Why Digital Marketing Matters

When it comes to putting together a business plan for your company, the tasks can seem a bit intimidating. From planning out long-term campaigns to summarizing short-term objectives, to social media marketing, advertising and more, there are many more details that one would originally think.

One of the most integral pieces of a marketing strategy, yet often the most overlooked, is a company’s overall digital media strategy.

Online marketing has skyrocketed in importance, and is increasingly separating the good from the bad when it comes to interacting with companies online. Considered your “digital footprint,” it can also be viewed as a “welcome mat” to potential (and existing) customers — meaning when they Google your company, it’s one of the first things they see.

So why does the digital piece of a fully-integrated marketing plan matter so much?

Creating an experience

In a recent survey done by GlobalWebIndex, 54% of those polled stated they used the website and social media accounts of companies and brands to research products or services before purchasing.

By properly utilizing the proper digital marketing channels, your company is able to not only dictate and create an experience around your brand, informing your customers and potential customers, but also allows your company to quickly respond to and resolve support issues or complaints from the customers themselves.

And by making sure your website is up to date, and designed in a customer-friendly way, you’re ensuring that these current and potential customers are having a positive experience — no matter where it is that they meet you.

Building trust

Once your company has made a sale or provided a service, the focus shifts from creating a customer to maintaining that customer — in other words, creating “brand loyalty.

Your social media channels and website not only helps create a trust and loyalty with your current customers, but helps provide some of the most powerful word-of-mouth marketing possible. Nearly three out of every four consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on online are likely to recommend that brand to their friends and family (via HubSpot, 2018).

Continuously growing

In 2021, it will be incredibly vital that every small business have a social media presence of some sort. Every minute, there are 400 new users on Facebook, 54,000 links that are shared, 147,000 new uploaded photos and 317,000 status updates.

And with nearly 42% of the world’s population, or 3.2 billion people and growing, already active on social media every day—the potential reach of your company or brand is seemingly limitless.

As a business owner, you probably understand that your company needs social media, but are having trouble navigating some of the finer details such as what platforms to use and how to optimize your engagement, among others. Here are some of our social media resources for small business owners:


At SmartSolutions, our team can help assess your company’s marketing strategies and efforts and help you create a plan a comprehensive marketing plan for your business today.

Contact our team today to get your free consultation!

Building Your List: The Importance of Email Marketing

Some people seem to think that email is dead — when the reality is, it is still very much alive.

While some businesses have guest books with thousands of email addresses and no idea what to do, others are just starting to figure out how to gather them. Here are some things you should know about capturing email addresses and using them to build relationships with your customers.

Why you should collect email addresses

Email marketing is a nearly unmatched way to increase your store’s exposure — over 99% of consumers open their email at least once daily, according to HubSpot. Even more than just increasing exposure, email marketing allows you to present more purchase opportunities than any other form of marketing. 

While social media marketing and advertising rely on algorithms and news feeds, email marketing is direct to your customers’ inboxes. What’s more, these customers have asked to receive your emails — meaning they want to hear what you have to say; they are engaged with your store. Following purchase experiences, over 80% of shoppers have said they were somewhat likely to make another purchase as a result of a targeted follow-up email, according to eMarketer.

How to start building an email list

There are numerous ways to collect email addresses, both in-person and online — whether that be a guest book on your store’s counter, a place for customers to enter an email address for a giveaway or simply a form on your website to volunteer contact information. Be sure you collect their names, too, so you can further personalize the emails you’ll be sending.

A key to building your email list is to choose not only the avenue that will most effectively capture your audience’s attention, but that also will be easy for you to load into your email marketing platform.

Being able to easily add email addresses as you continue to collect them is a great way to quickly and efficiently build your customer list. Once loaded into the marketing platform, you can segment your lists based on type of customer — such as customers who have purchased multiple times, potential buyers and more.

