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The Benefits of an FAQ Page

Francesca
June 7, 2017

Does your website have an FAQ page?

If the answer is no, this may want to be something you consider adding! Also, if you’re answer is “ummm…. I have no idea” then this article is for you too!

An FAQ page may sound rather generic in theory, but can actually service as an awesome customer service AND SEO opportunity for your website. An FAQ page can work to alleviate any questions or concerns a customer may have about doing with you. Although an FAQ page is often forgotten when developing content for a website, it can actually work to answer questions that a customer may not even know they had and/or work to keep customer inquires from coming through your contact form on your website.

Although an FAQ may repeat some pieces of content that can be found on other pages, like your about or products pages, it actually works to solve a very different purpose. Instead of speaking in broader terms like you might on other pages, an FAQ page provides an opportunity to answer questions in a very specific away about a variety of topics. A variety of topics may include:

  • Product return information
  • Holiday hours
  • Credit applications
  • Job applications
  • Sponsorships (who to ask)
  • Gift Card purchases
  • and more!

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Not sure you’ll be able to come up with content to add an FAQ page?

Ask your customer service reps!

“What questions do customers ask over and over?”

Any questions like this would be a great addition to your FAQ page and help to ensure it’s a valuable asset to your website!

An FAQ page can also be a great opportunity to show your fun side! You don’t need to answer questions in an ordinary way, get creative with your responses to truly show your company culture.

Interested in adding an FAQ page? Connect with your Specialist today to see how you can have this page added to your website! 

Dealer Spotlight: Planning a Successful Event with Douglas Feed & Pet Supply

Francesca
November 9, 2016

I have been working with Craig, DeeDee and Kristen for over 5 years now to manage their website, social media and email marketing. So I knew when Craig and Kristen called me to say they were planning on having a Ladies’ Night event in their store – and they wanted it to be high in attendance, I knew we needed to start planning early in order to see results that would really “WOW” them.

Kristen and I worked hand-in-hand to plan this event from coming up with the details, to mapping out an 8-week plan, to approving eblasts, Facebook content and more. The event was a MAJOR success for them, so I wanted to share our strategy as inspiration for your upcoming events!

Step 1
Plan in advance.

Kristen and I sat down (over the phone) and had a calendar up. We picked dates and scheduled everything out in advance. This allowed both of us to prepare and know when things needed to be due by in order to meet our determined dates. We had time to make edits to eblasts, graphics, etc. without anything having to be rushed. Ultimately, this helped us to avoid mistakes and produce great content to generate a lot of buzz. This also helped us to establish a checklist which included:

  • Add content to website – event/banner
  • Create Facebook event
  • Send out weekly eblasts
  • Boost Facebook posts
  • Get RSVPs to event on Facebook

We also determined the budget for the event early on in the planning process. Craig and Kristen both knew they wanted to add more eblasts than the 2 per month in their service plan and boost Facebook posts. We established a budget and worked this into the calendar as well so that we were consistently boosting new, relevant content as it related to the event.

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Step 2
Create incentives.

Kristen wanted to get as much planning for the event done sooner rather than later. Because of that, we created the Facebook event a full 6-7 weeks prior to the actual event date. To capture a lot of RSVPs early on, Kristen came up with a great idea to offer a $5 store credit to anyone who RSVPed by 9/15, a full 3 weeks before the event. Doing this allowed us to do two things, (1) create a lot of buzz about the event because people were tagging their friends/family so that they didn’t miss out on the credit and (2) allowed us to get a lot of RSVPs early to give them an idea of how many attendees they needed to plan for.

This incentive also created good content for our eblasts. We started promoting the event early in emails so there was concern that we might run out of fresh content for eblasts and may see some unsubscribes as a result. Timing this incentive to end early allowed us to focus on the credit incentive for the first 3 eblasts and then focus on finalized event details for the final 4 eblasts leading up to the event.

Step 3
Consistency.

The materials that we created were consistent on eblasts, social media and in the store. This gave us an opportunity to talk to as many customers as possible and make sure that everyone had access to the same information.

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Step 4
Follow through.

It was really important for both Kristen and I to continue to see all of this through and continue to create buzz even leading up to the day of the event. We did additional Facebook posts with photos showing them setting up for the event, etc. Although a lot of content we were pushing out had similar messaging, we tried to keep it unique to keep people engaged even if they had just gotten an eblast yesterday.

