Recession Proof Your Dealership with These 5 Tips!

Recession Proof Your Dealership

Recession Proof Your Dealership

Recession Proof your Dealership with These 5 Tips!

There has been a lot of discussion about a recession being on the horizon, and with inflation rates at an all-time high, it’s understandable to be worried. Recessions can be devastating, and many businesses never recover from the financial loss. So how can you make sure that your business makes it, regardless of the state of the economy?

Lead by Example

As the leaders within your organization, you can stabilize your work environment and maintain health and balance within the workplace. You do this by leading by example. Show your employees that you are all on one team. And lastly, cut costs where you can but don’t sacrifice quality or your employees’ livelihoods. Your morale will be easier to maintain, and you will have a greater capability of responding to crisis. People want to do business with those they know, like and trust. By ensuring customer excellence is achieved in all interactions, you increase the likelihood of creating a loyal customer. Trust becomes even more important at economic downturns occur.

Targeted Marketing

Promoting your business during an economic recession might seem counterintuitive, but it’s actually essential to surviving tough times. To be successful, you’ll need to be tactical in your approach. The best way to reach your customers is by meeting them where they are – whether that’s online, in-person, or through word-of-mouth. Hyper targeted marketing is a low-cost way to reach your consumers. A few ways to utilize targeted marketing are listed below:

  • Content: Good content is essential for SEO success, and it’s also key to attracting organic traffic to your website. When creating content, make sure it’s high-quality and targeted to your audience. Relevant content will not only help you rank higher in search engines, but it will also attract more organic traffic to your website.
  • Social Media: While, like most things, you can spend money on social media. It is not necessary. You can achieve the basics of social media without spending a cent. When it comes to social media, you get what you put in.
  • SEO: SEO has the highest potential for value per dollar of any other marketing effort. The successes of good SEO will stick with your site, long after you stop paying for services. No matter how long you have been in business, your website can always benefit from an SEO update. SEO is a crucial part of being seen by your customers.
  • User Experience & Website Design: Existing in the digital world is an essential part of being a business today. The success (or failure) of your online efforts can often be determined by the appearance and usefulness of your site.

Recession Proof 2 Stay Ahead of the Curve

Talk to your partners and suppliers now. Do not be surprised by supply chain or staffing shortages. Be aware of trends for your industry and allow yourself to anticipate not only business needs but also the needs of your ideal customers. There is a good chance that other companies in your industry are dealing with the same obstacles, so communication with suppliers and customers is not only crucial but can be game changing. You want everyone on your team to be on the same page. This can help you to identify pitfalls before they even happen.

Think Twice About Big Investments

It becomes even more important to manage your cash flow when you are in the throes of a recession. Looking at your finances and projections can help you anticipate where cash flow might get a little tight so you can prepare solutions and adjust ahead of time. Do everything you can now to evaluate your operations and trim the fat to strengthen your cash position prior to entering into a recession.

Stay on Top of Accounts Receivables

During a recession, everyone struggles financially. Your customers may start paying more slowly and you may have a more difficult time collecting receivables. Evaluate your customers paying habits and make adjustments now, to save you lots of time and headaches later. Stay on top of collections. Offer additional ways for clients to pay: such as, electronic payments. You can also stop working with clients who are reluctant to pay or stop extending credit if your cash flow can’t withstand it.

work smarer, not harder Work Smarter, Not Harder

There is nothing you can do to control the economy. It is important to focus your attention on what you can control, and that is how you run your business! A recession will bring countless struggles and challenges for your company. Knowing your numbers and leaning into smart changes will help you to lead your company with a fearless growth mindset and allow you to overcome and emerge a leader in your industry.

If you find that you don’t have the time or expertise to handle your dealership’s marketing, we can help! Dealers Digital has a proven track record of helping Outdoor Power Equipment Dealerships maximize their online reach. With over 20 years of digital marketing experience, we know  your market and we know how to reach your customers! Contact Us for more information about how we can help your Dealership turn those clicks into cash!

