As of 2016, Facebook is the world's most popular social networking site. One scroll down your Facebook news feed can update you on politics, sports, entertainment, pop culture, and the daily lives of your friends. As more and more people across the globe create a Facebook account, here are 6 facts about Facebook we think you should be privy to.
1. Facebook gains 8 new users per second. That's 7,246 new Facebook users every 15 minutes. Aside from being by far the largest and most popular social networking site on the planet, Facebook is still growing every day.
2. In 2015, 22% of worldwide advertising revenue went to Facebook. To put it simply, about one fourth of all income from internet advertising in the world went to Facebook.
3. Two million advertisers are active on Facebook. This is because of Facebook's massive popularity, as well as the cost-effectiveness of ads on the site. Thanks to these factors, Facebook has become one of the leading online advertising platforms in the world.
4. 10 pm to 11 pm EST is the most popular time on Facebook. Posts published at this time get 88% more interactions than posts published throughout the rest of the day.
5. Facebook loves videos. The average Facebook video receives 89.5 shares, which is tremendously more than text-based posts or photos. The latter of these is still far more popular than text-based posts, however, garnering 39% more attention on average.
6. Shorter is better. Most people aren't willing to read through a lengthy essay in their Facebook feed - it's far more likely that they will simply scroll past it. Facebook posts that stay below 250 characters earn 60% more engagement than longer posts.
We hope you can use these 6 Facebook facts to your advantage. If you need any help using Facebook for your marketing needs, please contact us.
Twitter is one of the main social media platforms used all over the world. It is constantly adding tons of new users each day. Many of us pick up our phones several times a day to check it for news and sports scores as well as other information. Here are 6 interesting facts about Twitter.
The social network Twitter, with over 1.3 billion registered users worldwide, grew by leaps and bounds since its launch in 2006 when founder Jack Dorsey sent the very first tweet on March 21st.
How much do you know about Twitter? Here are 6 Facts About Twitter that you may not know.
Twitter is an incredible resource for those businesses that incorporate this social network into its marketing strategy. If you would like more information on how Twitter can help you in your business, please contact us and we'll be happy to help.
Twitter is a social media giant. According to The Statistics Portal, more than 310 million people used Twitter in the first quarter of 2016. It is safe to say, Twitter is an icon.
People from all demographics turn to Twitter to learn about what is happening around the world now. Everyone from professors to movie stars use Twitter to reach their friends, fans, and families. But the benefits of Twitter does not stop there. Smart business owners around the world have learned that Twitter is a fast, easy, and reliable way to reach their target base. Let's look at four ways Twitter can help grow your business.
By using Twitter to build your brand name and reputation, you are catapulting your brand. When we use Twitter, we ask people to follow us (keep up with us) and to "re-tweet". This means to forward our message to their followers. In many cases, people will keep the tweet moving. Every time someone forwards your message, new potential clients are seeing your name. Twitter is one of the fastest ways to build your brand.
2. Grow your network (client base)
This ties in with number one. Twitter is a community activity. People share information and help each other. Businesses support each other. This means more people see your business and your name. More people follow you as your network grows. Twitter is a very effective way to market yourself.
3. Build your reputation
When a customer asks a question on Twitter, it is very easy and fast to answer them online. This shows them (and others) that you care about your clients. There is no calling the office, writing e-mails, or forms to fill out. This immediate action is a primary source of customer service.
4. Promote special events
Once your Twitter is up and running and you have established a network, you can use Twitter to advertise specials, sales, and events. It is a fast way to get the word out to your clients and it is effective. This saves you time and money and is a brilliant direct marketing tool, sure to bring you business.
Twitter is a powerful business tool. Contact NextStep Marketing, LLC and let the experts show you how to use Twitter to grow your business.
The consultative selling process is a sales technique where the salesperson and the potential client discuss the prospect's needs in order to find the best solutions for the prospective client. Together they come up with a plan to reach the goals that the prospect wants to accomplish. There are 6 key steps to follow in order to close the sale and win the client.
