Communicate with Your Customers

How To Properly Communicate With Your Customers

Knowing how to communicate with customers properly is important to the success of any business. Customers are the lifeblood of any business enterprise. Communicating with them the right way can make a dramatic difference in the outcome of your conversations. About 70% of top business executives list effective communication as one of the top three keys to business success. Being clear, polite and diplomatic when speaking with customers increases the chances they will be satisfied with your interaction.

Marketing Your Company Or Brand

Building a better mousetrap is not enough to guarantee success. You must be able to let consumers know your product exists, what it does, how it can help them and how they can get it. Properly communicating this to consumers requires choosing the right words. Images should clearly describe your product and your message placed within the right media to reach your target market. This is a very important step in establishing proper communication with your customers. You have to use easy to understand terms. They should appeal to your target audience and put your message on media where they are most likely to see it.

Direct Personalized Communication

Communicating directly with your customers using personalized messages is among the most effective ways to engage them and get their business. Research shows 90% of customers want and expect businesses to respond to their questions and address their concerns personally and in a timely manner. Companies that do so using social media and other forms of direct communications improve their chances of keeping those customers and attracting new ones. Failure to directly communicate with consumers on their favorite medium can cause up to 80% of businesses to fail.

Personalizing Mass Communications

Providing personalized service takes time. Providing personalized service to and communicating with a customer base that's large enough to make your business profitable can be challenging. But it's possible.  Give each customer a personalized experience while increasing your customer base and your profitability through the effective use of social media as well as mobile communication. Even small and medium-sized businesses can do this and remain well within their marketing budgets.

Using mobile communication devices and social media gives your company the opportunity to connect with and engage your customers any time of the day or night. The key is to personalize the communications so they won't be quickly dismissed as spam. You must identify the social media platform your customers frequent and use photos, special offers or any other format you know will attract their attention. This will enable you to be more effective. By opening and maintaining the lines of communications with them, you'll begin to gain their trust and develop a mutually beneficial relationship.

Get Third-Party Help

Connecting with customers through mobile devices and the wide variety of social media platforms available can be a complex process. It often requires people with a specific set of skills. While some companies may have one or two people on staff with the necessary skills to run a social media campaign, it often means taking them away from their primary jobs. Instead, it's usually faster and more cost-effective to hire a third-party agency that specializes in and has experience with communicating with targeted customers. They can usually be much more successful in opening lines of communications with customers.

Communicating With Customers Effectively

Once you have opened the lines of communication between your business and your customers, it's important to know how to communicate with them effectively. It will make your relationship with them stronger and increase your sales. You may communicate with your customers via telephone, email, social media, text, instant messaging or any other platform. It's essential to make sure your message is properly crafted and has the right vocabulary, tenor, tone and flow to make your communications most impactful.

There are a number of elements for effective communication that can help to maximize the results you get.

Active Listening

Being a good listener is vital for effective communication in person and in writing. For that reason, be sure to focus on what your customer has to say before formulating your response. Using certain active listening phrases, eye contact and the proper body language lets your customer know you are paying attention. When they have made their statement, briefly repeat it in your own words to let them know you understood their point before you respond. This lets them know their message was important to you.  It gives them the opportunity to clarify any part of their message they feel you misunderstood and improves communication.

Don't Interrupt The Customer

When a customer takes the time to communicate with you in person or online, give them the opportunity to finish their statements before you respond. Interrupting customers often upsets them and makes them feel rushed and disrespected. As a result, this limits effective communication. Allowing the customer to complete the point they're trying to make demonstrates respect and lets the customer know you value their input and point of view. This helps develop trust and understanding.  It can help strengthen your relationship with the customer and make them more open to further communication.

Use Easy-To-Understand Words

When communicating with clients, it's essential to use terms you know they can easily understand. Using complex terms and industry jargon can confuse some customers.  It may make them less likely to purchase your products or services. That's why the information in ads designed to reach a mass market is usually written at an 8th-grade level. This ensures as many people as possible will understand the message and understand what the business, brand, product or service has to offer. As a result, more people will be willing to spend their money on it.

Use Clear, Complete Wording

The proliferation of texting and social media has lead to the creation of many popular new terms and acronyms like BTW, TTYL and OMG. These are language shortcuts. Never use them when communicating with your customers electronically or otherwise. While they may be acceptable among friends, they can cause communication confusion and make your company look unprofessional. Therefore, always communicate in clear, complete words and phrases. While those language shortcuts may seem cool and hip among friends, they can alienate many customers and make your company lose money.

