The liquor industry has evolved over the course of the past few years as consumers have shied away from visiting bars, and have instead opted to enjoy their liquor at home.
As a result, there are a handful of consumer trends that have emerged within the alcoholic beverage industry which have revealed the following:
● Alcohol Products Are Diversifying
● Packaging Design Is Becoming More Important
● ECommerce Is Beating Out Bars
● Convenience Is Key
● Unconventional Ads Beat Out Classic Ones
What can liquor retailers, wholesalers, and producers do to stay relevant and front-of-mind with consumers?
In this blog post, we’ll go over three marketing tips that will help grow your liquor business in these challenging times.
Alcohol is part of our culture and has contributed to the fabric of American society for hundreds of years. Today, the United States produces roughly 52-billion gallons of alcohol annually, which represents over 15% of the total production of beverages, including non-alcoholic beverages.
There is certainly money to be made in the liquor industry whether you own a bar, run a brewery, or manage a vineyard. Distilled spirits alone saw a 5% increase in sales during 2019 as compared to the prior year, and the pandemic of 2020 didn’t slow that steady growth down one bit. In fact, nationwide lockdowns may have caused a spike in liquor store alcohol sales. In terms of in-store sales, the biggest competitor of liquor businesses aren’t other liquor businesses, but rather cannabis retailers…
So, how can an alcohol brand like yours retain customers and increase sales when consumers are becoming more and more attracted to cannabis? You obviously can’t boast the kinds of cognitive benefits and other health claims that cannabis brands have been getting away with, but you can differentiate your brand by accentuating the experience of indulging in your liquor products. In other words, your marketing should be all about “lifestyle,” “experience,” and “social culture.” But the presentation has to be unique and outside of the box—waaaaay outside. Research how your competitors, both alcohol and cannabis, are framing their brands… and come up with a brand image that totally goes against the grain. Your branding and advertising should not resemble anyone else’s, period.
In order to stand out, focus on “storytelling.” For both your advertising campaigns and the actual design packaging of your products, try to depict a vivid “story” that captures the lifestyle image of your brand. The goal here should be better styling and stronger stories. This concept should be applied to the look and feel of the bottle itself, the branded label design, and any other packaging aspects, especially if your product is boxed. Most importantly, your packaging should match your advertising to present a unified, memorable brand.
A clever marketing strategy that has been on the rise within the liquor industry is to offer consumers paid subscription options. If you’re a liquor brand wholesaler or retailer, or own a liquor, wine, and spirits store, you can trigger a sudden boost in sales by offering your customers the opportunity to sign up for monthly subscription packages.
Yes, this will involve developing an additional order fulfillment workflow that will also require a secure website platform to process payments and automate various aspects of your subscription cycles, including shipping operations, but the benefits will far outweigh the initial investment. When customers realize they can have their favorite liquor delivered to their home once a month, saving them time at the store and saving them money for ordering in bulk, they’ll feel inclined to at least try the service.
Try offering a no-commitment trial for new members, and also offer a slight discount for long-term members who opt-into auto-pay or a large discount for members who pay for an entire year up front. There are many incentives you could try, just remember that personalization is key, and you can never go wrong with surprise-and-delight freebies. Meaning, surprise and reward subscription members for their patronage on milestone dates and anniversaries with your brand by including mini-bottles or other thoughtful freebies in their boxed order.
There are a lot of bells and whistles to think about when you’re running a subscription service as part of your liquor business. Similar to the branding of your product packaging, the packaging of your monthly subscriptions must also capture your unique brand. Instead of working with multiple designers for your branding, advertising, and packaging, it’s best to work with one branding agency, like FTx 360, that can meet all of your marketing needs. We offer creative services to handle designing your branded packaging.
Advertising on the social media sites Facebook and Instagram can be treacherous for brands that sell liquor products, but this isn’t to say it’s impossible. Simply approach your social media ad campaign strategy with eyes wide open… and don’t blink.
Here are the sobering stats. Alcohol brands pay the highest advertising Cost Per Click on Facebook than brands of any other industry. Their CPC cost averages about $0.20, which is due in large part to strict Facebook regulations regarding ads featuring alcohol, and also due to the flooded market. There are a ton of alcohol and liquor brands that invest in ongoing Facebook ad campaigns, and you will have to compete with them.
Interestingly, more than 80% of alcohol marketing campaigns on Facebook appear on Facebook’s News Feed. That might not be where you want your ad to appear, but once you understand that News Feeds is more likely to feature your ad than any other area of Facebook, you can tailor your branded advertisements accordingly to increase the CTR. Be advised, however, that any kind of advertising on Facebook will come with risks. The CPC jumped more than 122% between 2017 – 2018, and though the CPC tapered off between 2019 – 2020, the CPA, or Cost Per Acquisition, actually increased by 76%.
Advertising on Facebook is costly, yet highly beneficial when it comes to increasing brand awareness and also driving in-store sales. We aren’t interested in discouraging liquor business owners like yourself from launching targeted Facebook campaigns, but we strongly recommend you partner with an experienced digital marketing agency like FTx 360 for all of your Facebook advertising.
There you have it—our top three marketing strategies for liquor stores, liquor brands, and liquor wholesalers.
Would you like a team of experienced designers and digital marketers to rebrand your liquor business and market your products online? FTx 360 offers affordable content marketing and digital marketing services that can help your brand stand out from the competition and stay front-of-mind with consumers. Contact our marketing specialists to learn more.
A call to action, or CTA for short, is a digital marketing term that refers to a prompt that invites users to take a specific action, such as clicking a button or entering their email addresses into an online field.
Call to action buttons can be found in every type of digital marketing campaign, including email campaigns, PPC ads, social media marketing campaigns, and even SMS text campaigns. In indirect forms of digital marketing, like blogs, you will also find CTAs such as invitations to leave comments below a blog article and social media posts that ask followers to “like, share, and follow.”
Common examples of CTAs include:
● Sign Up
● Learn More
● Get Started
Call to action buttons help to guide potential customers through the buying journey. When you place smartly worded CTAs strategically across your online platforms, you can increase the CTR, or click through rate, of your campaign while simultaneously reducing the bounce rate. In short, CTAs improve conversions and boost revenue, results that every business owner should want.
Are you eager to incorporate effective CTAs into your digital marketing campaigns? Skip the article and contact FTx 360 right now! Or you can…
…read on to learn about the different types of CTA buttons you can use in your digital marketing campaigns to convert curious visitors into paying customers.
This type of CTA works best for businesses that sell software as a service, but can also benefit any company that offers subscription packages. According to GrooveHQ.com, offering a free trial can increase conversions by 328%. If you’re trying to sell a product or service that’s especially complex or “niche,” and your brand isn’t well known, then offering prospective buyers a free trial should set their mind at ease and generate positive word-of-mouth marketing in the interim. Once the free trial period has concluded, users will be all the more inclined to sign up for a paid subscription.
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You can use a Free Trial CTA on your website landing page, in a paid social media advertisement, or anywhere in-between. But you’ll first need to decide whether the free trial should be for 30 days or 14 days. It’s also a good idea to include a feedback survey towards the end of the free trial period.
Remember, the purpose of the free trial is to convince users to purchase the product or service, so aim to offer them just enough days to get them hooked. Then, be sure to keep an eye on the conversion rate of free trial users who end up purchasing the product or service after the trial has concluded. If users aren’t converting into customers, you’ll need to evaluate both the cost of the item and its perceived usability based on the feedback surveys.
When you state the greatest benefit of your product or service, your call to action will be all the more powerful. This type of CTA—the “Obvious Benefit” CTA—can be used to make a strong argument to consumers. For example, consumers might not automatically know that your product ordinarily costs thousands of dollars. By including the regular retail value as part of your CTA strategy, you can effectively convince people to buy the item at its current discounted price. You can use two buttons, or a blurb and a button, when designing your Obvious Benefit CTA, like we’ve done here:
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As you can see, the first line of the CTA states the obvious benefit of having a high-speed website. The second line of the CTA, which is the clickable button, clearly states what the visitor will receive once they click, namely their website speed will be analyzed. Obvious benefit CTAs are ideal for your email marketing campaigns, as opposed to paid social media campaigns, because email recipients are qualified leads, generally speaking, who will be more likely to click. Also, emails allow for a greater opportunity to make a structured argument to your readers.
The main thing to watch out for when using Obvious Benefit CTAs is the CTR. If your CTA click through rate is unusually low, it could be the result of convoluted or confusing verbiage used in the call to action itself. Are you trying to use a statistic to convince people to click? Make sure the statistic and its correlating point are crystal clear.
Social Proof CTAs are all about proving how popular your brand, products, and services already are, in order to convince consumers that they should give your business a try. In order to pull off using social proof in your CTAs, you’ll first have to gather data about your brand. What can you brag about? Do you have over ten thousand WordPress blog subscribers? Have you just surpassed fifty thousand YouTube followers? Whatever milestones you’ve reached as a business can be leveraged to develop a strong CTA. Just make sure that you aren’t embellishing your stats.
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It should come as no surprise that Social Proof CTAs work really well on social media. Try building a positive customer review into your Instagram CTA, or include the latest industry award your brand received in your next Facebook lead generation CTA. Even if your company is new and you haven’t garnered a ton of “social proof” yet, you can still leverage one of your recent achievements to create a powerful CTA, especially if you use video for your social post or ad.
