Brand Reputation Management: What is it & Why is it Important?

Dealers Digital provides online reputation management services in Lexington, Kentucky What is Brand Reputation Management?

Your Online Brand Reputation is the image of your company seen by internet users. It’s how the public feels about your products and perceives your brand. A positive brand reputation- both on and offline- means that customers not only trust your business, but they are also likely to purchase your product or service.

Brand Reputation Management is the process of monitoring how consumers perceive your business and taking strategic action when necessary to improve your brands image.

The key to a winning reputation management strategy is recognizing that you don’t have to wait for people to form their own opinions of your brand. Instead, by building your brand’s experiences around your target customers’ needs, wants, values and opinions, you can also shape how they perceive your company.

Brand safety ensures advertisements, their content and any content shared by brands are appropriate and not associated with topics of consumer opinions that may be negative. By making sure your advertising is legitimate, your consumers won’t feel deceived by your brand and keeps them from having to second guess your business or distrust what you have to offer.

Various factors such as, online reviews, consumer forums, news articles, social media behavior and visibility in search results all impact your brand reputation. Your online brand reputation has become increasingly more important as the digital era continues to explode.

Building a strong brand takes a lot of work. Having a solid reputation strategy will not only help you on your goals of achieving your ideal perception but will also help when your brand inevitably must deal with a crisis.

Why is Brand Reputation Management Important?

Creates More Loyal Customers: For Outdoor Power Equipment companies, the majority of earnings come from a long and loyal customer set. When you follow a brand management strategy, you can look more closely at what avenues will attract and retain the most loyal customers. Customer Loyalty programs work because people like to do business with people they like and trust. Maintaining your brand’s reputation helps to build that trust.

Quickens Your Response to the Competition: Having a marketing strategy in place will help you identify what marketing or sales tactics you need when dealing with a competitive threat. Your Brand reputation strategy can help you decide if it’s a better idea to prioritize a new marketing campaign that focuses on selling to your existing clients, or if it’s better to narrow in on acquiring new customers in a currently underserved area.

Stabilizes Employee Growth: If you articulate the way you want your brand to be perceived, it’s much easier to identify good hires that will promote the culture you are trying to create. People look for jobs where they feel fulfilled and can make a meaningful contribution to something they believe in. Companies that have a clear brand identity and a well-founded brand reputation are the ones who offer these types of opportunities to perspective employees. With a great reputation both inside and outside, a company will have a more devoted workforce and lower levels of turnover and turmoil.

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Key Elements to a Winning Brand Reputation Management Strategy:

Build Your Brand Identity: Before you can even begin to think about a brand management strategy, you must first create a brand worth managing. Developing a strong brand identity ensures you have a clear understanding of what your company stands for and can help guide decisions in certain situations.

Your brand identity should include:

  • Logo, Colors & Imagery that are Cohesive
  • A Consistent Voice from the Brand
  • A Clear Company Mission, Vision and Value Statement

Establish Your Online Presence: Create a website that will allow visitors to experience your brand identity and form an accurate impression of your business right from the start. Setup and Manage your Google Business Profile and Social Media Accounts.

Actively Ask for and Respond to Reviews: The average consumer will read 10 reviews of your company prior to deciding they can or cannot trust your brand. Make sure to include a place for customers to leave reviews and include them as testimonials on your website. No matter the venue, make sure that you respond to every review as they come in, even the bad ones. If you address them honestly and quickly, many times you will find that you are able to turn a poor experience around and retain your customer’s business. Not only that, but it will show other people reading the reviews, that your brand cares about your consumers and that you will listen and resolve issues and complaints when they arise.

Listen to Feedback: Keeping an eye on what is being said about your brand is key to reputation management. Add a form to your website to create a place for customer feedback. The input you will receive is incredibly valuable.

Improve the Customer Experience: According to Microsoft Consumer Data, 58% of Consumers who feel like their experience falls short with a brand will sever all ties with them. It’s not just the lost revenue that you should concern yourself with. Customers who have had a poor experience are much more likely to leave a public facing review for a company than those who had a good one.

94% of consumers say a bad review has convinced them to avoid a business.

You must be ready to manage your brand reputation before others do it for you. A single bad review can deter multiple potential customers from doing business with your brand.

Company Culture Counts: Good things happen when a company promotes a healthy and positive internal environment. By giving your team members meaningful work and empowering them to take charge of their professional lives, they will become more confident and productive collaborators instead of individual contributors. This has a huge impact on your public reputation. When employees are more satisfied and fulfilled by their work, they will take pride in what they do, and as a result, do better work. Company culture also effects your internal brand reputation. The better supported your employees feel, the prouder of their work they will be which in turn will have a positive influence on your overall brand reputation.

Create a Brand Style Guide: As your company grows. You must always maintain the same identity and message across all channels with internal documentation. Creating a Brand Style Guide ensures that everything remains consistent when it comes to design choices, communication strategies, quality of customer service, etc.

