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How Newsletters Can Help You Retain Customers

How do you turn a one time client into a repeat customer? This is the question every single business owner needs to ask themselves.

Attracting a new client has a certain acquisition price attached to it—how much you spend on advertising and marketing to make a sale. However, successful businesses are the ones that figured out a strategy to keep the customers coming back time and time again.

The trick to promoting customer loyalty is engagement, and one of the best ways to promote engagement is with a company newsletter.

Newsletter Definition

A newsletter is either physical, or more commonly, digital periodic content that a company distributes to its customers. You choose what to put in the newsletter, but typically it contains product-specific articles, coupons, deals, new product announcements and more.

A contact list is required to distribute the newsletter, which means that businesses should collect their customers’ email addresses online or at a brick-and-mortar location.

Benefits of Utilizing a Newsletter

There are numerous advantages that set apart businesses that distribute newsletters from those that don’t, including:

  • Increased sales—when customers are alerted to new products or sales, they are more likely to make a purchase.
  • Customer loyalty—when you upkeep regular communication with your customers, your brand stays fresh in their mind and they don’t forget you.
  • Customer trust—when you share relevant and educational content with your customers, they start viewing you as an expert and trust your recommendations.
  • Cost effective—a digital newsletter is free to create and distribute, which is a cost effective marketing strategy.
  • Trackable—online software allows you to analyze how many people opened your newsletter, and whether they took any actions (clicked a link, visited a website, made a purchase).

Three Tips for Creating an Effective Company Newsletter

It’s important to remember that your customers typically get dozens of new emails in their inboxes, so you must take steps to encourage them to open and read your newsletter. Follow these tips to create a truly effective newsletter:

Research

You want to create a unique newsletter that offers your readers tips and advice they can’t find anywhere else. However, how do you know what’s out there without doing research? Subscribe to your competitors’ newsletters to see what content they are disseminating, what you can learn from them and what you can improve on.

Do research in your industry to read about the latest developments to see what you can share to educate your customers and set yourself up as an authority figure.

Keep it Simple

Don’t get overly excited about the opportunity to connect with your readers; instead, decide on the angle you want to cover in each newsletter. Don’t bombard your customers with too much content, but focus on a specific topic (individual product or service, how to guide, a review, etc.) and then organize your newsletter around that.

Avoid Being Too Salesy

Although the main goal of the newsletter is to increase sales, don’t give that fact away to your readers. While  you want to promote your brand, focus on the educational aspect first. A good balance is 90% educational and 10% promotional, which would provide the ultimate value to your readers.

You may want to invest in software in order to create professional and unique layouts and formats for your newsletter. It may be advantageous to hire a professional copywriter and designer to create graphics and images. If you need help with affording this venture, IOU Financial is ready to help. We offer convenient and fast small business loans of up to $300,000 in under 48 hours. Click here to learn more!

Advanced Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

Today, with the huge number of small businesses coming up every day, all small business owners are looking for ways to stand out. Although no one can predict what the future of businesses holds, no one wants to fall under those businesses that fail after a few months of operating.

In this internet era, no one can afford to ignore digital marketing. For your business to be on the edge of the competition, you must have effective strategies in place from the first day of launching your startup. This applies to every type of industry. A powerful strategy is one that takes advantage of social media and search engine optimization to drive traffic among other things.

But without the right tools, your digital marketing is as good as dead. Well, of course, some of these tools are free and some are paid, which means you will have to pay some amount of money annually to use them. Marketing tools are very helpful to both experts and beginners.

Some tools will help you to spy the competition to know your business rivalries’ strategies among other important things. Others will help you to identify the most searched phrases so that you can target people conducting those searches online.

In this post, we’ve prepared a list of advanced marketing tools for small businesses that have also been tried, tested and recommended by experts in the field.

Answer The Public

Answer The Public is one of the most popular tools recommended by professional assignment writers today. This is a free tool that will help you find out the topics and questions that people type on Google when searching for information. You just need to enter your main keyword that you want to rank for and the tool displays the topics and questions.

