8 Powerful Content Marketing Ideas for Busy Professionals

Content Marketing Ideas - MarketCrest

Running a small business keeps you busy – you’re working with customers and planning projects, ordering inventory and running everyday operations. There’s always something to do… but unfortunately, that means you might be overlooking a few important aspects of your company’s marketing.  

And while it’s easy to forget, content marketing can be a tremendous benefit to your business. There are plenty of ways to lead productive marketing campaigns, even when you’re always on a time crunch.

These quick and easy content marketing ideas to help you keep your campaigns on-track are perfect for busy professionals like you.

8 Content Marketing Ideas for Busy Professionals

Coming up with content marketing ideas doesn’t have to be incredibly tough. In fact, if you’ve got a few ideas, you can spin them off into new ideas and reuse them month after month. 

Still need a little help? Check out these eight content marketing ideas for busy professionals just like you to get started.

Content Marketing IdeaContent Marketing Idea #1: Official Months

Every month celebrates something, and if you can tie that month’s theme into what you’re writing about, you’ll be able to attract even more attention. For example, December is National Pear Month, National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, National Human Rights Month, Spiritual Literacy Month and Worldwide Food Safety Month.

If you want to drill down further, every month has national weeks, too. In December, the 1st through the 7th is National Cookie Cutter Week, the 10th through the 17th is Human Rights Week, and Saturnalia is the 17th through the 23rd.

Further, the 1st is National Pie Day and National Eat a Red Apple Day, the 2nd is National Mutt Day, and the 5th is International Ninja Day.

Content Marketing Idea #2: Follow a Timeline

Create a timeline that shows the progression of events that led to big developments in your industry. If you’re in the heating and cooling industry, for example, you can show a brief history of how HVAC systems became widespread in American homes; if you’re in the organic farming industry, you can create an agriculture timeline.

Content Marketing Idea #3: Feature Good Deeds

Write a piece on good deeds your company has done or spotlight an employee who volunteers in the community. These types of human-interest pieces go a long way – and they’re often more likely to be shared on social media by the highlighted employee’s friends and family.

Content Marketing Ideas - Video MarketingContent Marketing Idea #4: How-To Videos

Create a series of videos that show people how to use one of your products, and get written transcripts of each (might as well double-down on the SEO value!). If you’re in the clothing industry, for example, show people how to pair certain pieces; if you’re in the roofing industry, show people how to inspect their own roofs safely and effectively.

Content Marketing Idea #5: Turn Your Top Posts Into a Video or Slideshare

What are your top-performing blog posts or webpages? Combine them into a video that summarizes each, or create a slideshare that people can use to get the gist of what you’re saying. Don’t forget to include links to the original content, so those who want more information know where to find it.

Content Marketing Idea #6: Work on Listicles

Lists are incredibly popular – even lists of things not to do. Try something like “10 Reasons You MUST See XXX Before You Die” or “7 Things to Avoid When You Visit XXX.” Kick things off with a number so readers know what they’re getting into, and make sure you include plenty of visuals – that way, people will be more inclined to share.

Content Marketing Idea 7 - Answer Your Customers’ QuestionsContent Marketing Idea #7: Answer Your Customers’ Questions

Dig into your email and pull out a question one of your customers has sent to you. Answer it in a video or with text – and make sure you’re as helpful and informative as possible. If you choose to answer it in a video, offer a transcript beneath the video for those with impairments. Keep collecting questions from your users, and do one of these a week if you have enough questions – they’ll be some of your most popular pieces of content, and they’ll save you time in the future when people search for the same answers.

Content Marketing Idea #8: Interview Other Industry Experts

Talking to other industry experts – even if they’re not in your field – can be a great way to create content. Think about doing a few long interviews and breaking those up into different types of content; you can create video content, slideshares and even infographics, all of which should be accompanied by a text-based transcript.

How to Pull Off a Content Marketing Strategy

In order to successfully pull off a content marketing strategy, you’ll need to:

  • Define your process
  • Assign teammate roles
  • Create an editorial calendar
  • Use visuals

Define Your Process

Don’t approach marketing with a “wing it” attitude, but do leave plenty of room for creativity. Your process might look something like this:

  • Generate ideas
  • Assign a teammate to execute the idea
  • Pass the editorial process
  • Publish
  • Syndicate

If you have specific team members, such as a social media guru, he or she should know how many posts per day to share across your social sites; your writers should have deadlines; your blog manager should know when to publish posts.

It’s easy to lose things in the shuffle, so staying organized is the best way to reach your goals when it comes to content marketing.

Assign Teammate Roles

Every team needs to have specific roles. (And don’t sweat it if you have a small team – there’s usually a lot of crossover.)

Your team should include:

  • A social media manager who’s responsible for maintaining all social media channels, including sharing new posts and responding to comments and mentions.
  • A blog manager who runs your editorial calendar, assigns articles to writers, performs edits, and formats your posts.
  • Writers who are exceptionally skilled. You can hire freelancers if your team isn’t well-stocked, but make sure you’re hiring writers who are truly talented and have a thorough understanding of search engine optimization. The wrong writers can do more harm than good.

Create an Editorial Calendar

Putting together an editorial calendar can help ensure your content marketing strategy stays on track. Your blog manager can assign articles early based on what you’ve already planned, giving your writers – and you – more time to prep for upcoming events.

Use Visuals

“We are incredible at remembering pictures,” writes Dr. John Medina. “Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10 percent of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65 percent.”

If you use visuals on your site, your viewers are more likely to remember what they have seen. Using charts and graphs, infographics and videos can also boost site conversion.

Now, on to the content marketing ideas.

Ready to Implement Your Content Marketing Ideas?

These are just a few content marketing ideas you can use, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you are struggling to establish yourself in the digital world, we would love to help you improve your marketing campaigns.

Hiring a digital marketing company can improve your conversion rates, increase your revenues, and allow you to spend more time on the pieces of your business you really care about.

Feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation or you can contact us directly to get additional information.

 

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Inbound Marketing Strategy for the Legal and Home Services Industries

inbound marketing strategy

If you have a legal or home services business, you want leads. Not just any leads, though — you need to reach the people who want to buy your products and services.

You could spend lots of money on online or traditional media advertising… or, if you want to zero in on your target audience, you could develop an inbound marketing strategy, which is also known as content marketing

First, you need to understandthe differences between inbound and outbound marketing. The difference between the two marks a cultural shift in the way businesses market to consumers, and this article explains each method and how they each produce results.

Inbound Marketing

The inbound marketing approach draws consumers to you and then engages them by providing added value. It’s done with incentives that encourage people to engage with your business and, in many cases, ask for more information about your product or service.

 

How Inbound Marketing Brings in Consumers

Inbound Marketing for Law Firms and Home Services BusinessesInbound marketing concentrates on attracting new customers with relevant, useful content. The company creates blogs, social media posts, infographics, white papers, newsletters and other content people want to read. Once searchers arrive on your website, you engage them with emails, interactive content and chat, and you show them that you can provide continued value.

The goal is to be where potential clients can find you when they have questions or problems. People love to read, comment, share, and interact with useful content.

Successful inbound marketing uses search engine optimization, paid search and paid discovery to bring in traffic. 

The information and solutions you provide show readers that your company is reliable and trustworthy. It creates a positive impression on potential clients that influences their buying decisions. 

Inbound marketing is gentle compared to traditional advertising. The customer is nudged towards a sale with engagement and information. That’s a lot different than outbound marketing.

Outbound Marketing

We used to call outbound marketing plain old marketing. It’s TV and radio ads, billboards, newspaper and magazine advertisements, and telemarketing. Online, it includes banner and display ads, pop-ups, pop-unders and contextual ads.

But outbound marketing is an interruption, and it distracts people from what they really want to see. It throws itself at the audience to gain attention. Many ads are intrusive and repetitive, especially online, and they can annoy people to the point that they form a negative impression of your business.