Brand Reputation is critical to any growing business. A Positive brand reputation builds loyalty and increases customer confidence in your brand and product, ultimately, driving both sales and bottom-line growth.

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Dealers Digital is different because we know the outdoor power and agriculture industry. We know what media to buy and how to track your spending. We know how to optimize your online presence so you’re not wasting budget sending traffic to a website that won’t convert. The process is simple, if you’re happy, we’re happy.

Our focus and passion has long been in the area of helping local retail operations maximize co-op advertising dollars while optimizing the ever-changing sales funnel. As the lines continue to blur between bricks and mortar retail and online product research, we strive to help our clients create a consistent and meaningful relationship with their user bases across all available channels.

We use a proven mix of online marketing tools, backed by over twenty years of digital media experience to maximize your budget and the power of your brand. Our experience with two-step distribution models in large product consumer goods has allowed us to build our business with one thing in mind – your success is our success.

Learn more about Dealers Digital here.

Check out our Blog for more Outdoor Power Equipment Marketing Tips & Strategies!

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The Rise of OTT For OPE Dealers

This article originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of OPE Business.

Once upon a time, your dealership only had a handful of options for marketing. Print media (newspaper/magazines), out of home (billboards), terrestrial radio and broadcast television made up the majority of the avenues available for your marketing budget. But those were simpler times.  With the rise of digital marketing, some traditional channels have gone the way of the dodo (goodbye yellowpages) while some have evolved in order to stay relevant. Perhaps the biggest paradigm shift involves television, especially now that cord cutting is the norm and streaming services dominate the viewing landscape. This paradigm shift has given rise to “Over-the-Top” advertising, or OTT. Over-the-Top essentially means that content is being served via the Internet, without the need for traditional broadcast, cable or satellite providers, collectively known as “Over-The-Air” providers. OTT devices include smart phones, tables, personal computers, game consoles, smart TVs and smart devices like Roku & Amazon Firestick. The proliferation of the number of total available viewing devices provides exponential growth of the medium without necessarily increasing the number of available eyeballs. So what does this mean for OPE dealerships and how can you use the myriad of possibilities that OTT provides to your advantage?

The traditional television ad buying process looks something like this. Let’s say your target demographic is men and women, ages 54 – 74, your local TV sales rep would likely be trying to sell you space during Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune because they know that the average age of that viewer is about 65 years old. Nielsen metrics can also pull in some other demographic information like household income, etc but the ability to target at much more than a skin-deep level is greatly limited.  Traditional television can be useful when placed intelligently, but if you’re used to working with a local media rep, you’ll notice that lately they are all pitching “free” value-add impressions on their streaming app or website to attempt to compete with shift in how we consume visual media.

Conversely, with OTT we can create a much more specific target audience, using hundreds of available data overlays to create an audience that looks more like this:

  • Males Age 24-64
  • Estimated Household Income greater than $70,000
  • Homeowners (exclude renters)
  • Discretionary spend 2x national average
  • Presence of attached garage
  • Property size greater than 1 acre

You get the idea. We use the data available to paint a picture of a customer who is likely to have the need or be in the market for a lawnmower. Want to dial it in even more? Serve ads featuring commercial grade mowers to customers who have 5+ acres or more. Only want to advertise in a single zip code because that’s where all the high end homes are? If you know your market, you can get as granular as you want. The options are virtually limitless with the type of data we have at our fingertips.

Now here is where things get really fun. When we begin an OTT campaign, the video ads are just the first part of the equation. Once we begin an ad campaign, we supplement it with display (banner) ads that will appear on your web browsing devices. This is called display retargeting and is highly effective at keeping your brand name at the forefront of the customer’s buying subconscious. Finally, within our campaign we define your dealership’s physical address as our area of conversion interest, or an addressable geo-target. Because a customer’s mobile device is likely connected to their home wi-fi network where they are first exposed to our dealership’s video ad, that mobile device ID can now be tracked and tell us when a customer who has seen your ad has physically walked into your store. Pretty cool, right? How data is gathered and issues about data privacy are probably thoughts best left for another article, but as a marketer, I approach this debate from the perspective of someone who simply wants to serve the most relevant messages to the most ready-to-buy customer available. That’s where the magic is.

By total dollars spent, OTT is going to dominate ad spending in the digital space for the foreseeable future. But it’s certainly not going to be an option for every dealership. Because CPM rates (cost per thousand) can range anywhere from $30-$50 per 1,000 views, we suggest OTT be a part of your marketing mix if you have a minimum of $10,000 to invest in a campaign. But there will be innovations coming soon that may make OTT advertising more accessible for do-it-yourselfers. Hulu recently announced the launch of a self-service ad platform where you can get started advertising on their network for as little as $500. So as the technology continues to evolve, there will be opportunities for businesses of all sizes to experiment with television ads in their home markets. While television advertising has traditionally been out of reach for most dealerships, there is hope that these new self-serve tools will even the playing field for all small businesses.

