Are you making the most of your social media pages? Sites like Facebook and Twitter are a wonderful way to interact with current customers, but if you handle them properly, they can also be a great source of new leads. A lot of local businesses don’t do a good job of using social media to generate leads because they’re not sure how to go about it. With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the ways you can use social media to get qualified leads for your company.
Strategy #1: Fill out your profiles completely
A lot of small business owners skip the step of completing a profile, but that’s a mistake. Take the time to fill in your company’s full name, address, and phone number, provide a brief description, and link back to your website. Choose a compelling profile picture and cover photo. The more complete your profile is, the more compelling it will be to potential customers.
Strategy #2: Link your social media posts to landing pages, not your home page
If you’re posting in an effort to get people to buy a particular product, make sure you link directly to it. Prospective leads shouldn’t have to guess what you want them to do. When you send them directly to a page – especially one that will require them to opt in to see the content – you greatly increase the chances that they will convert. Also, make sure that every page has your name and address, and an easy way to contact you.
Strategy #3: Sponsor a contest
This one is a pretty popular strategy that’s been around for a while, but it’s worth including because it is so effective. People who are already following you on social media are highly likely to be interested in anything you are giving away. You can maximize your exposure by offering one entry to people who like the post, and a second entry to those who share it. Your most loyal customers will always be willing to share, and the shared post will get your company in front of a whole new audience, many of whom will also be local.
Strategy #4: Use a Twitter card or pinned Facebook note to attract leads
One downside of using social media is that content turns over very quickly. That means that a call to action that you post can easily get lost in the shuffle – unless you pin it. Facebook allows you to write a note and pin it at the top of your page. Likewise, Twitter allows you to create a Twitter card with relevant information and pin it to the top of your profile. The benefit of pinning is that it leaves your content in a highly visible location for as long as you want, thus increasing visits to your website – and also visits to your business.
Strategy #5: Sponsor a Google Hangout with local customers
One of the trickiest things about getting people to buy from you is overcoming the objections that they hear inside their heads. If you can get an opportunity to talk to them directly, you can address those concerns easily. A Google Hangout is a nice way to accomplish that. Set up a time for the Google Hangout using your Google+ or Google My Business account. Your Hangout can be a round table discussion with potential customers or even a live Q & A with people online. The benefit of live online events like this is that you can interact directly with customers, and also post the Hangout for people who couldn’t make it to watch later.
Strategy #6: Use geographical targeting for your social media ads
Social media advertising is a cost-effective option for local companies. One of the best reasons to invest in paid social media advertising is that you can easily target your ads to the people who are in your geographical area and are interested in your products.
The benefit of this kind of targeting is that it prevents you from having to pay for clicks and leads that are not relevant. Your ad will be seen only by people who are in your area. On Facebook, you also have the option of sponsoring a post and targeting your followers and their followers. The geographical targeting won’t be as tight as it would be with locational targeting, but the chances are good that a high percentage of your followers’ friends are in your area, too.
Strategy #7: Use whisper codes to increase traffic to your store
When you own a brick and mortar store, figuring out who’s responding to your social media marketing efforts can be tricky. One way to help track your ROI is to send out a “whisper code” to your followers. A whisper code is basically a verbal coupon. Instead of sending a bar code that needs to be scanned, you give customers a word or phrase to whisper in return for a freebie.
The benefit of whisper codes is that you can track your social media campaigns to figure out if they’re working. The chances are that any customer who comes to your store in anticipation of getting something free will end up buying more than they otherwise would have.
Strategy #8: Use social media to promote events and appearances
Local people come to local events. If your company is sponsoring a local event, or if you regularly sell at a farmer’s market, use social media to spread the word. You might remind people of the hours, let them know what you’ll be selling, or even invite them to stop by to get a free sample.
A related pro tip is to interact with other local businesses and find ways to cross-promote your products. Using the farmer’s market example again, a local baker might tag-team with a creamery to get people to buy both bread and butter. If each of you promotes your own product as well as the other person’s, you can increase the traffic on the day of the event – and possibly gain some new social media followers, too!
Strategy #9: Use Facebook’s “Call Now” feature to target mobile users
When you advertise on Facebook, you have the choice of targeting mobile users by including a “Call Now” button on your ad. The button enables mobile users to call you directly by touching the button instead of having to look up and dial your number. It’s a great way to encourage contact – and give you the opportunity to pitch a lead directly.
