Why You Need to Have Customer Reviews on Your Site

When you’re looking to buy a product or hire out a service, what’s one of the first things you do? If you’re like 91% of internet users, you probably read some online reviews to help narrow down your options. If you’re looking for a way to boost your own business, then it’s vital for you to have customer reviews on your website in addition to third-party sites like Yelp and Google.

Why are reviews so important, anyway? By having a better understanding of the true impact customer reviews can have on your business, you’ll quickly see how reviews can be one of your best marketing tools. From there, we’ll also walk you through some steps to encourage more reviews from your customers and clients.

There are several ways in which having customer reviews posted on your website can benefit your business, ranging from increasing your brand visibility to boosting your reputation.

1. They Can Improve Your SEO

Did you know that having customer reviews can make it easier for your website to be found on search engines? Specifically, customer reviews are one of the many factors taken into account by search engine algorithms. Reviews are especially powerful from a local SEO perspective; however, having lots of positive customer reviews can benefit your business no matter what your service area may look like. That’s because companies with excellent reviews are more likely to rank higher in the search engine results than businesses with fewer or no reviews.

When your website ranks higher on the search engine results page (SERP), potential customers and clients will be more likely to stumble across your site and become new customers.

2. They Can Boost Your Reputation

In addition to optimizing your search engine optimization strategy, having customer reviews on your website can also improve your company’s reputation by making you look like a more trustworthy business to customers. Consider the fact that many of today’s consumers will not trust a business with less than a four-star overall review online. With this in mind, consumers are taking reviews more seriously than ever before, making them a major determining factor in any buying decision.

By having lots of positive reviews on your website (ideally, a four- or five-star average), potential customers will see your business as being more reputable and trustworthy. As a result, these potential customers are more likely to decide that your brand is worthy of their business.

3. They Give You an Open Line of Communication

These days, it’s not enough to just give your clients and customers an avenue on which to review your products or services. In reality, consumers now expect you to respond to their reviews promptly. While this may seem like more work added to your already-full plate, the fact is that online reviews do give you a unique opportunity to keep the conversation going with your customers long after your transaction is complete.

By taking the time to respond to reviews (both negative and positive), you can demonstrate to your customers and potential customers that you care about their feedback and take your public perception seriously. This, in turn, can further boost your brand’s reputation and credibility.

product review

4. They Can Increase Sales and Profits

The majority of shoppers today rely heavily on customer reviews to make buying decisions. Without reviews of your business, there’s a good chance you’ll be missing out on sales. Of course, it’s not enough to have a lot of reviews; you need to have a lot of positive reviews to see a boost in your sales and profits. According to one study conducted by the Harvard Business School, an improvement of even one star across your customer reviews can lead to a 5-9% increase in short-term sales!

How to Encourage Reviews from Your Customers Now that you understand why website customer reviews and satisfaction surveys matter, it may be time to take some proactive steps to get more reviews from your customers.

5. Post on Social Media

One of the easiest ways to encourage online reviews is to simply post on social media. There’s a good chance that many of your past/current customers are already following your brand’s social media pages. By posting a request for them to leave a review on your website, you can reach them directly and hopefully gain some new reviews almost instantly.

6. Reach Out Directly

If you have a smaller business or are just starting out, you may benefit more from directly reaching out to some of your past customers. By contacting them via email or telephone, you can speak with them and explain just how helpful their feedback can be to your growing business.

7. Offer an Incentive

Sometimes, your customers may need a little bit of an incentive to take time out of their busy days and leave a review. To encourage more customers to leave reviews on your site, you might offer a discount on a future service or a similar promotion. Just understand that you’ll have to provide this incentive to every reviewer—even the ones who don’t necessarily leave a glowing review of your business.

8. Make it Quick and Easy

Always make it easy for your customers to leave reviews by providing them with a direct link to your review page. The fewer clicks they need to make to leave a review, the more likely they’ll be to publish one.

The Final Word on Customer Reviews and Business Growth

Having plenty of customer reviews on your website and elsewhere on the web is one of the best ways to grow your business and your brand’s reputation. Still, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by trying to get your customers to leave reviews (or by any other aspect of your business marketing), it may be time to work with a team of marketing professionals. Contact Strategic Growth Advisors today to find out more about what we can do to help your business.

10 Fresh Ideas for Your Small Business Marketing Strategy

If you’re feeling like your brand’s marketing strategy has gotten a little dull, or you’re just looking for some fresh ideas, we’ve got some unique and effective marketing ideas to help you mix things up. And, of course, you can always rely on an experienced marketing agency in Arizona like Strategic Growth Advisors if you really want to take your brand’s marketing to new heights.

Become a Guest Blogger

You already know about the importance of content marketing to boost your brand awareness and your search engine optimization (SEO) in the process. And, of course, posting regularly on your company blog should be a big part of that strategy.

But if you really want to mix things up a bit, consider becoming a guest blogger for another popular industry website. You can expand your reach to a larger audience by writing guest blogs while also adding some strategic backlinks to your site. Furthermore, being a published guest blogger can boost your reputation as an authority within your industry. It’s a win-win!

Take Keyword Research Seriously

When was the last time you took some time to research what your target audience is searching for online? If it’s been a while or if you’ve never done any formal keyword research, now is the time to get started. By knowing which short- and long-tail keywords your target audience is most often searching for, you can develop a content strategy that incorporates those keywords. From there, you’ll be able to boost your SEO for those terms and be more likely to reach your audience as a result.

Dip Your Toes into Video Content

When it comes to content creation, there’s a good chance that most of your efforts have been focused on blog content, social media posts, and perhaps the occasional email blast. What you might not have realized is that video content has become extremely popular in recent years.

Taking the time to create high-quality video content relevant to your audience’s interests is a great way to capture their attention. Meanwhile, this content is easily shared on social media and can help you gain more followers. Whether you opt to create a product demonstration video, a how-to video, or anything in between, just remember that quality counts!

Hold Social Media Contents

Social media contests and drawings can be a great way to get more people engaged on your brand’s social media page. And, of course, contests are fun for everybody! Depending on the terms of the contest, you may even be able to gain more followers by requiring participants to “share” your post or invite people to follow your page to gain an entry.

Some popular ideas for social media contests may include:

  • caption contests
  • random drawings
  • fan photo contests

Focus on Customer Reviews

There’s no overstating the importance of customer reviews when it comes to your brand’s reputation. Many businesses don’t see reviews as a form of marketing, but they absolutely can be. After all, search engine algorithms factor reviews into consideration for ranking purposes. Likewise, potential customers take reviews seriously and are more likely to use your business if it is well-reviewed.

Take time to encourage past customers to leave reviews, and make sure you’re responding to all reviews online for the best results!

Expand Your Social Reach

Your brand may already have a social media presence, but could you branch out to reach some potential new customers? Take a minute to inventory your current social media presence. Which platforms does your business use? Compare this with the platforms your target audience is most active on, and note any discrepancies.

For example, if your audience trends younger and you’re not already on Instagram, it may be time to create an account.

Experiment With a Referral Program

Referral programs can be a great way to gain new customers while providing some incentives to your existing and loyal customers. If you don’t already have a referral program in place, consider launching one. You might offer a special discount to referrals or even a free service.

Boost Your Brand Through Volunteering

Is there a local cause that means a lot to you? If so, you can use this opportunity to help others and boost your brand’s reputation within the community by volunteering or donating to that special cause. You might even consider organizing your own charity event to raise money or awareness for a cause that is meaningful to you (or related to your industry).

Start Attending Industry Trade Shows

Now that trade shows and conferences are becoming common again, this is an excellent time to start researching events happening in your industry this year. By attending trade shows and other industry events, you will get a unique opportunity to network with people in your industry in person or through a virtual event. This is a great way to gain new leads and potential business connections.

Hire a Marketing Agency

Refreshing your business marketing strategy can require a lot of time and effort on your part. That extra effort is why so many business owners end up working with a dedicated marketing agency to get the professional help they need building and optimizing their marketing strategies. At Strategic Growth Advisors, our marketing agency in Arizona specializes in all aspects of small business marketing. From SEO and paid search to video marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing—we truly do it all.

If you’re looking for help in making the most out of your brand’s marketing budget, we’re ready to assist you. Contact us today to set up your consultation with our experienced and knowledgeable marketing team. We’d love to learn more about your brand and your marketing goals so we can develop a strategy that works for you!

