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Instagram for Business: 27 Expert Tips

Learn how your small business can use Instagram to share photos and videos, reach new customers and grow sales with a social media marketing strategy.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Instagram might be worth 1,000 new customers for your small business. The social media platform lets you easily share photos and videos with your followers and interact with their photos of your business. With an Instagram for Business account, you can also advertise and promote posts on the platform and get detailed metrics on how you’re engaging with customers.

With 500 million monthly active users—and growing—there are a lot of potential customers on Instagram. Yet most small business owners are missing out. According to a Manta poll, only 24% of small business owners include Instagram in their social media marketing, and of those who do use the platform, only 20% pay to promote posts or place ads. Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle is that 39% of business owners say they simply don’t know how to use Instagram.

Don’t be intimidated. Instagram is easy to use, and paid promotions are simple too. With so few other business owners using Instagram, this is a great time to jump ahead of your competitors and start connecting with customers now.

How can Instagram help your business get more customers?

As with any social media effort, a smart marketing plan is essential. You should decide what your goals are and how much you want to spend (in time and money), then make sure your Instagram strategy supports those goals. With advice from social media and marketing experts, the 27 tips below will help you use Instagram for Business to connect with customers and grow sales for your small business.

1. What Can Instagram Do for Your Business?

Instagram allows you to connect with followers, share updates about your business, and potentially turn followers into customers. If that sounds like a lot of other social media platforms, the big difference with Instagram is the focus on photos and videos rather than text.

“Small businesses should be embracing Instagram Stories along with photos that can be distributed and shared on Instagram,” said digital strategist and entrepreneur Ross Simmonds. “If you’re selling a product that is visually appealing, it’s likely that your customers are using Instagram to see photos of your product before buying. One of the easiest and most effective ways to stand out on Instagram is to be consistent with uploading high quality content.”

Instagram is primarily a mobile platform. As smartphone users increasingly rely on images to get and share info, you should harness the impact of photos and videos to promote your small business.

“Instagram allows you to directly engage and communicate with your customers in a visual way,” explained Colin Cheng, senior marketing manager for digital agency MintTwist. “Images and videos are immediately more engrossing than text. Small businesses can use it to engage with their existing customers, as well as trying to identify new ones.”

2. What’s the Difference Between Instagram for Business vs. Personal?

Instagram for Business gives small business owners access to features and capabilities that personal users don’t have. With an Instagram for Business account you can add directions to your business to your profile, let followers contact you with one click, access Instagram’s analytics tools and promote your posts with ad campaigns.

When it comes to content, you probably want to keep the personal photos you share with family and friends separate from the business posts you share with customers. While social media can feel friendly and informal, don’t forget that your Instagram for Business account represents your business and its professional reputation: Don’t share anything you wouldn’t post in your workplace or say to customers’ faces.

Small business owners who want to get started with Instagram can find inspiration by following the accounts of others in their field, said Deborah Sweeney, CEO of online business document service MyCorporation.com.

“Check out what influencers in your industry are doing,” she advised. “Do they post every day? What kinds of hashtags do they use? How do they engage with fans? Observe their accounts from the start to see how they have grown and use their tactics as a jumping off point to getting your own account up and running.”

 

3. Why You Need a Facebook Page to Use Instagram for Business

Instagram is owned by Facebook, and the business accounts and advertising capabilities on the two platforms are integrated. That good news is, if you already have a Facebook page for your business or if you use Facebook Ads, you’re well on your way to setting up an Instagram account and advertising on the photo-sharing platform. If you don’t yet have a Facebook business profile, make sure you set one up before getting started with Instagram.

“The merger of Facebook Business Pages with Instagram profiles has made it a great visibility tool for businesses, especially since Instagram now has 500 million monthly users,” said Aristotle Eliopoulos, social media specialist with digital marketing agency 9thCO. “Most importantly, Instagram’s addition of a ‘Contact’ button for business profiles means a contact email, map or phone number can be added, making it much easier for users to contact businesses. The ability to call or email is as easy as one tap.”

4. How to Set Up Instagram for Business

It’s easy to get started on Instagram. Download the free Instagram app from the iTunes app store or Google Play.

The first time you launch it, the app will walk you through the steps to create a basic account. Choose a profile name that will help customers identify your business; it could be the same as your other social media handles or, if you have a common-sounding business name, it could incorporate your city.

Once your basic Instagram account is set up, you need to upgrade to an Instagram for Business account:

  1. Tap the gear icon at the top right of your profile page.
  2. From the list of options, tap the button “Switch to Business Profile.”
  3. After tapping “Continue,” you’ll be prompted to connect your Instagram account to your Facebook account.
  4. The business info on your Facebook page will be imported into your Instagram account; make sure this info is complete and correct.
  5. Tap “Done” to save your Instagram for Business profile.

 

How to Set Up Instagram for Business

5. How to Use the Instagram App

When you launch the Instagram app you will see your main feed; these are the photos and videos posted by people you’re following. In this feed, tap the heart icon (or double-tap on the photo) to like a photo; tap the word-bubble icon to comment on a post; or tap the forward arrow to share the post with another follower.

To follow another user, simply tap the “Follow” button next to their user name. If their account is set as private, you’ll see a clock icon to show that your request to follow is pending their approval.

At the bottom of the screen you will see five navigation icons:

  1. Tap the home icon to return to your main feed.
  2. Tap the magnifying glass icon to get to the search page, where you can find other users or hashtags to follow.
  3. Tap the camera icon to create a new Instagram post.
  4. Tap the heart icon to see which users started following you or liked your posts.
  5. Tap the person icon to see and edit your profile info and all the posts you’ve created.

6. How to Use Multiple Instagram Accounts

You can add up to five Instagram accounts and manage them from the same app. This is useful if you want to maintain separate business and personal accounts, or if your small business has accounts for multiple locations or distinct product lines.

Lindsay Klix, owner of Off Your Rocker Pottery, publishes a blog of healthy recipes in addition to crafting handmade pottery. “I saw that my Instagram followers that were interested in my pots were not as interested in my recipes, but others were,” she said. “So I launched a separate account showcasing just my healthy recipes that is attracting new and different followers, increasing my overall following.

“Don’t just focus on the number of followers, (focus on) the quality and overall exposure,” Klix added. “If you have several accounts with different loyal followers, it doubles your company’s following.”

To add multiple accounts, go to your Instagram profile and tap the gear icon in the top right corner. Tap “Add Account” to enter the username and password of the account you’d like to add. To switch between accounts, go to your profile page and tap your username at the top of the screen, then tap the account you’d like to switch to.

 

How to Use Multiple Instagram Accounts

7. What to Post on Instagram for Business

Instagram is a visual platform, so you want to think of ways to market your business using photos and videos. Beyond that, there are few rules. However, all of your posts should be consistent with your social marketing strategy. Consider your goal, and make sure everything you post on Instagram supports that goal.

Is your social marketing strategy to demonstrate how your small business supports your local community? Post videos on Instagram from community events, or post photos previewing the big local festival or high school football game.

Is your social marketing goal to show off your strong customer service and put a friendly face on your team? Post behind-the-scenes photos of your employees hard at work, or post videos of your team members talking about why they love working with your customers.

Some common subjects of Instagram posts include:

  • Your products
  • Behind-the-scenes of your products being made
  • You or your employees at work
  • Your storefront, office or work van
  • Before-and-after of projects or contracting jobs
  • How-to photos or videos of home repairs
  • Decorating or remodeling ideas
  • Happy customers with your products or completed services
  • Local attractions or community events
  • Coupons, contests or promotions exclusive to social followers

 

8. How to Post a Photo on Instagram

Sharing a photo on Instagram is almost as easy as taking one. When you tap the camera icon at the bottom of the screen, you will be given the option of selecting an existing photo from your “Library,” or taking a new photo or video in the app. If you select a photo from your library you will have the chance crop the photo before proceeding. Taking a new photo is even easier; the only options here are whether to use flash or the front-facing selfie camera.

Once you have a photo or video you like, follow these steps to share it on Instagram:

  1. Take a new photo or select a photo from your library, and tap “Next” in the upper right corner.
  2. Select a preset filter from the horizontal list at bottom, to tap “Edit” to manually adjust the color and exposure settings. Tap “Next.”
  3. Add your location (optional but recommended if this is your business location).
  4. Tag other people by using their Instagram user names (optional); they will be notified that you included them.
  5. Choose if you want to post your Instagram photo directly to Facebook or Twitter at the same time you share it on Instagram (optional; make sure it supports your social marketing strategy on those other platforms).
  6. Write a caption for your photo; include a brief description of the post, and include a few hashtags.
  7. Tap “Share” at the top right to publish your post to Instagram.

