Monthly Archives :

September 2017

Harnessing The Power of a Social Media Calendar

Harnessing The Power of a Social Media Calendar 900 600 WildFigAdmin

Social media may be the biggest player in today’s business world. It’s certainly the most disruptive, as the landscape continues to evolve.

We recently talked about choosing the best social media platforms for your business. Once you’ve selected those platforms, you need to participate on them. You can fly by the seat of your pants, posting and sharing when you have extra time or inspiration, but then you risk struggling for ideas and not meeting your frequency and engagement goals.

A far better strategy: plan out your social media; do as much as you can ahead of time; and schedule it automatically. A social media calendar is an essential tool for mastering your social media presence.

SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR VS. EDITORIAL CALENDAR

As you learn more about the social media calendar, you’ll also come across the term “editorial calendar.” These are separate but overlapping functions. An editorial calendar lays out the topics you plan to cover for a month, a quarter, or a year. For example, search for “editorial calendar Forbes” and you’ll learn that in June 2017 they focus on women, in February 2017 they focus on retirement, and so on. Depending on your business, you may want to establish an editorial calendar so your content will reflect cohesive themes. An editorial calendar is potentially a resource to feed your social media calendar.

BENEFITS OF A SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR

Your social media calendar is a slightly different beast, however. The goal of your social media calendar is to plan your content, shares, posts and platforms to make sure you’re covering all your channels, optimizing your content, and batching the work involved to be more efficient.

The benefits of performing social media based on strategy and a calculated schedule are vast:

  • Advance preparation ensures you don’t miss crucial announcements, holidays or events. Whether it’s a product launch, World Diabetes Day or a local marathon, these hooks make excellent foundations for content.
  • It’s easier to generate ideas when you devote specific focus to social media. Taking the time to brainstorm multiple topics for blog posts, tweets or Facebook posts means you always have a list of ideas in your back pocket when you need them. It’s often the case that during that the act of writing a blog is when you come up with ideas for other blogs, for example.
  • You can coordinate your campaigns across multiple channels. The richest source for your social media is your own content, so while posting a blog is good, it’s crucial to share it across multiple platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram–depending on the content and the industry. Failing to do this cross posting is a huge lost opportunity, and sharing according to a schedule ensures you don’t overlook it or overdo it.
  • When you plan ahead, you can conform to a predictable balance of content and platforms, allowing you to evaluate the performance of each.
  • Consistent posting is essential to readership and SEO success.
  • Pre-scheduling as much social media as possible is essential for saving time. Tools allow you to schedule tweets, Facebook posts and more in advance, so you can do a week’s worth or a month’s worth all at once.
    It saves time to batch the writing of content. For example, once you settle into the right headspace for writing blogs, you may be able to write an entire month’s worth of blog posts in one day.

If you need some help with social media, contact us to schedule a marketing strategy session with one of our team members, which will include our insights into social media and guidance so you can master that side of your promotions. In the meantime, check out this blog post on how to choose the best social media platforms for your business and download this this handy Social Media Cheat Sheet to help you pick the best platform for your business.

 

Kechi Okwuchi & the Power of Story

Kechi Okwuchi & the Power of Story 900 600 WildFigAdmin

Recent “America’s Got Talent” contestant, Kechi Okwuchi, made quite the impression on the judges and the rest of the world last spring. Not only did she get a resounding ‘yes’ from each judge because of her incredible talent, but she made a lasting impact because of her story. When Kechi was 16, she was one of two survivors in a plane crash that caused severe burning and scarring on her body. However, throughout all of her painful surgeries, she has still managed to pursue her passion. Kechi is also working towards her masters degree in Economics after graduating with honors from University of St. Thomas. You can read her full story here.

Kechi made an impact because of her ability to sing, but made herself memorable by sharing her story. The power of storytelling is something that has captivated audiences since the original cave drawings were made. The human brain has an incessant need to gather information in an effort to understand our world around us. The most effective stories are relatable, inspirational, or solve a problem.

Those same types of stories can be used to make a lasting impression on your audience. For instance, imagine your end user when they are presented with your product or service. Whether they say it out loud or even consciously think it, their first question is going to be “why do I need this?”

Here’s what a good story can do:

  • Point out a problem
  • Describe the product and how it solves the problem
  • Get the audience to imagine themselves enjoying those benefits
  • Make your audience feel like they’re in desperate need of this product they only first learned about a few moments ago
  • Stories help us connect people/customers to our brand and us = more loyal customers because they understand our why
  • Stories differentiate us and allow us to be seen as something more than just a commodity (like Kechi’s example…she’s a great singer and if you simply heard her voice you’d put her in the bucket with other great singers. What sets her apart is her story…makes her different.