Be Courteous

Many consumers are sensitive and easily offended. Making sure you are courteous when communicating with them can help to make them feel respected. Taking the time to be polite and professional with every customer will help to improve the image people have of your company. Many customers bemoan the fact that people no longer say 'please' and 'thanks'. Therefore, you should make a point to do this in all your company's written and verbal communications. This is one element of the high-quality customer service people want. Being polite and courteous in your communications won't cost you anything, but it can help to generate some additional income.

Use Positive Statements

Positive statements resonate with customers and have a direct impact on their impression of a company. Because consumers want to know how a business, brand, product or service can help them. Simply using positive phrasing in your written or spoken statements can make a customer want to do business with you. Negative statements can make customers defensive and resistant. This creates roadblocks to sales. Your goal must be to use words that create a positive mindset and keep the communication flowing smoothly.

Find Out The Customers Preferred Communication Method

Asking the customer which method of communication they prefer you use to reach them, can improve two-way communication significantly. It helps you understand the most effective way to send them offers and other important information. It also increases the likelihood they will respond to your messages. Asking a customer their preferred communication method shows your desire to please them.  Hence, it can pay great dividends in your business dealings with them.

A Variety Of Strategies

There are a large number of strategies businesses can use to communicate with and engage customers. An agency that specializes in the marketing business, brands, products, and services to targeted consumers can help you determine which marketing strategy is most advantageous for your company. They can create social media and direct email marketing campaigns. These can work together or separately to improve your communications with the customers in your target market. Plus, they can show you how to automate the process without turning your business into a faceless, nameless entity. These third-party companies can also help you optimize your branding and marketing efforts.

Learning to communicate with your customers effectively has a direct impact on your bottom line. Therefore, if your communications are warm, welcoming, easy to understand and polite, you improve the odds customers will respond positively to it and do business with you. Hiring an experienced marketing company to help you better connect to and communicate with your target market can also make a big difference. The ultimate goal is to use proper communication methods to build a mutually beneficial relationship with your customers.


5 Great Lead Magnet Ideas for Financial Advisors

Five Great Lead Magnet Ideas for Financial Advisors

When it comes to selling financial services, your contact database is your most powerful tool. Clients sometimes walk into your office ready to invest, but your leads are usually not ready to buy your services when you first contact them. You need to nurture your leads, establish yourself as an expert, and keep them on the line until they are ready to choose you as their financial advisor.

But how do you get leads into your database in the first place? Use a simple and effective strategy: Offer lead magnets that entice clients into giving out their contact information.

Don't know what a lead magnet is? You see them all the time. They are regularly posted to social media sites with snazzy taglines like "Download Our Free Report." Creating lead magnets is both easy and effective.

What Is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet consists of a free piece of content that entices members of a target audience into giving out their contact information to see it. Typically, when offering a lead magnet, a marketer will ask for an email address and use it to cultivate clients with an email campaign, such as a newsletter. If the content looks juicy enough, lead magnets can be offered for more detailed information like names, addresses, and phone numbers.

Of course, a financial advisor will approach lead generation a bit differently than most marketers. Yet the key elements of successful lead magnets remain the same no matter what product you're selling. So what are the key elements of a successful lead magnet?

 

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Elements of a Successful Lead Magnet

Some lead magnets work better than others. While many lead magnets meet with raging success, others flop. The most successful lead magnets take advantage of the following seven elements:

Targeting

A lead magnet should target a specific group of people. It should offer a specific solution for a specific problem. For example, a list of the top ten most popular investments isn't going to cut it. It's too vague. Instead, you want titles like:

  • "Keeping Your 401K Tax Free When You Change Jobs"
  • "Tax Breaks for New Homeowners"
  • "Getting the Maximum Social Security Benefit"
  • "Smart Investments for New Investors"
  • "How to Retire in Ten Years"

You should choose a lead magnet that attracts the clients you want by offering them results that they seek. The more focused, the better. More focused lead magnets = more leads.

A Silver Bullet

Everyone seeks the magic key that will give them a big boost in life. Understand what your target audience's needs and figure out that one thing they are looking for that will make a big impact. Popular silver bullets include methods for avoiding taxes, ways of getting more money in retirement, or how to score savings on big-ticket items like a home. State the one big solution in your lead magnet's title. A strong, clear focus will be more effective than a swiss army knife approach.

Future Projection

Figure out what your target market really wants. Articles and surveys can help, but conducting some in-person interviews remains one of the best ways to really get in touch with your client demographic. Look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of their positions. In your lead magnet, help your audience understand the link between what they want and what you're offering.

