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4 Digital Marketing Trends That Small Businesses should invest in for 2019

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As a marketer, I get it. Our time is precious and it is usually split between various efforts that range from customer acquisition to budget management.

However, I’ll never forget what a coach told me: a business without customers (or clients in my case) isn’t a business. It’s a hobby.

Initially, that was a hard pill to struggle but now serves as inspiration for the moments when I want to become laxed with my marketing efforts.

With that said, I’d like to highlight 4 digital marketing trends that you should keep top of mind as you plan for 2019. Some of these may already be in rotation, but if they aren’t, do your research and decide if it fits your business marketing model.

1) Chatbots

If you are in the retail space, then I recommend that you look into chatbots. Chatbots are similar to instant messaging, which allow you to interact directly with your customers to find out how you can help them.

Many customers actually prefer to interact via chatbot because they are responsive, more personalized and use artificial intelligence to keep track of the buying history (usually via chat archiving).

The majority of my clients already have chatbots installed on their websites and so far, my favorites are Zendesk and Tidio. Be sure to do your research and ensure that integrations are available between your website host and the chatbox.

Examples of businesses who have Chatbots:

AllDemShades

Mel Sharell Paper & Company

Why this matters: With 1.4 billion people interacting with chatbots, 80% of savvy businesses are already using or plan to use chatbots by 2020. Don’t get left behind!

2) Influencer Marketing

Think about the latest product you tried. How did you find out about it? Did you google it or did someone tell you about it? If the answer is the latter, then you can classify that as influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing is a type of word-of-mouth marketing that focuses on using key leaders (i.e. influencers or ambassadors) to drive your brand’s message to the larger market. As such, instead of traditional marketing that may come directly from your business, you instead pay an influencer to promote your product or service for you.

With more than 81% of people using the Internet to make purchases, it’s pretty clear that people are seeking some kind of proof or assurance that your product/service will be of good quality and/or a good experience, which is why we rely on what other people say about it. One of my clients, a travel-based startup, has been able to gain a large influx of customers due to influencer marketing.

Influencers include celebrities, Instagram or YouTube stars, well-known bloggers and journalists. These differ by industry so be sure to do your research before you reach out.

Examples of influencers include:

Tonya Rapley, Creator of My Fab Finance

Lita Lewis, Creator of ThickAthletics Apparel

3) Personalization

In a world full of automation, personalization feels like a taste of magic.

If you want to stand out in 2019, you need to personalize your marketing – and that means personalized content, products, emails and more.

This can be done in a variety of ways, but utilizing your data is key.

With your data, you can segment your subscriber list to send trigger emails which range from empty cart reminders to feedback requests after each purchase.

Personalization can also extend beyond email and into website optimization. For example, if you are running a social-based campaign, create a custom landing page that tells customers more about your offer that was originally promoted on social media. As a bonus, you can create custom tracking codes so you can measure how effective your promotion was.

Example of business who utilizes personalization:

Side Hustle Pro (she’s currently promoting her “Your First 1,000 Downloads” Masterclass)

Why this matters: 96% of marketers (including me!) believe that personalization advances customer relationships. Don’t get left behind!

4) Video Marketing

Video is a versatile and engaging content format that not only gives a real-life picture of what is going on, it’s also easy to share across multiple platforms. Consumers like it because it’s easy to digest, entertaining and engaging, and you, as business owners, should like it because it can give a potentially huge return on investment (ROI) through many channels.

One of my clients has been on the fence about doing Instagram stories weekly, but the numbers don’t lie. When we look at the top posts from the week, our videos receive the most engagement. As such, she has committed to “showing up” once a week.

A few ideas that make for great videos include:

  • How-to’s (great for products)
  • Behind the scenes footage (great for new launches)
  • Q & A sessions (great if you want to offer a new product or service; or make changes to an existing one)
  • Takeovers (great if you are a lifestyle brand – think Essence – and want to build buzz prior to an event)

You may feel pressured to go out and buy a bunch of equipment, but here’s my advice: don’t. Instead, pull out your phone/laptop and start there. Use video marketing to show your authenticity and personality. That’s what consumers are looking for anyway.