Here’s what happened: Ads became noise instead of messaging. They started appearing everywhere — on TV, on your favorite news websites, and even in the games you play on your phone. They took over radio waves to the point that you can now buy subscriptions to ad-free music services for your car, your phone and your home. That over-saturation turned ads into something to ignore rather than something that could provide value. Online ad blockers and privacy settings let you reduce how often you see ads, and they’re working. In fact, clickthrough rates for online ads are at an all-time low of 0.05%.

Outbound marketing channels like print, outdoor and broadcast media just aren’t as effective as they were 10 years ago.

The Differences Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing

There are dozens of major differences between inbound and outbound marketing, but this infographic lets you see the most important at a glance.

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing - MarketCrestInbound marketing pulls in consumers with information written for their specific desires. Outbound marketing pushes the message out to everyone, whether or not they’re interested in what you have to offer.

Inbound marketing is interactive. It moves at the consumer’s pace. Outbound marketing is a one-way communication.

People discover inbound marketing content while researching a topic. Outbound marketing interrupts and disrupts the reader.

Inbound marketing uses blogs, social media, opt-in emails, search engine results, and influencer marketing. Outbound marketing includes display ads, billboards, telemarketing, print and broadcast ads. 

Let’s look at how each method sends messages.

Inbound Marketing Uses Owned and Earned Media

Inbound marketing engages potential customers through owned and earned media.

Owned media refers to channels the business controls, such as a company website, social media profiles, and YouTube channel. The company makes all decisions on what’s written, as well as when and where it’s published.

Earned media is coverage you receive in publications that aren’t company-owned. You earn this kind of coverage through networking, newsworthiness and public relations. Earned media can be online or offline. You don’t control the content the way you can with owned media. It’s the result of all the work you put into inbound marketing.

Earned media examples include:

  • Digital PR
  • Social media mentions
  • Campaign hashtags
  • Online conversations in forums
  • Online reviews
  • Newspapers and magazines

Outbound Marketing Uses Paid Media

Outbound media uses paid media, like traditional offline channels, online pay-per-click, display ads or paid emails. Social media advertising plays a major role in outbound marketing, such as promoted posts on Twitter, Facebook advertising, and paid Instagram ads.

Pro Tip: You can use social media advertising to boost your inbound marketing campaign by pushing out owned content to your target audience.

The biggest difference is that with inbound marketing, the consumer is already interested. Outbound shouts a message at everyone and hopes it sticks. 

Benefits of an Inbound Marketing Strategy

Should You Use Inbound or Outbound Marketing - MarketCrestInbound marketing reaches the right audience at the right time. This generates quality leads. A focus on inbound marketing means you spend your advertising budget on attracting traffic from the people most likely to buy.

Some of inbound marketing’s benefits include:

  • Increased trust
  • Quality traffic from a variety of channels
  • Solid return on investment

Increased Trust

Inbound marketing is about serving potential customers. You create appealing messages that deliver the information they want and need — sometimes even when they don’t know they need it.

There’s no pushy sales pitch. Inbound marketing content presents your company, products and services in a positive way. You position your business as a reliable resource. When the consumer is ready to buy, you’ll be top of mind.

Quality Traffic From Many Channels

Inbound marketing traffic comes from a variety of places:

  • Organic search
  • Social media
  • Website referrals
  • Online reviews
  • Word of mouth

When you use many traffic sources you reduce the risk of not being found because you relied on one channel.

Return on Investment

When you plan your inbound marketing campaign, state your objectives. What do you hope to achieve? How will you measure success?

It can be tricky to measure inbound marketing. For example, you may not know how many leads were generated by a campaign without using special tools that provide you with deep-dive insights. However, even without special tools, you can measure how many people downloaded a resource, watched a video or visited a website. You can also track the number of followers and subscribers you gain.

The bottom line:

  • Outline your marketing goals
  • Decide how you’ll measure success
  • Make sure everyone involved understands the concept and the implementation

Adopt a Long-Term Inbound Marketing Strategy

Like any successful advertising plan, an inbound marketing strategy doesn’t fall into place overnight. It takes time to plan, produce and execute an effective campaign.

You may need to add content creators, designers, copywriters, social media marketers and website developers to your team. Once you’ve added everyone you need, you need to get your whole team on the same page.

Take your time and focus on a long-term campaign that provides leads for a long time. It’s hard work, but it definitely pays off.

Examples of Long-Term Inbound Marketing

Check out these examples of long-term inbound marketing:

  • Create content hubs. Feature how-to video guides and related product information that you can repeatedly link back to in future inbound marketing efforts.
  • Engage with consumers to produce user-generated content. Try social media campaigns and photography contests. Allow happy customers to tell their stories.
  • Collaborate with related businesses to create online content. This expands your audience and promotional opportunities, and it positions you as a company with connections.

Analyze which types of content, calls-to-action and images resonate with your audience and capitalize on it. The key with inbound marketing is to create lasting connections with your consumers, and the way to do that is to relate to them wherever they are.

Should You Use Inbound or Outbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is the more popular marketing choice. It provides a better return on investment — inbound leads are 62% less expensive than outbound leads. If you want to build a relationship rather than make a quick buck, inbound marketing works better than outbound.

Why Your Business Needs an Inbound Marketing Strategy - MarketCrestThe caveat: it can be hard to immediately measure how effective your inbound marketing strategy is. An inbound strategy isn’t a hard sell. It’s not a transaction. The focus is on raising brand awareness and providing value. These are harder to quantify.

But outbound marketing is expensive and non-responsive, and it isn’t usually targeted. A business that spends big money on a mass audience TV advertisement can only hope it works. There’s no guarantee. Some outbound strategies, like telemarketing, will never work for most companies, but other methods do — including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google ads, which can direct messages to specific audiences.

A Word on Targeted Online Ads

Unlike traditional outbound marketing, targeted online ads use an inbound strategy. They show viewers things they find useful.

Many businesses do well with a combination of inbound marketing and targeted online ads. 

There are advantages to both inbound and outbound methods for generating leads. The bottom line is you need to find the mix that works best with your potential clients.

Let’s Talk About Your New Marketing Strategy

Want to put an inbound marketing strategy in place for your company? Contact the digital marketing experts at MarketCrest, LLC for a free consultation. Our pros can test your current strategy and assess all your marketing options.

MarketCrest, LLC is an award-winning digital marketing consulting and services firm. We’re ready to put our expertise and resources to work to grow your revenue.

 

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5 Website Strategies for Better Results

website strategies

Your customers are online – and it’s your job to reach them, capture their attention and cultivate a relationship. In this post, our resident marketing experts explain how you can do exactly that by employing these five website strategies:

  • Making your website mobile
  • Harnessing the power of content
  • Using smart calls-to-action
  • Being social media-savvy
  • Keeping tabs on your competitors

Each of these website strategies is connected, and when they’re used properly, they’ll strengthen your brand and empower you to grow your business.

Here’s how.

5 Website Strategies for Better Results

Where’s the first place you look when you need information? You whip out your phone, open your laptop or start scrolling on your tablet.

That’s what your prospective customers do, too.

You need to position your company as the only company your prospects need. To do that, you have to:

  • Show search engines why your site is valuable to these searchers
  • Draw in potential customers on their own terms
  • Provide a useful, pleasant experience

What is Website Traffic, Anyway?

The term website traffic refers to the number of people who visit your site. It’s just one metric of your success, though – you need to attract your ideal customer and provide the user experience, or U/X, that he or she expects.

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic refers to visitors who come to your site because they found you in the search engine results pages, or SERPs.

Paid Traffic

Paid traffic refers to visitors who clicked an ad on Google or one of your social media platforms.

An efficient and effective website brings in organic traffic. You can boost your site’s traffic by employing these five tried-and-true website strategies.

1. Go Mobile

Even in this wildly connected era, nearly 50% of all businesses still don’t have websites. If your site is up and running, you’re ahead of at least half of your competitors – and if it’s good, you’re ahead of even more.