Once you’ve identified the topics and questions, you can then include it naturally throughout your content so that when Google crawls your site looking for the best information related to the topic searched, your site can rank better and thus being able to convert your website visitors to real customers since you will have answered their questions with your content already.

Google Keyword Planner

You want to launch a pay-per-click campaign, grab a Google Keyword Planner. This is a handy tool if you want to set up an AdWords campaign for your small business. The greatest feature of this tool is the search volume calculator that enables you to type in your keyword and the tool displays its search volume. You can also search keyword by location to see how many people are searching for the same keyword in your area.

Hootsuite

It’s not a question; social media plays a huge role in today’s digital marketing regardless of the size of your business or industry. Hootsuite saves you loads of time by planning your social media posts in advance. This tool is equipped with great features that will help you as you start your business. You can use it to accomplish many tasks such as:

  • Connecting with blogger and influencers in your industry.
  • Engaging your audience through a central dashboard and etc.

The good thing about Hootsuite is that you can use it to manage almost all your social media accounts in one place.

Google Analytics

This is one of the best and free tools from Google. When starting your business, analytics should be the first things to consider in your digital marketing strategy. It’s easy to add the Analytics code to your site and start to monitor the actions of your website visitors. Although many people term it as a traffic tool, it can do more than that, especially for your marketing strategy. For instance, you can be able to know the sources of your traffic.

Google Analytics is a tool that you should install in your site immediately you launch your business.

MailChimp

Email marketing is currently used by a large percent of B2B and B2C firms. Why should you be left out of this?

MailChimp boasts more than 14 million customers and this makes it one of the top email marketing providers currently. This tool has a free plan for users with less than 2,000 subscribers with a limit of 12,000 emails per month and a pro plan starting from $199/month. For a small startup, you can start with the free plan and advance to the other plans as your business grows.

HubSpot

HubSpot is one of the best tools for sales and marketing and is also the best CRM software out there. This tool helps you from attracting customers until when the customers make a purchase. It keeps your marketing funnel in a good working order. It is equiped with tools that help in creating landing pages as well as calls-to-action, SEO, blogging and more. In short, we can say that it is an all-in-one marketing software.

Canva

To spice up your marketing strategy, you need stunning images and, presentations and posters. Canva is your tool for that. It features excellent tools with guides which makes it easy to use for both experts and beginners.

Buffer

Buffer is another social media management tool that helps you to plan your social media posts to publish on various platforms in one place. It has a free version that allows you to schedule a minimum of 10 posts for every social media platform. You can also use the premium and analytics tools as well.

SEMrush

SEMrush is another best tool for monitoring and evaluating your site’s organic rankings although it’s free version is limited. However, the free version can still help you to improve your SEO.

TweetDeck

As the name suggests, TweetDeck is another great and free marketing tool for managing your Twitter profile. This tool allows you to manage your lists and tweets in the best possible way on Twitter.

Final Thoughts

To be sure of success in your digital marketing strategy, you need to use the right tools for the job. We hope that this list will help you choose a tool that will take your online marketing to the next level.

There are many tools apart from these, but we’ve selected a few of the most effective that have also been recommended by online markers worldwide.

Guest Post: About the Author

Lilian Chifley is an IT specialist, teacher, and blogger from Sydney. She loves to talk about artificial intelligence and modern education. You can find Lilian on Facebook and Twitter.

How to Create Infographics for My Business

Your business requires marketing material to connect with potential customers. This can involve a website, social media presence, brochures, coupons and advertisements. There are two types of content that marketing requires—visual and written.

While photos and videos are a given when it comes to the visual way of presenting your business, infographics are also relevant. These are charts and graphs that make it easier for viewers to comprehend data or information. Research has found that companies who used infographics saw their online traffic grow by 12%.

You can explain to your customers that taking your supplement can reduce their blood pressure by 25% in written format, or you can create an infographic (see below) that will help them see the information in a new light, break up text and add some color and visuals to your content.

