business, customers, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Social Media

Your Business Needs The Digital Touch

Are you thinking this is a SciFi post about virtual realities? No Sir, this is about your business success.

The “digital touch” I am referring to is CONTENT. And “content” is not some technical, marketing lingo. It is your new reality as a business. It is something that has to be accepted, learned, and given priority to help your business grow. Here is a definition that I like:

Content: Something that is to be expressed through some medium, such as speech, writing, or any of the various arts.

In other words, “content” is merely INFORMATION. And Information is what people need to buy products and services. And where do they get their information?

Oh yeah, through digital media! Ahh, now you know where the digital touch comes from.

Start with this question: Why is posting information about your products and services – via digital channels- so important to the growth of your business?

It is important because “information” (content) is essential to a buyers journey. It influences their decisions on what and where to buy. Just look at this awesome graphic below:

So, as a business owner do you want to influence the outcome of the purchasing decisions made by your customers? Sure you do!

Well, regular content is your best way to do that.

A study by Google shows that 10 pieces of content (information) are consumed before a purchasing decision is made.

Every post, every article, every blog has the power to direct attention to your business. It is the digital touch–tap-tap-tap and your future buyers are looking you up while waiting to get their teeth cleaned. Cool article on Twitter? Tap-tap and it’s bookmarked in the Pocket App for later. I do not think anyone can dispute the reality of our Digital World but is your business “digitally touching” potential buyers as he or she are browsing the world wide web?

HERE ARE THE PROBLEMS OF AVOIDING “CONTENT”:

  1. Customers do not have to go directly to you anymore to find the information they are looking for. That is why your phone doesn’t ring! If a customer saw something at a friends house, they turn to the Internet to find the answers to their questions. They go to your website first to see what you have, who you are, and if you have written any articles that address their questions. They look up at the top and click your social media links going to their site of preference–some Facebook, some Instagram, some Twitter. They ask themselves: What do they post? Are there pictures? Events? Anything useful? And then, they go back to Google and find more.
  2. Technology is embedded in all Generations. Sorry, it’s not just the young’uns anymore who live and die by their iPhones. Grandma has figured out that she does not have to get in her car to drive across town in the rain or snow to shop for something to give her daughters on Valentines Day. So if you are on her “Favorite Facebook Pages” and you have not started posting your Valentines quotes and ideas then some smart, savvy business is going to entice her to click on their paid AD along the right side…and off she goes gathering her ten pieces of content for when she is ready to buy, from them.
  3. The most painful of all is that you NEED NEW CUSTOMERS. The collectors, the rewards members, the people who have bought every model and color…they eventually move on and you need someone “new” who has never heard of you or your awesome “thing-a-ma-jig.” These folks have to find you, then read your ten pieces to learn more about how a “thing-a-ma-jig” works, and then they have to trust that you are real and not some Russian hacker trying to get their credit card number. The digital generation is everyone now. Just like when automobiles eventually replaced all the horse-drawn carriages–we all use digital media for information.

It’s Time To Start Saying “Content.”

These are not confusing times ruled by millennials with selfie sticks. It is 2017, and we are all part of the social media marketing universe—all of us. So go ahead, say it:

That is the first step in reaching across the digital aisle to potential customers. And although you will need a strategy for posting and content the hardest part is accepting reality. Your charming personality, your creative store windows, the coupon in Valpak, well, they just are not enough to keep your business a float. You must first accept “content” as your key to success in the digital world we live in.

#Content #BuyersJourney #BusinessSuccess #Customers #SocialMedia

Maria Bereket is a Digital Media Marketing Consultant and Coach, LinkedIn Strategist, and Social Media Trainer. Her work focuses on bridging the gap of the digital divide by teaching people how to use social media to grow their business through social media thought leadership. She is an innovator and creative task master, so don’t contact her if you are not looking for growth and change. Teaching people to embrace technology and learn how to communicate in a digital world is her super-power. Connect @mbear88 or email her at Maria@DesignBearMarketing.com

business, customers, Marketing, Social Media

Good Communications 101

Be a good communicator.

communication-project-manager

Everyone knows that in this Social media-marketing world, crowded with people of all ages, talking, tweeting, posting, reviewing, hash tagging….geez, how does one define a good communicator?

Like chit chat at a party, the noise being created today by “communications” is best described as chaos, but if you stop a moment and look around, you will see that nothing has changed from the days of three-martini lunches in smoke filled bars.  People want to make connections with each other. So put down your IPhone for a moment and figure out how to connect to people.

Writing, and I am not talking about novel/screenplay quality stuff.  I am talking about finding your voice in the written word.  Why do people freak out when it comes to writing out the simplest things?  The world of social media has given those fearful of writing a voice.  A one word-hashtag loving-emoticon-120 character-loving voice.  Better to make a connection and communicate something, then nothing at all.  Now that doesn’t mean you should write awful text.  Yes, you must write well.  Think about what your one word message is and then write about it.  Take time to look at it, decide if it says what you want.  Put it aside (if time permits) and then re-read and hit send.

Images.  I personally believe that humans think with their eyes. Use them. It is a known fact that posts with images get about two to three times more interaction than ones that are text only. Now a cute kitty will not make your quarter numbers more interesting, so think a moment before you attach irrelevant images to your posts, but add them.  Get a file going of images that resonate with you and when you are “writing” go there and see if anything makes sense to use with the posts. And remember that sometimes text is just as powerful as an image, step back and look at your communications.  What did you respond too?

