5 Marketing Hacks to Generate New Customers

Here are five easy hacks you can start implementing today to bring more customers to your business.

In today’s saturated market, small- and medium-size businesses need to focus on re-vamping their online marketing strategies to compete and attract new customers. No matter the industry, or size of your organization, your online presence is key to making the big bucks and business longevity. Fortunately, you don’t need expensive or intricate marketing campaigns or big budgets to successfully reach new customers. All you need is a little motivation and creativity to make a large impact.

Here are five of our most successful marketing hacks that will help your organization generate new customers and new revenue.

Website

Whether you use your website for ecommerce or strictly informational purposes, it is one of your most important marketing tools. Most customers have already made their mind up about what they are interested in purchasing before they even contact you. Because of this, it is crucial to have a responsive website with updated content. There are tools such as Google Analytics and Webmaster that help website managers pull useful informational data. You can leverage this to learn how many visitors are coming to the website, what pages they are browsing and for how long. You can also see what keywords or key phrases people are using to find your company online. We use this data to help gauge effectiveness of campaigns and generate new content.

SEO

If you want to be searchable online, you have to pay attention to SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of your website in web search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) unpaid results, also known as “organic” traffic. For example, our organization is a Managed IT Services Provider headquartered in Pittsburgh. If I Google “Pittsburgh Managed IT Services” does our organization pop up? If your organization doesn’t land on the first page of Google, there is some work that needs to be done.

The first step is keyword research. Use tools such as Keyword Planner, AdWords, and Google to create a list of 50 to 60 words that your organization would like to rank for. Localize some of the keywords by adding the city location into the phrase (e.g. Pittsburgh Managed IT Services Provider). Once you have a solid list of words and key phrases, start to implement these into content on your website. Once these pages crawl, your web content will start to rank and you can increase visibility.

Insider tip: You won’t see an immediate improvement in rankings when working with SEO. It can take three to six months before you see any changes. I use a free tool called SERPLAB. This tool will help you track progress of your keyword changes and webpage rankings.

Blog

Content is king. A frequently updated blog is a great way to get fresh, keyword-optimized, content out on the web. Create a blog content schedule and stick to it. This is an easy way to get more exposure and educate your customers on the benefits of your products and services. Google suggests that the best optimized content is between 500 to 700 words with a healthy mix of keywords. I know we all want each page or blog post to rank for our keywords, but beware of overstuffing! Overstuffing is the practice of stuffing your content with keywords because you think it will make your page rank for that word. It won’t. Google will not approve and won’t allow for ranking! A good practice is to place one keyword in the title and in the first paragraph. Next, place one to three keywords or key phrases in the body of the blog (varying on length). Lastly, put one keyword in the last paragraph.

Insider Tip: Write your blogs in advance. The day before you plan on posting, reread to check for grammatical errors. The day of posting, give it one more check. This will limit errors significantly.

Marketing automation

Marketing automation is the future of marketing. Marketing tasks can be repetitive and time consuming. The goal of marketing automation software is to automate these actions and create more visibility into the effectiveness of social media, emails, and website actions. With this software, you can gain the ability to track users’ actions throughout the campaign process. Such actions like, how many clicks or opens on an email or a certain link, their travel path through the email and website, and email bounces. While you can see some of this on normal email services, with marketing automation you can automate follow up processes. Once you set these up and place a certain list in that campaign you can sit back and watch new leads and business effectively generate.

Social media

Social selling can be effective for most organizations. Use popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, etc. to interact with your prospects. You can use these platforms to answer questions about your products or services, supply useful content, and keep your prospects updated with company news. Tracking vanity metrics (shares, likes, retweets, etc.) can be useful to know which content users find the most intriguing, but one of the most important metrics to pay attention to is link clicks. Use a free service such as Bitly to create shortened, trackable links. Not only will these shortened links make your social postings look cleaner, but you can track how much traffic that link is getting and where it is coming from.

