Is your location re-opened partially or moving towards a ‘yellow’ phase (like where I live in Southeastern PA) after stay at home Covid-19 orders?  What digital marketing messages are you planning to send out upon re-opening your small business? What does your social media and online marketing look like prior to re-opening?  Which social media platforms are you planning to use?

Like many other small business owners, there is no playbook for what’s happening right now.  But there is guidance in the form of what’s needed in order to reopen.  Is it going to be business as usual or is your small business continuing to pivot your service and product offerings?

Before inviting your customers back, here are my recommended digital marketing ‘to-do’s’.

  • Google My Business (GMB)

    Adjust your status if you changed it to temporarily closed.  Take a look at the info you’re providing to customers.  Are you hours updated correctly?  Are you offerings front and center for visitors to see?  If you haven’t posted to GMB in awhile, start now!  Let everyone know what your plans are for re-opening and how you will handle safety precautions.  Add photos of new offerings and what curbside pick up may look like.

  • Website

    If a visitor arrives at your website, is there a clear call to action with current business information?  For example, If you’re a restaurant providing a take-out only format, is the menu front and center on your website?
    Make sure your basic information, product/service offering changes and updated business hours are easy to locate.
    Also, your customers want to know how you’re handling covid19. Create a sub-page or a pop-up box on your website to explain your mask protocols and how many people at-a-time are allowed in your office or shop.  Talk about employee health and temperature checks.
    This is the opportunity to give customers no reason to fear walking into your shop or office.

  • Social Media Posts

    Get back to regular posting on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, and start ramping up your posts with valuable customer information prior to re-opening.  Communicate specifics about your safety plans and what your business will…

Everything just changed.

The way you do business is different. Your customers are homebound. Shopping in a retail store is non-existent. B2B business meetings are now on video conferencing sites. Service-based businesses are struggling to figure this out.

A new normal has emerged, at least for the next several weeks, if not, months.

You’re thinking “What’s next? What should I do for my small business?”

What’s Next?

As a social media marketing consultant, High Key Impact has been on the front lines of small business marketing since Coronavirus and social distancing was uttered out of our mouths. We’re learning as we go along, and we see many instances where business success is about taking the right approach.

Our clients are living proof of some of our favorite real world examples, including:

-small retailers who have to close up shop, but then build up their website’s online store virtually, or through Facebook & Instagram shopping

-the dance studio offering video classes with a paid subscription

-a niche marketing company providing new messaging for their clients who have no idea what to say in their posts or emails to their customers

-the lawyer and real estate agent who are both staying connecting with clients electronically and are continuing to drive revenue, albeit at a fraction of what it was

Social Media Marketing Tips: Covid-19 Era

SO, What Can You Do as a small business owner to continue on, whether you are closed, open or operating in a limited capacity?

  1. Update your Google My Business listing-Google gives you the opportunity to change your hours and your status through GMB. All you need to do is login to your GMB account and go to the info tab. Your hours will…

Creating a website is daunting. It can also be very humbling. Website Essentials for Small Businesses means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

From the home page to the links, forms and sub-pages, figuring out what you want on your website is an all-encompassing exercise.

Your developer is supposed to be the ‘expert’ who knows what to do and what you need. Then you have a website designer; she/he is focused on the aesthetics and storytelling.

All of this can take forever (or hopefully no more than 3 months for your sake).
Finally the website is complete. Now what? It takes a lot of time to get to this point but you are certainly not finished.

Here are some steps I’ve outlined for you as checkpoints along the way of website development. Following that, I’ve compiled a to-do list of what needs to happen once the website is completed.

Don’t forget to communicate with your website builder, designer or developer about the follow items throughout the website build process:

  • Step One: Keyword Research
    What are the keywords and keyword phrases associated with your business? In other words, what do people type in to Google for your business name to pop up in search? There are several options available to do a thorough keyword analysis. Tools such as Ahrefs keyword explorer has a price tag, however their 7 day trial is well worth checking out. Google Adwords Keyword Planner is the prime resource for finding out exactly what your customers are keying in to find your website. Once you create a list of keywords and phrases, share it with your website developer to incorporate the words into your website’s content. A big boost to your website’s SEO is having keywords throughout your content.
  • Step Two: User Experience
    How simple is it to understand and navigate the website. Does it load quickly Will customers or website visitors understand how…

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), most notable to provide accessibility for all, is in the spotlight recently as many business websites have been sued for non-compliance.

Your website is designed but is it also checked for compliance factors for the ADA and with the GDRP?

What are the costs of non-compliance? A lawsuit and the associated publicity could cost a brand it’s reputation in a particular industry. Besides the monetary costs of hiring an attorney, website developer and possibly paying extremely high fines, the main cost of non-compliance is alienating part of your website’s audience.

