on a shoestring budget. An accounting firm might do a case study explaining how they saved a client thousands of dollars in taxes.
Here, your goal should be to show yourself and your business in the best light possible. Your case study doesn’t need to be long, but it should be something that’s designed to appeal to the audience you want to attract.
#5: Free Coupon/Discount
We’ve saved our least complex lead magnet for last. Everybody loves to get something for a discount (or for free!) and offering a free coupon or discount is a proven way to attract leads.
Of course, you can get creative with this option, too. Here are some suggestions:
Any audience can be drawn in by the right offer…
Your job is to consider the people you want to attract, and then create a lead magnet that is so irresistible that they’ll line up to give you their email addresses or fill out your lead form.
After that, the rest is easy.
The solution is to come up with a way to display a killer image, some compelling text, and call to action whenever anybody links to your website or social profiles.
In other words, it’s time to create some social cards. Let’s talk about what they are, what they can do for your business, and how to create them.
All About Social Cards
What the heck is a social card? It sounds like a Jane Austen-era throwback, something you’d leave on a silver tray in someone’s entryway.
In a way, social cards are the calling cards of the digital age. Just as a printed calling card could show something about the owner’s personality, a social card is your opportunity to show off your business in its best (and most compelling) light.
Basically, it’s a visual “card” that displays whenever someone links to your website or social media profile. They typically consist of an image, some limited text, and a call to action.
One thing that makes social cards special is that the image is clickable. You’ll have room to put a URL at the bottom (that’s your call to action) but clicking the image will have the same effect.
Another way to think of social cards is that they’re amped-up hyperlinks.
What Social Cards Can Do for You
What can social cards for your website and social profiles do for you? The answer is: quite a lot. They offer the combined benefits of a backlink and an ad, and you they’re free to make!
Here are some of the specific things that social cards can do for you.
They Show Your Business in its Best Light
Social cards show your business in its best light. If you don’t create a social card, you run the risk of getting saddled with a lackluster image pulled from the dark recesses of your website.
Think of it as the difference between choosing the perfect outfit for a date and having your closet randomly shoot out clothes for you to wear. Nobody would choose the latter option if the former were available.
They Make Sharing Links Easy
Without a social card, you’ll need to choose an image every time you share a link – or settle for whatever choice Facebook or Google makes for you. On Twitter, you won’t get an image at all if you don’t specify one!
Social cards use images consistently and eliminate the need for you to upload or select an image. Any time you decide to share your link, your social card will display.
They Give People a Reason to Care about Your Business
Perhaps the most important thing social cards can do for your company is giving people a reason to care about your business – and to click your link instead of the next one on their Twitter feed.
When you create social cards, you have the opportunity to share the kind of image and text that will make your business stand out from the competition.
Quick Steps to Create Social Cards for Your Most Important Links
It’s very easy to create social cards once you know how to do it. Let’s walk through the steps you’ll need to follow so you can get it done.
#1: Get the Right Tools to Help You
The first thing you’ll need to do is check to see if your web platform has tools to help you create social cards. WordPress has a great plug-in called Yoast SEO that, among other things, simplifies the process of creating social cards.
If you’re not using WordPress, check to see what tools are available. If none are, you may want to consider switching to a platform that has some.
Another tool we like is AnyImage, which makes it very easy to create images with text to use as social cards. You can also look at tools like Canva or Photoshop if you prefer.
#2: Choose a Killer Image
What image will you use for your social card? It needs to be a killer – something that perfectly represents your business and what it can do for people in your target audience.
You may already have an image in mind. If not, you can use the tools we’ve mentioned above to create one.
Stock images can be a good choice if you select the image you use carefully. You don’t want something that looks posed. Sites like Deposit Photos and Shutterstock are good places to start.
Whichever image you choose, you’ll need to make sure that it’s properly sized for the social media sites you’ll be using it on.
