Avoid these Annoying Offline Marketing Tactics at All Costs

There’s no doubt that marketing is an essential aspect to any company’s success, and while we do live in a digital world, offline marketing is still important. From guerrilla tactics to attending trade shows, these non-digital methods can really pay off. Of course, there’s a right and wrong way to do everything, so business owners should never engage in these terrible offline marketing strategies.

simson-petrol-133138Cold Calling from Noisy Offices

Cold calls annoy most people, but it is an effective offline strategy for certain industries. In fact, for some companies, it’s the only offline marketing tactic they use. Because of this, cold calling shouldn’t be overlooked entirely, but if it’s done in a noisy environment, that’s when things go south.

Consumers who speak on cold calls are doing businesses a favor. If they hear loud voices from 20 other representatives doing the same thing in the background, they’re likely to get annoyed and hang up.

Using Offline Tactics to Force Feed Online Marketing

Handing out business cards, flyers, and even action-dependent coupons is a great offline marketing technique that can lead to online success. In many cases, though, business owners take advantage when they receive an email from an interested party.

Keep in mind that an inquiry email isn’t an invitation to add someone to a mailing list. This can make people sour on a company quickly, and it shows how an offline technique can quickly equate to online failure.

The Everyday Sale

Numerous businesses across America have banners out front saying “One Day Sale,” “Going Out of Business Sale” or “Today Only! 25% Off!” In many cases, these time-dependent promotions are exactly what they say they are.

In other situations, though, they’re just attractive banners store owners leave up to draw business. While this may be great at bringing in a few tourists or city newcomers, local customers will quickly realize what’s going on and potentially become annoyed.

It’s important that local businesses use a variety of marketing tactics. This doesn’t mean, however, that every strategy should be utilized. There are winners and losers, and the aforementioned far too often turn out to be losers.

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3 Local Marketing Benefits You May Have Missed

Local business owners are in a constant struggle to engage in effective marketing while still outshining their competition. As it turns out, there are a few ways to accomplish both tasks through one strategy, and local marketing is one of them. There are a variety of local marketing benefits out there, but budding entrepreneurs may not have known about the following.

luis-llerena-18011Ability to Combine Online with Offline Marketing

Some of the best marketing tactics business owners utilize are offline, but with the quick growth of the digital age, many have begun to slack off on this form of promotion. With simple offline local marketing tactics, though, they can bring in new customers and even integrate online strategies.

Just look at business cards, direct mail or even trade shows. Trade shows allow for a great chance to network, and handing out cards at these events can result in future business. Additionally, adding a company’s website to the card will bring in new traffic.

Direct mail can do the same, and since nearly 40 percent of consumers try a company for the first time thanks to a direct mailer, it’s definitely an overlooked tool.

Ability to Integrate Social Media

Social media is certainly a powerful marketing platform, but many business owners fail to utilize it in a local marketing capacity. In its most basic form, local marketing can be accomplished by linking review site pages to social media platforms. To get an extra boost, though, it’s a great idea to share positive online reviews directly to social pages.

Large Swaths of Competition Oblivious

Unless a competitor has hired a marketing manager, it’s likely they don’t fully understand how to market on a local scale. Local marketing includes everything from soliciting reviews to hyperlocal focus, and those outside of the marketing realm don’t often comprehend these. This means that any business who effectively uses local marketing will be far ahead of their competitors.

Local marketing is an essential aspect of any promotional plan, and there are tons of benefits to prove it. This is why every business owner should take the time to focus on this necessary strategy.

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3 Online Marketing Tactics That Are Annoying Your Customers

When using offline marketing methods, it’s hard to ensure that a large audience is reached. After all, only so many people will be driving past that billboard or watching TV when an ad spot is played. Since 87 percent of Americans do use the internet, though, online marketing is obviously essential. If you’re using the following online marketing tactics, though, you’re likely just annoying loyal and potential customers.

Gating Content

It’s important to know that using gated content isn’t always a bad thing. If a company spent money on a study or wrote an eBook filled with valuable information, for instance, gating the content is typically smart. If the business is gating the majority of their content or content that’s freely available on other sites, though, they’re going to drive potential customers away. Local businesses should use content gating sparingly and only when appropriate.

