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Constant Contact wants to help you succeed! We’re celebrating our professional service programs on the Constant Contact Community this month and you have a chance to try one of the services for free! Learn more.
It's only the third month of the year, and we're seeing some major updates and changes to Facebook. Social media slows down for no one - it's important your business page admin or social media team is aware of the new opportunities available to your brand online.
Live Videos Taking Priority on Facebook News Feeds With the recent content type released, Facebook recognizes that users are enjoying live streaming videos from pages and users. Because they're all about user experience, Facebook is going to start pushing these videos to the top of news feeds. Take the time to learn more
Instant Articles Available to All Publishers If you publish content, Facebook is opening Instant Articles to you. To solve slow loading issues, Facebook Instant Articles are a more organic way to ffer extended content on the social network. Easier sharing, quick loading times, and a Wordpress Plugin are all part of this family of updates. We're recommending all our clients with blogs begin reading up now and getting ready for this April 12th release. Be sure to take note
Facebook Canvas Boasts a Full-Screen, Immersive Ad Style
This update looks like it is taking a cue from Snapchat's Discover feature, because it turns your Facebook ad into an interactive, full-screen, scrolling advertisment. Facebook says it's designed to "help businesses tell stories and show products on mobile devices ina beautiful way."
Time to get hip!
Facebook Reactions! How Do They Make YOU Feel?
Like, Angry, Sad, Wow, Haha, and Love. Users can now express themselves beyond the little blue thumbs-up. While the change doesn't force Facebook page admins to alter the way they're doing things, it definitely poses an opportunity for conversations and engagement. It's important to note that a negative post reaction does NOT count as negative feedback within your Facebook Insights the way an unfollow or unlike does. Get Proactive About Reactions
So, that's it. A quick wrap-up of the latest and greatest from Facebook. It's imperative business page admins and social media teams stay up-to-date on these technologies if they want to remain competative. We recommend talking to and hiring a professional if you're falling behind or these updates seem overwhelming.
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You're keeping up with your social media accounts, but you're ready for more reach, more enagement, more likes, retweets, follows, etc.? You're ready to take video marketing seriously and give it a try. Where do you start? Get educated. Here are some facts, tips, and tricks about the booming marketing channel.
10 REASONS ALL SMALL BUSINESSES NEED VIDEO MARKETING 1. Help customers understand what you’re offering 2. Create something that people will remember 3. Entice people to purchase from you 4. Reach every demographic 5. Engage with mobile users 6. Get a higher click-through rate in emails 7. Create a more personalized experience 8. Rank higher in search engines 9. Educate customers on various topics 10. Build a relatable brand that people love POPULAR CHANNELS FOR VIDEOS AND VIDEO MARKETING • YouTube • Vimeo • Facebook (Now With Native Video & Live Streaming) • Instagram (Micro Video) • Vine (Micro VIdeo) • Twitter (Now With Native Video) • Periscope (Live Streaming and Native in Twitter) • Snapchat (Micro Video) 3 BEST TYPES OF VIDEOS TO SHARE ONLINE 1. Tutorials or How-To Videos 2. Micro-Videos (30 seconds or less) 3. Webinars KAPEESH-RECOMMENDED APPS FOR VIDEO MARKETING • Magisto - adds filtersand soundtracks to your video • Animoto - same, adds filters and soundtracks to your video • Stop Motion - fun/trendy stop motion effect • YouTube Editor - edits captions and more on the mobile-friendly version of YouTube's editing tool • PowToon - Create cartoon versions of your videos using pre-designed characters • iSupr8 (Android) or 8mm Vintage (iOS) - Add effect to video that makes it look like it was filmed on 8mm/Super8 film! Dealing with a decision maker or team that doesn't see value in video marketing or just needs a reminder of its importance? Use oe or all of these quotes the next time you breech the subject: On average, the engagement rate for rich media ads is 16.85%, in comparison to 2.14% for standard banners and 1.62% for mobile. - eMarketer, 2014
Video accounts for 52% of all mobile traffic. - Citrix (via eMarketer), 2014
96% of shoppers find videos helpful when making purchase decisions online. - Animoto, 2014 There you go! A beginner's run-down on video marketing. If you're already using video in your social media marketing, what are some things you've learned? Leave them for us in the comments!
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If we say "video marketing," your mind probably jumps to YouTube. These days, that's not the only place your videos are welcome, and we'd argue it may not be the best place for all of them. Video is a great way to boost engagement and shares, and it isn't just for big brands! With video-friendly platforms like Vine, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, the strategy and process for these videos can be drastically different than your traditional YouTube channel videos.