#3: Craft Compelling Text to Go with Your Image
You’ll need two pieces of text to go with your image. The first is a title or headline. It should be larger than the supporting text and compel the reader to pay attention and learn about your business. Just a few words will do – if they’re the right words.
The other thing you need is a sentence or two of supporting text. The goal is to make a strong case for people to click your call to action. What will they get if they do? What benefits will they reap? Those are the things to focus on.
#4: Add a Call to Action
The final step is to add a call to action. If the card you’re creating is just for people sharing a link, adding your URL may be sufficient. However, if you’re promoting a service or building a list, you’ll want to add a CTA button instead.
The button should use strong action words to get people to click. Consider using a contrasting color or a different font to make your CTA stand out.
Social cards can make your business stand out…
If seeing your link is a potential customer’s first date with you, you don’t want the first word that comes to mind when they see it to be “generic” or “boring.”
Creating a social card will help you make the perfect first impression – and get your new customer relationship off to a good start.
But – it’s also subject to a slew of weird glitches called cognitive biases.
Cognitive biases are basically mental shortcuts. They’re hard-coded into our brains, so much so that even people who understand them can still fall under their spells.
The good news for you is that you can use the psychology behind these biases to connect with people in your target audience, build your business reputation, and even convince people to buy your products. Here are 6 ways you can use psychology in your marketing.
#1: Use Emotions to Trigger Decisions
Have you ever noticed that your decision-making process changes when your emotions are engaged? If so, you’re not alone. Most people, even those that think they’re making decisions solely based on logic, can be swayed by their emotions.
Charities know this. It’s why the ASPCA features neglected animals in their ads. They know that animal lovers will want to help when they see those images.
Do you have a compelling origin story for your business? Are you connected with a local charity? Sharing these things can help people form an emotional connection to you – and increase the chances that they’ll turn into paying customers.
#2: Give Potential Customers Something for Free
One of the most commonly-used cognitive biases in marketing is Reciprocity. Reciprocity is the thing that’s triggered when someone gives you a gift and you don’t have something to give them in return. You feel a bit guilty – and you’re more likely to get them a gift as a result.
In marketing, you can trigger Reciprocity by giving people something for free. A lot of businesses use lead magnets, such as a short eBook or template, to entice people to sign up for their lists.
Giving people a sneak peak or a free sample can drive sales. Or, you might want to try offering a BOGO (that’s buy one, get one free) instead. These tactics are simple, but they can increase your profits dramatically if you use them properly.
#3: Frame Your Products or Services with Positive Language
The right picture frame can enhance the image it holds – and the wrong one can detract from it. The same is true of your products and services.
The language you use to describe your company and products can make a huge difference in how potential customers see you. It’s why restaurant menus feature words like gooey, crisp, and fresh. These words entice. If they described their meals with words like unhealthy, calorie-laden, they wouldn’t sell.
Look at how you’re framing your products right now. Is the language you’re using enticing? Are you highlighting the best things about your product?
If you’re not, it’s time to rethink your descriptions. A customer is more likely to buy something that is framed positively than something with a neutral or negative frame.
#4: Use Price Anchoring to Increase the Perceived Value of Your Products
The Anchoring Effect is a cognitive bias that shows that people attach importance to the first price they see for a product. TV infomercials and sales pages for affiliate products tend to use anchoring very well.
For example, they might start off by telling you that the product they’re selling is a $100 value. When they do, that price becomes the anchor price. The product is worth $100.
Then, they chip away at the price. By the time you get to the end of the commercial (or the bottom of the page), the asking price of $29 seems like a fantastic bargain.
You don’t have to be as hype-y as those commercials, but there are some things you can do to anchor your product’s price in people’s minds:
#5: Create a Sense of Scarcity
If you know anything about internet slang, you know about FOMO – the fear of missing out. It turns out that’s more than just a handy abbreviation. It’s a tool that you can use in your marketing.
Scarcity is something that they use all the time on the Home Shopping Network. If you watch, you’ll notice there’s always a count of how many items are left. Watching that number tick down to zero motivates people who might be on the fence to pick up the phone.
