Signpost Local Marketing Blog

Category: Article (page 1 of 8)

Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Promotion Ideas for Florists

The big day is finally here! For floral professionals, Valentine’s Day can be responsible for a bulk of revenue in the first quarter of the year. With over 110 million roses being purchased, and $18.2 billion projected to be spent this year, it’s to position your business for optimal success during this lucrative time. And although that sum seems overwhelming, it is 7.6% less than was spent for Valentine’s Day in 2016, proving how vital it is to understand evolving customer behaviors in order to drive more returns.

2017 Valentine’s Day Cheatsheet for Florists

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4 Marketing Automation Myths

Have you ever heard that marketing automation is hard to manage or that it could harm your business? The truth is, marketing automation can actually be a tremendous benefit for your business—if you use it the right way.

Marketing automation is a practice that helps companies nurture leads into becoming customers with valuable, personalized content. Automation an integral part of digital marketing, but you must set it up properly and continually assess your strategy to make it successful. To start you off on the right track, we’ll debunk four of the biggest myths about marketing automation.

1. Marketing automation is lazy.

This myth is based in the perception that automation is an easy, hands-off tactic. The truth, however, is that effective marketing automation requires ongoing analysis and savvy management. You need to remain conscious of what messages you’re sending to which people through which platforms as well as the responses you’re receiving in order to ensure your communications are helpful and contributing to a positive brand image.

2. Marketing automation is only for email.

While marketing automation is most commonly associated with email marketing, it can be a valuable tactic to incorporate with landing pages, social media, and other types of communication. By automating responses to particular user actions, you can deliver helpful, targeted information in a timely manner to better nurture relationships with your potential customers.

3. With marketing automation, you can “set it and forget it.”

Many business owners eschew automation because they believe marketers overuse the practice and end up ignoring engaged leads. Certainly, it’s important to ensure that any marketer who sets up automation for you be fully engaged with the process. The goal of an effective automation strategy should be to open up communication with leads and encourage them to reach out to you as a supplement to, not a replacement for, your sales strategy.

4. Marketing automation is basically spam.

If you’re sending spam, you’re not doing marketing automation right. While there certainly are companies that use marketing automation in a way that fills their contacts’ inbox without providing any real value, this is not effective marketing. When you provide valuable information that’s relevant to the contacts who receive it, you build relationships rather than undermining them with annoying solicitations.

Done right, marketing automation is a powerful way to engage more potential customers with your business. It can show that your company is ready and willing to provide information that will help them make important decisions, demonstrate your expertise, and build trust with your audience.


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Laura Stroup is an inbound marketing strategist at Blue Frog, a Des Moines, Iowa-based digital marketing company that specializes in designing customized inbound marketing strategies for companies of various industries and sizes. Laura is passionate about developing strategies that help her clients generate more leads and get a great return on their online marketing investment.

2017 Trends #1: Evolving Customer Lifecycle

As emerging innovations continue to change the way brands engage with and build relationships with their customers, it’s critical to stay  at the forefront of these trends. Early adoption and application can be a differentiator for brands looking to gain the competitive advantage.

As we head further into 2017, many businesses are evaluating which new technologies will be the best investments and aid in attaining their goals for the year. Whether you’re marketing one local business, or hundreds, you’ll be able to adapt some of these trends in a way that adds value to both your customers and your bottom line.

Download the Full Report: 2017 Trends Playbook

2017 Trend #1: Evolving Customer Lifecycle

The first of the five biggest trends we’re expecting this year for local marketing is understanding and finding new opportunities in the evolving customer lifecycle. In the digital age, the marketing funnel is expanding across multiple touchpoints to move prospects to a transaction.

With a majority prospective customers conducting online research and reading reviews on artificial intelligence trendspopular sites like Yelp, HomeAdvisor, and Google, due diligence is being performed more frequently prior to purchasing than in the past. Utilizing a comprehensive digital marketing strategy is the key to keeping leads engaged across these necessary touchpoints via email, text messages, social media, direct mail, review sites, directories and more.