Smart Website Strategies You Can Use Today

The majority of online searches take place on smartphones and tablets, so Google uses a mobile-first index to evaluate whether a site is worth delivering to people searching on mobile devices. If a site isn’t responsive, or if it doesn’t work properly on a phone or tablet, Google (and other search engines) are far less likely to deliver it to searchers using one of those devices. 

When a new visitor comes to your site, you have a window that’s only open for 3 to 5 seconds. Your site has to load and look appealing enough for users to stick around within that window – otherwise, that user will click the “Back” button and return to the search results.

When a visitor quickly leaves, Google determines that your site didn’t fulfill that user’s needs. With a high enough bounce rate (which is a topic for another day!), your rankings will drop… and Google will become less likely to deliver your website to searchers.

Your next steps:

  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly. (Test its mobile-friendliness here.)
  • Make sure your website is fast. (Test its speed here.)

Getting users to your site is hard enough. Letting them leave because you weren’t prepared is like flushing your marketing funds down the drain.

Pro tip: Older sites can be tough to optimize for mobile, so sometimes it’s best (read: easiest and most cost-effective) to start from scratch.

2. Harness the Power of Content

Strong content is the cornerstone of every successful digital marketing strategy. Good content that people can “Like” and share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms will bring more traffic to your site.

Content - Website StrategiesWhen people search the internet for something, they’re ready to learn. It’s your job to give them the information and experience they want.

They have a problem. You have the solution.

Your content is the medium that connects you. It’s what search engine crawlers “read” to determine what each page on your website is about, and it’s what search engine algorithms use to rank your site among other, similar sites for usefulness. 

The content on your website can inform. It can inspire. It can sell. 

Quality content establishes trust, builds rapport and sets the tone with prospective customers.

Your next steps:

  • Make a list of the most frequently asked questions about your products and services.
  • Turn everything on your list into a blog post. Link to reputable sites (those ending in .gov, .edu or .mil, or large publications such as the New York Times) to help build trust.
  • Publish informative, useful content on a regular schedule, whether it’s every Monday at 10 a.m. or every Thursday at 1 p.m. The point is to create a schedule and stick to it so search engine crawlers and regular readers know what to expect.

Pro tip: Don’t write for length. Write for quality. Get to the point quickly and succinctly. Avoid using “fluff” that doesn’t help visitors. Remember, Google is watching how long people stay on your pages and where they go next – and they’re using that information to determine how valuable your site is.

What About Video Content?

Video will comprise 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. Check out these video marketing stats:

  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than those who don’t use it
  • 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others
  • 90% of users say videos are helpful in the decision-making process

Your next steps:

  • Create videos that answer your customers’ questions and post them on your website. You can live-stream, create slideshows or show off product features.
  • Share your videos on all your social media channels, and include transcripts when there’s space to do so (such as on YouTube). Always include links back to your site where viewers can learn more on the topic or about your company.

Pro tip: Use subtitles on your videos, because 80 percent of people watch them with the sound off.

3. Use Calls-to-Action Wisely

Most of the pages on your website need a call-to-action, or CTA. A call-to-action is a piece of content that compels readers to take a very specific action, like buying your product, signing up for updates or clicking through to another page.

Website Strategies - Call to ActionYou’ve put a tremendous amount of effort into bringing visitors to your site and keeping them engaged, so you need a great CTA that seals the deal.

Calls-to-action need to tell the reader exactly what you want them to do and provide them with an opportunity to do it. You can use inline text or a button – whatever fits best with your brand’s tone and your website’s design.

Examples for inline text CTAs:

  • Click here to get your free one-hour consultation!
  • Get exclusive access to MarketCrest’s expert advice now by filling out the form below.
  • Find out how affordable our services are right now!
  • Get your free copy of our award-winning e-Book by clicking here.
  • Increase your leads by 1500% in one week – click here to learn our secret formula!

Examples for button CTAs:

  • Get a free e-Book now.
  • Let me in!
  • Sign me up!
  • Tell me the secret!
  • I want great deals!

Your next steps:

  • Identify pages on your website that need CTAs. Any page that offers a product, information or help can benefit from a call-to-action.
  • Come up with exciting text or great verbiage for a button.

Pro tip: Put a different CTA on every page and track its success. If some types, such as buttons, get more action than inline text CTAs do, make a few tweaks to perfect your strategy until your conversions increase.

What About Email Lists?

Opt-in email lists are extremely powerful tools in any marketing strategy.

But you can’t get something for nothing.

Offering your website visitors something they need – say, an e-book that gives people inside information from an industry expert (you!) or exclusive access to hot real estate listings – is the first step in cultivating your email list.

For example, if you know users look to you for how-to guides or for tips on working in your industry, you already know what types of deliverables to produce.

Pro tip: If you collect phone numbers when you make a sale, offer an option for people to opt into text marketing. Legally, you must ensure that people understand what they’re signing up for (this goes for email marketing, too) – and you must also provide an opportunity for people to opt out if they no longer wish to receive marketing messages from you.

4. Be Social

Social Media Website StrategiesSocial media posts drive targeted traffic right to your website. The user knows exactly what he or she is going to get after a click, and you’re uniquely positioned to deliver a great experience.

The key is to meet your customers where they are and make it easy for them to engage your brand. The more frequently you share useful content, the more visible your brand becomes across these mediums.

Check out these social media statistics to inform your next steps:

  • 73% of American adults use YouTube
  • 68% use Facebook
  • 35% use Instagram
  • 29% use Pinterest
  • 27% use Snapchat
  • 25% use LinkedIn
  • 24% use Twitter

Visibility on social media sites can boost your site’s visibility in search engines, and it helps build consumer trust. Even better, some of your competitors aren’t using social media – and that makes you far more visible.

Your next steps:

  • Create profiles on every social media site your clients are using. Be consistent with your branding on each.
  • Create or claim any listings on reputable websites, like Google My Business and Yelp, but avoid spammy business directories.
  • Use promotions through these websites to get people to visit your site, such as discounts and promotions available only to first-time customers.
  • Follow strong businesses in your community. Reach out and see if anyone wants to cross promote with you. If you run a yoga studio, start offering products with a local beauty supply or organic lotion company along with packages of classes.

Pro tip: Commit to a minimum number of social media posts each week, and make sure you stick to it. When someone interacts with your company by leaving a comment, reply! Share a mix of images, videos and text – and promote other businesses as well as your own.

5. Pay Attention to Your Competitors

Website Strategy - Keep Tabs on Your CompetitionSearch for your business on Google by typing in a key phrase an ordinary person would use. If you run a roofing company in Dallas, for example, type in things like roof replacement in Dallas or Dallas roof repair.

What companies come up in the organic search results? Which companies are paying for ads related to your business? Make note of who’s ranking naturally and who’s paying for ad space.

Visit your competitors’ websites. Look for:

  • Calls-to-action on each page. See how they’re wording CTAs and what they’re offering in return for a customer’s email address and other contact information.
  • Blog posts. Check to see how frequently they’re posting on their blog and see what they’re writing about.
  • Content. Find out what type of information they’re offering readers and compare it to the information you’re sharing. Evaluate it objectively, and if theirs is more useful, step up your game.
  • Social media buttons. Follow the icons to your competitors’ Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages to see how often they post, how much they interact with customers, and what they’re sharing.

Once you’ve done a little recon, it’s time to copy what the competition is doing – and put your own twist on it to make it even better.

Your next steps:

Pro tip: If you see something your competitors are doing that you think would work well for your own business, do it! Just make sure you track the results so you know where to focus more of your efforts.

Implementing Winning Website Strategies

You’re busy, but you know you need to keep growing your business and helping it thrive.

We get that – and we’re here to help.

Check out our powerful content marketing ideas for busy business owners or skip ahead and call us for a completely free marketing consultation. We’ll walk through what you’re already doing right and show you how you can save time and money while increasing your bottom line.

One simple phone call can help you get more from your marketing budget than you ever thought was possible.

