The Happily Ever After of SEO

Once upon a time, good SEO meant jam-packing your content with keywords. Then, a pair of dragons named Penguin and Panda came along, slaying all the spammy keyword-stuffed content and sparking an internet revolution. Today, Google algorithms are tight, and your SEO strategy is either smart or it’s ranked Search Page 3, which is to say, it never sees the light of day, let alone meets and marries a prince.

But just because SEO is more sophisticated doesn’t mean it’s out of reach for the average business. In fact, simply producing good copy is half the battle. But while quality content alone may get you into the kingdom of Google Searches, it takes a few more knights in shining armor to seat you on the Throne: Google Page One, Position One. The Promised Land, flowing with milk, honey, and search traffic

It starts with the overall quality of your site.

 

Before you worry about which keywords to target, the frequency of keywords, and whether to put keywords in titles and subtitles or in the text, begin with a changing of the guard: update your content. Quantity is less important than quality. Deliver on your promises. Provide interesting, informative, and relevant content that answers the questions people are actually asking. This boosts the quality (authority) of your site. Then, all of your individual pages have a much higher chance of being ranked well. You’re welcome. (Pssst… Having trouble getting the content you need? GSG has a whole team of writers waiting to fill your website, blog, and social pages with top-notch content you’ll be proud to call your own.) 

Don’t make the mistake of skimping on the metadata.

Does it really matter about all those meta titles, meta descriptions, title tags, header tags, and what the URL is? 

Yes. 

These may not look too important to the reader, but to those website crawlers, they’re the Hansel and Gretel breadcrumbs that lead to high-quality content. You see, those who sling up just any ol’ content don’t take the time to get the metadata right. So having those things in order sends a thumbs up to the Google crawlers, telling them your stuff is worth a read. (Pssssst…. GSG’s got one of the best website building teams in the biz. No joke.)

Be smart about which keywords you’re targeting.

 

Would we love to sit on the throne of Google searches for keywords like “marketing” and “online relationship management”? Uh, YEAH! Us and every other marketing firm in the universe. But targeting those broad, popular keywords is, for most small business budgets, impossible. However, targeting less common “long-tail” keywords is very doable. For instance, you might never rank #1 for “house” or “pool” or “hot tub” but you can very reasonably expect to rank at the top for keywords like “house in Wichita, Kansas” or “pool in Prairie Plains, Tennessee” or “hot tub in Hartford, Connecticut.”

Ready to be crowned the king of your SEO kingdom? Give us a call. Get Smart and let us do the hard work for you. For more information, start by scheduling a FREE 30-minute marketing consultation today.


Stop trying to do it all yourself – you’re screwing it up!

Sure, as a business owner you want to save money wherever you can – that’s reasonable. Sure – you got here because you’re smart, resourceful and clever and good at solving problems – so why shouldn’t you be able to save a few bucks by doing your own marketing?

Here’s the issue – you already have a business to run, people to manage, bills to pay, products to order, products to SELL, products to install… etc. etc. etc. Sound familiar?

Here is what happens – we know because we have the same problem! This is how it always starts out:

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It’s all fun and games for the first bit – you get your fingers into all the fun little pies and start feel like you might be able to make stuff happen. It’s invigorating. You have big dreams for what you can do and you’re determined to write them all down… when you just get a free five minutes to do it. Probably tomorrow.  Then you remember you have payroll to process, an HR meeting you can’t keep avoiding and a soccer game for your kiddo that you have to get to at 3pm and dammit – you’re supposed to bring the snacks!

So then this happens:

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You start forgetting details and deadlines – the organization of all your plans and hopes falls to the wayside before it has a chance to become effective (usually before 3 months is up) and you start scrambling to pick up the pieces – barely making a cohesive effort in your messaging, and probably confusing people including your own staff and some customers with your inconsistencies in website management, facebook posts, or responses to reviews.  And now it’s starting to keeping you awake at night because you KNOW it could be better. But still – you’re doing the best you can. A little glimmer of doubt has formed in your subconscious – “is this really worth doing myself?” Your instincts may be telling you something.

Finally – and if you haven’t been living on the moon for the past 40 years you already know where this is going – the train goes off the rails completely.