An Immediate Reward

Signing up for your lead magnet should be completely painless. The signup should require as little time and mental energy as possible. The lead magnet should promise something that your target market wants, actually delivering it, immediately. The lead shouldn't have to spend much time to view the content. Long videos, books, and extensive reports do not make good lead magnets. Strive to deliver instant gratification. Leave your leads wanting more.

Authority

Your lead magnet should illustrate you as an expert in your field. It should position you as an authority. Focus on your client, but do mention your talents and accomplishments. Talk yourself up using simple, plain language. Mention specifically how you can help with problems that your new lead likely faces. Use a little subtlety but be overt about your expertise. For example, if you're using a short course as a lead magnet, mention that you are the instructor of the course and give your credentials.

Value

If your lead magnet looks great on the surface but the content fails to stack up to the lead's expectations, it won't be effective. While it may create many leads, a worthless lead magnet will not create many conversions. Your lead magnet should produce actual benefits for your client. This will be a great chance to make a good first impression, and the best way to do that is to follow through by delivering something truly useful to your new lead.

Attractiveness

No matter how ground-shaking your report is, if it doesn't look valuable, it's not going to convince many people to give you their contact information. The lead magnet's presentation should be honed by a professional. You'll give the content away for free, but it should look like something that people would want to pay for.

Lead Magnet Ideas

So what types of lead magnets actually work? Here are five types of lead magnets that can be especially valuable for financial advisors:

Financial Calculators

Help your customers calculate savings, return on investment, payment streams, or other benefits that you can provide. What better way is there to capture targeted leads than to present prospects with a financial calculator designed to help them calculate the benefits of your services?

Reports

As a financial advisor, you can easily come up with a diverse array of reports. You might try something like "Maximizing Retirement Benefits for Union Electricians" or "Small Business Owners: Analysts Like These Four REITs." You could even offer a report on the value of your services. Remember to keep the report short; while an ebook download might entice some prospects, you don't want to overwhelm leads with too much information. Leave them wanting more.

Handouts

Handouts are a different breed of lead magnet than reports. A handout can take many forms such as cheatsheet, an infographic, or a diagram. Handouts should be short, typically a single page. Checklists make great handouts. Resource lists are also good. You could even put together a detailed infographic on historical risk in different asset classes or a chart showing why investors shouldn't try to pick stocks.

Quizzes

Quizzes are very popular and can even go viral on social media. A quiz should be lighthearted and fun but should also tell people something that they want to know. For example, you could put together a short assessment on risk management aptitude, classifying people from butterfly to daredevil. Quizzes can also help you gain valuable insight into your clients' needs, both as groups and as individuals.

Videos

Videos have a key advantage over many other types of lead magnets: they don't take much mental energy to consume. Creating quality video content is a lot of work, but it should be easy enough for you to create a short video course. While you can offer long classes packed full of useful information, longer courses are better saved for the lead nurturing phase. A simple two-part course can draw in a lot of leads.

Conclusion

There is far more to be said about lead magnets. The very best lead magnets will not only bring in the leads targeted by your marketing campaign; excellent lead magnets will convince new prospects to show your lead magnet to other people.

Your client database is your most valuable tool for reaching potential clients. Along with a strong promotional campaign and effective lead nurturing, lead magnets are powerful devices for growing your database and expanding your business as a financial advisor.

 

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5 Great Lead Magnet Ideas For Attorneys

5 Great Lead Magnet Ideas for Attorneys

In today’s digital marketing age, one of the best ways to acquire and communicate with clients is through online digital marketing outlets. More specifically, with email.  As an attorney, we can accomplish a lot through the use of email. Building an email list is a critical component for reaching a targeted audience and engaging with them on a long-term basis. Not only can you easily capture their attention through multiple online platforms, but you can also significantly expand your reach as well.

However, before you can participate in a marketing strategy that involves emails, you first must capture and build an email list. This often takes place over time and with strategic and careful thought based on your industry. How do we go about accomplishing this? Attorneys, or their marketing experts, must find a way to get them to share their email address with you. The most popular strategy: sharing something of value with the user that requires the input of their email address and other contact information.

Once you have captured their email address, it's a lot easier to stay connected with them.

By offering a lead magnet that subscribers find of value, attorneys can provide their target audience with valuable information that can point them in the right direction as it relates to a wide array of legal areas.

This approach opens up the door to a series of opportunities whereby you can now communicate with these potential clients at will. This is because your targeted audience not only sees you as the expert, but they also see your company as a law firm they can trust.