You can use scarcity by running 24-hour sales or including a countdown clock. One way to do it is by creating an email series. Even adding a PS (You only have 12 more hours to take advantage of this price!) can be enough to motivate people to buy from you.
#6: Use Social Proof
We like to think of ourselves as individuals, but human beings have a lot in common with herd animals. We stick with the crowd most of the time.
The psychological term for this phenomenon is Social Proof – or, if you prefer, the Bandwagon Effect. It says that people are more likely to go with the popular choice even if they don’t like it (or agree with it) at first.
You can use social proof in marketing in several ways. For example:
Thought control might sound like science fiction…
…but it’s really just a matter of understanding basic psychology and using what you learn in your marketing. These six psychological principles can help you connect with your audience and increase your bottom line.
#1: Local Search Marketing
Local search marketing has a lot in common with local SEO – but it represents an integrated approach to making sure that your company shows up in local searches.
To amp up your standing in local search, do these things. First, seek out and standardize your NAP listings online. It may take a while, but it’s worth the effort. When your listings are all identical, there won’t be any confusion about who you are – or where people can find you online.
Second, create and claim your listings on sites like Google My Business, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing Places for Business, and Facebook. Make sure to use the same name and basic information for each listing. Choosing the right categories is important too. Be as specific as you can be without going overboard.
Third, get your business listed in relevant directories and make sure to standardize your listings. To find places where you’re already listed, clear your cache and cookies and then use local search terms to find your business. If you’re not at or near the top, you still have work to do.
#2: Build Your List
Email marketing might not be on the cutting edge, but we’re always amazed to learn how few local businesses are using email marketing regularly.
Whatever excuses you may have used to avoid collecting emails are holding you back. It’s time to let go of them and embrace email marketing as something that can make a significant difference in your bottom line.
Create a simple opt-in form to use on your website. Consider offering a lead magnet to entice people to subscribe. And, when people come into your business? Ask them for an email address before they leave. Most people will say yes.
Once your list is in place, you can use it to let subscribers know about new products, sales, and promotions. And even more importantly, you can ask them for reviews or to follow you on social media. These things can all help you improve your online reach and drive sales.
#3: Optimize Your Website for Humans and Search Engines
SEO should be part of your local marketing strategy, but it’s important to remember that your customers are not search engines or bots – they’re people.
Increasingly, search engines like Google and Bing are focusing on the user experience as a ranking factor. It’s why Google has added Rank Brain to its algorithm – because doing so increases the chances that searchers will get what they’re looking for.
In other words, you need to think about Google – and you need to know that Google is thinking about people. Your site can and should use local keywords, but you also need:
#4: Advertise on Facebook
Facebook advertising might already be in your marketing mix, but are you using it properly? Recent changes to Facebook’s algorithms have made it imperative for local business to pay to get their content in front of subscribers.
In addition to traditional image ads, here are some of the Facebook ads you may want to try:
#5: Add Video to Your Google My Business Listing
Until recently, Google My Business listings allowed businesses to list their hours and post photos. Now, it’s possible for business owners to add a short video to their listing as well.
Videos are limited to 30 seconds. For that reason, you’ll need to be mindful of what you include – and focus on the things that are most likely to convince people to visit your business.
Here are some suggestions:
#6: Create a Facebook Event
Facebook Events are free to create and provide a way for local businesses to hype upcoming events, connect with potential customers, and increase attendance.
The next time you’re having a sale, try creating a Facebook Event. You can upload a unique image, add details of the event, and post updates to remind people about it. Once the event is created, you’ll be able to send invitations to your followers.
You can also encourage your followers to share the event with their friends. This technique is also good if you’re participating in a community event or sponsoring a charity.
It’s time to turn 2018 into the year that led to your biggest success…
… and these six tips can help you do it. Marketing a local business online isn’t easy. The key is to choose the right techniques – and then employ them to help you connect with your target audience, attract leads, and ultimately, make the sales that will propel your business into the future.
