Small Business Marketing Tips 2020

Small Business Marketing Tips 2020

Do you feel like your small businesses has had the most challenging year ever?

We’ve pivoted and adapted our business models, we’ve initiated safety protocols, we’ve tip toed around the political divisiveness, we’ve worked hard to get every single customer, and we’ve given blood, sweat, and tears to keep them loyal to us.

Whew.  That’s a lot!

Now it’s time to take a breather and re-group.

Fall is here, the leaves are changing, and the holiday season is around the corner, a lot sooner than we think.  Your small business digital marketing plans are ready for a refresh.

As a marketing consultant, I am constantly learning about the newest innovations in Social Media, SEO, Email, and websites.  And by sharing these tips with you, my hope is that your business reach will expand.
I’ve outlined some simple ways for you to amplify your marketing to the next level.

Try these tips:

  1. Add a website chat bot with Facebook messenger.

Facebook messenger offers many automations for your business page so why not tie those automations and personalized conversations to your website.

To do this, Facebook has made the process fairly simple.

Go to your Facebook business page and click on Settings.

Then go to Messaging.

Scroll down to where it says: “Add Messenger to your website” and click Get Started to get the code for your website developer.

And voila.  Start chatting with website visitors via Facebook Messenger.

Go to HighKeyImpact.com and look for my FB messenger Chatbot in the bottom right hand corner.

  1. Animate Social Media Images

 Moving images and video are known to have better reach than flat post images.  Here’s a little insider secret to know if you don’t use Canva.com yet to create images.

For beginner and amateur graphic designers, their platform helps you look like a real graphic designer.

Canva went several steps further in this Summer and POW—they created the ability to animate social media images and elements— way beyond my basic beginner graphic design ability.

Now Canva offers animated image options to create images AND text to move, pop, hop, and jump around.  Well, not exactly jump.

Try Canva with text and photo animations.

Their platform’s animation features are mind-blowing to amateur graphic designers like me. You’ll feel the same way!

For example….

  1. Manage your company’s online listings

There are several listings’ management platforms where you can pay a monthly fee to get listed on Yellow Pages, Yelp and similar website listings.

If you devote about 1 hour/month to your listings management, it’s a simple DIY project.

First, find the relevant websites where your competitors are listed. Or go to these websites.

Listings are everywhere including:

Foursquare
Mapquest
Opentable
Google
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn
Bing
Waze
Yahoo
Uber
Yellow pages
Amazon Alexa for Business
Touch Local
AOL
All in One Search
192.com
2 find local
Ab local
EZ local

And more!

Online listings are also considered backlinks to your website URL.  And that is where some key strategic search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play.  Google likes websites with many incoming backlinks and the search engine will reward it with a higher search ranking.

4. Start an authenticity campaign

Talk about the why of your business.  Why did you start doing what you do?  What does it mean to you?  How does it make you feel?  Where do you see it going in the near future?  What are your grand plans?

Get rid of the stock photos and start using your own images and video.
Ask customers to take photos or video of them with your product.
Get permission to use their photos in your marketing materials or digital marketing.

When the image of your business uses ‘real people’, you will be amazed at the engagements and interaction from new prospective customers and existing customers.

Being authentic and showcasing your business in it’s true light gives prospective customers a sneak peek into what it’s like to purchase from you.

The more true you are to your brand, the more likely people will follow, like, comment and buy from you.

With these 4 marketing tips (Small Business Marketing Tips 2020), we hope to see you elevate your small business digital marketing reach.  If you need a hand, reach out to us at cheryl@highkeyimpact.com.  

Digital Marketing and Re-Opening Your Business

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 look like to it’s customers/clients. Talk about what has changed and what’s staying the same.
    For example, did you place a plexiglass shield at the cash register?  Are you only accepting credit cards now?  Are your employees practicing social distancing from one another?
    By being as forthcoming and transparent as possible as your followers will appreciate your honesty and integrity. Use photos and videos to show what’s new and different.

  • Emails and Text (SMS or MMS) Messages

    Send messages now.  Get your customers prepared for what your new normal will look like.  Be pro-active and provide a list of FAQ’s in your email.  Encourage calls, emails and pre-orders.  Send photos of your new product offerings. Return to your regularly scheduled marketing messages/emails.  Showcase photos of your employees returning to work.  Optimism and calmness are ideal themes to communicate.  It gives your audience hope and a good feeling about your business.

