Driving Online and Foot Traffic

Many of you are local, brick and mortar businesses. You not only need to drive online traffic, but you need to drive foot traffic as well. Integrated online marketing strategy and direct marketing strategy is even more important. Now you should add mobile to that mix. We’ve talked a lot about relevant content. But how are you using this wonderful content you’re creating?

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Website

Most of the messages you create will go on your website. The core pages (homepage, services, about, contact) will be static, but you should also have a spot on the homepage that highlights news and promotions.

Make sure to list your website with Google Places and Yelp. These are popular sites people turn to find local businesses.

Direct Marketing

Any direct marketing mailings you use to generate sales should include messaging you have on your website. The promos, highlights, and especially keywords. Also include your website and social media urls.

Emails

Emails, like your other content, should be informative and relevant but more so here. Intermix blogs and articles combined with promotions. If you can, design your email so it mimics your website aesthetics. Make sure to include your physical address along with your website and social media urls.

Mobile

You should have a mobile website. The easiest way to do that is with responsive web design, otherwise you’ll have to create one. Mobile sites should use the same keywords you use on your desktop site. The difference is that your mobile site content is condensed. Make your contact info (phone number and address, even a map) easy to find.

Also make sure you claim your business on FourSquare. Include a description, your phone number, hours of operation, website, and services. To drive more foot traffic, include a special to attract people to stop by.

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Driving Social with Direct Marketing: Tips to Generate Leads

ID-100159299I don’t think any of us are surprised with the latest studies indicating that more and more people are using social media to find products and services. Entrepreneur reports that social media discovery is on the rise, up 25% from 2010.  The study conducted by Forrester Research also found that direct marketing is not dead. Companies are using direct marketing strategies to boost social media efforts.

This goes back to creating an integrated marketing strategy that includes direct marketing, social media, SEO, mobile, etc. Don’t just rely on one avenue of marketing to generate your sales.  I can’t stress enough the importance of creating an integrated marketing plan.  It’s far more efficient than previous strategies.

Here’s how to take create a direct marketing strategy that incorporates social media.

  • Include social media links in all emails
  • Include social media address in all direct marketing snail mail
  • Use the same messages for big campaigns in direct marketing efforts and social media
  • Host contests via social media and promote via direct marketing

Admittedly, marketing and reaching your consumers is difficult right now. Marketers need to create messaging across a variety of platforms to generate sales and leads.  The strategy of creating consistent messaging across all these platforms isn’t new. You just need to execute in such a way that increases conversions. To do that, you really need to know your consumer.

Using #Hashtags and Keywords to Generate Sales

Facebook made an announcement that the social network will start supporting #hashtags. Twitter and Google already support hashtags along with Instagram.  Hashtags are words or phrases preceded by the # symbol. They commonly are used to identify topics and trends.

Of course, businesses can use hashtags to generate sales. The first thing to understand is that hashtags are keywords. Consumers are using keywords as hashtags. When you post social media updates, use your keywords that you use in your SEO and digital marketing strategy. Use these keywords and phrases as hashtags when posting updates. Consumers use these hashtags to find what they’re looking for, which helps them find you.

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The second way to use hashtags to generate sales  is by setting up search feeds. Use social networking managers like Hootsuite to set up search feeds with hashtags. This shows you all posts using that hashtag. Based on the posts, you can reach out to those individuals. It’s a grassroots approach to generate sales.

Don’t be afraid of the power of keywords and hashtags. Consumers are using them. Now you can follow suite and use hashtags to generate sales.

Clear Message: Content that Generates Leads

ID-100128887You are one of many (unfortunately) providing consumers with your product or service. Competition in today’s market is fierce.  Consumers are more cautious with their all mighty dollar. Because of that, they take their time making decisions to buy products or use services.

When you take away all the fluff, you really have one thing: The message. If you want to generate leads and sales, you have to have the right messaging. We’ve talked about making a clear offer.  A clear offer is good, but your consumer may not convert right away, even with the clear offer.