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Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing & its Impact on Your Dealership

Social Media Marketing + Your Dealership = <3

It seems there is always some new Social Media Trend or Controversy. Social Media dictates how a lot of people live their lives. We turn to it for attention, sympathy, support, advice, help and entertainment. We consume so much of it that we don’t event think twice about it. We use it in our personal lives as well as our professional lives. With over 3.78 Billion users worldwide, its safe to say that social media is here to stay.

If it is here to stay, then it begs the question, is it really important?

55% of consumers learn about new brands on social media! Social media has always been a place of discovery, and people are now using social media to learn about brands and companies just as much (or more) than TV or Radio Advertising. The average person spends 2 hours and 29 minutes each day on social media. That gives you lots of opportunity to get in front of the right audience.

In today’s age of streaming, we don’t need or want to watch or listen to ads anymore. We’re able to fast forward, change the channel or take our pick from infinite libraries of ad-free content. However, on social media, ads and brand content sits next to our social streams and looks like the content that we consume from our friends, family or other connections. So, Why is this important? Gen Z and Millennials are especially likely to use social media for brand discover. As the spending power of these generations increases, so will social media usage. Your brand should be ready to capitalize on these growing networks, or consumers will most likely discover your competitors first.

Social media users tend to treat social media like a feedback loop where they are able to report an issue with a product, leave a review, or privately message the company. If your consumers can’t engage with you, they may find another company who can. Engagement is the primary goal of many marketers and drives a positive influence on customers’ decisions to buy from a brand. Responsive brands that continuously react and engage in communication with consumers are better equipped to serve their customers’ needs, dial up personalization and humanize their content in a way that forges deeper connections with customers.

What can social media do for my business?

Besides the most obvious, getting your name and brand out to more people quickly and cheaply, there are many other benefits of utilizing social media marketing for your business.

  • Helps you engage with current and potential customers
  • You can find out what people are saying about your business
  • You can advertise your business and promotions
  • Social media can help your business attract customers
  • Allows you to gain and collect customer feedback
  • Helps to build customer loyalty to your business and brand

Who are the major Social Media Players?

  1. Facebook is the market leader when it comes to social media with over 68% of Adults in the US using it on a regular basis. 1.84 billion people use Facebook every day! More than 90 million small businesses have Facebook pages & 67% of marketers say Facebook is the most important Social Media platform in their strategies. With such whopping statistics, it’s no wonder Facebook generated $27.19 billion from ad revenue in Q4 of 2020 alone! With so many people regularly using (and buying) from Facebook, it should be a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy too!
  2. Instagram is owned by the same company as Facebook, Meta. The difference in the platforms is that Instagram only allows you to post visual content, while Facebook allows Text Only Posts. Boasting over 1.5 billion users a day and over 200 million businesses on Instagram, this platform is known for user engagement. Engagement rate on Instagram are approximately 6 times higher than those on Facebook (81% VS 8%).
  3. Twitter has long cemented itself as the hub of political discussions, memes and the prime place to go back and forth with brands. 436 million monthly users troll on twitter. Content strategy can be a little tricky on Twitter, but it’s an important pillar of a strong digital marketing strategy.
  4. TikTok has amassed 42.4% of the adult population in users and is the fastest growing social network with 105% user growth rate in the US over the past 2 years. TikTok is giving Instagram a run for its money when it comes to Influencers. TikTok is now more popular among the Gen Z population than Instagram.
  5. Pinterest has an impressive 400 million monthly user base and has a diverse, big-spending audience that are more dedicated and engaged than any other network. 7 out of 10 “pinners” say Pinterest is their go-to place to find products and services they can trust and their shopping carts are 85% larger than buyers on other platforms. With dedication like that from your consumers, why wouldn’t you be using this platform?

What should my business be doing on social media?

