Plan

A 7-Step Plan for Generating Leads With Facebook Ads

Do you want to generate more leads from Facebook? Interested in using Facebook ads to promote a lead magnet? Facebook ads are a great way to build a database of people who are interested in what you offer, because the reach and targeting options are exceptional. In this article, you’ll discover how to set up […]

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– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

A 30-Day Master Plan for Marketing Your Brick-and-Mortar Business

Many small business owners today think that owning a brick-and-mortar business excuses them from having to learn and master digital marketing.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, mastering SEO and local optimization for your locally run business will bring a higher ROI than just about any other marketing activity you use.

It’s one of the quickest ways to quickly and simply (notice I did not say easily) get your business in front of thousands of new eyes and earn customers for life. With a few simple steps, you can set yourself on the path to long term digital marketing success.

But how do you start marketing your brick-and-mortar business in the digital world? What steps do you need to take over the next 30, 60, or 90 days to successfully grow your online reach and increase sales like you have never seen before?

I’m glad you asked.

In this article, I’m going to give you a step-by-step and day-by-day plan for marketing your brick-and-mortar business.

Thirty days from now, if you follow the steps I’ve outlined below, you’ll be well on your way to having a successful and profitable local marketing plan in place.

The basics: Days 1-10

The irony of digital marketing is that the simplest steps are often the most important.

Sure, PPC advertising, advanced Facebook campaigns, and AdWords can play a huge role in boosting your sales. But what’s next?

For brick-and-mortar business owners, particularly owners who don’t think they are very “tech savvy,” following these simple steps for the first ten days alone will result in a huge increase in the number of sales they see from their marketing budget.

Step 1: Create a platform

Something I have found with many brick-and-mortar businesses is that the owners think that having a website is an unnecessary luxury.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Having a place for all your customers and fans to congregate is one of the simplest and most important steps on your path to success.

The first step to mastering local SEO is the simplest one. Give your audience a place to find you!

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Notice that almost none of these shops have websites that come up in Google…

For the first 10 days of this master plan, focus on building your website and ensuring it has a great design. After that, focus on 1-2 social media platforms.

That’s it.

Creating presence on a couple of platforms that are easy to navigate and even easier to find is the first key to your marketing success.

Once you develop your website, set up your Facebook page and a Twitter or Instagram account. Then, the real work begins.

And what is that “real work?”

Creating quality content.

Step 2: Start creating high quality content

One of the fallacies many entrepreneurs believe is that simply having a website with some on-page SEO is enough.

But that’s not how Google works, and that’s not how people work either.

If you want to attract new customers and build a loyal fan base, you need to place a premium on creating and curating high quality content.

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Look at the bottom of the image above. Ramit has 241 PAGES of content on his blog.

I’ve got 162 pages of blog articles on Quick Sprout.

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Content is huge.

But how does this apply to marketing a brick-and-mortar business? Here’s how…

Let’s say you own a coffee shop in Boulder, Colorado.

You take the first 2-3 days and pay to create your website—design it to look great and navigate easily. Then you set up your Facebook page.

Now, it’s time to start populating your website and your social media with killer content.

Continuing with the coffee shop example, the next step would be to start writing articles or filming videos based on your niche.

You could write an article about the best locations for growing coffee or about 3 unconventional brewing methods you can try today, or you could film a video showing people how to do cappuccino art.

The list of things you can do is endless.

By creating this content you will improve your chances of ranking on Google, and you will also start providing free value to customers, which will increase their trust and their desire to give you their business.

Step 3: Increase the number of your email subscribers with a lead magnet

Now that you have a great website and are regularly uploading content and sharing it via social media, it is time to increase your email subscriber list. That’s where the real money is made!

The key to a successful lead magnet is to offer something that a customer would be willing to pay for—but free.

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An excellent example of a lead magnet is from Lucky Brand (above).

Back to the coffee shop…

A great marketing method used by many successful brick-and-mortar owners is the free giveaway.

If someone has found your site or is in your store, offering them a free coffee or pastry (which they would normally pay for) in return for access to their email is a win for both parties.