What to do after you’ve captured email addresses

Just collecting email addresses isn’t quite enough — you also need to know what you want to do with them. Having a plan and a purpose behind collecting them is key to being prepared to deliver on that promise to your customers.

Once you know how you’re going to use the email addresses, your email list is starting to grow and you’ve selected an email marketing platform, it’s time to start building a relationship with your audience.

First of all, make sure you send out a welcome email once someone joins the list. This can be set to automatically send from the platform once they’ve signed up — it will give your customers an idea of what to expect in the emails. It can even be an opportunity to bring them back to the store for an exclusive email subscriber special.  

You want to give your customers an enjoyable experience with all aspects of your store — including the emails they receive. Your emails need to be pleasant for your customers to get in their inbox, both in design and writing. Emails with clunky headlines or unprofessional design work tend to end up in spam folders — on top of that, they’re hard to read. 

During the design process, also be sure your emails display well on phones and tablets as well as desktops. According to email marketing platform Campaign Monitor, 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices — thus meaning that making your design and writing mobile-friendly is all the more crucial. 

As far as a schedule for sending emails, your strategy is completely customizable to your store and your customers. This can mean sending out weekly newsletters, new product announcements and spotlights, or can be even more personal. For example, you might want to offer your customers an exclusive discount every year on their birthday. Or maybe each year you have a VIP in-store event and want to personalize invites sent to each member. 

Your email marketing strategy should be crafted with your customers in mind — and should be evaluated over time. Analytics and engagement data can show you how your customers are interacting with your emails and if there are any changes you should make to that strategy. 

Email marketing is a valuable tool in any store owner’s marketing toolbox — make the most of it by having a plan, delivering on what you promise and continually evaluating and adjusting. Your strategy is key.

Note: email marketing privacy and laws 

As with any advertising structure, there are plenty of privacy laws that your company must be following when working on an email marketing strategy. There are different laws and compliance policies for different regions, but they almost all start with collecting customer data legally — with their consent, voluntarily offering their contact information and giving them a way to remove themselves easily and quickly from your database. 

To comply with most of these laws, you will need a privacy policy. A privacy policy is a legal document covering how your consumer data is collected, used, managed and disclosed, also disclosing how customer privacy and information is protected. Most email marketing platforms will include these privacy policies at no extra charge.

In the United States, the FTC also has an anti-spam law, known as CAN-SPAM, which regulates false advertising in email marketing strategies, such as false or deceptive subject lines. You can visit ftc.gov for more information on CAN-SPAM guidelines.

 

Need help with your email marketing strategy? At SmartSolutions, we are passionate about utilizing the power of communication to bring people and businesses together — and we are equally as passionate about your story. Our team of expert marketers bring their unique perspectives and diverse experiences together to provide a one-stop, full-service marketing solution to help your business thrive. Click below or call us today to get your free consultation!

 

Importance of a comprehensive marketing strategy

This article was originally published on the blog of our sister company, Great American Media Services. To read the original article and learn more about Great American Media Services, click here.

The most successful marketing teams spend much more time planning than those who lose track of the goal mid-year. By creating a marketing plan, you can set yourself up for greater success in reaching your marketing and sales goals. Here are some of the top reasons you need to create a marketing plan every single year.

Save money

Most marketing teams who place ads piecemeal think they’re saving money. But by not knowing exactly what your budget is for the year and not calculating where you are, the end of the fiscal year might be much more painful than anticipated.

The bottom line is that piecemeal marketing will cost you much more than planning your year in advance. Planning ahead will help you stay on budget and know when last-minute initiatives can be added. Often, you can receive discounts for buying repeat advertisements in a publication or with an agency. This allows you to get more impressions and ultimately leads for the same amount of money you’d spend throughout the year.

Consistent scheduling

Planning before the year starts will help create consistency in all aspects of scheduling. It helps to ensure your team has as close to an even workflow through the year, better using your personnel and time resources. Make sure you have plenty of time to create your year’s plan; many teams spend several months preparing for the year.

