I can't think of a single business that would not benefit from a well run social media marketing campaign but, for today, let's focus on Realtors. Realtors rely on name and face recognition. When someone is buying or selling a home they want an expert and for better or worse, if they see your face more frequently, you become that expert in their minds.
Social Media Marketing is perfect for realtors because it gets your name and face out there in front of potentially thousands and possibly even millions of people. If you use your Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter accounts properly, you can build an audience that sees you as an expert and the day they are finally ready to buy or sell, you will be the person that they think of.
The coolest new service in social media marketing is MySocialMediaUSA.com. They offer a program that allows you to turn any Facebook link, Twitter tweet and Linkedin post into an ad for your business by allowing you to attach a banner to the link. That banner can do anything but putting your name, phone number, email, website and photo on it gets you in front of an unlimited audience.
I recently met with a client who wanted to hire me to get them more traffic (visitors) to their website. I've done this in the past for a variety of different companies in different industries. For one client back in 2010 I managed to get them 550 new online sales in three months which was great for them since prior to that they only had 600 customers for the entire year in 2009. They were thrilled at the growth and so was I. I have continued to consult with them and they have continued to grow pretty dramatically every year since.
When the new client said they need more traffic, I knew I could handle that job and we met, set out a plan and got them started. I'm happy to say that by combining better SEO, some display and PPC ads and even a few local newspaper ads, we increased sales by 22% the first six months of 2015 as compared to the entire year of 2014. So that's great, right? Well, no, not to me. I was not completely satisfied with those results and honestly expected more. So I started digging, analyzing every source, every website click and every sale and what I found shocked me a bit. They had told me that they were sure they closed 30 - 50% of their sales opportunities, that they had great sales people and one division actually closed 85% of their appointments. However, it turns out they weren't tracking any data so their belief on their numbers was just a 'hunch'. I set up programs to monitor everything and found out that their closing on actual quotes was 30 - 40%. Not bad, but only 1.4% of all their website traffic ever asked for a quote! Now I knew the real problem.
Don't Waste Contacts!
Do you have any idea how many people visit your website every day or every week or every month or every year? How many of them give you their contact information? If you're not getting any information when they visit then you cannot keep in touch with them (obviously). Every person who visits your website is a potential customer. You want to keep in touch with them. In the long run it will be easier and cheaper to sell to people who already know you and like you than to keep finding new people to attract to your website.
How Do I Get Their Information?
Most people are not simply going to fill out a form for no reason to give you their personal information. However, people will trade their information for something of value, especially if you make it really easy for them. Don't ask for all of their information on the "first date", especially when they don't know much about you. Ask for a name and email address in exchange for something valuable to them. Offer them something; coupons, a white paper, a free download or recipe, something that makes sense for your business. If your clientele are men, contests work really well. They know that once they give you their information that you will email them but if the offer is fair, they'll take it.
Have questions about how this might work for your business? Use the form to the right to submit your question and let us know if you want a private (free) consultation or you want us to answer your question in the blog.
Groupon is a great way to introduce your business to new customers. Many business owners believe there is an advantage to using Groupon vs traditional advertising because with Groupon (for most deals) you only pay when someone makes a purchase. Many business owners don't even feel like they're PAYING Groupon since the customer pays Groupon and then Groupon pays you. But, don't be misled, Groupon is expensive. (While I acknowledge every deal is different, I'm going to use a basic deal that one of my clients recently did through Groupon).
A restaurant looking to bring in new customers might make a special offer on Groupon. Maybe you offer "Buy Two Pizzas for $11". Normally you would sell two pizzas for $22. So you're essentially offering "buy one, get one free". However, Groupon collects the $11 and pays you $5.50. So now you're selling two pizzas for $5.50.
The downside to this deal is, you may have done better if you offered "Buy two pizzas for $8" through your own social media. The customer would be happier since the pizza is cheaper and you would have gotten $8 instead of $5.50. However, if you don't have a huge following on social media, you don't have the option of "Do-it-Yourself". Another problem is, over 80% of customers who take advantage of a Groupon offer, don't ever come back to your restaurant to make a purchase at full price. It can take quite a few visits to get a person to become a regular at your retail shop or restaurant.
So How Can I Make Groupon Work for Me?
