Original content is great but, the online competition has become so much tighter than before. You need more than just unique content to survive. The truth is content marketing is everywhere and it is here to stay. It is one of the most important things to focus on when you want to increase brand awareness and customer engagement.
Content marketing has proven to boost sales. However, not everyone can be satisfied with their efforts. One of the most challenging areas of managing content is to create pieces that are engaging consistently.
Your prospects have increasing demands when it comes to the information you provide, thanks to mobile connectivity. Unfortunately, there seems to be too much available content and it is somewhat overwhelming.
What marketers need to do now is to prioritize their content, particularly those that add value to the prospects. If you want to save time, curating content is the answer.
How Curating Content Can Boost Brand Awareness
Since there is too much online content, including those not relevant, so you have to filter out the ineffective ones. You should choose the best available material not only from your team but also from other sources.
This is what content curation is about. It is a part of content marketing strategy where you look for content, organize it, annotate, and eventually share it with your target audience. Many brands use this method regardless of the industry they are in. One thing is for sure: curating can help increase the popularity of the business.
Let us have an example. A tourism brand found content that the team knows its audience will appreciate. The present customers are already engaged in the topic. They choose to leverage existing content by re-sharing a viral social media update related to their brand.
The good news is that they posted at the correct time. Since the Internet is continually changing and shifting, they needed to act quickly because they feared they would fall off the map in the next instant. However, with the regular posts, they were able to take advantage of the benefits of social media. They made the old story new by adding unique insights to it.
Over the years, content creation has become trendy. Normal people to brands to influencers have developed and shared content for their websites, social networks, and blogs. This is where content curation became a huge hit.
People accepted the challenge of arranging and organizing the immense instability of content. They took information and chopped it up so it is easier to digest. This is what happens with curating content and it can help your brand become even more influential
Over time, quality curation can help associate the content with the company. When curating content is done correctly, it allows the business to define its unique selling points and show precisely what it stands for. These fundamental concepts are useful in classifying editorial themes for almost everything, such as content calendars, topics, and social media content.
Curating content has many benefits for your business as well as your content marketing goals. Here are some of them:
It helps collect information that is effective for your brand and appeals to your customers, particularly those who want to have a “single source” for a specific subject matter.
Content curation not only grows brand awareness but also propels you to becoming an authority in the industry. This can be achieved if you add your insights to the original content.
Curating can also facilitate networking, which is essential as you connect with the influential sites in your industry. When you share content that comes from other famous members of your community, you can get on their radar, which can result in having your blog or business mentioned.
Content curation also attracts links from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sources. These links can help you gain more traffic and even improve your influence on social media.
This method also attracts links from websites, which improves traffic as well. At the same time, it enhances visibility for search engines like Google.
While original content can truly help you boost sales, awareness, and customer retention, you can add curation into the mix.
The Best Practices for Curating Content
There are several techniques that can make curating content much easier and more effective. Here are the best practices you can apply as you curate sources, organize different types of content, and determine where to publish:
Finding your source
You do not just go for any content you see on the web. It is significant that you choose wisely. The best sources include:
Google Alerts and News
Industry-specific email newsletters
Real-time search engines, such as Topsy and socialmention.com
Curation tools like Flipboard and Storify
Blogs with niche topics
News aggregators such as PopURLS, AllTop, and TechMeme
Press release distribution sites, including Marketwire, PRWeb, and PRNewswire
You can also review websites that you compete with and you can monitor mentions about their brand. This method will help you figure out what kind of curating tactics they are currently using. You can also bookmark or subscribe to updates from blogs, magazine, and industry news sites.
Type of content
Aside from the source, it is also essential that you select the type of content to curate. The best ones include:
Useful resources that you know are relevant to your audience from tips to blog posts to news to industry events
Posts, articles, and other types of content coming from influential people, particularly those you know are important to your target audience
Reports, research, and statistics
Industry-related news that can be compelling to your readers
Videos from YouTube, Vimeo, and the like
Whitepapers, case studies, and EBooks
Tips and how to’s
You can also run surveys, contests, and polls that result in content. Another technique is to aggregate the best comments from your blog or other places.
Where to publish
Once you have found the material to curate, you should also know where to release it. Here are the best places for that:
Your company’s blog
Social media channels
You can also publish the content to a niche microsite or industry sites.
As much as possible, you should look for a way to highlight amazing content. Although the content you have posted is curated from another source, it should result in something your readers have not seen before. This content strategy can help add value to the content and your brand as well. Furthermore, there is a chance that you will impress the original source.
Curating vs. Repurposing
When you are curating content, it means you compile information that you believe is useful. Therefore, you want the pieces to be accessible in just one place, which is your website, blog, or social media. You eventually have lots of content and this can help you repurpose them.
When you repurpose curated content or even your original pieces that were posted before, you use them in another way. For instance, a blog post can be turned into a newsletter, a Slideshare entry, an email course, or as a lead magnet.
When you repurpose content, you can use it to generate leads and improve sales as well. The wonderful thing about repurposing content is that there is no end to it. You have the power to use it however you want. Make sure though that you always give credit to the original writer or author of the content.
Real Life Strategies of Businesses in Curating and Repurposing Content
There are many reasons why companies are curating content. In fact, a survey showed that 95% of brands as well as marketers use the method for their business:
The idea is to get content not just from any source but the best source and this is what Scott Mauro Entertainment did. The award-winning production for theatricals, award shows, and Broadway curated content from Time.
Instead of curating content from a niche blog, they linked the post to Time, allowing them to look credible in the eyes of the readers.
Increasing brand awareness
GainBitcoin knows that they should criticize, comment, and add their own voice to an article from authority sites, including Bloomberg and Forbes. As they curated their articles, they added their perspective and shared it with their target audience through their social accounts and blog.
After stating their point of view on certain issues, the original authors found their side appealing and they ended up getting their brand featured on the sites mentioned.
Improving search engine optimization (SEO)
While almost everyone uses content curation these days, some brands apply the method to improve their rankings on the search engines. According to Curata, about 65% of businesses and marketers utilize curation for SEO purposes.
This is why Charlotte, the blogger behind BestOnlineCoursesCoupon.com, chose the method for her posts. A curated article is much easier to create than a new one so businesses can produce content more rapidly. It helps the website get more indexed pages, which is especially essential for creating new keywords that the site ranks for.
Although Charlotte does not always take advantage of the strategy, she publishes new content way more frequently than her competitors. It helps her increase organic traffic for her blog.
Converting blog posts to other forms
Trusted Beasts shows how easy it is to repurpose content. What they do is that they repurpose their blog posts by transforming them into guides. The posts are typically very long and detailed, with more than 2,000 words.
Because they have tons of long content, they can easily convert their older posts into a comprehensive guide. They even make their content downloadable for their audience. The same guides are also submitted to sites that allow PDF sharing, such as Scribd and DocStoc.
As a result, the brand has gained exposure and reach.
Repurposing older videos
Jay Baer offers an example of how to repurpose videos. He is the founder of Convince and Convert and he creates short-length videos (typically lasting only three minutes) about different topics.
Later on, his team discovered that the old videos should not be overshadowed by the new ones. They can be transformed into different formats, such as blog content, podcasts on iTunes, and posts on LinkedIn.
Expanding the fan base
Benjamin Hardy is the author of Slipstream Time Hacking and the owner of BenjaminHardy.com. When he started as a blogger in 2015, no one knew about him. He needed an audience to read his blog posts, which was why he would repost all his original content through Medium.com.
His primary goal was to be noticed by a traditional publisher. Unfortunately, he was not popular yet so it was difficult for the publisher to figure out who he was. However, through repurposing his content on Medium, he was able to grow from zero to 20,000 subscribers in just six months.
Collecting other people’s research
Buffer’s Kevan Lee creates great pieces of content. One example is the curated “The Ideal Length of Everything Online.” He collected information from different people and he organized them to give readers a gathered source for the most relevant research.
He also added extra value to the content by inserting his commentary regarding the topic. Of course, he gave credit to the original authors and sources. He even takes a step further as he provided a summary in the form of an infographic.
Highlighting the best images
Inc. curated content from Huffington Post through the article “World’s Coolest Offices.” This content is a useful example as the author utilized vibrant and appealing photos, which drew in more readers. The images were put together so that the target audience would keep clicking to view them.
Even better, the value of the curated post is enhanced because it was a credible site. It gave full credit to the original piece and linked to it as well.
Content curation and repurposing are not just about extending the life of existing content – whether from your blog or other sources. It also increases awareness about your brand and lets you add your commentary so that other people can learn about your point of view.
Curating content helps boost your brand awareness.
When curating, add value to your audience and credit the original source.
Repurposing your original content helps you get more value out of it and reach new customers.
Products can fail at different phases, and usually for different reasons. It is essential to understand that some failures are merely a part of the learning process. When it comes to business, you may have been told that failure is not an option – but sometimes, it cannot be avoided.
The good news is that you can minimize the risk, and one of the best ways to achieve this is through prototyping. Also known as interactive mockups, prototyping may not be the word you would use in your daily vocabulary. You are not the only one who starts thinking about robots or machines after hearing the word “prototype.”
However, in the business world, it is actually about “action” where you build different drafts of your idea. While it could mean creating gadgets, it could also be something as simple as sketching your idea on paper.
How Will Your Business Benefit from Prototyping?
By definition, a prototype is a replica of your future product. It will take on the appearance of how you imagine that product will look when it is manufactured. It can include important details, such as packaging, graphics, and instructions.
Prototyping is considered one of the essential steps in the process of inventing a product. But, whether you own a startup or a small business, you are probably wondering why you need this three-dimensional version of your idea.
Starting or running your business is indeed stressful with its nitty-gritty details, plus a demanding schedule. You may be already swamped right now, so it may not make sense to add one more task to your to-do list. But prototyping is worth your time for the following reasons:
With a prototype, you give customers something tangible to observe and review. Users are visual and many people would be more interested in a product that they can see something that they have to imagine first. The prototype you will build fits this bill.
When correctly done, a prototype can help speed up the lifecycle of the project. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. For prototypes, they help save a lot of talking. You present your idea to your team and they can also see your plan without requiring you to discuss more of it. Changes to the plan and the configuration can be modified later as the project progresses.
Prototypes will help set you apart from your competition. Just like you, your competitors are also quite busy. Yes, you would like to imagine they are lagging far behind, so you have no problem outrunning them. However, this thinking is not realistic. Your competition is working just as hard to stay ahead of you. Every business will start a website, create a Facebook account, and get involved in other social media sites. These are the normal things that startups do these days. To make your business stand out, start working on your prototype, which will make the process of building your product faster and more efficiently. By prototyping, you bridge the gap between you and your team, allowing you to take a substantial step ahead of your competition.
