The Basics of Building an Effective Google My Business Listing

Google My Business, sometimes called Google Business or GMB for short, is the number one most important facet of any local business digital marketing campaign. Sure, you've got killer content, a growing social media community, and a beautiful web page, but can people find you?

Putting Your Business On the (Google) Map

With the Nexus line of mobile devices taking the lead and Google products casting an even wider net than their mobile operating system, it should be no surprise to discover that Google Maps is the number one mobile navigation app on the market. Even people with iPads, Surfaces, and Kindle Fires are downloading Google Maps in lieu of the native navigation apps that come with their devices.

Part of the reason for this that Google Maps is well designed and continues to get better with stealth updates, but the true driving force of the app is that it is connected to Google's extensive information network. Among the most important is Google My Business which literally puts your business on the map and makes it an available, searchable venue for people who are already on the road or preparing to depart who want something to eat, buy, or do. This is your golden opportunity to get the best possible inbound marketing, the kind that kets customers inbound through your door.

However, top businesses listed in Google My Business aren't at the top by accident. They worked at it, they built their listing, cultivate their reviews, and make sure that potential customers can see what they are coming for. The key to any great GMB business listing, the kind that will entice drivers toward your venue, is transparency. The more positive, informative, and easy to understand your listing is, the easier it will be for future customers to think "I want to go there". Let's look into the basic ways to optimize your GMB listing.

Claim Your Business

First and foremost, if you haven't already claimed your business on Google, do it now. This is the process of acknowledging and proving that a business already on the map belongs to you. Why might your business be listed without your action, you ask? Many people online are incredibly helpful and while not all businesses wind up on GMB without any effort, a lot of them do simply because someone noticed the shop and entered it into the map as existing. Some people even do this to leave their first review of your venue.

Become the official owner of your business and prepare to manage the listing.

Make Sure the Address is Accurate

The next step is to triple-check everything about your address including your ability to see the venue from the street-view map to be absolutely certain that the marker is in the right place. This is vital because where GMB thinks your business is, including the correct side of the road, is where Google Maps will lead drivers as they take turn-by-turn instructions to pull into your parking lot.

If that little marker is even 50 feet off the mark, your potential customers could wind up lost, confused, and frustrated. Even if they hunt around and find your venue after a moment, their mood will not be nearly as positive as it might have been. All it takes to bring in smiling relaxed new customers is to ensure your position on the map is exactly correct. We advice setting the marker at your parking lot entrance so a customer's navigation journey is officially complete when they pull into the correct driveway.

Include Your Hours

No one likes to research a place, get excited, and drive out only to find a 'Closed' sign hanging in the door. This is a waste of customer time and you know as well as we do that this creates a sour association with the venue even if you are always closed on that day of the week or by a certain time. Of course, keeping your hours on the door isn't enough anymore. The courteous and smart way to prevent any mix-up of this type is to also include your hours clearly on your Google Business listing.

There will be a special data field where you can enter your hours for every day of the week which will allow Google to sort venues for customers and only list the ones that are open, or to clearly indicate the ones that are not. This simple step can earn you many new customers who are searching for an opportunistic stop that is open 'right now'.

Fill In the Details

Now that you've got the basics covered, write a few entertaining and informative details about your venue in the rest of the data fields and bio section. Don't forget to include a full set of contact information including your website, phone number, support email address, and a link to your online ordering site if it is separate from your central website. You may also want to include links to social media or other major reviewing platforms to help give any future browsing customers the big picture.

Be detailed, friendly, and welcoming in the way you write your information and maintain the same voice throughout the listing and your interactions with commenters.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures 

Never go without pictures. Even if your venue wasn't designed for artistic value, customers want to know what they're getting into. A clear set of pictures can show them the difference between a real venue and a hole in the wall someone jokingly listed as a business. Take pictures of the front of the building, wide-angle shots of the layout, and detailed shots of whatever it is you offer. 

Every GMB listing is made better with pictures and these give future customers a vivid idea of what they can expect from your venue. If you have colorful shelves full of tidy products, that's a good sign that you also run a tight ship with good customer service. If you're a restaurant, post pictures of your tastiest dishes and encourage reviewers to do the same. If you're an entertainment venue, take pictures of the attractions.