To get the most out of Groupon (and similar services), you should use it as to gather leads. Using our pizza example, if you lose $5 on every pizza deal, you have basically spent $5 to get a lead. Now you need to turn that lead into a lifelong customer.
If you want Groupon to work for you, you need a plan BEFORE you make your Groupon offer. The best, easiest and least expensive way to make Groupon work is to collect the cellphone numbers of your Groupon purchasers for a Text Marketing (SMS) Campaign.
(Contact us to get special discount offers on text marketing and mobile web apps with texting capabilities).
Once people purchase your Groupon offer, give them the opportunity to save even more, or to get a free gift by subscribing to your text campaign. You know they are interested in your product or service because they've already purchased on Groupon. You know they are looking for value. You can offer them "Exclusive Savings". If you manage the campaign properly, most of the Groupon purchasers will sign up to receive your text messages. This allows you to increase the value of every campaign that you run on Groupon. Suppose you get 25 responses to your Groupon campaign every time you run an offer. You can quickly build a subscriber list and turn those one time bargain hunters into lifelong customers.
If you have questions about how this strategy can help your business, please fill out the form to the right and submit your questions or call 973-220-6859. There is no charge and no obligation.
It seems like the end of 2014, from Thanksgiving right through into New Year's Eve went faster than ever. I know, for me personally, it was a crazy time. I'm working on a few really exciting projects for the new year, I spent time with family and I was able to travel the East Coast to attend some incredibly powerful marketing seminars and take a few classes to make sure that I keep my skills sharp. During that time I also had the opportunity to meet and talk to about a dozen business owners from all over the United States. Their businesses ranged in size from small start ups with only two full time employees, to large corporations with over 100 employees and millions of dollars in revenue annually. The most exciting thing about each of these individual business owners, is they were all focused on their goals for 2015. Even the ones that weren't sure how they were going to grow, seemed to know how much they were hoping to grow and where they wanted to grow.
What about you?
Do you have goals for 2015? I mean specific, hard core, written down goals? If you don't, I suggest you take out a piece of paper and jot down some realistic goals. Don't be vague. Don't write "I want my company to grow". Be specific "I want 50 (or 500, or whatever number of) new customers this year", or "I want to increase sales by 25%". Then start thinking about your plan to reach those goals. What do you need to do every day, every week, every month to move closer to your goals? If you want 50 new customers, you need to make one sale per week. How will you do that? Will you advertise? Will you hire more sales people? What will it take for you to reach your goals? Do you have a budget for those things?
If you're not sure how to set your goals, or what your goals should be, give us a call, 973-220-6859 or use the form on the right to request a free consultation.
I usually only publish articles that I write myself but this one from Inc. Magazine was so good I wanted to share it. It tells you 5 great ways to make you text marketing campaign more effective. Enjoy.
I know the last couple of posts have been on SMS (short message service) or "Text Marketing" but I keep getting asked questions so I figured I would share a little bit more about it. One of the main questions I get asked is "Why do you like text marketing?" I like it because it puts control in the hands of the business and it's very easy to track the results, tweak your campaigns and get your best customers to purchase more frequently. If a business owner will take the time (and we're talking 15 - 30 minutes) to learn how to use it properly (s)he can increase sales dramatically at a very low cost. This is the best way to have instant access to your best customers. Email lists are great but the reality is that in most industries the best you can hope for is to actually only reach about 20% of the customers that you email and many may not open the email for days. If you're running a one day sale that email can easily miss your target audience. On the other hand over 96% of all text messages get read within 3 hours of when they are sent and most are read within 2 minutes. Can you imagine the impact to your sales if you could reach 96% of your best customers with a special offer right now? If you are currently using email blasts then you know the importance of reaching your customers, text marketing allows you to reach more of them and to reach them instantly.
The other thing that I love about text marketing is the low cost. (Unfortunately that is only true if you choose the correct provider). If you purchase an account from a company like Dealz4.org that gives you unlimited texts for one fixed price (usually $995 per year but lower if you're a Page One For Professionals referral), then you can reach your customers for less than $20 per week. With a fixed price system your costs do NOT increase as you get more subscribers and start to give more offers. That is very important because as your business grows, you will get more subscribers and you'll want to send out more offers and you don't want to have to recalculate your budget every time you plan a text campaign. Having a fixed annual cost gives you a lot of freedom.
Many businesses find that once their text lists are built up sufficiently they can greatly reduce their print and online advertising, so the service can actually pay for itself.
