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    Make The Most Of Small Business Saturday

    Last updated 1 year ago

    This article was originally published on Mediapost.com.

    The Shop Small movement is back again this year, encouraging consumers and small business owners to get involved with Small Business Saturday on November 24. With national TV commercials and extensive online awareness campaigns, your local business is bound to benefit. But make sure to do your part by adhering to these four tips to help get the most out this well-publicized event.

    Socialize your involvement early on.
    Prior to Small Business Saturday, let your community know via Twitter, Facebook, in-store promotions, newsletters and other social channels to stay tuned for compelling offers and sales that you will make available to customers on that Saturday. If you are on Twitter, let everyone know you are participating and add the #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat hashtags to your tweets.

    Offer a compelling deal for the day.
    To compete with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, get creative with an offer that will drive in-store visits and sales. Highly compelling offers such as “Buy One, Get One Free” on select items, or 30%-50% off purchases will help you compete in a very competitive shopping season. By sharing your offer with the Amex Small Business Facebook page, you may also be included in their city guides in select markets.
     
    Create a video to personalize your business and explain why Small Business Saturday matters to you.
    There are more than 27 million small businesses in the U.S. that make up 60-80% of all new jobs created (Small Business Association), so let your community know why it's important to shop local! Video is an authentic way to let your customers know why shopping local is vital to the community and what your business has to offer. Personal assistance, unique products and knowledge of your customer base can make that personal touch that much more powerful.

    Leverage the creative materials created by American Express.
    This year it's easier than ever for small businesses to participate, thanks to the wealth of marketing materials that American Express has created for local businesses to promote their participation. From in-store signage and e-marketing tools to free Facebook ads, local businesses can leverage these turnkey materials to bring awareness to their products and services.  
     
    What are some other good ideas you have to take advantage of this event? Would love to see your ideas in the comments.
     
    About the Author
    Mike Merrill is Director of Content and Vertical Marketing at ReachLocal. He writes about social media, online marketing, and technology. Mike is founder and Chairman of the Social Media Club of Dallas.
     

    How To: Create and Use YouTube Video Content on your Website

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Creating videos is a popular alternative to writing long-form articles when it comes to featuring your products and services online. Short videos are especially effective for conveying a brief message and have been shown to increase the amount of time customers will spend on your website. Plus, creating a branded YouTube channel with videos optimized for search engines can be a great boost for your organic ranking and provides you with engaging content to share with visitors to your business website. But if creating and uploading quality videos seems overwhelming to you, try these easy and effective ways to get the most out of video as part of your online marketing.

    Don’t be Afraid of Your Smartphone
    Our Smartphones help us to do many things, from finding a local restaurant to sharing updates with our social networks. So, why not use one to make a video for your business? On most Smartphones today, you can record your video and directly upload it to your YouTube channel. When filming your video, make sure you shoot it horizontally, since vertical videos don’t translate well on YouTube. You can also purchase hardware, like a tripod or microphone, to improve the quality of your video. And remember,  the shorter your video, the better for your audience; in fact, 85% of people will complete a 30-second video clip, while only 50% will complete a video ranging from 2 to 10 minutes. This can also significantly help your video ranking in YouTube search, as YouTube now ranks videos based on their watch time instead of view count.

    Tell Potential Customers Who You Are
    When first researching a business, potential customers want to know what your business does and how it applies to their needs or wants. What better way to get personal with your current and potential customers than with a video that explains your business and why it’s different from the competition. In fact, one survey reported that 9 out of 10 respondents said that they would watch a video if it contained product information or a demonstration. Plus, filming videos like customer reviews can also demonstrate the value you provide to real people, and show that your business is transparent.

    Feature an Interesting Product or Service
    A recent study shows that 52% of consumers are more confident in a product after they have watched a video about it, and are less likely to return the product. In addition, product or service videos have been shown to promote loyalty and boost engagement by more than two in five viewers. Not only will your customers know the type of business you are from a product or service video, but they will be more inclined to buy that particular product or use that particular service if they can see first-hand how it will impact them as a consumer.

    Don’t Forget the Titles
    When adding your videos to YouTube, the titles should read as a user-friendly piece of content and be search-engine friendly. There is a 100 character limit for YouTube videos, so it’s important to be as clear and descriptive as possible. Search engines like Google will only look at the text surrounding the video, which is why it’s imperative to use relevant business keywords to help them rank higher in the search engines. Use keywords that make sense for your business and for the video you are creating. In addition, using trigger words like review”, “about”, or “how to” can help increase views on your videos.

    Add Your YouTube Videos to Your Website
    YouTube makes adding video to your own website relatively easy with a specific embed code for each video. Here’s how to embed a video on your website or blog:

    1. Go to the particular video you would like on your website.

    2. Click the “Share” button, located just underneath the video.

    3. You will see different options here. Select the “Embed” option. Once you select this option, the code will show up below. Post this HTML code to the article or page where you want to feature the video.

    The videos you upload that have specific information about your business, product or service will make a great addition to your website. This will keep your customers on your website longer, which could turn into potential sales.

    Are you using videos to tell your story online? Let us know what types of video work for you!

    About the Author

    Lindsay Paramore is an expert on online marketing and branding for business owners. She works as a Web Presence Professional for ReachLocal.

    Cause Marketing: Why Being an Advocate in Your Local Community Matters

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Online marketing has enabled small businesses to reach more prospects and customers than ever before. But how can these platforms help you build the brand loyalty and repeat purchases you need to drive long-term success? Many businesses find success with cause marketing, or cause-related marketing, which allows them to create and build better relationships with consumers. What exactly is cause marketing, and how can you use it to help your business?

