How much do you know about your customers? Understanding some pretty basic things about who they are, their online behaviors, what their motivators are and what their buying process is, can significantly improve the way you market, which has the potential to positively affect your bottom line.
Millennial's will soon hold the lion's share of buying power in the U.S. As a whole, Millennial's have the older generation mystified as they are generally misunderstood and miscategorized as being lazy, entitled and worthless. The truth is that this generation is more competitive, have greater loyalty to their employers and place a much higher importance on giving back to their community than previous generations.
They also face challenges that no other generation has in history. College tuition, for instance, has increased 213% since 1988 and Millennial’s carry over $1 Trillion in student loan debt. (cnbc.com) Home prices have also skyrocketed, making affording a home a distant dream.
Statistically, Millennial's make less money than their parents made at the same age and have much higher debt (thank you, student loans), making them much more conscientious about spending than baby boomers ever were. Finding the best deal, researching before making a purchase to avoid wasting their hard earned money and finding a brand that aligns to their values, are all highly important to this generation. Understanding those 3 basic things can help you when developing your marketing strategy.
As the first generation born into technology, Millennial's rely heavily on the internet when making buying decisions. Searching for a business or products, reading reviews, comparing prices and finding coupons is a part of their buying process. It’s one of the main reasons Amazon has grown to be the world’s largest online retailer. Amazon is known for giving shoppers a great experience, good prices and people know if they are not satisfied with a product, that Amazon will make it right. Amazon puts customers first. While you probably don’t want to be the next Amazon, establishing a strong online presence will give you a much better chance to earn the business of Millennial's.
Here are 5 changes small business owners should consider making to get a piece of the Millennial pie.
1. 94% of Millennial's use coupons (source: UPS )
Credit it to the high cost of living, massive student loan debt from over-inflated tuition fees and having to take lower paying jobs that they are overqualified for upon graduating, Millennial's use coupons and favor loyalty and rewards programs more than any other generation. Creating a special offer or discount and posting it on social media has the potential to drive more traffic than if you offered no deal at all, or offered a deal but only published it on your website.
2. 54% of online purchases are made by Millennial's (source: UPS )
This is the generation who grew up with technology. Part of their buying process includes researching products online, primarily on social media or a retail app, reading reviews about a product or business, as well as asking friends and family for recommendations and searching for the best deal on a product.
Google gives preference to local businesses over national brands in a keyword search. So, with proper SEO, Joe’s Home Goods Store will typically rank higher than a national brand, like Home Depot, in a local search. Filling your website with high quality content, good information that communicates why your product/service/company provides value, clear calls to action, reviews and testimonials and being consistently active on social media, will take you much farther in marketing to Millennial's than “traditional” marketing methods.
3. Traditional Marketing Avenues don’t work on Millennial's
Millennial's consume media via the internet, Netflix and Hulu and watch less television than previous generations. Unless you have a winning ad running during the Super Bowl, you’re not likely to reach this generation via TV commercials, radio ads or print media. Paid and organic advertising on social media that is strategic, meaningful and relevant is much more likely to yield results, and is a far better place to spend your advertising dollars.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to target very specific demographics using big data technology to display ads to users based on their search history. Meaning that if you are an insurance agent, you can choose to show ads on Facebook to users that have recently researched buying a home or auto. This is actually a win-win situation for both you and your target audience because you no longer have to spend money targeting the masses, most of whom are probably not needing an insurance agent. Instead, you’re spending money advertising to a targeted group who do need insurance.
4. Community Involvement matters
There’s no doubt about it, Millennial's care about other people, the planet and charitable causes and are much more likely to spend money with, and remain loyal to, a business whose values closely align with theirs.
5. A great customer experience
Somewhere along the way, good customer service went out the window. Sadly, only a handful of companies today are known for providing an exceptional customer experience. The ones that do- Chick-fil-a and Dutch Bros. Coffee, for instance, are thriving. Millennial's place high importance on a good customer experience and will remain loyal to your brand as long as that’s what you’re delivering. Even if you did fall short on one rare occasion, Millennial's won’t immediately abandon ship, as long as you were responsive to the issue and handled it fairly.
Their expectation of a good customer experience in exchange for their brand loyalty is a realistic one. If you need an example, go to Chick-fil-a for lunch today. They’re happy to see you, polite,friendly and organized. Even if you’re having a terrible day, you’ll feel pretty darn good after you’ve visited their drive-thru. That is what a customer experience should be everywhere.
A little market research goes a long way. Millennial's aren’t as complicated as they seem. This is the generation that was born into technology. Understanding and embracing what that means can help you to develop a marketing strategy that works.
