Online Success Through Offline Marketing

Online marketing strategies have become front stage in the promotional world. There are still, however, several offline marketing techniques that produce great results. In fact, offline tactics have been shown to increase online effectiveness by 40 percent. Additionally, many of these offline strategies have proven effective at creating positive online results. Here are just a few offline marketing tactics that equate to success on the internet.

Offline marketing may not be as prevalent as it once was, but it’s still important in the grand scheme of things.

Include Website on Business Card

One of the most overlooked methods of increasing online traffic through offline methods is including the website on business cards. While some budding entrepreneurs try to keep their business cards simple and to the point, printing a web address will provide people with an alternative means of learning more. While they may not be motivated enough to call and speak to a salesperson, they might just be willing to learn more on a website.

Send Out Direct Mailers

While sending direct mailers is more expensive than many types of online marketing, this type of offline marketing has consistently proven successful for local businesses. In fact, one in four Americans has made a purchase over the past year as a direct result of receiving marketing materials in the mail. Including a web address when sending these mailers is essential.

Get Involved in Speaking Engagements

Whether it’s an interview on a local radio show or a presentation at an industry event, giving a speaking engagement is a great way to promote a company’s online presence. The great thing about this tactic is that people will already view the business owner as an expert thanks to their knowledge. There are numerous opportunities to push a website or Facebook page during these engagements, so business owners should take advantage of them.

Offline marketing may not be as prevalent as it once was, but it’s still important in the grand scheme of things. By utilizing these offline methods for online success, business owners can assist their marketing professional’s efforts through on-the-ground strategies.

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3 Tips for Building Backlinks to Your Business Website

You would be hard pressed to find a business owner who doesn’t at least acknowledge that search engine optimization (SEO) is an important factor in marketing. Upwards of 90 percent of people search online before making any purchase, so the ability to be found is paramount. One great way to increase your search ranking is to build backlinks from other corners of the web, and even if you have professionals handling this, there are a few things you can do to help out.

Backlinks are a powerful tool when it comes to marketing and SEO ranking.

1. Become Philanthropic

Digital marketing professionals utilize a variety of tactics to get backlinks to your website. What they can’t do, however, is donate your company’s money to philanthropic causes. The fact is that most organizations, regardless of their stated mission, will be more than happy to link to your website after you make a donation. Make an effort, however, to pick an organization related to your industry.

2. Offer Interviews

If you’ve become an industry thought leader, many large websites may jump at the chance to interview you. If you’re not well known, though, you can still reach out to those in related industries and let them know what you have to offer. This will take up a minimal amount of your time, but the end result is an authoritative backlink to your website.

3. Start a Blog

If you don’t have a blog, you need to either start one or task your digital marketers with doing so. Frequent authoritative posts will result in a higher SEO ranking in general, but this isn’t where it stops. When others find your informative blogs, there’s a good chance they’ll link to the information in their own blog or on other sites. This type of backlink comes without even having to ask.

Backlinks are a powerful tool when it comes to marketing and SEO ranking. It’s important to let your digital marketing experts handle the hard stuff, but if you can take on the aforementioned strategies, you’ll be doing your part in bringing traffic to your company’s site.

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Is Your Content Marketing Failing? This Could Be Why

There’s no question that content marketing is essential for promoting any local business. In fact, nearly 50 percent of consumers check out 3-5 different pieces of content before even beginning the purchase process. This means a budding entrepreneur who’s not using content marketing is only hurting themselves. As it turns out, though, making the following content marketing mistakes can be just as damaging.

Some businesses do great with content until the last moment.

1. Content for Content’s Sake

It’s important for businesses to consistently put out content. This keeps engagement high and lets consumers know that the company is an expert in its field. This doesn’t mean, however, that content should be created just for content’s sake.

In reality, every piece of content needs to be interesting, informative, useful or at least humorous. If a business is creating content that meets none of these needs – just to fill space – their engagement is likely to drop exponentially.

2. Forgetting Calls to Action

Some businesses do great with content until the last moment. They ensure the content is useful, focus more on the consumer than themselves and avoid pushing a sale too hard. Unfortunately, all of this is for nothing if a call to action is overlooked. There needs to be something at the end of every video, blog, webpage, and other piece of content to urge people to take an action.

