How to Double Your Sales and Build Loyalty With Customers

How to Double Your Sales and Build Loyalty With Customers

When you own an online store, getting new customers is an ongoing challenge. You may want to double your sales, but you are constantly trying new things to raise awareness about your store and your amazing products.

But — the things you try aren’t working like you thought they would.

You aren’t getting the interactions on Facebook that you hoped you’d get, your site traffic isn’t climbing, and sales are staying stagnant…

So what do you do?

We’re going to walk you through the steps we use with every one of our clients to help them double their sales and build loyalty with their customers using proven techniques that address every aspect of their marketing. By the time you are done reading, you’ll know exactly how to double your sales for your store and keep customers coming back for more.

double your sales discovery session booking link

Step #1: Plan for Sustainable Growth to Double Your Sales

Predictable and sustainable growth is the holy grail of any business. Can you imagine what it would be like if you could count on a certain amount of growth from one month to the next — how would that change your business?

The model that we recommend using to get you to that point is called the Growth Triad. As you can guess, it has three parts. As we start working with each of our clients, one of the first things we do is assess the three areas and then work to fill in the gaps.

Documented Strategy

Many business owners fall victim to something called “shiny object syndrome” — they constantly find and think of new things to do to help their business grow. So they jump in and make things happen and hope for the best.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work out in their favor. Random acts of marketing rarely get the results you want — and definitely won’t double your sales. On the rare occasion that you do land on something, it’s often impossible to replicate again with the same success.

That’s why we recommend documenting your strategy before you start executing. When you have a plan for what you’re doing before you start out, it’s much easier to predict and track what’s going to happen.

Tools and Tactics

You will also require specific tools and proven tactics to help you execute your strategy.

This could include tools like:

  • Landing Page Builder
  • CRM – Customer Relationship Management Software
  • Email Automation Software
  • Social Publishing and Monitoring Software
  • Graphic Design Software
  • Video Recording/Editing Software
  • Search Engine Optimization Software

Proven tactics can be anything that you’ve done previously with success or things that you hire an expert (like us) to implement for you.

Actionable Metrics

It’s important not to concentrate on vanity metrics. Vanity metrics are the stats that people seem to focus on because they seem like they should be important — but ultimately, they don’t have a direct impact on the results you’re trying to achieve.

For example, most people focus on things like website traffic and views on a social media post. Those metrics aren’t a great indicator of success.

Instead, if you want to double your sales, you should focus on metrics you can actively impact and that are measurable. For most initiatives, you will want to track a mix of lead and lag metrics.

  • Lag metrics are the numbers that happen after success or failure. These are things like revenue, profit, quality, and customer satisfaction. They tell you how you did, but only after you’ve already done it.
  • Lead metrics are the things you can impact along the way. For example, if you are trying to increase sales by the end of the month (lag metric), and you know that posting daily on your Facebook page will get the sales you need, then your lead metric would be the number of posts per day on your FB page.

Step #2: Know Your Customers

Next, you will want to really get to know your customers. Most people focus on overarching demographics like age, marital status, homeownership, income, familial relationships, etc.

Knowing those things is good, but the most important part of your customer avatar is their story — their motivators, fears, inspirations, and goals.

A customer avatar is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. To create a complete customer avatar, you’ll want to identify the following:

  • Their goals and values — what do they want to achieve, and what do they consider to be important values?
  • Where they get their information — books, magazines, blogs, conferences, gurus, and other sources of info.
  • Their demographic information — name, age, gender, marital status, number of children, and location.
  • Any challenges and pain points — the things that are holding them back and how they feel about those things.
  • Their objections and their role — do they have the authority to hire you, and if so, why wouldn’t they want to?

Once you have a firm understanding of where they are now in their life, you can help communicate to them where they can go if they buy your products. We use a simple tool called a Before and After Grid to help us map this out for your target customers.

The Before and After Grid documents their journey from before having your product to after they’ve purchased your product. This handy tool helps us clarify the marketing messages that will resonate with your audience.

The Before and After Grid includes:

  • What They Have — the things they physically have before and after buying your product.
  • How They Feel — the way they feel with and without your product.
  • What Their Day is Like — what their average day looks like with and without your product.
  • Their Status — how they think about themselves before and after buying your product.
  • Good vs Evil — the evil is what’s plaguing them before they purchase and the good is what’s created in their life after they purchase.

We’ll have the language we need to help them understand how a purchase will transform their lives from where they are now to where they want to be.

Step #3: Plan their Journey

The customer value journey is a framework that helps us understand how to build loyalty with customers (allowing you to double your sales). It’s about understanding what moves your customers along the customer value journey from the first time they buy from you to the time they buy from you again and again. It is with this framework that we turn complete strangers into raving fans in any business.

The customer value journey is about more than just digital marketing. It’s about bridging human relationships with the entire customer experience. This includes everything from the first time a total stranger encounters your brand to the time they go to make a purchase, leave a review, and send you referrals.

The Customer Value Journey

First, we need to get to the bottom of how the customer value journey is different from marketing. Most marketers today think in terms of platforms, tactics, or activities. This makes sense because their focus is on making the most of the available resources to create more conversions. It also means their focus is on growing the top line, increasing profits, and increasing shareholder value.

But this is not the entire picture. A brand can give customers a great experience across all the touchpoints between awareness through purchase, and then to reviews and referrals.