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Your head explodes leaving little bits of your brilliant messaging and marketing ideas scattered to the wind and plastered to yellow post-its now grimly stuck between TPS reports, invoices, checks to sign, and all over your calendar and computer monitor (don’t even look at the chaos that is now your computer desktop!) No one can live like that. You lose motivation, get dejected, refuse to spend money on marketing and find yourself in the slowest part of the year with a tight month to month cashflow and no leads in your funnel to call on. Yikes!

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So what’s the message here? According to John C. Maxwell, author of Developing the Leaders Around You, “If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”

So – don’t be a chocolate hog. Share the sweet stuff – your brilliant ideas and vision – with the people who actually know how to package it for you. There’s no reason you can’t have your fingers in the pie (all the fun parts and none of the drudgery) and let someone else foster your dreams and bring them to fruition. Life comes at you fast and marketing technology changes every single day. You are smart, capable and clever – but you cannot be the expert in all things. Take a risk this year – delegate, then celebrate.

Be like happy Lucy. We guarantee that life will be sweeter for it. 

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Start Building Company Culture Today

If you don’t have the time to commit to organizing your company culture, and you don’t have the discipline to see it through personally or instill it in your team – a difficult organizational disrupt could be in your immediate future. Here are some clear starting points to build a meaningful and lasting culture that will sustain your business growth strategies through time.  

  1. Start with culture first. I recommend reaching out to our growth consultants at Turning West – with their “culture in a day” workshop. It’s worth the time and investment and will help motivate your team this fall as you get ready to plan for 2020. Plus, they already have pool industry experience and know what goes on in a retail store seasonally.  https://www.turningwest.com/product/culture-in-a-day-workshop/
  2. Invest in the right tools – Every business owner needs tools that give you insight into how your team is doing with customer service, what internal training they need, etc.  Review tracking & Reputation Management Tools are a great place to get these insights. Look into one of the many tools in the marketplace that can help you get more customer reviews on social media and valuable feedback from customers who weren’t 100% satisfied. People just want to be heard – give them a way to do that before they start a Facebook war.  We have a Foundation Package too – that includes reviews, SEO for your website and online listing updates. 
  3. Cut off the poisonous limbs – do you have team members who are not team players? Those fun individuals who refuse to follow directions (even your own direct requests), they don’t help others, won’t learn new skills and make excuses for everything? It’s time to say goodbye. It doesn’t matter if they are related to you or why they suck at their job. It’s a hard decision to make, especially when they are talented. But if you demonstrate your true commitment to excellence by getting rid of the people who are holding you back – it will be the best thing you will ever do for your company and the rest of your team will thank you and be more motivated than ever. Bad team players damage morale, and bad morale damages sales, customer service, and everything else.

Craft Your Branding Strategy and Growth Plan – When you are ready to grow, please call us at 415-800-2040 ext 701 and let The Get Smart Group us help you blow your sales up in the coming year with a custom marketing and branding strategy for your company that will give you insights, leads, tools, team training and trackable results with ongoing support.


Innovation, A Value To Lead By

innovate pool realizer

By: Scott & Ali Reynolds

When my wife and co-founder Ali and I started The Get Smart Group 10 years ago (!), we worked with our business coach at Turning West to craft a list of values that defined who and what we wanted to be as a marketing agency (and the type of employees we wanted to have on the team). At the top of our list of values is “Innovate.” Our cutting edge innovation in this ever-changing digital marketing world is something we’re very proud of being good at over the years. It has formed valuable partnerships with clients and allowed us to stay sharp with our skills and provide education to our clients as well as our own team. In this past year, it has led us to be part of something very exciting in the technology sector that is just beginning to gain recognition nationally.

Innovation with other businesses

A recent article in Pool Pro magazine spilled the beans on our year-long collaboration with Latham Pools on two ground-breaking tools to help pool builders sell more pools, communicate with their customers better, and make the overall buying experience better. These tools are the Latham Liner Visualizer and the Latham Fiberglass Pool Visualizer (iOS link only). We’re immensely proud to be part of these tools and some amazing new solutions coming for the 2020 pool season.