Social media strategies may vary from business to business, but the strategies listed here will help you make the most of the time and effort you put in to your social media campaigns.
Online marketing is no longer optional for most businesses. A majority of shoppers seek out information and reviews online before making a purchase. They expect the businesses they frequent to maintain an online presence, and will probably seek out alternatives if they don’t find what they expect.
With the end of the year fast approaching, let’s take a look at the five online marketing mistakes you must avoid in 2016 if you want your business to thrive.
#1: Not being mobile-friendly
As of 2014, more internet users access their favorite websites using mobile devices than using computers. That means you can’t afford to ignore mobile marketing as a way of getting the word out about your business. Mobile users also spend more time online than people who use computers.
The best way to make your website accessible to mobile users is to go with a mobile-adaptive option. What that means is that your site will automatically adapt so that any user, on any device, gets an easy-to-use version of your site that’s uniquely suited to their phone or tablet. It used to be common for websites to have a separate mobile site, generally indicated by the letter “M” before the site name.
Of course, having a mobile-adaptive site isn’t the only way to cater to mobile users. You may also want to consider collecting mobile numbers to use in marketing. “Text messages are inexpensive to send and tend to have a far higher open rate (close to 99%) than traditional emails.” They can be a great way to engage local customers and get them to visit your business.
#2: Not claiming your “My business” page
Google My Business has replaced Google Local, and if you haven’t logged in to claim your page, you’re making a big mistake. You can claim your page by logging in to your Google+ account, or by creating one for your business if you don’t have one.
Once you claim your page, you should add a profile picture, a brief description of your business, and a link to your website. It’s also a good idea to include basic information such as a menu, prices, or your hours of operation. Check your address and phone number for accuracy, and use important keywords to reap the SEO benefits.
Not only will claiming your page help local customers find you online, it will also give your local search ranking on Google a boost.
Note: you should also make sure to claim your page on online review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List.
#3: Not responding to negative reviews
The subject of online review sites brings us to the third mistake on our list. Sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Google My Business, and others, offer an easy way for consumers to leave reviews of local businesses. Recent studies reveal that a huge percentage of consumers – upwards of 80% — read online reviews prior to making a purchase.
Everyone loves to get positive reviews, but it’s how you respond to the negative ones that can set your business apart. Every negative review you receive is an opportunity to show customers that you care about them.
To handle negative reviews well, start by claiming your page. Once you have done that, you need to monitor your pages and respond quickly to all reviews, good and bad. If you decide to delegate the responsibility of responding to reviews, make sure you choose someone who can respond to a negative reviews without sounding defensive or angry. Remember that other customers will be able to see your response. This is free marketing designed as customer service, so make the most of it. Be courteous, grateful for the feedback, and make sure to address whatever issues are raised in a timely and respectful manner.
#4: Not engaging customers or promoting your business on social media
If responding to negative reviews is important, it is equally vital to maintain an active social media presence and engage with your customers there. Despite the overwhelming popularity of social media, a surprising number of companies aren’t using it to their best advantage.
You don’t need to be on every social media site, but picking the right ones is essential. Facebook is still the largest social media site and a great place for businesses who market directly to consumers. For business-to-business marketing, LinkedIn is the gold standard. Businesses who sell aspirational products that lend themselves well to photography would be remiss if they ignored the benefits of setting up a Pinterest account.
It’s a good idea to monitor some of your competitors on social media and see what they are posting. Try sharing a mix of original content and curated content. One easy way to find content is to follow relevant publications and pages and share their posts.
#5: Not using paid advertising
There are plenty of ways to market your business online for free, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore paid advertising. Online advertising tends to be relatively inexpensive and offers some easy options that allow you to budget an ad that won’t break the bank.
One option to consider is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on search engines like Google and Bing. Both options require you to bid on a selected keyword. On Google AdWords, you can use the Keyword Finder to identify potential keywords. Your ads appear only if you outbid your competitors – the bid is based on a combination of the keyword’s popularity and your website’s authority. Chosen ads appear either at the top of a list of search results or on the right margin of the page.
