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Tag : business advertising

Why Your Successful Local Business Needs Digital Marketing

Why Your Successful Local Business Needs Digital Marketing
8Apr

Making a local business successful is never easy—congratulations! You feel stable and you’re netting a nice profit, so you might not realize how important it is to invest in social media while you’re ahead. Let me fix that for you.

Too many times I’ve been talking to a potential client who insists that they’re successful and don’t need social media, only to look them up a year later and find that they went out of business. And they weren’t entirely wrong; these were successful local businesses! But ultimately, it doesn’t matter how successful you are, because you will always need social media.

Here’s why.

Competition Is Everywhere
Sometimes local businesses luck out and won’t have any competition for stretches of time. That’s great and makes your job easier, but you can’t count on that lasting. Let me share a real example that I’ve seen happen over and over again.

I was trying to get an Italian restaurant (let’s call them “Pastasciutta”) signed on for a social media package, but their numbers were good and they didn’t see any reason to put money into their digital marketing. And I assume that worked fine, until three months later when a new Italian restaurant moved in just a couple blocks away.

I don’t know if the new place’s food was actually better than the original’s, but they were more active on social media, so they started to get a good local following. They weren’t taking all of Pastaciutta’s customers, but a big enough portion left that the restaurant was noticeably emptier even at their peak times.

Without their own social media presence, Pastaciutta just couldn’t compete. The new place ended up moving 8 months later, but by that point, Pastaciutta had lost so much revenue that they had to close.

What’s the moral of this story? 1. Give your Italian restaurant a better name than Pastaciutta and 2. Your local business is not too good for social media. Just because it’s feast today doesn’t mean you’re safe from famine tomorrow!

I think there’s another lesson that we can pull from this story, too.

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Customers Are Fickle
If brand loyalty isn’t dead, it’s certainly on life support. A common mistake I see is assuming that people are going to support your business unconditionally. After all, if someone makes a purchase from you and you know it’s a great product, you can count on that repeat business, right?

You can’t.

It doesn’t matter if you’re the best deli/bar/haberdashery in the county; customers care infinitely more about who your brand is than what you’re selling. That’s where social media comes in! Social media marketing isn’t, at its core, about pushing your latest products or talking about how great you are (although that’s definitely a part of it). The goal of any social media campaign is to engage with the audience to form connections, and if there is ANY way to earn brand loyalty in 2019, that’s the way to do it.

And “mom and pop” store owners, don’t think you’re immune! Great customer service is nice, but people are forgetful. Unless you’re keeping your store’s name fresh in your audience’s mind, they’re not going to remember how you helped them find the perfect product or how friendly your smile was when they came through the door.

Yes, Social Is Right for You
If you want to maintain your local business’ success, then social media marketing is just non-negotiable. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Start looking into how your local business can succeed with social media.

Do you need some help planning your new social media strategy? Schedule your free consultation with The Go! Agency!

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How to Update Your Local Facebook Ad Targeting Practices

How to Update Your Local Facebook Ad Targeting Practices
1Apr

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already given Facebook ads a shot. How did they go? What I generally hear is that the first ads were okay but a little lackluster, and definitely not as impactful as you’d been hoping.

I hate to be the one to tell you, but the issue probably isn’t with Facebook advertising. There’s a lot that goes into making a successful Facebook ad for your local business, and if you’re not satisfied with your results, then that probably means it’s time to work on targeting.

Finding the right audience is harder than you think.
If your target audience is only X gender of Y age and Z income, you’re going too vague. What are their interests? Hobbies? Even political affiliation can make a big difference, and these are all factors that you can work into your Facebook ad targeting.

