Four Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Four Marketing Mistakes Small Business Make

Running a small business is no easy task. There’s always something that needs to be done, you are always working, and the to-do list never seems to shrink. With so much to do, many times the first thing to be put on the back burner is the marketing of the business. As a digital marketing shop for small businesses in the Indianapolis area, we witness this every day when meeting with new clients. In this article, we’ll point out the top marketing mistakes that many small business owners are making and what they can they do to fix those mistakes and start growing their business.

Mistake #1: Not Measuring Site Traffic

They very first thing we ask new clients are how well their sites are doing. How much traffic are they getting? What about organic traffic from Google and Bing Search? What keywords are they ranking well for? What channel do they get the most traffic from?

What we find is that many owners aren’t tracking their site traffic well or in some cases, not at all. We always tell them that Root Digital Marketing can’t work with them until they have installed Google Analytics and Google Search Console on their site. These two analytics tools are what every site should have at the very minimum. With these simple analytics tools, we can analyze the health of a website and set benchmarks that we can measure against as we roll out marketing campaigns to drive traffic to the site.

So if you haven’t done it yet, install Google Analytics and Google Search Console on your site. At Root Digital Marketing, we can do that for you. We’ll also set up views, filters, segments and other settings to improve the analytics reporting of your site. And we can also provide an initial report on the health of your site in order to determine where and how to grow your site going forward.

Mistake #2: Not Being Active on Social Media

We recently met with a client who was desperate to drive more traffic into their business. They had been spending most of their marketing budget on direct mail pieces and they weren’t seeing any results. So they pulled all their direct mail marketing and decided to make a video that they promoted on Facebook for less than what they were spending on their direct mail marketing. The result was over 6,000 Likes on Facebook in less than a month and a huge boost in traffic and sales to their business.

That business owner became a believer in social media marketing and is now looking for more opportunities to market their business on social media. But we’ve met many business owners that aren’t active enough on social media or don’t think it’s a viable marketing channel, especially B2B business owners. In those cases, we show them where their competitors are already on social media and are already talking with their customers.

Imagine a party where your customers and your competitor are at. They are telling stories, sharing tips and developing a stronger and more trusted relationship. And imagine yourself standing outside that party, watching your customers having a good time with your competitors and not being able to join them. Well, that’s not how it is with social media. No one is stopping you from joining the social media sites that your customers are one and engaging with them in conversations. And no one is stopping you from doing the same with your competitors’ customers. So what are you waiting for? Find out where your customers are, most likely Facebook, and befriend them. Don’t sell to them, don’t talk to them, talk WITH them. And when the time comes when they are in the market to buy what you are selling, you’ll be the first business they think of.

Mistake #3: Not Capturing Customer Data

Email is the dinosaur of digital marketing. We use it every day at work and at home. Many of us have numerous email addresses including ones just for spam. We’ve gotten better and the email software has gotten better at filtering our emails, so we are more efficient at reading, replying and sending emails. It’s probably the one digital tool that we couldn’t live without. And yet it’s the one tool that many small businesses don’t utilize for their marketing efforts.

Are you capturing your customers and site visitors’ emails? Are you sending a weekly or monthly newsletter to your email list? With all the marketing channels out there, both digital and traditional, email is still one of the most effective and least expensive. You should be grabbing your customers and visitors’ emails every chance that you get including in the store, on the phone, on your site, and on social media. Give them a deal, run a contest, or share tips, in exchange for their email. And don’t stop there. If you can get their mobile phone number, you can then explore text message marketing. If you get their address, you can mail them personalized deals. If you capture their past purchases, you can customize future marketing based on what they bought or looked at on your site. The more customer data you can gather, the better you can target your marketing and improve your ROI.