Types of Infographics

All infographics are not created equally, there are various types that work well for specific purposes:

  • Statistical infographics
  • Informational infographics
  • Timeline infographics
  • Process infographics
  • Geographic infographics
  • Comparison infographics
  • Hierarchical infographics
  • List infographics
  • Resume infographics

How to Create an Infographic

If you are sold on the importance of infographics, here are three different ways you can create them:

Download an Infographic Template

HubSpot allows you to download 15 templates for infographics completely free! This is perfect for beginners because you don’t have to spend hours designing one on your own or learning the process.

Simply download the template you want to use into PowerPoint, use tools to easily customize it to your unique needs and create a code to embed the graphic to your site or social media platforms.

Create an Infographic from Scratch

Once you get comfortable with customizing infographic templates, you can move on to creating unique graphics from scratch. This will help your brand distinguish itself from competitors who may be using the same software you are to make similar templates.

There are many software options to choose from to do this, one of them being Canva. All you have to do is either upload your own image, or choose from their library of over one million illustrations, photos and graphics. Choose from over 130 fonts, various colors and backgrounds by dragging and dropping various options.

You can save your designs on Canva to reuse them or make small changes on additional marketing campaigns.

Hire a Professional Infographic Designer

If you don’t feel comfortable with using templates or software to create an infographic, or simply don’t have the time to do this—outsource it to a professional designer. An affordable way of doing this is through Fiverr, a site that connects you with freelancers.

Type in what type of work you need help with, and browse through different freelance profiles. You will have the chance to read reviews about them and see samples of their previous work.

IOU Financial believes in helping small businesses succeed. If you need help with investing in your marketing strategy, contact us today to inquire about our simple and fast pre-approval and funding process for your business loan.

 

Should My Business Be Using IGTV?

IGTV (for Instagram TV) is the new Instagram video app that supports vertical-format video on smartphones and desktops. You can post videos of up to 10 minutes in length, although creators with large audiences can post videos up to 60 minutes long. Instagram, a part of Facebook, is now set to compete directly with YouTube, giving individuals and businesses a new social media channel. Let’s explore how your business can profit from IGTV:

You can’t ignore video:

About a third of online activity involves watching video according to Wordstream, and Ciscopredicts 78% of mobile data traffic will be video by 2021. Viewers of video ads are twice as likely to tell others about them compared to text or image ads, and 25% of viewers make an immediate purchase after viewing a video ad[i]. There are more than 3.5 billion[ii] unique mobile internet users who on average spend 69%[iii] of their media time on their phones. Eighty percent[iv] of global internet usage will be driven by mobile devices and half[v] of an individual’s digital media time occurs on mobile apps. These statistics compel businesses to include marketing videos in their content marketing strategy, lest they cede the territory to their competitors.

IGTV supports clickable links:

You can add multiple links to your IGTV video’s description to drive traffic to your website, other videos, or wherever else you choose. To ensure your viewers know about the links, mention them in your video. This feature has the potential to significantly increase your website traffic and conversion ratio. You can also add up to 30 hashtags in your video description, meaning you will gain visibility through regular hashtag searches. These features should help you grow your channel and your business.

IGTV is easy to use: 

Even the smallest businesses can easily create IGTV videos. You don’t have to have Hollywood production values to create compelling videos, although expert videographers can use all their tricks if they choose. To create an IGTV, turn on the video feature of your phone and start recording. You can use simple yet powerful video editor apps such as InShot, Splice and VideoShow to add music, titles, voice-overs, emojis and special effects. With a little thought, you should be able to create entertaining and engaging content. Once you’re happy with your video, simply upload it via the IGTV mobile app and you’re all set.

Your Instagram followers automatically follow your videos:

This setup means you can increase the value of your Instagram account substantially by uploading your marketing videos. Sure, you can create weekly or monthly videos, but if you run daily promotions, IGTV can get the word out fast in a compelling manner. Retailers and merchandizers will find this capability a boon for driving customers to their websites and/or brick-and-mortar stores.

