GUEST BLOGGER: Tuning Visitors into Leads by Alex Szaki

We all need a website for our business but is yours working for you or against you?

It’s one thing to get your website up and running, and to get people to visit your site, but there still remains one more question you need to ask yourself…

What happens when they arrive there?

These questions are very important and depending on how you answer, can make a huge difference to your bottom line.

As a local business owner you must think carefully about what you present to your website visitors when they first arrive. Remember the saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”?

Well this quote has never been more accurate and the reason is, our attention span is very low these days and dropping every year.

With this in mind. Here are few things to consider when looking at your website.

What do you want your website visitor to do?

Do you make it easy for them to do it and is it obvious?

You see, the objective of your website is to turn visitors into customers, right?

This is the first issue with most websites. They treat it as a brochure and not a tool to attract customers.

So, take a look at your website. I mean really look at it and not from your perspective but from the eyes of a new visitor who has never heard of your business.

Is your contact information clearly visible? One simple but very important detail that many businesses leave out is having their phone number at the top. This is key if you do nothing else.

Do you have a working contact form that people can easily access to get in touch with you?

Is your website front page confusing or is it easy to read and navigate?

Does your website talk about you and your business or does it explain the benefits of your products or services?

All of these questions need to be answered honestly because when done right, your visitor will become a fan of your business and have no reason to look any further.

Always remember, when people are searching the Internet they will not hang around on a website that is confusing, difficult to understand or read.

You want to make it simple and clear for people when they arrive at our site.

Think of the one thing, above everything else, that you want to present to your customer, and the one action that you would like them to take when they visit, and make it abundantly clear how to do that one thing.

One of the ways to achieve this is by setting up an e-mail capture form on your web site. You may even offer an incentive for visitors in exchange for their name and email.

There are several creative and very effective ways to accomplish this. It can be a free report, a quiz, questionnaire, free eBook, access to an informative video, a coupon or discount code.

The list is endless, but what is important is the fact that we offer something of value first. Think about it this way. Would you rather be offered something of value without being asked for anything in return when you first meet someone? Of course.

We are always being sold to so don’t you think your website visitor would be more likely to do business with you after you give them something of value? Absolutely!

Costco comes to mind as I write this post. If you’ve ever been to a Costco I’m sure you have noticed that they set up small sample tables, usually around the frozen food section.

You’ve probably also noticed how many people are waiting in line to get their free sample. Right?

What you might not have noticed but is very strategic is that they very rarely ask for the sale. They just smile and hand out samples.

When someone likes the offering, they ask where they can find it. The person working the sample table usually just points a few feet away and the sale is complete.

No advertising, no high pressure sales tactic and they let the product sell itself. Well, this is what you want to achieve with your website.

Think of your new website visitor experiencing a warm smile, feeling welcome, offered a sample of your product or service and knowing you’re available if they need more information or want to purchase.

The bonus for you that Costco doesn’t have is you are able to gather contact information which when done right, can now nurture your new prospect with more goodies and offers. Oh, and best of all, it can all run on autopilot!

The bottom line is, create a soft place to land and focus on the customer and not you or your business. I’m very sorry to say this but they don’t really care anyway. They just want information on how you can serve THEM.

Now that you have a better understanding of what your website should do and offer, you’re probably wondering what you should do next, right?

Here are a few options to consider. If you created your business website yourself then go ahead and add some type of optin box to start. Most hosting companies that have website builders will have the option of adding a landing page or optin box.

They can probably also create a pop up. You’ve seen them I’m sure. You get to a website and within a few seconds a box appears with an offer usually.

Some people hate them but if you offer value and don’t ask for a sale, people are usually ok with that. As a side note, they convert really well no matter how many people say they hate them.

If you need help, most hosting companies are also very good at helping you with these projects so don’t be afraid to ask.

If you had your website creating by someone else, reach out to them and ask if they can add some type of option box for you.

If both those options won’t work, I would really consider creating a new webpage (not a full website) as a sister site to your main website.

