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The Importance of Online Reviews: The Secret to Google SEO Success

The Importance of Online Reviews The Secret to Google SEO Success
16Mar

It should come as no surprise that client reviews are crucial to building your credibility with prospective clients and consumers. Let’s not forget that they also are a major help in converting those prospects into paying customers. These first-person accounts speak volumes as to the quality and value of your products and/or services.

For over 10 years, clients have been asking me about what the best ways are to maximize the exposure of their reviews and how to apply them in their marketing campaigns – both offline and online. During this time we have helped our clients feature these in television advertisements, radio advertisements, billboards, vehicle wraps, signs, printed materials (brochures, flyers, booklets, folders, business cards), online advertisements, email marketing, social media marketing, press releases, and blogs.

But one thing many of these clients were not focused on was something that could take their entire online marketing campaign to the next level: online reviews!

Online reviews, that have been earned and posted on Google, Facebook, Yelp and countless other review sites, have secret search engine optimization (SEO) power that many companies overlook.

Whether you are a local roofing business or an international financial conglomerate – SEO is something that is crucial to your success in this search-driven world. Coming up on the first page of Google is something nearly all marketers are striving for (or should be striving for) on an ongoing basis.

What many marketers have to do to gain that top spot on Google is to pay for a sponsored listing via Google Ads (previously Google AdWords). While it may seem like an easy option, it can prove to be costly. We have worked with clients before that were spending in excess of $10K to $45K+ per month to land that top spot. If you have the right budget, this is a definite win, but if not, enhanced SEO through online reviews is a route that you should be exploring.

Proper SEO campaign implementation focuses on organic SEO – which are the results that turn up that are NOT clickable ads when you search on Google. There are many ways to build your organic search engine ranking (link building, on-website optimization, keyword embedding). One of the forgotten pieces is an online review campaign built on requesting and earning positive online third-party reviews.

Why? The short answer is that there are many reasons why online reviews are good for your Google search engine ranking. Google is the largest and most-used search engine out there, so having your listing be result number 1 will increase your website traffic drastically, thus increasing conversions.

Think about a typical search that you would perform on Google for a business. Depending on the category of the business, you may notice that the top Google search results would be from Facebook reviews, Google reviews, TripAdvisor reviews, Yelp reviews, and more. The more sites you cover and the more quality reviews that you get – you could cover that first full page of Google with just glowing customer or client reviews. This would result in not only SEO success, but also increases in onsite conversions.

Now let’s go into some more specific benefits of executing an Online Review campaign:

1. Proves Your Worth
Having online reviews for your business tells Google that they can trust you. Meaning these positive reviews will contribute to your domain authority. Third-party endorsements help Google realize that your website claims are valuable, real, credible and, as a result, your content deserves higher rankings within the Google search algorithm.

2. Enhances Google My Business Listing Conversions
If you have four- or five-star reviews on your Google My Business account, studies prove that you will get more clickthroughs from your GMB listing to your website. This will increases the opportunity for you to convert that website traffic into sales.

3. Hack Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Ranking Listing:
If you are able to consistently gain quality online reviews (more than four stars and above with comments) Google will use this to determine where your business shows up on SERP. Lots of positive reviews could lead to higher ranking above and beyond your direct competitors, who may be missing this approach altogether.

4. Want More Conversions? You Need More Traffic!
By showing up higher in the organic results, you will gain more clicks to your website. This additional traffic will enable you to increase the amount of opportunities you have to convert this traffic to sales. Also, this traffic can easily be tied to your top or mid-funnel activities (email drips, IP retargeting, online advertising).

5. Consistent Quality Reviews = More Website Updates = More Trust From Google
Having your reviews posted to your website (either automatically or manually) will place new content on your website. The more you add new content, the more that Google will come back to check on your content. It will also let Google know they need to come back often to reindex your page. This will help Google better understand your credibility and award you with higher search engine rankings.

6. Respond and Reap SEO Rewards
Receiving online reviews is definitely a positive result (as you can see from above), but if you want to build even more SEO power simply respond to them! Whether they are good or bad, every review (no matter if it has a comment or not) should get a thoughtful response from your organization or company. You have the ability to amp up your SEO rankings by keeping the communication stream going as it builds trust with not only your customers, but also trust with Google itself.

7. The Long-Tail Effect
Imagine that you begin to have multiple clients writing reviews about your amazing “social media marketing services.” By a few clients writing “social media marketing services” in their review, it draws the attention of Google. Google sees this as an important and weighted long-tail keyword. So when a new prospect searches for the phrase “social media marketing services” on Google, your listing is more likely to be be shown towards the top of the organic search results.