Once the event was over, we were quick to post a thank you message to everyone who attended as well as share photos of the event on social media and the website.

Doing these combination of things lead to over 430 people in attendance at this event! It was a great success that was able to be pulled off by spending 30 minutes at the start to create a full content calendar and lay out expectations and objectives for both sides.

Thank you to Douglas Feed & Pet for trusting us to help pull off this amazing event!

Click here to see photos from the Ladies’ Night event!

Using a Website Pop-Up to Collect Email Addresses

Francesca
October 31, 2016

By now we know that building your email list should be a top priority for any business. But it can quickly become a time consuming task to think of all the ways out there to do this.

There are a lot of effective ways to build your email list. In the past we’ve focused on using foot traffic in your store to help build your list. This is still a tactic that is proven to work, but we also know that if employees/customers are writing down email addresses there are bound to be a few that you just can’t read. So in addition to using the foot traffic in your store, let’s also put your web traffic to good use! Chances are your website has an email sign up embedded on the site, but that may be being missed by consumers who are visiting your site and may overlook the widget. The best way to make sure you have their attention is through an website pop-up!

Before we continue this conversation, it’s important that you put aside your feelings about pop-ups. Sure, we’ve all found them annoying in the past. But the reason so many businesses continue to use them is because they are effective and they work.

Pop-ups have come a long way since they were first introduced to the market. Now, you can completely style the look of your pop-up. This means you can do a few things:

1. Match the style to your business

2. Explain the benefits of signing up
Exclusive offers, event info, etc.

3. Offer an incentive for signing up
For MailChimp paid accounts, you can set up an autoresponder to create this. Contact your Marketing Specialist for more details!

Email pop-ups create a ton of visibility for your email list that you really can’t replicate anywhere else and they simply can’t be ignored. Pop-ups create a distraction free opportunity to welcome a visitor to your site and encourage them to sign up for your email list by telling them what they would miss out on by not signing up. New technology does help with them from becoming overwhelming though, many times once a user clicks out of the pop-up they won’t see it again for 6-12 months.

Capture more emails today!

If you’re interested in adding a website pop-up to your site contact your Marketing Specialist today!

 

Plan Ahead for the Holiday Season

Francesca
September 30, 2016

Somehow it’s already time to prepare for the holiday season. I’m really not sure where 2016 went, but before we know it it’ll be 2017 and the fun starts all over again. It goes without saying that the holiday season is the busiest time of year! Before your store gets so busy and things begin to just be a blur, take some time to plan ahead. It’ll help you to be more focused and efficient during the holiday season – and help to drive sales because everyone will be on the same page.

One of the easiest ways to stay on track during the busy season is to use a tried and true method – the calendar! A calendar is certainly not a new invention, but when used correctly it can be a huge time saver. A calendar can help you map out and plan for a lot of different areas of your business including when you want to hire for additional help, plan specific promotions, introduce new inventory, etc. Taking time to sit down to plan all of this out can help to keep your holiday season on track both in the store and online. Sending your holiday calendar to your Marketing Specialist gives them the opportunity to plan store specific posts for hiring, promotions, etc. and to coordinate email marketing dates effectively.

Working on a calendar in advance to send to your Marketing Specialist creates an opportunity to effectively plan your holiday marketing schedule in advance. For example, your Marketing Specialist will know about your Black Friday deals and can coordinate Facebook posts and email marketing campaigns to support the same messaging in advance. But it won’t just help your Marketing Specialist, sharing your calendar in advance with your employees will help them gear up for pushing promotions in the store. This will help to save everyone time (and sanity) as the busy season begins.

There are a lot of options available to you for calendar resources. You can give the old pen and paper a shot first, but this may not be as easy to share as doing something on your computer. Our favorite option is to create a google calendar. This keeps your calendar online which is accessible at any time from anywhere, but it’s also easy to share with as many people as you’d like. You can also use a calendar template on excel, if you’re comfortable with excel this a good choice as well!

Planning out a calendar will help to make your life as a business owner a little easier during the busy season. So before Halloween passes, give this a try and give everyone the opportunity to make this your best holiday season yet!

 

Mobile Brought Email Back to Life

Francesca
August 25, 2016

It’s not a secret that over the past few years a majority of conversations have been directed towards social media. Email has taken a back seat in a big way, but as mobile use continues to increase so has conversations around email marketing. Reading email has been a top activity on smart phones for a long time, so it makes sense the two would go hand in hand. Now that responsive email designs are available, you can design and brand emails to look professional and be optimized for your consumers who are checking out your emails on the go.