But first, it is important to look at this journey as a human-to-human relationship. There is a sequence that must be followed. Think of it like dating. Many digital marketers try to do too much on the first encounter with a stranger. They try to sell them something too fast. This is the equivalent of asking,

“So, I was thinking… On our first date, while we are having our coffee, why don’t we determine how many kids we are going to have and pick out their names?”

Definitely not the best first impression, and I imagine you won’t get very many dates (i.e. conversions), if any. Marketers and brands do this every day, and then think that online marketing doesn’t work at all. The sequence is important. We go into this in great detail during our half-day program HowTo.Strategize: The Digital Foundations Bootcamp.

Understanding the Customer Value Journey

As an entrepreneur, you are always looking for ways to cut costs, but also double your sales. At any given moment, there are probably thousands of things you could do to cut costs and increase revenue. Maybe you could run fewer ads or use lower-quality landing pages. Maybe you could implement a cheaper SEO campaign. But as a small business owner, you should look at the largest opportunities that can offer the highest return on investment.

One of those opportunities is the customer value journey. It’s the proven framework used by thousands of companies that helps you understand how to build loyalty from scratch. What Is the Customer Value Journey? You can think of the customer value journey as a roadmap to understand how and why your customers engage with your business and how to make the relationship more valuable to you and your customers.

The Customer Value Journey Map

double your sales with the customer value journey

This framework was designed by the world-class digital marketing training company, DigitalMarketer in Austin, Tx.

DigitalMarketer’s Customer Value Journey Framework is an eight-stage customer journey that thousands of companies, including several Fortune 100 companies, use as a guide to build their marketing strategies. It will help you identify what actions to take at each stage and when so that the content and campaigns are based on a cohesive strategy. The Customer Value Journey Map lays out the journey a customer takes from stranger to raving fan, through the lens of a business’s digital marketing channels. Once you master this, you can definitely double your sales — often!

We will start with the way a stranger finds out about your brand and finish with that same customer telling all of their family and friends or colleagues about your services.

Awareness

  • This one is obvious. Prospective customers need to learn about you and your products, so they know you exist. Prospects find out about you through organic or paid search. We will discuss the 4 best ways more in the next section, but for now, this is typically where most businesses wrongly stop marketing and immediately start selling.

Engage

  • This stage is all about them showing interest in you — interacting with social posts, reading blog articles, etc. When someone finds you, what is the first thing you want to show them? This is called content marketing and it is much different from selling. Sales come later. This is about building enough trust and credibility that they take a real look at you.

Subscribe

  • Notice we haven’t started talking about selling anyone anything yet? This stage is basically asking someone for their digits. You know, not literally. Once trust has begun to build, you can ask for a small commitment like giving you their contact information in exchange for something valuable like a webinar, free samples, or downloadable guides/checklists/books. Maybe even an e-book or a mini-course.

What is the cornerstone of our Customer Value Journey Framework?

    • Creating great landing pages, building valuable lead magnets, and keeping your new subscribers engaged. These elements make up the “Subscribe Stage” of our 8-stage, 1-page digital marketing strategy.
    • The subscribe stage could be the most important step in your marketing strategy, especially to double your sales. This is the third stage of the CVJ and it typically consists of 3 main components:
  1. The Opt-in
  2. The Lead Magnet
  3. The Introductory Email Drip Sequence
  • The opt-in is the point of conversion. This could be by way of a web landing page, chatbot, or text message opt-in form. The lead magnet can be any valuable content you are willing to give in exchange for permission to follow up with your new subscriber. An introductory email drip sequence should try to re-engage and start connecting with these prospects as quickly as possible, so they know, like, and trust you more before expecting them to buy from you on their own accord.
  • The most important thing is that you have something valuable for the person for giving their email address (lead magnet) and they are captivated by what you have to offer enough to give up an email in exchange.
  • A great landing page will also encourage prospects to take the next step: getting them on your list or newsletter as well! This can be done with social buttons like “Get Offer Now”, which allows people who want more content from you to automatically subscribe when signing in to one of our platforms. It could also be encouraging visitors to sign-up with exclusive offers, early access deals, discounts–whatever it takes. The more people decide to take advantage of these offers, the great chance you have to double your sales!

Convert

  • We’ve made it… After a few phone calls, we finally got the “first date”! Ok, in the digital marketing world, those “phone calls” are probably just a series of emails to build more trust, but in each one, the goal was to lead someone to make a commitment to you. This is their first investment of either money or time. You can do this with a high-value, low-risk entry-point offer Some folks call this the tripwire, others a loss-leader. We call it a conversion. As soon as someone takes this step, the whole relationship changes. This stage could be a low-dollar offer or a workshop. Now, what do we say on the “date”?

Excite

  • Now that they’ve made their initial investment with you, it’s time to get them excited about working with you. We are on stage 5 of 8, and we still haven’t sold this person our core offer yet. However, this is the stage where the magic happens… This magic is called the “AH-HA Moment”. The goal of the last stage was to get a commitment, so we can take our offer from a nice-to-have to a must-have and deliver this ah-ha moment that makes people say,

“SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!”

Ascend

  • Finally! 6 stages into this process, and we can talk all about customers buying our core offerings. What took so long? At this stage, you are aiming for repeat purchases and larger purchases. You want to move them from the initial purchase up the ladder to being a loyal customer. It takes time to earn trust, and get people to know, like, and trust you enough that they are willing to become a customer. This is where we look at ways to additionally maximize our offers to include cross-sells, upsells, and retention-based deals like subscriptions or retainers.

