Re-Evaluating Your Company Facebook [Part Two]

But I have a boring landscaping company and there is no popular or viral landscaping content on the web

This is a good point.

While it is best if you can keep the content you post tied to the industry/field that you work in, and keep everything on the same topic; you shouldn’t however let this idea restrict you to a life of monochrome! More importantly, who says the content you are posting MUST be popular or viral?

If you look back earlier, you’ll see we determined your audience simply wants:1) useful content which makes him better, 2) something funny, entertaining, 3) coupons great offers.

Obviously, it is best if you can post viral content which is relevant to your brand and audience. But if you CANT, then fear not. All you should do is post VALUABLE content (not necessarily virally popular), and your audience will be pleased. In this case, you wouldn’t use Buzz Sumo. Instead you’d search the web to find quality blog posts and articles on topics relating to your industry.

 

How often?

You should post three times a day. Once at lunch, once at dinner, and one late at night, around 10pm. However, this may vary from time zone to time zone; be sure to check your analytics to find when most of your users are online.

If your posts are quality (good content which makes people better) you won’t need to worry about people unfollowing you and getting annoyed (however, there will always be a small percentage who will unfollow you no matter what you do). BUT, if your posts are low quality, then you don’t want to post frequently, as your audience will get sick of seeing your low-quality content.

 

What you should NOT be doing

Let’s summarize what you shouldn’t be doing in your business Facebook campaign.

  • One or fewer posts per day
  • Posting only pictures of your products, or only posts about your products
  • Posting only things in your industry/field
  • Insisting that all content originates from your brand, and nothing from outside sources
  • Ignoring comments
  • Arguing with your audience

 

What you SHOULD be doing

  • You should be posting at least three times a day, at peak user online times
  • If you’re going to post about your products it had better only be one in every 20 posts. People did not follow your company’s FB page to hear about your products constantly
  • You should mix it up and post things in related fields, and even completely disrelated things, such as famous quotes, and yes, even cat videos. (it is still social media, after all)
  • Amazing content exists on the web, don’t deprive your audience; share it, and they will love you
  • You should respond to every single comment your channel gets, be it FB, TW, G+, whatever. It is important to engage with your audience and let them know someone is there
  • You should maintain good PR at all times on your social media channels. If you have a disgruntled fan/follower, use this as an opportunity to turn him into a zealous supporter, by giving them great service
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Re-Evaluating Your Company Facebook

Does your company Facebook campaign feel like a random ambiguous activity?

Do you feel a disconnect between your company’s Facebook page and your sales & marketing campaign?

Are you not getting any results with your business Facebook page?

If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions then let’s take a moment and re-evaluate your Facebook campaign strategy.

 

Facebook for business is different

For some reason, people think that they can only post photos of their products and coupons for their products. Although this ‘gut feeling’ is logical and understandable (after all, it is your business page and not a personal page, right!?), but what results does this actually get? How much engagement from the audience do you get when you post a photo and info of your product? I’m going to hazard a guess: not much.

It is not what people want.

 

But what do people want?

People typically expect a few different things from a business FB page:

  • Useful information. Emphasis on ‘useful’ information
  • Entertainment
  • Incentives (good deals, coupon codes, good special offers)

This tells you at once what you should be posting on your business social media campaign.

The above three times are in order of what you should be posting most frequently.

This also tells us that the subscriber, follower, fan or whatever you want to call them is interested in valuable content. Content which either makes them laugh and feel good, or content which gives them understanding, certainty, ability.

 

Where do I get this content?

Don’t make the mistake thinking that you must be the creator of all content you post on social media. And don’t let experts dissuade you saying that you’re diluting your brand by promoting other people’s content. This is simply not true. The idea of sharing is the very backbone of the web. It is perfectly acceptable for you to share great content created by others on your business Facebook page. Your audience will love it.

Of course if you had more time and energy you could hire your own people to create your own amazing content. But until you reach that level, content curation is a viable alternative to providing your audience with good content.