While YouTube remains an all-too-important part of a business' online marketing mix, these other services open the door for quick, witty, and catchy clips in bite-size amounts. Services like Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat limit your video length while Facebook and Twitter are great platforms for uploading full-length videos if truly necessary. We recommend serving up clips that are 30-60 seconds long.
Social media users have become expert scrollers, scanners, and skimmers. Your video clips should have an eye-catching title, thumbnail frame, and first 10 seconds of video for those platforms with the option for auto-play.
So, you know you need to add video to your mix, but you aren't sure what kinds of video to create? Here are a few ideas: • Give a Quick How-To • Show "A Day in the Life" • Share an Event • Answer a Frequently Asked Question • Product Spotlight Want to add a little something fun or quirky to your video? Here are a few apps that can help: • Hyperlapse for Instagram can condense your videos for a cool time-lapse effect. • Stop Motion Studio - Android will help you make fun stop motion videos - Gumby, anyone?
• 8mm - iOS creates old-fashioned videos in real time. • Vintage Retro Camera + VHS - Android a similar old-fashioned camera effect for Android users. Are you already using videos in your social media marketing? Let us know about it in the comments!
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We LOVE Buffer and use it for all our Social Media Management clients. They're always making improvements. Also, anytime we're out and about, we check in. Personally, I check in on Swarm when visiting clients and when I'm travelling further away, I take photos and post them on Instagram or Facebook from our business' point of view. Followers, subscribers, and clients like seeing your personality and attitude outside of the office!
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Tough time reading this on a mobile device? See it on our mobile-friendly blog .
As we get closer to Halloween, our need to get creeped-out grows. Haunted houses, scary stories, paranormal television shows... the list goes on.
Speaking of lists, check out our list of Nearly 600 Creepy, Awful, and Unnerving Wikipedia Articles, if you dare.
We decided to do things a bit differently by combining one of our favorite topics, email marketing, with scared reaction GIFs that are only slightly exaggerated versions of our ACTUAL reactions when we come across these mistakes in our own inbox. Prepare yourselves for our list of...
Reactions to 10 of the Scariest Email Marketing Mistakes
1. The email is just one. giant. image.
85% of email clients block images by default, and upward of 60% of users choose to have them disabled. Hoping recipients will see it? You'd have better luck venturing into the dark room where you just heard that weird sound.
2. OVERUSE OF CAPS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!!!!
Why, oh why? We'd rather be made to watch The Blair Witch Project again than come across one of these in our inbox. Calm it down - you look spammy.
3. Launching without testing deliverability and readability...
across different email clients and devices. What do you mean you just typed it up and sent it? Have you no decency?!
4. Sending it at a horrible time of day (10pm-9am)
Alright, we've had enough. Please, no more.
5. Not segmenting your email list.
Your vendors, clients, prospects, and business partners all receive the same version of the message? AHHHHHHHHH!
6. There's no call to action.
Should we call, click, order, or read more? Please, just tell us what you want us to do! We'll do anything! Make it stopppp.
7. You aren't A/B testing.
Open rates can change drastically when an alternative subject line is introduced. A/B testing really is easy, and it's not at all scary.
8. It's just too darn long.
Messages should only take a few moments to understand and act upon. Anything else is just torturous and cruel.
9. There are merge field or personalization issues.
People understand that messages are automated and a lot of personalization is generated, but that's no excuse for Dear *%*FULLNAME*%* . It looks sloppy, and it's downright frightful.
10. You don't have permission to email.
Rookie mistake. Don't buy email lists, and always let your customers know that by providing you with their email address they're signing up for messages, offers, news, updates, etc.
Phew! We made it to the end. Anything else that tops your list of horrific email mistakes? Which email marketing faux pas has you frozen in fear? Leave a comment for us.