Popular video platforms include:

  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Facebook

Why this matters: 70% of consumers say that they have shared a brand’s video and 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions.

What are some of your predicted digital marketing trends for 2019? Comment below!

Advertising · Blogging · Campaigns · Content Marketing · E-Commerce · Marketing · Public Relations · Social Media · Uncategorized

Why You Should Consider Twitter Polls

When is the last time you’ve proudly been ahead of a trend? For me, it happened today!

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How to use Twitter Polls

If you aren’t aware, Twitter recently introduced the idea of a Twitter poll, which is basically a way for individuals and companies to collect the opinions of their followers anonymously (meaning, if you participate, your personal identifiable information (PII) remains anonymous).

I just want to reiterate that, for security reasons, all votes are private. You won’t see any PII but the poll data will continue to be public via Twitter until the poll is removed by you. Each poll can be live from 24 hours to 7 days and votes can only occur during that time. The only thing that will show are the percentages of each answer (I.e. 79% of voters like answer A and 21% like answer B). For example, if someone participates in a poll, you won’t see their Twitter name or anything associated with it. It’s completely anonymous.

The Twitter topics can vary from award nominations to potential pet names. In fact, I’ve been able to gain traction for my company as well as our clients – which means, it works for businesses, too!

Before I recommended this to my client, I decided to do a few test trials from my company’s Twitter account. Here’s a screenshot of one of our polls:

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Learn how to use Twitter Polls for your business.

Being that I also manage our social media strategy, I figured this would be a great opportunity to help set a content strategy. Needless to say, it not only helped me but it also helped others!

drum roll please

Our Twitter poll was featured on Twitter’s Business blog! Read the full article here.

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How to use Twitter polls for Business.

Have you participated in or created a Twitter poll? What best practices have you created?

Advertising · Blogging · Content Marketing · Digital · E-Commerce · Entrepreneurs · Marketing

11 Ways to Optimize LinkedIn for Business

Did you know that LinkedIn currently has more than 4 million businesses on its platform? That’s right – 4 million! More and more businesses are quickly gravitating to this professional networking platform. Why? Well, for starters, more than 380 million professionals are on it. That’s a whole lot of potential partners, customers, and buyers to whom you can promote your business.

Are you excited? Great! Are you unsure of where to start? Don’t worry – that’s why I’m here. I recently attended a webinar presented by Dave Kerpen of Likeable Local and he discussed 11 Ways to Optimize LinkedIn for your Business.

Let’s jump in!

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How to Optimize Your LinkedIn For Business

 

1. Customize Your Profile. Personal branding boosts your business. You can do this many ways, but some include:

  • Making a custom URL
  • Hyperlinking to your company page
  • Adding a professional profile picture and background photo.

Additionally, make sure that you incorporate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in your profile. This includes obtaining a list of keywords that prospects or clients would enter into LinkedIn or any other search engine. For example, my personal LinkedIn page mentions the keyword Marketing 14 times in the summary portion alone.  As a result, I was able to land my current position at Bixal!

Be sure to also include examples of your work – including presentations, art/graphics, videos, important links etc.

2. Publish Blog Posts. This is a great way to promote your brand. Start by thinking of a great headline before drafting the post. Some other tips include: finding/taking a compelling photo, closing a post with a strong call-to-action (this encourages comments), and sharing the post across all of your social channels.

Also, as you begin writing, keep word count in mind. A standard article has about 400-600 words. Be concise!

Lastly, drive your readers to a landing page on your website to learn more about you or your business. This strategy has worked really well for me. For example, this 600-word blog post on my personal site, once promoted on my social media accounts, earned me 15 new followers!

3. Share Updates: Personally and as a Business. 93% of Business-to-Business (B2B) marketers rate LinkedIn as a top B2B social media lead-generation source. It’s recommended that you update your status daily – at least once. Dave Kerpen of Likeable Local mentioned that the best times to post are weekdays between 7:00am-8:00am and 5:00 pm-6:00pm.

If you need ideas on what to post, consider photos, e-books, articles, videos, and any other content related to your industry and company.

4. Leverage LinkedIn Listening. Start by searching for keywords related to your company and read about what other people are saying.