As part of the small business community, we have dabbled in all of these marketing initiatives ourselves—successfully and unsuccessfully. The truth is you have to take the time to test, analyze, and revaluate your initiatives until you find the right marketing equation for your organization. There is no one-size-fits-all marketing plan and you have to remember that there is no finite answer to marketing. Evaluate your plan often and make changes accordingly to market trends and personal business change.

NetServe365 delivers a complete range of managed IT services, security services, hosting options and consulting services 24/7/365 from our headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We never stop evolving our technologies and operational efficiencies so we can deliver a customer experience and network results far superior to our competitors’. We strive to deliver on every promise, every time because we know who we work for--the partners and customers who put their trust in us. Learn more about NetServe365 here. 

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  • Next up: 5 Reasons Why Video Should be a Part of Your Marketing Plan in 2018

    5 Reasons Why Video Should be a Part of Your Marketing Plan in 2018

    From helping boost sales to engaging those tough-to-engage customers, here are five reasons why your business needs to incorporate more video marketing in 2018.

    When social media made its first appearance many years ago, content formats were limited.  People oohed and ahhhed over beautiful photography and perfectly written words.  Today, those channels have evolved to feature content beyond still shots and words.  Social media has become the platform for all things video and it’s important that your business invests in video in order to best utilize each social media platform.

    So why is video important? Here are five reasons why.

    Reason No. 1: Video engages the laziest of customers

    In today’s world, customers have become lazy.  They want everything at the touch of a button.  Video allows them to receive your message in a clear, simple format that doesn’t disrupt their busy social media surfing too much.

    Reason No. 2: Facebook says it’s important

    Facebook has invested in a variety of video features, such as Facebook Live and measuring video engagement, and is the second social media platform with the most videos right behind YouTube. Facebook has become a top place for marketers to reach their audiences so if they say video is king than video is king.

    Reason No. 3: Video can boost sales

    It’s easier to tell your business’ story through video than a lengthy, wordy message. You’re able to visually show your product and services and have voiceover. You can also segment your videos to specifically target different audiences. A video is much more memorable than an everyday post.

    Reason No. 4: Videos can be leveraged across your other platforms

    Videos can be embedded into emails and onto your website, not just your social media. They can also be used in seminars or for in-store demonstrations. When you incorporate video into your marketing plan, you are investing in a content format that can be used in a variety of ways.

    Reason No. 5: The future is video

    As digital marketing expands, video will begin to become the norm. If you invest now, you'll be ahead of the game.

    Making videos for your business does not have to be expensive. In fact, there are many different video programs out there that can be leveraged to help make videos affordable for your business. If you decide to make any changes to your marketing plan this year, my suggestion would be to increase your video budget!

    Annie Pryatel is the owner of AMP Brand Studios. Learn more about how AMP is helping small businesses succeed by clicking here. 

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  • Next up: 5 reasons you should be thinking about the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program

    5 reasons you should be thinking about the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program

    There are plenty of reasons the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program needs to be on your business’ radar in 2016. But I get it: as a small business owner you have a lot of demands on your time, so allow me to distill the many reasons you should be thinking about the program into the top five.

    There are plenty of reasons the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program needs to be on your business’ radar in 2016. But I get it: as a small business owner you have a lot of demands on your time, so allow me to distill the many reasons you should be thinking about the program into the top five.

    And they are:

    1. The know-how behind the program. The program is designed by Babson College, the nation’s top-ranked entrepreneurship school. A focus is made on on practical business skills that can immediately be applied by business owners, including negotiation, marketing and employee management.

    When was the last time you had access to a nationally ranked entrepreneurial program?

    2.  There is opportunity to access capital. Through the program, business owners learn how to become more bankable and better position themselves to access financing and capital. The program also gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to network with potential lenders and capital providers.

    When was the last time you had an opportunity to learn more about what it takes to access the capital you need to grow your business?

    3. It makes your world bigger. On the first day of class, most business owners don’t know one another. By the end of the course, they have not only developed relationships and a support network, but they are also doing business with one another. Not to mention the fact the program exposes business owners to the myriad of resources available to them throughout the region that are ready and waiting to help them grow their business.