You can use free services like Buzz Sumo to find what content is the most popular and viral in particular fields or for certain keywords. And then just post a link to that article in your social media posts. This allows you to avoid the growing pains of not being sure if what you’re posting will be popular or not, as, you’re only posting content which has already proved to be popular.

The content you curate from the web could be anything from ‘how to guides’, white papers, or just really interesting articles a la BuzzFeed.

But I have a boring landscaping company and there is no popular or viral landscaping content on the web; what can I do?

This is a good question. Read Part Two for the answer.

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Marketing Blind-folded [Part Two]

Why bother doing this in the first place?

Why should you go through the effort to create content which does the above?

Because we are in a new era of marketing called: The Relationship Era. Great content fosters great relationships.

It is no longer enough to simply do advertising, especially on the web. Because there is so much competition and so many businesses selling the same thing, one has to go to great length to capture the attention of the consumer.

And who will capture the attention and favor of a consumer? A company with standard content, or a company with superlative content?

A company which gives a better user experience, which actually enhances the consumer will be remembered, and promoted by word of mouth.

The only way a site generates revenue is if the user likes the site and contacts the company to give them money (or if the pricing is extremely low, but who can compete with that?). If good SEO work gets people to the site, but they don’t then convert, the SEO work is for nothing! And there will be no conversions… and no extra revenue. Therefore, bad content repulses business, and good content sucks it in. It doesn’t matter how good a site’s SEO is, if the user experience is poor then the person will not convert. If they have a poor experience they won’t call in, or fill out the contact form

 

How do I know if my content is of superlative quality?

Very simply.

Ask yourself this question:

If your web server went offline, and your website deleted, would anyone miss your content? Would people be genuinely upset or disappointed if they could no longer access your content?

That is the question.

If your answer is no, then don’t worry. It just means that there is considerable room for improvement.

 

What are some examples of this level of content?

Here is a stellar example of high quality content, created for the user, in an effort to make him smarter, better and more able:

The Food Lab’s Definitive Guide to Grilled Steak

http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/05/food-lab-how-to-grill-steak-cuts-of-steak-marbling-salting-charcoal-technique-resting-tips.html

 

Other Reasons Content is King

  • If your content is good enough it establishes you as a thought leader and authority, therefore people will listen to what you have to say
  • It puts the user in your debt, since you have done so much for him, in the way of work and research, they feel benefited by you, and don’t mind at all putting down some money
  • Good content spreads itself, people share it, it becomes free advertising for your company
  • 94% of people who visit your website are not ready to buy. But 100% people who visit are ready to be enlightened and enhanced by your content. This means you can optimize what occurs when people reach your site. People who normally would click back or leave who aren’t ready to buy, can instead download/access your excellent free content, and then be that much further down your sales funnel (maximizing the efficiency of your website).
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Marketing Blind-folded [Part One]

Is your internet marketing and website marketing strategy NOT getting you the results you want?

Do you feel you feel a disconnect from the money you spend on marketing and the results you get in your revenue?

If ‘yes’, do not despair, something can be done about it.

What is needed is a better strategy. A strategy that has worked and continues to work, and is empirical.

 

A Better Strategy: Leading with Value

First, let’s go over the obvious. Since a commercial website’s purpose is to sell and generate revenue the copy, structure and pages are geared towards selling.

Informational websites like Wikipedia have the purpose to inform, so the copy, structure and design are all geared to inform.

So, commercial websites go sales heavy, and info websites go content heavy. And this is how websites are distinguished. However, as the internet evolved commercial sites saw less and less profits, and so some businesses had to change up the game a bit. They took the hint from informational sites and started putting focus on content, while still selling. This is what you see when you find a business website with a bunch of articles or blog posts on their industry or field.