These types of results are ones that those companies pay a lot of money for. Remember that $45K per month budget to be number 1 in the Google search results that I mentioned before?

8. Local Business? Can’t Miss Opportunity
According to research, review ratings are the biggest driver of clicks in local Google search engine ranking pages. This means that those professionals with local brick and mortar locations, by gaining reviews online you can expect higher rankings and more clicks through to your website.

9. Grab Over 91% of Online Traffic
Having a higher organic listing based on the boost from online reviews will increase the odds that your website will be on the first page of the Google search results. Anyone that lives on that first page of Google search results will be gaining over 91% of the web traffic for the search query that generated the page.

10. Genuine Reviews Reduce Website Bounce Rate
One thing not favored by Google: a website that has a high bounce rate. A bounce rate is calculated as the time when someone goes to visit your website and “bounces” away from it after a mere few seconds. Google understands this “bounce” as the user indicating that where they originally clicked through from may have had a message that was not continued when they visited your site.

This is akin to “bait and switch” techniques that have been around for many years.

By having online reviews that are prominently featured online in Google searches you will benefit from the potential customer or client reviewing these before visiting your site. This will lead to the user gaining a better understanding of your company and services/products. So if they choose to click through to your website – they know what to expect and will not immediately “bounce” off your site. This will help you keep and enhance your search engine rankings on a regular basis.

Still on the fence about the power of online reviews to enhance SEO? There are hundreds of articles out there with more information that you can peruse that not only mirror my story, but shout the benefits even more aggressively.

From my perspective, this tends to be the one secret SEO trick that many people overlook. Because of this, it can provide lots of competitive advantage to your company. Online reviews are a crucial piece of your overall online marketing campaign that could be the tipping point of your appearing on page 1 of Google searches or page 10.

Want to get started without having to do any of the setup, execution, and management? We have developed a Reputation Management and Online Review Service that will have you harnessing the SEO power of everything listed above without you having to do any of the setup, execution, or management. Our service starts from as low as $199 per month (not including setup). If you would like to get started today or see a demo of our service, please call or email our team.

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How to Maximize ROI With Online Reviews: A Quick Start Guide

How To Maximize ROI With Online Reviews A Quick Start Guide
16Mar

Working with tight marketing budgets is not a new trend: it is something that business professionals have been dealing with forever. No matter if you have an endless marketing budget or a tight marketing budget, ROI is something that must be consistently monitored based on key performance indicators (KPIs).

One of the tricks of the trade in marketing is trying to grease the ROI wheel with low-cost items that will garner a high, meaningful benefit. Whether it be clout, credibility, exposure, sales, leads, or engagement: the more of these that we can get for less the better.

Enter Online Reviews.

For example, have you ever had a prospect request a reference who they could reach out to and discuss their experience working with your company? I would venture a guess that whatever your past client/customer will say to this prospect will do more for moving the sale closer to conversion than anything else. This third-party endorsement will position you as an authority more so than 20 presentation decks, videos, or hour-long sales calls combined.

This is where the importance of online reviews become relevant. In my previous blog (Online Reviews: Your Secret to SEO Success – click here to read), I went through all of the SEO power that you will gain from online reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and others. To save you time, here are the top benefits that you will reap:

  • More traffic to your website,
  • Rank higher in Google searches,
  • Increase onsite (your website) conversions,
  • Be more trusted by Google above your competition.

Now that we are clear on the benefits, I would like to show you the exact steps that you can take to get started on the journey to creating your own Online Review campaign.

To get started, you will need to compile your customer and evangelist data. This data will be in spreadsheet format (CSV file) and will contain a full list of all of the clients or customers that you have worked with. When choosing your contacts you want to use, ensure that your focus is on individuals who would be more apt to provide favorable reviews of your company.

While all reviews deliver great ROI, ensure that a majority of them are positive. This is the best-case scenario. If not, please note that both positive and negative reviews present salient opportunities.

A negative review presents to your team the opportunity to win a soured customer back. To go one step further, perhaps you didn’t even realize that this client was upset in the first place.

Now let’s move onto evangelists who are your business associates, networking community, and referral sources. Any professionals who can vouch for your company or organization’s value and credibility should be added to your formal list of evangelists.

Now what you will need is a CSV (comma-separated value) file with the following information in each column:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email Address

Having the data formatted in this manner will allow you to easily manipulate it later in your email marketing system.