They get something free. You get a direct line to market your company.

Once you have collected the email, you can start sending updates about specials you are running, events you are putting on, and other cool things happening with your business.

Anytime you have a special event or a 2-for-1 deal, people will actually know about it. They will then take advantage of it.

Mastering local SEO: Days 10-25

Many brick-and-mortar business owners make another mistake when delving into the world of SEO. They don’t fully understand the difference between “regular” and “local” SEO.

The biggest difference is that local SEO contains a geographical aspect. This geographical information is crucial in “convincing” Google that you’re a bona fide local company serving local people.

The entry into local SEO may seem a little bit more complicated than normal SEO. Why? Because it’s no longer just about the keywords. There’s an element of mystery.

The result? You may have experienced this yourself. Few businesses execute local SEO efficiently.

However, in my opinion and experience, local SEO is easier. Why? Because there is less competition!

Don’t worry. I’ll remove some of the mystery and help you understand how it works.

Here are some of the essential ways to get started on your path to local SEO mastery.

Step 1: Set up Google Search Console and Analytics

These two tools are absolutely instrumental for successful on-page SEO.

There is a ton of information you will be able to gather about your website from these tools. Using them effectively will allow you to run tests, analyze the results, and make changes as necessary.

Here’s how to set up Google Analytics.

  • First, create an Analytics account here.
  • Sign in to your new account.
  • Select “Admin.”
  • Select an account from the “account” column.
  • Select a new property from the “property” column.
  • Click “Tracking Info” and then “Tracking Code.”
  • Copy the ID.
  • Insert this number into your website’s code.

Here’s how to set up Search Console:

  • Create a Search Console account here.
  • Log in to your new account.
  • Click “Add a site.”
  • Add your website’s URL.
  • Copy the ID.
  • Add it to your website’s code.

Step 2: Make sure you have the correct NAP data on your site

While this may not seem like a big deal, it is one of the quickest ways to accidentally shoot yourself in the foot with your SEO pursuits.

What’s NAP?

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It’s the Name, Address, and Phone number of your business.

If you do not have the EXACT same Name, Address, and Phone Number on your website that you have on your Google My Business account, you will basically ruin all the hard work you have put into mastering local SEO.

Let me give you a few pointers on doing the NAP portion right.

Make sure the phone number listed is your local number (no 1-800 numbers).

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Make sure the NAP info is listed as text on the page and not as an image. You need web crawlers to read the information. They won’t be able to do that if it’s in an image.

Include the NAP info in your website footer if possible. This means it will be visible on all pages.

If you’ve had a different name, address, or phone number in the past, find the variations anywhere on the web and correct them. You don’t want to confuse users or web crawlers. NAP consistency is important!

Step 3: Optimize your meta descriptions and title tags

For on-page optimization, this is one of the most important steps you can take.

The first step is to make sure your title tag includes these three things:

  1. Your city
  2. Your state
  3. The keyword you’re trying to rank for

It is easy for this to come across as spammy and artificial, so put some time and effort into this before you hit “Publish.”

For example, these websites are perfectly setup for local SEO success:

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If you’re looking for some more inspiration, check out this article for a list of local SEO-optimized title tags.

Next, you want to optimize your meta description.

The meta description is what appears beneath your title tag. It explains a little bit about your company and what you do. The meta description appears in the SERPs to help users understand what they’re about to click on.

I recommend that you include your city, state, keyword, and phone number for maximum efficiency.

A meta description doesn’t technically improve your SEO. It’s designed for users. However, user behavior does influence SEO, so it’s still important to optimize this bit of information.

Step 4: Include your hours of operation and directions

According to one study, Google said that 54% of smartphone users who search for a local business are searching for the hours of operation. And 53% wanted directions.

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The simplest thing to do is simply put an “Hours of Operations” or “Business Hours” heading and image next to your maps widget.

This will make life easier for your customers. Plus, it will make Google love you.

Step 5: Leverage the power of social proof

While it doesn’t directly influence your local SEO ranking, including customer testimonials really helps. Adding BBB ratings, integrating Yelp, or citing other highly trusted sources will build customer trust.