What Is A Lead Magnet

If you are not 100% certain as to what a lead magnet is, you may have seen them in the past without realizing it. It is basically a free offer that prompts members from a targeted audience to opt in to a particular site by way of an offer. It is usually presented in big bold headlines such as:

“Click here to subscribe to our monthly newsletter”

“Download our new how to guide”

“Learn about the six steps to protecting your assets”

A lead magnet is something of value that is offered for free and related to your area of expertise.

Normally, it would have a cost value associated with it if it was available for sale. It is also a way for you to display your expertise while building credibility.  Sending valuable, free information via email, is a great way to build and sustain relationships with your target audience.

Lead magnets are part of an overall marketing campaign developed specifically to generate leads.  They result in a higher conversion rate than you would have received without one. The more leads you generate, the more potential conversions you will have. Most campaigns are also designed to better engage your customers with your law firm. This further stimulates your conversion rate.

As it relates to generating leads for attorneys, most people are in a dire state. They are in need of legal counseling, guidance and direction, or some other form of expert legal services. Any information provided in this area can be great resource. It can provide your targeted audience assistance with their proposed legal issues. It’s a great way to offer some assistance and or a solution to their legal issues while nurturing the relationship.

Below are five of the most effective lead generation ideas that work well across multiple disciplines.

What Makes a Great Lead Magnet

You may be wondering what type of lead you should consider using to reach out to your targeted audience. Especially since not all lead magnets perform in the same manner. In fact, some of them yield very poor results. This is why it is important to have marketing specialists assist you with your efforts. It also helps you avoid making poor marketing launches.

The most successful lead magnets consists of the following areas:

I. A great offer that your audience considers valuable.

II. A clear message that's easy to understand almost instantly

III. Well developed content that delivers on its promise without fail

With that being said, the following are the five top lead magnet ideas.

1. Webinars

Webinars are a great way to allow your potential customers to spend some time with you before engaging with you for legal services. Based on your area of specialty, webinars are a great way to hone in on some of the pain points that your target audience may be experiencing.

For example, if your law practice offers estate planning services, you can offer the following:

  • A webinar about the advantages and disadvantages of estate planning and show your audience why estate planning is necessary.
  • Show them the consequences of what would happen without having an estate plan in place.

This sets the stage for your potential customers to either attempt to perform the service themselves, or request services from a qualified Legal Professional. Since most people would rather not prepare a will themselves, this is where your legal services would come in. You can then offer them an additional slate of the other legal services associated with estate planning.

2. Check Lists

A checklist is a great way to provide potential customers with bite-sized bits of information in a very organized and succinct manner. It's a quick and easy way to read through a series of activities that need to take place in a certain order. A sample could include how to best prepare to meet with an attorney about estate planning, or how to best protect your assets.

Whatever your area of speciality, you can create a checklist that that can streamline the legal process in a way that makes it easier for your client to prepare to meet with you and complete the steps involved with their legal situation.

3. Templates

Because the internet makes so many forms and templates available online, this will be a great opportunity for you to do the same. This is accomplished by creating a template that your specific target audience will likely use. A template of a contract is a good option. It would make a great, and easy to follow, fill in the blanks form. As an attorney, you can also create templates of types of documents as well.

4. Your Legal How to Guide

One of the advantages of putting together a legal how to guide is that it has your personal and professional experience, along with your knowledge base included in the guide. It's a great way for individuals to learn more about a specific area that has legal implications.

Because the guide will be written by a qualified attorney, it will carry a lot of weight and build trust and credibility.

5. Industry Reports

Creating industry reports are great for the user to become more knowledgeable about a particular issue or the industry as a whole.

For example, if you are representing clients who've suffered a job related illness, they would want to be updated regarding any changes. More specifically, if the victim has suffered an illness due to corporate negligence, an industry report would be of value to this targeted audience.

To conclude, it's important to develop digital marketing strategies to attract your targeted audience.  It's of equal importance to remain relevant in today’s competitive marketplace. Although the five lead magnet ideas have been proven in the past, these and others can be helpful to implement into their lead generation strategies. Performing the proper research for more lead magnet ideas that directly impact your specific niche will prove to drum up more ongoing leads as you continue to implement and maintain lead generation systems.

Additionally, a lead generation system combined with promotional efforts, a system to offer nurturing content, and a follow up system will also prove to continue to build your customer base for many years to come.


creating-a-content-marketing-framework

How To Create A Content Marketing Framework

Whether you create a PPC ad on a social media platform or you're creating a Facebook post or even a lengthier blog post, it's important to create a content marketing framework that works well for your business.