    Understanding Cause Marketing and Its Benefits

    According to Wikipedia, “cause-related marketing refers to a type of marketing in the cooperative efforts of a "for profit" business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit.” American Express coined the phrase in 1983 to describe its efforts to raise money for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty, in which it donated one cent to restoring the landmark every time someone used their card. This increased card usage by 28% and the number of new cardholders by 45%.

    Cause marketing ties a company and its products and services to a charitable cause with the goal of boosting sales or overall image. Cause marketing can not only boost sales for SMBs, but also enhance brand loyalty and repeat purchases from existing clients. In fact, the  Do Well Do Good Public Opinion Survey on Cause-Marketing found that 70% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product that supports a cause and 69% of consumers are willing to drive out of their way to purchase from a business that supports a cause that means a lot to them.

    Choosing the Cause for your Marketing Strategy

    Choosing the right cause for your cause-related marketing strategy is the first step to your success. To find the right cause for your business to publically support, it should relate to your brand. For example, if you’re a sports medical clinic, you could consider supporting a charity that provides sports equipment to underprivileged schools or free health clinics for local children’s sporting teams, so that your customers will immediately get the connection to your brand. Before you jump into collaborating with any organization, you can collect data about your consumers to learn what they value most. Once you have a short list of causes you’d like to support, ask your customers what they think with email surveys, in-store notecards, or face-to-face interactions to help you determine which cause would fit best with your business. Then, after determining the level of involvement with the cause, you should contact the organization to notify them about your wish to support their cause, and ask for permission to use their name, information and other materials in your promotion. This can also be good for you, as they might recognize your support and participation across their own Web presence. 

    Promoting your Cause

    Once you have permission to use your cause’s details, it’s time to promote your supporting efforts. Use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube to make your fans and followers of your brand’s involvement and encourage them to share the news. One idea is to create a specific campaign around your charity. For instance, you can create a campaign to donate 10% of your proceeds to your charity on the first Tuesday of every month. Create a Web page for your campaign, and then spread the word about your “event” with a blog post, pictures, a short video about your cause, and other social posts. Promoting your campaign will increase awareness of your cause, boost customer loyalty, increase online word of mouth, and help drive more traffic to your business.

    Boosting Your Online Reputation

    Another benefit from cause marketing you may not have considered is the impact to your online reputation. Your business’ online reputation, including reviews, posts, comments, likes, and more, can affect whether or not a consumer will do business with you, you can use cause marketing to improve your reputation online. For instance, you can ask fans and followers to “like” and comment on posts about your charitable efforts as well as to share or retweet them with their networks, which can help more positive content show up in when someone searches for your business. Plus, supporting a cause that is important to your audience can increase customer loyalty and help you identify advocates for your business who are willing to promote your content and leave you positive reviews online.

    Cause marketing is an excellent way for you to be a part of and give back to your local community. Plus, it’s a great strategy to consider when differentiating your brand from your competitors, both online and offline. With any marketing strategy, it’s important to create new, creative, and customized ideas for your brand that effectively grab the attention of your audience. Brainstorm ideas with your employees and find out what causes they feel fit best with your business.

    About the Author

    Ashley Stalnaker is a guest blogger and Web Presence Professional at ReachLocal. As part of the Auto Services Team, she consults with many auto dealerships throughout the U.S. about SEO and Internet marketing daily.

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    ReachLocal Reviews: Clients Love Our Mobile App

    Last updated 1 year ago

    We recently launched the ReachLocal App to help our clients see the ROI of their ReachLocal online marketing efforts. This mobile app puts clients’ leads in the palm of their hands, enabling them to get alerts, play back calls, and get detailed reports about their marketing performance while on the go. Here’s what three of our clients have to say about how the ReachLocal App is already impacting their business.

    Ferrari Driving School

    “The mobile app has been tremendous for us. We just started using it two weeks ago, but immediately we saw the value. And, all of our management team is using it, and we’re using it to track our calls as they come in.” – Michelangelo Pinto, Vice President 

     

    Texas Best Fence

    “The ReachLocal mobile app is outstanding… You can actually go back and listen to the calls; you know exactly where it’s coming from, and bam—there’s your lead generation and so there’s your ROI.” – Colby Coward, Owner

     

    Midway Car Rental

    “I can listen to it in the car in traffic, easily listen to the calls, and know what I want to discuss the following day with employees – and you're not confided to using it in an office." - Beth Eidman, Director of Website Operations

     

    For more ReachLocal Reviews, check out our reviews playlist on YouTube. And, to learn more about the mobile app, visit the ReachLocal App page on our website, or if you’re a ReachLocal client, download it for free on Android or Apple today.

    If you’re already using the ReachLocal App, let us know what you love about it by leaving us a comment!

    Checking Out New Places with Foursquare Ratings

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Following a recent iOS update, Foursquare added a new ratings system to its Explore feature. This new ratings system will give Foursquare users a quick glance at how much people like the businesses featured in Explorer’s personalized recommendations on both mobile and PC versions.

    Unlike other review sites like Yelp and Google+ Local, Foursquare utilizes its tips, likes, dislikes, loyalty, and actual check-ins to create a score from 1 to 10 for each location listed.  Check out this blog from VentureBeat blog to learn more about these new Foursquare ratings

    Are you using Foursquare as part of your online marketing strategy? What do you think about the new ratings feature? Let us know in a comment!  

    About the Author

    Tara Banda writes about how small business owners can reach local customers through online marketing for the ReachLocal blog. You can connect with her on Twitter

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