Gain More Email Subscribers the Right Way

Gain More Email Subscribers the Right Way

News flash! Email has been around for close to 50 years now (say whaa?) That’s right. No joke.

The thing is, email is still a major player in how we communicate and get our daily dose of news, gossip, etc. Next to social media, people check their inboxes up to 15 times or more per day, and even every few hours.

So whether you’re a constant inbox checker or not, email is sticking around for awhile. And if email ain’t going anywhere anytime soon, think of its potential as a marketing platform for a second.

 

Think of the number of people you could reach with a single email.

If your weekly or monthly email newsletter were read by hundreds, if not thousands, of people on a regular basis, chances are they’re paying attention to what you have to say or offer.

And that’s the catch. For successful and cost-effective email campaigns, with a high ROI, you need more than 100 or 200 subscribers (FYI family and friends don’t count in this equation!)

We know there are plenty of juicy new marketing strategies out there, so why even bother with old fashioned email?

 

There’s power and greatness in numbers as they say.

If people give you access to their inbox, that’s pretty special too. Our inboxes are personal online spaces. We don’t share our inboxes with the world like we often do with our social media accounts.

We get it though. With never ending to-do lists, building an email list and growing a giant subscriber following can be a fleeting thought. But when done right, the benefits will work in your favor.

First things first, you need a strategy to capture the attention of your supporters and biggest fans. You need to amaze them with your awesomeness enough to gain access to their precious inboxes. Then you need to hang on to them—and that’s actually the hard part.

It’s easy to cross the line and bombard people with annoying notifications and website pop-ups. It’s even easier for them to hit the unsubscribe button. The last thing we want to lose are potential clients or customers due to a meh website or email, right?

On the bright side, you can gain more email subscribers the right way through your website with a few simple tactics. Let’s jump in!

  1. Subscribe Box at the End of a Page

Our attention spans are getting shorter every day. If your website visitors are deeply immersed in a blog post, the last thing they need is a distraction. A glaring “subscribe now!” pop-up could very well backfire and have them saying see ya faster than Speedy Gonzales.

Placing a box to subscribe at the bottom of the page allows your visitors to engage with the content, learn about what you have to offer, and leave them wanting more.

When they’ve reached the end of the page, this is your chance to invite them to subscribe to your email list.

  1. Incentives or Freebies to Subscribe

Everyone loves perks and free stuff, especially if it’s gonna benefit their lives in someway.

Whether it’s offering a 40% discount on your next purchase, or a free handbook on how to solve a problem right now, a little help goes a long way right?

Sometimes, all it really takes is a free sample to get someone interested in what you have to offer.

Lucky for you, our Zonion tribe knows exactly what’s involved to entice people with websites and copy that convert. Talk to us and we’ll get you growing your email list in no time!

  1. Floating Opt-in Boxes

Say goodbye to pop-ups forever and go for a floating opt-in box instead. Think of the floating box as a little something that catches your eye. You can choose to ignore it, or you can check it out depending on your mood.

An opt-in box that floats around the page is subtle yet clear, so it won’t interfere with your visitors while they’re reading the content (unless their curiosity chooses to check it out). Sounds like a win-win in our books!

Keep in mind that a floating box needs to look pretty on all devices and browsers. You don’t want the box to block important pieces of content on mobile by accident.

One of our specialties at Zonion is creating the leads you’re looking for through brilliant websites, designed and developed with finesse. Rest assured, we’re here for you whether you know what you need or not (‘cause we’ll help you get there, with bubbly in hand).

  1. Separate Landing Pages

Another trick to gain more email subscribers the right way, by not overwhelming already overwhelmed people, is to create a dedicated landing page to get those opt-ins.

Visitors to your website won’t see this page unless they actually stumble upon it. A separate page also lets you promote your page on other social media and marketing platforms.

As a bonus, be crystal clear about what people are signing up for and how many emails they’ll be getting whether weekly or monthly. Transparency is super important and adding a touch of honesty can be a gamechanger when building trust with YOUR ideal peeps.

Make your opt-in landing page something too good to pass up, and you’ll be on your way to snagging those emails in no time.

  1. Pop-Up When Exiting a Page

Now even though we said to say goodbye to pop-ups, there’s one exception.