This would be a single landing page, with a headline and offer. It’s meant to be simple so don’t worry about it looking great. After they provide their information you can then send them automatically to your main page anyway.

In the meantime you will be emailing them the information they requested.

The best part of having more than one website or single page is you can direct traffic any way you want. If you want to offer something of value you send them to your single page and forward to your main site.

If you don’t have an offer or specific promotion, send them to your main website. Think of it as having a benefit packed brochure for each service or product you provide but only using it when needed.

In regards to your free offer, don’t over complicate this. For now just send them a discount offer of some sort but get that email list started.

If you really like the idea of offering a report or short ebook but don’t have the time to create it, use a service like Fiverr. You can find thousands of people who are more than happy to create something for you and make it look amazing for less than $100.

Finally, if you want to do it yourself, write down 10 questions you have been asked about your products or services and head over to Canva. There you can create a report using templates that look amazing and download it as a PDF file. All for free!

You really don’t need to overthink this project but remember, once it’s done, you will use it for years and it will attract many new customers for you while you do other things.

If you are stressed out just at the thought of doing any of this, help is available. Visit us at www.marketingforlocal.com and schedule your FREE 30 minute call so we can discuss your options.

We would love to help you set up a system that attracts new customers to your business and one that runs on autopilot so you can focus on taking care of your current customers. 

At the end of the day the only thing we want as local business owners is to help others with our products or services and do it with the least amount of stress possible. Having a website that works for you is just one way to accomplish this.

I hope you found this post helpful and if it made you take a look at your website in a different light, I’ve done my job.

Cheers,
Alex
Amanda_Me_Aruba

Alex Szaki

Alex Szaki helps people scale their businesses with predictability. He is an expert at helping people get clients using online methods and making things super simple to understand.
If you’re interested in scaling up and getting clients then definitely reach out and request a free strategy session today.

30 Ways How To Get More Followers On Instagram

When Instagram was first launched, it was seen as just a fun social media platform where people could share their photos with friends and family.

However, since then, Instagram has made massive strides towards building businesses and brands.

Even though it’s fun appeal keeps getting better by the day, brands have opted to tap in its enormous potential to advertise and grow their businesses.

This blog will cover everything you need to know when trying learn how to get more followers on Instagram.

Now, Instagram has over 200,000 million active users who share over 50 million images on a daily basis.

The brand engagement rate on Instagram is impressive and anyone trying to put their brand out there on this social media platform is bound to benefit.  However, to reap the maximum benefits you will have to do it right.

More so, the competition is stiff and every brand on Instagram wants a piece of this pie.

In order to outperform your counterparts and become an Instagram unicorn, you will need the best tips and methods how to get more followers on Instagram.

So, how can you get more followers on Instagram?

Continue reading Ryan’s blog HERE

 

Moving forward even with Facebook Changes

As Facebook continues to make changes, we need to make sure we are still being consistent with everything we are doing.  As changes happen, it can affect our overall exposure BUT if you have been working Facebook, from all aspects, then you should NOT see an impact to your marketing efforts.

Here are some elements you want to make sure you are doing on a daily basis, to help you with being consistent, for getting your business out there, for bringing exposure to you, the Business Owner.

  • Posting on your personal timeline WITHOUT directly selling your products/services.  This is represented by doing strategic posts, like every Monday, doing a post that outlines what you have on your agenda for meetings, clients, customer service elements, business tasks that you need to complete, even throwing in a little bit of personal.  This is also represented by doing a Friday post that talks about one element of success you had in the past week.  The purpose of these types of statuses is to ultimately showcase what you do, but indirectly selling to your audience.
  • Interaction in a variety of ‘networking’ style groups.  You want to make sure to go in each day, and post a question, share a tip, post a quote, something funny BUT keeping in mind that these posts should not be directly related to what you offer, more generic.  You also want to scroll through the Group wall and engage on other people’s post where you can.  It is important to use these groups to build relationships, not to sell your product/services because that will happen when you focus more on selling you.
  • Post on your Business Page
  • Share your Business Page posts into a variety of groups (5 shares per day would be great).  Please note:  Check each Group’s about section to know when you can or cannot promote your business.
  • Share your Business Page posts onto your personal timeline twice a week BUT please make sure that what you share is of value.
  • Grow your Friends’ List.  As you are building relationships within the different groups, start sending friend requests to those who are engaging on your posts.
  • Respond to any events you have been invited to, this way, when it is time for you to host an event, others will respond to your’s.

