Weekly Bitz: The Risk of DIY Marketing and 5 Digital Mistakes to Avoid

Weekly Bitz: The Risk of DIY Marketing and 5 Digital Mistakes to Avoid

Below is the roundup of some of this week’s MarketingBitz articles and blogs. MarketingBitz publishes digital marketing articles, videos and slideshows written to address the needs of small businesses.

The Risk of DIY Marketing is Doing it Wrong (March 14, 2018)
MarketingBitz: “Most small businesses choose to approach online marketing with a do-it-yourself (DIY) mentality. From managing social media, website updates, listing management (Google My Business, Yelp, etc.) and more, DIY is the cost-effective approach. However, new research shows that many small businesses are overlooking critical and fundamental aspects of any marketing strategy.”

5 Common Digital Marketing Mistakes to Avoid (March 16, 2018)
Arvig Media: “Businesses need to be more focused and determined on their digital marketing strategies. This is the only way to generate substantial gains in growth and profit and boost the reputation of your website to your target audience. Otherwise, chances are, you might never be able to generate enough attention to rank higher on the search engine results pages of Google.”

How to Write Small Business Marketing Copy that Makes Customers Buy (March 12, 2018)
Business 2 Commmunity: “For many small businesses, writing your own marketing copy becomes the sensible, practical move. Maybe it’s what makes sense for the budget, or maybe there’s someone within the business who has the previous experience to be able to pull this off.”

YouTube for Business: Everything You Need to Know (March 12, 2018)
Business News Daily: “YouTube is a social networking platform that allows users to upload their own video content and interact with other users’ videos. The platform, which was launched in 2005 by former PayPal employees Chad Hurley, Steven Chen and Jawed Karim, is web-based, and also has a high-performing mobile application. Google bought the platform a year later, which is why YouTube accounts are linked to Google Plus.”

8 Tips for Optimizing Your Mobile Emails (March 12, 2018)
Business 2 Community: “There’s no doubt about it: these days, your messages are most likely going to be opened on a mobile device. The trend has been heading in that direction for quite a while, and it was confirmed in a study conducted by Return Path last summer of 27 billion email opens. As Email Marketing Daily reported: “Fifty-five percent of emails analyzed during the study period were opened on a mobile device — an increase from 29% identified in a similar study in 2012.” Other studies have indicated the percentage is even higher.”

Weekly Bitz: Effective Ways to Conquer Local SEO and Tips to Optimizing Your Small Business Mobile Site

Weekly Bitz: Effective Ways to Conquer Local SEO and Tips to Optimizing Your Small Business Mobile Site

Below is the roundup of some of this week’s MarketingBitz articles and blogs. MarketingBitz publishes digital marketing articles, videos and slideshows written to address the needs of small businesses.

Effective Ways to Conquer Local SEO (March 6, 2018)
Arvig Media: “Local SEO is a highly effective form of online marketing, which enables businesses of all sizes to promote their products and services to local customers. While mastering the local aspects of your SEO campaign may sound daunting, it’s one of the best ways to help your business achieve great success. Are you looking for ways to conquer local SEO?”

What Does Facebook’s Newsfeed Update Mean for Your Social Strategy? (March 7, 2018)
Business 2 Community: “Earlier this month, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook would be once again changing the news feed algorithm. Now, there will be more priority on content from “friends, family, and groups”, meaning that Pages will be less visible. While this may be a good thing for consumers who are tired of seeing their feeds inundated with commercial content – it’s not a good thing for businesses that rely on Facebook marketing to connect with current and prospective customers.”

5 Ways to Bootstrap SEO When You’re on a Tight Budget (March 6, 2018)
Entrepreneur: “Every business should be implementing SEO strategies in order to improve their website’s search engine rankings. But unfortunately, there are a lot of marketers and small-business owners who are not. Why? Many of them use the “it’s out of my budget” excuse to justify their decision to ignore SEO. However, SEO is more cost-effective than many other forms of marketing, including pay-per-click ads and social media marketing.”

Google for Business: A Small Business Guide (March 6, 2018)
Business News Daily: “Google helps you find just about everything you could possibly need. Hungry? Find the closest restaurant near you. In the mood to shop? Browse the latest sales. Wondering what your boss just meant by the acronym she used? Look up possible meanings.”

5 Tips to Optimizing Your Small Business Mobile Site (March 5, 2018)
Business 2 Community: “If your small business has not yet optimized the mobile user experience for your site, the time has come. Mobile-friendly sites are no longer an option, but a necessity whose need is continuing to grow. Currently, mobile usage accounts for 71% of all online time in the United States, which means your small business must accommodate mobile users to stay competitive.”

