Why email marketing is critical to the success of every local business marketing strategy

Email is a powerful tool for a local business owner.  It amazes me how many choose not to use this as a fundamental building block to grow their business.

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If I think about the local businesses I’ve given my email address to, it’s pretty well aligned to best practices about how to acquire customer emails – namely, offer them something of value, such as a deal, special discount, advanced notification of a sale, a limited time offer, tips and advice, exclusive events, best practices, education, or laughs.  Plus, it’s always nice when a business sends me a special offer for my birthday.  The local businesses who’ve won my trust (and who’ve kept it) are restaurants, electronics and sporting goods stores, golf courses, my favorite places to buy clothes, and a couple of local shops that sell goods that feed my hobbies.  Why do I willingly give out my email address?  I assume these businesses treat their existing customers well and want them to return.  It’s drives loyalty and repeat business.

So don’t be afraid to ask for one’s email.  And if you get it, make them glad they did.

Where it gets even more interesting is when you leverage your email list to help grow your business in other ways.  Consider the AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action) marketing funnel, where your job as the business owner is to build awareness for your business (Yelp, Google Search, Facebook, Twitter), develop interest (website, blogs, videos), create desire (price, limited time offer, convenience, free samples, etc.), and finally, drive a desired action (make it easy to purchase, subscribe, contact, visit, park, etc.).

How then is it possible to leverage your list of customers to help your business in other ways?blog golf ad

Review sites and search engines are typical places where consumers find out about new businesses (your business).  Can you use your email list to help you better manage your Yelp or Google+ review pages?  Absolutely.  Can you use it to help you grow your business on Facebook?  Definitely.  For more on using Facebook to grow your business, check out my blog post – Why Facebook is a critical component of your online marketing growth strategy.

For many businesses big and small, emphasis on growth is viewed as the need to acquire new customers.  But too often business owners neglect taking care of the customers that already know them to bring them back on a more regular basis.  Email provides that opportunity.  Just don’t abuse it.

For a free marketing assessment and tips on how to use email, mobile, and Facebook to grow your business, give us a holler, we’re here to help.  Happy Marketing to all.

Posted by: Rick Kawamura

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How to Succeed on Yelp – Managing Your Online Reputation

Getting found on Yelp can make or break your local business.  And managing your Yelp profile is critical to getting found.  So how best to manage your profile to bring new business through your doors?  Just ask Yelp.YelpLogo

Yelp is hosting a 23 city tour for local business owners to talk to their social media savvy peers who will share strategies on how to succeed on Yelp.

Discussion topics cover “Handling Negative Reviews”, “Managing your Online Reputation”, “Private Messaging”, and “Embracing the Word of Mouth Power of Yelp”.

They even provide free webinars and videos to help you with “Responding to Reviews”, “Creating a great Yelp listing”, “How Yelp’s free tools Help Businesses Grow”, and “The Importance of Managing your Online Presence”.

Why should you care?

Research at Harvard Business School shows that a one star increase in your Yelp rating can deliver a 5% to 9% increase in revenue.

And University of California at Berkeley researchers found that an extra half star rating increase from 3.5 to 4.0 increases a restaurant’s chance of selling out by 19 percentage points from 34% to 53%.  Interestingly, these uplifts in business occur even though the quality of the restaurant (food, service, etc.) remains constant.  They also found that a 0.02 rating difference could mean a half star difference because Yelp rounds off a business’ rating.  So a 3.74 average would be reduced to 3.5, whereas a 3.76 rating would be rounded up to 4 stars.

The net-net for your business is that you should take a proactive approach to managing your online Yelp profile.  It’s a great opportunity to find new business and grow your company.

By:  Rick Kawamura

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Why having more Facebook Fans is critical to growing your local business

Local business owners have a lot of options when it comes to marketing their business online.  And the predominant theme I hear is around having a measurable return, preferably in business growth and revenue, of time and marketing dollars spent.

When it comes to Facebook marketing, a very common question I get is, “What’s the point of having more Facebook fans?”  In other words, “Why is it worth my time and investment and how will it grow my business?”

Why people become facebook fans of brands

Why people become facebook fans of brands

Synapse’s survey from 2013 shows that 42% of people who become fans of a brand on Facebook do it “to get a coupon or discount”, while 41% become a Facebook fan “to receive regular updates from brands I like”.  That is gold for local business owners because it opens up a new channel for you to reach these customers exactly where they hang out, on Facebook.  It’s like gathering more customer email addresses because when you post to your fan page, your fans will see your message, offer, or update.

Hopefully you already know the value of email marketing for your local business and have been collecting your customers’ emails and marketing to them already, offering them special deals and promotions and helping them celebrate their birthdays with a nice gift.

The power of email is available to you on Facebook as well.  As a business advertiser on Facebook, you’ll be able to leverage what Facebook calls Lookalike Audiences – a targeting feature that finds similarities in your email list and builds a lookalike Facebook audience to show your ads.  This offers you a large, but targeted set of customers that yield a much better conversion rate.