It is no longer sufficient to simply have a website. You must have content. Business have been doing this because, as everyone knows ‘content is king’. And so they go; making the company blog, informational articles, product reviews, white papers, etc etc etc. But what level of quality is this content are they creating? Mediocre at best.

And while this content DOES help a site’s SEO, it does not NECESSARILY help your site generate revenue.

This is not to say that this content is garbage, or spam. Not at all. But it does say that the content being created isn’t doing enough for the prospect. It’s not helping him enough. The content helps the search engines more than it helps him.

 

But why is content king, and why must you have it?

First, let’s zero in on this and find out WHY content is king. And why having good content on a commercial website should increase your revenue.

The first thing to know about this is that content is created for the USER not for the Search Engines.

Content created for the prospect/consumer is designed to help him.

How do you create content that will help the prospect?

Find out his needs and pain points. His difficulties. What he is trying to solve by using your product/services. You’re trying to make him a better person. This is applicable in any industry, space, field, etc. The content should:

  • Fill an un-met and un-known need
  • Help them to solve a problem/situation
  • Enhancing their intelligence
  • Make them feel better
  • Raise their status or confidence

Good content should do one or more of the above and one’s content strategy should be based upon this.

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Using Scarcity to Sell

The power of scarcity is something to behold. Many times it is the sole reason a prospect moves from ‘decide’ to ‘action’ in the sales funnel and lays his money down.

The worry and anxiety of losing something is so visceral, that very few people can resist it. It creates an instant pull towards the object/thing.  Even if they don’t end up buying, they do feel an actual pull to the product, and the desire increases; unless they totally had no interest/desire for it in the first place.

Marketers have beat this to death, in the most mundane banal way. You have seen it. It is the: “limited time offer” text added to a deal. That is usually as far as most will take the phenomena of scarcity.

It is interesting to note that if a product just became scarcer (or became perceived to be scarcer) it would increase in sales. Nothing changed about the product itself, it wasn’t better, smarter, faster, stronger, it just became less available.

 

Using Scarcity on Product Availability

Simply put, it is: the fact that the product actually will not be available to purchase in the future, and techniques of communicating this so that the prospect understands what he will be missing out on.

This is achieved very simply:

1)      The product is limited in stock and will not be available (things on clearance, etc)

2)      The special offer is time-sensitive and will end (flash sale, etc)

3)      Only a certain number of people are able to register/enroll, a cut off capacity

4)      Product about to be discontinued

5)      The product/service may be banned in the future, and is still legal now

 

Threat of Loss

If we look much closer at the psychology of scarcity, we see a few things. One the obvious, that value increases when something is more scarce, as in the above. This is plain and easy to see.

There is another factor however, which we can extrapolate and use.

One of the human responses to scarcity is the feeling of a threat of loss, or potential loss. We know that this makes them value it more. But what else does this tell us? It tells us that generally, simply and plainly that: the threat of loss by itself makes a person react.

In other words, instead of being mundane and saying “oh, it is a limited time offer, you should get it now”, you can go deeper and tell the prospect what he stands to lose personally if he does not have your product.

It means: “if you don’t get our product X, then all those undesirable conditions we spoke of earlier, will not get resolved, and in fact, will get worse, because they haven’t been dealt with”. In this case you are imposing on him a threat of some kind of loss, or harm, if he doesn’t do X.

This fits like a glove with marketing and sales because good marketing is defined as helping the consumer solve a problem, and communicating to him so that he understands our product/service will help him solve that problem.

So, right there we predicate the entire subject of marketing & sales on the fact that our consumers have problems. Therefore, since they have problems, these problems are likely to get worse unless they are dealt with. Enter: the threat of loss, or threat of harm.

All you have to do is find out what the prospects’ pain points/problems are, have him confront them and their ramifications, explain to him that your product/service can handle it, then have him confront what will happen if they don’t get resolved, and what he stands to lose if he doesn’t get your service/product; and that’s it.

When writing sales copy for a website or communicating with a prospect, know well the problems that your product/service solves, and communicate to clearly what a person has to lose by passing you up.

