Marketing Coaches' FAQs
Our marketing coaches work directly with our small business customers. Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions they receive from one-on-one interactions with customers.
Q: How can I blog if I am not a great writer?
A: Try using video. If you’re not a wordsmith, no worries! All you need is a smartphone and a means or method to prevent it from shaking during filming like a tripod or similar device. Try answering a frequently asked question on camera. Post the video on your blog with a few short sentences describing what it is your video is about.
Infographics are also another type of visual content that can help educate your audience or provide value without the need for a lot of written content. Much like a video blog, we recommend adding a little bit of supportive text that includes:
- What is the infographic about?
- Who does it help?
- What problem or issue does it help solve?
Q: What should I blog about?
A: Blog about topics that are relevant to your business. A good place to start is to provide answers to frequently or often asked questions.
Other blog topic ideas might include:
- Should ask questions – provide answers to questions about your product/service or industry your audience should be asking or thinking about. These can be a great way to demonstrate your expertise and build up trust an authority in your local market.
- Company news – new hires, new product or service.
- Industry news – educate your audience on the importance or impact of relevant happenings.
- Community events – share information about what is going on in your area that your audience might be interested in.
- Recent work or projects or events – recap or summarize some of your latest work or local events you were involved in.
Q: How long should a business blog post be?
A: An effective piece of content can include as little as 250-300 words.
More authoritative blog posts, pieces that provide a lot of value to your audience and can have more impact on search engine results, are generally longer, at least 700 words in length.
Q: How often should I blog?
A: There are a number of factors that can impact your blogging calendar, but try using the following as a guide:
- New bloggers or those with little time – 1x per month
- Intermediate bloggers – 1x per week to 1x every two weeks
- Experienced bloggers or those who derive business from blogging – 2x or 3x per week
Try setting an attainable, and sustainable blogging schedule for yourself. Consistency is key with blogging – publishing on the same schedule is helpful (i.e. every other Tuesday or the last Thursday of every month, etc.).
It is important to remember, publishing high quality and valuable content for your audience is key. Think about quality over quantity and avoid creating content for the sake of creating content. Search engines favor good, quality content above all else.
Q: Is there an ideal time to publish a blog post?
A: We recommend publishing blog posts on either Tuesday’s or Thursday’s during the late morning to early afternoon. Try to stick to a consistent schedule regardless of the day or time you choose to publish.
Q: How can I use email marketing to help drive sales?
A: Whether you have one list or highly segmented contact lists, you can use email to help move customers and prospects through your sales funnel.
For instance, you can send an email to a particular audience (example: customers who haven’t purchased from you in the last year) and use messaging which speaks to their current state or relationship with you to help re-engage them. Perhaps a simple, “we miss you,” or “special offers for our long-standing customers.”
Based on the report for this particular email, you could follow-up with a slightly different email to three different groups of individuals:
- those who did not open your email
- those opened, but did not click on any links
- those who opened and clicked or called, but did not take any further action
The messaging for each email would vary slightly based on what might be required to help entice that particular group to take the next step.
It’s important to remember, what makes this strategy effective is the way in which you try to move your customer from awareness to conversion. Not all purchasing decisions are made quickly. You can however, drive consumers closer to conversion by answering questions at a particular point in the decision process and conveying further benefits through subsequent messaging.
Q: When is the best time to send a marketing email?
A:The answer is..it depends. Just remember to keep your audience in mind when scheduling your emails. Try scheduling business-to-consumer marketing emails between 10:00 pm Sunday evening and 4:00 am Monday morning. This will help ensure your message is in your audience’s inbox as they start out planning their week.
However, with a business audience, you can try to send your marketing emails after lunch on Wednesday or Thursday. The theory here is to avoid the start of the week when your recipients may be distracted by other business activities, and yet get their attention before the end of the work week when they might “check out” on Friday. The post-lunchtime distribution follows the same theory as a time when your audience may be less inhibited by work at the start of the day and before they “check out” towards the end of the day.
Q: Why do I need different contact lists for email marketing?
A: Unless your lists are segmented in some way you are missing out on the ability to fully leverage your email marketing efforts. And don’t worry, all mass email client systems provide you with the ability to send messages to all your contacts at any time.
Managing different groups or segments is helpful because not every email item is always relevant or appropriate for everyone on your contact list. Over time, sending each and every message to everyone on your lists could cause increases in opt-out rates and/or decreases in open rates as your audience loses interest or fails to see the value in your communications. Segmenting your contacts into separate lists provides you with the flexibility to send more relevant messages to a given group of your contacts at a time.
For instance, a “first-time customer special” is great email content for prospects, but it isn’t something your current or former customers can take advantage of. Segmenting your lists into three distinct groups would allow you to send a “loyalty-based” email rewards offer to your current customers and a different discount offer to your former customers to help entice them to re-engage with products/services.
Different lists will help you craft different messages that speak to that specific audience, which can help increase the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.
Q: How often should I send marketing emails?
A: This depends on several factors: 1) your goals; 2) your experience with email marketing; and 3) the amount of available time you have.
If you’re tight on time and/or new to email marketing, setting a goal of sending one email communication a month is a good goal. This is a good practice whether you have one master list or if you have a your contacts split into different segments. Emailing on a monthly cadence will help you stay top of mind when, and if, your customers or prospects should find a need for your product(s) or service(s).