Think of any infomercial out there. From the Magic Bullet, to the Ninja Blender, to the Shark Vacuum; they all follow that same format as described above. I mention those products because I happen to have them all in my home! I saw a problem, found a product that solved the problem, and suddenly I couldn’t live without it. Yup, the art of storytelling even works on storytellers!

Do you have a product or service that you know many people could benefit from if they could just understand how it would solve their problem? The professional storytellers at Wild Fig Marketing can help you craft the message that will create a lasting impression so your company’s roots can grow deep and wide. Contact us today; we want to hear your story!

Case Study: How Automation Saved One Client a Full Week Each Month

Case Study: How Automation Saved One Client a Full Week Each Month 900 600 WildFigAdmin

How would you like to save 40 hours a month? That’s like getting an entire week per month to work on the things that are important to you!! For one client of ours, we were able to do just that by automating their new client onboarding process, saving them hundreds of hours a year in follow up, notifications and reminders, giving them more time to focus on their clients and services! Using Ontraport, with it’s strong automation capabilities and new campaign tools, we were able to help this client make it all happen. Let me break it down into areas to explain:

Starting Point

First, there is an automatic reply for email inquiries that directs prospects to a landing page (web page) to schedule an introductory meeting. This page is built and hosted in Ontraport and is promoted through social media and other channels as well. It collects some basic information in a form, and allows the potential client to pick a meeting time from the available time slots. The meeting calendar is integrated with Zapier using Calendly to talk with MS Office 365 calendar (or could work with another calendar app). The meeting slots are predefined in length and day/time our client is available.

A Little Intervention

Now, the flow of things… If someone clicks on the link but never schedules an appointment, the system will send a reminder email. If this email still does not get them to schedule an appointment, we create a task to have someone call the prospect directly. Once we have an appointment, we create a task for the introductory phone call with the prospect. Once the call occurs we can have multiple outcomes. For example: “Successful Call”, “Not a good fit for business” or “call didn’t occur”, etc… For each outcome, we can take different actions. In this case, let’s assume we had a successful call and the task is marked as complete.

Down Payment Process

Since the call happened and a down payment is required, we need to send an agreement and collect a down payment. The agreement document is handled through a Webmerge integration to Docusign. The Webmerge integration pulls the data from Ontraport and places it into the Docusign document for delivery and signature. We use a custom field to keep the down payment editable – this allows for different sized clients/down payment amounts. When the document goes out, we create another task to watch for payment and Docusign to be returned. Payment for most of our clients is done through a link and hosted inside of the Ontraport process. For now, we will invoice in contract and await the payment. Once the Docusign document is returned, we can mark it complete and the system will now create a task for the larger design and final proposal!

Contract Madness Made Simple

Final Proposal – There may be multiple versions of the proposal so we build this into the automated process. By using task outcomes – we can create a loop in the Ontraport campaign of “signed and accepted” or “new contract needed”. We can run through this until we get acceptance. To automate the contracts, we use multiple custom fields to support variable length statements of work. We started with 10 for this client. This allows them to have some contracts with 2 or 3 deliverables and others with up to ten or even more! The Webmerge process allows for a create and merge “if exists” feature – so you don’t end up with multiple blank lines on the contract.

Closure

Once the final proposal is accepted, the final task is closed and the client moves into ‘normal’ alerting emails. 30 days before their event, they get a notification about final changes and two weeks before their event, we remind them of any other last minute items. After their event, they receive a thank you card for doing business together.

Move to Marketing

Upon completion of their event, we move them into a nurturing sequence, where they are sent a 6 month reminder of our thanks for doing business and ask for a referral of more potential clients like you! We may or may not perform more of these and finally, move them into our general marketing newsletter, blog reminder, or other regular client communications.

Ready to get 10-30% of your month back?

Think about how many steps are in your business processes. Think about the areas in your business where you are performing steps that are duplicatable and repeatable. At Wild Fig Marketing, we specialize in helping you document your processes, finding areas where automation will save you the most time and money, and implementing these systems using Ontraport and other integrations for flexibility. Sign up for a free 15 minute call today by visiting:

http://automatemybusiness.wildfigmarketing.com

 

Send me an email at kevin@wildfigmarketing.com with questions about how you can start saving time and get back to doing what is important!!

