Beat Bigger Brands and Boom your Business

Are you a Small Local Business?

Size doesn’t matter when you are offering bigger value and personalized services. What you need is to create more visibility online for the people who are looking for what you provide.

What are the advantages of being a small, local business that will enable you to compete with bigger businesses? Here’s a short list:

Technology Tools

In no other time has technology made it easier for us to do business, communicate, promote, and expand our businesses on such a far-reaching scale. The Web, SEO, and Social Media Marketing allow us to market our businesses in the same way that bigger brands do.

Flexibility with Changing Conditions

Small business owners have way more flexibility to make immediate and necessary changes that are essential to dealing with changing local market conditions. For big businesses, recommendations go through many levels bureaucracy before decisions are made at the top. Execution suffers the same delays down to the personnel on the ground.

Personalized Customer Service

You have the opportunity to deliver personalized, unexpected and exceptional customer service.

How does it feel when you are served by the owner of a restaurant that you often dine at, and get asked if the food is good and what can they do to improve their menu?

There is something very warm and fuzzy feeling about local interactions for both owners and customers.

Access to Digital Marketing Expertise

There are no longer barriers to accessing digital marketing expertise when you can hire an expert by the hour to oversee your marketing strategy and activities.

Contact us if you want to seize the opportunities that digital marketing can offer and reclaim your domination in your own territory.

Bradley Benner
https://contractor.media/5days

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11 Steps To A Successful Social Media Contest



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Running contests on social media offers one of the best strategies for getting audiences engaged, earning shares, and generating impressions. Following a careful procedure can increase your contest’s chances of success.

On the other hand, not having a plan and a strategy can mean that even the most popular contests accomplish little in the way of marketing goals, while taking resources from other campaigns. Or, worse, the contest can turn into a giant mess that leaves a sore spot on your brand image.

So, to make sure your contest has the best odds of helping boost your social media marketing performance, use the following 11 steps below. They’ll help you strategize for your contest, plan it out, create a schedule, and follow through on everything in a way that leaves both your participants and your fellow co-workers satisfied with the results.

1. Decide on a Social Media Marketing Goal

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Many contests start by thinking of a great promotion, prize or theme. The goals get defined later.

While this approach feels natural because thinking about prizes or contest themes is exciting, there’s danger in not having a focus from the beginning. Your goals can easily get diluted or intermingled in a way that makes them ineffective.

For instance, let’s say you are a scuba diving certification company. You want people to enter into a contest to win some free gear. If your ultimate goal is to get people to sign up for lessons, then the format of your contest needs to be positioned toward people who have never scuba dived before.

The problem is that only people with scuba experience may share your contest since they are the only people who know how valuable the gear you’re offering is. To fix the problem, the contest needs to highlight from the beginning how winning your gear set makes it easier than ever to start scuba diving. Without this perspective, you may instead end up pitching the value of a feature-packed diving watch, which will read as “all Greek” to people who aren’t familiar.

So, start from a defined goal and let the structure of the contest expand organically from there.

Common goals include:

  • Increasing overall purchases.
  • Increasing brand awareness.
  • Increasing conversion actions like demo signups/free lesson signups/webinar registrations/content downloads.
  • Capturing emails.
  • Increasing site traffic.
  • Earning more page likes/followers.

Make sure that no matter what, your contest reinforces your goals. If, for example, you want to earn more traffic, make visiting a landing page on your site mandatory for entry. The landing page should also have a call to action suggesting people browse your content or your products. Similarly, if your aim is to increase purchases, you can make a purchase a necessary part of entry.

2. Decide on Your Hosting and Promotional Venues

The venue you host your contest on can have huge consequences for how your contest is structured and how it will play out over time. Some platforms – i.e., Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – have strict rules regarding how contests are held and how they are conducted.

Eventually, you will need a legal team to review your contest plan before you put it into action. The venues you use to host and/or promote the campaign will affect their recommendations for what you can and cannot do.