9. What Are Instagram Filters?

Instagram Filters allow you to easily apply visual effects to your photos. When you take a photo with the Instagram app or post a picture from your photo library, you can select from preset filters (Claredon, Willow, Lo-Fi) and, with one click, turn a snapshot into a work of art. You can also tap “Edit” to manually adjust the color, contrast and warmth and create your own look.

Filters let you look like a pro, adding interest to your plain snapshots—from high-contrast black-and-white pictures to the desaturated colors of vintage Polaroids.

“People often scroll through their feeds fast, so you only have a second to grab their attention. Use Instagram’s editing tool to stand out. There are lots of different options, filters and add-ons that can turn a dull photo into a piece of art,” said Nathan Barber, digital analyst with Digital Advertising Works.

“If you can grab users’ attention, they are likely to engage with your posts more,” added Barber. “This sends signals in the algorithm that you should be promoted more in the feeds.”

 

What Are Instagram Filters?

10. How to Add Your Business Location to Instagram Photos

When you are drafting an Instagram post within the app, you have the option to “Add Location.” You should do so. This associates the name of your business with the photo, allows followers to see other photos taken at that location (which could include posts by you and your customers), and see the location of your business on a map.

Underneath the “Add Location” prompt on the post you will see a list of five nearby locations (you can scroll through this list horizontally). If you don’t see the name of your business, you can click on the “Search” button or “Add Location” button for a longer list of suggestions.

If you still can’t find your business, you may need to add the location to Instagram—but you need to use the Facebook app for iPhone, iPad or Android. (It’s another of the integrations between the two platforms.) This is how you can add your location:

  1. From your Facebook News Feed on a mobile device, tap the “Check In” button.
  2. If you don’t see your location here, click “Add [New Location]” and provide your business’ location info.
  3. Tap “Done” or “Create” and you should now find your business location in both Facebook and Instagram.

11. What’s an Instagram Photo Map?

If you click on the location name of any Instagram post (in small type under the user’s name, above the photo) you will see that location pinpointed on a map along with all other photos or videos taken at that location. It’s a great way to see photos that customers have posted at your business location.

In the past, users could get a similar view of all their posts with a Photo Map of their personal account, but Instagram no longer offers that feature.

12. How to Post a Video on Instagram

Recording a video with Instagram is much like taking a photo. From the video screen, press and hold the record button to take a video (don’t tap separately to start and stop). You can pause and add nonconsecutive segments to the video as you record it; for instance, you could create a time-lapse effect by recording several brief snippets over a period of time. Adding filters, a caption and location info is similar to the process for photo posts.

Selecting an existing video from your library is also easy. You do have the option to trim your library video clips, which is helpful to meet the Instagram video time limit of 3 to 60 seconds.

13. How to Use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are slideshows that combine photos and videos. They are meant to be temporary—Story posts disappear after 24 hours—so they are useful if you are promoting a timely event or sale. By combining multiple images, videos and adding text, Stories also allow you to tell a more complete story than you can with a single image.

For instance, contractors could create Stories of before, during and after photos to show off the progress and results of a successful remodeling project. A service business could create behind-the-scenes Stories that introduce your staff members with photos and videos showing your team at work.

This quick video demonstrates how you can create Instagram Stories:

14. How to Create an Instagram Photo Collage

You may have seen photo collages shared on Instagram: two or three (or more) photos combined in a single post. Collages can capture the energy of event (say, a layout of multiple photos from your grand opening) or provide an interesting way to photograph a product or service (like side-by-side before-and-after photos of a remodeling job).

To create a collage, you need a separate app that works with Instagram. Instagram has its own collage app called Layout, which you can get to by tapping the windowpane icon on the post screen. Similar third-party apps include Photo Grid and PhotoFrame. Each of these apps will walk you through the process of creating a collage; it’s just like posting a single photo from your photo library, except you get to choose multiple pictures.

15. How to Increase Instagram Likes

You can like an Instagram post by double-tapping on the photo or tapping the heart icon just underneath the post. The number of likes you get on your posts is a measure of engagement. It shows that followers are enjoying and responding to your photos and videos on Instagram.

How do you get more likes on your Instagram posts? The best way is to simply post engaging content that your followers like.

“My advice to small businesses using Instagram would be to focus on authentic images showcasing your business, what you do and how it fulfills the mission of your organization,” said Asaf Darash, CEO and founder of software company Regpack. “Just be real and honest. These posts tend to resonate best with people, especially those who aren’t your followers and who are ‘shopping around.’”

16. How to Use Hashtags on Instagram

Hashtags are the words or phrases you see following the “#” symbol. It’s a way to categorize your posts on Instagram and make them easy for others to find. When a user taps on a hashtag in a post, they see a list of all other photos with that hashtag. When you tag your photo #KitchenRemodel, anyone who searches for #KitchenRemodel or taps on #KitchenRemodel from another user’s post will find your photo.

You can make up any hashtag you want, but it will only be effective if others use it as well. By tapping on the search icon at the bottom of the screen in the Instagram app, you can look for common hashtags related to your industry or city; by using a hashtag that’s already popular, your posts are more likely to get found by others.

You can create your own hashtag with your business’ name, slogan, or to promote a specific contest or promotion. Encourage your customers to use this hashtag by sharing it on your website, email newsletter, invoices or in-store displays. You can also search for common hashtags related to your industry or city. When you use a hashtag that’s already popular, your posts are more likely to be found by others.

You should also think about what makes your business or products unique, said Andy Tracewell, marketing director at furniture maker Caretta Workspace. “We utilize hashtags and make sure that we post pictures that are ‘on theme’ with our company,” he said. “All of our products are made in America, so the #AmericanMade and #MadeinAmerica hashtags are very popular and increase engagement.”

 

How to Use Hashtags on Instagram

17. How to Regram Others’ Posts on Instagram

“Regramming” is the equivalent of sharing a friend’s post on Facebook or retweeting a post on Twitter. For instance, you might want to regram photos that customers have taken at your business, or share entries you received to a photo contest. Unlike those other social platforms, however, Instagram does not make it easy to share others’ posts.

There is a manual workaround: Simply use your phone to take a screenshot of the photo you want to regram, then post it to Instagram from your phone’s photo library. Whenever you regram someone else’s post, make sure you give them credit in the caption by including their Instagram user name with the “@” symbol (e.g. @caretta_workspace).

There are also apps available to streamline this process, such as Repost for Instagram, which you can download from your app store.

18. How to Engage Followers with Comments on Instagram

As with any social media platform, Instagram isn’t a megaphone. It’s a conversation. You should listen to your followers, respond to their comments and comment on their photos. Look for notices that your account was tagged in a post, and regularly search for uses of your hashtag, so you can like and comment on customer photos taken of your business.

“It seems simple, but you need to do more than just post pictures and expect people to engage with you,” said Stefanie Parks, founder of DermWarehouse. “You have to start conversations, make comments, reply to questions and compliments and like what other people are posting. Not only will staying engaged with your Instagram following help to build it, you will see that your followers become very loyal to you as well.”

Make sure your comments are sincere and relevant to your business, advised Megan Monroe, growth team expert at marketing platform OntraPort. “Don’t mindlessly like and comment on irrelevant posts,” she said. “Like and comment on posts and accounts that relate to your content. You own a small surf shop? Find similar accounts and posts while searching through #surf hashtags.”

You can also start conversations on Instagram by asking your followers to respond to your posts. “Interesting or provocative questions tend to create a lot of interactions, and we try to mix that with showcasing our work and services,” said Larissa Pickens, owner and creative director of design studio Float.Design. “It’s a very supportive and highly interactive platform. Even when we first started and had no followers, I was pleasantly surprised how many people would like and comment just based on hashtags.”

19. What are Instagram Ads?

Advertising gives small business owners the opportunity to expand their reach on Instagram and add measurable calls-to-action to their posts. Instagram ads can be photos, videos or carousels of multiple images. Instagram Ads can support multiple objectives:

  • Clicks to Website, to generate traffic to your site
  • Website Conversions, to prompt a specific action on your site
  • Mobile App Installs, to generate downloads of your app
  • Mobile App Engagement, to get activity on your mobile app
  • Video Views, to tell a story using video
  • Page Post Engagement, to get users to engage with your ad
  • Local Awareness, to reach potential customers near your business

By promoting posts on Instagram, small business owners can expand their reach and drive more results. Thanks to the powerful targeting tools, you can connect with specific audiences based on age, gender, location and interests.