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Tough time reading this on a mobile device? See it on our mobile-friendly blog. Page Administrators across Facebook are beginning to see a few new items when they log into their accounts. We noticed a couple of our social media management clients had the opportunity to earn a new "Very Responsive to Messages" badge back in June, before we'd read anything about the service rolling out. Now that we've had some time to check things out, here's what we know: The goal: To get one of these bad boys on your Facebook Page for all to see. Being given a badge like this from Facebook shows your fans, prospects, and competitors that you're on top of your social media game. When customers reach out to you through Facebook messaging, your page responds quickly. So how do you get one? Let's a take a look at Facebook's support forum where it's discussed: Over a week's time, your page admins must respond to 90% of all messages within 5 minutes of the message being sent. So, how does a small business have a chance to achieve this without shutting down operations for the week just to focus on response times? We recommend choosing at least one employee to focus on your social media activities exclusively. Better yet, have a team or group of employees who can switch off/rotate days or hours during the work week. Relying on anyone and everyone to casually pitch in whenever they can doesn't usually work out for the better. If everyone's responsible, no one is responsible. Delegate a specific team or person and set strict goals for them. If your operation cannot support a system like this, we suggest hiring experts to handle this area of marketing for you. Social media marketing presents new opportunities like this every day, and it's imperative your business stays on top of the trends or hires someone to do it for you. As always, leave your questions in the comments section below or contact us at any time: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Tough time reading this on a mobile device? See it on our mobile-friendly blog. Facebook is now taking requests from Facebook Business Page admins to reserve Facebook BLUETOOTH® beacons that will connect with nearby mobile devices to display customized Facebook Place Tips at the top of users' news feeds. What does any of this mean? Let us break it down for you: Facebook Business Page A Facebook Page is the commercial/business version of a Facebook user profile - and so much more. A Facebook Page gives your business a voice and presence on Facebook so you can find new customers and stay connected with people. If you are a business or organization using a Facebook personal profile modified to appear as a business, you will not qualify for this offer. In fact, you are in violation of Facebook's Terms and Conditions. Confused about user profiles vs. Facebook Pages? Send us an email, and we'll sort it out. Facebook Place Tips Using cellular networks, WiFi, and GPS, Place Tips show users information about places they visit, including friends' photos, experiences, and moments from that place. During the testing phase, businesses using Place Tips in conjunction with their Facebook Page have seen a noticeable uptick in likes, views, clicks, and other engagement actions. Businesses have the option to create a custom "Welcome Message" that displays at the top of users' news feeds when they are within range of the business. These Place Tips can also include visitor reviews, events, and business information such as menus, maps, videos, and photo albums. Facebook BLUETOOTH® Beacons These small, geometric hardware devices use BLUETOOTH® technology to connect nearby mobile devices and users to Place Tips within their Facebook app. When a Facebook mobile news feed is accessed within range of one of these devices, the user will be presented with Facebook Place Tips from the Facebook Business Page for which the beacon is configured. Now that we have all the elements defined, the opportunity should be pretty clear to any business owners! Facebook Page Admins can request a Facebook Bluetooth® beacon from the social media network on this page. Kapeesh recommends submitting the form and requesting a Facebook BLUETOOTH® beacon if you fit within the following parameters: • Your business has an active Facebook Business Page that is managed and consistently posts updates, photos, videos, and/or events. • Your business receives visitors, customers, or clients at a designated location - you're not just a warehouse, virtual office, or otherwise. And we HIGHLY recommend this free tool if your business has a waiting room, lobby, or otherwise hosts clients and customers for extended periods of time where they're likely to access social media on a mobile device to pass the time: doctor's offices, auto repair shops or service centers, veterinary clinics, salons, restaurants that regularly have waiting lists, etc. Want to learn more? Here are a few helpful articles on the subject: Facebook Introduces Place Tips in the News Feed Facebook Is Giving Out Free Bluetooth Beacons to Businesses - Entrepreneur.com Facebook wants to tell you about a business as soon as you walk in - Fortune.com Facebook Bluetooth® Beacons - Facebook for Business The BLUETOOTH® word mark and logos are owned by the Bluetooth SIG, Inc.
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Tough time reading this on a mobile device? See it on our mobile-friendly blog. We've been hit by two separate waves of online marketing change in the last month - Google's "Mobilegeddon" and Facebook's Algorithm Update. Both of these events impact our clients and other small business owners in ways we'd like to explain below. Google "Mobilegeddon" Around April 21st, 2015, Google launched their new, real-time search algorithm that affects searches completed on a mobile device. Websites that are mobile-friendly are now being given higher rankings than those sites without a mobile layout or with a poorly-designed mobile layout. What does it mean for small businesses? Business owners who were not initially convinced of the importance of a mobile-friendly design (or a website at all) will begin to see an even greater reason to build and optimize a website for users of multiple devices. Competitors with mobile-friendly web designs will rank higher and ultimately receive more clicks and views from Google users. Business owners should get with their online marketing consultants or web developers to assess rankings and current website compatibility. Our small business clients in the El Campo, Wharton, and Bay City, TX area are currently eligible for 50% off our Online Presence Audit, where Kapeesh will analyze things like search rankings, map listings, competitor positions, and other online marketing details. This special is only good through July 31st, 2015. Find a similar service if you do not already have a go-to resource for these types of things. Facebook Algorithm Update The social media giant is making 3 big changes to the way news feeds present information to users. 1. If users have few friends or very little activity from the friends they do have, Facebook will begin serving multiple posts in a row from the same source. Facebook previously had a rule that prevented this, but they claim to be "relaxing" that rule. 2. Content posted by friends a user cares about (or most interacts with) will take priority and show up higher in the news feed, so it is less likely to be missed. If the user often interacts with specific pages, that content will be ranked higher as well. 3. Facebook will be limiting the amount and visibility of "friend interaction" posts in a user's news feed. Many users have complained about seeing so many stories about friends liking or commenting on another page's post, so Facebook will be placing these stories lower in the news feed. What does it mean for small businesses? Facebook marketing has always been about repeat interactions and loyal engagement. These changes are not a threat to Facebook Page owners, but they do increase the necessity for a solid Facebook marketing strategy and focus when it comes to the types of posts, post frequency, and ad targeting. Business owners cannot expect to post anything they want and have it served up to thousands of Facebook users without carefully planning and executing said post. We'll be working with our Facebook Consulting clients to be sure they understand the gravity of these Facebook updates, and our Social Media Management clients can rest easy knowing we've got them covered with solid strategy and implementation. Overall, these Google and Facebook updates should just serve as a reminder that the web is always evolving, and so should your online marketing strategy. If you're not sure what else you could be doing online to improve your visibility, check out our FREE 8-Step Online Marketing Plan. Enjoy!
