5 Creative Ways to Show Customer Appreciation This Holiday Season

Holiday customer appreciation event

Everyone’s heard that this time of year is the “season of giving.” And it certainly is. But this season is also really busy, overwhelming, stressful, and challenging. Often, finding ways to say “thanks” to our family and friends, much less to our customers, falls to the bottom of our never-ending to-do lists. But if you ever stop and really think about why you’re in business, why you do what you do, it always comes back to your customers. And your customers are what allow you to maintain and stay in business. So this holiday season, we challenge you to show customer appreciation.


5 Creative Ways to Show Customer Appreciation This Holiday Season

Most businesses choose to go the common routes – the holiday card, the fruit basket, the 20% off coupon. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with thanking your customers those ways. But we’re going to offer you 5 creative ways that are a little “out of the box” to show your customers how much you appreciate them:

1. Personalize Your Holiday Gifts

Personalized Christmas card to show customer appreciation

Have you ever received a gift and felt like the giver didn’t know you at all? This is often what happens when businesses send out generic gifts, such as mass-produced holiday cards or pretty gift baskets where half the food tastes stale. If you’re sending holiday cards, try handwriting a message. If you’re going to send a food basket, go the extra step and find out if that customer has allergies or food preferences. Whatever holiday gift you choose to send, make sure it’s personalized.

Source: McNutt & Partners

2. Hold a Customer Appreciation Event

Group of people at a customer appreciation event.

Now this might not be the most creative way to show your customers appreciation, but it might be one of the most fun ways to thank them for their business. If you have a brick & mortar office, this could be a great option for you. If not, you could consider renting out a small (or large) meeting space to have food, drinks, and plenty of holiday cheer to thank your customers in person.

Source: Cleaner.com

3. Pay It Forward

People volunteering at a charity after a business received donations to show customer appreciation

The holidays might be the most common time of year for businesses to donate to charities. And that’s okay! It’s a great bandwagon to jump on, and there are many creative ways in which you can thank your customers by paying it forward. Ask your customers which charities are most meaningful to them, and then plan to donate to those! Or, invest a percentage of profits into local charities that will benefit your community overall.

Source: Faire Blog

4. Highlight Your Customers for 12 Days

Smiling customer headshot for 12 days of customer appreciation

So if you’ve been following along with our blog, you might recall our 12 Tips of Holiday Marketing post! Either way, we like the number 12. Put a cool twist on the 12 days of Christmas and instead, highlight 12 different customers for 12 days on your website or social media sites. Highlight what makes them a great customer or partner, and how much you appreciate their business.

Source: CallSource

5. Give Away Gift Cards . . . for Other Businesses

Set of gift cards for other local businesses to show customer appreciation

Okay, now this might seem counterintuitive. But we promise, it’s not. As a small or startup business, having the support of your local community is everything. And what a great time the holidays are to set the focus on other businesses. Whether you want to host a giveaway, or simply surprise customers with gift cards for neighboring businesses, this is sure to be a hit with your customers, and a reminder of what your business prioritizes.

Source: NextDoor for Business


We know this time of year is busy, but taking a few extra steps to show customer appreciation can go a long way. If you ever need help thinking of new, creative ways to thank your customers, we’re just a phone call away at Paragon Marketing Group. Call us today at (262) 443-9092.

Benefits of Being Active on Facebook

Social media marketing.

Social media. Regardless of how connected or disconnected you are, social media can greatly benefit your business. It’s a convenient and fun way to engage with current customers and attract new ones. Small businesses have an advantage on social media for they’re more focused on individuals. There are so many benefits you can gain for your business by staying active on Facebook. The more you engage with followers and customers, the more success you’ll have and the better relationships you’ll build. Respond to comments and reviews, and quickly respond to messages. Make it personal. Not only will this make your current customers feel listened to and respected, but new customers will notice!


How Can Being Active on Facebook Help Your Business?

It’s important to remember not all social media platforms are compatible for your business. You have to decide what’s right for you. Facebook might be a great platform for your business because it’s easy to use and it’s a platform for all ages. We compiled a list of some of the ways your business can benefit from being active on social media, specifically Facebook!