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Using Rapport to Sell

The more you have in common with someone, the more they are interested in listening to you. And therefore the more receptive they will be in hearing what you have to say or sell.

Generally, people like people who are similar to them or share something that is the same. It could be any number of things:

  • Same occupation
  • Same school
  • Fan of same sports team
  • From the same city
  • Know the same people
  • Same religion
  • Same nationality
  • Same political orientation

 

The marketer or salesman can artificially create this feeling of closeness with the prospect or website visitor by finding some common ground, some shared reality or similarity.

How to use it?

The easiest and most natural way to use this is in one on one communication. But it can be employed in static text of web pages.

Live Communication

You start up a bit of small talk, and start fishing for something for which you and your prospect have in common. If you’re having trouble with this, you can use your surroundings, the environment and features about the prospect himself to find something. Perhaps you notice that he has a Mont Blanc pen, or Ray Ban glasses. You can then talk about these.

However, the easiest way to go about this is to simply ask what are their favorite things. For instance: “what is your favorite restaurant in this city?” “what is your favorite place you’ve travelled to?”, “who’s your favorite sports team?”. And then respond accordingly. With enough probing you can find something you are both enthusiastic about.

The best and strongest similarities would be the ones listed at the top (the list is not exhaustive however). Particularly religion and politics. Ironically these two topics are strenuously avoided (and for good reason). But, if one is a skillful enough communicator he could discuss religion or politics in a business setting, upset no one, and end up having them like him more.

Nothing in common?

If you can’t find anything in common with the person after some chatting around, you can use sincere compliments about them, their company, their achievements, their attitude, etc. Anything positive about them you should give a sincere compliment, and actually mean it.

Web Pages

Applying this to static web pages can be a bit tricky.

It is important to find this shared reality before sales talk/text begins, it oils the machinery so to speak.

For instance, if you have a landing page, and your audience is ‘people learning foreign language X’, you must put yourself in their shoes, and talk to them about their difficulties, their goals, their reasons for learning it, etc. And how you have had those exact same things, and that is why you developed your product ‘X’. It is personal, and real. This format can be brought into other spaces, not just foreign language.

If your audience is ‘DIY home owners’, you can also put yourself in their shoes and write about what is real to them, and then proceed to introduce your product and services, and explain how it will handle the things you described in your earlier text.

The ‘realer’ you can make yourself to your prospect, the more they can relate to you and see you as a person and not just another sales machine.

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Using Authority to Sell

Continuing on in our journey of discovering why people say ‘yes’ or agree to do things, we come to a very potent factor. The factor of authority.

In the case of ‘consensus’ we have a person making his decision based off what is commonly agreed upon, what people in his group do, or don’t do. With authority, we have a person making a decision based off the statement of one person, as opposed to a whole group.

Why authority?

People are very trusting. They will give people the benefit of the doubt, and assume people are not trying to deceive or take advantage of them. Therefore, whenever one is hearing an opinion or statement from an authority the knee-jerk reaction is to believe them, and not question. One of the main reasons why is the authority has knowledge and or credibility which one does not, therefore we trust him.

Of course there will be people who are so self-assured that they will contest anything a person of authority says, but the majority of people give heavy credence to the opinion of an authority.

How to show authority

There are many ways to indicate that one is an authority. The simplest would be certifications/diplomas from accredited agencies; showing that you are a certified specialist.

Even the simple technique of wearing a uniform will ‘trigger’ this in the consumer; and to a lesser extent just dressing professionally.

Writing a book and having it published automatically makes one an authority, and it is not as big a task as you think. Self-publishing has become incredibly simple, thanks to Amazon, and is within the reach of any individual and small-business owner.

Another way one can show that they are an authority is to have a friend or colleague introduce them as an expert. This is something that receptionists can employ for their salesmen. The receptionist can tell the caller that they will be connected with Bob, who has X amount of experience in [insert industry/service here].

