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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Combining Your Online and Offline Marketing

Online promotion is an essential part of successful marketing. With around 81 percent of consumers doing online research before making large purchases, it is obvious how important online promotion is. You should never ignore offline marketing, though, because if you combine the two, online and offline marketing can really benefit your company.

48250456_sMake Offline Events, Promote Them Online

Creating and hosting an event is a quick way to get new customers in the door. Whether you are offering a free class or simply hosting a networking event for local professionals, the additional name recognition will certainly pay off.

You should do more promotion, though, than simple flyers, newspaper ads or bulletin board postings. Use Facebook to make an “Event Page,” announce the event on all of your social media, utilize blogs to let people know how to prepare and even drop a few dollars on promoting the event via social media.

Take Word-of-Mouth to the Online Realm

Many businesses get tons of promotion from word-of-mouth marketing, but why wait for the word to spread organically? Instead, snag video of a patron speaking with one of your best employees. Since you have the camera out anyway, take a moment to interview a happy customer or simply take a photo of them enjoying your product. Happy consumers are a powerful tool both on and offline.

Use Calls to Action Offline to Drive Traffic Online

Calls to action are usually associated with online videos and blogs. In reality, these calls work with offline traditional marketing too. From TV commercials to billboards, tell people to visit your social media pages or website. Of course, a little bit of incentive in these calls goes a long way, but it is worth it to gain new customers.

No marketing campaign proves successful with only one strategy. Because of this, you need to utilize marketing both on and offline to garner success.

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How to Turn Free Customers into Long-Term Clients

Whether you are in the software business or run a small restaurant in your local market, you have likely engaged in providing a “freebie” to get potential new clients in the door.  Of course, this sometimes does not convert to a permanent customer.  Instead of thinking this means freebies do not work, figure out what you did wrong.  Or better yet, implement these strategies to make free customers come back.

50564335_sInitiate Contact Immediately

Research has shown that 90 percent of leads actually go cold within an hour.  This means you need to initiate contact almost immediately.  The easiest way of doing this is by sending an email.  Whether you get it by having someone sign up for a trial run of your service or by joining your email list to get a discount on a meal, the important thing is to get it.  Have an automated email sent out, so even if they quickly forget they signed up, they will have a reminder in their inbox.

Offer Additional Incentives

Offering an additional incentive might seem like a bit much, especially after providing a freebie, but in the end, this can seriously pay off.  The added incentive does not need to be another freebie.  A sandwich shop could offer an easy punch card loyalty program to keep people coming back.  Those offering marketing as a service could discount their yearly rate if paid up front.  There are tons of other incentives to provide, so just use your imagination.

Keep Communication Open

Marketing experts say 10% of a small business’s monthly sales should go into free trials.  This is a large chunk of budget, so you should already be prepared to keep communication lines open.  Send out periodic emails or reminders, but make sure some are framed as helpful communications.  People forget, so while daily emails are a bit overzealous, a few friendly reminders never hurt anyone.

Too many customers take advantage of a free offer and then simply never come back.  Fortunately, you can reduce the likelihood of this by simply being proactive.

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3 Ways to Prepare Before Marketing at a Local Event

Local business owners sometimes do not realize the potential of event marketing. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs see this type of promotional tactic as an additional headache when they are worrying about other marketing endeavors. Considering the fact that almost half of those who engage in event marketing recognize returns on their investment of 3:1 to 5:1, though, it is high time you at least look into its potential. Prior to marketing at an event, though, consider the following tips to increase your chances of success.

Take Time for a Little Research

The idea of performing research might terrify you, but it is not that difficult when related to event marketing. Check your competition’s pages to see if they will show up. Do research on the demographics that are likely to attend. Look at prior years and see the videos and blog posts related to them. These little pieces of information can assist in perfecting your event marketing strategy.

Promote the Event

Every additional person who knows about an event is an additional prospect you could sway. Knowing this, you should help market the event itself. Getting the word out should be easy for your marketing team.

Let people know that your business will be in attendance in addition to advertising the event itself. Figure out the social media pages and hashtags that are used for the event as well. Once you know these, make the time to join in on social media conversations that are occurring with your social accounts.

51770037_sPlan Your Engagement Strategy

You have to do more than simply show up to the local event. Figure out giveaways, competitions and other tactics that will get your company noticed there. In the weeks before the event, discuss how your social media team can market the activities in which you will take part in real time.

Never opt out of any marketing tactic that could potentially help your business. If there is a specific marketing strategy that your company has never used, take a chance and see how successful it turns out. You never know. Event marketing might turn out to be a goldmine for your company.

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Money-Saving Strategies for Lead Generation

Some small businesses find the perfect spot to reach people in their key demographic, but in most cases, business owners have to work to generate leads.  Unfortunately, this can prove time-consuming and sometimes expensive.  By utilizing time-tested techniques, however, this does not have to be the case.  In fact, these strategies can snag leads without breaking the bank.

Do Not Be Afraid to Purchase Leads

There are those who look down on lead purchasing, but if you are just starting out or business has slowed, it can be very helpful.  While these lists are affordable, make sure not to go too cheap.  You will need to purchase quality leads, and this only comes from providers that have a proven track record of success.

Seek Out Referrals

You already have a powerful lead generation tool available in your current customers.  A recent study found that nearly two-thirds of marketing executives think word-of-mouth marketing is the best form of marketing available.  If you can get your customers to tell their friends about you, even by offering a discount, you can be successful.

38867870_sUtilize Webinars or Instructional Videos

Creating a live webinar can go a long way in generating new leads.  You simply need to get the smartest person on the payroll to lead the webinar and advertise it well in advance.  Of course, this type of lead generation does not work so well for all companies.

After all, how many fishermen will care to watch a live webinar on anything a bait-and-tackle shop is putting out there?  Fortunately, businesses like this could just create instructional videos that people organically come across online.

This type of content is great for getting new eyes on your business, but make sure there is always a sign-up form or call to action listed.  This content-based strategy is very efficient considering content marketing reduces the cost-per-lead by 13%.

Great marketing strategies do not necessarily have to be expensive.  By utilizing these lead generation tips and other affordable marketing strategies, you could greatly reduce your marketing budget.

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