What is Marketing, and What’s Its Purpose?

Marketing is a term that’s thrown around constantly, but it’s vague enough that most people could use some clarification about what it is and what it’s meant to do. What is marketing? In a nutshell, marketing is any form of communication designed to spark revenue for a brand. The messaging can be accomplished over a number of platforms, including online, print, and even word-of-mouth.

There is no official “right” way to market to an audience, as the answer ultimately depends on what the company is and who it’s trying to attract. Marketing for small businesses is often most difficult because they only have so many resources to experiment with, making mistakes more costly along the way.

Why Is Marketing So Broad?

Marketing is a broad term that can really be applied to nearly anything a company does. For instance, a company with excellent benefits for its employees will inevitably draw attention to their efforts. Employees are more likely to talk about how generous the company is, and this is likely to spill over into anything from Glassdoor to independent articles written about the company.

So even if a company is simply trying to give employees every advantage, it can be seen as marketing for its brand. This is where things can become tricky for a company because marketing can work to their advantage, but it can also work against the company. Even the most carefully constructed messaging can come across as disingenuous, particularly if the company has suffered from poor press in the recent past.

This is why decision-makers must realize how their organization is coming across at every step of the way, in even the most seemingly trivial actions. Whether it’s writing a thank you note to a prospective client or sending out a menu mailer in a neighborhood, it all counts.

What Are the Four Ps of Marketing?

The four Ps are often an excellent way to understand a more precise definition of marketing, as it breaks the word into more digestible pieces. While this mix of concepts was developed long before the internet, the principles can still be applied today to improve a company’s strategy:

  • Product: These are the items that you’re offering to customers, whether it’s a physical object or a service. Companies need to figure out the need that the product fills in the market first before they can devise a campaign that will highlight its best features.
  • Price: Proper pricing means looking at the raw costs to make the product, distribution costs, and marketing expenses. Companies also need to look at the price of competing products and what kind of advantage the company would gain by pricing higher or lower.
  • Place: Place refers to exactly where and how the product will be sold. If it’s going to be in a store, the company needs to know what aisle it will be in and where it will be positioned next to other items in the store. Companies will need to know where and how customers will see their ads or product pages if it’s being sold online.
  • Promotion: Promotion is how a company will integrate its communications and what kind of advertising it will favor. This can refer to anything from direct marketing to public relations to sale promotions. Getting this right will involve altering campaigns based on where the messaging is and who it’s advertising to.

What Are Some Common Types of Marketing?

Companies are likely to employ some combination of the following strategies:

  • Internet: This may mean improving the visibility of a company website (known as search engine optimization) or running a targeted ad campaign across popular websites.
  • Social media: Companies can now use anything from Facebook to TikTok to reach out to audiences and communicate in a language they’ll respond to.
  • Print: Magazines, newsletters, fliers: there’s still something very intriguing to customers about something they can hold in their hands.

A marketing department might find its niche by posting funny videos on YouTube or creating high-end invitations to exclusive events. Or maybe the team creates pay-per-click campaigns as a way to generate instant enthusiasm for a new product or service. Whatever it is, there are ways to bring your brand to life across different mediums.

Common FAQs

Mastering marketing, particularly for small businesses, is far from a straightforward equation. It’s why we continue to see the same questions again and again:

  • What is marketing?
  • How can you judge if it’s working?
  • How should a marketing department integrate with other departments?

There is an infinite number of strategies to tackle, and narrowing them down is a task that not everyone is ready for. For every one option you eliminate, several more will likely spring up in their path. Part of getting it right means looking at it from a customer-centric point of view. For instance, if a company offers two kinds of products and one is geared toward a person with a higher income level, the marketing department would need to speak to the person on their level. It could mean the same company uses everything from different words to different colors to ensure that each campaign is successful.

How to Get Business Marketing Right

Business marketing all starts with finding out why someone will want to buy your product and how they’re likely to respond to the messaging that surrounds it. With enough trial and error, you’re bound to get it right. However, very few departments have that kind of unlimited time and money to throw at the problem.

StratGrow was founded to reduce our client’s struggles by providing consulting services that they won’t find anywhere else. Our product is highly calculated advice and strategic work that takes into account what a business does and why they do it. Marketing for small businesses means standing out above the competition. We can show you what that looks like in practice.

7 Powerful Benefits of Customer Satisfaction Surveys

These days, most people are at least slightly unwilling to be questioned by online merchants. With growing news about how social media companies aggressively harvest our personal information, things aren’t getting much better. However, customer data is still worth its weight in gold, and the customer survey remains the gold standard in responsible and democratic data collection.

As an online merchant, you have a reasonable interest in knowing what you’ve done right, what you’ve done wrong, and how you can improve customer satisfaction in the future. Customer satisfaction surveys are based on previous voluntary interactions by customers with your online business. As much as people hate spam, they still love to be listened to. A customer satisfaction survey gives you the chance to say, “Hey, thank you for your business. Would you mind telling us how we can do even better in the future?”

There is nothing more reasonable or friendly you could say to someone who has paid for your products or services than that. That being the case, there are many advantages to using customer satisfaction surveys. Here, we will discuss what they are and how you can get the most out of them for some extremely valuable info on how you can better serve your customers.

As stated, a customer satisfaction survey is a great way to ask your paying customers how you can do better next time. They come with the advantage that you are asking for input, rather than just scraping it from general use data. But it also allows you to benefit from the fact that people love to be heard. People love to feel like their opinions and experiences matter and will be listened to. Now, let’s get into the benefits.

Accurately Determine Areas for Improvement

If the customer had a great experience and loves the product or service rendered, then you can pat yourself on the back. However, if the customer sees room for improvement, they are likely to tell you so. Even if you believe they are wrong, eliminating the perception of a bad experience from your transactions is a good idea. If a customer believes they had a bad experience, even if they are incorrect, that feeling is real, and it will adversely affect future sales. Doing a survey gives you the chance to show them that you intend to improve.

Understand Your Customers

Developing an accurate model of your optimal customer personality profile is very important for a marketing campaign. Over time, companies that last are the ones to develop a deep, complex, and accurate model for the way their customers think. This includes the thought process before making a purchase, how often they make a purchase, what pain points they seek to ameliorate, and more. But this information can take years or decades to become fulsome, deep, and truly predictive. By asking the right customer satisfaction survey questions, you can obtain deep customer insights much more rapidly.

Identify Buying Trends

The human ideosphere is a mysterious thing, but it does seem that we are not just isolated units. Human beings in a society think together; they process information as a whole and influence each other. On the most superficial level, these changes are called trends. Buying trends may change often, but they can be predictable, and they can be sufficiently lasting for you to take advantage of. By asking the right customer satisfaction survey questions, you can get your finger on the pulse of buying trends and make the most of them.

Improve Customer Relationships

The most important thing in developing a solid customer base is nurturing loyalty. You want your customers to like your brand, enjoy interactions with your company, and love the products or services they buy from you. With well-written and thoughtful customer satisfaction surveys, you can show them that you care about their experience and optimize it to give them the experience they want.

Reduce Negative Word of Mouth

No matter how great the products or services you offer are, no matter how competitive your prices, no matter how fast your shipping and how responsive your customer service is, you will occasionally get unhappy customers. A good customer survey gives you the chance to turn bad word of mouth around before it hits the streets.

Optimize Customer Experience

If a customer has a bad experience that you did not anticipate, or if they have an expectation that you did not foresee, these are examples of UX deficiencies that are difficult to know. There are two ways to get this information: through bad reviews and customer satisfaction surveys. The latter is clearly preferable to the former. But of course, everything your customers tell you is good information. Use this opportunity to make the customer’s experience what they want it to be. You may even be able to give them a positive experience that they didn’t expect.

Earn More Opportunities to Access Customer Information

Your customers will have a shopping experience, a buying experience, and a customer service experience. By normalizing customer satisfaction surveys, we add another phase to the life cycle of a purchase. If the customer has a positive customer satisfaction survey experience, they will be more likely to give you more information in the future. So, you should strive to make the survey experience enjoyable and satisfying.

Show customers that you listen to their concerns and complaints. This will all but guarantee a positive response to further customer satisfaction surveys- and that means even more valuable and responsibly collected data for you. Looking for help reaching your customers? Contact us today!

