When it comes to marketing your small business to consumers, promoting business to business to get clients or using social media marketing to advance engagement; answering these basic questions prior to launching your venture are critical to success.
Too many of us jump into starting a side-gig or business without thoroughly answering key questions about what you’ll be offering and who will be buying–and how they’ll do it.
Today’s Digital Marketing Update
In today’s Digital Marketing Update, Video Podcast #83, host John D. Verlin discusses Six Questions All Entrepreneurs Need To Answer Prior To Launch.
Finding a niche (like making home-baked pastries and selling at farmers markets, etc) and having enough cash to see you through hard times are sometimes an afterthought that can put the venture in peril.
On Demand Advertising Solutions Three-Part Strategy
It’s all a part of our services and three-part strategy to drive SEO and web traffic so your business exceeds the profile and exposure of the competition!
The Extended Marketing Platform
We do this through an extended marketing platform–the perfect compliment to current advertising campaigns.
For business owners, 2018 may be a disruptive year in marketing trends.
In podcast #43, John D. Verlin talks about how customer engagement may be enhanced by melding your brand into experiences–causing emotional connections with prospects.
Podcasts and animated videos are surefire elements to enhance both. This is based upon an article in Forbes by Billee Howard, published November 12, 2017.
It’s all a part of our three-part strategy to drive SEO and web traffic and make your business exceed the profile and exposure of your competitors with an extended marketing platform–the perfect compliment to a Google Adwords campaign!
I want to talk to you today about some cool new trends for next year, 2018 from a marketing standpoint.
This was in Forbes last week, written by Billee Howard.
She kind of hits on some trends for next year to be thinking about.
As far as moving your business ahead and what you should be looking at.
One of the concepts she comes off with is, you know it used to be you’d focus on your brand.
And it…I guess you could call it cause marketing. To some degree.
But you want to tie your brand into it. Good corporate responsibility perhaps.
This notion of it’s, it’s more than buying something and come up with a price point.
It has something of relevance to make the world a better place.
The brand purpose needs to be thought out about what is it trying to accomplish.
But she is saying that the cause marketing idea, for marketers particularly, it focused on this corporate responsibility.
You give back to the community. That sort of thing.
And it’s this idea that an organization comes up with a mission statement.
Today, that needs to be tied to your day to day offerings.
In other words, it’s the experiential, the experiences that your brand can offer, to make the world a better place.
Is sort of the central part of the marketing strategy.
Be thinking about how your brand an be tied in to make something more than just we have a cheap price.
This will change your life.
This will make your experience with our brand so much more meaningful. And for the greater good of society.
That kind of concept. These should be, all of these experiences, again the word is experience.
Not just price point. These are all going to tie in to a customer experience.
And we’ve talked about it in the past, the customer engagement is the new marketing.
This whole idea of engaging customers.
And this is becoming more important as baby boomers age and value –and this has been known years.
People over say sixty–they start traveling.
The value these cruises, these new experiences.
It seems as you get older you don’t need the things as much–you want the experience.
I know I’m more mature. I like a nice cup of coffee on a beautiful morning. And I appreciate that more.
Stop and smell the roses.
The wafting of the cinnamon roll on this trip to the bed and breakfast to enjoy that leisurely experience. With our coffee, our cinnamon rolls, with the beautiful mountains in the background.
Come to our bed and breakfast. That kind of thing.
So, they’re tying in an experience with the brand in with a better, enjoyable part of your life as well as, when you come to our bed and breakfast, we believe in helping nature.
The environment–so we’re going to donate ten percent of your bill to the Nature Conservancy.
Because we want to keep our mountains, our streets beautiful.
And our rivers, gorgeous. That kind of thing. So it’s tying in social consciousness to make the world a better place.
But tying your brand in with that experience on a regular basis.
She indicates that this brand purpose, putting that at the fore of the brand strategy, can be a lever of growth to both internal and external audiences (customers and employees, vendors, etc)
This is also, the second point she makes is a drive to the engagement of the heart.
Emotional engagement, is a sister to rational engagement. And the rational stimulates the mind–whereas the emotional engagement is based on stimulation of the heart.
Today with the brand experiences we have.
The emotional engagements are proving to be more critical than just winning results and effective storytelling and digital marketing.
They’re actually at the heart of this whole idea.
Think of it as, when I was in radio–this is huge.
This is the reason many times people purchased products and services from our clients, because of the emotion they felt from the radio ad.
I think of a number of contractors we had advertise at the Christmas season.
And the ads were almost like Andy Griffith. Looking back on the year, how thankful they were.
This time of year, I encourage to help the children getting clothes and coats. Support the coats for kids project. That kind of thing.
Tapping the emotion. Radio has always done a great job of that.
Because of the emotion of the voice. As with podcasts and other types of communication.
You get that emotional feeling.
So, it’s tying in your brand with an emotional element--and not just a rational element.
And the reason I think this-is what she’s referring to, is that the focus we’ve talked about is more on interacting with your customer.
The social media interactions, the brand interaction.
This focus–if you haven’t thought about this in your business. I think a lot of this has to do with the Millennial generation and younger people, where they value not things as much perhaps, as experiences.
The emotional connection through technology of these brand experiences is a good thing.
So to woo those younger people, plus in general, our society is tied in more with all of this technology.
But, the emotional engagement of the heart so to speak just may get them want to buy or feel better about your brand, is what the key to this is in stimulating it.
And it’s all because of these interactions with customers. It’s a unique thing that we’re switching technology–but we cannot forget how people feel.
So, engaging your brand, tying it in to your marketing to get an emotional response, and that’s a big thing.
Think about ways, how to do that moving forward for next year.
Because you can’t just be complacent. It’s also tied in to storytelling.
These are effective ways and one reason we like doing these podcasts. Are the fact that you can tell stories.
That’s becoming–the storytelling concept, the tying into the emotion–all that is becoming the new marketing.
Engaging with your customers. So, if you have a direct mail piece, an email, whatever it is–somehow getting an emotional element in them.
And that’s why I like podcasting–because it can bring those emotions out.
As you describe the benefits of your products and the organizations you’re going to be working with.
This year, who you will donate to on behalf of your brand.
And maybe even having a representative on a podcast talking about this and why they’re so thankful that you’re brand is helping them out.
They can transform through emotion through storytelling those benefits, to get people to feel good about your brand.
And finally, and again we just mentioned this–the customer doesn’t really buy into things anymore, they buy into stories that are kind of brought to life with a mix of creativity and technology.
I just kind of pointed this out a minute ago because these whole story things are becoming a big influence in business, she says.
And it’s, it’s been that way in radio for years.
That has sort of been the secret–that and repetition to getting businesses to get results. It’s the emotional connection.
Because the listeners feel, that’s the key word, they feel like the know the brand.
Whether they do or not, totally different story.
It’s hard to feel for something that’s in writing perhaps.
Unless you really read it.
And today, we know attention spans are small, many times they don’t.
But, it’s creating emotion. A feeling–this is nothing real new that she’s pointing out.
In the marketing–to be thinking along these lines, and this all ties into what I talk about using various marketing elements.
Like animated videos–you might chuckle and get your attention.
Podcasts–again, ties into the emotion. You hear it. You feel it.
And then part of–making your brand part of that emotional experience for your prospects and customers.
Discover how we were able to own a front page business search AND drive thousands of views to our site on multiple platforms, in just eight months!
In another Digital Marketing Update, John Verlin discusses some of the techniques he’s used to drive his web traffic and get listed on Google in a front page search of his business.
In the case of Facebook traffic–some of the views reflect various “ads” purchased as a test for less than $50/mth (tested over three-months off and on throughout 2017).
The fact that you’re reading/listening to this blog post is most likely due your response to a social media post.
It’s all a part of our three-part strategy to drive SEO and web traffic and make your business exceed the profile and exposure of your competitors with an extended marketing platform–the perfect compliment to a Google Adwords campaign!
You may listen to all of our exclusive audio podcasts here.
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Now, enjoy the video podcast!
Marketing Your Business; Proof Is In The Pudding, Turbocharging Web Traffic and Own A Front Page Search, Podcast #38!
Host: John D. Verlin
And another pleasant good afternoon to you, John Verlin with On Demand Advertising Solutions, with another Digital Marketing Update podcast. (Kansas City-based marketing consultant and brand ambassador)!
Got a email the other day from a gentleman named Brent in Roeland Park.
And he basically asks, he said “John, I saw one of your animated videos and went to your website. I saw some of your podcasts and was curious.
Do podcasts really work and how do you do them?”
I guess he really wanted to know if they were effective.
And Brent, the answer to that is yes, that’s why I’m doing this right now. You may be listening to this.
Those of you who are may have the same questions. But basically, yes they are effective.
I like them because they’re simple. They’re easy to do.
If, and again everything’s relative.
In other words, if you’re nervous about speaking, or you don’t have a good voice and you sound like Daffy Duck…or whatever, you may prefer writing.
I prefer podcasts because I was in radio and we used to do these all of the time with clients—where we would record their ads, as podcasts or as mp3 files.
Have them put them on their website, and talk to them about letting people know they’re on their website.