Call us at 469-661-1040 or fill out the form below to get the help you need today.

Tell Us About Your Company

 

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Dallas Marketing Agency, MarketCrest, Experiencing Record Setting Start to 2018

Dallas Marketing Agency Experiencing Record Setting Start to 2018 copy

2018 has been packed with excitement for the MarketCrest, LLC team. So far this year, the Dallas Marketing Agency has added valuable staff to the team, onboarded several new clients, won a number of awards, and had its President, Scott Berry, named as a grand jury panel member for The International Muse Creative Awards (MCA).

 

MarketCrest is a multi award winning, Dallas Marketing Agency (Consulting, Website, SEO, PPC & Social) located in the Historic Downtown McKinney Square in North Texas.

 

Since moving into the McKinney, Texas office in 2016, MarketCrest has experienced exponential growth. In January of 2018, MarketCrest received its first award for the year, a Gold Ava Digital Award for a Business to Consumer (B2C) website created for a Dallas roofing contractor.

 

Soon after, MarketCrest’s President, Scott Berry, was chosen for the Grand Jury Panel to judge the Muse Creative Awards. The competition seeks to recognize International talent and creativity in advertising, design & digital marketing.

 

With other judges scoring MarketCrest’s own submission, the agency was able to compete for a Muse Creative Award and was named a Rose Gold Winner for Website Home Pages and Landing Pages.

 

Finally, MarketCrest was recently awarded a Hermes Creative Award as a Gold Winner. The Hermes award was for Website Optimization and Conversion Results based on documented performance with a client in the legal industry.

 

There is still a lot to accomplish for this Dallas Marketing Agency in the second half of 2018!

 

To keep updated on MarketCrest happenings or get in contact with the firm, visit the website at https://marketcrest.com/ or call (469) 661-1040.

 

For a greater understanding of digital marketing and SEO, visit the MarketCrest blog: https://marketcrest.com/blog/

 

To get a first-hand look at MarketCrest’s award-winning work head to: https://marketcrest.com/about-us/award-winning-case-studies/

 

About MarketCrest,

 

MarketCrest, LLC is an award winning, Digital Marketing Consulting & Services firm specializing in client revenue growth. Simply, we exist to help our clients compete and grow… and we expect to be held accountable for their improved performance.

 

MarketCrest, LLC

105 S. Tennessee St. Suite 103

McKinney, TX 75069

https://marketcrest.com

 

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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Website Marketing Strategies

website marketing strategies

Running a business has always required a solid marketing strategy, but this is the Information Age – and now, marketing takes place on more levels than ever before. If you want your business to succeed, you need a strong online presence that follows the most cutting-edge website marketing strategies.

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Website Marketing Strategies

Your digital marketing strategy starts with a highly engaging and functional website. You need to:

  • Get to know your ideal buyer persona
  • Develop your brand presentation
  • Provide a high-quality user experience online
  • Optimize your website
  • Strategically position your company on social media channels
  • Gather and maintain online reviews
  • Create and commit to an email marketing strategy
  • Track performance with powerful analytics

The following sections delves into each of these website marketing strategies, how you can implement them, and how they’ll help you.

Get to Know Your Ideal Buyer Persona

Before you start any website marketing strategy, get to know your ideal buyer persona. Identify the perfect customer for your product or service, and write down who he or she is – this information will inform every marketing decision you make, from content development to social media engagement.

Website Marketing Strategies - Develop Your BrandSample Buyer Persona #1

She’s between 25 and 40, and she knows exactly what she wants. She doesn’t spend a lot of time window-shopping – she goes directly to the department she needs and zeroes in on her favorite brands. Her salary as an emerging professional in her field ranges between $65,000 and $85,000 per year. She’s in command of her finances, her emotions and her decisions, but she always appreciates tongue-in-cheek humor and prides herself on her ability to choose quality home furnishings and décor.

Website Marketing Strategies - Developing a Buyer PersonaSample Buyer Persona #2

He’s a hard-working adventurer who’s always looking for an opportunity to escape to the lake, the woods or the mountains. Because he works so hard, he appreciates a great deal – but when he’s not working, you’ll catch him stepping into a canoe at 4 a.m. on a Saturday morning, packing his Jeep with gear for a weekend getaway or strapping on snowshoes and heading north. This all-around good guy earns between $45,000 and $75,000, and he’s always on the lookout for the latest outdoors gadgets.

Send out surveys and questionnaires to help zero in on your ideal buyer personas. You can use your existing opt-in email list or pose questions on social media. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers to inform your future marketing decisions.

Develop Your Brand Presentation

Website Marketing Strategies - Develop Your Brand

Once you identify your target market by creating buyer personas, figure out how to present your brand in the most effective ways.

Define your company’s values and mission, and translate them into language your ideal customer can understand and appreciate. How does your company meet your customers’ needs? How does your brand fit into and complement your customers’ lives?

Create a story around your brand. Follow it from its inception through today, focusing primarily on how you want your ideal customer to feel when he or she sees your logo, your company name or your products.

Pro tip: Use color psychology to match your brand to your buyer personas, and always keep your branding consistent across every channel.

Provide a High-Quality User Experience Online

Zero in on optimal website design so your users have the best possible experience when they find you online. You have to stand out with:

  • Fast, responsive design that renders exceptionally well on any device
  • Easy navigation between information and products or services
  • Great content that informs, inspires and encourages visitors to act

Good user experience, or UX, focuses on what users want – not on hard sales and self-promotion. For most business owners, consulting with a professional marketing agency to create a positive UX is absolutely essential.

Optimize Your Website

SEO as a Website Marketing StrategyYour website is the connection between your company and its potential customers – and the best way to attract them is through search engine optimization, or SEO.  

Sure, you can put up a dozen blog posts or promotional videos each day, but that’s not going to cut it. Your competitors are doing better, and you need to, too.

You need data-driven ideas that bring in search engine traffic and turn prospects into loyal customers.

Search engines crawl websites to rank and sort pages according to how useful they are to searchers. Search engine optimization allows your site to meet users’ needs so Google and other, less popular search engines can deliver it on the first page of results. For that reason, 61% of all marketers make SEO a top priority.

Strategically Position Your Company on Social Media Channels

Social media is your key to connecting with buyers where they’re most comfortable. Facebook dominates the U.S. market – 68 percent of adults in the U.S. actively use it. Here’s a quick run-down of other platforms:

  • 35% of American adults use Instagram
  • 29% are on Pinterest
  • 27% are on Snapchat
  • 25% are on LinkedIn
  • 24% are on Twitter

Drilling down more, Americans aged 18 to 24 are primarily on Snapchat – 78 percent of them, in fact. Further, 71 percent use Instagram and 45 percent use Twitter.

Pro tip: Take note of your buyer personas and zero in on the sites that dominate those age groups to inform your social media strategies.

Social media marketing is about more than creating a few posts. It’s about engaging your customers and sharing content they really find useful – and that they know their friends and colleagues will also find useful.

You can’t afford to drop the ball when all your potential customers are watching from the sidelines, so it may be worth outsourcing social media development and maintenance to the pros.

Gather and Maintain Online Reviews

Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing campaign, but social proof is the glue that holds everything together. Your reputation is on the line with every order, every purchase and every delivery – and because 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust a friend’s recommendation, it’s important that you’re proactive in managing yours.

Seek out favorable reviews, and when you get them, acknowledge and thank the people who leave them.

Pro tip: Promote favorable ratings by asking your webmaster to create code that incorporates Google’s star ratings in your search results. (Websites that feature Google’s aggregated star ratings get higher click-through rates than those without them.)

Create and Commit to an Email Marketing Strategy

Give your visitors an incentive to receive marketing emails from you. Maybe you’ll create an e-book packed with great tips, or perhaps you can send people exclusive access to members-only deals. You can use that valuable asset to encourage your customers to share their email address with you – and the best part is that they’re already interested in what you have to offer.