Note that “hosting” a contest refers to all of the contest activities taking place on that platform. For instance, if you are going to make the entry requirement sharing a post and the prize drawing comes from those shares, the contest is occurring on that platform.

On the other hand, if you are going just to be promoting the contest on social media and the actual entry and other activities takes place on your own site, that creates a different set of conditions.

Realize that the more channels you have your contest hosted on, the more complex your campaign will become. You can reduce complexity by directing everyone to one point of entry, such as prompting “Enter on Facebook” or “Visit Our Website to Enter!” This strategy makes promoting your contest across multiple channels easier without having to add data-gathering and community management headaches.

3. Decide How People Will Enter Your Social Media Contest

A few entry requirement options you can consider are to:

  • Submit email and other contact information.
  • Require a connecting action, such as “liking” or “following” your page.
  • Require an engagement action, such as “liking,” commenting, or sharing a particular post.
  • Ask people to cast their vote using polling tools on Facebook or Twitter or on your own website.
  • Create and submit user generated content for judgement, meaning the selected best entry gets the prize.

Direct submissions of emails typically take the least amount of effort to track, especially if you use a custom form. Requiring people to comment, like or share a post can be similarly easy, although this engagement may not connect meaningfully with the desired goal or conversion action.

Voting can be another easy entry mechanism, but you may want to steer people to a custom form since many social platforms register votes anonymously.

Creating user-generated content is an awesome idea since it leads to the creation of marketing assets you can later use while bringing higher levels of engagement to your campaign. However, you will need to review the legal requirements of such a campaign and disclose details like ownership rights and liability to anyone who submits.

Software tools are available to help you track data such as new page “likes,” so you can differentiate new entrants from people who already like your page. These tools include Strutta, Shortstack, Wishpond, and Rafflecopter. Of these, Rafflecopter has the best pricing and is singularly dedicated to contests.

4. Create a Contest Theme and a Name

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Your social media contest theme should have its own set of branding devices in play. The more vivid your branding, the more excited entrants will be. Well-branded and themed contests also have a way of attracting more attention.

Remember that the clarity of the theme and also the clarity of a contest title can make or break participation. Shorter names are usually better, especially since space is limited on social posts for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.

5. Settle on a Contest Timeline

Decide on a date you will make the final prize announcement. Then, work backward from this date to plot out when drawing/judging will start and end. Going further, decide when entry is closed, when it is open, when promotion for the contest starts, and any other key dates involved.

Build in the needed time to handle everything, especially if snags or hurdles emerge. You need to give yourself time to plan and design creative elements, get approval from legal, and accomplish other milestones.

6. Decide on Prizes or Giveaways

contractor business leads

You may have already had a prize or giveaway in mind, but you should wait to finalize this decision until you have all the other above elements in place. Holding off prevents you from getting locked into the prize aspect and losing focus on everything else. If you’ve seen the Office episode where Michael Scott auctions off non-existent Bruce Springsteen tickets, you know what we mean.

As we suggested above, ensure the prize directly ties into your goals, your desired customer path, and your business as a whole. Offering a generically appealing prize like a free iPhone can earn you thousands of entrants, but most of these entrants will not be viable customer leads.

Instead, think of prizes that connect to your business, your brand, and your most important values. Also, try to think of a storytelling angle so that your prize winner can become a testimonial of sorts, illustrating what makes your company great.

7. Draft an Editorial and Social Content Calendar

Using the timeline you created, plan out ahead of time exactly what types of social media posts and other promotional collateral will be needed and when it will be published. You can always use placeholder content or deviate from your calendar, but the last thing you want to do is promote your contest off-the-cuff with no real approval or planning.

To help you decide what kind of content will be needed when, think of your social media contest in six discrete phases:

  1. Pre-launch.
  2. Launch.
  3. Last chance for entries.
  4. Closed for entries.
  5. Winner announcements.
  6. Post-contest promotion and related campaigns.