Social media and email marketing will always continue to serve two separate functions for a business, so the two are never meant to compete. But as with any shiny new object, social media has been front and center over the past few years. Email has quietly been in the background, but it’s back in a big way – and guess what? Email marketing is cool again!

We’re seeing email open rates regularly above 50% coming from smartphone users, which is great! Customers can access your email on the go so it’s important to make sure your email campaigns are optimized for their devices. Creating emails solely for desktops doesn’t work anymore because you’re designing for an increasingly declining percentage of customers. The problem with designing email campaigns that aren’t responsive is that when your customers receive them on their phone, the text is often very hard to read and the content is hard to navigate. Customers will ultimately ignore this content and probably unsubscribe from your list. Building responsive emails allows you to effectively talk to your customers and encourage them to interact with you and drive traffic back to the website.

If you’re interested in making sure your emails are responsive, connect with your Marketing Specialist today!

Use NAP To Help Local SEO

Francesca
July 29, 2016

A struggle that local businesses continue to struggle with is local SEO. A business can invest a ton of money into tv advertising, print, radio, etc. but if a consumer goes to the web to search for your business and they can’t find you – is it really worth it? This is not to say that using other forms of paid advertising is not advantageous for your business, but you might want to spend some time investing in the basics first.

To help boost your local SEO, the basics can begin with doing a Google search for your business. You’ll probably see a variety of business directories appear on the search engine results page. The results here could make or break your local SEO success. It’s important to click through each of the results and see what the contact information is for each. If the name, address and phone number aren’t the same on each business directory, you’ll want to spend some time updating each to make sure all of the information is consistent. This can be as small as the difference between “S” or “South” in an address. Having consistent name, address and phone numbers (NAP) for your business is the best way to show search engines accurate information for them to drive results to one place when customers are searching for you. For example, if you have two business directories and both have a different business name, Google will not understand that these are both listings for the same business. It’s basically like you’re giving search engines the opportunity to create competition against your business.

Updating these results can take time, but it’s worth your time to do this. As always, give your Marketing Specialist a call! They can be a great resource to help work your way through this process.

Why It’s Important to Make Content Specific Pages

Francesca
July 29, 2016

The beauty of a small-to-medium sized business is the unique products that you can offer all in one place. I’ve worked with dealers that sell jam, NFL jerseys, and gardening products all in one place – and their business, and web traffic, continued to grow each year. Making yourself unique inside of your business is great, but when it comes to marketing those departments online there is a specific approach we should take to ensure that search engines understand how to present searchable content to customers.

Back to the jam, NFL jersey, and gardening products example above – adding all of this content to your website is of course something that a business owner would want to do. As we’ve talked about previously, the first step to being found online is making sure that the content is on your website. But adding all of these different departments to the same page would be very confusing for search engines. A search engine wouldn’t understand the specific purpose of the page and would have a difficult time listing a page properly in a search result.  All three of these very different departments would appear on a results listing for a search that was done for “garden products.  If all three of these departments were on one page, you would probably just search okay, maybe page 2 or 3, for various search terms. If you break out the content and make a specific page for each of the departments you would have a much better chance of showing up at the top of search engine results for your area. Creating pages with specific content also makes the user experience better because it breaks up the content for customers. This way they don’t have to spend time reading all of your sites content at once.

Search engines are continuing to evolve all the time. Search engine results used to be based on the search query that you had typed in. Now they focus on providing content that you haven’t even searched for yet, but that you may be interested in based on your initial search. Search engines, like Google, are trying to be one step ahead for users and in order to do that they need to be able to understand the specific function of each page on your website. The content of a page on your website is what makes it worthy of a search result position, so you want to make the content as specific as possible.

Online Reviews Still Important

Francesca
June 22, 2016

As a consumer, you’ve probably bought something and have read an online review before doing so. You might have been considering hiring a local company, but found through online research that they had a very low star rating and this may have negatively impacted your decision. Although it may be clear that some reviews are more valid than others, online reviews have a significant impact when it comes to influencing a consumer.

It’s clear that online reviews can be significant, but how significant can they be – and does this impact both small and large businesses? According to BrightLocal, 88% have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. This number continues to increase year over year. It’s not surprising that this number continues to increase, but it is astounding how much trust consumers put into online peers that they may have never met when it comes to their views on a local business.