Creating an email marketing strategy helps you stay a step ahead of your competitors. Your customers are hearing from you, and you’re giving them something your competitors aren’t – your brand earns loyalty that way. Use your email campaigns to continue building that relationship with people who already trusted you enough to give you an email address.

Track Performance With Powerful Analytics

Google Analytics in a Website Marketing StrategyA professional gymnast watches his routine dozens of times to evaluate exactly where he slipped. An expert archer shoots thousands of arrows and scrutinizes each draw. A successful marketer does the same thing: carefully executes an informed, data-driven plan and watches its journey all the way back to the website.

Use powerful tools like Google Analytics, Moz, KISSmetrics or CrazyEgg – or another tool you’re comfortable with – to evaluate the life cycle of every piece of marketing material you use. You’ll be able to make more informed decisions and enjoy better results after every cycle.

Let’s Talk About Your Marketing Strategy

The internet isn’t going to stop evolving, and neither should your marketing strategy. Because you have other things to do – like run your business – it pays to learn from and work with the industry’s most trusted experts.

We invite you to read through our marketing blog for tips and tricks that help you stay on top.

When you’re ready, call us at 469-661-1040 or fill out the form below for a free, one-hour consultation with a marketing expert who can propel your company to the next level.

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How to Get Started with Digital Marketing

How to Get Started with Digital Marketing 

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing encompasses a broad range of marketing strategies associated with the internet that are designed to target and engage specific consumers. Attention-grabbing websites uncovered during Google searches, customized email programs, and social media are becoming universal elements designed to engage existing customers and attract new ones. Unlike traditional mass marketing strategies like TV, radio, and newspapers, digital marketing attempts to focus messages to a population that is most likely to require the company’s goods or services in the near future.

As the population continues to spend more time online, creating a presence to connect with them is critical.

Effective digital or online marketing is essential in today’s business environment. According to an Adweek.com, 81% of shoppers conduct an online search before making any important purchasing decision.

Digital marketing, much of which is also termed Inbound Marketing, is designed to attract viewers’ attention with an exciting and pertinent website or other marketing devices that may include such tools as:

  • infographics
  • interest-catching blogs
  • online brochures
  • ebooks
  • details such as newly imagined logos and other branding assets.

Also, useful interactive tools are designed to engage consumers to linger and take notice as they speed through their internet searches.

As another important element, online consumer feedback and commentary are driving many of today’s purchases. Consumers seeking products to provide pleasure or to solve a problem usually rely on experiential input from online posts to guide their decisions. Effective digital marketers capitalize on positive feedback while minimizing negative feedback in timely ways.

Important disciplines to enhance your presence are:

Experienced professionals like MarketCrest in McKinney TX provide creative support to companies throughout the United States and key international markets.

Establishing Your Starting Pointdigital marketing

MarketCrest offers a free one-hour consultation and discovery call for potential clients to discuss their current situation and identify strategies that may begin to build profitable new revenue and sustainable growth through digital marketing. Each professional at MarketCrest brings a unique set of skills and experience that will provide a holistic view of your brand and market building.

During the discovery phase of the free introductory consultation, the MarketCrest experts will address your current circumstances including:

  • How does your company work?
  • What are the ways you generate revenue?
  • What are your ongoing marketing initiatives?
  • What are your online marketing goals?

From the analysis of your current situation, the digital marketers can develop a customized strategy designed to drive the appropriate traffic that generates qualified leads and profitable revenue.

Once initial objectives are established, the process of further evaluation and strategy development begins. The three core categories for consideration are:

  • Website Design and Development: Evaluate the current design and adjust to meet the new objectives. Such issues as visual appeal, user experience, mobile readiness, and page load speed will be analyzed for acceptability. If tweaks or significant changes are needed, this will be the time to do so.
  • Content Optimization: Evaluation of success rate of your landing pages is essential. With ongoing, real-time analysis of your content, MarketCrest professionals can determine if you are developing trust, establishing credibility, and enhancing the image of your company.  Content should be engaging and include relevant keywords that increase search engine optimization. Other data tools can be added to track demographic and geographic interest.
  • Conversion Optimization: How many visits you successfully convert may depend on a variety of elements in your content. Continual monitoring and adjustment where needed can improve conversion rates.

MarketCrest’s Digital Marketing Process

The MarketCrest Process consists of four steps from the initial discussion to the goal of sustained revenue development.

  • Strategy Development is a result of website analysis, traffic analysis, keyword research, competitive analysis, campaign planning.
  • Traffic Creation will stem from initiatives that include organic and paid searches, display advertising, online directories, social media, public relations, and blogs.
  • Lead Generation is output resulting from improved landing pages, enhanced content, online calls to action, conversion forms, and email marketing, for example.
  • Sales Conversion strategies utilize ongoing analytics, A/B testing (comparing two web pages or other variables), CRM (customer relationship management) integration, lead scoring, and customer nurturing strategies.

 Managing the Strategic Campaign

Once the newly designed digital marketing campaign is in place, MarketCrest will monitor traffic and impact generated by strategies that include SEO activities, content, Pay-per-Click (PPC), web optimization, automation, social network interaction, and more. By monitoring and analyzing real-time data, the firm will actively manage your campaigns, deliver daily, monthly, quarterly, and annual summaries depending on your plan preference. From continuous data, the strategies can be reinforced and refined to ensure optimal results.

Sign Up for a Free Consultation with the MarketCrest Professionals

Situated in downtown McKinney, Texas, MarketCrest, LLC, is an award-winning digital marketing agency committed to helping companies generate more revenue through new business. The firm offers a team of experienced, talented people and proven technologies to attack your market, transform your business, and build market share.

MarketCrest believes that for each dollar spent on online or digital marketing, you should reap at least 2-3 times your investment in meaningful revenue. Contact the experts in driving online leads and successful conversions through well-designed digital marketing campaigns. The firm offers four different levels of ongoing digital marketing support or a specially customized program that meets your objectives.

Visit the MarketCrest website to learn more about our capability and sign up for a free one-hour discovery consultation to learn more about digital marketing strategies that can move your business to the next level.

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Trademark Attorney: Four Trademark Questions for Growing Businesses

 

business trademarkBy Eric Perrott, Esq.

We have a special guest author today. MarketCrest has known Eric and his law firm for years. Actually, Eric was the attorney that secured both of the MarketCrest registered business trademarks.  

He is a business trademark attorney with Gerben Law Firm, PLLC. Eric counsels clients on trademark and copyright law issues and provides business trademark analysis, process and registration services at flat-fees.

 

Enjoy, and take good notes:

Your trademarks are more than just the name of your company or a sleek logo. A trademark represents not only your company’s product or service, but also the quality, the ethos, the mission statement, the customer service, and many other facets of your business that customers will identify with.

Are you an “Apple” person or a “Google” person?

Are you a “North Face” person or a “Lululemon” person?

Brand identity is important and developing a strong brand isn’t easy. Companies of all sizes spend tens of thousands of dollars on advertising and marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness and to drive new customers to their business.

While marketing and advertising is key for brand development, business owners from local mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 500 companies know that to build a strong, long-lasting brand, companies must protect their trademarks.

Below are four questions company owners should be able to answer about their business trademarks.

 

What are some of my business trademarks?

It might sound simple, but one of the hardest aspects of trademark protection is recognizing what a trademark actually is.

A trademark can be almost anything that represents the “good will” of a business. (Think of “good will” as all of those aspects-quality, customer service, style, etc.-mentioned above).

It can be a word or design, but it can also be a slogan (“I’m Lovin’ It”), unique store layout, or unique product packaging. It can even be a sound (the NBC chime), color (Tiffany blue), smell, or movement (like the unique way a Lamborghini’s doors open). The possibilities are endless.

However, every trademark must be “distinctive,” meaning that it must be something that consumers connect with one business, as opposed to a descriptive term or generic term that merely describes the products or services.

Descriptive words can still become trademarks, but a company must show that over time, those descriptive words are cemented in consumer’s minds as representing one company.