By maintaining consistent brand scheduling, you are not just helping out your team, but you are also going to ensure that your audience sees regular messaging, rather than a few flurries of activity during particularly busy times. They’ll remember you even if you aren’t running a special or going to an event because they still see your brand in the less-busy times.

Consistent messaging

Beyond planning timing, the messaging you want to use should also have the same level of consistency. When creating your marketing plan, consider any hashtags or themes you will use. Knowing these ahead of time will help reduce the number of late nights and amount of weekend work your team might need to do before big releases.

By knowing the messaging style of your marketing campaign ahead of time, you can ensure that all team members are creating content and ads that match in tone and design. We all know how big brands have used this consistency — through their logos and jingles — to even get that branding stuck in children’s minds.

While you may not aim for the level of brand awareness of McDonald’s or Target, you can still be front of mind with your target audience by being consistent and planning ahead. Consistency is key.

Setting goals and getting your ROI

If you’re not sure how to set goals or calculate the return on investment (ROI) for your initiatives, learning how to do so is an important piece to proving that you should retain — or even grow — your marketing budget year over year.

Your first year tracking might start from a set of cost estimates based on what you’d like the department to be able to do. Tracking your efforts throughout the sales funnel will help you calculate how much revenue — and ultimately profit — you gained through each initiative. Some efforts may have people costs, materials, lodging, per diem or other inclusions that aren’t hard marketing costs, and some companies prefer to lump that into overhead and others include it in the marketing budget.

Tracking can include using UTMs (tracking links used to monitor campaign progress and behavior related to clicking on the link itself) or landing pages, having specific questions on contact forms about how people found you, tracing trade show contacts through to the end of the sales funnel or just reaching back out after the fact to ask where the conversation started.

Proving that an initiative was more profitable than expected is a great reason to ask for a bigger budget for the same initiative in subsequent years. Without knowing if you are getting that return, it’s hard to prove that the department deserves the money in the next budget.

Be proactive, not reactive

The worst case scenario is being in a place where your marketing efforts are reactive. Planning ahead has benefits, but reactive marketing has steep costs in time and cash. For example, knowing that you want to advertise in a print publication before an industry event means that your team can be prepared to create that ad without feeling rushed or having to drop everything. It all goes back to the planning process; reactive marketers always feel stressed and spread too thin. You’ll keep your team happier and healthier by being predictable.

About the author

Jess Schmidt brings a creative writing degree and over a decade of professional writing experience to the team. As a career marketer with a background in the design world, she works with clients to make their brand stories stand out. Her specialties are thought leadership, compelling descriptive language, technical details and marketing strategy. She writes content for all of the publications under the Great American Media Services umbrella and manages advertiser-driven projects. She’s also the in-house SEO and SEM guru. Click here to learn more about our team.


At SmartSolutions, our team can help assess your company’s marketing strategies and efforts and help you create a plan a comprehensive marketing plan for your business today.

Contact our team today to get your free consultation!

Marketing Trends to Avoid in 2021

In a world where digital has become an integral piece of every small business’ marketing strategies, there is only one thing worse than having no strategy at all — having a bad digital marketing plan based in bad habits. We’re taking a look at some of the marketing trends your business should avoid throughout 2021 and beyond.

Spamming your customers

One of the cardinal sins that many small business owners commit when it comes to digital marketing is “spamming” their customer base — continually inundating them with emails and social correspondence. Aside from the obvious privacy laws and FTC compliance issues that can arise from spamming your customers, it’s just bad business, and will eventually drive their business elsewhere.

The risks of “spamming” can be eliminated by mapping out your marketing strategies and promotions to make sure there is very little (if any) overlap. When sending promotional emails, for example, make sure there is a timeline that you are following — one that lays out specific dates for email sends, and a tactical approach to what’s being sent. This is the perfect way to make sure you’re sharing just the right amount of content with your audience.