Reply to Reviews and Questions 

Reviews are another incredibly important part of any modern business, not just local ones. However, if you want feet through the door, your ideal goal is an avalanche of positive reviews to reassure future customers that a good experience is guaranteed. To boost both your number of reviews and their impact, always respond to every review with something positive, grateful, and helpful. Thank positive reviews for their kind words and invite them back and respond to negative reviews with genuine sympathy and an attempt to make whatever their bad experience was right.

Finally, don't forget that Google My Business has recently added a new category of customer feedback for questions but they do not send an email to the account manager when a question has been asked. So check back in at least once a day to reply to comments and provide answers to GMB askers.

Google My Business is a vital part of any small business marketing plan, especially if your goal is to see more feet come through that front door. The best part? Google My Business is a free service because Google wants to serve your data to users. For more tips, tricks, and techniques to optimize your local SEO reach and results, contact us today!

Growing BOLD – Docu-Series

Topics: digital marketing marketing results Marketing POV

Is Your Advertising Strategy Driving Your Content Marketing?

You probably know about content marketing, hailed throughout the industry as the future and better version of advertising. Rather than overtly promoting your products, you focus on building content that is valuable enough for your audience to follow and believe in your brands.

The idea is simple. Build up enough credibility, and your audience will come to you. Once they do, they'll keep you in mind by the time they actually need a product in your category. In an age where blocking ads online is more popular than ever before, is the perfect way to get to your audience and maximize your brand reach.

But here's the rub: too many brands are now embracing content marketing at the expense of paid advertising strategies. Doing so could be a fatal mistake. In fact, and when done right, your advertising strategy should drive, support, and elevate your content marketing. This is how you can do it.

Find Your Core Value Proposition

First things first: you have to make sure that you understand exactly what you actually want to communicate. Advertising strategies fail when they focus only on promotion, without a deeper underlying message that's closely connected to your brand. And of course, random content without that same connection tends to be unsuccessful, as well.

Be careful not to confuse your value proposition with your selling proposition, which is a common advertising tool. The goal here is not to find the most convincing argument for your audience to become a customer. Instead, it's the value your content promises that would draw your audience to read it, whether or not it's directly connected with your brand.

That might mean focusing on your niche expertise within a wider audience. It could also be the unique formatting your content uses that connects closely to your brand promise. Either way, finding your core value proposition can help you define both your content strategy and the audience you want to attract.

Define Your Audience For Both Channels

Speaking of which: what do you know about your target audience? Sure, as an experienced marketer, you might already be familiar with their demographic and geographic tendencies. But don't stop there. Instead, look to define your audience based on their behaviors, preferences, and underlying needs.

Paid digital ads can be invaluable in this area. You're able to target your messages towards a very specific segment of your audience. But you can only take advantage of that benefit if you actually know what that segment should be. Once you do, you can use your content as a driving force to fulfill needs while your ads are built specifically for your audience.

Use Your Ads for Content Testing

Many marketers underestimate the potential of paid ads to act as trial balloons for content marketing strategy. With little budget, you can push messages to your audiences that encourage them to click and engage. But what if you used that tool to actually test potential content?

The possibilities here are significant. Content marketing takes time and effort. Building high-value gated content, especially, will cost significant resources. If you can use your paid ads to test potential content topics and angles, you make an initial investment with the potential to pay off big in the long run.

Here's what that might look like: you're thinking about a topic surrounding a new development in your industry. But before you start building it, you run a short ad that highlights a single insight on that topic. If it performs well, you know that your target audience is interested in learning more. That's when you start building the long-form content with greater security.

Jumpstart the Awareness of Crucial Content

Advertising strategies, of course, can also work as supporting mechanisms for content after the fact. Any experienced marketer knows that it takes time to see the results of even the best content. Some estimates put that time at around 10 months. Paid ads can help you speed up the process.

In a way, it's the simplest form of digital ads. You have the content ready, so why not highlight it? Run ads not on your brand in general, but specific pieces of content. Direct your audience to a blog post or landing page for gated content. You can see traffic and the resulting leads in weeks and even days, compared to months of organic building.

Retarget Relevant Messages for Content Readers

Finally, don't underestimate the power of your advertising strategy after the initial audience exposure to your content. It's not just there to gain awareness. Done right, ads can also help keep your brand top of mind after your audience is exposed to your content.

The key to success here, of course, is retargeting. Build ads specifically to recent visitors of individual pages. You might choose to target visitors to your landing pages who did not become leads, or blog readers who might be interested in a long-form version of the piece they just consumed. Either way, you can set up custom audiences in most digital channels that easily help you reach those recent web visitors, and drive them closer to conversion.