“Instagram is a perfect place to run ads to highly targeted users because Instagram is owned by Facebook and it shares powerful targeting options inside of Facebook’s Ad Manager,” said Scott Sundblom, marketing manager with digital marketing agency Big Leap. “Whether a small business’s social media objectives are to enhance brand awareness or drive sales and revenue, Instagram ads can be effective at any budget.”

 

What are Instagram Ads?

20. How Much Do Instagram Ads Cost?

You can advertise on Instagram for as little as $1, and for as much as you want to spend. When you set up your Instagram ad campaign using the Power Editor tool, you can set a daily budget, a budget for the campaign, or a budget for some other time period.

The real question might be: How much should you pay to advertise on Instagram? There are probably as many answers to that question as there are small businesses advertising on Instagram.

The key is to make sure you’re getting a return on your investment, and to calculate your ROI you need to have a clear understanding of what your goals are and how much that’s worth. Is your goal to get visitors to fill out a lead form on your website? If that lead is worth $100 to you, then you know exactly how much you should spend to get it.

“You can set a number of goals for promoted posts and ads, such as driving traffic to your website, call or visit your business, increase followers, increase reach and generate leads,” explained Bethany Griffiths, content and social media marketer at digital marketing agency Bowler Hat. “You should set a goal for each promoted post and use Insights to track the goal and assess whether your post helped reach your goal. You can then use this to refine your strategy for your next ad.”

Paid advertising on Instagram isn’t necessary for every small business. Many experts recommend instead spending your time focusing on organic engagement—the likes and comments you get naturally by posting compelling content—which could boost your placement in followers’ feeds without a cash investment.

“The smart small businesses avoid paying for sponsored Instagram posts—which inherently are trusted less than an organic post—and instead focus on content that is interesting, emotional or useful enough to have viral lift on its own,” said Brad Hines, founder of NerdPlaythings.com. “Posts like this are free, shared more than sponsored posts, and have more credibility.”

 

How Much Do Instagram Ads Cost?

21. How to Create Instagram Ads for Your Business

It’s easy to create promoted posts from within the Instagram app. Tap on a post that you’ve already shared on Instagram and tap “Promote” underneath the photo. You can select an advertising objective—such as getting website visits, or getting calls to your business—which will help you pick a call-to-action button to accompany your ad.

Next you need to select the targeted audience for your ad. Instagram can suggest targeting for you, or you can manually pick an audience based on age, gender and location.

Then you enter a budget for your promotion and decide how long you want it to run. Tap “Promote” to confirm your ad. After your ad is approved, you’ll see “Insights” on your notifications page; from here you can follow the status of your promotion and see how it is performing.

You can create more advanced ad campaigns in Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor. From the Manage Ads tab, you can create new campaigns, choose an advertising objective and manage your budget in more detail.

22. How to Track Instagram Analytics

Instagram for Business includes access to Insights, a free analytical tool that can help you understand who your followers are and what they’re interested in.

From your profile page, tap the bar chart icon in the top right. From the Insights page you can see:

  • How many times your posts were viewed
  • How many people your posts reached (swipe left on number of impressions)
  • Your most popular posts (tap “See More”)
  • Video views
  • Engagement (number of likes and comments)
  • Followers’ age, gender and location

When you pay to run advertising campaigns on Instagram, you’ll get detailed analytics on the performance of your ads in the Facebook Ads Manager or in the Power Editor tool. The metrics will vary depending on the type of ad campaign, but you can look for:

  • Engagement
  • Total reach
  • Total amount spent
  • Cost per result (e.g. cost per video view or cost per website visit, depending on your campaign goals)

 

How to Track Instagram Analytics

23. What’s the Best Time to Post to Instagram?

The short answer to this question is: Post when your customers are using their smartphones. As you might imagine, that’s pretty much all the time. You can get specific info about your followers using the Instagram Insights tool from your profile page; it will tell you at what times your followers are most likely to be active on Instagram.

24. How Many Instagram Posts Per Day are Best for Business?

The trick on all social media platforms is this: You want to post often enough so that your business stays visible in your followers’ feeds, but you don’t want to post so often that people get annoyed and stop following your account.

“I suggest posting a least once a day to stay top of mind,” said Sue B. Zimmerman, the Instagram Expert and author of “The Official 2016 Instagram Strategy Guide.”

“Only post if the photo is a ‘North Star’ photo, shining bright to pull you in. Otherwise don’t post just for the sake of checking it off your to do list,” Zimmerman advised. “If you want to have success on Instagram you have to have an Instagram mindset, which means thinking about your feed like a magazine and posting content that aligns with the vibe and theme of your business.”

25. How to Get Instagram Followers for Your Business

Your engagement efforts will be pointless if you don’t have Instagram followers to engage with. To get more followers, start by linking to your Instagram account from your website and promoting it on your other social platforms and enewsletter. You can share your Instagram posts on Twitter and Facebook directly from the app, letting your followers on those platforms know that you also have an Instagram account.

You can promote your Instagram account in the real world as well, by adding your user name to business cards, print ads, invoices or other handouts.

“I created two-sided business cards that use one side to promote logo, hashtag and brand awareness and the other side to share social media links,” said Jennifer Boaro, COO of The Cat Ball. “When we ship our products, this card is placed in a very visible location. Customers have often taken and shared photos of the product as they un-package it and you can see our card right there.”

You can also get new followers by following them on Instagram. “The most important way to gain new followers and engaged fans is to follow, like and comment on other people’s posts,” said Harrison Vigersky, founder of the pet blog Bone & Yarn.

He suggests looking at the list of followers on your competitors’ Instagram accounts and following their followers, then liking some of their photos and commenting on some. (Instagram sets limits on how much following you can do at once, so set aside 10 minutes every few hours to do this.) “If you are dedicated, hundreds of people will follow you every week that will be engaged with your brand,” Vigersky said.

 

How to Get Instagram Followers for Your Business

26. Should You Buy Instagram Followers?

No. You simply can’t fake social engagement on any platform. Buying followers is a waste of money at best, and at worst it could harm your reputation on social media.

Since the fake followers you buy aren’t really your customers, it does absolutely no good for them to fake-see your photos or even fake-like your posts. Paying to advertise your business to fake followers is even worse. Plus, it’s not hard for your real followers to see through all the fake accounts following your business, which could make you look less-than-reputable in their eyes. If you’re not engaging with actual customers on Instagram, you’re just wasting your time.

27. Why Instagram is Important for Your Business

With an audience of more than 500 million active users—and growing—Instagram is one of the most popular and powerful social media platforms.

“It’s important to stay relevant, in-the-know and active on as many social channels as your business can handle, and this is definitely one of them,” said Kristi Gramlich, social media marketer at digital marketing agency Scorpion. “It’s a great way for a business to add a humanizing touch…without being intrusive to their audience.”

Instagram’s location-based tools and mobile-friendly design make it especially important for small, local businesses. According to Blanca Valbuena, co-founder of Socialdraft, a social media scheduling and engagement tool, Instagram functions as a search engine as much as a social network.

“Just imagine a tourist coming to New York City. They want to see things to discover so they begin to browse content tagged #NewYork or #GreenwichVillage,” she said. “Smart businesses who geotag their content are basically creating links to make it easier for customers to discover them.

“This is the same for ecommerce,” Valbuena added. “People who are shopping will use Instagram to search for inspiration. If your posts are structured right—with beautiful images, an impactful write up, and a clear call to action—you’ll be able to convert those eyes into paying customers.”

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Is It Time to Intensify Your Digital Marketing?

Your company has been doing some digital marketing for a while, perhaps you even hired someone from the outside to handle it for you, and you feel like things are going in the right direction. You start thinking that it might be time to do even more and invest a bit more money to intensify your digital marketing efforts.

Then, you start to doubt your decision and figure that you are doing alright as it is. All of a sudden, this becomes a whole thing and you just cannot pull the trigger either way.

How do you do it? How do you know when it is time to intensify your digital marketing efforts? How do you make the first step?

Have Your Results Plateaued?

One of the clearest indications that you may want to intensify your digital marketing is the notorious "plateau". Namely, when you look at the results your past digital marketing efforts brought you, you will be seeing an upwards trend with better results being achieved as time goes by. However, if you notice that this improvement gets less noticeable with time and especially if it starts stagnating, you have plateaued.

In such a situation, investing more in digital marketing can be the best thing you can do for your company. You have obviously identified what works and you simply need more reach, which can be achieved by larger investments.

Have You Identified Your Best Performers?

For the majority of companies, digital marketing will not involve just a single tactic. Instead, they will be using a mix of various tactics and techniques – from SEO to paid search and from paid social media to content marketing.