Google’s Growing Suite of Free SMB Marketing Tools

Google’s Growing Suite of Free SMB Marketing Tools

In an effort to help small businesses connect better with their customers online, Google is promoting five non-advertising tools to create and manage a business’ online presence. The free tools, which Google released last year, provide a number of benefits and help highlight the uniqueness of an individual business to potential customers.

The tools serve various purposes: improve the search experience, help small businesses (SMBs) reach and engage with customers, and generate more original content on Google. Additionally, the tools can be managed via Google My Business (GMB).

The first of the tools, and arguably the most valuable, the website developer allows SMBs to create a website for their business within minutes. In roughly the first month, according to Mike Blumenthal, Google saw the creation of approximately 250,000 websites. This is a dramatic pace — many thousands of sites per day.

The website is created using information generated directly from a GMB listing, and can be edited with custom text, photos and various design elements. Users can choose a custom domain, and manage their website from any device. All of the sites are mobile responsive, and update automatically with new information from GMB listings.

Posts, another tool offered, allows users to engage in unique ways with their current customers, and helps attract new customers. Whether you’re looking to highlight daily featured items, or promote upcoming events, Posts allows users to share relevant updates in real time. These posts then appear on your Google business listing, where customers can read and share them.

The Questions and Answers feature allows businesses to add frequently asked questions to their GMB listing. The tool allows businesses to curate the content by featuring the most common or important question and answers prominently on the GMB listing.

Another resource, the Business Dashboard, provides a means for business owners to regulate their online presence on Google directly from Google Search. Users can enhance their business listings, share relevant photos and posts, and monitor views. The Business Dashboard is designed to help businesses grow their customer base and increase engagement.

To assist customers looking to contact your business quickly, the Messaging tool allows customers to text a business directly on the GMB listing. Business owners can then respond promptly, and provide immediate, useful feedback. Phone numbers remain private when using this feature, so customers can communicate safely and easily.

These features appear to be geared towards cost-conscious businesses with an appetite for DIY marketing. However, given Google’s prominence in the local marketing space, these tools offer powerful ways for businesses to engage with potential customers online. It will be interesting to see how adoption of these tools and the content generated from them impact search results.

Constant Contact Enhances Email Marketing Features for Small Businesses

Constant Contact Enhances Email Marketing Features for Small Businesses

At the end of 2017, Constant Contact announced that they were adding several new features to their email platform geared towards helping small businesses better craft their emails. The enhancements are aimed at improving the email editing, design and user management capabilities offered by the platform. Here’s more on the specifics.

Email Editor

First up is the enhanced email editor. This editor comes with several “Action Blocks”: content sections that allow the email recipient to take several designated actions. Action blocks can include actions such as: RSVPing to an event, taking a poll, or donating to a cause. These blocks allow for more tailored email campaigns, better donation management and higher engagement rates.

To use the action blocks, all you have to do is drag and drop them into your email, then customize the block with your desired call to action. In the example of a polling block, you would add the block, then customize it with your question and all potential answers.

There are other drag-and-droppable features in the new editor, including a spacer to create space between sections and a feature that adds easy social sharing buttons.

Customizable Templates

Aside from action blocks, the new email editor tool offers pre-designed customizable templates that will help experts and beginners alike design professional-quality emails. The new editor tool features a large library of images as well as a range of customizable borders, fonts and colors.

Email User Management Features

And the final and arguably most important change, Constant Contact made improvements to email user management functions. Some of the tools used to improve this component of the platform are a new marketing calendar, dynamic sign-up forms that will attract subscribers and an inbox preview option that works better on a range of platforms and devices. Constant Contact also now allows you to segment your email contacts based on how your audience has engaged with your content in the past.

If you are currently using Constant Contact to automate your business emails, but need help crafting emails that get more actions, both Constant Contact’s blog and the MarketingBitz blog can give you tips on email marketing best practices.

What the New Facebook Algorithm Update Means for Your Business

What the New Facebook Algorithm Update Means for Your Business

Facebook announced an important update to its Newsfeed algorithm in January 2018. The update aims to make Facebook more social and meaningful to its users as it prioritizes posts from friends and family over posts from brands and business pages. This is a major change for businesses as the reach of their posts will most likely see a significant decrease and will thus make it harder for brands to communicate with their followers.