Is Your Brand Ready for an Integrated Digital Strategy?

You might have noticed a theme throughout this post. When it comes to digital marketing, integration is the name of the game. Put simply, you cannot emphasize a channel (even one as successful as content marketing) at the cost of others. Only a consistent strategy that incorporates all of your digital efforts can be successful in sustainably growing your business.

That, in turn, means building an advertising strategy designed not just for its own sake. Instead, that strategy should drive your content marketing, ultimately leading to a singular, consistent experience and user journey for any member of your target audience.

This type of integration may sound complex. And we won't lie: in most cases, it absolutely is. But that doesn't mean you cannot accomplish it. Every business and brand, regardless of budget and size, has opportunities to better integrate their advertising strategies with their content marketing. Contact us to find out how you can, as well.

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Topics: Content marketing advertising strategies

Facebook as a Powerful Advertising Tool

Social Media is changing faster than it took to type this sentence

There are new platforms on the rise every day it seems, new ways to use social media, and social media is merging itself with itself, offering savvy users quicker ways to navigate from one platform to another. 

Topics: social marketing Marketing Strategy social media marketing marketing strategies advertising strategies

The Evolution of Lead Qualification and How to Improve Your Tactics

Lead qualification is a recent but overwhelming trend in business web design. In the last two years alone, we have seen a massive explosion in ways that websites are using to connect with visitors and determine if they are potential customers. But like all new trends and marketing tools, the process hasn't been perfect from the start. We have all seen a number of clumsy, clunky, and well-meaning-but-annoying lead qualification techniques used all over the internet and over time, the methods have undeniably improved. For anyone paying attention, the evolution of lead qualification is abundantly and amusingly clear. Marketers have learned a lot in the last few years in terms of identifying who is interested, why non-leads are important, and how to turn every visitor into a valuable point of interest.

The Early Days: "Everybody Should Be My Lead!"

Gathering leads hearken back to the origins of selling. Long before the internet, there were salesmen like those depicted in the iconic Mamet play Glengarry Glen Ross with the slogan "Always Be Closing". This aggressive outbound style of selling has since faded in favor of inbound marketing tactics, but the attitude lingered:

"What if we simply push every website visitor and member to become part of the mailing list and into the conversion funnel? Surely more of them will convert!"

Marketers said to themselves and we saw an era of automatic mailing list sign-ups and very pushy pop-ups insisting that all visitors become committed leads. As it turned out, inbound marketing era consumers hate that. Unsubscribe became the favorite email button and pushy websites began to drop in popularity.

The Rise of Lead Qualification: "Are You My Lead?"

Fortunately, marketers are a resilient bunch and specialize in learning from mistakes and mistargeted lead gathering techniques. When it became evident that simply forcing visitors to become leads could potentially lose more business than it generated, it was time to try something new. Instead of assuming all website visitors were leads, it was accepted that some of them were "just browsing" or would need more time to make up their minds. Some even like your articles but aren't in the right position to actually buy your products, whether that limitation is geographical, financial, or logistical.

So we began asking visitors if they were leads and asking questions that could identify people as leads. This coincided with the rise of chatbots who could ask questions and the configuration of the pop-ups changed. Instead of insisting that visitors join the mailing list, we asked more politely. "Can we help you today?" or "Would you like to join our mailing list?" or "Would you like a consultation on the right services for you?". A simple Yes from customers was all it took to open up the conversion funnel.

This resulted in a lot more happy conversions, but what about the people who say No? Is there a way to salvage some value from these visitors?

An Attempt at Humor-Shaming: "Non-Leads are Totally Lame"

Then a new idea joined the shared marketing mind. What if you used the idea of the CTA to subtly pressure visitors to become leads by suggesting that leads are cooler than non-leads. "We'll use humor!" thought the marketers. Inbound consumers will love that because we're hip and cool, and more of them will want to be our leads.

In theory, this was a good idea. In practice, only a few marketers were successfully funny enough to get the desired results. The problem is the use of "negging", the idea of using insults to convince someone to do what you want. We began to see popups that had two options to answer a simple lead qualifying answer. One was funny, and the other was downright insulting:

"Sign me up! I want to know more!"

and

"No thanks, I hate learning new things."