Click for a Demo Video

The years and investment we’ve put into innovation, and into growing The Get Smart Group and subsequently, The Realizers, into respected digital marketing companies in the Pool & Spa industry have allowed us to meet so many wonderful people and companies. We couldn’t be happier with the steady growth and recognition we’ve received over the years. But it hasn’t just been the creativity to innovate that has come that has led us to success with the company. It’s been our commitment to each of the values we have used to define our company culture that has brought us to where we are now.

Innovation in our own business

As a small business, we face many of the same daily struggles as our own clients: hiring, firing, managing cash flow, administrative paperwork, taxes (ugh), paying for tech tools (inventory), researching new products and solution and the ongoing Tech support (training) costs that are seemingly unending. We tell our own potential employees during the hiring process, “If you want a job that will never change and you want to just clock in and out every day, this is not the right place for you. But if you love to learn and are passionate about constantly improving yourself and sharing your knowledge to help others – you will love it here.” Our first day of training at Get Smart consists of learning our company story, mission, and vision and learning our company values. They are the foundation for how our team conducts ourselves in business every day.

Our understanding of the day to day struggles of small businesses, and our consistent creative applications of problem-solving – for ourselves AND for our own clients – has been what raises us above and beyond any potential competitors in the pool and spa industry digital marketing space. Yes, we can get you more leads. Build mobile-friendly SEO optimized websites. Help you get relevant metrics reporting you can understand. And yes, we can innovate new solutions. We love doing all of these things. But at the end of the day, we are just real people solving human problems and trying to make the world a better place.

Innovate with us

We help each of our clients become the best business in their region. If you’re interested in learning more about how we market for the pool and spa industry, give us a call at 415-800-2040 ext.701. We’d love to hear from you, explore your challenges, and help you plan a stronger future for your own company.

For excellent business coaching, we recommend reaching out to Dr. Steven Goodwin at Turning West. They have been essential in helping us plan and grow (and stay married!) over the years and have already worked with several clients in the pool industry.


Using YouTube in Your Marketing Strategy

Use YouTube

If you haven’t yet incorporated YouTube into your marketing strategy, you should. The statistics are simply mind-numbing: 

  • YouTube reaches more adults with buying power during prime time than cable advertising. 
  • Over 90% of all adults report watching YouTube videos.
  • 75% of adults watch on their mobile devices, and the average viewing session is 1 hour. 
  • YouTube’s audience is an even split of male-female.

Whatever demographic group you’re trying to reach, they’re on YouTube. 

This is not an article about “How” to use YouTube in your marketing strategy. It is about “Why” you should consider using it. Let’s begin by seeing what you know – or by seeing what you think you do.

Test Your YouTube Awareness

Answer these questions. Each correct answer is worth 50 points.

  1. What is the second biggest website?
  2. What is the second biggest search engine? (Hint: Google is No. 1)

If you answered “YouTube” to both questions, you have 100 points! That wasn’t so hard.

3 Reasons for Using YouTube in Your Marketing Strategy

Don’t expect some complicated techno-jargon. These ideas are so simple even a caveman could figure them out.

  1. The people you want to reach are already there. According to Marketing Insider Group, “YouTube is not showing signs of slowing down . . . People of all ages, from all over the world, love watching videos online.” 

Studies concede that a growing percentage of consumers of all ages would rather watch a video advertisement than a printed article (like the one you are reading right now). YouTube exceeded 1.5 billion active users per month in 2017. And, the average time per user is over one hour.

We realize that you are probably not trying to reach the world market. However, the sheer volume of YouTube viewers is a reasonable indicator that a fair share of your geographic market is among them.

  1. If they don’t find your business, they may see your competitors’. Here’s an idea. Go check YouTube (AFTER YOU FINISH READING THIS!) and search for your competitors’ businesses. Then search for yours. If your competitors’ businesses are there but yours is not, it’s a good bet that you had better start thinking about using YouTube in your marketing strategy.
  2. It’s FREE! We shouldn’t have to explain this one.

3 Achievable Goals Using YouTube in Your Marketing Strategy

Promoting your business on YouTube can make you a star. Before you know it, you’ll be more popular than the local news anchors. That’s actually part of what makes using YouTube so advantageous.