Facebook Ads VS Google Ads: Which is Best for You and Why?

We recently reported on changes to iOS and Facebook that will be tough on advertisers. If you
can make the changes we recommend and remain viable on Facebook, this may mitigate
reasons not to consider Facebook ads over Google. That said, Facebook is very much like an
internet all on its own, with just about everything online available via the social media site.
Conversely, Google is the most powerful and far-reaching internet search engine by far. So the
question is, which service offers the most valuable advertising capability. That’s going to
depend on your business model, budget, target demographics, and more.

These two advertising services are similar in many important ways, making choosing between
them difficult. Each platform has different features, many of which are unique to their
prospective hosts. Here, we’ll discuss which features would serve you best to help you make
the most beneficial decision for your business needs.

Your Marketing Goals

The advertising service you use should depend largely on the goals of your advertising
campaign. Are you looking to develop brand awareness, sales, or leads? Are you trying to
achieve a few goals or all of them?

Google ads is excellent for capturing demand. This means buyers looking to make a purchase,
already sold on the type of purchase they want to make, are best approached through Google
ads. This is because buyers who know what they want will go straight to the Google search
engine and search for what they want.

Facebook ads are much better suited to developing interest. This means targeting buyers who
do not yet know they want what you’re selling. Do you have a new device, an innovative
service, or something else new and wonderful? Then Facebook ads is probably the better fit.

Your Advertising Budget

The purpose of any ad campaign is to bring in more money in sales than the cost of the
campaign. If you choose Google ads, you’ll have to consider the cost per keyword for SEO
services and the competition over your keywords and phrases.

If you want to spend only $100 and rank under the term “flower shop,” and you find that the
cost for that keyword is $20, this limits you to just five clicks a day. That’s not very impressive.
What’s important here is knowing which platform will help you get the most value out of your
advertising dollars. This will mostly be determined by your marketing goals and whether
demand exists or if you need to create it. But you should definitely compare prices before
pulling the trigger.

Understanding Your Buyer’s Journey

Understanding the journey your average buyer will go through before making a purchase is key
to designing and housing your ad campaign. We’ve already talked about the difference
between capturing demand and developing demand. This difference is critical to the buyer’s
journey and should be your first consideration.

Beyond that, you need an accurate buyer’s profile. Know who is interested in your product or
service and where they live. You need to know what problem or desire they are trying to
remedy, how much they are willing to spend, and what determines whether they choose your
brand or a competitor.

When it comes to choosing Facebook or Google ads, it’s about knowing whether demand exists
or not, where your customers are, and what their related interests are. With Facebook, this is
much easier because you can target specific groups in the places where they gather. Google is a
much bigger wading pool, and buyers there tend to know what they want.

Historical & Competitor Data

Advertising is always part art, part science, and part spray and pray. You want to reduce the
third part as much as possible. But the best results are those based on experience. That means
you’re going to need to base your choice on personal experience. That being the case, you may
consider performing an exploratory advertising campaign. That means creating an outreach
effort that is far under budget purely for exploratory purposes. Use the data from your
experimental campaign to guide more serious efforts later.

You’ll also need to research your competitors. Find out what similar merchants are doing. Study
their mistakes and their successes and plan accordingly. Finally, you’re going to have to learn
how to make a Facebook ad and/or how to make a Google ad. It’s not straightforward in every
case, and the system on Facebook is rapidly changing.

Contact Strategic Growth Advisors today to find out more about what we can do to help your business.

How to Find Your Brand’s Audience Online

Running a business is about delivering value to a unique audience and doing it in a way that few to no other organizations can match. The good news is that there are as many ways to do that as there are stars in the sky. However, if you don’t know your target audience, what motivates them, what they like, what they want, and what they need, only an incredible stroke of luck will bring your online branding efforts together. In business, we don’t like to rely on luck. It’s nice when it comes along, but this is business- not a roulette table.

So the question is, how do you find your target audience online?

How to Find Your Brand’s Online audience

Finding your target audience is about finding out who is most likely to be interested in what you do or sell. It means learning where they live, where they work, what they like and dislike, how much money they make, and what they need and want.

We want to be asking questions like:

  • Where does my audience spend time online? Offline?
  • How do they communicate?
  • What is their age range, profession, location, job title, and so on?
  • What are their lifestyle and personality?
  • What pain points prevent them from buying?
  • What guides the buying choices they do make?

In short, your goal is to know enough about the people in your target audience that if you were in the same room with them, you could speak to them casually and comfortably about how your product or service can fit nicely into their life and budget. The alternative to knowing these things is to waste valuable time and effort putting out messaging to a generalized audience or an assumed audience. But we want to help take the risky element of luck out of your advertising campaign and help you reach your audience with the following proven steps.

1. Start with the Customers You Have

Unless you’re just starting out, you should have already had a few customers. Begin by looking at the traits exhibited by those who’ve already proven their interest in your product. Start with those who have spent the most, those who are the easiest to communicate with, and have been loyal for the longest length of time. Reach out to them, both to let them know how much they’re appreciated and to ask them to answer a questionnaire. You may offer them discounts for filling out a survey or answering questions about who they are and what they like about your brand.

2. Speak in Terms of Benefits, Not Features

Suppose you were selling flashlights with belt clips and USB chargers. Rather than talk about how great these features are in your ad copy, talk about how your flashlights are easy and convenient to charge and that they are always close at hand no matter where you are. People who have specific wants and needs will find the features they need because they think about solving problems. By speaking to the buyer who always wants a light nearby that can easily charge when they sit down at their computer, you automatically draw in your target audience. In this way, you draw them in naturally. All you have to do from there is get to know them.

3. Gather Data on Your Audience

Once you’ve established who has bought your products or service already and started talking in terms of benefits rather than features, it’s time to start gathering data. Start sending out questionnaires just like in step one. Give them every opportunity to tell you who they are and why they enjoy buying what you’re selling. People love to feel like they are being listened to, and this is your chance to show them that you’re listening.

4. Send Out Surveys

Some people like to receive surveys, some don’t, and some are indifferent. You can incentivize them to answer by offering deals, discounts, and recognition. Make it worth their while to share information. After all, good customer data is worth its weight in platinum.

5. Look for Trends in Customer Feedback

It could be that your particular target audience doesn’t like being probed for information by merchants. It would be nice to know this ahead of time, rather than rubbing them the wrong way with spam. Reading up on customer feedback trends will help. Find out what’s the most accepted way to reach out to customers. Is it by saying “hi” on social media? Is it via email

questionnaires? Or should you offer them space to leave a review on your website? (Hint: Yes, you should.)

6. Own Your Niche

As mentioned, the key to success is delivering value in a unique way. The more specific your niche, the more connected your audience will be to your brand. The more niche-focused you are, the more loyalty your audience will exhibit- and the more confident you can be that your messaging is on-point.

7. Know the Competition

Every general of every army in history has had a portrait of the enemy leader on his mantle. The simple lesson here is the importance of knowing your chief competitors. Know their value proposition, their unique service and offerings, and their target demographics. By knowing these things, you can take their successes as lessons, avoid their mistakes – and most importantly, you can avoid confusing their target audience with yours.

To learn more about finding the most in need of and most interested in what you sell, get in touch today. Our branding experts at StratGrow can help you find your voice, grow your online audience, and start getting those five-star reviews today!

How Apple’s iOS 14 Could Limit Your Marketing Efforts

Each year, the Apple computer company shares the most important updates and changes to products and policies at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC). Last year, the company announced that it would be making changes that will affect the sharing of data in the iOS ecosystem and admitted that these changes are likely to hinder small businesses’ advertising efforts and business growth.

The Effect on Personalized Ads

The changes the company proposed are expected to limit your ability to reach your audience and expand it. They could hinder your ability to reach users on different types of devices, and they may affect your ability to control who can and cannot see your ads. Finally, the changes might limit your ability to get accurate metrics on the performance of your ads. As these changes begin to take effect over the coming months, small and medium-sized businesses are likely to see performance losses in their ads and personalization with higher prices for changes and improvements.

