Marketing Content That Sells: A Webinar

The Header for the Marketing Content That Sells Video

We wanted to start posting the first of our Small Business Bootcamp webinars with you, so let’s begin with our first webinar, about how to develop, create, market, and manage content that sells. From advertising to communicating, content marketing is something every business does on some level.

The Small Business Bootcamp is a LinkedIn group and weekly newsletter that provides information on how to provide for your small business. We discuss everything from marketing to employment to getting loans and more. Once a month we provide a webinar that outlines a content stream that we then talk about for the rest of the month.

Thinking about making changes to your business? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

In September, we made our first video about marketing content that sells. It is based in part on article Marketing Content That Sells & How to Create It, which gets deeper into some of the details about our webinar. Feel free to watch the video and reach out for more advice! We would love to provide it.

Here are some of the points of advice that we mention in the video:

      1. Begin with a strong attention-getting opener
      2. Focus on the Insight, the thing that hits people in their core
      3. Storytelling is what people remember at the end of the day

All of these details are what will matter most in building content. Marketing content to sell it isn’t always easy. But we want to help you through it. 

If you want to know more, join our LinkedIn group. It might help you learn more. This group includes small business owners across the New York area who are in similar positions. We want to help small business owners, and how better to do that than communicating. 

Join us, won’t you?

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

3 Ways to Market Your Small Business Almost for Free

3 Marketing Tips Nothing

The advertising market is insane. In 2019, it’s estimated to be a nearly $600 billion industry, and that’s almost over the topIn this crowded marketplace, how can small businesses compete? If you don’t have the same resources, how can you market your small business for free? Well, do you remember when your mom said “kill them with kindness”? We want to encourage you to kill them with creativity. It may help your business grow in the long run.

Unsure of how to take your business from good to great? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Kill Them with Creativity

We know we can’t beat big brands with spending. However, big ideas tend to die at big companies. Creativity dies in committee. I spent 20 years at major companies, and I’ve seen more creative ideas which died on the vine than survived. So, trust me because I know how your small business might need to market itself and free your route to successOn top of that, you might not have the capital to compete with those massive marketing budgets. Luckily, small businesses and entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to be creative and take smart risks. The followinthree breakthrough ways to market your small business are inexpensive and effective, and we encourage you to consider them.

1. If It’s Fun, They Will Come

People are social. They love to come together. You just need to give them a fun reason to do it. According to Eventbritea recent poll of adults aged 18+ revealed that people are attending more live events than ever before. Some businesses lend themselves to this more than others. But, even a consulting group like ourselves, can put together an educational event and make it fun. Reach out to the public and you might find your new customers. 

Holidays give you a built-in platform. Even not-so-fun events, like tax season, can be a hook for education. If there is a business expo and you can’t afford a booth, consider holding an event nearby. If you can provide free help as a small business, you might have found your perfect market. It’s always better to bring the event to you, so if you have a brick and mortar store, think about how you can piggy-back on local festivals and the like. Small Business Saturday is also another great time to work with your neighbors to create and event. The key is to make it fun. Prizes, bragging rights, competitions are all ways to make something that may seem drab more interesting.

2.  It Takes a Village

If you feel like you need to market your small business, your neighbors might be looking for some of the same free help. So get to know your neighbors! You would be surprised how much it helps to talk to your peers. Small businesses can use each other to succeed, creating a real life network. Promote one another and build your own community. If that isn’t possible, use other forms of connections. Talk to your LinkedIn contacts and your friends and more to figure out how you can help one another without too much cost.

Another way is to put your customers to work. Referral programs work very well because people trust their friends. Even big name brands have built their businesses based on referrals. DropBox, when it started, offered 50MB of extra space for every friend you referred. After referring 20 friends, we had a free account with 1 GB of space, which at the time, was enormous. It doesn’t have to be big, a simple thank you gift will usually suffice. Plus, it may help you grow your circles of communication.