  1. Connectivity. People see your face. They hear your voice. When they come to your store, they may be strangers to you, but they feel like they already know you.
  2. Personality. It’s one thing to have personality come through in a blog post, but it’s really only a glimpse. The audio and video content makes you a real person, not the incarnation of a never-to-been-known ghostwriter.
  3. Credibility. I know you, believe you and trust you. Knowing, believing, and trusting may be separate stepping-stones, but they are all on the same path heading in the same direction. As they watch and listen, they will perceive your expertise, and they will gravitate towards it.

3 Effective Ways for Using YouTube in Your Marketing Strategy

We could come up with a long list, but our purpose here is to light a fire under your creative juices until they really get bubbling.

  • Educate. YouTube presents a perfect opportunity to educate viewers with how-to videos about purchasing or using your products. If a 30-second commercial isn’t adequate for getting your use benefits across, a YouTube video is ideal.
  • Demonstrate. YouTube is the perfect place to showcase your products in action. Brochures can be informative, but they may also get misplaced or discarded. More people are convinced by experiential marketing. Think of the proverbial test drive. The brochure was beautiful, but the driving experience made the difference!

There is a true story about an appliance salesman who set up an operating washing machine in the middle of the showroom floor. No obvious electrical connect, source of water or drain. Because that model was operational, that’s the one everyone wanted to buy. (This was before computers and the internet were a twinkle in Bill Gates’ eye.) The concept still works.

  • Advocate. Enlist some of your loyal customers to give testimonials about your brand of products. Just as importantly, have them talk about how wonderfully you and your entire staff have treated them. Create videos in your store or in the beautiful backyards you help create.

It’s estimated that by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times higher than it was in 2017. That’s important because video viewers retain 95% of the message in a video. Those two facts alone should convince most small business owners that using YouTube in your marketing strategy is something worth looking into.

We’re not just whistling “Dixie.” We’re here to help you become more successful in marketing your business. They don’t call us The Get Smart Group for nothing. Want some tips on how to improve your business this year? Schedule a FREE 30-minute marketing consultation today.


Anatomy of a Brilliant Blog

Good website content (like blog posts) drives sales, encourages consumer trust, and increases traffic to your website, which is why you’ve accepted the undeniable truth that your website – yes yours – needs a blog.

“But I just want to sell pools!” you say. “I don’t even like writing,” you say.

We hear you! But the fact is, websites with blogs average 55% more traffic than websites without. Yowzer, that’s a lot more eyes on your business! Since we know that’s a statistic you can’t pass up, we’re going to tell you how to turn a run-of-the-mill blog post into a brilliant one, so you can write posts that are going to get results!

 

1) Optimize with the right keywords. Quick! Which is the better phrase for being found in Google results? Restaurants or Korean BBQ, Washington DC? The better search term would be Korean BBQ, Washington DC, right? Assuming you’re in Washington and you’re hungry for Korean food, of course. 

If you Google search a generic term like “restaurants” you’re going to have to wade through a bunch of results that don’t apply to what you’re looking for. The same principle applies in reverse as well. If you use generic terms in your title and blog posts, you’re not going to pop up on the first page of search results for your target customer. For instance, let’s look at pools. Sure, people may Google swimming pools, but if you don’t appear until page 582 of those search results, that doesn’t help you. Instead, you want to narrow your field. 

In your title and blog post, use keywords like “saltwater swimming pools, inground pool builders in Washington DC, most popular swimming pool water features…” Suddenly, you jump to the top of the search results for someone looking for information about what you’re blogging about! Who cares if you’re #1 in a search for “pools” by a guy in Romania? What’s important is being high in searches for the kinds of pools you sell in the city your business is in.

Sound tricky? Try a keyword tool like MOZ.com or SEMScoop which will help you pick the best keywords for your target audience.

 

2) Break up the text. Reading a book and reading words on a screen are just different. Long paragraphs, even grammatically-correct ones, look like giant walls of text on a computer screen, and that’s especially true on a smaller screen like a phone. 

