photo-634069_1280

3 Creative Ways to Use Instagram to Drive Foot Traffic and Sales to Your Business

As we spend more and more time on our phones, mobile-only photo sharing apps like Instagram are becoming increasingly more popular. Combined with the fact that photos are quicker to consume than text- 60,000x faster to be precise – and it’s easy to see why everyone is turning to Instagram as their main social media platform.

What can you do as a small business owner to leverage this growing platform? How do you make sure you’re integrating well with photos of friends and family, vacations and nights out? Even if you think you don’t have a very “visual” company, here are 3 easy ways any business can get started with Instagram.

Continue reading

3 Creative Ways to Use Instagram to Drive Foot Traffic and Sales to Your Business

1. “Behind-the-scenes” photos

This stationary store in Michigan always shares photos when new items come in stock.

This stationary store in Michigan always shares photos when new items come in stock.

One of my favorite ways to use Instagram is by showcasing what goes on when the customers aren’t around. Did you get some new products in stock? Are you redoing a display for the holidays? Take a minute to snap a quick photo and upload it to your feed – people always like to feel like they have the “inside scoop”.

Showcasing new shipments and offers is also a great way to get people to come in and buy. Once they know that your Instagram is the fastest way to learn about new offerings, they’ll always look forward to seeing your brand popup in their stream.

 

2. Showcase special offers and discounts – with links to the landing page in your profile

Similar to how people like to be the first to know about new products, they also like to be the first to know about sales and specials. Because Instagram is so, well, instant, it’s a good way to get people to take an immediate action – especially if you give them something actionable like purchasing a discounted product.

One of the most important things to remember about Instagram is that it’s almost entirely mobile – this means that whatever action you want your customers to take should be well-formatted for mobile devices. If you send them to a landing page where they can make a purchase, for example, make sure it’s mobile-responsive!

3. Interact with Your Customers

Last but not least, it’s critical to remember that Instagram is a consumer platform with our without your business. While you might be posting to get more foot traffic or more sales, your customers are browsing just to see what’s going on in the world. They’re liking, commenting, and maybe even sharing posts. So in order to do well on Instagram, you need to think like a consumer, not like a business.

This means interacting with your customers as they interact with you. Respond to their comments and questions. Consider running a sweepstakes or two that encourages people to share, comment, or like your post. Maybe even do a “customer spotlight” where you feature a particularly special customer.

However you chose to build your brand on Instagram, just remember that it’s more than just a place to share your photos. When you think outside the box, it can become a very powerful source of revenue for your business.

demo_button_blog

facebook-76531_640

How to Spend Money (Effectively) on Facebook for Your Business (It’s Harder Than It Looks)

One of the biggest problems we hear about Facebook advertising is that it’s hard to do it well. There are a lot of competing factors like who to target, what to say, and how to say it. But there’s also the issue of budgeting: how do you know how much to spend so that you’re getting results without wasting money?

While Facebook is a great platform for attracting new customers, they don’t always do such a good job of explaining how everything works. What’s the difference between a News Feed ad and a side bar ad? What’s a custom audience? What’s retargeting?

While the returns for each business will vary based on a lot of factors such as ad copy and audience targeting, there are a few key things you should know to effectively spend money on Facebook for your business.

Continue reading

How to Spend Money (Effectively) on Facebook for Your Business (It’s Harder Than It Looks)

1. Boosting a Post

Screenshot 2015-05-18 20.45.43One of the most simple ways to spend advertising your business on Facebook is with a feature they call Boost Post. As more and more content got on Facebook, they realized there simply wasn’t enough time or room in the average user’s News Feed to show it all. So they started cutting back on what appeared organically – or without advertising. If a business wants to get their existing Facebook posts (i.e. something you write in the “What have you been up to?” section of your Facebook page) in front of their existing customers, they should choose to boost a post. You can put anywhere from $20 to hundreds of dollars into boosting a post (the more fans you have, the more money you’ll need to spend boosting).

While this is an effective way to make sure your fans are seeing the content you’re sharing, it’s not very good for generating revenue, acquiring new customers, or getting eyes on your page if you don’t already have good content to start with. What is considered good content for Facebook? Take a look at our post on how to create a Facebook post that converts.

