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Making Mountains Out of Molehills

We’ve all heard this saying: “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.” It’s good advice (most of the time) to not overreact or blow things out of proportion.

I’m getting ready to embark on a vacation to the Lake Tahoe area along the California/Nevada border. It’s right in the middle of the Sierra Mountains and it is truly a beautiful place. So, you could say I have mountains on my mind right now and that’s the inspiration for this post.

The Problems with Overreaction

When it comes to marketing, it is very important not to overreact to negative occurrences or to build something up as bigger than it really is. However, you can eventually make mountains out of molehills in a marketing sense. I’ll explain that later, though. For now, let’s look at the problems with overreaction as it relates to managing a marketing campaign for your business.

First, there is the concern of overreacting when something bad happens (or nothing happens at all). You put out a good marketing campaign and work hard to put good strategies and materials in place. However, you get one negative response or no responses immediately. The worst thing you can do is panic. Remember, most marketing is a long-term process that takes time to build up and catch on.

If you overreact right away by pulling the plug on the campaign or changing to a radically different direction, you may never see the results you are looking for. Yes, it is important to study the data and responses that come in to see what is working and what is not. Then, you can fine-tune and adjust your marketing efforts over time to produce the best possible return on your investment.

Blowing Things Out of Proportion

Next, there is the hazard of blowing something out proportion. Let’s say you are just getting started on your social media campaign and building up your Facebook following. It will take some time and a lot of effort to get as many followers as you desire and to keep them engaged. However, a good Facebook campaign will not be all you need for a successful business. It is just one facet of your overall marketing plan. In other words, don’t invest all your time in just one direction. Today’s marketing is all about diversity and reaching potential customers from as many angles as possible. Put the work in to make your Facebook page great, but be careful not to overlook all your other marketing opportunities through various media. Good marketing takes both a “big picture” perspective and a “small picture” attention to detail to be effective.

How to Make Mountains Out of Molehills

Lastly, I mentioned that you can actually make a mountain out of molehills, and that ties in directly with my previous point. A good marketing campaign will incorporate many different media and a comprehensive strategy. If each component of your marketing plan is considered a “molehill,” you can eventually build them up together over time and you’ll end up with a “mountain” of a business. McDonald’s began with just one little burger shop and look where they are today.

This will give you all something to think about while I am away enjoying the mountains. If you have any questions about marketing or need help with your online or print marketing campaigns, contact NextGear Marketing today. We’re here to help you take your business to the next level.

3 Tips to Make Your Business Blog More Personal

It’s great if you already have a business blog. If you don’t, send me an email and NextGear Marketing will be more than happy to help!

However, many business bloggers miss out on valuable opportunities to personalize the messaging within the blog articles. They think of the blog as only an SEO tool to beef up their site’s content. Though that is definitely the biggest advantage of having a good blog, it is not its only purpose.

Why You Need Engaging Content

A good blog should also have engaging content that will attract site visitors, spur conversations on social media and also lead to more customer conversions. The SEO aspects may get someone to your blog, but then what happens? If the content is too dry, they won’t even finish reading the one article they came for, let alone stay on the site and seek out more information.

That’s why you want to look for ways to “personalize” the content while still keeping it and informative and SEO relevant. Here are a few simple tips you can try:

1. Write in First Person

This is often debated, but if you want to have a more personal feel to your blog this is a great way to do it. Write in terms of “we” and “us” (or “I” and “me” if you are a one-person business or a figurehead representing your business). You do have to be careful about being too salesy at times because first person perspective can exacerbate those messages, but you’ll find the articles are easier to write and will definitely provide a more personal style.

2. Inject Personal Insight

If you are still writing in third person, include some quotes from key people within the company. If you are writing in first person, just make sure you inject some personal insight and interpretations rather than just reporting information or data. Be careful not to get overly opinionated (especially with sensitive political or societal issues—unless that’s part of your brand’s identity) on any subject.

3. Include Brand Messaging

In addition to personal insights, don’t forget about your brand’s overall message. Again, your blog isn’t just spewing out cold hard facts, data and general information that can be found anywhere on the Internet. Remember the personality of your company’s branding and incorporate key brand messages throughout your articles for more effective results.

I hope you find this article helpful in building a better business blog. If you have questions or want to talk more about how to take your blog to the next level, contact NextGear Marketing today!

