Author: lkamrath (page 1 of 2)

The 80/20 Rule: What Does Your Content Say About You?

In many ways, marketing is like dating. Think of it this way — nobody wants to be on a date with someone who only talks about themselves. If a woman is sitting across the table from a man who talks about himself 100% of the time, she’s 100% likely to turn around and run the first chance she gets. Same goes for men, of course. Dating should be a two-way street. You talk about yourself a little bit, but you spend a lot of time asking about the other person so you can keep the conversation rolling and engage your dating partner.

This same idea holds true in marketing. You see, there are plenty of companies that spend all of their time talking about themselves. In truth, nobody wants to follow a business that only creates self-promoting content.

What Is the 80/20 Rule of Content Creation?

If you really want to build an audience that pays attention to what you have to say, you’ll spend 80% of the time sharing information that’s useful to your customers and only dedicate 20% of your posts to self-promotion. Thus, you’ll embrace the 80/20 Rule of Content Creation.

How Can You Embrace the 80/20 Rule?

1. Share Other Companies’ Social Media Posts. If it will be helpful to your consumers, don’t withhold secrets! Your content needs to be valuable to your customers, and sometimes, other businesses have great things to say. Not only that, but the share will build goodwill with companies who might return the favor and share your stuff someday.

2. Focus on your FAQs. Learn from the questions your customers ask you, and use those questions to build a solid base of valuable, useful content they’ll find helpful (and shareable.)

At Zebra Marketing Solutions, we’re 80/20 Rule experts. Shoot us a line; we promise to spend 80% of the time learning about your needs. We only need 20% of the conversation to tell you how we can help you grow your business!

So You Got a Bad Review. Now What?

Online reviews and testimonials can be the bread and butter for businesses. Naturally, you want five stars and raving compliments that showcase your amazing products and services. Unfortunately, there may come a time when someone rates you on the other side of the scale, potentially leaving a scathing remark or unpleasant comment about their interaction with your organization.

In today’s world, reputation management is major, but many companies simply don’t realize they need to act on feedback (both positive and negative!) If you’ve received a bad review, here are some things you can do:

Change Your Frame of Mind

First things first — Not every negative review is necessarily a bad thing. As your business grows, you’ll interact with more and more people, and, as the old saying goes, you can’t please everyone.

Your company won’t be a great fit for every single customer, and that’s okay. It’s important to keep this in mind, rather than letting negative reviews eat you alive. You should also bear in mind that many people stay silent after a bad experience and simply don’t come back. Those customers who take the time to leave you negative reviews are giving you the gift of opportunity so you can see things from their perspective, respond compassionately and make appropriate adjustments.

Acknowledge Mistakes

If your business made a blunder, don’t let the bad review ride without commenting. Apologize for the mistake, and offer your contact information by way of a public reply. This will show other consumers that you’re serious about customer service and willing to go the extra mile to remedy a negative situation.

Don’t Get Defensive

If a review angers you, walk away for a while! It’s probably not going anywhere. Publicly respond to all comments – positive and negative — but don’t employ shaming or defense tactics. Instead, utilize empathy, understanding, and sensitivity to approach the situation.

A great reputation is an excellent start to successful inbound marketing. Zebra Marketing Solutions can help you build a foundation that keeps clients coming to your door. Check out our services, and give us a call when you’re ready to learn more!

For more information on social media and digital marketing, please contact us at www.zebramarketingsolutions.com/contact or book a Complimentary 30 minute Strategy Session by clicking here! You can also like us on Facebook and Twitter for more useful marketing tips!

3 Ways to Attract Your Dream Client

You’re a small business owner. You have a go-getter attitude and a ruthless work ethic. You are ready to get out there and conquer the universe. After all, the world is your oyster, and you’re ready to tell everyone how amazing your business is.

Now that we’ve established that, let’s back up a little.

You see, the world really is your oyster, but you’re not looking for seashells; you’re searching for pearls. There will be passersby and brief visits from folks who were sent to you from the great powers of the search engines, but these people aren’t your people. Your dream clients make up your target market. They’re the people who will love you, be loyal to you, send you referrals, and keep the cash coming in. Of course, you want to cast a wide net, but it’s important to place the right bait so your dream clients can find you.

1. Focus.

When it comes to marketing, if you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one. You need to be clear about the types of customers you want to attract so you can define your target market and understand who your dream client truly is.