Before you can decide whether you want to ramp up your digital marketing, you need to identify what has produced results for you in the past.

For example, you may have realized that you have been getting great ROI from your Google ads while your Facebook ads have not been performing that well. Or, perhaps you may discover that your aggressive SEO campaign has been yielding amazing results and bringing fantastic organic traffic to your site.

The reason why this is important to figure out is that intensifying certain tactics will cost less than others and that the process can be extremely complicated with certain tactics as opposed to other.

Can You Afford It?

One very big consideration to keep in mind when considering upping your digital marketing is the money you have at your disposal. Simply put, becoming more aggressive and active with your digital marketing will cost more money and, oftentimes, you will find that taking things up to the next level means proportionally larger investments than in the beginning.

It should also be pointed out that ROIs will change dramatically as you start investing more in your digital marketing and certain practices that made sense before may not in the future, and vice versa. You have to be extremely careful about your budget and work every single aspect of it from as many angles as you can.

If you are have come up with a fantastic digital marketing boosting plan and you cannot free up any money at the moment, you can think about bridging loans and other similar financial injections that might bridge you until you free up some money in the future. If you should choose to do this, you need to be very, very careful.

Additional Considerations

Of course, there are other things that you should factor in when making a decision to intensify your digital marketing. For example, you may feel that you are on the verge of success with a particular tactic and you need just one more push to get over the hump. This often happens with marketing tactics that require more time such as content marketing, for example.

Or, perhaps a new competitor has entered the market and you want to prevent them from getting a foothold and threatening your own company. In such a situation, you may want to invest more in marketing and nip things in the bud, so to say.

Closing Word

Turning up your digital marketing efforts is often the right move to make, especially if you have noticed that the circumstances have changed recently. That being said, it can often be a rushed decision, which is never a good idea.

Take a good, long look at the data, try to make some projections for the future and if the numbers tell a clear story, go for it.

 

James D. Burbank has been involved in the world of marketing for almost 15 years. He is currently splitting his time between Australia and Europe and working only when he has to. You can check him out on Twitter - @JBurbank2019.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Facebook for Small Business: 23 Expert Tips

Tried and true marketing strategies for small business owners who want to build a Facebook following, generate new leads, and turn social followers into paying customers.

If there’s one social media platform that all small business owners should be on, it’s Facebook. The social network has come to dominate the online space with more than a billion users worldwide.

Finding success with Facebook marketing isn’t hard, but it does take a little time and know-how to truly engage your customers and drive more leads and sales. We asked social media experts and business owners to share their insight in this comprehensive guide to Facebook marketing for small business.

1. Why is Facebook Important for Small Business?

The statistics speak for themselves: Facebook has an estimated 1.8 billion monthly users worldwide, and according to the Pew Research Center, 68% of all U.S. adults use Facebook. For many, logging onto the social media platform is a daily habit—used for entertainment, news and connecting with friends and family.

Simply put, small businesses can’t afford not to be on Facebook. It’s an ideal platform for engaging with customers where they already spend time online.

2. How Do I Use Facebook for Small Business Marketing?

On the surface, Facebook marketing is relatively simple: Start a business page and start posting updates and photos about your company. However, your social media marketing strategy matters, since your business has to compete with lots of other friends and businesses for your customers’ attention. The goal is to post valuable information and built relationships with your followers.

“Generally, users on Facebook want to see content they care about from sources they care about,” said Simon A. Thalmann, digital marketer and writer for Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan. “Usually this centers on friends and family, but many people are also passionate about brands that offer goods and services they like or identify with, or that they in some way find value from following or seeing content from.”

Your goal as a small business owner is to figure out what your customers respond to, and deliver that value through your Facebook posts.

How Do I Use Facebook for Small Business Marketing?

3. What’s the Difference Between My Facebook Business Page vs. My Personal Page?

The profile you create to represent your business on Facebook is different from your own personal profile. Business profiles are called “pages.” How can you tell the difference?

“If you can click ‘like’ on it, then it’s a page,” said Dennis Yu, chief technology officer for BlitzMetrics. “If you can log in and be friends, then it’s a user profile. A lot of people talk about their pages, when they are talking about their user profiles. If you want to grow your business, then you need a Facebook page for it. Only with a Facebook page can you boost content, get analytics to see how it’s working, collect email addresses, drive people into a call, and so forth.”

4. How to Create Facebook Account for Small Business

It’s free to create a Facebook page for your business. Start by selecting the type of business you own. You’ll then be prompted to fill out your business name, a business description, a cover and profile photo, and a call to action. Once you’re happy with everything, be sure to hit “publish” to make it public. After you publish your page, you’ll have access to Facebook’s business features, including messaging and analytics.

5. How Can I See My Followers on Facebook?

To see how many followers your business page has, simply click “Settings” at the top of your page, and then click “People and Other Pages” in the left column. You should be able to see a list of everyone who has liked your page. (Some may not show up, however, depending on the individual user’s privacy settings.)

How Can I See My Followers on Facebook?

6. What Should I Post on My Small Business Facebook Page?

What you post depends on your business and your customers. Before you start posting, it’s worth thinking about the most common questions and issue you hear about from customers, and use that as a guide for posting content that’s relevant to them.

But no matter what, try to keep things fresh. “Regardless of the industry you are in, or the audience you are trying to reach, nothing bores people more than the same old content shared time and time again,” said Gerald Vinci, owner of Vinci Digital Marketing.

Vinci recommends diversifying your strategy by sharing both written and visual content, including:

  • Tips and advice
  • Your own blog posts
  • Blog posts from other relevant websites
  • Posts from other Facebook pages
  • Create a survey or ask a question to get a conversation going
  • Share interesting photos or videos that your audience would benefit from
  • Show people more about your personality by sharing things you and your team get involved with like community events, office parties or celebrations

7. When Should I Post on My Small Business Facebook Page?

Like the content you choose, timing also depends on your audience. However, a good rule of thumb is to space out your posts, rather than put them up all at once.

“The default approach that seems to work best for our particular audiences is a schedule focused around the average workday. Students and staff often seem to check their pages first thing in the morning at work or school, just before or after lunch, and just before leaving work or just after arriving home after work,” Thalmann said.

He added that a three-post schedule during the workday typically includes a post around 7:45 a.m., another around 11:45 a.m. and another around 4:45 p.m. Posts later in the evening, around 7 p.m. or so, often do well also.

When Should I Post on My Small Business Facebook Page?

8. How Often Should I Post on My Small Business Facebook Page?

The goal here is to get your posts in front of customers, without going overboard.

“I’d recommend posting between one to three times daily,” said Allison Baker, social media and marketing coordinator for H2O Media Inc. “You don’t want to bombard your followers, but you don’t want them to forget about you either. Having a consistent, daily presence is extremely important on social media. Even if you’re only posting something like an inspirational quote, your followers will still see your business name and logo, and this will keep you top of mind.”

9. What if I Don’t Have Much Time to Post on Facebook?

Does posting on Facebook one to three times a day sound overwhelming? If you don’t have much time throughout the day, you can streamline your process by setting aside time to create content in batches, said Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith.

“For example, write out the top 10 frequently asked questions from your customers. Make that into a blog post. Then, create ten short videos with each point or tip, as well as 10 image quotes,” she said.

If you can afford part-time help, it might be worth it. “Hiring a good social media assistant for even a few hours a week can make all the difference,” Smith said. “For example, you can provide your assistant with photos and video clips that you have on your phone anyway and they could use them to create many wonderful videos using a tool such as Animoto.”

Smith added that small business owners should take advantage of a social media scheduling tool such as HootsuiteBufferPostPlanner or Edgar. That way, you can schedule your posts in advance, instead of stopping in the middle of the day to update Facebook.

What if I Don’t Have Much Time to Post on Facebook?

10. How Do I Get Facebook Likes for Small Business Page?

When people “like” your business page, they’re also automatically opted-in to follow your posts. That means your content will show up their newsfeed, so it’s important to build the number of page likes your business has on Facebook.

“We’ve been working incredibly hard to get our Facebook followers up, as a majority of our referrals and sales come from social media,” said Amandine Liepmann, cofounder of Mitz Accessories.

Liepmann said building followers starts with good content. “Before posting anything I always ask myself, ‘Would I want to read this? Is this content engaging our followers in active discussions?’ The more activity you can show on your page, the better.”

Coverage of your business on other sites can help increase your Facebook following as well. “We were recently featured by UpWorthy and found that we had a lot of new fans on Facebook after the story was posted,” Liepmann added.