Below are the steps that you need to take to extract the customer data to execute your Online Review campaign:

How to Export Contacts from Hubspot: Once you are logged into your Hubspot account, navigate to Contacts on the top tab, and then click on the subpage Contacts. Once there, on the left-hand side of the page you will see All Contacts with an Options button.

Click the arrow next to options and choose Export. On the next screen click Export and you will be emailed a link once the export is complete. You will need to clean up the CSV when you get it so that it only includes the above data. If you need to separate name files – use the equation below.

How to Export Contacts from Salesforce: Once logged in, click on the “Reports” tab and select “New Report”. On the “Accounts & Contacts” submenu select “Contacts & Accounts”. Click “Create” and then choose the correct fields for export.

In the preview selection remove the following Fields: Salutations, Title, Mailing Street, Mailing City, Mailing State/Province, Mailing Zip/Postal Code, Mailing Country, Phone, Mobile, Fax, Accounting Owner, and Account Name. Click “Run Report” after deselecting the fields. Click “Export Details”.Click on the “Export” button and save CSV file on your computer.

How to Export Contact from Constant Contact: Once logged in click Contacts and then click Email Lists. You will then need to choose the name of the list that you want to export to CSV.

Now click Export and click on the information you want to include in the CSV which would be First name, Last name, and Email address. Next, click Export and then click Activity. There you will see where you can download your contact file once it is completed.

How to Export Contacts from MailChimp: Once you are in your account go to the Audience tab. Choose the Audience you would like to export.

Then, click View Contacts and then Export Audience. Once your download is complete you will receive an email or you can view it right on your account. If you need some assistance to separate the name fields, see the expert tip below.

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Expert Tip: How to Separate a Full Name in One Cell to First and Last Name in Excel Documents and Numbers Documents

A frustrating aspect of dealing with customer data is when the full name is contained in one cell. Since you want to make the outreach emails personal, ensure that you separate the first and last names into individual cells on your CSV document.

Here is a quick tip to separate a full name field in Excel and Numbers so that you can easily fix this tricky issue:

How to Separate Name Field in Excel Documents: If the full name is in Column A, add an empty column by right-clicking on the top of the column next to the existing column of names, then select Insert. Then click the Data tab and navigate to the top of the column with your contacts’ names to highlight the entire column.

Now click Text to Columns and when the next window pops up choose “Delimited” and click Next. Then on the next pop-up deselect Tab and select Space. Next up, you will need to click Next and then Finish. Now you just have to rename the column headers to reflect your changes and you are done!

How to Separate Name Field in Numbers Documents: First make sure that the first name is in Column A (starting from cell A2). Create two new blank columns next to it (B and C). Next you will need to copy this code into B2 cell.

=LEFT(A2,(SEARCH(” “,A2)-1))

Then click on the cell (which you will see has the first name) and drag the equation down to the entire sheet and presto – first name populated!

Next paste this code into the cell C2:

=MID(A2,(SEARCH(” “,A2)+1),20)

Then click on the cell (which you will see has the last name) and drag the equation down to the entire sheet until all last names are populated!

—–

If you are not using any of the above and are using Gmail, Mac Mail, or Outlook – simply do a Google search for “how to export contacts in NAME” and review the results.

Now that you have your fully formatted CSV file – you are ready for the next step: deciding what websites you would like to generate reviews on. Google will be the first link you will want to choose, as this is a powerhouse when realizing a solid ROI for your efforts. You want to go through the many review sites that are relevant to your industry which could include the following:

Once you choose the sites, you need to find the URL of your review page on the corresponding site. So if you go to TripAdvisor, go to the link where people can place reviews for your business and save that URL. You will use that in your email blast to your audience so that they can simply click the URL and go to the page where the review will be placed.

Now you are ready to craft the email messages. I would suggest that you do a drip campaign consisting of at least 3 messages requesting a review, making it as personal as possible. Please note: if doing a drip, make sure that you ensure that if someone does leave a review, that they do not get the remaining email messages (if any are left to send).

Now you are ready to launch your email campaign. Do a mail merge (or if using your email program, personalizing it using the tools available on that platform) and include the links directly to your online review sites.

This is an extremely cost-effective way to gain more online reviews, bolster your SEO power on Google, increase traffic and, in effect, conversions on your website. Although if you are a busy professional this may look like a daunting time commitment.

With this in mind, The Go! Agency has developed a leading Reputation Management and Online Review service which handles the entire process for your business.

Our team handles the setup, execution, and management of all online reviews. In addition to this, we also offer a kiosk service, text back review service, and more. Call or email our team today to learn how you can get started.

