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New AWG Text Platform

It’s been a year since I wrote the blog post “Why You Should Be Texting Your Customers,” so it’s time for an update! No, the numbers haven’t changed. Text messages have more than a 97% open rate and your messages are usually read within minutes. AWG retailers will now have the option to write and send their own text messages through our partnership with Media Solutions Corporation. If you’re already using the existing AWG text platform, we’ll be rolling you over to the MSC platform. Your texts will come from a new shortcode, and you can change your keyword if you’d like to. You’ll have the option to write and send texts blasts on your own, or you can continue to have your AWG Marketing Specialist take care of everything for you. What else is different? The new platform will cost retailers significantly less every month. Give us a call for more pricing details. What’s the point to texting your customers? First of all, customers who sign up WANT to hear from you, otherwise they wouldn’t sign up. They’re not…

A Millennial’s view of online grocery shopping

Online grocery shopping. You’ve been hearing about it for years, yet you haven’t seen it explode in popularity like you’ve been told. I’m starting to be convinced that moment is right around the corner. “I hate grocery shopping,” is a line I commonly hear from friends and family my age. “ I will definitely pay for the convenience of not having to spend time walking through the store.” A good friend lives within walking distance of a local AWG grocery store. Where does he get his groceries? At a Hy-Vee 15 minutes away from his residence. If he wants to pick up groceries on the way home from work, it’s still more than 10 minutes out of the way from his usual commute. He even passes one or two other AWG stores on his way. Why? Because he can shop online and pick up his groceries ready to go at the front door. Before we got married, my wife shopped for groceries when she knew she would be in the area of a store that offers online shopping. It was…

Keeping it Fresh – Content & how it affects your Google rankings

We commonly receive calls from retailers looking to improve their Google search rankings. One way you can help do that is to keep the content on your website, blog, and social media channels fresh. Just posting random links or recipes isn’t enough, though. You need to put some thought into what you’re posting, when you’re posting it, and who you’re posting it for. That’s all a part of your content strategy. At the November AMAKC lunch, Scott Schaper of Unravel shared his thoughts on why you need a content strategy and how to design your content. Search engines like Google love content, and they prefer real, trustworthy, and relevant content. But don’t think you’re creating content just for search engines, writing for search engines is really writing for your customers. You’re able to share your knowledge and expertise to your market (and to the search engines). Schaper laid out six steps to creating content: Ideation The first step to brainstorm ideas. What do your customers want to know? Let them see how things work behind the scenes. Answer commonly asked…

To blog or not to blog

So you’re thinking about starting a blog for your store. Good! It’s a great way to informally share your expertise about a variety of relevant topics with your audience.  A blog allows you to reach customers and potential customers with educational, informative, and even fun content. It’s a great central location for you to tell a story, and then share it via your multiple social media channels. Before starting, the first question you need to ask yourself is “Why do you want to start a blog?” Review your overall marketing goals, and your goals for the blog. A blog isn’t a great place to actively sell services or products. Rather, you’re looking to share information with your audience. While you’re not directly selling product, your blog posts will help build trust with your customers as you show your expertise. While you’re answering this question, you can brainstorm what kind of posts you’ll want to write. What do your customers and potential customers want to know? You can brag about an award your team recently won, tell a story about a…

So, how do I grow my email list if I shouldn’t purchase one?

At the 2016 emfluence email conference, there was a running joke throughout many of the presentations around the idea that it’s never a good idea to purchase email lists. http://i1103.photobucket.com/albums/g476/GreenBear135/tumblr_m9q9r9gVSk1r4wj0vo4_1280.gif We’ve mentioned it once or twice here on the AWG Marketing blog, but we’ve never suggested alternative methods for growing your email list. To remedy that, here are a few ways you can grow your list organically: Lightbox on your website Emfluence claimed at the conference they see a 400% increase in list growth through lightboxes placed on website homepages. What’s a lightbox? A simple pop-up that encourages the user to subscribe to your email list. Contact Us Page Include a link to subscribe on your website. Your “contact us” page is good spot for that. If people can send you a message on the contact us page, ask for their email and permission to send them marketing messages. Social Media Encourage your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers to sign up to receive your emails. If they like you on social, they are interested in hearing about what you have…