And they would back that up with say signage in the stores saying, “James Thompson Jewelry, as heard on KYZ radio.”
From a visual standpoint to reinforce that fact they are on radio. Because people or customers might come in and not even know they had a radio ad.
All of this works together, interlocking.
This media and marketing ties in together. It’s what I call the marketing platform. It’s all a part of the package.
So yes, podcasting Brent is one avenue of content that is also searchable on the web when you transcribe it, as I’m doing on this blog post, and then promoting it.
It also, to me is convenient and I think for a lot of people, with over fifty percent using smartphones to search things and check things out.
They can just listen to it on their smartphone as they’re walking or working out or whatever.
You may be doing that right now and listening to this.
So they’re very accessible in my opinion.
So they’re easy, they’re accessible, they’re entertaining.
You get to know me. You get to know, customers get to know you by hearing your voice, not just reading.
Nothing against reading, I read a lot. But it just makes it on the go quick, simple and used a lot by mobile devices.
I appreciate the question.
I hope I answered that sufficiently for you.
Which leads me into today’s blog post—I couldn’t wait to do this podcast because of the picture I picked.
And it’s called Proof Is In The Pudding—and if you see that picture, that you want to eat that right now, it is so good!
But, Proof Is In The Pudding, Turbocharging Website Traffic And Building A Front Page Search on Google.
And, I did that in about eight months.
Through a combination of things I want to talk about today. Just to give you some food for thought.
Number one—and this is one reason I started this business. You need to consistently post content.
And I’m not the first to have said that. A lot of people say that.
In fact I read a post today from a gentleman—I forget his name.
He reiterated the consistency of good content.
It’s always been the case. Think about this.
Ever since newspapers. Ever since TV programming, radio programming—if you in a sense not have good content—you’re not going to draw as many.
You’ll still get some people.
We found that in radio when we had clients do radio ads. They had a terrible voice Their message wasn’t that brilliant. “You need a plumber…call me.”
But, in spite of the weaknesses you want to call that—it actually played up to their strengths. Which was, they were human. They connected with the audience.
And that really what all of this is about—is consistently connecting with your target audience. Nothing new here. It’s just shifted towards digital platforms today, as traditional media is shifted.
We just saw this—a matter of fact last week.
There was a merger of two big radio companies, to form a sports digital marketing platform for some of the sports stations that one of the companies had, that I actually used to work for.
So they are recognizing, an on-going building out of their platform, for sports programming for digital consumption.
Through a streaming platform.So this is really nothing new. Consistent content.
And of course, I know a lot of you are saying, well I’ve got a website, I’ve got content on it that tells about my services. I understand that. But Google is like a ravenous dinosaur. It’s constantly feeding off of content. So you’ve got to feed the beast, in essence.
And I know a lot of you are saying well, how many ways can I say, “we clean teeth”.
Well, that’s where your blog comes in.
Yeah, I’ve heard this before. These guys charge an arm and a leg to write blog stuff. And I just don’t have time to read it all.
It’s too much of a hassle. I understand that. And that’s one reason I formed my business as a consultant was to help businesses do that. As I’m doing right now.
But what’s fun is—if you do it in an interview-format style, someone is interviewing you.
Talking about your specialty—your expertise.
Questions your clients or customers are having on a regular basis that you’re answering on a podcast content. It’s engaging. It’s entertaining, hopefully.
I still have yet to do an impersonation like I used to do in radio.
I promise you—I used to do these. But I want to keep a little something behind, so you’ll keep listening.
At any rate—so yes, they are effective if you’re consistently posting content.
If you can’t do it or don’t want to. Hire someone.
It’s not super expensive. I mean, I don’t charge an arm and a leg. I work through some of the chambers and things like that.
I don’t have ten employees.
I’m a consultant, so I don’t have to charge near as much.
So, it can be done.
You can see with some of the stats I posted in a post I did last week on a post about turbocharging web traffic and owning first page searches.
All of this is important, because it is content that will allow that to happen.
And you may say well why is that important?
If you’re a prospect of your business, locally.
You’re probably going to search for the name of Jim Thompson Jewelry.
Maybe before you go out there.
And if Jim Thompson Jewelry doesn’t show up.
You might kind of question if they are for real. Now they can drive by your brick and mortar business and see it.
But it adds credibility like nothing else.
Why? Because this content, this whole shift in marketing online and presence, it’s all moving there.
I was at a Walmart the other day, trying to find a faucet. And I pulled out my smartphone trying to check it on Amazon. I found a better faucet on Amazon. So I walked away and bought it on Amazon.
That’s how people are using these smartphones now.
For searching for products, services. You may be in a law firm, in the lobby listening to this podcast. Thinking about hiring a divorce attorney. And think, well wait a minute.
You may have a point there.
Right now and search for divorce attorney’s on my smartphone as soon as I get done listening to this thing.
And you may go ahead and search for a divorce attorney that’s highly recommended through a rating system and there are testimonials on their website.
And you just might walk out of the room and go see that person. That’s how important this is because people are doing this now.
Second point I want to make is, that the proof is in the pudding—turbocharging your web traffic and a front page search for your business is consistently promoting your content.
Oh, here we go again. John, you keep saying consistently, on-going.
I don’t like those words. I want this to happen in three months. Actually, I want this to happen thirty days ago…my board wants this to happen last year.
I understand that.
All marketing though—it’s all good.
And it takes time. That’s a fact of life.
Unless, you’re the only business in town that does what you do. And everybody knows about you. Then great. But guess what—they don’t know about you.
We’ve talked about this on other podcasts, but the multiplicity of channels now. Multiplicity of platforms that are available for content.
Whether you’re checking out Instagram, Pinterest…Youtube…so many platforms.
People can be checking out stuff.
And that’s why you have to do things consistently. Because you don’t know what works.
And if you do direct mail. I had a chamber member say, we’ll we use these big direct mail big post cards.
And they seem to be the best thing we’ve done. And that’s great. For now. What about six months from now?
That’s why all of this works together.
You can’t just say, well this is a silver bullet.
All of them are silver bullets that work together to get a shot. To get that result you’re looking for on a regular basis.
I have another prospect I’ve talked to…pretty good sized business.
Millions of dollars a year. They are in six magazines. TV…on the web, online. I mean they’re doing a lot of stuff—and they’re struggling.
I mean they’re painting huge letters on windows. On Sale—whatever.
Who knows what works? They’ve tried it all.
And they realize they’ve got to keep doing it. You can’t just stop. Because some of that might zero in on targeted people.
I think they can maybe target it better. But that’s what we do is consistently test and target, try to.
And the third point I want to bring out is that multiple platforms and channels are on-going.
You need to be placed on multiple platforms with content. Whew, that’s a lot of work.
I understand what you’re saying John, but this is a lot of work.
I’ve got a business to run.
Exactly, and that’s what caused me to want to start this business is to help people like you who are struggling to do what I just said.
Because they realize—and I think most businesses realize this.
The need for this type of content and on-going promotion.
You say, well I’m running a TV schedule.
And I have some post cards going out.
OK, that’s great! And you’re testing all of that? Because that will work for a while, but maybe it won’t. Then what will you do?
On-going content on a blog, in an entertaining and engaging fashion, consistently will engage prospects. That’s the key.
And as long as we have these digital platforms, and various online mediums, such as Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, whatever, then we’re going to have people going on those.
Now, once those are gone—there may be some new thing like artificial intelligence beaming a signal into your brain through a micro chip.
So, those are three reasons why I think it’s important to see proof in the pudding by using those three to turbocharge your web traffic.
And you can see on my blog post from last week some of the results I had over eight months.
And you can see each of the blog posts and the traffic from various sources. Twitter, organic, where ever. Even overseas!
I didn’t expect that. I didn’t want it. But OK, some nice comments from people listening to the podcasts. Previous ones. Thank you.
It’s really amazing how this inter-connectiveness of the web can really turbocharge things.
But you can also target your local people. And they now have your content to check out compared to the competition.
And that may make all of the difference. Highlighting your expertise.
In this new day and age of social media–one of the most important aspects for business owners is to pay attention to customer issues posted on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Case in point. In past podcasts I’m discussed the importance social media plays in small business (even though many owners haven’t adopted it in the marketing yet).
Today’s Digital Marketing Update podcast discusses a real-case scenario albeit with a large phone carrier why this is becoming more critical for all businesses to pay attention to with their communication.
Most customers when satisfied with your service or product may never really tell you, or even rate you (unless you follow up and ask).
But when they are unhappy–they now have more than just a backyard neighbor to go to in venting their frustrations and dissatisfaction.
After cancelling a 24-month iphone 7 lease contract after it was paid up—and returning the phone to my carrier, I was charged a full months service+lease fee on my credit card.
This didn’t really surprise me, but I was only three days into the new billing cycle–but was billed for the entire month. So I thought I would go the social media route after I had talked to two people who said they would credit me back $53.
Here’s the original post I made on Facebook and their response. Now, imagine this is one of YOUR customers and you have over 1000 likes on your business Facebook page.
How would you feel and what would you do?
That’s the subject of today’s video podcast.