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Positive Influences: The 3 Types of Social Media Influencers

Positive Influences_ The 3 Types of Social Media Influencers
27Jan

In our previous blog, we explained the basics of influencer marketing. Now that you know what it is and why you should do it, let’s discuss the kinds of influencers available. We will mostly be referencing Instagram, as that is a very popular platform for influencer marketing.

One quick note before we dive in to this topic: these definitions are somewhat flexible. Some experts swear that macro-influencers and celebrity influencers are the same, while other experts roll their eyes and patiently explain that macro-influencers are internet celebrities and celebrity influencers are famous offline as well. Another marketer might try to persuade you to believe that macro and micro should be based on reach rather than reputation–which will probably be countered by a different marketing expert shouting that such a definition would mean Doug the Pug is more influential than Grumpy Cat. (If you want to watch marketers engage in heated debates about industry lingo, simply attend any marketing meet-up and loudly declare, “As far as online influence goes, Logan Paul is pretty much on the same level as Kylie Jenner.” We recommend that you view the ensuing chaos from a safe distance, however.)

The point we’re trying to make is this: definitions can fluctuate depending on who is defining the term. Our team goes by the following standards, but you might find slightly different iterations elsewhere.

Macro-influencers
Macro-influencers are social media influencers who have massive followings. Some marketing experts advise judging macro-influencers by different metrics for each social media platform. Influencers on Instagram could be considered macro if they have over 100,000 followers each. However, these same influencers would need at least 250,000 followers on Youtube to be considered macro-influencers because YouTube is more widely used than Instagram.

Additionally, sometimes macro-influencers are grouped together with celebrity influencers. In the above example, we mentioned Kylie Jenner and Logan Paul. The former is a model and member of a famous family, while the latter is a wildly popular vlogger. However, Kylie is famous outside of the internet (modeling, being related to the Kardashians/Jenners) while Logan is known almost exclusively for his online presence. We would classify Kylie (109 million followers on Instagram) as a celebrity influencer, and Logan (who has a not-unimpressive 16.3 million followers on Instagram) would be considered a macro-influencer.

The enormous reach of the macro-influencer also leads to drawbacks in using these influencers. The larger the audience, the higher the cost: macro-influencers are just more expensive than other options. On a related if counterintuitive note, as the influencer’s following grows, the followers tend to feel more distant. Studies have shown that followers engage less often with influencers who have large followings.

Micro-influencers
Micro-influencers are niche markets. A micro-influencer has an above-average following (generally anywhere between several thousand and a few hundred thousand followers), but appeals to a very specific market. For example, Instagram has several micro-influencers who focus on yoga. Summer Perez (@summerperez) is a yoga enthusiast and mom who encourages her 192,000 followers by posting polished pics of her own yoga poses–interspersed with candid shots of her adorable children. Carling Harps (@carlingnicole) is a yoga teacher with over 54,000 followers. In addition to yoga workouts and poses, she gives her followers glimpses of her life in Northern California (often featuring Yokai, her cute Italian greyhound).

Traditional social media networks are not micro-influencers only habitat, though. Bloggers can also be considered micro-influencers. Moms and dads who blog about the trials and triumphs of modern parenting are often sought out by marketers. These parents are not traditional social media influencers, but their impact cannot be denied.

Micro-influencers have two main benefits. First, followers in small audiences tend to engage much more often than followers in large audiences. Second, micro-influencers are cheaper than macro-influencers because of their limited audience. However, this means that you will get more engagement for less money!

Brand Ambassadors
Brand ambassadors are everyday people who enjoy a specific brand. These individuals do not necessarily need to have large followings, although their savvy use of social media dictates that they probably have a decent-sized audience. While some are given free products to review (especially true with beauty products), brand ambassadors might not be paid at all. Have you ever tagged a restaurant, store, or product in a post? Have you ever been so impressed by a product or service that you tweeted about it, tagging the company? You were acting as a sort of brand ambassador! Even brick-and-mortar brands can use brand ambassadors: for example, brands that encourage customers to take pictures of themselves wearing that brand’s merch or logos and post the pics to social media.

As we mentioned earlier, some experts have different criteria for each type of influencer. Our next blog will go over some basic dos and don’ts for influencer marketing.

Do you need help with your social media marketing strategy? We have you covered! Visit our website today for a free consultation!

Want an easy reference to help you remember the different types of influencers? We’ve got you covered! (Right click to save to your computer)

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The Ultimate Social Media Questionnaire

The Ultimate Social Media Questionnaire
13Jan

Are you ready to market your brand on social media? Before you set up your first profile, you need to ask yourself some questions. Social media marketing is more than just spreading the word: it’s about connecting with your customers. You must carefully consider your approach  We’ve gathered the top twenty questions you need to answer before your brand’s social media debut.