By working these elements consistently, you will be building relationships, which in turn will lead to new clients and referrals.  Then as you are building and Facebook makes changes, you will not see the impact as much as those who are not working social media on a daily basis.

MORE tips on my Facebook Business Page, be sure to follow me HERE!

GUEST BLOGGER: 5 Ways to Increase Social Media Engagement

Brands of all shapes and sizes are hung up on making waves in social media.

In such an overcrowded landscape, piercing through the noise and reaching your audience is a daunting task. Well, be that as it may, there are surefire strategies to make it happen. Instead of bombarding people with intrusive marketing and sale pitches, you need to foster meaningful relationships.

Furthermore, it is necessary to invest a great deal of time and effort in getting to know your audience, working out a marketing strategy, and implementing campaigns. But, do not fret. All your blood, sweat, and tears will be a drop in the bucket compared to amazing benefits that wait down the road.

Uncover your unique persona

To drive traffic and conversions, you need to flesh out a unique social media persona. It should be the genuine reflection of who you are (your brand) and what you stand for (your values and mission). Brands like Dollar Shave Club have proven that throwing fun and humor in the mix pays off big time.

The trick is to avoid sounding too promotional. People want to feel something and connect to your story. The best way to influence them is to evoke emotions and provide entertaining, educational and useful pieces of content. Just try to be unique rather than emulating more successful brands. Standing out is the most reliable tactic you can employ.

Embrace a consumer-centric interaction

Social media is the place of constant interaction between brands and customers. It is a far cry from traditional platforms for self-promotion. Alas, one common mistake businesses make is not listening to their audiences. You should know better. Conduct a thorough research to figure out people’s wants, needs, and online habits. Show that you care about what they think.

Take part in conversations on a regular basis and ask users what they would like to see in the future. Comments and reviews can provide you with invaluable insights for fine-tuning your social media strategy. You can also direct followers to your review pages and engage them in instant messaging. In any event, soak in as much feedback as you humanly can.

Host contests

People adore getting free stuff. You can take advantage of this fact and sponsor various giveaways. For instance, you can ask your followers to share and like your social media posts, comment and tag their friends or you can encourage them to submit their own pictures and videos in order to qualify for rewards. These tactics tend to increase the volume of social signals and engagement rates (and you can also end up with a lot of awesome user-generated content).

Moreover, an online contest does not only have to be a strategy for increasing social media engagement but it can also serve as an incentive for your customers to spend money. A great way to achieve this is to launch a loyalty program. For example, research done by ICLP shows that 41% of Hong Kong shoppers would spend more on brands with a loyalty program. So, something like a branded prepaid card in Hong Kong could be a perfect gift for your contest – it generates buzz on social media and also helps you boost sales.

Harness the power of the visual  

Visual content is a social media super-weapon you have to incorporate in your strategy. Studies have shown that posts with quality, non-generic images and videos attract way more likes and shares than plain text. Many brands have managed to increase engagement with assets like behind-the-scenes photos and lighthearted videos.

Of course, there are also image-heavy networks like Pinterest and Instagram, where visuals are basically the name of the game. They provide filters and tools for visual enhancement as well. So, step up content production.  It is time to craft killer posts, master the art of visual storytelling, and enthrall the audience.

Add relevant hashtags

Hashtags are essential tools for improving reach and amplifying the impact of your efforts. They enable you to make the most of keywords and keeping close tabs on the flow of discussion. What is more, hashtags can be used to center conversations on certain trending topics, effectively connecting with everyone who uses the same hashtags.

