Save Your Email Newsletter From the Trash Folder

We’ve all done it. We’ve all subscribed to an email newsletter for one reason or another, but then stopped reading it. Sometimes, we send it unopened, straight to the trash folder.

Why?

Maybe it just doesn’t fit your life anymore and you’ve meant to unsubscribe. Maybe the look or the content is just boring. Maybe it seems like all they’re doing is pushing merchandise. Whatever the reason, they lost you.

If you have an email newsletter of your own, you work hard on each issue. It’s not easy to pull the content together, and you want people to read it. But chances are, a portion of your reading list is treating your newsletter just like you’re treating all those others.

Uh oh.

What can you do to create an email newsletter people will actually read?

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Step 1: Focus

It’s tempting to tell everyone everything about your business, all the time. However, an email newsletter isn’t the best way to do that. If you really want people to engage, you’ll be better off focusing on niche markets. If you own a gym, create a newsletter targeting moms with young kids. Include ideal workouts, discuss childcare options, share class schedules that designed around the kids’ school schedules. You get the idea. By aligning your business with specific interests, people are more likely to engage with you.

Step 2: Educate more, sell less

Save the self promotion for when it will do you the most good – a big sale, an exciting promotion, an announcement about a new product. Beyond that, try to make your email newsletter about education. Teach your subscribers about your products, your expertise, your industry and how you can help solve their problems.

Step 3: Fresh subjects = opened emails

The average person receives 88 emails per day. If you want to keep your email out of the trash bin, give people a reason to open yours. Fresh, creative subject lines that give subscribers an idea of the content of the newsletter translate into more clicks. It’s as simple as that.

Step 4: Choose a main idea

It’s a newsletter, so you should have a few calls to action. But you need to choose a main one, and it needs to be clear. This helps your subscribers know exactly what you want them to do.

Step 5: Keep it simple

Keep the design simple, clean and uncluttered. Give people enough information to capture their interest. They can click through to your website or blog for details.

Step 6: Make it easy for people to unsubscribe

You don’t want anyone to unsubscribe. We know. But people WILL want to. Make the “unsubscribe” button clear and easy to find. People will appreciate the simplicity, and you’ll be able to maintain a clean contact list. Think about the value of THAT.

People subscribe to your newsletter because they want to hear what you have to say. Give them what they’re looking for, in a format that’s engaging – and unlikely to end up in the trash heap. You’ll reap the rewards.

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Two Areas of Facebook Branding You Don’t Want to Miss in 2017

Let’s face it (pun intended)… Facebook is the best means of advertising out there because of the potential market reach. With over 1.1 billion active users, a Facebook business page is just as vital as a website these days! But having a Facebook business page does very little for your business if you’re not putting yourself out there enough and drawing people in. We don’t want you to miss that opportunity, so we’ve put together a quick list of the most up-and-coming areas for Facebook branding. (Hint: There’s more to it than just boosting posts or creating ads!)

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Facebook Live

Just last year, Periscope was all the rage in live videos to advertise your business. And, chances are, you were just beginning to notice. As is often the case with Facebook, the company recognized this growing trend and cornered the market (This is their M.O. Have you noticed the “snapchat” like feature in Facebook Messenger lately?). And, just as we might expect, Facebook Live is knocking Periscope out of the running as an effective marketing tool.

The benefits of Facebook Live include:

  • It’s free.
  • Facebook notifies your business page followers when you go live.
  • It builds trust because the video is genuine and unscripted, making you look more like a real person than a business in the consumer’s eyes.
  • You can answer questions live as they’re posted in the comments, connecting with your audience directly.

If you’re a contractor, use Facebook Live to show your potential clientele what your work day looks like. Effective Facebook branding means pool builders can show off a finished pool the moment the last drop of water falls in. Do an interview with a happy customer right after you deliver his new hot tub. Own a health food store? Explain the benefits of the supplement line you offer. Are you a yoga instructor? Teach a technique in two minutes once a week. The possibilities are endless.