Looking for even more strategies to grow your Facebook following? Jennifer Cherry Foster,
president of Catalyst Media Factory, shared these tips:

  • Make sure to tag customers (with their permission), other businesses and vendors to get in front of new audiences
  • Engage with other businesses that offer complementary services
  • Create graphics that carry your logo when shared

11. How Do I Find Good Photos for Facebook?

Images are arguably more important than anything you write on Facebook. Good images can mean the difference between a customer clicking your post or just scrolling by.

“Anytime I post anything on my Facebook business page, I make sure to include an eye-catching image. By having a bright, relative image to the topic of a blog post, announcement, or news article, a potential client is more likely to engage with my page,” psychotherapist Liz Morrison in New York City.

You can take high-quality photos with your smartphone, but make sure your subject is well lit and in the frame. You can also experiment with free stock photos from sites like New Old StockSplitShire1 Million Free Pictures and the Creative Commons. Take your photos to the next level with free design tools like Canva, which allow you to play with text and other graphics to create flyers, announcements and more.

How Do I Find Good Photos for Facebook?

12. How Do I Design My Small Business Facebook Page?

In addition to choosing photos to accompany your posts, you’ll also need to consider the profile and cover photo of your Facebook page. “Vibrant visuals will always win the day,” Smith said. “Work with a professional graphic designer to create your images. Or, use a tool such as Adobe Spark to create a compelling cover image.”

Your profile and cover photos should be related to your business, and represent your brand. For example, if you own a children’s clothing boutique, a playful, colorful cover photo would be appropriate. If you’re a legal firm, something muted and traditional might be better. Find inspiration by looking at other business’ Facebook pages.

13. How Do I Use Facebook for Small Business Promotions?

Some businesses run contests and other promotions to drive engagement of Facebook. (Be sure to check out Facebook’s terms before you run your first promotion.) The best promotions combine great content with an offer that’s relevant to your customers, said digital strategist Jason Falls.

“For example, instead of just giving away a spa treatment, do a video interview with someone who has had the spa treatment about how it made her feel reborn, refreshed, important again … connect those emotions,” he said. “Then target that post to women within the demographic you’re trying to reach. The content should grab them, then conveniently introduce them to the promotion.”

However, you should be careful with promotions—they can be useful, but they can also backfire. “While they can certainly drive activity, if it’s for a giveaway or prize, you end up driving a bunch of people to your page who don’t really want to buy from you, they just want the free thing,” Falls said. “Still, if you can create a contest but explain it using compelling content that grabs people’s emotions, you’ll likely find it to be far more successful than just saying, ‘Click here to win!’”

 How Do I Use Facebook for Small Business Promotions?

14. Ideas for Facebook Contests

Facebook contests may not be the best tool to reach new customers, but they can make your current social media followers feel special and help you reach other goals.

“We connect with our current customer base by offering our social media fans and email newsletter subscribers exclusive JUST4ME discounts,” said Claudia Montez, founder of Isabelle Grace Jewelry. “Every week, we put one of our pieces on a special JUST4ME discount and advertise it in our newsletter and to our social media followers. Not only has this resulted in new purchases from existing customers, but it has also helped us really grow our email list!”

You can also offer customers a chance to win free or discounted product if they:

  • Like your post
  • Comment on your post
  • Share a photo
  • Guess the answer to a trivia question
  • Caption a photo

15. What Does Facebook for Small Business Cost?

Theoretically, nothing. You can start your Facebook business page and post for free, and if you focus on organic efforts, you’ll never spend a dime. However, experts and small business owners all agree that, thanks to Facebook’s algorithm, it’s tough to build your audience without paying to boost your posts.

“The mistake most small businesses make on Facebook is that they think it’s purely an organic play,” said Jamie Turner, author, CNN contributor and CEO of 60SecondMarketer.com. “The truth is that if you use the paid advertising feature on Facebook, you’ll get better results. Best of all, Facebook is inexpensive and easy to use, so don’t miss out on using it for as little as $5 per day.”

16. What are Facebook Ads?

“Facebook offers paid placement on their website and mobile apps,” said John Surdakowski, founder of Avex Designs. “Your content, special offers, website or posts can get in front of customers with a few simple clicks. What’s more, your ads will be targeted to a very specific demographic. Facebooks ads are very popular, since they can be quickly deployed.”

This video explains more about Facebook’s targeting capabilities:

To learn more about advertising options, read Manta’s complete guide, “Facebook Ads: 19 Ways to Get More Sales with Social Media Marketing.”

17. How Much do Facebook Ads Cost?

The answer to that question depends on your budget and your goals. Cost of entry is low. According to Surdakowski, you can allocate as little as $5 per day or as much as $500 (or more) per day.

“Before putting your entire marketing budget behind Facebook ads, it would be best to test with a small budget and scale up from there,” he warned.

This video explains how Facebook Ads costs are determined:

18. What is the Facebook Insights Feature?

Facebook Insights shows you all kinds of statistics about your business page. It’s only visible to you, the page administrator, and it can help you judge how well your page is performing.

The amount of info can be overwhelming. Here are the metrics business owners should pay the closest attention to, according to Dennis Yu of BlitzMetrics:

  • Your top posts (i.e. posts with the most impressions and engagement)
  • Who your best fans are (where they live, what they like, how old they are, what they engage with, etc.)
  • How you fare against your competitors

In order to get insight on your competitors’ performance, you should find five other pages to benchmark against in “Pages to Watch.” Then you can look at how fast they’re growing in fans and engagement.

19. What are Facebook Tracking URLs?

It may sound technical, but tracking URLs aren’t that hard to use or understand. Basically, tracking URLs have a special combo of letters and numbers to identify the source of each click. They help you determine how many people actually visit your website because they clicked on the ad.

“Tracking URLs are used by Google Analytics to determine the correct referring source of a website visitor,” said Eve Mayer, CEO and owner of Social Media Delivered. “Facebook provides an easy-to-use tool, which allows creators of Facebook ads to create a URL that will provide Google Analytics with even more detail about how a visitor ended up at the website.”

What are Facebook Tracking URLs?

20. How Do I Use Facebook Live?

Facebook Live is the social media platform’s live video streaming feature, and it can give your followers a more personal view of your business.

“Live video is perfect for really showcasing the human side of your business through storytelling,” Smith said. “With live video streaming, small businesses can take their audience behind the scenes, conduct product demos, introduce staff members, spotlight customer success stories, host Q&A sessions, invite feedback, do interviews and so much more.”

Smith recommends experimenting with your style at first—your videos can be rehearsed or impromptu. But she also stressed the importance of using a tripod and microphone so that your videos aren’t too sloppy.

Lisa Spector owns Through A Dog’s Ear, a company that produces music to calm the canine nervous system. “I recently did a live Canine Classical Concert and broadcast on Facebook Live so that people were invited into my living room,” Spector said. “While there were some tech problems, people still loved it and enjoyed sharing the calming time with their pups at home.”

21. What is Facebook Stories?

Facebook Stories is a new feature that allows users to share photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. If that sounds just like Snapchat and Instagram Stories, it is. Facebook is trying to capitalize on the growing trend of using images and videos (rather than text) to communicate.

Right now, the feature is available only to personal users and can’t be used on business pages. However, it seems likely that if Facebook Stories becomes popular, it will be extended to businesses as well. Small business owners should keep an eye on this trend.

What is Facebook Stories?

22. Can Facebook Generate More Leads and Traffic to My Business?

The short answer is yes. But your success with Facebook depends on your audience and how well you’re able to reach them. If you follow some of the best practices in this guide, you should be able to boost leads and traffic to your business.

“Children, teenagers and young adults will often be easier to reach on other social media platforms,” Mayer observed. (Snapchat, for example, caters to a much younger audience than Facebook.) “You will have to spend some money on Facebook ads and boosted posts to reach new people,” she added.

23. What Should I Never Say on Facebook?

“As tempting as it is to talk politics on Facebook, it’s best to avoid that subject altogether,” Turner said. “Also, if you ever get negative comments on Facebook, be sure to take the high road.”

Getting into arguments with customers on your Facebook page—whether about your business or something unrelated—is a bad idea because it’s a public forum. You could wind up alienating many more people than just that one customer. Instead, keep things professional and upbeat at all times.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

The Mousetrap The World Has Been Waiting For

Conceptually, the theories of persona-building, positioning, and messaging are easy to understand.  However, sometimes it’s helpful for a marketing team to critique a real example and then discuss the parallels to their own business.  An example that everyone can easily relate to, and that is separate from the business you represent, is also an effective way to diffuse any emotion that may hinder folks from seeing the lessons associated with trying to execute a poor go-to-market strategy.