  • Have complete and correct profile information. Users want to be able to find your phone number, address and website when they need it so make sure that you have added the information and that all information is correct and up to date on your social profiles.
  • Post regularly. Businesses who post consistently show consistent organic growth. Just like you would nurture any other sales lead, nurture the audience you build through social media.
  • Set aside time each week to read and respond to all comments. With so many people using social media as a way to connect with brands, it is key that you respond to each and every comment consumers leave about you or your business. Respond to negative reviews professionally and compassionately.
  • Create content that enhances your target audience’s life. Consumers are accosted with so many advertisements each day, they don’t want to see gimmicky ads when they turn to social media. Your content should resemble other content on the platform and add value.
  • Humanize your company. Have a new office manager? Do you celebrate employees’ birthdays? Document and post “fun” activities, introductory posts and other ways to share who your company is at its core is a good way to promote your business on social media.

It’s safe to say that social media is here to stay. Your customers are looking for you online. Give them what they want and make it easy for them to find you. Let Dealers Digital help you maximize your online exposure and boost your sales. Because we only work with outdoor power equipment and green industry professionals, we know what content to curate, what your customers want to hear and when they want to hear it. We also work with you to open up the lines of communication from your social channels to utilize them as sales lead funnels.

Contact Us now for more information about how we can help you and your business! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with all of the latest news!

demo-attachment-1028-09

Rep Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

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

There seems to be a never-ending deluge of marketing buzzwords that inundate business owners year after year. And every year, the next hot thing that you just HAVE to do for your business changes. So, the toughest thing for any business owner to figure out each year is whether that next hot thing is actually the next must-have to take your business to the next level. One topic I get lots of questions about is reputation management.

Over the past several years, dozens of companies have entered the landscape touting the importance of reputation management. You’ve likely even been contacted by companies that market themselves as end-to-end reputation management companies. But what is reputation management and why is it important?

At its core, reputation management is exactly what it sounds like – tools that help you manage your business’s reputation online. There are three main pillars that make up the foundation of your online reputation.

  • Review Generation & Monitoring
  • Business Listing Optimization
  • Website

Review Generation and Monitoring

I know every dealer has had the importance of reviews pounded into their consciousness over the past several years. And for good reason – they’re that important. Consider the following data from Qualtrics.

  • 91% of 18–34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • Customers are willing to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews.
  • 94% of people say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business.
  • 3 is the minimum star rating of a business consumers would engage with.

The value of reviews goes beyond just driving consumer action (or inaction). Businesses with positive online reviews get more love in Google search rankings too!

One of the most frequent questions I ask is “can you remove a negative review for our business?”. Most of the time, the answer to that question is no. It is possible to flag a review with Google if you can prove that it’s not actually a review of your business, overly offensive or explicit or creates a legal concern. If you’re successful, the review can be removed, but it’s a rare occurrence.

The absolute best thing to do is respond to every review, positive or negative. When customers see an articulate response to a negative review of your business, it has been proven to create a positive impression because it shows you care enough to reach out to try and make things right.

Understanding the importance of reviews is one thing, but generating reviews at scale is where you gain real momentum and that’s where software comes in. Automating your outreach is the key to making massive gains in review generation. It’s also the quickest way to bury bad reviews. When you consider that 72% of customers will write a review if a local business asks them to, investing in review generation is a no brainer. I recommend this to every dealer I talk to.

Business Listing Optimization

Business listings play an integral role in your business’s online reputation. While reviews and social listening are more customer centric, business listing optimization is a key component of your reputation in Google’s eyes. If you recently added a new location or maybe moved from an old location, making sure your business details are accurate is extremely important for search engines and how the judge the integrity of the listing. There are hundreds of directory websites that Google uses to assess the value of your listing and you’re not going to update those manually, are you? Of course not. And even if you wanted to, many of them wouldn’t allow you to edit the listing if you tried. I recommend business listing optimization so every local business we work with because it has measurably positive effects on your local SEO efforts.

Dealership Website

I’ve mentioned in this space before that 75% of consumers admit that they judge a business’s credibility on the quality of their website design so the importance of your web presence can’t be overstated enough. While your website isn’t necessarily a tool like the review generation or business listing optimization, but I absolutely consider it to be central to the overall brand experience of the dealership.

Where the OPE industry is unique from many others is that dealers often rely heavily on OEM co-op funds for most of their advertising and typically have outside firms managing their campaigns. This means that I see many instances of dealers not being privy If you’re a heavy spender in digital media, sending traffic to an unprofessional website might actually be hurting your business. A banner ad campaign with a modest budget of $1,000/mo could drive over 10,000 visits to your website on average. That’s a lot of eyeballs to expose your poorly designed website to.