Prototypes can impress your customers and potential investors. Most investors are used to listening to stories and presentations from entrepreneurs as they ask for money. Investors will not hand out checks to every single entrepreneur they listen to, so you should figure out a way to impress a potential investor. Prototyping is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to show them that you understand what your product will be. Show it to them by demonstrating a functional prototype. This way, you confirm your dedication to your product and your company and at the same time, you display how much you have invested yourself.
In theory, your idea works wonderfully and perfectly – that is, until you begin physically creating it where you start encountering flaws. Prototyping allows you to test whether or not your idea is functional since you will never know if there are any design problems or challenges until you actually take your vision from theory to reality.
What Can You Prototype?
40% of business analysts who use prototyping as a means to validate features of ideas and designs.BAs use prototyping to reach a solution faster through testing their target users and stakeholders. Although this method of testing is typically involved in the later part of the evaluation, it is critical in ensuring that customers will accept and buy the product.
Other reasons why business analysts use prototypes are to get reviews and gather requirements and data. With this in mind, you are probably wondering what products or ideas can be prototyped. The answer to this is simple: anything – as long as you have the right mindset for it.
Creating a prototype is often seen as time-consuming but it does not really have to be. In fact, it can be one of the most rewarding steps you will ever take for your business. One reason for this is that you tap into your creativity, which is one of your skills that allowed you to invent your idea in the first place.
It does not matter whether you are making a prototype at home for your business or you have an engineer, a machinist, or a seamstress to accomplish it. What is truly inspiring is that you see your idea is transformed into something real and tangible right before your eyes.
The Stages of Building a Prototype
What would your prototype look like? It would depend on your idea, of course. It would also depend on your goals and your budget. Typically, it is better to begin with a handmade prototype, even if it is rudimentary. For instance, you can make a prototype out of simple household items, such as diaper tabs, empty milk containers, socks, and glue. If it works for the first demonstration, it will be as good as when you use expensive materials.
Eventually, you can move forward with your invention. Often, this is where you will need what is called the “pre-production” prototype, which is especially useful if you plan to manufacture the product and not just to license it. There are no rules in bringing your product to life, so permit yourself to experiment. Your product could be made from different kinds of materials, ranging from chemicals to metals to textiles. Try to be open to as many alternatives as possible, even those you did not originally consider.
For instance, you may have already chosen cotton as the main material of your product. Challenge and ask yourself, “Why?” It may be true that there are other materials out there that might work better, such as Lycra, leather, or nylon. This is the time for you to say, “What if” where you are free to explore your choices. When you create a prototype, you set aside your initial thoughts. While you may end up coming back to those old thoughts, you will know that you have made the best decision.
After you have developed your prototype, you can consider hiring a professional who will help you with the next steps. You can go for a professional prototype developer, designer, engineer, a handyman, or even a student from an industrial design college. The materials and the complexity of your product will help you determine who to hire. Of course, your budget should also be considered.
For example, a machinist or a handyman would most probably charge less than an engineer, but their services may be sufficient for your design, especially if it is relatively straightforward.
Designing and developing a prototype need specialized skills. Specific capabilities may include the need for computer-aided design, CNC milling, FDM printing, and engineering.
The prototyping stage is indeed a great time for you to use your untapped creativity and explore all the options out there. Do not limit yourself to your preconceived notions, including on the materials to use and the professionals to hire and consult. Discover as much as you can, so that you can successfully bring your product idea to life.
How to Use Prototypes for Your Business
As mentioned, prototyping is not just about robots. It can be used no matter what industry you are in:
Do you own a restaurant?
In fact, you can be a chef of a restaurant and you can create a new dish using a prototype. Before you launch the new recipe, test it first by having certain people try and taste it. Using their feedback and the prototype of the dish in various versions, you can improve and refine your dish, either by adding or removing ingredients.
Do you own a department store?
You can prototype the sales experience of your department store with a replica of the store itself. With the replica, you can determine whether you may need to change the layout, or even have a mobile app. This is especially helpful for those who have not started their actual store. Nevertheless, it is fairly common to find stores that did not create prototypes first. It is completely understandable that you would focus on the store itself before you create a prototype.
However, prototyping can assist you in the development process of your store, particularly if you exist online, in which people would expect you to have a mobile app. Prototyping will help you catch user interface and experience problems early.
Are you managing a healthcare facility?
You could also prototype how your healthcare facility will be like in the future. Take a look at what Kaiser Permanente does using the Garfield Innovation Center, which has replicas of doctor’s offices and hospital rooms. Prototyping involves the use of simulations, reconstructed workflows, and simple cardboard mockups.
Using the process of prototyping, Kaiser Permanente is able to enhance their methods without the need to risk their current practices.
Do you own an Internet startup?
Competition is strong even in the online world. As you experiment, there are a few questions you would like your prototype to answer, including how much money should be spent on marketing, how much initial capital is needed, and if you need debt financing.
To start your prototype, you may need to take a closer look at the Internet startup itself. You will eventually learn how to tweak your prototype in order to improve your online company. From your development team’s capacities when it comes to delivering new features to the number of customer service agents you need based on your number of customers to the total number of product designers you currently have, all these things affect how you create your prototype.
You can use a piece of software to simulate the settings using all the data you have gathered. You can perform concrete experiments as well, such as with the money to be spent on marketing. For example, you can investigate first whether your marketing strategies can truly bring in more customers or not.
Are you going to launch an app?
Prototyping your mobile app will surely have a lot of benefits. When you present your app to your investors and you say you will launch an app soon, it does not truly make you special. After all, there are over two million developers competing in the App Store. With a prototype, you can impress your potential investors and even help your future users to make sure you do not present them with a clunky version of your app’s beta.
With a functional prototype for your app, you can get rid of the messy stuff ahead of time and fix them so that the users will not focus on simply testing the app. Rather, they will enjoy using it and will look forward to downloading the final version of your mobile app.
Prototyping encourages you to try anything, from your product ideas to your business model. You do not have to be an expert artist to draw your vision. You will just use the visual as your reference point. Start by napkin sketching your idea, which allows you to form your business model. It is where your company takes its shape with this basic, rough outline. By simply highlighting the key attributes of your business, you can start the prototyping process and end up with a brilliantly refined product.
Prototyping is about improving your idea through trial and error.
It may come as a surprise to you, but not all of your customers are created equal. Whether you are running a business or you are a customer yourself, you know some people can provide more revenue for the company. Even better, they can do that without commanding high costs. A savvy entrepreneur knows how to figure out which type of customer to focus and improve on to maximize profit.
If you are an entrepreneur, you know many metrics exist that you should know to help you operate your business. Most people would focus on the cost of goods sold, gross margin, and the like. However, there is one substantial number that you should not forget about: customer lifetime value (CLV).
What is Customer Lifetime Value and Why Should You Care about It?
Customer lifetime value (sometimes just lifetime value or LTV) is used to determine the value of an individual customer in comparison with the rest. CLV defines the amount of profit you can get from a particular customer. It involves the time this person (or another business) remains a client (often in a number of years).
CLV, at its core, tells you the present value that an individual customer can help you generate in the future for his or her transactions with your business.
It may not sound as technical as the other metrics you may have, but this number is essential for your business. You need to know your customer’s value to know how much that particular customer is worth to your company. This way, you can start thinking about how you can pamper these customers, how much to spend to make your business more appealing to them, and how to make sure you keep them. Customer lifetime value helps you stay ahead of the game.
How to Calculate Customer Lifetime Value
Customer lifetime value is a big deal, and the calculations can assist you in making smart decisions or necessary changes to improve how your business performs. You do not have to be a math genius to know how to compute customer lifetime value as there are tools that can help you with this task.
There are two methods for customer lifetime value computation
1. Historic CLV – good CLV
In this method, you get the sum of the total profit from all the purchases of an individual customer.
2. Predictive CLV – an even better CLV
This technique uses predictive analysis in which both previous transactions and different behavioral indicators are calculated. The behaviors should forecast the lifetime value of a particular customer. When you have an accurate equation for this method, the amount you get can become more accurate for the customer with every interaction and purchase.
Here’s a general formula for calculating Customer Lifetime Value:
Annual profit expected from customer x Average duration in years – Cost of customer acquisition
Imagine you are the owner of a local printing shop and you want to know which group of customers is more valuable. Your choice is between small businesses that purchase from you semi-regularly and large firms that make transactions with you just a few times each ear but with huge purchases.
For the first group, you can determine the customer lifetime value with the following points…
The average number of purchases yearly is 10.
Their average cost per transaction is $200.
Based on your calculations, your average gross margin is 41%.
To market your business for these businesses, you pay $10,000 yearly. Divide that amount by your total number of customers (500), and you get $20. This amount is your direct marketing costs for every customer annually.
One marketing campaign you have is sending out postcards to people. You discover that for every 100 you send, you obtain two new customers. This indicates that your response rate for acquisition is 2%.
Acceding to your records, you have done an excellent job at retaining these people, so your average retention rate is 80%.
Finally, you get the discount rate for this equation, which is 10% since you are feeling quite optimistic about the economy’s future. Note that discount rates are calculated by taking the present value of the future profit you can get from your customer (typically the average annual revenue for a certain number of years) and the current cost of money or the economy itself.
After calculating, you find out that this set of customers has a CLV of $699 for five years.
As for the other group, here are the stats:
The average number of purchases early is 3.
The average spend per transaction is $400.
The average gross margin is 50%.
When you send your postcards, you get four new customers, so you have 4% as your response rate for acquisition.
The other elements are the same as the other group.
Upon calculating, you discover that your CLV for the larger businesses is $732, which means they offer more profit for you.
Using the results, you should spend more time with the larger customers. To improve your performance in attracting and retaining them, here are some of the things you can do:
Feature customers in your content. When you post on your blog or social media, include your followers by putting them in the spotlight. It lets them know they are important to you and that you appreciate them.
Surprise your fans with something they’re interested in. Learn more about your customers through their social media posts. Find out what they enjoy and send them something you are sure they will love.
Listen to their advice and give them credit for it. When you take suggestions from other people, it empowers them. At the same time, it motivates them to interact with you and your company even more. For instance, you can create polls and give incentive for participating.
Solve problems fast. When customers need you, always be there for them. Your customer service crew should know how to talk and solve to your customers.
Prioritize quality. More important than ever is the quality of your product. If you have the best one and you keep updating it to be even better, you know your customers will stay with you.