3. Earned Media Will Always Beat Paid Media

[Repurpose HARO from 4 tips on a dime]

Overall, Creativity and Elbow Grease Result in Free Social Media Marketing

While marketing on a limited budget can be challenging, creativity and our tactics might help you save yourself. In order to market your small business for free, you may need to think differently. But, don’t forget, some of these tactics can work exceptionally well whether you have a small budget or a big one.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Whether to DIY or Outsource Digital Marketing: Jeff’s Story

digital marketing

Digital marketing is a key strategy for all small businesses. It’s a tough decision whether to outsource part or all of it to a third party. Who can you trust? Will they do a good job? Can you afford it? All leaps of faith to a certain degree. Our client Jeff faced these same questions. He dabbled, and he struggled. Even then, he still was not sure what was best. He, like all of us, has limited time and resources, so what did he decide to do? Well, that’s where digital marketing comes into play. 

Unsure of how to take your business from good to great? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Jeff's Story

Jeff runs a small boutique store in New York. He’s had been successful with his brick and mortar location, but sales were starting to slow. He had some e-commerce, but it was extremely limited. He wanted to keep his growth going, but he wasn’t exactly sure how. Most of his current business came from foot traffic and through his reputation as curator of unique and custommade products from locally sourced material. Jeff, himself, had a great online presence through is Instagram account, but the business was less well represented.

Digital Marketing 101

Digital marketing requires some knowledge and skill to be effective. Some of the skills from traditional marketing are translatable. Some are not. There are great short courses on digital marketing basics at SCORE and Digital Marketing Institute.

Content marketing

Content marketing cover much of what we spoke about in our blog post on In-Bound Marketing. An example of content marketing is what we are doing right now. Good contact marketing leverages key words that your audience connects with your business. Valuable content is worth its weight in gold. It drives both engagement and search rankings.

Organic SEO

Organic SEO is the holy grail of digital marketing. While it’s the holy grail, it’s the hardest to influence. Google spends millions on its algorithms, and they change constantly. It’s time consuming, but not impossible to do yourself. First you need to see where you stand. This requires setting up a Google Search Console account. It’s simple to do, but harder to manage. Google offers a SEO starter’s guide, which is worth completing if you decide to try your hand at SEO.

Social media

We went through a whole section on social media in our blog post on Inbound Marketing. Social media can be a powerful tool for small businesses. This is the one area in which Jeff excelled. 

Paid search & advertising

Advertising on Google involves keyword bidding. This can be expensive for popular keywords. However, local search can be very helpful. Google My Business coupled with Ads can be helpful. Google Ads provides a Smart Campaign option that we’ve used, and it has been effective. The jury is out if it is more or less effective than a professionally managed campaign.

What Did Jeff Do?

Jeff was a whiz at social media. We didn’t need to hire an expert here, but he did need to make sure that he put the same effort into his business account as he did his personal. All the social media credit was going to his personal account, and if people didn’t know he owned a store, he was losing them as potential customers and diminishing his chances of long-term success.

No one could write content about his business better than he could. What he needed was some help on which key words were the most productive. He didn’t have time both to write and to do the research. As a result, we recommended that he hire someone to manage his SEO. With paid advertising, we decided to try the Google Smart Campaign. We didn’t have the budget for both SEO and paid advertising managers. Therefore, we had to make a strategic choice to avoid wasting money.

Jeff's Results

The brick and mortar results were not instantaneous, but the web metrics were. Within the first month, he saw his web traffic quadruple. Once we had enough clicks, we turned on the remarketing feature. Within the 2nd month, we saw his online sales skyrocket. Let’s put this in context. He had a very minimal e-commerce presence prior, so any change was dramatic. After 3 months, his local organic rankings started to improve significantly, and his in-store sales started to increase. It took roughly six months to see the full impact and his year-on-year in store sales were up +20%, with growth seeming to continue in that upward-swing.

What Does This Mean for You?

If you are planning on including digital marketing into your mix or if you are doing it now, we would recommend that you look at each of the aspects above. We at ProStrategix believe it is a tool that can be used in all marketing plans. Every business is different and has a different set of needs. That said, a thoughtful analysis of how each of these tools can be put the best use for you should increase your chances of success. 

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

How to Use In-Bound Marketing for Your Small Business

Content on a laptop, a form of in-bound marketing

We have already spoken about inbound marketing, but we wanted to show you today an example of how in-bound marketing works. Our client, Dorian, is the owner of an holistic healthcare practice. To most people, holistic healthcare is still somewhat unknown and untrusted. Dorian faced the same challenges many in the Professional Services fields. Why should I trust him? Do I really understand what his practice is all about?  

