Best Practices for Local Business Marketing. The Top 5 Best Practices for Local Business Marketing

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1 Best Practices for Local Business Marketing 1

2 Table of Contents Why Local Businesses Need Marketing Curating a Solid List... 9 Optimize for Mobile Users Provide Compelling Content Track Your Data Don t Spam Benefits of Hiring a Dedicated Marketing Specialist Case Study: Toyota of Cool Springs

3 Why Local Businesses Need Marketing Reaching Your Customers Where They re Looking For You The rise of smartphones and tablets has changed the marketing playing field. No longer can local businesses rely of traditional marketing efforts such as TV commercials and newspaper ads. With the advent of digital marketing, it s important for small businesses to keep up with their competitor s online efforts in order to best reach potential leads. Depending on the type of product they are looking to buy, this research may be thorough and include comparison reviews of different businesses that offer the same product, discovering where they can find the best deal, and turning to their Facebook page to ask for friend s opinions. This research may also just consist of doing a quick search on their phone of which business would be the most convenient for them to stop by and purchase something on their way home. 78 % of all shoppers use the Internet to purchase and research products or services. Cisco, 2013 Consumers are no longer turning to the Yellow Pages to look up a businesses phone number. They are using search engines to find the nearest business to them and then researching more about the company by visiting the company s website, reading online reviews and checking out businesses social media pages. The purchase cycle for today s consumer has completely changed from how it s been for the past few decades, making it not just important, but essential for businesses both small and large to keep up with digital marketing changes. In order to capture and retain your customer s attention and stand out from your crowd of competitors you must utilize an integrated digital marketing campaign. 3

4 How Marketing Fits Into An Integrated Digital Campaign An integrated digital marketing plan artfully mixes traditional media such as TV commercials, billboards, and newspaper ads and combines it with effective PPC campaigns, social media marketing, and marketing in a way that keeps a brand s message consistent across all platforms in order to better retain a potential consumer s attention. marketing is best used as consumer retention in an integrated marketing campaign. marketing allows you to keep in contact with those already interested in your product by sharing with them news about your business and promoting upcoming sales or events in order to help your business stay top of mind with your consumer and to create a more personal relationship with them. Fast Facts About Today s Average American Consumer and 95 % 91 % 70 % 93 % 66 % 44 % of online consumers use (1) of consumers check their at least once a day (1) say they always open s from their favorite company (1) of people use coupons they receive via (2) of Gmail opens occur on mobile devices, and only 19% are opened on a web browser (3) of consumers in 2012 made at least one purchase based on a promotional (4) 1) 2) 3) https://litmus.com/blog/gmail-opens-drop-18-are-tabs-to-blame 4) 4

5 Why Your Business Needs to Invest in Marketing The statistics say it all marketing is working, and it s working well. It allows small businesses a way to personally connect with their current customer base in a way that no other digital platform can. Sure a business can create a post on Facebook about an upcoming sale, or they can create a radio ad about their next event, but there s no way to be sure that those ads are getting in front of the eyes of their customers. With , these messages can be directly placed into a customer s inbox for a relatively inexpensive price. However, what many local businesses need to realize is that marketing ROI will only be positive if their campaign is executed thoughtfully and expertly. There s few things consumers find more annoying than receiving an overload of bad s in their inbox, and consumers are not afraid of hitting the dreaded Mark as Spam button. Getting marked as spam too often will not only get a business in trouble, but it is also a waste of their money. As the old adage goes, If you re going to do something, do it right, so it is recommended that most local businesses use the help of a professional to carefully design, write, and manage campaigns in order to increase their effectiveness and ensure their value. At G/O Digital, we pride ourselves on being experts in marketing. Our solutions are created to connect customers to businesses. No matter where your next customer is, we will ensure your message is delivered in the right place at the right time. Contact Us 38 % of consumers will mark an as spam if they receive s too frequently. Kentico,