The trick? Knowing how to optimize your website so that each location gets its turn in the spotlight. Here’s how to do it.
First: Set Up Individual Pages for Each Location
You don’t need to have a unique domain name for each location. That’s costly and in many cases, may cause confusion when people search for your company.
Instead, take your primary domain name and then set up unique pages for each of your locations. Think of them as mini-sites.
The URL of each location’s page must include the location. In other words, if your main site is abccompany.com, your location URLs might be:www.your-company.com/redmond/testimonials.
On each location page, make sure to include:
Second: Optimize Google My Business Listings for Each Location
Google My Business listings are essential for optimization and you should have a listing for each one of your company’s locations.
Here’s what you’ll need to do to optimize each location properly, so people can find you:
Of course, there are some other things you need to know about managing multiple locations on Google My Business.
First, you should use consistent names for your locations. If one location is listed as Your Business – Redmond, WA, then other locations should follow the same pattern.
Likewise, you should strive for consistency in the categories you choose. If you own a string of dry cleaners, you should use the same category for each one.
The one exception to this rule is if you have a location that offers completely different services. For example, you might own 10 dry cleaning locations and one tailoring shop. If they’re all using the same name, you should choose the category that suits the location in question.
Third: Manage Your Online Citations for Each Location
You already know that NAP listings (that’s Name, Address, Phone Number) are essential for raising your online profile. Their importance only increases when you have multiple locations to optimize.
Keep in mind that your locations may be listed in multiple places even if you haven’t claimed your listings. You should plan on doing a series of searches to find every citation of your businesses by location.
You may want to start with aggregation sites where listings are common. Some examples include:
Fourth: Manage Reviews for Each Location
Online reviews play a huge role in consumers’ buying decisions. Research shows that more than four-fifths of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business or purchasing a product.
Some of the sites listed above are review sites. Your job is to manage your reviews on every site where they appear. That means:
Fifth: Build Links to Each Location Page
The final step is to build links to each of the locational pages you’ve created. The key is to build high-quality links. It’s not a good idea to spam links or use black hat techniques. Instead, here are some ideas to try:
Managing SEO for multiple locations can be a challenge…
…but it’s a challenge that’s worth the effort. Ultimately, you want potential customers – wherever they are – to be able to find the location that closest to them. Following the steps outlined here will help you accomplish that goal.
Either way, the solution is to make yourself into an authority.
Here’s the secret that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t know:
Authority is not something other people bestow on you. It’s something you can build.
That might surprise you. It shouldn’t. The people you view as authorities created their authority by their actions. And you can too.
Why Authority Matters
Why is authority important? It’s very simple. When you have authority, people listen to what you say. They value your opinion – and when you tell them to buy something, they’ll do it.
That’s why authority is one of Robert Cialdini’s principles of influence. Psychologically speaking, people are inclined to do what an authority figure tells them to do – even if they wouldn’t do it on their own.
A simple example of this principle in action comes from television advertising. Maybe you remember those commercials featuring well-known actors. They always started with something like this:
I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.
You might think of that as a disclaimer, but it’s a statement of authority. People were accustomed to thinking of those actors as doctors. So, when they recommended a cough syrup or headache medication, people trusted those recommendations.
Another way of looking at it is that authority is based on trust. If you do a good job building authority, people will trust you and your products.
Branding and Authority
You’ll build authority more quickly if you define your brand and present it in a consistent way in all your online marketing.
Why? Because authority is easier to build if you have a narrowly defined area of expertise. Nobody is equally knowledgeable about everything, right?
Of course, there are exceptions. Someone like Oprah is so well known that people might take her word for just about anything. She can present herself as an authority on self-help, alternative medicine, clothing, and books because she has achieved a level of authority that allows it.
Most of us can’t do that. We need to define our niches and stick to them.