Offering coupons, reward and loyalty programs, building an online presence for your business, giving back to your community and providing an exceptional customer experience can set you apart from your competition and help you to be more appealing to the generation that is expected to spend $1.4 Trillion a year by 2020. (Accenture)
Thin Air Marketing Group will work with you to develop your customized marketing strategy. Contact us today for a free analysis.
Find out what a social media management agency is, where they came from and how hiring one could be a HUGE benefit to your business. This is how to use social media for business!
Last night, I was trying to gauge where my website was showing up in a search for different keywords. Google recently added a “People also ask” section in the search results that might just be a gold mine for small business owners. The term I was searching was “social media management”. One of the questions in the “People also ask” box was “what is social media management” and it dawned on me that there might be some people in the world who don’t actually know what it is or why anyone would want/need it.
I think that oftentimes we take for granted that not everyone knows what we do, regardless of the industry we’re in. Just because we know something inside and out, doesn’t everyone else in the world does.
It’s proven to be much easier to sell something when your audience actually understands your product and you’re able to solve a problem they’re having. But first, they’ve got to understand what it is, what it does and how it will benefit them. Still with me?
So, what is social media management? Gather ‘round and I shall tell you the tale of how the social media management agency came to be.
Once upon a time long ago (not really that long), there was myspace. Myspace was a virtual wonderland of finding friends, customizing your page with any theme you could think of and a place for businesses to connect with an audience and build their brand. It was wildly popular, much more so that the lesser known Facebook, which, at the time, was more focused on the collegiate crowd.
Then, one day (really), everyone dropped myspace like a hot potato and joined Facebook. Business owners came over a bit slower, more at the pace of a trickle. The Facebook platform was much simpler and far less pretentious than myspace, as it was designed for people to connect with people. It created a place for the people who own a business to connect with the people who are their customers. Interesting concept, right?
As fate would have it, Facebook began seeing how this could all be monetized and, as more and more businesses were building Facebook pages. In order to generate revenue from ads, Facebook started making it harder and harder for businesses to reach their audience organically. Keeping up with all the changes, rules and guidelines set forth by Facebook was becoming increasingly difficult for business owners. It was practically becoming a full time job just to keep up, post all the necessary posts, engage with their audience- all the while still running a business.
And so, the social media management agency came to be. The social media management agency could handle all the pesky details for them, such as keeping up with the latest trends, creating content for posts that followed best practices and engaging with their audience. Business owners began seeing their audiences grow at a much faster pace than they were able to achieve on their own, conversions increased and bottom lines everywhere were positively impacted. Business owner could once again focus on their business and their customers (gasp!).
The best part of this story is that it isn’t a fairytale! It’s real and within reach for any business owner to have. There aren’t any frogs that need kissed, dragons that need slaying, or evil sea-witches that must be destroyed. You, too, can have all your social media dreams come true! Here’s how to do it:
1. Set a budget- Plan on anywhere from $300-$20,000 per month. Decide which social platforms you want updates to each week and how many updates you’d like posted each week. Do you want the agency to engage with your audience? Monitor mentions and reviews? Do you want to run ads? All of these factors will affect the cost per month. Steer clear of agencies that promise the world on a silver platter for $99. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Find an agency that you like who is in tune with your goals, fits within your budget and has a good reputation. Ask for recommendations from your peers (or, just hire Thin Air Marketing Group). Outline the results you’d like to achieve with the agency. Make sure you both have a clear idea of the strategy.
3. Be patient, especially if you are just looking to achieve organic results. These kind of things take time to build momentum. Paid ads can help short term results, but this should be a part of your long term strategy.
Hiring a social media management agency is a strategic move for your business. A professional agency can help you grow your audience and raise brand awareness in your local community through high quality and engaging content.
Professional agencies keep up with the latest trends and guidelines, while following best practices to achieve the best results possible, so that you’re able to do what you do best- manage your business.
Thin Air Marketing Group goes above and beyond the normal protocol and will create a personalized strategy for your business. We’re local, which really does make a difference. Get in touch today for a free quote.
You’ve heard the term “SEO”, but do you know what it actually is? SEO to your website is like air to all living things. You can’t touch it, feel it or see it, but it’s something it’s got to have to survive. And when you get it right, the results are absolutely measurable.
SEO is a combination of…. things (technically speaking, of course) done for or to a website that helps Google determine where a website will appear, or rank, in natural search results. The idea behind SEO, is to tell Google what your website is about and show that it’s legitimate by your activity. Google processes around 3.5 Billion searches every day. Everytime a search is entered, algorithms take over, looking for key information in order to deliver the user the most relevant results.
There are approximately 200 components that Google’s algorithms look for, with 10 of those being absolutely key elements. Bots crawl your web pages regularly looking for the elements that define the content in order to index them. At the end of 2018, Google had over 1 Trillion indexed pages. (Search Engine Journal).
