#1: Remind Customers About Appointments
If you allow clients to book appointments with you on Facebook using the “Book Now” button, then you should be using Facebook Messenger to follow up and remind them about their appointments.
To turn on the button, simply click the blue call to action button on your business page. Choose the “Book with You” option and fill out your appointment preferences. When you’re done, go to your Inbox and click the Automated Responses menu.
Scroll down until you see the Follow-Up options, then click to enable Appointment Reminders. Messenger will send an automated reminder 24 hours before the scheduled appointment.
#2: Start a Conversation
Do you have a killer piece of content to promote? If you do, then I strongly recommend using the “Get Messages” feature on your next Facebook post.
When you create a post on Facebook, you’ll see a list of options below the message space. One of them is “Get Messages” and it allows the people who see your post to click to send you a message.
The best use of this feature is to promote a lead magnet. When someone wants the content you’re promoting, they’ll click the Send Message button to request the content. You can then get their contact information and send them a pdf of the content or redirect them to your download page.
If you don’t have content to promote, you can still use this feature to allow people to request more information about your business. It’s a great way to initiate a conversation. Just keep in mind that Facebook has rules about how often businesses may send messages to people. Make sure you stick to their guidelines.
#3: Answer Frequently Asked Questions
Most businesses have Frequently Asked Questions on their websites, but you can use Facebook Messenger to provide responses to your followers as well.
To set up FAQ on Facebook, you’ll need to go to your Facebook inbox and scroll down to Automated Responses. Then, enable the option for Frequently Asked Questions.
You’ll get a screen that allows you to tap a plus sign to add questions. It works a little differently from a regular FAQ. When someone messages your business page, they’ll get a list of FAQs and can tap the question they want answered. When they do, they’ll get the response you entered.
To make the best use of FAQ on Facebook Messenger, follow these best practices:
#4: Message People Who RSVP to Your Event
If you use Facebook to create events and invite people to them, you can set up Facebook Messenger to allow attendees to message you and to start conversations with them.
When you set up an event, you’ll seen an option that says, “Allow Guests to Message [Your Page] About Reservation.” Once enabled, you’ll get an automated message whenever someone makes a reservation for your event. You’ll be able to respond, thus starting a conversation with an attendee who may turn into a paying customer.
Of course, this option works in reverse too. Attendees will be able to message you directly with questions about the event.
#5: Create Ads Targeted to People Who Have Messaged Your Page
While all the above methods for using Facebook Messenger can be effective, I’ve saved the best for last. You can use Custom Audience feature on Facebook to create ads targeted to people who have messaged your business page in the past.
You can choose any time frame. Simply click the “Add People to Your Audience” option and then select “People who sent a message to your page” option. Next to it, you can fill in your chosen time frame. I recommend going back a full year unless there’s some reason that you want a narrower time frame.
You can get even more detailed if you want to. For example, if you’ve ever used Facebook Messenger to conduct a survey, you can create ads targeted to specific responses. If you gave your respondents four options, you could create ads targeted to each response.
What I like about this tool is that it offers a very affordable way to engage in targeted marketing. When you take the high open rate for Facebook Messenger into consideration, there’s a good chance that your targets will see your ad. That’s not something you can count on with traditional Facebook ads that display on the News Feed.
Facebook Messenger is more than a fun way to connect with friends. If you use it properly, it can be a powerful marketing tool that allows you to connect with your customers on a personal level, boost your conversions, and increase your profits to grow your business.
US Chamber of Commerce
The US Chamber of Commerce has created a comprehensive guide for small business owners that includes links to many useful resources, including:
Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides resources to small business owners all the time, including small business loans and government grants. They have some special resources for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic:
Even if your business does not qualify for an EIDL, you may still be able to get a $10,000 emergency grant to help you meet your payroll commitments and other business expenses.
Centers for Disease Control
While many small businesses are closed with employees working from home, some are still open. Restaurants have retooled as takeout and delivery services, and some other small businesses have been identified as essential.
If your business falls into one of those categories, then the Centers for Disease Control website has a resource that you’ll need: Resources for Businesses and Employers. The page includes interim guidelines to keep your business safe, recommendations for cleaning and sanitizing your workspace, and a link out to OSHA guidelines for COVID-19.
US Tax Credits
Expanded loans and payroll protection aren’t the only things in the CARES Act designed to help small business owners. There are also several tax benefits that may help you recover lost income.
