Spring Cleaning 101: Refresh Your Brand

Spring officially arrived March 20. It’s time for the daunting task of spring cleaning! You’re familiar with the routine of tidying up your home, yard and vehicle. And, you can even tidy up your business…vacuum floors, dust desks and wipe windows.

However, spring cleaning also denotes a fresh start. So, it’s the perfect time to clean up your brand.

Awaken Your Business Website

When’s the last time your website got a breath of fresh air? The layout, content, images, forms and everything else that makes it inviting and lead generating. If you can’t remember, it may be time to rejuvenate it.

Ask yourself these questions:

• Is your site difficult to navigate?
• Are any pages missing text?
• Does your site look old and outdated?
• Is your message inconsistent with your sales and marketing objectives?
• Is SEO and SEM downplayed in getting your site noticed?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to get to work. If you feel like you’re not sure or may be biased, request a marketing expert to help you look through your site and give you feedback.

“But my website is fine,” you say with a wave of your hand. Au contraire! You only get one chance to make a good and lasting first impression. And, when there’s a Google search results page filled with dozens of competitors, your brand and presence mean everything.

Hone Your Customer Service Skills

Customers make your business thrive. That’s why spring cleaning is a perfect time to reflect upon and “clean up” your customer service skills. To give your brand a proper voice.

Sometimes, we get caught up in the humdrum of our everyday work routine. We become robotic. This is problematic for your brand. Customers and prospects don’t want to deal with someone who is cranky, sounds bored, or has no idea what he or she is talking about.

Each client and business is unique. They deserve personalized care and attention. When assisting your clientele, remember to:

• Treat them the way you want to be treated.
• Remain calm.
• Be honest.
• If you make a mistake, own up to it
• Make it right for your customers.

Good business integrity works wonders for your company’s image. Businesses that deliver exceptional customer service are the ones that get referred to friends and family. They receive raving reviews for the world to read.

There are so many things you can do now, and always, to tidy up your company’s brand. But, we suggest starting with these. A website refresh and a customer service clean up can go a long way toward invigorating your brand.


Why You Need an Opt-In Email List

Quick, true or false:

  • Everyone wants to receive your promotional emails
  • People will never mistake your emails for spam
  • Purchased email addresses are the best way to build an email list
  • There are no federal laws governing email marketing

If you answered false to all of the above, congratulations – you’re ahead of the game. For everyone else, let’s talk about why crafting an opt-in email list is both the safest route and best investment of time and resources for your business.

While email marketing might seem like a no-risk way to get your message out to everyone – regardless of their level of interest in your services – the truth is that a targeted, opt-in email list protects you from threats and ensures a higher open and response rate. Here’s why your email list needs to be opt-in:

Avoid the Dreaded Spam Folder

You know your email campaign isn’t “spam” – but that doesn’t mean a recipient will. In fact, 20 percent of email users say they report emails that they already know aren’t actually spam. Why? Because they didn’t ask to receive it. While a purchased list of thousands of email addresses might seem like a good investment, it skyrockets the chances of your campaigns being reported as spam. Internet service providers (ISPs) track the number of people marking emails from any given domain as spam, and often share those findings with other ISPs and anti-spam services. If enough of your emails are reported as suspicious, the ISP – and any other ISPs it communicates with – can “blacklist” or block all of your future emails. It’s easy to get on a blacklist and difficult to get off – meaning just a few complaints can render that shiny email list virtually unusable and divert your emails from valuable potential leads.

Comply with Federal Law

While the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t forbid businesses from sending emails to a cold list, it does put restrictions on all commercial and promotional email. This includes disclosing that the content is an advertisement, using accurate header information and subject lines and making the opt-out process clear and simple. Having an opt-in list of subscribers who consented to receive specific communications from you keeps you well within the boundaries of the law. And, since the FTC can subject you to penalties up to $41,484 for each separate violation, why risk it?

Customize Lists for More Conversions

An opt-in form gives you a prime opportunity to learn more about your subscribers. Where do they live? What are they interested in? What do they want to see from you? Knowing that information upfront helps you customize your emails to catch their attention and boost their engagement. While your opt-in list may be smaller than a purchased list, you’ll ultimately get warmer leads and a better response rate – and develop a reputation for conscientious, trustworthy marketing practices.