In the example below, The Worthwhile Company cited their “Small Business of the Year” award from the local chamber of commerce. Information like this helps local residents to feel a greater degree of trust in the business.

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Social proof also decreases your site’s bounce rate, increases the views on your site, and likely increases your opt-ins—all things Google is looking for.

Reaping the rewards and keeping the customers: Day 25-30

By following all the above advice, you will likely see an increase in your SEO ranking and the number of emails you collect within the first 30 days.

Things will move slowly at first.

That’s okay.

These things take time. Slow and steady wins the race.

The final step is to continue producing great content that you can rank on Google. Educate yourself on more advanced local SEO tactics you can start implementing. Most importantly, keep your customers happy.

The more satisfied customers you have, the more people will share your site with others, the more email opt-ins you will receive, and the better your business will be.

All that’s left to do is sit back and reap the rewards of a job well done.

And of course, keep on hustling.

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Conclusion

To many entrepreneurs, SEO seems like a black box. And local SEO? It’s even more of a mystery.

Often, it’s viewed as something to be feared, something far too complicated to get involved in, and something that you sure as heck don’t have the required experience to excel at.

My hope, however, is that after reading this article, you’ll realize that SEO is just like any other skill. With a few simple tweaks, you can massively improve your local business’s results for years to come.

So, take this advice, and implement it. You’ll see the results for yourself.

What’s your experience with using digital marketing to drive a brick-and-mortar business? Share your worst mistakes or best tips!


Quick Sprout

17 Tips for Creating a Content Marketing Plan in 2016

content marketing plan.001

Content marketing is the backbone of SEO. This is exactly why a report from the Content Marketing Institute showed 80% of B2B marketers have a strategy in place for it. Regardless of whether you’re a novice or you’ve had years of experience, creating a proper content marketing plan should be a priority in 2016.

Here are 17 useful tips to help you draw up a successful content marketing plan this year:

1. Identify Your Purpose

What do you plan to achieve with content marketing? Are you aiming to generate more leads? Do you wish to improve brand loyalty and increase retention rates? Maybe you want to build more awareness about your product or establish your brand name. Before you start drawing up a content marketing plan, you need to determine the reason driving your need for content.

Takeaway Tip: Start simple with two or three major goals that you wish to achieve through your content marketing.

2. Set Your Priorities

What should you prioritize in your content marketing plan? Do you wish to tell your brand story? Do you want to understand your audience better? The Content Marketing Institute stated that creating more engaging content seems to be the top priority for B2B marketers. Take time to establish your priorities so that you can tailor your content marketing strategies accordingly.

top priorities for b2b content creators

Takeaway Tip: Note down your top five priorities and draw up a plan for addressing each of them.

3. Determine Your Organizational Goals

Your content marketing plan should be integrated in such a way that it helps you achieve your overall organizational goals. Whether it’s to drum up more sales or improve customer loyalty, your content marketing strategy should always be in sync with what you want to achieve as a brand. Lead generation is typically the top organizational goal for B2B content marketing.

organizational goals for b2b content marketing

Takeaway Tip: Draw up short-term content marketing goals to fulfill your long-term organizational goals.

4. Know Your Audience

Before you simply churn out content by the hundreds, you need to determine whether or not your audience will value the information. Ask yourself questions like which channels do my potential readers use the most? What do they normally talk about? What do they need from me? What sort of content will they find most appealing?

Understanding your target audience is especially important for those who are new to the content marketing field. The idea is to produce relevant content that your target audience would want to share.

Takeaway Tip: Conduct thorough research through analytics, social media, direct conversations, and surveys to understand your audience.

5. Define Your Audience

Developing an effective content marketing plan requires you to clearly define your target audience or “buyer persona.” It’s important to remember that you’re not targeting yourself. Once you have a better understanding of your target audience, you can model them based on different buyer personas.

Instead of throwing them all in one group, try to define at least two or three different groups with a catchy name and description for each. For instance, one group could consist of customers who are price-conscious and looking for the best deals. Another group may be the people who look for top-quality service, such as faster delivery and premium support. Below is an excellent example of one of Single Grain’s buyer personas known as “Frank Founder.”

frank founder example

Takeaway Tip: Identify at least two different customer personas, write a proper description for each, and then act to satisfy them.