Consumers research. Before they pick a company or product, they research the company (usually online first). They want the best quality for the cheapest price (usually). That gives SMBs the task of creating clear messaging that communicates quality and price over competitors.   You do this by:

  • Using keywords and phrases your consumers uses
  • Providing price comparisons
  • Providing reviews
  • Offering a free trial
  • Offering a money back guarantee
  • Stats and facts linked to the original source
  • Sited research

You can drive home this message and generate leads by combining your online marketing and direct marketing strategy. Post the content on your website. In your direct marketing piece, use a snippet from your website. Provide your phone number and your website so the consumer can either call you or visit your site. Remember to make sure the offer is clear.

Tone to Generate Sales

Tone. It’s not just the sound you hear. In marketing, it’s the tone of voice, your point of view in your marketing collateral. It makes a big difference when you’re trying to connect with your market. Your tone can increase or decrease your sales. It can generate leads or leave your ROI in the negative. Finding that tone is just as important as knowing your audience. Actually, knowing what your audience prefers is part of that consumer profile we told you about. It’s important that your consumers can relate to you. One way they can do that is with tone.

The Funny

For the majority of SMBs dealing with B2C, consumers prefer humor. Don’t try to tell a joke in your email or direct marketing pieces. Instead, find scenarios your consumers would find funny and somehow connect that idea to your services if it’s appropriate. Know your consumer’s core needs and try to find humor in those areas.

  • For lawyers, it could be a humorous interpretation of the the other side -mocking them for trying to take advantage of your services.
  • Doctors can play on beating illness with patients laughing

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Conversational

Most consumers want to feel like they can have a conversation with you. They want to know that you value them as a loyal customer. You can communicate that level of security with a conversational tone. Create messages using words like “you” and “we.”

Consistency

It’s really important that your company develops a consistent tone in all your marketing efforts. Use the same tone you use online in your direct marketing strategy. This will boost brand recognition. Don’t be afraid to use the same language and phrasing in both online and direct marketing collateral.

The Giveaway—Generating Leads with the Word “Free”

Generate leads with the word freeThere is one word that everyone loves. If someone tells you they don’t like this word, they aren’t being honest. The word is FREE. Giveaways help companies attract consumers by allowing them to sample your products and services.

Consumers are tighter with their dollar, but they still have high expectations. You are competing against a larger pool of companies offering the same products and services. Chances are, your competition is already offering something for free. Those companies are generating leads and most likely converting those leads into sales.

Every time you do a giveaway, you are collecting contact information. That information should go into a database. With that, you can create messaging and marketing material to generate sales from those leads.

Giveaways can include:

  • Sample product
  • Promotional material
  • Ebooks
  • Consultations
  • Services (minor services that won’t hurt your bottom line)

You don’t want to give away your most costly product or service. Look at your profit margin and pick something that doesn’t cost you too much to produce or complete.

Consultations are popular. Clients don’t want to hire someone and pay for a consult and then get the product or service. They want to know what you’re going to do before they hire you.

Ebooks are also in demand. People want information. They want to know that you are in fact an expert in your field and if your products or services are actually a good fit.

Once you’ve decided on a giveaway, get the word out with your direct marketing strategy, online marketing messaging, and word of mouth.

Using Direct Marketing in a Penguin 2.0 World

Last week, Google fulfilled a promise they made earlier. In that video, Matt Cutts warned that Google was going to release a Penguin update, Penguin 2.0.

Google released Penguin 2.0 on May 22, 2013.  Some websites may see a decrease in traffic if they participate in black hat practices. Keyword stuffing, misleading advertising, and violating Google’s quality standards may trigger penalties from Google.

Google’s Penguin 2.0 is the perfect reminder to not solely rely on the web to generate sales. Lawyers, doctors, and brick and mortars need integrated marketing strategies. Don’t forget direct marketing. No, it’s not dead. If anything, combined with online marketing, companies can generate even more leads than they have in the past. How? Start by downloading the 20 Tips to Success. Understanding your brand, your consumer, and generating a marketing plan that translates to online and offline strategies will create a unified brand experience. If someone sees your direct marketing piece, they’ll most likely go online and research your company before converting. You want to convey the same messages online and offline so your consumer remembers to convert.

So just because Google released Penguin 2.0 and you saw a dip in traffic doesn’t mean you still can’t generate leads. You just have to use both online and offline marketing strategies.