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Local SEO – Demystifying What SEO Really Means For Your Dealership

This article originally appeared in the March 2022 issue of OPE Business.

I once had a dealer tell me that the “S” in SEO, stood for snake oil. I chuckled at the sentiment. Mostly because I knew where he was coming from. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has gotten a bad rap over the years due to unscrupulous marketing providers selling back links and blog and well, snake oil. And it’s difficult not to understand how SEO got that rap. Results can be hard to quantify. Customers don’t always give it the time required to start working. Positive results can be written off as the seasonality of the market. And Google changes their algorithm ALL THE TIME. What used to work 5 years ago and drove tons of traffic to your site, may now be considered spammy and the Google will swiftly devalue your site to the depths of – gasp – page 2 or worse of the search results, never to be seen again. But SEO doesn’t have to be this mythical bag of tricks that nobody understands. The concept of SEO is actually quite simple. How can we optimize your web presence so that the people who are looking for your products can actually find you? How we do it though, is the most important thing to understand. The first thing we need to do is differentiate between Local and National SEO. Understanding the difference will make all the difference in the tactics you use to optimize your business.

National SEO

National SEO means you are trying to rank as highly as possible for keywords or phrases that relate to your product or service on a national level. Simple right? Well, yes and no. Go Google a product you sell, something simple like Cub Cadet XT1 and note the results that pop up. The first few results are going to be dominated by links to cubcadet.com, followed by large national retail outlets like Home Depot and others. It certainly makes sense that Cub Cadet would show up at the top for searches that relate to “cub cadet”.

There are many factors that go into their position at the top of the search results. Important aspects include

  • Domain authority
  • Number of quality back links
  • Rich catalog data
  • Quality of on-site unique content

It takes a lot of time and effort (and money) to make sure all of the ingredients for Google’s secret sauce are accounted for and the truth is, it’s a large investment that most dealers simply don’t need to make. Because you’re trying to reach ready-to-buy local customers, not try to outrank cubcadet.com. If Cub Cadet is doing a great job with their national SEO, that’s going to help brand awareness and local searches that lead customers to your doorstep. If you are a national brand, an e-commerce store or a very large chain dealership that has a wide net to cast for eyeballs, national SEO is extremely important, but for smaller dealerships, it’s neither realistic or necessary.

Local SEO

Local SEO means that you are trying to make sure your business shows up as high as possible when potential customers are looking for the product you sell. In the previous example, someone searching for “cub cadet XT1” should expect to find the product page at cubcadet.com rank near the top of search results. The important thing to remember with SEO is that you have to consider the intent of search. Think about how a search for “cub cadet XT1” vs “cub cadet XT1 near me” or “cub cadet dealership” changes how Google interprets the searcher’s intent. When a searcher adds a local qualifier like “near me” or your local city/state to their original search, Google understands that the searcher is looking for a business in their local area and returns results. So go google something like “cub cadet dealership near me” and note the results. At the top of the page you’ll like see what we call the “map pack”. The map pack displays the top three businesses in your general area that match your original search term.

Think about the importance of a local search and local search intent. If you search for a “cub cadet dealership near me” or “lawnmower repair near me”, it stands to reason that you’re looking for a business near you that sells Cub Cadet mowers or can repair your lawnmower. So if you can optimize your business to appear at the top of that list, research indicates that a whopping 75% of local-intent searches result in a store visit within 24 hours, ready to buy what you’re selling.

So how do you optimize for local-intent searches? Your Google Business Profile holds the key to dominating local search results. I’ve spoken at length about Google Business Profiles (formerly known as Google My Business) in the past, but understanding how to properly optimize your profile leads to dominance in the Google map pack.

SEO doesn’t have to be the black magic tactic that many think it is. It’s perfectly valid and extremely powerful when done correctly. But when done poorly, it can also have a negative effect on your business. So as with any task you outsource, it’s important to seek validation, ask the right questions and work with a vendor that you know you can trust.

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The F Word: Maximizing Your Reach With Facebook

This article originally appeared in the October edition of OPE Business.

When I talk to dealers about implementing social media efforts into their overall marketing plans, I’m either met with excitement, disdain or indifference. In my experience, no other marketing channel is as divisive as social media, especially as it relates to Facebook. It can be both frustrating and revolutionary depending on how you use it.

The fact is, as the medium has grown and evolved, it has become infinitely more complex and powerful. So the trick for dealerships has consistently been how to utilize the medium in a way that makes sense for the dealer and for the customer. I’ll break down some myths and give you some insight into how you can harness the power of Facebook without being swallowed by it.

Facebook Advertising

In the early days of Facebook, you could reasonably expect to see almost every post that was made by a friend or a brand you followed. It provided a user-centric experience and an easy way for brands to reach their customers for free. But free isn’t exactly a great business model. So Facebook started forcing users to “boost” their posts so the content you could been by more people. Boosting essentially means you are paying to get more eyeballs on your content. But there are more effective ways to advertise your brand than by simply “boosting” your post.