19483733 - picture of angry businesswoman with laptop at workAuto-Posts from Facebook to Twitter

Marketing automation is an amazing thing. Marketing managers or budding entrepreneurs with a flair for digital can use automation to keep social media pages engaging even when everyone is hard at work. This automation can become quite annoying, though, if a business auto-posts their Facebook statuses to Twitter.

The simple fact is that the two platforms are very different, and while tweets auto-posting to Facebook aren’t quite that bad, Facebook posts showing up on Twitter can look terrible. Having six back-to-back tweets informing customers a Facebook status has been shared or that content is available on a separate platform just becomes annoying after a while.

Advertising Pre-Recordings as ‘Live’

It’s okay to remind people that a live webinar is quickly approaching, and it’s also okay to share pre-recorded webinars. It’s not okay, however, to lie about the content. People can tell if a “live” video isn’t really live, and once they take note of this, a company will immediately lose any trust they could’ve garnered.

Effective marketing can take a long time to build up, but it only takes a mistake or two to ruin things. While the aforementioned tactics might still be in heavy use, it doesn’t mean that they’re creating happy prospects.

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3 Tips for Increasing Engagement on Marketing Content

Whether it’s on social media or at trade shows, a prime focus of local business owners should be to increase customer engagement. One of the best ways to pull this off is through content marketing. Budding entrepreneurs realize this, and it’s likely why 77 percent of them increased their content marketing in 2016 over 2015. Of course, content is nothing without engagement, and the following strategies focus on this reality.

46515332_s1. Solicit Comments All Content

Many local business owners look over the simplest way to increase engagement: ask for it. On an informative blog, ask an open-ended question at the end to solicit comments. When posting articles to social media, ask followers what their take on it. Many companies even share memes that do nothing other than asking an engaging question. Find something that works and run with it.

2. Get Controversy Brewing

Businesses like Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks have both shown what happens when a company takes a public stance on a partisan issue. Local businesses should avoid this, but it’s okay to ask questions where people are either staunchly on one side or the other.

Take for instance a toilet tissue manufacturer that writes a blog about the benefits of putting toilet tissue on the roll a certain way. For some reason, people just get super engaged when this question comes up. Figure out an industry-related question that stirs debate without serious emotions involved and create content around it.

3. Share User-Generated Content

One surefire way to ensure a consumer stays engaged is by sharing the content created from a previous engagement. This could be a funny meme they shared or their review from Yelp. They’ll get excited that a company is actually paying attention to them, and others will see this and want to get engaged as well.

Consumer engagement is an essential aspect of marketing. Without it, promotional strategies won’t get very far. Fortunately, effective content marketing using the aforementioned tips can go a long way in this endeavor.

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Marketing Strategies that Improve Customer Retention

Customer loyalty can be a fickle thing. In fact, nearly 80 percent of consumers say a single negative customer service experience could prompt them to change companies. Obviously, great customer service is essential, but are there marketing strategies that improve customer retention as well? The following three tactics point towards “yes.”

17639968_s1. Showcase Expertise in the Field

If a student uses a tutor for six months and manages to make a ‘B’ in every class, they’ll likely be happy. If another tutor comes along that can make them an ‘A’ in their classes, though, they’ll likely switch at the drop of a hat.

People want to work with experts in every field. Local business owners should consistently use a content marketing strategy that conveys expertise in their industry. Being the main industry thought-leader in an area is the best way to keep customers loyal.

2. Offer Incentives for Online Reviews

While some may not see it this way, online reviews are certainly a form of marketing. Potential new customers often view them as dogma. Fortunately, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask happy customers for online reviews.

It’s even okay to offer them an incentive if the incentive isn’t contingent on a positive testimonial. Not only will this bring in new customers, but it will make current clients feel like they’re appreciated.

3. Convey Values through Marketing

The 2017 Super Bowl featured several commercials of businesses conveying their values. The comments on their Facebook page afterward, though, showed that people typically want to do business with companies they share values with.

This doesn’t mean a local business has to jump into political disagreements. By simply sourcing locally, contributing to charities, ‘going green’ and making sure the marketing message conveys these actions, people who share these values will stay on board.

Most people see marketing as a way to bring in new customers, but this is only half of the story. With the appropriate promotional strategies, a marketing message can also keep customers coming back.