Try not to go overboard, though. Over-stuffing posts with hashtags can achieve the opposite effect and actually put people off. To tap into new audiences and delight existing customers, take lessons from the best of the best. Coca-Cola, for example, has worked wonders with the #ShareACoke on Instagram and other major networks. That is how you nail the campaign and flatten the competition.

Shape up or ship out

Social media can be a real game-changer. It generates buzz around your business and propels the whole organization towards set objectives. But, rest assured that arresting and retaining attention does not come easy. You first have to come up with a rock-solid game plan and do your homework. Capture consumer data and feedback to refine your approach.

The goal is to make sure your messages and content strike a chord with an audience of a particular social network. Following these steps, you should be able to witness the avalanche of shares and likes coming your way. Just bear in mind that social media engagement is an ongoing process that never really comes to a halt.

So, whatever you do, just do not rest on the laurels or take loyalty for granted.

Elaine Bennett
unnamed

Facebook, is it over for businesses?

Since Facebook announced the algorithm change for Business Pages, back in January, many business owners have either left the platform or have given up.

The reality is that as a small business owner we can still continue to grow on Facebook.  There are many elements available through Facebook that allow us to keep building our businesses.  You have your personal timeline, groups and YES, your Business Page.

What I have seen and heard, is that it was the larger companies, those who had larger followings, that got more affected by the change than us ‘little’ guys.  Reason being is that they had huge amounts of engagement (like/comment/shares) than we had, so the decrease in numbers were much more noticeable.

I will tell you that I personally, did not see a difference in my “number of people reached” on each of my posts, I am still averaging 600 daily reach on my posts.  Why?

I have been using Facebook for 10 years for business, with the last 6 focused on my Facebook business.  During those 10 years, I spent more time building relationships through the different groups, than anything else.  I realized the impact of this for my business, so I knew that I had to dedicate DAILY time to doing this.  I knew that my Business Page was not the ONLY thing I needed to focus on.  I also learned that my personal timeline could make a HUGE impact.

By working these 3 main elements of Facebook, it ultimately, will affect your following and your engagement on your Business Page.  People will want to follow you because you have built a relationship and in turn, they will tell their friends and your following starts to grow.  HOWEVER, this is not the only way, this is just a small fraction of what you can do.

Really think about what you are posting on your Business Page.  Does it provide value?  Is it something that will create engagement?  Does it show you as an expert in your field?  Does it show who you are/your personality?  Is it ANOTHER business promotion?

What we post on our Business Page is the KEY to creating engagement, even against the algorithm.  When people make sure that they are seeing your posts, then they are engaging, that will draw in more attention.  Facebook loves engagement, so we need to do what we can to create it.  P.S. Did you know that when you ‘share’ your Business Page posts onto your personal timeline and into groups, this is considered engagement?  

As you are growing and learning which type of posts work best, DON’T get discouraged by your numbers if they are not all great, every day.  Just keep moving forward and focus on improving what you are doing.

Here is a great article from Buffer talking more in-depth about the Facebook algorithms and some suggestions on what you can do.  READ HERE

GUEST BLOG: 5 Ways to Use Instagram for Your Business

Instagram remains one of the social media powerhouses of today, with over one billion monthly active users all over the world. Because 80% of these users follow a business, the social media giant launched Instagram for Business, which allowed big and small brands to create a business profile on Instagram.

So, how do you use Instagram for Business to grow your following, reach your target audience, and boost your profit?

  • Switch to a Business Account

It’s quite easy to set up a business account on Instagram regardless if you’re a large enterprise or a business startup. You most likely have an existing Instagram account that’s set up as a regular account, which you can switch to a business account in the settings of your Instagram app.

After doing so, you can add business information such as your hours of operation, address, and phone number. With a business profile, you’ll also have access to extensive data analytics you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see without a third-party tool.

  • Be Visually Creative

Instagram is a highly visual platform where users can immerse themselves in stunning photographs, so be sure to tell your brand story and convey your value using visual content with compelling posts. Focus on the solutions you provide instead of the products you sell.

If you’re a service-oriented business, showcase your process and give them a glimpse of the things that go on behind-the-scenes.

