Tips When Using Social Media

Social media tips.

So, you started up a social media page for your business! Maybe on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram. You read articles and watched videos on the importance of having a social media presence, but how can you effectively use it? Below is a master list of the top 7 tips to keep in mind when using social media to help your business succeed.

  1. Have an objective

    How do you want to use social media to help your business? What are you trying to accomplish? Determine; do you want to improve sales or improve your relationship with your customers? What kind of image do you want for your business online? Once you identify how you want to use your social pages, it will be a lot easier to create content for them.

  2. Be visual

    Photos and videos are very useful when communicating with prospects and clients. It’s a great way to show off a product or to give a face to your company. People don’t always have time to sit and read every post they see on their Facebook feed, so using a photo or video that compliments your post can catch their eye and make them want to find out more.

  3. Be authentic and transparent

    Social media is a great tool to create a relationship and open communication with your clients. Whether it’s posting a photo, video, or a blog post about your business, your audience will get to know who you are, what your business is all about, and what you can do for them. Honesty is a key component to developing trust and accreditation.

  4. Identify your target audience

    Let’s say your business makes products for hair growth for men – your primary audience probably isn’t a teenage girl. Research what main platforms your target audience uses, their means of consumption (video, articles, etc.), and what kind of language you should be using to best communicate with them.

  5. Create a calendar

    Not only does creating a calendar help to keep you organized, but it can help grow your online presence. It’s estimated that internet users spend an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes a day on social media. If prospects become familiar with your presence online, they feel more connected to your business. With consistent posting, you can also determine what content is getting more views and feedback, and you will eventually get into the groove of what kind of posts work for your company and what doesn’t.

  6. Step outside of your comfort zone

    Things are constantly changing, especially in today’s digital-dominated world. If you see a trend blossoming on social media, like video marketing for example, don’t hesitate to branch out. Research the topic to figure out where to start and how to most effectively integrate it into your business. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new strategies to improve your online presence.

  7. Be interactive

    Social media was created to be social! It’s important to consistently answer prospective customers’ questions, but it’s also important to spark up a conversation. Social platforms are a great way for you to connect with your clients, partnering businesses, or people inside your company! Let them know that they are heard and that you acknowledge them by taking time to connect with them. Social media is a great tool to promote your business, but it’s an even better tool to show your business’ appreciation!

Benefits of Email Marketing For Small Businesses

email marketing for small businesses.

Email is a tool most people use everyday. Email marketing is a cost effective solution to directly communicate with your customers, especially for small businesses. Whether it be a monthly newsletter, “Happy Birthday” message or seasonal specials, sending emails to your clients can be a great way to increase brand awareness and help drive sales. Here are five benefits of email marketing for small businesses:

  1. Increased Awareness

    Email marketing is an easy way to stay in front of your target audience. Send them messages to stay on top of their mind. Be consistent for the best results. If your email marketing schedule is inconsistent, people might not remember your business and will be less likely to open the message. Keep your messages fun and relevant for best results.

  2. Consistent Communication

    Like mentioned in the above point, it’s important to send out your messages consistently. Whether it’s once or twice a month or quarterly, make sure you have a plan. You don’t want to bombard people with emails all the time but you also want to stay in front of them. Sending out an email once a year is not going to be an effective solution for your marketing plan.

  3. Increased Website Traffic

    It’s important to have strong call to actions in your emails. Often times, an important call to action would be sending recipients to your website. This needs to be done strategically. You can’t always send them to your home page. Which page is going to have the most relevant information? It could be a service page, a product page, or the contact page. Send them to a page where they would be expecting to go based off the information in the email and a page that will give them necessary information to increase conversions.

  4. Build Credibility

    People are more likely to open a message from a sender they know. Make sure subject lines are relevant so the recipients can see who you are and how you can help them. You don’t want your messages to look like spam. Know your readers and make sure your content is relevant to the people receiving the message. All of these things build credibility for your business and can help increase sales through your email marketing. Get people to trust your business.