Trust, credibility, awareness are all areas where inbound marketing can be very powerful. Dorian opted for inbound marketing because it was the best tool for his challenges and to help him expand his business potential. 

Your business is doing well. But what’s next? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Using In-Bound Marketing Smartly – Dorian’s Story

Dorian was unknown, and the practice of holistic medicine is considered by some to be pseudo-science instead of healthcare. Therefore, he needed to showcase himself as an authority, as well as, build the case for where a holistic approach is right and, importantly, when it wasn’t. To do this, he utilized a mix of social media, promoted content with infographics, and blogs. SEO was important and woven into his blogs and content calendar.

Inbound Marketing, written on a binder
Inbound Marketing is a means of getting audiences into your site

Measure twice, cut once

Metrics were key to understand what was performing and what needed to be optimized to perform better. Dorian had a whole set of KPIs. First, we built several content funnels to track users on the website. We could see what content drove the most people to specific conversion points. It was important to track several so we could see where any bottlenecks were created and to build some hypotheses as to why people stayed or left.  

We tested a number of different infographics to see which were the most impactful and drove the most interaction and traffic. We also kept a list of our posts to look for patterns that might predict with which content people would interact the most. The tactics we used were very similar to what most other businesses use. However, since we were in the start up phase, we relied less on e-mail since we didn’t have a large list and less on revenue. We focused more on them once we built our list and had a better understand of which content was the most effective.

Dorian's results

The use of in-bound marketing
Image: Visual Objects

Inbound marketing takes time. It’s the first thing you need to accept. It’s hard when that’s typically when revenues are the lowest, and you need the sales. However, it can be an investment worth making. After daily blogging, social posting, and several tries at infographic tests, it took Dorian about 3 months to start to hit his stride. After 3 months, we finally had enough data to start to make some clear choices on optimization of our message, website, and tactical mix and on growing his business. 

When we started, Dorian had bounce rates around 40%, CTRs of 1.5%, and a dribble of leads. At six months and after more testing and optimization, Dorian cut his bounce rate significantly to < 15%, increased our CTR to 2.5%, and had enough leads to build a predictable funnel for demand.

What Can You Do?

Start a blog

First and foremost, start a blog. It’s the foundation of any inbound marketing campaign. To prove yourself and showcase your capabilities, you need to provide proof and show your expertise. Importantly, people are not going to spend money with you if they don’t firmly believe you can help them solve their problems. A blog is a great way to showcase what you know. It also serves as the engine for SEO. The higher you show up in an organic search the more credibility you will have. 

Get in the press

Another way to help bolster your reputation is earned media. If the press is siting you as an expert or a source, it adds credibility to your message. It can help new customers take notice of you in the a non-sponsor piece, which will then make it easier for them to believe you later if they see similar things on your blog, social media, etc.

HARO (in-bound marketing platform) Logo
HARO is a service we use for in-bound marketing

In-bound marketing only works with a great website

Your website is the where the magic happens. With all due respect to the DIY website builders out there, a poorly constructed site can kill you. Image that you are doing all this work to drive people to your site, but when they get there, they leave, get lost, or give up because it takes to long to load. There are a thousand ways things could go wrong. Even a professionally built site won’t get it right on the first try. We don’t subscribe to the believe that every effective site needs to be professionally built, but we do believe that they should be managed professionally. That means have the right tags, funnels, testing, tracking, and the like. Without it, you lose the ability to optimize, which greatly diminishes your effectiveness. No amount of press or reviews can help if people don’t know how to find you.

A picture says 1000 words

We can stress enough the power of a great infographic. People are visual creatures, and a great image can convey more information more quickly that paragraphs of words. You don’t need to be a professional designer to be effective, but you need to design your images professionally, meaning the image must have the same meaning as the words. It must be simple, aesthetically pleasing, and easily read.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Online Reviews – Quantity over Quality?

Online Reviews

Online reviews matter for small businesses. Good reviews can take your business to another level, but bad reviews are expected to cripple a business. When it comes to online reviews, it may actually be quantity over quality according to a study by WomplyWomply found businesses with over 200 reviews earn twice as much as the average firm. 

Thinking about making changes to your business? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

What Is Womply?