Creating content for your business should be a lot like telling a story. There are various ways to tell a story. However, any great story always has three elements:

  • The Villain (the element causing your customer's pain)
  • The Victim (your customer)
  • The Hero (your product or service)

Before reading on, identify these three elements in your organization. Here's an example of the three elements in Coastline Marketing Group's story:

  • The Villian (Time, our clients don't have the time to learn and understand how to build a website, or do their own digital marketing)
  • The Victim (Business Owners)
  • The Hero (We help our clients save time by marketing their business so they can enjoy running their business)

Consider what makes a great story. Everyone connects with the victim. The villain wreaks havoc on the victim's life and then the hero swoops in to save the person.

A villain doesn't necessarily need to be a masked man, either. There are all sorts of villains. Your customers deal with villains on a regular basis. You should focus on one villain and how they create chaos. Consider internal and external "villains."

Ways the Villain Can Create Chaos

How is the villain going to create chaos in your client's world? First, you have to establish who the villain is. This can be an internal or external force, based on the products and services that you offer. If you're a tax preparer, then maybe your villain is the IRS. If you're a cleaning company, the villain could be time or dirt. If you're a restaurant, your villain could be a bad cook or even the competition. Your villain could be the competition, especially if you feel that you have a unique product that is completely different than what the competitors in your marketplace offer.

Consider all of the ways that a villain could create chaos. These will be used in the storylines that you create for purposes of content marketing.

Problems the Victim Suffers

How is your victim (your client) suffering? Are they dealing with the constant demands of the villain? Are they unable to get other work done because of the villain? You need to dig deep and find out some of the symptoms or consequences being suffered by the victim as a result of the villain.

These problems will be a main part of the "plot" within your content marketing. It is what will help customers/clients to identify with the messages and understand that they have a villain in their lives and that they, too, are a victim. It will prepare them for how you will swoop in and be the hero for them.

How the Hero Can Help

Everyone is in need of some rescuing from time to time. Be sure you identify the product or service that you offer as the hero as opposed to your company name. Be specific so that consumers know exactly how you're able to help them.

The hero should be able to help in all sorts of different ways. Maybe it's because of the features or benefits your product offers. Maybe it's because of how time-saving your service is. Whatever it might be, use these ways as part of the stories you create for content and ad campaigns.

3 Steps To Create Your Framework

Your framework is going to be different than that of your competitors based on who you name as the villain as well as how the hero is going to help the victim.

You need to establish a few lists that will help you create every piece of content that you create in the future:

  1.  List 5 or more ways the villain creates chaos
  2.  List 5 or more ways the victim suffers as a result of the villain
  3.  List 5 or more ways the hero can help the victim

You've just created the framework for your content marketing strategy. You don't ever want to deviate from the content that is in the lists, either. Your characters should remain the same at all times. Make sure that your content marketing team has a copy of this list. Instruct them to draw all inspiration directly from this list. In doing so, you will never deviate from your company's story.

When you have a consistent content marketing framework in place, you will find it's easier to create content. Further, you can be sure to harness your brand more effectively because of having lists that stay the same. When your story says the same, your brand does too.

Need help creating a story for your brand? Shoot us a quick email here and tell us a little about your business.

 


5 Website Design Trends for 2018

If you look at websites from the early 2000’s or even the early 2010’s, you will notice significant differences. As the way we consume content changes, we see new trends and design features rise to prominence online.

Websites that were once filled with flash animations, gifs, thick borders, and more are now streamlined to look more professional and polished. With that said, here are five of the biggest website design trends for 2018:

1. Making the Most of Negative Space

Minimalism is in this year, and it shows on our web pages. Using negative, or white space on your website is a great way to keep things looking crisp, clean, and professional. Sparse-looking websites also have a technical advantage since they are often faster loading. This makes a significant difference when content is viewed on a mobile platform.

2. Everyone is Getting Into Typography

Have you ever looked at a website outfitted with Comic Sans font or, even worse, Papyrus? These fonts look cheesy and outdated and will immediately ruin your credibility with a potential client. Unique, colorful, expressive typography is a must for any modern website.

In addition to looking flashy and professional, expressive typography is also a great way to optimize your website for speed since it doesn’t impact the website performance the way an image would, for example.

