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Make Your Finance Company Stand Out

Make Your Finance Company Stand Out by Educating Your Clients and Prospects

Make Your Finance Company Stand Out by Educating Your Clients and Prospects 900 600 Kari Switala

Do you struggle to make your finance company stand out from the crowd? If so, you aren’t alone. No matter what part of the industry you’re in — whether you are a financial advisor, CPA, lender, or other finance professional — the competition can be fierce. There are many avenues you can take with your marketing to differentiate your business, but one of the most effective things you can do is use your marketing to educate your audience.

As you likely know, money can be a frustrating, confusing, and stressful topic for many people. Helpful, educational content speaks to the concerns of your clients and prospects and offers them something valuable. It also positions you as both a thought leader in your industry and a knowledgeable professional they can trust with their finances. Providing educational content can make your finance company stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Education Provides Value

To truly set yourself apart, you need to offer something of value to your clients and prospects that the competition doesn’t: something that is both unique and relevant to your market. Offering helpful information that teaches your audience more about various topics in your industry does exactly that. 

You might be thinking, “But why should I give away my knowledge for free — isn’t that what my clients pay for?” 

Make Your Finance Company Stand Out

Here’s the thing: providing helpful information in this way doesn’t mean you’re giving away all of your knowledge free of charge. You’re simply offering people a taste of what they will get when they work with you, in the same way that getting a free sample at the grocery store gives you a taste of the product the store is selling. That free sample of pizza doesn’t fill you up — you have to buy a whole pizza for that. 

Similarly, your “free sample” of information doesn’t give your audience everything they need to manage their finances — it merely gives them an introduction to the knowledge they’ll have at their disposal when they hire you.

Educational Content Builds Trust

Educational content can also build trust with your current and prospective clients. It does this by:

  • Showcasing your knowledge of your profession and positioning you as a leading voice in your field 
  • Making you more approachable, showing that you are someone who is willing to address your clients’ financial questions and concerns 
  • Offering your audience something of value with no strings attached

Providing educational content to your audience shows that you are not in it just to sell a product or service. It shows that you care about your clients’ financial futures. 

Focus on Your Ideal Client’s Questions and Concerns

Using your marketing to educate your audience shows that you’re aware of the questions and concerns your clients and prospects have — that you’re paying attention to the things that matter to them. 

From clearly explaining confusing financial jargon to giving instructional how-tos, center your marketing content on tackling trending topics in your industry as well as the frequently asked questions you get from your clients. 

Most importantly, focus your marketing on topics that are specific to your ideal client — their concerns, dreams, and aspirations. While it may be tempting to cast your net wide by sticking to generic topics that will attract a wide range of prospects, focusing your marketing on a specific audience is a much more effective marketing strategy. Prospective clients are more likely to connect with you if they view you as a business that specializes in solutions that suit their needs. 

Take a look at our recent blog on buyer personas to learn more about honing in on your ideal audience and how doing so can benefit your business.

Once you determine what demographic you most prefer to work with, offer content that is relevant to that group. For instance, if your ideal clients are parents and families, you might focus on topics such as building up savings, college planning, or school year tax-saving tips. Or, if you want to work primarily with small businesses, you might create content about starting a business, tax laws relevant to entrepreneurs, or how to close the books at year-end.

Be Authentic: Draw From Your Passions

Something else to consider as you determine which topics to educate your audience on is your own unique set of passions. What are your favorite aspects of your industry? What topics are you most passionate about?

These topics are the ones you will likely have the most insight into, as well as those you are the most excited to talk about. Maybe you’re passionate about helping people prepare for retirement so they can live the life of their dreams in their final years; or perhaps you love explaining the complexities of tax rules to new business owners. Whatever your niche is, harness that enthusiasm and share it with your audience. This excitement and eagerness to share will come out in your content, giving you an authenticity that sets you apart.

Your own passions, personality, and history are uniquely powerful tools in differentiating your business. And bringing who you are, your background, and your unique vantage point to the table will help you attract a client base with similar values and interests. 

Share What You’re Learning

Regardless of what area of the finance industry you work in, continuing education is an essential part of staying on top of your game. As you work to keep up on your own education, share your newfound knowledge with your clients and prospects. 

Ongoing training enables you to help your clients make continuous progress on their financial goals. Sharing about the classes you’re taking and what you’re learning shows that you are continually improving yourself and your offerings. This can help you both attract prospective clients and encourage current clients to stick with you for the long term.

So don’t hesitate to talk about your ongoing professional development as well how any credentials you hold translate into better service for your clients.

Use a Variety of Methods to Educate Your Audience

Make Your Finance Company Stand Out

So now that you understand the role education plays in differentiating yourself from the competition, let’s talk about how to best get this vital content to your clients and prospects. There are a wide range of methods available that lend themselves well to educating your audience — here are some of the best.

Blog Posts. Blog posts are a great way to give either a quick overview of a broad topic or a deep dive into a more specific topic. Blogs can range from 300-2500 words (or more), so can be a versatile tool for a variety of subjects. 

To give you an idea of what a blog might look like for a company in the finance industry, we’ll refer you to two of our clients’ blogs: Wood CPA and Simplify Wealth. Take a look through their blogs and notice how their posts reflect their individual personalities and passions, as well as the audiences they are targeting.