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The answer is both. And neither. What we mean is there's a nice, cozy middle ground. The people in your business are the most important resources you have as a business owner. This includes your employees, customers, vendors, community leaders, and support system. Sometimes, it can feel like a juggling act just keeping everyone happy. How does Kapeesh recommend doing it? Make sure everyone understands their role in your success, or in your business' family. Employees Aren't Scapegoats, Stepping Stones, or Door Mats B osses, supervisors, or business owners can come across as disappointed parents when talking to employees about customer service and how it needs improvement . There's usually a lot of "you need to do this" or "stop doing that." The key to getting employees to actually care about the customer experience is by helping them understand how it affects their job and the success of the company. Employees have decided to spend their working hours boosting YOUR brand and YOUR message each day, not the competitor's. When employees have a solid understanding of how a happy customer can mean bigger paychecks, company perks, time off, public accolades, or other incentives, they tend to enjoy their work and maintain a purpose-driven attitude. Customers Should Know They're #1 And Understand Why Customers and clients are the top priority. Any business owner can tell you that, whether or not they "practice what they preach." There are many ways to ensure the customer understands he/she is important and appreciated, but do they understand WHY they are appreciated? Is Ms. Brown important to the business because she yells at the counter person every time she comes in, or is it because your company has been serving her and her family for over 15 years? It's easy for even some of the best customers to get into the habit of nagging, complaining, or being relatively unpleasant when they're conditioned by other businesses to act this way in order to be noticed or recognized at all. I know I sometimes put myself in a bad mood just waiting on hold for that next customer service representative. Don't simply reward this behavior by hurriedly giving them what they want and "shoo-ing" them off. Take time to pause and personally let these customers know that they're appreciated. The personal message can work to win those tougher customers over and mold them into positive, loyal ones. Vendors Are People Too! Whether it's a wholesale grocer, a printing company, an office supply distributor, or a human resource consultant that pops into your business to check-in every so often, take time to speak with and appreciate these people. Your employees, customers, and management team should all understand the importance of these players. While it's easy to get into the mentality that the vendors are "invisibile" helpers, they truly are so much more. Good relationships with these resources and businesses can open doors for you and your business in the future. Don't let opportunities pass you by because of a simple oversight. Without Those Supporters, We All Fall Down People in the community, cheerleaders in our own families... THANK YOU. That is all. Business owners easily get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle, but if we were given a second away from our desks and storefronts, I'm sure I speak for us all when I say "YOU ARE SO APPRECIATED." So, business owners, take time to make sure all of your important players understand the roles they play. Employees, customers, vendors, and supporters... they're all irreplaceable and equally appreciated.
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Nice tips, and super easy to follow! To add one: A question we receive often from our clients who are new to Twitter is about the "." before @ mentions. While a conversational tweet beginning with a user's handle will only be shared with those who follow both accounts, you can always add a period before the @ to make sure the mention is seen by all of your followers!