Advocate

  • Do you look at online reviews when you travel, go out to eat, or need services for your car or home? Just about everyone does. Nothing says a business is good like a testimonial or an online review. Customers in this stage will happily give testimonials and make referrals when they are asked. There are some great software tools out on the market that can make the review collection and reputation management process a breeze. We know because we own and market a product that does this well. Typically, if you don’t want to spend money on a fancy digital tool, you could just ask people verbally for them to write a review. But are you really going to follow up?

Promote

  • No deal is easier to close than a warm referral. Who is sending you new customers? Networking is great, but if you can get existing customers to refer new customers to you, you’ll easily be able to double your sales. Better yet? Put a system in place to incentivize people to tell others. These customers are happy and will enthusiastically recommend you to others without being asked. Secret strategy? Stickers and T-shirts are magical. By the way, in 2021, face masks are the new t-shirt!

The Big 4 — How Do Strangers Find You Online

The awareness stage of the Customer Value Journey is made up of four traffic generating places our friends at DigitalMarketer.com refer to as “The Big 4”. They are:

  1. Google Ads
  2. Facebook
  3. Instagram
  4. YouTube

Probably no coincidence that this list is actually just 2 companies since Facebook owns Instagram and YouTube is owned by Google.

Fun Fact: The world’s 2nd largest search engine is YouTube, so Google owns the top 2 search engines on the planet!

How to Turn Your Fans and Followers into Paying Customers (and thus double your sales!)

You’ve got a big following on social media.

So what?

Unless those followers are paying you for products or services, they don’t mean much. It seems more of a “Vanity Metric”. I’m not saying that social media followers aren’t important in some ways. Having a lot of followers sends a signal to potential customers that you have a popular brand. It can help you get more traffic and attention.

That said, sales and profits are the names of the game. If those followers aren’t buying from you, they’re not doing anything for you in real terms… and they certainly won’t help you double your sales.

The solution? Take those fans and followers and convert them into paying customers. Here’s what to do.

Get to Know Your Audience

As the owner of a small or medium-sized business, you may not have given a lot of thought to what makes your customers tick. And yet, customer analysis is the key to turning casual fans and followers into customers.

Creating a detailed customer persona can help you understand your audience. Your persona should include:

  • Demographic information, including the age, gender, educational background, and income of your ideal customer
  • Psychographic information, including what your ideal customer likes and dislikes, and most importantly, the pain points that led them to look for your product or service.

I should point out that you will likely need more than one customer persona depending on what your business is. For example, if you sell products for both children and adults, you might need a Parent Persona and a separate Adult Persona for people without children.

Provide Value to Your Target Customers

Once you know who your target customers are, your next mission is to give them what they want. Here, I’m talking about entertaining and ACTIONABLE content that provides tangible value to the people you want to convert.

In other words, be generous with your knowledge. It doesn’t matter what your business is, you know it better than anybody else. Give some thought to what brings your customers to you — and what would convince them that your product or service is the best option to solve their problems.

You can provide value in a variety of ways. Here are some examples:

  1. Write blog posts that address common questions and offer real solutions.
  2. Do a live Q & A on social media.
  3. Create a lead magnet that demonstrates your authority and provides a solution to a common problem.

Regardless of the type of content you create, your goal should be to make it immediately and undeniably useful to the people you most want to reach.

Interact with Your Followers and Fans

Having a large following is one thing, but ultimately, we all want to feel valued. Your job as a business owner is to make your fans and followers understand that you value them and care about them.

The answer is communication. That can mean a lot of different things, but here are some effective tactics that have been proven to work.

  • Ask your followers’ opinions and use the responses to focus your content on their needs.
  • Integrate your social media with your customer service, empowering your employees to respond to questions and complaints quickly.
  • Create a chatbot to provide immediate help when someone messages you or visits your website.
  • Create a lead-nurturing email sequence to inform subscribers about your product and give them an incentive to buy it.

Ultimately, consumers want to feel that the companies they buy from care about them and want their business. Without communication, you can’t demonstrate the importance of your customers… and you can’t double your sales!

What is Chatbot Marketing

Another way we’ve acquired new opt-ins is through chatbots. What is a chatbot? Great question. Chatbots are an automated chat service that can answer questions, process orders, and provide other valuable information, like lead magnets. They are an important part of the future as they will be able to handle customer communications 24 hours a day with no break!

Chatbots are a relatively new way to collect user information without sending them to another page. The most common form of chatbot is through Facebook Messenger. You can use a service like Manychat and when people comment on a post or click on an ad, you can have your chatbot begin a conversation with that person, offer your lead magnet, and add the user’s email to your email provider. This will kick off your drip sequence.

What is an Email Drip Sequence?

The intro drip sequence needs to be designed to re-engage prospects who might have dropped off down the funnel and get them back in contact with our brand. Different emails can offer different benefits: for example, we could send a content-rich article about building prospect relationships or an exclusive discount code that new subscribers can use as soon as they sign up with us! This is also where you introduce yourself–“Who are you? How will this relationship work? What do I need from you? Why should I trust you? How often will I hear from you again?”

Curate Content

Do you know that feeling when you walk into a store and a salesperson pounces on you before you have time to draw a breath? Very few of us enjoy that feeling, and the chances are good that your customers don’t, either.

While your social media content can and should focus on what you and your products can do for potential customers, it’s important to keep the direct sales pitches to a minimum (even though you want to double your sales). The solution? Curating content from other sources.

Content curation means pulling content from:

  • Industry-relevant publications
  • Influencers
  • News sites
  • Social media pages from other companies (just don’t share things from your competitors!)

