Building customer loyalty

SEO for small business: How hard is it?

Posted in Building customer loyalty, Marketing strategies, Search engine optimization, Social media Be the first to comment

We all want magic wands. To lose weight. Get strong. Become rich. Find the perfect mate. “Just do this or buy that and you dream will come true.”

As small business owners, we want magic wands, too.  “Just wave it and customers will find you and flock to your store, office, or Website and buy, buy, buy.”

Today’s marketing “magic wands” often involve social media and search engine optimization.  “Just put up a Facebook page. Just use certain keywords in your Website text. Or just buy “top-rated” links.” Or more likely, “Just pay us to do it, and you’ll have to beat the customers away.”

Uh, no.

Like most of our other instant-success fantasies, social media success involves many tasks. It takes lots of planning, time, and hard work.

SEO success is also complex and requires hard work on many fronts. Take a look at the chart above, created by Marketing Sherpa. It’s based on the experiences of more than 1,500 search marketers.

Remember this chart the next time someone promises you that their magic wand is all you need.

Marketers market rather than buy social media ads

Posted in Advertising, Building customer loyalty, Copywriting and content, E-mail marketing, Marketing strategies, Selling tips, Social media Be the first to comment

Here’s an interesting item, published last week by eMarketing.com.

When ad agencies decide on the ways to publicize their own companies, a full 87% choose not to advertise on Facebook.  Agency ads appear on even a smaller percentage of the other major B2B social media sites–LinkedIn and Twitter.

Here’s the chart showing the percentages:

Social Networks on Which US Ad Agencies and Public Relations Firms Purchase Ads, Q2 2011 (% of respondents)

“Overall,” eMarketer concluded, ” most companies prefer to focus on marketing on social networks, rather than spending money to advertise.”

To read the entire article, click here.

Blog ideas

Posted in Blogging, Building customer loyalty, Copywriting and content, Marketing strategies, Social media Be the first to comment

Blog ideasIf you’ve followed this blog, you know we’re huge fans of blogging (even though we don’t do it often enough!)

We believe that after creating a professional, user-friendly Web site, blogging should be the next layer in the foundation of any small business marketing plan–and specifically, of any social media plan. Valuable blog posts can pay dividends many times over.

For some reason, blogging intimidates people. It shouldn’t. You’ve got ideas, opinions, suggestions, and experience that can benefit others. Blogging is simply a great way to share that knowledge and introduce yourself to people.

Here’s a quick pointer on blogging from infusionsoft, a marketing automation company.

“The key is to create high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience. Keep it consistent and keep it real. Other than that, just have fun with it!  Some suggestions for blog posts include:

  • Industry-specific tips and insights
  • Special offers or give-aways
  • Analysis of recent news items
  • Product tutorials
  • Humorous anecdotes
  • Interviews with employees, customers or partners”

If you’re set up to blog, think of anything in the short list above, and jot a quick post. If you’re not set up, check out WordPress (the format we use) or the also popular blogspot.

Take advantage of one of the best–and free–ways to connect with customers.

Top social media sites? B2B or B2C?

Posted in Blogging, Building customer loyalty, Marketing strategies, Social media 1 Comment

Here’s a continuation of what we showed you about social media yesterday. This report, however, is from Hubspot, a company that specializes in inbound marketing–or drawing customers to businesses rather than pushing sales messages outward.

As you can see once again, the success that marketers had with various social media channels depended on whether they were selling to consumers or to other businesses.

Instead of the, “very or somewhat effective” responses given in the Marketing Sherpa chart, the Hubspot  study measured which channels had resulted in the acquisition of a customer. Once again, blogging scored very high in both the B2B and B2C categories. Facebook was strongest in B2C marketing. And LinkedIn was the best social media channel for those businesses selling to other businesses.

So once again, here’s the takeaway: All your friends may be saying, “You have to be on Facebook.” The truth is: You don’t necessarily have to be on Facebook. You need to be where your customers are.  Check around. Look for names of your customers on all of the channels. Then look to see where your competitors are trying to interact with and attract customers.

That simple and cost-free exercise will tell you how best to spend your time, and possibly, your money, on social media.

Top social media sites? It depends on your goals

Posted in Blogging, Building customer loyalty, Copywriting and content, Marketing strategies, Social media 1 Comment

A new study, from Marketing Sherpa, has found that your best choice for  social media networks depends on whom you’re trying to reach.

For example, if you’re selling to consumers (and provided that your customers are actually using Facebook, and that you can lure visitors with compelling content and/or games, contests, discounts, or coupons), Facebook is probably your best bet.  On the other hand, if you’re selling to businesses, you may want to put your social media resources to use elsewhere–say, on LinkedIn. Take a look at the survey results:Allen T. Sutton, who wrote the blog post describing survey results, noted what he’d expected and a couple or results that surprised him:

“Blogging sits comfortably on top. This does not surprise me since creating content is the most effective SEO tactic , and SEO is a vital part of a good inbound strategy.

“However, two things do surprise me. First, I expected LinkedIn to rank high with B2Bs, but I did not expect it to so clearly beat Facebook. Fewer than 50% of B2B marketers report that their efforts on Facebook were effective. LinkedIn appears to provide the most effective social network for inbound B2B marketers.

“The second thing that surprises me is that YouTube and other video sharing sites are well within the top tier. I have seen great YouTube strategies from a select few marketers, but I did not realize that strong performance was this widespread. I expect even more marketers to start using video sites in the coming years.”

What marketing strategies should work best for you? And especially if you have a limited marketing budget?  We can help you figure it out and start attracting new customers. Contact us.