Here are a few highlights.
Finally, you should know that the Internal Revenue Service has extended the deadline for paying taxes to July 15, 2020. You are still required to file by April 15, but you may wait until the extended deadline to pay any taxes you owe.
Google Small Business Fund
While some big companies are asking for government handouts, others are doing what they can to help small businesses in this time of crisis. A good example is Google, which announced that it has created an $800 million commitment to help with the pandemic.
There are two key elements of the fund that apply directly to small business owners. The first is a $200 million investment that will be given to non-profit organizations and financial institutions to provide bridge loans and assistance to small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
The second is a $340 million commitment to provide Google Ads credits to every small business with an active account in the past year. The credits will appear automatically on your Google Ads account and may be used on any of Google’s advertising platforms (including YouTube) through the end of 2020.
It’s also worth mentioning that Google is providing support and funding to any manufacturing business that can retool their facilities to produce needed materials, including hand sanitizer and Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare workers.
State Relief Programs
In addition to small business relief programs at the federal level, most states have programs to help small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find a partial list in this Forbes article. It includes loan programs, grants, and other assistance.
If you don’t see your state on the list, you an either do a Google search for your state + COVID-19 relief for businesses. You can also find your state governor’s website on this page.
Keep in mind that some states may be lagging on offering assistance simply because they have not yet been as strongly impacted by the virus as places like Washington, California, and New York. Based on projections, that is going to change pretty much everywhere, so if you don’t see something now, keep checking back.
Facebook Small Business Grants Program
Another big company that’s doing something tangible to help small businesses is Facebook, which recently announced the creation of a Small Business Grants Program.
The program will provide up to $100 million in grants to 30,000 eligible small businesses in 30 countries around the world. The grants may be cash, ad credits, or a combination of the two.
There is limited information available as of this writing, but if you click on the above link, you can sign up to receive updates and get more details as they become available.
For businesses in the UK, there are several assistance programs available. There are too many to list all of them here, but some highlights include:
The Australian government has provided some resources to business owners with more expected to be announced. Here are some of the highlights of their response:
The Canadian government has responded vigorously to the pandemic, providing multiple assistance programs for businesses impacted by the outbreak. They include:
New Zealand Resources
In New Zealand, the following resources are available:
The resources we’ve listed above are some of the most widely available and directly useful, but we also found an array of other resources that you should know about.
America’s Small Business Development Centers has created a comprehensive resource page for small businesses. It includes some of the same information we’ve covered above, as well as additional resources that you may find useful.
Small Business Majority has a collection of resources, as well, which includes live and recorded webinars to help small business owners cope with the crisis. You can find it here.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has a resource page that includes webinars, legal resources, FAQ, and more. You can find it here.
The ICIC has a resource page that includes webinars, a network for members, and federal and banking resources to help small businesses with their financial needs during the pandemic. You can find it here.
SCORE has a web page dedicated to pandemic-related resources for small businesses. It includes remote mentoring, webinars, and local chapter workshops and events. You can access it here.
Finally, you can access FEMA’s emergency plan for businesses here. It includes guidelines to help you plan and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This list is as comprehensive as we could make it, but there are likely to be additional resources that we didn’t cover as well as new resources that become available in the coming weeks and months. We will keep you posted, but we also encourage you to seek resources on your own. If you don’t see your country represented, we suggest starting at the main government website, where you should be able to find announcements and links to resources.
The best thing you can do at this time is to educate yourself about the available resources and be as practical and calm as possible. The more you know about what’s out there, the easier it will be to choose the resources that are most helpful to you and your employees at this difficult time.
Zoom software allows multiple users to connect to a meeting, and they have a free option that you can use if you don’t want to (or can’t afford to) pay for a service.
Zoom’s free plan includes:
You may also want to use some of the following tools:
Set Up a New Routine
One of the most important things you can do for your staff is to create a new “normal” so that they know what to expect every day. Some of y our employees may need guidance on how to work from home, and some may need more structure than they normally do.
Here are some suggestions for setting up your new work routine.
Connection and compassion go hand in hand. If you want your employees to feel connected to one another and to you, it’s essential to let them know that you understand and respect their feelings – and to give them room to feel them.
Here are the boxes your program must tick:
The Best Rewards Programs
Now, let’s talk about how to build your rewards program. We’ll take these options in order from low-tech to high-tech.