Timing is everything and you can take advantage of those exiting your website through one final pop-up. It acts as a last chance for you to grab their attention, and their email, before they potentially leave your site forever.

Check out OptinMonster and the tech they use for their exit strategy.

  1. Sign Up Check Box

Remember the red iconic “Easy Button” as part of the marketing campaign for the office supply giant, Staples? The button that happily chirped, “That was easy” whenever you pressed it (if you have no clue right now, it’s time for a quick Google search).

The button reflected the frustrations and challenges for businesses. It was also a clever way for Staples to say, “hey we got you and we’re gonna make it easier.”

The same idea still applies today.

The less steps it takes to make people do something—whether it’s to buy a product or service, grab their attention, or make them sign up for an email list—the easier it will be to get them to do what you want later on.

So the bottom line is to make it easy for your website visitors to sign up for your email list (without looking desperate). If you have a contact form on your website, add a simple checkbox asking if they’d like to subscribe to receive future emails.

The same goes if you have a digital storefront. A simple “checkbox to subscribe” on the checkout page can lead to more subscribers than you think.

Whether your website visitors check the subscribe box or not, you’re giving them a painless option to become a subscriber and that alone can get you one step closer to building a successful email list.

Reputation Management – How long does it take?

Reputation Management – How long does it take?

When you’re having a reputation management issue you want results yesterday. We totally understand. While we always take reputation management issues seriously, and of course we get right to work for you, results are not automatic. We ask our clients to give us 3 months minimum to start seeing results. The good news is that once you’ve begun a reputation management campaign you’ll reap the benefits for months or years to come.

Why do results take so long?

Often reputation management becomes the obvious solution after a problem has been growing for some time. If the problem has existed for months, it’s going to take at least months to get to the solution too. We know that’s probably not the answer you wanted to hear, but we’re here to explain why it works this way.

Reputation management campaigns work in a similar way as SEO campaigns in that we are going to be creating content for your brand. This takes time to get on Google’s radar, as Google doesn’t recognize new articles or pages instantly. In fact, it can take up to 6 weeks for Google to index new pages. If the harmful stories and sites have been around longer than your new content, it will take time to move them from the top slots in Google and get your new pages to show up.

That’s why here at Zonion we work on a long term strategy that builds up your online reputation over time. By the way, anyone who tells you that they can fix the problem in 30 days or less is probably not going to actually solve any problems for you. It’s a long game, but we play to win.

Here’s what the process involves:


Know thy enemy

In order to effectively combat negative feedback related to your company, we’ll need to fully understand the problem. While we will do our own due diligence to make sure that we find everything we can, it’s also helpful for you to send us anything that you know about the situation.

For example, you’ll want to honestly assess the situation and understand whether or not there is any truth in what the negative reviews or articles say. While we don’t intend for you to focus heavily on the bad info, if there is any truth to their claims, it’s good to know what they are saying, why they are saying it, and how we can address it in a way that puts a positive spin on the situation.  

 

Should we even address the negativity?

We believe that negative information about your business needs to be addressed so that you can get your side of the story front and center. For those that don’t bother to address the situation, it can get worse. Every brand has issues, and by addressing those issues upfront, you become more transparent, which helps to build your likeability and trustworthiness to future clients.  

 

Alert us to any future threats

Sure, this might feel a bit like an episode of Scandal, but if we’re going to help manage your reputation properly we’ll need to understand future zingers the other guys might have ready so we can beat them to the punchline. Anything that would be available publically or easily researched about your brand should be brought to our attention so we can map out the right strategy and watch your back, while also creating positive content on your behalf.

 

SEO Strategy & Research

If you read our previous article on how long SEO campaigns take then you’re already aware of the work that goes into this type of campaign. And, the reality is, reputation management is very much an SEO project.

The difference of course is that not only are we going to be researching search terms that your ideal clients are using to find you, but we’re also going to research the terms that your naysayers are using to give your brand a bad name.

In order for reputation management to get results, there has to be a game plan in place. What does that look like? Depending on what damage is being done online, there are many different strategies that your team will want to take on your behalf. One thing we’ve learned from our work in reputation management is that there is no cookie cutter strategy that works for every brand. Of course, creating new strategies from scratch means we’ll need time to create and implement the tools that will help your reputation grow in a positive way.