Summary of Limitations

The changes to the iOS platform will limit your ability to perform the following actions:

  • Measure and report conversions on specific customers
  • Monitor the app installations of people using iOS 14 and newer
  • Deliver ads to users based on engagement with your business
  • Ensure that your ads reach the right audience at the correct times
  • Predict the cost per action over time for budgeting purposes

These changes will make it more challenging to reach your target audience and receive accurate metrics about the success of your advertising efforts. What’s more, they will make it difficult or impossible to budget an ad campaign using Apple products. Most small businesses have come to rely on this process, and removing that option will have a severe impact.

 

A Growing Trend of Limitation?

Recent online marketing studies have shown that small businesses advertising on Facebook apps suffered a 60% cut to sales coming through the social media site. These same small businesses found that they could not use their own data to find new customers on the platform.

At present, Facebook is posturing as the good guy in this story, offering users tips on minimizing the effects of these changes on Apple iOS. But the fact remains that small advertisers have been seeing a drop in Facebook ads’ effectiveness for a long time. You can do a few recommended things that might stabilize your Facebook advertising in the short term. Still, to survive the ongoing effects on small businesses, advertisers will need to outgrow their dependence on these platforms.

Things You Can do Now

1. Verify your domains with Facebook

An effective way of marking your spot on Facebook is to verify your domain and establish yourself as an official business presence. It might stop the changes from being directly applied to you in the short term. You can do this by adding a TXT entry to your DNS record and confirm that you are the owner of a specific domain. You can also do this by adding a meta tag to the head section of your domain page.

2. Prioritize the eight conversion event types you will track

These are ways in which a would-be buyer becomes an actual buyer. Tracking each one can place an additional burden on the hardware infrastructure, and the owners of that hardware want to minimize that burden. To do this, go to Facebook’s official overview of events. Use this guide to choose the events you will track.

3. Retool for the new 7-Day Attribution

In January, Facebook changed its 28-day attribution for ads to a 7-day attribution. Facebook didn’t do a very good job telling users about it, and the site’s page on it appears to have been deleted. This means that if anyone clicks on an ad and makes a purchase within seven days, as a result, the owner of the ad will get credit or commissions.

In other words, if you make money by posting ads for other companies, your window of opportunity to make money has gone from 28 days to just seven. This means that you might need to scale up your efforts. The worst part is that Facebook neglected to tell Ads clients about the change effectively. If you think your business model can survive it, then it’s time to start making the necessary alterations. If not, it might be time to jump ship altogether.

Understanding These Changes

There’s no getting around the fact that competition has something to do with it. Major corporations lobby Washington to promote a legislation climate that benefits them. They also use their power, money, and influence to promote a software environment that’s good for them- and usually bad for you. In addition to this, as stated, the hardware infrastructures that these companies like Facebook and Apple must run and maintain are burdened by every byte of power and choice they give you. That means they will always feel pressure to curtail that power.

But there are other things you can do about it, in addition to politely asking Facebook not to bulldoze your digital home.

Additional Action You Can Take to Protect Your Online Business

The way of the future for small businesses online is to seek to be as independent as possible. To survive, merchants will need to build their own platforms, develop a direct relationship with their customer bases and fans, and use aggressive security protocols to keep the tech giants from blocking out their digital sunlight. Here are a few key ways you can do this:

1. Build strategic alliances with innovative data products

Products like data clean rooms can give you access to event-specific data that you can use to optimize your advertising strategy. Of course, you should also be using a VPN, which can be very affordable.

2. Seek out alternatives to cookie tracking

You’ve probably noticed that cookies are being pushed on users all over the internet. The scripts for these things are written by organizations that may not have your best interest in mind. But you can use email log-ins to track users and phone numbers instead.

Increasingly, as marketers become savvy to these kinds of artificial bottle-neck creations, they will require users to log in to their sites more and more. It’s inconvenient, sure. But it’s one way we can protect our ability to do business online.

3. Develop value exchange strategies

The large corporations that are vacuuming up everyone’s data don’t want to pay for it. You can offer your customers discounts and rewards in exchange for their user data while on your site. This is a much more democratic approach, and it shows your respect for your customer base.

To learn more about how to protect your business amid these sea changes, consult with us at Strategic Growth Advisors today. We can help you get the most out of Facebook Ads and Facebook Marketing today and help you survive the challenges of doing business online over the long term.

Design Rush’s Top Tucson Web Design  Companies

For years, DesignRush has proudly served as a trusted guide, helping brands connect with the best professional agencies that they need to generate the results that they deserve. Since its inception, BrandRush has always analyzed and ranked hundreds of different agencies all in an effort to connect users with the web design companies and digital marketing experts to take their messaging to the widest audience possible. 

The industry-savvy experts at DesignRush also compile ongoing rankings of the best web design companies in specific areas, all to help as many organizations as possible find the best collaborator for their business. That’s a big part of the reason why the team at StratGrow are proud to announce that DesignRush has selected them as one of the top digital marketing Arizona providers operating in Tucson and the surrounding areas. 

DesignRush and StratGrow: A Perfect Pairing 

Part of the reason why this ranking is so important is because since its inception, StratGrow has always seen itself as more than just another web design Arizona provider. We’re a true growth agency in every sense of the term – one that helps clients who are seeking to aggressively grow revenues and profits succeed on the largest scale possible. business partner in every sense of the term – one that is every bit as devoted to the success of our clients as they are. Every last member of the StratGrow team has decades of combined experience between them, having successfully operated, grown, bought, and even sold companies. 

That’s also a reason why we’re able to see the “bigger picture” that most other providers miss. If you truly want to grow aggressively, you need to think about more than just visually pleasing website design. You also need to account for factors like SEO, social media, digital content, and much, much more. Lucky for our customers, we’re experts in the field and can help expand their reach, build their brands and attract more customers than ever – all at the exact same time. 

Given the fact that the team at DesignRush are experts in the field themselves, being named as one of the Top Tucson Web Design Companies is a true honor. It’s also a sign that Stratgrow’s care, commitment, and attention-to-detail have been more than worth the effort to this point – and that is the type of progress that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon. 

About Leamon Crooms 

Leamon Crooms is the CEO and Founder of Strategic Growth Advisors, LLC. Since originally opening their doors in 2003, Crooms and his team have been proud of the way they’ve been able to disrupt traditional marketing at every opportunity by developing and implementing far more effective solutions for their clients in the fast-paced digital world that we’re now living in. Prior to founding Strategic Growth Advisors, Crooms’ long and storied career saw him lend his expertise to such organizations as Wells Fargo Bank as a retail and commercial banker and Providence Service Corporation as their Chief Strategy Officer in charge of all M&A activities. 

How to Use Emails to Increase Your Conversion Rate

Email is both cost-effective and easily accessible, making it an excellent choice for businesses that want to convert prospects to sales. But because the playing field is leveled, it also makes it one of the most competitive types of marketing you can use. If you’re not having much luck with your campaigns, it might be because you’re getting lost in the crowd. Strategic Growth Advisors is here to give a few tips to help you stand out.

The Basics of Email

At every step of the way, there should be some degree of a strategy employed. Email marketing begins with what address you’re sending from. (In other words, what appears in the ‘From’ section of your email.) If you have a recognizable, trustworthy name, it can make for a good first impression.

From there, it comes down to what message you want to convey to your reader. For instance, some companies prefer to send emails from an individual’s name rather than from a corporate name. This can personalize the email and make the recipient feel like someone is reaching out to them specifically. Whatever you settle on, make sure you’re using a dedicated email ID so there’s no confusion.

When you’re crafting a subject line, the goal is to make it eye-catching for the recipient. This could involve using keywords for some companies, essentially telling the person exactly what they’ll get if they click on the email.

Other companies might approach from a mystery angle, though, enticing a prospect by creating a bit of intrigue. For instance, telling the customer about a special promo code created just for them. As with your ‘from’ name, you can choose to personalize the subject line by including the person’s first name somewhere in the subject code.

Content Is (Still) King for Conversions

Content remains a key factor for turning your prospects into sales. Here are several things to consider when planning the content for conversions:

  1. Showcase your brand: Is the company fun and fresh? Practical? A little of both? Whatever your brand is, you’ll want to show it off in every one of your emails.
  2. Single topic: It can be exciting to update a recipient on all the new things you’re doing, but you’re better off keeping it simple.
  3. Design time: Giving your email a distinctive and interesting look can mesmerize your customer’s attention and help your message ‘stick.’

