No Free Lunch: Pay-To-Play is Here to Stay

No Free Lunch

No Free Lunch

We all learned very early on in this life that there is NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH!

In the context of digital marketing, that is made evident in that you must invest resources (time, effort, money, etc….) to get results. There never was a “build it and they will come” (what I call the Field of Dreams fallacy) for online marketing. Sure, it may have been a bit easier a number of years ago when there weren’t so many companies and users online, all vying for attention. Certainly, on a platform like Facebook, things were somewhat more simple, or so they seemed. All you seemed to need was a lot of followers of your page and to post something every so often and it looked like you were successful (whether you were or not depended on how you defined success, but that’s another story…).

This has changed significantly…and in ways that require a lot more consideration on your part as a small business owner and entrepreneur.

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Stop It With the “LIKES” Already!

 

The Ubiquitous LIKES

The Ubiquitous LIKES

For years you would hear it and see it:

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!!!!!
 
Looking at those numbers, particularly if they grew big and fast, could make you feel very good about yourself, and certainly gave you the kind of strokes you wanted if you were a marketer working for a company of any size.

Then the whole conversation shifted to, “What are all of those ‘likes’ getting us?“, which led to a number of uncomfortable pauses in the report. While getting the right kinds of measurements in place years ago was much more difficult, nowadays there isn’t the thrashing about there used to be around them. You still need to have a clear goal around what you’re trying to achieve online…of course, the end is to generate sales, but following the trail, building the relationships, etc. with your customers hasn’t changed. The platforms and practices have to a large degree, when executing a digital marketing strategy (as opposed to what your company might have done 50 years ago…..), but people are still people.

So what SHOULD you be investing in?

In a recent article in the American Marketing Association Journal of Marketing Research entitled “Does “Liking” Lead to Loving? The Impact of Joining a Brand’s Social Network on Marketing Outcomes” (you may find the abstract here) I discovered a number of valuable insights to consider as a small business builds out their social / digital marketing strategy. The question that kicked the article off is this:

Does “liking” a brand on Facebook cause a person to view it more favorably? Or is “liking” simply a symptom of being fond of a brand?

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Where Should I Be? – The Case for Facebook

Facebook

Facebook

OK, so you’ve done all the heavy lifting research about your market, your products and services, and your audiences.

You’ve worked closely with your marketing lead (either your own or a trust-worthy consultant…), deciding that digital marketing is a key component of your plan. Now you have arrived at the question that bedevils a LOT of small businesses:
Which social media platform (or platforms…) should I choose?

This is more than just a familiarity choice. This decision must be based upon:
  • What are your goals for your digital marketing?
  • Where are the bulk of your customers / audience?
  • How and where do you your customers / audience prefer to consume content?
  • What are the resources you have to devote to executing the plan?
There are many reasons to go with one or another platform, or more than one!

With this article I’m starting a series of articles (one platform per article over a few months…) that will give you some data, some analysis, some rationale, and a few recommendations. Each article will help you make that fateful decision:

Do I spend my limited and valuable resources on THIS platform, or not….or What?

First, the proverbial “Elephant in the Room”….

FACEBOOK

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STORY: A Must-Have for your Facebook Business Page

Tell Your Story

Tell Your Story

There are a LOT of things that make for a successful Business page on Facebook. 
Books and entire web sites (and businesses!) are devoted to staying on top of the almost daily churn of what works best for your business.
There is no “one size fits all”. However, there are a few things you can do, regardless of your business, to check a few of the boxes towards having an effective business page.
So, What’s Your Story?
The ABOUT tab on your page is one of the most important parts of the page you will neglect. There are two spots on that tab where you can enhance your discoverability and help visitors get to know you.

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Content Ideas and the Holidays – Best of November

The Holidays are Here!

The Holidays are Here!

Well, here we are….

It’s after Thanksgiving and before the twin end-of-the-year holidays of Christmas and New Year’s Day. If you’re like me you already have a lot going on, both in your business AND in your personal life (all those holiday get-togethers, plus trying NOT to gain, like, 50 pounds thanks to all the food involved…)! You’re probably wrapping up your 2018 business and marketing plan, executing on the holiday marketing and delivery, and trying to keep the cat(s) out of the tree. Still want to keep up on what’s happening in the digital marketing world? You KNOW it impacts your business and has knock-on effects on your plans, right? I thought so….
So here are my recommendations for the TOP articles from November to help you stay on top of it all!