  5. Cost Effective Option

    Email marketing offers more cost-effective benefits than direct mail, making this a great strategy for small businesses. With email marketing being a digital platform, you don’t need to worry about printing costs or postage. For an even more cost effective solution, collect emails from your customers and potential customers to build an email list so you don’t need to purchase a list. This will lead to best results and ROI as you’ve already established credibility and a relationship with these recipients.

The first step to a successful Email Marketing campaign. Understand the law!

These are the words, Know the rules, written on a blackboard.

Email marketing is one of the highest converting forms of advertising. Starting email marketing involves many factors, however, the most important factor is the law. I myself have made mistakes that made an email not conform to the law and I completely missed it. That is one reason why I want to make sure that people don’t make the same mistakes I have.


The biggest law out there has been the Can-Spam act that was signed into law in 2003 by George Bush. I won’t bore you with all of the political words but I will tell you what the law says in simpler terms.


  1. You must have the email address that the email is coming from. You cannot hide your email or not tell people who you are in it. This should either be a person at the company that is responsible for this or the company name. Either one shows the receiver what is happening and more importantly from where it’s coming from.
  2. Be honest and forthright. Your subject line should be straightforward and honest. Say in the subject line I have an offer for a free consultation for you, that better be what is in the email. Do not say, “I have a gift card for you” and not actually give one. You cannot say, “I have a gift card for you” and then it turns out to be a contest. You must be willing to give what you say. If you are sending an ad then say, “ad from ……”
  3. Where you are located is very important to this rule. Really, this should be important to you anyway as it shows that you are a reputable company. In this rule, it is required that you have a physical address in the email.
  4. Offer your recipient the opportunity to opt out of future emails. The law states that you have 10 days to remove them from your list but I would highly suggest you do it within 24 hours or before another email goes out, whichever comes first.
  5. If you are using a company to send emails on your behalf then make sure they are conforming to these laws. It is you that will get fined and not them. You have to make sure you are working with a reputable company at all times.


Recently, we have also been hit with a new rule called GDPR or General Data Protection Regulations. This was created in Europe and took effect on May 31st. I would highly suggest that every company conforms to these rules as you do not know when your site will be viewed outside of the country. A lot of the same rules apply as the Can-Spam act.

  1. You must get all data legally and you cannot spam to add to your email list.
  2. There must be a purpose for the email and they must opt-in for that purpose. You can not use their data for ANY other purpose without explicitly asking and getting permission.
  3. You must confirm all data is accurate. I would suggest sending an auto email to confirm the data prior to adding them to a list.
  4. You will only keep the data as long as you need it. If it is a 6-week campaign then you cannot use it for another campaign after the 6 week period.
  5. Confidentiality is the most important new rule. In the past, you technically had the ability to sell your list to others and make some extra income off of it. Although I have never done this, I heard it was pretty lucrative at times. It cannot be done the same way now. Permission must be given to sharing data across multiple entities. You must have security systems on all data to ensure that nobody can take data without your knowledge.


Understanding the laws of email marketing is the first step in starting a campaign. Without this understanding, your email programs will fail and you may or may not be fined. The personal information of individuals is very important to keep secure and not shared. Most email programs do conform to these rules so I highly suggest you use a program like Constant Contact or MailChimp.


Cybercrime affects Small Business

This is a blue circuit board with a blue lock in front.

We have all heard the word Cybercrime and we know that we need to protect ourselves. What most small businesses do not understand is how much it affects them. We have heard all the stories from the news about the big companies getting hacked and information being leaked. What we never hear about is the small businesses that get hacked on a daily basis. According to a survey done by CNBC less than 2% of American small businesses say that they are concerned about getting hacked.The big reason why is, “We are the little guy, they don’t want to hack us.” This thought process is incorrect and is exactly why you should care more than the big companies.