This approach essentially forces non-leads to insult themselves in order to get away from the pop-up and after that, enjoyment of your content is entirely soured. In fact, they may never come back again. It's sad to say, but as the next to most recent evolution, this tactic is still widely used by not-funny marketers who think they're getting a laugh.

The Savvy Approach: "If You're Not a Lead, Can We Still Help You?"

One thing that almost every evolution of lead qualification has missed is the value of non-leads. Just because someone can't or isn't going to buy your product or sign up for your service doesn't mean their good opinion is useless. What are all your followers on social media if not a group of both leads and interested non-leads creating social value?

While it took most marketers years to realize this, the latest evolution of lead qualifying has finally begun showing consideration, respect, and even interest in people who 'fail' to be qualified as convertible leads. But their good opinion, recommendations to friends, and even future potential to become a customer should not be forgotten. The usual two-question qualification evolved again. Now, instead of ignoring, disregarding, or insulting non-leads, websites have begun to reach out.

This has been notably assisted by the use of chatbot support staff who can ask more than one friendly question in quick succession. First, the chatbot (or pop-up in some cases) will ask if the visitor is a lead. If the visitor says 'no', either because they're still deciding or just browsing, the UI politely asks offers to be of service if the visitor needs anything. Just like good service in a brick-and-mortar venue.

The Survey Evolution: "Why are you here today?"

Finally, marketing thought leaders have just started to introduce yet another evolution to the lead qualification process. Where before, it was all 'yes or no' answers to whether or not a lead was interested, marketers realized that they actually want to know why a visitor may or may not be interested. And if they're not a lead, what value they get from the website. 

This is the survey evolution. Digital marketers are constantly striving to turn more of their casual e-commerce browsers and blog readers into customers, but it occurs to very few of them to actually ask the online visitors how to do this. Especially considering that you already ask a single lead qualifying question to every viewer. 

Here's the key: You don't have to have just two answers, "Yes" and "No". You can learn a lot from giving your visitors the opportunity to share not just their lead qualification, but their actual interest in your site. Consider this configuration instead of the traditional simple qualification. Even one or two additional options can provide a great deal of information.

"Thanks for stopping by! Today is your lucky day, by signing up for our newsletter, you can get 20% off your first purchase. Would you like to join our members club?"

-"Yes, sign me up!"

-"Not Sure Yet. Ask me again when I finish this article"

-"No thanks, I'm just browsing"

-"Not right now, but I may be back later"

-"Sorry, I'm looking on behalf of someone else"

-"No thanks, I'm just here for your awesome articles"

While you may not want to include every option, adding just one or two additional responses for leads or non-leads to give can offer amazing insight into why your leads convert and why visitors who stop by don't become leads. This information is infinitely more valuable than a simple binary question of lead or non-lead.

---

When deciding on your own website's lead qualification tactics, think carefully about what you really want to be asking your visitors and the value of the information they send back. Not to mention the message your qualification assets are sending to both leads and non-leads. With the right attitude, strategy, and a few snazzy internet UI features, you can be learning much more from your lead qualification and make every website visitor feel more welcome. For more thought leadership and digital marketing strategy advice, contact us today.

 

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Topics: attracting leads digital marketing non-leads

Facebook 360 is Live Video on Steroids

An exciting vista of still yet another social media strategy aims at the heart of content engagement.

Savvy marketers are drooling to get into the action. It was a few months ago, it seems, that Facebook released Live Video to the public. Even Twitter and Instagram got on board because they saw the marketing viability of live video. But live video... is so yesterday. Enter Facebook Live 360 and we have live video on steroids. However, live 360 is nothing new either.  

Disney's Circle-Vision 360

Circle-Vision 360 is a filming technique that uses nine cameras for nine screens set in a circle. Walt Disney refined this idea for one of Disneyland's most fun and most interesting attractions. The first film produced was America the Beautiful presented in the Circarama theater in 1955, which later became the Circle-Vision theater in 1967. Patrons were treated to magnificent and spell-binding panoramic views, highlighting the beautiful American landscape from coast to coast. For highway scenes, the nine camera unit was mounted on top of a vehicle. Is this how Google Earth became a virtual reality? Was Facebook Live 360 inspired by Google earth? Once again, we find that Walt Disney was way ahead of his time.

But we digress, a bit. What marketers want to know is how can this innovative technology present content interesting enough to generate leads and conversions. The only limitation to this new integrative and immersive technology is your imagination. Aim for the ends of the universe.