Remember that the reader won’t have all day to look at your email, so you should ideally cut straight to the chase. What can you offer them and why should they care? Graphics, colors, and clever wording can certainly help, but the idea is to make them decorative components only.

Segmented Lists

Segmented email lists can be a game-changer for your email conversion rates because they take into account who exactly is reading the email. The major trend in marketing is to have a 1:1 experience. In other words, the email is more like a friend is updating you than a company.

For instance, let’s say you’re a retailer who markets toys to both children and collectors. If you were going to email a parent of a 10-year-old, they would be looking for very different information than a childless adult who wants to find a final toy to complete a set.

You can use automated tools where you can create your own rules for each campaign. For instance, a B2B company might segment its lists based on the size of the business. This way, a small business owner isn’t being asked to spend their entire supply budget on a piece of expensive equipment.

Other segmentation categories include:

  1. Source of lead: Has your lead come from a referral? A website? A social media post? Tailoring your email based on where the person found you can be a surprisingly effective way to connect with them.
  2. Location: Where a person lives can have a lot to do with what they need and how they feel about your email. From geographical factors (e.g. coastal, inland, etc.) to lifestyle preferences, you can give recipients more by taking into account their individual needs.
  3. Funnel: A customer who is three steps into the buying process will need something very different than someone who’s never heard of your company. Before you make assumptions, segmenting based on the sales funnel can help you find the sweet spot no matter who you’re talking to.

Measure Your Metrics

Your email campaigns won’t get any better unless you measure the qualified leads and revenue per email. How many people are signing up for premium services? Which segments are ignoring your messages? A well-designed campaign will keep track of how many emails are sent, what kind of response you’re getting, and whether that response has your desired distribution.

When you have a targeted ROI, and you can measure the reality against the objective. This makes it easier to understand what’s possible based on everything from your segments to your position in the market.

When you’re studying your metrics, keep in mind that an email campaign isn’t necessarily a failure if you don’t hit your total goals. Some businesses may start with unrealistic expectations. The best thing that you can do is work to improve each new attempt, watch the feedback, and then adjust when needed.

Strategic Growth Partners on Conversion

StratGrow has seen plenty of businesses fall flat on their campaigns, and not necessarily from a lack of effort. The communication might be picture-perfect, but the packaging may need to change in some way. Sometimes it’s as simple as tweaking the automation features of each campaign to boost the response. For instance, adding a new segment to reach that 1:1 marketing that every company strives for. If you want to increase your conversion rates by email, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more about what it means to excel at email.

What is Social Media? Why Is It Beneficial to Marketing?

Social media is such a complicated concept these days. With new apps springing up constantly and well-known apps stealing headlines, it’s overwhelming to really sit down and tease out what you need to know. Before you get too overwhelmed, we’ll look at the basics of social media, what it is, and why it’s so helpful for marketers.

What Is Social Media?

You can think of social media as content creation on a widely accessible platform. This content is ultimately posted to drive engagement and encourage sharing. So this might refer to a teenager sharing photos of a vacation to her friends or a company posting a new product demonstration.

Part of the reason why social media has been complex for many marketers to master is that options are endless. Not only do strategies have to change based on the customers you serve and the industry you’re in, but also the kind of platform you’re using. LinkedIn users might want longer content, while Facebook users want videos. Instagram users click off immediately if your photos aren’t perfect.

The Power of Viral Content

Every marketer wants their content to go viral, even if they know they’re up against the stiff competition. The good news is that the numbers are in your favor. Facebook has 1.6 billion users alone, or close to one in every four people on the planet.

If you don’t feel like you fit in on Facebook, there are 200 other platforms to consider. Some marketers will find that they only need their content to go viral within a small community. Their demographic may not be millions of people, but they have a strong base and enough brand recognition to make an impact.

A smaller or specialty platform can be precisely what you need to branch out and make your mark. This way, you don’t be swallowed up in the noise of the big names.

What Is It So Beneficial to Marketing?

The truth of the matter is that social media isn’t always beneficial to marketing. Without the right approach, your brand can get lost. You even run the risk of alienating the very customer you were trying to attract.

Used correctly, though, you’re engaging with customers instead of talking to them. You’re asking them to get involved in the conversation so they have a stronger connection to the product or service you offer. In a world of start-ups and powerhouses alike all trying to compete for attention, it’s easy to lose sight of what real loyalty looks like.

When a customer chooses your company based on your values rather than price or celebrity endorsement, the purchase becomes more meaningful on both sides of the equation. This kind of engagement is what social media marketing is ultimately trying to foster.

How to Get Started on Social Media

We recommend getting started on the most well-known platforms, at least at first. Yes, you can have more success on niche social media, but you should at least establish yourself on Facebook and Twitter before you think about moving on.

Your next step is to think about content and how you want to present that content to your audience. A TikTok post will be largely video-focused, but you can still introduce your company with words. Whether it’s a tweet on Twitter or a pin on Pinterest, you should have a focus behind anything that you post.

Context and Content

The context behind your content is said to be more important than the actual content. Twitter is known as a microblogging platform in that you’re limited to how much you can say. If you try to treat it like a regular blog, though, you’ll end up losing your audience quickly.

Hashtags can actually be a great way to jump in on trending topics, particularly if you’re in an industry that depends on the news to drive your business. For instance, financial companies can tag their content with the latest market news (e.g., #DOWFAIL, etc.) to promote interest in the business.

The Currency of Social Media

Shares are known as currency in social media because it’s the metric of your content. Are people interested in what your company has to say? Do they want to share it with a friend? Click-throughs are great; there’s no doubt about that. However, shares are a real way for you to understand your engagement on a deeper level.

Marketing Trends to Know

The most important thing to know about social media trends is that they can change at any time. This is frustrating to marketers who don’t have endless hours in a day to get their questions answered.

On a basic level, though, consider the effect of ad spends as a serious trend. Now that so many people are on these platforms, it’s encouraged companies to pay to promote. This has made it difficult for companies to grow organically.

This is not to say that you can’t grow your following without sponsoring a page for cash upfront, only that it’s less likely you’ll be able to now as opposed to 10 years ago.

Another trend is that technology is making it easier to merge different channels. For instance, you might have an e-commerce store that sends out reminders to customers who didn’t complete a purchase. Instead of sending that communication through email, you can instead use Facebook Messenger as a different or additional method. There’s also a merging of different kinds of marketing tools. For instance, MailChimp users can create Facebook ads from their MailChimp accounts.

Taking the Cake

There is a certain degree of experimentation across social media. However, there are ways that you can cut down on the time (and money) you spend trying to perfect your strategy. Stratgrow has helped countless companies refine their approach and improve their reach. We always aim for the quality of followers, not quantity. To get more people on board with your brand, contact us today to learn more about what we can do.

How To Start with Video Marketing

According to one recent study reported by Forbes, more than 82% of all content that people consume online will be video-based by as soon as 2022. If you needed one statistic to help underline the importance of your video marketing campaign, let it be that one.

All told, video marketing brings with it a host of unique benefits that can’t be ignored. Human beings are visual learners, and they tend to have an easier time understanding even complicated topics when presented visually. Likewise, the video itself offers intimacy and an urgency that text alone can never match.

It’s also beneficial, especially these days. Another recent study from Wyzowl.com indicated that about 84% of video marketers say video has helped them increase leads. 87% of video marketers say that video content, in general, gives them a solid return on investment.

But at the same time, there’s something of a learning curve involved in video marketing. If you’re new to this world, you’re bound to make some mistakes – and that might cost you.

Thankfully, putting together a successful video marketing campaign isn’t as difficult as you might think. It would be best if you kept a few key things in mind along the way.

1. Video Marketing Starts With a Plan

By far, the most important thing to understand about your video marketing campaign is that it must be purpose-driven.

This means that you need a plan before you even think about creating content.

What exactly do you need your video marketing campaign to do? Are you trying to increase sales? Generate leads? Increase website traffic? How are you going to track your progress to know what is working and what isn’t?

These are all the types of questions you need to answer before getting started on the content itself.

Based on these unique objectives, you can create the type of content that is laser-focused on those goals. All goals should be specific, achievable (meaning realistic), and trackable for the best results.

Don’t just start creating content, and hope you start to see results, as it will rarely go the way you think it will.

2. Rely on What You’re Familiar With

Once you know what you need your campaign to do, you can get started thinking about the types of content you’ll need to create.