The ADA law says it needs to “Establish requirements for making the goods, services, facilities, privileges, accommodations, or advantages offered by public accommodations via the Internet, specifically at sites on the World Wide Web (Web), accessible to individuals with disabilities.”

Here’s some articles referring to checklists and what you (and your website developer) will need to do in order to make your website ADA Compliant for users.

Forbes Article

Medium Article

Items such as Alt texts, Close Captioning in Videos and Font contrasts are just of handful of the many technicalities a website should overhaul if it is not adhering to these guidelines.

There’s even a website which does an ADA compliance website checkers here. We’re not sure how compete the checker is, however, we do know that most website developers will know what needs to be fixed on your small business website.

Now on the subject of GDPR and your website. The General Data Protection Regulations creates privacy rules about one’s personal data, such as

  • Basic identity information such as name, address and ID numbers
  • Web data such as location, IP address, cookie data and RFID tags
  • Health and genetic data
  • Biometric data
  • Racial or ethnic data
  • Political opinions
  • Sexual orientation

If you…

fresh content social media Adding content to your website’s blog or social media channels is an ongoing challenge, especially for a small business.  How much can you toot your own horn without turning off your followers?  There has to be more to write about or post when sharing on your company’s social media sites.

Find out how to create engaging posts with these tips about Social Media Content Ideas in 2020.

The 80/20 rule applies here.  Post about ‘related’ topics to your business 80% of the time.  Sell your products or services through about 20% or less of your posts.

-Our friends at Hubspot found the perfect answer.  Its called the blog ideas generator.  And it does just that.

As an example, I added these 5 words to the generator:

  • Food
  • Restaurant
  • Italian
  • Dining Out
  • Small Plates

The topics which were created include:

Food:  Expectations vs. Reality

Will Restaurants Ever Rule the World?

The Next Big Thing in Small Plates

Italian (Cuisine) Explained in Under 140 Characters

This Week’s Top Stories About Dining Out

Some of these are pretty worthwhile posts.

-Another way to find new content is through Google Trends.  Type in your subject matter and a bunch of related topics will show up.  For this example, I typed in the words “Exercise Class’, Google Trends Shows me the locations where the phrase is trending, trending topics related to the phrase and related queries.

The queries which stand could be potential topics for this blog or social media post.  What is NIA exercise? or Where to find the best hip hop exercise classes near you.

Google Trends Content Marketing

– Use a tool such as Buzz Sumo’s Topic Analyzer to see what’s trending on the web. This tool captures recent articles and blogs related to your topic as an idea generator for your own blogs or post.

-Monitor your competitors social media posts and websites to see what they are talking about.  You don’t want to copy…

Highkeyimpact.comWhat holiday promotional opportunities are awaiting B2C and B2B business owners and marketing managers?

From October through January, every small business owner should be anticipating what’s to come.  Obviously holiday sales are on the horizon for retailers,  however, a variety of cyberworld-created events and opportunities will  help all types of businesses spread their holiday cheer.

Facebook just published a page dedicated to helping small business owners with their Holiday promotions here.  There are at least 16 tips listed to get your business page prepared for the Holiday season.

Another informative article about Holiday marketing for your small business can be found by clicking here.

November 1st
-Update your email marketing list in order to send out digital holiday messages to customers & clients, reps and vendors/suppliers.  Schedule your messages accordingly.
-This is also the time to dive into your holiday ordering and shipping processes.  Anticipate volume increasing and hire more staff accordingly.  Investigate your sales numbers from previous seasons to give you a sense of expectations.
-Do you also need to deliver holiday baskets or gifts to loyal customers?  Add this into your frenzied upcoming schedule.  It’s always a powerful touch when the business owner is part of making deliveries.
-It’s the start of Movember. movember Make a statement in support of men’s health and  grow a mustache or beard.  Challenge your colleagues to do the same and donate to men’s health causes.  Snap photos of you (your staff’s) progression to share on social media channels.
-Think about offering a gift card for your product or services.

November 22nd-Thanksgiving (aka Gray Thursday)
The obvious turkey and ‘give thanks’ posts are very common.  Shake it up a bit and add unique flair.  Since Thanksgiving is the most travelled holiday of the year, offer travel tips on your pages.  The folks at list additional tips for your Thanksgiving promotions and social media posts.  Also remind your followers that it is Gray Thursday–a phrase coined  because Black Friday Sales are starting earlier and earlier.

November 23rd-Black Friday
Get Ready, Set and Go!  This is the big day.  Even if you are not…

Cheryl Friedenberg of High Key Impact discusses the best way to stand out in your social media channel posts.  Use video! Talk about your business, talk about your area of expertise, speak about your happy customers, discuss a product or just be your authentic self.  Try it!  Use your phone and purchase an inexpensive tripod.  Then record your video.  Ready?  Go!