Most marketing agencies, mine included, manage advertising campaigns from with the Facebook Business Manager. If you haven’t set up a Business Manager account for your dealership, we highly suggest you use this as it will become your hub for managing ads and provides more in-depth tools for your campaigns. You can create your Business Manager account here: https://business.facebook.com/

By creating this account, you can assign your assets to marketing partners without giving them admin access to your Facebook page. This is not only prudent so those outside of your organization can’t hijack your page, but also technically required by Facebook’s terms of service.

Now that you have a proper business manager account, there are two major things you need to do to properly use your enhanced ad manager.

  • Create and configure your Facebook Pixel. This pixel is to be placed on your website and will allow you to see what actions are taking place on your website. You’ll be able to track page views, phone calls and many other actions, but it’s most important so that Facebook can automatically optimize your ad campaigns. For example, when you set up a new ad, you can specify which goals you want to optimize your ad for. If the goal of your campaign is to create new leads, Facebook will auto-optimize your campaign to generate more leads using the data the pixel provides. Your Facebook pixel will also auto-create audiences that will allow you to target visitors to your website, among other things. Speaking of audiences…
  • Create audiences. In my experience, custom audiences and saved audiences are the single biggest factor in increasing the effectiveness of your Facebook ad campaigns. You can set up your ideal audience to target by choosing demographic data, occupational info and what other pages they like. For example, if you are a Cub Cadet dealer and you wanted to run an ad about a sale on your XT2 Enduro Garden Tractors, you might set up a target like this:

Gender: Male & Female
Age: 25-64+
Location: 25 mile radius around dealership (or if you want to get fancy you can target by county or DMA)
Interests: People who like Cub Cadet on Facebook or have shown an interest in Cub Cadet, mowers or lawnmowers.

You can create saved audiences for each of the lines you carry and you know that you will be speaking directly to people who have shown an interest or affinity for that particular manufacturer and are the most likely to purchase. The next step is to then create a Look-alike audience that will allow you to expand the reach of your ad to people who act like the folks in your new saved audience. Once these audiences are set up, you can use them over and over again and maximize your reach while minimizing budget waste.

Organic Posts – Engagement Matters

As I mentioned earlier, organic posts (free posts) only get seen by a fraction of the people who like your Facebook page. There is magic in creating content that gets seen by more people. Some of the factors are:

  • Recency of the post
  • How frequently you post
  • Post engagement – How many people are interacting with your post by liking, commenting or sharing.
  • Past user interaction – Has the viewer interacted with your posts before?

There are tons of ranking signals so this isn’t an exhaustive list, but they’re a few of the most important. So think about which content most users want to interact with. Are they really interacting with the generic content that every dealer gets from the manufacturer? Or are users interacting more with your post about how you donated to the local little league team?

At the end of the day all of the content matters, but I typically urge dealers to focus on content that’s personal to them and ultimately it will be personal for your customers as well. Use 4:1 as a general ratio of personal to promotional and you’ll find that is a good mix.

At the end of the day, dealers need to remember that social media is supposed to be, well, social. The more you treat it as an extension of your personal brand, the more it will flourish.

google search engine

Promoting Your Inventory for Free

This article originally appeared in the September edition of OPE Business.

Promoting Your Inventory (For Free) on Google

It is no secret that all OPE dealers have been affected in way or another by inventory shortages this year. Every dealer I have spoken to has spoken at length about the long-term implications of the disruption in the supply chain. But what about the inventory you DO still have on your showroom floor? The cupboard hasn’t been left completely bare, it’s just the shift we are seeing is that customers who may have been looking for a lower end model, might be more easily upsold to a more robust machine. So how do you make consumers aware of the models you do have available?

When the pandemic hit, online retailers were obviously in a much better position to serve customers than physical retailers who don’t have online stores, further widening the gap between online and offline retail. Outdoor equipment dealers should have been more insulated from this because most manufacturers don’t allow whole goods to be sold online. Yes, I know that there are a handful of online stores that are selling zero turn mowers on the web, shipped directly to your door, regardless of OEM rules and regulations. But for those of you who play by the rules, you are left to figure out how to compete in the online space. Enter Google.

Last year, in response to the pandemic, Google announced a program that largely flew under the radar that allows physical merchants to use Google Merchant Center to carve out a presence in search results normally reserved for shopping ads that shows local inventory available for pickup at a local store. This program was aimed at leveling the playing field for local merchants who could offer the one thing the online retailers cannot – the instant gratification of same day local pickup. So, when someone searches for a specific model like a Cub Cadet XT2, the search results at the top of the page will show shopping ads for local retailers that carry that model or models like it. Local consumers will now be driven to your storefront, instead of to an online store. According to Google, a shopping 76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a physical store within 24 hours and 28% of those visits result in a purchase. Clearly, the dealers that make the effort to optimize their local presence, will reap the benefits.