3. Neglecting Repurposed Content

Even if a business’s content marketing strategy seems flawless, they’re still messing up if they don’t create repurposed content. This is content, such as a blog, that’s repurposed into another content type – such as a video. Not every piece of content should be repurposed, but if something performs well, it’s a mistake not to do so. Turn white papers into blogs, videos into articles, blog into infographics and anything else the mind can imagine.

Content marketing isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it is one of the most necessary. Local business owners – whether seasoned or just starting out – will be doing themselves a favor if they manage to avoid these content marketing mistakes.

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How Local Businesses Use Facebook Groups for Marketing

Any local business owner who hasn’t recognized the marketing potential of Facebook is simply not paying attention. As it turns out, though, the promotional capabilities of the social media giant go far beyond pages and ads. Marketing via Facebook groups is quickly gaining steam, and since there were over 620 million groups at last count – which was seven years ago – the targeted potential is limitless.

One of the best ways to utilize Facebook Groups as a marketing tool is to promote events on them.

Know the Rules

Before marketing in Facebook groups, it’s important to know each group’s rules. Some don’t allow direct promotion, and some admins will get upset if something is posted more than a certain amount each day. These rules should be followed to avoid getting banned from a group.

Diversify Group Portfolio

For promotions to work in Facebook Groups, it’s essential to not advertise in just a single group. It’s important to join a variety of groups that are directly related to a business (ie. mechanics can join all local auto groups), but it also helps to join groups that are indirectly related.

Someone with a curio store, for instance, could join groups focused on antiques, alternative religions, and creepy content. Promotional posts can then be targeted based on the tastes of each specific group.

Promote Events

One of the best ways to utilize Facebook Groups as a marketing tool is to promote events on them. These events can be anything from local sports games that a business is sponsoring to grand opening sales. If the people in a specific group are likely to show interest in a certain event, it makes sense to post about it and encourage engagement.

While it may not be the most common way of marketing on social media, Facebook Group promotion can be a powerful tool. It can take some time to get it right, but in the end, local business owners can help push their products even if they have just a few free minutes.

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Here’s How You Grow Your Email Marketing List Quickly

Three out of every four businesses that use email marketing say it offers either a “good” or “excellent” return on investment. For the rest, they might be doing something wrong, so it wouldn’t hurt to bring in a third-party marketing professional to help. When doing so, however, it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to help grow your email list. In fact, doing this will make the marketer’s endeavors even more fruitful.

Unlike other aging technologies, email is still going strong, and it’s likely to continue that way well into the future.

1. Offer Something in Return

There’s no doubt that every company, band, actor or anyone else with a brand has devoted fans who would sign up for emails “just because.” In most instances, however, consumers will want some form of incentive to hand over their information. This could be anything from “One Free Entrée on Your Birthday!” to “Get Notified First When We Have Secret Sales.” As long as people feel they’re getting something out of it, they’re likely to sign up for your emails.

2. Create Useful Gateway Content

Gateway content is a video, white paper, or other form of content that consumers typically must sign up for to receive in their email. This type of content doesn’t work well in every industry, but for others, it’s a powerful marketing tool. It’s important to remember, though, that the content must be very useful. If consumers or other businesses can find the information free online – without signing up for anything – then it’s not a good idea to use a content gateway.

3. Run an Online Contest

Incentivizing an email signup doesn’t necessarily mean giving everyone something for free. Instead, many companies hold periodic online contests where the prizes are so impressive that people more than willingly give up their email information. While there may be an initial cost to such strategies, the return on investment thanks to new signups is typically worth it.

Unlike other aging technologies, email is still going strong, and it’s likely to continue that way well into the future. This is why budding entrepreneurs should never overlook their email marketing, and if they can keep their list growing, they’ll keep seeing success over the years.

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3 Huge Mistakes You’re Making with Customer Referrals

The most trusted form of advertising in the world – with over 80 percent of consumers ranking it at the top – is word of mouth. Unlike social media, email and other forms of marketing, though, these referrals are contingent on people being motivated to make them. Luckily, there are ways to influence this type of behavior, but if you’re making the following customer referral mistakes, you’re hurting your business.