Don’t be alarmed, but often people skim articles online instead of fully reading. Your readers are likely jumping from the title to the subheadings and any bold text, and then will dive into the rest of the blog post if they want to know more. Do you know what will happen if they click into your blog post and encounter an eye-numbing wall of text? 

Yup, click away, click away! 

Fun Internet GIF by Oggy and the Cockroaches - Find & Share on GIPHY

They’ll go back to the search results and try another website. Don’t let your good content go unread! Break it up into bite-sized pieces.

 

3) Be the expert. One reason blogging is so impactful for your business is that it gives you the chance to earn consumers’ trust by giving them meaningful, trustworthy information. Whatever product or service you’re selling, we bet no one knows it like you, which is why you should love blogging! You get the chance to educate customers about the subject you’re most passionate about it and, by doing so, you develop a relationship with them. That’s a serious win!

 

4) Know your audience. Are you selling baseball cleats to athletes, spa days to soccer moms, or lawn care service to busy corporate workers? You can’t appeal to all people, and that shouldn’t bother you. Know your audience and talk to them directly.

 

5) Make it both interesting and helpful. You can be the most knowledgeable person in your field, but if your blog post is… ahem, boring, no one will read it. Pack it full of personality and use storytelling whenever possible. For instance, we mentioned “most popular pool water features” earlier. Which one of these is more interesting?

  1. The most popular water feature for pools this year are bubblers.
  2. My personal favorite, and the one that has kept my children entertained for approximately 700 hours already this summer, are bubblers!

The second one brings emotion into your post, and emotion both captures the reader’s attention and builds loyalty with your brand. People love those “behind-the-scenes” and “insider secrets” type of information.

 

6) Make your title attention-grabbing. A strong title makes a promise (that you’ll satisfy in the body of your blog post) and stands out. Employ one of these easy tricks to make your headline impactful.

  • Numbers – 5 Ways to Save Money on Groceries  
  • Adjectives – 5 Fun and Easy Ways to Save Money on Groceries
  • Negatives – Never Overspend at the Grocery Store Again!
  • How to – How to Stretch Your Money at the Grocery Store
  • Questions – Are You Tired of Overspending at the Grocery Store?
  • Urgency – Don’t Go to the Grocery Store Again Without Doing This
  • 2nd Person – You Won’t Believe How Much Money You’ll Save on Groceries with this Trick!

 

7) End with a Call to Action.  There needs to be a “next step” for your reader, and contrary to what you may be thinking, that doesn’t need to be a call to purchase your product (and often shouldn’t be). Instead, try: 

  • Soliciting a response by asking your readers to answer a question or to leave a specific comment, like their tips for handling an issue, etc. 
  • Direct them to other informative content, like another blog post, an eBook, or a free download.
  • Leave a link to your contact page. 

Now, that’s just 7 steps standing between you and a brilliant blog post. Seven steps are totally doable! 

Want more tips to help your business grow? Request a FREE 30-minute Marketing Consultation.


How Important are Online Reviews?

 

Read the stats and you tell us if your business could benefit!

Positive comments from customers mean the average business sees an 18% increase in sales. Customers who read those positive reviews generally spend 31% more than customers who don’t.

If you have negative reviews or bad comments about your business, 22% of customers will never buy from you. It gets worse; if you have four or more bad customer reviews, it could mean up to 70% of your potential customers never walk in your building to meet your fantastic sales team or to see your incredible deals. They’ll never even give you a chance.

The Good. The Bad. And the Non-Existent.

Positive reviews = good.

Negative reviews = bad.

But it’s more complex than that.

Having no reviews raises a different kind of suspicion among savvy shoppers. We see it all the time; a sketchy business creates a new social media account to start selling “the latest and greatest” items. People buy. The business never delivers. Instead, they start a new business under a new name and they do the same thing again.

Yes, these people eventually get caught. But this is why that’s important when it comes to your business.

Established businesses have reviews. Sketchy businesses don’t.

If your business doesn’t have online reviews, customers won’t trust you. The end.

Online Reviews Help Manage Your Online Reputation

Navigating the world of online reviews can be a bit complicated. You never (ever) want to put fake reviews on your website. But sometimes you do need to ask people to give you a review. It’s a delicate line to dance. But we happen to be expert dancers. (At online reviews, anyway. You don’t want to see us cut a rug.)