That does bring up one potential negative. You, the business owner, will ultimately be responsible for how well, or how poorly, your text marketing campaign performs. You and your employees will have to encourage people to sign up. Once you have them signed up, you will need to make offers that keep them interested and get them to purchase. We can teach you some of the best practices for getting subscribers to your list but it will come down to how willing are you to actually ask customers to sign up. Dress Barn did a great campaign a few years ago. They simply trained the girls working the sales floor, when they saw a customer with a few items in their hands, they asked "Do you have a smartphone with a text plan?" If the customer said yes, they asked "Would you like to save 10% on your purchases today?" Most customers said yes. Then they explained how to sign up or offered to do the sign up for the customer. Then once they confirmed the sign up, the customer received an automated text with a code the cashier could use to give the 10% discount. That 10% is a small price to pay for the opportunity to market to this customer once a week, or once a month for the next few years. Those customers are the first to know about clearance sales, new inventory and store events. The customers appreciate it and Dress Barn increases their sales. There is no one better to advertise to than someone who ASKS you to send them ads.
Another question is, "Will it work for my business?"
I believe that text marketing can work for almost any type of business however, I always clarify that text marketing is NOT for every business. There are some specific types of businesses that can really do well with it and others that I would advise to not bother. For example, a contractor who builds kitchens is NOT going to do well with text marketing because people who want to rebuild their kitchen are NOT waiting for a text message and once they purchase the service, they should never need it again, unless they buy a new house. Most doctors, dentists and similar professionals will not need text marketing for sales, but there are some ways that it can be used.
We offer free consultations to help you determine what type of marketing is best for your business and if Text Marketing can help you. Call us at 973-220-6859 or fill out the form to the right for a free, no obligation consultation.
There are a lot of advantages to Text Message Marketing. We touched on them in my last post. That was a long post, so I thought I'd write a shorter (and hopefully more concise) primer. Text Message Marketing is also called SMS "Short Message Service" Marketing.
The two biggest advantages of SMS are:
1. It puts the advertiser in control of the message and the timing.
2. People "opt-in" so you know that these are people who WANT to hear from you.
The downside to SMS is:
It requires work on the part of the business owner. You need to educate your staff so that they will educate your customers so your customers will sign up for your SMS program. You see, you can't just purchase a system and then shoot out text messages to everyone's phone. Customers have to sign up and they won't sign up if they don't know how, or worse, if they don't know that you have an opt-in program.
Fortunately, it is very easy to overcome the downside. You can quickly teach your employees how to sign people up and some companies pay a bonus or incentive to the employee who signs up the most customers in a given time frame. You can also put a post card in every customer's bag as they leave explaining the program and including the SMS sign up code. Give customers an incentive to sign up while you have them in your store or restaurant. For example, you could offer 10% off today's purchases if they complete the sign up process. Let them know that they will receive exclusive offers and discounts as a "member" of your text club.
Texting is also great for bands, artists and theaters. Your "members" get notification via text whenever you have a new video, song, show or even an interview available. You can attach photos to a text message and really give your fans a personal touch.
Would you like to learn more? Better yet, would you like to try text marketing for 3-4 months free with absolutely no-obligation? Simply fill out the form to the right and in the Questions box write "free text plan". We've set up a deal through Dealz4.org to give a free demo. At the end of the free trial period, you will be given the option to pay a discounted yearly fee or have the service shut off. NO credit card is required for the free trial and your system will NOT become active unless YOU choose to active it after the trial period. What could be more fair?
*if you decide to keep the service you will receive unlimited texting for $397 per year.
1. As long as your website is mobile friendly, you can use your customers dedication to their phones to your advantage. This past year I did some work for a company that specializes in poison ivy removal. When I began working with them, their website was NOT mobile friendly. You simply could not read their site, (which was designed for a desktop computer) on a 4 inch phone screen. We changed that immediately. We also added a "click-to-call" feature to the website. The number of phone calls coming in from people requesting quotes almost doubled from the previous year. Why? Because we thought about our customers and made our system work for them. Think about it, you're out in your backyard, you see something that you think is poison ivy, you grab your phone and search poison ivy, looking for images. You see pictures of poison ivy and realize that, yes what you have in your yard is poison ivy. Now, the next search is "How do I get rid of poison ivy". The company website comes up and you see they offer free estimates, you either fill out the form or click "call now" and set up an appointment. Either way, the customer is satisfied that the problem is being dealt with and can move on in their day. The consumer is grateful that their problem is solved. From the company's perspective, that customer is not calling around, they found what they need, they called you, all you need to do is follow through and close the sale.