2. Filter.

Don’t be afraid to alienate people. The truth is, you will only alienate the people who wouldn’t boost your bottom line anyway. When you filter out the people who aren’t in your target market, you’re free to speak to the people who are the right fit for you and your business.

3. Feel.

Buying is an emotional experience. No matter what you do, or which industry you work in, your customers want to say, “Yes! I’m in the right place!” as soon as they speak to you. Hone your marketing efforts towards the people you want to attract, and those people will get your good vibrations.

Feeling inspired? So are we! Schedule your free strategy session with our Zebra Marketing team today!

How to Become a Lead Generation Machine!

Being a small business owner comes with huge responsibilities. You often have to wear more hats than you could fit into a closet. Sometimes, it seems like you’re running in a hamster wheel, doing everything you can to keep your company moving forward while still staying stuck in the weeds in terms of bringing in new business. When this happens, it’s because you’re not making lead generation work for you.

What is Lead Generation?

It’s a jungle out there, and to be successful, you must be better than your competition. If you feel like you’re spending all your time looking for new customers, but just not getting as many leads as you’d like to boost your bottom line, you may be missing out on the power of great inbound marketing.

In short, lead generation turns you from being the hunter into being the hunted. You’re no longer ruthlessly wandering the consumer jungle in search of anyone who might happen to take your bait; instead, you’re attracting people who are ready to listen, thus ensuring they’re more likely to pay attention to the products and services you offer.

Why is Lead Generation Important?

In the inbound marketing mix, leads are generated by first capturing an interested person’s contact information online (or in person), and then enticing them with quality content and tidbits that add value to their lives. By giving people a “taste” of what you offer, you’re more likely to convert these passers-by into actual paying customers.

Cashing in on Data Collection

It’s important to know as much about your consumers as possible, to hone future messaging to ensure more fruitful leads. Landing pages, contact forms, social media follows, and newsletter sign-ups all allow you to gather insights and data about your consumers’ behavior that you can use to provide relevant messaging and content going forward, to build relationships that turn your leads into customers, and your customers into raving fans!

Intrigued? Book your free strategy session with Zebra Marketing Solutions to learn more about lead generation, and find out how the right strategies can bring consumers directly to you!

Three Ways to Boost Your Engagement on Social Media

Social Media can be a powerful marketing tool, but with the latest algorithms on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, only a fraction of your subscribers actually see your posts. The trick to staying on the forefront  of their minds and in their newsfeeds is to invite engagement across platforms. Once they like or comment on a post, they are more likely to see future posts, pictures, offers, and links. The question then becomes, how do you invite this type of engagement?

1. Ask a Question

People are far more likely to interact with a post if it poses an interesting question. These questions do not always have to directly relate to your product or service. They can invite discussion about a timely topic, a topic that is related to your product or service, or simply about their personal lives. Remember to avoid topics dealing with politics, religion, or other controversial topics.

2. Provide a Link

Give people a quick way to interact with your website, especially if you are selling a product. If you have special pricing for a holiday or other promotion, give your customers a way to link directly to the special. This makes it more likely that they will return to that post to click through rather than searching the website separately.

3. Engage With Your Customers

It is not enough to pose a question and then allow your customers to lead the discussion. Instead, respond to their questions, engage with them on a personal level, and get to know what is driving their decisions. People are more likely to return to a social media page if they feel they are a member of that community, that their responses are seen and acknowledged.

If you found this post helpful, please Like, Comment or Share! For help with Social Media or other digital marketing needs for your business, please Contact Us for a free consultation!

 

3 Ideas to Keep Your Content Flowing Fresh

Everybody talks about how important it is to keep your content fresh. That’s because it is important.

With so much buzz about blogs and the importance of great web pages, it may feel like fresh content magically appears on the internet all the time. Unfortunately, as many small business owners have come to realize, generating awesome ideas isn’t always as easy as it seems.

If you’re stuck at your desk with blogger’s block, here are a few ideas you can use to help keep your content flowing fresh:

1. What do people ask you?

You probably don’t realize it, but every time a customer asks you a question, they’re providing you with the foundation for content. Each time you receive an inquiry, jot it down. You can then provide answers by way of blogs, newsletters, and landing pages.

  • What do you do? This is a fundamental question that you should easily be able to answer, but it’s often harder than it should be. A few brainstorming sessions should provide you with an assortment of responses. Don’t discard any of them! Instead, reach for a new response when your idea well runs dry.
  • How can you help me? How can you help your customers? Identify your competitive advantages so you can highlight them in your content.