If you are running a young business (less than five years), you have limited data. You may find it challenging to calculate CLV. You can start with the basics and use variables that you currently have – even if you do not have as much information as older companies. Later on, you can adjust the numbers and how you compute CLV as your customer and business grow.
How Brands Use CLV to Help Their Businesses
Small and big businesses know that retaining customers is not an easy thing to do. However, it is essential no matter what the size of the company. The following calculated their CLV for a specific group of customers and they improved on them in their own ways:
For the Cloud Alchemist, a liquid-vapor brand from Seattle, their primary strategy in enhancing their CLV is through being approachable. They allow their customers to connect and directly engage with them. The founder admitted that he has talked to some of his customers about the birth of their child, their first house, and even about losing jobs.
Other things they did to improve CLV is to send emails to their customers. Based on a purchase, the customer would receive an email asking for a review of the product and by asking how to improve their service.
Super Hair Pieces
A direct-to-customer store for hair pieces, this company rewards their customers by delivering their products at the best possible prices. At the same time, they are of excellent quality, allowing them to stay competitive at all times.
For Super Hair Pieces, they do not focus on ads; instead, they choose to have new customers through word of mouth. Through providing a loyalty program to their customers where they earn points by spreading the word using social media, the company grew without additional budget needed for ads.
As an online grocery store for spices and other Indian dish ingredients, Swiss Rasoi wanted to catch the attention of their customers and make sure they continue to make transactions with them. They did so by offering unbeatable prices, free delivery, and accessibility to ingredients that are hard to find.
They also provided colorful and attractive images that would appeal to their niche audience. Aside from that, they host a flash sale every month on their Facebook account.
DBDPet is a New Jersey-based reptile specialist company. Aside from selling their products and their existing loyalty rewards program, they also provide reptile-concentrated content, giving interested people on how to care for their pets. Customer loyalty of the company stemmed from their expertise. Through their constant stream of content on Facebook, YouTube, and other social media pages, they keep their customers involved.
Florida Colors Nursery
To improve their CLV, Florida Colors Nursery took advantage of their thought leadership. Once again, social media is a huge part of their success. They posted high-quality photos on Instagram where they built a loyal group of followers. From there, they would share their freshest cultivations and tips to their customers.
They also have a loyalty program where they provide points each time a customer makes a purchase.
After a survey that showed Kindle owners spend about $1,233 yearly for buying items on Amazon, while other customers spend $790 on them. As a result, Amazon paid close attention to customer lifetime value through Amazon Prime. It was developed to have more competitively priced items and increase the lifetime value of their customers.
The members of Amazon Prime spend $1,340 annually according to a 2013 survey. Today, they devote even more money in buying at Amazon.
After some studies and gathering data, BONOBOS discovered that their service-oriented stores called Guideshops bring in more customers with the highest lifetime value. Guideshops is a group of retail outlets that allow men to try on BONOBOS clothing of their choice before ordering online. With the help of insights about which channels attract more of the high-value shoppers enabled the company to increase their predicted customer lifetime value by 20%.
Hear and Play Music
The company provides music lessons and other related services and products. They use automated lead nurturing, which allow them to turn some of their prospects into customers. They targeted specific segments of their clients to become repeat customers.
As many of the products are priced below $100, they invite more music enthusiasts to join their programs because they are more affordable than some of their competition. Also, they use automated messages with personalized content and tone, particularly for their high-value prospects.
With the help of those messages, customer lifetime value increased to 419%. There was also a 67% surge in clickthrough rates and almost 19% increase in lead-to-purchase time.
Although the company has transformed into an online business, they did not rely much on discounts and promotions. To improve their profitability, they turned customer lifetime value to optimize their offers for customers who are projected to expand their revenues and share their experience with their social media friends. The goal is to spread the products through word-of-mouth advertisement, especially to people who are looking for affordable products.
As a result, Crocs saw a 10% increase in their revenue – and that happened without them spending money on promotions.
One of the signs you have a healthy brand is your repeat purchases keep coming from existing customers. Getting new customers is always expensive due to the advertising and other methods you performed to acquire them. If these people do not come back to make another purchase, your ad returns are just steady, not increasing over time.
Improving your customer lifetime value can be about making an effort to put your clients in the limelight or offering something that you know will give them the ultimate convenience. As long as you provide them with something that is hard to replace, they will not forget about you and will keep your business in mind.
Certain customers can be more valuable to your business than others.
CLV uses past behavior (and math) to estimate how valuable customers are to your business.
It helps you refine the amount of ad budget you’re giving to each of your marketing channels.
After you are done composing a well-thought-out email, and you press “send,” you shouldn’t expect that it will immediately be delivered to your intended recipient. It is estimated that one out of four emails does not reach the recipient’s inbox because it is marked as spam.
You know you are one of the good guys though, but it is something that is often hard to prove. A spam email is described as unwanted, unsolicited, and typically has a commercial purpose. It has been clogging up consumers’ inboxes for many years now.
When sending an email, there are generally three points of transfer:
First is the email client to the email server of the sender.
Second is the email server of the sender to the email server of the recipient, which happens when there are two different email clients (example: Sender uses Gmail while recipient uses Hotmail).
Finally, the email server of the recipient transferring the message to the mail client.
The second and third points often have filters, which means that checking is done on the emails either before or after they arrive at the gateway and finally into the server.
Bad things can happen to good people. No matter how genuine and sincere your email marketing campaigns are, hosts of things can prevent your email from reaching a potential customer’s inbox. Over the years, spam filters have become increasingly sophisticated. Additionally, there are more stringent laws that can affect the deliverability rate of your email.
How to Stay Away from the Spam Folder
Understanding spam and complying with the laws associated with it can help steer clear you out of legal trouble. What’s more, it can squeeze more return on investment out of your email marketing campaigns. With these benefits, you surely want your messages to successfully reach your clients’ inboxes. Here are important things you can proactively do to up your email deliverability rates.
While it is legal to rent and purchase email lists as these people agreed to receive email communications from various companies, a smart email marketer should know this tactic is not a good idea. It is against the email service provider’s Terms of Service, so in a way, you are violating those terms.
Admittedly, high-quality addresses will never be for sale. The people in those lists do not actually know you, and there is a huge possibility that they do not want to receive your emails. Therefore, you will be marked as spam.
Aside from buying or renting, some marketers are known for scraping websites to get email addresses. It does seem easy and quick for building a contact list. However, it is definitely bad for business and some countries, such as the US, deem it as illegal because of the CAN-SPAM Act.
Watch out for bounces. Don’t email these people repeatedly.
Internet service providers (ISPs) use bounce rates to determine the reputation of the sender. If you have had many hard bounces, your ISP may ban you from sending emails. A hard bounce is a result of sending to a closed, nonexistent, or invalid email address.
Be careful of what you put in the subject line.
One of the email elements that filters generally inspect is the subject line. From how you write it to what you put in, this particular part of your email can affect the outcome of the message delivery:
ALL CAPS: Using all caps will not give you any favors. While it can get the attention of your recipient, it’s not in a good way. Some people think you are shouting at them and it can also seem spammy. A study even pointed out that 85% of people would rather open an email with an all lowercase subject than those with all caps.
Exclamation points!!!!!: Just like with all caps and its screaming effects, using exclamation points can make your email look unprofessional. While you may be excited about what you want to convey to your readers, this punctuation mark, especially when used at least three times in a row, can signal a spammy email.
Hashbusting: Some marketers insert random characters when typing their subjects, which aim to mislead spam filters. Examples are “Free” that uses a space and “50 % d!sc0un.t” with characters to make the subject look different.
Deception: Marketers start their subject lines with “FWD” or “Re” to fool the readers so that they would open the email.
False Claims: To increase open rates, some marketers resort to using subject lines that state the receiver has won a prize. In the content, there would be conditions on how to claim it.
Images: A text message is concealed in an image, which would fool some spam filters.
Although some of these dirty tactics can indeed trick spam filters, the success rate is very low now as these filters have evolved over time. If caught red-handed, it can damage both your deliverability rates and your reputation permanently.
Forms and other items should not be in your email.
Due to security reasons, forms remain unsupported across general email clients. Although it may be tempting, especially in collecting information about your clients, you should place a call to action instead. An alternative is to add a link to your landing page.
Another is a video, Flash, or any rich media. You should not embed them in your email since most email clients do not allow receivers to view them. Instead, you should use an image of the video player containing the play button. It should link to the Flash or video on your website page.
Attachments are not recommended as well. There may be some instances where you want to send documents such as Word or PDF to your customers. Even if the document has good intentions and you want to provide more information through it, your email could instantly get blocked.
To avoid this, upload the document or any attachment to your site and provide the link in your email with a call to action button.
Stay away from spam trigger words.
Carefully choose your words in the content and the subject line of your email. A good rule of thumb is to avoid sounding like a car salesperson. Using keywords like “no obligation,” “guarantee,” and “free” can immediately trigger spam filters. Here are other triggers words to shun:
As seen on
Order status or orders shipped by
Accept credit cards (or any credit card offers)
Dear (friend, email address, or somebody)
Click, click to remove, click below
Instead of the trigger words, be sure to use interesting, informative, and creative words – of course, without giving too much away.
How Businesses and Marketers Avoid Spam Filters
If your emails end up in the spam folder, it can negatively affect your business. For one, it is highly likely that your customers will never read those emails. If you own an e-commerce shop, it could mean your valued customers will not place an order. Essentially, your emails are completely ineffective and are a waste of time.
That’s not all; you could also be considered a spammer. Unfortunately, consumers will not take a spammer seriously. You do not want this to happen, but it is often easy to make poor decisions that can lead to a good email turning bad.
Several years ago, newsletters were simple and truthful. An email marketer who works for an e-commerce shop has a task of creating an email for the customers and potential clients of the store. The email is for alerting customers about a sale promotion that is about to happen. It sounds like an email blast, so this email marketer got to work in designing the email.
The boss takes a look at the draft and tells the marketer to spice up the subject line by giving it some flair to hook the readers. The instructions alone can cause the marketer to use deceptive and gimmicky subject lines. Businesses that are successful in evading the spam folder know this and here is how they do it:
No to Bizarre Email Addresses
Email filters love to block emails that come from a source without a clear and reliable brand identity. A company sent out promotional emails to their clients because they were offering discounts on their sunglasses. The from address was “[email protected]”
Yahoo! among many email clients is known for focusing on the from addresses. This company had their emails sent to the spam or junk folder right away because the sender has an obscure name.