Hackers know that you do not have the time, money, or knowledge to protect your site like the big companies do. Therefore, your website is targeted more than any other. Just because you only have 100 clients or 1,000 clients does not make you immune. It makes you a perfect candidate for hackers. They can go in, get what they want, and get out without anybody knowing. What’s better is that because you are a small business, the word that you got hacked won’t go out to everyone in the world because it won’t be considered a big story.

So, what can a small business owner do to protect themselves? More importantly, what can a small business owner do to protect their customers? Well, here you go!

1. Make sure your website is on a secure server. You have a lot of options when it comes to hosting your website. We highly suggest that you find out what equipment or software your host has to combat hacker attempts.

2. Redundancy is very important. Make sure your host has more than one copy of your site. Having multiple servers in different locations would be ideal. This way, if one location gets hacked then they can quickly change over to a backup copy.

3. Consistent security scans. Security scans should be happening weekly on your site or at the minimum monthly. If you keep up on your security scans you will remove any trackers that may have attached to your site in-between scans.

4. You must be updating your site monthly at the minimum. By staying up to date you are also keeping away any new hacks created by having an old version of the theme or integrations your site requires.

5. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encrypts any conversation that you have with the customer, the website and your office computer. This item is so important that Google is now requiring this if you want your page to be found on Google. It is required as of June 1st to have it. You’ll know you have one by seeing HTTPS:// instead of HTTP:// in your URL.

By following these steps we cannot guarantee that you will never get hacked or that your information will never get out. Hackers are getting smarter and smarter every day and nobody can ever guarantee that. What we can tell you is that by following these 5 things you are giving your clients and yourself the best protection you can.

6 steps to retail marketing

This is a view of a mall from the top floor.

Marketing in the retail world can be a lot of fun. It also can be very time consuming and monotonous. However, without marketing in the retail world, you will not maintain or grow. Retail has an attrition rate and it doesn’t matter how long you have been in business or how great of a reputation you have, there still has to be marketing. You have to replace the people you lose yearly or you might as well shut your doors right now. How do you do this, is the question and how do you do it well?

1. It all starts with building a brand. You have to have a brand recognition or you will not grow. When people think of the typical products you sell, you want your name to come to mind first. In marketing, there is a rule called the rule of seven. Now, some marketers will say it is the rule of 10 or a rule of 5, regardless, it is still important that you follow it. A person must see your brand 7 times before they start thinking about you for a certain product. How those 7 times is achieved can be hard, however, the rest of this blog explains a few tricks.

2. How you are found is important and that is where listings come into the equation. There are literally hundreds of sites that your business should be listed on depending on exactly what your product is. Personally, I believe that if you are listed properly on the top sites then the rest will follow over time. What people do not realize is that everything HAS to be exactly the same across all of your online listings, right down to the dot in the same place.

3. Social media marketing is going to give you the most bang for your buck. Depending on your demographic you will utilize Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Anyone of these 4 are going to be important, however, the two most important are going to be Facebook and Twitter. The most important thing with these platforms is to not post just 1 time per week about your store and expect people to flock in. You have to post regularly and you have to not only educate the consumer about you but also about your products.

4. You have to create a personalized experience. Just as we talked about social being important well, so is mobile marketing. It is said that 58% of people will look on cell phones before they look for your store on a desktop or laptop. With the world of artificial intelligence growing it is very important to learn new ways to use personalized mobile marketing in order to attract new clients.

5. Reward programs are becoming very popular. Create an awards program through email marketing and offer a free product for being a member of your newsletter program. Once you start getting emails from consumers, do not miss a single month of sending newsletters out. I would suggest that you send out an email at a minimum of bi-weekly. One can be a newsletter talking about anything new that you have done and the other can be an offer of the month for members of the group.

6. People will come in and spend more if they know you are supporting the community. Your local chamber of commerce or business group will have a list of events that are community-based in order to help you find a great charity or event to support. Once you find one, offer your support or sponsorship then market about your contribution. Millennials today want to know that you support a charity or local event. They will remember that and come back to you because of it.