You can create training and product demo videos:

Your marketing push can include high-value videos that increase the knowledge of potential or actual customers. You can also train your employees or demonstrate how your product is used. The ways you use IGTV to increase sales, service and support are limited only by your imagination.

IGTV, when properly leveraged, has the potential to grow your business significantly. In fact, you might find you need expanded inventory, more employees, a larger store, or perhaps additional stores. If you need working capital to expand your business, consider a business loan from IOU Financial, where you can borrow up to $300,000 on convenient terms quickly and easily.

[i] https://thenextscoop.com/use-instagram-igtv-business/

[ii]https://www.statista.com/topics/779/mobile-internet/

[iii]http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Presentations-and-Whitepapers/2017/2017-US-Cross-Platform-Future-in-Focus?

[iv]https://www.zenithmedia.com/mobile-forecasts-75-internet-use-will-mobile-2017/

[v]https://www.comscore.com/Insights/Blog/Smartphone-Apps-Are-Now-50-of-All-US-Digital-Media-Time-Spent

Save Time With Tools for Small Business Social Media Management

No one can ignore the power of social media in creating and sustaining a successful business. The problem is that there are so many different platforms, and managing all of them requires a team that most small business owners cannot afford.

The good news is that there are tools for small business social media management which are inexpensive and easy to set up. Read on to find out what your options are and choose the one that’s most appropriate for your business needs.

Buffer

When you want to share some exciting news about your business, or a photo or video, it can be incredibly time consuming to post it on each individual platform, like Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Buffer is a great resource that can automatically share content on a multitude of platforms, and offers both free and paid plans.

You can add all of the content at a time that is convenient for you, such as early morning or evening, and then create a schedule to stagger the posts to be shared at optimal times. After the content has been shared, Buffer will offer analytics of how well each post performed.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a great resource to help you with social media that may take may take some time to learn to navigate, but it’s well worth it. Although there are limited free features, you will have to pay for most services.

Hootsuite lets you to add content and store it in their Cloud, that will allow your team to share it when the time comes. However, the tool’s main benefit is its comprehensive analytics, which allows you to analyze conversations and results across channels and compare them. You can even utilize demographics to filter conversations about your brand by location, language, etc.

Agorapulse

Calling itself a Hootsuite alternative, Agorapulse offers some great features. It analyzes your social media platforms 24/7 and alerts you in real time when something needs your attention. Plus, you have the ability to automate the moderation process by creating certain rules.

This tool helps you maintain good relationships with your audience by storing all of the interactions you have had with your followers, such as their comments, likes and messages.

Plus, you can compare your page to that of your competitors to give you an idea of what is working or not for them and help you improve your social media reach.

Feedly

The main point of creating social media pages is to engage with your target audience. However, most businesses don’t have enough information to come up with several posts a day, and different ones across various platforms at that! However, that is what’s needed to keep the public interested.

An easy way to fix this challenge is to share other interesting and relevant content that your followers would enjoy. This is where Feedly comes in—instead of subscribing to dozens of other sites or platforms and perusing their content, this Feed Reader collects content from various sites and presents it to you in an easy to read format. You can then instantly share it on your social media!

There are many great tools and resources that can take your social media management to the next level and help you engage with current and potential customers. The truth is that it may take a financial investment to set up accounts with some of these resources, which is why a small business loan can help. IOU Financial is committed to helping small businesses grow and thrive; contact us today to learn more.

Ways to Utilize Customer Stories for Growing Your Startup

Customer stories seem to be really powerful. Startups should be smart enough to take the fullest advantage of inspiring customer stories or customer experiences. We know that only a great product cannot spell success. For a startup to grow and succeed you would be requiring both great marketing and also, a great product.