 

Creation of New Content

Now that the research has been done, and keywords and topics have been decided on, it’s time to create new content. The creation of new content can involve creating new landing pages, articles, social media, ads, you name it. The best strategies will include several of the above content creation strategies.

Now, before you run off and just create random content, it’s important to remember how important it is to have good content. What do we mean by good content? It’s got to be readable, interesting, credible, and educational. This happens with the implementation of both copy and design.

 

Copywriting

The quality of your new content is going to be very important for your campaign. We can’t stress that enough. You need to have articles and pages that people actually want to read. In the far gone days of SEO writing, it was acceptable to create a page that just repeated phrases over and over again without really giving much thought to the reader on the other side of that page. Those days are thankfully over.

You see, Google’s algorithm is so smart that it is able to judge whether content is useful for the end user or not. Useful content ranks higher than non-useful content. The knee jerk reaction that many people have to this fact is one of frustration, “Why can’t I just put up pages with strings of keywords and see results.” However, if you think about it, this is actually a very good thing – for you.

How is this good? Well, when you work with us, you get expert copywriters creating your content. They understand the way SEO works, as well as what makes copy compelling. Put those two techniques together, and now you have a powerful resource at your fingertips. Having engaging copy keeps people on your page longer – reducing your bounce rate, which of course helps your rankings too.

Of course with this good news comes just a bit of bad news. Ready for it? Good copy takes time. Trust us when we say that you don’t want us throwing together a bunch of articles for you in a week just so you can get them out there fast. It will do you no good. First of all, there is research involved with any good piece of copy. Research takes time. Then, there is the draft writing stage, followed by a revision round that happens before you even see a first draft. Then, you’ll get the draft to review and be able to request edits. Since copy is part science (research, formulas, best practices) and part art (creativity) you can’t rush it and expect great results.

 

Design

Compelling design is also an important aspect of having pages that Google ranks well and that compels your visitors to stay and become readers.

The good news is that your design doesn’t need to be over the top – just good clean design that makes sense for the product or service you offer, and helps the reader enjoy your content. Images should be complementary to the writing. The pages should look professional and be easy to read (For example, forget red text on a black background, unless you’re going for that conspiracy theory vibe).

The good news is that when you work with us, we’ll make sure your design is top notch, but that of course takes – you guessed it – time. You just can’t rush greatness!

 

Repeat previous steps

Once your initial reputation management campaign kicks off, it’s time to monitor, revise, and create new content on a repeating cycle. This is where the time factor really comes into play. As your reputation management team goes into management mode, they will need to reassess the SEO terms that are used, consistently add new terms, create new content, and they will also have to make changes and edits to previous content for optimization.

 

Can’t we just ask Google to take down the negative reviews and call it a day?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. While there are instances where Google removes listings from the search rankings, it is rare for them to do so, and you shouldn’t rely on it as a valid solution to your problem.

 

Long term strategies are the best

The good news is that while we can’t necessarily get the negative content removed, we can help it to become less relevant. As your own positive content starts making its way higher up in the search rankings, the negative content will start shifting to later pages on Google. As those negative sites move lower on the search rankings, they will start to get less traffic/clicks. Less clicks tells Google that the content is less relevant, and over time the ranking for that site could drop even further to page 3, 4, 5…etc. As your content starts moving up.

By consistently building your brand reputation online, not only will you start to see those negative reviews and feedback go away, but you’ll be building a reputation that will be harder for someone to dull with a bad review in the future.

Are you ready to get started with reputation management? Please get in touch with us here and we’ll respond with next steps on how we can remove the smudge from your online reputation so that your brand can shine.

SEO – Why Does it Take So Long?

SEO – Why Does it Take So Long?

Are you ready to get started with SEO for your business? We can’t wait to help! Many people start SEO campaigns under the misconception that they will see results overnight, so we wanted to put together this little guide to help you understand why that isn’t how things work with SEO, and why that’s a good thing.

 

Where did this misconception come from?

There are many stories floating around about businesses going from 0 – 60 thanks to a swanky SEO campaign, but what many of these internet success stories fail to mention is that 0 – 60 actually meant more like 6 months of strategy and work. Sure, that might not be as sexy sounding, but the reality is, if you stick with SEO and play the long game, you will reap the results down the road. It just takes time to get there.