Encouraging subscribers to opt-in to receive your emails requires time and effort, but if you want to keep your campaigns out of the spam folder (and away from steep fines), an opt-in list is crucial. Not sure how to get the most from your email marketing? Marketopia’s digital marketing experts know how to get you the leads you need and the dynamic email marketing campaigns you dream about. Contact us today to see how we can help your business grow.


What You Need to Know About the Latest Digital Marketing Trends

Does the constant influx of new buzzwords in digital marketing make your head spin? If so, you’re not alone. But, tuning it all out is a mistake – the hottest new digital marketing techniques help you understand prospect behavior, attract leads you’ve lost and move customers through the sales process with purpose.

Here are three current digital marketing trends that – if deployed properly – will make a huge impact on your business:

Pixels

Pixels are snippets of code that, when incorporated into your website, collect information about your visitors, what drives them to you and how they move through your site. Pixel data allows you to target advertisements to the right users, personalize experiences on the web, gauge the effectiveness of ad campaigns and identify digital marketing efforts that simply aren’t converting. Facebook Pixel is particularly popular, as it allows you to track the activity of Facebook users on your site and retarget them on the social media platform (more on that later). Once your pixel tracks 100 converted users, Facebook gives you the option to create a “lookalike audience” of users who match your current customer base.

Since pixels are capable of collecting such granular user data – down to the times they visited a website, their IP addresses and the operating systems they used – some people prefer not to be tracked. Provide the option to opt-out and honor it promptly.

Retargeting

Now, what do you do with your pixel data? One option is retargeting – advertising to people who have already interacted with your brand online. Have you ever viewed a product on a website, only to be “followed” by ads for it across the Internet? Then you’ve seen retargeting in action.

Many users aren’t ready to commit to a sale or business partnership on the first website visit, but retargeting keeps your brand top of mind until they are. Display ads aimed at bounced users have click through rates up to ten times the industry average, and retargeted website visitors are 70 percent more likely to convert on your website. These ads can be customized for each stage of the customer journey – for example, you may show different ads to users who read a piece of content, started to fill out a contact form or added items to a cart. Whatever the target, provide a compelling offer and direct users with a clear call-to-action.

Funnels 

If you have a process for moving clients from first contact to conversion, you already have a funnel. The standard AIDA model – awareness, interest, desire and action – was proposed in 1898, so it’s not a new idea. But, the availability of information online is drastically changing the way an effective funnel operates. Much of the customer journey is now self-directed, and prospects often skip stages, alternate between stages or stay in one stage without progressing.

So, how can you position yourself as their first call? Make yourself available at every stage with helpful resources such as blog posts, charts and recommendations. It’s not about aggressively selling yourself – the goal is to become a reliable resource and build trust with prospects. Show your differentiators, answer questions and address concerns. And, when they’re ready, you’ll be in prime position to move them along to the next step of the process.

Want to make pixels, retargeting and funnels work for your business? If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry – Marketopia’s team of digital marketing experts know the latest and greatest techniques to get you the best ROI on your marketing. Contact us today to see how we can upgrade your marketing.


Direct Mail Strategies in the Age of Email

Is direct mail dead in the digital age? According to the Data & Marketing Association, direct mail circulation has been decreasing by two percent each year – but that’s exactly why you should consider using it. Think about it. As the online advertising space grows more cluttered and less effective, companies are searching for alternative ways to reach customers. Consider the numbers on direct mail:

  • 66 percent of recipients open direct mail
  • 82 percent read for one minute or more
  • 62 percent who respond make a purchase

Direct mail also has an average 5.1 percent response rate – up from previous years and higher than digital channels like email, social media and paid search. So, how can you tap into the power of direct mail to grow your business? Follow these three steps:

Target the Right Audience

You can’t sell to someone who doesn’t need – or want – what you’re offering. Avoid the trash pile by deciding who you want to reach in a given campaign. Maybe it’s onetime customers you haven’t worked with in a while? Or perhaps it’s prospects with key similarities to your current clients, such as geographic location or business size? In contrast to emails – which prospective customers must opt in to receive, in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act – direct mail can be sent out even to a purchased list of cold prospects.