It takes a little technical know-how to get set up in Merchant Center so that your on-hand inventory is consistently accurate, but once you are set up, the process can be automated so it is truly a set it and forget it marketing tactic.

 

Adding products to Google My Business

I’ve spoken at length in the past about the important of Google My Business because it’s the single most important (and free) tool that you can use to promote your business. If it’s been a while since you’ve logged into your Google My Business profile, you may not have noticed that there is now a Products section where you can add equipment directly to your profile.

This is a more manual process, but with a few clicks to upload a product image, add a product name and description, you can create an entire online catalog directly with your GMB profile. Adding rich data like this not only increases your exposure to local shoppers, but it helps the overall visibility of your profile.

You can also manage your profile directly from the GMB app on your smartphone, making it easy to add products, directly from your showroom floor, including used equipment or hard to find parts. These products can be categorized by make, model or type and they do not expire so ongoing maintenance of this section of your profile is minimal.

Google has done an admirable job of attempting to champion small and medium businesses in their struggle to compete against larger companies with seemingly unending resources. Google My Business and free local inventory ads are specifically designed to put local businesses on even footing with large chains and big box stores by providing customers with local shopping options. All you have to do is take advantage of the tools available to you.

 

 

Brett Morris is the owner of Dealers Digital, a digital marketing agency for outdoor power equipment dealers and dealerAMP, a marketing automation platform for the OPE industry. He can grease all the fittings on a Woods Batwing in under 7 minutes.

 

Brett Morris
Dealers Digital
859-552-4392
[email protected]

Importance of local Reviews

Importance of Local Review Generation

Review Generation is the process of gathering (hopefully positive) customer reviews for your business. Whether it’s about a great product selection, or a stellar customer service experience – you want folks to share what you’ve got. 

Testimonials in local directories means people are voluntarily offering the most valuable form of marketing there is – word of mouth. As reviews stack up, your business looks more and more reputable, and new customers will be more likely to give it a chance. 

Especially when customers had a bad experience with a previous dealer, seeing good reviews at your location can tempt them away from the competition. 

Benefits of Review Generation:

  1. 70% of consumers trust personal reviews as much as professional reviews
  2. Positive Reviews attract more customers
  3. Good recent reviews can counteract bad ones left by unhappy past customers. One or two bad reviews in a sea of good reviews tells new customers that a bad experience is unlikely.
  4. Positive reviews encourage clickthroughs. While search users tend to be less likely to click on sites they’ve never visited before, positive reviews lure them in with a promise of good results.
  5. 4-5 star businesses are given priority by Google and all other search engines. In other words, if you want to rank highly in SEO, you’ve gotta rank highly in people’s reviews. It’s absolutely vital.

Google itself has officially confirmed the importance of reviews in local search. 

 

“Interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location. Encourage customers to leave feedback by creating a link they can click to write reviews.”

With all these reasons, it’s clear you need to be proactive about acquiring positive new reviews for your business. It helps build trust in your brand, majorly improves your organic SEO, and has a strong connection to your public image, 

 

Your review generation plan needs to be practical, timely, and effective for a range of different reviewer types and customer happiness. 

 

In a recent Online Reputation Management Survey, While 87% of respondents classed reputation management as being very important to their business, just 17% of their time is actually spent on reputation management tasks. 

With such a strong importance placed on positive reviews and online reputation, why are so many small businesses putting forth such a small effort to manage their reputation? 

 

Maybe it’s confusing. Maybe it seems like a lot of work. Maybe they haven’t made the time, or simply don’t HAVE enough time. 

Generating reviews is a time-consuming project, after all. 

However, it’s one that is deeply worthwhile.

If you have questions about review generation or you want to schedule a demo of the Review Generation and Management services we offer, please feel free to contact us directly. We’re happy to answer any and all questions.

SMS messaging for local business

Business Texting for Local Business

With crowded mailboxes and inboxes, it can be hard to get a customer’s attention. Customer preference has changed over the years, but most still want to stay in the loop of current events.  That’s why thousands of companies across the world use business texting to reach their audiences. 

Texting is a powerful communication channel. A recent study showed that 98% of SMS messages are opened, compared to just 22% of emails. Whether you’re a major tractor outlet, or a small-town business, there’s plenty of reasons why you should consider business texting integration. 

Here are our top 5 ways to use business texting

Reminders and Scheduling

One of the most useful startup business text integrations is giving folks the ability to schedule something and set reminders through text messages. Some business owners rely on their staff to manually make phone calls to remind customers of upcoming appointments, or to ask if they’re going to be late. With an automatic text-based scheduling, you can remind customers of an upcoming service appointments and allow customers to confirm upcoming appointments automatically. 

Your contacts would probably prefer to text than pick up a phone call from a stranger, anyway. 

Payment and Billing

People are switching to online and mobile payment methods for everything from their bank accounts, car payments, insurance, and even daily shopping. If you offer financing where a customer can set up a regular payment to come in, an automatic text reminder can help them avoid late payments. They can also inquire on their remaining balance through SMS. Keeping things easy and transparent makes your business look more trustworthy. 