Educational videos may be a good fit for your audience, for example. They include actionable steps (like in how-to videos) or are thought leadership pieces that offer advice and insight that your customers can use.

Inspirational videos are motivational pieces designed to energize your viewers.

Entertaining videos can be funny or heartwarming, but they’re designed to get people to look into your brand further.

When creating video content, try to start using it as an extension of the content you’re already creating. If your website’s blog is filled mostly with educational pieces, for example, you would want to start making educational videos, too.

You can always branch out later, but you should always start with what you’re familiar with if you’re unsure where to begin.

3. Create, Create, Create

Next comes the fun part – you get to start creating the video content that will fuel your campaign.

For each video, try to come up with relevant topics to the people who make up your “ideal” target audience. What do these people like? What do they not like? What questions do they have that you can answer? What problems do they have that you can help solve?

Don’t just create videos for the sake of it. Create them because you’re addressing one of those factors outlined above. Beyond that, try to create as much high-quality, relevant content as you can. The key to success in terms of a video marketing campaign is consistency above all else. Likewise, creating a lot of video content means you’ll only get better over time. Each video will show a meaningful quality improvement over the last.

4. Don’t Forget About Search

While you create your video content, don’t forget to make sure each piece is optimized for search. Your video title, for example, will help determine your ranking on sites like YouTube. This, along with your video’s description section, should incorporate keywords and other SEO techniques to help increase visibility as much as possible.

Resist the urge to keyword stuff, obviously, but don’t throw out SEO completely just because you’re working in a new format. Likewise, make sure that your descriptions accurately explain what your video is to increase click-through rates.

5. Harnessing the Power of Influencers

Another great way to empower your video marketing campaign involves teaming up with influencers to expand your reach. Influencers are exactly what they sound like: those “Internet celebrities” who people in your target audience are already paying attention to.

Maybe they run a successful industry blog, or they have a popular interview show on YouTube. It doesn’t matter. Teaming up with them means that your message is exposed to their audience. This can help expand your reach beyond what you may be initially capable of on your own.

A word of caution, however. Always choose your influencers carefully. If your brand appeals to families, don’t try to build a relationship with someone who is very controversial.

Likewise, make sure you communicate with your influencers and let them inform you about the type of content you should both be working on.

6. Tap Into the Potential of Ads

Finally, understand that both organic and paid traffic will be the key to your video marketing success. On the paid side of the conversation, always use targeting metrics on platforms like Facebook Ads to your advantage.

Rather than going after the biggest possible audience, you need to go after the most precise one. Use the included tools to target people based on factors like age, gender, location, and more.

In other words, target the types of people who are most likely to become one of your customers in the first place. Use the information you have about your existing audiences to build “look-alike” audiences to target.

Yes, this will help you get your video content in front of people who are more likely to enjoy it. But it will also dramatically increase your return on investment, which is the most crucial goal of all.

 

About Leamon Crooms

Leamon Crooms is the CEO and Founder of Strategic Growth Advisors, LLC. For nearly 30 years, he has helped small and large companies with strategic advice, debt financing, company sales, mergers, and acquisitions.

Benefits of Retargeting Ads Through Facebook

Are you looking to maximize the effectiveness of your social media marketing strategy? If so, then it may be time to explore ad retargeting. At Strategic Growth Advisors, social media ad retargeting is one of many marketing services we’re happy to offer. By having a better understanding of what it means to retarget Facebook ads and the many benefits of doing so, you can begin reaping the benefits for your own business.

What Does Retargeting Ads Mean?

Let’s say a prospective customer visited your website and was exposed to an advertisement. Still, that same user navigated away from your site without interacting with the ad. When you retarget an advertisement for Facebook, you can essentially use tracking cookies from that same user’s device to present the same ad to them again on their social media feed.

The goal here is to recapture your potential customer’s attention with the retargeted ad and possibly get them to click on it and navigate back to your website.

Benefits of Retargeting Ads Through Facebook

Setting up ad retargeting on a social media platform like Facebook can be a great use of your brand’s marketing dollars. In fact, there are many specific benefits of retargeting ads through Facebook.

For starters, if a user has navigated away from your website before making a purchase, a retargeted ad can be a great way to recapture their attention. This can also give you another opportunity to complete the sale—especially if you use the retargeted ad to display products that the target customer was already browsing on your site.

Facebook ad retargeting can also be an effective way to build brand loyalty. This is because ad retargeting can be used to display new products and services to your existing customer base, even if they haven’t visited your website anytime recently.

Finally, Facebook ad retargeting is easily customizable so that you can set up the metrics you desire to capture your audience’s attention.

Get Help From a Tucson Digital Marketing Team

As you can see, there are many reasons to consider using Facebook ad retargeting to convert leads and build loyalty to your brand among existing customers. The key is knowing how to make the most effective use of Facebook retargeted ads to accomplish your marketing goals.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by navigating Facebook’s advertising platform, you may want to reach out to a team of Tucson digital marketing professionals for guidance. At Strategic Growth Advisors, we have years of experience with all aspects of digital marketing in Tucson; this includes Facebook ad retargeting and general social media marketing.

Ready to find out more about our ad retargeting services or any other digital marketing services that Strategic Growth Advisors has to offer? We encourage you to reach out to our team today; we’d be happy to discuss your brand’s marketing goals and create a plan to help you achieve those goals with help from our experienced, knowledgeable, and resourceful team.

Why Video is So Important For Your Business and Website

Are you looking to make the most of your digital marketing efforts? If you’re not already incorporating video into your website and social media posts, you could be missing out. At Strategic Growth Advisors, we frequently see first-hand what a difference the right video content can make with our digital marketing Tucson clients.

It Can Boost Your SEO Efforts

First of all, adding video content to your business website can improve your search engine rankings. That’s because video content tends to keep visitors on your site for a more extended period of time. Time spent on a page is an important metric tracked by search engines like Google; the longer visitors stay on your site, the better this is for your search engine rankings.

It Engages Your Viewers

Video is also a great way to create visual interest on your site and break up large blocks of text or other content. This is important because today’s website visitors generally don’t want to read through a huge wall of text to get the information they need. Instead, they prefer short and easily digestible video content for this purpose. When you have great video content available, your site is more engaging and exciting to your visitors.

It’s Easily Shareable

When you create a truly unique and interesting video that resonates with your audience, you’re also more likely to score those coveted shares on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Compared to straight text, video content lends itself to easier sharing on social media. This, in turn, can help you spread the word about your business and increase overall awareness of your brand. It’s also easy to add “share” buttons to most video content that makes it even easier for users to spread the word on their favorite social media platforms.

It Offers an Excellent ROI

When it comes to digital marketing strategies, video content offers one of the best returns on investment of any other media. While specific ROI can vary from one campaign to the next, it is relatively easy for businesses to track their returns on each video to determine what’s working versus what’s not. From there, businesses can refine their video marketing strategies to optimize their budgets.

It’s Mobile-Friendly

With more people using mobile devices to browse the web than ever before, it’s important for your website’s content to be mobile-friendly. Fortunately, video content is very appealing to a growing audience of mobile users—and this trend is likely to continue indefinitely as more people use their smartphones and other mobile devices for everyday browsing.

Get help with your digital marketing Tucson ready to start implementing video as part of your digital marketing strategy? Our team at Strategic Growth Advisors is here to help. We have the tools, experience, and resources to create quality video content that will grow your brand. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help your business!

Leamon Crooms III of Strategic Growth Advisors, LLC accepted into Forbes Agency Council

Press Release for Member Distribution

Leamon Crooms III of Strategic Growth Advisors, LLC accepted into Forbes Agency Council

Forbes Agency Council is an Invitation-Only Community for Executives in Successful Public Relations, Media Strategy, Creative, and Advertising Agencies

Tucson, AZ January 7th, 2021 Leamon Crooms III of Strategic Growth Advisors, LLC. Strategic Growth Advisors LLC (StratGrow™) is a Growth Agency that works with clients seeking to aggressively grow revenues and profits. We work with clients to develop and execute custom growth strategies in the areas of digital marketing, brand development, lead generation, and exit planning, has been accepted into Forbes Agency Council, an invitation-only community for owners of and executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative, and advertising agencies. 