Posting too much

Many business owners equate the amount of times a business posts on social media daily or weekly with the amount of people they will reach — and they couldn’t be more wrong.

While posting multiple times is a good way to stay engaged with your audience, the amount of posts has no weight on the amount of people you’ll reach in a news feed. Take Facebook, for example. The amount of times posted has nothing to do with your company page’s ability to reach a wide audience, but rather, the content you are sharing.

When you post multiple times at once, Facebook will show all of those posts to your audience in one grouping — totaling the same amount of exposure as if they were spread out. Therefore, what your page is sharing, and how you’re engaging with your audience on the content that is shared, is much more important than the amount of content being shared daily.


Sharing unoriginal content

Going hand-in-hand with avoiding posting to social channels too much, making sure you’re sharing organic, original content is arguably one of the most important pieces to an effective social media marketing strategy.

Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have all announced news feed changes in recent years that prioritize organic, original content over articles and shares. On Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, native images with captions that engage users are seeing two and three-times the engagement rates of sharing a simple link with a short caption. On Instagram, the feeds are prioritizing content that is non-sponsored and highly engaged with, including likes and comments.

Make sure that, if you’re sharing articles and written content, you’re mixing in some pieces from your own company’s website as well. And if possible, share as much organic content as possible, including photos, graphics, videos or polls.


Ignoring engagement

Sometimes, when the focused gets shifted to content, business owners forget to keep up with the “social” side of social media — and the engagements that come with it.

Responding to comments on an image or post, for example, is a great way to keep the conversation going, and gain favor with the social algorithms, like Facebook’s news feed. Keeping up on incoming messages through Facebook messenger and Instagram and Twitter’s “direct message” features are also vital to keeping up your company’s response rate — especially on Facebook, where it shows your response times directly on the page.

Social media is meant to be “social,” and should first and foremost always be centered around engaging with other users — keeping up with comments, messages, questions, concerns and more can help your company maintain a professional, yet positive, reputation on the various social channels.


At SmartSolutions, our team can help assess your company’s marketing strategies and efforts and help you create a plan a comprehensive marketing plan for your business today.

Contact our team today to get your free consultation!

Increasing Your Social Media Reach

When it comes to the ever-changing algorithms of social media giants like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, keeping your company’s organic reach steady can be a challenge. Whether you’re taking on the challenge of building your company’s social audience from scratch, or simply trying to navigate the latest changes, here are just a few short changes you can implement to your company’s social media to help increase and maintain your social impressions.

Text? Keep It Short

For Facebook and Instagram specifically, it is important that your organic posts keep the text to a minimum. This is because of somewhat-recent changes made to the social media platforms’ algorithms that place a higher emphasis on organic images and videos that will garner more engagement.

When posting to these platforms, make sure you’re keeping your text to a minimum of 1-3 sentences, at most. Also, avoid using links in the text, when possible on Facebook (you should NEVER use links in text on Instagram), instead using the rich link preview that Facebook provides.

Video, Video, Video

Did you know that social posts containing video see over 48% more engagement and interaction, with a share rate of 12x that of generic text and/or static image posts? That’s because social media algorithms place a higher priority on seeing organic, engaging video content above almost anything else.

If your company isn’t utilizing videos to tell your story, showcase your products and more, you’re missing out on valuable real estate in the social media news feed.

Engage Often

Another way you can help boost your company’s social media impressions is to drive engagement on your organic posts — and a good way to do this is by interacting with users who are interacting with you.

When someone comments on your video or promotion, don’t just leave them hanging — like and comment back! You can be witty, helpful or even complementary, just so long as you keep it professional (you don’t need your brand to seem rude or unbecoming). By engaging with those that are engaging with you, Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms will see a high-performing post, helping your content to show up higher in the news feed — and, in turn, bringing more engagement to engage with.


At SmartSolutions, our team can help assess your company’s marketing strategies and efforts and help you create a plan a comprehensive marketing plan for your business today.

Contact our team today to get your free consultation!