Yes, video. Right now, social media video content far surpasses photo and image content when it comes to increasing engagement. When using video, you don’t need to write out your social proof in your caption. Instead, you can directly tell your audience why your brand is awesome and what you can do for them. For example, run an Instagram & Facebook ad campaign featuring a video where you tell viewers, “We’re the first organic vitamin company to obtain USP certification for ingredient purity and potency!”
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Are you looking for an affordable digital marketing agency to handle all of your marketing campaigns, including custom lead generation strategies that utilize the CTAs we covered in this article? FTx 360 offers social media marketing and email marketing services that include campaign handlings and marketing automation to simplify your life and change the way you do business. Contact us to learn more.
The restaurant industry is chock-full of competition. In order to stand out and succeed, restaurateurs must provide diners with delicious meals and impeccable service, and that’s not all.
Restaurants must also provide diners with convenience, community, and conversation.
In other words, today’s diners expect to have an excellent experience, from the moment they decide to dine at your restaurant to the moment they sign the bill, and beyond.
They want ordering and dining options that are convenient. They want to feel welcome when they dine-in, and when they post photos of their meals on social media, they want to feel like they’re part of a community. Whether ordering delivery from home, picking their orders up from the curb, or meeting their friends at your restaurant, your customers are going to want to talk about their experiences online, in either a positive or negative light.
If you’re only offering food and beverages at your restaurant, you’re missing out. But the good news is that providing your diners with so much more than just a menu isn’t beyond your reach.
Give your diners an excellent all around customer experience by implementing these 5 powerful restaurant marketing strategies that are designed to help you retain loyal customers and increase revenue.
Mobile apps spell convenience, plain and simple. Does your restaurant offer customers a mobile app with ordering and payment options? This is not to be confused with a responsive web design that functions smoothly on smartphones, though it wouldn’t hurt to make sure your site is responsive. If you haven’t launched a mobile app for your restaurant, consider investing in a white-label app.
Here are some reasons to provide your customers with a mobile app:
● Consumers prefer in-app ordering above any other online ordering method
● Restaurant mobile apps help to increase customer loyalty
● A mobile app is a digital marketing tool that will give you direct access to your customers
Successfully marketing your restaurant can be tricky due to the fact that you’re not aiming to target a nationwide or worldwide audience. Quite the opposite, in fact, your goal as a restaurateur is to draw a local crowd of customers to your business. Using the hashtag #foodie on Instagram and maintaining a recipe blog are actually not going to cut it. Instead, focus your marketing locally by enhancing your Google My Business page. Add the Bookings feature to your GMB page, and enable the Check In feature on your social media pages.
Increase local SEO by incorporating the following ideas:
● NAP optimization is as simple as adding your Name, Address, and Phone Number to your business website
● Plug local SEO into your website content and GMB description to rank as high as possible on SERP
● Use geo-targeting in any social media advertisements you plan on running
Customer loyalty rewards programs have long since been proven to be one of the most effective marketing strategies for increasing customer retention and boosting sales. For restaurants, loyalty programs can be especially beneficial because they incentivize diners to try new menu items, increase order sizes, and return more frequently. You’ll want to choose a loyalty platform that comes with a mobile app and integrates with your online ordering system. We recommend the Loyal~n~Save platform.
Loyalty programs benefit both diners and restaurants in the following ways:
● Restaurant loyalty members dine 20% more often and spend 20% more per visit
● A loyalty program is a powerful marketing tools that enables you to launch email marketing campaigns, SMS text campaigns, and in-app push notification campaigns
● Loyalty programs include built-in CRM that will help you maximize the personalization of your marketing campaigns
It’s almost as though certain social media platforms were made for restaurant marketing. They say that experiencing a tasty meal begins with drinking in the sight of the food. You can give your diners a virtual taste of all that your restaurant has to offer by posting high quality photos of your dishes on Instagram and Facebook. An even better marketing idea is to include videos on Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and YouTube that feature your chefs and cooks preparing your most popular meal items.
Consider the following your high-quality action plan:
● Encourage your customers to post photos of their meals on social media to increase word-of-mouth marketing
● Add your best photos and videos to your Google My Business page, and thank your online reviewers who do the same
● Include high-quality photos in your email marketing campaigns
Consumers rely on customer reviews to help them make purchasing decisions. Unlike other types of businesses, restaurants face extreme challenges because they must provide excellent food and outstanding service. A perky waitress is not going to make up for a bland dish, for example, which means that one subpar aspect of a customer’s dining experience can lead to a low-star review. Restaurants are held to such a high standard, in fact, that you would be remiss to overlook the importance of online reputation management and marketing. Even if you receive a poor customer review, there’s a lot you can do to correct it both publicly and privately.
Guard your online reputation in these ways:
● Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative, but avoid using autoresponders
● Strategically use loss leaders, such as a free dish or drink, to reward positive reviewers with surprise-and-delight and to assuage unhappy diners who left negative reviews
● Hire an online reputation management and marketing agency to leverage positive reviews and mitigate negative ones
FTx 360 offers unique, sure-shot marketing techniques for restaurants that are designed to attract and retain customers while spreading brand awareness locally across social media platforms and Google.
Our digital marketing services include website design & development, eCommerce solutions, content writing & marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and other creative services that will transform your restaurant business into a growing enterprise.
Contact our marketing team to get started.
Your Facebook marketing strategies have the power to either grow your brand quickly or waste your time. You don’t want to be pouring your time and energy into using marketing strategies on Facebook that are destined to fail, which means that your top priority should be to research the strategies that will work and avoid the ones that won’t.
You’ve come to the right place. The social media marketing specialists at FTx 360 have done the research for you. Based on market trends and first-hand experience, our Facebook marketing experts have put together a helpful list of Do’s & Don’ts to ensure that the time and energy you spend on Facebook will not only grow your brand quickly but also increase your bottom line.
In this article, you’ll also learn about the different Facebook Business Manager administrative roles that you can assign to your employees. And finally, we will wrap up the article by laying out five key marketing areas to be mindful of as you create, schedule, and manage your Facebook marketing.
The vast majority of Facebook users not only log onto the social platform daily, they basically live on it, and no, we aren’t using hyperbole. Most people who have a Facebook account keep the site open on their desktop or laptop computer all day long so that they can scroll through their feed whenever they feel like it. They also keep their smartphones nearby and as soon as a push notification from Facebook pops up, guess what they do? They swipe into the app to check out the alert.
All this is to say that if you use Facebook correctly, you will have the full attention of your audience. But first things first, be sure that you aren’t guilty of any of these self-sabotaging “don’ts.”
If you didn’t know, yes, it’s possible to purchase Facebook Page “likes” and even post “likes.” Years ago, when Facebook instilled an algorithm to identify and promote Pages with the most “likes,” a ton of ethically-questionable companies began selling “likes” to any business that would buy. The concept seemed logical. Purchase 1,000 or 20,000 Facebook “likes” from a company, then real people will discover and like your Page, and business revenue will increase, right? Except that’s not what happens. Because the “likes” are from fake accounts or bots, organic engagement never results. Plus, real Facebook users can tell. The fact of the matter is that the more fake “likes” you have, the lower your organic reach and post engagement will be.
This is extremely important, especially for businesses that are using Facebook to increase their overall revenue. Just because your marketing goal is to convert followers into paying customers doesn’t mean that 100% of your Facebook posts, ads, and Stories should be promotional. In other words, don’t use Facebook to constantly push your products or services. If you do, you’ll only end up losing your audience as followers “unfollow” you, “mute” you for 30 days, or block you altogether.
How many hashtags should you use in a typical Facebook post? Honestly, we don’t have a straight answer. The goalposts keep moving. For the longest time, the “no more than 30 hashtags” rule was applicable. We even advised ways to tuck hashtags beneath an attention-grabbing caption or post them into the first comment, and for a while that was sound advice. However, as of writing this article, it looks like including as few as five hashtags is ideal, and if you want to follow the hashtag trend, you should work them into your caption sentences instead of listing them out below the caption.
There’s a fine line between using an attention-grabbing heading and one that’s obviously click-bait. A basic rule of thumb to live by is to be honest and avoid exaggerating. Now, there are two kinds of headings you will use. When you share a web page link, a headline will automatically generate from the third-party’s website. In this instance, make sure the web page you’re sharing is appropriate for your brand and relevant to your audience. The other kind of heading is the one you compose yourself, which could have to do with an upcoming promotion or a business milestone. Just be sure to caption the information honestly rather than exaggerating the content with a shocking headline.
Eventually, you could receive a negative comment or customer review on your Facebook Page. How you respond is extremely important. The last thing you want to do is come across sounding callous, defensive, or downright argumentative. Do not argue with customers, followers, and visitors on your Facebook Page in view of the public. Even responding with an explanation could run the risk of being perceived as argumentative. Instead, reply promptly with a professional-sounding invitation for them to call, DM, or email your company. For all customer service complaints, just remember, it’s best to handle the matter privately.
Facebook Shops are growing in popularity due in large part to the fact that customers love the convenience of having the option to buy goods directly on Facebook. No brand should overlook the importance of setting up a Facebook Shop, but strangely, a lot of eCommerce retailers are guilty of this. Many eCommerce retailers assume that Facebook users will click their website button and willingly navigate out of the Facebook app in order to shop on their website. Don’t make this mistake. As a matter of fact, Facebook users are becoming less and less willing to navigate out of Facebook just to shop. Even if you have an eCommerce site, you should set up a Facebook Shop.