For example, American Airlines, National Rent-a-Car, Best Buy – all of these terms are, at their heart, descriptive. However, they are so engrained in consumers minds as trademarks that the companies enjoy trademark protection for those phrases.

 

Is someone else using a trademark similar to yours?

Once you’ve selected or identified a strong trademark that is not merely descriptive, the next step is to analyze whether another company in the industry has been using a similar trademark for longer than you have.

Under U.S. trademark law, trademark infringement occurs when a company uses a trademark that is confusingly similar to a pre-existing trademark for related goods and services. This is not just an analysis of whether someone else is using the exact same business trademark as you.

Trademarks can be confusingly similar is they are similar is sight, sound, meaning or overall commercial impression. Similarly, the goods and services do not need to be identical either, just similar, which is a legal analysis.

For example, hotels and restaurants are almost always considered “similar.” Wine and cheese have been considered similar because they are frequently used in conjunction with each other.

In order to gauge the potential risk of a trademark, a trademark attorney can perform a comprehensive search and analysis, wherein the attorney will look at registered and unregistered trademarks and provide a detailed analysis of the potential risks from a legal perspective.

Without a comprehensive search, it is extremely difficult to know about existing trademarks that could be confusingly similar to your own.

Once you have “cleared” the trademark, or generally accept and understand the risks of using (or expanding the use) of your trademarks in the marketplace, the next step towards protecting your trademark is registering with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

 

Why should I register my Business trademark?

Trademark owners can register their trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “USPTO”). Trademark registration gives the trademark owner a number of significant advantages over those who do not register their trademarks. A few of those advantages are:

  • A government document stating that you are the owner of the trademark: When you apply for a trademark, a government attorney will review your trademark in the same way that we discussed earlier – the attorney will make sure it meets the standards of trademark protection and make sure no other registered trademarks are confusingly similar.

When a registration is issued, it is an official document from the U.S. government that gives you the legal presumption that you own the trademark. A prior user can attempt to cancel your registration, but until that happens, you are presumed to be the owner.

  • Trademark Registrations as an asset: Investors and other potential partners often look at intellectual property when looking at the health and long-term plans of a company. Trademark registrations are assets that can show you have a long-term plan for your brand. Trademarks can even be used as collateral for loans in some cases.
  • Deterrents to Competitors: A trademark registration acts a deterrent to competitors, who are likely searching the USPTO website (and other third-party aggregator websites) to gauge the risk of using certain trademarks. In fact, a registration acts as notice throughout the U.S. that you are the owner of the mark. No one can then say that they had never heard of you before selecting their mark – the law presumes that businesses will do their due diligence.
  • Online Marketplace Enforcement: An increasing number of online marketplaces are requiring trademark registrations to join special brand management programs.

For example, Amazon’s Brand Registry Program required a registered business trademark in order to join. The U.S. Customs department also requires a trademark registration to register with their counterfeit brand monitoring program.

From start to finish, registration will take at least nine months and sometimes more, as the government reviews the trademark and allows third-parties an opportunity to object to the registration.

However, your protection starts from the date you apply, so it is important to file as soon as possible.

 

How do I keep my trademarks protected?

You developed a strong trademark and registered it with the USPTO. Now what?

Now, you must police the marketplace and the USPTO to ensure that no competitors infringe on your trademark rights. A trademark is only as strong as its impact on consumers, so if someone else is using a similar trademark, then any experience not under your control can permanently damage your trademark.

Brands are often about first impressions. Customers also are human and don’t have perfect recall and often make impulsive decisions on whether to purchase something without thorough research.

If a customer has a bad experience with a brand that is close in sight, sound or meaning to yours, your brand is likely to suffer as well. Unless that client can recognize the differences at a fleeting glance, the negative feelings they have towards that brand are likely to transfer to you, losing you customers.

Whether its an innocent mistake by a competitor or a deliberate attempt to “cash in” on your brand’s recognition and good-will, you must be diligent about the protection of your trademark against infringers.

If not, you could lose the ability to protect your trademark in the future, as the scope of your trademark becomes smaller and smaller, until you barely have any rights left to protect.

 

Why is protecting trademarks Important? 

Trademark protection is important for a long-lasting and memorable brand. Businesses spend large portions of their budget creating brand awareness, but not nearly enough go through the steps to properly analyze and protect their trademarks.

Through effective trademark protection, business can secure help secure and grow their valuable brands.

Gerben Law Firm, PLLC is regularly a top-filer at the United States Patent & Trademark Office and its attorneys have been named “Top Practitioners” in the Washington, D.C. region by the World Trademark Review. Mr. Perrott provides free consultations on trademark and copyright issues and can be reached at eperrott@gerbenlawfirm.com.

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10 Social Media Marketing Tips For Small Business Owners

10 Social Media Marketing Tips For Small Business Owners

The transition from using social media as a hobby to a business platform was a difficult transition for professionals. It was like business owners woke up one day to find out they had another HUGE item on their to-do list.

But we as humans and entrepreneurs adapt. Unfortunately, so do the ways social networks work. If you looked at a list of social media marketing tips for small business from three years ago, you’d laugh out loud!

So how do you stay up to date when it seems next to impossible? We’ve got your guide.

Sit back, turn off your notifications for a few minutes and keep reading below.

1. Find Your Audience

There is a natural law of the universe that says people will always take the path of least resistance. In less scientific terms, that means no one wants to do extra work.

For this reason, we recommend that you go to where your online audience already is and post there, instead of begging people to come over to your platform.

If you’re marketing to young people, use Instagram. Ninety percent of Insta users are under the age of 35.

The same goes for Twitter. The age of the network provides a good guide to its age demographics. Generally, the newer the app, the longer it will take for older populations to catch on.

2. Don’t Overcommit

This is one of the social media marketing tips for small business we wish everyone knew. It’s better to do one thing well than to poorly manage multiple tasks at once.

By things, we mean social networks. Yes, it would be ideal to have a presence on every network your audience uses, but is that attainable? Probably not at first, especially if you are managing social media in-house. 

Concentrate on the network with the highest engagement and expand to others slowly. This will give you time to get into the swing of things and you’ll have more users to carry over to the other site with you.

Be Wary of Snapchat

Unless your demographic is very young (under 25), skip Snapchat. The content only lasts for 24 hours and it’s taboo to re-use Snapchat posts.

Unless you have someone who can commit to creating and posting new content every day, leave snapping to the kids.

3. Hire An Expert

Young adults entering the workforce get a bad rep, but they’re not as bad as the news says (although they have killed the napkin industry… look it up). Sure, they love avocados too much (look that up, too!) but they understand social media. They’re the first generation who grew up with it!social media marketing tips for small business

Since they’re on their networks 24/7, these kids can spot a marketing trend from a mile away. Between reading up on trends and personally living them, you’ll be all set when you outsource your marketing to a team with some fresh and young minds. 

If you have a small budget, you don’t have to find someone through LinkedIn. There may be a tech-savvy young family member who will gladly work for half of what a professional would make.

As far as social media marketing tips for small business go, its a win-win-win to hire a marketing firm that will handle your online presence for you. This allows you to really focus on the bulk of the business. 

4. Front Load

You’ve heard that content is king, right? Well, when it comes to social media marketing tips for small businesses, consistent content is king.

Before you make your page or profile public, be sure you have at least a week’s worth of content to post when needed.

You’ll likely run into a few hiccups in your first week and it’ll be nice to have a queue while you deal with growing pains.

For your first posts, think about how you want your company’s narrative to be introduced. Are you going to start with products or show off the humans behind the wheel? Whatever you do, be sure there is a strategy when posting. 

5. Keep a Queue 

If you’re ever in a place where you’re ahead on posts, that’s great. Now write more! Instead of taking a break, throw those extra posts in a folder in case of emergency (ICE).

That way, if you have something come up or have extreme writer’s block, you can reach into the ICE content file and still have fresh content to post.