And the task of ensuring they remain engaged and your business is top-of-mind continues, even after you’ve converted a new customer. Consumers have become disenchanted with traditional loyalty programs as well. While this (in tandem with other consumer trends, such as showrooming) have caused some alarmists to declare the death of customer loyalty, altogether, we maintain that the approach to such initiatives must also be reconfigured for the modern consumer.

Instead of tired punch cards and small rewards, customers are in search of a brand who will make them feel like a VIP. From added convenience and an increase in perceived value, getting creative in your loyalty program will yield great returns. Remember that it costs more to acquire a new customer than to sell to an existing, and that a bulk of your revenue comes from an existing customer base. Additionally, 87% of consumers report wanting a loyalty program, and still others refuse to be loyal to a brand if they lack a program to reward them. With Starbucks and Sephora as popular examples of bar raisers, use these innovative models as templates when leveling up in 2017.

For the full playbook, including data on customer acquisition, engagement and retention, as well as ideas for businesses of any size to put these trends into action, download the free playbook, now!

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New: Suggested Campaigns and Brand Update

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If you’ve been on the Signpost website today, you might’ve noticed that things look a little….different today. Don’t worry, you are in the right place, and our commitment to empowering local businesses, large and small, is stronger than ever. And in the spirit of that commitment, today we’re thrilled to announce two exciting updates: Suggested Campaigns and the launch of our new look! Though they might seem unrelated, they have more in common than you’d think.

Suggested Campaigns: More Impact, Less Time

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3 Things to Consider When Shopping for a Business Credit Card

For most business owners, the words “business credit card” brings two images to mind: deceptive, restrictive contracts that lead to stacks of bills, ruined credit scores, and financial insolvencyor thoughts of frequent flyer miles, bonus points, and cash back.

Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to make the latter, and not the former, your reality. But the truth is that credit card contracts tend to be confusing, unclear, and downright deceptive in their wording.

Before you make any commitments, consider the following when shopping for the perfect credit card for your business.

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How Your Business Can Get A Better Start on the New Year

Happy 2017! With the holiday rush officially over, hopefully everyone’s had a chance to catch their breath after another successful finale. With another year in the books, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and give yourself some time and space to organize your thoughts, reflect on the impact the past year had on your business and look towards the future.

Here’s how you can start 2017 off on the right foot, and stay focused on your goals until 2018.

Reflect on previous successes and challenges, then recalibrate

You might already do this for your personal goals, especially when embarking on a new year, but it’s vital to do so for your business as well. Identify what your most valuable drivers of new leads and repeat business have been in recent years, and how you can devote more time and resources to grow these even more in the coming year. And as you go through and tally your final numbers to close the books, use these figures as benchmarks that will allow you to set goals for the coming year that will keep you focused on the big picture. Similarly, it’s important to learn from past issues so you can learn from missteps and continue to refine your approach and execution in future efforts.

Try asking yourself the following questions:

  • How has the business changed in the past few years?
  • How do you see it maturing over the next few years? Have you expanded your line of products and services? In what area will you continue to do so? Think about what makes the most sense, and find a path to sustainable growth.
  • How has the landscape changed?
  • What new competitors have cropped up vs. which competitors have been vanquished?
  • What new innovations could my business be taking advantage of to find greater success?

Unclear as to how your online marketing has been performing ? Download our free, online marketing evaluation, today!

Set clear goals for yourself, your business and your employees

And while you’re setting goals and plotting for the year ahead, bring your employees in on the process as it’s a great time to get everyone aligned on challenges, priorities and company direction for the year. Start by reminding them of your business’s mission statement and founding principles or values. You’ll find that transparency can go a long way. Trusting and empowering your employees allows you all to approach problem-solving more collaboratively and effectively.

This also helps set priorities and gets everyone excited about the impact they can have in the coming year. You might even want to set clear goals for each employee, department or role. This will allow you all to track your progress throughout the year, and ensure everyone takes ownership for his or her role in driving more revenue for the business. You can also try gamifying this system and including bonuses or rewards for those who meet or exceed their goals. This is a surefire way to keep everyone accountable and eager to delight customers.

