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.
Using smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices to surf the net might seem like a no-brainer today, but that wasn’t always the case.
As recently as eight years ago, desktop computer internet usage far surpassed that of mobile devices. In fact, the shift from desktop computer internet usage to mobile-device internet usage didn’t occur until 2014, which is relatively late in Google’s evolution.
The history of mobile devices, internet usage, and Google’s ranking algorithms unfolded as follows:
2007 – 2008: Apple’s iPhone hit the market in 2007 followed by Android’s smartphone in 2008
● These smartphones featured web browsers, which introduced mobile-device web browsing to the world.
● Web developers coded the first generation of mobile-friendly sites using m.website.com addresses that were separate from the original desktop computer websites. These mobile-friendly sites did not compare to their desktop counterparts due to limited navigation, “tall and skinny” layout formats, and significantly pared-down functionality.
● Though these mobile-friendly sites existed exclusively for mobile devices, mobile users didn’t readily access them, preferring instead to use their desktop computers when they wanted to go online.
2009 – 2011: Google developed and distributed techniques and guidelines for web developers to help them build mobile-friendly sites that are discoverable.
● Google published an article on their Webmaster Central Blog about how to make mobile-based websites faster.
● Google published an article on the same blog listing helpful tips webmasters can use to properly index their mobile-specific sites so that Google elevates the ranking of those sites.
● Google proposed additional tips about how webmasters can “run” both desktop computer websites and mobile-specific website versions together.
● Google published its first in-depth guide on how to make websites mobile friendly.
● Mobile website speed testing was developed by Google, which they released as a tool in conjunction with their “first page speed tool” in 2011.
2012 – 2014: Google introduced, adjusted, and refined its algorithms, updated its ranking factors, and provided webmasters with a new Mobile Usability Tool.
● Google altered search results for mobile-friendly websites using the final smartphone destination URL in search results.
● Google introduced ranking factors that penalize misconfigured mobile-specific websites.
● Google launched Webmaster Tools, which included a tool to diagnose mobile crawl errors.
● Google expanded the “organic search performance feature” in Webmaster Tools to specifically aid separate mobile websites.
● Google expanded its Webmaster Tools yet again by adding a new Mobile Usability tool.
2015 – Present: Google shifted from only indexing desktop computer internet websites to evaluating website mobile friendliness as the sole ranking factor.
● Google announced that site usability will affect mobile search results ranking, meaning that mobile-friendliness will be an official ranking signal.
● Google announced ranking penalties for mobile-specific sites that used traditional desktop computer website features, such as pop-up boxes, because these features interrupted and frustrated mobile site users.
● Google officially switched to indexing mobile sites to rank web pages, crawl content and SEO, and display snippets of sites in the search results.
● This mobile-first ranking structure rendered desktop computer websites less important in the world of Google’s ranking algorithms since indexing desktop computer websites was gradually phased out.
● Finally, Google completely dropped desktop computer website indexing, which means that currently Google only indexes and ranks mobile-specific sites.
Today, mobile friendliness is the only ranking factor that Google now uses.
Is your website mobile friendly?
In this article, you will learn how to keep your website visible in Google’s search engine ranking by improving the mobile-friendliness of your site.
As crucial as it is to please Google by adhering to their algorithmic changes, improving your SEO tactics, and following their guidelines so that Google bots crawl and promote your website, it’s far more important to please your website visitors.
If the history of Google and mobile-friendliness that we laid out in the introduction of this article proved anything, it’s that today’s consumers prefer to use their mobile devices to surf the net, browse websites, and even buy products. Given the evolving consumer demand for mobile-friendly sites, over time Google developed web guidelines to accommodate mobile users, which culminated in a new mobile-only indexing system.
As a business owner, you also have a responsibility to meet consumer demands and ensure that your website is mobile friendly.