Guides and eBooks. Guides and eBooks are ideal tools for going deeper on a topic. They are typically offered as downloadable PDFs, and can vary in format from being more of an extended blog post to something akin to a manual or organizational tool. You can even combine several of your previous blog posts about a topic to create a guide on that subject.

Simplify Wealth’s Optimize Your Life Organizer is one example of a guide that we helped create. It provides educational material and instructional guidance in a workbook format that walks an individual through the details of their finances.

For another example, check out this eBook we wrote for our own marketing purposes!

Email Newsletters. Email newsletters give you the opportunity to connect regularly with your clients. A newsletter should be short and sweet, so it isn’t a great place to go deep on a subject. However, it’s the perfect tool to highlight updates (tax changes and deadlines, for example) and to link articles (your own or ones from outside sources that you trust), guides, or eBooks on relevant topics.

Social Media. Like newsletters, social media is a great way to share quick updates and links to relevant resources. It can also be the perfect place to get a bit more personal — sharing about your own educational pursuits as well as your hobbies and interests. You don’t want to get too personal here, but you also don’t want to only share business-related information or sales pitches.

Social media is more like a networking event than a billboard: you certainly want to talk shop, but you should also share more about yourself in order to connect with people on a personal level and build relationships and trust. Check out Wood CPA’s LinkedIn and Facebook pages for some great examples!

Vlogs, Live Videos, and Webinars. Video offers a way to connect face-to-face (or close to it) with your clients and prospects. It gets not only your words, but your face in front of your audience, making you seem more familiar and providing for a different level of connection. From posting vlogs (video blogs) on YouTube to doing Facebook or Instagram lives to offering webinars on relevant topics, video can be an excellent way to bring educational content to your audience.

The methods you choose to incorporate into your marketing strategy will depend on the specific demographic you are targeting — where they like to get their information and what their particular needs are — as well as your own preferences, comfort level, and time constraints.

Make Your Finance Company Stand Out With Help From Wild Fig 

Here at Wild Fig, we have experience helping our clients in the finance industry stand out from the competition. From blog writing to email newsletters to social media planning and posting, we can help you reach your ideal prospects with quality content that educates them and showcases the unique value you bring to the table. Sign up here for a FREE 30 minute strategy session to talk more about what we can do for your business!

Client Success Stories: Angie Wood of Wood CPA

Client Success Stories: Angie Wood of Wood CPA 900 600 Kari Switala

We’re celebrating a big anniversary here at Wild Fig: this month marks 10 years in business for us! Ten years of coming alongside companies to help them grow through content marketing…it’s hard to believe it’s been that long, and boy, what a ride it’s been! It sure is amazing to get to do something we love and see our clients thrive as a result.

We’ve had such an incredible time working with so many amazing businesses over the years, so what better way to celebrate our tenth year than sharing ten client success stories? Throughout the rest of this year, we’ll periodically share our clients’ stories with you so you can see just how effective content marketing can be when it’s done well. To begin with, we recently chatted with Angie Wood of Wood CPA about why she chose Wild Fig and how it has benefited her business.

Wood CPA: Helping a New Business Hit the Ground Running 

Angie started her business just over a year ago in January 2020. (Little did she know she’d have a pandemic to contend with in her first year in business!) She came to us before launching her business for help getting her brand, website, and marketing strategy in place. Then, once she was up and running, we developed an ongoing monthly marketing plan for her. Over the past year we have helped her with:

Naming her business

Angie came to us with the desire to launch her new business, but wasn’t sure what to call it. We helped her brainstorm ideas and ultimately land on a name that reflects who she is and how she runs her business: warm, inviting, and with expert care for each client.

Creating a Logo

Angie really wanted something that reflected her personality and how she works with her clients, and the logo we created accomplishes that. The trees we used in her logo are Aspen trees—we thought it was a cool tie-in with their rich MN history!

Developing a Marketing Strategy

We identified the right channels and messaging to use to help Angie acquire new clients quickly and effectively.

Building a New Website From Scratch

Because people do business with people they know, like, and trust, we felt it was important to help Angie tell her story and show what differentiates her from other CPAs

Running an Automated Lead Generation Campaign

We wanted a quick and easy way to help Angie build her contact list and capture website visitors’ information, so we built a website pop-up, created a Tax Strategies Guide (full of Angie’s expert advice), and crafted emails to deliver that content as well as a few other helpful content pieces.

Setting Up Online Scheduling

We knew Angie was going to be rather busy with getting her business up and running right at the start of tax season. To help shorten her to-do list, we set up online scheduling to make it easy for her clients and prospects to book time on her calendar without her having to manage that process.

Creating and Executing a Monthly Marketing Plan

We created a monthly marketing plan to help Angie attract new clients and retain her existing clients. To best reach her goals, we’ve utilized Facebook and LinkedIn posts, an e-newsletter (to clients, prospects and referral partners), and a blog to help educate clients and prospects and drive more traffic to her website.

Holding Quarterly Strategy Sessions

One of the benefits of working with our team is our quarterly strategy sessions. These sessions allow us to get a pulse on what’s happening in our client’s world, review the results from the previous quarter, and brainstorm new ideas. We like to consider ourselves an extension of our client’s team, which means we often provide ideas and support outside of our traditional marketing deliverables. For example: creating a holiday Send-Out-Cards campaign to a list of targeted prospects, providing job posting strategies to help attract top talent, and brainstorming ways to increase efficiencies.