Make sure that the content you choose to share is highly relevant to the people in your target audience. While there’s nothing wrong with (occasionally) sharing content without adding anything to it, I think the best way to curate content is to add your take on it before posting.

Here’s a quick example. Say you own a gym and you find an article about the health benefits of exercise. If the article left anything out, you could mention it in your post. Or, you could elaborate on something that’s in the post to add your own take on it.

It’s a good rule of thumb that no more than 20% of your social media content should be direct sales pitches. The remaining 80% should offer value, information, and entertainment.

Use Retargeting to Double Your Sales

Retargeting is one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising because it focuses on people who are already engaged with your business and interested in your products.

By using a Facebook pixel, for example, you can target people on Facebook who have:

  • Visited your website or read your blog
  • Put items into their cart without checking out
  • Followed you on Facebook or Instagram
  • Clicked an ad

You probably know the statistic that says it can take between five and seven “touches” from a brand or company before conversion. The more often you can get your name and products in front of people, the more likely it is that they’ll eventually become customers. It’s a numbers game and retargeting can help you win it. I’ve focused here on Facebook retargeting, but you can also retarget on Google – something to keep in mind.

Remember, your social media followers are following you for a reason. They are interested in you and your company. It’s up to you to give them a reason to take the next step and become customers – and the tips I’ve listed here will help you to accomplish that goal, plus double your sales.

Step #4: Get the Support You Need

All of these steps seem fairly straightforward and easy to follow — but like most things, there’s a learning curve.

You can try to implement everything we’ve discussed here on your own, or you could skip the learning curve and move straight to doubling your sales and getting the sustainable and scalable business you want.

For years, we’ve been working with businesses and brands to help them with their online marketing efforts. We have seen firsthand the struggles that website owners go through when trying to find ways to generate more leads. We’ve also seen a common pitfall that many of them have when building their campaigns – they simply don’t know how to create great landing pages, build valuable lead magnets, and keep subscribers engaged.

Don’t take our word for it — download our case study and see how we generated 96 new leads and 18 sales in just 24 hours with Facebook Messenger Marketing Chatbots.

After reading, we’re sure that you’ll want results like those for your business and we look forward to talking to you.

Conclusion

The customer journey is one of the most misunderstood frameworks in the marketing and business world. What it isn’t is simple or simplistic. Using this framework, you can turn what seems like a weak business into a leader that is truly making an impact on customers. Creating value for your customers isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Once you start to understand your customers’ needs, you can tailor your products and services to be exactly what they want. You can focus on delivering value to your customers by making them part of the story you tell about your brand. In doing so, your customer loyalty (and bank account) will blossom!

I hope this blog post has helped solidify some insights into how we create great landing pages that generate quality leads to double your sales through our CVJ framework!

If you would like more information about how the CVJ can be used for your business, please contact us. As a Certified Partner Agency of DigitalMarketer, we can help you build your Customer Value Journey as it applies to your specific company.

double your sales discovery workshop

*EXCLUSIVE LIVE WEBINAR* — Make your social media vision 20/20 in 2020 with the L.E.N.S. Method

*EXCLUSIVE LIVE WEBINAR* — Make your social media vision 20/20 in 2020 with the L.E.N.S. Method

Develop a crystal clear 20/20 vision for your social media with the L.E.N.S. Method during our webinar.

On Tuesday, March 17th at 15:00 EDT, JVI Mobile Marketing is hosting an exclusive live webinar for small businesses.

Here's what you'll learn when you register for just $27.00…

What Social Networks Should I Even Be On?

Many small business owners don't even know what networks to post to, how to use them, or if they are even relevant to their industry and customers.

When Should I Be Posting?

The best times/days to post (Here's a hint: other things are more important).

How To Tap Into An Endless Supply Of Great Content

Don't ever get stuck wondering how you are going to come up with content again! We will show you some great places to find amazing, relevant content to post and how to schedule it all!

How To Save Time With Automation

One of our clients saves nearly 20 hours per week by delegating a task and automating it using a really neat software tool.

What Should I Be Posting About? (The Million Dollar Formula)

You will learn that you not only have been posting the wrong things too often but what to post about instead that will drive your engagement through the roof!

How To Create Eye-Catching Images… Without Photoshop

Learn about the simple tool we use to create compelling, eye-catching images in any size for any platform in just a few minutes!

There are only 100 spots for this webinar, so they are guaranteed to fill up quickly. Make sure you sign up today and arrive on time so you can lock in your spot for this extremely valuable webinar!

Who's Hosting This Webinar?

Jay Vics, webinar presenter
CEO/Founder of JVI Mobile Marketing, Jay Vics

Jay Vics is a "Serial Entrepreneur". Sometimes a new idea will wake him up at midnight and until he draws out the steps necessary to bring it to life on paper, he cannot fall back to sleep.

He has worked in the fields of web development, sales and marketing, and business development for his 20-year career.

Additionally, Jay has landed coverage in print and broadcast outlets around the world, including USA Today, Fox, CBS, NBS, ABC, and more.

He is married and is the proud dad of his daughter and also "dog father" of two amazing pups. He enjoys the occasional escape from small-town living to visit some city life.

He's looking forward to teaching you everything you need to know about social media on March 17th at 3:00 EDT. See you at the webinar!

What are Messenger Bots, and Why Do Local Businesses Need Them?

What are Messenger Bots, and Why Do Local Businesses Need Them?

Messenger bots have been taking the online marketing world by storm for years now. But what are they? And does your local business really need them?