So, why does SEO take a while to provide the results you desire? The best way to understand the results process is to understand the way SEO works in the first place. Here’s how an SEO campaign breaks down, complete with expected timelines and why.

 

The long game of SEO

Just a reminder – SEO is a long game and if you aren’t prepared to put in at least 3-6 months, and preferably up to a year, it doesn’t make much sense to start an SEO campaign. We don’t say that in order to secure job longevity for ourselves (we heard you muttering over there) but because it takes that long to make a difference in your rankings. The good news is that those who are willing to be patient will see it work in their favor.

 

The wrong question – FYI

If you’re asking the question, “How long will it take to rank on the front page for XYZ search term?” you’re actually asking the wrong question. The metric that new SEO strategies take into account when measuring success is leads and conversions. This is much better news for your brand because it does you no good to rank high for a term that doesn’t bring in the cash. We’ll explain the process, but it’s good to start with this mindset shift when beginning an SEO campaign.

 

Understanding your audience.

Just like with PPC campaigns, knowing your audience is a huge factor in how well your SEO campaign will work. Why? Well, your audience is ultimately who will determine (with their clicks and their willingness to stay on your page for starters) whether or not the Google gods will bless you with a higher ranking in the search engines.

“Hold up – I thought SEO was where you smooshed a bunch of phrases into my website so that the internet spiders will find them and make my page soar to the top.”

That’s no longer the name of the game. The reality is that SEO no longer operates in the same way – and this is a great thing! Now that ranking is based on the way people actually search, plus the quality of the content they find, it gives companies that really care about putting out quality content a chance to get in front of the right people. You need to join your audience in the conversation they are already having in their heads. That’s when you’ll win the opportunity to get them to read your content, which of course can lead to a purchase aka a conversion.

 

Are SEO keywords still important?

They are very important! In fact, they are so important that creating lists of keywords requires some meaty research into the ways that people are searching for the solution your product offers. Since we create quality content around each of the terms your campaign will use, we don’t want a laundry list of random terms that may or may not apply. Your keyword phrases need to be precise and relevant to what you sell, and what your audience needs.

Google takes audience needs into account when ranking websites. One way this comes into play is that search is now based more on natural language. Why? Thanks to AI tools like Siri and Alexa, people are speaking their search terms more and more instead of relying on typing the “correct” term to find what they are looking for.

Gone are the days of slapping down some keyword phrases and calling it a day. As search engines become more sophisticated, so too does your SEO strategy. Having a robust research strategy in place helps to ensure that the correct terms are used when building out your SEO campaign.

 

What about inbound links?

Inbound links are still a part of SEO strategy, and of course it takes time to build those links. It’s not enough to just add a bunch of low quality inbound links to your website because Google is wise to that practice. In fact, not only will doing that no longer help you like it might have in 2003, but it could also hurt your online reputation, which would then hurt your ranking. Instead, you’ll need to cultivate relationships with quality sites in order to get links that will help your SEO campaign get results. This can’t be done overnight, but it is a strategy that your SEO team can start working on and growing month by month.

 

Creating Quality Content

Since Google is able to determine the relevance of content to the end user, it will take time to get the content done right. Sure, in the past you could go to a website like Craigslist and find a “writer” who would just bang out some articles and throw your keywords in somewhere around 20 to 100 times. This is thankfully no longer acceptable. Nowadays you need quality content that people actually want to read, and that means working with a writer who will take time to research and write your articles effectively.

 

Account Maintenance

Maintaining an SEO campaign requires your team to make changes to content, search terms, and links on a regular basis. They will look at what’s working, what’s not, and will analyze any new trends or terms that should be addressed. You just can’t rush this process by the very nature that it takes several thousand impressions of your content (times it shows up online) before results can even start to be measured.

 

Ok, so how long does it take?

Here at Zonion we always tell people to expect at least 3 months to see results with any SEO campaign. That gives us time to set up your campaign properly, create quality content, measure, and make changes. We’ll look at how many leads are coming into your business, how many of those are converting to customers, and how we can improve that rate so your ROI on SEO continues to rise.

 

What about companies that offer fast results?