Social media advertising is another excellent and affordable choice. Facebook offers options to attract new visitors to your Facebook page or website. In addition, you can boost an individual post so it displays to your followers and their friends, or to target demographics you select. Facebook allows you to set a daily budget as low as one dollar, and emails you regular updates that make it easy to track your results. You can also use customer psychographics – things like interests, hobbies, political affiliations, and more – to target your ads. Other social media sites such as Twitter and Pinterest offer similar options.
2016 promises to bring new marketing challenges for all businesses, but if you avoid the five mistakes listed here you’ll be ahead of the pack.
Online Marketing Services for Small Businesses in Sedona Let Business Owners Focus on Running Their Business
No matter what your online business is –
No matter what you are selling –
You need quality traffic and prospects to contact you. And you need a continual stream of leads and customers! Bellrock can provide you the tools to access traffic, build lists and advertise online or offline.
You will need some basic tools:
- a business card
- a website for your products or services
- a shopping cart for your customer to purchase your items
- a way to process payments online
- a mobile optimized website for the emerging generation of shoppers
- personal, automated responses to email inquiries
- advertising (pay per click) targeted to find your ultimate/perfect customer
- reach your customers with SMS text ads and features
- tap into a social community that “likes” your product
- real world advertising – postcards, emails or banner ads
Bellrock can help you achieve what you want from your business. If you already have some of the basic tools, great! Now let us help you get the other cogs for your business wheel so that you can generate the sales you need.
Whether this is your first business or your tenth, you know you need advertising, traffic and leads. We partner with you. These essential business tools can be purchased “a la carte” or as a package. Just let us know how you want to get going! It is easy to get started!
On April 21st of this year Google started using some measurements of whether a website is mobile friendly to rank websites for Google search results. Here is an excerpt the blog post talking about this change to Googles ranking system:
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.
To get help with making a mobile-friendly site, check out our guide to mobile-friendly sites. If you’re a webmaster, you can get ready for this change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:
Here at Bellrock Internet we have created a special website dedicated to helping businesses with their mobile friendly website design needs to have improved google search ranking. Please visit our new website at this link: Make My Website Mobile
Video marketing is exploding and we plan to participate by creating videos to promote our marketing services and to help other businesses make use of video marketing for their businesses. Watch our video commercial below:
One of the most surefire ways to round up new customers is through referrals.
We have just launched a new service which marries the use of referrals and giving the customers thank you for their business. Our service will help small businesses to set up a thank you referral network in which businesses hand thank you cards to their customers which refer the customer to businesses in the network with purchase discounts.
- the customer is appreciated with a thank you
- the referrals give discounts to attract customers to the businesses in the network
- the business network represents a larger customer base than any one business in the network
- our online system offers a way to easily create, organize and manage the referral network
Check it out by clicking the following button and get started today: ( visit ThankYouReferrals.com)
[ip-shortcode type=”button” url=”http://thankyoureferrals.com” style=”orange” size=”large” radius=”5″ color=”#ffffff” icon=”none” iconpos=”before” target=”blank”]Thank You Referrals Networking[/ip-shortcode]
Much of what works for social applies to mobile. To put even more of a point on it, social is mobile.
Good reading: 7 tips for making your content mobile
A few tips for building a good mobile website.
1: Consider is whether your site is “thumb-friendly”. What that means in practice is lots of big, fat buttons. Keep the font size fairly large and the navigation should be fairly intuitive following the “KISS” principle. Also, since the user is already on their PHONE – a prominent CLICK TO CALL button.
2: You need to be on page one of the search results. Users won’t scroll through pages of results. Highlight your specific location to help boost your business in the top results for geographic searches. Keywords that begin with your location – and then the keyword will help place your website at the top of the local listings.
3: Integrate with links to your social media listings.
- Yelp!: Encourage customers to leave positive reviews. Check your business’s profile regularly so that negative reviews can be remedied and won’t appear first when new customers search for you.
- Foursquare: Recent updates to Foursquare let users find businesses in their current location and see what customers have to say. Be on the lookout for any negative reviews and consider offering “check-in” specials to engage customers and encourage referrals.
- Facebook Nearby: With the introduction of Graph Search, users can look to the social network’s “nearby” feature for local ratings, reviews and recommendations from their networks. Now more than ever, make sure your business’s page is complete with address, phone number, hours and other key details.