2. Running Ads on Facebook

This is where things start to get a bit tricky. Facebook ads is so powerful that if you don’t have the time or resources to spend creating really good content, researching your target audience, and tweaking everything as time goes on, it can really lose its effectiveness. If you’re really hoping to turn Facebook ads into a revenue-generating channel, consider talking to an outside agency or business that will help you optimize your ads.

If you’re ready to take on the challenge yourself, here are a few quick hacks you should absolutely know about:

  • Website retargeting: show Facebook ads to people who have visited your website before. It’s as easy as installing a piece of code from Facebook onto your website. People rarely buy or claim the first time they visit your website. But if you keep popping up wherever they go, soon enough they’ll start to remember you instead of your competitors.
  • Custom audience: a custom audience is a list of people you already know – now we’ve just tracked them down on Facebook. This could be a list of people who have visited your website before (see above) or it could be a list of fans that have been found on Facebook based on an email list you collected in store. Either way, this is an incredibly effective way to see great results from advertising because you’re working with a warm introduction – people who have been to, interacted with, or simply have seen your business before.
  • CTA, CTA, CTA: the most important thing you should have in your Facebook ad is a CTA or call-to-action. Without it, you’re not giving your viewers much of a chance to become your customers. A CTA is as it says, an action that you are asking of the viewer – whether that’s to click a link, claim an offer, or engage with your post somehow. This is important because it means that you’re converting what was once a passive Facebook user into someone who wants to engage with your business – either online again or in person.

While there are many ways to spend money on Facebook, there are fewer ways to do it effectively. Whether you want to get back on the radar of your existing customers or find new ones, Facebook is an extremely effective channel – when you have a little bit of help.

demo_button_blog

blogging-336375_640-624x415

The Best Online Advertising Channel for Your Business

One of the biggest problems we hear about running online ads is that it’s too confusing. But it’s not just writing the ad, creating the right budget, or targeting the right people that’s confusing – it’s figuring out which online advertising platform you should be using in the first place.

There are tons of places where you can advertise your business online, but you don’t necessarily have the time or the budget to do them all. How do you choose? How do you know which one to use and when?

Continue reading

The Best Online Advertising Channel for Your Business

1. If you’re looking to engage your existing customers online…

Run ads on Facebook to your existing fans or people whose email addresses you already have (which can be used to locate them on Facebook with a feature called Custom Audience). The great thing about running ads to people who already know you is that they are much more likely to purchase.

2. If you’re looking to find new customers in your area…

FB_Ads_2_headerRun ads on Facebook that have one or all of the following pre-requisites:

  • Friends of your fans
  • Look-a-like (similar interests, location, activity to your existing database of fans or emails)
  • Are located within 25 miles of your zip code (25 miles is a good starting place although you should adjust it depending on how trafficked your area is – the less busy it is, the bigger your range should be)

OR

Run ads on Google that:

  • Have geographically-relevant keywords (“hair salon Seattle”, “trampoline park Dallas”)
  • Measure for low click-per-cost (CPC)
  • Send customers to a landing page that tracks and converts them easily and efficiently (instead of simply sending them to your home page where they’re more likely to get distracted or confused)

Pitch-Screenshots_plugin-mobile-spa3. If you’re looking to generate revenue from your online advertising…

  • Make sure your ad copy, image, and offer are compelling and clear: an ad that offers a “Special Winter Deal: $150 Swedish Massage (Regular Price: $200) – Click here to buy now!” instead of “Winter Massage Specials – call to book an appointment!”.
  • Make sure you’re sending them somewhere where they can actually make a purchase. A landing page with a “buy now” button, credit card purchasing system, and email receipts make it easy for people to make purchases. If you spend lots of time and money running big ads to big audiences but are unable to get them to buy, you’re not actually converting them into customers.

 

4. If you’ve never run an online ad before…

Ask for help. It’s really easy to lose substantial money on ads if you don’t have the expertise or the time to properly create, execute, monitor, and optimize your ads. There are several different kinds of marketing services that can advertise your business for you, from hiring a freelancer or online advertising consultant to a marketing agency or service that specializes in online ads. Either way, be sure that you know what you want in the end. Are you looking to build awareness about your business? Are you looking for revenue? New customers? Be sure to know your measure of success so you can accurately judge whether or nor it’s working.