Womply's information about online reviews is groundbreaking
Womply's information about online reviews is groundbreaking

Womply, a San Fransisco based small business software company, used data from more than 200,000 businesses across the country.  They found that roughly 4 out of 5 reviews are positive.  The shocking news was negative reviews didn’t necessarily mean a loss in revenue, and surprisingly, 5-star ratings didn’t necessarily yield more revenue.

Replying Is Key

Based on their research, the three most important things were: having more reviews, recent reviews, and frequent responses. What was surprising was that, according to Womply, businesses that have up to 50% negative reviews online earn nearly the same as the average business (20% negative).   Businesses that respond to more than 20% of their reviews earn over 40% more than those that don’t respond at all.  

Fears of Negative Online Reviews are Mostly Unfounded

Based on these data, it’s more important to interact with those who review you than it is for them to like you.  It seems odd, but that’s what the data say.  And, when you come to think of it, maybe it doesn’t.  It may just be human nature.  If someone took the time to write you a note, you’d probably take the time to reply.  People seem to respect that. 

 

A Bad Review is all it takes to hurt a business
A negative online review used to be scary, but now is something to deal with sensibly

We are often reluctant to ask for reviews out of fear of someone saying something negative, but these data show that those fears are mostly unfounded.  Reviews negative or positive provide an opportunity to improve your business and have a better handle on quality control. 

Other major findings...

      • Not all businesses are treated equally – if you’re a taxi driver, hotel, or in real estate, people can be harsh. 
      • Ignore your listings at your peril: Claiming your listings on at least 3 major sites can yield an extra $100K vs. the average business and $200K vs. those who ignore them. 
      • Google is king when it comes to Online Reviews, over  
      • Consumers spend a lot more at businesses (over 50%) that reply to reviews. 

Branding: How to Stand Out Against Competition

Branding

Human beings are pattern seekers.  We conserve our mental energy by creating little files in our minds about people, places, and businesses. In a sense, everything is branded. It is both about marketing content to others, and about making a sale. It’s the sum of the experiences someone has packed in a box.  Once that box is formed, it’s very hard to change what your branding is to the public.

Your business is doing well. But what’s next? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Alice's Story

Alice owned a trendy pop-up storefront and e-commerce business that sold unique, hand-crafted jewelry, clothing, and accessories. She worked with an artist collective, so she had access to a trove of unique and original designs, which she sold on consignment.  She grew so quickly that she was finding it difficult to vet the artists and curate the collection as much as she had in the past.  

Alice's Problem

What made her unique was the carefully curated assortment of one-of-kind designs.  She did realize that by being so busy growing that she was at risk of damaging her brand.

social listening

Branding by Default 

The fact is that most small businesses have a brand by default rather than by design.  It’s human nature to create brands – no matter what. We do it all the time.  It’s sometimes hard to recognize that fact. If you do nothing, people will create a story about you. It’s better to direct the narrative than to have the narrative directed for you.  

Alice‘s Brand 

Having a brand by default isn’t always a bad thing.  As in Alice’s case, it was good thing. She lucked out. However, not understanding that you have a brand is terrible thing. Why? Because if you don’t know what it is, how can you stay true to what it is that makes you unique and special.  Alice fell in the latter case. She didn’t realize what her brand was when she started to grow beyond it. If she did, she may have been a bit more careful. 

An example of how Social Media branding can create a complete reinvention of your brand
An example of how Social Media branding can create a complete reinvention of your brand

Luckily for Alice, She Caught It Before It Was Too Late 

Alice had a strong and loyal Instagram following. She started notice more negative and less positive postings about her latest collections. Alice was smart and she started asking why.  She had responses like: “…becoming more generic…”, “it’s just not you anymore”, “…been there, seen that…”.  In effect, she was drifting from her brand, but she didn’t really know it. There were expectation that she didn’t even know about. 

How Did We Help Alice Find Her Brand? 

Alice reached out because she wasn’t sure what to do. She wasn’t sure why her fans weren’t happy. She didn’t realize it at the time, but her Instagram was her early warning system, and it worked beautifully. This is something Alice didn’t even think about at first, but it eventually became important for a young business

Step 1 – What Should the Brand Be? 

When developing a brand, you need to start with the target. The target is the ideal customer. This is person you most want to reach.  Alice had a strong base, but she didn’t have a clear understanding of what made them tick.