Implementing a well-thought-out marketing strategy does more than simply get the word out about your business. It can help you attract new clients, educate and communicate with your current clients, and free up your time to focus on running your business. It has been amazing to see the growth of Angie’s business over the past year. To know that we played a role in creating that growth is an incredible feeling!

Q&A With Angie Wood

We recently asked Angie to tell us, in her own words, what Wild Fig has done for her. Here’s what she had to say….

Wild Fig: Why made you decide to work with us?

Angie Wood: Initially, I wanted to learn more about Wild Fig because I knew Jen [Wild Fig’s V.P. of Sales], really trusted that she does what is best for her clients, and is easy to work with. Once I learned more about Wild Fig, I was really drawn to the whole-package feel. As a brand new business, I needed a lot of help and everything could be done with one company! I loved that you took the time to get to know me, my business, and my goals.

Then, that information was used to pull together my business name, logo, website, and brand. These were all things I needed as I started my business. After the setup, you pulled together a monthly marketing plan that includes social media posts, marketing email, and a blog. It has been wonderful to have that “one-stop-shop” feel.

Wild Fig: What do you like most about working with us?  

Angie Wood: The people! Everyone I have worked with has been fantastic and the quality of the work has been amazing. I really appreciate that the marketing evolves as I grow. Everyone is open to my crazy ideas and pulls them into something that is beneficial and makes sense. I love that you include some personal aspects of my life to help my clients relate to me. The reports showing what topics clients have found most interesting is very useful as well.

Wild Fig: How has our work impacted your business? 

Angie Wood: Working with Wild Fig has saved me SO MUCH TIME! I can count on you to brainstorm ideas and bring them to me, rather than needing me to come up with all of the content. I mainly wanted the website and social media posts to make my new business look as official as it is, however it has been much more than that. The content has been very relevant with the changing laws, the automation for scheduling meetings has been used by so many clients, and I absolutely love that it is all handled for me so I can focus on what I do best!

In her first year of business, Angie survived a pandemic, tons of tax law changes, PPP loans, and more…while also being an amazing wife and mother of 4 great kids! And her business hasn’t just survived—it has thrived. We are so thankful for the trust Angie has placed in our team and for the opportunity to be a part of her first successful year in business. Clients like her are what has made the last 10 years in business so wonderful, and what makes us look forward to many more to come.
Looking for help building your brand, attracting new clients, and reaching your business goals? Wild Fig can help. Schedule your complimentary 30-minute strategy session with Jen here.

IS IT TIME FOR AN ONLINE MARKETING MAKEOVER?

IS IT TIME FOR AN ONLINE MARKETING MAKEOVER? 900 600 Kari Switala

If your online marketing is looking a bit out of date, it may be time for a makeover! Giving your marketing a fresh look doesn’t always mean a complete overhaul – there are a few small things you can do that will make a big difference in your online appearance.

REFRESH YOUR TIRED LOGO

If your logo has been around a while, or if it no longer effectively represents your brand, it’s time for a refresh. Again, there’s no need to go overboard here – you don’t necessarily need a whole new logo. A few small changes can do the trick. For instance, you could add a symbol to your current logo or change the color scheme. Our logo has changed 3 times over the years! As you can see, we didn’t make major changes – just tweaked the color scheme each time. The color of your logo should reflect your brand’s persona (more on that in a bit). If your logo’s colors no longer do that, or if your brand’s personality or values have changed, a color refresh could be just what you need.

When making changes, keep current and upcoming design trends in mind to make sure your logo is relevant to today’s market. Simple/minimalist designs, geometric shapes, unusual fonts and gradients or neon colors are a few current trends to take note of. Ultimately, you want a logo that simply and effectively conveys your brand’s ideology and resonates with consumers.

SAY GOODBYE TO STOCK PHOTOS AND HELLO TO CUSTOM PHOTOGRAPHY

If your website is full of generic stock photos, adding some custom photography can make it much more engaging. Stock photos might look fine on your site, but they don’t show potential customers who you are as a company. We recently hired Dan at The Anthologie to do a photoshoot with our entire team and a bucket of props! Not only was it a lot of fun, but we ended up with great photos that represent who we are in a simple but effective way. Photos of your team also show potential clients who they will be working with. This helps consumers get to know you a bit before they even meet with you!

Updating your photos on a regular basis also shows potential clients that you’re keeping up with trends and are on top of things. This goes a long way to building consumer confidence. Also, make sure your photos are optimized for both desktop and mobile (a good photographer can help with that). And don’t forget your social media photos! Regularly changing photos on social media helps to keep engagement up. People are inundated with images every day – to stay relevant, you need to update your photos often.

 

SHAKE UP YOUR EMAILS WITH NEW HEADERS

Keep your emails fresh and relevant by using updated headers that reflect seasonal elements or highlight upcoming special events. It’s an easy change that doesn’t take a ton of time and helps make your emails more eye-catching. Your email header should grab people’s attention and make them want to continue reading. In order to do that, you need to change it up often. Your clients’ inboxes are likely filled with countless new emails on a daily basis, so make sure your email headers stand out in the crowd. We love using www.canva.com to create ours – check it out!