Now that you understand what not to do on Facebook, you probably want to learn about what you should do to capture the attention of your audience, grow your followers, and convert users, visitors, and followers into loyal customers. In a nutshell, you need to focus on presenting a clear brand image to your social media followers, which includes using a distinct voice to communicate with your followers and personally relate to your audience. If you’re using Facebook to gain B2B clients, make sure every post looks and sounds polished and professional. Are you a pet retailer? Punch up your posts with as much personality as possible! You get the idea…
Without further ado, here’s our list of must-do’s!
Once upon a time, business owners created Facebook Pages to promote websites and it worked. People found those businesses on Facebook and then visited their websites. Nowadays, Facebook Pages actually function like their own little business websites, which means that you’re going to want to encourage inbound traffic to your Page. You can do this by using your business website to promote your Facebook Page. Include clickable Facebook icons on every page of your website. You should also display your actual Facebook Page content feed on at least one page of your site. Even if website visitors only hop over to Facebook to “like” your Page, it’ll be worth it.
We can’t overstate the benefits of using Facebook Live and we wish more business owners would get into the habit of regularly broadcasting branded messages using this innovative Facebook feature. Facebook Live enables you to livestream events, lessons, performances, lectures, or anything you like. Viewers can watch the live broadcast from their smartphones, computers, or connected TV, and they can also react, share, and comment in real-time. We encourage business owners to use Facebook Live to broadcast 3 to 5-minute messages to build brand awareness. Branded messages can address your company’s mission, purpose, and goals.
Facebook users expect to receive a response within 30 minutes when they send a Direct Message, especially if they’re using DM to reach customer service due to an issue. For this reason, it’s extremely important to respond quickly to any Facebook DMs you receive. In fact, if you’re slow to respond, you could lose sales. We also recommend that you respond quickly to the comments under your Facebook posts as well, even if it’s simply to acknowledge a kind comment or answer a question. As an added bonus, the faster you respond, the higher Facebook will elevate your Page.
What is “compelling content”? The answer to this question will depend on who your audience includes. That being said, any post that provokes engagement will be compelling. Use your Facebook posts to ask questions. Questions naturally provoke responses because followers will feel compelled to answer them. You can also use CTAs in your posts, offer valuable information, embed a survey or pole, or post an evocative image. The trick here is to remember that the goal of the post is to start a conversation, which means that when your followers begin to comment, be sure to respond and keep the engagement going.
Not all of your Facebook posts have to be original content that you’ve created. In fact, your followers will appreciate gaining insights into your opinions and perspective on relevant topics, which is why it’s a good idea to share articles and links to other relevant websites. By sharing interesting, relevant information with your followers, you can spark engagement and start conversations in the comments. Also, be sure to share the links to any blog articles that you’ve written within a few hours of publishing. This will help pull traffic to your blog and also trigger conversations about the article itself.
The more pictures, photos, and videos you use in your Facebook posts, the better. People love social media in general because it’s highly visual. Be mindful of how your posts will appear in the average user’s Facebook feed. Try to find ways to ensure your posts are eye-catching and impossible to “scroll by.” You want your followers to stop scrolling when they see your posts, and using dynamic photos, stunning pictures, and attention-grabbing videos can help. This rule also applies to any Facebook ads you run, and remember, you can always use paid “boosts” to promote your most popular posts.
One of the most beneficial aspects of marketing your brand on Facebook is that you can split the marketing workload between multiple people thanks to Facebook Business Manager. Instead of handling 100% of your Facebook marketing yourself, you can assign roles to your employees.
There are many administrative roles that you can set within Facebook Business Manager, which include:
● Admin: Can manage all aspects of the Page. They can publish and send Messenger messages as the Page, respond to and delete comments on the Page, post from Instagram to Facebook, create ads, see who created a post or comment, view insights, and assign Page roles. If an Instagram account is connected to the Page, they can respond to and delete comments, send Direct Messages, sync business contact info and create ads.
● Editor: Can publish content and send Messenger messages as the Page, respond to and delete comments on the Page, create ads, see who created a post or comment, post from Instagram to Facebook, and view insights. If an Instagram account is connected to the Page, they can respond to and delete comments, send Direct Messages, sync business contact info and create ads.
● Moderator: Can send Messenger messages as the Page, respond to and delete comments on the Page, create ads, see who created a post or comment, and view insights. If an Instagram account is connected to the Page, they can respond to Instagram comments, send Direct Messages and create ads.
● Advertiser: Can create ads, see who created a post or comment, and view insights. If an Instagram account is connected to the Page, they can create ads.
● Analyst: Can see which admin created a post or comment and view insights.
As you can see, each Facebook administrative role defined above has a different level of access and responsibility. Admins have full access to the Facebook Business Page, and can create ads, view insights, respond to comments, and send Direct Messages. Whereas Analysts have the least amount of access and can only create posts, comment on posts, and view insights.
APPLY THE DO’S & DON’TS TO YOUR FACEBOOK MARKETING STRATEGY
Let’s assume you understand the do’s and don’ts of Facebook marketing, and you’re committed to applying the do’s. You’ve even hired a few trustworthy and passionate helpers to manage your Facebook Page. There are a few more strategizing steps you’ll need to address before your Facebook Page will be ready to roll like a well-oiled machine. These steps involve understanding who your audience is, how to communicate with them, and figuring out when they want to hear from you.
Once you know all that, the content that your entire team creates, schedules, and manages will spark user engagement and help you gain enthusiastic followers who turn into customers.
You can easily identify who your Facebook audience is by checking out the demographics of your CRM software. If you’ve had your Facebook Page for a while, you can also use the insights feature within Facebook Business Manager to understand the types of followers who engage with your Page.
You can take identifying your audience one step further by developing key buyer personas for your brand. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer that’s based on your own market research as well as the real data you collect about your existing customers from your CRM.
The simplest way to leverage the audience insights you’ve compiled is to use the demographic information when you place your next Facebook ad. The best digital marketing campaign will target the right audience and you can only do this if you accurately leverage your audience insights, build a targeted marketing strategy, and run ads that spark engagement.
The key to success is planning ahead, and using your Facebook Page to help every area of your business succeed is no different. We strongly suggest that you use a social media content calendar like this one, which you can download and start using today, to keep your posts organized.
It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that as a social platform, Facebook has peak hours and dark hours. That being said, your specific audience might be the most active on Facebook on certain days, or within certain windows of time on certain days. For example, if your target audience is comprised of nightclub owners, then the best days and times to reach them is probably from dusk until dawn Friday and Saturday nights. You get the idea, just be sure to research the best days and times to post on Facebook to reach your niche audience.
Would you rather partner with a digital marketing agency for all of your Facebook and social media campaigns? FTx 360 could be the right firm for you. Our social media marketing specialists have created and launched impactful marketing campaigns for businesses from all industries. From redesigning your company logo to rebranding your Facebook Business Page, we do it all and aim to please! Contact us to learn more about what FTx 360 can do for you.
Yes, it’s August, but it isn’t too late to strategize and market your back-to-school promotional campaigns.
If the very thought of spearheading your own back-to-school marketing campaign overwhelms you, give us a call at FTx 360. Our marketing strategists can work with just about any budget and no campaign timeline is too short.
For those of you who are ready to tackle your own back-to-school marketing, this article is packed with the best advertising strategy tips to help you market your back-to-school sales, drive website and in-store traffic, and gain appreciative customers who will keep shopping with you into winter and next year.
This back-to-school season, you want to deliver a marketing campaign that actually resonates with consumers. Your current customers, as well as potential ones, aren’t interested in hearing about your products and services unless your campaign messages speak to them personally and address their wants, needs, interests, and pain points.
Though it may seem counterintuitive to place your products and services in the background of your ads, this adjustment will help you convert consumers into paying customers. Your promotional content and messages should focus on personalization with the aim of conveying relevant offers that speak to the unique needs of each shopper.
Rather than use salesy ads that feature products with discounted prices in a straightforward manner, instead, highlight the relevancy of your products and convey how your products will make your customers’ lives easier.
If it’s not immediately clear to you why some of your products would be relevant to certain segments of your shoppers but not others, then it’s time to dig into your CRM software data. Your CRM data—or Customer Relationship Management data which is associated with your online or in-store POS—contains the purchase histories of all of your customers along with other insightful data. By grouping your customers into segments, you will be able to identify the products, services, preferences, spending thresholds, and interests of each segment. Once you understand your customers’ pain points and know what they like, want, and need, you can speak to them in a manner that will seem personal to them, using “the three Ts of relevancy.”
Rather than present your product in a straightforward manner within your back-to-school marketing campaigns, instead, present your shoppers with a topic that’s relevant to one of their pain points. By addressing a specific topic, providing information on that topic that’s relevant to your shoppers, and presenting your product as the solution to the topic at hand, your marketing campaigns will resonate with shoppers.
For example, rather than post a photo of a notebook with a “60% off” sticker on social media, which is as uncreative as it gets, instead, feature this shocking fact in your social post:
“Students that use a pen and paper to take notes in class are 62% more likely to remember lessons in the long term than students who use laptops.” —Princeton University Study
That’s a conversation starter right there! As the social media conversation takes off in the comments section under your post, a byproduct will be that parents, students, and teachers rush off to purchase notebooks before they’re sold out… at your store.