The following is a true story: the case of a better mousetrap.  In 1955, an eager entrepreneur introduced a revolutionary new product that was destined to change the world of “rodent control”.  In addition to producing leaflets, promoting through friends and family, this ad (click on the link below) ran in a variety of publications at the time.

Ad for a better mousetrap, circa 1955

Issues and Opportunities

You can infer a lot regarding the marketing strategy by looking at an example of the execution.  While the product design clearly is creative (and not for the squeamish), the entrepreneur fell into several traps that are common today, especially in hi-tech marketing:

1) Failure To Focus On A Clear Target Segment/persona

Who is the target audience/user/buyer?  It looks like pretty much “everyone.”  For fear of leaving a sales opportunity on the table, the entrepreneur attempted to be all-inclusive.  In a single swoop, he went after farmers, restaurant owners, food processors, meat packers, ships, homes, and orchards.    Although the confusion of trying to address multiple audiences at once may be obvious to us gentle bystanders, one wonders if anyone asked the entrepreneur the following questions:

  • Who is most likely to buy your product? Who is the person?
  • Do all these audiences look alike? behave the same way? have the same concerns?
  • What problem(s) are you trying to solve?
  • How well do you really understand the target buyer?
2) Failure To Properly Position The Product

Every product needs to have positioning statement.

What’s In A Name?

Clearly, not all “mousetraps” are alike.  In 1955 (and even today!), the top-selling mousetrap is the Victor snap-trap.  In 1955 the snap-trap sold for 5 cents.  Our entrepreneur’s mousetrap sells for $29.95.  Branding the product against a generic “mousetrap” nomenclature will not serve his marketing interests.  (Although, a branding effort would introduce its own set of challenges.)

A New Category?

He’s attempted to establish a new category of mousetraps, namely, the “sanitary, self-setting, portable” mousetrap.  This is good and goes a long way to justify such a massive price increase over the competitive alternative. However, what you can’t quite make out in the photos is the following:

  • The mousetrap’s dimensions are 3 ft long, 8 inches wide, and 18 inches high.
  • It holds 3 gallons of water and is quite heavy (especially if loaded with 102 mice!).

NOTE: Years ago, when I developed my first Positioning Workshop, I had the opportunity to view and touch this actual, very real mousetrap.  Unfortunately, it is actually neither, sanitary, self-setting, nor portable.  We have a category mismatch.

Benefit?  Which Benefit?

There are many benefits floating around in the ad.  Which one is most important?  Some seem hard to believe.  Again, it’s the “everything for everyone” approach.For a benefit to be meaningful, it must be relevant to the target audience.  It must also be single-minded, clear, substantially (e.g. you can prove any claim with data), and differentiable.

Differentiation?

We come back to the 5 cents snap-trap alternative.  If anything, this ad makes the competitor’s product look better.

3) Failure To Have A Crisp, Clear “elevator Pitch”

Because there was no positioning statement to guide the marketing strategy, the messaging is a confused mess.  The entrepreneur would have greatly benefited from the Message Box template where he could underscore 4 key messages:

  1. An “engagement message” designed to establish relevance with the target audience and their primary “rodent control” pain points they are trying to address.
  2. A “solution message” that illustrates why not all mousetraps are the same and certain applications require something much more than the standard snap-trap.
  3. A “reinforcement message” that shows how his invention is superior to alternatives.
  4. A “value message” that describes how the target’s life will be better than before after using his new, revolutionary product.
Critique Your Own Work

How well does your ads/direct mail/website stack up?  Use the mousetrap example as a teachable exercise.  Never be afraid to critique your marketing strategies with regards to your persona, positioning statement, and messaging.  It’s not about placing blame; it’s about reaching the “next level” of marketing effectiveness.  Otherwise, your success may be limited to selling 4 units to your brother-in-law.

Good luck!

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

The Power of E-mail

If you think e-mail is just for keeping in touch with friends, or forwarding pictures and funny stories, think again. Email is probably the biggest advancement in marketing since Johann Gutenberg invented movable type for the printing press. Every business can use the power of e-mail to significantly increase its marketing results.

Here are just a few of the benefits of e-mail marketing.

1) EXTREMELY LOW COST

Before we moved our business to the Internet we relied heavily on direct mail to help market our business. Direct mail is a powerful means of attracting prospects and converting them into customers, but it does cost money. The cost to mail out a simple, one-page prospecting letter, is about $.40 - $ .45 cents (that includes copying the letter, the envelope, and the postage). Then there is the time to label the envelopes, fold and stuff them and affix postage to them. Again, direct mail can be a very profitable marketing vehicle, but it does require time and money. With e-mail, you eliminate almost all of the costs, as well as most of the time. With a reliable list-serv, like Topica.com -- you can send a message to 100, 10,000, or even 100,000 people on your list with the push of a button. And the service is free!

2) TIME SAVINGS

Once you create your e-mail message, it's just a matter of sending it to the people on your list. You do that with the press of a button, and within minutes most of the people on your list will have received your message. You don't send one e-mail at a time -- you send to everyone on your list at once. That's powerful. We have literally begun receiving hundreds of dollars in orders for our products within 10 minutes of sending out our e-mail newsletters. No other marketing vehicle can provide you with such instantaneous results.

3) YOU CAN TEST YOUR MARKETING INEXPENSIVELY

Rather than investing money in a newspaper ad, flyers, radio, cable TV or direct mail, for a test, you can simply test the idea on your email list of prospects and customers. For little or no cost, you can learn the results in just a few days.

HOW CAN YOU USE E-MAIL TO HELP YOU MARKET YOUR BUSINESS?

4) SEND A NEWSLETTER

If you sell cosmetics or Tupperware, you could create a short monthly newsletter of tips related to your product or service. Of course, you would include a promotion for one or two of your products in each issue. Don't think such an idea applies to your business?? One of our clients is a frozen custard stand -- nearly 4,000 of their customers have signed up to receive their monthly newsletter. Every time the newsletter comes out, their sales increase. You can do it too.

5) ANNOUNCE A SALE OR A SPECIAL PROMOTION

If you are going to have a sale or a special promotion, make sure your prospects and customers know about it. Send them all a simple email announcement telling them the details.

6) SEND AN INVITATION

Having an open house, or a special presentation? Let your list know about it via . . . e-mail.

7) DIRECT PEOPLE TO YOUR WEB SITE OR PLACE OF BUSINESS

If you have a Web site, you can use e-mail to alert your list about new features or new content available on your site, or a reason to visit your business.

8) PROVIDE PRODUCT OR SERVICE INFORMATION OR ANSWER QUESTIONS

Direct your prospects or customers to send their questions to you via e-mail, then send them the answers through e-mail. You can even have standardized information that can be sent to them to save you time.

9) REMIND YOUR LIST OF UPCOMING HOLIDAYS AND EVENTS

Holidays, celebrations and events have always provided perfect tie-ins for product and service promotions. Remind your e-mail list of the upcoming holiday or event and tie it into a special promotion.We hope these e-mail marketing tips will get you thinking about how you can utilize the power of e-mail marketing to grow your business.

 

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Marketing Tips

With more than a decade of experience in marketing, ranking from pay-per-click to direct mail, I’ve seen a lot of failures and far more successes when it comes to marketing.

Today, the art of marketing is far more complex than it once was. However, many of the same basic principles still apply. Too often, professional marketers and small business owners overlook the basic techniques that have separated successful campaigns from those that never turn a profit. Here is my all time list of effective marketing tips.

Know your audience. Successful campaigns get that way because marketers know their audience. They fully understand their needs, how to help meet those needs and how to create demand. Knowing and understanding your audience through proper market segmentation means a well-targeted campaign that generates a profitable return.

Focus on the offer. A marketing offer is the driving force of marketing promotions that drive results. In fact, market testing has proven that the offer is the most significant criterion for conversion. Focus on your offer if you want to be successful.

Split test. Never ever run a campaign without testing something. One of the most common is a split test which allows you to simultaneously test two versions of something. It can be a web page, post card, or email. Split testing is essential for improving performance.

Never work alone. The most creative ideas come from working with other creative people. Don’t feel like you need to have all the answers or great ideas. You may start with an idea, but an open dialog with creative individuals will make it better.

Don’t sell on price. I’ve seen so many marketers fail because they sell on price alone. This leads to a discounting war, lower profitability, and often bankruptcy. Rather, focus on creating so much value that the perception of price becomes insignificant.

Consistent messaging. Consider the entire user experience before you launch a campaign. From email to website to offer, is the prospect having a consistent user experience? If they are, your campaigns stand above 98% of others.

Create value after the sale. As marketers, it’s our job to understand our market segment and build relationships, not dump people off at the front door of our store and walk away. Focus as much of your energy on building relationships with customers as you do prospects.