Our first task was to talk to these customers and understand why the loved Alice’s products so much. In Alice’s case, it was so they could feel unique and distinctive. Wearing Alice’s line made them feel trendy. No one else had something quite like what they bought from Alice.  Alice’s point of difference was the uniqueness and her eye for creative, functional items.  People weren’t buying Alice’s artists, but they were buying Alice’s sense of style and curation.  That was her value. That was her brand. And that helped her grow.

Step 2 – Stay Consistent 

This is where Alice made her mistake. She got so busy running the day-to-day operations that time she used to dedicate in researching and curating her collections suffered.  As that suffered, the brand suffered.  To get her back on track, we needed to figure out how to free her up. For the brand to keep growing, she needed to curate more, not less.

Social Branding hits every aspect of how you reach your audience and how they reach you

Step 3 – Built the Right Scale 

It was clear Alice needed help.  We took her through our delegation exercise to identify the tasks she needed to do, and those she didn’t need to do.  We were able to create job descriptions based on this work, and she was able to hire the right people to free up her time. 

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

How to Build the Ideal Marketing Budget

Defining a marketing budget for your company could save a lot of trouble in the future

In budgeting your company, marketing requires a leap of faith. There’s just no other way to say it. You usually have to spend money upfront, without really knowing if you will get an ROI until later. Look, it makes everyone nervous, even us. But, there are some guidelines that can increase your chances of success. We want to share a story about a client Elena.

Feeling like your business isn’t going the right way? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Elena's Story

Elena haa successful salon. In her first few years, she grew rapidly and expanded to a new area. She was concerned about her second location as it was having the same growth as her first. He first salon was maxed out. She really didn’t have the ability to add more clients. Her second salon was growing, but her overall growth had slowed down. She was concerned. The second location was doing slightly better than breaking even, which meant her profit growth had stalled. 

A budget is needed for marketing to reach the audience you need.

The good news was this wasn’t a flaw in her business plan, she was fine from a financial standpoint. Instead, her issue was with marketing planning and budget, and specifically the marketing her 2nd location.

How Did We Help Elena?

For starters, it’s good to have a rule of thumb for how much you should invest in marketing. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBArecommends spending 7 – 8% of gross sales on marketing if you’re sales are < $5M a year. Our rule of thumb is 10% because it’s simpler.

Step 1 – Goal Setting

So, back to Elena. Elena’s goal was simple. Drive more appointments at her 2nd location. That’s clear. But not SMART. For goals to be as effective as possible the should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Elena’s goal was specific but was it specific enough? Would 1 appointment more be sufficient? 10? 100? It’s hard to know what you should do unless you are crystal clear on what you need to attain. That was the first step. We decided on aadditional 10 appointments/week within the next six months as our SMART goal. 

A marketing funnel is a good example of how a budget can pay off with marketing

Step 2 – The Marketing Budget

We can’t share Elena’s exact financials, but we agreed to use our 10% of gross sales as our rule of thumb. This gave us plenty of money with which to budget a solid marketing plan. This is a salon business, so visual media were key. In deciding on our marketing mix, we focused on social media, website enhancements, e-mail, Google My Businessand yes, old-school, direct mail. More on that in a minute.

Step 3 – Putting a Plan Together

Elena is an Instagram genius. She built her brand predominately from Instagram. It’s the perfect medium for her work. It not only build her following, but it also helped her in local search. However, this became a problem because, since both locations had the same name & account, all the Instagram work was being attributed to her primary location. This was what we had to fix.

The new plan was to: 

      • Keep the old Instagram account our maintain our efforts on it
      • Start a separate Instagram account for the new location (with a content calendar) 
      • Rebuild the website so it was clear on the home page that there were 2 locations
      • Start a Google My Business for the 2nd location (with a content calendar) 
      • E-mail & direct mail

You’re probably thinking, what? Mail? Really? Well, the truth waabout 10-15% of Elena’s clients actually lived closer to her 2nd location, but only came to her first. They just didn’t know or were afraid to try a new stylist. So, we did a combo of e-mail and direct mail to let them and their neighbors know that there waa more convenient option for them. In those mailers, we provide discounts at the new location. We also held events at the new location where the top stylists would there as ‘guests’.