Part I. Your Brand
1. What is the tone of your brand?
2. What products or services are you trying to promote?
3. What products or services form the core of your brand?

Part II. Your Customers
4. Who are your ideal customers?
5. What problems do your ideal customers face?
6. How does your company help solve those problems?
7. Where are your customers geographically?

Part III. Your Social Media Presence
8. What are your ultimate goals for social media?
9. Which social media platforms work best for your company?
10. How can you incorporate compelling content into your brand’s message?
11. What are the most important keywords for your industry?
12. How does your online presence compare to that of your competitors?
13. How much time can you invest into social media?
14. How often should you post during the week? During the day?
15. Which scheduling software is right for you?

Part IV. Your Content
16. When is the best time to post your content?
17. What content do your customers find most appealing?
18. Who are your industry’s top social media and online influencers?
19. What types of original content can you create?
20. What visuals should you incorporate into your content?

Do you have all of the answers? If not, it’s time to get to work!

The Go! Agency team can help you answer these questions and get started with one of the most effective avenues of marketing available today! We are dedicated to spreading your message and have worked with clients from a wide variety of industries, customizing and optimizing hundreds of social media campaigns.

Schedule a free consultation today to learn how we can help your business level up!

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Your Marketing Checklist for January 2020

Your Marketing Checklist for January 2019
23Dec

There’s a lot going on at the start of a new year! When January rolls around, you’ll probably still be recovering from the holidays, which puts you in a bad position for kicking off your 2020 social media marketing. That’s why I’m here!

I’m sharing my marketing checklist that’s going to get your business off to a great start in January. If you want to improve your 2020 marketing and stay ahead of your competitors, check it out!

The Checklist:

1. Evaluate your 2019 marketing results to identify areas in need of improvement.
Look back at how your social media campaigns performed in 2019. Most likely, some of them were more successful than others. If you want to improve those results in 2020, look for trends. Maybe your blog content performed well, but users weren’t as engaged with your ads. This tells you what to improve in the new year!

2. See how you compare to your competitors.
Spying on your competition is a key skill for any marketer, but it’s especially important at the start of the year. What’s working for them? What areas are they missing that you can fill? Figuring this out early is going to be a key part of creating a 2020 digital marketing strategy.

3. Create S.M.A.R.T. marketing goals that align with overall business goals.
S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. This means they’re things that you can track and check on throughout the year. Otherwise, you’d just wait until next December to find that you hadn’t reached them! They should also tie into your larger business goals. If your business goal is to increase sales, then a marketing goal could be to increase traffic to your catalogue page by February.

4. Determine if your 2019 target audience is still accurate.
Did your business undergo some changes last year? If so, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re still appealing to the right audience. Even if you just expanded your offerings, that could open you up to a new market that you should be targeting!

5. Consult with a social media expert to create a strategy for 2020.
You don’t want to take chances with next year’s marketing strategy, so talk to someone who knows what they’re doing. Once you’ve gathered all your information, talk to an industry professional who can give you real, actionable advice on how to achieve your marketing goals in 2020.

6. Create a content calendar to better plan out your strategy for the year.
After you have goals and your plan outlined, assign everything specific dates! Laying out a plan for the year is a great way to make sure that your strategy is cohesive. Each month should flow into the next. When you take the time to make a content calendar, it makes the rest of the year so much easier!

7. Double-check that you’re on the same social media platforms as your target audience.
Social media platforms come and go, and so do their audiences. Whether you didn’t check this last year or your audience could have migrated, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re still on the optimal sites. The last thing you want is to be marketing on Facebook when your audience decided they preferred Twitter!

8. Share your social media channels on your website.
This one is a no-brainer, but you wouldn’t believe how often I see people who don’t have their social media on their website! It’s not that hard, so just link to each of your channels on your “Contact” page. Otherwise, you’re making it too easy for people to ignore your social media presence!

Plan Ahead
If your social media strategy doesn’t get a great start, it’s going to be harder to see the results you want. So get moving! Use this checklist to make the most of January! By following the above steps, I’m sure you’ll be able to create a strategy that serves your business’ goals and sets you up for success in 2020.

Do you want some individualized help with your social media marketing? Just set up a free consultation with The Go! Agency!