Shortly after the advent of the internet, social media usage of all types has exploded. Although many of the platforms are utilized for entertainment, the connections forged by the internet also have professional applications. Perhaps the most well-known professional network is LinkedIn, a site launched in 2003. Functioning as a dynamic log of professional achievements, work history, peer and supervisory endorsements, and professional contacts, LinkedIn is a powerful tool for both job searching and networking. Following are five interesting facts about the site LinkedIn.
1. LinkedIn is the largest professional network
With over 433 million registered members, LinkedIn boasts the largest network of professionals in the world. 128 million of the users are from the United States, but large numbers of users hail from around the world.
2. LinkedIn is global.
Not only does LinkedIn support 24 languages, but it hosts offices in over 30 countries worldwide, including China, the UK, Australia, Japan, India, and the Netherlands. The site provides geographic reach into over 200 countries.
3, LinkedIn is growing.
According to its newsroom statistics, approximately 2 new users are registering for LinkedIn every second. The registration rate is highest among recent college graduates and the student population. The company itself is growing accordingly; in 2012 the company hired just over 2,000 employees, a number that has more than quadrupled in the years since. Their total revenue advanced by 35% year-on-year, totaling $861 million.
4. LinkedIn is active.
Many users on LinkedIn are highly active members, with 35% accessing the site daily, and 42% updating their profile on a regular basis. Over a third of members pay for premium accounts, granting them larger profile headers, moving users to the top of search results, and allowing users to see who has viewed their profile within the past three months.
5. LinkedIn has a diverse membership demographic.
With 1 out of 3 professionals around the world holding registered memberships, LinkedIn reflects a variety of ages and incomes. While 13% of millennials use LinkedIn, 41% of millionaires have accounts. 1 in 20 accounts are held by recruiters, making LinkedIn a popular source of candidates for those seeking new hires.
Fast-growing and globally acknowledged, LinkedIn is a strong example of marketing success. Moreover, the site is a powerful resource for those seeking to reach an abundant population of working professionals. For information on LinkedIn facts and statistics, please contact us.
Every business needs to make themselves known, advertise, and generally, be creative to attract clients. In the business world, one mystical (and scary) term describes this process: marketing.
We all know our businesses need marketing, but how do we do market? Do we take ads out in the local paper, put up a webpage, and tell our friends? Maybe we should hand out fliers or mail brochures to likely customers.
All those are great ideas, but how do you know who your potential customers are? What do they need from your business? How do you convince them that they need your services?
Finding the answers to all these questions requires a marketing plan and a little research. Below are eight sure-fire steps to create a marketing plan, to implement it, and to monitor your success.
Step 1) Conducting Market Research
The first step, conducting market research, is the most daunting. You’re probably thinking: “What is that, and how do I do that?” In the simplest terms, you need to find out what other businesses similar to yours exist in your area. Searching on the internet is a great way to get a general idea for what competition exists in the area. Remember that the internet isn’t always 100% accurate or up to date, so we also want somewhere else to get more accurate information. The local library and city hall (websites and physical locations) should have records of local businesses, their locations, and how long they have been established. A little digging should also turn up which segments of the community they serve and their profit margins. Now we need to profile clients and identify your business’ unique difference: what products/services do you sell that others in the area do not?
Step 2) Profile Your Ideal Clients
Now we know which businesses serve which clients in town. By process of elimination, we can determine who the potential clients are, who is not being served, and which services/products they could use/enjoy. Think about which ages, professions, individuals, families, and ethnicities you want to target with your advertising. Who will your services/products benefit the most?
For example, let’s say you are opening a restaurant. Your town already has a pub and a pizza place that do not open until mid-afternoon, but nowhere serves breakfast or lunch. Knowing this, a mom and pop diner may go over well. If you open early, people could stop in for breakfast before work and/or come for lunch breaks. The retired portion of the community may also enjoy a place they can enjoy throughout the day for breakfast or lunch (or both), giving you a steady stream of business from early morning to the middle of the afternoon. Being open on the weekends would serve all segments of the population, maximizing business.
Step 3) Identify Your Unique Difference
Every business needs an angle to distinguish them from the competition. What is unique about your business? What services/products do you provide that similar businesses (your market) don’t?
