What Are Your New Year’s Marketing Resolutions?

The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to start thinking about your New Year’s resolutions. We’re not really talking about eating less or exercising more, though. We’re talking about your business. What new marketing ideas can you implement to make 2017 your best year ever?

First, you need to view your marketing as an investment. The more time, effort and money you put in, the better returns you will get. If you solely look at marketing as just another “expense,” then it probably won’t work for you like it could.

Next, it’s time to consider taking things to the next level. It’s a technology-driven world and the next generation of consumers aren’t going to respond as well to old school marketing tactics. You may already have a website for your small business, but is it dated? Is the layout mobile-friendly? Is there a lot of dynamic content? How is your SEO? Make the steps to update and upgrade your site to the modern age if you haven’t already!

For better content on your site, start a blog. It will give you new content on a regular basis, and if done right, it will organically boost your SEO appeal and web traffic immensely. It’s also a great way to stay connected with your existing customer base.

Likewise, make the resolution to utilize social media to the fullest. Is your business represented on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Google+ and YouTube? Maybe you do have accounts, but are you using them to the fullest? Get active with more posts and you will see an incredible difference!

Encourage more reviews from your customers. Follow up with your customers to get helpful feedback about their experiences, and then ask them to write reviews about your business online. Review sites like Yelp!, Google and YP.com (along with industry-specific review sites like RepairPal or Angie’s List) are huge with today’s mobile consumers. Put those reviews directly on your website, write customer testimonial blogs and post every positive review on your social media pages.

These are just some marketing resolutions you can make for the New Year. For a free marketing consultation to discuss specific ways you can maximize your business, contact NextGear Marketing today.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you from NextGear Marketing!

Create Better Word of Mouth for Your Business

Few things can be as powerful for your business as strong word of mouth. Just think about it. When someone you trust endorses a business, you are much more likely to use their products or services. Marketing can help you grow your brand awareness, but people still want to know what others think of it.

When some business owners hear the term “word of mouth,” their thinking is still old school. Thoughts come to mind of conversations around the old water cooler at work, or telephone conversations between friends. However, that is now how people really communicate anymore. The Internet and social media have changed the game, making the concept of word of mouth an infinitely more impactful form of marketing.

On one hand, you have review sites like Yelp! or Angie’s List, where consumers can share their opinions that will ultimately help others decide where to do business. You aren’t likely to know that person writing a review, but for some reason you trust their opinion.

On the other hand, you also have social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and ShapChat. Whether directly or indirectly, you are connecting with people that you are likely to know or trust in some way through these social platforms. If someone endorses a business here, it may mean even more to you.

A lot of business owners fear social media and online review sites because they think they have no control over the messages that are being shared. On some levels, that is true, but you have much more control than you think. Of course, if you provide high standards of products and services, there’s a good chance that positive things will be said. You can’t censor everything that is being said and you don’t want to. Authentic feedback is great for your business, just as long as the positive comments outweigh the negative ones.

At the same time, you can also make sure the positive message are being put out there. Use your blog, a customer testimonial page on your website and social media to share good stories about your business along with feedback from your happiest customers. When people say good things about you, share it in as many ways as you can.

Write a blog post featuring a story about a certain customer. Included testimonial quotes from them, along with details about the services/products that they purchased. Here’s another article that shows how to write an effective customer testimonial blog post.

Create a testimonial page on your website and a good way to collect testimonials from clients. Have them fill out a survey in person or send out an email survey afterwards. Take all those quotes and put them on your testimonial page. This is great for SEO because it also means that new content is constantly being added to your site.

Last but not least, take some of the best testimonial quotes and share them on any social media that you use. This is something you can do every day or at least a few times a week as long as the testimonials are coming in.

By sharing the positive feedback in a variety of ways, you can essentially control your online presence by making sure that there is much more positive content out there regarding your business. It can drown out whatever negative comments may have been shared. So, even though you can’t fully control everything that is said, you can certainly ensure there’s more good than bad. In addition, all that extra content will increase your website’s organic reach.

One other thing we’d like to add is what to do when you see negative comments online about your business. Customers have a right to be unhappy, so engage them publicly with response comments. Be friendly in tone and offer to help resolve their concerns. Show your concern for service and your desire to make them happy. You may never win over that unhappy customer, but it shows others you care and they may look past those initial negative comments.

You also have to be aware that your competitors may try to hurt you. They may say negative things pretending to be an unsatisfied customer. The more successful you are, the more likely this will happen at some point. Again, respond with a tone of wanting to please them and rectify any issues. If you know for a fact that it is probably a competitor wishing to do harm, find a clever way to call them out without being confrontational. “We’re sorry you feel that way. We don’t see your name listed in our customer database, but we always want to make sure our customers are taken care of. Whatever your problem, please let us know and we’ll handle it free of charge.” Odds are, there will be no further response and savvy customers will recognize it was an attempt at sabotage.

In conclusion, use whatever means you can to share positive messages about your company and promote customer satisfaction through authentic testimonial quotes. Put out a positive vibe wherever you can and you’ll see the dividends.

For more information about blogging and social media integration, contact NextGear Marketing for a free marketing consultation.