6. Choose Your Content Type

Now that you know what your audience needs and values, you can move on to picking the type of content you should produce. Your personal strengths are important to consider here. What are you good at? Are there any fields in which you have superior knowledge? Are you great at giving instructions? Perhaps you have a knack for collecting data that your audience could find useful.

If you’re having trouble determining which content type to produce? Here’s just a few of the different content types you could use:

  • Infographics
  • Guides
  • Webinars
  • Interviews
  • Custom illustrations
  • How-to articles
  • Industry news
  • Surveys
  • Q&A sessions
  • Product updates
  • Case studies

Takeaway Tip: Focus on producing original, evergreen content that maintains its usefulness over time.

7. Find Your Uniqueness

What’s the one thing that will set you apart from your competitors? There’s a glut of content being produced by marketers around the world every day. That means it’s challenging for content marketers to stand out in the the crowd and get their work noticed. What’s unique about you? For instance, maybe you could use humor when your competitors are being too serious. You could tell real-life stories instead of offering generic information.

Takeaway Tip: Study your competition and come up with something unique to offer your target audience.

8. Research Trends

Whether it’s in content marketing or any other marketing field, trends constantly change from time to time. For instance, Impact Branding & Design said 71% of marketers use broad keywords for capturing leads. On the other hand, Demand Gen Report stated 86% of buyers want interactive/visual content on demand. Researching trends like these can help you identify ways to develop better content. It can also let you decide which content types to include in your marketing plan.

Takeaway Tip: Follow leaders in content marketing to get updates on the latest trends and changes.

9. Identify Challenges

Like every other type of marketing, content marketing has its share of challenges. According to the Content Marketing Institute, producing engaging content is the biggest B2B content marketing challenge (60%). Other big challenges include measuring the effectiveness of content (57%) and being consistent in content production (57%).

Once you’ve identified your biggest challenges, you’ll be able to set up strategies for tackling them. Develop a proper strategy that can help you in avoiding these issues in your content marketing plan.

top challenges for b2b content marketers

Takeaway Tip: Make sure your overall strategy involves methods to tackle the major content marketing challenges.

10. Set a Budget

No content marketing plan can be complete without a proper budget. B2B marketers with the most effective content marketing strategies allocate 42% of their marketing budget for content. How much are you willing to spend on content marketing? Do you plan to pay for promoting your content? How much will you allocate for content creation? Having separate funds for your content marketing will help you cut costs and spend wisely.

Takeaway Tip: Allocate your budget based on the priorities you set in tip No. 2.

11. Optimize Your Content for Search

According to Imforza, search is the biggest source of traffic for content sites. Your content marketing plan needs to include a strategy to optimize your content for both readers and search engines alike. Many Internet users conduct searches to find useful content. You need to make sure that search engines like Google help these users locate you easily through keyword-optimized content.

keyword selection questions

Takeaway Tip: Use the following keyword selection checklist from the Content Marketing Institute to brainstorm ideal keywords for your content marketing plan.

12. Map Your Content Correctly

You should have several buyer personas among your target audience. Now the challenge is to deliver the right type of content at the best time to the most ideal people. Each type of customer goes through various stages in the buying cycle, so you’ll need to map your content correctly to answer the questions they have at each stage.

marketing content to your personas graph

As you can see, there’s a way to map your content for specific personas at three different stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. You can develop the right type of content to guide different buyers through their purchase journey.

Takeaway Tip: Ask questions to analyze the doubts and problems of each persona at various buying stages.

13. Brainstorm Content Ideas

You’ve determine the type of content you wish to produce and what keywords you will use for optimizing them. You also have a proper content mapping system that will guide you in creating the relevant content at the right stage. Now is the time to determine the topics you wish to cover in your content.

This is perhaps one of the most challenging parts of your content marketing plan. You’ll have to decide on how to answer your audience queries and guide readers to a purchase decision using the right topic.