A mobile-friendly website will not only get crawled, indexed, and ranked by Google, but it will also ensure that consumers can visit your site from their mobile devices, encounter an excellent user interface, and have a wonderful experience while navigating from one web page to the next. When visitors have a positive experience on your website using their mobile devices, they will be far more likely to become repeat visitors, first-time customers, social media followers, and even lifelong loyal customers.
Put simply, offering a mobile-friendly website will help you gain the appreciation and loyalty of mobile device users who quickly convert into customers. Additionally, mobile-friendly websites also ensure:
● Higher page views per visit
● Lower bounce rates
● Increased customer loyalty
● Elevated search engine rankings
Not all handheld internet-accessible devices are created equal. In fact, Google categorizes devices differently depending on their size and uses. The primary reason for offering a mobile-friendly version of your website is to ensure that visitors are able to read your content and properly interact with your brand. Due to the fact that smartphone screens are remarkably smaller than desktop and laptop computer screens, redesigning your web content so that it displays correctly on mobile devices is imperative. You don’t want visitors “pinching” and “pulling” your web content whenever they view your website from their mobile device. Ideally, when a visitor lands on your website, they will encounter easy-to-read fonts, an accessible navigation toolbar, and a clean presentation overall.
Here are the four main device types and the breakdown of how Google regards each of them.
The term “mobile device” refers to all smartphones, such as iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone. These smartphones include mobile browsers that use HTML5 specifications and function similarly to desktop browsers. Due to their smaller screen size, their default orientation is vertical. Google considers these mobile devices the most popular and therefore requires that website presentation on smartphones meet their guideline standards.
Google places tablets in their own category due to the fact that tablets typically display large screens that are comparable to desktop and laptop computer screens. For this reason, tablet users assume the websites they visit will appear the same as the desktop browser version. While you could offer tablet-optimized web content, it really isn’t necessary. Plus, Google does not place tablets in the same category as mobile devices, and therefore any tablet optimization you perform will not impact the search engine ranking of your website.
Google also considers “feature phones” to be mobile devices. The browsers of feature phones cannot render normal desktop computer web pages that have been coded with standard HTML. For this reason, feature phones rely solely on mobile-friendly websites, which means that if your website is not mobile-friendly, feature phone users will not be able to find your website, period.
With the exception of tablets, all mobile device browsers, including the browsers found on multimedia and feature phones, rely on mobile-friendly website design.
Creating a website that displays beautifully on all mobile devices might not seem easy, but it can be done. You will need to configure your website for multiple devices, which will help Google and other search engines understand your site, as well as ensure that mobile users properly experience your website.
There are three configuration techniques you can use to ensure your website will be mobile friendly. Those techniques are, using a responsive web design, offering dynamic serving, and providing separate URLs. In very simple terms, each offers the ability to use a template to create a mobile-friendly experience, but not all configuration techniques are the same. Let’s take a look.
The term “responsive web design” refers to websites built with HTML code that are able to render the original HTML code differently depending on the screen size of the device. Meaning, the webmaster only needs to build one website, but the code itself will dictate how content is displayed from one device to the next. Responsive web design is the most cost-effective, time-effective configuration technique because it has the easiest design pattern to implement and maintain. For this reason, Google recommends responsive web design over the other available configuration techniques.
Dynamic serving is slightly different from responsive web design. Though dynamic serving uses the same URLs on the mobile version that appear on the original website, it generates a different version of HTML code depending on the device the site is being displayed on, as well as specific users’ browser data. Dynamic serving enables a website to be fully accessible, however, Google bots tend to crawl this configuration differently than how they crawl responsive web designs, which means you would have to invest in server-side rendering as a temporary workaround for these crawlers.
This configuration method is as manual and tedious as it sounds. “Separate URLs” is a configuration technique that provides different code to each device category, each using separate URLs. First, the user’s device type is detected. Then, the configuration uses HTTP and Vary HTTP Headers to redirect users to the appropriate page. In the case of separate URLs, the mobile site will utilize a mobile-specific URL, such as an “m-dot,” “dot-mobi,” or even a separate folder altogether. A common myth is that this configuration method causes duplicate content that Google will penalize, but this rumor is completely untrue.
