Increase traffic to your retail location

Increase traffic to your retail location

Where did everybody go? Is your fantastic retail dream not taking off? Are people just not interested in your shop? How do you get them to come in? How do you get them to think of your store, come back and shop more?

Create an in-store experience. Everything from excellent service to creative story telling. The one thing online retailers can’t offer is a memorable experience or immediate gratification. You need to capitalize on these shortcomings and create an immersive ambiance that is appealing to all senses.

This would include everything from proper merchandising, slick next generation signage, interactivity and queue management.

This on top of offering the expected fast service, styles, sizes, availability, guidance, and selection will go a long way in bringing in customers and keeping them.

Social Coupons which must be redeemed in-store

Encourage social sharing to create positive experiences and build a buzz on Twitter Instagram and Facebook.

Create a magnetic employee brand culture turning your workforce into brand ambassadors. Make them passionate about your locations and they will make visiting your locations contagious.

Research your customer data. Get meaningful information and act quickly on that information. everything from products they like to purchase to lifestyle changes that drive behavior.

Who are your most loyal customers and what do they love? What brings them back to your store? What causes them to buy more? You need to be able to look at your store through the eyes of your customer to get a clearer picture of where you can improve the experience.

Play up the instant-gratification factor. emphasize that you can take it home today. play with it right now. no waiting.

Run crazy promotions with a “loss leader” surrounding a memorable event driving tons of traffic. Do this along with a domination campaign and the ripples for that location will be deep and long lasting.

9 Cardinal Rules for Content Marketing

9 Cardinal Rules for Content Marketing

You’ve invested a lot of money on your business, and to you it the center of the planet. Surprise!  The rest of the world doesn’t share you opinion or feelings about your business.  There’s good news though, you can follow this 9 rules and change the world to see things the way you do!  Do this and customers will flock to you and your products for incredible success!!

 

Cardinal Rule #1
Focus on your Audience, their needs and what they want. not you.
(nobody cares about you)
Cardinal Rule #2
Stop trying to be like your competitors, just be different… memorable.
Cardinal Rule #3
Have a plan. Have a goal. Measure your results against it.
Cardinal Rule #4
Do something that hasn’t been done before.
(You’ll know if you’re doing it right if you feel kinda queasy but excited about it)
Cardinal Rule #5
Your content has to be so valuable and useful that your audience HAS to pay attention. They can’t help themselves.
Cardinal Rule #6
Forget instant gratification. This is a marathon not a sprint. Results take time, so you have to be consistent with your efforts.
Cardinal Rule #7
If you want to lead in your industry you’ve got to focus on lifting your audience to see things at your level.
Cardinal Rule #8
Choose content topics that allow you to lead the conversation. This will help you distinguish your brand and develop your brand’s story.
Cardinal Rule #9
Don’t Blow it. You only have a couple of seconds to capture your audience.

Six Essential Keyboard Shortcuts that will save you a ton of time

Six Essential Keyboard Shortcuts that will save you a ton of time

Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts save a ton of time, but a lot of people never learn any. Some you SHOULD know are CTRL S to Save something, CTRL Z to Undo, CTRL C to Copy, CTRL and the plus sign to Zoom, and CTRL P to Print.

Most computer programs have tons of keyboard shortcuts to handle things without making you click through menus. But most of us never learn them. Here are six that work in just about every program there is.

1. CTRL S to Save. Most programs auto-save, but you still need to save on your own. And mousing over to the File Menu and clicking ‘Save’ takes two or three seconds.

2. CTRL Z to Undo. It’s great for word processing, and photo or video editing. If you make a mistake, just hit CTRL Z and things will go back to how they were.

3. CTRL C to Copy, CTRL X to Cut, and CTRL V to Paste. CTRL C saves selected text or images to the Clipboard, and CTRL V pastes them wherever the cursor is. CTRL X deletes selected text or images WHILE saving to the Clipboard.

4. CTRL and the plus sign to Zoom. And CTRL with the minus sign zooms back out.
They save a HUGE amount of time. Using the menus, you have to mouse and click multiple times for each zoom level.

5. CTRL P to Print. This one brings up the Print window immediately, and saves two separate mouse clicks.

6. CTRL ALT DELETE to Exit. It’ll let you exit out of a frozen program when the mouse isn’t working. On a Mac, hold down the Command, Option, and Escape buttons. For all of the other shortcuts, just use Command instead of the Control button to do the same things on a Mac.

 

(USA Today)

Google Now Featuring “Slow To Load” Warning Label In Mobile Results

Google Now Featuring “Slow To Load” Warning Label In Mobile Results

Google is now testing “Slow to load” labels, with little yellow warning signs next to the slow to load results.

Google has touted the importance of mobile performance of websites over the past few years, this label suggests that Google is taking website performance and specifically that on mobile devices very seriously. This label could be potentially a game-changer for those who care about the performance, user experience and SEO of your website.

What does google consider a “Slow Website”?

A load time of anything significantly over 4.5 seconds could be the trigger for a “slow” label. Or it could be ranking the website speed based on similar or competing websites.

So what do you do?

Run a PageSpeed Test and a Mobile Friendly Test and have a look at your test results.

Here are the most common suggestions:

Compress Images

Start with the first image identified in the Page Speed test and resize and compress it. Re-run the test and see how it affects your score.

Leverage browser caching

Browser caching has a lot to do with setting an expiration date or a maximum age in your HTTP headers for resources which tell the browser to load previously downloaded resources instead of grabbing them from the network again, thereby saving your bandwidth and accelerating the loading of the site.

Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content

Try to defer or asynchronously (async) load blocking resources, or inline the critical portions of those resources directly in the HTML.

Enable compression

This is a relatively easy fix. Most servers have this installed and compression should be easy to activate.

Minify JavaScript

This can get tricky. If your javascript is wonky or loaded in the wrong order, it can break your website. There is a lot of work involved on a script by script basis to get this minification process to work properly. However if it gets your website to load faster, then by all means, its worth the sweat and tears.

Avoid SLOW Ad Networks

Many times, your website will load at blazing speeds, only to be held up by a pixel that won’t load from some shady third-party Ad network or “analytics” company. This may slow your site down past the 4.5 second load time and earn you that horrible “slow to load” label. Drop them. It’s not worth it. Find another solution.

slowtoload

Facebook pages are a questionable investment for some small businesses

Facebook pages are a questionable investment for some small businesses

I create and manage a lot of websites and marketing campaigns for small and medium size business across a multitude of industries.

One of the “standard” items that is expected to be setup and published is a Facebook Page.

Once you’ve setup your Facebook Page, the idea is to get as many people as possible to “Like” your page, so that when you publish any kind of announcement for your business, it will appear in their feed and people will be aware of what your business is up to. It sounds brilliant.

This is the fundamental idea about Facebook that almost everybody understands and believes. Its called “Organic Reach” and it sounds wonderful. Ideally this will let you build loyalty to your brand or company and allow you to create opportunities that will generate sales.

How do you get likes? This is easy. Facebook provides you with the tools to promote your Facebook page on your site using “cut and paste” plugins as well as third party plugins and a whole slew of tools that lets you integrate Facebook into your online efforts. Its appealing because it costs nothing and you might as well do it because the effort on your part is also quite minimal.
You can also gain Facebook likes by purchasing an Ad on Facebook that will promote your Facebook page and convince people to “Like” your page. Please note that at this point you will now be spending money to drive traffic to your Facebook page instead of driving traffic to your website.

This is all ok. When you spend money on these efforts, it feels like your spending on important marketing items that will benefit you in the long run. It feels like your building your subscriber list and user database that you can use for your marketing. This feels justified.

So now you have a Facebook page with a few hundred or maybe even a few thousand likes. You feel pretty good. You can show off to your friends how popular your page is, and now the sun is shining and you have that feeling that success is just around the corner.

How posting on Facebook pages feels like

Whenever you post something on your facebook page, it feels like this is your audience.

and then…
You start posting your really cool ads that you paid your graphics guy or agency to create and for some reason those ads or announcements NOT being seen or liked by large number of people who liked your page. In fact your page, which has, lets say 500 likes, has a typical post “view count” of about 50 to 100 people.

Yes, you read that correctly, only about 1% to 5% of the people that have ALREADY “liked” your page saw your cool ad or post. That’s like building a contact database with 500 names and sending out an email to only 50 people on that list.

How Posting on Facebook actually is

Facebook posts only reach between 1 and 5% of the people who have already liked your page. Thats about 5 people out of every 100 that already know your business.

Of course you can increase that number by clicking the “Promote” button and spending anywhere from $5 to $200 and you can reach a lot more. This is the same as paying a $6 to $10 CPM (Cost per thousand impression) on regular Ad inventory on the open internet. Keep in mind on the open internet you will reach people who have not yet heard of your company and you can truly grow your brand, unlike the Facebook option which is allowing you to only reach those people who ALREADY “like” your page and have already heard of you and your company.
To recap what is happening when you build your Facebook page.
Instead of building a database of users that you can contact at will, you are paying Facebook to build a list of people for you to then pay Facebook again to advertise to the list that you already paid to build.

So you’re paying for likes and your paying for post visibility.
This very common misunderstanding of how the Facebook pages work or I should say don’t work in promoting small businesses is very disappointing to so many marketers once they come to this realization.

Is Facebook evil and greedy? Well, the answer is No. It all comes down to the nature of the beast. The beast I’m referring to is your feed on Facebook. There are so many posts by so many people who it’s quite impossible for any single person to view them all. In order to address this issue, Facebook has built-in algorithms that determines which posts are shown to whom and what becomes popular or not.

When you create a Facebook post, it will show to a few people. Depending on the time of day, and the people it has shown it to as well as how much time they spent with your post on their screen and a few other factors, this will decide whether your post will be seen by more people on your list or not. To put it in simple terms, is what your posting interesting or is it boring.

A good marketer can craft a good marketing campaign that will generate high interest and will grow organically. They will know the correct time of day to post for the audience they are after and will monitor the success or failure of each post. This kind of marketing done correctly can make a post truly go “viral” (organically grow). Otherwise your just filling the feed with noise that doesn’t go anywhere or benefit anyone.
I’ve seen posts that have gone viral and have seen over 2 million views. This is great, however, these posts only serve to push the brand. We saw only a minor bump in new likes and no bump in commerce. It is a lot of effort for little to no payoff. You must measure the amount of time energy and imagination you are going to use to create good marketing content against traditional online marketing methods to see where you should allocate your funds to cover the cost of customer acquisition in the most efficient and effective way.
The Facebook social network business model may work for celebrities or huge brands that have a large organic following and whose posts are naturally and organically amplified to increase visibility, but for small businesses this is a waste of time, money, and energy that can be better invested on their websites and mailing lists and traditional online advertising options.
Bottom line. Run the numbers and check your returns. I’m sure you’ll see that your F page may not be paying off, and may in fact just be sucking away time you could better be using in building a real user/fan database and in legitimate proven marketing efforts.