Here’s a screenshot of the post and their comments:
Sprint using deceptive billing practices, charging for a full months usage even though only 4 days were active in new billing cycle prior to cancellation? \ Here’s my vent.
Sprint has an opportunity to do the right thing with a KC customer.
Ended my two year iphone lease with them after lease period was paid up.
Was told I needed to pay anotehr $143 to “own” the phone.
Battery was dying otherwise I would have stayed with them especially since they were going to go with $35/mth free talk/text and up to 2G data plan rather than $60/month.
All I really wanted was to spend $100 or less on a new phone and a $35/mth plan (which I did get with a prepaid carrier and up to 5G data)! Many of these prepaid phones are Android perform similar to my $650 iphone 7s.
However, I noticed that after four days into my new billing cycle, i decided to cancel and go with a cheaper phone on prepaid. Then i saw an $87 charge on my credit card. when I call to talk to a rep–I told them that i cancelled after four days but they still charged me for a full month.
I was passed upward to another person who said that they would credit my card on Sept. 10 (today) for $53 (which is still not enough because prorated it was $2.90 per day or $13, not $33). I was told they needed my “phone” approval before they’d credit my card and i would be called today at 10:30a CST per my request.
It’s now after 10:50a and no word from anyone–which is leading me to post this.
IF THEY JUST WOULD HAVE TOLD ME UPFRONT–“sir, we’ll pro-rate your bill and only charge you $13 since you cancelled after four days into the new billing cycle and returned your phone two weeks ago…”
THIS WOULD NOT BE NECESSARY! SHAME ON YOU SPRINT!
This action would separate you from your competitors when it comes to how you treat customers.
Now, over 3.5 million “likes” are reading this on social media and my guess is others will chime in.
Is this how you want to be seen by customers?
This is why it’s crucial in this day of social media to be proactive in treating customers right!
I will UPDATE this post once I hear back from them.
In the first hour, there were 38 responses to my post. They have over 3.5 million “likes” on Facebook that were exposed to this message.
Most of those comments were angry at Sprint and I just opened up a small can of worms. I realize this is small potatoes for a huge corporation–but competition is fierce among carriers–no different probably for your business.
The key is to answer it swiftly and turn it into a marketing/sales opportunity.
It’s all a part of our three-part strategy to drive SEO and web traffic and make your business exceed the profile and exposure of your competitors.
I’ve entitled this—I just posted a four paragraph rant against my phone carrier, the importance of social media.
Today ironically is the day Iphone 8 came out and the Iphone X at Apples big event and announced their new products. Which ties in to my rant basically with my phone carrier.
I’m kind of looking at this as a “teachable” moment.
And I’m seeing myself as more of an educator to business owners as well as a marketing individual, consultant.
But I’m having to educate as to why all of these elements tie in together in marketing, social media, your regular advertising, PR—all of these facets work together to create your branding platform, your marketing platform.
I had recently ended a twenty-four month lease on an Iphone 7 with Sprint.
No problems with the service, but the battery on the phone seemed like it started to hold less of a charge for what I needed.
I began to think maybe it’s time to trade up but I didn’t want to spend $700. So I decided, you know what, I don’t need all of the bells and whistles.
My actual usage has gone down than it was a year or two ago.
And I began to highlight like most of us do what the real features are that I really wanted.
So, bottom line is, I contacted them and they said, “yeah, your $87/mth fee is no longer applicable. It’s now down to $60/mth since you’ve finished your lease.
But, if you want to buy the phone, you pay $143 more and you own it.”
Or, “you upgrade to a new Iphone and that’s another $33/mth, on top of the $60/mth for up to 2gigs of data.
So, I thought about it and after 2-3 days, I decided I’m just going to turn it back in. I’m gambling on how long that battery is going to last cause the phone is sealed.
I’m just going to go ahead and get a $100 phone.
And that’s exactly what I did. And I love it! I actually got two phones. A $100 one and a $50 one to play around with.
Both have Android, same apps, same everything.
I kept the other one as a backup when this one dies, because I can change the battery in it, which a lot of these you can’t anymore.
But this is an older phone.
Brand new though. I went through a prepaid carrier. Virgin Mobile which I believe runs off of Sprints tower.
Basically I’m going from what I had to a lower cost plan, $35/mth for 5gig data which is four times more than I was using.
That was what I decided. I went ahead and sent the phone back to Sprint. Three weeks later, I see a $87 bill on my credit card.
I’m a little baffled, because I had paid everything off. I had sent the phone back and now they’re charging me for another month.
So I contacted them. Talked to somebody for twenty minutes.
They shifted me to someone else who, after waiting thirty minutes said, “we’ll go ahead and credit you $53 of that $87 because you were actually three days into the new billing cycle.”
And I thought, oh—ok. On September 10th, we’ll go ahead and credit your account. So, I’m waiting. Two weeks later I’m thinking I’ll be I won’t hear from them. We’ll guess what—I didn’t hear from them.
So I put it on my calendar and I thought—you know what, this irritates me. It’s not the money as much as the principle.
I came up with a four paragraph rant. I was going to wait to 10:30a CST (when they said they’d call). Then I was going to post it on their Facebook page.
And I have this as you can see on this blogpost. You can see the rant that I posted. After I posted it—within five minutes they responded.
“Please contact us through private messenger”. Standardized message. But there were 38 responses to my comment. I don’t know how many there are today.
It’s a few days later, I’m sure there are quite a few more.
People were going off on them, all this kind of thing. But I want to talk about why this is important for your business.
We sometimes overlook social media. We think, I’ll get around to it. I’ll post every now and then.
The problem is—if you have a guy like me who is not happy.
And I went ahead and conjured up a four paragraph negative post—basically accusing you of account misrepresentation and possibly fraudulent billing practices.
And that gets in print in front of their 3.5 million likes on their Facebook page, what do you think that’s going to look like? Do you think they really care? Maybe, maybe not.
But with that many people viewing that kind of commentary, from customers, that can get around.
That opens a can of worms. It could open a can of worms. And probably, realistically, they know most people are in debt and don’t looks at things, and they can go ahead and slip in that $87 charge.
Nobody is going to notice and they’ll pay.
And that irritates me.
Because I think that’s exactly what happened.
And particularly they say they’ll get back with you and put that back on your credit card.
Never heard a word. That irritates me even more is why I did this.
Why is this important?
Well, if you’re opening yourself up to not knowing what your customers think about you, your products or services.
And you don’t have some sort of engagement on social media.
You’re doing a couple of things in my opinion. You’re not able to get feedback from them. Good or bad.
But you’re not engaging them early on as we’ve talked about on other podcasts for future for growing your business.
Now, yes, you are going to get people upset—they’re going to rant.
But guess what? This gives you a chance to get back with them.
Find out what went wrong. Correct it. And this is all part of your marketing platform, because people will see that you’re engaged.
They see that you care about them. They see that you’re wanting to make an attempt to correct things.
And that’s all a part of your brand image.
Now, if you don’t have a Facebook business page, or a Twitter page or any way for them visibly online to get in touch with you, they’re still going to make the rounds.
At a chamber meeting or over a fencepost. At least by having some sort of engagement with them, you can prevent these kinds of things from having a backfiring effect on your business.
And you know that Sprint and all of these phone carriers are out there spending money to compete and bragging about how many new people they just got.
Well guess what.
If Sprint were to have read what I said. What I really wanted. They could take what I’m saying and turn that around and make it part of their marketing.
Well, the guy wants a $100 phone with a $35/mth plan—well, we already have a $35/mth plan. We can go ahead and match that with the competition.
Maybe we offer another type of phone or whatever—not to cannibalized prepaid businesses or whatever, that we let them run on our service.
Maybe we offer another option. If they get enough of these.
People saying I don’t want to spend that much.
I have a feeling we’re going to see more of that in spite of this Apple new release with the higher price tag.
I have a feeling there maybe some pushback or kickback to that.
They start to say, well the customer is telling us what they really want.
That’s how you can use that negative feedback you’re getting to turn it around. Maybe you don’t even have to do a survey anymore.
Just monitor your Facebook page.
The comments people are making. Answering them and getting back with them. Then turning that around to make it a marketable opportunity.
That’s what I’m talking about.
Now, Sprint can make this right.
By simply getting back…”we saw that you only used three days into your new plan cycle. We apologize (which they already said) for inconvenience.”
And what if they were to take that as a part of a marketing campaign?
We will not charge you for a full month usage—and we will prorate usage into the time, prior to cancellation if you ever do. We’re making it right with you.
What comes to mind is this big Wells-Fargo fiasco.
Where they made up accounts.
Charged customers for unknown accounts they didn’t even know they had. A huge, gigantic, fraudulent…I can’t even imagine anything worse.
As big of a bank as they are to stake their trust, reliability and reputation with their customers to so mislead them. To brag about it. I don’t quite get it.
At any rate, here’s four things why this is important for you to consider for your business:
Engage in a Facebook business page oer Twitter page. Start that engagement process with prospects and current customers.
Monitor the pages on a regular basis.
See if there are any questions or comments that you can respond to.