    Small Businesses will certainly look different for quite a while. By creating a sense of community and building trust in your customers/clients and social media followers, they will continue to support your small business.  Maintain your social media and online digital presence throughout this transitional period.

    We’d love to hear more about your plans for Digital Marketing and Re-Opening Your Business.

    Contact Cheryl@highkeyimpact.com

    About Cheryl Friedenberg:
    Cheryl Friedenberg is a Marketing Consultant for small-medium size businesses.

    Her 30+ years of experience includes business-to-business sales, sales management, start-ups, websites, digital analytics, organic and paid social media marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing and publicity.

    As a community volunteer, Cheryl is passionate about helping others and maintains a community service project website for teens nationwide, www.themitzvahbowl.com.

Small Business Social Media Tips during Covid-19

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 be listed there. You can also set your business as ‘temporarily closed’ so that customers don’t come to your location. This will not change your SEO standing on Google.
  2. Add a note on your website-Is your current business status portrayed on your website? Many sites are using pop-ups or banners to discuss Covid-19 specific plans and best practices for their industry. For example, service-based businesses list their disinfection & sanitation practices when delivering product, and B2B businesses are stating they are available to meet clients virtually with video conferencing. They are also referring to CDC links.
    What do you want to communicate to your customers on your website?
  3. Keep your social media channels active-Continue to post on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Your posts are still relevant to your customers as they want to know you’re doing ok. Fill them in on your business status from week to week. Tell them about your employees and how they are coping. Communicate about any new operational plans you have or are implementing….You get the idea; stay in front of them as much as possible.
  4. Stay positive-While everything on social media sounds doom and gloom, try to be a voice of positivity. If you are a real estate agent, talk about how to use this extra time at home to organize and de-clutter your home. If you are a retail clothing store, offer dress down tips to be comfortable working from home. Use video, Facebook Live, and uplifting posts to show your commitment to your local community, followers, and fans. Share inspirational quotes or uplifting news.

What does your marketing communications look like during our new normal? Are you in need of new ideas, social media support or help?

Contact cheryl@highkeyimpact.com from High Key Impact to schedule a Zoom call today.

ADA and GDPR Compliant Websites 2019


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 process the data of EU citizens, you will need to implement data protection procedures to maintain their privacy. Read more here.

Hubspot also has published a comprehensive checklist related to the GDPR.

Does your small business website need help with ADA & GDPR Compliance? Contact Cheryl@highkeyimpact.com for guidance.

Social Media Content Ideas in 2020

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 what your competitors are doing and you want to find your own voice on the web, but at the same time, you don’t want to be left out of the conversation.  Google My Business monitors your competitor’s posts for you in a section called:
Businesses like yours are posting!
Look at the posts and get inspired for more ideas from them.

-Content posting about your business can be as simple as sharing a customer testimonial via Facebook or Google or sharing a customer photo using your product/services.  Please note:  Before you share customer information, check with them for their permission.

– Humor always works.  Find a funny quote about your industry and create an image with the quote and a related photo.  Read some big brand examples of using humor on Twitter here.

– Use Memes.  “In addition to millennials,…. memes can speak to any generation. Memes are popular on social media, and every generation is represented on social media platforms, primarily Facebook.”  from Forbes.com

“Think of memes as jokes passed across social media in the form of image macros (those pictures of babies or cats or whatever with bold black-and-white words on them), hashtags (the thing you amended to what you just wrote on Twitter), GIFs (usually of a celebrity, reality star, or drag queen reacting to what you just wrote on Twitter), or videos (that Rick Astley video people used to send you).”  (from Wired.com)

There are a variety of social media content ideas in 2020 –many sources are available to help you find creative marketing messaging for your small business.  The key is to take the time and find what fits with your brand.  Building a vault of content gives your small business social media value and showcases your products or services in their best light without being overly sales-y or pushy or over posting a sales call to action.

For more information about Content sources, contact Cheryl@highkeyimpact.com.

How to Stand Out in Social Media Marketing

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?

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 messages) or, on the flip side, not creating a consistent text campaign, you may lose subscribers who opt out.

Get inventive with your message as the immediacy of texting causes recipients to act.  The same content you use with other social media platforms may not work as well with SMS.

Which SMS services will help me get started?

Read this comparison from Top Ten Reviews to help you decide which SMS messaging service is best for your needs.  Another comparison published by Capterra looks at even more SMS services.  See which features are stand-outs.  Also, think about your database and how you will capture mobile phone numbers if you don’t currently ask for them.  Will you buy a list or ask for a mobile number at checkout?  Many of the SMS services have an opt-in number for texting so that your customers may subscribe on the spot.