CREATE AN ONLINE LOOK THAT REFLECTS YOUR PERSONA

Ours is all about fun, passion & creativity…wait till you see our new website (coming soon)! What is your brand’s persona? If you’re not sure, imagine your brand as an actual human being. How would you describe them? What would their name be? How about their favorite color? Favorite food? How would they dress? Thinking of your brand in this way helps put into words who you are as a company, what your values are, and what you want to communicate to your clients and potential customers.

People love a good story. Use your online presence to tell the story of who you are. What are you passionate about as a business? How did your company get its start? Why do you do what you do? Everything on your site should help tell this story, from the words you use to your photos and color scheme. Consumers love this kind of personalization – it helps them feel connected to you, which in turn builds trust.

SPRING FOR A PROFESSIONAL HEADSHOT

Headshots can get dated quickly, as hair and clothing styles change often. If it’s been awhile since you last had your headshot taken, it’s time for a new one. Your headshot allows people to get to know you a bit before they meet you. As we’ve mentioned already, that puts people at ease and builds trust. This is crucial both for potential clients and potential employers! Therefore, it’s important to have an updated headshot on your website and all social media accounts – especially LinkedIn.

When you have your photos taken, make sure what you wear reflects your personality and your current or prospective career. Keep it simple with solid colors (avoid solid white or fluorescent colors, and choose darks or neutrals for outerwear). Bringing a tie or scarf and a couple of layers will give you options to choose from. And though you may feel silly doing it, practice your smile! Really – get in front of a mirror and practice to see what your smile looks like. You’re going for a relaxed, at ease smile.

These are just a few ideas to keep your online look fresh and relevant. Need help with any of these things, or more great ideas? We’d love to help you look fantastic online – contact us today to see what we can do for you!

10 WAYS TO SHOW YOUR CLIENTS SOME MUCH-DESERVED APPRECIATION

10 WAYS TO SHOW YOUR CLIENTS SOME MUCH-DESERVED APPRECIATION 900 600 Kari Switala

You have a ton of amazing clients. They love the product or service you provide, stand behind your company values and champion your brand. So how about letting them know you appreciate them in some thoughtful and creative ways?

  1. Host events – This is a great way to say thank you, especially for B2B companies who want to create a sense of community among their clients. And the sky’s the limit here! It could look like an afternoon golf outing, an after-hours wine tasting, an escape room challenge…Just make sure it’s no work and all play for a thank you that’s truly memorable.
  2. Send personalized gifts -Make note of your clients’ interests and encourage your team to do the same. Then send clients a gift that reflects your observations. One of my favorite gifts we’ve given out was a Green Bay Packer-themed portfolio (it was even made out of a recycled football!) for our client, Randy –  a major Packer fan. He loved it and we were stoked to give it to him.
  3. Celebrate milestones – Why just celebrate client birthdays when there are truly dozens of celebration-worthy events in the course of a year? For example, when we work with a new client, we identify one key goal they want to accomplish in the first 100 days. Then when we reach that 100-day mark, we stop by their office with treats to celebrate (if they’re local) or send them goodies if they aren’t.
  4. Surprise them – Sending holiday gifts is always a great way to show your appreciation. However, if you really want to knock the socks off your clients, send them a thoughtful gift or discount their purchase JUST BECAUSE. That will really get them talking!
  5. Write a personalized card – Kick it old school and send your clients handwritten cards. Consider making it a goal to write and mail out a certain number of cards each month. Receiving snail mail that isn’t a bill or junk is a rare treat these days. Delight your customers with a personalized note letting them know how much you appreciate their business.
  6. Do lunch – If you’re lucky enough to live in close proximity to your clients, take them out to lunch periodically. In this digital age, it’s easy to go weeks or months without face-to-face interaction with the people who support your business. Rekindle the original concept of “facetime” and spend an hour of your week sitting across the table from a loyal client. It’s a great opportunity to get their feedback and glean a better understanding of their pain points. If they live halfway across the country (or the world), buy lunch and have it delivered in for them or their team. This is a great way to extend a hearty thanks!
  7. Nerd out – Did you read a book recently that really impacted you from a business perspective? Do you have a favorite book that echoes your company’s core values? Why not send that book to your clients? And be sure to include a personal note inside the cover. This is a unique way to thank clients for their business and remind them what your company is all about. It will also provide a great launching point for future discussions!
  8. Honor your VIPs – Everyone loves the rockstar treatment. After all, Starbucks Rewards, right? Why not create your own rewards system for your most valuable clients? This could look like a limited time offer for current clients (Renew your service for the coming year by Oct. 1 and get the first month free!) or a discount coupon on their brandaversary (Thanks for your loyalty this past year! How about 40% off your next purchase on us?).
  9. Put them in the limelight – If you have great clients, tap into your bragging rights! Feature one of your brag-worthy clients in each edition of your monthly newsletter or include a periodic client shout-out on your favorite social channels. Remember to include a link to their webpage – sending business their way is a great way to thank them for placing their trust in you!
  10. Be generous – A few times a year (traditional holidays are a great time for this), approach one of your loyal clients and find out which charity their business supports or would like to support. Then make a donation on their behalf. This honors your client and pays it forward, continuing the cycle of gratitude.

Building a successful organization wouldn’t be possible without your top-notch clients. Take the time to show them how much their loyalty means to you and continue to enjoy their business for years to come.