That’s again, part of your marketing platform. It shows people you care, you are engaged and you are alive.
You’re not hiding behind a website. Or hiding behind an unknown phone number. That you are for real.
You are answering them.
In answering questions and complaints, try to make it personal.
I know if you have a big business and a lot going on—well maybe it’s time to hire somebody in-house, or freelance it to a social media marketing person or agency. Because you need to answer these.
If you let them hang out there, and people see they were never answered, and it’s over a month old—a day old, two days old, three days old—that’s unacceptable.
That forms the brand impression on the marketing platform I’ve been talking about. And they are going to assume things about you and your business.
And finally, learn from this and incorporate this and what they’re saying into the marketing to enhance the customer experience.
This is what everybody is spending money on with artificial intelligence and data and all of these things is to enhance the customer experience.
That’s what it’s all about. I guess if you’re a big CEO and shareholder value and all.
It all comes down to that bottom line, the customer experience.
And you can use social media with the positive and negative comments on it from your customers and prospects to enhance that experience with them in a positive way to grow your business.
So, read my rant.
You can see what I was upset about. I spilled it out.
People jumped on my rant comment to respond and they were angry about other stuff. It opened a can of worms.
In the big scheme of things with all of the customers that they have it doesn’t really count much.
But, for a small business, you have a couple of customers doing this—this could effect your business.
So those are four things I wanted to leave with you to consider starting a Facebook business page or Twitter page. Start engaging prospects and customers.
Build a relationship with them by consistently posting. Responding to the questions and complaints.
Learn from these comments, questions and complaints. Incorporate it into your marketing to advance the customer experience.
While most small businesses and professionals may be seeking local customers and clients, when it comes to marketing your business–image matters, particularly when it comes the a local search.
As we’ve noted in earlier podcasts, this shift of prospects moving to online searches and reviews makes brand perception more critical in the race against the competition.
As noted earlier, over half of small businesses fail to have a website and many don’t even have a Facebook business page.
This lack of online “real estate” can pack a punch in a prospects opinion of the business before they even engage you.
Podcast #27 discusses ways content can build out this important real estate for your business, whether through Facebook business pages, Google My Business, Google Posts, YP.com platform, local chamber of commerce pages, Linkedin business pages, Youtube, blogs, etc.
After five months of launching a website and beginning podcast/video content–the pic below shows how we “owned” the first page of our business search listing–out of 4,330,000 listings.
If your local prospects were to search your business, how would it “look” in the listings? This is important because it is part of your branding and marketing platform.
Getting ownership of this page is just the beginning. Consistent and relentless promotion must continue to occur outside of searches to direct prospects to your blog content, which in turn a percentage will check out your website.
It’s all a part of our three-part strategy to drive SEO and web traffic and make your business exceed the profile and exposure of your competitors.
I hope you’re having a great week. I was talking to gentleman who owns a digital marketing business this past week. We confer every week or so. He shares with me things about his clients.
He was telling me, he said it’s funny, but I have the same kinds of issues you have had, as far as people you talk to and how a lot of them are having a hard time understanding online presence. The need to have social media involved and things like that.
According to some recent surveys it seems that more and more businesses are realizing the importance of this. It’s a slow process. As we were talking I kept thinking, ok, let’s walk through this.
Let’s say you’ve got a business. You’re a small business owner or a professional. You’re trying to get referrals for new customers or prospects.
So you join a chamber, all right. You go to the chamber meeting. You might meet a few people. Give out a business card or two. Let’s say you meet somebody.
And maybe they are an accountant. And you might need accounting services someday. So you exchange business cards.
You go back to your office, and you’re kind of curious. The guys got what looks like a website. So you Google and search most likely I would imagine the name of that business.
And then, a few links pop up perhaps. You click one of them on, and it’s kind of a partial website you’re going to. The first impression you had of this person is at the chamber meeting. Probably noticed their dress but the business card. The image. Is it cheap? Does it look good? Do they look good? Are they sloppy?
These are all first impressions and that’s usually the first thing in direct contact like that. Now the second impression, you’re going online and you’re not finding a whole lot. And then when you do click through, broken links, not a lot of stuff, content on the website.
And you’re thinking this guy is an accountant, he ought to be good. But now, you have had several different impressions that have been formed, before you even call him.
This is what I call part of the marketing platform. It is the brand perception that is formed online even after you meet someone.
Because we no longer just get in the car and drive over to the office. We do research before we do things and over fifty percent use smartphones.
So doesn’t it make sense you’ve got to have some presence on the web. And yet I’m surprised how many professionals may have a blog post, a little blog and that’s it. You’re an attorney or whatever and you don’t have a proper online presence.
And this is like a comparision here. Let’s say you have a store. And you decide that you’ve got enough customers, I’m not going to fix up the display window. I’m just going to leave it open.Or just through a ladder in there or something.
You’re not too concerned about the image of the business or walk-in traffic, because you’re got enough traffic from direct mailers.
Would you take that approach to it? No, you’ve put some money into this. I highly doubt that you would not be concerned about your storefront and your display window.
Because you want more customers to be induced to come in and do business with you right? So this is the comparision I’m making to this online importance of the marketing platform, because this is where people are going to process and check people out. And seeing things and making decisions even before they even call you.
So I’m calling today’s podcast, 4 Reasons Why Content Will Allow You To Own the First Page of Google Search In Your Business. And this again is image.
Not to mention the content that might be there but the fact that the first thing that people see when they type in the name of your business, what’s going to come up?
Now typically, and there are a lot of people who buy links or paid links or ads, the first two or three might be another entity. And then you might have some show up.
So, here’s why this is so important to have content as a part of your blog and website. The content is going to give people a reason to visit your blog.We’ll, I don’t have a blog. I don’t have much content. Well you can now give people a reason to visit your blog to go to.
The content is searchable on Bing and Google and it will rank your blogpost higher and your website higher in searches. The more content you have, Google likes that and they’re going to rank you higher.
And by creating this content and owning that first page of searches—for example, there are businesses I’ve looked up in my hometown and they’ll have a Facebook business page, they might have a five star review which looks great—and that’s all wonderful.
Clicking on some of the links like a Yelp link show up. This can all come about to and one thing we stress is to have a Facebook business page, a Linkedin business page, every busniess page—a chamber association business page. Those business pages will rank because they’re already associated with Facebook, Linkedin or the chamber.
They’ll rank your name or business higher because they already have a platform established. So these are all things besides your website and blog that you should be involved in. And this is what I call the marketing platform. All of the different platforms, audio platforms for podcasts is a separate platform that’s going to rank you also.
So if you’re listening to this, you can see on this blogpost the first page rankings on my business I started five months ago. I started posting podcast content, video podcast content on Youtube. You’re going to see a Podimatic podcast platform I use for mp3’s only.
And these are all links, you can see some of the video links on Youtube. And that’s after five months. Launched the website five months ago.
You type the name of the business in and this is what people are going to see. Google My Business—all of these platforms because I’ve been doing it and promoting it on a regular basi, every day in five months.
Now there are some businesses I’ve searched in my local community. They have quite a few links. But from an image branding perspective. They’re ok. I’m not excited.
But when you have video content, audio content, you’ll see what I’m talking about if you’re looking right now at the Google My Business.
It makes a branding image difference. Nothing wrong with a lot of links and great reviews, that’s perfect. But when you add content to that mix, it rounds out the impressions is what I’m getting at—and your solid.
This is why it’s so mportant, whether you’re an accountant, or whatever—well I don’t need to have…
But these are impressions. This is marketing. This is…you know, you’re not H & R Block. You don’t have a huge brand presence. And this will help build that is what I’m getting at.
So these are four reasons why content will create a first page search brand impression that you can be proud of and you’re constantly adding to it to increase that impression.
Now, when they click through to those links and they listen to your video podcast and they hear the content—and read it and see the videos you’ve got on there—now they’re getting to know you.
Does this make sense? This is why the marketing platform is so important to get new business and supercharged and turbocharged referrals.
Because now, you’ve checked out this accountant, and seen all the stuff he’s got on there. Maybe he’s got all of these different things there, but now your impressed with him from day one. But now you’ve seen all of the stuff he’s got on there.
It adds a ton of credibility to someone you very well may want to do business with as opposed to a competitor.
The flip side of that is you go and search this person and other accounting firms come up locally—and they have more content and more brand image web real estate so to speak.
Suddenly you’re well…I might want to check these other people out.
See how that works?
It’s no different than a storefront really. It is your storefront. It’s your online storefront but it goes deeper than that because of all of the content to highlight your expertise and credibility.
And we didn’t have this twenty years ago. The capability to show off our capability.
But now they can do it and they are doing it and making judgments, comments on social media one way or the other.
And that you have no control over unless you answer some of those comments and you’re on that platform.
So, those are the four reaons it pays to have content. It pays to promote yourself through social media. And yes, have a credible website, with a blog all tied together.
Because you’re spending money on marketing and advertising or whatever else. And they get to that point from the radio or tv or magazine ads you’re spending money on. And they do some checking on you.
Background checking, research and they’re not impressed. You may have wasted all of that money.