Situations when it’s okay to buy an email list

My colleague Sharlyn wrote a post about a year ago titled, “Why you shouldn’t buy an email list,” where she talks about the problems with purchased email lists. You should always look at these things from both sides, so I’ve compiled a lists of situations when it’s okay to buy an email list: Never One of the greatest advantages to email is that users opt-in because they want to hear from you. It’s not like printing a mailer and having it sent to an entire zip code, where the houses you reach, the better. There’s a solid chance that a good chunk of that purchased list includes email addresses that aren’t valid. (Even if they tell you that they’re verified.) In fact, our main email provider prohibits sending emails to purchased lists. Why? Email users can mark your messages as SPAM, which is not a canned meat product. Having your emails marked as spam can lead to the registrar blocking your domain name, which means your emails won’t be sent anymore. You do not want that. So when you’re tempted…

Why You Should Be Texting Your Customers

Customers Will See Your Message When your phone tells you that you have a text message, you look at it immediately, right? So do your customers. Text messages have more than a 97% open rate, meaning your messages are seen by nearly everyone they’re sent to. The same cannot be said for other forms of marketing communications They Want To Receive Your Message Customers have chosen to receive messages from you. They want to hear what you have to say or offer. Don’t pass up that opportunity. Reward Your Loyal Customers Your customers are more likely to be loyal if you reward them for being brand ambassadors. These customers will feel special with the exclusive deals they’re receiving, which makes them feel more connected to your brand. Drive Traffic to Your Store As someone is sitting in the office wondering what to make for dinner that night, their phone buzzes and it’s a text from your store offering a special deal on rotisserie chicken. Boom. Dinner plans have been made, and someone who might not have been to your store that…

Slowing Down to Enjoy the Shopping Experience

Maybe it’s time we change attitudes and perceptions about grocery shopping. As an increasing number of stores begin offering online ordering for easy pick up or delivery options, it’s obvious the industry is adapting to our on-the-go lifestyle. Many people want to get in, get out and get on with the lives. But a recent article in the Wall Street Journal suggests retail stores change that narrative, or at least offer ways to slow down shoppers. We’ve all heard that the slower you shop, the more you spend. Online shopping can take away from impulse purchases. So how do you slow down the shopping experience? Make your customers feel comfortable and give them an engaging experience. Offer samples, free coffee, cooking demonstrations, recipes for newer products like quinoa. As I’m grabbing quinoa off the shelf at the store, I’ve had multiple fellow shoppers ask me how to cook it. People want to learn new foods and recipes. Here’s your chance to help them out! It doesn’t feel like I’m slowing down my day if I’m enjoying myself or learning new…

Pay-Per-Click vs. Organic SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be quite intimidating for someone who doesn’t know much about the subject. Both Lisa and Cody have discussed “Why I Can’t Find My Website on Google” and “What You Need to Know about SEO” on the blog, which are great introductions to SEO.  A few members of our team recently attended a digital marketing summit at the KU School of Business, where we heard business consultant and SEO expert David Barnes share his insights on SEO, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Here some key insights from his presentation: The first thing to do before ever thinking about spending money on search is to make sure you have good content on your website. 300-500 words per page of in-depth information shows both users and search engines your expertise. Be specific. If you don’t mention your meat department on your website, you’re not going to show up in a Google search for it. Alright, now you have quality content on your website describing everything you offer. That may be enough to get your website to…

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

With everyone yelling their marketing messages all over the place, it’s become easy for customers to simply ignore it all.  To get their attention, you have to entertain them. How do you entertain them? Visually. Visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text, so in our world of short-attention spans, the phrase “a picture is worth 1,000 words,” has never been more true. There are plenty of ways to capture the attention of your current and potential customers using digital images. Instagram is a photo & video-sharing app that has more than 300 million users who are sharing images and videos with each other daily. Pinterest is another app with a heavy focus on visuals. It’s more than 70 million users share links to articles, websites, recipes, etc. with a heavy focus on images. Cara recently wrote a post about using Pinterest as a small business. YouTube has become one of the most popular websites in the world with it’s video sharing capabilities. Lisa recently talked about using YouTube on our blog. So how can you use these tools…