Having a retail establishment is a very exciting and fun thing. In today’s world, you have a great opportunity to provide a great location for people to get what you need. The more people that know who you are, the better. With the digital world, you have a great opportunity to tell the world about you! Have fun with it but remember to be respectful and responsible. You will be successful with these suggestions.

How is your budget doing? How about your leads?

This is an image of measuring your budget.

It is very important that you keep up with your budget on a regular basis and track what your Cost per lead or cost per sale is. Ultimately you should be keeping this up on a regular basis however at minimum you should do this quarterly.

The first step is to determine how much you have spent on marketing so far. Hopefully you have been tracking this independently if not I am sure your accounting department has. Hopefully either you or they are keeping track of where the money is going. Not only that it is going to marketing but where in marketing it is going.

The next thing to determine is how many total sales you have for the the quarter. Again you should be getting this information on a regular basis from your sales team so this should be something you know but if you do not then find out from your sales manager. This should be broken down by new sales and existing sales. This should also be broken down by the amount of sales and the amount of leads. In short, how many appointments the sales reps ran and how many appointments the sales reps closed.

Now here comes the math:
Marketing spend/amount of leads = Cost per lead
Marketing spend/amount of sales = Cost per sale

I suggest you go further as well. Hopefully you have been asking where leads are coming from, television ads, radio ads, web, and social are just some of the categories. You should be able to get this same information from your sales if in fact you did get it.

Here comes the math again:
Marketing spend for category/leads from category = Cost per lead for category
Marketing spend for category/sales from category = Cast per sale for category

When you set up your budget I showed you how to do this same thing for your budget. How are your actuals working towards these numbers? What category is trending higher than budgeted? What category is trending lower than budgeted? What should you be focusing on for the next quarter to fix the differences? This is how you know that you are on track with what you budgeted and expected and this is how you stay on top of your budget make it adaptable.

Marketing and Community volunteering. Do they go together?

This is a compilation of Community advocate words.

Let me give you the short answer, YES definitely volunteer!! This would not be a blog if I just left it at that though, as I need to make sure this article is SEO friendly. Many of us do things for others and being a good corporate citizen, we will take on community needs quite often. As a company, we take on about 10 of them in total. Even though we are a small business, we have a belief that the more we give the more we get. Our belief in this philosophy is so strong that our president requires us to be a part of something. We have youth coaches, board members, and volunteers all as part of our organization. Admittedly though, we have never really taken any credit for anything we do. We do it because we love it; we believe in the organization and their cause. That is where we are right and wrong at the same time.

We are right because morally it is the right thing to do. One of the organizations that we help take care of is our veterans, which we all should have a responsibility to. Some other organizations we are involved with are taking care of our children and of families that do not have the money for health insurance. Last but not least, we help churches with marketing for new members of a congregation and also internally with current congregates. We believe that God has put us in a position to help and that is why we HAVE to do it.

However, we are wrong as well. We are wrong to not take the credit for helping. We are wrong in not trying to advertise that we are helping a great organization. Ultimately, if you think about it, we are helping the organization and ourselves at the same time. By us saying that we are helping the organization we are telling more people about the organization and the mission they believe in.

This can be a double edged sword however. You want to check into the organization before you start supporting them. A few things we take a look at are location, financials, leadership and their overall goal. Remember that your name is going to be attached with this organization so you want to make sure that they are a reputable company that supports the mission they created. We have all heard of large organizations that have a reputation for extravagance. The amount of money you donate does not go directly to the mission. I personally have heard of admin fees reaching 80% or more. So, make sure you do your homework first and make sure that you not only want the mission, but the organization is one that you can offer your full support to as well.

So, YES you should take credit for your generosity. You are helping them as much, if not more, than you are helping yourself. Whatever you decide is right for you and your organization, your heart is in the right place. Charitable organizations depend on people like you to improve and enhance the mission they set into motion.

Who cares about Voice search? You should!

This is a Google Home device.