5 Simple Tips for a Better Business Blog

Having a blog for your business can be a powerful marketing tool. It will enhance your website’s organic SEO appeal, it will keep followers of your business engaged and it will help attract and convert new customers. Having a good business blog is easier than you think. Here are a few simple tips that will help you get the most out of your blog:

1. Keep Up the Frequency

Posting regularly is important, and try to stick with a regular frequency. Once a week is ideal, and aim for running your posts on the same day at the same time each week. Once every other week is adequate, especially if you are just getting acclimated to managing your blog. Twice a week is fantastic, but it can be tough to keep up with. Anything less than twice a month just won’t give you much impact, so that should be the minimum goal.

2. Use All the SEO Tools

Pretty much any blog management portal such as WordPress or whatever system your web host uses will have plenty of back-end SEO tools that you can utilize. Familiarize yourself with each and use them all. We’re talking about setting primary key words/phrases, tags, titles, meta descriptions, featured images, categories, etc.

3. Incorporate Calls to Action, But Don’t Be Too Salesy

It’s a good idea to plug in a call to action or two within your blog articles (“call us for more information,” “click here to sign up,” and so on), but be careful not to get too salesy in your articles. You can make strong points to support your business message, but lean toward being informative in your posts rather than making super hard sales pushes.

4. Utilize Links to Your Advantage

Internal and external links can be very beneficial in your blog articles. They help naturally with SEO, and inbound links especially can keep your readers engaged if they click through from one article on your site to the next.

5. Share Your Posts on Social Media

Social media is a great way to get new blog followers and your blog is a great way to keep your social media followers engaged with regular content, comments, likes and other important activity. Share a link to each blog post you write on all your social media pages.

When it comes to running a successful business blog, these simple tips are just the beginning. The more advanced you become, the more powerful your blog will be. If you need help with your blog and want to hire a business blog management specialist to ensure the job gets done right, contact NextGear Marketing today. Writing effective and engaging business blogs is what we do best. We’re here to help you shift your business into the next gear!

Hiring a Professional Blogger is Cheaper than You Think

There are several reasons why a business doesn’t maintain a weekly blog.

  1. They don’t know what they are doing.
  2. They don’t have the time or manpower to devote to it.
  3. They start a blog, but eventually it becomes less of a priority.
  4. They think hiring an outside provider will be super expensive.

I’ve seen all of these situations. Some business owners never bother to set up a blog despite all the benefits of having one (SEO, customer engagement, social media interaction, dynamic site content, etc.). Or, they set one up with the best of intentions only to let it fall by the wayside after a couple months. Before long, it is just sitting there collecting what I like to call “digital dust.”

Why You Should Outsource Your Blog

I know there are probably a lot of business owners who would prefer just to shop out their blog and let a professional writer manage it from week to week. It makes sense to do this because you are getting the blog written and tagged for SEO by someone who knows exactly what they are doing. There is a lot of strategy involved in a well-done business blog, so it pays to have a professional doing the work for you.

However, I also know there are plenty of business owners out there afraid to call or email us to ask about NextGear Marketing’s blog management services. It is true that I do not list the prices on this website because things change and I don’t want any listed prices to get outdated.

How Much Does it Cost?

However, as of the time of this article (May 2018), you can get a professional weekly business blog written for your company for just $299 a month (Standard Package). You won’t find many experienced part-timers willing to work for that kind of money. And, having one of your full-time staff members devote their time to a blog will probably cost you more when you factor in their overall salary, benefits and so on.

Hiring NextGear Marketing to write your blog is a very affordable option for a dedicated professional service. It’s also tax-deductible as a business marketing expense. There are no contracts with us, and you can cancel your service at any time. It really is that simple!

How it Works

Now, it is important to note that this price is based on you already having a blog set up on your website and that administrative access can be granted to NextGear Marketing in order to manage everything that needs to be done for each weekly blog post. First, contact your web developer to make sure a blog can be set up. For most, this will not be a problem. If not, we can help set up an outside blog site or build you an all-new site optimized for blogging.

The point is that outsourcing your business blog is much more affordable than you may realize and we’ll do all the hard work for you. NextGear Marketing also offers different blog and web content management plans, including two posts a month or as many as eight posts a month. Call for pricing.

Contact NextGear Marketing today for more information about our business blogging services.

What Can Your Business Blog Do for You?

Many small business owners will start a business blog because they think they have to or maybe it was just included in their web hosting service. What inevitably happens when someone is not fully “bought-in” is that they let it slide. Before long, it becomes an afterthought and eventually, the blog just sits there collecting digital dust. And, in today’s content-driven marketing world, that dust can start to gather within weeks!