Messenger bots are robots that can carry on a conversation with a customer. They interact with them just as an actual human being would. They can handle small customer service tasks, process payments, book reservations, and more. Online users are already becoming familiar with these types of bots every day. They appear on so many websites in the form of chatbots that pop up when a user lands on the site.

Messenger Bots

Messenger bots are different than these chatbots though. This is because they don’t appear on websites but instead, inside messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger. Facebook is the largest of the messenger bot market. They are also in Twitter, WhatsApp, and more.

Whenever a customer wants to message your business through these apps, the messenger bot will appear. The customer will then subscribe to speak to the bot. If your local business doesn’t currently have one, you could be missing out.

The biggest reason for this is just that – so many local businesses are using them! And that includes your competitors that may be just down the street, or just around the corner. If you’re not, and the competition is, customers may decide to leave your company when they can’t get a hold of you right away, but there is always someone (or something) to talk to them at the competitor.

Local businesses that don’t begin using messenger bots now are simply going to be left behind. It’s said that by the year 2020, and that’s not too far off, 85 percent of business to customer interactions will be done with no human interaction at all. At that time, there’s no telling just what messenger bots will look like, interact like, and what other advancements will be made.

Local business will do much better getting in on this trend now instead of finding out too far down the road that they waited too long.

Want to chat with us?

Messenger Bots for the local business

Instagram and Influencer Trends That Can Help Your Business Drive Engagement

Instagram and Influencer Trends That Can Help Your Business Drive Engagement

three gadget of tablet, laptop, and smartphone showing three popular social media apps like facebook, whatsapp, and instagram

Instagram is often overlooked as a social media platform due to its nature being entirely ‘images’ based. However, this fact alone is what makes Instagram very powerful – it allows you to convey much more emotion and to really make a product or a lifestyle look desirable.

Not only that, but Instagram is the second largest social network behind Facebook. That’s a pretty impressive stat, so you really shouldn’t leave it out of your plans!

In 2018, expect more small businesses than ever to jump aboard the Instagram marketing train. The eye-catching format is easy to use, and provides businesses with tools to keep their audiences engaged and informed.

New features and toolsets, like Instagram Stories, have also expanded what the platform can do for small business owners. Thanks to Instagram’s powerful advertising tools, evolving features, and highly active audiences, small businesses can use the platform to make big gains.

To help your business prepare its digital marketing strategy for the year ahead, take note of the following Instagram and influencer marketing trends that have nearly every small business owner saying, “Oh, that’s Insta-worthy!”

More Small Businesses Using Instagram Marketing

Small businesses have driven huge growth on Instagram. This includes growth of both unpaid organic account posts and paid advertising use.

According to Forbes, Instagram now has over 8 million business profiles. The platform saw 500% growth in the number of business accounts in just a few months last year.

Instagram execs credit the majority of this growth to small business users. Setting up an account is easy, and it’s also just as simple to begin using paid advertising tools to promote posts.

Why are small businesses drawn to Instagram? Because huge audiences login every day, often several times a day. There were over 500 million monthly Instagram users and 300 million daily active users around this time last year.

Now, with the advent of features like Instagram Stories, that number has likely soared even higher.

Businesses can therefore use Instagram to get huge reach for their campaigns or fulfill brand awareness goals with just a little bit of effort.

Influencer Marketing Benefits for Small Businesses Stack Up

digital generated devices on desktop, with responsive design influencer marketing profile on screen. all screen graphics are made up.

Big brands aren’t the only ones who use influencers to achieve marketing goals anymore. The ability for social media personalities to drive engagement and direct attention can benefit small businesses, too.

According to a recent study, 94% of marketers from a range of company sizes found that influencer marketing programs are successful.

Because influencers can pique their audience’s interests and motivate action, campaign goals like conversions or product awareness become much easier to achieve. Twitter claims that just under half of social media users trust recommendations and product reviews posted by influencers.

That power likely explains why some business owners found that influencer marketing generates 11 times greater ROI than other digital marketing channels.

Micro-Influencers Take on Huge Importance with Small Audiences

Some influencers with a million plus followers like Michelle Phan have taken on celebrity status. They get invited to red carpet events and appear on mass broadcast TV ads.

As these average people become megastars, a clear distinction emerges between them and other influencers. Marketing experts have begun to split influencer types into multiple categories as a result.

“Macro-influencers” like Phan, Kim Kardashian and King Bach have millions of followers and a huge range of topics they cover. “Micro-influencers” have a small following of a few hundred to a few thousand people but often follow a much more niche focus.

Small businesses have realized that micro-influencers are not only cheaper to work with, but they also drive campaign goals more effectively. Micro-influencers have this power because their audience feels stronger connections and finds the content posted more directly relevant to their interests.

You can see this connection in micro-influencer engagement rates. Influencers with less than 1,000 followers can engage 8% of their audience on average, while influencers 10 million+ followers only get “likes” from 1.6% of their audience, and an even lower frequency of comments and shares.

Put simply: small business owners can work with micro-influencers to connect more authentically to audiences and drive more consistent action.

Instagram Stories and Live Video Make Engagement a Daily Affair

tablet with an instagram photo on the screen

Most brands generally avoid posting on Instagram more than twice a day, except for on special occasions. Their reasons include diminishing returns and a fear of oversaturating their audience.

But, two new Instagram capabilities have begun to change that: stories and live video.

Live video can encourage people to watch content for eight times longer compared to pre-recorded video. Instagram stories displays content that gets deleted after 24 hours similarly sparks our love of authentic experiences and our FOMO (fear of missing out).