Writing captions that work for social media

When it comes to your company’s social media posts, the captions are often the most important (and informative) part of the post…

While social media conglomerates like Facebook and Instagram seemingly change their algorithms by the month, there’s one constant that has always remained — the importance of properly-written captions.

On Facebook, for example, posts with text in the image garner less engagement than those without. This further emphasizes the importance of the written caption, as generally that’s the only place your followers are gathering information. So, what exactly goes into a well-crafted, properly-written caption for various social media channels?

Understand your audience

Although this is true for any piece of writing, your brand’s understanding of your customer base is especially important for targeting your audience on social media. Make sure you understand your demographic and your ideal customer, and then ensure that when you’re writing your social posts, you’re writing to speak specifically to that target demographic.

Keep it short, simple

Say what needs to be said, and keep it short. While attention spans grow shorter, so too does the likelihood of a user to stay on one post and read paragraphs at a time. Regardless of the social channel, keeping the caption short, witty and to-the-point helps catch users who are in a rhythm of scrolling.

Tag where needed

If your post or content includes another company, page or product — make sure you’re tagging their @username! Mentioning others is a great way to integrate other audiences with your content, while potentially boosting your own engagement and visibility.

Use hashtags and emojis (sparingly)

When done correctly, using #hashtags can help amplify your reach and potential engagement, especially on social channels like Instagram. And as for those emojis, keep them coming! Posts that feature emojis, when done tastefully, generally get people clicking and engaging at a higher rate than that with just a standard text caption. 😎

 


At SmartSolutions, our team can help assess your company’s marketing strategies and efforts and help you create a plan a comprehensive marketing plan for your business today.

Contact our team today to get your free consultation!

 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Business Marketing Tips for 2021

Kicking off 2021 with a “refreshed” marketing plan for your business

As we settle in to 2021, there’s never been a better time than right now to start planning your company’s comprehensive marketing plan than right now.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand why a marketing plan is important for your business. In short, over 50% of all consumers go online to research a company or its products before making a purchasing decision — meaning if you’re not capitalizing on a comprehensive marketing plan for your small business, you could be missing out on potential conversions.

Social media for your business

In 2021, it will be incredibly vital that every small business have a social media presence of some sort. And as a business owner, you probably understand that your company needs social media, but are having trouble navigating some of the finer details such as what platforms to use and how to optimize your engagement, among others. Here are some of our social media resources for small business owners:

Utilizing email to reach your customers

Email marketing is a nearly unmatched way to increase your store’s exposure — over 99% of consumers open their email at least once daily, according to HubSpot. Even more than just increasing exposure, email marketing allows you to present more purchase opportunities than any other form of marketing.

Is your website setup properly?

Today, companies aren’t just competing with local competition. Online companies of all sizes are trying to take a piece of the your industry’s pie, and it is up to you to stay relevant in an increasingly diverse landscape. One way companies can gain new customers or regain those they’ve lost to the online giants is through ensuring their websites are up to date for search engine optimization, or SEO.

Other resources


At SmartSolutions, our team can help assess your company’s marketing strategies and efforts and help you create a plan a comprehensive marketing plan for your business today.

Contact our team today to get your free consultation!

 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

2020 Holiday Season Marketing Tips

Undoubtedly, the 2020 holiday season promises to be unique for businesses and retailers all around the country. Thanks to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, retailers have already had to shift many of their business practices to more of an online format. Now, with the holiday season fast approaching, retailers’ online shopping capabilities, social media and more are more vital than ever.

So how do you, as a small business owner, get creative with your business to ensure a successful 2020 holiday season despite the challenges?

Start with your online store

The base for everything you do in the digital space, whether it be email marketing, social media marketing or paid advertising, starts with your online store. If you do not have one already, setting up a virtual storefront needs to be step number one, so your customers can still browse and shop from the comfort of their own homes.