Going back to our restaurant example, the town already has pub food, general alcohol consumption, and pizza covered. We already know that a general diner doing breakfast and lunch is a good idea, but what will make your diner unique. Do you have a theme in mind? Would a forties, fifties, or sixties theme work well? How about a Western, Rock and Roll, or Pop theme? Do you want to serve signature dishes like Mexican, Greek, or Bavarian? The choices are really endless.
The key here is to look at your business as a whole. Which unique strengths do you bring to the table? Does your customer service go above and beyond? Are your products made of better materials? Is your service package more comprehensive? Do you offer a life-time guarantee on products? Any of these can be a big, unique seller. The key is to figure out what works for you.
Step 4) Develop Your Business Brand
This step builds directly on the unique qualities of your business. Your brand will incorporate those unique qualities into any logos, advertisements, online presence, and literature produced.
For example, if we open a fifties diner, the logo may include a 1950s Cadillac and a chrome/red theme throughout the diner with a soda counter, ice cream station, as well as a jukebox. All of these combine to become your brand; your clientele will identify your diner with a nostalgic 1950s diner, ice cream, a soda counter, and good food. The diner’s logo could be a jukebox or a record player.
Incorporating something unique about your business into your logo, advertisements, and literature will provide an image and ideal that is memorable so that your clients can recognize your brand image on products, signs, and ads.
Step 5) Identifying Your Marketing/Social Channels
This step also requires a little research. We already know target client groups for our services/products, but how do we market to them? If you want to draw business from retired folks, where will a TV, online, or billboard ad reach them best? How about kids, families, young adults, or working parents? Always try to pick the appropriate type of advertisement marketed through the correct venue.
For example, our fifties diner is targeting retired folks for all day business, professionals/younger adults for breakfast and lunch, and families on the weekends. To reach the retired folks, consider advertising in places like the local senior center or the local newspaper. Ads at the YMCA could reach the entire community. An online ad on a social platform like Facebook or Twitter would likely reach young adults, professionals, and parents. Advertise at events like local fairs or the community center to attract families.
Always do some research to figure out what platforms you could advertise on like Facebook and Twitter as well as more traditional channels like newspapers, posters, and television ads. For products and services targeting a professional community, consider demonstrations at local businesses or product fairs.
Step 6) Build A Marketing Calendar
Now that we figured out how, who, and where to market, we need to know when. There are several factors to consider here. Are your products/services seasonal? If so, advertising before and during that particular season will be very important. All these coupons, ads, and signs need be drafted, prepared, and put up around normal business hours during your already busy life. A marketing calendar helps organize, prioritize, and establish realistic deadlines for getting all the advertising done.
Our fifties diner wants to keep the ice cream counter open later to draw extra business from kids and teens during the summer. To advertise this new service, make coupons available through the schools to the kids in the spring. In order for these coupons pass out these coupons on April 1st, make an entry on the marketing calendar to have the final coupon draft sent to the printer by March 5th with a delivery date to the schools of March 25th. This timeline gives reasonable preparation goals and reminds you to increase staffing on April 1st to accommodate the extra business.
Step 7) Set Your Goals and Budget
The timelines set up on your marketing calendar directly reflect many business and budget goals. Seasonal products/services directly affect production goals, advertisements to reach those goals, and budgeting for ads, staffing, and materials needed to reach those goals.
For example, increasing traffic at the ice cream counter over the summer months, reveals two goals: make the ice cream counter more visible and increase the profits from the ice cream counter. To reach these goals, allocate funds for printing the coupons, providing extra staff, and stocking extra ice cream.
Just like we need a marketing calendar to plan, to organize, and to implement advertising, we need to set goals for opening a business, keeping daily operations running, and achieving long-term business goals. These goals determine when and where to budget money for advertising and daily operations. Budgeting monitors financial assets and debts, allowing a business to avoid overspending and to have up-to-date financial information available.
Sometimes goal planning, marketing calendars, and budgets are too complicated or overwhelming to compile on your own. Many cost-effective tools and services exist to help organize and maintain a smoothly running business. Always be willing to seek advice, tools, or professional help from NextStep Marketing for guidance to keep your business running smoothly.