Make sure these posts stand the test of time! You don’t want to post a review of the iPhone 6 if we’re using the iPhone 10.

Reviews, opinions, and general education about your business or products are great options. Social media marketing tips for small business that make your life easier? That’s what we’re all about!

6. Post on Time

Remember when we said posting consistent content was one of the key social media marketing tips for small business? That also applies to the time of day too.

When it comes to posts, there are two schools of thought. The first is, post during high volume views and interact with customers. The second is more subtle and simply requires maintaining an online presence. 

Let’s say you run a clothing store. While there may be some scientific data on times people like to shop, you’re more interested in getting your clothes exposure. It would make sense to post when traffic on your page is highest, or to boost your post so a larger audience sees it.

If you owned a restaurant, however, you’d want consumers to think of you at very specific times… like breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Or right before.

For example, a restaurant pushing a take-out special would do well to post around 4 o’clock.

Targeting consumers right before they have to go home to their families would remind them they could get something quick on the way home.

Try out each method or a mix of both, then stick to what works! 

Use Scheduling Tools

Now that you know what times work best for your consumers (and it can change!) make sure you never miss prime time.

Thankfully, you don’t have to release each post live at the exact time. Social networks and online tools have settings for automated posts and even automated emails. 

Simply upload the post however far in advance you want, then schedule it to release at the right time. Now you can go to dinner without keeping your phone face-up on the table.

7. Be Human

Now that you know the logistics of posting content, let’s talk about creating it.

Far too many businesses under post because they’re scared it won’t be perfect. However, with so many opinions online, no post is perfect for an entire audience or subject. 

When you’re creating posts, do your best and have a distinct brand voice. Don’t be scared to share a meme or two, so long as it’s targeted to your audience.

We’re not saying that you should forego editing altogether, that’d be crazy. Just don’t overdo it and post like a machine would. Install an editing app (like Grammarly) on your browser to catch mistakes, and keep a personable and honest voice.

Even when outsourcing social media posts to a content marketing firm, be sure to either post or relay information that the firm wouldn’t know. They can create engaging content all day long, but they’ll never be able to tell personal stories like your own staff or customers can. 

8. Engage, Engage, Engage

If location is the most important thing in real estate, engagement is the most important thing in social media marketing. Gone are the days where you could expect consumers to buy products just because you showed it to them. There’s too much market saturation for that!

Brands have to create a brand that makes customers feel like friends. Your brand needs to be something individuals can get to know, something more than a list of products or services.

Keep this in mind when you’re creating content for your website and social media. Is anyone going to engage with or learn something from your post? This is key. 

Reward Engagement

In this social media driven world, people get real validation from online attention. Even if you’re just starting out, there’s a thrill in getting attention from an “official” page.

So, when people engage with your content, give them a virtual pat on the back. Like their comment (etc) as fast as you can and do your best to create a personal reply.

They’ll remember your interaction and get a little taste of recognition from a brand, and you’ll be following social media marketing best practices while providing positive affirmations. 

Steal Engagement

Ok . . . Don’t actually steal it, but certainly, take ideas from other similar companies. Keeping your enemies close is a good tactic online too.

Follow your competition on your personal networks and pay attention to what’s working for them.

Are they having a sale you could match? Maybe they’re having a contest and it’s getting lots of attention. Now you know what your population likes without doing intense research!

9. Build Your Own Community

While we do recommend building your own brand and marketing strategy, there are bound to be other businesses in your community that go hand in hand with your own.

Are you a ski rental place that could pair up with a local charter bus in the area? Or a restaurant with a bookstore next door that could market together & encourage people to buy a book and have a literary lunch date?

There is power in numbers and networking, even online!

10. Blog Like Crazy

If blogging isn’t listed as one of the social media marketing tips for small business in a list you’re reading, disregard that source entirely. Blogs are entirely too important as content landing pages and for SEO purposes. They simply must be a part of your content strategy. 

If you’re working with anything other than LinkedIn or Reddit, you’re going to have restrictions on content size. On Facebook, for example, you can’t boost any image that is more than 20% text, which looks like next to nothing.

You need a place where people can go for more information. Think of your social media post as the preview to any branded original content. You need them to see the preview on your networks, then click to read the full content on your blog, ultimately increasing traffic to your website. 

Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Business: Tying Them Together

You can use all of these social media marketing tips for small business, but if you don’t stay true to your brand it’s no use. Before you start a business, let alone create a social media presence, take some time to figure out your brand and voice.

This can be a big task. It’s hard for someone so deep in the business details to see the bigger picture from an outsider’s perspective. That’s where you need professional help.

We can help you create your brand, your social media presence, and even coach you through building a website primed to generate leads. Check out the case studies on our site, then sign up for a free consultation. You have nothing to lose and followers to gain.

What are you waiting for? Call MarketCrest today. 

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The Ultimate Guide to Online Reputation Management

The Ultimate Guide to Online Reputation Management

Welcome to the world of online reputation management, where one ill-timed tweet or potentially offense comment back to a reviewer can easily cost you your entire business.

In today’s world especially, it can be tough to know the best way to manage your brand’s reputation online. How can you ensure that you defend yourself and your business practices, while also making sure consumers know you value their opinion?

That’s what online reputation management is all about.

Read on to access our ultimate guide to getting it right.

Step One: Find Out What They’re Saying

We get it: it can be incredibly stressful to think about Googling yourself or your business to know what people really think of you.

However, if you don’t face the music, you have no chance of improving — and you’re telling your customers that their opinion doesn’t really matter to you.

The first step of good reputation management is to do a quick search on yourself and your brand.

Read your reviews, make sure you’re aware of any online complaints, and even search your business’s name on social media marketing platforms like Instagram and Twitter. We also suggest setting up a Google Alert for your brand’s name.

This way, anytime someone posts something online related to your company, you know about it as soon as it happens. This allows you to respond to the comment, and control the situation before it gets away from you.

Don’t like what you see?

If unflattering or inappropriate pictures of you or your employees pop up, do what you can about getting them deleted. Also wipe your old Twitter page if needed, and close any college-era social media personal platforms.

Step Two: Control Your Narrative

So, you did a little bit of searching about yourself and your brand.

Unfortunately, you didn’t like what you learned. Before you start panicking that it’s too late, focus on what you can do to salvage the situation.

The first thing?

Build or completely revamp your personal website. This way, when people Google your name, that will be the first thing that comes up about you — and you can present yourself as a professional.

Next, start doing what you can to push those negative reviews, old photos, and social media missteps off the first page of search engine results.

Submit articles to industry journals. Start a blog. Create new social media accounts for both yourself and your business.

Step Three: Respond To The Negative

How you respond to a crisis or a mistake says a lot about your personal character — and your ability to maintain a level head.

Of course, we know that usually, keeping your cool when someone has insulted you or your business is easier said than done.

The number-one rule of responding to negative comments and reviews? Give yourself a few minutes — or hours — to calm down first. Don’t respond or act on defensiveness or raw emotion.

Instead, step away and get control over yourself. Then, really think about what the person was saying. Chances are that, even if they didn’t say it in the best way, they still provided some constructive thought or criticism about your business.

Even better?

Their review gives you the chance to prove to both current and potential customers that you want to listen to feedback and keep your customers satisfied.

Start by thanking the person for their review. Then, assure them that you’re going to follow up on the situation, both with the reviewer and the responsible staff/team member.

Next, ask them what you could do to make their experience better. Finally, offer them either a free or discounted service/product if they’re willing to give you another chance to make it right.

Step Four: Consider A Professional

Let’s face it — whether because of your age, your nationality, or even the amount of time you spend online, you won’t always know what’s appropriate and what’s not.

Further, you may not have the time or even the writing ability to craft an apology in the right way or to correctly respond to a review.

Sometimes, hiring professional marketers or an online reputation management expert is the best course of action.

First of all, they have the time to do the research into what’s being said about you online. Additionally, they have the marketing experience needed to prevent you from making major mistakes in the first place.