We have the tools you need to manage your online customer reviews. In fact, online reputation management is part of several marketing packages that we offer to businesses just like yours. Check out our online reviews. And if you prefer “word of mouth” referrals, we have plenty of business owners you can talk to. They’ll tell you the importance of online reviews and how The Get Smart Group can help. What are you waiting for? Schedule your free consultation today.


Forging Great Customer Relationships on Facebook

Ever wonder if your Facebook presence is having much of an impact? If it’s not, it should! Facebook serves to connect you with your customers and build their trust as well as helping you find new customers. Your Facebook presence can have a big impact on your ROI.

We’ve talked about what a benefit email and newsletters can be in nurturing leads and engaging customers, but do you know what your Facebook account has going for it that email doesn’t? A captive audience. Unlike emails, where there’s a chance they won’t be opened, your Facebook updates are being read effortlessly and naturally just as customers are scrolling through their feed. Now you can capitalize on that and convert a captive reader into a loyal customer.

First, recognize that Facebook can be an easy and effective tool for garnering leads, nurturing leads, and keeping your customers engaged with your brand.

Facebook has almost 2 billion active users monthly. Your customers are there and using it daily. That gives you a great opportunity. Be there, too! Be responsive. Be interactive. By doing so, you’ll reduce the friction points that can send a customer on to a competitor.

Friction points are the barriers that stand between a potential customer and your business. An example would be when you unexpectedly run out of stock on an item. That causes friction between your customer and you. Instead of purchasing immediately, now a potential customer may change their mind or find the product somewhere else. As a marketer, your goal is always to reduce or eliminate friction points so that customers have a seamless, pleasant experience with your business.

Utilizing Facebook helps you mitigate another common type of friction: discovery friction. Here’s an example. Jill wants to order Indian food so she looks up a new restaurant on Facebook. There’s no menu and very few reviews. What will Jill do? Most likely, she’ll scroll down to another local Indian restaurant, find the menu, read good reviews, and order her dinner – with no more thought to the first restaurant. In fact, she may never interact with the first one again. It’s a sad story, right? It’s so easy to avoid, just by being active on Facebook and making it easy for customers to discover you and get the information they’re looking for before moving on to your competitor.

Engage with customers.

Who could have known just 15 years ago how simple and quick it would become to engage with customers? While it’s rare that a person would come into your store to give you feedback, you can now easily rack up the reviews online! These ratings have become a huge part of how we pick the companies from which we buy our products and services. To forge great customer relationships, make sure you’re always responding to Facebook messages and reviews. For best practice, stick with these guidelines:

  • Respond quickly – we’ve all seen the “typically responds within…” message in the “About” section of other business Facebook pages. Some customers expect a response within minutes and others are okay with a day or more, but in general, respond as quickly as possible.
  • Build rapport with customers by personalizing responses and letting the spirit of your company show through your honest, transparent comments.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of defending yourself against negative reviews. Sure, you’re bound to have the occasional customer who just can’t be pleased. But arguing or defending is likely to end up reflecting badly on your business. Instead, be polite and apologetic. Something like, “I’m sorry you’re unhappy about this situation. Can you please call us so we can try to resolve this?” will show other potential customers that you’re an ethical company making a good faith effort to help an upset customer.

Utilize great content.

Let’s be real, nothing is going to make a user “unlike” and “unfollow” your business page faster than constantly getting bombarded with the same pitch to buy your product or service. Yes, effective Facebook pages post about their products, sales, and specials, but they shake it up by including other types of posts that create opportunities for engagement apart from a hard sales pitch. Here are some ideas:

  • Give a teaser and then link to your more in-depth articles or videos. Make the content interesting to readers and relevant to what they want to know. Free information is the hallmark of social media branding. Give them your knowledge, insight, and learned experience for free, and they’ll come to you when it’s time to whip out the pocketbook.
  • End your post with questions or another call to action. Need some suggestions? Try “Which color would you choose for your home?” “Take this quiz and tell us which leadership style applies to you!” or “We can’t wait for summer grilling! What’s your favorite summer activity?”