Covers all Three Means of Communication

Verbal, nonverbal, and visual. Unlike Instagram, YouTube, or other visually based platforms, Facebook allows you to share pictures, videos, simple text posts, or livestream. By engaging in all three means of communication, your business can reach and connect with more people, depending on their likes and dislikes.

Share Basic Information about Business

A lot of people use Facebook to find a specific product or service. Making a page for your business allows you to provide people with business hours, contact information, company address, and more. You can add an “About” paragraph and biography about you and your business, post reviews, and advertise your services.

Provide Customer Service and Support

Living in such a fast-paced world, we don’t always have time to sit down on a phone call. Having a Facebook page allows potential customers to ask questions about your business and current customers to send follow up questions and comments about services you provided through private messaging. This allows both you and your customers to reach out on your own time, but with accessibility through your smartphone or computer, it’s easier than ever to give or get a quick response.

Promotes Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Facebook is a great way to get more exposure to your business. Think of it as a snowball effect; you post a funny video or helpful insight to your page; your customers engage with the post by liking, commenting, and sharing. Their friends and family will see that they engaged with your business, pulling them into the intrigue, and so on. You can encourage this by holding some sort of social media contest or other sorts of content that will get your followers to share your page.


You may be thinking, sure, these are all great points, but what if you don’t have extra time to spend on social media? Or I’m not too tech savvy, where do I begin? We understand that there are a lot of moving parts in a small business and it can be a lot. Paragon Marketing Group is here to help. If you have zero or 100 ideas for social media posts and engagement, we have the right people and tools to get the job done. Give us a call or message us today (262)443-9092

Interacting With Your Audience Using Live Video

Live video.

There are many types of video your business can pursue to engage with customers, boost sales, and enhance your brand. So, which video is widely preferred and gets the most interaction with prospective customers? Live video is capturing the attention of many, and your consumers could be a part of that audience!

Why Is Live Video Great for Audience Interaction?

Cheap and Easy Production

While large video production has its place for advertising your company and products, it can be time-consuming and costly. Live video can be as simple as using Facebook or Instagram Live with a brief script ready to use. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with putting in some extra time and resources to really get people engaged with your live video, but if you’re in a time crunch, it’s for sure the way to go.

Customer Engagement

With live videos, you’re setting up the time for your customers to engage with you. Not only is this convenient for you, but it also is for them too! This is because you’re only engaging with the people who care about you, your company, and your brand. It’s an easy way to see what kind of people are engaging with your content, which will help you decide who to target when making your next advertisement post, picture, or video.

100% Ad-Free

There’s nothing more annoying than getting really into a video, and it’s suddenly cut to a 30-second advertisement in the middle of the video. If you don’t like it, chances are your consumers don’t either. Most streaming platforms offer ad-free content for you to create. The only advertisements your customers view is that of your business.

Real-Time Engagement Tool

Not only is it a great platform to get information across to customers, but you can talk to them in real-time with live chat. Live streaming gives people the capability to ask questions, leave testimonials, or just have a conversation with you. There are even certain platforms that allow you to have a person to hop on the livestream with you to have a verbal conversation in real-time. It’s a great tool to answer questions, thank customers, or sell your products and services.

Showcase for All Content

If you want to enhance your live streams and make it all the more exciting for audience members, it’s easy to add in graphics, images, text, and even video clips into your livestream. Sometimes it’s better to show customers than to tell them about something (i.e. a new product, statistics, etc.) and live streaming is a great place to showcase all content your business has that also invites in a personal engagement tool.


So, let’s see… live streaming is ad-free, cheap and easy to do, and convenient to engage with current and potential customers. What’s not to love? It’s a powerful tool to engage with the most involved customers, invite in new customers, and easy communication for everyone! Of course, it’s important to debate what’s best for your business, which is where we come in! We have the tools to bring all of your business dreams to life. For all of your questions about live streaming, email marketing, and everything in between, we’re your neighborhood marketing company.

Interacting With Your Audience Using Live Video

Live video.

There are so many different kinds of video that your business can pursue to engage with customers, boost sales, and enhance your company’s brand. So, which video is widely preferred and gets the most interaction with prospective customers? Live video is capturing the attention of many, and your consumers could be a part of that audience!