Allowing your customers to shop from home isn’t the only reason to set up a digital storefront — it’s also a prerequisite to utilizing social media selling tools properly. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer retailers of all sizes great, easy to integrate tools to promote (and even sell) your products right on their platforms. But without a storefront, these tools are impossible to utilize.

Optimize your social media and email marketing

Whether your company should or shouldn’t be utilizing social media and email marketing isn’t a question (spoiler alert: you definitely should be). But how you utilize social media and email marketing in times of uncertainty can change, depending on your target demographic.

Over 99% of consumers open their email at least once every day, according to popular marketing platform HubSpot. But even more than just adding exposure to your business, email allows you to present important information and additional purchase opportunities directly in your target market’s inbox.

From a social media standpoint, the uses are similar to that of your email marketing campaign — utilizing it to present alternative purchasing options, explain delivery/curbside services or present exclusive deals and coupons. However, social media also gives your company the opportunity to be a part of the community in supporting other local businesses, interacting with local community members and sharing important, localized information.

Utilize social selling tools

By setting up an online store using popular retail platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce, you can easily integrate your online storefront into the aforementioned social media selling tools — such as “Facebook Shop.”

By integrating into the “Shop” tab of your Facebook business page, you can promote products — with images, detailed descriptions and pricing — right in your social posts. Furthermore, if you connect your payment processing to the platform, such as Square or Stripe, you can take payments right on the platform — essentially creating a secondary storefront for customers to shop without ever having to leave Facebook, let alone their home.

» Related: Latest Facebook & Instagram “Shop” Updates

Instagram has created and made available some incredible tools for retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic, changing the way retailers and businesses are able to position their posts for not only optimal exposure, but in-platform shopping, as well.

Get creative with existing inventory 

One of the biggest challenges facing retailers is the existing inventory they’re currently holding — and how to move it without taking a loss. One way businesses can get creative is by utilizing their existing inventory to offer new, “experiential” product offerings, such as bundles or kits.

By bundling together a handful of similar items — to create a “project bundle,” for example — you are not only utilizing existing inventory sitting on the shelf, you are also creating an experiential item that families or friends can buy and take part in together. Bundling products is also a great way to advertise specific products that many customers might not initially think of using together, making it not only an experience, but an educational one, as well.

Offer shipping and delivery alternatives

Presenting your customers with alternative ways to receive the items they purchase from your business is just one of the many ways you can expand your service offerings. Many businesses have chosen to begin offering curbside shopping and contactless delivery services to their customers at little to no charge.

By offering curbside service — allowing your customers to order ahead via phone or website and delivering the items to their car upon arrival — you are allowing those who consider themselves to be most vulnerable an opportunity to continue shopping your selections without skipping a beat. And by adding in potential delivery services, your business can make it possible for them to shop without ever leaving the safety of their homes.


At SmartSolutions, our team can help assess your company’s marketing strategies and efforts and help you create a plan for your digital marketing channels.

Contact our team today to get your free consultation!

 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Best Social Media Platforms for Your Business

In 2020, every company needs to have some sort of social media presence, that’s not debatable. And as a business owner, you probably understand that your company needs social media, but are having trouble navigating some of the finer details such as what platforms to use and how to create and size images, among others.

First, as a business owner, it’s vital you understand why a social media presence is an integral piece to your company’s marketing strategy. Nearly 42% of the world’s population, or more than 3.2 billion people (and growing), are active on social media each and every day — thus creating a seemingly limitless landscape of possibilities when it comes to marketing your company to a specific audience.

1. Set your goals and determine your audience

If you’re just deciding to get your company’s social presence going, odds are you’ve asked yourself this question at least once before.

Before selecting your company’s first social channel(s), it’s important to identify your target audience and overall goals. Is your goal to sell more product? Or drive awareness to specific events? When it comes to your audience selection — are you looking to reach as many people as possible? Or maybe you’re looking to target a specific demographic? Or, more specifically, even a subset of that demographic?