Test. Test. Test. In addition to split testing, you should consider multiple forms of testing in each marketing discipline. For direct mail, test headlines, offers, copy, time of direct mail drop, etc. Consider testing a life long mission.

Integrated Marketing Works Best. You can’t rely on one form of marketing to carry you to success. It’s okay to generate most of your leads or sales through PPC marketing if you will but what happens when that dries out? Use multiple media sources to meet your goals.

Nothing can replace experience. You can run out and hire all of the best consultants in the world, but you still have to do the work. Nothing can replace actual experience. It will make you a stronger marketer and more successful in the long term.

Apply these helpful marketing tips if you want to be truly successful. These techniques and tips are applied by successful marketers on a daily basis. The result is an ever growing success rate of marketing success.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

SEO Strategy Set-It-and-Forget-It

As A Small-business Owner, You Barely Have Time To Develop A Website, Let Alone Master The Latest Digital Marketing Tricks. This Strategy Can Help!

Many of your potential clients will begin their search for products and services using search engines like Google and Bing. Manta’s recent millennial marketing survey found that websites and blogs make up 16% of small-business owners’ marketing to that valuable customer market.

Search engine optimization (SEO)—the technique that will keep your company website and blog at the top of search results—can be a complex process to master and maintain.

Research shows that web users are most likely to visit sites that rank high on the first page of search results. Keeping your business at the top of Google and Bing searches can result in more visitors to your website. But earning your place on that front page can be a full-time job in itself.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take heart. Very few small-business owners have time to sit in front of their computers all day monitoring their search rankings. Mastering a few SEO basics can help boost visits to your company website.

The first step is to know the following two things about your business:

  1. What unique products and services do you offer customers?
  2. What are customers looking for when they do business with you?

Spelling out these two simple points will allow you to develop authentic descriptions of your products and services for your website.

For example, Steve Ozment, co-owner of Flowerama, has a clear sense of what he wants customers to know about his flower shops. “I want them to know that we are quality and that we are value. We’re going to deliver what we say we’re going to do,” he said.

When it comes to Flowerama’s website, Ozment added, “We need to make sure we’re giving [customers] content that is not only interesting, but valuable. … We do it because these are our best customers. These are the people who follow us.”

Try the same strategy with your own website. Don’t try to “trick” search engines by stuffing too many keywords into your business description. Instead, focus on information about your offerings that Internet users and potential customers can use, along with client testimonials that describe your business’ quality services.

Because Google and Bing rely on the value of the information on business websites—not just on the number of keywords stuffed onto a web page—a company blog can help you rise in the search rankings. Some small-business owners have the marketing budget to hire a copywriter to produce blog articles. Depending on your location and the number of blog posts you want, hiring a copywriter will cost anywhere from a couple hundred to few thousand dollars.

This expense can be built into your marketing budget. Reputable digital marketers and business-listing services are well aware of the SEO value that original content will bring to your website and blog.

If you are a do-it-yourself marketer, getting your company blogs up and running is quick and simple. You may even enjoy sharing your knowledge of your industry and blogging about the business you love.

If you haven’t set up a blog already, most website services allow you to add a blog function to your existing site. Take a few minutes to map out how often you’ll be able to post blogs and what you’d like to share with your customers.

Refer back to those two questions you answered earlier, then ask yourself:

  • Can I spare 15 minutes a week to post a blog?
  • Which details about my company am I comfortable sharing? What updates about my products and services are nonproprietary and will be of interest to my customers?
  • What is happening in my industry that will help customers see the value in my products and services?

Remember, you don’t have to spend too much time on blog posts. Just a few paragraphs, a photo or a video posted once a week will start you on your way to better search engine placement. It’s a good idea to be consistent with your posts; a steady stream of new content will help your search ranking and keep readers coming back to learn more about your industry and business. Be sure to share your posts in your marketing emails and on your company Facebook and Twitter accounts.

If your information is helpful, other websites will link to your page, boosting your Google and Bing rankings even more. Who knows: You may even enjoy blogging about your business every week.

There are no shortcuts to boosting your Internet visibility. But developing a website with these content techniques in mind will allow you to step away from your keyboard and get back to business.

 

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

How To Build a Viral E-book That Brings You Traffic

Every time I release a free e-book to my subscribers, I get great feedback about how awesome I am and how they could NEVER create anything so cool.

((sigh))

I have a confession to make. You see ... it is really, really simple to make a short, viral e-book. It's not rocket science, I promise.

If you know how to use Word for Windows, you can create an e-book. Now, as far as doing market research to find out if anyone will "buy" your e-book  - that's a whole 'nother ball game. But, if you want to make a nice little giveaway for some viral marketing, it's easy as pie!

Step 1: Write your ebook in Word for Windows.

As you write it, keep the following in mind:

This e-book should serve a purpose, either to generate traffic to your website or to make affiliate sales. However, it should also be informative and useful to the reader. This e-book will represent your company. Make it quality.

Double check that all links are active before you save your final copy in Word.

Keep your images and pictures small, because you don't want the final product to have a large file size. When you're saving your images, test the file types. I find that saving an image in .jpg is smaller than saving it in some other file sizes. Test yours, too.

Step 2: Go to my favorite tool, http://convert.neevia.com/

See where it says "Select the file"? Browse to your Word for Windows file and click Upload and Convert

That's all there is. Like I said, EASY EASY EASY.

Now, it's your job to get your Ebook into the hands of people.

  1. Send it to your mailing list or newsletter.
  2. Allow your friends to give it away.
  3. Submit it to free e-book directories.
  4. Use it as an enticement for people to sign up for your mailing list (You can say "Sign up and receive this cool e-book - free!")
  5. You can even give it away as a free gift to people who win your auctions on eBay to make your auction stand out from others.

So, if you'd like to have viral marketing working for you, too, get started today on your giveaway!

 

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Defining Social Media ROI

Defining Return On Investment Is As Easy As Subtracting Dollars Spent From Net Profit. If Only It Was That Simple To Measure Social Media ROI.

Calculating social impact on current and potential customers is kind of like trying to figure out if you’re having any influence on the behavior of your teenagers. You’re pretty sure they know you exist because they’ve liked you at one time or another and you see them around occasionally, but they don’t seem to be hearing you, so you find yourself always looking for new ways to deliver important messages. And just when you’ve given up and don’t expect any change in their behavior, they show up and surprise you—sometimes months or even years later.

In these days of constantly changing platform algorithms and ever-shrinking organic reach, getting a grip on the value of your social media efforts—especially if you’re not paying to play—can be frustrating. A recent Manta survey found that small business owners are evenly split on their willingness to spend dollars to promote their business on social media. And among those who do invest, nearly 60 percent report no return.

Those numbers raise a couple of questions. What exactly does that ‘R’ in ROI mean? Is it a relationship? Revenue? Return? How do you define social media ROI? What are the goals you want to measure, and how do you measure them?

Defining The ‘R’

The challenge of defining social ROI. Many people mistake the ‘R’ in ROI for revenue, and return can come in a lot of different forms. I would look at it in terms of what matters to your business, what are you looking to accomplish? Not what do you want social media to do for you, but at the end of the day, what are you hoping to achieve, what does success look like?

Once you’ve pondered and answered those questions, you can begin to look at social media to achieve goals and measure something that actually matters to your organization. Is your focus on pushing a product or improving a current product? Is it customer service? Is it increased media placement? Is it lead generation? Is it building community and connecting with current customers? Or is it the Holy Grail, acquiring new customers?

Objectives-Based Returns

Manta’s survey asked small business owners to define their primary goal for using social media. Nearly 37 percent identified acquiring and engaging new customers as their top aim, followed by driving awareness and marketing (17 percent) and gaining lead generations/referrals (15 percent). Only eight percent said building community was paramount.

Those results aren’t surprising, says Dooley, but they are perhaps a bit out of order because the content isn’t a linear path to conversion. “I actually think social media is better for maintaining or increasing touch points with current customers or people who are already in your circle versus acquiring new customers. Truthfully, especially for small businesses, your next wave of customers is going to come from people who are already connected to your current customers. That’s word-of-mouth 101.”

Social media is the digital platform for word-of-mouth marketing. Set your objective, find out which platforms your current customers prefer (ask, research the social media habits of your desired demographic), what they’re talking about, who they’re talking to and why.

“A great posture to have is to treat it like a community,” noted Dooley. “The term target audience is used a lot, and that to me is the wrong term because I think it makes it seem like the band is on stage and entertaining and sending information out to influence the audience. And it’s more complicated than that with social media. I think the posture should be more like you’re sitting in the audience in the seat next to them, and talking with them and learning from them and creating rapport and inviting them to connect with you and do business with you.”