Here are some ways you can create a consistent and authoritative brand:
Every piece of content you create for your brand must be authoritative. That means that everything on your website, online profiles, social media accounts, ads, and marketing videos must be conceptualized and executed with authority in mind.
It all starts with your website. You need a professional site that uses clear and authoritative language designed to appeal directly to your target audience. It should be easy to use and provide immediate value to the people who visit it.
The same is true of your social media content. Every status update, Tweet, or photo you post must be relevant to your brand and presented with authority.
You may also want to consider creating long-form authoritative content to build authority. Examples include:
If you watch cable news, you know that one of the ways they fill the 24-hour news cycle is by booking authority figures to offer opinions about current events.
Think about it. Every political consultant, pollster, or retired general is there for one reason. They have experience and knowledge that is applicable to a story, and because of that, they are viewed as authorities whose opinion is worth hearing.
You can build the same kind of authority online by being opinionated. That doesn’t mean you should spout about politics (unless that’s related to your brand, of course.) What it does mean is that you shouldn’t be afraid to say what you think.
One very effective way to do that is to curate content for your social media pages. Curated content is content that somebody else created. You can find it by following:
For example, say you find an article that lists ten essential things about your industry. You might feel that the writer left out something important. You should point that out when you post the article.
Taking a controversial stance can be a good thing, too. When you contradict or rebut something that an established authority says, you’re putting yourself on their level.
The key here is to sound confident when you offer an opinion. If you seem uncertain, people will dismiss your opinion.
There’s one more thing…
The final step to building authority is to put these things together and use them to create marketing campaigns that convert. If you do it right, you’ll set yourself apart from other brands in your niche.
In other words, you won’t just be one option for people seeking products or services in your niche. You’ll be the only option – and all because they view you as an authority figure.
In fact, failing to hire an agency is one of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make. It’s not necessary in every situation. But here’s the thing:
“If you’re not a professional marketer, it’s a virtual certainty that you’re missing opportunities – and sales – because of the marketing choices you’re making.”
Yikes. That’s not what you want, right? Most small and medium-sized business can’t afford to give sales away.
So, with that in mind, let’s talk about how you can tell if it’s time to outsource your marketing to an agency.
#1: You Don’t Have a Handle on Your Online Presence
The first big indicator that you need a professional marketer is that you don’t really know how people perceive your brand online.
Let’s face it, “online” is a big place. You might think of your website as your home base, but you also need to know how your brand is represented:
#2: You’re Not Sure How to Allocate Your Marketing Budget
Where are you spending your marketing budget? Do you know how much you’re spending? For a lot of entrepreneurs, the answer is no – and that’s a problem.
If you’re handling your own marketing, you might feel as if you’re shooting in the dark. One week you’re spending on Facebook ads. The next, you’re running a Google AdWords campaign. You’re trying everything and hoping that something will bear fruit.
The problem is that you don’t have a marketing plan. You haven’t had the time (or expertise) to evaluate marketing platforms and choose those that are most likely to get you the results you want.
A marketing pro will have broad experience and should be able to assess your brand and target audience – and use that assessment to choose the best marketing options. You don’t need a big budget to be successful, but you do need to know how to use it.
#3: Your Marketing Campaigns Aren’t Generating Leads
This one should be a no-brainer, yet it’s a common problem for DIY marketers. If your marketing campaigns aren’t bringing you qualified leads, you’re throwing money away.
Guess what? Your marketing campaign could be well-conceived. Perhaps you’ve created what could be a winning ad. You might still have problems with:
#4: You’re Not Aware of Marketing Trends
The world of online marketing is constantly changing. What worked a few months ago might not be effective anymore.
Here’s one example. At the beginning of 2018, Facebook announced it would change its algorithms to favor posts from family and friends over posts from pages and brands. Companies that used to get a fair amount of organic engagement must now pay to get the same attention.
It can be difficult for entrepreneurs to keep up with what’s happening in marketing. You’ve got other things to do.
When you outsource your marketing, you’re paying someone whose job it is to know what the latest and greatest marketing trends are. You won’t have to worry about spending on outdated marketing techniques.