5. Create LinkedIn Groups. Don’t just create one for your business. Create one that showcases your thought leadership. Make a group based on your expert area and post relevant content. Don’t forget to engage with members and link them to your company’s LinkedIn page and website.

6. Discover and Connect with Influencers. Follow the top influencers in your industry and listen to what they discuss. Engage with them by commenting on their posts and sharing their published content. When you feel comfortable, try messaging them and asking for a connection (make sure it’s an opportunity for both parties involved).

7. Recruit Amazing Talent. LinkedIn has made it easier for Recruiters, Small Business Owners and more to find amazing talent.  Search by your connections, location, industry and past companies. You can also utilize LinkedIn Premium to find new talent.

8. Advertise Strategically. LinkedIn ads are a great way to gain exposure. Know that you have the power to control associated costs. Be sure to target strategically with specific criteria: industry, job title, seniority, age, gender, location, skills, and group affiliation.

9. Create a Showcase Page. This serves as an extension of your company page. Use a Showcase Page to highlight certain products/services and share work examples.

10. Integrate Twitter and SlideShare. Increase your reach with integration. If you have presentations, you can share them directly to Linkedin from SlideShare. Also, you can add your Twitter profile to your LinkedIn in the edit profile section.

11. Connect Your Network. Plain and simple! Introduce people in your network to each other with the goal of building a community.

What are some other ways that you’ve optimized your LinkedIn profile? Comment below!

Advertising · Blogging · Branding · Campaigns · Content Marketing · E-Commerce · Entrepreneurs · Inspiration · Marketing · Public Relations · Publicity · Social Media · Strategy

Different Ways Brands Use Pinterest to Authentically Connect

Although it is still fairly new, plenty of companies have delved and completely excelled in the new social media channel of Pinterest. The online visual board has been predicted to grow measurably in the next few years. As such, brands all over the world are looking for ways to authentically connect with it’s current and potential consumers on the site.

As with any other social media channel, a well-thought out strategy is needed to excel. To assist you with this, I came across an article that details 5 ways a few brands have used Pinterest to authentically connect with fans.

Feel free to check it out here.

What tips and strategies have you implemented that have been successful on Pinterest?

Blogging · Branding · Campaigns · Content Marketing · Entrepreneurs · Marketing · Public Relations · Publicity · Social Media · Strategy · Uncategorized

Thrive with Content Marketing

Ever wonder how corporations like Proctor & Gamble and Disney managed to enter into the social scene and thrive? Well, they learned to embrace the art of content marketing.

A big part of my job involves content marketing. Perhaps, I should add that to my resume, I know it will receive major brownie points on my current employment search. I’ve always been a writer, and a creative soul…so in a sense, the task came…dare I say it…naturally.

However, I am aware that everyone is not a writer. Nor is everyone a creative person…and that’s where I come in!

By the end of this post, you will have a better idea of what content marketing is, as well as what it is NOT.

So, what is content marketing?

Wikipedia defines it as the creation and sharing of content – social media, blogs, white papers, case studies etc. –  in order to attract, acquire and engage clearly defined and understood current and potential consumer bases with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Simply stated, content marketing is mastering the art of connecting and communicating with current and potential consumers without selling to them.  Instead of pitching your products or services, strive instead to deliver information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if businesses deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward them with their business and loyalty.

Of course, content marketing requires a great deal of research, strategy and planning on the companies’ end. One thing that has helped me in the process was the creation of a content calendar. Not only have they helped me to keep our brand voice consistent, but it also helps me to get our messages across in a timely, entertaining yet knowledgable fashion.

The goal should be to get your audience to like you. If they like you, they are more likely to share your content (hello, brand ambassadors!) as well as become buyers of your product or service.

To effectively engage in content marketing, be sure that you are:

1. Creating relevant, quality content

2. Using the right language

3. Connecting with your target audience (as they say, everything is not for everybody)

4. Engaging in the right content platforms (blogs, facebook, twitter etc.)

Consumers are shying away from traditional advertising & marketing. However, you can still engage with your buyers by mastering the art of content marketing.

Below is an infographic that attests to the continued growth of content marketing.

What strategies do you incorporate into your content marketing strategy?