6 Contact Marketing Is Not Dead It s Evolving Interview with Chris Fehrman - Sr. Director of Marketing, G/O Digital What are the major benefits you have seen from using an marketing campaign? marketing provides advertisers with a great media to extend their reach to a highly targeted audience. An advertiser can send their marketing messages out to an audience that meets their ideal customer s demographic, buying behavior and interests within the geography of their choosing. This large reach enables advertisers to drive additional potential customers to their website, landing pages, or storefronts - increasing their brand awareness and influencing their buying decisions. What types of businesses do you think would benefit most from an marketing campaign? Local businesses that need to reach local consumers benefit highly from marketing. Also, advertisers that have a great website that will help influence the purchasing decision of the consumer are perfect candidates. Industries [that benefit from marketing] include automotive, healthcare, retail stores, restaurants, real estate and rentals, amongst others. Why would you recommend using a digital marketing company to run your marketing campaigns? A digital marketing company specializes and focuses on digital media only. This provides a higher level of expertise and knowledge of digital media than other marketing and advertising companies. Plus, a digital marketing company will know how one type of digital media can interact and integrate with other types of digital media, so that they can benefit, and not cannibalize, each other. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 6

7 What are the major mistakes you ve seen businesses make when it comes to marketing? The expectation of success timeframe and method is a difficult thing for advertisers to understand sometimes. marketing provides a huge rate of return, however it takes a regular frequency schedule and the understanding that the method in which consumers convert may not be direct from the campaign, but in another method. This does not mean that the campaign wasn t successful; it is only a reflection of consumer behavior with their inboxes. For example, if a consumer reads an from a local retail store on their mobile phone, they may not call the phone number on the , or click a button to download a coupon (or act on another call to action in the creative). However, they may walk into that restaurant sometime in the near future. The campaign has assisted in influencing the purchasing decision of that consumer. What does the future of marketing look like to you? The future of is bright! Don t believe all the headlines that state, is dead or dying. Like most digital media, has evolved and will continue to evolve as technologies, applications, and hardware evolve. We are seeing an increase in use of mobile phones and people checking on mobile phones. Plus we are seeing an increase in the use of social media and app usage that has led to evolving alongside those. I believe will continue the same parallel evolution path that will bring tighter integrations between and other digital media - think social and application interactions triggering campaigns. 7

8 The Top 5 Best Practices for Local Business Marketing marketing is great for sharing company news, promoting an upcoming sale or event, introducing a new product or service, or providing relevant information to your customer base. However, it can all just be a waste of money and time if it s not done correctly. There are a variety of services out there that can help you with the creation and execution of your campaign, but it s important that you know the best practices when it comes to local business marketing to make sure you re getting the most out of your campaign. 8

9 1 One mistake many local businesses make when building an list is buying s from a list-purchasing company. This practice is common among business owners who don t have the patience to wait for the time it takes to curate an organic list of willing subscribers. While this practice may be quick and easy, it is certainly not effective. If a recipient receives an in their inbox that they never agreed to receive, they may find it intrusive and immediately unsubscribe, or worse, mark it as spam. If an ISP receives enough spam complaints about your s, all of your s might be blocked. CURATING A SOLID LIST lists with 10% or more unknown users get only 44% of their delivered by ISPs. Convince and Convert, 2013 More than that, ing a person who has expressed no interest in subscribing to your businesses s will result in little to no ROI. Even if the recipient doesn t take such drastic measures as unsubscribing or marking the as spam, they will likely not open, or immediately delete, an from a company they didn t ask to hear from making your marketing efforts and money a waste of time. A better way to begin building a solid list is by providing an opt-in sign up option on your website. Make it more of an incentive for people to sign up for s by offering some kind of discount in the first . You can also use your social media channels to advertise the benefits of signing up for your company s list. If you have a brick and mortar store, keep a sign-up sheet clipboard at your register and encourage visitors to add their address by offering an immediate discount on their purchase. 9