    When’s the last time you made a connection that helped your business grow?

    4. It will help you (and force you) to grow. Most business owners who complete the program experience incredible growth—not just for their business but also as individuals. The program teaches businesses owners to think differently, to make tough decisions, and to develop a solid vision for the future of the business.

    When was the last time you were given the resources you need to put together a long-term plan for the success of your business?

    5. It’s free. That’s right—there is no cost. There are no hidden fees or gimmicks to get you to buy something once you’re in. The program is sponsored by Goldman Sachs which means the business owners who are chosen to participate get to do so without paying a cent.

    When was the last time you had an opportunity to learn and grow your business without having to pay out of pocket for it?

    When was the last time you said “This is the year I will focus on growth?”

    This is the year you can make that statement. Look at the program. Take five minutes to complete the simple application before the deadline of February 19th. Go here to learn more, apply, and read about the other business owners who have grown their businesses as a result of the program.

    Don’t you owe it to yourself and your business?

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  • Next up: 5 Secrets to Small Business Success

    5 Secrets to Small Business Success

    Success never comes easy. As a business coach, I know that really well. Still, I’ve sat down with scores of entrepreneurs and small business owners in my career, and I’ve noticed that the most successful of these businesses seem to have the same five traits in common

    Success never comes easy. As a business coach, I know that really well. Still, I’ve sat down with scores of entrepreneurs and small business owners in my career, and I’ve noticed that the most successful of these businesses seem to have the same five traits in common.

    And what are these five “secrets” to success? I’ve outlined them briefly below. For a more in-depth look at what makes for a successful small business, check out this podcast I recently participated in.

    1. An Inspiring Vision

    Vision is what establishes a foundation for all critical aspects for the business. An inspiring vision sets the tone for goal setting and other critical managerial behaviors.

    2. An Effective Plan

    This is just crucial. Any good time should be time-bound. It should spell out what needs to take place over a certain period of time. And you need to have a way to measure these goals and your progress toward these goals.

    3. A Disciplined Approach to Execution

    Some businesses are successful despite a lack of discipline. I would argue however that it is very difficult to sustain success over a long-term business cycle without some level of discipline. Businesses need to be driven by a sense of purpose and must have systems in place to assure some level of consistency and accountability in execution. Business owners can also enlist the services of a business coach to instill a strong sense of discipline in planning and execution. 

    4. Financial Mastery

    Business owners need to have at least a basic knowledge of finance and a willingness to routinely seek advice from experts, such as an accounting firm, to understand the relative strength of their business and to guide financial decisions. More specifically, they need to be able to interpret basic financial reports, understand their break-even points, and successfully manage cash flows.

    5. Maintain a Unique Selling Proposition

    The Unique Selling Proposition serves two primary purposes. First, for a business, it answers the question of “Who are we?” And it aligns the company to its unique strengths. Secondly, it provides perfect clarity on the capabilities of the business to prospective clients.

    Brian Alquist is President of actionCOACH and is also a member of the COSE Expert Network. He is an accomplished business executive turned entrepreneur with 30-plus years of experience driving aggressive revenue growth for multiple organizations. Brian helps develop innovative business plans and educational solutions for small businesses to bring about greater prosperity and better life balance for owners. And he effectively coaches small-to-medium sized business owners and employees, leveraging an array of tried-and-true strategies to successfully transition prospects into clients and to improve efficiency that brings about transformational growth.

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  • Next up: 5 Tips for Mastering the Side Hustle

    5 Tips for Mastering the Side Hustle

    Side hustles are becoming an increasingly popular option for those of us who want to pursue entrepreneurship without giving up our full-time jobs. At JumpStart’s 2017 Startup Scaleup event, we learned tips for growing your side hustle while holding down your day job at the Mastering the Side Hustle panel.