In terms of marketing products and services that consumers need right now, promoting back-to-school offers during the back-to-school season is ideal timing, obviously. But we recommend that retailers go the extra mile by researching the return date for your local public schools, private schools, colleges, and universities.
Public schools tend to open earlier than private ones, for example, which means the back-to-school season in your region could begin in late July and extend through September.
To amplify personalization, you could launch different digital back-to-school promotional campaigns for each educational institution using school-specific social media hashtags, for instance. A little research will go a long way in this regard.
The third and final “T” of the 3 Ts of Relevancy has to do with the type of promotional marketing campaign you deliver to your customers. Our quote above states, “This is the format I prefer!” What we’re referring to here are the campaign delivery methods. Not all of your shoppers are going to want to hear about your back-to-school sale via email newsletter, but a lot of them will.
The next sections of this article will focus on the various campaign formats you can use to reach your current customers as well as new ones. This is where personalization is key, however. If you want shoppers to act on your back-to-school sale, you have to deliver your campaigns in the formats they want. You might discover that certain segments of your customers want one format while others want a different format. As a result, you might need to launch back-to-school campaigns in multiple formats, and that’s okay.
These are the most common promotional campaign delivery format methods:
● Email Marketing Campaigns
● Google PPC Ad Campaigns
● Facebook & Instagram Ad Campaigns
● SMS Text Message Campaigns
● Responsive Web Design Landing Page Campaigns
● Referral Code Campaigns
Let’s take a look at how you can use each one.
EMAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGN
Never overlook the promotional power of an email marketing campaign. Why are email campaigns so effective? Because the recipients have already agreed to receive emails from you. In fact, you can bet that emails are their preferred format in terms of hearing from you. Anyone who signed up for your email newsletter or supplied you with their email address to enroll in your loyalty program wants to hear from you via email!
Using personalization to promote the most relevant back-to-school items to your segmented email recipients, consider launching a campaign similar to this one we composed for a pet supply store:
Subject Line: A Back-to-School Bundle Just for You, [FIRST NAME]
Email: Get Fluffy ready for back-to-school season with these hand-picked items bundled just for your furry friend and you!
Relevant Product Bundle: Cat calming treats, an assemble-yourself cat tree, and a cat-themed adult coloring book
When it comes to finding the best back-to-school deals in town, a lot of consumers rely on Google to find stores near them. If you have yet to set up a Google My Business account, or don’t understand why you should, we’ve written an entire article on the subject, Making the Most Out of Google My Business, which will guide you through the process. Once you’ve set up your Google My Business account, Google’s geographically specific algorithms will start recommending your business in location-based search results. Then, link your Google AdWords ad to your GMB Page.
The best Google AdWords campaigns are attention-grabbing and hook the viewer right away. Bear in mind the 3 Ts of Relevancy when composing your PPC AdWords content, like we’ve done for this fitness center:
Web Page Title: Sara Dance Center | Last Chance to Join for $1
Web Page Description: Professional ballroom dance competitor-turned-instructor, Maria, is looking for 10 dedicated students to whip into shape this back-to-school season at the low cost of $1. Click to find out how you can participate in Maria’s 30-day Salsa program hosted by Sara Dance Center!
Taking photos of the kids on the first day of school and sharing them on Facebook and Instagram has become an annual ritual for most parents, and the back-to-school fun doesn’t stop there. In fact, parents and students alike use Facebook and Instagram to find deals on school supplies as well as search for apparel, accessories, and fashion styling inspiration. Running an ad campaign on Facebook and Instagram is a good idea for both brick-and-mortar retailers and eCommerce shops. Just remember that when you create your back-to-school ad campaign in Facebook Business Manager, use detailed targeting so that your paid ad isn’t wasted on the wrong users.
The most important aspect of any social media ad campaign is the Call-to-Action button you include. Don’t even think about running an ad without a CTA. It won’t be worth your time, money, or effort. In our humble opinion, the most valuable CTA you can include is a lead generator. Check out this example we put together for one of our restaurant clients who wanted to enroll customers into their loyalty rewards program:
Headline: Students’ Specials for Back-to-School
Description: This August and September, [RESTAURANT] is offering swag and sandwiches to students who sign up for our customer loyalty rewards program. Power through the long academic year with meals from [RESTAURANT]. Click the Sign-Up button below to claim your loyalty swag and sandwich, and start saving!
Call-to-Action Button: “Sign Up”
Lead Generator Fields: “First Name” & “Email Address”
Everyone loves text messages. In fact, most Americans prefer texting rather than calling when it comes to relaying quick messages. The average text message open rate is 99%, and 96% of all text messages are opened within 15 minutes. In terms of marketing, those are dream statistics. While you would never want to text your customers too frequently, choosing to contact them via SMS text message during one or two special times of the year is appropriate. One of those special times of the year should be back-to-school season since it’s second only to Christmas.
Launching an SMS text message campaign to market your back-to-school sale will only work if you’ve collected your customers’ cell phone numbers, and to be honest, this marketing campaign method works best for professional services businesses like salons, spas, and barbershops. If you run a professional service business, try an SMS back-to-school campaign idea like this one we launched for our beauty salon client:
Text Message: Want to be featured in our back-to-school lookbook? Revamp your look for a fraction of the price this August & September at [SALON NAME]! We’re offering 90% off to anyone who wants to model in our future social media marketing! Reply with ‘BOOK ME’ to reserve your appointment now!
Landing pages can be used for a variety of marketing reasons to pull in customers, but they all serve one major purpose—to convert website visitors into customers who complete the entire buyer’s journey. More often than not, a landing page will offer visitors a special gift, such as a free download, ebook, webinar signup, free trial, or exclusive access to products and services. Landing pages are unique in this sense because they don’t directly market products to visitors. Instead, they trigger instant engagement by featuring a form, survey, quiz, virtual tour, or some other personalized interaction. In terms of marketing your back-to-school sale, you can think of a landing page as an interactive step that motivates website visitors to buy your products. The trick with using landing pages as part of your back-to-school marketing campaigns is to make sure you have a responsive web design in place that displays properly on all devices.
As we mentioned, landing pages can be used in a variety of ways to promote your back-to-school sale, and a whole host of different kinds of businesses use them. Here’s an example of a back-to-school landing page we put together for one of our clients that runs an academic tutoring business:
Web Page Header: There’s only one thing you need to know… you’ll never stop learning.
Content: Take control of your learning by working on the skills you choose at your own pace with our online courses for students of all levels. Sharpen your skills with over 1,000 interactive exercises. Math, science, algebra, biology, computer programming, history, art, grammar & spelling, economics…
Start learning now.
Students receive free online classes and one-on-one online tutoring throughout September 31st. Interested in tutoring? There’s a form for that as well!
(Include two forms, one for parents & students to sign up and another for tutors.)
A referral campaign, or a “refer-a-friend” campaign, is a marketing strategy that retailers use to incentivize their existing customers to recommend their store and products to friends, family, and acquaintances. Typically, referral programs of this nature will reward their customers for making successful referrals and also reward the people they successfully refer. Often a discount code is used, i.e. a referral code. Launching a referral code campaign is a great strategy for brick-and-mortar retailers who want to boost back-to-school sales, and this campaign idea is also effective for eCommerce retailers.
The fun thing about this back-to-school campaign idea is that you can deliver your referral code offer to your customers any way you—and they—would like. You can send out an email marketing campaign or SMS text message marketing campaign that promotes your back-to-school referral code, place a Facebook & Instagram ad, reword your Google My Business Page to promote your referral code, and link to a new landing page that also has the referral code. The sky is really the limit when it comes to using referral codes as part of your back-to-school marketing. Check out what we did for our health & wellness client recently:
Hook: Give $5, Get $5
Headline: Help your friends feel their best while back at school
Body: Loving your health supplements and wellness products from [RETAILER]? Share the love with your friends, family, and fellow students! We’ll give them $5 off to support their wellbeing if they use your unique referral code! And we’ll give you $5 off your next order, too! Enter your email address to receive a unique referral code and start spreading the love!
Now that we’ve laid out six back-to-school marketing campaign ideas all you need to do is come up with personalized content and launch your campaigns! But what if you need help with the graphic design and layout of your campaigns?
Attention-grabbing advertisements are an integral aspect of any solid retail marketing strategy. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or an eCommerce shop—or perhaps both—your offline and online presence must be strong if you want to expand your reach, drive traffic, and convert first-time visitors into returning customers.
In order to help retailers do just that, our sister company, FTx, has developed user-friendly graphic design software. This software, AdPro, can be used anytime at no charge. That’s right, it’s free! This software was engineered to deliver professional results. Regardless of your skill level, the advertisements you can build will look amazing and can be used for all of your marketing, promotional, and social media campaigns.
Best of all, free AdPro comes with a full library of industry-specific templates and holiday themes, including back-to-school templates and themes!
Interested in working with a digital marketing agency to handle your promotional campaigns this back-to-school season and beyond? FTx 360 can work within any budget. Our experienced social media and email marketers can handle your campaigns, target your audience, and help take your business to the next level. Contact us today to get started.