How to Create Live 360 Video

The first thing you need to do is purchase a 360 Camera. Don't worry, we're not going to leave you in the cold, endlessly searching Google or Amazon for the best camera your money can buy. We're going to offer a few links that should help you narrow your decision. The 360 Fly is a stand-alone camera that features a complete 360 degree horizontal and a 240-degree vertical view with an intense resolution of 2,880 by 2,880 pixels. Users connect through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and can convert a smartphone into a viewfinder. Another great stand alone is the Kodak Pixpro SP360 4k. The SP360 records ultra high-definition (UHD) content at a robust 30 frames per second. The Giroptic iO plugs into your iOS smartphone, turning it into a 360 degree live streaming camera. Click here for a visual smorgasbord of live video shot with the Giroptic. The 360 camera of choice for Android users is the economically priced Insta360 Air. So far, this is the smallest 360 camera yet. 

Viewing Experience

Facebook 360 is a "stunning and captivating way for publishers and content creators to share immersive stories, places, and experiences with their fans." With nearly 2 billion people using Facebook every day, isn't it about time for you to get on board before the train slides out of view? Did you know that in 2014, Facebook video saw a 94% increase in use? 

When a 360 video is playing on Facebook, users maneuver their viewing experience to the angle of their choosing. With a desktop or laptop, perform this function with the cursor or your finger if you have a touchscreen. Drag your finger on mobile devices or change the viewing angle by changing the angle of your phone. Did you know users spend 3-times as long watching live videos as they do non-live videos? Imagine how much longer they might stay if they had more to look at? 

People desire and need stories. Before television came along, people read books. Along came the silent movie syndrome and people were finding alternative ways to get their stories. Some clever and resourceful inventors found a way to send sound and moving pictures through the air we breathe and with that came the radio and television. A perfect medium that fed news and stories and advertisements right through the airwaves into homes where couch-ridden sleepy people continued to receive input. On some level, books were becoming obsolete. Zoom ahead to the technological age of enlightenment we currently find ourselves living in, and now people are getting the stories they crave through social media, in particular, Facebook, the National Enquirer of the internet. People without stories have no context from which to live their lives. Without stories, people would die. People who love people are the most interesting people in the world!

Sharing Yosemite with the Obama's

Have you seen this gem? During the summer of 2016, President Obama and his family visited Yosemite National Park to honor the centennial celebration of America's National Park System. Remember to move your cursor to view the scene as if you were a fly on a sequoia turning your head to and fro and wondering what all the to do was all about.

Practical Application

Restaurant - Film kitchen scenes of staff performing tasks that demonstrate how meals are prepared. From the time food is taken out of the walk-in to the time a server places the finished product in front of the customer. Reveal the food vendors whom you do business with. Show scenes where a vendor is delivering freshly picked organic produce. Or follow your chef to the local farmers market and see how picky he/she is in reference to the quality of chosen fruits and vegetables. Connect with local competing restaurants and create an event that benefits the community and increases brand exposure. Be sure to create a 5-minute immersive 360 video (or of any length of your choice) of the event and post it to your social media channels.

With a bit of creative brainstorming, you can come up with many ways to use Facebook 360 to fascinate, captivate, attract, and convert readers to your brand. We understand that not everyone has the time nor the energy needed to add still yet another way to create content. When you're ready for greater brand exposure, consult BOLD Worldwide. The sooner you get online with Facebook 360, the sooner you'll be able to experience what it can do for your business.

Topics: social media social media marketing content engagement

How to Use Blogs, Forums, and Customer Reviews as a Marketing Strategy

Blogs, forums, and customer reviews can create a lot of user-generated content keeping your content fresh and authoritative for your audience.

 

Topics: Marketing Strategy marketing strategies advertising strategies

5 Ways to Encourage Reader Feedback On Your Blog Articles

Feedback is incredibly valuable to any business, and is especially helpful in response to marketing content. After all, how and what your viewers think is exactly what you're trying to appeal to so it's no surprise that most inbound marketing blogs have an open comment section. When you have worked hard to create creative and engaging content for your viewers, it can be tempting to continuously check for new comments as a guidepost for your next blog article and is naturally frustrating when none appears. Feedback isn't automatic or guaranteed.

There is no feedback fairy who ensures that every hard working content writer gets the response information they desire. You have to work for feedback, open up your content to invite it, and then reward it when you finally see some. In other words, getting and maintaining good feedback is hard work but it's worth it. Not sure where to start? Follow these five helpful tips for encouraging reader feedback for each one of your thoughtfully written blog articles.