LocBox helps spas, salons, go kart centers, trampoline parks and many more small businesses reach more new customers with Facebook advertising. To learn more, sign up for a free demo below.

demo_button_blog

4249731778_ab4fc01fd9_b

5 Ways to Get Your Business In Front of Potential New Customers on Google

Whenever I am looking for a new hair salon or a new dentist the first place I turn to is Google. Google has worked really hard to make the best search engine possible and it almost always delivers. They use my location, my past searches, even my social media profiles to provide me with information that I will find most useful.

Businesses that I don’t find on Google, however, often fall off my radar. Because Google is so easy, I rarely spend time looking on other search engines, looking in phone books, or even asking my friends. And when I’m already on the go, searching on Google on my phone is just the natural thing to do.

So what can you do to make sure you’re getting your business in front of potential new customers on Google? How can you get to the top and stand out?

Continue reading

5 Ways to Get Your Business In Front of Potential New Customers on Google

1. Create and fill out your Google+ profile.

Google+ is Google’s own social media site. While it’s not quite as popular as say Facebook or Twitter, it does hold a lot of power in the world of search rankings. Because Google wants to encourage people to use it’s own site, they give precedence to businesses with complete and established Google+ profiles. To learn more about how to create and complete your profile, read our article here.

2. Get lots of reviews for your Google+ profile.

It’s one thing to have a good Google+ profile that gets you noticed by Google – it’s another to have one that sings your praises to potential new customers. Much like Yelp, Google+ allows customers to leave reviews after they’ve visited a business. The more positive reviews you have, the more Google wants to share your business with the world. Read more about how to get reviews from your customers here.

3. Make sure your website looks good on mobile devices.

In an attempt to create a better overall experience for Google users, Google is now penalizing businesses without mobile-friendly websites by burying them in the search results. Not sure if your site is mobile-responsive? Need help creating a mobile-responsive site? Read more with our latest blog post on Google’s search engine changes.

4. Make a name for yourself elsewhere on the web.

Another helpful way to get found more often is to give Google more chances to find stuff about you. Sites like social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram), blogs, and Yelp are all ways that you can increase your web presence. The more good content you have on the web about you, the more likely Google is to show it to your potential new customers.

5. Run ads on Google.

If you’re ready to take your online marketing to the next level, consider showing your business to customers through Google AdWords. Once you’ve set a budget, created an ad, and identified your ideal customer, Google will show your ad to customers who are searching for businesses or information like yours. If done right, Google Ads can be extremely effective in driving new customers right to your door.

There’s no one single solution to getting found more often on Google. With a product so powerful and so complex it can take a lot of tweaking to figure out what works for your business – and these 5 strategies are a great place to start.

demo_button_blog

1-google-art2

Google to Penalize Businesses Without Mobile Websites

Google recently changed the way they generate search results to favor websites that are mobile-responsive. Because so many people are using their mobile devices to conduct internet searches, Google now places a higher value on websites that are built for mobile devices like cell phones and tablets.

Continue reading

Google’s major mission is to make it easier for their users to get the information they’re searching for. And since 89% of all smartphone users conduct Google searches on their devices, Google is taking steps to make sure they’re getting the best results possible.

This mean it’s now more important than ever for local businesses to have a mobile-responsive site. Without it, you’re less likely to appear in relevant web searches and are less likely to get found online by potential customers.

Mobile-friendly websites are ones that avoid distracting software, are formatted for smaller screen (i.e. you don’t have to zoom in and out to see everything all at once), have larger text, and easier functionality (i.e. bigger buttons).

Need help creating or updating your website to be mobile-responsive? If you already have a webmaster, get in touch with them and discuss what you need to do to make your website mobile-friendly. Alternatively, here are a few good resources to consider:

  • Mobile-Friendly Test: Unsure if you’re website is mobile-friendly or not? Use Google’s free tool to double check.
  • www.elance.com: a great place to find freelance web designers and developers for hire. You can set your desired budget and find contractors nearby or work with people remotely.
  • 15 Examples of Great Mobile Web Design: What is mobile web design? What is good mobile web design? This article gives 15 great examples of excellent websites that are mobile-friendly.