It’s an age-old phrase, but it’s never been truer than it is today. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Managing your online reputation properly means being a customer’s first thought, first interaction and first option for their sales dollar. It takes a long time to earn a positive reputation and, in the Internet age, a short time to destroy it if you don’t proactively protect your good name. Investing in reputation management can provide quality and consistent long-term ROI for your business and that makes it a must-have for your yearly marketing budget.

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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.

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. 

Enjoyed the article? Check out more on our blog! 

blog

Blog for Profit: Business Blogging Skills

So, you want to blog for profit? Where do you start?

Lay the foundation

A great blog starts with a great plan, and the planning stage is where you first answer the big questions that will determine what you write about, who you write for, and why you’re writing in the first place. Before you fire up your typewriter on your grand plan to blog for profit, be sure to nail down answers to the following questions:

Buyer personas

  • Who is going to be interested in what your business has to say?
  • What are their pain points, and how do your products or services address and resolve them? Targeting your content to a specific readership makes it more likely to be seen (and shared).
  • Develop a list of keywords relevant to your buyer personas. What kinds of search terms will they use when they’re looking for solutions? Knowing your keywords and putting them into use can optimize your blog to be found. It also helps to guide your writing process and keep your copy consistent.
  • How often will you write? The fresher and more frequent your content, the more you’ll have to offer to your readership, and the more Google’s page rankings will look favorably on your website. When you’re blogging for profit, you want to be identifiable by both readers and search engines. 
  • Set measurable goals in both the short and the long term. Are you looking to grow your email list and cultivate new leads, or are you focused on making your brand’s voice trusted and authoritative in your field? Whatever your goals, ensure that you have reliable metrics for measuring your progress.

Pick your topics

Are you drawing a blank every time you sit down to write? It may be easy to simply write a product feature or fluff up a sales pitch, but it’s important to remember that even when you’re blogging for profit, the point of your blogs is to provide value to your audience, not to sell to them.

Take a look at your buyer personas and their pain points or problems, and assemble them into categories. These categories and their relevant personas will focus your writing and guide your use of keywords to optimize the SEO boost that the post provides. From here, you can begin to address some general topics.

 

 

Another great source of blogging inspiration is your existing customer base. Think about the kinds of questions from customers that you answer on a regular basis. Many of these represent common pain points, and can easily turn into full blog posts. For every one customer who comes in or sends and email with a common question, just imagine how many there are tapping their query into Google in search of an answer!

Food Blog Social Post example

For example, a furniture store might write a blog on the difference in durability between leather, vinyl, and fabric upholsteries, or the different types of mattresses and their levels of support. An informative post that answers common questions and gives your readers information that they can act on is going to rank higher on search engines and position your business as a source of information that readers can trust.

A food blog may create recipes, but they can also explain how to use certain tools. They can make informative posts about how to  chop specific veggies, the differences between knives, and how to tell when it’s time to sharpen them. They can even explain social rituals about food, or how our language relates to food! 

There’s no end to the possible creativity you can use when blogging! 

Content (not copy) is king

Getting the copy down is one thing, but your blog will be as dry as a bone without engaging content to supplement that copy. The content that your copy supports, more than anything, is what sets your blog apart from your competitors and drives the solution to your readership’s problem.

It’s best to make your own, but there are plenty of resources out there for those who don’t collect data or employ a design team.

Visuals in the form of Statistics

Provide relevant and substantiated statistics in the form of graphs and infographics—these add credibility to your posts, and can provide shock value when used properly.

Header and Sub-header Images

Use visuals to break up the text. The text of headers and sub-headers can often be incorporated into a relevant image that draws the reader’s attention and invites them to read further. A well-chosen graphic or photograph can serve to break up the monotony of plain text as well as add a visual frame to the information the audience receives.