3. Animations & Cinemagraphs are the New Gifs

You knew Gifs were getting out of hand when iPhone started offering Gif reactions with iMessage. Today, one of the better routes to take is with a simple animation or cinemagraph on your website. These images are a mix between a video and still image, and they create a magical result.

However, web developers should beware and only use cinemagraphs when it makes sense. Don’t simply use them for the sake of it or your website might end up looking like some of the awful examples from the early years of the Internet.

4. Making Facebook the Place to Be

Many experts say your business Facebook page should be like a destination. It should be a place where you share interesting articles, pertinent to your business as well as giving customers up-to-the-minute updates about products and services.

In 2018, new customers will come to Facebook as a way to discover your business. Consumers will also look to Facebook for things like reviews, live-chats, question and answer videos, shareable content, and more.

5. Security, Security, Security

In 2017, hacking was a major news story for much of the year. Going into 2018, we still have it in the back of our minds. Secure websites are going to be necessary for everyone in the future because consumers are becoming wary of using sites that do not have security features.

With the rapid expansion of malware and ransomware, customers will not only expect a secure site, but your site’s security may also be a deciding factor in whether or not they support your business.

Is your website ready for what the future holds? Make sure you are up-to-par with the top website design trends in 2018. Book your free website audit with our experienced local experts.


Does Your Website Make You The Hero? Or Your Customer?

 

In a world full of misinformation, speaking clearly and concisely is more important than ever. Have you ever read a news story and then had to re-read it multiple times just to figure out the gist? It’s annoying, right? For consumers, it’s even more pertinent to get the message across because one moment of hesitation could cost you a potential sale.

The key to overcoming this is by writing copy for your website that is succinct, clear, and obvious. Marketing companies today need to speak to the masses and identify the messaging that will be most effective in your unique industry.

Stay Away From What the Customer Won’t Care About

Customers are not always looking for solutions to their external problems. Instead, they are looking to find ways to solve internal struggles or difficulties. What does this mean?

Take, for instance, a mattress company; although some of the practical reasons for buying a new mattress include replacing an old and worn out bed, you never hear this on mattress commercials. Instead, they reference giving you a better night’s sleep. Addressing a problem that many people have and offering a solution to their internal problem is a great way to communicate with customers and really help them “feel” what your product or service can do for them.

You Are Not The Hero in The Story

If you think of a shopping experience like a movie or novel, you can rest assured that you are not the hero in the story. The story would go something like this: “The brave and intrepid store waited until the customer arrived and purchased their items. The end.” No one wants to read that story.

Instead, switch it up and start thinking of the customer as the hero in the story. Your business is simply a guide on their journey to solve their inner problems. You are the Yoda to their Luke, the Mr. Miyagi to their Karate Kid. Once you understand this, it becomes easier to empathize with the customer and create meaningful content that will speak to them.

Avoid Information Overload

This tip is especially crucial for industries that include a lot of “insider” details. Imagine going to a plumbing website, trying to hire a plumber to solve your issue and get bombarded with technical details you can barely comprehend. It’s a huge turnoff for many people.

Marketing experts at StoryBrand call this “the curse of knowledge.” Not only will it alienate customers, but it may also make your message seem convoluted and difficult to understand. When it comes to making sure your message is heard loud and clear, the best trick is to say exactly what you mean simply.

Looking for help to fine-tune your brand’s messaging or do you need to completely revamp your content to get the point across? No matter where you’re starting from, we can help. Request a free audit of your current website to see how you can make the most of it.


digital marketing business coaching

What You Don’t Know About DIY Website Platforms

digital marketing business coachingFor many small businesses looking to branch out into the online realm, a DIY website platform seems like a great idea. Cost-effective, simplified, and trustworthy, platforms like Squarespace, Wix, Duda, Weebly, and more are gaining popularity with business owners who like to DIY.

Even Wordpress, one of the most-trusted open-source programs out there has options for the intrepid entrepreneur looking to DIY their own website. But should you really do it yourself? Here are a few things you may not know about these popular DIY website platforms:

They May Not Always Perform Well

Websites these days need to perform well in order to be successful. This means making sure the back-end of the system is optimized and running efficiently. With DIY website templates, these unique tweaks and changes are not always possible, which often results in an inefficient website.

For example, did you know that the time it takes a page to load has a massive impact on how it ranks on Google and also how it performs with consumers? Most consumers won’t wait longer than 3 seconds for a website to load. So if your DIY website has issues with this, you could miss out on significant opportunities. The bigger problem with template websites is that it’s actually harder to know if you have this problem, to begin with.