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How to Create Business New Year’s Resolutions

How to Create Business New Year's Resolutions
16Dec

A lot of people use the new year as an opportunity to get into some good habits — and that’s great! The only problem is that less than half of those resolutions actually happen. So while I’d like to say that you should set these kinds of resolutions for your business, the truth is that you should only bother if you can actually commit to them.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m going to show you some of the best new year’s resolutions for your business, then I’ll explain what you can do to stick to them. Keep reading if you’re dedicated to improving your business in 2020!

Resolutions:

1. Revamp Your Marketing Strategy
Like anything else, marketing strategies have an expiration date. Don’t carry the same marketing strategy into 2020! Use January to craft a well-thought-out strategy, then implement it throughout the year!

2. Stay Active on Social Media
The number one mistake I see businesses make is not engaging with their social media audience. No amount of strategy or planning will be worth much if you’re not talking with your audience on a regular basis.

3. Delegate Work
At some point, you have to accept that you can’t be responsible for everything. Take a step back! If you have your hands full, assign tasks to people who are qualified to handle them. Why stress yourself out when you could just have an expert handle the task?

Sticking to Your Resolutions
Once you’ve set a goal, you need to make sure it lasts longer than the first couple weeks of January. The only way you’re going to keep up with your goal is if you have steps in place to make it happen!

Regular Check-Ins
Don’t let things get away from you! It’s easy to lose track of your goals when you’re not thinking of them, so the solution is to have set intervals where you check on your progress.

Let’s say my new year’s resolution for my business was to post twice as often on social media. If I’m checking that goal every week, I’m much more likely to stick to it because it’s always on my mind. Without that schedule, I could forget about that goal until mid April, when I’ll be discouraged by my months of slacking.

With the weekly check-ins, even if I do slip up on a day, I can take note of it and get back on track before it becomes a major issue! The lesson here is that, whatever your goal is, establish these checkpoints to make sure you’re where you need to be.

Have a Reason
This goal is for your business, but what is it doing, specifically? Why is this your goal? When you’ve got an answer, keeping it in the front of your mind will make it so much easier to stay focused once the new year excitement has died down.

For example, maybe my goal is to drive more traffic to my company’s website. If I’m focusing on that, it’s going to be easy for me to become uninterested. After all, tracking numbers every month to find ways to boost website traffic isn’t the most fun thing in the world. But if I contextualize it differently in my head, I can make myself more motivated.

Maybe the reason I set my goal is to increase sales, which would mean better margins in 2020. So then, instead of focusing on my goal of increased web traffic, I might focus on my goal of more profit for my business. I don’t know about you, but as a business owner, profit is a pretty good motivator for me!

In short, remember the reason that you chose your goal. Reminding yourself to make your business better is going to be infinitely easier than convincing yourself to do the same repetitive task over and over!

Work Toward Your Goal
Whatever you decide is the right step for your business, your goal is only worthwhile if you can accomplish it. Don’t be like the majority and set a new year’s resolution that you have no intention of following. Make it count! Let the start of the new year be a turning point for your business, and I’m sure you’ll find even more success in 2020!

Do you want some individualized help with your social media marketing? Just set up a free consultation with The Go! Agency!

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The Top 5 Holiday Content Marketing Tips You Need To Know

120919 The Top Holiday Content Marketing Tips You Need To Know
9Dec

Content marketers love the holiday season. Unlike the lazy days of summer, there is more than enough inspiration to go around for email marketing, social media, blogging, and any other avenue you can think of.

There’s just one catch – there are just so many great ideas out there, there’s not enough time to do them all. Fortunately, we have you covered and we’re exploring the best ideas right here.

1. Updated festive visuals
Add a Santa hat to your profile pic, a menorah to your cover image, flashing lights to your Snapchat Story. Above all, make sure your holiday-themed content has imagery.

2. Flash sale
Have you looked at the calendar lately? It’s a bit too late to do a “12 days of deals” type deal. However, it’s still fair game for quick “limited time” social-media-exclusive sales. These do surprisingly well, especially as many of us procrastinate. Make sure the sale is worth people opening up their wallets for them because a lot of “wish lists” are complete!

3. Seasons greetings
Email marketing is a fantastic avenue to send out holiday wishes to your loyal customer base. As always with E-blasts, it is important to send out content that isn’t 100% pushy promotions. A holiday greeting email will do just the trick to make your readers smile.

4. Pics from the team
Whether you post (not embarrassing) pictures from your Christmas party or your team reaching out to the community for a volunteer event, this idea adds a healthy dose of humanity to any marketing campaign. This type of content, above all else, should be promo-free.

5. Content your audience will share
Cut out some of the promo posts in your content calendar and make room for some wholesome holiday fun. Preferably content that your audience members will want to share to their friends and family. Festive videos, recipes, craft and party ideas are just a few ideas that can generate engagement.