Screenshots/photos

Finally, use screenshots or photos to demonstrate your solution in action. Remember that you’re here to provide value, not to sell. Getting to the end of a blog and feeling like you just read a really long ad means that you’re not going to come back for anything informative or authoritative. The more your readers can learn from your post, the more likely they are to return to your blog when they have another question that needs an answer.

What’s your Story?

Tell compelling stories (and write snappy titles). Narrative is a powerful tool, and we’ve known how to use it in sales and marketing for a long time. The same goes for your blogs. Framing the movement from conflict to resolution as a journey makes your audience more receptive to the information you have to share and puts it within a familiar and memorable framework.

Start with choosing a narrative voice. Anecdotes and stories about your business can use a first-person voice to draw readers in and demonstrate your unique way of overcoming challenges in ways that others can learn from and put into practice. A second-person voice (like the one used in this blog) allows readers to visualize themselves acting out your solutions as your offer them, while a third-person voice is suited to communicating stories about how your business has been part of another customer’s success.

Leverage your buyer personas and their challenges to tell stories that will engage your audience and show how your business fits into their lives. Your posts don’t have to read like a novel, but putting your info in action will help transform your blog from a lecture into a success story.

Sharing is Caring

You’ve written something you’re proud of, so be sure to put it out there! Share your new blog on your business’ other marketing channels, and put the work in to gain readers other than Googlers and regular visitors to your site. Leveraging your business’ social media following to widen your blog’s audience has the added benefit that a new post that a follower finds useful or interesting is always easy to share with their own network. 

The more readers that come to see your business as a trusted source of information, the better!

 

linking between blogs

Your blogs can (and should) also link to one another. Where there’s an overlap in information or your blog posts address similar issues, have them link to each other! An engaged reader will always be ready to find out more, and demonstrating that you have more information to offer is never a bad thing.

Finish Strong

Finally, and importantly, bring things home with a with a call to action. Have you ever gotten to the end of an interesting article, how-to or blog post and been filled with the inspiration to immediately test what you’ve learned? While the point of your blog isn’t to sell, it’s important to give your readers something to engage with that allows them to take action and apply their new knowledge. Whether it’s more content, a link to a product or promotion or a contact form, your readers will have a way to act on their inspiration, and you will have a way to track engagement and turn readers into leads.

Here’s hoping this blog has inspired you to start writing your own! By following these tips, you should be well on your way to inspiring your own readers with engaging stories, compelling content, and valuable information that will position your business as a reliable source of information. Write well, help others and have fun!

Read more of our online resources Here.

engage social media

How To Increase Your Social Engagement

Building a social media following high in engagement can be difficult, but with these tips, you can start moving in the right direction!

Facebook, Google+, & Twitter

What works: Images, videos, calls to action, industry-related content, general share-worthy content.
What doesn’t work: Lengthy content, bland content, poor business/related/share-worthy balance.

Videos and images are best used to catch the eye of social media readers, though video works a little better to hold the reader’s attention. Whether it’s redirecting consumers to your website or online store, or getting them to stop and look at an interesting piece of content titled by your business; Images and videos are your anchor when trying to increase your audience’s social media engagement.

The three best ways to get traction from your readers are to:

  1. Get them to go straight to your website or store.
  2. Get them to like/follow.
  3. Get them to share your content.

Let’s say three people see your business posts about that 20% off sale. These posts are not likely to be shared, so those same three people will see all your posts, and that’s it. 

Once people start liking and sharing your posts, you’ll start to see new eyes on your page. 

This is where industry related/general share-worthy content comes in.

 

social media engagement post example

If you’re an outdoor power equipment dealership, for example, get your readers excited to see and share those maintenance tips! When people are excited to read and share it, you have a better chance that someone who needs professional repairs or a new mower will come across them. Having a good mix of these types of posts is extremely important.

Call To Action

Once you’ve gained the attention of your readers with a photo or video, a call to action is a great way to guide them to their next step.

“Do you like these equipment upgrades? Let’s get started with yours!”

As seen in this above example, calls to action can be used for almost every type of post. Tell your reader to check out your website for a business related post, or tell them to read the article or video you’re sharing. Though industry-related or share-worthy content may not lead your reader straight to your website, the posts are more likely to gain likes and shares, which expands your audience in general.