We’ve seen those companies you’re talking about and unfortunately, many of them are using what’s referred to as Black Hat strategies to get pages to the top of the rankings. While it is less effective these days to use these techniques to try and outsmart Google, those that do cheat the system will only do so for a short time. In the end, those techniques could not only stop helping your website rank, but you could also end up with penalties for trying to work that way.

 

Ready to play the long game?

If you’re ready to get started with SEO and you have at least 3 months to invest in your project, we’d love to chat with you! Please get in touch here and we’ll respond with next steps.

PPC – How Long Does it Take?

PPC – How Long Does it Take?

How long will it take for me to see results in my PPC campaign?

Oh, the age-old question. While many clients come to us excited to get started with PPC campaigns, a few weeks and a few hundred bucks later, they start asking when they will see the big results they’ve read about online. We wanted to set the record straight!

Here’s the thing with PPC, and really any strategy designed to grow your bottom line – it will take time in order to see results. Not just days, but months.

Now, before you hang your head in defeat and write PPC off as a losing battle, we’d like to take a little time to explain why it takes so long to see results from PPC and why that’s actually a good thing for your business!

 

What exactly is a PPC campaign and how does it work?

In order to understand why it takes a while to see results from PPC, it’s a good idea to fully understand how PPC works. PPC stands for Pay-per-click and it refers to any advertising that you do in your business where you pay to play – Google Adwords are the usual suspect here, but it also can refer to Facebook ads, Bing ads, and any other service where you pay for the privilege of showing up to your ideal clients in the hopes that they will notice and read your ad, click on it, and then convert into a paying customer.

 

It all starts with your ideal customer

Of course, this brings up the question – who is your ideal client? In other words, who should your PPC campaigns be written to attract? And it is this question that your PPC team will start with. This requires research and strategy.

If you’re thinking, well, I’ll probably be able to skip this part because my products appeal to everyone, we’re going to stop you right there. While it is entirely possible that your products or services would appeal to more than one target audience, you can’t target all of them in one ad. Why? Well, in order to do that, your ad would have to be pretty generic, and generic ads don’t convert. Enough said.

 

What do your customers want?

Once your ideal client is figured out, then you need to ask the question – what do they want? This again takes your PPC strategist back to the research board as they sift through the research and possibly even begin interviewing those ideal clients to get insight into what offer could be made in your PPC ad to draw their attention.

 

Now we get to keywords

Of course after you figure out who your ideal client is, and what offer they would desire, it’s time to figure out what keywords they might be typing or speaking into the search engine in order to find the solution that you represent.

This part of the PPC process is similar to SEO in that we’ll look into the search terms that your ideal client will be using that could trigger your ad to show up. It’s important that these be correct in order to not only get your ad to show up, but also show up to the right people in the right stage in the buying cycle.

 

Case in point

We’ve all had that annoying situation where you are looking for something specific, you type in your search phrase, and up comes an ad using those same words. You click the ad, believing you have found what you’re looking for, only to land on a page not even remotely related. Not only is this frustrating, but it looks really bad for the brand who posted the misleading copy. Taking the time to do the research means you won’t make this mistake and turn off potential clients in the process.

 

Scope out the competition

Your PPC team will also spend some time researching to see what others in your field are doing – in other words, checking out the competition. When reviewing competitors, we’ll look for what’s working and what’s not. This is vital information because you want your ads to stand out. We probably don’t need to say this again, but it will take time to do this right!

 

Now we create the ad

Now it’s time to create the actual ad, which includes copywriting and depending on the platform, could also include design.

We can hear you asking – Can’t the PPC team throw together some known trigger phrases or use those one and done templates for ad copy that I see floating around on the internet so we can get this campaign rolling?

Answer: Nope. Sorry.

If it were that simple, everyone would be doing it, right? No, your ad must be thoroughly thought out, well researched, and written specifically for the audience you are targeting, all while staying within character limits for the platform you’re writing for. Sound a bit like art, science, and magic? It is. It is also a process that takes time to get right.

 

Let’s split the difference

Once you get all the ducks in a row that are necessary for your ad, the ad team will start split testing to make sure your bucks get the most bang. Split testing can be done in a few different ways, but basically it involves testing one element of the PPC funnel with different deliverables.