A punch card is the least expensive option to put in place and arguably, the least effective. While punch cards are cheap to produce, they are also disposable and don’t link to your point of sale or to a customer email. That means the customer must have physical possession of the card to benefit from it. It also means you can’t communicate with the customer about their rewards.
If you’ve got a restaurant or service-based business like a salon or spa punch cards are an effective tool to earn repeat business – and a punch card reward program is better than no loyalty program at all, but it won’t get you much beyond surface loyalty. It’s all about the data.
If your company’s ethics are part of your brand, then you may want to consider a charity program. I already mentioned TOMS loyalty program, which donates shoes to people in need. Another example is The Body Shop’s Love Your Body program, which allows members to donate the vouchers they earn.
There’s plenty of research to show that younger consumers want to support brands that support charitable causes. Teaming up with a local or national charity could be a good way to encourage them to buy from you.
Points programs are usually linked to a customer via their email or mobile number. They enable customers to earn points each time they buy a product and redeem them against future purchases.
The key to creating a successful point program is to have a clear value assigned to the points you reward and communicate it to your customers. For example. North Face’s VIPeak rewards program allows customers to earn 10 points for each dollar spent in stores or online and five points for purchases at their outlet stores. Smile.io logo sells software you can use to manage your points program.
Do you want a way to reward new customers and your most loyal, highest-spending customers according to what they spend? If so, then a tiered program might be right for you.
There are lots of examples of effective tiered programs. I already mentioned beauty retailer Sephora. Their Beauty INSIDER program is the first tier of their rewards program. Members get one point for every $1 they spend. Once they spend more than $250 in a year, they advance to the VIB (Very Important Beauty) tier, where their rewards increase to 1.25 points for each dollar spent, and then to the Rouge tier, where they get 1.5 points. Members of the higher tiers get additional rewards and access to special events, as well.
While tiered programs require a bit more work than regular points programs, they also add levels to incentivize customers to spend more.
Paid programs don’t require any more technology than tiered programs, but they are more work because you must convince customers to buy a membership. The most successful example of a paid program is Amazon Prime, which charges an annual fee but offers customers a host of quantifiable rewards, including free two-day shipping and free streaming of Amazon Prime videos.
If you decide to try a paid program, you must make it clear that the benefits of joining outweigh the price. A clearly stated value proposition will ensure that your customers understand what they’re getting if they join – and why it’s a good idea.
It might surprise you to learn that 56% of all loyalty programs employ game mechanics to encourage members to spend more. Of course, gamified programs involve more technology than other rewards programs and cost more money to implement.
The great thing about gamifying your rewards program is that it encourages customers to buy from you and sing the praises of your brand. The best game-based programs reward a variety of behaviors, including:
There are plenty of companies that gamify their rewards programs. NIKE is a good example. Their program offers rewards for purchase as well as for meeting fitness goals. The program ties in nicely with their “Just Do It” slogan and their brand.
If you don’t already have a loyalty program, now is the time to create one. It may cost you a bit of money to link the program to your point of sale, but the benefits are huge in terms of customer retention and increased profit.
The Elements of Your Online Reputation
Your online reputation is the total of everything shown or said about your company online. That means that all of these play a role in creating your reputation:
How to Get a Handle on Your Online Reputation
Not sure what your online reputation says about you? The first step is doing a reputation audit. That means Googling your company and getting into the nitty gritty of what people are saying about you – and what they think.
I suggest starting with Google and scrolling at least the first three pages of results. Visit any sites that mention your business and read what they say about you. Make notes of any factual inaccuracies or negative comments – you’ll need those down the line.
Likewise, track your social media mentions. If you don’t know what people are saying about you on Twitter or Instagram, it’s possible that you could be allowing incorrect or negative information about your company to spread.
Make a list of all review sites where consumers have reviewed your company. At the same time, audit your NAP listings so you can standardize them and consolidate your online presence.
Claim Your Listings on Review Sites
Next, visit every review site where your company is listed and do what you need to do to claim the listings. The process may be involved, so it’s important to start as soon as possible.
Once you have claimed your listings, you should:
Get More Reviews
Reviews play a huge role in your reputation because more than 80% of all consumers read reviews before purchasing a product. Old reviews don’t carry as much weight as new ones. That means it’s your job to encourage your customers to leave reviews.