2. What’s going on in the world?

The key to great content is keeping it relevant. Talk about industry trends, pop culture, and interesting news bites. Be sure to relate your tidbits back to your business so your theme makes sense to your audience (and so search engines understand what you’re getting at.)

3. Who are you?

Introduce your team members so your readers get to know your business on a more personal level. Highlight accomplishments, achievements, team-building, and charitable giving. Your content space provides the perfect real estate for a more intimate connection with your consumers.

Looking for more small business tips and digital marketing tricks? Be sure to check out our Zebra Marketing Solutions blog!

Switching from Sticky Notes: An Organized Email List Makes a Difference!

Are you guilty of decorating your office with brightly-colored little squares that contain tons of contact information? If sticky notes have become the wallpaper and main accessory in your office, it’s time to banish the chaos in favor of a de-cluttered contact list.

It never fails — People only seem to need their business cards when they have none. Sticky notes become runners-up, allowing you to jot down potential customers’ names, email addresses, and other vital information. Before you know it, a whole new layer of fluorescent shades is stuck around your computer screen.

Unless you’ve figured out a way to hit “send” on your sticky notes, your marketing efforts may be suffering at the hands of your handy little scribbles.

Segmenting = Optimal Marketing

When you segment your contact list, you’re able to target them with content that’s relevant to their specific needs, rather than hoping for one-size-fits-all content solutions.

Each subset of customers helps you hone in on information you can use to make your marketing campaigns more efficient and effective. Here are a few key factors you might want to consider as you set up your segments:

  • Geography
  • Gender
  • Buying frequency
  • Industry
  • Past purchases

This list could go on forever. Find what works for you, and make strides for continuous improvement.

Personalization = Improved Customer Experiences

Unless you have the memory of an elephant, you’re probably not going to be able to store every conversation you’ve had with your customers over time. Thankfully, with the help of an organized contact list and a great CRM (customer relationship management database), you can easily:

  • Make notes about past orders or interactions
  • Track customer activity
  • Learn what makes your customers tick

Once you record the information, it’s easily accessible anytime you need to reference it in the future.

Now that you know how important an organized contact list is to your business, let’s make your newfound knowledge work for you! Sign up for free inbound marketing tips from our team at Zebra Marketing Solutions today!

Will Discussing Politics on Social Media Kill Your Business?

America has witnessed one of the most contentious elections in history. Many of us feel very strongly about our political views, the candidate we supported or did not support, and we want to talk politics. Discussion is important, and some may argue that it’s a lack of discussion that has gotten us to the point of having such a contentious rivalry in the first place. Social media has played a huge part in the election. Candidates now post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to connect with their supporters. Citizens use social media channels to organize events, rallies, and to promote the candidate of their choice.

70% of internet users are now on Facebook, and many people will agree that it’s more and more difficult to keep our personal lives separate from our business lives. Many of us now have business colleagues as Facebook friends, giving them access to very personal, intimate parts of our lives. We want the benefit of being ourselves on social media, while not “upsetting” anyone, especially business colleagues or clients, by being ourselves.

So what is ok to post on social media, and what’s not ok? We’ve all seen inflammatory posts on social media recently. People mudslinging, calling each other names and unfriending each other over political opinions or comments. Facebook is a social network, and it was designed for personal use before it was ever used for business, and it is still a highly personal outlet – so people should expect to see political posts or posts about people’s personal feelings or opinions in various regards. If you feel the need to speak up about your views, you should be free to do so. It may even lead to healthy discussion, and learning about alternate views and the facts or arguments behind them. But – think before you speak. Ask yourself, “would I say this to someone in person?” Sitting behind a screen, it may be easy to get carried away…remember to keep your comments respectful! It’s one thing to state your opinion or to disagree, or to engage in healthy debate. It’s taking it to the extreme that can hurt your reputation.

It’s each of our personal choice whether to engage in discussions about politics or avoid it entirely on social media. We should keep in mind that we are all different, come from different backgrounds and upbringings, and we will never all agree on everything, including our political views. Part of what makes America great is that we are free to disagree! So try to keep an open mind when dealing with your friends and business contacts on social media!

If you found this post helpful, please Like, Comment or Share! And please Contact Us for more information about social media for your business.