Here’s the takeaway. Engaged Facebook followers are more likely to turn into new customers or be returning ones. Get the most out of your social media presence by being active and letting the personality of your brand show. Need help building your Facebook platform? Get Smart and let us do the hard work for you! Schedule a free 30-minute marketing consultation to learn more.


Why Consistency is the Key to Successful Digital Marketing

consistency

 

When you’re composing your digital marketing attack plan, don’t forget one of the most important (if not the most important) aspect: consistency! Both in building your brand and in marketing it to customers, consistency is key.

Familiarity

When your best friend answers your phone call, you don’t say, “Hi, it’s Steve. Can I speak to Bob?” because you recognize his voice instantly. You know each other, and there is familiarity. You have a relationship that lets you jump right into the meat of the conversation. When Bob picks up the phone, you say something like, “Hey, what are you doing?” or “Hi man, do you want to catch the 8 o’clock movie?” In the same way, digital marketing consistency builds familiarity, and a relationship, with your target consumers.

When your Facebook posts, emails, and blog posts all have the same personality, voice, and aesthetic, you build brand recognition with your audience. When it comes to ROI, brand recognition is golden. As you become more familiar to your target consumer, you become the name they recognize and trust and, before you know it, that target consumer is a loyal customer.

Consistency = Connection

Consistency, both in the type of content and marketing you do as well as frequency, forges a connection with consumers. One of the goals of honing the voice and personality of your brand is to bring about an emotional connection with customers.

“Emotional Connection” might bring to mind Super Bowl commercials that make us tear up and reach for a tissue, but all sorts of emotional connections are effective. Does your content include sarcasm, snark, or dad jokes? That works! Humor is a great way to bond with consumers and build connection. Need more examples?

  • You can earn trust by turning out high-quality, educational content that shows you’re the expert in your field. Consumers trusting you enough to turn to you for information… that’s an emotional connection!
  • Promise to beat any competitor’s price and following through on it. When your target customer is looking for a deal and you’re who comes to mind, you’ve made an emotional connection with him.
  • Delivering superior service, treating customers like family, offering a stellar return policy, giving free shipping… all these and more are ways to connect with consumers. If you haven’t already, find the elements about your company that you want customers to know.  Showcase things about your business that will spark an emotional connection, and consistently include them in all types of your digital marketing.

Once your voice is the same across the board, meaning your style is consistent between blog posts, emails, and social media, don’t forget the second part of the connection equation: frequency! You can’t show up on Facebook once a month with a killer post. You need to be there frequently, at least once a week, staying in your customers’ feeds, gently slipping your marketing in front of their eyes so you keep reinforcing that connection.

 

Basically, it all boils down to this: keep a clear view of the message you want to deliver to consumers and the style that fits your business. Use that same style across all digital marketing, and consistently produce content, and interact with those who take the time to comment on your social media posts.

 

We completely understand that sometimes this may be easier said than done. You might be thinking something like, “I just want to build swimming pools! I’m not really great at social media posts and writing emails.” That’s where The Get Smart Group comes in and does it for you! From Facebook and Instagram posts to articles and marketing emails, we work hard to convey your unique brand and your voice in every post. To get started, request a FREE 30-minute marketing consultation.


The Power of Good Branding

When you think of branding your business, you may think of only the visual aspect of it: the logo, tagline, website design, etc. In actuality, branding your business goes way beyond mere imaging. It’s everything about your company, product, and service that makes an impression on consumers. Yes, your logo and website are an important part of that but so is customer service, your mission statement, and your “voice” or personality.

Your brand influences people’s reaction to your product or service, even their gut reaction to it. Think about the brands you love to use. How do you feel when you see their logo, or a special deal they’re offering? Now, think about a brand you had a terrible experience with … how do you feel when you see their marketing messages? Yikes! Powerful stuff.

Good branding is critical. Not only does good branding make an impression on customers and earn their business, it builds loyalty. How does a consumer decide which company to do business with? They choose the one they’re familiar with; the name they trust. That’s what your branding does. Even if they’ve never done business with you before and haven’t received a direct referral, your brand shows consumers who you are, that you’re trustworthy, and it inspires them to choose you.