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Tough time reading this on a mobile device? See it on our mobile-friendly blog. When I think of "FREE," I get flashes of angry Black Friday mobs and that inevitable "Sorry, we're all out," message. The internet is full of freebies. Some offers seem more like scams, while others are legitimately great deals. With so many of these giveaways online and in-store, how can a small business compete? We've got a few tips for getting your freebies and deep discounts noticed without sacrificing value, profit, or sanity. Giving away free items can benefit your business in several ways. "Free" is as low-risk as customers can get, so getting people to sample your product or service is relatively easy. Freebies can also be offered with a stipulation that customers receive updates, whether it be blog posts, a newsletter, or specials. When giving away whitepapers, e-books, and other informative resources, your business is immediately identified as being an expert on the subject at hand. With so many benefits, you can't go wrong - can you? Not so fast. • If you're giving away a product or sample, you can't get away with a lower-quality product than you would normally produce. If customers think your freebies are of poor quality, they'll assume the rest of your work is just that. • Giving away information (consultations, whitepapers, classes, etc.)? Be mindful of how much of the "solution" you're sharing. If a customer can do it all on their own, why come to you? This is not always the case, but a good thing to keep in mind. A company that gives out the full, informative solution or tutorial can also be regarded as an expert that's willing to help others at their own expense. It's all about what your business can afford at the time. • Don't expect everyone and their neighbor to come running for your free sample, service, or product; and once some prospects have sampled, you can't expect them all to sign on for bulk orders or large projects. Give it time. Your great quality, customer service, and smile will help them grow into long-term, loyal customers. • Set strict guidelines when it comes to the quantity of freebies and the duration of the campaign. Offering unlimited free samples or services for an infinite amount of time can be detrimental, unless your business has a permanent spot in the monthly budget for such activities (a "charitable" or "donation" category would be an example). Expiration dates give the customers a sense of urgency, both to collect the voucher and to redeem it. Also, promising "unlimited" amounts for an unknown amount of time can put you in a bind when a customer shows up 3 years down the road looking for that free service you guaranteed. Overall, complimentary products and services are a necessary and encouraged part of every business' marketing campaign. There are just a few rules for owners to follow. Before I leave you, I also want to encourage each and every small business out there to consider giving back to their community by way of services or product offerings. It feels great, I promise. How does Kapeesh do it? We offer clients free educational downloads, work with the local Chamber of Commerce, and donate complimentary services to #gruntrepreneurs, or Marine Corps veterans with businesses, (inspired by The 03XX Foundation).
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Not only do we manage social media, digital reputations, and websites for our clients... but we have to keep up with our own stuff too! Today, Kapeesh is sharing our top 4 favorite apps to help us manage our online marketing. We hope you'll check them out and reap the rewards as well. Buffer App www.bufferapp.com Buffer allows you tosave the great content you find online and schedule it to post across all your social media accounts at the most optimal times during the day. We suggest choosing a day out of your week to schedule all your posts - then let your accounts run on auto-pilot! This doesn't take care of the commenting and interactions for you, but it certainly frees up hours of your day to handle more important issues. Feedly www.feedly.com Choose your industry topics or subscribe to your favorite RSS feeds - have content delivered to your Feedly account. From here, you can share content across your social media accounts, forward it on through email, or save it for later! Use both Feedly and Buffer to create a powerhouse duo of great, sharable content and hands-free posting. Evernote www.evernote.com Whether it's brainstorming your next project, keeping an online journal, collaborating with your Evernote team members, or snapping and saving important documents; Evernote is worth its virtual weight in gold. Our team uses it to collect design ideas, brainstorm blog posts, and snap photos of expense receipts. Those recipts can be tagged/labeled, organized, and made ready for tax season! IFTTT (rhymes with gift) www.ifttt.com Use IFTTT to create custom recipes - actions that make the internet work for you! When the weather's bad, have your phone text you an umbrella reminder. When you schedule a client meeting in Google Calendar, have Google Docs automatically set up a meeting notes template so you're ready to go with little preparation. We use recipes for cross-platform publishing: When a video is posted to our Instagram account, it's automatically shared on Facebook and Twitter. The possibilities are nearly limitless with IFTTT. Check it out today! Do you have an app that you just can't function without? How does it help your business get through the day?