Subject lines indeed have a huge impact on whether or not an email reaches a customer. As much as possible, it should not have words that can potentially have a negative context. Spelling mistakes, trigger words, and saying too much in the subject line can trigger the spam filters.
One example is an email from Martin Lewis, a finance guru from MoneySavingExpert.com. He is well-respected and has been considered a credible email source. However, his email was sent to the junk folder because of this email subject:
“Urgent cheap Easyjet free Amzn 6% kids’ savings, 27mth 0% let ’em sleep in ur bed, get paid to wait, 20% cheap mortgages”
Not only did the subject have misspellings, but it was also trying to say so many things. It just appears to be a collection of random words.
Tip: if you would like to say a few things in your subject line, use the pipe symbol or vertical bar instead.
For example: Denim for Ladies up to 70% Off | Sportswear from Top Brands 50% Off
Segment the Contacts List
Instead of sending the same message to the entire contacts list, it is better to segment the receivers and target a certain campaign to people who are interested in it. This tactic will increase the number of people who will open the emails and decrease the rate of getting them deleted. When this happens, positive signals are sent to email providers, which enhance the credibility of the brand.
Rip Curl is one of those that incorporate this technique in their newsletters. They sell bikinis and wetsuits for women, and they also sell for men. They have segmented their subscribers.
When they sent out a campaign about the Best Wetsuits for Men 2017, their recipients for such content are their make subscribers. They also included information regarding the newest products for men. As a result, it increased their customer opening and engagement rates for their campaigns.
Are Your Emails Delivered to Your Recipients?
You can track your deliverability, and if you have low open rates, it is time to check whether or not your emails have been flagged as spam. However, even if your emails have been delivered, it does not mean they hit the inbox of your intended recipients. It helps if you also measure the percentage of your emails that actually land the inbox of your subscribers.
The most important thing is to make sure people you send your messages to are interested. An opt-in method confirms to your email service provider that every recipient allowed you to send them emails.
Always remember that email recipients are not the same as your customers. Most of them do not know who you are, so do not send promotions without their permission. Give them a reason to subscribe to your emails and make sure you allow them to subscribe anytime.
Spam filters block any email that looks suspicious and irrelevant to the user.
To avoid having your emails end up in the spam folder, ask users to opt into your mailing list
To maintain your contacts, make sure your emails are tested, and that they are consistent frequency and tone.
If you are running a business, you know you have to be competitive at all times. One way to achieve that is to become creative, especially when trying to pick up sales and improving email marketing campaigns. It is difficult because you will never know what will be the outcome of all your efforts. However, you can optimize and eventually enhance your promotion through testing.
Let us say you are running a fancy ice cream shop. Customers would take a look at different flavors, and most of them would wish they could taste them all. Finally, they have narrowed down their choice to two (or three or even four) flavors.
Then, much to their joy, you ask them, “Would you like to try any flavor?” Tasting the ice cream can help your customers find the ones that best suit their moods and preferences.
That scenario is just like with email testing. It is essential that you can make an informed decision by knowing and testing every option you have.
However, things can become complicated. With one scoop, the choices are straightforward. What happens though when there are more scoops to follow? Your customers may love coffee and blue moon flavors but will those two go well together? The answer is no.
Getting two or more scoops of ice cream is often not as easy as most people think. It takes time to master the perfect combination – and requires an awful lot of tests.
Just like with figuring out what will work together, email marketing campaigns need to be tested as well. You probably heard about A/B, also called A/X testing where you have two or more versions of your email that you will send to your customers. In each version, you change one variable, such as the From name, the subject line, or the call to actions. It is very much like selecting the best flavor that will work for your customers.
As previously mentioned, you have to be creative with your email marketing campaigns. This is why you should step up your game, go for at least two scoops, and add a topping. You can make your email marketing strategyeven tastier with the help of multivariate testing (MVT).
Multivariate Testing: What It Is and How It Differs from A/B Testing
To make things simpler, A/B testing is where you duplicate your email template. Then, you just take one element and change it. It is sometimes called split testing where you find out which version yields the most number of clicks or opens.
As for multivariate testing, you have two or more elements in focus, and you analyze how the combinations perform. It is more than A/B, as it is A/B/C…/Z test.
For example, in A/B testing, you test two versions of your email in which the subject lines differ. For multivariate testing, you have multiple subject lines tested against each other.
Unlike A/B testing, multivariate testing isolates several small items of the email so that the marketer understands the individual effect of those elements on the conversion rate. It can also identify compound effects based on the interaction of the customers between independent factors.
Let us say that you have a campaign whose aim is to boost your sales. In addition, the email should encourage more people to click through your landing page. In this case, you can test:
The call to action text: You either use “Buy now” or “Find out more about our amazing prices!”
The call to action position: You want to know whether you should add the CTA at the bottom of the email or before the fold.
Through a multivariate test, you will create four versions of your email (2 CTA texts x 2 CTA positions). It does seem easy to test, but it becomes more complicated as you add one more element. However, the results will be even more effective and powerful.
As you test the CTA text and position, you can also check whether the color of the text will work or not. To start testing, there are applications and services like MailChimp that allow multivariate testing. Instead of just four email versions, you will now have to make eight (2 CTA texts 2 CTA positions x 2 CTA colors). That may be equal to six, but the total is actually eight. Here’s why:
“Buy now” CTA before the fold in red.
“Buy now” CTA before the fold in black
“Buy now” CTA at the end of the email in red.
“Buy now” CTA at the end of the email in black.
“Find out more about our amazing prices” CTA before the fold in red.
“Find out more about our amazing prices” CTA before the fold in black.
“Find out more about our amazing prices” CTA at the end of the email in red.
“Find out more about our amazing prices” CTA at the end of the email in black.
With the variables ready, you can use your multivariate testing software and analyze the results. You will see the CTA combinations that can result in more clicks.
Ground Rules for Testing
Multivariate testing has no limits when it comes to testing the email elements you want. Therefore, it is easy to get carried away, which can lead to analyzing some crazy options. Although you can check whatever you want, you also don’t want to end up wasting your time. To make it simpler for you, here are some tips to follow:
Know why you are testing.
While you can check several elements for your next email campaign, the tests are useful only if you can determine what the problem is. For example, you are not getting as much website traffic as you predicted. Testing items, such as your CTAs, can help you solve the issue in bringing more clicks to your landing page.
Consider the elements that should be tested.
For instance, your open rate is 35%, but your clickthrough rates (CTRs) are still small, this does not call for you to test your “from” name or the subject line. Instead, you should test the things your contacts see as they open your email. For example, you should find out if the email heading is engaging or if the CTAs are easy enough to locate.
Don’t forget about your metrics.
While email stats give you the information you need after the tests, it is more important to know the results that really matter to you. Subject lines, from names, and the like will determine your open rates. Meanwhile, CTA texts, colors, and placements will give you your CTR.
Don’t waste time.
You can compare several disparities of your email but as the saying goes, time is money. When you add more elements, you will need to create more variations. Therefore, it will take you longer to obtain conclusive results. If it is truly needed to test several variations, you can try pairing similar elements, such as headline texts and photos or button placement or color.
With multivariate testing, you can fine-tune your email campaigns better than A/B testing. Often in email marketing, small changes can have a huge impact. You are not limited to just two email items at the same time because you can test as many as you want. If you know how to use multivariate testing correctly, you can tweak your email marketing experience and get the best possible result.
Multivariate Testing for Emails in Real Life
You have approximately seven seconds to grab and hold the attention of your readers. Email marketers know how important it is to make snap decisions based on everything that can be used and done in the first few seconds. There needs to be a good impression with the whole campaign, whether it is to make more sales, encourage new members to sign up, or to generate more downloads.
Here are some scenarios in which multivariate testing can help you with your campaign and your business:
Enticing subscribers to notice product offer and getting them to act on it.
A certain email has all the right ingredients for a piece of software: a good product name, description, high ratings, awards, testimonials, and has a noticeable download link. However, only 40% of the recipients downloaded the software, which was also easily accessible and free as well. So what happened to the other 60%?
Using MVT, this challenge can be fixed. In this case, the goal is to have the recipients download the software, while the issue that should be solved is the low rate of downloads. There is at least one reason why subscribers did not download, which may include the content of the email is not compelling enough, not tracking customers’ behavior and history toward the product, service, or website, and the prominence of CTAs.
Therefore, one test is for the CTA text for downloading the software:
“Download for free”
In line with the text, you can add the size of the heading and the color used. A total of 12 versions (4×3) were created, each with a combination of the different headings for the download text and links for the download.
To determine which among the combinations work, the number of downloads is tracked. The test was run for a month, and the results were in: the word “Download for free” in red and large font size pushed the download rate from 40% to 63%.
What the email marketer learned about is that the word “free” can powerfully grab attention. If it is not super-obvious on your email, you are not doing a good job in your campaign. Additionally, the best location for the free offer is near the call to action.
Increasing the number of new members by measuring the clicks on the green sign up button.
For this test, the marketer ran the test for 4,000 email recipients. The original email had the headline saying to start an account. The bold 30-day free trial was in the center of the subhead. The rest of the subhead had the words “Pay as you go” and “No hidden fees” in another color.
When different versions of the email were tested, it was discovered that the original email was the worst performer. The winner of the test showed that conversion could be improved up to 30% compared to the first email.
The results presented that there should be even more emphasis on the 30-day free trial, which they should make the headline. The subhead should let people know that signing up for an account is quick and only takes less than 60 seconds. Also part of the subhead is a sentence telling people to pick a plan. In the tests, it was the only one with an exclamation point.
What the marketers learned about this test is that the word free should be emphasized and the heading should contain the duration of the free trial. Most people become interested in long trial periods but instead of saying one month, “30-day free trial” is used. Additionally, the exclamation point attracted more signups as it may exude more emotion for some viewers.
Getting more people to order.
This email marketing campaign showed the marketers that just one simple change could make splashes. They tested an email encouraging the readers to click on the link in the message to order. Based on the tests, they discovered that by simply modifying the “globe” image to a “lock.”
There were a total of 16 combinations for testing the headings and subheadings. After a few weeks of running the test, only eight of the variations were left to see which among the combinations consistently did great.
After the tests, it was discovered that the best performing combination has an image of a lock. It performed two to three times better than the original email campaign with a globe. Perhaps the biggest reason behind this result is that the lock presents security for people interested in making an order. Since the campaign was for a hosting service, customers want a secure, reliable, and safe hosting option, which the “lock” may represent for them.
Every email campaign is unique, and conversion goals are different. While some things may work for many people, such as the word “free,” it does not necessarily mean your campaign will perform the same. Setting up a multivariate test will help determine the effectiveness of your email strategy.