Cheap and Easy Production

While large video production absolutely has its place in advertising for your company and products, it can be time-consuming and costly. With live video, it can be as simple as turning on the webcam on Facebook or Instagram live with a brief script for you to go off of. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with putting in some extra time and resources to really get people engaged with your live video, but if you’re in a time crunch, it’s for sure the way to go.

Consumers Use Their Time to be on Your Time

With live videos, you’re setting up the time for your customers to engage with you. Not only is this convenient for you, but it is for them too! This is because you’re only engaging with the people who care about you, your company, and your brand. It’s an easy way to see what kind of people are engaging with your content, which will help you decide who to target when making your next advertisement post, picture, or video.

100% Ad Free

There’s nothing more annoying than getting really into a video, and it’s suddenly cut to a 30-second advertisement in the middle of the video. If you don’t like it, chances are your consumers don’t either. Most streaming platforms offer ad-free content for you to create. The only advertisements your customers view is that of your business.

Real-Time Engagement Tool

Not only is it a great platform to get information across to customers, but you can talk to them in real-time with live chat. Live streaming gives people the capability to ask questions, leave testimonials, or just have a conversation with you. There are even certain platforms that allow you to have a person to hop on the livestream with you to have a verbal conversation in real-time. It’s a great tool to answer questions, thank customers, or sell your products and services.

Showcase for all Content

If you want to enhance your live streams and make it all the more exciting for audience members, it’s easy to add in graphics, images, text, and even video clips into your livestream. Sometimes it’s better to show customers than to tell them about something (ie. a new product, statistics, etc.) and live streaming is a great place to showcase all content your business has that also invites in a personal engagement tool.

 

So, let’s see… live streaming is ad-free, cheap and easy to do, and it’s super easy to engage with current and potential customers? What’s not to love? It’s a powerful tool to engage with the most involved customers, invite in new customers, and easy communication for everyone! Of course, it’s important to debate what’s best for your business, which is where we come in! We have the tools to bring all of your business dreams to life. For all of your questions about live streaming, email marketing, and everything in between, we’re your neighborhood marketing company.

5 Easy Ways to Spring Clean Your Social Media Strategy

spring clean your social media strategy.

It’s that time of year again! Sunshine, flowers, and yep, spring cleaning. There’s nothing greater than cleaning out a closet you’ve been putting off all year, cleaning up your garden, or even cleaning up your social media strategy! There are so many things, both small and large-scale to improve your social media presence and marketing.

5 Ways To Spring Clean Your Social Media Strategy

There’s no better time to get rid of clutter than now. Here are five ways to get started with that spring cleaning . . .

1. Update Your Profile and Pages

Make sure you’re keeping your information up to date – this could even be done as often as every couple of weeks depending on your business! Here are some ways to update your pages:

  • Update your profile picture
  • Spice up your biography
  • Include a link to your newest product, a recent 5-star review from a customer, or a friendly message to welcome new customers
  • Create a new call-to-action
  • Incorporate keywords and buzzwords to get people interested
  • If you updated your brand with a different logo or colors, incorporate those into your profile and header photos

2. Create a Content Calendar

Making a content calendar can be extremely helpful to keep you and your business organized! Content calendars are great to keep your thoughts organized, especially if your company uses several different social media platforms. You can use a calendar to keep you on track for…

  • Social media posts
  • Email marketing, articles, and blogs
  • Video production
  • Networking or marketing events

3. Bring Those Goals Out of Storage

Goals grow and change, and some are even forgotten as the year goes on. There’s no better time than now to dust those goals off and pursue them! This is where our previous idea of using a content calendar can come in handy – keep yourself accountable for reaching your goals by visualizing deadlines and content for them by creating smaller goals to lead up to the big one. If you’re not sure why you didn’t meet your goals, take time to figure out where they can be changed to match your business better!

4. Check Out Your Competition

A little competitor analysis never hurt anybody. Check out their social media pages and see what kind of things they’re posting and what their audiences are engaging with, or better yet, look for what they might be missing. That way you can incorporate both into your social media strategy. Some things to look out for with your competitions are…

  • What kind of content are they posting?
  • How often are they posting?
  • What platforms are they using?
  • What content gets the most interaction, likes, comments, etc.?