Packaged in with the importance of shared content is the name of your business. Every time your post is shared, someone new has the chance to see you. That’s brand-recognition, baby! When the time comes for that person to need a dealer or repair guy, they’ll remember the interesting blade-sharpening posts you shared and seek out the name they remember seeing or hearing about. Reaching out in comments and replying to people is also a great way to encourage people to participate.

Work/Fun Balance

On the other hand, lengthy content, bland posts, and a poor balance of business/industry/shareable don’t work well on these media channels. Lengthy content is an especially bad choice for Twitter’s 140 character count limit. As for Facebook and Google+, people just don’t have the attention spans to read posts that are more than a couple of lines long. Keep them short and concise! Don’t post bland, filler content like, “Happy Friday!” unless people have a reason to share it. “Happy Friday, here’s a hilarious meme” can improve brand recognition, but only if shared- use humor to your advantage.

Find your balance between business and shareable content. Too much boring business related posts and calls to action can lead to a stagnant viewer count, while too many meme-based share-worthy posts may lead to your readers not knowing what your business does.

reach your audience with heartfelt content

Pinterest

What works: Images, videos, industry related content, general share-worthy content.
What doesn’t work: Lengthy content, bland content, and it may not suit your vertical.

Pinterest, like Instagram below, is all about the pictures. If you’ve ever been on Pinterest, you know that it’s a very visual sight to behold. The hook of Pinterest is that people are looking for ideas. This will work best for you if your business provides ideas or the means with which to make ideas happen. 

A hardware store can benefit from Pinterest because you may share tree-house building ideas with your store’s name attached.

Don’t forget about brand recognition! 

Once people get the ideas from you, they’ll come into your store to buy the tools they need for the job. The best use of Pinterest includes non-business related content. Show people ideas that may lead them to your business, but don’t try to sell them right then and there. The key social media engagement metric for pinterest is seeing your collected pins saved to their own board – or people following the boards you make. 

However, Pinterest may not suit your vertical, and it definitely won’t prosper with too much emphasis on text. Many verticals such as plumbing just don’t have many corresponding ideas given the nature of the job. In this case, Pinterest can only be used for shareable content and brand recognition. The text attached to Pinterest posts is often ignored, so any applicable text should go into an infographic displayed as an image. 

That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t use any text. A small headline or message will suffice here.

Pinterest is not geographically-focused, so if you’re a small company who doesn’t sell online, this may not be the platform for you.

Instagram

What works: Images, projects.
What doesn’t work: Mostly everything else.

Instagram is a strange beast. The entire point of this medium is to compel readers to follow you and talk about what you offer. This works best for verticals like restaurants or artists because your customers can post images of your food or projects for their friends to see. This can also work for verticals like home improvement. 

In this vertical, your business can post project and progress images of what you’ve been working on. Seeing these images and sharing them can work well to compel the reader to seek you out.

Instagram posts can’t include links, so just like Pinterest, the aim here is brand recognition. Can you consistently post interesting enough images for your readers to stay interested?

 Not every business can.

 

social engagement shop now instagram

Instagram is owned by Facebook, so if you want to put ads on Instagram, you’ll need to go through Facebook’s ads manager. Ads on Instagram do have a ‘Shop Now’ link to push to your website and bypass them needing to visit your Instagram profile. 

Like any Instagram post, the key to getting good social engagement here is to provide an appealing image that motivates people to want to read and learn more about it. 

Since you can target ads, you’ll have a bit better luck finding people already interested in the products you sell, but you have to pay for those. It’s not organic (free) marketing. 

Reviews

Now that we’ve covered the main social media channels, let’s discuss other ways they can be used. 

Facebook, Google+, and other media channels support reviews. Aside from the engagement from posts, reviews can make or break a business. You may be thinking “I can’t control what people rate my business”, and you’d be right. However, you can control how you respond to people. 

You can turn around even the angriest rater by replying to their review in a quick and professional manner. You can also use reviews as a way to look at your own behavior in-store, because people are very quick to respond with a bad review if they think they received poor customer service. 