Mistake #4: Not Diversifying Your Marketing Efforts

The great thing about digital marketing is that it is easily scalable and affordable. Whether you are looking to promote a Facebook post, run an AdWords ad, create a blog post, write a Medium article, build up your Twitter following, sponsor a forum, or work with an influencer; the costs can be as small or as big as you want. Unlike a radio ad or a billboard or even a direct mail piece, the price of admission in most digital marketing channels can be very nominal. This is great news for small business owners and should be encouragement enough to test the many digital marketing waters to find the best channels to market and advertise your business. The reality is that most small business owners don’t.

Many small business owners tend to put all their eggs into one basket and while it may be driving business, they could be driving more business. Think about how you go through a buying decision process. Do you use Google search? Do you read reviews? Do you ask friends on Facebook about a product? Do you visit the store site? Do you visit the manufacturer’s site? Are you reminded of your buying decision process by an ad on a blog you’re reading? And do you use Google shopping to find the best price of the product that is sold by a store near you? As you can see, the buying process can be a long and twisted road which is why it’s important for your business to be present at as many of those places as possible. So test the waters, measure the results and optimize for better results. At the very least, test out content marketing, search engine marketing and social media marketing. Find out what works best and focus most of your marketing budget and time on those channels.

Learn From Your Mistakes & Failures

Mistakes and failures are not a bad thing. If you want to grow your business, you must be willing to test news waters. If the water is too cold, then get out and try some other new waters. But how will you know if it too cold, too hot or just perfect if you don’t dip your toes into it first? Jump. Learn. Optimize. Jump Again.

How Much Does Social Media & Digital Marketing for Small Businesses in Indianapolis Cost?

How Much Does Social Media & Digital Marketing Cost?

 

How Much Does Social Media & Digital Marketing for Small Businesses in Indianapolis Cost?

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly how much digital marketing services for your Indianapolis small business would cost up front? What if you could go to a Noblesville digital marketing shop’s site and see exactly how much it would cost for an AdWords campaign? Or how much it would cost to manage your social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram? Or how much it would be for a blog post each week to drive more organic search traffic to your website? I would say that would be pretty great…which is why we did exactly that at Root Digital Marketing.

Small Footprint. Big Ideas.

Root Digital Marketing was started in Noblesville to provide affordable digital marketing services to small businesses in Noblesville, Carmel, Fishers, Indianapolis, and surrounding areas. We bring our years of experience and skills working with major marketing, advertising, SEO and digital agencies to small business owners without the exorbitant fees. We do this by staying streamlined and efficient. We don’t have gourmet coffee machines or pool tables or a masseuse on staff. We’d love that but we’d have to raise our fees and our clients don’t want that because they won’t benefit from a pool table.

So what are our fees? Let us show you below.

Digital Marketing Services Costs:

Blog Post (300-500 word)                                                                   $75-100

Email Newsletter                                                                                  $125

AdWords Set-Up (one-time fee)                                                         $150

AdWords Management                                                                       $100 + 10% of Ad Budget per month

Social Media Management (per profile)
Includes: monitoring, following, replying, curating, promoting

2-3 Weekly Status Updates                                                                 $150 per month

Daily Status Updates                                                                           $275 per month

Analytics Set-Up (one-time fee)                                                          $100

Site Analytics, AdWords Analytics, Search Analytics, Social Analytics Includes with relevant services above.

 

And here are some digital marketing packages that we provide to our clients:

Seedling Package:

2 Blog Posts Per Month
2-3 Weekly Status Updates – One Social Media Profile
Monthly Email
Site Analytics & AdWords Monthly Reports

$500 per month

Roots Package:

4 Blog Posts Per Month
2-3 Weekly Status Updates – Two Social Media Profiles
Monthly Email
Adwords – $300 Ad Budget
Site Analytics & AdWords Monthly Reports

$1,00 per month

Bloom Package:

4 Blog Posts Per Month
2-3 Weekly Status Updates – Three Social Media Profiles
Monthly Email
Adwords Ad Budget $600
Site Analytics & AdWords Monthly Reports

$1,500 per month

 

And there you have it. We will be updating the services and the prices as we continue to evolve and grow alongside the world of digital marketing. If you do not see something , just give us a ring and we will either do it for you or introduce you to someone in our network that can help you. And if you see a social media or digital marketing service that you have been seeking for your small business in the Indianapolis area, then what are you waiting for? Give us a ring today and we’ll start growing your business tomorrow.