    Side hustles are becoming an increasingly popular option for those of us who want to pursue entrepreneurship without giving up our full-time jobs. At JumpStart’s 2017 Startup Scaleup event, we learned tips for growing your side hustle while holding down your day job at the Mastering the Side Hustle panel, featuring Robin Doerschuk, founder of The Women’s Leadership Conference of Northeast Ohio, Jason Estremera, founder of CLE Threads, Shibani Faehnle, owner of Bombay Taxi, LLC, and Tiffani Tucker, founder of Have a Slice.

    Here are our five key takeaways from the session:

    1. Have faith in yourself

    Your side hustle will not be successful if you don’t believe in yourself, period. In other words, “Listen to your gut,” as Tucker said.

    Having faith that you have the skills needed to make decisions, be flexible and deal with whatever challenges come your way is crucial to building a foundation for your business.

    “Everything is a learning process, everything changes all the time - the only constant is you,” said Faehnle. “So, bet on you every single time.”


    2. Listen to everyone - even those who only offer criticism

    Constantly being open to receiving feedback—both positive and negative—is the only way to understand what your customers truly want. And using that feedback to refine your product is a thoughtful and effective way to better serve those customers.

    When reviewing feedback, remember that there’s a difference between haters and people who want to genuinely give you advice, said Estremera. “We have to put our egos aside and determine if a person is being rude” or truly trying to help, he said.


    3. You don’t have to quit your day job

    Instead of rushing to leave your full-time job, appreciate how having that job can benefit your side hustle. For one thing, any monetary investments you make are less risky when you know you have a steady paycheck.

    “Having a full-time job will save you because you won’t run out of cash,” Faehnle said.

    You can also think about using your day job as a platform for marketing your side hustle and getting feedback. Tucker began bringing in baked goods to the newsroom at her full-time job and launched her side hustle at the encouragement of her coworkers.

    On top of that, skills you learn from having a side hustle can actually make you more valuable to your full-time employer.

    “The things I learned from having a side hustle make me a better employee,” Faehnle said.


    4. Striving for balance is futile

    True work/life balance doesn’t exist for side hustlers. There will always be more work to do, not to mention managing family and personal needs. Accept that from the start and you’ll be much better prepared for the often chaotic lifestyle being an entrepreneur while a full-time employee can bring.

    “People ask, ‘How do you stay balanced?’,” Doerschuk said. “You don’t.”


    5. Failure is not a bad thing.

    Treat failure as a learning experience. Failure is inevitable, whether it’s a big, grand failure or a tiny daily task that got messed up, but what you do with that experience is up to you. Learn from your mistakes and you’ll be better able to handle hiccups in the future.

    “Take the risk, fail and learn from what you did; pivot, refine,” Doerschuk said. 

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  • Next up: 5 Ways Effective Communication with Customers Can Help You Maneuver a Crisis

    5 Ways Effective Communication with Customers Can Help You Maneuver a Crisis

    During a crisis, things appear to be falling apart, and insecurities about the future of your operations continue increasing. One of the things you can change at such a time is how you communicate with your clients. Here are some of the ways in which effective communication with customers can help you through a crisis.

    The uncertainties surrounding any crisis spark fear among individuals and pose a threat to the continuity of most businesses. It is not unusual to hear clients saying, “They are not telling us anything,” “We have no news,” and “We do not know what is happening,” when they appear on television interviews amidst a crisis.

    When the dust settles down, you will hear companies apologizing to their customers. They indicate that the crisis was a time to learn valuable lessons and that they hope to do better next time. The implication, in this case, is that effective communication with customers is critical during a crisis. Keeping your customers in the dark or allowing any sense of disconnection with them during uncertain times will only damage the reputation of your brand.

    During a crisis, things appear to be falling apart, and insecurities about the future of your operations continue increasing. One of the things you can change at such a time is how you communicate with your clients. Here are the top 5 ways in which effective communication with customers can help you through a crisis.