In other words, paying a pro will ensure that your marketing dollar goes further than it would if you tried to handle everything on your own.
#5: You’re Not Testing Your Campaigns
Very few people – even marketing pros – create perfect campaigns on their first try. Marketing is both an art and a science, and in science, testing is essential.
Many entrepreneurs never look at the results of their marketing campaigns. They don’t know which metrics matter – and that means they’re not using their results to tweak their campaigns and improve them.
Marketing pros understand the value of split testing. Once they launch a campaign, they’ll measure the results and tweak the ad until it’s perfect. You might not have the time to do that – and that’s why you need a pro to do it for you.
Done properly, this kind of meticulous tracking and testing can make a huge difference in your conversions and ultimately, in your bottom line.
#6: You’re Not Making Marketing a Priority
Is marketing something you think about every day, or is it an afterthought? For many entrepreneurs, it’s the latter. They make time for it when they can.
The problem with that, of course, is that you won’t get the robust results you deserve if marketing isn’t a priority. You might push it aside in favor of other needs that you view as more pressing.
Marketing should be a priority. It’s the only way you’ll create a strong brand, build your platform, attract new leads, and convert them into paying customers.
If you don’t have time to give marketing the attention it deserves, you need to hire someone to do it for you. It’s just that simple.
Outsourcing your marketing will cost you…
… but it won’t cost you as much as running lackluster campaigns that do nothing to build your brand and attract leads. It’s worth a bit of up-front investment to get the results you need.
They don’t attract visitors, and when someone lands on the site by chance, they don’t stick around.
The problem is that a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners don’t know what makes a good website. As horrible as this sounds, a lot of web developers don’t know. They might have a handle on one aspect of web design or SEO, and completely miss the boat on others.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a few minutes to define what makes a website good. Once you know, you can create the kind of website that attracts new customers.
First – A Good Website Provides Valuable Information to Visitors
Information is where it all starts. Your website is your home base online. Ideally, your website should act as sort of a combination plate, something that encompasses a well-written brochure, an attractive office, a professional receptionist, and an ace salesperson.
Whew. That’s a lot to do with a simple website. But, the good news is that it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
Let’s start with the content. Your website must attract visitors – and the only way to do that is to optimize it. That means:
Ultimately, your website should tell people who you are, what you do, and what they stand to gain by doing business with you. If you can accomplish that, the informational aspect of your website is what it should be.
Second – A Good Website Keeps Visitors Engaged
You can have the most beautiful home page in the world. But, if it doesn’t encourage people to read, explore, and stay a while, it won’t matter.
There’s a reason that your Google Analytics tells you the average time visitors spend on your page. That information is valuable. It tells you how engaged visitors are.
Let’s face it, a visitor who lands on your site and spends 90 seconds on a page that should take 10 minutes to read isn’t engaged. And the chances are good that that person didn’t navigate to another page on your site. Instead, they probably clicked the “Back” button and went in search of a more engaging site.
So, what does this mean in terms of defining a good website? It means your site must have:
Third – A Good Website Converts Visitors to Customers
Ultimately, your goal isn’t just to attract visitors to your site. You want to turn those visitors into paying customers. If your site isn’t designed with conversions in mind, then it’s not a good site.
Of course, not every guest will convert on their first visit. That’s why your site needs to present multiple conversion opportunities. Some will focus on turning visitors into leads, while others will focus on making sales.
There are three main features to consider here.
Not all websites are good websites…
… but yours can be. Focusing on these three elements – information, engagement, and conversion – can help you capture leads, nurture them, and earn the profits you deserve.
So, with that in mind, here are some super-effective marketing tricks that can help you grow your sales without blowing through your (small) budget.
Use Customer Feedback to Create New Products or Services
This first technique can be free – or nearly free. Basically, what you’re doing is talking to your existing customers to find out what else you can do for them.