Luckily, there are a number of things brands, especially SMBs with a Facebook page, can do to make sure they continue reaching as many of their followers as possible when posting on their Facebook Page.

Post engaging content that sparks real conversation

For Facebook, engagement equals quality content, so logically posts that generate a high number of clicks, shares, comments and reactions will be seen by more people. Try these simple strategies to increase the engagement of your posts:

  • Ask questions to start a conversation. Instead of just posting to inform your followers about something, ask a question and make sure to reply and comment yourself. However, be careful to avoid “engagement-baits” and posts like “Comment “YES” below to participate in a contest”. Facebook notices these type of posts and will consider them as spam. Real conversation requires more meaningful interaction from both parties.
  • Post a live video. Live videos reach approximately six times as many interactions as regular videos. That’s why SMBs should step into the spotlight and consider posting short live videos every now and then to present new products or anything meaningful for the business and the followers.
  • Analyze your past posts’ performance. It’s always a good idea to look back at your old posts and the reach and engagement they’ve gained. You might identify certain types of posts that sparked more conversation or a specific time of the day that worked better in terms of reach. See what worked in the past and keep doing what performed well. Also, try analyzing the posts you see in your own Newsfeed. See what kind of posts made it to your newsfeed, think about the reasons behind the performance and use these insights as inspiration for your business page.

Ask you customers to follow your Facebook Page

The best way to ensure your customers and local community see what you post, is to make sure they follow your page on Facebook. Instead of just “liking” your page, encourage them to “Follow” it, too. And even better, if they choose the “See First” option, your new posts will always appear at the top of their Newsfeed.

Don’t be shy, but simply ask your clients to make sure they follow your Page, and advise them on how to turn the See First option on. Loyal customers will be happy to make sure they are the first ones to know about your news and promotions.

Invest in sponsored posts & Facebook advertising

If you haven’t already, now is the time to set aside a small budget and give your Facebook posts a boost with advertising. The only way to guarantee you reach enough people, and especially the right people for your business, is through advertising. The amount of detail you can use in choosing your target audience (age, gender, location, interests, job titles, your own website visitors etc.) is incredible. Setting up an ad is easy, but if you’re hesitant about your skills, local business directories and marketing partners usually offer simple Facebook advertising packages and will support you every step of the way.

Join or form a group around a relevant topic

Last, but not the least, Facebook posts in groups will start seeing higher reach and visibility. Many don’t know this, but brands can create their own groups and showcase relevant groups within their company page profile, which makes it easy for their followers to find and join them. Consider creating a group around the industry of your business with the scope of sharing ideas, insights and questions around the topic with like-minded people. Many groups are very active in their daily communication and this can be a great way to reach your audience. Just remember not to appear too salesy, but to focus on real, useful insights.

These strategies will help you increase the number of people who see and engage with your posts, despite the changes in business post visibility on Facebook. Just remember to always reply and keep the conversation going. Facebook aims to create more meaningful interactions between people, and luckily there are people working behind business pages as well – just let that show in your communication.

GoDaddy Acquires Main Street Hub & Now Offers Social Media Management to Its Customers

GoDaddy Acquires Main Street Hub & Now Offers Social Media Management to Its Customers

GoDaddy, the prominent web hosting company that specializes in providing small businesses with experts to build and manage their online presence, is set to acquire social media marketing company Main Street Hub for $125 million.

Main Street Hub, which focuses on marketing automation, CRM, social media, and reputation management, helps GoDaddy broaden its already vast cloud platform. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018. Current Main Street Hub co-CEOs and co-founders, Matt Stuart and Andrew Allison, will remain in leadership positions within the Presence and Commerce business unit of the organization.

Located in Austin, Texas, Main Street Hub provides small businesses with an all-in-one source for managing social networks. With over 10,000 customers from a range of industries, the company utilizes branding experts such as photographers, writers, designers and marketers that aid in building and maintaining relationships with customers through social media channels.

According to a Local Search Association survey, if forced to pick only one type of online marketing, 43% of small businesses would choose social media. As the number of small businesses recognizing the importance of social media and the challenge it presents, GoDaddy is seeking to fill this need for their customers.

With the acquisition, GoDaddy expands its product offering to further help business customers reach their marketing goals by optimizing their social media presence. GoDaddy — which boasts over 17 million small business customers and 73 million domain names under management — is proving to be a leader in helping small businesses with digital marketing tactics and technologies.

GoDaddy already offers a broad suite of products and services for small businesses at various price points including website hosting, security and design, SEO, email marketing and listings management to name a few.