Step 8) Review and Monitor Results
Once goals, budgets, ads, and calendars are in place, do not be afraid to revise them as needed. In fact, keep your business on track by monitoring and revising these frequently to make sure we meet goals and finances are stable. Remember that even the best laid plans may fall through, so revision of plans is acceptable and often needed to avoid financial pit falls or to take advantage of a good business opportunity. Mistakes will happen, but treat them as learning opportunities. Remaining flexible and vigilant, keeps you alert and prepared in an ever-changing world.
Contact NextStep Marketing to help wade through these murky waters.
If you are ready to get the message about your product or service out in a bigger way, then you need to have a marketing strategy to accomplish this task. In order to keep it all organized and on a schedule that coincides with what you have going on at any given time, you need a marketing calendar. The importance of a marketing calendar should not be underestimated!
1. What is a marketing calendar?
Your marketing calendar is basically all of your strategies organized in such a way that what you plan on doing is assigned to a date and a person to execute that particular task. Think of it as a blueprint for your marketing success!
2. Elements of a marketing calendar
There are some basic things every marketing calendar should include in order to maximize its effectiveness: the name of the effort or project, the date or date range the effort will occur, the name of the person in charge and his/her contact information, the marketing team members who will be involved, and a space for notes and reminders concerning the task.
3. Building and using a marketing calendar
Once you have all of your marketing plans organized, meet with your marketing team to discuss the dates the efforts will take place. Think of the meeting as taking everyone's great ideas and putting them all on paper in one place. Assign dates to the marketing efforts. Then, assign staff members to oversee the tasks so they are executed on time and done correctly. Once you have it all organized, of course, it is important to adhere to the plans that are in place. The process of getting everything organized can be a bit overwhelming, depending on the size of your business, but in the long run it is well worth the time it takes to build a marketing calendar.
A marketing calendar will help with budgeting and getting your company's name out into the public in an organized and effective way. Perhaps the most helpful thing about a marketing calendar is, if done well, it makes the marketing process less stressful. Be sure to save your marketing calendar to use next year so you will have something to look back on and use when you begin work on next year's campaigns!
If you are ready to start working on your marketing calendar, or if you need assistance with any other aspects of your marketing, please contact us. We'd love to help you!
So, you are trying to market and sell a product or service that your company offers? It would benefit you, then, to learn how to build accurate customer personas - that is, learn who your ideal customer is and create a marketing strategy to target that specific audience. If you are not familiar with the process of creating a customer persona, don't worry. Here are 6 steps to building customer personas that will help you discover your ideal customer for more effective marketing.
1. Gather Information
You'll want as much information as you have available about your existing customer base. Who is buying your product? What are they saying about it? There are several methods of information-gathering: Look through your contacts database for tendencies in how customers react to your content; create a survey form on your website that will capture important information; interview customers over the phone or in person to find out what they like or dislike about your product or service. This first step is one of the most important, so take your time to do it right.
2. Find Out Your Persona's Basic Demographic Information
Whether on the phone, in person, or through a survey, you should have discovered each customer's demographic information: their race, gender, age, income, marital status, etc. In addition, you'll want to gather your persona's key company or business information, such as geographic location, company size, number of employees, markets served, and company type. Organize this data to highlight the most common demographics and direct your marketing campaign thusly.
3. Discover Your Persona's Motivation
Why is your persona buying your product or using your service? What do they want out of life? What drew them to your solution? What kind of pain are they experiencing? How did they find you? (Google, Bing, Email, Blog, etc.)This is important to find out so that you can advertise exactly how your company can help them achieve their goals.
4. Prepare for Conversations With Your Persona
You never want to be stumped by a customer. Write up a list of objections to your product or service that customers have had or might have so that you can more effectively address those concerns in conversations with prospective clients.
5. Create a Vernacular
You want to use language that your persona will understand. Make sure your marketing team understands how they should talk to your persona, including a general elevator pitch. This will ensure that everybody in your company is speaking to the customer the same way, and that your customer will comprehend your marketing message.