Brand Yourself

If you’re an entrepreneur, then you need to be active on your personal Facebook profile and work on branding yourself just as much as your business. Be willing to become Facebook Friends with your customers and clientele so they can see you as a real person. This establishes trust, and trust is one of the most important values when working to gain and maintain your customer base.

And save the truly personal and controversial stuff – such as your political views or rants about those difficult customers – for personal conversations with your closest family and friends. Don’t throw this at your general Facebook audience. Treat your personal profile as you do your business profile… but share pictures of your kids or dogs too.

Facebook branding goes beyond getting an advertisement or boosted post in front of their eyes.

Consumers are looking for a business relationship with the companies they trust. By utilizing personal branding and Facebook Live (on both your business and personal profile), you’ll begin to see an increase in engagement from your target market.


Metrics Reports From a Reliable Digital Marketing Company

As a small business owner, your daily to-do list seems to be never ending. You’re the first to arrive and the last to leave. That’s likely one of the main reasons you’ve decided to hire a digital marketing company to help you with your online presence – because you don’t need something else to be responsible for, but reaching your target market on digital platforms is critical. There are a lot of digital marketing firms out there that make a lot of promises. Finding the company that will actually come through on those promises may take some time, but if you examine the types of metrics reports the company promises to provide, you’ll quickly know whether it’s a good partnership.

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Metrics Reports Objectives are Part of Their Business Agreement

A legitimate digital marking company will discuss your expectations for their results before a contractual agreement is reached. Then, when it’s time to sign on the dotted line, the company will put those expectations, and minimum promised metric results, in writing for accountability.

Reports are Available Regularly and Consistently

Any digital marketing firm you hire should be more than willing to provide you with a full report of progress either bi-weekly or monthly, depending on your preference. And, if you ever have questions, a real-time report should be available immediately for comparison.

Reports are More Than Numbers

Numbers are important for marking progress and success, but a reliable digital marketing company will also provide you with insights that explain those results. They should share metrics, but also add analysis and context to the data so you can discuss any necessary changes or movement toward your next goal.

A valued digital marketing company will hold itself accountable to your expectations and set its own. At The Get Smart Group, we value every one of our customers and know that you value results. That’s why we make sure to get them to you and show you when and how so that you understand and know you can count on us.


Lead Capture Web Forms: You Need Them, Whether You Know It Or Not

Lead capture web forms.

Not exactly the four sexiest words in marketing, we’ll admit it. But those four words could be the difference between two or three contact form fill-outs every month and 60, 70 or even 80.

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Feeling sexy now?

Lead capture web forms are what you fill out every time you get a brochure, find a dealer, get more information, or take most other actions.

Our clients who choose to not use those forms typically see 1-5 contact form fill-outs each month. For our clients who use lead capture web forms, we see those numbers soar deep into double digits (ahem… several dozen leads per month). 

We don’t expect you to know all this — that’s why you have The Get Smart Group.

  • We know that if we handle your Facebook ads but someone else does your website, that you’re setting yourself up for only partial success.
  • We know that you’re missing opportunities by not letting us add web forms.
  • We know that the perfect landing page can mean the difference between a conversion and a near miss.

We don’t expect you to know any of that — you’ve got a business to run. Well guess what? We’ve got a business to run, too, and our business is making your business better.

Lead capture web forms are just one piece of a big puzzle that we’ve put together over and over for all kinds of businesses.

We know to only ask for information that is absolutely necessary on web forms. We know that after a certain number of fields in a form, conversions begin to plummet. We know that empty white space isn’t the enemy, and that in fact, conversions drop the more text is clumped together. We know that calls to action, insignificant as they may seem to the untrained eye, might mean the difference between a conversion and a bounce.

Stop settling for a marketing plan that’s just good enough. Get it together. Get some lead capture web forms. Get Smarter.

 


Facebook Ads: Not Better Than Google, But Different — And Cheaper

You buy Facebook ads. You buy Google ads. Have you noticed a spending pattern emerge along the way? We’re talking about price. Facebook ads are about one-third to one-quarter cheaper than Google ads.