They’re Not Unique

Do you want your website visitors to get an overwhelming feeling of déjà vu when they enter your site? Maybe it’s the color scheme, the layout, the buttons, something about your web page reminds them of something else they have seen. That’s what you can expect with a DIY website template. These templates are not unique, and, therefore, can be used numerous times all throughout the Internet.

Do They Account For Different Browser Rendering?

Did you know that the way your web page appears on a Safari browser could be significantly different than the way it appears on browsers like Chrome or Firefox? A good website must take into account different browser rendering. Unfortunately, many DIY options do not account for this and simply default to the most popular browser settings only.

You May Not Be as Objective As You Think

Are you a graphic designer with an eye for color, spacing, and style? In addition to these skills are you also a talented coder with experience in various coding languages, compliance standards, and other web tools?

Chances are you aren’t. However, you may feel that you are proficient enough at these tasks to “get the job done.” Before deciding on making your own website, you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and decide if you really have the skills needed.

They Might Not Actually Save You Money

For many people, the main reason to DIY a website is to save money. We get it; websites are expensive. But does building your own site automatically save you money and improve your bottom line? Probably not. Building your own website might save you the initial cost of hiring a web developer, but what about when something goes wrong? Are you able to troubleshoot the problem?

Using a template could also cost you business since your site will look like thousands of other sites out there and may not be optimized properly, you could miss out on leads and sales due to the lack of attention-to-detail.

A good website today requires excellent support and web developers who know what they are doing. To learn more about our local business, schedule a free audit of your current website today.


lead-generating-website

How to Use Your Website to Generate Leads

lead-generating-websiteIf you spend any time at all perusing marketing blogs, you are going to hear a lot about leads. What are they? How do you get them? Why do you want them? Lead generation essentially means engaging customers in order to get them to inquire about your product or service.

There are many ways to generate leads for your business. One of the most effective methods is using your website. Here are a few ways you can generate leads using your website:

Create a Lead Magnet

If leads are good, then a Lead Magnet must be really good, right? By definition, a Lead Magnet is an irresistible offering that consumers will want and will do almost anything, like submit their contact information, to get. A Lead Magnet gives businesses the perfect opportunity to collect information from prospective clients in order to reach out to them later.

Some examples of excellent Lead Magnets include:

  • PDF’s containing pertinent information.
  • Access to a free webinar or workshop.
  • Offering free consultations if you sign up for other services.
  • Or, it could be a simple blog post with great information :)

Promote The Heck Out of It

Once you have your Lead Magnet, it’s time to start promoting it. Ideally, you want your Lead Magnet to show up on as many different channels as possible to get the biggest audience and capture the most leads. Some of the best ways to market your Lead Magnet is through SEO, social media (posting about it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and email marketing.

If you find you are not getting the expected level of engagement, you may need to change tactics, so make sure your marketing materials are flexible.

Clean Up the Landing Page

No one wants to follow a link to a website landing page only to find every bell, whistle, and add-on available on the Internet. These types of pages with gratuitous animations, thick borders, and clashing colors make your landing page stand out for all the wrong reasons.

The best type of landing page is one that is simple, easy to navigate, and pleasing to the eye. By keeping it simple, you will attract more leads in the long run.

Try Video

Although your landing page should be clean and professional, that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and engaging. Ideally, you should have at least some information on the landing page. For some businesses, a video is the best way to explain their products or services.

But be wary of making a video that is too long, has too much information, or is too dry. These types of videos can drive away leads. On the other side of the spectrum, a silly video that has no relevance to your business is also a bad move. You must find the perfect balance between entertaining and informative.

Make Sure Retargeting is in Place

Have you ever browsed your favorite online store, not made a purchase, and then noticed ads for your favorite items displayed on Facebook or other parts of your online browsing experience? This is retargeting.

Retargeting is a small slice of code that goes on to your website. It’s so tiny that it doesn’t have an impact on the design or performance of your site. However, what it does do is make sure that people who visit your site are likely to see online ads targeted at them after visiting your page.

This is an interesting tactic because it makes sure that your service or product is always at the forefront of their minds and it will make them more likely to sign up for your product or purchase something from your store.

Resources:

Mailerlite - Offers a free solution for collecting emails via pop-ups and landing pages.
ClickFunnels - This runs about $97 a month, but is a powerful lead generating solution!

Learn more about using your website to generate leads by getting your free website audit from our local online marketing gurus.