What a Marketing Budget Can Do

This worked beautifully for Elena. We hit the 10 appointments/week goal within 4 months instead of 6. This waan inexpensive plan, which was easy to implement and measure. Now, Elena’s business is able to grow and she is doing better than before at both of her locations, all thanks to an improved marketing budget.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Generate Leads for Your Small Business with These 3 Tips

Lead Generation Hacks

Generating leads is one of the hardest things for a new small business to do. To get a client base, you first need to get clients. We have trouble with it sometimes, and many of our clients have talked with us about their issues with it as well. When you start, no one knows who you are or what you do, and why they should work with you. We live in an over-sold world. Skepticism is aaall-time high. Plus, competition is now global. It’s tough to breakthrough. To help you, though, we wanted to give you our three steps to sell aa new small business. 

Your business is doing well. But what’s next? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

1. Have a Clear, Crisp Pitch

People’s attention spans are shrinking. You need to be ready for that. You need a concise pitch that explains what you do. Pitching is important for a number of reasons, from getting loans to getting customers.  

Here are two good pitch templates that we’ve used in the past. They’re simple. They’re direct. Each shows how to make the most of the differentiation you have. Importantly, they work.

If you have a unique benefit only you can provide: 

[Enter Company Name] is the ONLY [Enter Industry or Competitive Set] that provides [Unique Point of Difference]. That’s because [Support Claim #1] and [Support Claim #2].

If you provide service in a way that might not be “unique”: 

[Enter Company Name] is a [Enter Industry or Competitive Set] that provides [Point of Difference] [better, faster, cheaper, etc] than [competitive set]. That’s because [Support Claim #1] and [Support Claim #2].

Generating Leads is a key aspect of marketing yourself to others

See, it’s basically like a business-oriented MadLibs! And the best part is, it will help you with generating leads in the future. These are two templates for you to start with, but there are a lot of options for your new business

2. Be Seen as an Expert

One of the things that we aProStrategix do is to post articles almost every day, like this! And trust me, I know it’s hard to deliver quality content on a daily basis. You won’t always get it right, but after a while, you will see which content your target finds the most useful. Armed with those insights, you can create an editorial calendar that focuses more on what people are interested inand you can showcase your skills to a larger, more engaged audience.

3. Be Smart with Your SEO and Landing Pages

An example of the importance and work of lead generation, and the payoff of it

SEO is often touted as the holy grail. It’s not quite that, but it is important. SEO is like micro-targeting. You have to find that patch to own. Then, build from there. It’s tough when you want to serve a bigger marketplace, but micro-targeting your content to specific narrow audiences does help to generate leads. The same is true for your landing pages. The tighter and more relevant the content is to person, who lands on your site, the better. They are likely to stay longer, bounce less, and provide you with insights on what’s working or not. 

What Happens After You Generate a Lead?

Ultimately, it’s the conversion that counts, and that goes up the more they interact with your content. Hopefully, you can generate the leads you need to grow from a new business to larger and better things.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

What to Do if You Get a Bad Review

A one star review can be very bad for business

There are so many review sites these days, it’s hard to keep up. But a bad review can be hard to manage, especially when you’re new. Shifts in technology trends can change many things for a company, and our client Donna learned that lesson the hard way. 

Donna owns a small retail shop that had recently opened in Manhattan. She was growing well and was off to a good start. But while I love New Yorkit isn’t out of the question to say that New Yorkers can be blunt and harsh critics. Donna had one difficult client interaction, which turned into several months worth of headaches. The client left unsatisfied and left a scathing 1-star review on Google. Initially, Donna wrote it off and went on with her day. Unfortunately for Donna that was the wrong thing to do.

Unsure of how to take your business from good to great? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

What Donna Didn’t Know About Bad Reviews

A recent study showed that a bad review on Google My Business can hurt you much more than one on Yelp or Facebook. The study showed that the impact of a poor Google rating had twice the effect of a bad review on Yelp. It had nearly 4 times the negative effect than Facebook. Ouch, right? We can only speculate as to why, but it’s likely that review ratings are part of the local search algorithm. Therefore, businesses with a lower review rating may be shown less. It’s also easier to leave a Google review so that could be a factor as well. 

What Donna Should Have Done

A Bad Review is all it takes to hurt a business

No matter how big or small your business is, someone should be checking and responding to customer reviews regularly. You might be thinking“of course, doesn’t everyone?” But, it’s easy to think that when you are not pulled away by a thousand different things. Plus if it was a negative review, the interaction probably wouldn’t be pleasant for you, either. It would be hard not to get emotionally invested in it. The first step is to try to depersonalize the situation. It’s hard, but that separation is necessary. Otherwise, you can’t follow this golden rule:  the first one who acts irrationally will lose. Acknowledge that you heard them. Focus on the facts. Be professional. Never lose your cool. 