Let’s start by saying that Google is awesome and their ads are, too. We don’t want you to stop using Google. We do, however, want you to keep a little left over in your marketing budget for advertising on Facebook in 2017.

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Facebook ads don’t cost as much as Google, but that doesn’t mean they’re inferior. It means they’re a bargain.

If you advertise only on Google, it’s almost certain you’re missing clients that you could reach if you supplemented your ad buy with a place on the still-undisputed king of all social media.

You can certainly get more creative on Facebook. Target life events. Create lookalike audiences. Develop strategies based on recent purchase history. Nourish leads by using custom audiences.

You can do all of this and more on the cheap compared to what Google charges.

Facebook also has some game-changing goodies designed just for mobile.

Call buttons are, in a word, amazing. Hundreds of millions of Facebook users only access the site through mobile devices, while hundreds of millions more use their phones to check Facebook at least some of the time. Call buttons are the newest, coolest way to capture incoming leads through mobile — all for less than the price of Google ads.

Facebook is still simply too big to ignore. 22.9 percent of percent of people use Facebook. Not Americans, but 22.9 percent of everyone — like, all of humanity. It’s not just the sheer volume of people that is hard to ignore, but the stats on how they use it. People wake up to Facebook, go to sleep to it, get their news from it, and dump countless hours of their lives into it every week.

You could risk missing it all by going steady exclusively with Google.

 


Make the Play: Fresh Content Moves Your SEO Efforts into the End Zone

If you’ve made any effort to try to understand SEO and improve your company’s online presence, you know it’s not an easy task. The “rules” aren’t published, and it seems like they’re always changing. Just when you think you know exactly what you need to do to get your SEO efforts into the end zone, the goal posts move.

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There are companies of all shapes and sizes offering to help you improve your SEO game – for a pretty stiff fee, of course. And while their tactics may help, the key to true SEO success is much simpler than what they’re selling.

It’s content.

Regularly publishing quality, unique content on your website will dramatically improve your SEO efforts.

The trick is, your web pages probably don’t need to change that often. The services you offer, your contact information, your fee schedule, your company history or mission – it’s all fairly static. So how do you regularly update content when there aren’t any updates to make?

You blog.

Adding a blog to your website and creating (and sticking to!) a regular blogging schedule is the most important thing you can do to improve your company’s presence in search engine results. If we know one thing about the “rules” search engines follow, it’s that they strive to find and deliver the most relevant and current content to their users. Their algorithms crawl the web, looking for new pages to index – and every new blog post is a new page. In fact,studies have found that businesses that include a quality blog on their websites see up to 55 percent more site traffic than those that don’t. That’s a pretty convincing reason to start blogging as soon as possible.

So what do you blog about? And where do you find the time?

What do you want your customers to know? You can highlight a product or service. Talk about the history of what you do. Tie your business to upcoming holidays or current events. When you put your mind to it, you discover the options are endless. But as a business owner, endless your time most certainly is not. We get it. Starting a blog sounds great until you look at your calendar and wonder how you’re supposed to squeeze it into your already full schedule.

The Get Smart Group is on your side.

Helping businesses develop compelling content is what we do – and we have the track record to prove it. So if you’re ready to move your company’s SEO efforts down the field, reach out to today.

Put us in, coach. We’re ready to play.


Code Blue – You Need a Marketing Calendar!

Your business is on the Internet like it’s supposed to be. You have a website, a Facebook business page, a Twitter account, all of your top execs are on LinkedIn, and you even started an Instagram account for the business. But nothing is really happening on any of them.

We’d like to pose a question:

Are you posting on these outlets regularly and consistently?

If traffic on them is limited, then we venture to guess that the answer is something along the lines of “not really.” That’s because you don’t have a game plan. When you’re trying to reach your potential customers on every possible virtual channel, you must have a marketing calendar in place. Without one, you’re more likely to only post to Facebook when it’s convenient and not have fresh content popping up on your website to keep the Google algorithms happy.