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3 Huge Mistakes Local Businesses Make with Analytics

Analytics have provided business owners and marketers alike with a powerful tool for effective promotion. Like any tool in this world, however, it doesn’t amount to much if not properly utilized. Because of this, local business owners need to dodge certain marketing analytics mistakes, and these are three of the most damaging to be avoided.

28113525_s1. Thinking Correlation Equates to Causation

Many people don’t know it, but violent crime goes up as ice cream sales increase. This is a correlation, but as it turns out, ice cream sales and violent crime both go up during hotter months. Just because two things happen concurrently doesn’t mean they’re necessarily linked.

A spike in traffic could be related to a local celebrity sharing an article rather than the new promotion that started yesterday. Entrepreneurs must tread carefully in the causation arena.

2. Mistaking Time on Page for Engagement

While it’s true that people spending more time on a page is often a good thing, this isn’t always the case. If someone is on the homepage and can’t find a particular link they’re looking for, for instance, then their long visit is likely a negative one.

This means business owners should have their marketing manager do a little investigating if people are spending lots of time on certain pages. This will help respond to customer needs, and since nearly half of marketers use analytics to improve responsiveness, this is in no way a novel idea.

3. Mistakes with GATC Formatting

Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC) must be inserted on pages to provide accurate analytics. Unfortunately, simply having a capital letter rather than a lower-case one on these codes can mess things up. This is why many business owners utilize a devoted marketing manager to handle these far-too-often overly technical tasks.

Analytics can do great things for a company, but this is only the case if they’re properly utilized. Luckily, avoiding analytics mistakes, like the ones mentioned above, is half the battle.

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These Video Marketing Trends of 2017 Will Define Your Success

Video marketing once meant recording a commercial and paying for it to air on local broadcast channels. With tools like YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook Live, however, video marketing has taken on a new role in online promotion. Facebook and Snapchat alone each boast 8 billion video views per day, so video promotion obviously reaches the masses. Business owners who want to take advantage of this should note these video marketing trends of 2017.

0vgg7cqtwco-rodion-kutsaevMore Focus on Multi-Channel Marketing

Some business owners think it’s enough to post a video on YouTube and share it in their weekly newsletters. While this is an important aspect of video marketing, it’s essential for you to realize that videos need to be shared across multiple channels.

Keep on utilizing YouTube and email newsletters, but take the time to upload these videos directly to Facebook as well. Head over to sites like StumbleUpon or Reddit and post links. You can even post videos directly on your Twitter feed. The more platforms you share your video marketing content to, the more eyes you’ll get on it.

Move Towards 360-Degree Video

Consumers have fallen in love with 360-degree video. This relatively new technology allows users to really get a sense of what they’re looking at. It’s almost as if customers are actually there. In fact, recent studies have found that the same video, if posted normally and in 360-degree format, will get nearly 29 percent more engagement if it’s 360-degrees. Not every industry will benefit as much from the technology, but those who can think of great ways to utilize it will have an advantage.

“Infotainment” Becomes Essential

“Infotainment” is essentially a marketing message that’s informative and entertaining at the same time. If you’re completely honest with yourself, you know that most content has been posted time and again online. Consumers can get the same information from thousands of different websites. Your video content needs to stand out, and by making it informative and entertaining, you’ll succeed in that endeavor.

The video marketing trends of 2017 are what will define a large portion of marketing strategies in the coming year. By staying ahead of these trends, local business owners should be able to increase online engagement along with offline success.

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The Trends that will Define Content Marketing in 2017

The speed in which technology evolves has made certain marketing tasks easier, but the fast-paced environment of innovation also means new trends can easily catch us off guard. One area of promotion that local business owners must consistently keep tabs on is that of content marketing. The tactic is essential for any successful advertising strategy, and these are the content marketing trends of 2017 that entrepreneurs need to know.

More Focused Content

gxd8hcmi0iq-parker-byrdCompanies that get in on the ground floor of any new marketing trend typically do well. Unfortunately, content marketing is no longer the new kid on the block, and just about every business out there has tried out the technique. This means it’s getting more difficult for broad or loosely-linked topics to get off the ground.

Because of this, businesses will start focusing more on their primary niche. Instead of creating large amounts of content that may compete against several industries, they’ll work on focused content, targeted channels and personalization. This will create better engagement.