Takeaway Tip: Utilize tools like Buzzsumo to begin listing unique content ideas on trending topics.

14. Create Content

The actual content creation stage is crucial in your content marketing plan. Are you planning to write the content yourself? Do you have an built-in content team? Do you intend to hire a third-party content writer? Regardless of your choice, you need to make sure that your brand voice can be heard through your content.

Takeaway Tip: Ensure that the core values of your brand are expressed through your content to keep your brand identity. If you’re a newbie to this, then the Skyscrapers technique would be a great weapon for you.

15. Craft a Distribution Plan

How will your audience consume your content? Where will they access your information? Will you be sending out newsletters or posting blogs? You may even want to publish your content through digital magazines. Either way, your content marketing plan should include developing a proper content distribution strategy.

Takeaway Tip: Use the buyer personas you have created to determine the best distribution method for your content.

16. Commit to a Schedule

As mentioned earlier, producing content consistently is a major content marketing challenge. Quality and consistency should be your core focus when producing content. Whether you publish content every week or twice a month, commit to a publishing schedule. You need to deliver content regularly for your captive audience to follow.

Through Sprout Social’s publishing calendar, you can schedule and plan your social media posts to keep your content fresh and consistently in users’ feeds.

sprout social publishing calendar

Takeaway Tip: Have an editorial calendar complete with topics and ideas to avoid missing any deadlines.

17. Draft a Promotion Strategy

So you’re churning up content on a weekly basis or maybe even daily. How will you get your audience to actually find the information? Maybe you’ll be promoting your content through social media or through influencers in your industry. Include a proper strategy for promoting your content within your content marketing plan.

Search engine marketing is the most popular method (66%) for content promotion. Print or offline promotion methods are also popularly used (57%).

b2b paid advertising graph

Takeaway Tip: Draw up a proper content promotion strategy within your budget based on your buyer personas. Use tools like Ninja Outreach to make promotion outreach easy and find relevant influencers for sharing content. This can light a social fire for free.

Conclusion

There are a number of challenges you will face before you can successfully implement your content marketing plan. The idea is to learn from your failures and use them to your advantage. Determine what works best for you by measuring and testing your results. Making changes to your content marketing plan along the way is healthy. Try Sprout Social’s social media publishing tools to stay organized with content tagging, message approval and social media scheduling features.

Hopefully these tips will help you draw up a more effective content marketing plan that’s just right for your brand. If you have any questions or comments, let me know in the comments below.

This post 17 Tips for Creating a Content Marketing Plan in 2016 originally appeared on Sprout Social.


Sprout Social

Discover The Secret of An Successful Marketing Plan

What does your customer wantWe create our business to provide a solution to the market. We love our solution, we are passionate about what we offer and yet we forget one important step.

The business is the bridge; a bridge between the customer and our offer.

So how do we build a bridge that people want to walk over? By answering two important questions.

What does your customer have? What does your customer want?

Is there a gap and can you see how to bridge the two?

Your marketing plan represents the bricks of that bridge.

Each tweet, each blog post, each article, each traditional marketing campaign…are bricks that will form to create a bridge for the customer to move from what they have to what they want. When you create a marketing plan you need to step back at see where your customers are and where you want to take them.

And your brand personality is like the cement between those marketing bricks.

If the marketing plan provides the why a customer should buy into your brand, then the way you convey your messages cements the brand in the customers mind.

People love to think about what they are going to do…..and that is one element of your brand strategy…BUT the why and the how are just as important.

Imagine bricks without cement. Imagine building a bridge without know which banks you want it to span…it just wouldn’t make sense would it?

That is the same for businesses.

So which is most important – the bricks or the cement….the plan of what you are going to do or how you do it?…..BOTH. They are interdependent. They need each other. They help shape the ultimate strength of your brand.

If your marketing is just not connecting with the marketplace then step back and ask 3 important questions

  1. Do we know what we are trying to do?
  2. Do we know how we want to do it?
  3. Do we do it in a way that shows our consistent, distinctive brand personality?

For 30 more questions to improve your social media marketing and develop your social business leadership download The Engaging Brand ebook.

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