Video. There are 60-year old women in the Midwest using YouTube to create thousands of followers over quilting…why then can’t you figure out how to use video to reach more people? Sit down and figure out what your 3 to 5 minute message should be.  Have props.  Take a speech class, or go to Toastmasters if you are uncomfortable with speaking, but find your voice and make a video.

Social Media has lots of mediums, pick one or two. Ok, Twitter and Facebook are the most talked about social media platforms, but there are other things that might suit you better. Google+, it is growing and easy to use. Yelp, a must in today’s service world.  Pinterest is your back up personality when it comes to business. SlideShare is my go to place when I want to see what the world is presenting. And do not forget to keep up your LinkedIn site.  It is your public resume.  Update it, post articles, and join groups.  Turn off the TV at night and begin to “socialize” a bit.

Respond.  And do it immediately or you will drown for sure. I have posted moderate to bad reviews on Yelp and when the owner responds quickly (or in many cases at all) it makes me feel like I matter to them and will give it another try.  And it’s not the freebies that work here, it is the response time.  If you got a letter in the mail you would respond, right?  Show you care.

Keep Your Focus.  Don’t let someone’s critique of your service make you freak out. Our parents were right when they told us, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all.”  That is your mantra here.  Respond, but with a level headed approach.  Anger only hurts you.  Answer and respond to what they are really asking you.  Look within their posts and figure out what their agenda is and why they asked or posted such comments, then respond respectfully.

Good Luck!

Design Bear
http://www.designbsquared.com

business, customers, Design, Marketing, Social Media

Small Business Marketing

Inc Magazine published a great infographic today.

20140214_MarketinTools_N_27183

It confirms what we all feared….drum roll….the old rules of marketing still apply.
*sigh

What?  No Facebook?  No Twitter?

Well, yes, but take a moment to remember the old rules.

Word of Mouth, Customer Remarks 86%
27e7a7a

Of course, in today’s tech world, word of mouth might be on Facebook or Yelp, but it is the review of a person who has experienced your product or service.  I meet people all of the time who have never heard of Yelp, or they say “I am not a restaurant so why should I bother?”  Well that doesn’t cut it anymore.  Dentists, Malls, Gas Stations, Graphic Design Studios, and even Restaurants, get reviewed through social media on Yelp.  I use Yelp to help me get addresses and directions…it is much faster than google by a long shot!  It matters.  Pay attention and respond to what your customers are saying.  Make it part of your business and  the happy customers will review you too.

Networking with Other Businesses 53%
Networking

I know, we all hate new situations.  Sweat and discomfort.  We gotta do it.  Just remember to do it regularly and correctly.  I just love it when a business owner goes out without business cards.  I have mentioned before why I think business cards are so important, but if you are going to meet other business owners, this would be networking 101.  But, even before you stuff that card in your bag, you need to make it a habit to go out and network, and not just with groups of people you like!  There are so many networking groups that it would take a full eight hours a day to get through them all.  LinkedIn Groups, Meetups, Local Chambers, local everything for that matter.  Just get a newspaper (yes the kind with black and white ink) and you will find several groups in your neighborhood that meet regularly.  Just attend.  Then attend again.  Smile, listen, shake hands, and hand out your business card.  It is human contact in a very non-contact world. You just need one new customer a month to make a difference.

Advertising – print, booklet, radio, etc. 52%

printed_brochure_not_dead_yet

Despite what the makers of Kindle want us to think, Print is NOT DEAD.  In fact, there are tons of studies in the tourism industry that highlight how important that take home tri-fold brochure is to the plans we make, or don’t make.  Plans are created and changed by good print pieces.  Once that brochure is made, you can follow it up with an interesting booklet–your story perhaps, and then if its possible, talk with the radio people and get some exposure.  Reading off the side of the cereal box is still accepted practice at breakfast.  We think with our eyes first, so have something to give out.  We all get stuck at the dentist, the train is delayed, the cab ride is stuck in traffic.  Our phones are not the only thing people read.  Place a nice ad once in awhile.  Consult a graphic person of course, and then do it.  It works.

Direct Mail or Email 45%
direct-mail

Most people hate writing.  It is a lost art really.  But nothing resonates more with people than something written.  Think out of the box too.  What would you like to read?  What gets you to open your mail?  Which things do you open first? Pay attention to things that work, and the things that don’t.  Model yourself after those.  But remember, writing can only capture us for so long.  You need a compelling beginning to keep us occupied for 2 minutes.  Throw in an image or two.  Make us laugh.  Have white space to guide us through your piece.  And of course, use good typography!  Apple knew the secrets.  One main font, maybe two colors, readable and legible.  Fancy does not keep our interest.  Learn the basics if you are doing it yourself.

Social Media 41%
Digital-marketing-services

Of course everything comes back to social media.  It is the core of the business world today.  But behind it are people.  People writing, people responding, people serving, people expressing their views.  If you are not using one or two social media sites to promote yourself, you are missing business.  For every person who says they found you there, I am sure there are several more who just didn’t tell you.  That is how social media works.  Its why “check in” offers are so successful.  Its the coupon of the new millennium.

The last is for all the old veterans who are determined NOT to accept Social Media Marketing.  Its fun if you would just stop being right and move on.  But hey, that is a whole other topic all together.

Design Bear
http://www.designbsquared.com