5. Clean Up Your Social Media Strategy

After analyzing your competition’s social media strategy, take some time to study your own! You don’t need to start from ground up and completely revamp your marketing techniques, but take a look at small things. What’s working? What’s not working? What kind of content got the most interaction and engagement? Taking time to identify your business’ own strengths and weaknesses is a great way to determine what it needs and more importantly, what your customers need.

Taking some time out of your schedule to dust off some goals, clean up your video production strategy, and change up your business’ brand is the best way to clean up this spring! Not only will you feel a weight lifted, but your customers and business will thank you.

Instagram Quick Tips

Instagram tips.

Instagram has over 25 million business accounts, many of which are small businesses. It’s important to know if Instagram is a right fit for you. Whether you are B2B or B2C, this platform can fit your needs. Instagram is the perfect platform to make visual posts to appeal to your target audience. We know it can be confusing to determine which social platforms to use, how to set it up and even how to use it so we’ve put together a quick guide to make Instagram easy. Don’t forget, we’re a local business that is always here to help!

Who Uses Instagram?

It’s critical to know who uses Instagram to target your marketing to that specific audience.

Instagram Demographics That Matter to Social Media Marketers in 2020

Setting Up A Business Instagram Account

Click the links below and use these resources to set up an Instagram account for your business. Be sure to connect it with your business page. Paragon’s quick tips for you are to be sure to create the account with the same email used for your Facebook page and make sure you convert it to a business page instead of using a personal account.

Getting Started With Instagram
Connecting Facebook and Instagram
Set Up & Analyze Your Instagram Profile

Using Instagram

Once your business has an Instagram account, it’s critical to use it! Don’t just let it sit out there with no new activity. Paragon’s quick tip is to create content that attracts to your specific audience on Instagram (know who they are!) and don’t be afraid to interact with them.

Instagram Marketing: A Small Business Guide
8 Instagram Tips For Small Businesses

Talk To The Professionals



Websites—The Face Of Your Business

Websites—The face of your business.

Websites. They’re the face of your business, your first impression on consumers, and a way to communicate with customers. Check out what you can do to update your website and what customers are looking for!

Personalization

In our previous blog, which you can find here, we talked about what it means to brand yourself – this includes your website! If your logo has certain colors in it, make sure you’re using that across your entire website. Keeping fonts, pictures, and color consist not only shows people that you have a clear brand, but they get to know you on a more personal level.

Ease of Navigation

Have you ever clicked on a restaurant’s website to try and order food and can’t find their phone number? How about frustrations with trying to schedule an appointment online? You may not realize it, but all of these small difficulties add up to a person’s impression of not only your website, but your entire business. If people can’t find it, how are they supposed to buy it? Use tabs to clearly label where things can be found. If you know of something that takes more than a couple of clicks to access, try adding a search bar to your website. You can also study the patterns of the use of your website and see where certain things can be fixed.

Call-to-Action

This one may seem obvious, but is often overlooked. You can have all the testimonials, photos, videos, and customer reviews that you want to validate the quality of your business, but if there’s nowhere to lead your customer to buy a product or an email to reach out to, how do they move forward with your services? Make sure there’s a, “contact us today,” or, “click here for more information,” etc. to point your customers in the right direction.

Updated Content

If you haven’t uploaded recent customer reviews, photos, or blog posts in a while, how do prospective customers know how you’re growing and developing? Having reviews from 8 years ago is great to show that your business has been about quality since day one, but how are consumers going to know how your business is doing now? Also, constant stream of uploading shows loyalty to your business and customers.

Social Media

People want to stay in touch and see what’s going on! Maybe you’re a heating and AC service company; chances are, customers don’t need your services on the daily or weekly. If you provide links to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., your customers can stay in the know with your business and get to know you on a more personal level! That way, when it does come time for an HVAC tune up, they’ll know exactly who to call.

Personalized About Page

When it comes to making a business transaction with a new company, people want to know not only what your business offers, but how you got started, what your business’ morals are, and how you like to work. Including these things lets your customers get to know you on a more personal level. Would you rather do work with a company that provides their title and a bare minimum description of their services, or do you want to work with someone who is transparent and honest?