We keep hearing about voice search and how important it is going to be, therefore, we want to take the time to explain what it is. Voice search is asking an intelligent device a question and getting an answer.

The four most popular devices that use voice search are:
Alexa – Made by Amazon, some say that it was the first “Voice Assistant” available. It also utilizes the Bing network for answers.
Siri – Mostly used on Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad. It was utilized by Bing originally, however it switched to Google services towards the end of 2017.
Cortana – Microsoft made this available on many laptops and tablets. It answers via the Bing network.
Google Home – Created by Google to compete against other “Voice Assistant” platforms. It uses the Google search engine.

You are probably thinking, “Who cares? I don’t have one!” However, this couldn’t be more wrong if you are a business owner. “40% of adults now use voice search once per day,” according to Location World. Furthermore, “50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020,” according to comscore. The no screen revolution is coming and you need to be ready!

How do you get ready? Well, it all comes down to SEO!

First of all, the way you think about keywords must change. Most voice searches involve more than five words that are spoken. People do not talk in Keywords. When was the last time you said “Restaurant near me” to anybody? You may have even typed it into a web browser this way. When we speak to voice search we say something like “Hey Alexa, Who has the best fish fry in Milwaukee?”. Your site needs to reflect these words to be ranked. So having keywords is great but you also need to keyword how you speak. Put yourself in the shoes of the potential client, the way that you would ask questions would most likely be the way they do. Of course, this means that your keyword research is going to require a lot more work.

One great way we recently read about is creating a frequently ask questions page with the answers. Brainstorm with your team the top 20 questions the team gets asked and create a page for the questions. Say the top one you get asked is, “What is the best process for creating a great website?” then use it and keyword it. This way, when someone asks Alexa “Hey Alexa, what is the best process for creating a website?” your information will come up and say, “According to the best process is…..”

Many experts have different ways of dealing with voice search as it is still so new. We are all figuring it out, however, rest assured it is here now and it is here to stay. There is no fighting it, you must embrace it, and not only embrace it but get ahead of it.

What’s Up with video ads!

In case you haven’t heard, Google is getting stricter with the videos that go on Youtube. They are doing this because of an inappropriate video posted by a Youtube celebrity showing something that we will not even give mention to here. They have announced that they will now have a manual video review while they are reteaching the new algorithm they have. The new system that will be implemented is an Artificial Intelligence system or as we call it an AI system. This blog is not really about that, however. Although this is big news, it really does not have much to do with marketing. So, what are they changing in the marketing world?

  1. There will be new limits to showing ads on your channel. Last year, Google made the requirement of having a 10,000 view minimum in order to receive ads on your page. Now the new requirement is going to be 1,000 followers and 4,000 hours of viewing in the trailing 12 months. This new rule will take affect on February 20th.
  2. The manual vetting of Google preferred channels. As mentioned above, the reviews will get stricter. Google will be either hiring or reassigning 10,000 humans to review content. The goal is to have the video reviewed or denied within 8 hours after it’s uploaded. The same rule of 3 strikes and you are out will apply. If you violate the rules three times then your channel will be removed, period! This rule is expected to take effect by mid-February.
  3. New brand safety controls with 3rd party reporting. Advertisers will have more control of where ads are running and Google will be more transparent and tell the advertiser where. A new 3 tier “Suitability system” will be available to help make the decisions on where an advertiser’s video will appear. Google will be adding more partners in these endeavors. Currently, they are working with Ad Science and starting a beta with another company along with talking to many others. Currently, the only thing they are saying as far as a date, is sometime in the upcoming months. We would expect it by the summer for sure.

At this point you are probably thinking, so what? Why are you telling me about this, I am a small business. Well, even a small business does pre-rolls and video advertising and if you’re not, you should. These are good changes for small businesses because you will know more about where your money is going. If you do not agree morally or emotionally with a video you will be able to limit your videos away from those sites. Remember, your video is a representation of your product or service. By that same thought, your video will be attached psychologically to the video you are introducing.