When you set up the audience for your Facebook ad, take these factors into account. If you’re still not sure what areas to include when targeting your Facebook ad, let me give you a list of the most common things your business should be considering:

  • Education
  • Zip code
  • Recent life events (engagement, birth of a child, graduation, etc.)
  • Household composition (children in-home, new teen drivers, etc.)
  • Net worth
  • Behaviors (the other ads they have/haven’t clicked on)
  • Pages they’ve liked
  • Websites they’ve visited

The list goes on and on. You don’t need (or generally even want) to target all of these areas, but consider who your buyer is and which of these factors are going to be relevant in getting them to visit your local business.

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Test out custom audiences!
You can go even more specific than regular Facebook targeting, though!

If you’re not using Facebook custom audiences, you’re potentially costing your local business a lot of money. Custom audiences allow you to put ads in front of existing customers (found by traffic to your website, your mailing list, etc.) to encourage them to buy more often, spend more, or otherwise increase their lifetime customer value.

I know that many small business owners don’t have email lists (even though they should), but you can always install the custom Facebook pixel on your website so that you can track visitors and deliver your Facebook ads directly to them!

Unlike other ads where you’re paying in the hopes that viewers will like your brand, your odds of success are much higher with custom audiences. These are people who have already shown an interest in your brand, so why not encourage them to finalize that sale?

Try using lookalike audiences…with a few changes.
Once you’ve got your custom audience established and it seems to be working for you, don’t stop there! Lookalike audiences are pretty much what they sound like—audiences that are demographically similar to your custom audience.

Even if you couldn’t use an email list to create your original custom audience, you can always use your Facebook followers as a base for your lookalike.

Why do it? Your custom audience might be great, but eventually you’ll need to expand your reach, and lookalike audiences are perfect for that. They deliver your ads to people who have similar demographic data to your target audience, meaning they’re more likely to generate clicks, conversions, or any of your other tracked metrics.

The one caveat with lookalike ads that local businesses need to be mindful of its location. Facebook ads tend to go a little broad sometimes, so make sure that your new lookalike audience is still within a suitable distance from your brick and mortar location.

Keep your Facebook ad targeting evolving.
Are you noticing a theme? There’s never a time when you can stop improving on your Facebook ad targeting! Your audience’s behaviors and interests may well change over time, so it’s important that you’re constantly renewing your targeting strategies if you want your local business’ Facebook ads to be successful!

Don’t be embarrassed if you feel a little lost—Facebook ads are complicated! Let’s discuss them during your free consultation with The Go! Agency!

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Find the Right Social Platforms for Your Local Business

Find the Right Social Platforms for Your Local Business
25Mar

Just about everyone is on social media. But that doesn’t mean they’re all on the same platforms! There are always exceptions, but different platforms tend to cater to different ages, genders, incomes, etc.

I’m here to help you find the social media platforms that your business should be marketing on. If you don’t want to waste months marketing on the wrong platform, then keep reading!

Facebook
Full disclosure: It is very, very rare that I advise a business to NOT market on Facebook.

What makes Facebook such a universal must-have for online marketing? Well, it’s got 1.74 billion active users, so you can be confident that whoever your target demographic is, they’re going to be on Facebook (unless you’re marketing to the Amish, in which case I really can’t help you).

Beyond that, Facebook has a sophisticated advertising system that too many local businesses miss out on. With this, you can target your ideal section of those 1.74 billion users and not worry about getting lost in the flood. It’s worth noting that organic reach is particularly hard to come by on Facebook, so think of an advertising budget as a necessity if you decide to go with this site.

LinkedIn
As the default professional social media platform, LinkedIn is a hotspot for online marketers, especially for those working with B2B organizations. Instead of traditional followers or friends, LinkedIn uses connections for users to track the people they’re interacting with. This name is entirely intentional: Think of LinkedIn as where you go to rub some virtual elbows, not to hang out with friends.

Beyond Professional pages (which can be advantageous if you use them to promote your business), there are Business pages where your organization can directly interact with its followers. These are good for building your brand identity and encouraging people in your industry to take you seriously, where personal profiles are better suited for showcasing your brand’s human side.