Live Streaming Video Becomes the Norm

By April 2016, Facebook boasted 8 billion video views every single day. Facebook Live now allows businesses to take advantage of this trend in real time. It might be difficult for local business owners to come up with ideas for streaming video, but they must figure it out if they’re to keep up with competition. Whether it’s community events, how-to videos or simply a company gathering, these live videos can get fans even more engaged.

Influencer Marketing Takes Off

Influencer marketing has honestly been around forever, but 2016 saw an explosion in its use. Luckily, 2017 seems poised to take this trend to new heights. It’s not even necessary to have trusted sources write content. Instead, content creators are having stars ranging from WWE’s Chris Jericho to tattoo model Amanda Jean, share their content via social media for a fee.

Consumers Demand Interactive Content

Blogs, white papers, articles and case studies will always remain a powerful tool in content marketing, but businesses must meet customer demand for interactive content if they want online and offline success. Content such as quizzes, presentations and interactive articles that let consumers choose what they see will be in high demand.

Content marketing is and will remain a necessity in the promotional world. Outbound marketing just isn’t as effective as it once was, but budding entrepreneurs who focus on the content marketing trends of 2017 can make up for this change in marketing direction.

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Trends Currently Affecting Email Marketing

Before 2015 even began, a full 73 percent of marketers said one of their core business strategies was email marketing. This shows just how important this promotional tactic has become, but like all things in life, email marketing constantly evolves. It is because of this that small business owners must stay on top of evolving email trends.

Video Integrated Into Email

43618732_sYou may wonder, what is the point of integrating video directly into emails when you can just provide links to videos? The answer rests in consumers’ attention spans. When an email recipient has to leave your message to view a video, especially on sites like YouTube, they are inundated with additional videos, ads and other visual stimuli. Because this is distracting from the message, marketers are beginning to rely more heavily on in-email videos.

Heavier Focus on Personalization

It only takes one non-focused email for a consumer to mark your message as spam. If this occurs, all of your future messages will be filtered out, even if that was not the intent. This is why emails are becoming more personalized. This is more than just adding a greeting with a person’s name.

With some marketing tools, you can have different messages sent to different segments of your list. If you separate your list by age, for instance, Millennials can get marketing emails focused on something different than those sent to senior citizens. Look into the many personalization tools available to see which is best for your business and email list.

More Push towards Simplicity

Wearable technology is hitting the scene like a storm. Unfortunately, this means changes will need to be made on email marketing. On these small screens, for instance, consumers will only see a small part of your email header and inner text.

All of this will happen while on the go. So if you are unable to immediately grab their attention, your message will likely end up in the trash before they are even stationary to read it. Make sure your headers and text immediately grab their attention.

Email marketing is not going anywhere. It is a marketing reality, so make sure that you are evolving with it.

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How to Write Amazing Blog Posts

Inbound marketing allows you to get customers to actively seek your business, and when looking at the top inbound strategies, blogging definitely shows up. When blogging, in fact, business-to-business marketer see around 67% more leads than their non-blogging counterparts. Of course, this is only true if you are blogging right.

41328405 - blog blogging online design web page website conceptBlogging Consistently

Regardless of the marketing strategy your company undertakes, you must be consistent with it. This holds true in blogging more than other areas. Once your blog catches on with consumers, they will start expecting new posts consistently. If this does not happen, these consumers usually find their way to other blogs. You will also see increases in search engine reach if you maintain your blog consistently.

Do Not Forget Search Engine Optimization

Blogging, along with all content marketing, is great because it brings in people who may have just been looking for information online. This occurs when you optimize your content for search engines. Always remember this while penning your posts. Your opening paragraph, headers and even image file names should contain industry keywords and cities you work in, and if this is done effectively, your blogs could find top spots on search engines.

All Blog Content Should Be Scannable

Bloggers are now nearly as trusted as family and friends, but this statistics does not really matter if people are not reading your full blog. To make sure consumers are getting through your content, your blogs must be easily scannable. Paragraphs should remain short, and you should utilize images and subheaders to separate sections of content. Consumers will find your content easier to digest, so they will be around long enough for you to earn their trust.

In the world of marketing, blogging has quickly become one of the big players. Make sure you are following the aforementioned tips if you hope to capitalize on the power of blogs.

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