Social Listening

Forbes discusses social listening as finding where your audience is discussing topics related to your brand. 

People are talking about lawns somewhere, and these are great topics for your dealership. The short and sweet of this is that you need to be researching your competitors and your peers. 

What are people talking about, liking, and sharing, and how can you get in on it? You’ll want to shape your social media strategies around what’s getting the best traction everywhere else. 

If you know what people are already talking about, you’ll be able to hop into the conversation with comments relevant to the discussion, and keep that social media engagement train rolling!

Get researching!

SEO

This likely isn’t the first time you’ve read about the importance of SEO, and it definitely won’t be your last. When you search your business’s name or keywords related to your work, how high on the results page does it appear? 

The more you and your readers are mentioning your name and other keywords in relation to your business, the better your SEO results will be.

Measure Success

Finally, take a step back and look at what you’re doing. Naturally, you’ll want to look for what’s working and what isn’t. Whether you’re counting likes and shares by hand or using Google Analytics to track the information for you, understanding your trends may just be the most important part of the process of engaging on social media channels, so what are you waiting for?

Social Media Engagement can be hard to get right, but it's also the key metric in growing any audience.

Was this helpful? Read more advice and guides on our blog! 

engage social media conversations
online reputation management

You suck! – Why your online reputation matters

A business’s reputation used to be what they said about themselves in their advertising, and how far the voices of their customers could reach. 

Now, consumers are pushing out a company’s reputation and image collectively by providing real-time feedback online through review sites, social media, forums and other channels. Essentially, if it is an online source and a consumer can say something about a business on it, then it is a channel where your business’s reputation should be managed.

Digital marketing and online reputation management for businesses

Online reputation management is a part of a greater digital marketing strategy. This strategy should work alongside review management, business listings, paid search/ads, social media management and SEO to help your business stay competitive and relevant online.

While your business should be managing each of these segments to maintain your online presence and (consequently) offline reputation, many businesses are not.

Four in five consumers surveyed use search engines to find local information from multiple devices to find store address, business hours, product availability and directions.

directery for a higher search ranking

Online reputation management: your business has options

Your business’s reputation can be affected at any time, on just about any source across the web. 

You can use products, third-party services or hire people to cut down on your personal reputation management time expenditure. Even if your business tracks and constantly checks on social media, there may be sources that your business is unaware of such as a new review site from a listing that your business never knew that existed. 

Your business should weigh the pros and cons of conducting online reputation management in-house or outsourcing, but there are definite best practices when responding to reviews that your business should be aware of.

Maintaining your business’s online presence is one of the most worthwhile services you can invest in. 

Why your business’s online reputation matters

An online reputation needs to be backed by reviews and ratings by consumers. Without them, there would be no reputation to manage and quite frankly, it would appear as if no one ever visited the business.

Ready or not, consumers are talking about your business

Whether a business chooses to manage their reputation online or not, consumers are talking about their favorite and not-so-favorite businesses. If a business simply ignores their reputation online, the consequences can be detrimental.

Unmanaged negative responses can create an angry mob mentality and bad word of mouth spreads like wildfire. While a business may not realize how exactly one instance can affect their online reputation, it is possible that only one negative post on a highly ranked site can actually be what shows up near the top of a search results page when a consumer searches for that business’s name.

Consumers Control the Conversation and Everyone’s Feedback Matters

Social media is a two-way conversation — businesses can no longer broadcast the message they want people to see. There is a democratic nature to social, with brands, consumers and everyone having an equal voice in a shared space. Customers can rave about a business or let everyone know they had a terrible experience. Social networks have dramatically changed the way businesses communicate. Today, consumers can converse with brands and vice versa as if they were talking to a friend. As a result, businesses have had to become more personable than simply a business entity and manage their social presence in a manner that reflects as such.
Reputation drives conversion

Power of online reputation

What people see online matters.

Approximately 74% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations—this is a huge shift in thinking that has become more prominent as time goes on. This trust in reviews translates to dollars, as customers put their money where their trust is. A Harvard Business School study found that a restaurant that sees a one star increase on Yelp will see revenues increase anywhere from five to nine per cent.