Have you ever walked into a house and fallen in love with the atmosphere? Everything from the home furnishings to the stylized decor to the archways that connect each beautifully laid out room contributed to the wonderful experience you had while there. At the time, you might not have been aware that an architect had to draw up blueprints and contractors had to construct the home, first and foremost, in order for the interior design team who came in next to paint, furnish, and decorate. You see, your experience at the house, which left a lasting impression on you, would not have been possible without the architect and the contractors who built according to the blueprints.
In the same way, the specific experience you have on any given website would not be possible without the architect of the website, otherwise known as the lead web developer, and his or her team of builders who are the web developers that actually construct the website by writing coded language.
Producing a final website is not possible without a web designer, or website design team, just as a house would never go on the market until the walls had been painted, the floors tiled, and the overall decor arranged to give the best impression to prospective buyers. Today, we are going to focus on web developers, but if you would like to learn more about web designers, check out Web Design Trends, which goes into detail on the subject.
In this article, you will learn about website developers, what they’re responsible for, and what they can do for your business. Frontend, backend, and full-stack web development skills are just the beginning of what professional website developers bring to the table. They also create the basic structure and presentation of a website using website scripting languages. All-in-all, their work greatly impacts SEO, inbound marketing, and even revenue increases. Keep reading to discover everything there is to know about web development and what hiring a web developer can do for your company.
A website developer is a skilled programmer who specializes in building “World Wide Web” applications, i.e. websites.
The anchor of a website, which is the bedrock that web developers build upon, is a URL. In today’s competitive market, all websites use “custom domains.” A custom domain, also referred to as a vanity URL, is the branded website name that appears in the address bar of every web browser. Custom domains are not free and must be purchased by a qualifying provider and registered.
There are three primary types of web developers who build out custom domain URL websites. These are frontend developers, backend developers, and full-stack developers. Let’s take a look at what each of these three types of developers do.
As you might have guessed, just as the “frontend” developer is responsible for everything website visitors will see, the backend web developer is responsible for everything that happens behind the scenes in order to make a website function. Their territory is often referred to as the “server-side,” because backend developers work on the “guts” of the website within the server, application, and database. In order to ensure excellent UX, or user experience, backend developers collaborate with frontend developers as they develop code.
Highly experienced web developers generally go beyond offering either frontend or backend development services. Instead, these developers learn both sides of the development equation. Any website developer who offers frontend as well as backend web development is called a “full-stack web developer.” Known in the industry as development geniuses, full-stack web developers do it all because they know it all.
Whether you hire front-end and back-end developers or hire a single full-stack developer, your web developers should be mindful to build MarTech into your site for you. Shorthand for “marketing technology,” the term MarTech refers to any marketing software solution that helps marketers research, strategize, execute, analyze, and optimize their campaigns across all digital platforms. MarTech combines marketing with technology, and oftentimes marketers will consolidate multiple MarTech solutions into a stack, known as a MarTech Stack. The purpose of utilizing MarTech is to improve engagement with customers and drive sales, and yes, really smart web developers will build your website with your future marketing strategies in mind.
Short for “cascading style sheets,” CSS directly impacts the experiences visitors have when they interact with a website. CSS programming language modifies and enhances HTML to define the website’s layout, formatting, and overall presentation. This programming language is considered a cornerstone technology for the World Wide Web. Like HTML, web developers are experts in CSS due to the fact that reliable, functional, well-performing websites cannot be built without this essential language.
Website developers have a massive responsibility—to provide the best user experience, or UX, possible. Since web developers construct the layout of a website, which involves working closely with website designers, they are responsible for creating visually interesting and experientially engaging web pages that load fast and perform excellently. This means that web developers take extreme care when developing landing pages and optimizing websites for their inbound marketing potential, which includes coding opt-in forms and other marketing CTAs right into the web pages
themselves. Let’s take a look.
Landing pages have many synonyms, such as a lead capture page, squeeze page, and destination page, to name a few. Whichever term is used, this type of page refers to a single web page that’s
used as part of a digital marketing CTA for lead generation. For example, when an internet user clicks on a SEO search result, marketing email, or online advertisement, they are directed to the landing page that the web developer has set up. Landing pages typically display content that’s relevant to the user’s search or the ad the user clicked. And yes, a savvy web developer will be your best bet for including lead generation capabilities like this on your website.
A savvy web developer is also your best bet for connecting effective inbound marketing channels to your website. Inbound marketing strategies include content marketing, SEO, social media, blogs, and other digital marketing methods that draw consumers into a business’ marketing funnel. Inbound marketing campaign content places an emphasis on personally connecting with consumers and solving consumer pain points, which indirectly promotes the business’ products and solutions. Put simply, inbound marketing is any strategy that helps potential customers discover a business or
As we mentioned, opt-in forms and other CTAs are coded right into your web pages by your web developer. These forms and CTAs appear on websites and function as data collection tools. When a lead fills out an opt-in form on your website, information about the lead is automatically gathered and stored for you to leverage in the future during your marketing campaigns.
Web developers, as you can see, are truly responsible for the fate of the websites they develop.
SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to the objective of driving online user traffic to a website by elevating the website’s standing with search engines such as Google. Ideally, businesses want their websites to appear on the first page of Google’s search results whenever a user is looking for a company like theirs. Using relevant keywords within web content optimizes search engine ranking. Keywords are words, phrases, or questions that a Google user might type into the search bar in order to generate a list of possible websites relevant to their search topic. The term SEO only applies to non-paid, organic search results. Web developers contribute to the SEO of the websites they develop.
As a business owner, you want to maximize your daily site visitors. A “site visitor” is any internet user who lands on or navigates through your website. Websites collect valuable visitor data, including IP addresses and cookies, to determine how many unique site visitors have visited each web page, where those site visitors came from, and what actions they took while visiting the website. This is data you want, which means optimizing your website for SEO is a must. What can you do with visitor data? A lot. By analyzing the number of visitors that land on your website, you will learn important metrics such as the overall visitor frequency along with crucial demographic information. This information can then be leveraged during the creation and publication of additional website content to improve website traffic and increase sales revenue.
Launching a blog is easily the most worthwhile strategy in terms of integrating new SEO into your business website, so be sure to ask your web developer to include a blog on the site they develop for you. By featuring a blog on your website, you will organically begin to build brand awareness, improve SEO, drive website traffic, and increase revenue. Short for “web-logs,” blogs are actually considered an original social media platform for two reasons. Posts can be published frequently to immediately engage an audience, and discussions are often triggered based on the articles’ content. These discussions unfold in the comments section beneath each post. By including opt-in forms within your blog posts and automating the publication of each article, you can effectively convert website visitors into loyal customers.
Another effective SEO strategy involves using “dynamic content” on your website, and any web developer worth his or her salt will program your site using dynamic content. Also called adaptive content, dynamic content refers to the component on web pages that changes the page’s content based on visitor data, behavior, and preferences. Because these content changes can be automated, dynamic content keeps site visitors engaged while freeing up marketers to focus on other tasks. Changing the content naturally updates the web page’s SEO, which can improve search engine ranking.
Business owners who want to avoid hiring a web developer and who are not prepared to learn how to use HTML editors and in-line coding themselves might opt to use a WYSIWYG website building platform instead.
Instead of writing web page code and building your website from scratch all on your own, you could opt for a What You See Is What You Get, or WYSIWYG, website building platform. These user-friendly platforms come with rich text editors, drag-and-drop editors, and point-and-click editors. In other words, a WYSIWYG platform will enable you to quickly build and edit your website once you have chosen a template from their CMS. Let’s take a look.
CMS, or content management systems, provide users with technologically simplistic templates. These templates can be edited with drag-and-drop features, as we mentioned. The user-friendly nature of website builders with CMS allows the user to construct a fully functional website or eCommerce store without the help of a professional web developer. This is due to the fact that the CMS platform itself handles all of the basic backend infrastructure. Once your WYSIWYG website is established, the CMS software platform will help you create, manage, modify, and schedule all of your content in an organized, easy-to-execute manner.
Let’s take an in-depth look at “point-and-click” editors, “drag-and-drop” editors, and mobile-optimized responsive website design so that you’re fully informed in case you choose to go the WYSIWYG route.
Point-and-click editing is a design feature that empowers the user to add elements of code into web pages without having to formally program that code into the backend. Point-and-click editor allows the user to easily add plugins, source buttons, and code snippets among other widgets to the pages of their website or eCommerce store without having to rely on a web designer. Businesses can also invest in free-standing point-and-click editors to create, write, and revise their Wikipedia pages and other online business encyclopedias.
A drag-and-drop website builder enables users to create a website without having to learn CSS commands or write code. The user simply selects a basic layout theme from a library of professionally designed templates and proceeds to drag-and-drop widgets, fill in text, and make other alterations to personalize the site for their business. Drag-and-drop website builders give business owners the freedom to build their websites exactly as they want and easily update their web content without having to rely on a web designer or agency.
A mobile-optimized responsive website design template is a build-your-own-website template that has been designed to display correctly on all devices for optimal viewing. The templates themselves are coded to automatically adapt to any screen size and orientation so that the website looks great, functions well, and is easy to read on computers, smartphones, and tablets. If you opt to build your own website instead of hiring a professional web developer, then be sure to choose a web building platform that offers mobile-optimized responsive web design templates.