5 Common Email Marketing Myths – Debunked!

5 Common Email Marketing Myths – Debunked! 900 600 WildFigAdmin

With so much emphasis these days on social media marketing, as business owners we may be left wondering where email marketing ranks and what if any value it can provide for our growing businesses. We often hear snide comments about “old school email” in favor of more “modern” communication. Let’s take some time to identify and debunk a handful of common myths about email marketing.

1. EMAIL IS NO LONGER RELEVANT
Au contraire! This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although email communication predates social media by a couple decades it is still widely and effectively used as a marketing tool today. In fact, according to Litmus, email read time has increased by 6% in the past 6 years! Perhaps equally surprising, 77% of consumers choose email over any other marketing method. Only 9% of consumers prefer direct mail marketing – a very distant second place preference! Quantifying it, In 2011, email marketing was calculated as a 40-1 return on investment per dollar spent. Astounding.

2. UNSUBSCRIBES HURT MARKETING EFFORTS
This is simply untrue. In fact, when consumers unsubscribe they do you a favor by helping you tidy up your database so your email marketing efforts continue to be targeted and effective. Just take heed that your “Unsubscribe” link is easy to locate in your email so your email is properly unsubscribed and not mismarked as spam.

3. TUESDAY IS THE BEST DAY OF THE WEEK TO SEND MARKETING EMAILS
Myth! Keep in mind that every industry is different and consumers for each industry have different purchasing habits. When is your subscriber likely to purchase your product or service? Or better yet, when is your subscriber likely to realize their need for your product or service? Midday midweek? On the weekend when trying to disengage from work? Statistically speaking, email volume is greater during the work week as opposed to the weekend. Perhaps a weekend email would be less likely to get lost in the shuffle and better gain the attention of your consumer? Consider each of these aspects.

4. THE OPEN RATE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT METRIC TO CONSIDER
False. Formatting across devices can vary and create barriers for your recipient when viewing your email. Depending on the device, s/he may be unable to view your email in its entirety which can skew your open rate metric. Instead consider putting more analysis into lead generation and conversion rates from a given email marketing campaign – more insightful metrics for assessing the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.

5. THERE IS A CORRELATION BETWEEN EMAIL VOLUME AND SUBSCRIBER ANNOYANCE
While in extreme cases this may be true (sending an email every day of the week might put even your best customers over the edge!) what your subscribers are looking for is value – this is why they subscribe in the first place. If your emails provide value your subscribers will appreciate them and are likely to engage. According to emarketer.com, sending relevant email content results in 39% open rates and increases revenue by 24%. Make your email marketing efforts count and don’t be afraid to send out that next email – you have an on point audience at your fingertips, hungry for the value your business provides!

If you have been stuck believing these common myths and could use a little help when it comes to your email marketing, give us a call and one of our experts can help come up a with a plan to ensure the best return from your email marketing efforts!

Online Reviews: A Powerful Tool For Your Business

Online Reviews: A Powerful Tool For Your Business 900 600 WildFigAdmin

In this information age where the vast majority of consumers have a computer at their fingertips Bright Local finds that 88% of consumers consult online reviews prior to making a purchase. What’s more, 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation! In other words the vast majority of consumers are forming an opinion about your brand and the product or service you offer before they even make a purchase. This is a big deal. Online reviews provide free marketing for your business while generating greater brand awareness and building consumer confidence. As a business owner it’s wise to utilize online reviews to propel the success of your business.

How Can Online Reviews Benefit my Business?
Women on mobile device.When reviews or “feedback” for your product or service are posted online in connection to your brand your SEO or search engine optimization increases substantially. In fact, it has been quantified that online reviews affect search results for your brand by 8.4%. Therefore, because online reviews increase SEO significantly and are valued as highly as personal recommendations they ultimately contribute to increased revenue for you business by driving more on point traffic to your website.

Online reviews are also a great tool that allow you to become better acquainted with your customer. Think of those reviews as a window into your customer’s world. Who are they and what do they value about your business? You may be surprised to learn what it is that is really attracting customers to your brand. There are likely other businesses that offer similar products or services but you may find that numerous customer reviews for your business highlight a specific attribute (professionalism, nostalgia, innovation…) that separate your brand from the competition. When you are better able to identify what distinguishes your brand in the mind of your customer you can better capitalize on it.

The Power of Positive Reviews
Some business owners are concerned about offering online reviews on their website for fear that any negative review could potentially sabotage their brand. It is important to consider the benefit of customer reviews – both good and bad. Reviews offering praise for your product or service will shed light on what your business is doing that is working well. When you see recurring praise for your product or service you can be assured that continuing to direct effort into that area will continue to yield satisfied customers.