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Creating a Marketing Calendar: Where Do You Begin?

It’s best to start by focusing on just one outlet for a while. If it’s Facebook, utilize the post scheduling feature for your business page and schedule several posts days or even weeks in advance so that there is consistency.

If it’s your website that you’d like to see more traction on, then get your blog active and get some new content up at least once a week. Plan your posts in advance and write several at a time to schedule the posts ahead of time, so you don’t get bogged down in deadlines.

If the thought of all of this completely overwhelms you, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In fact, this marketing calendar thing is one our areas of expertise over here at The Get Smart Group. Every day we have professional writers working on new blogs and social media posts for our clients, as well as email marketing campaigns and website content.

Reach out to us and see what we can do to make your marketing calendar a more manageable aspect of branding your business, so you get more potential customers in through the proverbial virtual door.


Get Smart: Give Your Business Marketing a Fighting Chance Online

What’s your search engine optimization strategy? What metrics are you using to measure your organic search numbersIf your answer to these questions about business marketing is “Shut up. I have no idea what you’re talking about. Now leave me alone, I have a business to run,” then you need The Get Smart Group.

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Here’s the thing. You’re great at what you do. You’re passionate, you’re honest and you stand by your product and your reputation — but no one knows it because you’re terrible at building and maintaining a winning web presence.

Business Marketing: That’s Where We Come In

You continue doing what it is you know and love, and we’ll work behind the scenes to make you more competitive online. From your website to your blog to your social media accounts, we’ll develop your online business marketing presence in a way that positions you as an authority in your field. You’ll have credibility with both the people searching the web for your product and the search engines that determine which businesses get seen and which ones get buried in the rankings.

When people search for the product you make or the service you provide, they couldn’t do better than you — because you rock. But they don’t get you. They get your competitor — you know, that idiot who shows up overdressed to all the trade shows?

Why? Because he developed an online marketing and branding strategy that made his business appear higher than yours in the search rankings. Even though you do better work for a fairer price, he gets the job.

We’re here to steal the job back from him and return it to its rightful owner — you.


Your Business Marketing Needs Help

You’ve spent countless hours and dollars on what started out as an idea. It took sleepless nights, missed holidays and most of your best curse words — but you did it. You launched your own business. You’re officially an entrepreneur. There is, however, one small problem: business marketing.

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Have You Seen Your Website?

Your website looks like an oil painting. People don’t come to websites to buy stuff. They come to learn. You’ve been in the business for years. Your visitors want to borrow your knowledge on what works, what doesn’t, what to watch out for, mistakes to avoid and how to get the most for their money. Maybe then they’ll want to buy — but only after you’ve used your web presence to position yourself as a credible and authoritative force in your industry.

Business Marketing on the Internet

You’re not using your social media channels to showcase your personality. You’re not using your blog to post trustworthy, informative content that potential customers can rely on to make informed buying decisions. You’re not leveraging your website to guide people through their purchasing journeys.

Of course you’re not — you don’t have time! Running a business takes, like, 25 hours a day.

How are you going to do everything you need to do and also launch email campaigns that keep your customers informed and engaged? How are you going to use your Facebook and Twitter accounts in a way that makes people want to join your mailing list in the first place?

You’re not. We are.

Here’s a fancy marketing term: cross promotion.

When all your online holdings — from social media and your blog to your website and YouTube channel — are all integrated into a cohesive web presence that is unified for the same goals and purpose, then you’ve got game.

Right now, you don’t have game. Right now you have an outdated website with the personality of a bowl of oatmeal. It’s hard to find, it’s hard to navigate and it’s easy to miss.

Don’t worry. We’re here for you. You know how passionate you are about your business? That’s how passionate we are about ours — and our business is all about making your business better.


Capture. Every. Lead.