    1. Communication Promotes Transparency

    Customers need to get a real sense of the situation during a crisis. One of the ways you can achieve that is by furnishing your clients with regular updates regarding the issues at hand. By doing so, your customers will consider your business authentic. That, in turn, will boost their confidence in your brand going forward.

    Today, social media is often where people turn to when issues arise or when there is a situation requiring their attention. As such, you should consider reaching out to your clients through social channels to engage them better during a crisis. A crisis may also demand some adjustments.

    So, if you are planning to provide online learning instead of physical lessons, you intend to close your physical store for some time, or you are moving face-to-face workshops to virtual meetings, ensure you communicate the same to your customers. The way you communicate with customers during a crisis can either make or break your business operations. You cannot afford to overlook the importance of maintaining transparency at such a time.

    RELATED: 6 Ways to Succeed at Facebook Marketing in 2020

    2. Communication Allows You to Address the Problem Head-On

    Changing your business approach for the purposes of adapting may be a necessity during a crisis. As much as that is the case, you need to bring your clients into the loop carefully and sympathetically. Thoughtful communication will call for clarification on where you and your customers stand when there is a situation affecting your business operations.

    In that case, creating a public address to communicate directly to your clients is advisable. Addressing your customers in-person can bear a positive impact on your operations. Doing so will also bring a little sense of normality into the lives of your clients when times are tough.

    Also, note that hearing from a brand during a crisis is quite reassuring for customers, despite the situation on the ground. The next step after addressing your customers is creating content that focuses on crisis communication. Social media can help you implement such details into your marketing strategy to help you win the trust of your clients in an uncertain business environment.

    Additionally, crisis communication humanizes your brand by introducing a sense of “collective grief.” That implies that your enterprise and customers alike are experiencing the loss of “normal” and are addressing the issue together.

    3. Communication Creates an Opportunity for Your Business to Thrive

    A crisis can prompt many entrepreneurs to embrace remote operations, as is the case at the moment. Thriving in such a business environment calls for constant communication with all stakeholders, including your clients. The fact that physical interactions become rare in remote working environments does not suggest that you should lose touch with your customers.

    Effective communication with customers in a remote setting should go beyond cold calls and messages. On the other hand, understanding how your clients feel during a crisis is paramount. For that reason, you should consider video calls when communicating with your customers at such a time. That way, you will learn a lot from the body language and facial expressions of your clients.

    In turn, you can reassess your strategies to identify the business approach that suits your customers and implement the same. Responding to the concerns of your customers in uncertain times will eventually promote business success.

    4. Effective Communication with Customers Fosters Trust

    You cannot win the loyalty of your customers during a crisis if they have no connection with your brand. The reason for this is that effective communication is one of the building blocks of trust in any relationship. That is especially true in a remote setting where casual interactions, in-person meetings, and live events are lacking.

    Capturing the attention of your customers, in this case, becomes paramount because it has a direct impact on their connection to your brand. Communicating with your clients in times of uncertainty is a sign of your thoughtfulness, and it provides an opportunity for you to strengthen your relationship with them as well.

    5. Communication Reduces Cases of Customer Churn

    Losing clients during a crisis is quite unfortunate for any company, and it affects your returns, too. The fear among customers in an uncertain business environment is part of what may cause them to abandon particular brands. The probability of retaining clients at such a time will partly depend on the faith you instill in them regarding the future of your business operations.

    Therefore, effective communication with customers should be part of your priorities if you do not want to lose clients when crises set in. Remember that your clients are looking for the reassurance that tough times are not going to affect your relationship with them. Giving such individuals every reason to believe in your brand will reduce cases of customer churn, which will, in turn, promote business continuity.

    Whether a crisis is within or beyond your control, the fact is that your relationship with your clients will be at stake at such a time.

    Effective communication with customers during a crisis helps you to keep in touch with them while addressing the concerns they may have from time to time. That way, your enterprise will stand a better chance of succeeding during and beyond tough times.


    If you need information on effective digital solutions for effective communication during a crisis, contact the experts at LocalBizGuru today! We’re here to help in any way we can!


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