For example, it could mean creating two different sets of ad copy and seeing which one gets better click through rates. Of course measuring results will mean that the ad will need to be live for a decent amount of time before assumptions are made. Then, once the winning ad or ads are determined, the PPC team will start measuring results, tweaking things as needed, and putting the whole process on rinse and repeat.

Now you might be beginning to see why it’s not as quick a process as selecting a random ad, sending it to your homepage, and calling it a day.

 

Ok, I get it, but just how long is this going to take?

According to marketing guru Neil Patel, results in traffic from PPC campaigns should be viewable fairly quickly, but actual results from the campaigns? Well, that will take a bit longer. We tell clients to expect at least 3 months before results are apparent.

Why does it take so long? It’s not so that your PPC team can rack up billable hours. We promise. It takes time because gaining rank on Google is like building trust in someone new. You can’t just throw something out and expect results. Trust builds over time, and Google gives ranking to ads after they spend some time proving themselves.

You see, there are these pesky little things called quality scores. Your quality score will have a big impact on how well your campaign does. It’s based on several factors, including the relevance of the keywords in each ad group, your click through rate (CTR), and the quality of the landing page your ad goes to. If you just re-read that last bit to make sure you heard it right, let us say it again. The quality of the landing page your ad goes to also has a direct impact on how well your PPC ad will do.

So, you know what that means? Your PPC campaign requires the creation of good landing page design and copy. Even if you have amazing landing pages (like the ones we create for our clients), it takes time for that page to get ranked in Google and become a valid source. So, yes, you can see some results from PPC early on, but over time the results, like a fine wine, will get better and better.

Once the campaign goes live, you’ll also need account maintenance which includes analyzing and revising keywords, adjusting your bid amounts, testing new ads, and optimization.

A great study that shows how PPC can be improved month by month comes from a UK agency that broke down a PPC campaign month by month. It  took almost a year to get the desired results, and this is a reasonable timeline. We always say that it takes at least 3 months to get any tangible results, so if you aren’t willing to invest that time, then PPC might not be the best strategy for you.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to play the long game of PPC and reap the rewards for months and years to come? Here at Zonion we help brands get results with our robust PPC campaigns. Get in touch with us here to find out how we can help take your business to the next level.

Find Your Loyal Customers

Find Your Loyal Customers

Ask yourself this. How well do you really know your perfect customer? Your core group of patrons?

It’s easy to say you know them like the back of your hand, but do you really?

Can you pick them out from a crowd? If you overheard a conversation in line at the grocery store or at a coffee shop, would you know immediately whether or not they’re a fit for what your business has to offer?

If you’re really looking to take it to the next level and understand who your audience is, it goes further than skin-deep. No, we’re not talking about a stalker-level approach, far from it! It’s about constant and consistent detective work using research, data, and understanding on a personal level.

Not sure where to start?

Don’t worry because as Sherlock Holmes we’ve got you covered. We’ll guide you to the right pond so you can find your perfect fish. But we can’t do it without you, John Watson!

To get a complete picture of your ideal fan base, it takes a full-spectrum approach. Dig deep, walk a few thousand miles in their shoes, see things from their perspective, etc. Rinse and repeat for as long as it takes till you get a clear picture.

We know you’re busy running your business so who on earth has time to delve into this? Well, we do!

Here at Zonion Creative, we’ve studied the world of demographics, psychographics, lifestyles, geographics and so much more, for many businesses. We lean into the resources (aka big brother) with maximum precision – yes, we can find out who in your geographic area has two poodles, children under the age of 10, or a boat that needs repairs. Whatever it is you’re offering, we deliver clever and irresistible campaigns that speak directly to your ideal people.

Why is this so important? Knowing who your intended customers are is super critical for not only attracting new business prospects, it’s also critical when it comes to your marketing efforts. The two go hand-in-hand when you’re sussing out the right people to serve your magic.

So where on earth to begin? Let’s start with the basics.

  1. Demographics

Age, gender, location, occupation, marital, and socioeconomic status—do you have your clients’ background in these categories nailed down?

If not, that’s okay! That’s why you’re still reading this post right? Tell us what you know so far about your people and we’ll be sure to fill in the gaps for you. It’s vital to get clear on the demographics before we dig even deeper.

