What’s the Latest Research on Reaching the Millennial Audience?

If you are not reaching out to the millennial audience, now is the time.  Here is what you need to know about Millennials so you can tap into this group with huge buying power:

They Shop Digitally

Millennials shop online more than any other consumer group.  Most report they prefer online buying to shopping in a brick and mortar store.  According to a survey by Accenture, Millennial shoppers spend an estimated $600 billion each year, and by 2020 that amount is expected to grow to $1.4 trillion, or 30% of total retail sales.  If you are not selling online, you are not making content with large swathes of your millennial audience.

Social Media is a Great Way to Build a Following with Millennials

It is no secret Millennials have embraced social media.  There are stats on which platforms are favored and which are falling out of favor, but the bottom line is you need to be on social media: it is where Millennials are hanging out.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are all widely popular, but it is also important to keep tabs on up and coming platforms.  And make sure you know the latest features available on the old standbys.

Millennials are not Fond of Pushy Sales Tactics

Millennial audiences tend to trust indirect sales messages more than they do old-fashioned sales techniques.  They view them as pushy and it turns them off.  As a matter of fact, according to the recent Launch Leap Internet survey of Millennials, 59% watch YouTube ads only until they can skip them, and 11% have an ad blocker.  In other words, nearly three quarters of respondents don’t watch ads that marketers have spent millions of dollars to create!

The secret to marketing to Millennials is to be subtle and indirect.  It is possible to reach them with a sales message and even get them to act, but you need to go about it in a new way.  Reviews and referrals are extremely effective for this purpose.

Content marketing is also a great option because you are adding value to the Millennials life.  By providing them with information and solving their problems, they gradually trust you and are willing to work with you in the future.

What’s the bottom line? Millennial are a unique audience with their own tastes and preferences.  In order to attract customers from this generation and grow your business into the future, you need to offer valuable content and make the most of the features available on social media.

Want more advice? Give us a call!

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How These Email Marketing Strategies Will Help Your Business Grow

Email is as powerful today in marketing as it ever was.  It is one of the most effective ways to communicate with your audience and it provides a minimally intrusive inroad into their lives.  Unfortunately, many business owners are unsure how email marketing works and instead of investing time and money to understand the benefits, they forego the process in favor of other less effective marketing methods.

If you have overlooked email marketing, now is the time to make your move and take advantage of this great opportunity.  Here are a few tips:

Segment Your List

The email list is one of your most powerful tools as a business owner.  And managing that list is one of your most important tasks.  As your list grows, you will want to segment it so you can pinpoint certain people at certain times.  Some will respond better than others to different messages and keeping your list organized into categories makes it easy and convenient to reach out to the right people with your message.

Content, Content, Content

Now that you have a well-organized list, you will want to stay in touch with them.  You can do this with newsletters, blog posts, and email messages – whatever you think is the best tool for sharing your message.  Also keep in mind it is important to structure your emails to be consistent with your brand.  Any time you share content, you want everyone to know it came from you.

Consider Permission Marketing

Take time to get to know your target audience and never assume they are accepting your message.  Give everyone on your list the opportunity to unsubscribe.  You want to work with people who are willing to give you their permission to be a part of their lives.  It is always better to build relationships instead of forcing yourself into someone’s world.

Timing is Everything!

Timing is an important part of marketing.  People need to hear the right message at the right time for it to work, so you really need to consider timing when email marketing.  There is plenty of information out there on the right time to send emails, as well as when to make offers and when to try to make a sale.  Familiarize yourself with these strategies and then keep tabs on what works for you and what does not.  You will be able to create a custom timetable for your business.

To learn more about email marketing or to begin planning your email marketing campaign, give us a call!

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How Social Media Marketing Can Help You Improve Our Online Presence

Social media is one of the most effective tools available to help you build strong connections with your target audience.  Unfortunately, many business owners allow themselves to be overwhelmed by social media and instead of building a strategy that works, they jump from one thing to another, never really investing their time or other resources wisely.

What are a few tips to help you use social media to improve your business’s presence online?

Listen

Social media might seem as if it is all about shouting your opinion out to the world, but rarely does this help businesses.  Instead, use social media to listen and absorb the messages your ideal clients are sharing.  Reach comments, follow their conversations, and get a feel for what’s important to your people.  Understanding their concerns helps you devise a strategy that will get you noticed on social media.

Share Quality Content

Again, social media is about more than just sharing your opinions.  Instead, you want to be valuable to your audience.  The more quality content you share the more you will be appreciated.  Instead of using social media to primarily promote your business, accomplish your goals indirectly by informing, sharing, and educating.  Solve problems for people and they will consider you a go-to resource.