10 2 OPTIMIZE FOR MOBILE USERS has changed a lot since its inception. No longer do people hear You ve got mail after logging in every couple of days on their dial-up desktop. Today, people check their s on the go while standing in line at the grocery store, at a table in the restaurant, and even while driving! Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have turned the tables when it comes to how people read and send s. 91% of consumers check on their mobile phones Acxiom Digital Impact, 2013 Studies show that this trend is gradually increasing, making mobile marketing something small businesses can t ignore. If a business is sending s with images that take too long to load, font size that s too small, and links that are hard to click on, a consumer reading the will likely not have the patience to get through it, putting all of the business owners efforts to waste. When creating a mobile optimized layout, you have to think about both how viewers will see the image and how they will interact with it. Mobile s are viewed both on a small screen and while on the go, so the less content the better. Keep subject lines at 35 characters or less and limit the message to just one or two paragraphs. Put any calls to action in a large button that is easy for readers to both notice and click on. Keep in mind that on a mobile device, people aren t using a mouse to click on links, they are using their fingers, so keep buttons at least 44 pixels square for easy tapping. Finally, be sure to use responsive design on all mobile s. Not all mobile users are viewing your s on the same size screen. ipads, Kindles, iphones, and android phones all have screens with very different sizes. Responsive design is a technique that makes your layout automatically react to whatever size screen it s being opened on, ensuring your will always appear the way it s supposed to appear. More mobile facts: 54% of respondents read on their smartphones before they go to bed Apsis, % of respondents read on their smartphones immediately after they wake up Apsis, % of respondents often read on their smartphone over the weekend Apsis, % of mobile purchasing decisions are influenced by s from companies Apsis,

11 3 Marketing s should be more than just a push towards a sale. If you re always sending s with the same message to your customers, eventually they are going to stop opening them, or possibly unsubscribe from your mailing list, so it s important to give them an incentive to opening your s. This can be done by creating unique and compelling content. The type of content you will write will vary on your industry, but a good rule of thumb is to create content inspired by relevant news, upcoming holidays, and the interests of your specific audience. Let s use a med spa in Phoenix as an example. PROVIDE COMPELLING CONTENT Relevant News: Let s say for the last few weeks the weather in Phoenix has been exceptionally dry. The owner of this med spa could send out an referencing the dry weather and the typical effects it has on skin. Then they could mention a service or product the med spa offers that can help combat these effects and provide a link to an offer on that service or product. This content is compelling to readers because it s relevant to their actual lives, making it more effective than a generic for products and services. Upcoming Holidays: A great time of the year for med spas is in the summer when people are shedding their clothes and wanting to look good by the pool. This med spa owner in Phoenix can take advantage of this desire by sending out s around Memorial Day and Independence Day that offer specials on things like cellulite treatment or laser hair removal. Once again, it s compelling to readers because it s relevant to their current situation. Customer Interests: A great way to create compelling content is to provide helpful information for customers. This usually comes in the form of advice relevant to your business. So the Phoenix med spa owner could send an titled 5 Foods That Are Great For Skin, as many of their customers care about their appearance and would find information like this helpful. Though the owner may not receive a sale out of the , they are continuing to stay top of mind with their current customer base, helping to guarantee repeat business. 11

12 4 TRACK YOUR DATA Sending out s without a way to track their performance will not only prevent you from seeing your return on investment, but will also prevent you from learning what is and isn t working in your marketing campaigns. To begin tracking your data, you first need to determine what your marketing goals are. Do you want to generate leads? Grow your subscriber database? Convert existing leads into customers? Once you know your goal, you ll be able to determine what you need to be tracking. The most common metric that is tracked is clickthrough rate (CTR). CTR tracks the number of times a link within an is uniquely clicked on divided by to number of delivered s. This allows you track what is interesting to people in your s, and allows you to determine what kind of messages work better than other messages. For instance, you may notice that more people click on offers for a certain percent off a product or service rather than a buy one get one free offer. You can use this information to create better ROI on future s by offering the kind of deals people are interested. Conversion rate is another important metric to measure. Typically a marketing is sent in the hopes of converting a reader to a customer, so if you send an asking people to call and make reservations at your restaurant, it s important to measure how many people actually called because of the . This measurement type is important for determining if your marketing campaigns are actually working, or if they re just a waste of time and money. An important metric to measure from a best practices point of view is bounce rate. Bounce rate measures the amount of s you are sending that are not making it to an inbox. Soft bounce rate shows that amount of s not being delivered because a customer s inbox is full or there s a problem with their server. Hard bounce rate shows the amount of s not being delivered because an is invalid. It s important to measure hard bounce rate and remove invalid s from your inbox because too many hard bounced s can result in ISPs viewing you as a spammer. 12