Invest Yourself

Like anything in life, the more invested you are in your blog, the more you will get out of it. You have to be willing to commit the time or resources to do it right. Those resources might be an in-house staff member assigned to manage the blog and other content/social media activities. Or, it may be paying an outside provider like NextGear Marketing a nominal fee to run a high-quality weekly blog for your business. Hint, hint…

The Benefits of Blogging

If you are fully invested in your blog, you will see the benefits in numerous ways. Some of the advantages of a well-written and strategically focused blog with once-a-week posts include:

• Increased organic SEO potential

• Social media engagement

• More site visitors and return visitors

• Increased customer conversion

Don’t these attributes sound like something your company could benefit from? Of course! These are just a few of the major advantages to starting a blog and maintaining it with consistent content.

How Often Should You Post?

Whether that means bi-weekly posts, weekly posts or twice-a-week posts, you need to start somewhere and you can always ramp up the frequency over time. The important thing is to get it working for you and be fully invested in it as one of your online marketing strategies. When you do a blog right, good things can and will happen for your business.

To learn more about NextGear Marketing’s blog writing and management services for small businesses, contact us today.

 

Are You Responding to Customer Reviews?

Getting customer reviews online is an important part of today’s business culture. In a way, it is free advertising—even if you are paying extra for “premium” business accounts on sites like Yelp. People are voluntarily writing testimonials for your business. Unless you are doing something really wrong, most of these reviews will be positive. If they are routinely negative, then perhaps it’s time to rethink your approach to service.

Reviews Are Going to Be Written

In the social media marketplace, people are not shy about sharing their opinions on just about every subject under the sun. Millennials are now the most influential consumer group and the next generation is on their heels with an even more candid style of sharing everything about their lives on social media.

You should be pushing customers to write authentic reviews. Even if you don’t, plenty will still be posted and you have to pay attention to what’s being shared on social media and online review sites.

How to Respond

Next, you should get in the habit of writing personal responses to each review that is posted on Google, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other relevant site for your business. I recently took over this task for one of my clients and it is a very powerful thing you can do.

Most reviews will be positive and you don’t need to write much. A simple “thank you” message is fine. Reiterate some of the positive comments they may have made about your staff, your product or your services. If there are any special messages that you can include such as a warranty or return policy, do so without pushing too hard. Keep it light, direct and friendly. Those reading these reviews will easily see that you are a business that cares about its customers.

What if the Review is Negative?

It’s almost unavoidable that you will eventually get a negative review. Unfortunately, these negative reviews are almost always longer and more detailed, which helps them get picked up by the algorithms on sites like Yelp that display the “most relevant” reviews on the main page rather than the most recent.

A negative review might even be a fake from a troll, spammer or petty competitor. Oftentimes, these reviews discredit themselves if you read them closely enough. Maybe there’s an inappropriate comment, a lot of grammar errors or it’s clear that their complaint really isn’t relevant to your business.

How you respond to these negative reviews can be tricky, but it is something you need to do. You have to be tactful. You have to defend yourself without being defensive. You have to be friendly even while calling them out on any inconsistencies in their story. You can read more about this approach in a previous article I wrote on this exact subject, but the biggest key is to maintain a friendly and helpful demeanor in your response. Just remember the response is not necessarily for that reviewer, who will not likely be a repeat customer. It is for anyone else reading that review. A thoughtful response to a negative review can actually work in your favor because it will show others that you care.

To learn more about online review response writing services from NextGear Marketing, contact us today.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Marketing Risks

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! Every time one of these dates rolls around, we all feel that little chill running down our spines thinking about Jason running wild at Camp Crystal Lake.

It’s okay to be afraid of machete-wielding maniacs, but when it comes to your marketing, fear should not be a deterrent. Now, of course you don’t want to go broke trying every marketing idea you can think of and hoping one sticks. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to try new things and take a few marketing risks from time to time.

Perhaps it’s exploring targeted ads, boosted posts or sponsored posts on social media to try and increase website traffic or direct response activity. Maybe it’s time to rethink your website approach. Consider rewriting some of your core content to freshen things up or start up a business blog. Maybe you already have a blog but you play it pretty safe. Take a few chances, talk (carefully) about controversial topics relating to your industry and see what you can do to get more eyes on your articles while also sparking more online conversations.

Also, don’t give up right away if something doesn’t generate immediate results. Most marketing efforts take time to produce meaningful returns. Give it some time to marinate and make adjustments as needed to fine tune your approach with any given medium you are exploring.

There is always something new to try when it comes to marketing, so don’t be afraid to take a few risks from time to time. You just might discover a game changer.

For help with your marketing approach and a web content consultation, contact NextGear Marketing today!