Spa and Salon Facebook Ad in Newsfeed

Spa and Salon Facebook Ad in Newsfeed

You’ll also want your ads to appear in the newsfeed of these potential customers, not the sidebar.  According to MDG Advertising’s A Marketer’s Guide to Retargeting on Facebook, newsfeed ads had a 197% increase in ROI compared to sidebar ads.  Viewers interacted more with newsfeed ads, which had 49x higher click-through rates and 54% lower cost-per-click.

And best of all, people can now buy directly from you by clicking a link directly in the ad that takes care of credit card payment processing, verification, redemption, and returning 100% of the sales directly back to your business.

This is the Facebook you want to leverage, and these are the results that will grow your business.

For a free marketing assessment and to learn more about growing your business on Facebook, let us know, we’d be glad to help.

By:  Rick Kawamura

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5 Creative Ways to Use Instagram for Your Local Business

With over 100 million users, Instagram has fast become a social media giant. Its image-based content provides the perfect opportunity to engage and impress your customers. But how can you use that to your advantage? How can you stand out?

Here are 5 creative ways to use your Instagram account:

1. Use the homepage as your canvas.

love love darling instagram

Love Love Darling, @lovelovedarling
Seattle, Washington

Tell a story on your homepage. You’ll notice it’s topped with a profile and followed by a grid of square images, making for a nice clean look.

You have 160 characters to describe what you do, so choose your words wisely. Don’t try and cram too much information into such a small space – just make a simple introduction and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Next, create your storefront. If someone was walking by your business, what might they see to entice them to come inside? Everyone loves to shop online. Let them browse your products right here on Instagram!

And don’t feel restricted by boundaries. Check out this creative advertisement from Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds:

reds instagram

Cincinnati Reds, @redsbaseball
Cincinnati, Ohio

Remember that each different square makes up a larger picture on the homepage. Take a photo of letters you find around town spelling out your business’ name! Create a comic strip of a typical customer’s reaction to your product! The possibilities are endless.

2. Publish photos of your workspace.

Whether you operate a spa, an office or anything in between, posting a look into your physical place of work will help personalize you. Customers will get a sense of your business’ daily happenings and values.

3. Make it personal.

Speaking of personalization…

Adding photos introducing your employees will showcase the people behind your brand. Include a description in the image’s caption.

But employees aren’t the only ones who deserve to be recognized. Show some images of happy customers as well! This will develop a relationship with the people who frequent your business and exemplify its effects. But you might want to ask for permission first.

berkshire instagram

Berkshire Salon and Day Spa, @berkshiresalondayspa
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

4. Show how your product is made.

Delve further “behind the scenes” with a glimpse into the process of making the goods on which your customers are spending money. Even if you are offering services such as a haircut or massage, you can post an image of one of the tools you use with a caption explaining its benefit.

If you are developing a new product, show us a preview! Making Instagram followers feel special is one way to keep them around.

5. Find pictures of your product outside the workplace.

Say you’re running errands around town and you spot a necklace that had previously been in your store front  – asking to capture the moment will let you post examples of your product out in the wild!

Your Instagram followers will note that your brand has become a part of the community.

Note: Instagram has recently allowed users to share videos of up to 15 seconds. This could be an important tool as well, but user response to the new service has been mixed.

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Bodycentre Wellness Spa: Boosting Online Exposure and Reputation With LocBox

We love helping local businesses grow. Our client, Bodycentre Wellness Spa, wanted to increase their online presence, gain reviews and improve their reputation.

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In one month, we helped Bodycentre Wellness reach these goals. Our Google Plus campaign did something difficult for SEO to achieve: find a way for our client to gain more exposure, more reviews and more recent interaction than any of the competition.

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To see Bodycentre Wellness’ success, as well as how LocBox helped this business reach its goals, download our free case study:

http://bit.ly/12uzxsd

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Twitter Product Cards Promote Customer Engagement

Product cards are a great way to showcase your product on Twitter. These aren’t your standard links in a tweet. They allow you to showcase your products via an image, description, location and price, as well as highlighting other key details you’d like to include.

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Mobile View of Product Cards

These product cards let your product or service stand out from the crowd by giving customers a visual representation of your product, whether they are looking on their desktop or mobile phone.

There are seven card types that can be attached to tweets, ranging from a photo card displaying an image to the product cards that better represent your content.

These product cards provide an easier way to facilitate engagement between your business and customers. LocBox now utilizes this to allow users to see your offer directly on Twitter.

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Desktop View of Product Cards

The simplicity of checking out these offers give the customer a preview of your service without forcing them to leave their Twitter feed right away.

Twitter product cards can be seen on all smartphones.

Contact us at +1 (855) 256-2269 for more information.

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Facebook Features LocBox in Case Study

We are proud to announce that Facebook featured LocBox in a Case Study! Click Here to Read all About it.

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Our client, Happy Head Massage, had a proven track record of driving revenue through the Email Marketing channel (they are able to generate several thousand dollars in Revenue from existing customers via LocBox’s email platform). Our primary goal was to show them the same results with existing and new customers via a Page Post to their Facebook Page (shown below, to the left).

LocBox generated over $1000 in revenue from the Page Post!

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We are excited to be featured on Facebook and even happier to help local businesses drive sales and engage customers. We hope to help your local business as well. Please give us a call at +1 (855) 256-2269 to get started.

Click Here to read our Case Study on Facebook

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