Essential Marketing On A Budget

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As a small business taking those first crucial steps into the industry, one of the hardest things for you to do is pull in a real audience who will want to engage with your brand and who will want to spread the word about you. Marketing for a small a business is always a challenge for you to achieve and today we are going to take a look at some of the free and low cost ways you can do this this year.

Create a website

The first step to creating a great marketing plan for your newly launched business is to create a website which people can visit which will tell them about who you are and what you provide. A website is like the window to the soul of your business and it can be a great tool for you to have. With website creators such as Wix you are able to create your site for free and this will allow you to gain recognition online without spending a penny.

Make flyers

Marketing seems to be becoming more and more complex every single day, but sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is being it back to basics and keep things old school. Big marketing agencies will still create flyers and brochures to email and post to their customers, and although this will cost a little bit of money, the overall cost of creating flyers for a postal drop is much less than it would cost to advertise yourself on a billboard or a bus stop. It can be the best decision you make for your business because you will be able to make an impression with local customers.

Use social media

Social media is the number one free tool you should be taking advantage of as a business, and to really find a loyal audience you need to be active online in a professional and a social way. Interacting with customers online through social media can be a brilliant way to show off your personality and this will make people want to choose you over your competition. Think for example about sharing posts to promote your products, posts which celebrate certain holidays and even the release of films. As a social media marketer you can go beyond your professional mask and really interact as a human, and this can be exactly what you need.

Get recording

If you want to make a big impression on your customers and you are unsure where you begin, one of the things you can consider is creating videos. Recording a video on your phone or a camera costs nothing and you can share tips and tricks, recipes, stories and other things. Sharing these online with the right people will earn you a loyal following and this is a real way to grow without spending a ton on marketing.

Email email email

If you want to keep it classic and simple there is nothing better than an email. Emails cost nothing to make; they are effective and you can stay in contact with many people at once.

Everything You Need To Know To Enhance Your Video Marketing

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Have you started to use videos in your marketing yet? You might think that producing videos is only suitable for certain types of businesses in specific industries, like tech and media. However, that isn’t really the case anymore. More and more companies are looking to use video in their marketing campaigns because it has been proven to really engage with customers. Most people will stop and take notice of a video whenever they stumble across one that looks interesting online. They are a lot more likely to take notice of it compared to some plain copy or an infographic, that’s for sure!

So, as you can see, it is very much worth your time to think about setting up a video marketing campaign, no matter which industry your company is based in. These next few tips can help you make the most of all your videos.

Consider Hiring Help

If you are completely new to making your own videos, it could be worth hiring a video production firm to take care of this for you. You will be able to work closely with them to ensure that the videos they create fit you and your branding perfectly. Even if you would like to bring your own video production in-house in the future, it’s still a good idea to work closely with a specialist firm to start with. They can show you the basics and offer you plenty of essential tips and tricks.

Think Of The Story

One of the main things to consider for any video that you create is its story. No marketing video should be just a cold sales pitch. You need to come up with a story so that it entertains those watching it. This will also make it a lot more relatable, and it won’t feel too sterile and corporate. If possible, try to think of a human story so that it appeals to people’s emotions. It doesn’t matter if your video isn’t obviously selling something; as long as it has a good story at its heart, it should still make people want to buy whatever it is you are trying to sell with it.

Make Sure It’s Mobile Friendly

All videos need to be mobile friendly these days. Now that the majority of web users are viewing the internet on their smartphones or tablet devices, you need to ensure that the videos you create can be easily viewed on these small devices. As well as being able to be viewed on mobile devices, you should also make it possible to download the videos on a tablet or phone as well. If you don’t, and you restrict your videos to desktop formats, then you might find that you get hardly anywhere near the views that you had expected.

Don’t Forget About SEO

You should also double check that your video is all ready for SEO before you publish it as well. This means that it will be optimized for search, so more people are likely to come across it. One of the best ways to improve a video’s SEO is to tag it with some appropriate keywords. That way, if anyone were to search for any of the tagged keywords, then the video should come up towards the top of their search results. You might also want to embed a few external links into your video description. That should be another way to send more people to your video.

It Needs To Be Informative

What message will you give the video? If it doesn’t have a clear message behind its story, then it won’t be informative and many viewers might end up switching off. Similarly, you need to make sure that your viewers will finish the video having learned some important facts and figures. But not only will an informative video be a lot more entertaining for viewers, it will also be extremely memorable, meaning people will remember what you have to say in it for longer.

Create Some Tutorials

Many business owners find that tutorials can work very well as marketing videos. If you can make a tutorial for something that is relevant in your business’s niche, then you will find that they have the potential to travel very far. That’s because people will share them to spread the knowledge which, in turn, can quickly spread your company’s name. Plus, people are a lot more likely to return to a tutorial video and watch it repeatedly compared to a standard marketing video.

Publish It To All Your Social Media Platforms

Once you are ready to publish a video, you should link to it on all of your company’s social media profiles. This includes the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn. This should increase the number of people who see it, as it won’t just be people who click onto your website. Plus, you will get the chance to post the link to the video alongside some hashtags, which can increase its viewer numbers even further. And if someone enjoys the video, they will hopefully interact with it, which will share it to their own followers.