Or at least an opportunity.
You’re going to give people a reason to visit your blog with content, the content is going to be searchable and rank you higher in the search engines they use.
It’s going to allow your first page search with eight or nine different links with content on them that look really good from a brand impression standpoint, and the content engagement standpoint when they click on it and go to it and check it out.
And it’s going to enhance and entertain those people who check it out. And it they like the content, they can forward to people they know.
And you’ve just expanded your influence to unknow people by having that content.
How well do you know your customer? Well, customer engagement is the new marketing. That’s what I’m going to talk about today.
And, Sajun Patel had an article or post in July of Inc. I ran across this last week because I was trying to put my notes together doing prep for this podcast as I mentioned last week. He had this post and I think it’s great. You might want to check it out.
He talks about four things of how customer engagement is becoming the new marketing. It’s really what I’ve been saying and trying to say over the last several months since I started this business.
The first thing he points out is to understand how customers are driving revenue. They’re not only driving current revenue but they’re the key to driving future revenue. I’ve talked the last few weeks about getting referrals.
And that’s part of it, they offer up referrals to you to continue to drive revenue in sales and they may themselves continue to buy from you, as well as recommend people.
He says that, the first point is that various changes in business models and trends have shifted alternately shifted power from the seller, you to the buyer, your customer. In general, less commitment is required on the part of the customer.
It’s easier and cheaper than ever before to leave and seek alternate solutions when value isn’t being delivered. And because of this, great customer experience can become a prominent competitive differentiator . Boy, that is an excellent way of saying it.
It’s because of this shift I’ve been talking about to more online experiences, where people can read reviews, comments, whatever, changes things for all of us as business owners in how we treat the customer.
And he talks about that great customer experience. Michael Fallon who is the director of Customer Success at PTC says that “customers have a voice and choice with the power to remain or take their business elsewhere, and to tell others about why they decided to do so.”
Wow, we didn’t have this before. Now you did, but it was word of mouth. But it’s now that times ten because of the social media platforms. And the fact that people are using these so often to state their feelings—particularly if they’ve had a bad experience.
Maybe they go online to Facebook or somewhere else and start spewing forth whatever. So he talks about “happy customers” go under utilized as an asset when it comes to driving acquisitions and increase sales.
He calls them customer advocates that can go online to write reviews, referring prospects, acting as references, driving event registration, giving product feedback, writing testimonials, increasing social shares, engagement with your content and even creating content. He says the possibilities are endless and depend largely on company use and strategies.
That’s another good way of summarizing the value of the customer, of all the things they can do for you if you ask them to. Customer testimonials, you can’t beat that. They’re great. That’s one reason we suggest in content, in podcasts or video or whatever you use, to increase or encourage some of your best customers to be involved
Tell them you’d like to feature them you’d like a testimonial and you’d like to interview them in a podcast. To talk about not only your business but their business. How your business might be helping their business. Or how they use your product or services.
The benefits they get and they’ll be thrilled. Tell them you’re going to put them in the podcast and record them. And they’re going to want a copy of that and send it to everybody they know.
And you just multiplied the potential people exposed to it. That’s why we like podcasts so well as well as written content, even though it’s transcribed as written content. Because people are excited about it and they want to send it out to everybody they know.
Now advocacy he talks about is a proactive process. Relationships must be formed and nutured before customers can be mobilized as spokespersons.
And it all comes back to, who’s going to own that customer experience? He talks about within an organization. Is it sales or marketing? Who’s going to manage that. You’ve got to decide that. But really, as I’ve talked about before, the customer experience starts probably before you even know it.
They’re probably going online checking you out. Reading reviews about you, what people have said. And that’s why I emphasize so much, particularly for small business to get involved with social media. Get online. Get your message out there. Do it not only with daily posts on Twitter, on Instagram, Facebook—but with content on a blog. Like these podcasts.
Why? Because it’s accessible content for people who are checking you out. And they’re getting to know you. You’re listening to this getting to know me. And I don’t even know you’re probably listening. But on down the road you might contact me and say, Oh, yea—I’ve been listening to your podcasts…I like podcast 23, etc.”
That’s why these are important. It’s pre-selling yourself, your brand in various platforms, in various ways before they even do business with you.
This is again, becoming more and more important. Who’s going to own that experience? You can be proactive in starting that. And it must be, he says—continuous selling, you have to constantly be doing it.
Now, fostering this continuous selling, you have to incentivize a sales team to be involved and stay involved by basing part of their compensation on advocacy customers as measured by references they give, referrals, case studies, testimonials, in other words, incentivize your sales team to get that information from these people and then compensate them for it.
So you don’t drop the customer and they leave. You forget about them. So all of this is part of the selling process.
He talks about this, surrounding customer success in advocacy need to shift in identifying nuturing advocacy must become as much of a priority as upselling and renewing.
And the real key here is, he says that customers represent something very real that you can lose. Because they’ve used your product and formed an opinion. Think about that. That’s going to get referrals because they’ve formed an opinion.
And that’s why this continuous selling, this continous communication with them not only might upsell them down the road, it’s going to keep that opinion high.
If it ever changes, and they let you know about it, you can answer them right away. Because you’re engaged with them. And again, this is why customer engagement is the new marketing.
Because you’re consistently out there with them and you don’t forget them.
Now, next question he asks is, do you really know your customer? Confusion he says surrounding ownership is a recipe for customer neglect. Especially as you begin to add marketing automation and technology into the mix. That’s why it’s important to decided who’s going to manage the account so to speak.
Now he says that the problem with technology is that you can remove that humanity from engagement.
But you can use technology to do messaging, emails, videos, social or other mediums. You can collect more personal customer data. Create relavant nuture campaigns based on customer interests, product usages and community building and networking. That’s how you can use technology.
As I mentioned earlier, monthly emails, a newsletter, an occassional survey sent to an email to keep monitoring what your customer needs are.
But it’s understanding that they are human and not a number. You’re using technology to keep them front and center.
So they feel like you’re their friend. And again, I keep coming back to these podcasts, one reason I like them is that they can listen to them at any time and feel like they know you.
This is the magic of repetition of an audio format. You can watch videos about them, but these are easier to engage. They can listen on a smartphone. Sit back and listen and have a cup of tea.
But they feel like they know you. This is all a part of that selling experience of the customer getting to know you and wanting to do business with you.
He points out that when customers make purchases from you, they do it to solve a problem. The value you offer in your solution will be unique to each of those customers. And to make it intregal that you understand each individual need.
Fallon says that “tomorrows leaders in customer engagement will be the ones who truly lead with knowing the customer and their outcomes in a very detailed level.”
It’s really, getting back to talk about customer surveys. It’s asking them what their needs are. And learning basically, a lot of times we have a group we send emails to. Sooner or later, they’re going to get burned out with our communications.
It’s consistently I would say having a methodical plan to stay in front of them. Whether its a survey, understanding the cost per customer, the cost to keep a customer, the lifetime value…total active users.
All of these metrics of understanding the value of the customer, but then keeping that customer. That’s why I keep saying it’s so critical to stay in front of them.
So basically customer relationships are an incredible way to drive revenue, it’s just knowing where to start.
And that’s why we recommend starting immediately on social media and getting podcasts and content on your blog to start a process with people who you invite in to to read your blog or listen to your podcast or whatever that is.
It’s you taking that step to move forward with your brand by engaging prospects that eventually become customers.
I talked to you about this last week, but I want to talk about the power of the blog. Maybe it’s not a good analogy.
But it’s like nuclear fuel for growing a small business on down the road.
I want to talk to you about why this is so important. First of all, let’s look back—three things have happened this past week that reinforces why this is so important for small busines to have, a blog that is.
Facebook recently announced that they were going to focus more on the group experience, on Facebook.
For example, I belong to two groups on Facebook. One is a citizens group or a neighborhood group that has about 8000 members. As well as a high school reunion group that has, maybe a couple of hundred.
And we stay in touch on facebook. Ok, every week I see posts on the neighborhood group about, does anybody on this dog?
Or about a restaurant that serves whatever—they give a shout out to a business that did a good job, that’s pretty powerful stuff. Particularly if you’re complaining about a business or praising a business.
Those neighborhood groups, you’ve got 8000 in mine. That can do some damage. For local business.
That’s number one, Facebook announced that they’d focus more on groups. The second thing Google announced they were going to start having Google My Business posts capability.
So basically you have a Google My Business showing your business on a Google map, you’ll be able to make a post, kind of like a little Tweet. Although I think it’s something like 320 characters. You can have an offer, like fifty percent off lunch today. It will show up on people’s phones when they search for a restaurant in the area.
It’s another way Google is trying to engage prospects to do business with their customers.
And then, finally, the big, big news—is that Amazon bought Whole Foods, but they’ve also introduce Prime Wardrobe for clothing and Echo Alexa—or something like that. (Actually called Echo Look). It’s a camera. It looks like Echo but it has cameras on it.
You can order it for a couple hundred bucks. I guess you put it up and try on outfits. And Alexa the artificial intelligence will recommend what you should wear.
And I’m sure it turns right around and brings up things you can buy from Amazon wardrobe. Ship it to you.