Seven Tips For Effective Facebook Ads

With over 1.71 Billion monthly active users, Facebook can generate more leads and sales for your business than many other advertising channels. Facebook ads can be targeted to specific audiences, in specific locations, with specific interests relevant to your business. Facebook is the place to be for many small businesses, because you can get more bang for your buck! But it can also be confusing to navigate the world of Facebook advertising, so here are our top tips to help you get the most out of Facebook Ads for you business:

  1. Set a goal – such as: to get more social engagement, to get more people to visit your website, etc.
  2. Images – “thumb-stopping!” bright colors, bright images, lifestyle images
  3. Copy – less is more – align your caption with your image
  4. If you post video – it MUST have captions!! Audio does not load automatically
  5. More $$ for fewer days is better than less $$ for more days. It allows you to reach more of the right qualified customers due to Facebook’s ranking systems.
  6. Relevance score – Facebook ranks you based on how relevant your ad is to the audience you’ve targeted, on a scale of 1-10.  If you are less relevant, you will be seen less.
  7. Once you’ve posted an ad, do not edit it, it will destroy the algorithms Facebook has in place. If you want to make changes, start a new ad.

If you keep these tips in mind when creating your Facebook ads, you should be on the road to reaching more customers and generating more leads, so you can make more sales!

We appreciate you stopping by, and hope you enjoyed this post!  If you did, please Like, Comment or Share!

For more information on Facebook, social media and digital marketing, please contact us at www.zebramarketingsolutions.com/contact

How-to: Facebook Strategy for your Business!

Businessman connects to social media on grey background

As of the second quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.71 billion monthly active users, and growing! Out of all the various social networking sites, Facebook is currently the largest, with YouTube in second place. Our customers are on Facebook, and we should be too! You may be thinking, “I know my business should be on Facebook, but the world of social media for business can be daunting and confusing…” or, “My business is on Facebook, but I’m not sure I’m getting the results I’d like…” Facebook for business doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  And to take some of the guess work out of it, here are some tips for building a high-impact Facebook strategy for your business! Below, I have described different types of Facebook ads and how to use them.

First, Facebook has business pages locked down. This means that if you post something on your business page, the only people who will see it organically (as in, all you did was post it to your page) are the people who have liked your page. If only 100 people have liked your page, only those 100 people will see anything you post there.

Unless…

  1. You pay for ads, and encourage people to like, comment or share
  2. You post to your business page, then share the post to your timeline and any other groups you are a member of that are relevant to your target market

Facebook’s ultimate goal is to keep as many people as possible glued to the social network for as long as possible. If your posts keep people engaged, as measured by likes, comments, shares and time on screen, the social network will reward you with further reach. Spam up your page with excessive posts that no one likes or comments on, and your reach is likely to decline quite quickly.

So, if you pay for an ad, Facebook is checking to see how people respond to it. If it is relevant to your audience and engaging to people, Facebook rewards the post with more reach. If nobody responds to it, it will not be rewarded with reach.

Facebook Tree

There are a number of different kinds of ads:

Page Like ads

Pops up a summary of your business page in your target market’s Facebook feed, and asks people to like the page. Since only people who have liked your page will organically see your posts, this is a good way to get more page likes. You can set a target market, budget, and period of time to run the ad.

Boosted Posts

You may keep a blog on your website. If you do, it’s a great idea to re-post your blog posts to your Facebook page. You are providing original content that is relevant to your target market and positions you as an expert at what you do. You took the time to write it, and you want as many people to see it as possible! If you post to your Facebook business page, as I mentioned above, only people who have liked your page will see it. However, if you click “Boost Post” on the lower corner of the content you wish to post, you can choose a target audience and apply a budget. Always link to your website in a boosted post! You want to drive traffic to your website, so that people can see what you’re all about and contact you! As I mentioned above, you can also share your post to relevant groups you are a member of.

Sponsored Content

This is more like a traditional format ad…you can create the content and add an image. You could make special offers, or communicate a specific message, like inviting people to your upcoming free webinar. You can create or choose a target audience, say within a certain distance of your business location, with a certain set of interests that would be relevant to your target market. Then you can choose a budget and a period of time to run the ad. Always link back to your website in your ad! And again, you can share the ad to relevant groups.

We suggest doing a combination of all 3 types of ads for maximum impact.  Page Like ads will help increase the followers on your page.  Sponsored Content will help you with promotions and to build awareness of your business, and Boosted Posts will help you to provide something of value to your customers, so that they think of you as an expert in your field, and come back when they need your help!

We appreciate you stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, please Like, Comment or Share!
For more information on Facebook, social media and digital marketing, please contact us at www.zebramarketingsolutions.com/contact

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