Refresh your marketing

A clean, new year is also a great excuse to give your marketing assets an update. Go through and do a complete audit on all your marketing materials, including the following:

  • Logo
  • Brochures, menus or any other print materials
  • Website
  • Blog
  • Social pages

Is it time for a brand refresh? Even the biggest brands take time to update the look and feel of their design. But even if you’re not due for an overhaul make sure that it is consistent across all your assets. If you changed the font on your homepage, it should be updated everywhere else. This holds true for your business info as well. Be sure that it is consistently formatted everywhere, including on any advertising and on third-party review sites.

Additionally, it’s also a great time to look at the tools you depend on to distribute your marketing messages and drive more foot traffic. What innovations can add even more value, or save you time and frustration? There are easy ways to automate previously manual and tedious tasks. The less time and attention you have to spend on attracting customers, the more you can spend attending to them and ensuring a stellar experience! But with countless new tools and platforms all touting immeasurable benefits, be sure to do your due diligence and determine which make the most sense for your type of business, budget, and goals. (We’re partial to industry-leading solutions that are proven to drive more revenue AND save time!). Keeping an eye on the road ahead is one of the best ways to ensure you stay on track for the rest of the year!

How Retailers Can Make the Most Out of Post-Holiday Shopping

Congratulations! With all major holidays currently in progress or over, you’ve nearly made it through another marathon! And, hopefully this has been the most rewarding season for your business to date. But, as exhausting as the holiday rush can be, it’s important to remember the year’s not over yet. As tempting as it can be to use this final twas the night after christmas tips for retailersweek as a respite and recovery, it can be instrumental in capping off 2016 and setting your business up for success in the new year!

While the days following Christmas have become infamous for returns, in recent years there has been a surge of dealseekers flocking to sales. Additionally, many consumers who received gift cards for the holidays will have them burning a hole in their pocket, and eager to use it at new stores and old favorites, alike.

We’ve consolidated some of the best tips to use this crucial time to transition the success of the season into another rewarding year ahead.

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Making the Most Out of Last-Minute Holiday Shopping

During this final holiday shopping sprint it’s easy to fall behind. 60% of consumers from a recent poll indicated that they still have half (or more than half) of their holiday shopping remaining. This has led to the rise of “Super Saturday” this past weekend, or the last Saturday before Christmas Eve, which is rivaling Black Friday in sales, and these last-last-minute holiday marketing ideasminute sales will continue to flow all week long. So although your holiday spirit might be waning, and you continue to grow weary, don’t break out the eggnog quite yet. The NRF estimates that 40% of the season’s sales happen within these final 10 days. So, keep focused on promotion efforts, as many brands will be clamoring for their share of this pie!

Experts believe that consumers have been holding out for steeper discounts, before deciding to make their holiday purchases. Discounts have been the main driver of sales, and were up 23% in the heart of the season. This will continue to be true in the final days, but despite projected increases in ecommerce this year, now is the perfect opportunity for brick-and-mortar to make a comeback. Many online retailers’ cut-off for shipping in time for the holidays has passed (and will continue to every day), creating a great opportunity for local businesses to provide value.

To help you prepare, we’ve created and compiled these ways to make the most of these precious few remaining days!

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Using a Data-Driven Holiday Strategy to Unlock Full Revenue Potential

As a business owner, you know that the holiday season is more like a marathon than a sprint. And if you’re like most local businesses, you might even depend on these two final months to account for up to 30% of your annual sales.  So, it’s critical that you not lose focus as we enter the few remaining weeks of the season. However, once the frenzy using data to get more customersof Thanksgiving weekend fades, it can be difficult to know which tricks to pull out of your hat next, or to even what has had the most impact for tactics you’ve already employed.

And with customer shopping behaviors changing every day, it’s hard to stay on top of evolving best practices. Luckily, your data tells no lies, and can be utilized to provide just the right amount of direction, or to deliver a unique, personalized experience for your customers in order to gain a competitive edge throughout the rest of the season, and into the new year!

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Microloans: Here’s How They Work

When you’re running a business, sometimes you just need a bit of extra capital to keep things going. Maybe you have to repair an important piece of equipment, order extra inventory, or make up for a slow month—but in these scenarios, a $500,000 loan won’t solve your problem.

Your answer? Microloans.

Here’s a breakdown of what microloans are, what you can use them for, and where you can find them for your small business.

What is a microloan?

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