There are a lot of reasons leads don’t turn into customers. Asking for their contact information isn’t one of them. We see all manner of lead generation methods (and reasons to capture leads) when working with pool and spa dealers around the country. Some are promoting big shows or events, others are simply trying to drive traffic to their retail stores. Whatever the reason for generating leads, there are five things to remember when it comes to any type of lead.

Leads want to be captured.

Have you ever given someone your contact information and hoped that they never contacted you? Of course not. If someone is interested in what you have to sell and has any interest in ever purchasing, they’re a lead and you need to make sure you capture them.

I often describe this in terms of a car dealership. If you’ve ever walked onto a car lot, you know that within a very short time someone will come up and introduce themselves. Whether you know it or not this is the first step in capturing the lead. Over the course of the conversation a car sales person will (typically) eventually get your name, what you’re interested in, your phone number and your email address. These are incredibly valuable pieces of information. Smart businesses know this and will stop at nothing to capture lead information.

Your website needs to act like a car sales person. At every turn, it needs to be politely asking for contact information. “But I don’t like websites that ask me to fill out forms” I hear you saying. Get over it. I’m sure you’ve filled out at least one form on a website in your time browsing the internet. Do you know why? You were interested in that product and wanted to learn more. Would you return to a car dealership if no one ever introduced themselves to you? Probably not. If someone is ready to move forward with learning about your product and you never give them the opportunity to easily get in touch, they’re not likely to return and your marketing efforts were for nothing.

Leads need to be captured.

Do you spend money on advertising? Has a customer (that you spent countless hours making happy) ever provided you with a testimonial or referal? Are potential customers walking into your store. Are you capturing every lead?

As a business owner, you absolutely must capture every lead. They need to be captured. If you’re not, you are literally throwing money away – and not in that casual, incorrect usage of the word ‘literal’. It’s going to waste, never to be seen again.

Recently, Tim and I went to a weekend spa sale with a client. Our job was to sit at the front door and capture every lead that walked in the door. I’m proud to say that out of 155 people that walked through the door, we managed to get 145 names with email addresses. Spa shows are expensive. When all costs are accounted for, every person who walks in the door costs a dealer anywhere from $300 to $500. Averaging that out, if one third of the people who walk through the door buy a spa, you’re spending $1200 in advertising for every spa sold. Profitable? Usually. But it’s more profitable if you capture every lead.

The math is very, very profitable

Let’s keep the math fun going. Of those 145 email addresses we captured, let’s say the third mentioned above purchased. That leaves us with about 96 people who didn’t buy. Now, let’s keep the numbers small. If you enter all of those people in to a ‘post show’ follow-up campaign using our Leadgic automated follow-up system, you’ll close another 10% of those within the next 90 days. Assuming an average profit of $3000 per spa, that’s another $27,000 (profit) in your pocket. In most cases, you’ll also close another 10% within the next six months. Another $24,000 (hey, profit!). What if you’re doing a show every weekend? Even if you only do four shows per year, you’re throwing away $100,000 simply by not capturing every lead and staying in touch. Wow.

Leads that don’t show up or don’t come into your store are still leads!

Let’s continue with the show example. Based on analytics reports of website traffic, we see thousands of people who visit the show landing page. Are you capturing these leads? Or are you just telling them to come to the show? I think you see the math coming…

Let’a assume 3000 people visit you landing page and we capture just 1% of their contact information. That’s 30 leads who are interested in what you have to sell (see above). Using the same 10% in 90 days and 10% in six months model if you properly follow-up with these people you’re looking at another 6 sales, netting you ~$18,000 (per event!).

This model applies no matter what your business.

Spa shows are concentrated examples of lead generation, lead capture and getting new customers. But this same math applies no matter what your business. By not making concentrated efforts to capture every lead you’re throwing away tons of potential revenue that is even harder to get next time.

As someone who routinely helps businesses capture more leads, properly follow-up with those leads and generate more sales, I ask that you take a good, hard look at your lead capture apparatus and make sure you’re capturing every lead, every time.

If you’d like to review your current strategy please do get in touch, we’d love to help.