1) Ask for Feedback

Yes, you read that right. The first and best way to get feedback is to let your readers know that you crave it. There are hundreds if not thousands of websites working off the same basic templates and in many of them, comments are the default setting. You might be surprised to learn that not every company really cares about comments that appear on their inbound marketing content and there are simply too many articles out there for readers to comment on all of them. However, when the writer and host of the article openly asks for feedback, this is a clear and unmistakable signal that you would not only tolerate comments, but appreciate and respond to them.

2) Ask an Open-Ended Question

What exactly do you want your feedback to say? Not word-for-word of course, but consider what kind of thoughts and responses you're looking for. Often readers don't leave comments because they haven't yet thought of something to say. Even if they have opinions and ideas about your content, they have not yet switched from 'intake' to 'output' in their minds and are likely to skim away to another website while still in the 'intake' mode unless you do something to make the change. That's where the open-ended question comes in. Ask them a thought-provoking question and then request that they leave those provoked thoughts in your comments. This will trigger them to respond and reassure them that their responses are welcome and interesting to you.

A good example of this might start with a blog about interesting DIY backyard landscaping ideas. Your closer could then be "Do you have any cool landscaping ideas for the DIY crowd? If so, share with us in the comments!"

3) Be Responsive

When you do succeed at drawing in comments, don't just let them languish. These are people who have gone out of their way to tell you something about what your blog made them think or feel and they deserve a response. Stay active in your comments section for at least a month after the post goes up and consider setting up a notification system to let you know when new comments arrive. Thank each reader for their message and give them a thoughtful response where appropriate.

Once your comment section gets lively enough, it becomes no longer necessary to answer every single comment, especially when readers are commenting to and answering each other. However, you should always skim the comments to find the ones that are addressing you directly and respond to them even if others have also done so. It's also vital that your responses not become repetitive. Keep it personalized so your readers know their individual thoughts matter to you.

4) Include Commenters

If there's one thing that creates long-term readers that keep coming back to you and leaving friendly comments, it's including them in your process. They love to be considered and to see their own thoughts reflected in both conversation and future content. You can do this in a number of ways, from responsiveness in the comment section to writing content based on the comments you get. Fortunately, engaging your audience and finding out what they want to read about is part of why you enabled blog comments in the first place.

There are three well-known ways to make a commenter or group of commenters a part of your future blog articles and enable them to engage further with your content. If one commenter's position or story is particularly interesting, you can hold an entire Q&A interview with them for a single article. If you want to respond to specific comments or a collection of comments, quote them in your content and attribute the quotes in order to show your commenters that they are part of the conversation. Finally, you can absolutely write new content inspired by the conversations and simply give a friendly mention thanking your commenters for participating in the creative process.

5) Reward the Excellent Feedback

The final trick is to actively reward the best feedback. This can be done by writing articles for them as mentioned in point 4, but is not limited to this method. You could also mix it up with some creative community management by hosting commenter-events like a poetry contest in which the top poets in the comments gets a special reward. Another option might involve inviting commenters to share personal stories, with the promise of writing an entire article about the experiences of the most interesting three. This will not only encourage comments, but have your growing commenter community scrambling to helpfully contribute and engage others.

Feedback can seem elusive and difficult to acquire at first when you're looking at empty comment sections, but all it takes is patience and cultivation. Once you have a few active commenters, you are faced with a new and better challenge of keeping them engaged and rewarding them for coming back to share their opinions with you each week. For more great tips on how to run your blog as part of your online business community, contact us today!

How to monitor social media in less than 10 minutes per day

Topics: Blogging tips Improve your Blog Blog engagement

Kayla Itsines: A Social Media Success Story

Social media is a powerful tool. It levels the playing ground. If you create quality content on a consistent basis and develop an effective strategy for sharing it and attracting viewers, you have the ability to see unparalleled success. One woman who achieved this is Kayla Itsines.

Over the past few years, Itsines, an Australian personal trainer, has garnered significant attention. In 2016, Time named her one of the 30 most influential individuals on the internet. She has over 9 million Instagram followers. More than 20 million women rely on her infamous Bikini Body Guide workouts. 

We are going to break down what she did and how she did it to provide you with a guide to create your own social media success story. 

