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Social Media Trends

I mentioned in a recent blog post that your social media plan “needs to adapt as the social landscape changes.” It’s helpful to know how changes and new trends might affect your strategy so you can determine if you need to course correct. Digital strategy shouldn’t be reviewed only once at your annual planning meeting. It should be an evergreen conversation to help you keep up-to-date on the tools and trends you can use to make your digital strategy as successful as possible. Here are some things I’ve noticed in the first few months of 2019: Using Stories to Tell Your Story Are you using Instagram and Facebook stories? The idea started with Snapchat, where you share an image or a short video that disappears after 24 hours. Both Instagram and Facebook have launched similar features on their platforms and they are steadily growing in popularity with users. Consider creating content that you can share across all areas of Facebook, including stories. Also consider using stories to help you create content that your customers will connect with more. Buffer suggests…

Feedback

A Case Study for Customer Surveys

Have you ever considered conducting a customer survey for business? You might think it would be a waste of your time but consider this statistic from Zendesk: “96% of consumers don’t bother to complain, making consumer surveys an excellent way for organizations to better understand their customers’ problems.” Instead of making assumptions or viewing your business from the owner or management perspective, go directly to the people who affect your bottom line: your customers. I’ve worked with several stores on crafting and maintaining customers service surveys for both their overall customer service and specifically for their online shopping programs. I used my experience working with these stores to develop a case study of how and why to create a customer service survey. To read the full case study, click HERE. Here is a quick summary of what I cover in the case study: When to Use Customer Surveys Consider running an ongoing general customer service survey so your customers always have the option to provide feedback. I highly recommend running a separate customer service survey for your online shopping program,…

Audience

Talking to Your Audience Instead of Yourself (IABC Summit Breakout Session Recap)

I recently attended the KC IABC Business Communicators Summit and one of the breakout sessions was called Talking to Your Audience (Instead of Yourself), presented by Priya Nibert, (communications consultant, Lockton Benefit Group). While the session was directed at business communicators, it’s an important lesson for businesses, in general, when planning marketing strategy. Don’t prioritize communication over the message to the audience. One size fits all communication never works.   Nibert emphasized that connecting to your audience is the key to communicating to your audience. Stop talking to yourself and prioritize the audience, message, and vehicle. Start by asking yourself the following questions: What’s in it for the audience? Is your message clear? What is the best way to deliver that message? First, start with your audience. Determine who they are and get to know them. You can do this a number of ways. An easy way is to pull demographic data from digital platforms like your social media accounts and your website. You can also conduct a customer survey. For grocery retailers, don’t make assumptions based on a limited…

GKC-PRSA SEO word cloud

GKC-PRSA Recap: Content Marketing & SEO

Do you go online to research a product and compare prices before going to a store to make a purchase? A great deal of buyers do. If you own a business, this stresses the importance for customers to be able to find you online. However, without great content marketing and SEO, that is very difficult to do. Jessica Crozier and Matt Kortum from Inquest Marketing presented at the latest Greater KC chapter of Public Relations Society of America (GKC- PRSA). Their focus was on content marketing and SEO. When people think of content marketing, these things come to mind: Blogging Social Media Videos Email Marketing Podcasts Editorial Content Newsletters The truth is content marketing encompasses all of these. If you are using only 1 thing on this list, you really are not using marketing to its full capacity. Jessica defines content marketing as “a style of marketing that presents your brand as an expert in a particular field or product in order to accomplish organizational goals.” When building your content marketing strategy, first find your niche in the market. What can…

Controlling Your Online Presence: Why Your Business Needs a Website

Before I begin, let me answer the question I know some of you already have. No, having a Facebook page for your business is not the same thing as having a website. This is the mistake some of our members make when deciding on a digital marketing strategy. They assume a Facebook page will work just the same as a website and, even better, Facebook is free! I’m here to tell you, it’s not the same. While some might argue that they can’t afford to pay for a website, my response to that is you can’t afford to NOT have a business website in 2018. And yes, you may recognize me from previous blog posts highlighting the importance of social media, especially Facebook. So you know that I’m by no means against Facebook business pages. However, I think it should be one of many instruments in your digital toolbox. I worked with our web design team and reviewed customer feedback on Facebook from some of our stores’ pages to develop a case study comparing websites versus Facebook business pages. I…