There are 3 types of SEO. On-page, technical and off-page SEO. On-page primarily deals with the content within your website. Technical SEO refers to mobile friendliness, page load speed, XML sitemaps and adding structured data, known as schema markup.
Off-page SEO are all the things done for a website outside of the website, such as building backlinks, social media activities, blogging and geo-optimizing for your local area. Commonly known as “local SEO”, geo-optimizing includes online reviews, locally focused content containing keywords and key phrases, and online directory listing info consistency, also called NAP data (Name, address, phone number).
The Role of SEO
There is a common misconception that simply having a website meets the requirements for the world to find you. The reality is, that’s just your starting off point. Even the prettiest, most modern looking websites are invisible without SEO. It’s a good idea to ask your web designer what, if any, SEO they implement for your site while building it. If your website is older, or you built it yourself, and you haven’t had regular maintenance done on it, a professional website analysis can give you insight as to how much SEO is in place today, as well as what needs updated. SEO should be an ongoing event. Google updates their algorithms a rumored 500 times each year,
More than 60% of all searches are looking for something nearby. Google favors local businesses over national brands, whenever possible. For Google to know your business exists, you’ve got to tell it. So, how do you tell Google about your business? SEO, of course!
SEO is complicated, time-consuming and not for the faint of heart. While many of the larger corporations have entire departments dedicated to SEO, most small business owners don’t have the capitol for dedicated technical staff. That’s where outside agencies come into play. Outsourcing makes it possible for small businesses to have the same advantages as large corporations. It’s almost always worth it for a small business to pay for professional SEO services. After all, you wouldn’t hire your auto mechanic as a wedding planner, right? There are just too many things that can go wrong by not having a professional SEO company. Even those with the best of intentions are likely to miss a key element, or risk doing something incorrectly that actually hurts you more than it helps.
SEO As An Investment
Because SEO isn’t something that is tangible and doesn’t deliver instant results, many business owners struggle to justify the expense. It’s also something that is generally misunderstood because of its complicated nature. An important thing to keep in mind with SEO is that it isn’t a race- it’s a marathon, where slow and steady wins the game. It takes time and consistency before you begin seeing results. It is an investment and should be considered as part of your long term strategy.
The good news, is that it does eventually gain momentum that leads to a consistent flow of leads and traffic that you can count on. The ROI of an SEO campaign ranges anywhere from 50%-5000%. The reason the range is so wide, is because many factors affect the total ROI ,including the quality of your SEO, the budget allocated to it and the amount of time you’ve been investing in your SEO.
The fact is that it’s never been easier for consumers to NOT do business with you. Online retailers like Amazon make it easy for anyone to order whatever they want online without ever leaving home. Even many services can be found, purchased and setup online without ever dealing with an actual person. Insurance is a good example. All hope is not lost, though. Remember that Google still favors a local business over a national brand. That’s why your digital presence is so important to the survival of your business.
If you’re reading this, chances are you get “it”, or you’d like too, which automatically gives you an advantage over your competition. There are still many, many businesses that don’t understand it, or they do, but are attempting to handle it themselves, but aren’t getting any traction. Choosing to have your SEO professionally managed is a smart decision.
If you still need a little more convincing, these statistics might help.
People are searching for products, services and information A LOT, these days. Out of the 2 trillion searches, there’s a pretty good chance that at least a handful were searches for a product or service that your business provides. The question is, does Google know that you provide those products/services? Is Google aware of where your business is located? Are you sure?
It never hurts to know exactly where you stand with your SEO. Thin Air Marketing Group offers a complimentary SEO assessment report for small businesses. To schedule yours, click here.
Thin Air Marketing Group is based in Colorado Springs, CO and specializes in Social Media Management and Local SEO services for small business.
A special thanks to Danny Goodwin at Search Engine Journal for compiling the SEO statistics quoted in this blog. Follow him on Twitter
The Art of Facebook
By now, a large majority of small businesses in the U.S. have a Facebook page. The level at which it is maintained varies greatly, though it’s only a small percentage that are doing everything right. Many business owners simply do not understand the benefits of keeping their Facebook pages updated and find it trivial and unimportant.
Facebook, used the right way, is a valuable tool that can be hugely beneficial to both you and to your audience. To learn more about the art of Facebook for business, keep reading!
Who Uses Facebook
There are 253+/- million adults, 18 and older, in the United States. Approximately 200 million have facebook accounts. Your clients and prospects are on social media, making it a great place to reach a lot of people at one time and stay front of mind with them.
How Content is Chosen to Appear in Feeds
You may have noticed that lately, your updates don’t have as much reach as they used to. Facebook updated their algorithm in January 2018, making content that is meaningful, informative and high quality the priority. Content that has high engagement is more likely to be shown to a greater number of people. Including a photo or, better yet, a video, is practically a requirement.