Startups usually do not have amazing marketing budgets. They may not be in a position to splurge on a single advertising campaign. However, the best thing about startups is that they do not require thousands to spend on advertising. Startups are known to boast strengths that they could utilize for fueling their marketing and grabbing customers. Customer stories could be used effectively for achieving incredible growth. If your business gains a lot of recognition, you could earn a lot of profits and you could make all your business debt repayments promptly on time. Your startup would be prospering without any hiccups.

You have got to agree that there is a massive difference between simple promises and real results. Every startup promises to provide a solution to a particular issue that sounds pretty exciting. However, nothing could persuade potential customers better to purchase anything than when they are actually sure that it works perfectly. This is exactly where the customer stories fit in. Startups could use effective customer stories for demonstrating how their specific products or services would be solving problems and making things easier for you. Customer stories must be powerful enough to motivate potential customers to ultimately take the buying decision. Let us explore how customer stories actually help in boosting marketing.

How Customer Stories Help in Boosting Marketing

Customer stories or powerful case studies could be utilized all through the sales and marketing funnels. They are supposed to be truly important not simply because of their versatility and flexibility but because they play a pivotal role in the accomplishment of three core responsibilities.

They Help in Building Credibility

If you are a startup and have recently started your business, it is necessary for you to convince your customers of your credibility. You need to prove to potential customers that you are trustworthy. If you are able to successfully demonstrate that there are several other people who are relying on you and are pleased and happy with your company, it becomes easier for the prospects to appreciate your worth and take the final step confidently toward buying your product or service.

They Demonstrate & Prove How Your Product Actually Works

It is obviously tough for people to understand how a product would be functioning when it is actually presented to them, in the abstract. A case study that reveals the story about the way you have assisted your customer would help other customers to visualize precisely how they would be benefitted if they work with you.

They Would Be Assisting You in Up-Selling & Cross-Selling Customers

While creating a customer story, you would be asking your customers to actually share the slightest details of how they have been successful in generating higher profits by using your product or service. When your customers start reflecting on the various benefits they had experienced with the help of your product or service, it is quite likely that they would want some more services or products from you.

Ways to Create Convincing & Compelling Customer Stories

Effective customer stories could be taking different formats including videos, written stories, and audio recordings; however, the persuasive case studies would be having certain things in common.

They Would Be Talking About the Core of the Issue:

Prospects are interested in knowing if your products could solve the issues they are facing. You must communicate very clearly that you appreciate and understand the problems and the associated pain.

They Describe in Detail the Precise Solution You Provided:

When you describe in detail and talk about precisely how you had helped in solving the problem, your customers would be visualizing the solution clearly in their minds. They could easily visualize how your product would actually work.

They Demonstrate How Exactly the Customer Was Benefitted:

Precisely how much revenue was generated by your product? How much savings did the customer achieve? How much time did he save? How many new customers did your client gain after using your service or product? The more clearly you are able to highlight the benefits, the easier it would be for potential customers to understand your true worth.

They Use Actual Names & Pictures:

People would not be convinced if you present a wonderful case study without including the actual name of the company. Most customers are reluctant about sharing details and personal info with others. So, it is essential to ask upfront if your customer is actually willing to contribute personal details while participating in the exercise. Many customers, on the other hand, would be incredibly excited and enthusiastic about the entire affair and would cooperate with you.

Easy Tips to Promote Your Customer Stories

  • Publish your customer stories on your website.
  • Publish a fascinating blog post.
  • Share the customer story on your social media platforms.
  • Incorporate inspiring customer stories into your presentations.
  • Request your loyal customers to share your authentic customer stories with their contacts.
  • If your customer has done something newsworthy with the help of your product, turn your customer story into an important press release to grab a whole lot of attention.

Conclusion

Stories are supposed to be shared experiences. Humans are actually hard-wired toward receiving information basically through storytelling. So customer stories would work great wonders for the growth of your startup. Customer stories could truly improve your marketing, sales, and PR. However, the outcomes depend largely on how well you go about creating customer stories and utilizing them to your advantage. Startups are clever enough to take advantage of inspiring and persuasive customer experiences for achieving unprecedented growth.