Be as Accessible as Possible

Make sure you are always available for your prospects.  Stay in touch and engage.  This means having a consistent schedule for sharing content, whether it is through a social media plan or editorial calendar for your blog.  People need to hear from you on a regular basis.

Be Assertive

You need to participate, engage, and share on social media.  It is all about collaborations, so do not just share your own content.  If you see something you know would be of interest to your audience, share it with them.  It is also great to acknowledge others for their accomplishments or make an effort to thank them when they share.  Social media is all about community and you want your business to be seen as a vital and important part of the community.

Take a Deep Breath – and Be Patient

Building a social media presence takes time.  You will accomplish your goals with small steps toward the bigger picture.  Most businesses fail in their social media efforts because they expect results too quickly.  Using social media is all about building something strong and reliable, which always takes time.

If you would like more tips or you are ready to devise a social media strategy for your business, give us a call.

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How to Tell It’s Time for a Site Redesign

Website design is one of your company’s biggest investments.  This is one of the reasons why it is so tough for business owners to admit when it might be time for a redesign – after all, you have already spent so much time and money on the original design.  Unfortunately, letting your design fall behind can hurt your brand.  Here are a few ways to know when it is time to head in a new direction:

Dip in Search Traffic

How easy is it for your potential clients to find you online? If the traffic your site receives has dropped below what it once was, it is a sign you need an update.  It is also an indication your site is no longer properly optimized for search.  If SEO was not a priority with your previous site design, an update is essential.  Your new design must be focused on a blend of keyword research and user experience.

Big Bounce Rates

It is not enough to bring people to your site, you need to keep them there.  Otherwise, you have a high bounce rate that indicates a problem and hurts your ranking.  If your bounce rate is higher than 55 percent, it is time for a redesign.

It is also important to pay attention to your bounce rate for mobile users.  About half of all Google searches are done on a mobile device, which means your site needs to be mobile friendly.  Even if your bounce rate is decent on your standard site, you need to make sure it is also low for mobile users.

Conversion Rates are Low

The goal of your site is to increase business.  This means you need website visitors to become actual paying customers.  Getting a lot of traffic is great, but it is not enough to grow your business.  You need to turn site visitors into people who are buying your products or services.

If your site is not helping you accomplish this goal, it is time for an update.  Google Analytics provides tracking tools so you can keep tabs on your conversions, but you also need to spend some time thinking about your goals and how you can make the most of your online advertising opportunities.

Ideally, your site will be good at attracting your ideal clients.  A site redesign might be necessary to help you achieve this.  If you have questions or you want to evaluate where you are and figure out how to get to where you want to be, we can help.  Give us a call to discuss your site redesign today.

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Mobile SEO is a Must: Here are Three Tips to Help You Achieve Success

Google changes are constant and mobile SEO is no exception.  Over the course of the next year, Google will be rolling out its mobile-first index, which will eventually be its primary algorithm.  If your brand is not presenting up-to-par on mobile devices, your SEO goals are likely going to suffer.

Nobody should be surprised by the transition to a mobile-oriented focus.  Right now, approximately 60 percent of searches are conducted on a mobile device, and that number is expected to grow.  Most business owners are concerned about falling behind, but the good news is there’s time to make the changes needed to meet mobile search requirements, as long as you start now and make mobile a priority.

What are three of the most important things you can do to experience mobile SEO success?

Ensure Your Brand is Accurately Represented

You need to invest in mobile marketing and advertising that is a good representation of your brand.  Now is not the time to take shortcuts! Your mobile presence is as important as anything else in your business and you need to treat it as such.  You can use a variety of tools to convert your existing site to mobile, and to ensure clients can conduct business with you over their phone.  Investing in solutions that make mobile as convenient as possible is a wise decision.

Be Aware of and Understand the New Requirements

Keeping track of everything that’s now needed and will be needed is overwhelming.  It is essential though, or you will find yourself wasting time and money.  What are the latest requirements from Google?

  • Structured data: Google needs it to properly rank your page. This is the most technical part of the process, so if necessary, hire an SEO advisor to help you out with this.
  • Consistent content: you need to be using content on your mobile sites and aps that are consistent with your website. Only “shorten” your content by using accordion folders and tabs, not by using other shortcuts.
  • Clear view: Google penalizes you for full-screen pop-ups. Instead, ensure your mobile site is as easy to use as it is in a standard browser.

Keywords

Everyone knows how important keywords are and they are just as important on mobile.  However, the keywords your target clients use on mobile might vary from their standard search.  Make sure you know the right keywords to target for mobile, especially when it comes to contextual changes.