 


facebook marketing mistake number one

Top 3 Mistakes Most Businesses Make Advertising on Facebook

As one powerful component of your overall digital marketing strategy, Facebook advertising can deliver a knockout punch that brings your message directly into your target market’s virtual living room. As recently as the 2nd quarter of this year, it was estimated that Facebook had over 2 billion monthly users.

As a marketer, it’s understandable that you’d be salivating when you see those numbers. But I’m here to tell you that no matter how many fish are in the pond, if you are using the wrong bait, your results are going to stink. If you want to be successful with your Facebook advertising, it’s crucial to avoid the mistakes that have sunk countless campaigns before you. Here are 3 of the most common ones:

facebook marketing mistake number one

1. Asking for the Sale Right Away

For some reason, many marketers seem to think that since it’s in a virtual space, the golden rules of selling no longer apply. That you can just dive right in and ask for the sale without letting your Facebook audience get to know you first. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t do it in real life, don’t do it on Facebook. You wouldn’t even think of walking up to a random person on the street and asking for the sale without going through the process first, so don’t do it on Facebook either! You need to prove yourself as an authority in your industry first, and then your prospects will trust you.

facebook-marketing-mistake-number-two

2. Ego-Driven Content

Allowing your ego into the copy of Facebook ads and messages is a surefire way to lose potential customers. Although it may seem harsh, no one cares about what you are selling, how wonderful your company is, or how many accolades you have accumulated over the years. Traditional marketing platforms like television, radio, billboard marketing or postcard marketing may have that “sell, sell, sell” mentality, but you can’t do that with Facebook advertising.

Consider the benefits your product or service offers your target audience and then back them up with features that illustrate your experience, etc. It’s natural to think that working with you is a benefit to your potential customers, and it may very well be, but they want to know what’s in it for them, not how great you are. “We have 30 years’ experience” is great, but “You’ll complete double the work in half the time” is the kind of info that will attract attention and appeal to your readers.

facebook-marketing-mistake-number-three

3. Not Taking the Time to Nurture Relationships

Taking the time to create and nurture relationships with your prospective customers can rectify both of the two previous mistakes. Even with paid Facebook ads, you need to build a relationship with the people you want as your future customers, and then nurture that relationship over time. Facebook is the ideal platform for relationship building, and people are perfectly comfortable handing over their money to you if you make them feel special throughout the process. No one likes the idea of being sold to, but most people have no issue buying from someone they trust, which is what relationship building is all about.

If you’d like to learn more about the ins and outs of a successful Facebook advertising campaign, give me a call today at Coastline Marketing Group, Inc. and we can get the process started.

Phil Fisk
President
Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.
831-759-2273


advanced-seo-report

Why Reputation Management is an Important Part of Your SEO Efforts

advanced-seo-reportSo you've hired a web developer and your website is perfectly outfitted with the most effective SEO for today. You have all the right keywords in all the right places. Your load times are fast. Your website is optimized for desktop and mobile. With all these things in place, your Google rankings should be great.

However, there is one thing that Google doesn’t know for sure, and that’s whether or not your company is inherently good. With that said, it’s still an important factor in your rankings. So how does Google figure it out? It listens.

Going Above and Beyond All the Time

People rarely give rave reviews for mediocre service; which is why you should always strive to go above and beyond for your customers. Although this is something that should always get taken seriously, in today’s digital age, it’s even more important.

People today can research your company with the click of a button and dismiss your business because of a negative review just as quickly. If you are constantly churning out success stories of excellent customer service, you can expect clients to take notice and head to their computers to offer a five-star review online.

But Don’t Ignore the Negative

Most consumers will understand when a company has 20 positive reviews and one negative comment. In most cases, it’s a case of a disgruntled customer that perhaps had a bad day worsened by something minor that set them off. However, ignoring negative comments on Facebook, Google, Yelp, or other review sites also doesn’t look good on the business.

When customers read reviews, they want to see helpful and positive replies to negative comments since it proves that the company is active online and willing to make things right should something go wrong.

Think of It as a Marketing Tactic

You can spend thousands of dollars on the biggest billboard in town and not get as much good press as a single positive Google review. Today’s consumer is increasingly wary of marketing ploys and “too-good-to-be-true” products. This is why your online reputation has to be something you consistently work on. In addition to keeping customers satisfied and connected, positive reviews will also boost your SEO rankings, improving your bottom line. Since Google likes positive reviews, it will rank your company higher than companies with poor reviews. This will give you a significant edge over the competition.

Not sure how to get started on improving your online reputation? Reach out to our local website experts for a free audit of your current website. We’ll point out all the areas you can improve upon to make sure your website and online reputation are in tip-top shape.