Let’s look at a simple example. Say your company creates and prints custom business cards. By talking to your clients about their other printing needs, you may be able to attract additional business without spending anything on advertising.
Instead of printing only business cards, you might find an opportunity to print letterhead and envelopes, too. That way, you increase the lifetime value of a single customer, and you can offer your expanded services to new customers, too.
Create a Promotion Schedule
Do your existing customers know when you’ll be running a special? It might sound a bit mundane to run promotions on a schedule but doing so gives your customers something to look forward to. And, it increases the likelihood that they’ll buy from you regularly.
This technique is perfect for building customer loyalty, but it can also help you attract new business. When your existing clients know that a promotion is coming, they may be more inclined to tell their friends and colleagues about it.
This is another sales-growth technique that can be carried out for only a few dollars. You’ll want to advertise your promotion a bit. But, once you’re on a schedule – where, say, clients know that you run a promotion every other month – they’ll start to expect it. That means you won’t have to spend as much to promote it!
Cross-Promote Your Products with a Partner
Local businesses sometimes miss out on opportunities to team up to generate sales. Simply by scanning the membership list of your local Chamber of Commerce can provide you with plenty of opportunities to cross-promote your products or services.
For example, the owner of a catering company might pair up with a florist or party rental company and offer a special to attract new business. Planning an event can be pricy, and you can attract new clients by giving them an incentive to hire both companies to help them with their event.
Another option might be partnering with another business to create a night out. The owner of a restaurant might offer a free appetizer to people who come in with a ticket stub from the local movie theater. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Doing so can make your business the destination of choice for local patrons.
Revamp Your Content to Focus on Customer Benefits
One of the biggest mistakes inexperienced marketers make is focusing too much on their product’s features and not enough on what the product can do for their customers. Fortunately, this is something you can fix with little to no money.
The first step is to audit your website’s content. If you find that you’re not talking about how your products or services can improve your target audience’s lives, revamp it so the focus is on them. You know your product is awesome, but you need to explain how buying it will benefit your customers.
After that, you can use the same technique to rethink your social media marketing strategy. Focusing on benefits makes your content more shareable than it would be if you simply touted your products. You’re likely to see a bigger return on your investment because you’ll be enticing people to buy your product.
Bundle Products and Services
Every consumer likes to feel that they’ve gotten a bargain when they buy something. That’s true both in B2C and B2B marketing – and you can use it to your advantage.
There are two ways to approach product bundling. The first is to bundle a basic product with some upgrades and add-ons and offer a price that’s slightly lower than what it would cost to buy everything separately.
The other option is to bundle products that go together in some way. A gift basket is a good example, and businesses use this technique around the holidays. For example, a Valentine’s Day bundle might include perfume, scented lotion, and a candle.
Increase Engagement on Social Media
Many companies make the mistake of not trying to engage their social media followers when they promote content. That’s a mistake – and in a way, implementing this technique can save you money by increasing your ROI on social media.
One simple technique is to ask your audience a question. Everything you post should include a call to action. When you ask a question, you encourage your followers to respond. The question might be asking their opinion about something you post, or you might ask them which question they’d most like to have you answer in a future post.
Either way, you’re not taking your audience for granted. Getting your social media to engage with you by providing valuable content triggers the cognitive bias called Reciprocity. That’s where people feel obligated to return the favor when you give them something for free.
Nurture Your Leads
You probably already have an email list – but are you using it well? A lot of businesses aren’t -- and revamping your technique can make a huge difference in your sales.
If you’re emailing subscribers rarely, you’re missing out. Most email automation services charge based on the number of subscribers you have. That means you won’t pay any more for increasing the frequency of your emails.
Try creating one or more email sequences, also known as a drip campaign. Focus on explaining the benefits of buying your product, and you’ll likely see an increase in your sales, too.
Marketing Isn’t Just for Millionaires…
… and you don’t have to double your budget to double your sales. Using the simple, inexpensive techniques outlined here can help you grow your business without busting your budget.