 

Step 1: Be Inclusive

One of the social media rules that Itsines has stuck by since her beginnings is that it is not all about her. She wants to share the spotlight. One of her most regular post themes is the before and after shot. She accepts contributions from her followers who have utilized her workout to reach their goals. In fact, these posts are more common that pictures of Kayla herself. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhlTErwFFgZ/?hl=en

This is strategic for two reasons. The first is that these pictures show that her program works and it works for a lot of people. These women are living proof that with a little hard work and dedication, everyone can succeed. The second reason this is such a good idea is that it spreads her network just a little bit further. When these followers are tagged, they can share this with their networks and spread Itsine's brand, inch-by-inch, person-by-person, just a little bit further. 

Step 2: Become An Expert On The Tricks Of The Trade

While you do need to share quality content on social media in order to grow a following and become a social media success story, you also need to know a few other ins and outs. The first is figuring out the ideal time to post. This is difficult in a world where you might be marketing to a target audience in countries around the globe, but if you can identify the highest time of traffic in each of these markets, then you should likely attempt to post a unique piece of content for each zone. According to Itsines, who has to post for her market in America and in Australia, the optimal times are when people are waking up and going to bed. 

However, sometimes these optimal times are not optimal for your schedule. One of your markets could be waking up when it is still the middle of the night for you. Another market could be going to bed when you have a meeting at work. The good news is that that is okay. Because of the automation tools that are available, you can schedule the posts ahead of time—by a day, weeks, or even months. Itsines partner, in business and in life, has given automation credit for their being able to scale up platforms in such a short period of time. 

And then there is advertising on social media. The advertising tools on Facebook and Instagram can be extremely useful. They allow you to effectively use small amounts of money and still reach a targeted group of users. Itsines has never shied away from using ads on social media. In fact, Instagram recently spotlighted her success with advertising on the platform. She was able to reach over 6 million people, create 6 times more brand awareness than the average global ecommerce market campaign, and get a 21 point bump in brand awareness. 

Step 3: Plan Ahead

Kayla Itsines took a note from some of the most successful businesses out there. When Apple is about to release a new product, the world hears about it for weeks. When the Super Bowl is about to happen, everyone in America sees the date in commercial after commercial. Itsines does the same. 

When she launches a new campaign, whether it is for opening subscriptions for her app or a new line of products on her website, she slowly disseminates information weeks in advance. Before her subscription model was made available, she offered followers 3 months of free workout videos. In other instances, she mentions launches in various posts. The majority of her effort in launching a product takes place before the product is even available. 

Pro tip: Kayla did not just post the same launch statement over and over. She made each and every statement unique and it applied to the Instagram post she was posting. This does take more time, but it is also much more effective at engaging followers. Otherwise, if your followers know what you are going to say before they even look at your Instagram post's comment, they will not even bother reading. 

Step 4: Don't Be Shy About Posting

Many individuals who are working on growing a social media presence are hesitant about how much they post. They do not want to annoy people. Kayla Itsines was never worried about that. She usually posts five times a day. And this posting strategy works really well—for a few reasons. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bhtq4LnFoJy/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhthDzAlpSA/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhswyGQFkY9/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bhsd0Cnlg1M/?hl=en

The main reason it works is that if you post very regularly, it keeps you on people's minds. With how busy and hectic life is, a single post with a reminder to sign up for a webinar or purchase a product will likely get lost. 

The other reason Itsine's strategy works is that she posts high quality content. Every single post has a unique comment and adds value to her account. If you offer valuable content, your followers will never get annoyed by how much you post. In fact, they will want you to post more. In short, if you are offering something funny, beautiful, or interesting then you should be posting as much as you can. 

The social media success story of Kayla Itsines is not an isolated incident. Instagram and Facebook create stars on a continual basis. All it takes is a strong strategy, the right tools, and a bit of effort. For help creating this strategy, please contact us.

Growing BOLD – Docu-Series

Topics: social media social media marketing

Getting Blog Clicks Without Decreasing the Reader Experience

Marketers have always had a touch of showmanship. Every commercial, ad campaign, and individual asset tells a story. Your efforts introduce passers-by to the brand experience. Marketing doesn't just get the attention of potential customers, it beckons them into the shop and shows them what it's like to be a favored customer. Good marketing campaigns make new customers feel welcome, eases their first shopping experience, and remembers them on future visits through a combination of technology and good customer service.