13 5 Speaking of spam, that s the number one marketing mistake you want to avoid. Obviously you never plan on spamming your customer s inboxes, but a few small errors can send you straight into the junk box. The more often your s are flagged as spam, the less eyes your s will reach and the more likely that marketing service providers will refuse to work with you. One easy way to avoid being marked as spam is by not sending too many s to your customers. Sending several s a day, or even several a week, can become an unwelcome nuisance to your list and cause people to either unsubscribe from your list, or mark you as spam. When having people sign up for your list, always be clear with them about how many s they can expect to receive from you. DON T SPAM 69% of recipients report as spam based solely on subject line. Convince and Convert, 2013 There are also certain words and characters that can cause your s to automatically be filtered into the junk mail box. Things to avoid include: Too many images more than 3 or 4 images will get your flagged The words free, unbelievable, and Dear All capitalized letters Exclamation points You will also need to make sure your s are compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act. The CAN-SPAM Act, or the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 is a federal law that protects consumers from receiving unwanted s. A few of the most common rules this act enforces include: Don t use fake information in the From field Don t use misleading information in the subject line or header information Include a visible Unsubscribe option If people request to be removed from the list, this must be done within 10 days You cannot a harvested list Read the full act here. 13

14 Benefits of Hiring a Dedicated Marketing Agency Many business owners are under the impression that just because they can create a marketing , they can easily run an marketing campaign on their own. However, a successful marketing campaign requires a lot more expertise than just hitting send on a mass , and many owners don t have the time it takes to keep up on the best practices for successful marketing. See how G/O Digital helped Toyota of Cool Springs sell 39 vehicles with the help of targeted marketing. Hiring an marketing agency that has the knowledge of how to design, write, and execute a successful marketing is the best way to ensure your marketing efforts are effectively reaching current and potential customers. A good marketing agency: Saves you the burden of keeping up with marketing trends. Brings a strategy and action plan to the table. Comes armed with the knowledge of what works and doesn t work in your industry. Knows the tools to design, write, and send out large marketing s. Will understand how to track and measure data to improve your marketing and increase your ROI. 14

15 Case Study: Toyota of Cool Springs Results 12% 39 30,000+ Click-Through Rate Vehicles Sold Impressions Received Challenge Toyota of Cool Springs wanted to highlight a local promotion but needed a method to accurately track the number of people that received the ad, the number of people potentially interested in buying soon, and the actual number of purchases made because of the advertisement. Solution G/O Digital used an frequency campaign to help Toyota of Cool Springs. The initial campaign let potential buyers know about the promotion, while the following campaigns provided specific information about the promotion and how to get in contact with someone to make a purchase. Products Traditional advertising had worked in the past but it was more difficult to pin point the actual numbers realized from the client s efforts and most importantly, the money spent on the advertisements. Unique tracking numbers were used to match specific vehicle sales to the campaigns. This allowed the client to know exactly how much return they received on their initial investment in the digital advertising campaigns. 15

16 How G/O Digital Can Help You At G/O Digital, we understand that marketing can no longer be limited to traditional advertising methods and that digital integration is the future. We understand that the conversation between consumers and businesses has changed and will continue to evolve and our team of digital marketing specialists has the expertise to meet these changes head on. Boost leads, retain customers, and grow your business with G/O Digital s team of marketing specialists. Click here for a free competitive analysis or call us at to speak to a digital strategist today! in 16

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