Keep It Light And Entertaining

No matter what the topic of your video is, it always needs to be light and entertaining. If it is too professional, it could come across as extremely boring and people would be very likely to click away from it. In order to keep hold of your viewers’ attention for as long as possible, make sure that there are is plenty of humor throughout the video and that the tone isn’t too serious.

Edit Them Well

Sometimes it really pays off to be a strict editor. Effective editing can help to shorten the video so that it doesn’t become too long-winded. Not only that, though, but it will also give you the chance to cut out any filler moments that may be weighing the whole video down. Some video producers say that the more editing, the better!

Good luck with all your future video marketing campaigns!

Video Marketing Matters, But You Don’t Have To Reach Hollywood Quality Just Yet

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It seems that the issue of getting your brand noticed online becomes more intricate every single day. As little as five years ago, business success on the internet was about little more than developing a decent website. Around two years ago, it became essential for every business to have pretty strong social media incentives. Most recently, we’re seeing more visual mediums coming to the fore. Instagram is forever gaining in business potential at the moment, and YouTube is entering the playing field, too.

And, it’s this latest newcomer we’ll be focusing on today. The fact is that this video streaming platform has got a lot of business owners stumped right now. While it’s changing the way we reach our audiences, it’s also draining many a profit margin. Why? Because making videos isn’t as simple as writing a status update, or even paying for a domain name. Instead, it takes both time and equipment to get right. And, given it’s a reasonably untested domain as it stands, that can cause real issues. Indeed, business owners who are spending big on their efforts here are fast finding that they don’t see any return on their investment. Thus, video marketing = lost profits for them.

But, that doesn’t mean you can cut the world of YouTube from your marketing efforts altogether. While it’s easy to spend more than you see back here, any platform is worth making the most of. All you need to do is make sure that you aren’t spending the Earth on productions fit for Hollywood. In truth, staying simple here is the key to seeing a return. And, we’ve got a few pointers to help you do just that.

Turn to an outside company

If you’re a video novice, you may find turning to an outside company like Flood Social is your best bet for success. That way, you’ll only need to worry about paying one flat fee for all your marketing needs. Thus, video needn’t cost you anything extra at all. Such companies are also skilled in finding marketing ROI.  As such, they’ll continually track your returns from each platform to ensure you aren’t paying more than you get back. Even if you only use this as a short-term option, it’s a fantastic way to build an audience here without spending a fortune. A stint with an outside company can also be an excellent way to determine whether video marketing would be worth your while in the long-term. Don’t hesitate, then, to do your research and start contacting potential companies as soon as possible. The faster you jump on this growing medium, the more chance you have of being at the front of the wave.

Use what you have

Whether you use an outside company or not, there may come a time when you want to embark on video making alone. That’s fantastic news as long as you remember one essential thing; you don’t need high-end cameras to make this work. Too many companies make the mistake of thinking they’ll see high returns on efforts here. As such, they jump the guns and stock up on cameras which cost thousands. Unsurprisingly, they then have to put years into this pursuit to see any real profits from it. The thing to remember is that, while important, video marketing is a lot like a social media presence. It can create leads, but it’s only a sideline to your business. It’s a marketing effort which you should spend as little on as you can. All the better for seeing decent returns. With that in mind, then, focusing on filming what you have. iPhones are most worth a mention here. Most of us have one of these in our pockets, and they have fantastic filming capabilities. Without needing to spend a penny, then, you’ll find that you can create high-quality videos as soon as you fancy. Equally, asking around your team may reveal that you already have access to plenty of YouTube-worth cameras. Remember that you don’t need movie-quality soft focus or zoom capabilities. All you need is a decent quality picture and a reasonable sound. And, they don’t have to cost anywhere near what you would expect.

Trust basic editing equipment

There’s also a temptation to turn to complicated and expensive editing equipment to get a good finish. Again, though, this is rarely worth your time. For one, it’s another waste of good money. High-end editing equipment easily ranges into the hundreds. What’s more, complex programs can take a lot of work to understand and get right. So, you’ll increase those costs even more by having to dedicate a lot of time to editing even simple videos. Consider, instead, that there are plenty of good-value editing software programs to choose from. iMovie, for instance, comes free on the majority of Apple products. This is ideal if you’re filming on your phone, as it’ll enable you to edit on there as well. You can even use this if you’re uploading from other cameras. The easy to use interface of programs like these ensures you can edit top-quality videos in no time. You’ll undoubtedly find you and your team get the hang of something like this faster than those complex programs you were going to pay a fortune for.

Create your backdrops

Sadly, the potential expenses here don’t end there. Do you see now why so many companies overspend on this venture? An excellent looking backdrop is about as essential on a YouTube video as a hashtag is on Twitter. As such, many business owners make the mistake of spending money on video-specific studios or expensive white screens. In truth, though, you can create a perfectly good DIY backdrop for no money at all. The only thing you need is a plain white wall, and perhaps a print of your company logo. You may also want to make use of pretty office chairs, or a plant for appearance sake. But, a little thought should reveal that you have everything you need around the office already. Whatever you do, then, don’t go out spending unnecessary money on this.