While Google claims it doesn’t favor one particular configuration technique over another, Google does place a high premium on ensuring that all web page assets are accessible to their Google bots. For this reason, the safest configuration technique to implement is a responsive web design.
However, implementing a responsive web design is only the beginning. Before your responsive website goes live, it’s a good idea to check, double-check, and triple-check that all of the mobile-friendly elements on your site will perform optimally.
Here is a checklist you can use to evaluate the mobile-friendliness of your website:
● Test Your Website at Multiple Resolutions
● Make Sure Your Menus, Toolbar, and Navigation Display Properly on Smaller Screens
● Check If Your Images Look Clear or Pixelated at Smaller Resolutions
● Test the Readability of Your Content
● Ensure Your Site’s Elements Provide Easy User Interaction
● Resize or Eliminate Your Pop-Ups
● Test Your Website’s Loading Speed
Now that you’ve been introduced to the basic rundown of what it takes to make your website mobile friendly, it’s time to actually test your website.
Google has developed excellent tools to help you evaluate the speed, usability, and flexibility of how your website is presented to mobile users. Let’s take a look at each tool and examine what it can do for you.
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool allows website owners to analyze their home page URL, or any web page URL from their site, for a mobile-friendliness evaluation. This tool is free and will measure how easily a mobile user will be able to access, read, and navigate the website. The test results will include a pass-fail score as well as improvement suggestions that will help the website perform better on mobile devices.
Google’s Mobile Usability Tool can be found within the Google Search Console of any browser. The Google Search Console is a web service that Google developed to provide a way for webmasters to check the indexing status of their website. By offering transparent indexing status information, webmasters can make improvements to optimize the visibility of their websites. This mobile usability tool informs webmasters of the site’s crawl rate among other helpful metrics.
Remember, optimizing your website for mobile provides the following benefits:
● Improves SEO
● Improves mobile website indexing
● Elevates search engine rankings
● Offers a more streamlined user experience across all devices
● Increases mobile user conversion rates
● Offers faster download speeds
● Eliminates the cost of mobile app development
● Allows for continuous user experience improvements
Does your website pass Google’s mobile-friendly test? If not, contact us and our web development and SEO team can implement front-end and back-end modifications that will ensure Google is able to properly index and rank your site.
Our web development experts build customized web solutions with the mobile user’s experience in mind. When you work with FTx 360, the web applications and web portals of your mobile-friendly website will be stunning, streamlined, and impactful. Build a smarter brand for your business with FTx 360’s responsive web development.
Do you know how many customers are socially engaged with your brand online? Or are you scratching your head right now because you have no idea whether or not you even have a social audience, much less how many they number. You don’t even know who they are…
You’re not alone.
Many business owners focus on advertising and overlook the importance of increasing social engagement with their customers.
Though effective, advertising is impersonal whereas engaging with your social audience is highly personal. Interestingly, advertising campaigns that lack correlating social engagement campaigns don’t end up doing very well.
So, what is social engagement? The simplest definition is that social engagement is the process of actively interacting and communicating in an online community, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, Quora, or any blog, forum, third-party review site, or social media platform.
Strategies to increase social engagement emphasize initiating personal conversations in order to stay in constant contact with a given audience online. This means that your campaigns to increase social engagement cannot—and should not—include too many blatant advertisements of your products or services.
But why is that?
While overtly promoting your products and services on social media platforms is a valid form of advertising, it will not foster social engagement nor help you build a social community of online followers.
When social engagement efforts are maintained correctly, the benefits include gaining shoppers, building customer loyalty, and ensuring overall business growth.
Providing your customers with opportunities to engage with your brand in meaningful ways will lead to a better customer experience. Customers who have positive experiences while socially engaging with your brand online are more likely to tell their friends and family about your company.