Successful social media engagement that eventually leads to conversion is active, planned and ongoing. Listen and respond rather than sit back and observe passive one-way conversations. Dooley tells a story about a client in growth mode seeking a younger restaurant clientele. His agency suggested adding a platform to their already successful Facebook efforts, and they suspected Twitter was the right choice but did a test to confirm. They ran a Facebook contest and as part of the entry form asked entrants what another platform they used most often. Twitter was the overwhelming answer, so the next step was a platform search for brand mentions that resulted in a fine of hundreds of tweets a week. “We basically said, this is like people picking up the phone and calling your customer service and you not picking up the phone.”

Measuring Return

So you’ve planned, connected and shared your stories—now what? Social ROI calculators are easy to find, but may not account for the metrics necessary to set the stage for your particular social objectives. Dooley suggests tracking a handful of performance metrics, specifically click-through rates (Facebook). And for content, track repins, retweets and shares. Use Web analytics to look at unique visitors from social and their time on your site. “The ultimate goal is to have someone else saying this piece of content is so good that I’m going to take the time, and put my social reputation on the line for putting this content in front of my audience.”

Those nonlinear conversions that happen because you’ve created a social customer relationship over time aren’t easy to track, but your objective planning will include campaigns—coupons, promo codes, contests that you can follow and measure in dollar-for-dollar return. And then you can account for all three ‘R’s—relationship, return, and revenue.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Why a FAQ is One of Your Hardest Working Marketing Tools

FAQ pages are quickly becoming a standard convention for service firm websites. But in this article, I’d like to broaden your appreciation of a FAQ page to what I believe it really is: a high-return, low-cost marketing tool that can address a broad range of marketing, sales and service tasks.

Reasons every service firm should have a FAQ page
A FAQ helps potential buyers educate and pre qualify themselves 

As visitors land on your site, some of them naturally wish to learn how your capabilities can help them. Enter the FAQ. With an eye towards creating FAQs that anticipate and answer prospects most pressing questions, you can actually move the sales dialogue along—without committing any labor to the selling process.  For example, if your FAQ page features questions like "What is the profile of a best-fit client for your firm?", “What kinds of projects does your firm specialize in?” and “What do you typically charge for a project?” you can both educate and pre qualify prospects with your FAQ.

A content-rich FAQ page reduces demands on your support staff

FAQ pages evolved from a product manufacturer’s need to free up their customer service staffs from routine customer questions. By surfing a FAQ page for questions and answers, a potentially confused (thus potentially dissatisfied) customer could find the answer to their question and not burden your service staff. The same principle applies to any service firm. The easier you make it for prospects and buyers to serve themselves, the more satisfied they become working with your firm.

A FAQ acts as a great internal training device 

imagine the HR director for your firm who is training a roomful of new hires. Imagine that as part of her standard orientation, she calls up your firm’s FAQ page online and walks the new recruits through each FAQ. In a matter of 20 minutes, she can educate recruits on the most fundamental marketing and service issues of your firm such as “What makes our firm different from all others in the market?” and “Who do I go to if I have a service problem?”, and as a result train a new group of marketing ambassadors.

imagine the HR director for your firm who is training a roomful of new hires. Imagine that as part of her standard orientation, she calls up your firm’s FAQ page online and walks the new recruits through each FAQ. In a matter of 20 minutes, she can educate recruits on the most fundamental marketing and service issues of your firm such as “What makes our firm different from all others in the market?” and “Who do I go to if I have a service problem?”, and as a result train a new group of marketing ambassadors.

A FAQ page can help optimize your website’s internal links 

If you look at Amazon’s Investor Relations page (http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=97664&p=irol-faq ), you’ll see that not only does it provide answers to the most relevant questions, but it also provides relevant internal links back to sections of the Amazon site—in other words, Google Juice.

FAQs that answer prospect questions

Prospective clients have very different questions about your firm versus clients. Most prospect questions revolve around why they should do business with your firm. Here are some standard FAQs in this area:

Why would my organization need to hire an architectural firm (or marketing agency, or engineering firm, or consulting firm)?

What does an architectural firm (or marketing agency, or engineering firm, or consulting firm) do

How is (Your firm) different from all other firms in your industry?

What's the profile of an ideal client for (Your firm)?

What reasonable outcomes can I expect from working with (Your firm)?

Why would I choose (Your firm) over one of the larger firms?

What do you charge? How do you bill? What are your terms?

Do you guarantee your work?

What steps are necessary before we can start working together?

FAQs that answer course-of-business questions

FAQs can also be used to manage relationships with clients well after the ink has dried on the contract. Another set of FAQs should deal with the common questions clients have during the course of working on a project with your firm.

These course-of-business FAQs include:

Who is assigned to our account?

How often do we meet? Where do we meet?

What are our responsibilities during the project?

What are your responsibilities during the project?

Where do I go to get my service issues addressed?

How often will our company meet with yours during the project?

What recourse do we have to terminate a relationship once our work begins?

What options do we have to continue working with you after the project is complete?

How to find the answers to FAQs that stump you

If you don’t have all the answers to FAQs at your fingertips, you might try these avenues to find more information:

Sales and customer service field reps

Sales reports

Customer service feedback forms

Customer service phone recordings

Company chat room responses

Company blog comments.

 

If you can’t find enough FAQ information using these, why not take this opportunity to reach out to your clients? You could email a smattering of your best clients with an email that goes something like this:

Hi, 

We at (Your firm) are developing a FAQ page for our website and are wondering if we could get your input. Would you have time to answer two brief questions?:

 

  1. What were the most common questions you had about our firm before becoming a client?

 

  1. What kinds of questions do you routinely ask about our firm after becoming a client?

 

Sincerely,

Your Name

Your Firm, Inc.

You’d be surprised how many people will actually help you when you reach out to them for help like this.

 

Some tips on formatting your FAQ page

In my view, FAQ’s work best when each FAQ leads off with a question. It’s now a standard convention to write FAQs this way. However, Google Reader’s FAQ page (http://www.google.com/help/reader/publishers.html) doesn’t follow this format and I find the page a bit more difficult to navigate.

If your page has just a few FAQs on it, five or less, just list the questions with the responding answer in random order on the page and let visitors scroll to find the FAQ they’re looking for. But if your firm has more than five FAQ’s, start off with a “table of contents” that lists all the questions in a hyperlink format. Then, after the visitor clicks on the question they want answered, they dynamically jump to the answer further down on the page.

For those pages with multiple FAQs, consider sequencing your FAQs. Chronologically sequencing your FAQs means that the first FAQs would deal with prospect questions they want answered before doing business with you. The next section of FAQ’s would cover the stage of signing a contract with your firm. And the last section might deal with common post-sale FAQs.

When writing the FAQs themselves, I’ve found that formatting the questions differently from the answers (e.g. italicizing the question and using a standard font for the answer) is a handy way for the reader to distinguish between the two parts of every FAQ.

Categorizing a whole bunch of  FAQs

When you arrive at the IRS’s FAQ page (http://www.irs.gov/faqs/index.html), you’re confronted with hundreds of frequently asked questions (I have about a hundred myself). How do they organize and categorize all these FAQs? Quite well, I think.  They group their hundreds of FAQs by category, subcategory and even by keyword.

Another service organization, the U.S. Copyright Office, sorts all its FAQs by major subheading http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/ . So, if you have a question about registering your work, you scroll down to the heading marked “Registering a Work”. Then under that heading you’ll find over 15 specific FAQs including “How do I register my copyright?”, “Where can I get application forms?” and “Can I file online?”

One thing I’d like to see more on FAQ pages is a question at the very end of the FAQ page that says “Didn’t find the FAQ you were looking for? Email us and we’ll consider adding it”. In this age of Web 2.0 why not reach out to your market and seeks its opinion?

Henry Kissinger once said, “Any fact that needs to be disclosed should be put out now because otherwise, the bleeding will not end.” I’d like to alter that slightly to read “Any FAQ should be put out now so the buying can begin”. If you’re like most service firms I work with, you struggle every day to generate marketing tools that are low cost, high ROI: ones that move a buyer to a sale, and keep current clients by strengthening the relationship. Consider adding a FAQ page to your marketing toolkit because it can do all this and more.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

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Lets get social. We would love to meet you! We Are Currently Open Monday-Sunday 8am-11pm Christopher@FivensonStudios.Com

Name: Christopher
Phone: (734) 224-9696
Address: 1214 S. University Ave Unit 4075 Ann Arbor, MI 48104

734-224-9696