8. Develop Your Promotional Strategy

You want to amplify visibility for your contest as much as possible, especially during the first few days of launch. Having a “slow burn” strategy actually hurts your chances for entrants since posts with little engagement tend to get buried. However, posts that get tons of engagement the moment they are created tend to be discovered more readily by late-comers.

Include paid ads, organic promotions, website content, and social media content within your promotional strategy. You don’t have to have a huge budget for any one particular thing, but generally the more you can invest, the better your results will be.

9. Have a Community Management and Crisis Plan in Place

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Since it will be hosted online, your contest will essentially run 24/7. You therefore need a plan for someone to monitor activities during off-business hours.

Remember that contests tend to overwhelm unprepared social media marketing teams since they create a flood of engagement compared to the normal day-to-day. Be prepared for this in advance.

Also, have a backup plan in case things go wrong. Hopefully, you will never have to implement your crisis management plan, but having it prepared ensures you have a set damage containment strategy rather than responding on-the-fly. Sometimes when we improvise while handling stressful situations, we can make things worse, so have your backup plan written down.

10. Finalize Your Rules, and Have Legal Review Everything

The last thing you want is for your contest to result in a lawsuit or bad PR. You should therefore have experienced legal counsel verify that all your rules, prizes, and general procedures are appropriate and legal.

Consider that if you run your contest nationally or internationally, different states may have different rules regarding contests and prizes. You want to be in compliance everywhere possible, which may even mean restricting entry within certain geographical areas.

11. Document Everything So You Can Learn in the Future

As an extra step, make sure you take notes on as much of what you learn as you can. Also, gather data throughout the contest, so you can trace ROI and whether you’ve met your goals. This documentation may be extra work, but it will pay off by helping you learn lessons and improve over time.

If you need help with social media marketing or hosting a social media contest, you can always look to outside expertise. Contact us today if you need assistance planning your contest, tying it to your goals, or simply verifying that it has the best possible chance of bringing you success.

11 Steps To A Successful Social Media Contest originally published by Contractor Media

Get Customer Reviews and Rev up your Revenue

Online reviews are crucial to managing your reputation, gaining trust and building confidence. Trust is a key element to gaining and maintaining customers.

Do you remember asking for a friend’s opinion about a product before deciding to buy? Didn’t you become more excited after hearing encouraging feedback?

That’s exactly how online reviews work.

Let’s take a look at these statistics from BrightLocal:

• 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
• 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they’re asked to
• 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business
• 54% of people will visit the website after reading positive reviews
• 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant
• 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
• 58% of consumers say that the star rating of a business is most important

Your potential customers are now checking what others say about your products or services before buying!

So you need to always provide a good experience, earn those positive reviews, get them published, and see more repeat and new sales coming to your business.

There are additional benefits to getting positive reviews and 5-star ratings:

Improved Organic and Local Rankings
Google gives priority to businesses with stellar reviews on rankings.

Increased Click-through Rate
Consumers will most likely click on a business with impressive reviews in the search results.

Create Consumer Loyalty
Your customers who take the time to leave a 5-star rating are far more likely to feel a certain bond with your business.

Let your Customers Do Your Marketing for You
Even just a handful of positive online business reviews are worth a great deal and can attract new customers to our business.

Contact us at bradley@contractor.media to learn more about boosting your revenue with reviews.

Reputation Marketing and How It Can Affect Your Business

Creating and maintaining a positive reputation for your business is a vital and important aspect in creating a loyal customer base while building your brand.

No major successful or popular brand started out and became successful with a negative reputation. In fact, the reputation of a business has been proven to have a significant influence on customer loyalty, satisfaction, and trust.

Customer retention is something that the majority of big and successful companies thrive on. Customers that are happy are more likely to be return customers who spend more money, and in turn, tell their friends and family about their experience.

Having a reputation marketing strategy in place should be the first thing your company focuses on when building your reputation.

More and more businesses are encouraging their customers to go online and post reviews about their experiences. There are many big review sites out there and the data you get from them can be invaluable to your reputation marketing campaign.