There are many strategies to increase social engagement, but for the sake of expediency, this article will focus on the following three ways:
● Research & Utilize Trending Hashtags
● Provide Novel Content
● Use the A.I.D.A. Formula
Hashtags are the SEO of social media. Keywords are used to amplify SEO and drive web traffic, and in a very similar way, hashtags are used in social media posts and blog posts to attract site users.
Every hashtag is prefaced by the hash symbol—#. When hashtags are used correctly, posts get seen by large audiences. When hashtags are used expertly, posts can go viral. But when hashtags are used incorrectly, or worse, not used at all, those posts will never see the light of day.
In fact, almost 70% of Instagram posts go unseen! What does that tell us? That 70% of social media posts are not using hashtags correctly, which means that 70% of social media users are not utilizing those platforms to increase social engagement.
By adding just 1 hashtag to a post, the post’s engagement can increase by roughly 12.6%. That’s valuable!
However, you can’t just thoughtlessly slap a few hashtags onto your posts and expect to see results.
Finding popular, trending hashtags that are relevant to your business’ social media post requires research and testing.
If you have been using hashtags but haven’t noticed an increase in social engagement, then your hashtag strategy is flawed. Don’t worry, we have tips to correct your strategy. First, stop doing the following:
● Don’t copy / paste the same hashtags in each post
● Don’t invent your own hashtags unless doing so is part of a specific marketing campaign; a newly invented hashtag is “empty” of followers, which defeats your goal
● Avoid gimmicky hashtags such as #like4like, #follow4follow, and other bland, nondescript hashtags
● Never go over 30 hashtags in a single post, and make sure every hashtag you use is highly relevant to your business and the post’s content
Interestingly, whether a hashtag is added to the caption section or in the comments section it will work the same way, perform the same way, and be equally effective. That being said, users and followers become turned off when they see an ugly block of hashtags within a caption, so be mindful about how you present your hashtags. Remember, Facebook and Instagram will reward posts that look neat, pretty, and synchronized. The bottom line is that if you have a block of 30 hashtags and they’re all relevant, that’s fine, but use them in the comments section, and never the caption itself. Capeesh?
Instead of falling prey to the list of “don’ts” that we mentioned above, here’s what you should do:
Invest in a good hashtag tool. Instead of inventing your own hashtag or using a social media platform’s limited search function to manually collect seemingly relevant hashtags, try using a hashtag tool. Hashtag tools are designed to help you discover relevant hashtags, and you can even check the engagement stats of each hashtag to make sure it’ll be worth your while.
Watch out for high-density hashtags, though. Any hashtag that has 500,000 followers or more is considered high-density. If you only use high-density hashtags, the likelihood of your post being seen by a wide audience is nil. Remember, high-density equals “high competition.” That being said, including one or two high-density hashtags won’t hurt you, in fact it will help, but only if you’re primarily using a bunch of low-density, relevant hashtags.
Thoroughly research each specific hashtag so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not to use it. And be sure to include a mix of the following types of hashtags in your posts.
● Community Hashtags—These hashtags revolve around small niche communities, which means they’re highly targeted, yet they’re considered low competition because the overall audience is a comparatively lower number of users. For example, #oceanlife is a hashtag centered on a community of people, i.e. those who live near the ocean and have a beachy lifestyle.
● Audience Descriptive Hashtags—These hashtags use words and phrases that describe your target audience. Audience descriptive hashtags work best when you use between 5 and 8, being careful that you aren’t using variations on the same description. For example, #bookloversofInstagram is a hashtag that defines an audience, and other descriptive hashtags can be used to complement it such as #readerslife, #kindleaddict, and #bookwormsunite.
● Location Hashtags—These hashtags are exactly what you might think, i.e. a geographical region that’s relevant to the post. This is not to be confused with adding a location sticker to a post, which will pinpoint the address where the post was uploaded. Location hashtags serve to cast a wider net than a particular address. For example, #NewYorkCityCatering is a hashtag that will attract the attention of everyone in the NYC area, whereas #catering is much too broad and #124FrontSteetBrooklynCatering is way too specific.
