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Mind the Numbers: Basic Google Analytics for Small Business

Even if you’re the type of small business owner who had a website made and never checked it again after that, you’ve probably heard the term “Google Analytics” thrown around by fellow entrepreneurs, most likely in close proximity to other indecipherable mumbo-jumbo about “market segmentation” or “engagement reporting”. As a small business owner, all you need to know is that Google Analytics is the world’s most popular online metrics platform. When you think about it, it’s actually incredible that Google developed this incredibly valuable tool and offers it for free to anyone willing to learn how to use it. So how can Google Analytics help your small business? Without going into too many laborious details, there are 3 basic ways Google Analytics can be of incredible value to your company: 1. Track and Improve Website Effectiveness Set up properly, Google Analytics will be able to show you the frequency of visits to particular pages on your website, revealing crucial details about your sales funnel and how your website engages with your potential customers. For example, you can figure out if you’re losing customers as soon as they land on the home page, or right as they’re about to submit their payment, and then remedy the problem. 2. Learn About Customer Segmentation Google Analytics can’t tell you precisely who your customers are, but it can tell you a lot of other valuable information, such as their location, how they got to your site, and even whether they accessed your site on a computer, phone or tablet. This in turn, can be used to refine your marketing strategy to better cater to the types of customers that most frequently visit your site. If you notice that a higher than average proportion of customer arrive at your site via your Facebook page, you can focus on developing that resource even further. The data can also be used in combination with point #1. Let’s say you find that… […]

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Rebrand: The Year to Put the Value Back in Your Marketing

Happy New Year, everyone, and welcome to our January newsletter! We hope you finished 2013 on a strong note, and that the year ahead brings your business unprecedented success. As we shut the door on the year of productivity, we want to frame 2014 as the year to reevaluate your brand and put the value back in your marketing strategy.   The idea is simple to explain: as online marketing content proliferates, it becomes harder to stand out online. Many online marketing companies are churning out content as if it was made on an assembly line, hit their word counts, and move on. But, while having new content is better than no content, a small business is unlikely to hit its growth goals with this kind of strategy.   In short, we believe in the unstoppable power of content that has value. Instead of content that is merely there, we believe in creating content that is impactful, engaging, and wins people over. The truth is, it shouldn’t feel like you are constantly reminding customers on social media that your business exists – your content should be valuable enough that your customers want to share it with each other on their own.   How do you design content that spreads itself in such a way? We’ll be exploring the topic all year. And we’re glad you’ll be with us.   Client Profile:   Sometimes, building a brand involves going against the grain. Lawyers, for example, tend to sometimes be viewed as…how should we say…not the most personable profession. They also don’t tend to be superstars at self-promotion. That’s something Jacob Sapochnick wanted to remedy when he came to us with the idea of EnchantingLawyer.com.   The website offers valuable content that aims to teach lawyers how to market themselves, build a web presence, and generally succeed in promoting their private practice. Jacob already had many great ideas for content, which he… […]

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Going Viral: Lessons from the Battlefield

Content that goes viral is the ultimate end goal of online marketers. The very term “viral” suggests content that is contagious, being spread from user to user at an exponential rate, like an epidemic. It implies that the message is so strong that marketers no longer need to physically spread it, because it spread itself. It’s content that is so good that you once you see it, you can’t help but want to tell someone about it. This month has truly shown us the potential power of viral content.   We should start at the beginning. Last month, Volvo released an ad featuring 80’s action movie star Jean Claude Van Damme. As Van Damme has a cult following online, this would already have been noteworthy enough, but Volvo didn’t stop there. Instead, they had him do the splits (a move he is famous for) perched between two Volvo semi-trucks, which were driving parallel to each other. In reverse.   It’s small wonder that the ad went viral instantly, gaining millions of views within hours. A month on, 65 million people have viewed it, voluntarily, many of them multiple times. It was the one minute and seventeen second definition of successful marketing.   Within hours, Channing Tatum released a spoof of the ad in which he attempts to do the splits to promote his upcoming film 22 Jump Street. Sure enough, within hours he also had millions of views. As of now 14 million people have seen his ad.   But neither of these successes, one by a major corporation, one by an A-list actor, could match what happened next. A tiny media company called Delov Digital released the ultimate repartee, featuring a fake, CGI short of online meme-king Chuck Norris, also doing the splits. Between two airplanes. With all of Seal Team 6 piled up on his head. In the shape of a Christmas tree that ultimately lights up.  … […]