Instagram stories provide a fun and unique way to engage followers and drive traffic to your web- site. Many businesses have yet to adopt Instagram Story as part of their marketing strategy.  However, you can be an early adopter and reap the benefits right now.

Instagram might have started as a fun mobile app, but it has turned into an extremely valuable and powerful marketing tool for companies that know how to use it.

If you create a compelling profile, use hashtags appropriately. Take advantage of new options like Instagram Stories. You can use Instagram to build brand awareness and attract new customers.

“Over 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month,” says Entrepreneur, “which is over 50 million more than those who use Snapchat — and Instagram Stories is just one year old! At this rate, nearly half of all Instagram users will be using Stories by the end of 2018.”

Businesses interested in driving attention towards certain campaigns or maintaining more active engagement with audiences can turn to Stories and Live video to accomplish these goals.

Increasing Demand for Brand Safety and Proof of ROI

The double-edged sword to influencer marketing is that some brands worry about influencers staining their reputation.

Video game streamer PewDiePie, who has the largest YouTube subscriber base of any channel, caused waves after repeatedly using extremely offensive language in his content. Brands that collaborated with PewDiePie had to cut their ties and make statements condemning his actions.

Since influencers are not brand employees, business owners invite a bit of risk when they collaborate with them.

The best way to avoid controversy is to look to influencers’ past behaviors. Ask questions before collaborating in any capacity. Make it clear that your relationship is dependent on a positive image for your business.

Similarly, tie any relationships you have with influencers to concrete KPIs, including ROI. It’s always better to start small with a relationship. After that, establish proof of ROI before committing marketing dollars to a true collaboration.

For instance, try sending an influencer a free gift or just a kind request to highlight your latest campaign. If you like what they do with the information, you can work toward more collaborative content or even an endorsement-type relationship.

Trends in Instagram and Influencer Marketing for Small Businesses Can Help Your Brand Take Off Next Year!

Remember, Instagram is not about instant conversions or links. This is about the long-term benefit, so rate your success in terms of likes, follows and comments – not profit.

Likewise, remember that this is a ‘young’ and ‘hip’ crowd. You need to get to know your actual audience, but you should also get to know the Instagram audience more generally. What you’ll find is that Instagram is a place where ‘in your face marketing messages’ don’t go down well. So, don’t do that!


What’s Your Local Score?

Enter any business name and zip code and see how optimized it is for local search.

Video Marketing Continues to Dominate Into 2018 — Trends You Need to Know

Video Marketing Continues to Dominate Into 2018 — Trends You Need to Know

business video marketing content online concept

When you go online, chances are that a lot of the content you see is in video format – and for good reason. Every day, approximately 100 million people watch at least one video online. So videos are an incredibly effective way of marketing your product and/or service.

If you have been avoiding making videos because you think they will be too expensive or difficult to make, it is time to rethink your marketing strategy.

61% of all businesses now use video content in their digital marketing plans. Two out of every three of these businesses are newcomers to video.

Additionally, video consumption continues to rise online. Estimates from this summer predict that overall video consumption via mobile will increase by 35% by the end of this year.

These developments foretell a new year where digital video will be more important than ever for business owners’ success. Those who take advantage of the following four video marketing trends in 2018 will likely be in for a great year ahead.

 

Video Content Marketing Becomes a Must-Have for Small Businesses

For one, people complete video content more frequently than the average non-visual, text-based blog article. According to Vidyard, over a third of all video viewers (37%) make it to the end of the video’s run time.

Nearly all mobile users who watch video (92%) have a tendency to share video content with others. Simply Measured also says that video gets shared around 12x more frequently than content links or text.

Other studies show that audiences retain video in messaging better than text.

With these advantages, businesses putting video content out there will see higher levels of engagement. They will also see higher levels of shares and conversions into their marketing funnel. Having a video component to your digital marketing strategy will become a competitive differentiator in months ahead.

Business owners looking to get into video can start by transforming existing content assets into a short (around 2.5 minutes or less) summary. Look to the assets with the most views and shares for inspiration.

 

Video Becomes an Integral Part of the Sales Pipeline

Video not only generates awareness, it can help nurture sales in both B2C and B2B industries. 65% of business decision-makers will visit a startup’s website, claims ComScore.

Offering video content helps turn what could be a pushy and person-intensive sales process into a self-service nurturing pipeline. Interested prospects can view video content hosted on websites or shared via social to learn more about products and features. As they educate themselves, they move towards the end of the sales funnel with minimal person-to-person contact.

 video app on smartphone screen. watch and share digital content. flat design vector illustration

Self-guided lead nurturing not only reduces employee overhead, it also results in a more pleasant experience for leads. 19% of prospects claim they only want to hear from a company rep when they are actively considering a purchase. 40% of prospects want to be able to buy without talking to anyone at all.

Meeting this need involves considering how video assets can provide value at every stage of the sales/marketing funnel.

For instance, business owners can cultivate awareness by creating emotional or intriguing video advertising assets.

Video content marketing assets provided on their website next to text content can help buyers at the nurturing stage. In-depth explainer videos can help lay out different buying options. It can also lay out the final steps in the procurement process for those ready to close the deal.

“When you incorporate video into your sales processes, customers get what they want: a friction less, self-serve experience on their time, and on their terms,” says WireBuzz.

Think about buyer needs that were once traditionally met with person-to-person interactions. Imagine how video can replace these needs with a self-service, video-heavy customer journey.