Try it on, you don’t like it you can send it back. Suddenly Amazon is not only cutting in to food and grocers, but clothiers as well. Now how is this important?
Well, if you make hand made dresses let’s say, locally as a small business. Now, people can buy them on Amazon at a cheaper price than say a department store. Because it’s why some of these are going under.
So what are you going to do to differentiate?
Well, you could sell them on Amazon. But let’s say you’ve invested a lot of money in your local community. You’re a member of the chamber. Everyone knows you as the person who makes unique dresses.
You go to the farmers market, or the trade shows.
This is why a blog is so important, to add nuclear fuel to compete against the big giants, as best we can.
Because they’re coming in and doing things with all this technology.
So, three reasons why I believe all of this is so critical.
Number one, it’s obviously going to increase search engine optimization.
Think of the blog as a mini-website that’s attached to your website. It’s a platform that’s attached to your website. It’s not just a diary of what you do. This is bigger than that.
This is allowing your platform through either audio like this podcast you’re listening to, through video or through written information about you.
About your expertise that you can share with prospects and customers on a regular basis.
And because you’re doing it on a regular basis, this is fresh content of which Google search engine loves it and will rank you higher.
So it provides search engine optimization. As well if you tie in topics, categories and keywords that tie-in to your business. Ideally, that’s what you’d want to do. Because Google searches all of that.
But just because you’re providing fresh content is what they really, really are looking for that ranks you higher.
So, that’s what a blog will do—it will make you more searchable in the search engines. If you think about it, when you check out something—what do you first do?
You search in the search engine for reviews or ratings, things like that. That’s what people will do for your business. That’s why this is so important to make an impression on your brand.
Ok, that’s number one, it’s searchable.
Number two, you can provide information and entertainment with a podcast, with a written page, a post or a video, to engage them. To get them to want to learn about you.
This isn’t just bland information, they’re wanting something that they’re looking for. Now, you’re helping them by providing engaging content.
And finally, it’s promotable.
Promotable in that now you can direct people back to that blogpost. Just like I do with this podcast. I send it out on my social media.
You may have seen one of my tweets or posts, promoting this particular podcast about why you need nuclear fuel to grow your small business.
This is part of that nuclear fuel that you have the ability to use this platform to send that information out to get people to come back to learn more about you.
Do you see how that works? Hand in hand, you’re promoting your business, and you can promote your blogpost with direct mail, radio ads, TV ads, whatever.
Learn all about how we make jewelry. How we make dressses. Learn everything at our website and check out all of our blogposts. A number of ways you can promote this.
Those are mainly the three reasons why a blog is so critical.
Not to mention what the technology giants are doing to engage their customers with better experiences and technology.
This will help make your small business stand out from the competition if you adapt a blog and these ideas.
Because it’s all perception, as well as searches and links and things like that on Google.
So, a number of things that I think, it was really interesting but the bottom line is that it influences the customer experience. The user experience. That’s what everybody talks about. That’s the bottom line.
Because, now when they come to your website, they see your blog, they see your interactions. They think, these guys are really on top.
When they compare that to a competitor who’s not doing this, that forms a perception. And that’s part of your brand. The idea is to get your brand to stand out, get it relevant, and remind people on-going. That it’s relevant. And that’s what a blog will help do.
John Verlin’s my name. I know I’m talking fast, I’m trying to get all of this done within ten minutes, because I like to keep these short and sweet.
Next week, how would you like your business to be a rock star? Well, I grew up with a rock band, and I’m going to share with you some of the things I do…that I’ve learned you can do to become a rock star with your prospects and customers.
Because that’s what separates you again, from your competition.
And don’t close a blind eye to the competition. It’s there. And it’s watching you. Whether you like it or not, I read a couple of blog pieces this past week about how much competition is going to be fighting for market share.
What we talked about earlier with Facebook and Amazon are the big players, but small busineses are vying for each other too. And this will help you stand out. So be listening next week.
Few small business owners are thrilled when a competitor shows up and steal their thunder, much less their customers.
But competition is a way of life for any business owner.
From inventors to entrepreneurs, history is full of examples of others who have altered ideas to create new products, enhanced an already successful product or just flat out stole a patent or idea.
If an idea has merit–it will probably be copied or stolen at some point, so getting used to the competition is a by-product of success. Then again, some ideas will just plain flop (like the above Ford Edsel).
Today we’re going to talk about…and this is prompted by an email I got several weeks ago from a listener. His name is Don. And Don, I want to thank you for asking this question that prompted me to talk about all of this.
And by the way, if you do have questions or comments, feel free to email at email@example.com. And will feature it perhaps on the podcast. And answer some of your questions.
The Storms of the Competition, is what I’m entitling this podcast. How to prevent or maintain your business in spite of the competitors. It changes, and storms crop up every ten or fifteen minutes you have a severe thunderstorm and a warning. And it could wipe out your business. Or wipe out anything if you’re not prepared.
So, consider this sort of a siren test, the weather sirens for your small business to prepare against the competition!
And I know a lot of small businesses will say, there is no competition. There is competition. The competition is what is in the mind of the prospect. And you many times can’t control it. So, if you think you’re safe, you’re not.
And just today, as an example, Amazon just bought Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion. Now, and this has been talked about all day long on Twitter and social media. Stocks have gone up and gone down. Things happen because of this.
But, you don’t this is going to be a game-changer for Walmart or any grocer in the country? You don’t think this is a storm that could wipe them out? Prices at Whole Foods could go down because of Amazon’s platform and delivery systems.
There’s a whole list of things we could talk about. This is a storm on behalf of Walmart and grocers that maybe they saw coming, maybe they didn’t.
This is kind of thing, that of course it’s going to be on a smaller scale for small business. But these are the things you may or may not anticipate. So, what can you do?
Well, there’s three key things I want to talk about. And again, when you think about price, like a lower price for like insurance? A good example of what I want to talk about is if you look at it or if you’ve seen on Twitter, at least I have been following them on Twitter, is Progressive Insurance.
With Flo—that’s their brand mascot. Flo—I like her, she’s funny. And that’s the purpose by the user—to get you to like her. So, here’s Flo and she’ll show up on Twitter. Maybe our price isn’t the lowest..we’re happy for you. You may have seen that with a couple of other competitors. Like when she’s in a beauty pageant—and she’s crying because she didn’t beat the price and that kind of stuff.
Well, Liberty Mutual…I saw this after Progressive started doing this with little ads on Twitter. Liberty Mutual now has “combine your insurance and save $761.” Or Progressive would say, “you could save up to $629” .
But that’s price. OK. Now that’s a problem, because you’re going to compete head-on with price. But, they’re consistently talking about their brand. In spite of price—and Progressive, I like the way they did it.
Well, maybe our price isn’t the lowest. But guess what? They’ve got a presence out there with a memorable message. And it’s funny. And I remember the beauty pageant. Flo is crying, she didn’t win. The other two women are waving, like they’re happy, they won. But they’re communicating their brand and message in spite of price.
And they’re even having fun with it. They admit that they might not always be number 1, but they’re consistently talking to prospects and customers by in this case, Twitter. That’s point number one. Consistently be talking to your customers and prospects is a way to fend off competition. Why? Well, think about it.
Maybe they are going to do something different. But if you’re consistently out there, and this is why next week I’m going to go over and more into this on the power of the blog. As a part of your marketing platform. Why you need one and why it’s so powerful. But you can shift your message because you have a consistent platform.
In this case, Progressive vs Liberty Mutual. You can consistently be talking to them. Building that brand relationship. That is huge for small businesses. Because, guess what? Most small businesses are lazy. They’re not going to be doing this.
This is what I tell prospects when I meet with them and I go through a powerpoint explaining step by step the marketing platform. Why all of this is important. And this is one big reason. So you won’t get run over by the competition when a storm erupts. If they do something you don’t expect, what are you going to do?
Well, you’ve got a pattern of consistently talking to your prospects and customers. You can now alter your message to shift when the competition does something. First point.
The second point: consistently provide or offer value. Again, you’ve got a message that you’re doing, on-going with prospects and customers through social media, advertising, however you’re doing it. Now you can shift and offer something. Maybe, now through June 30th you get something.
Whatever the offer is, is to counter your competition. And this is small business marketing. This is the way it is.
But with these platforms, you can build an on-going presence with the brand. And you can alter and shift it as needed. So, that’s point number two—consistently providing an offer or a value to compete, to stand out.
The third point; consistently stay top of mind. It goes hand in hand with the other two. Basically the fact—and I’m seeing these in talking about Liberty Mutual and Progressive—I see their posts everyday.
It’s got to a point now, I can tell you about them. I remember them and they’re in my mind now. Cause I’ve seen them everyday. They’re consistently keeping their brand in front of prospects.
So this is why this marketing platform and consistency is so important. If you’re a small business and you’re not doing this on a regular basis. Well, I don’t have the budget…how could you NOT do it? That’s my question.
Because you’re leaving yourself vulnerable. They only way to beat the competition is to stay one step ahead of them. I won’t go into it all now, but it’s the reason we recommend podcasts and video on your marketing platform with a blog, to have the edge…cutting edge, the latest stuff.