Leamon Crooms III was vetted and selected by a review committee based on the depth and diversity of his experience. Criteria for acceptance include a track record of successfully impacting business growth metrics, as well as personal and professional achievements and honors.

“We are honored to welcome Leamon Crooms III into the community,” said Scott Gerber, founder of Forbes Councils, the collective that includes Forbes Agency Council. “Our mission with Forbes Councils is to bring together proven leaders from every industry, creating a curated, social capital-driven network that helps every member grow professionally and make an even greater impact on the business world.”

As an accepted member of the Council, Leamon has access to a variety of exclusive opportunities designed to help him reach peak professional influence. He will connect and collaborate with other respected local leaders in a private forum. Leamon will also be invited to work with a professional editorial team to share his expert insights in original business articles on Forbes and to contribute to published Q&A panels alongside other experts.

Finally, Leamon Crooms III will benefit from exclusive access to vetted business service partners, membership-branded marketing collateral, and the high-touch support of the Forbes Councils member concierge team.

“We are pleased and excited to be accepted as a Forbes Agency Council member. We are looking forward to contributing to the community and continuing to lead the digital marketing industry as it continues to evolve.”

About Forbes Councils

Forbes Councils is a collective of invitation-only communities created in partnership with Forbes and the expert community builders who founded the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). In Forbes Councils, exceptional business owners and leaders come together with the people and resources that can help them thrive.

For more information about Forbes Agency Council, visit forbesagencycouncil.com. To learn more about Forbes Councils, visit forbescouncils.com.

Strategic Growth Advisors LLC (StratGrow™) is a Growth Agency that works with clients seeking to aggressively grow revenues and profits. We work with clients to develop and execute custom growth strategies in the areas of digital marketing, brand development, lead generation, and exit planning.

Leamon Crooms III of Strategic Growth Advisors, LLC (www.stratgrow.com).
Contact us at: info@stratgrow.com

Benefits of Revamping Your Website in the New Year

As we welcome a new year, this is also a good time for many businesses to reflect on their performance over the past year and set new goals for the future. It’s also a great time to consider a total website redesign—mainly if it’s been a few years (or more) since your site last saw a significant overhaul. At Strategic Growth Advisors, our team is here to help with every step of designing and launching your new website!

So, what are some of the benefits of a website revamp in 2021?

New Year, New You

The start of a new year is a great time to redesign your website because it can show your visitors that your brand is committed to growing and improving rather than staying stagnant. Along with the launch of your new website, you might even consider posting a blog and/or social media post detailing why you revamped your website and how you hope the improved design will benefit your visitors.

A website redesign is also an excellent opportunity for you to refresh your business branding by implementing a new logo, new colors, and an overall fresh design. This, in turn, can make your brand more relatable to your audience.

Optimize For Mobile

If your existing site isn’t already optimized for viewing and use on mobile devices, your brand could be missing out. That’s because, as of 2020, mobile accounts for nearly half of the world’s web traffic. If your site isn’t easy to view and navigate on a mobile device, frustrated visitors may be leaving your site (and not coming back).

By revamping your site in the new year, you can focus on creating a responsive and mobile-friendly design that will bring in more visitors and possibly improve your search engine optimization (SEO) outcomes in the process.

person typing code on a laptop

Improve Navigation and User Experience

When was the last time you conducted any usability testing on your website? If it’s been a while or if you’ve never done usability testing on your site, there are probably some major improvements that need to be made. This might include reworking your site’s navigation to make it easier for your visitors to find the information they need.

When a site is user-friendly, your visitors will typically spend more time on your site. This, in turn, improves your ratings/scores with search engine algorithms (like Google’s). A website redesign is a great opportunity for you to run some user testing and figure out where you can improve your navigation and overall user experience!

Get Started With Your New Website Design!

There are plenty of reasons to consider redesigning your website this year. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of carrying out a website redesign, though, that’s okay! Our team at StratGrow is here to help. We can assist with every step of the process. From the early brainstorming stages to design, launch, and marketing, our professional and knowledgeable team has you covered. Get in touch with us today to get started.

Phishing Scam | Don’t Let This Photographer Scam Fool You

At Strategic Growth Advisors, we recently read about an email scam that’s going around. While we’re not an IT or cybersecurity company, we do want to pass on safety tips when we hear of something that can be dangerous for our readers and their businesses. This phishing scam comes to you in the form of an email that claims to be from a photographer. Of course, like all scams, that is not at all the truth.

Fake Photographer Email Scam

There are a few versions of this scam being used. Often it comes from a woman, but the scammers can easily change the names they use. The email claims that they are a licensed or “qualified” photographer. Both of those phrases are tip-offs that it’s a scam because they’re not legitimate credentials.

The email goes on to explain that you have stolen their images. The email often comes through the contact form on your website. It might also be sent to the email account you have attached to your website. The scammer here is using websites to find their victims.

The basic story is that you have used their images illegally. The email includes a link as “proof” that they own the images. That link is a phishing scam. Do not click that link because it will upload a virus onto your computer.

person sitting at laptop browsing online

How to Tell the Email Is Fake

This particular email scam has all the easy tells of phishing. The language is grammatically incorrect. It’s most likely not written by a native English speaker. They use phrases to sound impressive that aren’t real qualifications or that do not mean anything with regard to photography. They may also claim to own a site that they do not own. In one email we know of, they claimed to own Shutterstock. They also misspell words, like “domain”.

All of those tells make it easy to spot a fake. But we don’t want you to rely on those tells alone. Email scams evolve. The hackers get better. They realize that their scam isn’t working or isn’t working as well as it should. So they improve the email.

We’ve all seen some pretty convincing phishing scams. They use company logos and language that sounds authentic. There are a ton of them. And they’re only getting more common right now. Hackers and scammers are very busy trying to take advantage of the pandemic and opportunities it’s brought for them.

For you, the best rule is to never click a link in an email unless you’re 100% positive that the link is genuine. No exceptions.

The phishing scam can evolve to include any number of messages to try to get you to take action. If you want to check the validity of a claim that comes via email, you should always look up the pertinent information independently.

This email was obviously a scam. But if this was a legitimate email, that photographer would send you a DCMA Take Down Notice. If that was the case, you can file a counter-claim if the image legally belongs to you.

Looking for someone to advise you in your company’s efforts online? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help support and grow your business.

2020 Digital Marketing Trends for the Holiday Season

Every year, businesses pay special attention to holiday marketing trends because so much of the yearly revenue revolves around the season. The 2020 digital marketing trends will be something completely different from any year we’ve experienced before. It’s difficult to say exactly how things will go. But there are some pretty big clues that businesses and marketers should pay attention to in order to prepare and come out on top.

This year, more than any other, your customer base has had some life-altering changes. Their lives look different during a pandemic than they ever have before. One of the best pieces of advice is to strive for personalization and a feeling of normalcy. Your customers will be looking for new ways to engage because their old ways are not currently an option.

 

Top Digital Marketing Trends for the 2020 Holiday Season

  • Make an Effort to Personalize. People are craving interaction today. When you make an effort to really communicate on a personal level with your customer base, they will appreciate it.
  • Tailor Your Offerings. For many businesses, there are ways to tailor or change their offerings to better serve the market right now. People can’t go to large gatherings or have their normal entertainment options. Can you find some way to fill those gaps with an alternative for them?
  • Online Sales Need to Be Early. This is a big one. Shipping and delivery is hampered because so many people are shopping online. Make sure that you’re getting ahead of this curve by proactively watching the shipping and delivery timeline and letting your customers know their best options in advance.
  • Use New Communication to Amplify Your Message. People are keeping in contact virtually. They use zoom and facetime and other options to get together without meeting in person. Can you creatively tap into this trend? Staying current will help make your messages appear more conversational and relatable.
  • Bring Back Nostalgia. Do you remember the days when companies sent holiday gifts and cards to their customers? It’s been a while but now is the perfect time to bring back this concept. If you have a real-world mailing list, send out personalized cards to thank customers for their business this year. Another option that goes a long way – include a handwritten thank you with items that you ship to customers this holiday season.

Social media and email campaigns are also exceptionally good digital campaign methods to help amplify your message. That’s not a trend as much as it is a digital marketing staple. The real pivot this year will be in finding ways to help customers create special holiday environments under the current circumstances. Offer valuable advice on ways to spend time with family and friends, whether virtually or in small groups. Look for ways to showcase your existing offerings and find ways to expand your offerings to meet current needs, where possible.