If your target audience is maybe a little older (think 50+), has a high income, and/or works in an office setting, then LinkedIn is probably where you want to be. LinkedIn can be valuable for your local business because you can search for new connections based on location, so you should seriously consider this platform if I just described your target audience.

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Instagram
No, it’s not just for teenagers and adults trying to be teenagers. With over 25 million business accounts and 200 million user visits to those pages every day, there’s a good chance that your local business can benefit from Instagram.

One of the big draws for local businesses? Instagram is one of the easiest sites for reaching people in your area. You can tag posts by location, and your hashtags should include a fair few pertaining to your store’s location (for example, if I owned a brewery in Columbus, Ohio, I might hashtag my posts with #Columbus, #ColumbusOH, #CbusOH, etc.).

This platform does tend to steer younger (mostly 18-34), but see who’s posting in your area before you rule out Instagram marketing!

Twitter
Like Facebook, Twitter appeals to a lot of different demographics, so it’s a safe platform for most local businesses. It does tend to be pretty fast-paced, so your posts will have a shorter shelf life than on other social networks. For that reason, I generally advise posting on Twitter more than once a day if at all possible. Users could blink and miss your post!

That fast-paced nature also makes it better oriented for sharing news and talking about current events. So if you’re running a beachfront restaurant, sharing news about local water quality, activities to do on the beach, etc. would be a safe bet for Twitter.

Another reason I usually recommend Twitter is that your users will use it to voice their complaints. Twitter is a popular platform for clients to engage with brands, and you don’t want to miss out on that! The age range of Twitter users is pretty evenly spread out, so most businesses should be on here if not for drawing in new sales, then at the very least for engaging with their audience!

Get Social
It’s always better to work smarter than harder, so don’t waste your time trying to reach an audience that doesn’t exist on your chosen platform. Use my advice above and I’m sure you’ll get your social media campaign off to a great start for your local business!

Are you still unsure of where your business should have social media profiles? I’ll give you some answers during your free consultation with The Go! Agency!

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Why and How to Use Branded Hashtags for Your Local Business

Why and How to Use Branded Hashtags for Your Local Business
11Mar

One of the most common misconceptions I hear is that branded hashtags are only for national/multinational businesses. Untrue. Hashtags that are made by and for your local business can be great, provided you know what you’re doing.

If you’ll let me rant a little, I want to explain how you can make branded hashtags work for your local business. You don’t have to be Amazon to pull this off, people!

Why Do You Want Branded Hashtags?
Most of the time, getting your brand in front of new eyes is going to mean spending a healthy sum on advertisements. While that investment can be 100% worth it, wouldn’t it be nice to have a free alternative to supplement it?

That’s where branded hashtags come in. When you create a hashtag for your customers to share, you’re essentially having them advertise your business for free, directly to their friends and family. And personal referrals are effective! So for exactly $0, you get someone with a meaningful connection to other people in your target demographic to talk about how great your business is. Sounds like a good deal, right?

Beyond that, you’ve got a way to create a community around your brand. When people search your hashtag, they have the chance to see what other people love about your business. Then they can talk to your other customers, and bam, you’ve got local buzz going at no cost to you!

What makes this especially useful for local businesses? Bigger brands benefit from a wider audience, but the local proximity can work to your advantage, too. Think about it: people are a lot more likely to tell their friends about a local business than a huge corporation. Why would you rave on Twitter about how great Amazon is when everyone is already a fan of the company?

You’re much more likely to talk about that Thai place you found on accident, and that’s your advantage here. People want to show their friends new things, and when you make a branded hashtag, you make it easier for people to tell their friends all about how great your business is!

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How Do You Make Branded Hashtags Work for You?
When brainstorming ideas for a brand hashtag, keep it simple. You can go with your company name, but you might want to try for something a little more interesting. Short, easy-to-spell taglines are always good. KitKat’s hashtag #HaveABreak is a great example—it’s creative, it’s short, and it plays on their tagline.