Guest post: About the Author

Marina Thomas is a marketing and communication expert. She also serves as content developer with many years of experience. She helps clients in long term wealth plans. She has previously covered an extensive range of topics in her posts, including business debt consolidation and start-ups.

How to Help Your Audience Connect with your Brand Through Compelling Images

A famous saying states that a picture is worth a thousand words. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to increasing brand recognition and improving customer loyalty.

Did you know that 67% of consumers pay more attention to images, and often find them more important than written content, such as descriptions and even customer reviews? Including images in the way you tell the story about your company helps individuals create an emotional connection and become lifelong shoppers.

Read on to learn what type of images you should consider implementing for your business and how to choose the best ones within your budget.

What Images Can Help Your Branding?

Logo

Think of world-famous logos that require less than a second for a consumer to recognize them – such as Nike, McDonalds or Apple. This can help you understand how important a compelling logo is to the success of your business.

“We have less time and less space to tell our stories in than ever before,” says Alina Wheeler, branding expert. “To rise above the clutter, a symbol or a logo is the fastest communication known to man. It unlocks associations with your brand on sight, so it’s important to get it right the first time around.”

Product Images

Images run the show when it comes to designing your products or showcasing them on your website, catalog or in your marketing materials.

Website/ Marketing Images

As online users are bombarded by information, they skim over website content quickly and prefer images to help tell the story. Images are also highly shareable and boost search engine optimization (SEO).

Where Do I Find Compelling Images for My Branding Needs?

Stock Images Websites

As a small business owner, you likely don’t have the budget to hire world class photographers or marketing experts. However, that does not mean you should forego using attractive and high resolution images for your business.

You can find high quality, yet low cost images on a variety of websites, such as iStockphoto.com‎, Shutterstock and iStock. These websites include free and affordable stock images that you can purchase for commercial use. Some of the images can be purchased for as low as $1! Simply type in the keyword or topic you need (dentist, secretary, high-heeled shoes) and find all the related images available to be purchased.

Fiverr

While stock images may be useful for design elements, when it comes to creating unique visuals for your brand, such as your logo, you can’t rely on an existing image. Fiverr is a very useful site to connect with freelance designers (and other specialists).

For as low as $5 (and up), you can find a professional to create a one-of-a-kind image for your business needs. Fiverr also allows you to read freelance profiles and customer reviews as well as view samples of their previous work.

Create Your Custom Images

You don’t have to be a professional graphic designer to create images for your company. If you would rather do this task yourself than rely on others, you can do so with the helpful of online tools.

Sites such as Canva provide ready-made templates so you can create specific visuals for marketing, articles, infographics and more! Freelogodesign promises to help you create a free logo in just minutes. You can then add that logo to merchandize to market your products or services.

There are a multitude of ways to find free and affordable images, or make them yourself with the help of existing tools. If you would rather invest in your brand by hiring a professional or need financial help in utilizing the images you created to market your brand, IOU Financial can help. Visit our site at www.ioufinancial.com to learn about our quick and easy small business loans.

 

 

 

Instagram Ads: The Basics

If you have explored advertising on any social media platform, you have likely focused your attention on Facebook. However, a rising star in this space is Instagram, which has grown from 90 to 800 million since 2013!

Although Instagram gives owners the potential to connect to a large group of users, cutting through the online clutter is difficult for small businesses that are trying to increase their brand recognition… Simply posting content and waiting to grow your following organically can take months, if not years.

A better strategy to reach a mass audience instantly may be to pay for Instagram Ads. The ads would be featured as “sponsored posts” that would come up on users’ feeds as they browse. The goals of utilizing Instagram ads would be to “grow brand exposure, website traffic, generate new leads, and move current leads down the funnel (and hopefully towards converting).”

Are Instagram Ads Effective?