Other factors in the algorithm for your posts to appear in feeds are completeness of your profile, the time of day you’re posting, time spent per user on the post, type of story and level of engagement. The quality of the content and the consistency of your posts are also critical.
It’s recommended that a business post 5-10 updates per week, with no more than 2 posts per day. Inconsistent and sporadic posting is not beneficial because only a very small percentage of your audience will see your posts. By posting consistently to your Facebook page, a much larger percentage will see your posts in their feed and it can help boost your rankings in Google, too (SEO).
Reviews and Recommendations
More and more, consumers, especially Millennial's, are turning to reviews to make buying decisions. In 2018, 6 out of every 10 consumers made buying decisions based on online reviews. This number has only continued to rise over the years, making reviews extremely valuable. Some consider reviews to be internet currency.
Facebook makes it easy for your clients to leave reviews on your page, but it’s your job to encourage your customers to do it. Including links or buttons on your website, in your email signature, newsletters and even a QR code on your business card, are all good ways to encourage your customers to leave a review.
Facebook is a platform that was created for people to connect with people and opens the opportunity for businesses to connect with their audience in a way that has never been possible before. Cultivate and nurture client relationships, stay front of mind with your audience through meaningful content and engage with your customers. These, as part of your marketing strategy, work to increase customer loyalty, conversions and build brand awareness in your local community.
Are you using Facebook to its full potential? A marketing agency, like Thin Air Marketing Group, can make sure that you are. For more information on social media management services, visit www.thinairmarketinggroup.com/social-media-management or sign up for your free consultation today.
The internet has changed how we do business. Having a strong online presence is more important than ever! These 6 things are sure-fire ways to generate more leads.
Most business owners would agree that driving more traffic to their website and generating more leads is their number 1 marketing challenge. Yet, most are at a loss as to how to do it.
Digital media has reshaped the consumer buying process. Consumers now take the time before even leaving home to research products, businesses and read online reviews. It has never been more important to have a strong internet presence than it is right now, as “67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally.” (SiriusDecisions).
Here’s 6 ways to strengthen your online presence.
Update Your Website
Updating your website with a modern and interactive user- -friendly design that’s easy to navigate is a key element in generating more leads. If your website in its current state is clunky, slow or doesn’t clearly define what you are selling, users moves on to the next one.
Having an interactive website with fresh, dynamic content is a fantastic way to increase customer engagement. When your customers are engaged, they talk about you and share your content with others, including people who aren’t your customers but could be. Engaged customers will refer you to their friends and colleagues and typically spend more money with you.
Your website may be the first impression you make on a prospect who may not know you at all or may have been referred to you by someone. While existing clients are usually more forgiving, new visitors are looking for a website that catches their eye, is easy to understand and is very clear about who you are, what you do and how to find you.
Investing in a fresh, updated website design that is built for the user experience, will give you measurable results.
Invest in SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a list of on and off-page activities done in specific ways that work together to tell search engines, like Google, what your website is about. When Google is well informed about your website, you’re much more likely to show up in search results.
SEO can be pretty complicated and it’s worth it, in most cases, to hire a professional. However, there are website building platforms, like wix.com, that include an SEO wizard with their premium hosting plans that guide you through some of the more important elements of implementing SEO.
3.48 billion people and 86% of businesses use social media, according to statistics published by hootsuite.com . Using social media to reach your audience is a no brainer and even a necessity. Platforms like Facebook, have made targeting a very specific audience easy, making it a smart and cost effective place to spend your advertising dollars.
Even if you’re not looking to spend money on advertising, social media allows you to organically build brand awareness by giving your brand a human element that can greatly increase brand loyalty.
Posting high quality and engaging content, sharing updates about new products or services, specials, exclusive offers or upcoming events on social media allows you to reach a large audience all at once.
Blog articles have become an increasingly important channel for generating leads. Blogs allow you to establish yourself as an industry expert and build trust with your audience through content. Businesses that post 11+ monthly blogs report 4 times more leads than those posting 1 blog or less per month (Hubspot, 2015)
If your anxiety just shot through the roof because you’re thinking there is no possible way you can come up with 11 or more articles in a 30 day period, relax. There are professionals who will do it for you and at fair price.
According to revlocal.com, 92% of consumers now read online reviews when researching a local business, then make a decision on whether or not to do business with you based on their online research. If you aren’t encouraging your customers to review you online, you could be detracting new clients without even realizing it.
Reviews also give business owners the opportunity to address issues with unhappy customers and remedy the situation.
Make it a point to ask your customers to leave a review on Google every time you talk to them.
If this all sounds like a full time job in and of itself, that’s because it is. Chances are that as a business owner, you’re simply too busy to even think about updating your website, posting to social media multiple times every week and writing blog articles.
Thin Air Marketing Group designs custom marketing strategies for small businesses. Contact us today for more information.