3 Marketing Ideas for Virtual Reality (VR)

VR Marketing Ideas

Virtual reality or VR, seems to be the next big thing for 2016. Last year it was live streaming where we saw Meerkat, Periscope and Facebook Live roll out to the masses. But this year, it seems that wherever you turn, whether it be at CES or SXSW, VR is present in a big way. So now that it is here, how do businesses adapt it or should they adapt it?

Virtual Reality Customer Experience

Much like live streaming, VR or virtual reality isn’t for every business. Although with a little creative thinking and a big imagination, it could be. Should a plumbing company use VR to provide a homeowner an immersive experience of what the clog in their drain line looks like? Probably not, but it may be helpful for the plumber to inspect the main line for any cracks or breaks using a VR camera and headset. While VR can serve lots of purposes in a business, most businesses are thinking about how to use it for marketing and advertising. And for certain businesses and industries, it should be seriously considered right away.

Virtual Reality Drivers Seat

If you are a car manufacturer or dealer, why not provide customers a VR experience of sitting in the drivers seat of your cars? Imagine a customer sitting at home who is thinking about purchasing a new car and goes online to look at pictures and videos of the car. What if they could download the Honda App or Chevy App, put their phone in their Honda or Chevy branded Google Cardboard and experience what it looks like to sit in the driver’s seat, the passenger’s seat, the rear seat, etc.? I would hope that a car manufacturer has already done this but if they haven’t, I would it will be soon.

Virtual Reality Real Estate Tours

The next big industry that VR seems like an obvious choice is the real estate industry. Videos and pictures are great for getting an idea of what a home or office space looks like but why not take it a step further and allow the potential buyer to experience virtually standing in the kitchen of the home or walk down an office hallway? I’m always trying to figure out the layout of a home or where the photo was taken from when looking at homes for sale. With VR, I can simply turn around and look up and down and know exactly what the room looks like. So if you are a realtor, like F C Tucker Real Estate in the Indianapolis area, think about being the first realtor in your area to do this. It would be great for buyers and also great PR for your business.

Virtual Reality Concerts & Events

And finally, if you are an event management company or venue or conference organizer, why not offer VR tickets to your concerts and events? Many conferences are already offering live streaming but take it one step further and provide a VR experience as if the person was sitting in the first row of the event. This idea has actually been implemented before and will be somewhat common going forward. I know Coachella recently announced a VR app for their upcoming music festival that will let people experience the festival as if they were there. I know Samsung, as well as OnePlus, provided a VR stream for their recent launch events. Once the technology gets much better and more immersive with surround sound, I think a VR ticket to a concert or music festival could be the next big stream of income for concert promoters.

Get Virtual

As you can see, there are lots of potential uses for VR and with the price of VR cameras becoming much more affordable, I see 2016 as the year of VR. It will be everywhere, including in your child’s Happy Meal. Get ready and get on board, it’s going to be a fun virtual ride.

If you want to take your business’s marketing to the next level with VR or social media or video or content marketing, contact Root Digital Marketing today and we’ll start growing your business tomorrow. We are located in Noblesville and welcome clients from the Indianapolis area like Carmel and Fishers, but are happy to help any business wherever you may be in the world.

7 Content Curation Tools for your Social Media Marketing Strategy Part 2

7 Content Curation Tools

7 Content Curation Tools for your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Part 2 – Working with Buffer, Bit.ly and Google Alerts

This is the second part of a two-part post on content curation. If you haven’t read Part 1, click here. Content curation is an important part of social media marketing. It is the practice of sharing content that you think your followers will find valuable. A plumbing company may share content on how to unclog a sink with non-toxic household products. A digital marketing shop like us at Root Digital Marketing may share content that helps followers understand how to use LinkedIn to find potential customers and business partners. In Part 1 of “7 Content Curation Tools for your Social Media Marketing Strategy”, we showed how to gather and save valuable content to share with Feedly and Pocket. Now we will show you how to share the content and track it with Buffer and Bit.ly. We’ll also hit on other tools that you may find helpful in your content curation.