Looking for more more customer retention strategies but not sure where to start? Wild Fig Marketing can help. Give us a call today or click below to set up your 15 minute exploratory consultation.

MADE IN MINNESOTA – BURNSVILLE EDITION – CORNERSTONE COPY CENTER

MADE IN MINNESOTA – BURNSVILLE EDITION – CORNERSTONE COPY CENTER 900 600 Kari Switala

Welcome to our blog suitably titled Made in Minnesota where we explore different Minnesota-based businesses and learn some helpful tips along the way! The blog format is a Q&A, conversational style that allows you as the listener to lean in and get to know some great Minnesota business owners on a personal level. You will hear stories of big dreams turned reality, obstacles encountered and how they were overcome, things business owners would love to go back in time and change and fun little tidbits you wouldn’t otherwise be privy to! Sound like fun? Pull up a chair and get ready to meet warren

Today’s featured Minnesota business owner is warren, co-owner of Cornerstone Copy Center, located in Burnsville, Minnesota. Cornerstone Copy Center is a full-service printing company that offers a variety of services and helps customers with projects from start to finish.

Welcome, warren! We’re so happy you could join us today!

Thanks for having me!

We’re excited to sit down with you today and learn your story. Can you start by telling us how long you’ve been in Burnsville?

You bet! 

Cornerstone Copy Center was originally started in Burnsville in 1981 by Ron & Joyce Lund. Daniel began working for them in 1987 as a production operator, running the production room. At the same time, I was doing graphic design out of the house. Once the online/digital craze began, I convinced them to get connected on the Internet and take digital jobs which helped really grow the business.

In May of 2001, Ron and Joyce decided it was time to retire and Daniel and I knew it would be a natural fit for us to purchase the business and continue its operation. In July of 2004, we were able to build and move into the space we are currently in today. We purchased Ross Printing and added our first printing presses in 2004. Then in 2007, we expanded and added another location in Lakeville. We’re proud to be a family-owned and operated business. Many of our employees have been with us 10 years or more!

Q. What are some of the services you offer at Cornerstone Copy Center?

We offer printing, design, bindery, mail service and large-format printing.

Q. What do you like about being based in Burnsville?

Burnsville seems like it’s a hundred miles away to anyone north of the river, but for us, it’s like our own little pocket of the south metro. It’s been a great location for us. We’re conveniently located right off I-35 and there’s plenty to do in and around Burnsville that draws people in. We’ve also found that Burnsville places a huge emphasis on community and the people here are very willing to shop local. It has that urban feel with all its attractions, restaurants and things to do while also being a close-knit community.

Q. Looking back, do you think you were destined to be in this business?

In 6th grade, I started writing my name in all lowercase letters. I always did things a little differently and more creatively than others, so I think yes, I was always destined to be in a creative field. Plus, Daniel went to school for printing technology so we think Cornerstone and the printing industry is a perfect fit for us.

Q. What is your biggest challenge in this industry?

Staying up to date with the ever-changing technological side of the printing world. The presses don’t get used as often as the digital printers and the software to update them is expensive. So, it can be difficult to stay on top of all the technology necessary to remain at the forefront of the industry.

Q. If you only had $500 to spend on growing your business, where would you want to spend your money and why?

We might invest in digital ad space to promote our business.

 

Q. What are three words you would use to describe your organization?

Please the customer.

Q. Here’s a fun question for you…if you could start any business today, what business would you open?

A photography studio. I do that on the side and really have a love for landscape and wildlife photography.

Q. What is the best advice you could give a business owner who is just getting started?

Something Daniel’s dad told him has always stuck with me – don’t put all your eggs in one basket. We make it a point to have a large variety of customers in various areas of printing. We do that so that when one area is slow, it doesn’t drag the whole business down because there is usually plenty going on in the other areas.

Awesome! Thanks so much for joining us today, warren! We loved hearing a little about Cornerstone Copy Center. It’s been a real pleasure!

If you would like to learn more about Cornerstone Copy Center, you can visit them online at http://www.cornerstonecopy.com/.

CREATIVE HOLIDAY MARKETING STRATEGIES

CREATIVE HOLIDAY MARKETING STRATEGIES 900 600 Kari Switala

Want to generate new leads, nurture current leads and increase brand loyalty? Who doesn’t, right? Then planning and implementing holiday marketing strategies around the calendar is a no-brainer. Here are some holiday marketing strategies that you can tap into to propel your marketing efforts!

SEND SUBSCRIBERS A PERSONALIZED CARD

There’s a Hallmark card for nearly every holiday in the book. Why? Because we love to give and receive cards (and I don’t think Hallmark is opposed to making a bit of a profit either). Capitalize on this greeting card obsession and send out postcards for major holidays and any others that are in some way pertinent to your brand. Does your business sell guinea pig cages? Then send out a card to your prospects and customers on National Guinea Pig Day! This will help keep your business top-of-mind with your guinea-pig-loving audience. (Ok, this is a bit of a stretch but you get the point.) HubSpot and Ontraport offer some fun, celebratory templates that make automating postcards a cinch!