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The Evolution of Holiday Marketing: The Infographic

Online holiday marketing has increased tenfold in the past few years. With all the numbers flying around, identifying which holiday marketing trends affect small businesses can be challenging. Here are some of our findings distilled into a handy infographic. [templatera id=”10394″] […]

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Ramping Up Marketing for the Holidays

We at Little Jack love the holiday season. No other time of the year is filled with such a spirit of joy and hopefulness. It just so happens that the holidays are also the ideal time to launch a new campaign and try to get a piece of the $580 billions Americans spent during the season last year. For some retailers, holiday spending makes up 20-40% of yearly revenue, which should tell you one thing, your holiday strategy does indeed matter, and could actually affect the financial outlook of your entire year. To specify, the numbers above are for the 61 days from November 1st through December 31st. Yes, Halloween gets gypped, but unless you’re the next Hershey or Mars, it most likely won’t be a game-changer for you. General Planning Tips Start your planning early. If the official season starts on November 1st, you should be ready to launch your campaign by that date, which likely means starting the process around the beginning or middle of October at the very latest. People are more tolerant of marketing during the holiday season. After all, they’re mandated by society to consume. So if you’re one of the companies that is usually afraid of overmarketing (rightfully so), keep in mind that the rules for the holidays are different—people won’t hate you when you send them more offers, reminders, or updates. As you know, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the busiest shopping day of the year. However, more and more businesses are jumping on the Cyber Monday bandwagon. The right one-day-only deal on that day, presented electronically to your customers in an irresistible package, could seriously affect your bottom line. Stick to the Classics The most popular holiday sale strategies keep coming back for a reason–namely, because people find them incredibly appealing. Don’t be afraid to jump on the bandwagon. The top three campaign trends are: Post-holiday shopping – from Black… […]

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The Myths and Realities of Inbound Marketing

The social media community is known for taking ideas and running with them. Such is the case with inbound marketing, a term coined in 2009 that was supposed to describe the radically new way marketing would work in the Internet age.  Inbound marketing has taken the social media community by storm, being coined the latest and greatest, and being proposed as the solution to every small company’s marketing problems.   Being fans of the ancient Greek virtue of moderation (also, of critical thinking), we’ve taken a more nuanced approach to this phenomenon. We are glad that industry insiders like RavenTools, also recommend a balanced strategy, even leaning slightly towards the outbound side.   With that in mind, here are two of the common myths perpetuated about inbound marketing, and the realities behind them:   Myth: Inbound Marketing is Cheap   The argument here is that because inbound marketing depends entire on content creation, it can be done much more cheaply than producing the materials or purchasing the airtime required for traditional, outbound marketing. Some savvy business owners can even do the content creation themselves, bringing down cost to just the time necessary to produce the content.   Reality: Inbound marketing can be just as expensive as outbound marketing. A part of the reason social media marketing companies are hyping inbound marketing so much is that it provides them with a consistent source of revenue. Content creation is labor based, while a lot of the cost of outbound marketing goes towards the marketing material itself. Therefore, the marketing company most likely makes more money off inbound marketing than from outbound.   If you’re doing your own inbound marketing, you might be saving on labor costs, but you lose out on time and the chance to work with someone who has the expertise that comes from creating web content full-time. Most importantly, anything that takes resources and does not deliver the promised results can be considered… […]

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Promotions, Coupons, Incentives: Are You an Effective Online Promoter?

Since the first time a man thought to offer two chickens for the price of one goat (limited time only!), there have been business promotions. And, while once upon a time a promotion was something truly special — sometimes you had to wait a whole year for that special sale — as more and more businesses compete with each other in the US marketplace, promotions are becoming the standard rather than the exception. There are people out there for whom couponing is practically a religion.   But, while your promotions might in themselves be spectacularly good deals, they might not be coming across correctly in the online environment. Follow these three tips to get more mileage out of your next online promotion:   Cross-channel promotion   This is an obvious one (use every online channel you’ve got!) but one thing is key: spinning the promotion to best fit into whatever channel you’re using. Remember, you’re not only getting the word out, you’re socializing. Add a social component to the Facebook post for the promotion and encourage people to share. On Twitter, make the message interesting enough to get a click through, and get creative with hashtag usage.   Ramp Up, Ramp Down   Leaving aside the fact that every business is permanently running short on social media content, lengthening the online promotion cycle is generally a good idea. Start to mention the upcoming promotion up to a month before it starts to get some buzz going and “plant the seed” as they say.  A week before, you can ramp up coverage to get the word out.   Just because the promotion is over doesn’t mean your coverage of it should end abruptly. Thank everyone who participated, talk about what a success it was — in short, make the most of the event. Those who participated will feel special, those who didn’t will wish they had done so.   Create a Story  … […]