The Potential with Negative Reviews
Okay, so negative reviews. Can they sabotage your brand? Certainly. If your website’s reviews section has even a handful of negative reviews that are left unattended potential customers may not stick around to see what it is your business has to offer. However, if you engage with your unhappy customers by replying to his or her negative reviews in a respectful, engaged, let-me-make-it-right manner you harness the potential to turn the ship around. In fact, Bright Local found that 1/3 of initially unsatisfied customers whose complaints are attended to in this way either go on to delete their negative review or replace their negative review with a positive one! When potential customers happen upon this exchange your integrity as a business really shines and increases their confidence in your brand. This is the power of customer satisfaction!

Providing a platform for online reviews on your business website is a shrewd business move. When carefully attended to and when utilized to fine tune your business operations, online reviews will propel the popularity of your brand and the success of your business. If you could use a little guidance with how to go about harnessing the power of the online review, contact us to set up your free 15 minute consultation today!

Our 5-Minute Strategy for Overcoming Writer’s Block and Coming Up with a Content Plan

Our 5-Minute Strategy for Overcoming Writer’s Block and Coming Up with a Content Plan 900 600 WildFigAdmin

When it comes to content marketing, two of the biggest frustrations I hear from small business owners are “What should I write about?” and “Where do I start?”

Let’s Face It: Content Marketing Can Be Overwhelming

Knowing where to start and what to write about are the two biggest factors that paralyze business owners and cause them to avoid content marketing. Wild Fig Marketing gets it. Honestly, it was a struggle for us, too, until we developed a content calendar.

4 Key Factors to Consider before Creating Your Content Calendar Before you can create a content calendar, consider these key factors:

  1. Do you know who your target audience is? If you are not clear on who your audience is, do not move forward. Understanding your target market will make creating a content calendar much easier and a lot more effective, too.
  2. Your customers aren’t interested in your company or the features and benefits of the products you offer. They simply want to know WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) and the impact your product or service will have on their lives. Spend more time solving their problems and less (if any) time selling your product or service.
  3. Why do you need content? Blogs? Newsletters? Social media posts? Make a list of all the channels you’re using to market your business. Use the list to organize your calendar.
  4. Utilize the “Reduce, Reuse & Recycle” theory. If you are a dentist, you could write a blog on the Top 3 Reasons to Brush Your Teeth. That blog could then be featured as a guest blog on an orthodontist’s website who you have a working relationship with. Then the blog could be featured in your newsletter that goes out to patients and prospective patients. It could also be turned into three separate social media posts. Look at all of the different ways we were able to utilize that one piece of content!

Content Calendars Remove the Guesswork From Content Marketing

Now that you’ve addressed the four key content marketing factors mentioned above, let’s look at how a content calendar can remove the guesswork from content marketing.

5-Minute Content Calendar Exercise

  1. Grab a piece of paper and a pencil or pen.
  2. Write down the 12 months in order vertically on your piece of paper.
  3. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
  4. Write down the first theme that comes to mind for each month. Themes can address what your clients are going through that month, holidays that occur, or reasons why your readers want your products/services that month.
  5. Don’t overthink it…that’s what got you stuck in the first place!
  6. After your 5 minutes is up, dig a little deeper into the themes you came up with. What would a good blog topic be for that month? How could you take that theme and break it down into social media posts?

 

Here’s An Example of How This Works

Let’s imagine I own a winery(which I would love, by the way!). Here are the 12 months of themes I came up with when doing the 5-minute exercise.

    • January: Health benefits of wine
    • February: Romantic date ideas
    • March: Lucky wines (symbolism of wine and how it correlates with luck/prosperity)
    • April: Easter recipes/wine pairings
    • May: Mother’s Day
    • June: Grilling recipes/wine pairings
    • July: Red, White & Blue
    • August: Summer vacation spots—wineries
    • September: How to taste wine
    • October: Spooky facts about wine
    • November: Thanksgiving Recipes/wine pairings
    • December: Holiday gift-giving etiquette

Pretty simple, right?

Now you’ve got a great start to your content marketing for 2018. The next step is to dig into these themes a bit more and create an actual content calendar that is easy for you and your team to follow. Give yourself a deadline for completing the first draft, editing, and publishing your content.

Still seem overwhelming? Our automated marketing experts can help you get figgy with it! Contact us today for your content calendar consultation.