Managing these review sites builds trust and authority for your brand and shows your transparency and accountability. Getting feedback about your business and your brand provides you with valuable insights on where your business is falling short, and how you can improve. Even good feedback can be improved on.

Believe it or not, there are many companies that have failed due to having a bad reputation, and either not knowing, or not doing anything about it until it was too late.

On the other hand, it’s worth mentioning that companies with a good reputation financially outperformed companies with bad reputations in every way.

With a good reputation marketing strategy in hand, your business will benefit from higher brand equity, exponential growth, and a flood of loyal customers with increased customer lifetime value worth 10 times as much as their first purchase.

Don’t wait. Take control of your reputation marketing strategy today, and get started building your businesses trust, brand, and reputation today.

Send me an email bradley@contractor.media now to get started.
Bradley Benner

Why You Need A Social Media Presence



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Every business needs a social media presence, and most can benefit from actively trying to market and generate leads on the most popular social platforms.

The fact of the matter is that social media has become the preferred form of media in our day and age. 67% of people say they get their news from social media first, for instance. News breaking most often comes from shares or second-hand sources on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. In effect, content publishers have to have social media at the front of their mind if they hope for their outlet to get exposure for breaking a story as opposed to a competitor.

For businesses, this same principle holds true. If you aren’t active on social media, others may talk about your contractor business and seize control of the narrative. Or, even worse, your business is all but invisible until someone else shares content or news talking about you.

In addition to providing visibility, having a proactive social media marketing strategy can help boost your sales performance and help you achieve your marketing goals. You can earn new customer leads, increase brand awareness, and even offer customer support through social channels.

To cover the full scope of why your contractor business needs to be on social media, consider the following five benefits described below and how they are an essential part of any digital marketing strategy.

Create a Highly Visible “Hub” for Your Business’s News and Announcements

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Let’s be honest. Very few people are going to religiously check your contractor business website’s “News” or “Blog” page for announcements and press releases. If most people don’t visit news sites to get news, they certainly aren’t actively going to contractor business’s websites to see the latest developments.

This assertion isn’t meant to discourage you from tending to your website at all, but rather to make you realize just how much more visibility being on social media adds for your business. Sharing news and announcements on social is dead simple, and your followers may even help share those materials for you once you release them into the wild.

In this way, your social media profiles serve as your business’s online “hub” away from its main website. Your profile photo, the content you share, and the announcements you make all have the effect of turning your social accounts into an official mouthpiece for your brand. From here, you can help shape your public image and control the flow of information you release into the world.

Increase Your Visibility on Search Engines

The jury is still out as to whether social media engagement and content shares can raise the search engine ranking for a business’s website pages. Hootsuite, for instance, found a small correlation but concluded that a deeper study with more data points was needed.

Even if social media can’t help raise your web page rankings, it can help you occupy a more obvious spot in the rankings altogether. Why? Because social media platforms have great domain authority, which allows them to rank highly any time a search is made.

So, if someone searches for your business name or a related topic online, your social media page and posts talking about your business are highly likely to appear near the top of search results. Twitter is especially good at earning top ranks, since Google features recent tweets similar to how they would news posts.

Having a social media profile and actively discussing your areas of business can therefore give you additional opportunities at ranking near the top of search engine results.

Publish Your Content and Earn Traffic for Your Marketing Campaigns

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While people are more likely to check your social media pages than your homepage for business news, you can encourage more traffic to your website by posting on social media.

With the right images and messaging, you can easily pull in huge amounts of traffic just from one post. The aim is to get people’s attention and to make full use of your available resources. In other words, you are going to craft great content previews for content like shared blog posts.

For campaign-related traffic, you can describe your offer in attractive terms to earn attention and traffic. A retail business can describe a sale for their website store, for instance. Or, you can encourage people to sign up for entry in a contest by posting a link to the relevant landing page.

Social media posting is particularly useful for boosting the ROI of your content marketing campaigns. Without social sharing, many businesses would get little traffic to their blogs. By posting on social, the business can boost traffic and potentially up their correlated domain authority, which explains the positive effect Hootsuite saw between social engagement and SEO rank.