Multivariate testing lets you evaluate different combinations of variables at the same time.
It can give you valuable insights into your audience’s preferences that will help your future email marketing.
To do multivariate testing, choose variables to form hypotheses, have a large email list, and know how to interpret your results.
As an entrepreneur, you want to make sure you take every necessary step toward the growth of your business, both online and offline. We’ll be discussing what Google My Business Insights. Many consumers now rely on the power of Google, mobile apps, and other on-the-go methodologies. Business owners have become willing to improve their online presence more than ever. Without a doubt, having a profile on Google My Business is vital these days.
If you have already set up your profile, how do you know it is helping you attract new customers? Is it really effective for you? Thankfully, you do not have to guess whether or not your GMB page is doing well with the help of Insights. With Google My Business Insights, businesses can check the performance of their local listings.
Think of it this way: before a guy gives his girlfriend flowers, he wants to know first her favorite kind, her preferred color, and if she has allergies. Collecting information is necessary to make sure the girl is pleased with the gift. It is the same with Google My Business.
With the help of Insights, you will know how potential customers and existing ones are engaging with your listings. You can take the pieces of information you get from the analytics to generate unprecedented opportunities. This way, it will become easier to make more informed decisions about business-related activities, such as where you purchase local ads, which markets to expand on, and how you schedule specific locations (if you have more than one) and how you staff them.
Google My Business Insights gives you at least a bit of an edge against your competitors, because you get to see how often your listings show up. It also displays whether or not potential customers choose to click on your page after seeing the results.
How to Use Google My Business Insights for Your Business
With Insights, you can use it to track pertinent information regarding your listing. It will also tell you how and why your customers ended up on your listing when they found it on the search engine results page (SERP) through the use of “discovery” and “direct” features.
With Direct, you will know if a certain user searches specifically for your company to get more information about it. Meanwhile, Discovery tells you that a customer searched for a keyword related to your business and it organically led him or her to your page.
Google My Business also tells you the number of phone calls you may have received through the analytics. It is easy to use Google My Business Insights. You can adjust the data that you will be loaded to your dashboard if you want to see an exact date range. Similarly, you can also focus on a particular area to get specific information.
Quite recently, Google rolled out a new feature, which sends the data regarding business listings straight to their email. Therefore, whenever it is available, you can immediately see whether or not you have an effective Google My Business profile.
There are two more additions to GMB reports. The first one includes a graph that shows the hours when the business becomes busy with customers. It is similar to what already exists publicly for listings. However, companies that need instant access can easily see such information through their GMB dashboard.
The other addition is the “Return customers” graph, which is quite new and users did not have access to it before. This feature allows business owners to see the percentage of customers that visited their business at least twice during a certain period. With this report, it lets companies know if the business is thriving on their current or repeat customers. It also gives them the idea if the customers just visit once or twice on a given time period.
To summarize, businesses should care about and use Insights because it tells you how people are interacting with your listing. It answers the following questions:
How did your customers find you?
Where are they from?
What brought them to your page?
What do they do when they check your listing? Do they take your phone number to give you a call or do they request for your location?
How many customers viewed your listing in the past few days, weeks, or months?
Which parts of your listing are the most efficient?
Which photos get the most attention?
How are you doing against your competition?
Using the pieces of information you get from your analytics, you can better target people, making it easy to bring new ones to your business.
Interpreting Your Google My Business Insights Results
When you check your listing on Google My Business, you want to know how other people are reacting to it. With Insights, you will get plenty of useful information. Here are the important parts of the report and what they mean for your listing and your business:
How do customers search for your company?
When you check this circle graph, you will know whether the customers are driven to your listing directly or through discovery. Note that this chart is only for impressions as it does not report on clicks.
Direct: When your customers find your business directly, it means they searched for your company either by location or by name. You can say these impressions are due to your other forms of marketing because the user has already heard about your company. Most likely, they are your existing customers as well.
Discovery: Some users discover you through their generic searches. For example, they looked for the keywords “dentist near me” or perhaps “Italian restaurant.” If they are in the same area as you, they will find your business listing. You can say these impressions may be due to your SEO efforts.
For customers who do not know about your business, it is important you optimize your GMB listing since the results included on Discovery are from people who search for a product, service, or a relevant category.
Where do customers view your business?
Some customers use other Google services to view your listing. It can either be through Maps or search results. The graph may not make sense if you check both boxes for “Maps” or “Search” because it presents cumulative results. To avoid confusion, you should just check the graph separately. Also, note that the numbers in the “Search” also include searches used on Local Finder and not on Maps.
What common actions do customers take on your business listing?
When you put up your GMB listing, you will get a graph that will tell you the total number of actions (or clicks) taken, along with a description of what these actions are. As much as possible, you should look at the data one by one to avoid confusion. Here are some things to keep in mind as you examine the results:
If the number of people asking for directions seems a bit higher than what you expect, it may be because your office is in a building where other businesses are. Google counts all the driving directions for the same address.
If the views on your photos are too high, you are not alone. Google has explained that they count both the appearance of the photos in the search results, as well as the clicks or the views of the users.
You can get the total number of calls, clicks for your website, and other items if you export your data.
The actions from the Insights data help you understand the behavior of your customers. You can see how many of your customers clicked on your Google listing to call you and when they did so. You can also see how far the users travel to visit you.
How GMB and Analytics Reports Helped Businesses
Google My Business has many improvements over the last few years. Some companies used to just focus on their websites or blogs without caring much about directory listings. With Google standing strong as the top search engine for decades now –1.17 billion people using Google and at least 3.5 billion searches every day – it is hard to ignore the fact that you have to enhance your online presence through the site.
Many companies have started using GMB, and they have excellent results. If you are looking for more reasons why Google My Business should be a part of your marketing campaign, here are some examples of how your local business would benefit from it, along with its other features such as Insights:
Businesses with multiple locations
A company’s listing for five locations can still be easy to track, but what about those with 10 and above? Because Google allows businesses to update their listing for several locations, it should not be that complicated. There are some companies, however, with at least 20 locations and it becomes difficult to track how the listings perform.
Google My Business Insights has made it possible and simple to optimize data based on a local strategy. One company used Google My Business Insights to monitor engagement of their customers that take place within the search engine results pages as well as maps and their GMB listings. Insights can be accessed in just one dashboard, so the company was able to collect information about their click to calls, website visits, direction requests, and search types.
Location insights allow business owners to access data right at their fingertips without having to move from one location to another. Everything is on one page, which is helpful for businesses that need to do bulk posting, updating, and editing.
Customers looking for nearby businesses
When a user searches for a certain establishment near him or her, the search page results will show GMB profiles. For a company that sells tacos, users type in the search bar “Tacos near me” on their phone or laptop, and they get the GMB results.
The taco joint with complete GMB profile is easily on top as it contains pertinent information such as links to call, visit the website, and get directions. There are also high-quality photos featuring the staff and their most popular tacos.
For this company, it is easy to see why GMB has given them a significant impact when it comes to driving customer traffic to their business. As the company checks its listing analytics, it realizes that that most of its traffic comes from organic search results, meaning people either looked them up through their business name or location.
Marketing efforts focused on local search
Google My Business Insights prevent instances where companies improve their business listings blindly. Because analytics shows several aspects that drive traffic to a website and those that do not, business owners can update their listing according to what would work best as they market their business.
A local company learns that the business listing received 700+ clicks to calls for 30 days but customers did not bother looking at their website, it would be helpful to improve the latter part of their campaign. It can be done by adding content to the site and promoting it even more to gain more visitors.
Using the actions data collected, this particular company was able to evaluate whether or not their listings had enough information. They also used the data to determine the pain points. When the company saw that the clicks on the website are disproportionately high in relation to the driving direction clicks, it meant that the listing is under-optimized. Therefore, they used Insights to see the content their customers are interacting with. They did the same with their website, and they saw the items on the landing pages that people frequently click on.
You can improve further depending on the data you have acquired from your Google My Business Insights. Here are some ideas:
If your “direct” searches are too high compared to your “discovery” searches, you can start enhancing your non-branded marketing techniques, such as delivering relevant content and making sure your listing has the right keywords, location, and category.
If your driving directions (and phone calls) are too high, it may be because you have placed your pin incorrectly. Your customers have to keep calling you or requesting for your location to get to your store.
If your website has so many clicks on Google My Business Insights but the traffic is low when you tracked it yourself, it may be because of your page loading slowly. Customers do not have the time and patience to wait around for it.
When a certain business was first starting, the biggest problem for the owner was choosing a name for it. He looked everywhere to find out what was unique, what was available, and what sounded good to him and potentially, to the public.
After that, the logo was a huge deal. He hired three designers who worked on it for weeks until it satisfied the boss. Finally, the team created a website that was perfect for the business owner. After all, it was the branding of the company. Everything went well.
But how much did the website, the catchy name, and the perfect logo give to the owner? The short answer: none.
In the meantime, while the company branded site was still in the building process, the owner got impatient, so he decided to set up his own site with his name on it. The new website was far from perfect, but he used to as a portfolio for his clients to see who he was. At the same time, he optimized his LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts, making sure he was a person, not just a business.
To this day, his personal brand is still much bigger than his corporate brand.
What is Personal Branding?
Virgin CEO, Richard Branson, once said that branding is all about commitment – particularly to continual reinvention, imagination, and stirring their emotions.
As a business owner, you may have practiced some strategies to market your company. One of these marketing strategies should be personal branding in which the attention is on the most significant product of all: you.
When you develop a personal brand, it is required to figure out who you are. From your personality to your skills to your passions to your values, it should be about you. You should also know who you want to serve, which you will consider your boss or your target audience. Finally, you should define how you are different from your competition, meaning your unique niche.
When you successfully brand yourself, you can generate a consistent, focused impact, which will lead you to achieve both your personal and professional objectives.
What is really important with a great brand is that it is always honest. Live authentically as you can never fake your way into attaining a successful brand.
The Whys and Hows of Personal Branding for Your Business
You may wonder, “Why do I need to brand myself when my company is the one that will give me profits?” To understand better, here are the best reasons why you should start with this marketing strategy right away:
People want to deal with a person, not a robot or a faceless company.
While some companies, particularly big-name ones, can stand with their brand alone, some businesses should be more than their fancy logo. Therefore, you should showcase yourself as an individual, such as through…
Have your email addresses be your picture instead of your company logo
Having a phone number listed on the contact page of the website
Putting up photos of people who work in the company, along with their bios
A company that seems more personable makes consumers trust them easily than those who “hide” behind their company name.