Is Your Small Business Ready for SMS Marketing?

SMS Marketing High Key Impact

The average email marketing campaign has a 20% open rate.  How would a 90% + open rate sound?  According to a Dynmark report, SMS texting crushes email open rates at a whopping 98%!

While email is a critical communications tool to stay visible in front of your customer base, small businesses should pivot their thinking and open up to SMS marketing.

SMS stands for Short Message Service, another word for Text Messaging.  While MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service, or media sharing via text messaging (photos, videos, emojis, bitmojis, etc.).

Let’s take this one step further, according to Gartner, email response rates are 6% whereas text response rates are closer to 45%.

So let’s jump on the SMS bandwagon and look at our options for small businesses.

What should my SMS messaging look like?

Look at this SlideShare from Jake Jeffries with The Complete Retail SMS Marketing Guide.

Within the framework of SMS, he provides recommendations for the best days of a week and times of day to send text messages.

Message content may include your current sales/promotions, a personalized happy birthday text, holiday greetings, new product announcements and thank-you-for-your-purchase notes, all within 160 characters of a text.

Create content which grabs attention as the text comes through.  Calls to action with exclusive offers, are personalized or ask a question make a difference in your messaging.

What are the pitfalls of SMS Marketing?

To be effective at business texting, small business owners must divide the time and resources to create campaigns with a punch.  By spamming your customers (sending too many…

High key Impact Marketing Guide

As the holiday season approaches, so do the opportunities to ramp up your marketing efforts.  Whether you have a retail location, professional organization or service-oriented small business, the amount of possibilities to get the word out are plentiful this time of year.

Here is a list of just a few of the ways to boost your business:

*November 25th is American Express Shop Small Business Day. Small business Saturday is a way to put the focus back on small businesses after the big Black Friday retail box store frenzy.  Amex provides digital and print marketing materials to help promote the event.

* Google My Business is a powerhouse for helping your digital marketing efforts.  A new, creative tool introduced by Google allows you to search your business and create marketing materials using recent online reviews.  Take a peek at Small Thanks With Google to see how it works. All you need to do is to plug in your business name.  Google will generate a poster available for print,
Google Small ThanksYour end result  may look like this:  (from a bra store client)

Around the holiday season, as more potential customers find your business online, your online reviews are golden as they could make or break getting a new customer.  Utilizing Small Thanks With Google promotes your positive reviews throughout your social media channels.

*The most common way to promote holiday cheer is to follow the website for fun, unusual and to keep up with National Days such as December 15th–National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day or December 21st–National Re-Gifting Day (just to name a few).

The usual suspects of Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa are mixed in with National Days & Weeks including National Hand-Washing Week (Dec. 4-7) or Crohn’s & Colitis Week (Dec. 1-7).

You’re probably wondering how these National days may help your business?  If you are in the medical field, national days revolving around medicine are apropos.  Some National Days may not apply to your business, however, if…

High Key Impact Digital Marketing ConsultantOne of the biggest ways to make an impact with Digital Marketing posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media sites is with your small business posts.  You’ve probably posted handfuls of articles and blogs about the same old topics. These topics can only get recycled a few times until your followers get bored with the same-old, same-old.

What should you do if you’re on the hunt for new, refreshing content which will revitalize your social media feeds?  Where should you turn?

I’ve compiled a list of 5 ways to jumpstart your small business social media posts:

Using animals will help you sell.  Posts with dog pix get a wide range of Maggie helps Mary Ann Graboyes, Realtor®viewers and likes as compared with posts including people pix.  People love cute dog photos.Here’s an example of a recent Instagram post I created for my Realtor® client.  The bottom line:  Animal photos sell services and product best!

Quippy quotes will capture more views.  
Posting a well-known, overused quote such as Value Thrift Shop“Do one thing every day that scares you.”  anonymous
Posting a quote with a little more humor and imagery such as the Thrifting quote shown here.
“I don’t need therapy, I just need to go thrifting.”
What’s the difference?  One is more serious and is seen day in and day out on many social media sites.  The other is refreshing, new and niche specific.  It will get the attention of those who are passionate about thrifting.

What’s the lesson learned?
Stand out from the pack with unique, fun & humorous sayings and quotes.  Have fun with your marketing images.

Moving images are gaining traction.  We know that video is king when it comes to social media posting.  There are several image-based apps out there which utilize moving images with unique features.  By utilizing these quick, hit apps, you’ll take a huge creative leap and save time with video editing.
Boomerang-Create captivating mini videos that…