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This means it’s more important than ever to take part in the conversation that’s happening about your business. This isn’t something that you can afford to ignore, as the same survey mentioned above found that only 12% of consumers don’t read online reviews. The majority of consumers are relying on customer reviews to impact their purchasing decision, so jump in and take part in the conversation!

Research

Do a search for your business name online and see what conversation is already taking place. Depending on what you see, it may be important to take action! It’s always a good idea to respond to online reviews, whether good or bad, so that is certainly a good place to start. If you like what you see, great! Continue to monitor reviews and encourage customers to post a review for you online. If you don’t like what you see, it’s important to create an online review plan and share with your employees. You might want to consider this either way!

Ask for reviews

Asking for reviews should become a part of your daily work routine when dealing with customers. Plan to ask customers who have been satisfied with your service to leave you a review online about your business. The easiest way to do this is via email, as you can provide direct links to review sites making it as easy for the customer as possible. Having a natural, organic system set in place to collect reviews is a great way to build your reputation online.

If this is the first time doing a search for reviews for your business online, there may be a knee jerk reaction to reach out to a variety of current customers and quickly asking them all to review you at once. Please, don’t do this. Review sites are smart. If you all of the sudden receive a few highly positive reviews on one day they will look into the activity. If it seems not authentic, they will delete all of the activity on your page and you’ll lose everything that may have been on there. Create a natural, easy-to-use system that all employees can take part in to build your reviews online naturally.

As always, if you have any questions on this, reach out to your Marketing Specialist!

 

Using an Incentive to Collect Email Addresses

Francesca
May 27, 2016

Building your email list is as important today as it was a few years ago. A lot of people seem to question email marketing as social media continues to grow in popularity. But the truth is, you need both. Social media and email marketing serve two very different purposes for your business. Social media is a great way to connect with customers and engage with them, while email marketing gives you an opportunity to generate sales by sending exclusive coupons and calls-to-action to get them to open the email and shop.

Did you know that 91% of U.S. adults say they’d like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with? By signing up for your email list, customers are asking you to contact them on a regular basis. Take advantage of that!

Building your email list can seem sometimes like an overwhelming feat. But there are some relatively simple things you can do to keep your list growing overtime. These include keeping an email signup form on your website and having a small notepad (or tablet) next to the register to collect email address at checkout.

If you’re looking to build your email list quickly, consider adding a time sensitive incentive to collect emails. A lead magnet is a great way to get email addresses “in the door” and gets customers excited about your business! An exclusive coupon or deal is a great (and simple) incentive, but you might want to consider offering a free service that relates to your business. Something like “free delivery” or “free consultation” might be more enticing to your customers.

Once you’ve decided on the perfect incentive, just share it like crazy. I mean that literally. Update your cover photos on social media to make sure you’re attracting those customers and do posts on social media to continue encouraging customers. You’ll want to also use your website as a tool. Consider adding a website banner to draw attention to your email sign up – and a bulletin board post too!

Offering an incentive is a great way to attract quality customers to your email list in a short amount of time. Choose and incentive and start building your email list today! As always, ask your Marketing Specialist for getting started ideas!

Represent All Areas of your Store Online

Francesca
April 29, 2016

Each month your Marketing Specialist talks to you about adding content to your site – and for good reason! Adding content is a great way to keep your website up-to-date and to improve rankings on search engines, like Google. You might think of adding monthly content to places like your special offers pages, product catalog and blogs – and those are great ways to add fresh content each month – keep it up! But it’s important to make sure that all areas of your business are represented on your site, including all of the departments in your store, even if it isn’t content that you’re updating monthly.

Representing all areas of your business online is important to help make sure your website shows up when customers are searching. This can be accomplished through departments pages, free for all of our responsive customers!

Departments pages allow you to give a high level overview of everything that’s going on in your store. Each department added will create a new page on your site which allows you to add content, manufacturer logos (with links to their sites) and list services that may be available within each.

Examples of Departments pages

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Departments pages vary from the product catalog in many ways, but can be a great companion to the product catalog on your site. We recommend focusing on adding the most important products to your business to your product catalog firs and then work backwards from there, but departments pages help to make sure all areas of your business have representation on your site even if you haven’t gotten around to adding those products yet.

Adding departments pages to your site is an easy way to represent all areas of your business online – and they are east to set up! If you’re on our responsive platform they are free to add to your website, just contact your Marketing Specialist today!

 

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