If you have more time, distributing one message every two weeks can be a safe deployment schedule to help keep your audience informed and engaged without overwhelming your audience.
Regardless of your frequency, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your email open rates and opt-out numbers in your email report. If your open rates drop and your opt-out rates spike over time, this can be an indication you’re landing in your contact’s inbox a bit too frequently.
Regardless of the audience and the number of emails you distribute, it is important to remember the content should be useful or valuable to the recipient.
Q: How do I put an online marketing communications plan together?
A: Think of your website as the “hub” of all your online communications, the place where the information is stored.
Start with your blog. It is here you can add valuable information; news about products/services; events your business is involved in; etc. The blog post should include the details in longer-form, complete with images and or video.
After posting to your blog, use your social media channels as tools to help you share this information through a direct link, rather than re-write the information all over again in a separate post or update. Simply add the direct blog post link along with a short preview or snippet on your Facebook or Twitter account. By doing this, your followers can become aware of your news item through social media and those interested in learning more can do so by clicking through the link and visiting your website directly.
The same rules apply when it comes to email. All you need is a quick headline and short snippet of text with a link back to your site. This is also in-line with email best practices to help keep the email body short and uncluttered in an effort to make it easy and obvious for those interested in finding out more to visit your site or take further action.
By using your website or blog as the center of your online communications, the hard work is done upfront. From that point forward it’s a simple matter of link sharing to drive traffic back to your website.
Q: What is the difference between Google My Business, Google Plus, and Google Maps?
A: Google My Business – This is your business’ profile on Google, where you provide all of the information about your business, such as the name of your business, location, phone number, website address, hours of operation and photos.
It is here that you can also read and respond to reviews of your business on Google and view insights and other data from your Google My Business profile. If you have a Google Plus profile associated with your business (see below) you can manage it from this dashboard as well.
A Google My Business account requires a Google account (Gmail or other email) and can be accessed by visiting www.business.google.com.
A: Google Plus – This is Google’s version of a social network, similar to that of Facebook. This is where you can post status updates, share photos, links and connect with your followers. A few years back Google required all business to have a Google Plus page for their business, but this is no longer the case.
Not sure if you have a Google Plus profile? You can search for your business name by navigating to www.plus.google.com or login into your Google My Business profile.
A: Google Maps – This is your physical location on Google and is tied to your Google My Business profile. This location is managed through your Google My Business dashboard.
It’s important to note, users can submit reviews of your business on Maps in addition to a traditional Google search. You can check your Maps listing at www.maps.google.com.
Q: If I create more than one Google My Business profile, will it improve my ranking?
A: Creating duplicate profiles under different suite numbers or office numbers at the same address and/or creating a new profile for each service you offer is not a best practice, and could have an adverse effect on your Google ranking.
Google is always striving to improve the experience for users by providing relevant and valuable information. In order for information to be useful for users, it needs to be accurate.
If you have one business and one location you will want to associate only one business profile with it. Otherwise, you run the risk of confusing search engines and consumers alike. Aside from making it increasingly difficult for consumers to find your business both online and offline, these types of inconsistencies can also present prospects with an unorganized and unprofessional first impression.
Q: I am having problems with my Google My Business profile. Where can I go for help?
A: Removing duplicate profiles, verifying your profile, editing business information. If you are having trouble accessing or managing your Google My Business profile, you use the following link to troubleshoot your issue: https://goo.gl/nvBvAA
Just be sire to include as much information in the contact form(s) as possible to help ensure the team at Google can try and resolve your issue.
Q: What keywords should I focus on for my business?
A: If you are new to search engine optimization, try to focus on high level words and phrases. Begin with “what you do” and “where you do it.”
For instance, the phrase “digital marketing company boston, ma” makes it very clear to search engines (and potential searchers) what this company does and where this organization is located. Small businesses with a local presence should should try rank for these basic terms as it is very important to found on Google for your products or services.
Q: How do I make my website rank for several products/ services?
A: You can help increase your chances of ranking for more than one of your products or services by following these steps:
- Creating separate pages for each of your products or services rather than listing each on the same page
- Including new content about each product or service totaling at least 250 words on each product/service page
- Optimizing each page for the single product/service in SEO title, SEO description and Header fields
- Composing blog topics about the product or service
- Internally linking the new blog post(s) to the product or service page
Q: How do I rank higher on Google for my service(s) when my business is located in a crowded/competitive area?
A: For example, the following two search terms can be difficult for a small business to rank well for in search engine results:
- Attorney in Cincinnati, OH
- Florist in Boston, MA
If your business is located in a larger, competitive market, try focusing on niche services and/or a more specific geography.
- Divorce Lawyer Downtown Cincinnati, OH
- Short Sale Real Estate Attorney in Cincinnati, OH
- Flower Delivery, South End, Boston
- Wedding Flowers, Back Bay, Boston
Develop some new content (at least 250 words) in the form of separate service/product pages and tell us about the product or service in greater detail.
Want to increase your chances of ranking well on Google for a given search phrase? Publish a blog post about the same topic and link the blog post to the respective service page. By creating more and more related content and connecting the page and/or post with hyperlinks, you will stand a much better chance of ranking well on Google for that given search phrase.