Time Sensitive Alerts

Event planners have been wildly successful using SMS messaging to engage and entertain their attendees. You can send reminders before the event, last-minute updates, and even request feedback after all your guests go home. If you’re selling big-ticket items, you can even schedule reminders to ask them if they need an oil change, or a reminder that a factory warranty may expire soon.  

In the case of promotions, it’s better to wait for the biggest, hottest deals of the season to reach out in a text. Making that text shoutout is still a valuable attention-grabber. 

You can even send out job alerts!

Text-based Customer Service.

Since so many are on mobile these days and often prefer texting to calling, so there’s a good chance people are already trying to text your landline for customer service questions. With a good text-to-landline service, you can have those texts forwarded to a web browser. You’ll catch questions that were previously lost, and invite possible customers to reach out with SMS instead of by calling directly. 

You can also just offer customer service via text message. Instead of keeping them on hold on the phone, let them text a question and send an answer as soon as you know exactly what you want to say. If you’re a better speaker than writer, you always have the option of using the voice-to-text feature offered on most smartphones to dictate your replies. All the convenience of texting without having to poke at a screen. 

Order Confirmations and Delivery Updates

While massive multi-national giants like Amazon have the ‘Order Tracking and Notifications’ thing down to an art, small businesses can also do their part in keeping their customers informed. If your inventory shipment schedule is a generally small, this could be a manual process. However, certain inventory systems allow you to integrate with business text messaging services to provide automatic updates to your clients. Anything to make the process easier for  you and less stressful for your customer. 

Business texting services may take a bit of getting used to, but they’re a valuable asset for any size business.

If you’re interested in learning more about the business texting services we offer, or you want to schedule a demo, we’d be excited to hear from you! Schedule a demo here, or just give us a call. 

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facebook boost or sponsored for local

Facebook Advertising vs. Boosted Posts

Which type of Facebook ad is best for local businesses?

On the surface boosting content on Facebook for local ads seems like a pretty straight forward transaction. The more dollars you spend, the more eyes see your message. While that’s certainly true, to get the most value out of your dollar it’s worth knowing the basic nuances of how boosting on Facebook works. Truth be told, Facebook’s Advertiser Help Center rarely provides the answers you’re after on Facebook paid advertising, and true to form, it doesn’t provide a lot of guidance on the differences between boosting posts vs. ads either.

So in this article we’ll cover the differences between the types of sponsored ads on Facebook — a Facebook boost and a Facebook news feed ad—and which we recommend as the best option for your business depending on your needs. Which is the type of Facebook ad best for local businesses?

What are Facebook sponsored posts?

Facebook sponsored posts are promoted posts that receive additional paid reach. Simply put, your business has the option of boosting a post or creating an ad: boosting increases the chances your post will be seen by followers (increasing loyalty), while news feed ads target users based on select criteria, external from followers (potential new customers).

Wait, why sponsor ads on Facebook when you can post for free?

The reality is, organic posts don’t go very far in today’s Facebook world. Unless you have a huge network of fans (50K+), achieving favorable outcomes through organic content in a 1.6B user world is futile. Based on Facebook’s current algorithms, organic reach has plummeted over recent years to the point where 50 million businesses are posting 1.5 times per day, reaching an average of 2% of their audience. That is what we call “rough sledding”.

Should we be surprised though? As the world’s largest social network, it was simply clockwork until Facebook turned to a Pay-to-Play model resulting in paid advertising on the social network giant. But before you start shouting big corporate obscenities, it’s still our opinion that Facebook provides the best advertising platform on the web or anywhere else in the business world. It’s just takes a little practice to get a feel for the landscape to make Facebook ads best for your local audience.

Advertising on Facebook requires a solid strategy

Like anything, you will need a strategy when tackling Facebook paid advertising. Depending on what your goals are, our quick advice is to put money on posts that have measurable ROI, like lead capture, promotions, contests and content meant to capture new customers.

Another fundamental rule is to always promote your own content. Always link back to YOUR site and YOUR page. Even if it’s great material and related to your business, never pay to send traffic to someone else’s website.

Now, with all that said, let’s figure out which Facebook paid advertising delivery method works best…Facebook boosts or Facebook ads.

What are Facebook boosted posts?

Facebook boosted posts are promoted posts that appear higher on news feeds, giving a post a higher chance that friends and followers will see it. While boosted posts can be targeted by location, interest, age and gender, more advanced targeting options is reserved for ads on Facebook. And that’s really the rub with sponsored posts for your business. While it’s easier to create them, you are limited in refining the post to get the most out of your “boost juice” dollars.

What are Facebook news feed ads?

Facebook news feed ads are sponsored ads that appear right on the news feed of readers. Newsfeed ads denoted “sponsored” directly underneath the company’s name on the post you users know that the content could be coming from a source they haven’t “liked” yet.