GIVE SUBSCRIBERS A GIFT

While we’re on the subject of giving and receiving, celebrate the season by gifting your customers and prospects a promo code they can use on their next purchase. These promo codes can be in the form of personal coupons or group coupons. Personal coupon codes work well for occasions that are highly specific to your customer – typically, birthdays and brandaversaries. These are one-time-use-only codes that can only be used by the recipient. Group coupon codes are a good choice when you want to send out a coupon to the masses. They can be emailed, posted on your social media channels, texted or sent out on postcards and are a great way to increase brand loyalty.

UTILIZE A COUNTDOWN TIMER

From an early age, there’s nothing like a countdown to really put a fire under someone’s butt.

If you don’t come down for dinner in the next five minutes, you’re going to bed hungry.

If your chore isn’t done when the timer goes off, you can’t go to the game tomorrow night with your friends. 

Parents create a sense of urgency around happenings they think are important – eating dinner as a family, doing chores, etc. Business owners can create that same sense of urgency around the holidays by advertising holiday specials and displaying a countdown timer on their homepages, product pages or within their emails. After all, your product is awesome, your deals are great and FOMO is real.

IMPLEMENT AN ABANDONED CART CAMPAIGN

Abandoned carts are ripe for the pickings. Is your business following up on these piping hot leads? Although the phenomenon exists year-round, holidays that see an increase in consumer spending also see an increase in abandoned carts. Once these carts are abandoned, you only have a small window of time to recapture your prospect’s attention before they are gone for good. Remind them that you have the product they’re looking for and consider sweetening the pot with a discount.

Put safeguards in place to reduce the instance of abandoned carts with trust seals and testimonials, multiple payment options, warranties and money-back guarantees. Also, be upfront about all costs associated with their purchases so prospects don’t leave your website upset because they were blindsided by last-minute charges.

LAUNCH A LEAD NURTURE CAMPAIGN

Holidays are notorious for bringing in a bountiful list of hot new leads but don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched. Instead, send these leads into a specially designed email funnel so you have various touchpoints with them throughout the coming year. Reduce your stress load and work your marketing magic by automating your lead nurture campaign. (Once again, HubSpot and Ontraport are two great platforms that make automation easy!) Then watch your leads engage as you provide them with valuable and relevant communication that strengthens their buying relationship with your brand. Want to learn more about building a lead nurture campaign? Check out one of our previous posts here!

Want help with your holiday marketing strategy? Give us a call or schedule a 15 minute exploratory call where we’ll get you going on a path to a successful holiday season.

SAVE TIME AND CLOSE MORE DEALS BY AUTOMATING THESE SALES PROCESSES

SAVE TIME AND CLOSE MORE DEALS BY AUTOMATING THESE SALES PROCESSES 900 600 Kari Switala

Time is money, right? So saving time means keeping more money in your pocket. If you’re interested in running a more efficient business, consider these easy ways to automate your sales processes!

AUTOMATE YOUR EMAILS

There are quite a few routine emails you send that are easy peasy to automate.

  • Welcome emails: When someone subscribes to your email list, it’s standard procedure to send them an email welcoming them and giving them a hint of all the good stuff you have in store for them. Hopefully you’re operating a thriving business and regularly welcoming new subscribers to your brand so why not automate this process and save yourself copious amounts of time?
  • Demo emails: Send new subscribers a video or tutorial on your product “in the field” so they can see how it would benefit them. (Hint: People love sharing video content. Include a “share” button and increase your brand awareness.)
  • Reminder emails: Upcoming meeting? No problem. Send out automated reminder emails so no one can use the lame “I-forgot-we-had-a-meeting” excuse.
  • Follow-up emails: Did a lead go dark? Follow up with an automated email to let them know they’re still on your radar and remind them that your product is the solution to their biggest pain points.
  • Thank you emails: This is one of the most important emails you’ll send and automation will keep it from falling through the cracks. A timely “thank you” email lets your new customer know that they matter to you and is a great place to outline your customer service policy!
  • Special occasion emails: Automate these puppies so you don’t forget your customers’ birthdays or brandaversaries. They will feel the love and it will help keep your brand top-of-mind. Throwing in a coupon or discount towards their next purchase will encourage them to re-engage or stay engaged – customer retention at its finest!

Sending out all these emails manually to each of your subscribers or customers…and remembering to do it in the first place!? Fuggedaboutit.

AUTOMATE LEAD DISTRIBUTION

Determining how serious leads are and which ones are worth your resources to pursue can be a cumbersome task. First, it requires determining your criteria for a “hot” lead and charting a course of action for pursuing said leads. Then it requires sending the other leads into the follow-up funnel. Do you follow up with a lead after they click through your pricing page? Or how about after they download your guide? Do you know a lead is ripe for conversion after they follow a link to “Learn More” from your homepage? Fortunately, once you set your predetermined criteria, automating lead distribution through applications such as Ontraport and HubSpot is a piece of cake.

AUTOMATE DAY-TO-DAY TASKS

“I love sending a slew of emails back and forth in order to schedule a single appointment,” said no one ever. The process doesn’t have to be a headache. Instead, automate appointment scheduling with Calendly or similar tools. Prospects can view your availability and book appointments with you without the mind-numbing, back-and-forth rigmarole.

Need to circle back with prospects to schedule that next meeting or hear what their team thought of your proposal? Creating follow-up tasks keeps you on task and keeps your transaction moving forward.

READY TO GET MORE TIME BACK EACH MONTH?