These questions above are what you really need to focus on before deciding to take the plunge and selecting a social media channel for your business. Without identifying your goals and audience, social media can become a very time-consuming task of scheduling hundreds of posts. But by narrowing down your goals, it becomes easy to identify the perfect two or three social platforms for your business.

2. Select the appropriate social channel(s)

If you have identified your company’s need for social media, and you’ve already identified your target audience and overall objectives, congratulations — you are already miles ahead of many business owners around the world. Now, it’s time to compare those goals with each social channel’s primary strengths. The social channels listed below are ranked in their popularity with businesses when it comes to marketing.

Facebook — If you’re looking to maximize your advertising money, as well as reach a much broader audience, Facebook is the perfect social channel for your company. Most companies would (and should) make Facebook one of their first selections, simply for the size of the audience, amount of integrations (such as Shopify, WooCommerce, event-based scheduling and more) and their superior advertising structure.

Instagram — If your company has a lot of visual properties, such as a restaurant showcasing menu items or a store featuring new arrivals, Instagram is the ideal social platform. Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, they share a lot of the same advertising properties, and you can even tie the two platforms together to maximize your advertising dollars.

Twitter — Twitter, known by many as the “interaction network,” relies heavily on engaging directly with customers and followers. Most companies choose to use Twitter as more of an outlet for support vs. custom content and advertising. Unless your company is planning to heavily interact directly with customers or respond to support issues, most businesses don’t elect to have a Twitter account.

LinkedIn — If your company leans more business-to-business (B2B) instead of business-to-consumer (B2C), then LinkedIn is the perfect platform to boost your company’s social presence while connecting with potential leads. However, most B2C companies don’t have a need to be well established on LinkedIn.

Pinterest — Similar to Instagram in visual nature, Pinterest is best for niche industries such as shops, restaurants and boutiques looking to showcase products and recipes. Unless your business falls under one of these more visual categories, your company is most likely to choose one of the other platforms.

YouTube — For companies where videos are prominent in marketing strategies, a YouTube channel is a must-have. However, most companies don’t opt to have YouTube channels. If your business showcases recipes, how-to videos, product demos or more as part of a marketing campaign, it might be beneficial to have a channel you can link to, but otherwise, YouTube remains as more of a personal content-based platform vs. a business marketing tool.

TikTok —While it is one of the fastest growing social media channels in the world, engagement and impressions on TikTok are going to come down to one vital piece of any social media strategy — content. If you plan to use TikTok as a brand, it will take a vision for the channel that connects with your audience, creativity when it comes to creating videos to share and a cohesive plan amongst your team in putting the content together.

Understanding which social platform is best for your business will not only save you time, it will help you work towards your goals more quickly. That doesn’t mean, however, that there will be less time involved. When it comes to social media, the amount of work you put into the channels is directly tied to the return you will see. Working diligently on your social media profiles and maintaining proper response time to engagements from customers is critical to succeeding in social marketing.


At SmartSolutions, our team can help assess your company’s marketing strategies and efforts and help you create a plan for your digital marketing channels.

Contact our team today to get your free consultation!

 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story. 

Quick & Easy Retail Marketing Tips

When it comes to helping your business stand out in the crowded retail industry, a well thought-out marketing strategy and proper execution can be what sets the good retailers apart from the great. And if you’re looking to improve your marketing efforts, there are a few quick, easy things you can do right now to help improve your visibility.

Updating Your Brand Identity

One area that many businesses can improve their marketing is by making sure they are presenting a proper brand identity. Your brand identity is considered to be all the visible elements of your brand — think color, design, logo and signage — that help identify and distinguish your brand in a customer’s mind.

Many businesses, especially those that have been around for decades, may have a mixed brand identity, e.g., some social media channels show old logos, while using new logos on their website.

By taking the time to ensure your brand identity is streamlined across all of your touchpoints with customers — including social media, email marketing, website and various business listings — you are providing them with the important benefit of making your brand recognizable. With a streamlined brand identity, customers immediately identify a certain color, shape or logo with your company, making it easier to connect with your company and separating you from other retailers.