At the end of the day, your business website has the potential to be your most powerful digital marketing tool. When visitors land on your website, they read the home page, navigate through the entire site, and decide whether or not to purchase your products and services based on their experience interacting with your website. For this reason, making sure that your website performs excellently is the most important thing you can do for your business.
Is your website performing as well as it should? Our article, What Do Customers Look For in a Website? can help you determine where your site stands in the eyes of consumers, so be sure to give it a read.
If your website or eCommerce store isn’t performing as well as it should, you could try your hand at constructing a new site using a WYSIWYG web building platform like Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly… Or you could have the website development team at FTx 360 handle your site for you. Our web developers work hand-in-hand with artistic website designers to produce stunning websites that strike a perfect balance between beautiful and functional, and our websites always load properly on mobile devices. Contact us to check out our portfolio or get your project started with our web development services today.
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Is it time to outsource your digital marketing?
When you first opened your business, you probably did just about everything yourself. This is par for the course. In the beginning, the owners of most start-ups and small businesses handle every aspect of their day-to-day workflow either themselves or in-house by assigning tasks to their employees.
But this is only manageable for so long. As a business grows, its needs expand. Continuing to assign new tasks to pre-existing employees runs the risk of overburdening them, which could lead to sloppy work and unhappy workers.
There are certain signs that indicate it might be time for you, as a business owner, to consider outsourcing your digital marketing, which include:
● Your current staff doesn’t have the skills. Effective digital marketing includes a lot of moving parts. Trends change constantly. New technologies and platforms emerge regularly. Is it reasonable to expect your account managers to post on social media during their “down time”? Will the quality of their digital marketing efforts be very good when it’s outside of their chosen career path?
● Your digital marketing initiatives are focused on tasks and not strategy. In order for any marketing campaign to succeed, you must have a plan in place. When your team is overworked, they’ll only have time to address day-to-day tasks and their mindset will be to “get stuff done.” Digital marketing isn’t about getting stuff done. It’s about getting the right stuff done and parceling out strong campaign tactics that result in increased revenue and overall business growth.
● You’re anticipating company growth and planning for business expansion. Have you recently signed a bunch of new clients? Have you opened a second retail location? Are you about to launch an eCommerce site? If you’re in the process of expanding your business, then you might be assuming you’ll have to hire additional staff to keep up with the demand, and you’re absolutely correct. But hiring an in-house marketing team shouldn’t be your first move.
If you’re considering outsourcing your digital marketing, but are still on the fence, this article is for you. Here are the 5 benefits of outsourcing your digital marketing.
PROVIDES A FRESH PERSPECTIVE TO YOUR BRAND
As a business owner, of course you love your company. But as they say, love is blind. Way-back-when you first saw your brand-new company logo, you thought it looked amazing, and it probably did. But as time passed, your love for your brand might have kept you blind to the possibility that your logo, and other marketing elements you’ve been using over the years, haven’t exactly updated to stay on trend.
That’s a problem. An outside marketing agency will add a fresh perspective to your brand. Their professional experts will be able to see the big picture of how your brand should fit into your industry’s market and make the necessary upgrades for you.
AFFORDS YOU FLEXIBILITY
Unlike the high commitment that comes with hiring an in-house employee or a team of in-house marketing associates, working with a digital marketing agency will afford you flexibility, and is therefore considered low or no commitment by comparison. This is a huge benefit. If you don’t like the finished work that a digital marketing agency provides, you can release them because you hired them on a project basis and entered into a short-term contract. Simply move on to the next agency for your next project and test them out in the same manner.
When an agency delivers results as promised after the completion of their first project for you, then you can engage them for the next project. But if they haven’t delivered or if the ROI is dismal, then you’re free to move on. This kind of flexibility will save you from getting locked into an agreement with an agency that isn’t serving you properly.
Digital marketing takes time. It can be challenging, tedious, and demanding. Creating marketing campaigns, generating awesome content, and scheduling all of your digital marketing is a full-time job. While it might seem like hiring one in-house employee to handle all of your digital marketing is a smart idea, the fact of the matter is that digital marketing is extremely dynamic.
You will be hard-pressed to find one individual who possesses all of the skills required to write flawless content, create stunning graphics using graphic design software, research trending SEO keywords, and accomplish everything in-between. Hiring an entire team of marketers in-house to address all aspects of your digital marketing could cost a fortune when you factor in salaries, employer taxes, health insurance matches, and other associated expenses. To minimize your overhead and save yourself time and money, outsourcing your digital marketing is the way to go.
In the long run, partnering with a digital marketing agency will give you firsthand access to expert knowledge. The marketing professionals at full-service marketing agencies like FTx 360 include web and mobile app developers, SEO experts, graphic designers, copywriters, social media experts, and most importantly, campaign strategists, all of whom will comprise your dedicated team.
As you interface with your account manager, you’ll have the full breadth of support from the entire team. This includes access to advanced marketing and analytics tools, such as SEMrush, which might otherwise be unaffordable if you, as a business owner, opted to purchase a subscription. The benefits of having access to expert-level knowledge are never ending.
● The agency will accomplish your marketing tasks on their schedule, and when the unexpected arises, you will have to exercise patience until their marketers have time to help you.Tip: Before hiring an agency, ask them about their timelines for specific projects and how they will accommodate last-minute marketing requests. The best digital marketing agencies will assign an account manager to your business who will be available to help you immediately, no matter what.
● While an outsourced digital marketing agency is far cheaper than paying the salaries of in-house marketing associates, the costs can still add up depending on the agency you go with, how many experts they assign to your account, and how dynamic your projects or tasks are.Tip: When working with a new agency, really pace yourself. Don’t ask them to handle 100% of every aspect of your digital marketing. Carefully review their price points per service. Go with one or two services for a short period of time. And be sure to analyze the ROI before asking them to handle more of your marketing needs.
● Marketing professionals, especially creative experts, are known for their ability to decisively execute their creative vision. But their strong ideas for your company may not completely align with your own vision for your brand’s future. You hired them for a reason, however, and you will have to accept their directive and allow them to do what they do best.Tip: Prior to working with any digital marketing agency, sit down with their professionals and probe them to find out their creative vision for your brand, especially if you’re considering full-blown rebranding. See if they’re willing to create mock-ups of the image graphics they have in mind for your company. Vet them as deeply as possible. And understand that once you hire them, their expertise will trump your inclinations for your business.The major takeaway is that outsourcing your digital marketing will absolutely benefit your company, but it doesn’t come without risks. That being said, you can easily mitigate the disadvantages of working with a digital marketing agency by thoroughly vetting each agency you’re considering. Ask them hard questions and don’t accept sugarcoated answers. Be realistic as you assess your options, and once you decide to go with an agency, start slowly, engage them on a project-per-project basis, and carefully analyze whether or not they’re delivering the results they promised.Are you interested in outsourcing your digital marketing? FTx 360 offers a wide array of digital marketing services at affordable costs, and we never pressure our clients to turn over all of their marketing to us straightaway. Our professional marketing experts take pride in their skills and enjoy the process of proving themselves to new clients. Whether you need web design & development, eCommerce marketing services, social media marketing, content marketing, blog articles and blog management, organic and local SEO, email marketing, marketing automation, PPC marketing, or reputation management—we do it all and love every minute of it!Contact us today to speak with a marketing expert about everything FTx 360 can do for your brand! Want to read more articles like this? Enter your email below to subscribe to our mailing list and be the first to know about the latest marketing trends!
On a global scale, approximately 547,200 new websites are created every single day. As of the publication of this article, 24 million eCommerce sites across the world are actively selling products. According to data compiled from IBISWorld, U.S. eCommerce sales reached $211.5 billion in the second quarter of 2020, which represents a 44.5% increase compared to the second quarter of 2019.
The eCommerce sector, regardless of industry, is extremely competitive. The market is growing exponentially. But don’t worry. Your eCommerce business isn’t automatically doomed to get lost in the fray. There are plenty of marketing strategies you can implement today that will increase sales tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year.
In this article, we’ll show you how to promote your eCommerce website using 5 marketing ideas that work.
Search engine optimization is a marketing method that uses targeted keywords and longtail keyword phrases to elevate a website’s ranking on search engines such as Google. SEO typically refers to organic, non-paid keyword strategies. The desired result of any SEO effort is to increase a website’s online visibility and traffic. Check out What Is SEO? to learn specific SEO strategies, including how to generate relevant keywords.
49% of marketers report that organic search engine optimization has the best ROI of any marketing channel, according to Search Engine Journal.
Devising an SEO strategy for your eCommerce site includes three areas, each with its own steps:
● First, you’ll have to do a little research to figure out the frequently searched words, terms, and phrases that search engine users typically type into the search bar. You can identify these SEO keywords by using Ahrefs, Amazon, Google, or any SEM tool.
● Next, you’ll need to create new content with the keywords you’ve selected. You could revise your eCommerce Home Page using keywords, or spruce up your product descriptions with them. This second step of plugging fresh keywords into your site should become a periodic practice.
● Finally, you’ll need to analyze the impact of those SEO keywords, using Google Analytics or another tool that measures the success of your SEO strategy.