Maybe the holiday season snuck up on you this year, or you’ve been grasping at straws for what to publish. Either way, the above ideas will help you finish off the holiday season on a high note so you can focus on the new year!

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Giving Back as a Local Business

Giving Back as a Local Business (1)
2Dec

It’s great to see companies like Amazon give away $100 million in a period of five years, but that just isn’t possible for smaller, local businesses. And that’s fine! You can still give back to your customers, employees, and community without ten figures in annual profit. You may even have an advantage, since it’s easier for you to interact with people face-to-face!

Let me show you how you can make December your business’ month of giving back without breaking the bank!

Giving Back to Customers
No customers means no business, so you’d better demonstrate your appreciation! If money is tight right now, you’re better off skipping huge deals or rewards programs. Instead, go with something that’s completely free but remarkably effective: customer promotions!

Sharing your customers’ stories on social media tells everyone that you value them as individuals. This doesn’t mean you need to write a biography on everyone who walks through your door, but strike up a conversation with the shoppers who pop in every week. Maybe one of them has an event that they’d like you to promote, or someone would just appreciate a public recognition of their support. Find their story and tell it! The people being highlighted will appreciate the personal attention, and your followers will appreciate being more than sales to your business.

Giving Back to Your Community
Generalized advice like “Donate to charity!” isn’t worth much when you’re trying to connect with your community. These are the people who pass your store every day, so it’s in your best interest to get them on your side. What does your community need? Whether there’s been a natural disaster, a healthcare crisis, poverty, or anything else, you need to find the point of need and meet them there.

Get in touch with community leaders to see how you can help. A brief conversation with a local elected official will help you rub elbows with local government and give you a font of information about the goings-on in your community. Once you know the problem, donate time or resources to a local charity that’s already helping in that area. This way, your contribution is going where it’s need most. People in your community will appreciate that!

Giving Back to Employees
Everyone wants motivated employees. But what are you doing to make their jobs more than a means to a paycheck? Cards are great for businesses that can’t afford lavish gifts, but only if you take the time to do them right. Writing “Thanks for all the hard work!” isn’t going to make your employees feel valued. In fact, it’s probably going to annoy them more than not giving them a card at all, because you’re pointing out how little you care about them and their work.

Instead, remember each employee’s accomplishments from the past year. When did they show moments of real skill? Find these successes and tell your employees how much you appreciate the work they did. On the surface it’s the same as a regular card, but “nice work” feels very different from “We really appreciate how you handled X situation.” But don’t stop there; rave about them! Show them that you’re their biggest fan! It’s easy for employees to get caught up in monotony, so take this as an opportunity to remind them of their highlights from 2018.

Think Through Your Plans
The surefire way to ruin any attempt at giving back is to act too quickly. As a local business, you probably don’t have the luxury of being able to throw money at people and causes to solve your problems. You need to make up for your lack of funds with a plan, and the above tips are a great place to start.

Do you want some individualized help with your social media marketing? Just set up a free consultation with The Go! Agency!

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How to Make the Best Holiday Unboxing Video

Unboxing videos have gained popularity because something about seeing a product opened for the very first time gets customers excited!
28Oct

Gifts don’t just go under the tree anymore! Unboxing videos have taken the world by storm, with over one-third of millennials watching. Something about seeing a product opened for the very first time gets customers excited, and it makes it easier for them to imagine purchasing from you!

Once you’ve decided that an unboxing video is right for your organization, you’ll have two options for executing it: in-house or through a brand ambassador. Whichever you choose, you’re going to find some common pitfalls that you’ll want to avoid. That’s why I’m going to look at common pitfalls for both means of production.

Producing In-House:
You’ve decided that you want complete creative control over this project and you’re confident that you can create a high-quality video. That’s a great start, but before you break out the ring lights, you might want to consider how much production needs to go into this.

Part of the appeal of an unboxing video is the intimate, relaxed feel, so the worst thing you could do is overproduce it with complicated editing and unnecessary effects. Instead, stick with the basics: clear, simple lighting and a good camera will go a long way. When writing your script, do it as though you’re talking to a friend about your product, not like you’re trying to sell audiences on features and benefits.

Ironically, the best thing for your video is probably to not put too much effort into it. If you’re spending a fortune on recording equipment or driving yourself crazy with editing the video, then take a step back. Little imperfections will only humanize your brand, and your audience is going to respond to that even more strongly during the holiday season.

As effective as unboxing videos are, they’re not commercials airing on primetime TV. Keep the tone casual, speak like a human, and don’t overthink it!