Design an Eye-Catching Mailer

Now, onto the main attraction: your attention-grabbing, high-quality, memorable mailer. Does that sound like a big ask? First, choose the type of mailer that’s right for your audience. That might include:

  • Letters
  • Flyers
  • Brochures
  • Postcards
  • Catalogs

Postcards are a simple, inexpensive option with a response rate of 5.7 percent. Letters and brochures present a more professional image and offer plenty of opportunities for customization and personalization. You might also consider 3D mailers, such as boxes or tubes, which cost 50 percent more per lead but outperform other formats by 250 percent – making them ideal for high-value prospects.

Whatever your format, the same basic content rules apply:

  1. Keep it brief. Prospects want to scan fast and understand your offer within seconds.
  2. Include incentives such as discounts and first-time customer deals.
  3. Personalize where possible – 84 percent of recipients are more likely to open personalized direct mail.
  4. Include a strong, clear call to action – do you want them to call, schedule a consultation, attend an event, etc.?
  5. Add personal touches such as testimonials and photos of your team.

Also, make sure that your mailers are reaching prospects at the right time. When will they most likely be in the market for your services? How much advanced notice do they need for a sales or promotional event? The answers to these questions will help you get the greatest ROI from your mailers. Remember, it’s acceptable to reach out more than once to catch prospects at an opportune moment.

Track Results and Repeat

How effective was your direct mail campaign? Incorporating a dedicated URL, promo code, email address or phone number into the mailer will allow you to track how many leads – and ultimately, sales – result from direct mail. Set metrics ahead of time and determine what response and conversion rates you would consider successful. And although direct mail can be a key tool for your business, it has the biggest impact when integrated with other marketing efforts. A coordinated direct mail, email and telemarketing campaign sends a more powerful message than any one element on its own.

Make direct mail work for you by targeting your prospects, crafting an attention-grabbing mailer and tracking your results to see what worked – and what bombed. Want the results of a direct mail campaign, but short on time, resources and expertise? Contact us today to talk about creating a stellar direct mail campaign for your business.


Why You Need Kick-Butt Collateral

You launched an epic advertising campaign, and you’re drowning in leads. Now what? To seal the deal and turn those leads into enthusiastic customers, you need more – specifically, collateral that puts your company, products and services above the competition.

What is Collateral?

Marketing collateral targets customers who have responded to your advertising message and want more information on your company and its offerings. Businesses can also use collateral to acquire new channel partners and share details about sales and promotional activity. Collateral takes many forms, including but not limited to:

  • Brochures
  • Web Content & Landing Pages
  • Marketing Emails
  • Case Studies and White Papers
  • Sell Sheets
  • Explainer Videos
  • Business Cards
  • Newsletters
  • PowerPoint Presentations
  • Direct Mailers

Why Does Your Business Need Collateral?

Having informative and eye-catching collateral on hand isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. Here are five reasons why you need a kick-butt collection of collateral:

  1. Target Different Buyers at Different Times

When it comes to customers, you already know that one size doesn’t fit all. So, why would your collateral? Each buyer has their own style and their own pain points. Does your audience need the facts, and fast? A one or two-page sell sheet with product details and logical action steps makes it easy for them to focus on the essentials. A beautiful brochure or video might do the trick for a consumer seeking an emotional connection. And don’t forget that today’s “no” might be tomorrow’s “yes” – an enticing variety of collateral, spread out over time, keeps the door open for potential customers.

  1. Make it Easy for Customers to Research and Compare 

Consumers will ignore products and services they can’t easily research. A lack of clear, readily accessible information is a red flag. More than likely, leads will be comparing you to your competition – so show them upfront why you’re the best. Your landing pages, case studies and sell sheets give customers a snapshot of your stats and strengths.

  1. Establish Your Personality and Authority

People see an estimated 5,000 ads a day. What sets you apart? Simply put – you. Customers want to put a face on the company and choose partners who share their values. Web content and explainer videos let leads get to know you, while case studies and white papers demonstrate your expertise. If website visitors can access downloads by filling out a short survey or signing up for emails – bonus points for you!