As discussed previously, many businesses find that cultivating their digital profile on their own is too time consuming. There are reputation monitoring tools that make keeping up with customers way easier, saving time and money. Whatever your business does, it is essential that you are not perceived to be ignoring your customers online. The worst thing your business can do is appear unresponsive.

What makes a good online reputation?

Being present (listed online) and having a good reputation (reviews and reputation management) go hand in hand. Not being listed on a reference site customers use is just as bad as having bad reviews on that site. Building a consistent online presence and a positive reputation is important for both consumers and search engines. Some of the most important aspects of the online footprint include:

  • number of business listings
  • consistency of business listing information (name, address, phone)
  • overall sentiment in reviews
  • frequency or current velocity of new reviews
  • overall volume of reviews
  • social activity and engagement (especially with reviewers)

Customers now view social recommendations and reviews as more authentic, expecting reviews to be a mirror of the actual customer experience that they would experience themselves. This means that maintaining your business’s online reputation is gaining importance as each review is a perceived snippet of what your potential customer expects to experience.

Online reputation management: the main sell

According to Google, 9 out of 10 of local searches lead to action, with more than 50% leading to sales. If businesses have a good web presence, customers will go to them rather than the competitor. Once they’re in the store, 79% of customer use their smartphones inside to look at reviews or compare prices and 74% of them end up making a purchase. Those numbers alone make the opportunity clear: online reputation management is essential for your business to get consumers in the door to make the sale.

 

If you think all this reputation management stuff sounds too complex, or too time-consuming, give us a call! 

Dealers Digital offers Reputation Management services. 

a negative reveiw

Social Media Tips: Responding To Negative Reviews

According to research, most people leave negative reviews to inform future potential customers about a business – not to lash out or get the final word. They want a response, and want it in a public space in order to show future customers what you’re made of. 

How you respond to an unhappy customer shows your company’s values, both to the customer, and all future potential customers. Seeing a company handle a tricky complaint, or offer a reasonable solution suggests that the management is proud of their business, and want to go the extra mile to provide good service. 

If that sounds intimidating, don’t worry – A simple apology and empathy with a customer’s experience can go a long way.

negative reviews response

There are 4 things to keep in mind when responding to a negative review. 

Empathize | Solve Simple Issues | Keep It Short | Stay Private

Empathize

The first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging that it happened, and showing that you understand their point of view.

Regardless of why they’re upset, the first step is to show you understand their problem, sympathize, and avoid being angry or defensive.

Learning you made a mistake and owning up to it, apologizing, promising to learn from it and improve future experiences can show professionalism and an earnest desire to grow. 

Solve Simple Issues

Is the solution to their problem incredibly obvious?

If someone complains about store hours, and you know the day they’re referring to was a holiday, gently remind them where to find your store hours during holidays. 

If their problem can be simply, directly, and politely resolved, it’s smart to get that taken care of. 

If their problem can’t be fixed, sometimes it’s best to just apologize and move on. 

Keep It Short

Don’t ask questions in response to negative reviews. Don’t argue that they’re wrong. 

Ideally, you should only ever give 1 comment to a negative review. If it’s not that simple, bring the conversation offline.  

If you think their complaint can’t be solved, or their expectations are too unreal, stick to the apology and invite them to contact you through phone or email for further assistance.

Stay Private

When a customer is especially angry, or has a complex or sensitive problem, speaking to them offline is a good move. 

Let them know you want to help resolve their problem, and offer a point of contact for them to reach out to you privately, via phone or email. You don’t want to air dirty laundry, and openly arguing about a legitimate complaint or mistake doesn’t look good.

Keep your business’s name and location out of this! You don’t want a search engine like Google showing people all your negative reviews to a new customer who is researching your company. 

There’s also software you can use that pulls all your reviews from across the internet into one spot, so you can respond to them quickly and easily. If you don’t have the time to handle your reviews, or don’t know how, you can also ask us for help!

Dealers Digital’s Social Media Management package offers review management as an essential aspect of keeping your public image a positive one.