Now when artificial intelligence takes over, I guess that will be a whole other thing. I probably won’t be around to see it, and you may not either!
At any rate, those three things: consistently talk to your customers and prospects, make this a part of your marketing plan.
Consistently offer or provide more value to zig and zag with the competition. To prevent that storm from developing. And, as part of that, to answer your customers questions, needs or wants or any issues.
That will help you build brand loyalty with them. And finally, consistently staying top of mind.
Those three things are some really good ways to control those storms from the competition. To keep them at bay.
Because the things I’m suggesting to you that I found over the years, most small businesses don’t do. Again, I don’t want to be critical, but people are lazy.
They don’t want to make the effort or the investment. Do you have someone on your staff that handles your social media on a regular basis?
Everyday, each week of the year? If you don’t you should consider that. Or hire someone, freelance it or what ever you need. This is how important it is.
If it’s so important for a big company like Progressive to be on Twitter…maybe it’s important for small business too.
Because those platforms that are available level the playing field between huge corporations and small mom and pop businesses.
You can see what Steve Jobs said about what the web does, it’s a level playing field now.
Next week, I’m going to talk about why the blog is like nuclear fuel for your small business long term existence.
Nuclear fuel—that’s pretty big stuff. Why that blog will provide that for your small business long term existence. Be listening next week for that.
From a traditional sense, most small businesses thrive on getting referrals as their main source of new prospects and customers.
Nothing beats a friend “referring” you to a business that they enjoyed and had a good experience with.
But the times, they are a change’in! In podcast #21, we’ll discuss several examples of how today’s new digital media conversations are replacing the old referral-type of network–and how small businesses can stay on top of this change–and profit from it!
I’m excited to talk with you today, about “The Last Referral”.
That’s what I’m titling this, because several experiences this week as to why this entire social media, digital marketing platform is so important for small business owners.
I think I can speak for those over fifty, for example (because I am over 50!). From the traditional media standpoint to the new digital media and content marketing standpoint…why this shift is so important. Based on several experiences I had this past week.
The reason I wanted to do this with a podcast, rather than just write it down in a blogpost, is because I wanted to tell a story.
That is what podcasting does great—just like old radio shows. I can tell you my story with emotion and passion. I’m excited about it because I can show some examples I just experienced that I want to share with you.
Why all of this is important for small business owners to grasp. To understand why you need to get a marketing platform for their small business if they don’t have one already. And work it on-going, and this is why.
Recently, I was given the name of an eye doctor. The one I had been going to retired. My girlfriend got the name of a doctor at a place I used to go to years ago.
She was going to have a cataract removed. So she met with the doctor, had the cataract removed. Everything worked great. Told me about a procedure I needed, so I went to the doctor. Same thing, worked great.
Now I’m going to him from another doctor I had been going to for four years. She had retired and I was due to find someone new anyway.
My point being, this is the traditional referral, how most of us grew up with. Somebody who referred somebody, who referred somebody. So this doctor just got two new patients through one woman who was satisfied with the work he did. That’s the traditional way of doing it.
Another experience I had this week was going to a Farmers Market. Went to a couple of booths, one woman made soaps, hand-made soaps. Didn’t have any kind of marketing. We were just talking to her, at all.
Not much to really speak of. A lot of these farmers market vendors go to a number of these throughout the year. They need to get people there to let them know they can buy there product. The problem is I’m guessing, they don’t have much advertising in the marketing. They may rely on the city or promoter to advertise the event.
Another vendor had a catering business. Rather an extensive catering business. I checked online and they didn’t have much of a presence. And I’m thinking how are they going to promote the fact that they’re here, other than social media.
Maybe direct mail. But if they don’t have a program to do that, other than their own on-going way to stay in touch with their customers from previous farmers markets,
They’re just relying on the traction and they just want a piece of it. But they can be proactive to gather their fans who have bought from them before. Whether it’s their mailing list, email list…or whatever, and let them know they’re going to be at this new farmers market.
A bank I had worked for in the past, had sold a location and moved to a different one. Unbeknownst to us, there were a group of about 8000 local residents who formed a group on Facebook. Started announcing the fact that the bank had been sold, they thought. The sign had come down.
Almost in real time. Suddenly, we’re having people coming in canceling their bank accounts, thinking the bank was sold and going under. Which wasn’t true at all. It was the opposite. It was actually updating another branch to be more online friendly because a lot of these people wanted to do their banking in drive through or online. And they were upgrading.
But it doesn’t matter, the damage had been done because it had gotten on a Facebook group page of about 8000 people. And word just spread like wildfire.
Now this is another type, the new type of referral. And that didn’t work in a good way. That caused image issues. People assumed something based on one person’s post. And it went on and on and replicated throughout the community because of Facebook.
Now this is where this new referral thing is now happening. If you own a small business and you’re not actively engaged on Facebook or Twitter, in general with your prospects and customers. This kind of behavior will be going on and you may not even know about it.
The positive side of this is that you can be proactive. By on-going posts, every week, every day. To build your followers, your likes and all this kind of stuff. Yea, it takes time. It’s a slow, boring process. If you want to call it that. But, you never know, when you get that one prospect that gives you a referral, like in my case traditionally—then suddenly you get new business. That’s how it works.
Another person put on their recently that they had gone to a Taco Bell, they left some stuff out of the order…they called the Taco Bell. They were told that when it was convenient to come back. They doubled their order for free and gave them a coupon. And they gave them a call out on Facebook saying “thank you so much Taco Bell for doing what you did.”
And now 8000 people including myself saw that. And I thought, wow, that’s pretty powerful stuff. They did the right thing, and they understood the value of social media neighborhood group, which has grown a couple of thousand new members over the past year or two.
So this is why I call it the last referral. It’s moving online to Facebook referrals A new coffee shop, well it’s not new, the coffee shop has been around a number of years, opened a new drive through facility. Posted a couple of pictures of their new drive through. It went to 12,000 people.
Not just through their Facebook page, but people referring through the chamber and organizations in the local community.
And suddenly, boom they have all of these people knowing about their opening a drive through. Again, that’s how referrals are happening now.
That’s why this is so critical that you have a social media presence, linked to a blog with content, engaging content, I call it. And that’s why we recommend podcasts like this one, because you can tell your story and expertise on-going, every week, year round. And post it and promote it.
People learn, they’re educated and they’re entertained. Probably in the next week or two, I’m going to throughout some impersonations I used to do, like Jerry Lewis, Truman Capote…that I used to do in radio. Just to entertain you and make you happy. To get you coming back!
So, the last referral, it’s changing. It’s going online. A lot of talk fast and furious, good, bad and ugly. And you can help shape that discussion with your referral program. By giving bounce-back items, like us on Facebook, thirty percent your next purchase. Whatever that is, continue and start a program if you haven’t. Tie-in a blog.
That’s what features your content. It’s the base, the part of the marketing platform that does that.
We’re going to talk more about this in the future, but I wanted to get this out to you real-time today, because I just experienced this.
And this is why it’s so important. A lot of small businesses they dabble with likes—and they say “yeah, videos are good…and they don’t want to mess with it.” You could be doing it right now. I’m doing it. Helping others do it.
It gets you on the cutting edge of marketing. That’s the key. And that’s the perception people will have about you.
This business, it could be a little repair shop. Fixing lawnmower engines and trimmers and whatever. My gosh, they’ve got a post and a podcast last week from an interview. Being interviewed about, tips on getting your lawnmower ready for this spring and summer. How to change your oil effectively, the type of oil to use. These types of things. You may think, well, that’s easy—everybody knows that. Well, they don’t know it.
And guess what, they’re going to tune-in. They need to know these tips. For crying out loud, I tuned in to a video on how to clean a cat’s teeth of all things. Because I had a cat that had a tooth pulled and I wanted to learn.
Come to find out, I basically just had to use a certain type of food. But I tuned in and checked an online vet.
If I’m wanting to know how to clean a cat’s teeth, imagine how many people maybe looking locally for someone that knows how to fix a lawnmower engine or change a blade.
That’s where this marketing platform can really benefit your business. You build it. It’s slow growth. But it gives you a base from which to operate.
Most of these are between thirty-five for fifty-five seconds in length. We know that attention spans on Facebook our quite short.
But we anticipated that our target “small business owners/CEO’s” might take thirty seconds to see a video that automatically begins running on their Facebook newsfeed.
You can listen to our strictly audio podcasts here. Also, get our special first-time client offer!
Enjoy the video podcast!
We tested these over a three day period, May 30th-June 3, 2017. Our target again were “small business owners/CEO’s” in a 30 mile radius of Overland Park, Kansas (near our Gardner, Kansas studio.
We pitted “Opportunities Abound-–An Engaged Marketing Platform” with “Post Them On A Blog And Just Call Us”.
Here they are below:
After a three day test, we found the cost-effectiveness startling. We also monitored how many “Facebook” referrals came in to our site from the video’s.
This, after all is our goal for prospects to see our site and view/listen to our videos and podcasts (to sample what we can do for their small business).