Have you had SMS text messaging experience within your small business?  Comment below.

 

By Cheryl Friedenberg

High Key Impact

Cheryl@highkeyimpact.com

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Your Small Business Holiday 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 NationalDayCalendar.com 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 you think they will put a smile on someone’s face, then post about it.  (for example, Dec. 20th is National Absurdity Day!)

*Charitable giving shows that you are interested in helping out the community at large.  A large donation check is not always necessary to publicize charitable giving.  Small acts of kindness such as offering free hot chocolate, free shipping, free gift wrapping are a good start. Or how about taking your team to an organization to contribute their time.  There are warehouses for the underprivileged where you can help sort clothing and toys or you may volunteer at a local soup kitchen.  Volunteer choices are endless!

Posting about your team’s volunteer contributions show your company’s dedication to the local area and citizens.  Post video or several photos telling the story of your employee volunteer achievements.

For more small business digital marketing ideas,
contact Cheryl Friedenberg at High Key Impact LLC.  cheryl@highkeyimpact.com or https://highkeyimpact.com/contact/ 

 

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Attention Grabbers: 5 Unique Content Marketing Ideas

5 Unique Content Marketing Ideas

One of the biggest ways to make an impact with Digital Marketing posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media sites is with attention grabbing 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
VERSUS
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 loop back and forth, then share them with your friends.
Legend-Turn text into stunning animations!
Waterlogue-See the world like an artist.

Feature your team members in video.  Showcase a day in the life at xyz company through the eyes of your team or interview a team member about a customer service experience where they went out of their way to help.  Allowing customers or clients to see what goes on behind the scenes is alluring and will get your business noticed.

Customer Testimonial Images. Recommendations and 5-star reviews are key to getting your small business noticed on social media.  When you receive a 5-star review, create an image to post with the review to showcase it even further to your followers.  It will increase reach and keep more eyes peeled to your post.  Take a look at this example:

edible arrangements willow grove testimonial

Do you have other unique attention-grabbing tools or ideas for social media marketing posts?  If so, email me at cheryl@highkeyimpact.com

Cheryl Friedenberg, www.highkeyimpact.com

 

Digital Marketing Secrets Revealed Part 2

Ready to learn more digital marketing secrets?  To help small business owners become more aware about the opportunities available online, I’ve developed this list, along with the first list published last month entitled:  Digital Marketing Secrets Revealed.

By empowering  business owners to take charge of their marketing efforts, my hope is to help them understand the latest tools available.

Biz Yelp

No small business is immune to online reviews, good or bad.  Your small business is no exception.  Yelp is the ‘go-to’ for online reviews.  Claim your Yelp page by visiting https://biz.yelp.com .  They typically offer $300 worth of free ads.  Try it just for the free version to see what it may do for you.  Free never hurts.  And Don’t forget to respond to ALL online Yelp reviews, whether positive or negative.

Bing for Business

Just as Google My Business offers a free business listing, Bing Places for Business does the same within it’s search engine.  Register your business by going to Bing Places, fill out your company’s profile and get verification from Bing.  Add photos, reviews and utilize their platform to help advance your company’s SEO beyond Google.

Adwords or Adwords Express

Through your Google My Business page, your small business may easily set up an Adwords Express campaign to further your reach.  The  key benefit of using Google Adwords Express is that it is virtually maintenance free.  Set up a campaign, choose an audience, define your budget and then Go!  See results quickly.

Google Adwords is more complex.  Typically small businesses in highly competitive industries need a larger monthly spend on Adwords to see substantial results.  Google Adwords usually involves hiring an agency or Google partner to help set up the ad, oversee it and tweak it as necessary.  The complexities are taught online with video lessons, however, if you are spending the ad dollars, it’s worth hiring an expert or Google Partner.

Facebook Page

Get your business page Verified on Facebook to maximize it’s reach.  It can be said for Facebook verified pages that better results, impressions, ad campaigns and optimized search are reported.  How do you know if your Facebook page is verified?  This article spells out how to check and verify your page.

Have other Digital Marketing Secrets to reveal to Small Businesses?  Any questions about the content I shared?
Feel free to comment to this post.

Cheryl Friedenberg, cheryl@highkeyimpact.com
www.highkeyimpact.com