However, marketing isn't just about the customer anymore. There is also competition, SEO, and metrics to contend with. Not only do your blog articles and social media posts need to be welcoming and informative for new customers, they also need to be catchy, get lots of clicks, and create conversions. Metrics become everything, including how the value of your website is measured. You are obligated to continually raise your number of visits, views, clicks, and conversions as well as to provide a rewarding experience to leads and customers. While these goals can be worked toward together in most cases, sometimes there is a conflict of interest. The blog page is one of the most common examples.

Inbound Marketing and Anchor Text Links

The entire purpose of inbound marketing is to create a rewarding experience that potential customers want. The blog is built to provide information at every stage of the conversion funnel. From pre-leads who are just researching a topic to return customers with a new problem to solve, inbound marketing content is meant to inform and entertain.

Reader Experience

At the end of the article, the reader will have ideally learned something and feel positively toward the company that provided the content. A call to action can serve to qualify leads and begin the conversion process. For the inbound marketing process to work, the experience needs to be as smooth and enjoyable as possible. This creates momentum that can carry a satisfied reader through the lead qualification and conversion process as their interest is peaked.

Anchor Text

One way to enhance your content is to link to other articles and websites through anchor text. When this is relevant and offers readers optional in-depth detail about a mentioned subject, anchor text can be very useful. It allows you to reference complex subjects or topics you've covered in the past without leaving new readers out in the cold. As a bonus, you also increase the power of each page's SEO with each external and internal link. A health mix of anchor text is good for many articles, but this introduces a new element: clicks.

Getting Clicks from Inbound Marketing

Clicks are valuable. They are a measure of traffic through your site and, to a certain extent, the momentum of your content. Advertisers will pay for space on high-click pages, you can channel those clicks to specific pages or partners, and you can use your click velocity as a bargaining point in certain negotiations. So it's no surprise that marketing teams are often charged to increase click numbers overall and on specific pages any way they can.

While a few links can enhance the value and experience, these click-bait tactics are all-too-often used in ways that interrupt and decrease the quality of your reader experience. Anything that breaks the flow of reading or requires too much interaction from the reader can annoy your audience and makes it less likely that they will respond to your call-to-action.

It is possible to boost your click count through blog articles and other inbound content. The key is to always keep reader experience as your top priority and everything else will slide into place.

Blog Click Best Practices

Connect Only to Useful Information

When deciding what links to include embedded in your blog articles, there is one simple and easy to remember rule: The link must be useful. Affiliate marketing, internal product links, and landing pages can be useful links if used correctly, but don't let your desire for quick SEO and easy clicks lower the quality of your selection. Be very discerning about which words you anchor as well, look for phrases where the reader will be curious about further information.

Offer a Sidebar of Resources

There may be links you want available on every blog page, but there's no need to junk up your content by over-anchoring. Instead of trying to fit the same set of links into every article, create a well-spaced sidebar with links readers can follow. If your design is stable, consider referencing the sidebars in the text itself to make awareness of these resources part of the reader experience.

Tooltips

Clicks don't always have to open a new page. One way to collect more clicks without irritating readers is with polite, easy to dismiss tooltips. If a box pops up on hover or click containing more detailed information or a link to somewhere else, more readers will be able to curiously click through a blog without interrupting their experience of the core article.

Expand Instead of New Page

Many business blogs slowly multiply clicks by asking readers to 'open' content after they have followed the search engine link. In some page designs, this approach can make sense, indicating which articles in a composite page were read. But instead of opening an entirely new web page, creating a pageload delay, simply expand the current page. This improvement can be done both for article galleries and 'read whole article' functions.

Building Momentum

Finally, do whatever you can to help the reading experience build momentum. You want readers who start curious about a subject to be ready to make decisions by the end of an article. Excitement mid-read will lead to clicking on your anchor text while momentum at the end can result in more conversions after your call-to-action. Even customers who take several visits and blog reads to convert will be moved more effectively by enjoyable content experiences.

Use arc of storytelling to engage your audience and never forget that the conversion funnel is a higher priority than gathering more clicks. For more great digital marketing strategies, contact us today!

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Topics: Inbound Marketing Marketing Strategy inbound marketing strategy digital marketing

How Drones Can Transform Your Content Marketing

A wedding photographer struggled to stand out in her competitive industry. Once he used drones, his business took off. A real estate agent couldn't get some of her available houses to sell. A few sessions with a professional drone operator later, potential sellers were knocking at her door.

Topics: Content marketing Marketing Strategy marketing strategies