You get to be yourself.
Personal branding gives you the chance to be yourself – and be proud of it. You do not have to attempt to be someone you are not since this particular strategy is about expressing your real self. Personal branding allows you to be the person you are meant to be precise.
It helps you gain confidence.
As you develop your personal brand, you will know more about your strengths and your positive qualities. You get to share these things with other people, which can help with your self-esteem. As a bonus, it helps minimize your weaknesses as well. You can determine your weakest skills, and you can improve them over time.
You build credibility.
When your actions align with your brand, you validate that you are someone who can be trusted. Your target audience wants to make sure that you can do what you say you will do. It is not through words but your actions. Therefore, you have to live by your personal brand. Keep that promise, and you will automatically be on the path to credibility. It is that easy.
Connect with your target audience.
Your personal branding strategy is not about communicating your message to the world; rather, it is about connecting to the right people. That’s your target audience whom you need to build a solid relationship with centered on emotional connections. You eventually develop trust faster, and you get to distinguish yourself from your competition that may be focusing on their business brand alone.
Identify your target market by visualizing your ideal client, scenario, company, or service. For instance, you characterize your impeccable client appreciates your work, pays you well, and refers other clients to you. The perfect situation you dream about can help you learn about the right target audience for you. Simply put, it is the group of people you want to put your energy, time, and effort.
Take Your Brand Online
Personal branding also involves an online strategy as well. In fact, this is a crucial part of the process in which you build a profile hub that serves as the central point for your online activities. For example, you can use your blog or website to tell people about who you are. Make sure to include the following details:
A brief bio that talks about who you are
Your business and its products or services
Your educational background
Links to your social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
Special features, such as a testimonial or your favorite quote
Links to visuals, slides, or articles you have written
When creating your profile hub, do not forget about your photo, which is as important as the pieces of information you have provided. You can choose from the popular profile hubs such as:
LinkedIn: For most business-minded people, they turn to LinkedIn to build effective relationships based on “knowing, liking, and trusting.” If you do not have your social media presence or it is not as strong as your competition yet, start with LinkedIn. Typically, those on the site are exploring updates with their contacts or reading articles in Pulse. You can use your profile to introduce yourself and your products. You can also use LinkedIn to post articles within your network.
Facebook: This well-known social media site helps users tell their story through entertaining and informative methods to connect with target markets. There is a gentle balance of sharing your personal brand and being social as you offer people a taste of what it is like if they ever meet you.
If you already have a personal website, you can help rank your name on Google. It does not have to be extravagant, as a modest two to three-page site with your social network links, resume, and short bio would suffice. You can always expand the site over time.
Experiences of Companies or Individuals as They Built Their Personal Brand
For some businesses, anonymity may be useful. However, a healthy dose of personal branding can improve sales and engagement online and offline. It is something that the following discovered:
A quick Google search will give you “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” which is a very successful Dos Equis campaign. This man is portrayed by actor Jonathan Goldsmith who lends his character in the ads. He plays cricket, jumps out of planes, paints, invents the cell phone, and gets the girls.
When the campaign started running, sales of the tequila brand increased more than 15% in 2012. The growth was higher than the average of other imported alcohol brands, which was just 2.7%. By using a personality with a face in their ad, Dos Equis was able to break the advertising mold of beer products. In return, they enjoyed more sales and revenue.
The George Foreman Grill
When the grill came out, it was a bit surprising. A former boxer, George Foreman, started selling a workaday grill that turned him into a multi-millionaire.
In truth, there is nothing so extraordinary about the George Foreman Grill. It was just that: a simple grill where you can cook your food. The secret to the popularity of this particular kitchen equipment does not rest on the product itself but with the help of the face of the boxer. The grill became a bestseller because the company bought out George Foreman who endorsed the product.
As a result of the excellent pitch to successfully acquire the boxer, more than 100 units of the grill were sold. Additionally, Foreman earned over $200 million, giving the ad a champion result.
Blackstone Medical Services
This Tampa, Florida clinic deals with people who have sleep problems, especially sleep apnea. Aside from providing excellent services, there is one thing that sets the clinic apart from others. Its CEO is a master of personal branding on social media, particularly on Facebook.
Vick Tipnes has realized that social media is the ideal place to show people his personality and at the same time, he was able to use Facebook for supporting and marketing his brand. With almost 27,000 followers and likers on the website, the CEO/founder of the medical clinic puts out his persona in a casual way, while speaking genuinely to his clients.
Aside from Tipnes, Blackstone’s website shows the people behind the company. As they give people a view of who they are, more patients trust them. It is apparent to their three-year growth of 320%, and in 2016, their revenue grew to $3.1 million.
While the Harpoon application was being developed, one of the founders decided to improve his personal brand. He started blogging on a regular basis. At the same time, he interacted with his followers on Twitter and improved his other online profiles. His goals centered on product awareness and with the hope that his efforts would eventually result to speaking engagements.
Currently, Harpoon benefited from the way the founder built his personal brand. Although the product has not begun publicly yet as it is still in private beta, he has noticed that the biggest source of traffic for their landing pages is through referrals. Most of the referrals come from the founder’s personal website.
Dan Norris launched a product known as WP Curve. For a while, Dan built an audience and used it as he presented his new application. It allowed him to reach thousands of people very quickly. The users of his app have been receiving updates from him for a long time before the product was offered.
Because his audience already knows him and they follow him, they rooted for him to be a powerful force. Therefore, he gained early traction, which allowed WP Curve a successful campaign.
Aside from the other favorite social media sites, there is a question and answer site that is also great for establishing your personal brand. Quora can help business owners become a trusted authority, leading potential customers to check out their products. This is what happened to Noah Kagan who launched Appsumo.
Using Quora, he answered questions regularly. He built a following as he further enhanced his influence and his reputation on the website. His efforts resulted in at least 10 to 15 unique people visiting his blog on a daily basis. According to him, what really helped was the visitors are already interested in his content. It did marketing and running his business much easier.
Everybody has a personal brand – even if you think you are just starting with it. The key to the whole process involves a smart strategy that should be well-executed to lead to quantifiable traction with your new product or startup. Personal branding, unlike business branding, can open doors for other things you may decide to go for in the future.
When people view you as a trusted leader, they’re more likely to view your business positively, too.
To start building your brand, find your unique skills and who your target audience is.
Make sure your site is SEO-ready and that your social media content stays true to your brand narrative
Google has an average of more than 1.2 billion unique users every month. If you own a local business, Google is indeed a fantastic opportunity to market your brand. This is where Google My Business comes in.
Think of it as the controlling dashboard for all things related to your business. For most users, It is about getting their companies listed in the local search results. While it is the main reason why people use GMB, it can also be about giving would-be consumers a comprehensive summary of your products or services as well as the values of your brand.
Let us say you have your Google My Business listing set up. That may be one thing to be proud of, but that does not mean you have completed your local marketing strategy. It is like buying a new car. It can be very expensive, and you can add luxury leather seats or a sophisticated sound system, but without gas, it will not go anywhere.
The same thing applies to GMB. You can create your profile, but you cannot just put your feet up and wait for customers to start lining up to try your product. Although you now have an advantage over your competitors, you only covered the first step. There are still so many things to do, including optimizing the listing and making sure you stand out from the crowd.
So, What Do You Do Next?
There is no denying that competition continues to get tougher as each day passes. Therefore, it is significant to spread the word about your business. One way to do that is through Google My Business. After setting up your page and verifying your company, you still need to modify some parts of your profile to improve your visibility.
Here are the next steps…
Add your business information.
This is pretty self-explanatory but even small details matter as you enhance your listing. The very first thing is to make sure that you have your business name, address, and phone number (NAP = name, address, phone) correctly. Unfortunately for many local companies, they do not get this far, and this is why you should take advantage of the situation.
Some tips to have a winning NAP
To rank even higher, use your local listing’s phone number first before giving a toll-free option.
Do not forget your website address and your open and close hours.
The important thing with your GMB listing is that you provide as much information about your business as you can.
Add your own information.
While GMB is about and for businesses, you can benefit if you give your own NAP. One huge factor in the improvement of your overall ranking is your website. Google’s algorithms have become so advanced, so they do not just pay attention to keywords any longer.
So, on your website, include your NAP where you can. For instance, if you run a mechanics shop that has many locations, it helps to have a page on your website for all of them where you also add their specific NAP. It would be even better if you can embed a map for the location. These things can benefit your GMB listing when you add your website URL, giving you a more significant chance of ranking higher.
Google has emphasized how vital images are when it comes to business listings. You cannot get away with just one image – or worse, no image at all. Uploading photos will dramatically improve your profile on GMB.
Here are some tips for this area
You will be given a variety of options for different types of images. As much as possible, use all these choices.
Upload the easiest images, which typically pertain to your exterior and interior photos. These photos are essential so that your customers will be able to find your business and get an idea of the ambiance as well.
If you have new products, you should provide images of them to help the audience familiarize themselves with your brand.
You can also upload images of your team members.
The most significant thing about uploading images for your business listing is that all the photos should come in high-resolution. Show off your products and make sure the quality of the images is right to make yourself look good at the same time.
Aside from traditional photos, you can consider adding a 360-degree virtual tour as well. You may need to hire a trusted professional who will help you create the virtual experience for your customers.
Many business owners who join GMB overlook the categories section, which is a crucial part of a business listing. If you want customers to find you, take advantage of categories. The problem though is that many would either ignore this section or they select the incorrect ones.
According to Google, you can know the right category for your business by finishing this sentence: “My business is a…” Most people tend to choose their category based on the statement, “My business does…”
What Google means is you should forget about the features of your business. Instead, you should focus on your products and services. When you can choose the correct category, Google will appropriately provide your business as a recommendation to the users. Meanwhile, if the category is wrong, Google will not recommend your business, meaning you will likely lose potential customers.
Get reviews from people.
Bright Local performed a survey in 2016, and they discovered that online reviews are now the lifeblood of small companies that operate locally today…
84% of consumers use online reviews and trust them just like they would if they come from an individual they know personally.
74% of people say that if a business has positive reviews, they tend to trust them more.
90% of consumers need less than ten reviews to form an opinion about a company.
As you can see from the figures above, it is imperative to get reviews – especially positive ones from your loyal customers. Also, Google uses these reviews to rank up a business in the search results. Therefore, the more reviews you have, the higher the chance it will appear in the Google Maps 3-Pack.