Multichannel marketing for an eCommerce company refers to diversifying your sales platform. Yes, your eCommerce site is obviously your primary sales platform. But in today’s competitive market, businesses succeed online when they meet their customers’ wants and needs, including their preferences for where they want to shop. Facebook has made buying online extremely convenient, and the same can be said about Amazon. By opening a Facebook Store, you can cater to consumers who want to shop there, and others that prefer to visit your website can access it through Facebook via the URL you provide.
By the year 2040, an estimated 95% of all purchases will occur online through eCommerce, according to Nasdaq.
Spread your brand across multiple channels to diversify your sales and income streams. Follow these steps to get started:
● Research where your potential customers are congregating online. Are they on Instagram the most, or do they fill up the comments sections of YouTube? Find out so you’ll know where to focus your efforts.
● Focus on the top 3 channels where your potential customers spend their online time, then develop posting strategies on those platforms. By engaging users, they will begin to view and interact with your brand, which will lead to sales through those platforms if not your eCommerce site.
● Since multichannel marketing is all about creating different paths for consumers to travel in order to get to the purchasing stage of their shopping experience, it’s okay to start small, as long as the customer journey is easy and rewarding.
If you have an advertising expense budget, the best way to allocate your funds in 2021 is into podcast advertisements. Yes, it’s true. Regardless of the overall popularity of a podcast, the fact of the matter is that podcasts garner very loyal audiences, and those audiences tend to be comprised of specific demographics. This means that the podcast itself has already corralled your ideal customers, and by buying ad space, you can speak to all of them at once.
54% of podcast listeners will lean towards buying products that were recommended on podcasts, according to Edison Research.
Narrowing down the best podcast to invest in requires a little research. Start with these initial steps:
● Contact podcasts that are relevant to your industry to find out the size of their listenership and the costs for different ad spots. The ad sales department should be able to send you a demographic report that organizes their audience by categories such as age, gender, location, and interests, among other variables.
● Choose the most affordable ad spot. This could be a shorter pre-roll or post-roll spot, which will play at the beginning or end of the podcast episode. Pricier spots typically play in the middle of the podcast when listenership is the highest.
● Lastly, you’ll need to record a high-quality audio ad that meets the technical requirements and standards of the podcast.
In terms of regularly generating fresh, targeted, relevant keywords that harness the power of SEO and directly impact your eCommerce site’s Google ranking, nothing beats a blog. Launching and maintaining a blog is a highly effective promotional strategy. Blogs expand brand reach and online presence, as well as help to validate the business as a credible authority. All of which will lead to consumer trust. For detailed tips on blogging, be sure to read Creating a Remarkable Business Blog.
63% of online consumers in the U.S. have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
Summarizing the article on blogging referenced above, here’s how you can promote your eCommerce site by adding a Blog tab and posting on a regular schedule:
● When creating the content of each blog post, aim to follow the “information, inspiration, call-to-action” format. This means that the content should inform the reader by first addressing a “pain point” they’re experiencing and then suggesting solutions to fix that particular pain point problem. The suggestions should “inspire” the reader. And finally, the article should wrap up with a call-to-action that encourages the reader to purchase the product that will “solve” their problem from your eCommerce site.
● Be sure to work your keywords into the written content. Keep the paragraphs short so that the article is easy to read. Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to list information, all of which ensures easy reading.
● Break up the text even more with images, photos, and graphics. Include a “subscribe” button at the bottom of each post, and as you collect email addresses, be sure to use them wisely when you promote your recently published blog posts.
Over the course of 2020 and into 2021, the use of “chatbots” has risen as a prefered method of customer relationship management and customer service. Meaning, your eCommerce site visitors would probably appreciate being able to ask straightforward questions and get fast answers via a chatbot box. There are two kinds of chatbots—purely robotic or a live person. Depending on the size of your eCommerce business, you may opt to use one or both types of chatbots. A live person might not be able to accommodate a great volume of inquiries. Remember, consumers expect fast responses, so if there’s any chance your employee will take longer than 5 minutes to reply, then the safer route would be to integrate a machine-learning A.I. “robotic” chatbot.
Roughly 50% of consumers have ended up making an eCommerce purchase after interacting with the site’s chatbot, according to Drift.com.
The success or failure of an A.I. chatbot completely depends on whether or not your eCommerce site visitor can tell they’re talking to a machine-learning robot. The point being, even if you use an A.I. chatbot, you want your website visitors to believe it’s a real, live person. Here are some tips to keep you—or your hired chatbot developer—on track:
● The chatbot should exhibit a discernable degree of empathy when appropriate. Firstly, the bot must be programmed to use language properly so that it can smoothly speak with the customer typing on the other end of the box.
● In order for the chatbot to function properly, i.e. provide appropriate, relevant, and accurate answers to customer questions, the chatbot first must be programmed with all the necessary information. Also, it should be “trained” to ask the customer to provide more details when required. Remember, better answers equal better service.
● Train the chatbot to answer frequently asked questions. Depending on the nature of your business and the products you sell on your eCommerce site, you’ve probably noticed that customers tend to have a range of specific questions. Chatbots can, in fact, be trained to answer those specific questions.
Additional marketing methods that can greatly enhance your efforts to promote your eCommerce website include:
Are you ready to get your eCommerce marketing strategy started? FTx 360 offers SEO marketing and optimization plans for eCommerce businesses. Contact us to speak with a professional marketing strategist today.
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The value of implementing content marketing campaigns as part of your overall digital marketing strategy cannot be overstated.
Traditional advertising is costly, impersonal, and frankly, going out of style.
Digital content marketing is economical, highly personal, and wonderfully conversational in a way consumers love.
But in order to quantify the real value of content marketing, business owners must first understand what it is.
As the name suggests, content marketing is a form of digital marketing that uses content—both written and visual—to attract internet users to a business’ website for the purposes of converting visitors into customers.
Generating successful content involves pairing excellently written content with stunning visuals, such as intriguing photos, engaging graphics, entertaining videos, and impactful multimedia.
Examples of content used for digital marketing include:
web pages, product & service descriptions,
blog posts & email newsletter content,
in-app notification content & SMS text message content,
podcasts & webinars,
e-books & educational articles,
and even social media promotions!
Once the finalized content is published online, the content’s built-in SEO keywords will prompt Google and other search engines to recommend the published content web pages to consumers who type those very keywords into the search bar.
There is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between publishing quality content online and gaining loyal customers, which is why content marketing has quickly become one of the most popular digital marketing strategies around.
But popularity spawns competition. As more and more companies discover the value of using dynamic content marketing strategies, the higher the “bar” rises in terms of quality. What does this mean for business owners who want to stand out from the competition and win loyal customers using content marketing specifically?
Shape up or ship out.
If that sounds severe, it should. The competition is cut-throat and consumers have short attention spans. The next website, eCommerce store, hashtag thread, YouTube channel, or podcast is only a click away, and if you do not hook your visitor the moment they land on your page, they aren’t going to stick around.
But there’s good news for all you ambitious entrepreneurs who want to roll your sleeves up, throw your hats into the ring, and fight to gain loyal customers before your opponents do!
In this article, we’ll lay out exactly what you can do to up your content marketing game so that you can take advantage of all the benefits that content marketing has to offer!
By implementing content marketing strategies, a business can differentiate their brand from their competitors and stand out within their industry marketplace. Content marketing, as a method of communication, develops customer trust and improves brand credibility within online communities, social media circles, and even major search engines like Google.
Talk about value! If you can convince Google you’re the leading expert within your industry, the sky will be the limit in terms of how much web traffic will funnel to your site!
You might be tempted to err on the side of caution and only dip your toe into the content marketing waters, but if you want to make a big splash, engage your audience, and earn big bucks, we recommend you dive headfirst and implement these four content marketing initiatives:
● Website Content
● Product & Service Descriptions
● Blog Posts
● Email Newsletters
Let’s take a look at each…
For businesses of all sizes, increasing web traffic is an integral aspect of growing a solid customer base. This is especially true for eCommerce stores and other companies that rely on web-based platforms. A company’s web content, whether intentional or blissfully accidental, contains SEO keywords, which essentially magnetize Google users to the company’s website, which is great!
But did you know that your website is in danger of aging? Websites containing stale content that have not been updated in a year or more actually slide down Google’s ranking system. Just because your website is on the first page of Google’s search results today, doesn’t mean you’ll stay there. If you don’t revamp your website and publish brand-new, SEO-rich content periodically, it will only be a matter of time before your site slides down to the 5th, or 50th, page of Google’s results!
Keep the high ranking you’ve earned and stay on the first page of Google’s results by updating your entire website with fresh content at least every six months.
A great way to publish updated website and eCommerce store content without investing in a major site design overhaul is to frequently update the descriptions of your current products and services, and also publish new products and services descriptions on your site as soon as they’re ready for purchase. Even short, well-written descriptions of only three sentences can provide enough trending SEO keywords to keep your website relevant.
The trick is to first research and select the best keywords for your products, audience, and industry. If your descriptions are going to be a strict 30 words, don’t attempt to plug too many keywords into the verbiage or you’ll run the risk of sounding awkward. Try using only three keywords, or one longtail keyword phrase plus one keyword. Once you have those, be sure to compose the content using an expressive “voice” that captures the tone of your brand.
Customers naturally connect with content that is written in a personable, expressive manner, because the conversational tone helps them relate to your brand. As opposed to customers that don’t connect with your content, you will always forge deeper, longer lasting relationships with customers that relate to your brand.