Let’s say your Italian restaurant is called Gino’s Pizza; your hashtag might be #DinnerAtGinos or #GinosGrub. These are some basic ideas, but don’t be afraid to take a hard look at your brand and see what you have to play with!

Once you have a hashtag, start using it! If you’re not sharing content with the tag, nobody else will, either. But when it becomes a staple in your social media updates, people are much more likely to take notice and use it themselves.

This is not something you want to put in place and forget about. Track the tag, especially as it starts becoming more popular in your community! You can set up a Google keyword tracker or just make checking the hashtag part of your daily site work on each platform.

Respond to customers (whether they’re praising or ranting about you) and take this opportunity to guide the conversation about your brand. People are going to talk about your business no matter what, so you may as well make sure the conversation is favoring you!

Try This New Strategy
I find that a lot of local businesses have stagnant social media strategies, and you don’t want that! Keep things fresh by trying out a branded hashtag and see what you’ve been missing out on. Branded hashtags offer you unique benefits as a local business—make the most of them!

Are you still feeling a little lost on how to use a branded hashtag for your business? Let’s talk about it over your free consultation with The Go! Agency!

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How to Advertise Your Local Business on Facebook

_How to Advertise Your Local Business on Facebook
6Mar

You know more about Facebook ads than the average social media marketing bear, but how do you bring all of that together? After all, just knowing what an engagement ad does isn’t enough to get major attention on your posts!

Don’t worry, I’m here to explain what you need to do to have a successful Facebook ad campaign for your local business. Ready? Let’s work out how you’re going to grow your business with Facebook ads!

Set Goals
The mantra you’ll always hear in marketing is that your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. What does that mean in real people speak?

You need to have a firm goal (e.g. a cost-per-click of $0.75), it needs to be something you can track, related to your business and its needs (if you’re trying to get people to visit your website, don’t waste money trying to get comments on your posts), something you can reasonably achieve, and it needs a set deadline. Of course you’ll get 100 clicks on your posts eventually, but it’s only a SMART goal if there’s a reasonable deadline attached to it.

Take a look at what you want to achieve with your ads. Do you want to talk to customers, drive traffic to your website, or something else? Whatever it is, identify exactly what results you’re after before you even think about creating an ad.

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Look Nearby
I’m sure your business is great, but very, very few people are going to drive 30 miles to go to a business they’ve never heard of before. You’re a local business, so market locally!

When you’re establishing the audience for your Facebook ad, try putting in specific zip codes or only sending the ad out to people within 15 miles of your store’s location. Yes, you’re reducing the number of people who are going to see your ad, but why would you want your money to go to putting an ad in front of someone who’s too far away to ever purchase from your visit? The beauty of social media advertising is that you can get specific and make the most of your investment, so put that to work with your Facebook ads!

Optimize Timing
Thanks to Facebook’s “Insights” tab, you can track when your followers are online. Those are the times you should be posting! If your target audience works in an office, then posting your ad while they’re working is probably a bad move. But running your ad right after they get off or when they’re on their lunch breaks has a much higher chance of being effective.

Because you’re a local business, this is especially important. There might not be that many people in your immediate area who fit your target audience, so it’s vital that you reach as many of them as possible!

Don’t limit it to specific times, either. What about days? Have you noticed a drop in social media engagement on Tuesdays? Then don’t have your ad run on those days! When I say you can (and should) customize these ads, I mean it. Don’t be so obsessed with appealing to every single person on Facebook that people who might actually like your store never see your ads.

Start Testing
You won’t get your first ad 100% right. That just isn’t a realistic expectation for somebody who’s new to Facebook advertising. But you can use this advice to skip a lot of pitfalls and make your first ad a worthy investment in your business’ future. So put a lot of thought into it, follow my advice here, and be prepared to record your results so you can make your following Facebook ad even better!

Could you use a hand with your Facebook advertising? Get started with a free consultation from The Go! Agency!

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