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All About the Numbers! – The Best of October

Holidays!

Holidays!

The holidays are nearly upon us!

Shortly we start that Rocket Slide toward year’s end…a rapid countdown, for sure.
In the spirit of a countdown, this month’s articles all have numbers as part of their headlines, so you can come away with some actionable points you can use.

Grow Your Facebook Page

Grow Your Facebook Page

Not every idea will work for you business, but these 32 “out-of-the-box” notions just might give you some other ideas about how to grow your Facebook page. Be Creative! Try new stuff…..

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END OF THE SUMMER! THE BEST OF SEPTEMBER

Autumn is HERE!

Autumn is HERE!

The beginning of Fall is upon us and we’re all planning for what our holiday business is going to look like, right? In a final look-back on our collective Summer, here are some articles I found to be particularly arresting……

CLICK THAT HEADLINE!!!

CLICK THAT HEADLINE!!!

Great article…but the headline you wrote for it is a definite “…meh…”. Want to figure out how to get your audience to click through and actually READ it? Here’s some tips, backed up by data, that tell you how!

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3 More LinkedIn Tips

LinkedIn

LinkedIn

LinkedIn continues its steady march as THE PLACE online for professionals. I also have found that it is where many people and businesses go to check on the “bona fides” of an amazingly wide array of professionals and service providers. Lawyers, managers, sales associates, plumbers, contractors, chefs….you name it. People go to LinkedIn to see if you are who you say you are on your website and marketing materials.

The Internet has taught us to do research. It doesn’t matter if I’m looking for a new car, a better financial solution for my future, or the most engaging cat toy (which, frankly, is a rolled up piece of paper, but that’s another thing not covered in this article…). Anyone with access to search and reviews online (or asking for referrals on Facebook…) is likely to head over to LinkedIn and check on you.

I published an article earlier with 3 pointers for a better LinkedIn profile. I also posted a free downloadable LinkedIn Professional Profile Checklist as a good tool to get the basics online.

I want to add 3 more tips to these. The more you can not only get your profile to completeness but to EFFECTIVENESS, the more successful you can be in providing your visitors with the kind of information about you that increases your reputation and validates your expertise.

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BEST OF AUGUST – Customer Reviews, Surveys, and Top Social Media Listening Tools!

Well here we are…the unofficial End of Summer! Labor Day (in the U.S.), Back to School, and the business planning for 2018 is no longer avoidable!

There has been a lot of great information published this month, so here are the best articles I’ve read. I know you’ll find them worth the time, and packed with actionable goodies.

Social Media Listening

Social Media Listening

There are an ever growing number of social media listening tools (most also do other things, but the focus is on listening for this article) on the market. Some are free, some are “freemium” (free, but with some more functionality if you pay a bit more…), and others will cost you in a much bigger way. This article lists out 10 top tools in this category that won’t break your bank account. Be sure to assess carefully what you really need, and then add some extra headroom….you will ALWAYS end up needing them to do more than you think!

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WARNING: You’re Losing Money By Not Using Video!

Video is EVERYWHERE!

Video is EVERYWHERE!

Unless you’re completely disconnected, you have watched a video of some kind over the internet…even if it was just a cat. More likely you not only watch them every time you’re online, but also have some kind of streaming service like Netflix or Hulu that you subscribe to so you can watch when you want. The absolute access of video on the internet to our population is staggering.

Now flip that around. As a small-to-medium business owner and entrepreneur, a big pillar of growing your business is, of course, marketing. Digital marketing (which includes social media) is a growing portion of business focus and will only get bigger. It goes without saying that any business that needs to get found by customers (is there a business that DOESN’T need to be found by customers?) has a web site. A significant subset of these businesses have a social media presence of some sort.

How well that aspect of their marketing is working becomes the question to answer…

Quality content drives much of digital marketing success, but without a strategy to reach those markets and customers that want to buy from you, the content may not even seem to exist. These subjects make up a lot of my previous articles, and comprise a large part of what I work with my clients to create and implement.

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