One smart way to regularly publish SEO-rich content that will drive traffic to your website or eCommerce store is to launch a blog on your site. Blogs are a cost-effective way to promote your company and build your online presence. Best of all, blogging can validate your business and establish your brand as a leading authority within your industry.
The one caveat that you must respect if you want your blog to succeed at keeping your website ranking high on Google and other search engines is that you must commit to a publishing schedule and stick to it. Be realistic. Know your capabilities and limitations. Can you commit to drafting, editing, and proofreading one blog per week? Will that leave you enough time to also create stunning visuals such as graphics, photos, and multimedia images to go along with each weekly article?
When it comes to blogging, it’s better to post once a month without fail—or once every two weeks without fail—than it is to post once a day for two weeks and then not post again for two months. Consistency is everything. If you can maintain a consistent publishing schedule, offer an e-newsletter opt-in, and begin collecting subscriber contact information, the value of your blog will soon become immeasurable.
Consumers love content marketing, as we mentioned at the beginning of this blog post. When a brand puts out content for customers to read and engage with, those customers feel a sense of personal connection with the brand. And nothing gets more personalized than email marketing. With email marketing, you can analyze CRM data—Customer Relationship Management Data—to segment your customers into highly specified groups, and customize the campaigns you send out to each group.
Create individualized content for your segmented customer groups that’s based on their unique interests, product favorites, and the informative subjects they’ve “liked” on your blog, social media, and other platforms. Email marketing can be used for many different campaign types. Retailers can use email marketing campaigns to alert customers to personalized sales they might be interested in. Law and accountant firms can use email marketing to educate and empower their recipients about important laws, rules, filing dates, and regulations, ending every email newsletter with a CTA. Educational institutions can use email marketing to promote their classes, courses, and special events. Email marketing can also be used to conduct surveys and collect valuable feedback from customers!
In short, the greatest value of email marketing is that this marketing strategy builds relationships with customers. Every email is an invitation to that recipient to engage in a one-on-one conversation with you!
Smoke shops, cigar retailers, vape stores, hookah lounges, and even hemp wellness retailers within the CBD industry have one major challenge in common—severe advertising restrictions.
The US Food & Drug Administration has controlled tobacco and nicotine product advertising for decades, but it wasn’t until June of 2009 that the FDA clamped down hard on tobacco industry advertising, including advertising that fell within the scope of digital marketing.
These new FDA rules and regulations were imposed on secondary industries that carried nicotine, tobacco-related, and tobacco-simulated products, namely the vape and CBD markets. Can vape stores run TV ads? Nope. Are cigar retailers allowed to place paid ads on Instagram? Not at all. What about CBD stores, can this type of hemp wellness retailer buy a half-page magazine ad? Not even for a million dollars.
With extreme advertising limitations, how can smoke shops, vape stores, and similar retailers actually promote their tobacco, nicotine, CBD, and smoke-simulation products?
How will these businesses reach customers, sell products, and grow?
Though challenging, marketing tobacco, vape, and alternative nicotine products is not impossible. In this article, we’ll show you how to maximize lawful strategies while staying in compliance with the FDA.
Here are the dos and don’ts of marketing your store.
There is a critical distinction to be made between “advertising” and “marketing”. Just because you, as a tobacco retailer, are prohibited from freely advertising your nicotine products does not mean you’re prohibited from marketing your nicotine products. You can think of “advertising” as directly promoting a product to a consumer audience. By contrast, “marketing” raises brand awareness using indirect methods of promotion. Understanding the difference and sticking strictly to marketing is imperative.
Do: Focus on Marketing
Don’t: Invest in Advertising
First, you must educate yourself about the specific search engine and social media platform policies, and obey those policies. Familiarize yourself with Google’s products promotion rules. Pay particular attention to their prohibited content, restricted content & features, and dangerous products & services. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook each have their own policies and restrictions on nicotine product promotion that you should take a look at.
You might be wondering, if marketing isn’t advertising, then what is it? For smoke and vape retailers, examples of effective marketing include maintaining a Google My Business account, using social media to passively and indirectly attract consumers, and launching a blog, all of which we will cover in this article, so keep reading!
Ready to get started with implementing focused marketing campaigns? Take these next steps:
● Identify your marketing audience
● Research the best marketing strategies for your industry
● Consider marketing automation solutions
FACT: In 2019, the global e-cigarette and vape market size was valued at USD $12.41 billion, and this figure is projected to rise 23.8% between now and 2027! This means that consumers want to find your smoke shop, so make it easy on them by focusing on strategic digital marketing! This according to Statista.com.
As we mentioned in the previous section, it’s essentially impossible to advertise your tobacco, nicotine, and vape products via traditional search engine and social media ads, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on the internet. Never discount the importance of your internet presence! Even if you own a brick-and-mortar retail store without a corresponding eCommerce site, you still must promote your brand online using digital marketing strategies that include SEO.
Do: Implement an SEO Strategy
Don’t: Discount the Importance of Your Internet Presence
For the purposes of expediency, we’re going to assume you know what SEO is, but if not, check out our blog What Is SEO? Go ahead, we’ll wait… it’s only a 5-minute read. Keywords are the backbone of effective search engine optimization. Choosing current, “hot” keywords as you build your digital content will cause search engines like Google to recommend your site to consumers who are looking for retailers like you.
Yes, as we touched on earlier, even physical retail stores need to invest in expanding their online presence. You don’t have to go so far as launching an eCommerce site, but if you have a website, we strongly recommend you launch an associated blog. Even if you start a simple WordPress blog, you can then create “posts” on your Google My Business account, sharing the article links. This is a great way to get your blogging feet wet while utilizing effective SEO that will communicate directly with Google.
Ready to get started integrating powerful SEO into your marketing strategies? Take these next steps:
● Launch a scalable, mobile-friendly blog
● Focus on Google My Business & building customer reviews
● Invest in professional SEO solutions
FACT: Popular SEO keywords for tobacco, vape, and CBD industry content are constantly shifting and changing as new products are introduced to the market. Regularly publishing blog articles is the best way to keep up, use current keywords, and ensure search engines recommend your store’s website to consumers. This according to Forbes.com.
Want to hear something excruciatingly unfair? Years ago, Big Tobacco tried to game the social media marketing system using paid influencers and basically ruined the concept for the rest of us. What really happened? In May of 2019, roughly 125 public health organizations issued a “cease and desist” order to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat to immediately end the promotion of cigarettes and e-cigarettes from Big Tobacco companies. The resulting ban included prohibiting promotions from social media influencers. Then, in epic Big Tobacco fashion, the biggest names in the nicotine business straight-up ignored the order.
Do: Partner with Social Media Influencers
Don’t: Rely Solely on Influencers
So, why in the world do our digital marketing strategists include “partner with social media influencers” as a “do” on this list rather than a “don’t”? Because of our tenacity! We would never advocate trying to game the system. Our clients are small businesses that don’t possess the kind of legal teams that can defend Big-Tobacco-caliber violations.
When it comes to partnering with social media influencers, you have to think waaaaay outside the box, like we do, and like one of our clients has been since they started working with us. We’re referring to CBD Source, the leading cannabidiol retail chain across Pennsylvania and New York State. In April of 2019, CBD Source launched the CBD Podcast, which expanded their customer reach so much that they had to create an eCommerce store just to keep up with the demand. Naturally, their podcast developed into a YouTube channel, and that’s where the real social media influencer strategies took off like a heat seeking missile!
Ready to get started with social media influencers? Take these next steps:
● Contact influencers to plug and review your products
● Launch a podcast, vlog, or YouTube channel
● Test out a professional SSM strategist and analyze the ROI
Email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses of all kinds. When implemented strategically, email marketing campaigns incentivize customers to visit a retail location or eCommerce site, which directly impacts revenue increases. Why is email marketing a definite “do” on this list? Because you can say and promote whatever you want within this private method of communication. That’s right, you can directly advertise your tobacco, nicotine, CBD, and vape products to your recipient list!
Do: Include Email Marketing
Don’t: Spam Using Generic Offers
No two of your customers are exactly alike, however. Don’t spam generic emails to every email address on your list. Effective email marketing campaigns are all about “personalization”. The trick is to only recommend the most relevant products to each of your email recipients. Succeeding at personalizing your email campaigns will depend on the CRM software you’re using. You can’t achieve personalization without having collected data about your customers personal browsing and buying histories.
Whether you collect customer data at the POS system within your retail location or have integrated CRM solutions on the backend of your eCommerce site, you can build a quality sales pipeline as a result of personalized email marketing campaigns. First, analyze your customer data and group your customers into segments according to their likes and interests. Then, tailor personalized email campaigns to each customer segment, informing them of sales, deals, and discounts on items they have a history of loving and buying.
Ready to get started launching an email marketing campaign? Take these next steps:
● Provide shoppers with opt-in subscription methods to join your email list
● Develop concise written content that takes recipient personalization into account
● Use email marketing software solutions with CRM capabilities
FTx 360 can help. Our digital marketing strategists have extensive experience working within the tobacco, vape, and CBD industries. If you have concerns about FDA restrictions, we know the law. We know how to stay in compliance. And we know how to grow businesses using marketing automation, SEO solutions, SSM strategies, and email marketing solutions to build awareness for your brand and expand your loyal customer base.
Ready to get started with our tobacco industry marketing strategies? Contact us today!
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