● Product Descriptive Hashtags—These hashtags are not as cut-and-dry as you might assume. Rather than hashtags that describe your products, product descriptive hashtags reference your customers’ “pain points” and the solutions your company offers to solve those problems. For example, #flattiressuck, #tirerepair, and #automotiveaccessories work very well together as three product descriptive hashtags.
There’s so much more we could say about using hashtags to increase audience engagement, but we’ll leave you with this final thought before moving on to the next section: be prepared to engage with your audience when users begin to comment on your posts. If you don’t respond promptly and keep the conversation going, your post will go dead no matter how effective the hashtags were at attracting an audience.
No, we aren’t referring to a 300-page paperback novel. The term “novel content” refers to digital content that is unique, exclusive, and time-sensitive in the sense that it will eventually expire. The social media platform Snapchat is based on the concept of novel content. Each “snap” is only available to be seen for a limited period of time, after which it disappears forever.
In order to understand why novel content works to increase social engagement, you must first understand what “conventional content” is, and why it’s too broad to foster social engagement all on its own.
Conventional content includes blogs, articles, ebooks, videos, webinars, and podcasts.
A blog post, for example, could spark a discussion in the comments section based on questions that were posed within the article itself. But will a blog post automatically spark social engagement? No.
The same can be said of videos, webinars, and podcasts. These mediums deliver information, provide entertainment, and boost brand visibility, but that doesn’t automatically lead to social engagement.
However, when novel content is added to conventional content, it serves to effectively increase social engagement.
So, what is novel content? The following is a short list of the most popular and engaging forms of novel content:
● Polls—The great news is that most social media platforms have integrated a “polls” feature, making it easy for account holders like you to craft an engaging poll for your audience. Polls empower you to gain insights about your audience by simply asking them questions. You can quickly gather feedback from your audience about the kind of content they’d like to see, what they think of your latest article, and even the challenges they’re currently facing. Polls are structured with multiple choice answers, so bear that in mind when you’re designing your next poll to increase social engagement.
● Quizzes—You can build Buzzfeed-style quizzes to trigger your audience into engaging. Use your most popular content to build your quiz around, whether it’s a recent podcast you aired or article you published. Establish the goal of the quiz, i.e. will there be a winner and a prize? Then create your quiz questions based on the information you shared in the podcast or article that the quiz is based on. Lastly, don’t forget to promote your quiz on social media.
● Contests—People love contests. The prospect of winning, even if the prize isn’t terribly valuable, is enticing enough to provoke healthy social engagement online. The best part about hosting a contest on social media is that it can serve to drive traffic to your website or eCommerce store, effortlessly converting visitors into customers. In your contest campaign, clearly define the prize, the rules, and the deadline. You can think of the rules as your CTAs. To define the rules, ask yourself, do you want participants to like the post, share the post, follow your account, and comment under the post with the answer to the contest question? Once you’ve established the parameters, be sure to market your contest across all social media platforms and also on your website.
● Call-in Q&As—A surefire way to amplify engagement for your podcast, webinar, or any live broadcast you’re hosting online is to allocate a segment to call-in questions so that your audience can make direct contact with you, ask you a question, and get an answer from you, an expert in your field. Offering Q&A segments can help to build a deeper relationship with your audience wherein they will trust you more and you will learn more about them. Be sure to advertise the call-in phone number with the date / time of the Q&A segment, then use all social media platforms to get the word out.
● Type-in Q&As—Hosting a call-in segment might be a bit advanced for some businesses. Alternatively, you can devise a type-in method for your audience to send their written questions to you. Type-in Q&As first appeared on YouTube Live, where audience members could type comments, questions, and observations into the live chat reply (not to be confused with the comments section below the video) as the live video broadcast unfolded. Nowadays, live chat reply boxes have been added to social media platforms like Facebook Live and Instagram Live.