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ROI on Social Media Marketing

Return on investment is the great white whale of social media marketing. It’s mysterious, and both clients and their marketing companies are endlessly searching for it.   We’ve touched on the topic before, but think it deserves more attention. How do social media marketing companies ensure they provide value, and how do they communicate this to their clients? How do client businesses evaluate performance and hold their marketing company accountable? We’re going to tackle some of these very pertinent questions this month.   Setting Goals   At the outset of your social media marketing adventure, you should set two kinds of goals: concrete and global. Having at least one of both allows some flexibility while also accounting for social media marketing’s format. A concrete, metric-based goal will allow you to keep track of progress. This could be anything from making 100 new Facebook friends a month, to getting to 50 glowing customer reviews on Yelp, to increased attendance count at events advertised on social media.   At the same time, you should keep in mind that like traditional marketing, social media marketing also works towards some more general goals, such as increasing brand recognition, improving neighborhood (hyper-local) presence, and adding legitimacy to your business by giving you a modern edge (also, connecting you with the youngest generation of consumers doesn’t hurt).   Focus on Accountability   These global goals might not be measurable immediately. They never are, even with traditional paper advertising. What this means to you: don’t get discouraged if you’re not getting more people in the door the first few months on your social media marketing strategy. As long as your concrete goals are being met, this is a sign that the cogs are working out of sight and your brand is improving.   On the other hand, when it comes to the concrete goals, you hold your social media marketing company to their promises. During the initial… […]

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Reputation Management for the Modern Age: An Introduction

Now that you’re hitting the social media channels hard, your company’s name will be out front for everyone to see. But as your reputation spreads far and wide, it might occasionally need a helping hand. Enter the field of reputation management. You might have heard the term reputation management thrown around with increasing frequency in the past few years. Indeed, the online reputation management field is booming. It isn’t that people just recently thought of the concept – for as long as there have been businesses, there have been business-owners who’ve cared about their company’s good name. What has happened, though, is that the online world given much more weigh to every single customer’s experience. In the past, if a customer used your company and was happy with the service, they could tell their friends about it, and that’s about as far as their influence would go. With the invention of dedicated customer review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List, we entered a new era of online review culture. Consumers now routinely browse through reviews before deciding which company to give their business too. A positive review can now reach thousands of potential customers. In a sense, the positive experience has been immortalized through the power of the web. One person’s good experience can generate a ton of leads for your business, but the phenomenon works the other way too – one negative experience and the resulting bad review can reach all your would-be customers and turn them away before they’ve had a chance to evaluate you for themselves. Businesses, of course, are attempting to reign in this phenomenon and use it for their benefit. This is exactly what comprises modern reputation management. The handling of positive reviews is fairly simple – when someone posts a glowing review of your company on another site, you should use every chance you have to draw attention to it. Dealing with negative reviews can be considerably more complex.… […]

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Elevate Your Content: Social Media Channels and the Bad Content Dilemma

As we get ready to wrap up our discussion of different social media channels, we wanted to move away from the technicalities of various platforms and give some attention to the most important thing of all: your content. Content, and bad content specifically, has been the buzz of the town this week, and with good reason. As marketing companies spread the word about the importance of online presence, businesses are catching on. But unfortunately, not everyone is a content creation pro, and this has resulted in a mountain of average, recycled content that does not provide value to the average Internet user (and therefore, ultimately has no marketing value either). So, we want to stress the face that using multiple social media channels is something you do to get the message out, but no amount of platforms will make up for subpar content. If you take anything away from us this month, let it be that quality always trumps quantity. After all, social media content is truly effective when it is not only seen but also shared, and users only share content they consider valuable. Here are three ways to ensure your content can pass the bad-content litmus test: Present new information, or old information in a new way –this is probably the hardest one for content creators, because it requires real knowledge about the area you’re writing on. There’s no way to fake depth. If you find yourself Googling your topic and skimming content from the first few sites that come up, congrats, you’re in the content recycling business! Write well –this should be easier, since people use language to communicate every day of their lives. We’re not saying you have to be the next Hemingway (“The Sun Also Markets”?), just that you should write in a grammatically correct and easy to understand way. Nothing will undermine your quality ideas (see #1) in the eyes of the reader faster… […]

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