Working With a Brand Ambassador: 
You prefer a hands-off approach and see the benefits of working with a creator who already has a loyal following. This is a popular avenue to take! It’s important to bear in mind, however, that you’re not going to be able to control exactly what the personality says. And while there’s something to be said for a natural response, some clear guidelines never hurt anyone.

Make it clear to your brand ambassador exactly what you want to be in the video. Are there any features they should mention? Holiday sales they can tell their audience about? While part of the beauty of a personality is that they have their own distinct voice, it’s important that this unboxing video is still working toward your brand’s goals.

For example, if you’re working with a brand ambassador to create an unboxing video of your headphones, the video has to stay in-line with your other content. You’re marketing them as “sleek” and “innovative,” so it’s safe to say you don’t want the personality to call them “cute” or “classic.”

Communicate your brand’s must-haves for the video, then let your brand ambassador handle the nitty-gritty! They’ve amassed fans because they know how to engage their audience, so with some clear guidelines, they should be set to contribute to your holiday marketing campaign!

Get Moving!
Unboxing videos are one of the hottest ways you can break up the content mix this holiday season, so don’t hesitate to get started now! Remember that opening presents is one of the best things about the season, and you have the opportunity to share that feeling with your audience. Use this information to guide you down whichever production path is right for you, and look forward to having an engaging final product!

Feel like your holiday marketing strategy could use some professional help? Schedule a free consultation with the Go! Agency to get some guidance!

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Black Friday or Cyber Monday: Which Should You Choose?

Black Friday or Cyber Monday_ Which Should You Choose_
21Oct

In 2018, there was a staggering $13.9 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday alone! It’s tempting to dive in and say you’ll make marketing campaigns for each of them, but promoting your business for both of these high-traffic days is just going to set you up to fail. Every business owner knows that trying to do everything usually means you end up doing nothing (successfully, at least).

You’re going to have to commit to one of these sales, and that’s why we’re here today. I’m going to break down who should be marketing for each of these days. From there, you’ll be able to plan your marketing strategy and get a piece of the holiday sales pie!

Who Should Promote Black Friday?
What does Black Friday entail (other than crazed shoppers with huge carts and no remorse)? At its core, the only thing required for Black Friday is to slash your prices for a day. You’ll want to promote it, of course, but the process of preparing for Black Friday is going to be far easier than doing the same for Cyber Monday.

You see, in the best-case scenario, Cyber Monday will mean you need a solidified shipping plan, which can be difficult if you’re solely a brick and mortar store. Add in the hassle of shipping everything and tracking orders all over the country, it’s a headache that can be debilitating unless you have the staff to support it. For this reason, Black Friday has always been the go-to for small-to-mid-sized local businesses.

A sale, of course, is no good for your business if your customers don’t know about it. Black Friday is also ideal for local businesses because you have a much smaller audience to inform. Where Cyber Monday would require you to broadcast your message to a national (or international) audience, local stores only need to connect with people in the immediate area. This is going to be a godsend if your marketing budget isn’t the biggest, because holiday ads aren’t cheap.

The short version? Unless you’ve got a large team and the capital to handle a national ad campaign, dive headfirst into Black Friday and don’t look back!

Who Should Promote Cyber Monday?
While Black Friday is easier to handle, Cyber Monday offers substantial incentives to companies with the resources to pursue it. For one thing, you’re not going to be limited to the X-thousand people in your city. While Black Friday has stayed fairly consistent from year to year, Cyber Monday sales saw a huge increase last year, and are expected to see another bump this November.

If you’re a larger, national business, particularly if you’re used to a lot of online sales throughout the year, Cyber Monday shouldn’t be as jarring for you. You’ll likely already have solidified shipping processes in place, and your social media following should be large and engaged enough to help maximize your ROI for holiday ad spend.

The final sign that Cyber Monday is right for your business? You’re ready to start preparing now. The national competition for ad space means that the right time to finalize your marketing plan was yesterday. A local business only has to compete with its neighbors, but you’ve got to tackle the world! Remember that great risk often means great reward, though, and don’t shy away from Cyber Monday if you can reasonably hold your own in the upcoming marketing battle.

Go Forth and Sell, Sell, Sell!
These are two of the biggest sales days of the year, so pick your target and take the shot. Decide if you want a localized Black Friday campaign or are going to get the word out about your upcoming Cyber Monday sale, then get going! Thanksgiving will be done and gone before you know it, and your business has a lot of work to do before then!

Think your Black Friday or Cyber Monday strategy could use some expert input? Set up your free consultation with The Go! Agency!

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