News feed ads are created in Facebook Ads Manager (or Power Editor). Creating a news feed ad on Facebook is more involved than boosting posts, but, as with most things, more work often leads to more reward.

With news feed ads, you can set a specific objective for your ad that directly aligns to your business goals. You can choose from 12 objectives from three different categories: Awareness, Consideration and Conversion.
Notice how these three categories represent different areas of the sales and marketing funnel:

  • Awareness: for boosting posts, promoting a Facebook page, targeting people near the business’s location and increasing brand awareness
  • Consideration: to send people to a website, getting app installs, increase event attendance or get views on videos and collect business leads
  • Conversion: for increasing website conversions, engagement to an app, or to have an offer claimed
facebook ad for local dealership

Paid advertising showdown: Which is the best Facebook ad for local advertising?

So you’ve probably come to the conclusion that Facebook news feed ads have a lot more power behind them and are geared toward ROI—especially seeing how there’s no price difference between the two formats.

Boosted posts do have a place—if your business is looking for a quick and convenient way to create awareness and drive profile traffic, then we say go for it, especially if you want to hit existing fans/customers. It takes all of five minutes to start raking in thousands of impressions for as little as $5.00.

If you are looking to achieve tangible marketing results, like capturing leads and driving revenue, my money is on news feed ads. If you want to really capture leads through Facebook paid advertising however, you want news feed ads. 

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How to Reach Your Audience With Digital Advertising.

Digital advertising comes in many different varieties, including display advertising (those web banners next to your favorite Youtube videos), sponsored ads (such as those on Google and Facebook), and of course, search ads —just to name a few! There are a ton of ways to reach your audience, and a lot of ‘Best Practices’ to remember. 

So where do you start?

While there are a ton of online options to choose from, reaching your intended audience will still require a little bit of finesse. Luckily, using digital advertising to get your message across is easier than you think.

 

PICK THE RIGHT PLATFORM

In 2008, only 24 percent of the United States had a social media account. Today that number has skyrocketed to 81%. While traditional mediums such as television and newspapers still have their place, most companies are turning towards digital advertising for the majority of their needs—and who could blame them?

As of 2019, tech titans Google and Facebook together control over  77% of total internet revenue growth. Furthermore, in the third quarter of the same year, Google and Facebook together controlled 99% of advertising growth, with this number projected to be on the rise). 

Why would you settle for anything but the best? Pick the right digital platforms and go where your ads will be seen.

reach your audience by picking the right platform

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

Knowing your target demographic is undoubtedly one of the most beneficial tools in your advertising toolbox. Why? First off, not only does it give you a leg up for reaching the most likely people to buy your product or service, but it also helps to pick the appropriate platform and technology to deliver your message. 

Audience facts you’ll want to know are things like where they live and shop, what their needs are, what your product specifically can do to solve one of their problems, and why they would find your brand appealing. 

It also helps with ad targeting if you know ‘People who like -this thing- also tend to like my brand’ – so you can expand your reach to target people who like that other thing, knowing that there’s a good chance they’ll like you as well. 

But be warned. Once you have their attention, there’s still plenty of work to do!

 

BE ORIGINAL

Did you know? The average clickthrough rate of display ads across all formats is a measly 0.06%

From the moment that first browser opens in the morning until that last cat video before bed, internet users are bombarded with dozens of digital advertisements. By the time they get to work they’ve seen so many digital ads that they’ll likely only remember one or two, if that.That’s why it is vital to have the most creative content on the web to achieve that long sought after CLICK.

While you don’t have to break out into 90’s jingles and fake mustaches, you can win over big crowds by being entertaining, and authentically you. A brand that is unique and recognizable is one that is easily remembered – and you want to be top-of-mind when someone is thinking about buying your equipment. 

So go against the grain and dare to be different!

GET INTERACTIVE

As the internet continues to advance, media is consumed differently.

More and more people are getting their entertainment and news from streaming options such as Netflix, Roku, Hulu and YouTube, and social sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It’s incredibly integrated into our lives.

So what does this mean for digital advertising? 

Interaction! 

Interactive ads get a higher clickthrough rate of around 6 percent, whereas most digital ads remain at a fraction of one percent.

Good advertisements tell a story that engages the audience. If you’re a mower dealer, enticing future customers with starbursts of color showing your sale prices for pages and pages just isn’t interesting. 

 But when you intrigue potential buyers with an eye catching video, a hilarious one-liner or a captivating call to action, you give them autonomy. If you provide them with education, they’ll be more likely to share your brand with their friends and use you as a resource, coming back again later. You can reach a wider audience by providing more reasons for them to share and return! 

Don’t tell customers what to think, but instead show them why buying your product is the best decision.

videos can be used to get a higher search ranking

KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET

Don’t say too much! Short messages that pack a wallop and avoid cliches go a long way in the digital advertising world. Hook readers in with a memorable joke, a one liner, or a quick play on words. If you have a lot to say, break it into smaller pieces. 