This holiday season promises to be challenging for businesses and customers alike. Taking a creative approach will make your company more memorable than a lot of the digital noise out there.

 

Social Media Branding and the Naked Storefront

Imagine, for a moment, a physical store that opted out of placing any sort of sign out front. Potential clients would be unable to find the store’s location easily, and pedestrians would largely ignore the unmarked door, minimizing foot traffic. It would be an unwise move for any physical store to make, yet some e-commerce merchants – as well as “hybrid” bricks-and-clicks stores – do exactly that by neglecting their social media presence.

In a world that has undeniably gone digital, it’s more important than ever to put out a “storefront sign” in the form of social media branding. Doing so not only passively introduces your company to potential clientele it also serves as a beacon for current customers to interact and connect with your company through digital media. Still on the fence about going all-in on posts, tweets, and snaps? Here are three crucial reasons you should be going all-in on social media branding:

It allows you (to an extent) to control the conversation.

People with problems take to social media these days, even on the smallest of complaints – think of it as word-of-mouth on steroids. If you aren’t already on social media and active enough to pick up on these complaints, these customers essentially have free reign to steer the narrative. It’s hard to argue with claims that you’re not an unresponsive or uncaring company when you aren’t even part of the conversation. If, on the other hand, you respond promptly with an invitation to take it to private messages (out of the all-seeing, all-scrutinizing public eye), you’ve instantly established that you’re willing to listen and help.

It gives you unprecedented insight into your customers.

If you had offered a company in the mid-90s a chance to eavesdrop on nearly every conversation being had about their brand, they would have mortgaged their headquarters to get access. These days, the information and access are free – or, if you’re using tools, affordable – for the taking, but far too few companies take advantage of it. A daily search for “Your Company Name” or “#CompanyName” has volumes of insights to share. You don’t, after all, want to find out the hard way that the playful brand acronym you’ve been using for a week is shared with a socially reviled political stance. Of course, the other side of the beneficial coin is that you can also keep tabs on your competition and mimic moves that work.

social media marketing

It offers both brand legitimacy and vitality.

Any company can put out a periodic marketing email, but an active and engaging brand on social media tells a different and more flattering story. A social media-engaged company that is available for questions is one available for problems and help, which builds consumer confidence in products and services. Applying for – and receiving – the iconic blue “verified” checkmark on platforms like Facebook and Twitter also increases the impact of consumer trust and message resonance, as users can instantly verify your posts as brand legitimate. It’s also an excellent opportunity to share digital media, such as short videos taken “behind the scenes” or photo collages of upcoming promotions.

As a final note, remember that simply being present on social media platforms isn’t enough – any more than standing silently behind a counter and refusing to help customers would be. Engage with your customers as a brand, always take the high road, and keep your eyes and ears open for marketing suggestions and opportunities. Do it right, and it’s like having a huge, well-lit, and custom-made sign affixed squarely above your storefront for all to see.

Want help with your social media branding? StratGrow is a digital marketing agency that gets results. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business successfully strategize your social media.

The Lighthouse Effect: Site Visibility Through Smart SEO

Your site is special to you and your existing audience. It’s unique, it has features that can’t be found elsewhere, and it’s ideally always improving. The trick to staying on “top of the pack” is convincing those outside your audience that your site is the place to be. To do that, your site needs to be a lighthouse in the storm – and that takes a combination of SEO tools and techniques to ensure your light glows brightly for all to see, even if there’s a “fog” of your competitors to cut through.

Building the Lighthouse: Keywords

SEO keywords on a tablet

Using the terms and phrases that your potential audience is searching for is a practice that’s the foundation of a high-converting website. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense: why would you go to a store that didn’t sell what you needed? Your on-page copy – the words that appear throughout your website pages – should always reflect the terms that are popular in your service sector or industry, as defined by searchers. Working with an agency is the most efficient route to discovering what these words and phrases are – the DIY approach can lead to accidental keyword stuffing. Remember, the words that you associate with your business may not be the ones your potential clients have in mind!

Powering the Lighthouse: Accessibility

Your website has to be ready to work no matter where it’s accessed to capture the most attention from your potential audience. That means double-checking to see how your site appears on a desktop in different browsers or on digital devices is a must. Whenever a digital “renovation” occurs, or you update written or visual content, be sure to do a quick scan across a few devices to make sure it appears correctly. If you’re working with an agency or team of site professionals, you should also work with them to ensure full site compliance with accessibility tools like screen reading programs for the blind and visually impaired.

Maintaining the Lighthouse: Backlinks

Backlinks

The internet was originally called the world wide web for a reason: one of the most important factors in search engine-ranking a site is its trustworthiness. The more high-quality sites that provide connections – backlinks – to a source site, the more trustworthy it is likely to be in the eyes of a search engine. Ensuring a robust and ever-growing network of backlinks requires proactive engagement with target sites – a task that may seem almost insurmountable to a small-to-medium business with an already endless to-do list. Thankfully, digital marketing agencies are ideally suited to take on this burden. These SEO experts leverage their considerable content networks and marketing playbooks to ensure plentiful backlinks in all the right places.

While visually appealing site design and interesting subject matter are also important, in order to get both, your audience has to find you first. Creating a lighthouse for your site through keywords, backlinks, accessibility, and other SEO considerations will keep traffic flowing to your shores perpetually.

Need help with your digital marketing? Contact our team at StratGrow today!

A Shot in the Arm: How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Changing Digital Marketing

Chat with a few business owners and you’ll find that the phrase “once things get back to normal” is a very common one for future digital marketing plans. However, as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic stretch on, that philosophy may lead to store closings instead of sales growth. Here’s why you can’t afford to wait, and why the “new normal” is coming fast:

Pandemic Shopping is Brisk

While it’s true that nationwide quarantines are keeping virtually everyone inside, that also means they’re eager to embrace digital services, goods, and experiences. UPS and other large shipping companies have reported “Christmas-like volumes” of packages zipping to doorsteps across the country as buyers eagerly click away.

So what does this mean for your business? Where buyers used to experience your store in person, they’re now experiencing everything online – and that’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, it means that standardizing your messaging, customer experience, and product presentation is easy. On the other hand, it means that a mistake could alienate hundreds of buyers at once, rather than a single disgruntled store visitor.

Pre-publication editing – for both grammar and cultural sensitivity – is more crucial than ever before in marketing. Tempers are high regarding certain concepts that might otherwise be seasonal norms for digital marketing: colds/flus/allergies, (not so) back to school, and physical closeness around the holidays, to name a few. Messaging needs to tread carefully. Businesses need to acknowledge the proverbial elephant in the room – there’s no getting around the fact that COVID-19 has changed virtually everything. At the same time, they also need to bear in mind that the same elephant may have trampled the reader’s loved one(s) or family member(s).

Email Marketing is Back in the Spotlight

 

Social media remains a daily constant, pandemic or no, and digital marketing should absolutely still incorporate it. However, the slew of depressing COVID-19 news and pre-election politics on those platforms have coined a unique term: doomscrolling. The feeling of being unable to look away from social media (think train wreck) yet needing to for one’s mental health has redirected attention to the inbox. What that means is that now’s the time to dust off your email subscription lists. Start committing to a regular newsletter – your audience can’t possibly get more captive. Email is also a great way to communicate how your business is continuing to operate mid-pandemic: curbside pickups, reservations, cleaning routines, and so on.

Shipping is Expanding Marketing Reach

Local content marketing is still important, but with more eyes than ever on e-commerce, smart businesses are cashing in across the country. While some businesses leaned on capturing neighborhood interest pre-COVID – say, through specific Tucson marketing for a local boutique – others are learning that if their product can be shipped, it’s open season.

If you’re hoping to jump in on this trend with your own products, be sure your content and messaging strategy is aligned. Working with a digital agency to create content will ensure that new potential customers – wherever they call home – have something of value to browse when they find your brand. How-to articles, comparison shopping guides, 101-style posts, and other value-added content will draw them in and keep them comfortably close to your checkout page, even post-pandemic.

Digital marketing has evolved in response to the pandemic, and in order to stay successful, so must the businesses that use it. Careful messaging, innovative approaches to customer attraction and consistent communication will help you weather the storm – as will a trusted marketing agency for your business.