Some Samples of How Businesses Use Google My Business
Google My Business is quickly becoming a critical part of advertising one’s business. If you are determined to the best choice for consumers in your area or town, you should have a GMB profile. Check out how some small businesses utilized GMB as part of their marketing strategy:
Using the Operation Hours Wisely
Evolve Wellness Centre is a yoga studio in Kensington, London. The company uses Google My Business to promote their services. Currently, they have 16 Google reviews from their clients with a high rating of 4.9 stars. However, it is not what sets them apart.
Evolve Wellness Centre took advantage of GMB by providing their open hours as well as how long the customers tend to stay. They also provide the busiest time of the day, which allowed other customers to plan their visit, so they find the yoga studio comfortable and peaceful.
Categorizing the Business Correctly
As mentioned above, categorizing your business is extremely important. For some companies, this section is easy as pie. However, there are some that may have confusing categories for their business. Take for example Hard Rock Café in Broadway, New York City. They described themselves as a “music-themed chain with an American menu.” They have provided all the necessary details about their business, including operating hours and they encourage reviews as well.
On the other hand, Third Rail Coffee is a coffee shop in Sullivan Street, NYC. They label themselves as a “small, sunny spot for a caffeine jolt.” Just like Hard Rock Café, they also invite reviews, and they have provided pictures as well as open and close hours. These two are similar businesses, but Google categorizes them separately. For Hard Rock Café, it is an eating and drinking establishment, while a coffee shop, such as Third Rail Coffee, is under the category shops and shopping.
Responding to Negative Reviews
We do not want a negative review for our business, but it can happen. Even the best run companies will end up with an unhappy customer from time to time. Whether it is because the customer service person was having a bad day or there are supply problems that are out of your control, these things can occur.
Negative reviews can be bad for your business, but they do not have to be if you respond to them. Otherwise, it can cost you money and potential customer loss. For instance, this fish n chips restaurant in New York, “A Salt & Battery.” They have a 4.3 stars rating on Google, which is quite good. However, some customers left bad reviews for their experience either while dining or ordering online.
Since Google allows responding to customers’ reviews, the company chose some negative ones to deal with. One reviewer mentioned that he had a bad review for the restaurant but changed it to five stars eventually because he was able to speak with the manager and they came to an agreement. Some reviews, even the positive ones, have replies from the owner, either thanking them or promising to make it up to the unhappy customers.
It is a known fact that small businesses like yours may not have a social media expert to find and deal with these negative reviews. However, as the owner, you should allocate some time in responding to them to provide clarifications or corrections. A simple apology can even appease some customers and may drive more people to your business because of the high engagement.
Providing Information Regularly
There is much-needed emphasis when it comes to consistency in Google My Business. A great example is Lockhart Smokehouse BBQ. This business continually updates their GMB page with the use of engaging posts, such as feature articles that talk about their restaurant. They also upload images of their dishes, and they inform their customers about their current deals and promotions.
Lockhart also uploaded some videos of their staff at work, along with tutorials on how to prepare a brisket. The shared content adds value to their audience through educating them. As they continue to do this, it increases the likelihood of their company to rank higher for their relevant keywords in the local search results.
Uploading Quality Visuals
When you want your Google My Business page to stay on top of the game, you need high-quality images. Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino does this excellently. When the company appears in the search results, one of the first things that people typically look at is their photos. Because they use photos that look good and come with high resolution, it sends a positive message about their business.
Additionally, the casino also filled out every section of their profile, including their NAP and business category. They have also provided a short description to let the readers know what their company and services are about. They have also linked their Google+ page to GMB in which they have claimed a custom URL for it.
Therefore, you can say that GMB is sort of an information hub. According to surveys, 44% of small businesses do not claim their business listing. You want to make sure you are not one of them. If you already have a website, a presence on Yelp and other similar sites, and Google, GMB can complement all these online places.
Using the tips above, you can optimize your GMB listing to help rank up your business in the local search results. With the right address and other business information as well as some engaging photos and videos, you have a fantastic opportunity to attract new customers in your area.
After you verify your Google My Business listing, make sure to keep info complete and up-to-date.
A complete listing will help you stand out from competitors and can convince local customers that they should give you their business.
To make the most of your listing, include all your business info, add high-quality photos, and read and respond to customer reviews. You might consider adding a virtual tour as well.
We live in a world where information is not only a necessity and easily accessible but also expected. Consumers expect to find what they are looking for online. Whether it is about business operation hours, the contact number of a restaurant for a reservation, or the price list of a certain hair salon, it has become so simple to look up all these pieces of information.
When people need to find business, product, or service information, they can turn to Google search. For this reason, local and small businesses should take full advantage of the situation as well as Google’s directory tool known as Google My Business (GMB).
Why Use Google My Business
Let us say that you are a TV mechanic. If you have listed your business in a local business directory, such as GMB, but your competitors have not, you gain a huge advantage over everyone else. You will get more service requests or calls to inquire about your business than your rivals in the business.
That is not all. Take a look at these numbers…
In 2015, almost 70% of online searches were made via Google.
This year, the percentage grew to 80%.
One out of five searches is about a place or a business.
Customers demand updated information about a company or product and 38% of them would not make transactions unless the local result for the business is correct and accurate.
Google recently revealed that one out three searches is for looking up a local business.
The search engine giant also confirmed that 50% of smartphone owners who search for local businesses end up visiting the company on the same day.
18% of the visiting customers end up buying a product.
If your company depends on local consumer traffic, the stats above clearly shows that it is crucial to make your business visible online in the search results.
Attracting local customers has become more straightforward, and it is all thanks to technology. You can now market your business in your city, town, or even at distinct postcode levels. When you market within a specific geographical area, you get much better results compared to blanket-style marketing. This is especially true if your ultimate goal is to appeal to more local customers in your area.
With Google owning a total search engine market share between 70% to 90% globally – which will not decline anytime soon – getting noticed is much easier when you sign up for GMB. If you are still unconvinced, here are even more reasons why listing your business online is a must.
It is cost-effective.
Google My Business is completely free, which gives startups that have a limited budget a chance to market their business. As the top search engine for several years now, you are putting your company in front of numerous potential customers.
It helps boost your visibility on both Google search results and maps.
The prime real estate that your profile can occupy in the results page is one of the biggest benefits you can get from Google My Business. Profiles of those that signed up for GMB appear in the three-pack area, as well as in Google Maps.
For instance, if you search for something, you will notice that the first three listings are generally for Google AdWords ads or the paid search. The second part is you will see a map where there are often three results (three-pack) highlighted in a certain local area. The third part involves the organic results.
The three-pack section used to be made of seven to 10 search results. They were soon changed to three to accommodate mobile users with relatively small screens. Now, if you list your business with Google, it will appear in the three-pack. This space is valuable for your business as it can add potential revenue when your business appears prominent in the search results.
Potential customers can use different platforms.
Because Google has optimized the search results for mobile users, your prospects can readily access information about your company whether they are using a desktop computer, a smartphone, or a tablet.
You are free to add (or even remove) pertinent information about your business.
Google lets you add or delete all the kinds of information you want when you create your GMB profile. As much as possible, add lots of details, which can contribute to your ranking. Plus, the more information you provide, the more convenient it is for your potential customers since they do not have to go elsewhere to find specific details such as…
The whole name of your business
The physical address
Your location on Google Maps
Your email address
Your website URL
A pin marker
A summary of your business
Driving and parking information
Your phone number
It also helps if you include well-lit and clear photos of your business. Informative and pleasing videos also bump up your search ranking as well as the chance to land new customers.
Updating is so easy.
One of the best qualities of GMB is that its dashboard is quite simple to manage. You can update your business information as well as review, read, and respond to various activities on your profile without going to another page. You can even share your updates, new products or services, and other specials in your Google+ account.
You can track your rankings on Google.
There are a few ways to make sure you are visible online and setting up a GMB account is among the most effective methods. You can get the most out of the powerful feature by checking your ranking in the search results as well as in Google Maps.
For example, if your SEO keyword phrase is “hair salons open on Saturdays,” you can keep an eye on that exact phrase using every zip code combination that you want to reach. You can also track by the neighborhood where you have your business, and other geographic locations that you are interested in following.
Doing so can help you understand what your customers are looking for. It also enables you to make strategic plans for your course of action to help increase traffic to your business, both online and offline.
Examples of How Google My Business Benefit Local Brands
Many local brands have experienced some, if not all, of the benefits above. Here are some of the businesses that used – and still use – GMB to promote their brand and attract more customers:
A local dentist in Miami
A Miami dentist has joined Google My Business. He was initially ranked at the 200th spot, particularly for the key phrase “teeth whitening Miami” before he created his GMB profile. After a month of using GMB, his ranking for the same key phrase increased to 186.
The competition was high for the phrase, so he turned to other phrases while still keeping the original one. After three months, his ranking skyrocketed to the 14th spot on the Google search results page. In just a year, the local dentist saw a 3333% increase in his rankings (where he climbed to the 6th spot) just because of his GMB page, which he made sure to keep updated regularly.
With the tough competition these days, if you do not have your business listed on the first page or the top 10 of the search results, most consumers will look for another company. For this local dentist in Miami, he realized that Google gets approximately 2/3 of all the traffic on the Internet and about 90% of that traffic is limited to the first page results.
When the dentist’s local ranking increased, so did his customers.
Optometrist in Chicago
Just like the dentist above, this optometrist from Chicago ranked at the 200th spot for all four of his targeted keywords in the local scene. Samples of his keywords were Chicago Lasik and Lasik Chicago. The optometrist was unhappy with the results, which was why he turned to Google My Business. The competition was high on all his four keywords. When he used GMB, he immediately saw a great increase in rankings in the first month when he landed at the 63rd spot for his keyword Chicago Lasik.
After three months, the optometrist was enjoying the 23rd spot for the same keyword. After 12 months of using GMB, his ranking climbed to the first spot, giving him 20,000% increase in ranking. Of course, it did not just involve him creating a Google My Business profile. It entailed hard work as well.
The keyword “Chicago Lasik” has an average of 170 searches per month, but the competition was still very tough. The optometrist managed to crack the second page of the search results in month 6 of using GMB, and this progressed even further as the business climbed to the top spot in month 9 and maintained the ranking until month 12.
The secret is to make sure all the pieces of information provided are up-to-date. The optometrist also included keywords to help his customers find him in the local area.
The owner named Paul set up a Google My Business page for his barbershop. It took him more than three weeks to get the code from Google, which allowed him to verify his account. After the verification process, he gained at least four new customers in just the first week of creating the profile.