  1. Highlight New Products and Services

You’re excited to debut a fresh new offering – how do you get everyone else excited, too? Newsletters, direct mailers and landing pages will help spread the word. Your collateral should clearly highlight the features and benefits, along with actionable next steps.

  1. Close Sales

This is your ultimate goal, right? Don’t let valuable leads get lost in the shuffle – give customers what they need, when they need it. Think about the questions your prospects typically ask. Whether they want hard specs or need a little help picturing how your products and services can change their lives, the right collateral will clinch the deal and ensure they don’t have to go anywhere else.

Don’t quit before you reach the finish line – land customers and grow your business with standout collateral. Not sure where to start? Contact us today and let our team of marketing experts build your collateral arsenal.


What You Need to Know About SEO

Google’s mission statement is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. It sounds simple – but it’s definitely not. That’s why Google and other search engines have very specific algorithms to help people find what they’re looking for easily. So how do you make sure you’re the answer to their equation? Search engine optimization (SEO).

Gaining ranking on search engines like Google takes time but we have a few steps you can implement right away to get you on their radar.

Irrelevant Content is Irrelevant to Google…and Your Readers

If you land on a web page hoping to learn about sloths but instead there’s an entire manifesto about how the real world parallels Lord of the Rings, you’d be confused and probably irritated. Google’s job is to make sure you find the information you were initially searching. So, it’s vital that your content is well-written and relevant to your audience. Not only does it build trust, but relevant content is also the way to Google’s heart – here are a few ways you can get there:

  • Avoid duplicated content – unique content on each page makes Google think it’s more important
  • Add new content to your website often – update pages, add new blogs etc.
  • Include trusted links within your content – link to other pages on your website or outside sources
  • Format your content so it’s easily readable – use short paragraphs, bullets or numbers

Keywords and Where to Place Them – Not Stuff Them

Think about the words you’d type into a search engine to find a dentist. If you only search for the term dentist, sure you’d get millions of results, but they’re not narrowed down enough to make sense for what you really want. You’re more likely to look for a dentist in your area by searching “dentist in Memphis Tennessee,” this is a long-tail keyword and preferred by Google and other top search engines. Understanding what people are searching for is the first step to finding the keywords or phrases that will help people discover you organically.

So, you know what your ideal prospects are searching for… now what? The next step is to implement those keywords into your content but in a way that makes sense. Don’t stuff your content with key terms. You should ensure they show up in the following prime locations:

  • Page Titles – usually the headline you see when you Google something
  • H-Tags – these are the headings and subheadings you use for the text on your pages
  • Meta Descriptions – the description that describes the content on your pages
  • Alt-Tags – a description of an image on your website that shows up if the image doesn’t load

Slow Loads Are a Means to a Quick Exit

There’s a reason we’ve moved passed dial-up – it was slow and excruciatingly painful. If your webpage takes longer than ten seconds to load, you’ll send your visitors straight to the “x” in the corner and back to searching for your competitors. In fact, a study conducted by Google indicated 53% of people will leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load – the same goes for pages on mobile devices, too.

Load speeds matter to Google because its goal is to deliver the best user experience possible. That’s why they “reward” sites that have faster load times. Want to make Google happy and speed up your site? Take a look to see if any of the following could be impacting your load time:

  • Large images
  • Code density
  • Too many plugins
  • Unnecessary redirects

Change Can Be Good but It’s Also Frustrating

Google is known for constantly changing their algorithm of how to rank websites. While that’s great for the users, it can be extremely frustrating for companies to stay ahead of the curve or even just to keep up. That’s why at Marketopia, we have an entire team of digital marketing experts that know all the ins and outs from SEO optimization to PPC campaigns, click funnels and more. This blog only scratched the surface when it comes to SEO, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, we would love to help you get closer to the coveted first spot on Google’s search results. Contact us, today.


3 Reasons to Outsource Your Appointment Setting

It takes significant amounts of time and effort to land face-to-face appointments with qualified prospects, something outsourced appointment setters do well. In fact, according to the Ovation Sales Group, the average salesperson prospects for 6.25 hours to set just one appointment.