If you put 100 business owners in a room and asked them what they think of advertising I guarantee you a large percentage will say "advertising doesn't work." When I started out doing ad sales for newspaper and radio I would hear that comment from prospects frequently. My response was usually "Have you ever heard of Coke, Pepsi, Ford or Kelloggs?". They would always say "yes". I would say "You see advertising does work." "Bad advertising doesn't work." If your advertising is not working, you may be running bad ads.
"What makes an ad bad?" Well, a lot of things, putting an ad in the wrong place is just as unproductive as putting a really poor ad in the right place. You see there's a lot that goes into an ad. I think the biggest problem with most advertisers is they do ads for themselves, not for their customers. Allow me to explain. If you own a clothing store named "Dorothy Marie's", and you're "Dorothy" the average ad rep (for a print ad) is going to bring you a sample ad with your name really big at the top of the ad. The problem with that is if I've never heard of your store, seeing the name, frankly means nothing to me. So putting "Dorothy Marie's" in huge letters at the top of the ad is most likely going to make you feel really good but it won't do anything to attract customers. It's a vanity ad.
So how do you reach customers? Well, what are you selling? Using Dorothy as an example again, let's imagine that she sells women's shoes. Ok, but what makes her shoes any better than the discount place at the mall? Well, she sells really comfortable, stylish shoes for working women who commute into the city.
So with that information how do we make a good ad. Well, I had a customer like that in 2002 or 2003 and we designed this ad campaign. We took a women, put her in a bubble bath and had her laying back in her tub with her feet out and these really nice dress shoes on her feet. The headline of the ad was "Shoes so comfortable, you'll never want to take them off", combined with this sort of shocking photo of a woman in her bath with shoes on. Then we simply added additional text under the photo and it worked. It got attention and it sold shoes.
See our focus was her customers. How they want to feel in their shoes. They want to look good but they also want comfort.
So what do your customers want? What do they need from you? Why should they come to you (or your store) instead of going to a competitor?
Need help brainstorming? Please fill out the form on the right for a free, no-obligation consultation.
We frequently hear from people who tell us "my website used to come up on page one of Google but I don't see it anymore." There are a lot of reasons why a website that was page one of Google six months ago or a year ago, isn't page one any longer. First, Google changes their algorithms constantly. Their job is to make money, they make money selling ads. If it was easy to get your business to page one for free, no one would buy ads. So they're really not interested in making it simple for you to get to page one. Also, they want to protect their users and to Google that means getting the users the most accurate, valuable, relevant information. If your site has great content but nothing has changed in 5 years, you're probably not going to hold your spot for long.
Then of course there's the competition. I try to explain search engine optimization (or SEO) with a football analogy. Since I'm only about 8 miles from MetLife Stadium, I'll use the Jets as my example. Now suppose the Jets are going to open the season against the Patriots and they come out and win the game 28 - 3, holding Tom Brady to less than 100 yards passing. Well, that's great for them for game one but if they play the Patriots again in week 14 of the season and come out and try to do exactly what they did in game one, they will probably lose 28 - 3, or worse. You see, the Patriots and every other team in the league that is going to play the Jets during the season studies the game tapes, they look for tendencies, they look for strengths to be wary of and the look for weaknesses to exploit. SEO is the same principle. If you're a cosmetic dentist and you're on page one for "Cosmetic Dentist in Montclair, NJ" this week, all those cosmetic dentists on pages 2-10 are trying to figure out what you are doing to rank higher than they are and they'll be doing all they can to imitate your strategy and make themselves look better to Google.
Unfortunately, SEO is NOT something that you can do once and forget about. You need to check your ratings frequently. Ideally, you want to add valuable content to your site at least once per month and you want to be ready to tweak your site if you notice it dropping in rank.
We offer a free 50+ page analysis of the strength of your SEO. There is no obligation and the report will be emailed to you. If you'd like your site analyzed free, please fill out the form to the Right and simply request "Free SEO analysis" in the "comments" box.
I'm George Louvis