The number may seem small, especially for those who wish to target more new customers. However, four new people helped his business, especially with the fact that guys get a haircut every five weeks. That is equivalent to 10 visits per year from the same guy. The barbershop did not generate huge income, but after the boost, they started to get more customers, which is equivalent to more money.
Paul added his personal mobile number for the business page. It was his way of measuring whether or not GMB was helpful for his business. The first few weeks were a success because he got more calls than he used to and those people who talked to him visited his barbershop the same day.
Buffalo Wild Wings
The company already had a TV advertisement, but they were not getting many calls from people. They later found out that their business could not be found online. They were listed on many online directories, but the information was inconsistent and inaccurate.
It is important to know that there are some people who would list your business in GMB. What Buffalo Wild Wings did is that they claimed a listing and corrected the information found there. They also fixed some relevant keywords and placed their business in the right category. They immediately saw an increase in both local and organic search, which boosted their revenue to 333%.
Best Practices for Google My Business Profiles
There have been some changes in 2017 for GMB, and you can keep up with these modifications with the following techniques…
Use UTM codes when you use the Posts feature since it does not work well with Google Analytics.
You can use up to 300 characters in the description of your Post, but keep in mind that only the first 100 will appear as a snippet. Make sure every character counts.
Always fill out your listing accurately and truthfully; otherwise, Google will have your business blacklisted.
Although Google will not penalize you for choosing not to have reviews for your listing, they can help boost your brand. Ask your customers to rate their experience in your GMB profile and reap the rewards in the future.
When you are ready, go to google.com/mybusiness to get started. Agree to the terms and conditions and fill out the form that asks for information about your business, including its name, category, and phone number. Remember that every piece of information you provide will not appear unless you have verified that your business really exists.
Ever since the boom of text messaging, it has become a convenient way to exchange messages with friends and family. However, it is not the only way to take advantage of such service. Competition is cutthroat in the business world, which calls for drastic measures to help you stand out amongst your rivals. This is where you can turn to SMS marketing.
Let us say that you own a sport and leisure club or a gym. You can use SMS to maintain customer engagement throughout the whole year. Doing so can give sports club fans or your customers a feeling of inclusion. Here are some ways you can achieve this goal through texting
You can send your gym club members regular text updates regarding schedules or class information.
You can text them about competitions, and other activities that you know would interest them, which can help prevent patchy attendance.
If there are class cancellations, you can contact your leisure club members by sending them an SMS.
You can entice the club members to fill last minute spaces through text where you give them information about how to grab the open slots.
If there are changes in the venue of a class or activity, you can inform them right away with text messaging.
You can also connect with your followers or club members if there are upcoming social events.
With the vast majority of your clients owning a cellphone, which they most definitely use to send and receive texts, SMS should be a part of your marketing campaign.
Why It is Time to Start SMS Marketing for Your Business
SMS marketing engages your target audience directly. Statistics show that text messages have an open rate of 99%, which means there is an incredibly high chance that your message will be opened and read. The open rate is much higher than any forms of communications, including email and even social media.
Americans spend almost 15% of their time texting, and the messages you send will not disappear after they read them – unless they choose to.
Even better, 90% of SMS messages are opened and read within three minutes, making it an instant way to deliver what you want to convey.
Despite all these numbers, some business owners are quite hesitant when it comes to adopting SMS messaging as a means to market their brand. Most of them believe that the platform is ineffective, but the reality is it is highly valuable, not to mention cheap and easy to implement.
Here are more reasons why your business should use SMS messaging as a marketing tool
Customers should choose to join or opt-in first.
With other traditional advertising methods, they compel you to blast your marketing message to as many people as possible. Therefore, they rely on large numbers to be successful. Quite often, you need to spend money to reach prospective customers who will either ignore or forget about your marketing efforts.
Meanwhile, SMS marketing banks on consumers opting in first, meaning they should sign up to get your messages. Opt-ins are quite beneficial to businesses because people who join are genuinely interested. Therefore, you do not have to waste money or time bothering those who are not.
It enhances customer engagement.
SMS is mostly reserved for willing participants, and because of their interest in your business or product, they will read your text when they notice it. Consumers are used to email inboxes flooding, which is why many do not check theirs right away – unlike SMS.
When you deliver messages to engaged consumers, you know your message has a high open and read rates.
Texting is quick.
SMS is in fast for both the consumer and the business owner. You do not have to create lengthy promotions. In fact, one or two sentences, along with a link would suffice. Because they are short, consumers will most likely read the whole message. It is quick and convenient and is not as intrusive as phone calls or pop-ups.
It is super affordable.
SMS marketing is cheap, which makes it an excellent option for startups. You do not need to spend a lot to reach out to your potential buyers. Prices vary, but some platforms allow businesses to send messages for just a few cents. With the power of marketing through texting engaged consumers, SMS gives an excellent value proposition for owners on a budget.
Texting can be interactive.
There are ways to create interactive SMS marketing, such as
Sending a text with one or two questions
Asking to participate in a poll
Offering a toll-free reply option
You can also include a link to videos or images about your promotion to encourage the recipients to investigate further. While not all phones can connect to the Internet, smartphones have become ubiquitous nowadays. A considerable part of your contact list probably owns Internet-ready smartphones.
SMS marketing generates results.
The most important thing about SMS marketing is that it works. Just like with big corporations, you can use texting to help you with your business. Considering all the benefits above and the fact that it is usable for improving customer service, you should seriously give SMS a try.
Pointers for a Successful SMS Marketing Campaign
Before you get started, there are simple rules to play and win this game. Here is how you can beat the competition with SMS promotion:
As much as possible, don’t go over 160 characters since mobile networks would typically break the message into smaller chunks.
Timing is key. If you own a pizzeria, you should schedule your messages during lunch hour.
Include a call to action (CTA), which can be a URL or a phone number.
The success of SMS, or any marketing campaign for that matter, depends largely on CTAs. You can put CTAs when consumers sign up for your services, such as your newsletter and text alerts. Most people do not want to give their numbers to people, even businesses. Therefore, you should show them that they will gain value from your texts.
Some Businesses that Have Experienced the Benefits of SMS Marketing
While some brands have chosen to focus more on other marketing tools, such as email and social media, there are also others that used SMS to promote their business. Here are some successful campaigns that allowed them to see how effective text marketing is in grabbing customers.
Who would have thought that this giant company in the food industry used SMS marketing? Dunkin’ Donuts promoted their campaign using a radio DJ nearby. Through this method, their goal was to motivate more people to opt into their discount promotion, which they sent through text. There were more than 7,500 people who joined the campaign and about 17% if the recipients of the text shared the message to their family and friends.
Through the word of mouth strategy, they made sure they grew their campaign first through another advertising platform. As a result, Dunkin’ Donuts enjoyed 21% increase in traffic and sales and 35% growth in returning customers.
There is no need to use huge marketing efforts since there are several options for bulk texting services with affordable flat rates. Sending hundreds or even thousands of text messages will not break a small business’ budget.
You can do the same where you multiply your contacts list by asking people to opt into your SMS updates. If you already have a website, you can use it to give instructions to interested participants. Other platforms are your social media pages, leaflets, and in-store signage.
IXICA Communications Inc.
IXICA Communications is a telecommunications service provider. For them, email marketing was not working. They used email to promote their business as well as a system for notifications and billings. When they figured out it was not sufficient for them, they used SMS marketing instead. For their strategy, they focused on sending invoices through texts.
The result of their marketing campaign was a success as their customer numbers soared 30 to 40%. At the same time, they also saw a 20% increase in the number of paid invoices before or on the due date.
Napa Valley Wine Train
The company started a marketing campaign using SMS where they aimed at increasing their total sales, along with their customer database. During the first stage of the text marketing, they offered a promo where the participants would text to win two tickets to experience their Gourmet Express. These tickets were worth $114 each.
During the marketing phase of their campaign, they made sure that interested customers would see the instructions for joining the text promotions on their websites. They also ran small ads in magazines, including OC Weekly, and SF Examiner. Napa Valley Wine Train also offered other incentives to their customers who were already on the train to participate in the wine tasting session.
The SMS marketing campaign was a big success to the business. At the beginning of the campaign, there were more than 9,000 opt-ins, and it had a 55% response rate. The high response rate showed that the text campaign made the customers felt the messages they received added value to their experience.
The Herb Lady
Owner of The Herb Lady, Dr. Eshe Faizah used email marketing at first where she had an extensive customer database that she grew for over ten years. However, the open and read rates for the email campaign were dismal, which drove the herbalist and nutritional adviser to find another way to reach out to her potential and existing customers. She then turned to using texting to market her services.
Dr. Faizah ran her SMS campaign during Mother’s Day. It resulted in $1,400 worth of new orders. What she did on her campaign was to send weekly messages to her prospective clients. She would also send them messages for appointment reminders.
Like IXICA and Napa Valley Wine Train, The Herb Lady discovered that texting is an inexpensive marketing method that not only brought extra revenue but also helped cultivate a responsive number of clients. In other words, SMS marketing does work.
Seattle Sun Tan
The company ended up with $196,000 in profits with the help of an efficient SMS marketing campaign. Seattle Sun Tan is a sun tanning salon in Washington, and at the time before the campaign, they were searching for a lucrative method that would allow them to market their business without going over their small budget. They decided they would jump directly to mobile marketing because of what they learned about its conversion rates.
The company used SMS to convert consumers into paying customers by sending them messages about a sun tanning package. The packages were costlier than the regular ones, but they wanted to gain high paying customers to try their business. They sent coupons through texts, which could only be used within a limited period to urge the customers to grab the deal quickly.
Searle Sun Tan had a large customer database, and they sent the messages to more than 80,000 recipients. They were able to collect such massive number of people’s contacts through their website and social media pages. They also ran an ad on a few sites with high traffic, which helped them achieve over 37,000 opt-ins.
The first month of the campaign allowed the company to deliver their SMS messages to 5,000 people. The text message offer generated an astounding 57% response rate where the participants immediately redeemed the promotion. It allowed the company to gain a total of $196,101.87 within just 30 days of running the campaign.
The results that the five companies above are indeed quite impressive. They also demonstrate just how effective and beneficial SMS marketing is when advertising a business, product, or a service. Whether or not you are a fan of text messaging services, you cannot deny that this method should be a part of your marketing efforts. It is easy, affordable, and best of all, it works in connecting your brand to potential customers.
SMS marketing allows your business to engage directly with your target audience in a timely, interactive way.
SMS marketing adds value to your customers’ experiences by providing useful information like status alerts and ways for people to engage with your brand.
Collect phone numbers by selling the value of SMS messages to your customers and including CTAs in your various marketing channels.