Is investing in Instagram ads effective? The results speak for themselves. “In March 2017, over 120 million Instagrammers visited a website, got directions, called, emailed, or direct messaged to learn about a business based on an Instagram ad,” according to a source.

Why are Instagram Ads Effective?

Unlike advertising on a website or on television, where you can choose the channel, but not who sees your ads, Instagram allows you to target your audience base. This means that you have the ability for your ads to be shown to selected individuals, based on factors such as gender, age, location, interests, etc.

Plus, you can create groups for each ad, choosing between:

“Saved Audiences – interest-based targeting

Custom Audiences – retargeting audiences and customers

Lookalike Audiences – people similar to your other audiences”

How to Set up an Instagram Account to Create Ads

Using Instagram is very easy, and a business can set up an account within an hour to get started with the following steps.

  1. Because Facebook bought Instagram, you can use your Facebook account or create a personal Instagram account to get started.
  2. Sign up for a Business Manager account.
  3. Create a Business Page.
  4. Enter all the required information, such as your business name and details and your contact information.
  5. Create your ad.
  6. Choose an ad objective, which includes goals like brand recognition, engagement, reach, traffic, app installs, lead generation, etc.
  7. Choose who the ad will target, decide on your budget, create a schedule and narrow down on the creative aspect of your ad.
  8. Start advertising!

Examples of Inspiring Instagram Ads

If you are not extremely creative, there are a multitude of examples online of Instagram ads that can inspire you, such as:

55 Amazing Instagram Ads

84 Best Instagram Ad Examples in 2018

You do not require a large budget to get started with advertising on Instagram. AdEspresso’s research has found that the average price of a pay-per-click Instagram ad is around $0.80. Although, to reach a substantial amount of people, you may want to hit the ground running!

IOU Financial can help you to market and grow your business with a small business loan of up to $300,000. Call us at 1.866.217.8564 or visit us online at www.ioufinancial.com to learn more!

Should My Business be on Snapchat?

Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Snapchat. The list of social media platforms goes on and on. While business owners know the value that social media presence can bring to their company, many small and medium firms simply don’t have the resources to devote to all of the platforms. In this article, we will discuss one of the most popular social media sites, Snapchat, which has become a dominant player in today’s world.

Gary Vaynerchuk, an entrepreneur explains his view on the success of this platform: “Snapchat closely resembles how we communicate face-to-face than any other social network. When we talk to each other, passing in the halls or just living out our lives, those moments disappear. Snapchat emulates that behavior and psychology. Moments are temporary and that’s exactly the feeling and behavior that Snapchat matched to.”

Younger Target Audience

Snapchat is an ideal tool to reach a younger audience base. Out of a total 166 million users, the majority of Snapchat users are under 24 years old. More specifically, 71% of users are 18-34 years old.

As of September 2016, Snapchat had over 150 daily active users all over the world. What is the best way to reach these audiences? With a well thought out marketing strategy.

Here is a list of some of the most successful utilizations of Snapchat:

  • Sour Patch Kids: The candy company made headlines on Snapchat when they posted snaps of harmless pranks they would conduct in public. Candy and pranks are perfect attention grabbers for the younger generation, which is how the brand connected with them.
  • Taco Bell: While Taco Bell has a variety of customers, it utilized Snapchat’s storytelling feature to share new products, and even give dating tips!
  • Amazon: This world-known giant posts exclusive deals just for Snapchat members, and made a killing on black Friday with this strategy!

Not Right for All Industries

While Snapchat is a valuable platform that can help businesses increase brand recognition, it is not right for all industries. Fields such as government, construction, logistics and banking may find more advantageous to focus on other platforms, such as LinkedIn.

The customers of these websites are typically older, married and not as prone to using Snapchat. They also are less likely to be driven to explore a business from a social media ad or post. Instead, they would probably be more swayed from reading an article or an opinion piece online!

Can’t Drive Traffic

There are ways to include a link to your website when you post content on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. However, there is no way to do that currently on Snapchat. While it can be a valuable marketing platform for brand recognition, there is no way to track and analyze Snapchat’s value in bringing in leads or raising profits.