Using authority on the web

Anyone can say anything they want on their website, and the visitor has no way of know whether or not it is true. However, this doesn’t mean you should not still try to establish your authority on your website, because you can.

The obvious and first way to establish yourself/your brand as an authority is to get a professional e-book made; and have it advertised prominently on your site.

The next, and only slightly more time consuming way would to have your own book written and published (for very low costs using Create Space, and only ordering copies to be printed whenever you get orders in).

Self-publishing on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-summary-page.html/ref=footer_publishing?ie=UTF8&ld=AZFooterSelfPublish&topic=200260520

Another very obvious step would be to display on your website any awards your company has received, for quality of service, or anything. Additionally, you should display any certifications and licenses.

If you don’t have any awards fear not! You can start today towards accruing them. Here are just two that you can look into:

Angie’s List Super Service Award criteria

https://www.angieslist.com/articles/angies-list-super-service-award-criteria.htm

Yelp Bizzie Awards

Yelp Announces First Annual Bizzie Awards

There are others.

It is time well invested, as a company that has great reviews and a great record of service has considerable authority, and preference, in the eyes of the consumer.

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Using Social Proof to Make Sales

What exactly is Social Proof?

Wikipedia defines it as: “psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.”

But if you wanted to make it simple, it could be defined as: consensus. Which means “general agreement among people about something”.

It is what people agree should or shouldn’t be done.

When a person is in a position to make a decision (such as what to buy or do) he may or may not take Social Proof into account. It depends how self-assured, and self-confident they are in their own thought process and conclusions. This factor of self-confidence aside, social proof is present in many decisions people make, therefore it is important to know about it, and how to use it in your business.

Why Social Proof?

If people are not completely self-assured, they will look to the actions and behaviors of others to determine their own decisions. If someone knows what the majority of other people are doing then they will make the assumption that they should do the same, because it is acceptable and is safe. The risk is low because many people are doing it, so the chances of it being bad/dangerous are low.

You see this all the time in your day to day. If you need to find a new tax-preparer, you might ask a friend or family member who they use, and make the decision of hiring them solely because someone you know uses them. Another example, a person is getting into a new hobby, fishing, or archery, or whatever. Since he is new to this activity, he does not trust his own judgement, so he wants to know what other people in this group are doing, buying, using, not using. If he’s shopping for his gear, he would want to know what the pros are using, or what the pros started out with, when they were beginners.

Using Social Proof for the Web

One has to remember that his business is catering to a specific audience. For a bookstore their audience is ‘readers’, for a sporting goods store their audience are ‘sports enthusiasts’, for a landscaping company their audience could be ‘home owners who like home improvement’.

Once you know what the audience is, you can speak to them directly on your website. Like this:

“50% of book readers who visit our site have read this book [insert book title here]”

“33% of visitors to our site found this page the most helpful [insert squeeze page here]”

“100% of people who use our services don’t regret it”

Or, more specifically (on a landing page, etc): “55% of people who read this page downloaded our free e-book”

Obviously some research and surveying would have to be conducted in order to find out this data. But, the above information and text ads another layer of factualness to your brand. It adds a reinforcing element, and makes you and your brand more real to the consumer.

A key point to remember in implementing social proof for your website is that people are interested to know what others have done (others who are similar to them… others in the same audience). A home improvement DIY person would be interested to know specifically what other home improvement DIY people are doing, as opposed to the broad generality of ‘what other people are doing’. Being specific helps build a stronger connection and more credence to your claims.

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Psychology for Web Marketing: Using Consistency

In last week’s article we discussed the power that reciprocity has over individuals in getting them to say yes, agree to things, or to buy.

Now let’s go over another powerful influencing factor: Consistency.

 

Consistency of Commitment (keeping one’s word)

In this case we mean people having the urge to do what they said they would do. It can be for appointments, volunteer work, favors; anything like this.