And finally, they have the resources to actually address and fix the situation — instead of just ignoring it.

Need More Help With Online Reputation Management?

Remember — managing your reputation online isn’t always about avoiding mistakes. Instead, it’s about knowing the proper way to own up to them.

Looking for a reputation management professional with the skill set you need?

We can make it happen. In addition to managing your brand’s online reputation, we also offer Search Engine Optimization (SEO), PPC, website design, and several other online digital marketing services to take your brand to the next level.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to start thinking about your online reputation management strategy.

Instead, spend some time on our website to learn more about how we can help you avoid making costly mistakes that severely damage — or even outright destroy — your brand’s reputation.

When you’re ready to take control of your narrative, reach out to us to get started with a free marketing quote.

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10 Reputation Management Tips From Seasoned Veterans

 

10 Reputation Management Tips From An SEO Expert

Ninety-seven percent of consumers in North America read online reviews to learn more about a business.

If you are not taking an active role in how your business is being perceived online then it’s time to start.

Our clients agree that Reputation Management is vital to succeed online today.

In this article, we have compiled helpful tips to help you recognize how professionals manage a company’s online presence. There are a lot of lessons learned!

Let’s get started:

1. Create A Consistent Online Presence

In order to manage your online reputation, you need to BE online. Create accounts for your business that are applicable to your industry. These go beyond Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (Though, you should have those too!).

Do some research to find popular sites in your industry. For example, if your business provides home services, consider creating an account on Houzz. Are you a B2B company that’s looking for hot leads? LinkedIn and LinkedIn Groups will become your kingdom.

Delve into the digital world and find your niche. Among the websites we’ve listed above, you can also create accounts on Pinterest, Flickr, and Vimeo. Keep in mind that not every industry will thrive on these platforms. Do some research of your own to find out if your business will be a good fit.

2. Make Social Media A Priority

Social media is no longer just for friends and family. Users are turning to social media to follow brands, learn more about a business, and on some occasions, share their grievances with the world.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are replacing email complaints and comments. In fact, during the past two years, research shows customer interactions on Twitter have increased 250 percent.

Reputation management begins with your customers, their online comments, and reviews. Respond to their comments quickly, listen, don’t be defensive and always be professional (take the high road).

Like it or not, social media is an essential part of business today.

Users have a greater voice than every before. Thats good…and sometimes its bad.

3. Don’t Ignore Google Reviews (Or Google My Business)

When it comes to reviews, Google should be a primary area of focus. With more than 3.5 billion searches made per day, you cannot afford to take a blind eye to those reviews.

If you are investing in SEO, you will be easy to find online. Make sure when searchers find you, you like what they see!reputation management

Manage your online reputation on Google by claiming your Google My Business local listing and page. Manage your free listing directly, read and respond to reviews, and control the accuracy and completeness of your address, phone number, contact information, and photos.

We have read that an incredible 56 percent of local businesses have not claimed their listing!

Be part of the 44 percent that are taking a proactive approach to earning and responding to reviews. 

Google reviews may be important but remember that Facebook, Yelp, and Foursquare reviews can be equally important. Tackle your reviews on every platform for the best results.

4. Reply to Every Review

You cannot expect to effectively manage your reviews if you don’t reply. Reply to each and every review, the good, bad, and ugly. Avoid defensive language and always be gracious and genuine.

Users seek out reviews to see what others are saying. When users stumble upon a negative review that has not been replied to, they’re only getting half of the story and they may think the business doesn’t care.

Reply promptly and offer a solution when applicable plus a prompt apology. Not only do you have the potential to win back a customer, your genuine response may sway a prospective customer.

Replies should always be conducted in a timely manner. A great rule of thumb is to reply within 24 hours Monday through Friday, and 48 hours Saturday and Sunday.

5. Encourage Customers to Review

Studies show that 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust friends.

Encourage your customers to leave reviews whenever your business completes a service.

Don’t be afraid to ask customers to leave reviews. If they’re thrilled with the service you’ve provided they’ll be happy to help. Plus there is a tendency to only leave reviews when we are angry. The best way to counter a negative customer review is with 5-10 great reviews.

A few clever ways to encourage reviews is to:

  • Ask in-person once service has been provided.
  • Include a link to leave a review on your monthly newsletter.
  • Make it easy to leave reviews by adding a “Leave Us a Review” button on your website.

Set internal goals every quarter to keep momentum and ensure that the number of your reviews never go stagnant.

6. Encourage Honest Reviews

Honesty and transparency is often the best policy when it comes to handling reviews. Everyone loves to get and read five-star reviews, but they should be earned, not just given.

Genuine, honest reviews are powerful tools for business. 

Note: If you’re hovering around a 4 or 4.5 rating, don’t worry! 94 percent of customers said they’d use a business with a four-star rating and 68 percent claimed they trusted a business with a mixture of positive and negative reviews.

Don’t panic if you have mixed reviews. The silver lining is that it helps the reviews feel more authentic.

7. Listen and Learn from Your Reviews, Even the Negative Ones

Reviews are windows into the services that your business offers and how you are doing.

Negative online reviews may be the byproduct of a customer having a bad day, but if you’re receiving consistent reviews mentioning a specific service or aspect of your business, listen!

Address any issues, be it customer service concerns or a specific employee complaint. Negative reviews are also an opportunity to build your brand. Genuinely apologize and offer to help make it right when it’s warranted.

Let’s make this clear…what you don’t want to do is argue.

One of the most popular “What Not To Do” examples is the now infamous Amy’s Baking Company.

On an episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Ramsay met Amy and Salomon “Samy” Bouzaglo, restaurant owners in Scottsdale, Arizona. Not only did they refuse to believe any of their negative reviews–literal dozens of reviews–they actively sought them out and argued each one.

The episode and its subjects were so abrasive and unmanageable, focusing on each negative review as though it were a personal dig, it led to eventually closing their doors permanently.

If there was ever a cautionary small business tale about the importance of reputation management, it’s that one.

8. It’s Never Too Late to Apologize

Every business has bad days, sometimes there are fires that can’t be easily put out. If your business finds itself on the wrong side of a customer engagement own up to it and apologize.

A genuine apology goes a long way online. Some customers may even respond with gratitude and understanding.

It’s not unusual on platforms like Facebook and Google, for users to even edit their review to add a star or two and an extra line. When this happens, celebrate your accomplishment!

9. Don’t Stoop Down to “Trolls”

While there is a protocol for handling negative reviews, many businesses fail to anticipate “trolls”.

A troll is internet slang for someone that consciously tries to stir the pot by posting rude and often inflammatory comments online.

If your business has the misfortune of being plagued with a troll or two, don’t panic. Don’t hesitate to block someone who is obsessively commenting, reviewing, or spreading rumors about your business.

Delete the comments if you can, attempt to assuage the review, but do not fight back with anger or spite. If you reply with a vengeance, you’re only pouring more fuel to the fire.

10. Invest In Reputation Management

These days, managing your company’s online reputation can be a full-time job. 

We guess its fair to say that a major downside to our culture and social media is that there is no real way to avoid problematic issues with being found online. It comes with the territory.

Comments and reviews can come at any hour of the day, any day of the week. An upset or frustrated customer likes to vent and they don’t take weekends or nights off!

In reality, a hardworking small business, might not have the time to respond to each comment, every review, positive or negative. Crafting response after response takes a lot of time and energy.

If you find yourself in this predicament, consider enlisting a trusted member of your team to carry the load, or ask your agency to carry the load. 

Reputation management programs vary from agency to agency and from client to client based on matching capabilities and needs.

Our experience tells us that as you grow, it’s worth a little time and money to be proactive and stay ahead of your reputation online.

Need A Helping Hand

MarketCrest is an in-house digital marketing agency offers SEO, website development, Pay-Per-Click advertising, social media, content marketing and of course reputation management services.

Sign up for an hour of free marketing consultation with our chief consultant. Our award-winning team has helped local businesses and large corporations alike take control of their digital presence.

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