I'm Taking a Break and Blogging Over Here Now

It's been great sharing marketing ideas and know-how with you on this blog for the last 159 posts or so.

I need a break from writing about marketing, so now it's time to try something new for a while.

I've been an avid gardener for years now, and this fall, we're installing a greenhouse right in the back yard. We'll be growing vegetables and we're hoping to have some fresh produce to feed us into the winter.

Please join me over on Tito's Greenhouse, where we'll be sharing the ups and downs of building the greenhouse, laying out the beds, putting in the plants, and hopefully getting some vegetables and fruit out of the whole experience.

Thanks for reading this blog, and for all of your great questions and comments. Look forward to seeing you over on the Greenhouse.

I'll be back here sometime soon, maybe once the tomatoes are in....

Engagement: This is What Marketing Is Now

There's another layer to your marketing plans that's critical to your success. If you're not giving your customers the chance to share their experiences, rate your products, and ask friends for their feedback, you're missing out.

Customers need to engage with you before they buy.
Together. Flickr user Dev Null.
You see, most people don't just look at your advertising, your web site, or your catalogs anymore when they're ready to buy. They do online research, they check product reviews, and they ask their friends what they think. 

So if you're not helping them do that, you're preventing customers from completing today's sales cycle. Why would you do that? 

So, while you're getting ready for your holiday sales push, add a couple of things to your to-do list:

1) Product reviews: Product reviews enable your customers to share their thoughts with you, and give advice to one another - a key part of today's purchasing experience. Even poor reviews help you - they give you a chance to make it right for your customers and to improve your products and service.

2) Community: Is there a place online where your customers can congregate? Whether you run forums, a Facebook page, or a Pinterest presence, you need a place where people can share.

3) Sharing: One of my favorite local restaurants just ran a contest where users were asked to take a picture in the restaurant (of their friends, the food, the decor, etc.) using Instagram and then post it on their Facebook page. Hundreds of people participated and they got some great submissions, and wonderful images of their delicious dishes. Customers had a reason to return to their Facebook page again and again to see new photos and vote on their favorites.

4) Let Them In: People need a little more than ads or marketing copy to get them ready to make a purchase. Can you show your customers how your product fits in with their lives? Give them real stories from real people? Tell them a little bit about you and your staff? Explain what inspires you to do what you do? I highly recommend you make some videos to show customers a little bit more about who you are and what happens behind the scenes. Let customers in, and ask them to stay a while.

How are you engaging your customers? Please share.

Need a little help making some friends? Let me know. I can help.

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Have You Tried a Facebook Promoted Post?

Recently, Facebook has been offering a new, inexpensive way to advertise. I think you should give Facebook Promoted Posts a try. Here's how it works, and why you should test it for your page.

From Flickr user Sean MacEntee.
How it works:

For a little cash - usually, $5, $10, $20, or a little more, depending on how many Facebook fans you have, Facebook will make sure your post is seen by a larger percentage of your fans and their friends. Right now, if you have more than 400 fans on your page, you can promote any post for three days.

Why you should try it:

An average Facebook post will be seen by about 16% of your fans. One of my clients is doing better than that - their average post is seen by about 30% of their fans. They have a small, but very engaged community.

When we spent $10 to promote a Facebook post, we went far beyond that - our promoted post reached six times that many people - more than twice the amount of people than our total fan base. Many more people saw and shared our promoted post than usual.

What's more, we saw a doubling of engagement in the 10 days after our promoted post, gained some new fans, and we continue to see a 30% lift in engagement on Facebook, several weeks after the promoted post. 

What to promote:

I'd recommend testing something entertaining - a video, photo gallery, game, or something else fun. Inactive fans - those who haven't interacted with you in a while - are going to see this post and you want to give them a reason to rejoin your active fan base.

But Beware:

Yes, we only spent $10 and got some encouraging results. But those $10 posts add up. Make sure you're budgeting appropriately - you don't want to be spending money every few days to promote another post unless you're seeing good results. Your priority should be generating quality, engaging content to serve your social media audience - once you have great content, then work on promoting it. 

Let me know how this works for you. I'm looking forward to hearing your stories!

Does your Facebook strategy  need a bit of a facelift? Let me know. I can help. 

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You say it's your birthday? One more way to leverage your Facebook presence.
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A Neat Idea for Leveraging Your Facebook Fan Base

Facebook is good for a lot of things, but one of my favorite things about it is that it makes your birthday really, really fun. Even people who rarely use Facebook visit their pages on their birthdays - after all, who doesn't want to check out birthday greetings from friends around the world?

Facebook birthday ad
You can use this natural inclination for birthday greetings to help your business. Did you know that you can target Facebook ads to people with a birthday in the next week? This is a time when people are already checking their Facebook pages to see all the postings from their friends, so make the most of it.

When you're creating your ad, at  "Choose Your Audience," next to "Broad Categories," pick "Events," and then "Has a birthday in less than 1 week."

Target ads to Facebook users with Birthdays

At this point, you're positioned to deliver some very targeted, relevant ads. You can deliver special offers with a message acknowledging your customers' special event.

Messages like: 

  • Happy Birthday! Get yourself a little something nice this year. Click for your 10% birthday discount.
  • It’s your birthday. We have a present for you – 10% off for your special day!
  • Happy Birthday! Click to learn more about your special birthday deals.
As you can see, these ads reach your audience in a meaningful way. I'd encourage anyone to test a birthday offer on Facebook against any other ads. The results may surprise you.

How are you using customer data to deliver more engaging, relevant offers? Please share.

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