Raise Brand Awareness and Earn New Customer Leads

Social media creates opportunities for countless people to discover your contractor business and what it does. Google searches for business names spike if that business can generate social buzz, for example.

You also have the opportunity to earn exposures through people who follow and engage with your brand on social media. For instance, someone who “likes” or comments on your post on Facebook can have those interactions appear on their friend’s newsfeeds.

Social media advertising is also another potential source of significant new impressions and customer leads. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn have powerful audience customization tools that allow you to get in front of your most valuable buyer personas with just a minimal budget.

A landscaping company could target business owners in their area, for instance, by selecting job titles as an audience filter. Or, they could target a wealthy neighborhood with large estate-style land plots that can offer lucrative contracts.

Software companies can similarly offer free demos or pitch their product’s benefits to relevant audiences. Social media provides the visibility, and once you have someone on your landing page or on your email list, you have opportunities to convert.

Interact With Your Audiences and Provide Customer Support

social media marketing for contractors

Brands can do an excellent job of building relationships with their audiences when they can create content that encourages engagement.

The UPS Store, for example, came out with a powerful social media post that piggybacked off the popularity of a recent Nintendo product release. To date, the post has gotten 3,200 shares, over 200 comments, and 10,000 “likes.”

Interactions like these don’t just multiply brand impressions. They also change the way people might perceive a brand. Someone who loves the playful tone of the post can then translate these positive associations to the business posting it. Or, the brand can help forge strong associations between itself and the values it cares about most.

People who interact with the brand can therefore end up being more loyal customers, while repeating the desired positive brand associations to their friends and followers. According to one survey, 48% of people say they are more likely to make repeat purchases from a brand that engages with them, and 90% of millennials consider it “cool” when a brand responds to their questions.

But what about people who have nasty things to say about your contractor business on social media, or people who have a complaint? That is actually a great opportunity!

After voicing a complaint about a company on social media, 71% of people who have a positive experience and have their issue resolved say they are likely to recommend that company to others. They also say they are likely to spend 21% more than they normally would.

Don’t Ignore Social Media Marketing, Or the World Could Ignore You!

Because of all these benefits social media marketing provides, especially for visibility, having a social media strategy is no longer optional for contractors. Even if they do not intend to advertise or promote themselves on the major social platforms, they need a professional presence that responds actively to people looking for support and answers.

If you want help forming your own social media strategy for your business, look no further than us! We have experience creating content, earning followers, interacting with audiences, supporting cross-channel marketing campaigns, and creating paid social media advertising campaigns based on your goals.

Contact us today to get started!

Why You Need A Social Media Presence originally published by Contractor Media

SEO Campaign Not Working? 3 Things Your SEO Provider Should be Doing for Your Business

If your search engine optimization (SEO) campaign isn’t going as well as you’d hoped for, you may not have the right SEO service provider for your business.

Choosing an SEO provider should be done carefully to ensure the long-term success of your campaign, website, and business. It’s important to find a provider that not only has a strategy but who utilizes a strategy that is specific to the needs and goals of your business rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

The SEO industry is constantly changing. What works today may not work six months from now. Finding a provider who customizes their services for your business will ensure that you won’t get left behind.

Here are 3 key things that the best SEO providers do for the businesses they serve.

1. Top providers perform SEO audits. SEO audits document baseline performance and analyze the impact and quality of previous work to ensure continued success.

2. Good providers provide SEO blueprints. SEO Blueprints lay out a comprehensive plan designed specifically for your business. They establish benchmarks and goals, integrate a budget, provide SEO strategy recommendations, and provide a backup plan in case things don’t go as well as they should.

3. The best providers maintain ongoing SEO monitoring and consultation. Providing ongoing monitoring and consultation ensures that your campaign is performing successfully and that you are seeing the desired results.

Here at Contractor Media, we do all three. Contact us to learn more, or leave a comment or questions below. Our experts are here to help you!