Good branding makes an impression.

Arguably the most important part of making a lasting first impression on consumers is your logo. A great logo is not only eye-catching but memorable. Whether done through design or wording, it informs consumers what type of business you are. In honor of the playoffs, let’s look at two NBA logos for a good and not-so-good example.

First, the good example. The Toronto Raptors logo is clear and well designed. Gone are the days of the cartoon dinosaur dribbling a basketball on a purple background.

The team’s newest logo is much more bloodthirsty. Raptor claw marks are a nod to the team’s name and mascot, while the basketball tells you straightforwardly what kind of organization it represents. It gives the impression of a fierce brand, perfect if you’re a sports team hoping to dominate all the other NBA teams. Even non-NBA fans will identify this logo as belonging to a basketball team.

Now we have the Portland Trail Blazers with a less successful logo. What is this? Are the black lines supposed to be trails? The white section could vaguely resembles a ‘P’ so maybe it’s intended as a monogram for Portland?

The truth is, we don’t know, and if you’re not already an NBA fan, you probably have no idea that this is a logo for a well-known sports team. A non-fan who spots this on merchandise as they’re walking through a store will have no idea what type of business it represents.

Instead of this logo sparking brand recognition from the first moment it’s seen, the Blazers brand must already be known to the consumer. For an NBA team who really only markets to its fans, that’s probably okay. For basically every other type of business under the sun, that’s a  problem.

Your Brand Tells Consumers What to Expect from You

Depending on what area of the country you live in, you may be familiar with a sandwich shop called Jimmy John’s. Every commercial, jingle, or ad you’ve ever seen or heard from Jimmy John’s promises that they are “freaky fast.” If you walk up to the counter to order, they’ve usually got your sandwich made before you’re done paying. They don’t put it in a bag or give you a napkin – because they ain’t got time for that – but that’s okay, because you’re probably there because you like and appreciate their “freaky fast” brand promise. Going for delivery? If you order Jimmy John’s and a coworker orders from a pizza place, everyone knows who’s going to be digging into their lunch first.

Now, if Jimmy John’s branding promised to deliver food super fast, but they were routinely slower than they promised, that stigma becomes part of their brand, because a brand is not just the branding you try to portray, but it’s the overall impression a consumer has of your business.

Your Brand Helps You Connect on an Emotional Level

When you show consumers that you “get them” or have the same values as them, you connect on an emotional level. How can branding help you do this? There are many ways and here are a few:

  • Highlight that you’re a family-owned, local business.
  • Be active in your community.
  • Give military discounts.
  • Know your target audience and market it to it. For example, if your clientele is mostly women over age 50, use images and wording appropriate to them.

Make sure your brand’s personality meshes with your audience. For example, if your target demographic is 40-something dads, ads with hipsters probably won’t do it for you. Through what goggles do your target audiences view your marketing content?

Your Brand Creates Loyalty and Generates Referrals

If you look deeper, past the logo, packaging, and website design (although these can impact customer loyalty), here’s where the intangible aspects come into play. Your brand builds loyalty when you follow through on your branding promises. Customer service, expert knowledge, and high-performing employees are all parts of your brand that build loyalty.

For example, if your branding is all about quality, make sure your products stand the test of time, and be there for your customers if problems arise. Similarly, If you promote great prices, then focus on providing your customers products at price points they can’t get anywhere else.

That’s why Customer Relationship Management is essential. Building your relationship with your customer brings them back to you when they’re ready to purchase. As a great example, we offer custom CRM programs for our clients. We customize email campaigns so you can stay in touch with your current customers to fulfill more needs as well as generate sales with your leads.

Your Brand Sets the Culture with Your Employees

You can motivate and give your employees something to believe in with your branding. A strongly branded company gives your employees a team to be part of and a goal to work toward, something to take pride in.

All aspects of branding can seem overwhelming especially to a new business but if you focus on how you want customers to view your brand, the branding steps to take become easier to see.

Need help with your branding? Let The Get Smart Group help! From CRM email campaigns to social media posts, we can help you grow your brand!