Migrating your brand to mobile can seem overwhelming, but it is necessary to grow your business.  We are here to help.  Give us a call with your questions!

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Online Reviews: Why They Matter for Your Business

blog5We have reached the point where online reviews are going to affect your business whether you want them to or not.  You no longer have a choice whether to participate in online reviews, but you do have the choice to control how these online reviews affect you.  Managed properly, you can use online reviews to grow your business and make the most of one of the most powerful opportunities online.

So as a business owner, how can you get out in front of reviews and make the most of all reviews of your business, even the bad ones?

Getting Out in Front of Negative Reviews

You need an action plan.  You need to understand that online reviews affect the reputation of your business as much as anything that occurs offline.  Once a bad review is out there, it will be seen by potential customers and affect how they feel about your services and products, but that does not mean a bad review needs to ruin your reputation.  Much of the power you have has to do with how you respond to negative reviews.  Customers understand things will go wrong.  Nothing is perfect, and it is how you deal with your imperfections that matters.

One of the best things you can do to get out in front of negative reviews is to establish your business as a presence online before a negative review occurs.  Big brand due this and you can use the strategy to your advantage too.

Having a strong online presence, before or in spite of negative reviews helps customers form their own opinions about you.  They might read a negative review, but based on what they have already seen from you online, they will think “Well, maybe this review is accurate, but I know this brand.  It does not sound like them.  It is either this person’s impression or just a rare mistake.” Your established reputation online helps customers form their own opinions of you based on what you are doing, as opposed to their opinions being based solely on what others are saying about you.

Creating a Strategy

Now is the time to get a review strategy in place.  Encourage happy customers to review your business and build relationships with your audience that will show them the occasional less-than-perfect review is a fluke.

If you would like more information about putting together an online testimonial or review strategy, we can help.  Contact us to learn more!

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It’s Time to Get a Jumpstart on Email Marketing in 2017

blog4It might seem slow in your business right now, but it is actually the best time to address some of the opportunities you have to grow.  Your email marketing is a great example of this.  What are some of the ways you can get a jump-start on a successful email marketing campaign for the year? 

Assess Where You Are

Begin by taking a look at where you are and who your subscribers are.  Did you recently pick up several new subscribers or new buyers during the holiday season? Now is the time to nurture these relationships and acknowledge how valuable they are to your business.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when welcoming these new subscribers into your community:

  • Do not overdo it. If someone has already made a purchase from you, there is no reason to overload them with emails.
  • Consider sending new subscribers only the most relevant of offers you have. Look at their purchases and send them offers based on what they already own.
  • Thank them for joining your community and consider providing a special offer to welcome them.

Mobile is Where It’s At

Next, you need to consider mobile and how your email marketing campaign will reach mobile users.  Emphasizing mobile means you make it easy for users to make purchases from their phones instead of needing to use a desktop or laptop.

Getting users to take action on their phone can be tough, so try:

  • Using responsive design that allows your email to render correctly – this increases clicks by up to 15 percent
  • Preview the email before sending it to make sure you like what you see, and consider doing so from more than one device and/or browser

Create Your Email Road Map

How do you get where you want to go in 2017 with your email marketing campaign? Like any trip you need a map.  This map is a kind of calendar, too, and allows you to schedule the types of email promotions you want to run throughout the year.  Repeat what worked last year and consider revamping anything that did not work.  You can make changes to the road map as you go, but at least you will have a clear starting and ending point with some direction for how to get there.

Make One Commitment

If you are feeling overwhelmed and that slow period you expected never came, just choose one commitment to make to your email marketing this year.  Investing time and energy into one impactful change is more beneficial than trying to squeeze in every idea and improvement that is on your to-do list.

Need more tips for improving your email marketing in 2017? Give us a call!

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How Google AdWords Can Help You Build Brand Awareness

Google AdWords is often about selling products and services, but did you know it can also help you grow your brand? Increasing brand awareness is a great way to establish your business for the long-term and build a relationship with your target audience.  If you are not using Google AdWords to help you accomplish this, now is a great time to start.

Display Network

One of the best places to begin growing your brand with AdWords is the Display Network.  Google now offers targeting option that allow you to narrow your target audience using a number of factors, including:

  • Keyword, topic, and placement targeting
  • Affinity audiences
  • Location and language targeting
  • Demographics
  • Device targeting

Using this list of criteria allows you to set who sees your ads, which means you are able to hone in on your target group and avoid wasting your ad on those who would not really have an interest in your brand.

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Using the Search Network

Next, you can  utilize Google’s Search Network to help you build brand awareness.  These text ads are one of the fastest ways to reach a large audience by creating new keyword lists that target your specific audience for your brand.  Usually, you will have the most success using long-tail keywords, which are already what you should be focused on to help you create blog content that reflects your brand.