3. Share Content with Buffer

So you have some great content that you’ve saved and read in Pocket and now you want to share it. While you could share it directly to each social media channel, I prefer to use Buffer. Buffer is great because you can connect most of your social media channels to it and use one program, Buffer, to share it to one or all of them in one easy step.

There is a free version that allows you to connect some of your social media profiles but to add more than one for Twitter or any other channel, you have to pay. The other great thing about Buffer is that you can schedule when your content is sent. So when you add the content to one of your Buffer social media feeds, Buffer will save it in a queue for it to be sent on the schedule you have set. That way you can fill up your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest queue and Buffer will send out the content on a scheduled basis as opposed to right that instant like the regular Twitter, Facebook, and other social media apps do.

You can use Buffer directly from Pocket by clicking on the Buffer icon when you have some content to share. Once you click the Buffer icon, you can then choose which social media profiles to use. You can send the same content to every social media profile although I’m not a fan of that. The other thing I love is that when you share content in Twitter, you can grab an image from the actual content piece to affix to the Tweet. I haven’t seen this feature on the regular Twitter app and I don’t think it’s a feature on HootSuite either. It’s a great feature because Tweets with images tend to get more impressions, retweets, and likes.

There is also an analytics part to Buffer that shows impressions, clicks, likes, retweets and other metrics. There are other apps that allow you to schedule your content curation like HootSuite but I like the simplicity and UI of Buffer. I’m currently not a paying customer but as I continue to manage more and more of my clients’ social media profiles, I am seriously considering it to make my work easier and more convenient.

4. Track Content with Bit.ly

The last piece of the content curation pie is the process of tracking the content that you share. Buffer has built in analytics that shows you how much your followers interacted with it as does most other tools like HootSuite. I use bit.ly because it is not tied to any particular digital marketing tool and can be used easily across all digital platforms. Bit.ly is first and foremost a link shortener like owl.y for HootSuite. But it also provides the user analytics of the links that you shorten with it. You can use bit.ly to shorten links for Twitter and Facebook as well as emails and instant messages and any place where you would normally share or add a link. The other great thing is that you can use it as a link shortener only and shorten campaigned links that you track with Google Analytics. That way people won’t see a long and ugly link containing your campaign info. Bit.ly is free to use but they do have paid options that provide extra services. Bit.ly also integrates well with many of the social media tools, so when you go to share the content, the tool you are using automatically shortens the link with bit.ly. There are other link shorteners and they all work pretty much the same. Just make sure that the one you choose works well with the tools and apps that you use.

5. Discover New Feed Sources with Google Alerts

Now that you’ve got your content curation up and running and everything is going swimmingly, let’s look at what’s next. I am always on the lookout for new ways to find fresh content to share as well as to get inspiration for my own content creation. One tool I like for finding fresh content that my followers will like to see is to use Google Alerts.

With Google Alerts, I can tell Google to search the Internet for content that contains keywords that relate to the content I share and the business I run. For instance, I like to share local news from the Indiana towns of Noblesville, Fishers, and Carmel on Root Digital Marketing’s social profiles as the businesses and clients we serve primarily live in our area of town. With Google Alerts, I can tell Google to search for the town names in the news, blogs or general web. I can choose certain countries to search in. I can tell it to show all alerts or only the best results. And finally, I can tell Google to email me the results or I can make an RSS feed. Since I feed the alerts into Feedly, I choose RSS feed and then add that feed to Feedly under the folder I choose. You can also use standard Google Search terms to limit the results like using the minus sign (-) in front of words to leave them out of the alerts or using the site: operator to limit your alerts to certain sites or using quotes to look for a specific group of words like “Indianapolis Zoo”.