 

Live Video, 360° Video, Slideshows and Other Video Formats Gain Traction

live video streaming from cell phone

Like everything else online, the world of video marketing is evolving. While you can still upload videos to your YouTube channel and share them online, there’s also a new kid in town – live video.

One of the most accessible options, which allows companies to fully integrate video marketing into their Facebook marketing, is Facebook Live.

Live video presents an easy, low-budget and low-concept way to create more video content for audiences. Brands can engage with audiences in a way that feels authentic and like a 1:1 conversation.

Preparing live video into your content marketing and social engagement strategy can quickly round out your assets without a massive up-front investment.

There are a lot of reasons that doing live is a good way to gain more followers. This is something that you should be investing in.

We could go into a lot of detail now about why Live might well be the ‘future’ of social media in many ways. For now, though, suffice to say that for you, it offers a unique way to communicate with your audience. This takes away the limitations of having to wait for a post or a message to be delivered.

Your audience will feel as though they’re getting real insight into your lifestyle, your business and your personality. You will be able to answer their question directly.

This is a fantastic format for a whole range of types of media. From AMAs (Ask Me Anything), to interviews and to product reviews.

young woman with virtual reality goggles in cinema

 

On the other end of the spectrum is 360° video. These assets use a special camera setup to capture a full spherical range of images. Audiences can then use a smartphone headset like the Google Daydream to tilt and move their head as the video plays, changing their viewpoint as one might in real life.

360° video results in a truly immersive and memorable experience. However, the high cost of equipment and production means businesses require an airtight strategy for converting 360° videos into measurable returns.

Formats like these lower production costs for video — especially video ads. They still provide higher levels of engagement. Best of all, they can communicate well even without sound.

Since 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound, slideshow and short-form video assets provide substantial returns with a relatively minimal investment.

 

In 2018, Video Marketing Trends Will Define Small Business Success

If 2017 was a year of pioneering growth for video, 2018 will be the year people expect business owners to give their video marketing campaigns some structure.

Business owners can bring in bigger audiences than ever before. Simply by  using the above trends in combination with intelligent strategy and dutiful measurement of KPIs.

 

 


What’s Your Local Score?

Enter any business name and zip code and see how optimized it is for local search.

Five Digital Marketing Trends That Will Help You Grow Your Business In 2018

Five Digital Marketing Trends That Will Help You Grow Your Business In 2018

Digital Marketing Trends for 2018

Digital Marketing Trends for 2018

In 2018, you need a sales and marketing plan that makes the best use of digital marketing trends to create more visibility and drive revenue.

We’ve identified five major digital marketing trends that should get your focus in 2018.

The businesses that are able to best take advantage of these trends will get a huge leg up over their competitors.

To help you get you started — and to make this coming year more profitable for you — read about these five important digital marketing trends for 2018 below.

Content Marketing to Attract and Engage Prospects

Content marketing is nothing new, but it is evolving.

Content is what makes the web go around. Content is what makes people visit your website, it’s what encourages people to follow you on social media and it’s what eventually turns your visitors into fans rather than just followers.

Your social media strategy should largely be about sharing content. That means directly posting images, videos, and text to your social media accounts, but it also means posting to your blog or website and then sharing that on social media.

But this strategy will only work so long as the content you are providing is top quality and highly engaging. So now the question is: how do you ensure that this is the case?

70% of people say they would rather learn about a company through articles than ads.

For this reason, around 90% of businesses that advertise online use content marketing currently. Most are interested in shifting dollars from traditional ads to content, where they can find better returns.

You should create engaging, in-depth content with a strong visual element to attract prospects. Reach more people by learning about the content they want to consume and giving them more of it.

 

Video Continues to Dominate

Digital Marketing Trends - Video is still one of the most effective

You might not be into Facebook Live yet, but you probably should be!  Recent data from Facebook shows that people are 10x more likely to comment on a Facebook Live video than otherwise.

Even if Facebook Live does not work for your business, incorporating video into your marketing is key. Consider that 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos each week, on average.

Now, keep in mind that there are over 2 billion active Facebook users in the world.  A little bit of number crunching reveals that approximately 1 billion people watch one hour of video a week.  That’s a huge embedded audience to explore!

Video holds much more attention and communicates messages more effectively than text or still images alone. Recognizing this, small businesses have been using video and finding huge returns. Whether as a type of content or a paid ad, video drives huge amounts of engagement.

Research from Wyzowl indicates that 79% percent of consumers surveyed would rather watch a video to learn about a new product then read about it.

Also, “64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.” So, people are not only watching a video but also remembering what they see and actually buying things afterward!

Small business owners can start working on their video strategy easily by answering common questions customers have — either Live or as a prerecorded release.

From there, consider repurposing some of your existing content into short, informative videos and uploading them directly to social media.

You know the audiences are there, you just have to give them something worth paying attention to.

 

Facebook Advertising to Reach Prospects

Billions of users reside on Facebook. The targeting is so specific, you can even turn off ads to people who have clicked on them before. It can also be inexpensive if you know what you’re doing.

No wonder it’s one of the top advertising platforms for marketers.

The results of Facebook advertising can happen very quickly. It’s not unusual to see sales start after 24 hours of running an ad. As a small business owner, you can use Facebook to your advantage.

Here’s how.

If you’ve read that boosting a post is a waste of time, I’m going to correct that thinking. As a small business owner, page boosts are perfect for you.

If you’ve got a massive audience (over 2000 fans) then it’s probably not.

But then again, if you use it the way we show you how, it may be good for any business size.