When you outsource appointment setting, you free up your salespeople to focus on developing relationships and closing deals that directly lead to healthy commissions. There are many reasons to consider outsourcing your appointment setting, but here are our three favorites.

Focus on Qualified Prospects

Cold calling is tiring, and you need your sales resources spending their time with qualified prospects, not tire kickers. And, for some companies, pass lead nurturing to the marketing team isn’t always an option. MarketingSherpa discovered that of the 61 percent of leads sent to sales, only 27 percent of those leads were qualified. Appointment setting services, grease the skids and make sure that the first sales connection is worthwhile and productive.

Play the Long Game

A sale rarely takes place during the first call with a prospect. In fact, the Marketing Donut found that 80 percent of sales require five follow-up phone calls, even longer for complex technology sales. You don’t always have the resources and patience to play the long game, but outsourced appointment setters do. They’ll put in the time and dedication it takes to build relationships on your behalf and, ultimately, pave the way for sales success.

Save Money

Properly qualifying prospects and generating warm leads is an expensive process. Having full-time callers on staff to generate appointments puts a major dent in the budget. With appointment setting services, callers do the heavy lifting for an affordable fixed-rate fee allowing you to budget accordingly and lower costs.

Marketopia’s seasoned appointment setters provide the qualified leads you need to maximize sales. Once you buy the calling list from us, we’ll get to work developing positive relationships on behalf of your company. Our appointment setters act as an extension of your business and lay the foundation for your sales team to experience success. To get more information on how outsourced appointment setting can improve your sales results, contact us today.


The Five Common Digital Marketing Mistakes Made by Small Businesses

Small business owners have limited time, assistance and resources. Marketing can easily become an afterthought, but don’t make the mistake of waiting until your business is bigger, more profitable or more stable. Digital marketing is crucial in today’s landscape to attract new customers, keep existing ones and establish yourself as a trusted, reliable presence.

You don’t need an unlimited budget or an MBA – successful marketing can be achieved with a smart plan and regular check-ins. To stand out against the competition, your digital presence must be current, relevant and informative so that customers can easily find you and gather the details they need to choose your company with confidence.

With that said, these are five common digital marketing mistakes to avoid:

Neglecting to Create a Website

Think your business doesn’t require a website? Think again. Potential customers want a central location where they can learn about you and the services you offer as well as find options to contact you. Not only can a professional, eye-catching website increase your credibility and authority in the market, but it also gives visitors a streamlined view of your company. Don’t assume social media has you covered – Facebook is a useful tool to connect with your audience, but a website gives you greater control over your content.

Glossing Over the Results

It’s never been easier to gather valuable data from analytics. Was your last campaign successful? What could you do differently? You can’t answer those questions without tracking results. UTM Tracking is a free tool provided by Google that allows you to create unique links to gauge the success of each campaign. Don’t waste money and energy on promotions that don’t offer a return – discover what connects with your audience and devote your resources there.

Targeting the Wrong Audience

Face it: not everyone is in the market for your product or service. Don’t throw your marketing against the wall and see what sticks – think about your customers, their needs, and where you’re most likely to find them. This is especially important in choosing social media channels and search terms that are most frequently used by your target audience. Try Google Keyword Planner and Facebook’s Audience Insights tool to see what your ideal customers are searching.

Giving Up on Mobile

Customers are increasingly going mobile for…well, everything. Mobile devices are predicted to account for 79% of global Internet use by the end of 2018. Is your website mobile-friendly? Can customers gather the information they need quickly and tap a button to contact you? If not, they’ll go elsewhere. Likewise, if you don’t have a business listing on Google Maps or a similar service, you’re missing a chance to get your name directly in front of customers.

Ignoring Online Reviews

Customers are talking about you – how can you control the conversation? Positive and negative reviews offer valuable insight into the customer experience you’re providing. Writing a tactful response to less-than-favorable reviews shows that you’re committed to caring for customers, both to the original client and to other users who are considering your services.

With an organized plan of attack and consistent upkeep, you can get the most bang for your marketing buck. Thinking bigger? Contact us to see how we can move your small business forward.