Only put in what you get out

So far, we’ve focused on saving money when you start making videos. If you want to, you can keep costs down for the duration of your YouTube journey. If you see real success here, you may want to up your game by buying some of the expensive equipment we advised against. In truth, there’s nothing wrong with doing this, especially if you see decent returns. The thing to remember is that you don’t want to be in debt to your marketing campaign. It that happens, you won’t benefit from the interest you gain. To make sure that doesn’t happen, then, take time to understand how much revenue your videos bring. You can then set about only spending your profits from this field on expanding your efforts here. That way, you only spend money your work has already earnt. Doing this also ensures that your company doesn’t ultimately end up out of pocket.

A final word

No one can deny that video is the next big thing for companies. With the introduction of Instagram TV earlier this year, that only looks set to become even more the case. As with anything, though, you need to keep profits at the forefront of your mind here. Don’t spend, and keep your focus on saving. Get that right, and you’re sure to see decent success here in no time. Hollywood, here you come!

5 Reasons No-One Is Visiting Your Website

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If business wasn’t cruel from time to time, would it be any fun? Not in our book. However, some things seem especially cruel. Take all those business websites that no-one ever visits. Those companies spent long hours – and perhaps paid good money – getting their website just right, working on content, and all the other small details of setting up a website, and then…no-one is stopping by to check it out, or, if they are, they’re not there long. So if you’re in this position, what’s the problem? We take a look at some of the common reasons why your visitor numbers are low below.

It’s All About You

Your website is going to be kind of about your business, but “your business” is not the main thing that people are looking for when they visit your site. They’re looking for themselves. What does that mean exactly? It means that if you’re making all of your content about your business, then people are going to click X. Make it about THEM – as in, what they want – and they’ll stick around. Be a company that’s like a person who asks questions rather than a person who just talks about themselves.

They Don’t Know You’re There

Sometimes businesses fundamentally misunderstand some things about the internet. They think it’s a place where people hang out, and if they’re just there, then people will stop by. But it’s not. The internet is not a public space where people will naturally drift to your corner of it. You have to lead them there. If you don’t, they’ll have no idea that you exist. It would be like trying to find an underground shop in a packed city: it’s not going to happen. As such, you need to light up your business online, and that means organic SEO marketing. If people can search and find you, they’ll stop by.

All Your Focus Is On Social Media

Social media is important for your business, and anyone who tells you differently is wrong. However, sometimes business owners take this to the extreme edge and put ALL of their focus on their social media accounts. There are companies out there who have plenty of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram followers, but low website visitor numbers. It’s because they’re not using their social media platforms for its proper use, which is direct people to their site.

Old Content

You could have the greatest web content found anywhere online…but if you’re not updating it periodically, then who’s going to come back? There’s only so often you can visit a website you like without seeing new material. So keep things fresh. Videos, blog posts, new photos will help to do this.

It’s Taking Too Long to Load

Finally, don’t forget the number one sin: taking too long to load! People these days have the attention span of a goldfish (actually, this might be generous), and won’t stick around if the pages are taking too long to load. Speed that baby up.

Video Marketing 101 w/ Sunny Lenarduzzi


Today’s interview in our Personal Branding Series is with Digital Marketing Guru Sunny Lenarduzzi. I stumbled upon Sunny’s work via Twitter and love her work and personality. She’s mastered the You Tube Tutorial so if you’re trying to figure out technology on your own, stop! I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her in person yet, but I’m sure we’ll eventually cross paths once she’s dominated Canada and moves her way down south. Hope you enjoy her brief, but powerfully clear words of wisdom.

1) How did you get into video marketing as a career?

My career started in broadcasting and after years of reporting and hosting on television and radio, I fell in love with the digital space. Now, I feel like I’ve combined those two passions into my dream career. I love creating video content and working with brands and individuals to help them grow their influence and create tangible results through a visual medium.

2) What do you consider your biggest strength as a communicator?

Perhaps it’s a strength and a weakness, but I’m very straightforward. I like getting right to the point and I do my best to deliver messages as clearly and concisely as possible.

3) What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

It’s funny, I can’t think anything that I would consider a big challenge. Have there been hurdles? Yes. But I love what I do so much that I see every challenge as an opportunity for growth. I would say one of the most difficult aspects of my job is to stay ahead of the trends and keep up with the fast pace and information overload.

4) How would you describe your style/personal brand?

Simplistic. Joyful. Informative.

5) What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to build their audience/brand?

Know your audience and what their needs are. You have to start with researching your target audience extensively to ensure that every aspect of your marketing initiatives matches what they want and need to hear.

Scott Asai is a speaker/coach that has been developing leaders for 20+ years – athletes, companies and individuals. His focus is helping people develop leadership skills to advance in their careers. Scott tends to attract a large audience of Millennials and Introverts to his programs/events. His professional background consists of: B.A. in Psychology, M.A. in Organizational Leadership, Certified Professional Coach and Certified Strengths Coach.