The term “word of mouth” seems to dictate one-on-one interactions in real-life situations.

1. Not Offering Incentives

Word of mouth has long been a trusted form of marketing, but in many cases, people aren’t going to do it just out of the goodness of their hearts. Oftentimes, in fact, they never even give positive retail experiences a second thought.

This completely changes, though, if they’re incentivized to refer family and friends to a certain company. This could be a discount, free product or gift card for every person they refer to the business.

2. Not Utilizing Social Media

The term “word of mouth” seems to dictate one-on-one interactions in real-life situations. In the modern world, however, it’s simple for local businesses to progress their word of mouth via social media. This could be anything from asking followers to tag a friend who would “Love this meal” or “Needs this car” to offering incentives for honest online reviews. The internet is a huge part of our daily lives, and you should remember that when trying to get potential customers sent your way.

3. Not Going the Extra Mile

Whether an individual was seeking recommendations or just given one out of the blue by a friend, it typically makes them feel special. It’s as if they’re in on a secret because they “know somebody who knows somebody.” Business owners need to keep this feeling alive. It’s essential to go above and beyond for customers who have been referred. This will let them know that the recommendation was given in earnest, and they’ll be much more likely to return later.

Of course, the biggest word of mouth and referral marketing mistake is not having a strategy at all. Once you’re over that mountain, though, avoiding the aforementioned can go a long way in making you successful.

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How Local Businesses Can Increase Social Engagement

Well over 80 percent of small and medium sized businesses utilize social media platforms to market their company. With more consumers looking towards social platforms to interact with their favorite companies, though, this number is likely to continue climbing. Of course, this type of promotion only works if people do get involved, so here are a few marketing tips to increase social media engagement.

As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Pay Attention to the Data

While anything from posting frequency to the time of the day can affect how well a social media post does, the truth is that similar content elicits similar behavior. If a certain post does well now, similar posts will likely do well in the future. Check out each social platform’s analytics to see which content does best, then focus on creating similarly engaging content.

Focus on Visuals

As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This holds true in social media marketing as much as anywhere else. People are more apt to “like,” share or comment on a post if it’s visually appealing.

When posting photos and videos, this is common sense, but business owners should also focus on great images for their blogs and articles. This means appealing feature images, which show up on social media, and appropriate supplementary photos in the content.

Offer Incentives for Involvement

It’s obviously nonsensical to say something like “We’ll give $5 to everyone who likes this status!”, but this idea is heading in the right direction. “Post your photo on our wall for a chance to win” or “Check in at our Broad Street location for a 10% discount,” on the other hand, can be useful. Fortunately, getting people engaged is sometimes as easy as asking.

Social media is definitely a powerful marketing tool, but without engagement, it might as well not exist at all. Fortunately, the aforementioned tips and a bit of hard work will do wonders in getting consumers involved.

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What Hulu Can Teach Local Businesses About Marketing

As of May 2016, the streaming service Hulu had surpassed 12 million subscribers. In marketing terms, this means they’re definitely doing something right. Of course, it may seem difficult to apply streaming marketing to other industries, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t a variety of marketing lessons to learn from Hulu. Here are three of the most important.

Hulu is consistently putting out promotional content via video.

Video is Imperative

Considering it’s a streaming service, video is obviously immensely important to Hulu. Video being the service they provide, however, isn’t the only reason it’s imperative. They also heavily use video marketing to promote their service. This was especially the case prior to the release of Hulu Plus.

Hulu is consistently putting out promotional content via video. They keep their ads short and sweet, and they also use real people as opposed to actors. Implementing a few of these tips while keeping the ads informative can go a long way.

Engage in Original Content Marketing

While posting an interesting meme or article found through a Google search may increase social visibility a bit, it’s original content that really gets noticed. Hulu proved this by creating 11.22.63, The Handmaid’s Tale and Difficult People. Local business marketers must recognize the importance of original content and create their own blogs, videos, and articles.