When creating these campaigns, you will want to boost your content creation efforts and come up with something that is better than the average material that appears on the first page that comes up for your keywords.  For instance, you might want to produce a video or create an ebook for your chosen keywords.

You will then promote these higher quality content pieces with AdWords text ads, which will help the pieces appear on page one, as long as your content is really high quality.

One important tip: before the text ads go live, set up AdWords remarketing on your landing pages, so you will keep targeting your audience even after they finish reading or viewing your content.  By doing so, you accomplish three important tasks:

  • Introducing your brand to a wider audience
  • Allowing people to see your ads as they do other things online
  • Creating reminders about your brand over a set period of time

AdWords can be used for more than just promoting your products and services pages by using the display and search networks to increase brand awareness.  This helps you get leads earlier in the buying process than you would otherwise with your content.

Interested in learning more? Let us know!

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SEO Campaign Didn’t Go as Planned? Here’s What You Should Do!

blog2One of the biggest frustrations we face when marketing our businesses online is failure when it comes to SEO campaigns.  After researching, drafting content, and posting with high hopes, only to have the campaign go nowhere, you will likely feel more than a little disappointed.

The good news is there are things you can do to make the situation better.  It is common for SEO campaigns to not work out as planned and it happens for a variety of reasons.  It is just the way things are for internet marketers and you will need to accept that everything you do would not turn to gold.  What can you do if your latest campaign was a bust? 

Determine the Reason for the Failure

First and foremost, you will want to try to figure out why the campaign did not work out as you had hoped.  Maybe you set your budget too low or maybe your goals for success were unrealistic.  If you expected big results too fast, you should re-assess where you are and whether it is worth waiting a bit longer for things to turn around.  If you have already given it enough time, consider if maybe the investment you made was not enough to produce the results you wanted.

Next, ask yourself a few important questions.  Was the content really as good as you thought when you published it? You might be able to tweak and improve what you have and try the campaign again.

What about your outreach? Were you cold emailing broad groups of people hoping your stellar content would be enough to make a sale? You are better off researching your audience and targeting specific individuals who are in need of the solutions you provide.

How about your introduction? Did you take the time to get to know the people with whom you were speaking, or did you launch too soon into a sales pitch without first building familiarity and trust? This can be overwhelming to people, even if they are ideal clients in need of you products or services.

Once you have got a handle on why your current campaigned failed, you might be able to give it another go with just a few improvements.  On the other hand, you might need to completely restructure your content and take a completely different approach.  Even if a major revamp is needed, consider what you have done a learning experience and move forward with a positive attitude.

If you would like to learn more about SEO and how to create the ideal campaign for your business, let us know!

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Avoid these Blogging Blunders If You Want to Achieve Success

blog1Content is what draws people to your website and keeps them there, interested to learn more about your services or products.  Unfortunately, too many businesses use content careless or incorrectly, and it ends up hurting them more than it helps them.

If you are a new blogger or you have been blogging for years, but you think it is time to re-evaluate how your content is helping your business, you will want to make sure you are not committing these blogging missteps.  Even one of these blunders can result in an otherwise fantastic blog looking like an unprofessional mess.

Proofread Your Content

You might write the greatest blog ever written, but you will lose credibility fast if it is riddled with typos.  Reread your work at least one time to ensure there are no spelling errors, and if possible, have a fresh set of eyes from another reader also look things over before hitting “publish.”

Include Conversion Points

A blog that lacks conversion points is essentially useless to business owners.  You will want to think about how you can convert website visitors and blog readers into something more, even if you do not want to make a direct sales pitch.  Maybe you want to offer an ebook or get them to provide an email.  Whatever it is, make sure you include conversion points throughout your content.

Include Images

A blog without pictures and images is boring and incomplete.  Readers prefer to see images and their experience will be far more enjoyable with them.  It is better if you can personalize your images and use your own photos, but if this is not an option, stock photos are better than nothing.

Avoid Being Too Sales-y

The point of a blog is to eventually make a sale, but you do not want your content to sound too sales-y.  You will have better luck if you focus on helping solve the problems people have when they visit your blog.  You can include a soft-selling message, but it is better to gain a loyal following, share information, and allow your services and products to speak for themselves.

Be Professional

Make sure your content conveys the professional image you want your company to have.  Do not use click-bait type titles that appear to trick people into reading and make sure your language is not so casual that you will offend people.  You want your blog posts to be a reflection of your brand, which should be crisp and professional.

Want to learn more about using your blog to grow your business? Give us a call!

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