Here are a few creative ways to get more reviews:
Make Reputation Management a Priority
The key to keeping your reputation strong is to make managing it a priority for yourself and your employees. That means doing the following:
Ultimately, your online reputation plays a big role in your success. In just a few minutes a day, you can implement procedures that will ensure your online reputation remains strong – and helps you to attract new business and retain your most loyal customers.
The solution? Take those fans and followers and convert them into paying customers. Here’s what to do.
Get to Know Your Audience
As the owner of a small or medium-sized business, you may not have given a lot of thought to what makes your customers tick. And yet, customer analysis is the key to turning casual fans and followers into customers.
Creating a detailed customer persona can help you understand your audience. Your persona should include:
Provide Value to Your Target Customers
Once you know who your target customers are, your next mission is to give them what they want. Here, I’m talking about entertaining and ACTIONABLE content that provides tangible value to the people you want to convert.
In other words, be generous with your knowledge. It doesn’t matter what your business is, you know it better than anybody else. Give some thought to what brings your customers to you – and what would convince them that your product or service is the best option to solve their problems.
You can provide value in a variety of ways. Here are some examples.
Interact with Your Followers and Fans
Having a large following is one thing, but ultimately, we all want to feel valued. Your job as a business owner is to make your fans and followers understand that you value them and care about them.
The answer is communication. That can mean a lot of different things, but here are some effective tactics that have been proven to work.
Do you know that feeling when you walk into a store and a salesperson pounces on you before you have time to draw a breath? Very few of us enjoy that feeling, and the chances are good that your customers don’t, either.
While your social media content can and should focus on what you and your products can do for potential customers, it’s important to keep the direct sales pitches to a minimum. The solution? Curating content from other sources.
Content curation means pulling content from:
Here’s a quick example. Say you own a gym and you find an article about the health benefits of exercise. If the article left anything out, you could mention it in your post. Or, you could elaborate on something that’s in the post to add your own take on it.
It’s a good rule of thumb that no more than 20% of your social media content should be direct sales pitches. The remaining 80% should offer value, information, and entertainment.
Retargeting is one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising because it focuses on people who are already engaged with your business and interested in your products.
By using a Facebook pixel, for example, you can target people on Facebook who have:
Remember, your social media followers are following you for a reason. They are interested in you and your company. It’s up to you to give them a reason to take the next step and become customers – and the tips I’ve listed here will help you to accomplish that goal.
That means you’ve got to create an autoresponder series that will grab your subscribers’ attention and give them what they need to take the next step – paying you! Here’s what you need to know.
How Long Should Your Autoresponder Series Be?
Autoresponder series can have as few as two emails and as many as 100. There’s no one magic number that works for every business.
The best way to figure out how many emails to put in your relationship-building sequence is to start by looking at the most common buyer objections. What prevents people from taking the next step? Here are some examples:
I recommend a minimum of 5 emails for your welcome sequence. That said, I know some companies who have introductory sequences that are 30 or 50 emails long.
What Are the Elements of an Effective Autoresponder Series?
Just as there’s no magic involved in choosing the length of your autoresponder series, there’s no one answer to how your autoresponder series should look. There are, however, certain elements that all effective autoresponders have in common.
Tips for Writing an Effective Autoresponder Series
The way your autoresponders are written will make a big difference in how people respond to them. Here are some pointers to help you.
Timing Your Emails
The final step is deciding when to send each email in your sequence. There’s more than one way to do it. Let’s start with the obvious. If your opt-in form tells people they’re subscribing to a weekly newsletter, you should confine your emails to once a week.
Even if you didn’t specify email frequency in your form, you should still be careful not to overdo it. I generally recommending sending one email every two to three days unless I’m doing a countdown sequence to a product launch or promoting a time-sensitive offer. In those cases, sending one daily email can be very effective.
The key is not to bombard your subscribers with unwanted emails. Your autoresponder sequence’s goal is to build a relationship, not frighten subscribers away. If you follow the steps I’ve outlined here, you should end up with a compelling sequence that turns your subscribers into loyal customers.
Do you want to convert more subscribers into customers with a compelling autoresponder series, that’s written exclusively for your business? WE CAN HELP! Contact us today to learn more!
Here are the steps to follow for your redesign.
Tools for Your Redesign
I always like to recommend tools and resources to business owners. After all, you’ve got enough on your plate!
Let’s start with web design platforms. Here are the three I’d recommend.
So, without further ado, here are some of the best ideas I know to promote your content, find your target audience, and kick-start your lead gen.