What We Did for Donna

Since Donna didn’t act on the review, it stuck. She started to see her local search numbers fall and her organic traffic took a nosedive. How could one review do that? It was her 1st review. Donna needed to fix this quickly. We started a program offering discounts for a Google review. We were clear that we wanted their honest feedback. It was solely a means of encouraging them to act. And most importantly: it worked. Within 2 weeks, we had 20 reviews. It took a month or so to recover fully. But recover Donna did, and her bad review problem went away. We also encouraged her to hire a social media manager to monitor her comments and act on any comments within 24 hours. 

 

A bad review isn't the end of the world

With how much business is done online nowadays, it is easy to see how a bad review can sink a business. But by keeping on top of it and staying smart, you can avoid problems like Donna’s. And importantly, we are happy to help you do that, because it is important to help your business grow, and we want to be there for it. 

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

How to Use Marketing to Boost Slipping Sales

A woman attempts to boost her sales through marketing techniques

Today, we want to tell you a story about of client of ours named, George. George runs a decent-sized small business and has for a few years, but his sales have started to slip. So we showed him how used marketing to boost his slipping sales.

George’s business might not be the same as yours, but his challenge was one that we all face. How do we understand our customers enough that we can communicate with them effectively? By communicating effectively, how do we get their attention, keep it, and motive them to do something different? If you’re facing marketing challenges, then read on to see what tips we shared with George. If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky… and remember to come back to us if you do face problems.

Unsure of how to take your business from good to great? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

George’s Story: A Classic Marketing Challenge

George’s business model was a bit old school. George produced products that he sold through distributors, and then those distributors sold the products to brick and mortar stores. Yes, this still is the dominant way people buy products. While e-commerce is growing fast, it still only accounts for around 10% of total retail sales. It also varies widely from category to category.

You can use social media marketing campaigns to boost sales

Jason is in health and beauty. This is one of e-commerce’s weak spots. In health & beauty, e-commerce sales account for less than 5% of total retail sales. Nevertheless, Jason was starting to see some negative impact from that shift. His volume was starting to drop off and his marketing needed a booster shot to help the sales. His e-commerce sales were tiny. He’s tried to sell through Amazon’s marketplace but he’s had a hard time breaking through. He has his own e-commerce platform but has struggled to gain traffic and conversions.

How do we understand our customers enough so that we can communicate with them effectively?

So, what exactly did we change in George’s marketing to help boost the sales of his company? And how could we achieve that without wasting everyone’s time and money?

Spend some time walking in their shoes

George was in a tough spot. He didn’t sell much directly to his customers, so how could he reach them? Luckily, he did have some sales through his e-commerce portal. We re-contacted those former customers and offered a nominal fee to participate in a moderated Zoom call. We spent that call discussing their challenges and how Jason’s products helped them meet them. Then, we spent time to understand their motivations. We asked them to take us through their day. We uncovered a lot about how they wanted to feel after using Jason’s products.

After spending time in the customer's shoes, craft a message relevant to what’s motivating them

marketing can help boost sales for a small business

After conducting a few Zoom focus groups, we had a clearer picture of what was motivating George’s customers. They wanted to look naturally beautiful. They were motivated by wanting to look their best, but not looking like they tried. We are own worst critics. We see all the flaws because we know they are there. As long as we know they are there, we are self-conscious. When your self-conscious, it’s hard to project confidence. And, that’s what this was all about, finding the marketing plan that worked

Communicating our message consistently and effectively

Armed with this new information, George was able to upgrade his website, Amazon page, paid digital ads, landing pages, ran social media posts, and more marketing platforms to boost his sales. It was no longer about shades and colors and the like. It was about how to use a combination of his products to look natural, letting the real you shine through. And it was a major hit, helping Geroge in the long run of his career.

How Can You Boost Your Business's Sales with Marketing?

The steps that we took can be used by anyone. It takes time and effort and a little bit of money. However, it is time well spent. Understanding your customer is key to unlocking sales. We hope this case study helps clarify how that might work.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.