We know that like any service business, these can be produced and promoted by small business owners…but we also know that not everyone has the time, experience and capabilities to do so on a regular basis.
Much like an accountant doing your taxes–this is our goal to be a freelance marketing compliment to their overall marketing and advertising function. Providing not just social media promotion on-going, but innovative content that builds SEO, unlike other firms.
That, to us equates with real value to build fresh content and creatively promote it. That seems to be a major element many small businesses are not doing to showcase their expertise to new prospects.
As you can see below, the “Opportunities Abound–An Engaged Marketing Platform” video reached 401 people in our target, costing just $.02 per 3-second video view.
The second video, “Post Them On A Blog And Just Call Us”, reached 39 people in our target costing $.05 per 3-second video view.
During that three day test, we had 333 people reached in our target, with 132 :03 video views and 22 Facebook referrals from this $15, investment.
So, let’s just say the video’s produced approximately 20% new Facebook referrals to our website (or $.68 per referral).
And this paid video content is really a bonus to using these video’s on our blog, Facebook page, etc.
Our goal really is to get 2 clients per year, investing $1000/month (a One Day Offer package of services that includes customer surveys, monthly emails, podcast & video content creation, social media promotion year-round).
Obviously, if we continued with these videos compared with straight Facebook posts (and we have tested a number of them, which averaged $.50+ per click were the most efficient.
But they didn’t come close to the animated videos. Thus, why we recommend them as an overall part of a winning strategy along with podcasts (just like you’re listening to now).
Another reason we recommend animated videos (although we have done actual video’s as well), is the fact that you can tell a story in less than sixty seconds. It is also a simple story, so prospects can “get it” and have good recall, much like a short jingle.
In essence–small businesses have the power of Hollywood and Radio star imaging (granted on a smaller scale) to use in promoting their brand.
By combining both podcast and video usage, small business owners can tell their story in short time spans and make a series out of it–all the while being promoted on a daily basis.
Part of the reason clients hire us is that creative content can be difficult to create on a weekly if not daily basis. This aspect of idea creation plus the amount of time in which to create, produce and promote is what we specialize in and offer to our clients in a very cost-effective manner.
Why We Recommend Video, Our Testing On Facebook. Podcast #20
For a number of months now, we’ve been talking about various content that we can run for your small business. One of the things that we really like…actually, we stumbled across it, is videos.
And not just any video as you and I might think, but animated videos. They’re, I saw a new one on this, on a different platform, it’s more like real-life humans dancing around and that kind of thing.
For a fairly sizable fee, they’ll put your logo, and things like that on it. One reason we like them to recommend to our clients to help build their business, is several things—and today’s podcast I’m actually going to be including on our blogpost where you’re listening to this.
A couple of the videos we actually tested on Facebook, and we boosted those. We tested them over a three day period, and I have some data to share with you.
I’ve also got a couple of screenshots to show you, of costs and things like that. Keep in mind, all of this, whether it’s podcasting, social media promotion, blogging, everything you do…TV ads, radio ads, print ads, email marketing. All that you do works together.
One of them doesn’t just hang out there and do everything. It all works together as a part of the marketing bridge for your business.
Everything from your business cards, to uniforms, the look you have, the style. All of this should be symmetric and work together.
So, when I share information with you about podcasting or videos—I’m trying to zero in on some of the most effective things your small business can do.
What we’re trying to do to not only build traffic to your website, engaging your customers with creative content. But it all works together on an on-going basis.
It doesn’t just happen and you forget about it in six months. It has to be consistent and relentless. And the reason is you’ve got competitors out there doing what you’re doing, coming up with ideas…watching you.
I put some posts out there showing a lion stalking almost in wait. And that’s really kind of what it’s like.
Competitors are nipping at the heels. You have to be proactive and relentless with a lot of this to keep ahead. Be on top of your industry. Constantly seeking new information. I just recently had some information I gave to a client last week.
It was a great infographic of the clients’ clientele. Somebody did a lot of work to put together. I was out there doing my thing for the client on social media and promotion and I came across this.
Those are the kinds of things, and I know a lot of owners don’t have a lot of time to do this…but that’s where the marketing people can step in to do research and keep you informed.
And really, with social media, I found it’s really cool…you’re getting a lot of the latest stuff sent to you. When you’re tracking everything for a client, for example to do promotion. So you’re seeing a lot of cutting edge stuff.
Articles, and things like that. It’s really important that you stay on top of that, because you can bet your competitors will be. You’ve got to stay a step ahead of them all the way.
That’s why I kind of zero in on what I feel is the most effective for small businesses that they can use. It’s sort of new. I’m finding that a lot of small business owners may be intimidated by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, social media promotion. Creating podcasts, videos, all of this.
Getting back to the Facebook testing we recently did. A couple of videos we tested are on this blogpost that you can look at. And what we found was, over three days, we found that the average video post, was about two to four cents per view.
Now Facebook has three-second views that they count as a view. Keep in mind, the shorter you can make a video, I usually try to make mine in thirty seconds, the better. It’s hard to do that.
I try to do mine between thirty to forty to fifty seconds. But the shorter you can do it, the better. Because when people are checking their feed, that video will automatically start—unless people have set their settings to prevent videos from running.
But it will just start going, and guess what—how many videos do you see out there on your Facebook page? Not a whole lot. So that’s why I feel this is very effective because you can target this.
Now I targeted CEO’s, small business owners, presidents—within a thirty-mile radius of my zip code area.
Knowing that these are the kind of people seeing this content—that’s all I cared about. So over three days, 332 people were reached, according to Facebook. About one-third, 132 viewed it for three-seconds or more. Now how many actually saw the whole video, I don’t know. They don’t tell you that. They just want your money. So they charge you for a view.
It was a $15 investment. But, on the back end of this thing—tracking on my website, I got 22 referrals over three days from Facebook. I’m going to say—there were some posts I put out there on Facebook as well. But I’m going to say just rounding numbers out-let’s say twenty percent, according to Facebook 132 that responded or did see it for at least three seconds. 22 of those who viewed it went to a page on my website. Which is what this is all about.
This is in addition to, in this case it was the videos as I didn’t do too many posts on Facebook on purpose. This is in addition to the posts that you or a marketing person does on a regular basis constantly. Because you’re gradually going to be building traffic.
So, how effective are these videos for Facebook in this case? Well, figure twenty percent of the people who viewed it—about $.68 per referral is what it costs to get those 22 people over three days. Guess what? I know that this is a building process. This whole branding/marketing thing doesn’t just happen.
The same thing when I was in radio. It takes time to build your brand. You need to be patient and you have to commit to it. Is it going to happen in two weeks? Six months? A year? You don’t know.
But I know based on the average cost of referral, that those videos were pretty darn good. In comparison to a typical boosted post, that I tested, they could be anywhere from $.50 to $2 or $3 if they didn’t score very well. People didn’t respond as well.
So you can kind of see the difference there. The effectiveness of video. Would you recommend them?
And this is a bonus folks! This is stuff that if you’re paying for it that’s great. But you can use these videos on your Facebook page. Pin them to the top of your Facebook feed. You have them on your blog. Each time we’ve done videos, we’ve put them on the clients blog, which again is more content for the search engines to see.
The animated videos have written content in them, and that is content that the Google search engine sees. That’s why we like the animated versions versus normal video. The place for “real” videos in my opinion is one or two things. They’re great for “how to” videos. You can post them on Vimeo and link them to your blog or Facebook page or your home page of your website.
However you want to do that. Keep in mind, those can be thirty minute videos. “How to Clean A Cat’s Teeth”, by a veterinarian which I actually did watch. It was fifteen or twenty minutes. It can be longer.
The good side is you can share your expertise with a real person doing it speaking directly to the customer. And they’re great. They all work together. The only difference I say…if you’re not attractive, that may be not a good thing! Whereas, an animated video doesn’t matter. They’re going to watch it.
But they will make suppositions. So if you’re a business owner that may not be attractive, I hate to be this blunt, it may not work well psychologically for customers or prospects first engagement with your website. If you are attractive, great. More power to you—that might work well.
I guess, the animated versions can be told shortly, quickly..not as much perceptional issues compared with actual customers, or owners talking. But, you can include that too. You can use them all—it’s your discretion as to how you want to use them.
But the animated—we grew up with cartoons. You think about all the little cartoon commercials you’ve seen over the years. I remember one for a heating and cooling company—in Kansas City that dates back to the ’50’s. I still remember the jingle and the little animated bird flying. They’re very memorable.
That’s pretty much what I wanted to share with you today. The test on Facebook, you can see the videos we tested here on the blogpost. You can try them yourself. But, when you create these—you can target key benefits, one at a time. Do a video on each one. It doesn’t have to be a big summary thing of all your benefits.
You can just break them down into little segments. A little minute or thirty second video. Animated videos. Test them on Facebook and constantly test with everything. Good marketers do. One thing may work great and you hate it. And the other one you thought would work well doesn’t. You just have to test.
Facebook posts, videos, testing. I had great results. I encourage you to consider to do that because they’re different. That’s one reason we recommend what we do and how we do it.