Did you know novels with shorter chapters tend to have people read more of the book? Since each chapter break allows the person to pause and digest what they’ve read, it’s easier for them to understand what they’ve read and stay intrigued to learn more.

A series of fairly short, related articles that link to each other will generally do better than one massive article. Those same articles can help your SEO, put you in a position to seem like a leader and educator, and really showcase your brand’s helpfulness to the local community. 

 

TUG AT THEIR HEARTSTRINGS

reach your audience with heartfelt content

While traditional word of mouth will always impact local business, the trick is to give them something positive to talk about. The most important thing about your digital advertising campaign should be about connecting with your audience. A little passion goes a long way.

Whether it’s a push to remember to use pesticides in an environmentally friendly fashion, to support a local business – giving people meaningful content to talk about scratches beyond the surface of a product and relates to people at a meaningful level. 

Whether your message is sensitive or funny, at its core it should come across as authentic.

Make your digital ad memorable and appealing, and your brand will have those qualities as well.

 

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The Basics of Online Advertising

How does online advertising help a local outdoor power business grow?

Digital advertising consists of a range of services, all of which work together to promote a business online. From social media ads, to search engine ads, video ads, and more. 

Simply put, digital advertising increases awareness, and lets you track exactly how much awareness you’ve got. 

More and more businesses are increasing the amount that they spend on digital advertising, and experts like Jamie Turner suggest digital advertising on social platforms is well worth the spend, especially for small businesses. 

If I were to provide one tip to people who are using social media, it would be this — don’t be afraid of paying for social media reach and clicks.” – Jamie Turner, 60secondmarketer.com

The best part about digital advertising is that results can be easily monitored and ROI can be easily tracked. You probably don’t want to be spending lots of money without some proof of performance right?

With traditional media channels, there is sometimes no way of tracking the effectiveness of an advertisement in terms of advanced data analytics. You might put a TV ad out for your dealership, or a print ad in a newspaper – you can get an estimate of how many people saw that ad, but you don’t really know for sure how many of those called your shop because they saw your ad, and you don’t know EXACTLY how many people actually veiwed it. You can get estimates, but you don’t KNOW. 

With digital advertising, companies like Google and Facebook allow users to access advanced analytics. This way local businesses know that their money is being well spent and that the digital advertisements are positively impacting their storefront.

When determining the success of an ad, the important factors will differ case by case. For the most part, the success of an ad lies in the indicators listed below.

ROI indicators/measures of a successful campaign:

  • Impressions: the actual # of views on an advertisement
  • Clicks: the actual # of direct clicks on the advertisement
  • Engagements: Social & landing page clicks
  • Results: In most cases, results come in the form of a phone call or a store visit.
showing online advertising discussion

The Best Places for Online Advertising

Through our team’s extensive work in the digital advertising space, we have come to the same conclusion as pretty much every digital advertising company. The best places to spend money on digital advertising are Google & Facebook.

With digital advertising, not only is a local business visible online, but they are visible to the right people online. Platforms like Facebook and Google allow for advanced targeting, which puts a local business in front of consumers who are more likely to convert into a sale.

Plus, Google and Facebook accounted for roughly 60 percent of ad spend in 2017!

 

Why advertise on Google?

Reach: Google is the largest search network in the world, and consumers are using Google every single day to search for local businesses. Utilizing Google’s massive network capabilities, digital advertisers are able to find ideal prospects and get in front of users looking for their products/services.

In the age of digital, people are not looking at TV commercials or listening to radio ads to find a local business, they are searching for a service and then locating your business online.

With 3.5 Billion Google searches conducted every single day, customers are looking for local businesses and businesses should want to be on Google.

Flexibility: Google allows the local advertiser to spend whatever they want, whenever they want. With flexible options for ad spend, advertisers are able to test what works and what doesn’t work for a business. Spend a bit, wait to see how the campaign performs, and then reinvest in larger budgets for greater prospect reach.

Why advertise on Facebook?

AudienceThe audience on Facebook includes 1.32 billion daily active users (DAUs) on average, at an increase of 17% year-over-year. As a local business, you simply cannot ignore the fact that Facebook is likely an intersection in which you can find prospective customers. If the daily average users stat doesn’t have you convinced then let’s talk about how often social media is being used. The average person spends nearly 35 minutes everyday JUST on Facebook, according to a recent study by Mediakix.

If there is one thing to take away it is that the audience on Facebook is MASSIVE, and they are on Facebook a LOT.

Targeting: Facebook Ad targeting is a local marketer’s dream. Facebook allows the ability to focus on users so microscopically that you can basically become a bit of a digital stalker (in a good way?). Target users by their interests, behaviors, age, gender, location, and really anything that their Facebook profile may reveal about them including job title.

The Facebook algorithm has brought about changes to the local advertising landscape, but it remains one of the best environments for local businesses to get the word out about themselves!

Conclusion

By leveraging these two platforms, every local business can easily take their online advertising game to the next level, and begin to rake in new revenue—with the data to back their investment.

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