6. Give Your Persona a Name
A name can really help your marketing team visualize the customer that they're selling to. Something simple like "Construction Corey" can go a long way towards envisioning that ideal customer.
If you follow these 6 steps, you will be able to create a detailed and helpful customer persona. Feel free to contact us with any questions about creating a customer persona.
The modern consumer's short attention span and need for instant gratification are two big challenges that every business faces when building an online presence. If your business isn't showing up in the top three search results in Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, then you're leaving a lot of money on the table. People want to be able to find exactly what they're looking for right away, and you have to give them a compelling reason to click over to your website, as opposed to someone else's. Following the steps in this blog post will send you well on your way to attracting more leads and customers through local search.
1) Research Keywords
"Keywords" are how potential customers find your business online. Whey they go to a search engine such as Google to find an auto repair shop, for example, they might enter something like, "bmw repair shop raleigh" or "german auto repair shop." Even if no city name is included in the query, Google does a pretty good job of figuring out the user's location and will show local repair shops in the search results.
A quick and easy way to research what keywords may be of value to your business is to go to Google (https://www.google.com/) and start typing a relevant query. As you type, Google will "suggest" various keywords that other people have been using to find the same or similar information. These are the keywords that you want to make a note of for the purposes of optimizing your content and website.
2) Optimize Your Content & Site
The keywords that you found in Step 1 should be a starting point for optimizing your content and website. Depending on the nature of the keywords, you could use them as topics for articles or blog posts, or you could use them on strategic pages throughout your website.
In this context, optimization simply means that your keywords should be used in your content and on your website so that search engines can determine what your business is about and where it's located in order to help people find it easily. It's critical not to over-optimize, though, because Google sees that as an attempt to manipulate the search results in your favor. Consequently, your website may be penalized, and no one will be able to find your business using appropriate and logical keywords that can turn browsers into buyers. (You might end up ranking for some worthless keyword instead.)
3) Get Listed On Local Search Listings
The "big three" search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo!) have local listings that stand out from the regular search results. If you want to appear in their local listings, you have to sign up for an account with them and provide some information about your business.
That's not always enough, however. While your business might be in the database, it might not show up for popular keyword searches related to the type of business. You may need to work on getting reviews and ratings for your business before it gains the necessary clout to be ranked in the top three local listings. In addition to reviews, having active social profiles can help in this situation.
4) Optimize Your Social Profiles
Social profiles refer to your presence on various social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and others. The same keyword principles apply here as well. You might also wish to place ads on these platforms to get more exposure. Facebook in particular offers a very sophisticated targeting system whereby you can show ads not only to people in your geographic area, but also to people who have certain interests. The level of detail is such that you can show ads to people who have read a particular book recently.
YouTube is another option. While it's not a social network per se, it does have a social element in that people can post comments on videos. Having a YouTube channel and optimizing your video titles and descriptions with your keywords (one keyword per video) will also help you get more visibility in Google search results.
5) Go Mobile
Internet-enabled smartphones and other devices are now ubiquitous. Many people have gotten rid of their bulky desktop computers in favor of doing everything on their tablets and phones. One negative consequence of this is that many websites were never designed to look good or work properly when visited through a mobile device.
If someone finds your nicely optimized website in Google and clicks on a link to go there, only to find out that they can't see or do anything because your site looks messed up, then they're going to leave. The solution to this problem used to be to have two separate versions of a website: one for desktops and laptops, and another for mobile phones. Today, the buzzword is "responsive design," which allows you to have one design that changes its appearance according to the device on which it's being viewed. Failing to use a responsive design may cost you a lot of money due to missed revenue opportunities.
6) Monitor & Analyze Results
In order to learn what's working in your business and what's not, it's crucial to have some way of collecting and analyzing website traffic data. Ideally, you'd like to know which third-party websites (e.g., Facebook) and keyword searches are bringing you the most traffic, which pages on your website are the most and least popular, and which of your marketing efforts are actually leading to conversions (sales, sign-ups, etc.).
There are several options for accomplishing this goal, but those solutions are beyond the scope of this discussion. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you in getting more leads and customers through online marketing and the 6 steps to improving local search.