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It's a new year, and your to-do lists are getting longer and longer. New goals, complex projects, and ideas are swimming through your head. These lists can get to be daunting when it seems like nothing can get checked off in a single day's time. Read on for 5 quick things you can do the next time you're online to help your business. 1. Google Yourself Yes, I said it. Google your business name. What do your search results look like? Is your website even showing up as one of the top listings? As business owners, we run hundreds of Google searches each week. How many of those searches are to check up on our own business? Take a few minutes to not only search your business name, but also search for major industry keywords in your geographical area. Pretend you're a customer looking for services your business provides. Are you easy to find? If you notice some weak points in your visibility, contact a professional to get a full SEO analysis. 2. Where Are You? If you've ever used Google Maps or a similar service, you know it isn't error-proof. Check those online maps and directions to your business to make sure they are accurate and easy to understand. Most of these services offer a process by which you can make changes or request fixes. 3. People Are Talking (or Worse, Not Talking) If your business has a Google listing, the option to leave a review is available. Do you know what people are saying about your business online? The "out of sight, out of mind" mentality can ruin a business' online reputation. Online reviews cannot be ignored! Whether on Google, Yelp, Facebook, or elsewhere, take time to see what people are saying. Thank customers for positive reviews and address the poor ratings as well. If you have no reviews to be found, it's time to encourage your loyal customers to get online and do so! 4. Be Social Take time to check your direct messages or message inboxes on social media accounts. Phone apps and desktop notifications can get lost or forgotten, so take a minute to scan through those accounts for any comments, questions, or messages you may have missed. 5. Get Schooled! YouTube has a weath of information readily available. Set a few minutes aside to watch a video on setting up or managing a social media account, or learn how to run a successful Facebook ad campaign. What ever your fancy, you can find a video or blog online that can have you walking away feeling wiser and more ready for online marketing success! Just a few minutes a day is all it takes to analyze and review your web presence, and it's easier than ever to find quick tutorials to help explain online marketing activities. Wishing you all success and happiness in 2015!
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By now, most business owners understand they need some sort of web presence to get noticed by today's consumer. But many clients we come across are overwhelmed by the different options and have no idea where to begin with their online marketing. We've put together an 8-step guide to walk any business owner through some of the best actions they can take to get their business noticed online. A downloadable PDF version of the guide is available on the Kapeesh Team Blog. Your 8-Step Online Marketing Plan Or How To Make Your Business Stand Out Among The Rest STEP 1: GOOGLE MY BUSINESS AND GOOGLE+ Google is the largest and most powerful search engine on the Internet, and they offer a FREE service for business owners called Google My Business. By setting up an account, you can access tools like Google+, Reviews, Google Analytics, Insights, Maps, and Hangouts. Optimize and manage each of these tools to make the biggest impact. STEP 2: SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION It’s not enough to have a website. How does your website rank across major search engines for your targeted keywords? Conduct an analysis of your current rankings, and work on optimizing your site for search engine crawlers. When that’s complete, share links to your website online in forums or across social media. STEP 3: ASK FOR POSITIVE REVIEWS Develop a step in your customer service cycle that asks customers to review your business online. Google+, Yelp, Yahoo! Local Listings, Angie’s List, Consumer Reports, Facebook, and your own website’s testimonial section are all options for your customers. Depending on your industry, use only some or all of those listed. (i.e. A plumber would find Angie’s List or a BBB rating helpful, while a local restaurant would benefit from using Yelp.) STEP 4: USE PAY PER CLICK MARKETING Optimizing your website for search engines is the best way to get to the top of those results lists, but it can take time for web crawlers to find your new content and re-rank your site. Speed up the process by using PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing or Google Ads. For a fee, Google will put your site in front of users searching for relevant products or services. STEP 5: USE SOCIAL MEDIA CORRECTLY & OFTEN Social media platforms allow your brand to be in front of engaged users looking for content that is relevant to your business. Decide how much time you have daily to set aside for these accounts, and determine which platforms you want to use. Learn the ins and outs of each, and share solid content as well as links to you site! STEP 6: PUBLISH YOUTUBE VIDEOS Create a YouTube channel and share industry tips, day-in-the-life vlogs, new product or service announcements, and more! YouTube videos and Google Hangouts are a great way to reach your audience and prove yourself to be the industry expert. Because YouTube is owned by Google, keywords, tags, and content lends toward better search results and rankings. STEP 7: SUBSCRIBER LISTS & EMAIL MARKETING Capture your current customers’ contact information, and verify it with each transaction. Recording a valid email address for the purpose of connecting with your customer later is incredibly important. Send subscribers special offers, business updates, industry news, and holiday messages to keep your brand at the forefront of their mind. We suggest using Constant Contact for email and Feed Burner by Google for blog subscriptions. STEP 8: LOCAL FORUMS & DIRECTORIES No matter your niche, there is an online forum or directory for the services or products you offer. Create an account and engage with those users. Facebook Groups is a great beginner forum. Work to get added to local and industry directories. Some may have fees involved, but many are free. Don’t spam users with links and offers - engage them in relevant discussion and become the go-to expert. Download this guide in a 2-page printable version by following this link.