Think about how many steps are in your business  or sales processes. Think about the areas in your business where you are performing steps that are repeatable or that are being duplicated. 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 an automation tool that best suits your needs and other integrations for flexibility. If you’re ready, click below to sign up for a free 15 minute exploratory call today!

MADE IN MINNESOTA – CONQUER NINJA GYMS

MADE IN MINNESOTA – CONQUER NINJA GYMS 900 600 Kari Switala

Welcome to our blog suitably titled Made in Minnesota where we explore different Minnesota-based businesses and learn some helpful tips along the way! The blog format is a Q&A, conversational style that allows you as the listener to lean in and get to know some great Minnesota business owners on a personal level. You will hear stories of big dreams turned reality, obstacles encountered and how they were overcome, things business owners would love to go back in time and change and fun little tidbits you wouldn’t otherwise be privy to! Sound like fun? Pull up a chair and get ready to meet Jake!

Today’s featured Minnesota business owner is Jake, founder of Conquer Ninja Gym, located in Burnsville, Minnesota.

Welcome, Jake! We’re excited that you’re here today!

Thanks for inviting me!

Q. Tell us a little bit about Conquer Ninja Gym and how it “got off the ground”?

A. You bet! I used to have an indoor beach volleyball business with an obstacle course. I closed that down after learning with large spaces you MUST generate substantial sales to stay afloat especially with the significant overhead. I knew at that point that I wasn’t going to stop being an entrepreneur. The fire was still alive. After researching different business options and locations I decided to try the American Ninja Warrior concept. As soon as I launched the business and word started to spread, it was insane. In the first month I opened I worked 13-15 hours a day for 30 days straight – it was crazy! I’m proud to say, as of today, we’ve helped put 15 people on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior!

Q. Looking back, do you think you were destined to be in this business?
A. For sure! I’ve been into fitness my whole life.

Q. What do you find most challenging about the business you’re in?
A. The whole industry is new so we’re really paving the way. It’s not a traditional business model so we’re constantly trying new things. We can’t just pay someone $10k to tell us what to do. Currently, we are looking to franchise.

Q. What is the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your business and what did you learn from it?
A. We’re experiencing it right now. There is a ton of growth in the ninja concept. We’ve gone from a brand-new concept to a plateau. Now we have to start running the business like an established business. It’s a big marketing shift and there is a lot of competition. We need to evolve. The concept isn’t just fun-focused – it’s fitness-focused too.

Q. Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of juggling…how do you stay focused or get refocused?
A. I typically freak out for a few minutes first! Then I engage my staff and time management strategies to keep my priorities straight.

Q. If you only had $500 to spend on growing your business, where would you spend your money and why?
A. I’d spend it on sales and marketing for sure. Google is #1.

Q. What three words would you use to describe your organization?
A. The words that capture it best are fun, family, inspirational. Recently, a 14-year-old amputee and his brothers came to our gym. While his brothers played and tried out the obstacles, the 14-year old just sat on the sidelines and watched them. Suddenly, you could see the determination on his face as he eyed the warped wall. He spent 40 minutes trying to make it to the top and never gave up. That is WHY I love what I do! Believe it or not, we see examples of this every single day!

Q. If you could start any business today, what business would you open?
A. I’d open a real-life Fortnite facility – wouldn’t that be cool? My kids certainly think so. All kidding (or somewhat kidding) aside, I’d likely open more of a traditional gym.

Thanks so much for taking some time to talk with us today, Jake! We’re excited for you and the direction you’re taking your business. We wish you success as you continue to grow and compete in this exciting industry!

If you would like to learn more about Burnsville’s Conquer Ninja Gym, you can visit their website at www.conquermn.com/burnsville.

Want to be featured in our Made in Minnesota blog series or do you know of a really cool business that would make a great feature? Contact us today!

MUST-HAVES FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS WEBSITE

MUST-HAVES FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS WEBSITE 900 600 Kari Switala

We’ve all had those times when, in search of a product or service online, we landed on a really crappy website. You know the ones. You can’t exit fast enough because you feel like you’re hurling headlong into a black hole, losing precious seconds of your life staring at a huge wall of unbroken text. Or you are immediately overstimulated by flashing images more startling than the night sky on the 4th of July. Worse yet, you land on a website optimistic but after pushing through for 10 seconds, the information you came searching for is nowhere in sight. Ugh! Ain’t got no time for that. Not only are those experiences a waste for you but they’re a huge loss for the business owners behind the websites. You could have been their next customer-turned-brand-promoter…and you hit the red “x” instead.

The good news is, you don’t have to frustrate people with a crappy website! Instead, you can rock the socks off your business site by covering some content must-haves. And your visitors will love you for it!

You must have SEO basics covered: First thing’s first. If people can’t find your site, you’re not going to get their business. Do your homework on current SEO trends and incorporate them! This means incorporating keywords, links, headers, rich media, etc. Check out one of our more recent posts for some hot SEO tips!

You must have a clear description: When visitors land on your page, you have no more than 7 seconds to capture their attention. You can accomplish this with a straightforward, highly visible description of what you do and how your business can solve your visitors’ biggest problems. Keep it simple!

  • Quality carpet. We’ve got you covered!
  • Affordable IT solutions for your business.
  • Web design: Smart. Easy. Innovative.

You must have an easy-on-the-eyes design: Present your information in a format that is easy to ingest. Bullet points, line breaks, bolded headers, simple color scheme, readable font…they all contribute to the same goal: readability. If your visitors find your landing page content readable, they will be more apt to stick around.