There are a ton of other tools that I have used and continue to use, but I think the above tools will get you started with content curation. While these tools will save you time, they will still take time. And if you don’t have time to manage your social media profiles, to curate content, to interact with your followers and to push fresh content via social media, we at Root Digital Marketing are available to help you with that. Just give us a ring, an email, a DM, a message or a shout if you see us out and about and we’ll be glad to help you grow your business.

7 Content Curation Tools for your Social Media Marketing Strategy Part 1

7 Content Curation Tools

7 Content Curation Tools for your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Part 1 – Working with Feedly and Pocket

Content curation is the practice of finding valuable content and sharing it with your social media followers. For instance, a local Noblesville restaurant might want to share a great review of a California Cab that the restaurant happens to serve. Or a Fisher’s clothing store might want to share a press release of the new spring lineup for one of the clothing brands it carries. Or perhaps that clothing store could share an article on the benefits of freezing jeans versus washing them. The idea is to share content (articles, videos, pictures) that you think you’re followers will find value in and to establish yourself as a thought leader in your business’s industry. But how do you find that content and how do you share it quickly and easily with your social media followers? I give you 7 content curation tools that will save you time, establish yourself as a thought leader in your business, grow your following, and keep your business top of mind for the services and/or products you sell.

1. Build a Content Feed with Feedly

You could spend half a day checking blogs, doing Google searches, and reading news sites for valuable content that you could share with your social media followers. Even if you bookmarked your favorite sites and sorted them into corresponding folders, it would still take a lot of time to go through each one to catch up on the latest stories and posts. That is why I recommend Feedly. Feedly is an RSS-type reader that is really easy to set up and has a great mobile app which is important when I look at digital marketing tools. Before Feedly, I use to use Google Reader which was great and very popular but is not around anymore. There are similar tools to Feedly, but it seems to be the most popular. You simply create folders on Feedly and add URL addresses of pages or sites that you want to see the latest stories and posts from. You can also add RSS feeds if the site has one. And there is also a “Discover” option that lets you add popular sites in popular categories.

From Feedly, you can quickly browse the headlines and read the stories you want to read right on the app. You can also quickly share the content via Twitter, Facebook, and other popular social media channels. You can also save the content for later and add tags to the content for easier sorting. You can flip through the latest content or you can flip through content in a folder you’ve created. I usually flip through the latest content and when I see something that I might want to share or read later, I could save the content on Feedly but I save it to Pocket which is my next important tool for content curation.

2. Save Content with Pocket

I love the Pocket app as a reader for my phone. It is an offline reader which means that it will save the content on your phone allowing you to read the content without needing a wifi or cell signal to load the story. This is great for people who commute on the subway or for those wanting to lower their data and battery usage.

I save all the content from Feedly that I want to read for later or to share with Pocket. Both apps work very well together. When I am on Feedly, I can simply hold down my finger on a story and it will save to Pocket or I can simply hit the Pocket icon on Feedly and it saves it just like that.

Pocket has lots of options allowing users to customize and use it the way that works best for them. For me, I primarily read the content in the My List section which is all the content I saved. Pocket does save the content according to content types like articles, videos, and images and you can view the content by type. You can also add tags to the content in case you want to sort the content by the client or subject matter. There is also a favorite section where you can save the best content. Pocket has also added a ‘Recommended’ section which serves you content from other Pocket users who have “recommended” content that is similar to the content that you save.

When you click on the content, it opens it up for you to read or look at. From there you can “recommend” the content which then shares it with other Pocket users or you can share it via social media channels, messaging and email. While I could share it directly using the Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn apps, I usually use Buffer to share my content. In Part 2 of 7 Content Curation Tools for your Social Media Marketing Strategy, I will dive into Buffer, bit.ly, Google Alerts, and other tools I find valuable for content curation.