How Local Businesses Can Reduce Marketing Costs in 2017

Marketing costs are one of the most prohibitive yet essential aspects of running a company. In fact, some studies show that the average spent on social media marketing alone is between $4,000 and $7,000 a month. Many budding entrepreneurs are looking to reduce marketing costs in 2017, but it needs to be done without sacrificing reach. Fortunately, there are a few ways to accomplish this.

artem-sapegin-180146Focus on Inbound Marketing

Outbound marketing, which occurs when businesses advertise “at” their customers, can be especially costly. These methods include paid ads that merely try to convince consumers to come by.

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, attempts to increase the likelihood of a consumer finding their way to the company. This includes informative articles and climbing search rankings organically. While outbound marketing has its place, inbound marketing often proves more efficient.

Focus on What’s Working Already

It’s important to come up with new and novel ways to market a company. If something is already working great, though, it shouldn’t be left behind. If a certain type of Facebook ad worked great once, for instance, run it again. If a piece of content does especially well, share it again, update it periodically and even repurpose it into new content.

Consider Outsourcing

One of the biggest causes of overspending is making mistakes. A business owner can go through trial and error to see what works, but they’ll often spend large amounts of money just testing the waters.

Professional marketing managers handle this type of thing for a living. This means outsourcing to experts increases the likelihood that the right marketing strategies will be used the first time around. This can save plenty of money over taking blind shots in the dark.

Saving money on marketing in 2017 isn’t a simple or one-size-fits-all solution. It will take plenty of hard work, but the money saved at the end of the year will have been well worth it.

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3 Digital Marketing Trends in 2017 for Local Businesses

Although local businesses have always focused on promotional tactics, digital marketing is now where much of their money goes. Of course, all the money in the world won’t amount to much if proper strategies aren’t undertaken, and this won’t happen without keeping up with trends. That’s why these digital marketing trends in 2017 will be so important.

dung-tr-n-vi-t-187084Accelerated Mobile Pages

Google has begun working with a format they refer to as Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Mobile websites that use this technology will load quicker on mobile devices than ever before. Since Google is taking the lead, this means it will likely come into play with their algorithm. That means it’s time to jump on the bandwagon to stay relevant in search results.

Social Wi-Fi

Unless someone has been living under a rock for a decade, they know how big social media has become. By the end of 2016, Facebook alone had 1.86 billion active monthly users. It turns out that businesses can take advantage of this with their Wi-Fi.

Offering free Wi-Fi is a great business move, but it’s possible to require customers to sign in with their social accounts. This provides a ton of marketing information, and if it scares off too many potential users, it’s okay to just start asking for emails before allowing login.

Influencer Marketing Becomes Essential

Consumers can look online and essentially get the same digital marketing message from hundreds of businesses in every industry. What really stands out to them, though, is when social influencers get involved.

These influencers can do anything from share a blog to recommend a product online. This doesn’t even have to be a national influencer; a local personality will work just fine. Consumers are looking for more in marketing messages now, and industry influencers are the way to provide it.

Until something new and excessively impressive comes around, digital marketing will rule the promotional world. Fortunately, staying on top of it is as easy as keeping up with the trends.

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3 Local Business Benefits of Pay-Per-Click Ads

Local businesses should at least consider using every marketing technique at their disposal once. In the world of digital marketing, this includes pay-per-click (PPC) ads that charge budding entrepreneurs every time someone clicks on their ads. While the efficacy of PPC ads can vary by business type, industry and location, there are at least a few pay-per-click benefits that owners should consider.

taduuda-72915No Waiting for Organic

Maybe one of the biggest benefits of pay-per-click ads is the fact that they’re immediate. This is likely also why, not too long ago, 72 percent of marketers said they’d be increasing their focus on PPC advertising.

Instead of waiting for keywords, backlinks, and engagement to drive a page up the ranking organically, businesses can immediately have their ad show up at the top. Keep in mind, though, that some people move right past paid ads. This means analytics should be used to test this benefit.

No Play, No Pay

When a company buys a billboard or certain ads on social media, they’re charged regardless of whether they see results. This means an ineffective ad could cost a business hundreds before they realize it’s not working.

With PPC ads, on the other hand, money-strapped entrepreneurs will only pay when an interested party actually clicks on the link. If they do this, half the battle is already won, and it’s the only time the business will be charged.

PPC Marketing Research

Another great benefit of pay-per-click ads is the fact that they allow for marketing research. If a company wants to test out a new focused keyword, they can see how well it performs with PPC before investing in content centered on the phrase.

They can also see if a new product or service will be in high demand. A marketing manager who can effectively judge PPC analytics can help a business know what’s going on before it ever happens.

The benefits of pay-per-click advertising are numerous, but data-driven results are more important. If the aforementioned benefits are realized through PPC advertising, that’s great. If not, it’s time to reconsider the strategy or remove it altogether.

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Can Emoji Marketing Really Be Effective?

If there’s one thing constant about marketing, it’s the fact that it’s always evolving. Something that may not even exist today might be the marketing tool of tomorrow. Strangely enough, it seems as if emojis – the small smiley faces overwhelmingly used in messaging – have made their way to the marketing landscape. It might be hard to understand why, but these little icons can actually make a marketing strategy more effective.

47691278 - wonder female emoticonImproved Email Marketing

Whether or not a local business uses a specific marketing strategy should depend upon data. Just how effective is the strategy? When it comes to email marketing and emojis, there’s definitely a positive correlation.

In fact, a recent study found that 56 percent of companies that include emojis and other symbols in their subject lines experience higher open rates. While this could vary based on targeted demographic, trying out the method is certainly worth the chance.

Improves Communication to Consumers

Anyone who has had a conversation over text in their life knows that meaning can be lost in the digital realm. Even putting emphasis on the wrong word when reading can completely change the connotation of a message. Using emojis removes this potentiality. Both positive and negative messages can get consumers’ attention, and using emojis ensures they’ll certainly understand the conveyed meaning.

Marketing on a Personal Level

Any marketer who’s been paying attention knows that the drive towards personal-level marketing has been speeding up. Individuals want to feel as if they’re speaking with real people rather than just marketing messages. Emojis help accomplish this.

The simple fact is that emojis create the feeling of humanity. In fact, scientists have found that people who embrace emojis are more successful and make more friends than others. Everyone loves a kind gesture, and these emoticons can do just that.

While many may still see emojis as cliché and childish, they are certainly catching on in the business world. From Pepsi to Taco Bell, big corporations are already using emoji marketing, and data-driven science says local businesses should as well.

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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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