You must have valuable, updated content: Ok. Your visitors read your clear description and can easily spot your landing page content thanks to your website aesthetics…and they didn’t exit in the first 7 seconds. Kudos! Now this is where the rubber meets the road. You MUST provide value. If your content tastes like that old box of cereal you just found in the back of the pantry, fogetaboutit. Keep your content fresh by highlighting recent blog posts, discussing the latest industry news and how it affects your business and your customers…A website is not a one-and-done deal – it requires ongoing love and attention.

You must have links to your social media accounts (which, yes, you must have!): We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. You need to go where your target audience is! Which social media channels do they frequent? Then you need a powerful presence there as well as easy-to-locate links to these social channels on your website.

You must have reviews and testimonials: Social proof builds trust and what better way to do that than by sharing others’ experiences with your brand? Keep these updated and highly-visible. Share the good reviews but also the not-so-good reviews so your visitors can see how, in situations where a customer was unsatisfied, you dialogued with them about how you could make it right. Oftentimes, these scenarios lead to a more recent, positive review on account of your stellar customer service and further your integrity in the eyes of your visitors.

You must have a call-to-action: Don’t neglect to inform website visitors what you’d like them to do before they leave your page or they’re not going to do it. Because, after all, they might be awesome but they’re not mind-readers. Would you like them to download a guide you created in exchange for some basic contact info? Or maybe you want them to take a survey or subscribe to your updates where you send out sweet offers on your products or services. Communicate your CTA in the form of an image or text and entice visitors to follow through.

You must have easy-to-locate contact information: The top right or left corner of your homepage or in the header, footer or sidebar of your subsequent pages are all great spots to include your contact information. That way, regardless of which page they’re on, it should be easy for visitors to spot. And be sure to offer multiple ways for them to get a hold of you. You can even add the address of your business and your location on Google maps. The more info the better! That way interested visitors have fewer obstacles keeping them from making that initial connection!

Still feeling bogged down by the thought of crafting a killer website? We can help! From the development of your site to a quick refresh…from creating awesome new content to incorporating a strong keyword strategy, Wild Fig would love to partner with you to accomplish your goals. Contact us to schedule a 15 minute exploratory call on ways we can help drive your website visits, keep them there longer and convert more sales.

INCORPORATING APPS AND TECHNOLOGY INTO YOUR SMALL BUSINESS: 10 GREAT WAYS!

INCORPORATING APPS AND TECHNOLOGY INTO YOUR SMALL BUSINESS: 10 GREAT WAYS! 900 600 Kari Switala

Tapping into the latest apps and advancements in technology can really pack a punch when it comes to saving time and streamlining business operations. Here are 10 ways you can plug in to some sweet tech and show your business (and yourself) some love!

DEVELOP A STRONG WEB PRESENCE WITH A CLEAN AND EASY-TO-NAVIGATE WEBSITE

This will increase your SEO, furthering your brand awareness and communicating professionalism on a highly visible platform.

UTILIZE SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS 

If you want to attract new leads and nurture your current customers, you need to go where your target audience is. What social media channels do they frequent? Similar to a website, maintaining a social media presence increases brand awareness and it also keeps you top-of-mind. 

START A BLOG

Blogs are a great way to share your expertise with everyone from curious visitors to loyal customers. Including a “comments” section at the end of each post also gives you an opportunity to solicit feedback and engage with your readers on the topic at hand. Then summarize each post on your social media channels and link them back to your blog to drive the biggest impact. 

PUBLISH A MONTHLY OR QUARTERLY E-NEWSLETTER

In addition to blogs, e-newsletters are a great way to connect with your audience and deliver value. You can also track your metrics to optimize engagement.

TRACK EXPENSES AND CUT CHECKS DIGITALLY 

Save paper and brainspace! QuickBooks and FreshBooks are two options that can help you move away from paper-driven tediousness.

SOLICIT CUSTOMER FEEDBACK THROUGH ONLINE SURVEYS

This is a great way to keep a pulse on operations and continually refine your processes. A digital survey also communicates to customers that they have a voice in your company and that you care about their experience with your brand.

OFFER ONLINE SCHEDULING 

Take back your time with an app that schedules appointments for you.  CalendlySetmore and Appointy are three effective web-based scheduling apps!

HOST A WEBINAR

This powerful platform offers your brand visibility and helps you grow your reputation as an expert in your field. Also, when visitors opt in, you attract on-point leads. Everyone wins!

UTILIZE A TIME-TRACKING APP

Time cards are so last century. Move into the digital age and save yourself oodles of time and stress by implementing a time-tracking app. When daily work data acquired using a time-tracking app is properly utilized, it is great for accountability, process improvement, and productivity. According to Entrepreneur.com, Time Doctor, Harvest, TopTracker and Toggl are all worth exploring!

ENACT EMAIL MARKETING

Automation tools make email marketing a go-to for anyone looking to attract new leads, nurture current clients and grow their business! Questions? Book an exploratory call with us below to learn more! (Ahhh…online scheduling, we sing your praises.)

Adopting new technology can be intimidating at first and requires both patience and persistence. Stick with it! As you move forward, keep your ear to the ground for new tech that can help you better serve your clients and run a more efficient business.