Business owners that are tight on funds may find it more valuable to utilize social media trends that can present clear data on conversion rates.

Although Snapchat is not right for all businesses, if you have interesting and unique content (videos and photos) to share with a younger age group, it can be a helpful tool in driving new business. IOU Financial can help you with the funds needed to explore all of the offerings Snapchat has to grow your company. Call us today to inquire about our small business loans, which can be approved in as little as 24-48 hours.

 

8 Effective Ways to Strategize Social Media Marketing for Your Business

For most brands, social media marketing is about accumulating as many likes and follows as they can. While this approach helps, it is just one of many maneuvers you should consider to grow your social media audience. The following are eight effective ways you should consider when creating a social media strategy for your business.

Create an effective content marketing strategy

After you’ve created excellent, unique content, the next step involves marketing this content in a way that guarantees results. You can do this by creating a social media posting schedule that befits your brand and using the right post publishing schedule. Doing this will grow your organic audience and reduce the need to use social media ads to grow your audience.

Conduct contests and promotional activities

What makes contests work on social media is the fact that they involve your audience directly and on a personal level. This has a significant positive impact on brand awareness. Promotional activities give your social media followers a reason to share your content with other social media users, ultimately increasing brand exposure to many other potential customers.

Indeed, there is research evidence to suggest that 35% of people who like your business page on Facebook did so for an opportunity to participate in your brand’s contests. Therefore, if you want to increase engagement on social media, consider conducting a contest.

Create and schedule your status updates

The key to posting on social media is consistency in posting content designed to empower, educate and entertain your audience. The status updates should include emoticons, questions, links, images and videos. Use a variety of post types to get the attention of a wide array of social media users.

Integrate social media sharing

One effective approach to social media marketing is the integration of social media plugins and share buttons on other brand channels like your website and email. Incorporating sharing buttons allows people who find your content educational or entertaining easily share it with their friends on social networking sites. Some of the most common plugins include Digg Digg, Flare, Mashshare and Ultimate Social Deux.

Create a personalized experience for your customers

This approach increases the chances of conversions by addressing the queries, concerns and questions a potential customer might have before buying your product or service. One way businesses are doing this is by use of chatbots. The chatbots create a more customized experience for individual customers and break the tradition that most customers are used to when companies are trying to sell them products.

Tell stories instead of selling stuff

Sometimes entrepreneurs are so enthusiastic about their products that they over-promote them on social networking sites. This can have a devastating effect on the long term viability of social media marketing for the business as many would-be customers get turned off by the overselling messages that make their way to their timelines.

Therefore, consider using social media sites as storytelling platforms first and only incorporate promotional posts occasionally. When you tell the stories that make your brand what it is, it personifies your brand and makes it more relatable. Finally, when it’s time for these people to buy your kind of product, your brand will be at the top of their consideration list.

Create a community for your audience

Growing your audience on social media is not simply about finding anybody who doesn’t mind liking or following your brand, it is about finding people who genuinely want to connect with your brand. Instead of haphazardly adding new people to your social pages, consider using social tools like Social Growr to find people who have a high likelihood of connecting and engaging with your brand. Growing this community will ensure your audience asks questions, gives you feedback, likes your content and shares it with their online social circles.

Respond to all comments, suggestions, inquiries, and complaints

You’ve spent a lot of time and money acquiring your social media audience. It is therefore important that you spend just as much effort engaging with it. When they comment on your post, they expect you to respond to their thoughts. When they make complaints, they expect you to address them. Indeed, a Convince and Convert report indicated that 42% of social media users demand that you respond to their queries within an hour.

 

Guest Post: About the Author

Marquis is a writer, social media manager and SEO content marketer.  She currently lives on the coast of Ecuador, working remotely as a freelancer. Her primary focus is on building online visibility of new, up and coming brand, particularly brands that promote health and wellness. She lives a nomadic lifestyle, though is originally from California.