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Shortly after you know which products or services your business is going to offer, you're scrambling to name the venture. Something cute, but not too cute... something meaningful, but not too obscure... Naming your business used to be a legal and practical step in the start-up process. Now more than ever, it's strategic. Using keywords and snagging a great domain name means priority listings in search engines. It takes work to get it right. So what's a business owner to do when they get burnt out on business naming? STOP. Stop what you're doing and take the time to make sure you don't make any of these excuses during the process. Top Business/Domain Name Excuses Settling You say: "People understand there's a shortage of unique names out there, so they're used to funny-sounding alternative names." Just because HumanResources.com is taken does not mean it's okay to default to HumanResources123.com and take the easy way out. Don't settle for second, third, or last place. Take the time to create a unique brand that stands out. Shark Bait You say: "Too bad the business name and domain I liked was picked up by a premiuim domain reseller. I wouldn't be caught dead paying over basic registration fees for my domain." Don't let those premium rates and "domain sharks" scare you off from your shot at acquiring the perfect domain. If it's available and you can manage the investment, pull the trigger! Giving Up You say: "Well, the .com version already exists. We can always just go with the .net or .biz, right?" Adding prefixes (goKapeeshTeamRealty.com) and settling for the .net or .biz version is not a good idea. Think of all the people looking for [YourBusinessName].com - as a new business you may not have the search engine results yet, and it takes people visiting your site to get you there. Anything less than .com will be difficult for customers to find. Hipster You say: "Our team thinks it's a cool name - who cares what others think? They don't have to understand it." Naming your business cannot be a selfish endeavor. You HAVE to focus on customers, prospects, and the public. What's memorable to you may not be memorable to others. Rushing It You say: "We've got too much going on. At the end of this 2-hour session, we're choosing the best on the list. Done." You're building a brand. There's a reason this is the third mention of "taking your time" in this post. Patience is a virtue, and the perfect name will come to you soon enough. Hyper-Creative You say: "The best way to get a unique name is by making one up! Fictional names rock!" Be careful here. Yes, you can have fun and come up with a very catchy name this way. You can also go off the deep end and end up with something obscure and difficult to pronounce. Okay, I have a list of names. Now what? Once you've got a short list of names and keywords that appeal to you, be sure to take these FOUR steps: 1. Visit a site like NameMesh.com or BustAName.com to use a fun generator that will not only come up with naming alternatives but will check to see if the domains are available. 2. Read through the new list of alternatives and word combos, and pay attention to the ones that conjure images of your business. Can you see that name on a card? A sign? 3. Say the names outloud. Yes! Alone in your room, in a crowded office... say those names outloud! Do they roll off the tongue? Would a person have a difficult time understanding it over the radio or over the phone? 4. Write them down and ask other people to read/say the names. A name that's difficult to pronouce can be difficult to transcribe or spell. It all boils down to how easily it can be remembered and passed on! Most of all, have fun and put your heart in it.
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7 Deadly Sins, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, 7 Dwarves, 7-Eleven, and now… 7 Small Town, Small Business Mistakes you don’t want to make. 1. Jumping on the bandwagon 2. Being too casual 3. Taking criticism personally 4. Failing to shop around for vendors 5. Sticking to local customer markets 6. Making competition personal 7. Not taking advantage of the local Chamber Jumping on the bandwagon. One of our biggest pet peeves is finding businesses and organizations using Facebook profiles instead of pages. Small towns break this “silly rule” all the time. (See Terms of Service and the definition of a Facebook Page.) Counting out ignorance? Betty asks Joan, who asks David, who asks Tina how she got her business on Facebook. Tina boasts how easy it was to use a company email address to set up a new Facebook account and profile. Now, David’s Lawn Service, Joan’s Flower Shop and Betty’s Bridal have all followed suit. Had they done a little research themselves or contacted a marketing specialist, they would know the complications involved in going about this the wrong way. Small town small business owners belong to a tight-knit family, and that’s one of the greatest things about working, shopping and living in a suburban or rural area. Setting that aside, family members do not always know best. Take no blind leaps. Research solutions, prospects, programs and vendors yourself before playing copycat. Being too casual. Small towns are fun. For the most part, they’re laid back, easy-going communities where everyone knows your dog’s middle name. Long gone is the white noise of the highway and daily bumper-to-bumper commute. With all of this in mind, business owners should keep their guard up. It’s easy to get lost in the casual environment. Whether it’s letting local gossip slip while trying to get to know a new customer or showing up in flip flops and blue jeans at the local cafe for a prospect meeting, it’s wrong wrong wrong. Love your area, love your customers and enjoy your business, but always keep it classy. Taking criticism personally. In a small town, this can easily happen. You have to see the complaining customer on Sunday morning, after all. Read more about this no-no here. Failing to shop around for vendors. This one hits the pocket book. At Kapeesh, we’re huge supporters of local small businesses. It’s important to