Improving Your Website

In the digital age, it’s not just local retailers that you are competing with, but also national brick-and-mortar and online chains. Companies of all sizes are using search engine optimization (SEO) on their online stores to move up in Google’s search results in an attempt to acquire more customers.

If your website is outdated, with poor design and inaccurate information, you could not only be missing out on sales now, but hurting your chances to acquire future customers as well.

Some simple steps business owners can take right now include updating the website’s information — such as hours, sale information, location information and more — to ensure you’re providing your customers with the most accurate information.

Another way to help your website is to make sure the design is updated to reflect the same logos and branding, and keeping a streamlined look with your social media channels, as previously mentioned.

Finally, you can do some work on your SEO presence to help move your website up in Google’s search results. Some of the small changes to make right away are including your company’s story directly on the home page, considering adding a blog (and updating it regularly with fresh information and customer-oriented topics) and including great, high-quality photography throughout the website.

Making Social Media Adjustments

If your company isn’t currently using social media, setting up the appropriate social media channels for your business should be a high priority.

Nearly 42% of the world’s population — or roughly 3.2 billion people — are active on social media each and every day, and that number is constantly growing. Furthermore, according to GlobalWebIndex, over 54% of consumers will browse a company’s social media to research products or services before making a purchase.

All of your social media channels should have a single, streamlined look — with matching profile pictures (which should just be a company logo), similar cover photos (for Facebook and Twitter) and similar company descriptions and categories across all platforms. By using a single brand identity, your company is recognizable by customers on any platform, eliminating any potential confusion over official company profiles.

Once you optimize your profiles, it’s time for content. A great way to get customers — and potential customers — engaging right away is to interact with them by responding in a timely manner to comments, inquiries and messages on any channel. When producing content, your first thought should always be making sure you’re sharing what customers want to see and information they might be looking for. Social media is also a great place to promote deals, exclusive products, coupons and more.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a nearly unmatched way to help increase your business’ exposure. Over 99% of customers open their email at least once a day, according to the popular marketing company HubSpot. But even more than just increasing exposure, email marketing gives you company new ways to present your customers with different purchasing opportunities.

There are a variety of email marketing platforms that you can set up in just minutes and easily implement into your company’s website, including MailChimp, Klaviyo, and Constant Contact. Almost all of these platforms offer easy setup, customizable options and drag-and-drop email template editors.

Once your email marketing is set up, the various platforms give you an opportunity to get creative and help incentivize your customers to shop with your business. On your website, for example, you can offer your customers exclusive coupons in exchange for signing up for your email distribution list. Using emails to send offers on special product releases, coupons and exclusive deals are another great way to use your email marketing strategies.

Be Informative

One of the most important — and underrated — content tips a business can use today is to create and share informative content with their customers. Having a blog isn’t just a benefit for your company’s SEO — it can also help in providing thought-provoking content to your customers. A business can use a blog on their website to share product tips and techniques; this is a great way to not only drive customers to your website, but to establish your store as an expert.

You can also use email marketing the same way you use a company blog. By sending out weekly or monthly emails with the latest blogs on your website, news from around your business, or even industry information, you can connect with your customers on an informative level — continuing to establish credibility and drive more potential customers to your website.

On social media, posts that contain an informative video (rather than just a promotional post) see an average of 48% more engagement and interaction. Using videos across your social media platforms to share the same information given in the examples above can be a great way to drive traffic and engagement.

Creativity and engagement are the name of the game across all of the digital marketing channels in almost every industry, especially retail. And by just implementing even one of the items above, it can go a long way in helping increase your business’ visibility to customers online.


At SmartSolutions, our team can help assess your company’s marketing strategies and efforts and help you create a plan for your digital marketing channels.

Contact our team today to get your free consultation!

 

Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story.