Use Your Social Media Cover Photo to Promote Content
Do you have an offer you want to promote on an ongoing basis? One easy way to get more traffic is to incorporate your offer into your cover photo on Facebook. You can hotlink the photo to your landing page and change it periodically as needed.
Create a Hashtag to Promote Your Content
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all allow users to employ hashtags to categorize the content they post. Best of all, anybody who wants to can create a new hashtag and use it. The next time you have content to promote, try creating a custom hashtag to use with it. You’ll get the best results if you use common words at the start of your hashtag because more people will see it when they search.
Include Multiple Links to Your Offer on Your Website
A mistake I see a lot of businesses making is only promoting their content in one place. There’s no reason you can’t have multiple links to your most important content on multiple pages of your website. You can either incorporate them into your text or put them in a box beside other content.
Put a CTA for Your Offer on Your Home Page
Your home page is the first thing most people who search for your company online will see. For that reason, you should always have a call to action for your most important content on your home page – preferably above the fold.
Blog About a Piece of Content Multiple Times
When you’ve spent your valuable time creating a lead magnet, it makes sense to promote it as much as possible. One way to do it is to blog about related topics from various angles. End each related blog post with a call to action leading back to your content.
Create a Content Library on Your Website
If you’ve created multiple pieces of evergreen content, why not put a content library on your website? A content library makes it easy for visitors to your site to find your most valuable content. You can create a system where visitors must provide their email address to access the content. Then, you’ll have a list of leads you can turn into paying customers!
Create a Trigger-Based CTA
Static calls to action can be effective, but it’s even more effective to display a CTA based on behavior. A trigger CTA can pop up when a visitor has been on your page more than five minutes or when they’ve read more than 50% of your content – or when they’re about to leave your page without opting in!
Encourage Social Sharing
One of the easiest ways to get your content in front of more people is to encourage visitors to share it on social media. Adding share buttons and embedded Tweets is easy – both can be done with a free plug-in – and your site’s visitors will do the rest.
Make a Sales Video
Landing pages with video convert at a higher rate than pages without video. You don’t need to spend a lot to create a memorable sales video which you can post on your landing page. On a related note, you can also post excerpts on YouTube and social media with a link to your content landing page.
Create YouTube Pre-Roll Ads
You know the video ads that appear before most YouTube videos? You can create a simple ad and pay to have it appear before videos that are related to the keywords you choose.
Link Emails to Your Content
Do your emails have a signature at the bottom? If so, you can simply update yours to include a link to the content offer you want to promote. If you don’t have a signature, you can add one with any email provider you use and include the link in it.
Email Your Database
Another quick and easy way to let your existing subscribers know about your content is to email them with a link to your landing page. You can use the email to encourage them to download the offer and share it with their friends.
Boost a Facebook Post
You probably already know you can post your content offer on Facebook. Since Facebook’s algorithm can make it difficult for your followers to see it, you can use part of your marketing budget to boost the post and get it in front of a bigger audience. (Tip: Create a lookalike audience to reach people who might not otherwise see your content.)
Partner with Other Businesses
A lot of times, local businesses share customers in common. If you know other business owners in your area, why not partner up to share one another’s content? Just make sure to put the agreement in writing, so that all parties understand their responsibilities and commitments.
Get Industry Influencers to Link to Your Content
When you hear about influencer marketing, it almost always has to do with big celebrities. However, someone in your industry or niche with a decent social media following can do your business a lot of good by mentioning your content. Seek out influencers and work out a deal to have them promote your content to their followers.
The point? Promoting your content and generating leads doesn’t need to be difficult and it doesn’t need to cost you much money, either. The ideas here will help you jump-start your lead generation and grow your business this year.
Tips for Building a List
List-building gets a lot of attention and it can sometimes sound like a lot of work. When you’re already wearing multiple hats every day, it can be exhausting to think about adding another chore to your never-ending to-do list.
Guess what? It doesn’t have to be difficult to build a list. Here are some quick and easy methods to try.
The Best Email Marketing Strategies for Local Businesses
Now, let’s talk about some of my favorite email marketing strategies for local businesses. The techniques that work for big national companies may not be useful to you, and yet they get a lot of the attention. Here are six options that I know work.
The bottom line is that email marketing has one of the highest ROIs of any marketing technique, which is why I recommend it to all my clients. The local email marketing tips here will help you build a robust list, create content your subscribers will love, and grow your business.