understand that you can be a #1 fan without going broke. We encourage you to use your neighbors and fellow Chamber members for everything you can UNTIL IT AFFECTS YOUR BOTTOM LINE. A one-time favor or project is no big deal, but don’t be guilted into signing long-term contracts for local pickles at $50 a jar. Make a note of how much you are willing to spend on certain supplies, and stick with it. Online companies and larger cities can often provide the same or better service or product for a much better price. Shop around! Of course, you’ll want to check with the local vendors first to see if they can accomodate you, and many times they are able to work out deals based on a handshake. Lucky you. You’ve got the best of both worlds! Sticking to local customer markets. Are you online? Yes, but are you REALLY online? Do customers outside of your zip code know about you? If you answered “no” to any of those questions, call us right this instant. No matter how many chairs are in your diner, you should be known by people outside of your little area. We aren’t saying that you should incur the cost to ship products to international customers. We’re simply stating that there should be a level of awareness among out of town customers. It’s easy to fall into an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. Don’t do it. Make that customer group part of your marketing plan. Visit bazaars and booth events in outlying counties. You’ll meet new people, and you might even find the perfect town for your 2nd branch. Making competition personal. This mistake goes hand-in-hand with Taking Criticism Personally. It’s likely that competing stores are run by people you went to school with, buy groceries next to, or see in the lobby of the dental office. If you’ve ever lived in a small town, and I have, you know that curiosity can turn to dislike, which can turn to much worse very quickly. Soon, you’ll roll your eyes at your competitor when you end up at the same car wash. Just as we encourage business owners to keep criticism and hurt feelings at the storefront, leave competitive negativity at your desk. Lastly, not taking advantage of the local Chamber of Commerce. We LOVE the local Chamber. You can always count on an ample supply of resources and free marketing. Chamber members will always seek out other members for products and services. The events, brunches, seminars and ribbon cutting ceremonies are invaluable. Social media has nothing on the bonds you can find networking within the Chamber of Commerce. Locate yours today, become a member (or ambassador) and stay involved! As with all lists of rules and common mistakes, the 7 actions above have some flexibility. Take a hard look at your individual situation and apply our opinions.
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What are you doing to hold your business to a higher standard?
It’s great if you’ve got your local booster club’s sticker in your front shop window, but what are you really doing as a business to stand out? Besides mailing in a check every high school football season, what actions are you taking to define your company as one that truly cares about its customers and community?
If you ‘d be nervous answering these questions in front of a board of investors, it’s time you take a look at your mission statement and the social or community section of your business plan.
We all know that customer service is high on the “What contributes to success?” scale, but many business owners fail to realize the importance of customer and community appreciation. There are many ways to support your community without bandwagoning onto a local cause or charity. We’ve identified some of these ways below.
Scholarships, Internships and Apprenticeships Though this practice has become somewhat of a rarity in recent years, businesses are in the best position to give back to the community by way of direct scholarships, internships and apprenticeships. Using those methods to invest in education is a great way to give back to the community. Skip the half-hearted appearance at the local scholarship banquet, and set aside your own fund for private scholarships. Offer part or full-time internships or apprenticeships at your place of business. Often times, the local talent willing to walk through your front door and shake your hand will outshine the recent university grad and online applicant. Donating toward a massive scholarship fund is all good and well, but are your efforts really being seen, heard and FELT by the community? Meet the youth in your area. Talk to them. Most importantly, invest your time and knowledge in them.
Personalized Correspondence Thank your customers. Learn their names. Those two statements mean much more than one would think. The printed “Thanks, come again!” on your receipts and plastic bags is not enough. What are you doing to show your customers that you appreciate them? If you’ve completed a large order, project or job for a client, send a personal note thanking them for their business. Give loyal customers discounts on future orders. When you see a familiar face out in public, STOP. A smile and a handshake are appropriate. At the end of the day, your customers are all you’ve got. Without them, your product or service is just “stuff”. Call your customers by their names when given the chance. Send Christmas cards and wish them a happy birthday. You’ll earn respect and their continued patronage.
Get Creative Look for ways to get your brand inserted into the community. In our hometown, our community comes together for farmers’ markets, shop hops and other events. These events are often in need of posters, flyers, brochures and other marketing goods. This gives Kapeesh the perfect opportunity to help – and get our brand out there. Find events in your area that relate to your industry. Give, give and give again.
The goal is to have your community not only recognize your brand, but to respect and rely on your involvement.
Do you have your own ideas? Stories of how you gave back and made an impact in your area? We want to hear about it! Comment below or tweet us @kapeeshteam!
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