● Disappearing Content—As of the writing of this article, there are a number of social media platforms that offer disappearing content features. Those are Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, Snapchat Stories, Twitter Fleets, LinkedIn Stories, and YouTube Stories. Content you publish within these features will disappear after a preset time frame, usually 24 hours. You can include hashtags and location stickers to geotag your disappearing posts, which will help other users discover your content and engage with your brand.
When you invite your audience to engage with your brand in the ways we’ve mentioned so far, the organic result is that they will begin to socially interact with you by sharing their opinions, voting in polls, asking questions, and entering for their chance to win prizes from your company.
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!
Pretty much every business dreams about going viral. If you have a website, e-commerce store, social media accounts, or any other type of online presence, then you’ve probably hoped your digital content would spread like wildfire overnight. You may have even gained some traction with a blog article that got a ton of hits or a Twitter post that was retweeted way more than you could’ve ever anticipated.
But were you able to figure out why, duplicate what you did right, and increase the virality of all future content you put out?
Chances are, probably not.
We wish there were a formula that, if used for each post you generate, would guarantee your digital content would go viral, but there isn’t. In fact, when digital content really “goes viral”, it’s on accident. That’s both the beauty and mystery of online virality.
That being said, there are definitely a number of things you can do to create content that people will want to share with their business or social circles online. Here are the FTx 360 marketing tricks that can help you go viral.
The term “going viral” hasn’t been around for very long, but you would be hard pressed to find a single consumer who’s never heard of it. Any digital content has the potential to “go viral”, i.e. spread rapidly throughout the online population via frequent “shares” across platforms. Content that quickly becomes the talk of the virtual town is said to have gone viral, and all successful viral content has at least one of the following qualities:
“Digital content” encompasses a wide range of content, from blog articles to social media posts to YouTube, Vimeo, and Rumble videos. It seems that every day a new social media platform is popping up, and those that already exist seem to be ever-expanding their multimedia capabilities so that the type of content you can upload is becoming more and more diverse. Twitter began with 140 characters only, but now includes photo and video media. Similarly, Instagram used to only allow a single photo, graphic, or image, but now you can post multiple photos and videos, and also publish “stories”.
No matter what platform you’re using, we recommend that you bear the following tips in mind:
Use SEO to go viral. Yes, you can optimize your digital content for search engines to help you gain instant audiences. Search engine optimization means that you use keywords and longtail keyword phrases to amplify your Google ranking. For more on that, be sure to check out What Is SEO? The quick trick you can implement today is to plug relevant keywords into your website, blog articles, and e-commerce product descriptions. Use trending hashtags on social media, and clever titles for all your images.
Sure, you want your digital content to reach as many people as possible, but what you really want is for your content to go viral in front of the “right” people. You really need to know who your audience is. Once you do, you’ll be able to speak to them in their language. What will you say? That’s up to you. Just be sure to use great storytelling and highlight the value of the products and services you’re featuring in your posts.
Write less, say more. Have you noticed how everyone’s attention span seems to be getting even shorter? It’s true, which means that your content messages must be short, clear, and concise. People eat up concise content so readily that it’s no surprise that infographics are the most likely digital content to go viral, even more so than video, GIFs, and memes. When creating digital content with concise messages, aim to hit the 4 Es, which are: eye-catching, easy-to-consume, emotional, and engaging.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, there’s no secret formula to use that will guarantee your digital content goes viral. But you can follow the marketing tricks we’ve laid out to increase your chances. You can also reverse-engineer your content by keeping the following in mind as you create it–the main reasons people “share” online content:
Once you’ve created your digital content, focus on strategically releasing it. One of the most important tricks to eventually having one of your posts go viral is simply staying in the game. Figure out what is sustainable and manageable for you in terms of releasing your content. The last thing you want to do is set a bar that’s so high, you can’t keep it up. If posting daily isn’t realistic, then post weekly.
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