Validation and Testimonials

We touched on this one earlier, but this can really make or break providing services to a prospective customer. Showing before and after pictures of your services, video testimonials, or even written reviews from current and past customers lets consumers know how you run as a business, and of course, other people’s experience working with you. If your business takes pride in quality service for low prices, or treating your customers like family, make sure your customers are there to back you up! It only takes a couple of minutes to reach out to your customers and ask them to leave a review for you.

You have a lot of competitors. Make sure your competition has nothing on you! Be honest with prospective customers, stand out with your own personalized touch, and be open and consistent with communication.

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!

The Importance Of Social Media Marketing

social media marketing.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and even TikTok are all social media platforms that are dominating the Internet. Their impact alone should make it pretty obvious why social media has become so important. But how does it benefit small businesses? Read on to learn the importance of social media marketing.

There are a lot of benefits, one of them being that it gives small businesses a competitive advantage. If you think about it, the majority of a small business’s target audience is already using social media. In an article posted on statista.com, as of last year, 77% of Americans have a social media profile. So it makes sense for small businesses to make their mark in an already highly utilized platform.

One of the biggest benefits social media has for small businesses is the personal connection to customers. Small businesses typically focus on the community and individuals. Social media provides the opportunity to talk about products and services with customers and have them engage and interact with the content. This is done by sharing pictures, reviews, and answering questions. These interactions in turn, create brand loyalty and awareness.

Lastly, social media is cost effective. Small businesses can reach their target audience through ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Unlike huge product campaigns aimed towards large areas, small businesses can focus on targeting their local area and can update their customers on promotions or new products.

Today, having an online presence has become a must for businesses. It makes them relevant and keeps their customers updated about the latest happenings in the business. It is a research tool for customers to become more familiar with a business and decide for themselves whether they want to invest in what that business has to offer. We hope that by understanding the importance of social media marketing. you’ll consider creating a social media presence if you haven’t already. Contact us at Paragon Marketing Group to get started today.

Why is video needed in your Marketing mix?

This is a business team gathering around a laptop.

According to Wordstream, viewers retain 95% of information from watching a video compared to retaining 10% from reading the same information. This trend is astonishing to me but also understandable. When I look back at things I buy online or things I learn, it is the same for me. As a matter of fact, I think it may be worse because I can’t read a long article with my attention span but I can definitely watch a video or listen to a podcast. At this point, I am wondering how much more to write and how to line it up. According to that statistic, I should end it here! However, please continue and choose to be the 10%, then please go and watch the video or listen to the podcast to remember the rest.

 

Every good content marketing strategy encompasses a mixture of different things: blog, video, social, web, ads, and podcasts. Obviously, it is called content marketing for a reason! Think about those things, how many of those strategies can you incorporate into a video? The big question that we always get is, why?

 

  1. According to the same article on Wordstream, a video on your home screen can increase conversions by up to 80%. Who can’t use more leads?
  2. Video creates a personal touch that you can’t get anywhere else. The old saying, “People do business with people they like” is still important today. It may actually be more important because of the internet.
  3. According to an article written by Vidyard, 65% of viewers watch more than ¾ of a video. This is not even close to what people read!
  4. Search Engine Optimization asks you to link and backlink as much as possible as long as it is relevant content. What can be more relevant than you talking about your product on a video?
  5. Content Marketing Institute says that audiences are 10 times more likely to engage, share, and comment on a video than they are a blog or social post.
  6. Last but certainly not least, email is more seen and more returned with a video in the message.

 

About a year ago, a friend of mine told me that he was going to start doing a weekly video newsletter along with his regular newsletter. I got his newsletter and I fully admit that I only read about half of it on a regular basis. Since he started doing a video newsletter every Monday, I have learned so much about what is happening and what he is doing. I never knew most of that information before, even though I received his regular newsletter. This is an example of the power of video at its finest and a perfect reason to incorporate video into your marketing campaign.

 

The big obstacle that you will face with this is yourself. Most people do not like to be on video and admittedly, I am one of them. I believe I have a face for radio but I do videos on a regular basis because that is what is being asked of me by our clients. In the next article, I will talk about what you will do with a video once you have it.