Finding Success on Facebook for Your Small Business with a Team of One (Recap)

All AWG retailers are independently owned and many are smaller, one-store operations. They often don’t have the resources to manage large-scale social media strategies with expensive agencies so they come to us for help. Or they hire a marketing professional to work for them in-house. Either way, many of our stores work on small budget with small teams, sometimes even a team of one. I recently attended a Social Media Club of Kansas City professional development breakfast with guest speaker Travis Pflanz, owner of WebWorks of KC. His presentation, titled “Finding Success on Facebook with a Team of One,” highlighted strategies and tools small businesses can use to maximize their Facebook marketing with small teams and small budgets. Travis drove home one point throughout the presentation. All businesses should focus on their website and any other non-social digital properties they own before even considering Facebook or social media in general. He reminded the audience that your business doesn’t own Facebook, but you do own your website. Make sure you have a strong content strategy on your website first. You can…

Before you even think about blogging.

What is Your Website Missing?

Travis Pflanz, co-organizer of WordPress KC meetup group and part of the WordCamp Kansas City organizing team, presented at WordCamp 2018 in a session titled, “Before You Blog: Everything Your WordPress Business Website is Missing”. Because the target audience for WordCamp is users of WordPress, a common platform for blogging, Travis uses the term, “blog”, but these tips apply to any website. It is important to keep the content on a website fresh and up to date. This will keep people coming back to visit your site. Update often, write new text, post new articles. Use calls to action. I thought about what calls of action we could use on grocery store websites. How about a link to listen to a related podcast or video? If appropriate, provide a link to “get more information” or “buy now”. Put the store’s location and phone number in the footer in addition to the Contact page. This way it is visible on every page of the website. State the purpose of your business. As much as people don’t like to read, an in-depth…

No sliders using graphic symbol

Reconsidering Sliders

I’m reading this article, “Keeping Your Credibility While Changing Your Mind” article because I have changed my mind about sliders. I feel a little bad since I do believe a small group of people may consider my opinion when it comes to web design, which I am grateful for. Even though I am not a politician, I hope you might consider these five points on why I’m reconsidering the value of sliders on a website home page, especially if you are thinking about switching platforms, or starting a new site. “My thinking has evolved.” My last blog post signing the praises of sliders dates back to the fall season of 2015, three years ago. I don’t need to remind you how fast tech changes on the web. Back then; we finally had these new responsive templates to work with after talking about how important responsive layouts are going to be until we were blue in the face. These new templates had one ginormous image taking up 70% of the layout. In order to not scare retailers into deciding on one…

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How Words Get You Found (IABC Summit Breakout Session Recap)

In my first recap of the 2018 Business Communicators Summit for the KC chapter of IABC, I covered the keynote address about demystifying content marketing. So let’s look at this recap of a presentation that demystifies search engine optimization, or SEO. And I’ll be honest, I still find the concept mystifying in a lot of ways, but this breakout session helped me get a better idea of what it means and how to use it. In her presentation, “How Words Get You Found,” Kelly Stanze, search strategist (and self-proclaimed SEO nerd) for Hallmark shared the basics of SEO and how both the content side and the technical side need to work together to provide the best SEO bang for your buck. Kelly describes search engine optimization as the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website. She also made sure to point out that SEO has become more than “just marketing.” It’s about content strategy and technical skills for website development/maintenance. The elements of content strategy involve not only what is on the pages of your website,…

Content Marketing Demystified

Content Marketing Demystified (IABC Summit Keynote Address Recap)

If you work with me or any other AWG digital specialist on your digital marketing, you’ve probably heard us discuss content marketing. But what exactly is content marketing? It’s not just about the content we post on your social media profiles, your website or your blog. It’s the strategy behind the content that’s being posted. I recently attended the 2018 Business Communicators Summit for the KC chapter of IABC. The keynote speaker was Quinn Tempest, a digital marketing strategist and graphic designer from Phoenix. Her presentation was titled “Content Marketing Demystified” and she covered the myths of content marketing and the lessons she’s learned about content marketing throughout her career working with various companies and individuals. Quinn describes content marketing as “the art of providing relevant, useful content to your prospects without selling or interrupting them.” She asserts that instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your audience more informed before they buy. The goal is to deliver consistent, ongoing, valuable information your customers/prospects so that they will ultimately reward you with their business…