Don’t Be Afraid to Drop Dead Weight

Hulu isn’t afraid to let streaming contracts expire when a certain show isn’t doing well on their platform. Local businesses should take this route when marketing as well. Regardless of how much has been invested in a certain promotional endeavor, there’s no excuse to keep using a failing tactic. Either update it to work or switch strategies entirely.

Even with Netflix being the industry powerhouse, Hulu has still managed to draw subscribers and stand on its own. For local businesses that can utilize the company’s skills in their own marketing endeavors, the sky is the limit.

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These Content Marketing Trends Can Make 2018 Successful

While it might seem a little early to start looking for content marketing trends for 2018, there are certainly current trends that will affect how this form of promotion evolves next year. In fact, many of the advancements that occurred in content marketing in 2017 will likely continue strong throughout all of the upcoming year. Unfortunately, only 22 percent of marketers consider themselves very successful at content marketing, but the following trends could help change that.

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Facebook Live has been fully rolled out for just over a year, but it’s already making waves.

Using Social Influencers

Corporations have been using social influencers since the dawn of marketing, but it’s not necessary to have a commercial with Brad Pitt to use influencer marketing. Local businesses have realized this, and it’s led them to reach out to community celebrities and even infrequently spend a few dollars on being promoted on a large social media page. Now that influencer marketing is more affordable and widely known, 2018 will likely keep the method going strong.

Live Video Remains Content Gold

Facebook Live has been fully rolled out for just over a year, but it’s already making waves. Unfortunately, the company realized that their release was a bit premature, so they’ve spent most of 2017 working to perfect the product. This means that, by 2018, Facebook Live will be improved and ready to help marketers produce the live and interactive content that consumers are demanding.

Email Marketing Becomes More Important

Social media marketing is certainly essential, but with these platforms focusing more on profit that user friendliness, it’s become harder for companies to reach their target audiences. Of course, they can pay to do this (which is a good idea), but email marketing still offers a great method of pushing content. And since 75 percent of marketers say they get a good ROI from email, it’s certainly worth focusing on.

Content marketing in 2018 will see huge changes and evolution. To be ready for that, though, it’s essential to understand the trends of 2017. Only this can properly prepare an entrepreneur for what’s to come.

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What Toy Story Can Teach Us About Marketing

There are countless instructional videos out there that can teach you how to effectively market your local business. Of course, these are typically boring, so what’s a budding entrepreneur to do? Luckily, there are a variety of promotional lessons that can be garnered from sources unrelated to marketing. Strangely enough, there are actually marketing tips right in the Toy Story films.

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Take a lesson from the toys and connect with others in your industry.

Spy on the Competition

Whether it’s in the first movie when the toys were spying on the neighbor or the third movie when Woody kept tabs on the bad guys from an air conditioner vent, the figures in Toy Story showed how far a little spying could go. As it turns out, you should also be doing this with your competition. Keep an eye on their social media presence and watch out for the promotions they’re offering. If you see something that’s really working – or areas where they’re failing – it’s your chance to jump at the opportunity to do it better.

Establish a Well-Connected Network

While marketing typically focuses on what a company is doing for itself, this isn’t always the case. Building a strong network is in itself an excellent promotional tactic, and the toys in Toy Story showed this repeatedly. Without the help of others in toy stores, neighbors’ yards, arcades, and daycares, it’s highly likely happy endings wouldn’t have been forthcoming. Take a lesson from the toys and connect with others in your industry. Also, take the time to set up mutually beneficial relationships with companies outside of your industry that target the same demographic.

Analyze Prior Data to See What Works

One of the most iconic moments from the first Toy Story was when Buzz Lightyear took flight and saved himself and Woody. This wasn’t the first time, however, that Buzz attempted a flight. Earlier in the movie, he jumped from a bannister and failed miserably. Buzz was able to analyze his failure (he can’t really fly) and use that information to succeed later (he can glide and “fall with style”). You must also do this in your marketing strategy. Nearly 70 percent of companies use Google Analytics alone, so it’s obvious how important it is to keep track of what works for your company.

While it may seem silly to get marketing advice from a child’s movie, the fact remains that Toy Story offers a host of marketing lessons. It doesn’t matter where the lessons come from – just as long as they improve your promotional endeavors.

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