  • Set Strategic Goals

Just like your other marketing channels, your Instagram strategies should be created with your goals front and center. Ask yourself what you want to achieve by using Instagram.

Do you want to drive traffic to your website, boost your sales, improve brand awareness, or increase audience engagement?

No matter what you’re trying to achieve, your Instagram marketing goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Your content strategy will be bound to your strategic goals, and every post should contribute to the success of these goals.

  • Leverage Instagram Stories

60% (over 300 million accounts) of Instagram’s daily active users are using Instagram Stories, making it imperative for you to maximize Instagram Stories in engaging followers. This interactive, vertical video format that disappears in 24 hours (unless otherwise saved in your device) is quite effective in grabbing and keeping the attention of your target audience. It’s only available for mobile phones to make it even easier for you to create stories on the go.

In fact, over 50% of businesses use Instagram Stories every month. It’s prominently displayed at the top of user timelines, so your followers can immediately see if you posted a story. It’s pretty easy to use. You can even add fun stickers and filters to make your content even more interesting.

  • Don’t Forget Your Hashtags

We cannot stress this enough – use relevant hashtags in every post! Hashtags allow your compelling posts to be discoverable, further expanding your reach.

Do some hashtag research to determine which hashtags your target market is using. Create a unique, branded hashtag so that you can lump all your posts together and supplement them with three to five more hashtags relevant to your specific post.

Unique, branded hashtags improve brand awareness and establish a solid brand personality. Branded hashtags can help you collect user-generated content. Nothing creates a more compelling brand story that images and posts of real people interacting with your brand.

Place a branded hashtag on your bio and encourage your followers to use this hashtag when posting photos of how they used your products. Of course, comment on their photos and regram their posts to show your appreciation.

While there are more ways for you to maximize the power of Instagram for your business, these five Instagram strategies will help you get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Paula Arce
MicroCreatives

Are you committed to Social Media?

Having structure, being organized, is key to keeping on top of your Social Media work.  In order to build a presence, to being consistent, you need to put together an actual plan of how you are going to work your Social Media on a daily basis.

I wish I could tell you that you can just “pop” in and out but it is not going to bring you the return you are looking for.  With competition being so high in Social Media, people need to see you, hear from you, learn from you, talk to you, on a daily basis.  I am not saying you have to bombard them, but you need to be present daily.

For me, personally, we know that I am very active, and I am sure that people unfollow me, but I have reached a point in my presence and building my business, that I am okay with that.  It is a mental thing that you have to get past.

When you are starting to make this list, you need to understand what your end game is.  Are you looking to build a following, looking to get new customers, looking to build a referral based business?  What is your ultimate goal?

Are you looking to work all Social Media sites or just focusing on one/two?

Where is your target market sitting?

What information will benefit them?

What are the reasons why someone would want to use/buy your product/services?

Answering these questions will start to help you formulate your Social Media plan.  It will guide you as to where your focus needs to be as well as what parts of specific Social Media you need to focus on (for example:  Facebook Business Pages, Videos whether recorded or live, Groups, etc.)

Once you decide on which Social Media sites answer all your questions, you then need to do some research to find out what works best in each of these sites.  What time of day is best to work it?  Where do you need to focus for that site?  How often do you need to post?  (For example:  Twitter you would need to tweet at least 5-7 times per day).  What are some of the key elements you can take advantage of that is popular in that site?

The research is important for you to understand how you are going to move forward and how much time you need to commit, on a daily basis, to build the presence you are looking for.  Once you have established this, you NEED to commit, you NEED to schedule the time on your calendar, and you need to STICK with it!!

Building a presence, getting attention, is work.  Remember way back when, people walked hours and hours, going door to door to sell their products/services, because they were determined to make a living, build a successful business.  Well, we are fortunate that we are able to do this from the comfort of our homes, in a relaxed environment and behind a computer.  It doesn’t get any easier than that 😉

P.S.  If you decide that Facebook is one of the sites you are going to be focusing on, download my FREE Daily Checklist HERE!!