When you boost a post, you aren’t just limited to your fans. You can target certain demographics, just like an ad. Most people don’t know that. They think boosting is just for your fans.

If you’re just boosting to your fans, you may be wasting money.

If you target it like an ad, you’ll be getting the most out of your boost.

You can choose your demographics based on age, location, age, and interest. In this case, you want to target people in your local area. You can play around with the other options, but location targeting is key.

This way your post will be seen by people in your local area.

What kind of post should you boost? Try one that’s talking about a product or your latest sale. You want to entice people to come into your store or contact you. If you want them to contact you, be sure to put your contact information in a boosted post.

A boosted post is extremely inexpensive. It can cost as little as $20. You can potentially reach hundreds or thousands of people with that money.

Boosted posts can run for one to seven days. The maximum amount of days it can run is seven. I’d recommend that you run a post if you can afford to run it.

Make sure the post is applicable to at least that amount of time. You don’t want a post about a sale running after it has expired.

Make sure all your posts abide by Facebook’s Advertising Guidelines. These posts need to be approved. Sometimes they will be approved but then you’ll find out later they’ve been canceled. If they’ve been canceled, it’s usually because they violated the guidelines in some way.

Facebook is a great advertising platform.

Now small and local businesses have the chance to increase their audience with just a small budget. Make sure you implement at least one of these this week. Once you see your first sale, you’ll want to make it a regular part of your advertising. This is one of the easiest ways to implement the most effective digital marketing trends in existence.

When you combine video and Facebook Ads you really start to multiply the impact. Recent data highlight the fact that social video (basically any kind of branded video or advertisement) generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.

Instagram & Influencers Drive Engagement

Digital Marketing Trends - Find Influencers on Instagram

When it comes to consistent engagement, Instagram is the number one social channel out there. That’s the conclusion of a study done by Yopto, which found engagement rate on Instagram to be 45% greater than on Facebook and 40% greater than Twitter.

What exactly does ‘engagement’ mean? It means this: over 75% of users will take action on an advertisement posted in their feed.

The key here is to let your customers do the posting as much as you do. The same Yopto study found that 77% of people are more convinced by user-generated photos of a product rather than professional photos.

Crowdsource your own content by asking loyal customers for pictures of them using your product. People love the attention, and you save on professional photography, so it’s a win-win for all.

Another key thing to know about Instagram is how powerful Instagram Influencers are.

“Influencers” refers to people with lots of followers and tons of engagement from fans. There are all types of influencers, including subject matter experts who post videos and photos related to their expertise.

Small businesses can tap into these influencers at a relatively low cost. Case studies have shown that niche experts in your industry will drive direct sales traffic without costing your company an arm and a leg.

Take the example of RESCUE, for instance.  RESCUE wanted to push their range of natural products and asked a number of micro-influencers and bloggers to share their personal stories and include a “buy one, get one free” coupon with their post. The results?  A 258% increase in Instagram followers — not to mention over 6,000 clicks to the coupon site.

Because of success stories like these, there is no question that leveraging micro-influencers to drive conversion rates will be a major trend in social media marketing going forward.

 

Businesses Not Optimized for Mobile Will Be Left Behind

Digital Marketing Trends - Mobile Optimized or Progressive Web Apps for 2018

Did you know that 4 out of 5 consumers now use smartphones to shop? Let’s face it, nowadays just simply having a website is no longer enough for your business to truly connect with consumers online. People are accessing the internet from desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Your customers are using mobile devices to search for businesses in their area and to shop online.

Having a mobile website can make a big difference in how many customers find and interact with your business. The use of mobile phones to browse the internet isn’t new, but it continues to rise, making a mobile website more and more important for businesses who want to stay on top of the market.

Why being Mobile Friendly Is Important for Your Business

Studies show the average consumer is spending more time browsing and utilizing the web on a mobile device vs. on a desktop or laptop. Tablets and phones can be conveniently carried around and accessed instantly.   How often have you seen someone looking at their phone while waiting for a bus, sitting in a restaurant, or taking a break from work? All of those moments are opportunities for your business if you have a mobile-friendly website. Better yet, 2018 should be the year you adopt a Progressive Web App! This will be the hottest of all digital marketing trends.

 

In a 2014 study, ad network InMobi found that in the United States people are spending more time accessing the internet through their mobile devices than through their PCs. This means that if your business’s website is designed only for PCs, you’re missing out on over half of the market. Furthermore, about one in three online searches are now conducted through mobile devices. People use their phones when they are out and about and looking for a local service. If your website comes up in their search results and is easy to access, you might gain an immediate new customer.

A recent study by iAcquire found that 70% of mobile online searches result with an action taken within less than an hour of the search. This means that mobile searches are a more effective way of reaching customers than desktop searches, and can quickly result in new customer interactions and sales.

 

Take Advantage of These Five Digital Marketing Trends for 2018 to Find Success Growing Your Business

In 2018, competing online is no longer an option.

It’s a must for your business to survive.

To grow your business, you must apply a complete digital marketing strategy.

One that gets more Leads & Sales.

One that takes advantage of the shifts in Mobile, Social, Video, Reputation, Search and other digital marketing trends.

One that connects all the dots, so that people can find you on any channel but still have a consistent experience.

One that gives the information people need to make a buying decision through helpful content and a mobile-optimized experience.

This is the only way for your business to not be left behind.

If you take advantage of these digital marketing trends, you will have a distinct advantage in growing your business over your competition.

 


What’s Your Local Score?

Enter any business name and zip code and see how optimized it is for local search.