When a person makes a commitment they then feel some level of obligation to fulfill it. Therefore, this way of behavior can be used to get people to do things. You can get people to do big things for you, if you start out by having them do small things for you.

 

How to Apply it

Here are a few key aspects in getting commitments:

1)      It must start as a small and easily-approached commitment, don’t blow them off with a big, tall order

2)      After the small commitment is made, then a larger one can be made at a later time, it will be easier for them to confront the larger commitment because the approach was gradient

3)      The person must be reminded of his commitment. You mustn’t be afraid to remind the person: “Mr. Jones, you said last week that you would come and see us, what happened?”, etc etc.

 

What can it be used for?

Ask yourself some things you’d like to get your customers to do for you (aside from buy products).

1)      Ask for written testimonials, then ask for filmed testimonials

2)      Ask for written reviews, then ask for reviews on Yelp, Google Business

3)      Ask for written testimonials, then ask them for people they know who would need/want your services

4)      Have customers agree for an appointment to get a free estimate, then have them purchase services

5)      Ask for customer’s email address, and give them 20% off purchase, and then sign them up to your newsletter

6)      Offer a contest where a customer has to write up why they love your brand, and the winner gets some sort of prize. This identifies the customers who are most enthusiastic about your brand, after the contest you can ask them for video testimonials, reviews, anything you want.  This allows you to create a database of your most loyal customers. It also affirms their liking for your brand in their mind, by going through the effort to do this

-get people to make commitments that can be made

-get voluntary commitments, in writting

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Using Psychology for Web Marketing

Cialdini’s ground-breaking book ‘Science of Persuasion’ has tremendous potential for application in not only marketing but in web marketing as well.

The book revolves around the main underlying reasons a person says ‘yes’ or agrees to do something. This data is invaluable to the salesman.

Cialdini found that there are 6 main reasons why a person would be swayed to do something. They are:

  • Reciprocity
  • Consistency
  • Social Proof
  • Authority
  • Liking
  • Scarcity

We’re going to go over each one of these and see how we can use it for your business on the web.

Reciprocity

If you do something for somebody, they are more likely to do something for you in the future, because of care and kindness you had shown them. And don’t make the assumption that you have to do something big for someone, it can be as small as buying someone a coffee.

How can we use Reciprocity on the Web?

Very simply. This ties directly in with the philosophy of content marketing.

The whole basis of content marketing is that you are creating highly valuable content for people (not search engines) and you are giving it to them for free.

Now, a person won’t feel obliged at all to reciprocate (do you a favor) unless you’ve given them VERY high quality content for free (or an extremely low price).

Don’t get the idea that all you need to do is pump out 100 Ezine-style articles and then when people read them they will feel indebted to you! Not the case at all. On the web, since so much is free ALREADY, you have to go above and beyond in order to make a person feel they should reciprocate with you. You need to delivery considerably valuable free content

Examples of Considerably Valuable Free Content

1)      High quality templates (email, images, documents, etc.)

2)      Free samples, free trials

3)      Exclusive video guides

4)      High quality e-books

5)      Any kind of a free download

In what way will a user reciprocate with me?

This is crucial. Don’t assume that just because you give someone a free download that they will then tell everyone how great your website is and share you on all social media platforms. You must, must ask and direct them.

What you should do is, after the person gets the free valuable content from you, you then ask them directly to help you out. It is very appropriate and you should not feel any back-off doing this. Your request can go on a ‘thank you page’ which they go to after they get your free content.

You can even spice it up by adding some animation, so you really get their attention.

Example

An example could be the following text, largely displayed:

“We hope you enjoy [Your Product]! We worked really hard to make it for you”
“In exchange, could you do us a favor?”
“Share our [Your Product] with your friends on [Your social media platform of choice]”

Asking them to share on social media is an easy request. Of course, you are not limited to just this. But ‘shares’ and ‘likes’, are the easiest, low-bar way for them to reciprocate

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