Let’s take the stereotypical soccer mom as an example. Here’s how we can break the demos down:

Soccer moms: Middle-class females between the ages of 30 to 45, married and living in suburban communities with one to four children, college or university degree, stay-at-home parent or working part-time, median household income between $75,000 to $100,000.

Now say you’re running a meal prep business with products that support healthy eating, time-saving, and tips on making quick and easy meals. Or maybe you’re running a lawn care and maintenance business for homeowners.

In the case of soccer moms, which business do you think appeals to them more?

Most likely the meal prep biz, right? On the other hand, the lawn care and maintenance business is a likely choice if you’re going after the soccer mom spouses instead.

As the master guides, from here we’ll take you to the next step of identifying where your target audience hangs out and what grabs their attention.

  1. Psychographics

Now the word psychographics may sound big and scary, but it’s really about going further than demographics and getting into personalities, values, lifestyles, and what your client’s do in their free time.

This is equally important because it helps us figure out how we can relate or speak to your ideal clientele once we find them.

Going back to soccer moms, some of their traits might include being expert organizers and task-managers, family-oriented, compassionate and putting the needs of others before their own. As hobbies they may choose relaxing activities like reading books and lifestyle magazines, working out at the gym, going to spas for massages, etc.

A key point to think about is how will your product or service fit into your audience’s lifestyle? When will they need what you have to offer?

Since the rise of the Internet and social media, the majority of us are turning to online sources for most of our information, hence the rise of social media marketing too.

Let’s take the meal prep business example. When and where would soccer moms be exposed to its products?

Chances are this would be at the grocery store, Bed Bath & Beyond or an equivalent, on Pinterest when searching for recipes, or even Facebook or Instagram when the moms get a chance to post a shot of their little one’s game-winning goal.

Remember, be where your core customers are and market to them there.

  1. Communication Channels

Once you’ve got both the demographics and psychographics down pat, it’s time to see and think like your loyal patrons.

Where are they gonna look for you and your business? How will they find out about you?

Here are some thoughts to chew on.

If your primary audience commutes to work every day (an hour each way) in their own car, AND you know they’re devoted radio-listeners, we might advise you to invest in a radio ad campaign. Plus, if they’re 55, male, and affluent we might put that schedule on a newstalk station. This is right up our tribes’ alley by the way!

There’s no need to waste precious marketing dollars if you know your fans and followers aren’t the type to read the morning paper cause they’re sprinting to their cars instead. In this case, newspaper or print ads aren’t gonna benefit your business.

Think small and strategic first because mass targeting often doesn’t yield the results or ROI (return on investment) you’re truly searching for. There’s no point in casting a wide net to “go big or go home” when the prized fish you’re after is in a different lake entirely.

With our expert-level detective skills, we’re on your side to help you find your perfect crowd. We make sure to set the stage for you with on-point branding coupled with laser-focused messages no matter what market your business is in.

Sound like a plan? Reach out to us today and let’s get this ball rollin’!

Why Social Media Marketing Matters

Why Social Media Marketing Matters

A few years ago, social media was this shiny new past time where no one really knew what they were doing. You could post on the fly or share anything that came to mind. Simpler times, right?

But you can bet things have changed.

If you haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon yet, you’re missing out. In fact, here’s a gentle wake-up call. If you aren’t using social media marketing for your business by now, you’re way behind the times.

But fear not! It’s never too late to get up and at ‘em.

Feeling reluctant and skeptical? We get that you shouldn’t follow what everyone else is doing just because everyone’s doing it. And you shouldn’t.

But you need a social media marketing plan catered to your business and audience. A plan that works for you and you alone.

Because that’s how you’re gonna stand out, that’s how YOUR social media marketing is gonna work for you.

We’re sure you already know this, but it takes plenty of moving parts to gain traction on social media (not to mention keeping up a consistent presence with enough flavor and wow factor to ensure your biggest fans stay your biggest fans).

If you’re still feeling unsure, or breaking a sweat just thinking about how to get started, don’t worry we’ve got your back.

But first, let’s shed some light on why social media marketing matters, and what it can really do for you when done right.

1. Organic Posts vs. Paid Ads

What’s the difference and why should you lean towards one or the other?

An organic post is free and what people come across organically. This means you don’t have to whip out your credit card and “pay” so more people can see it. It’s the most basic level of social media where you hit send and let things happen.

The beauty of organic posting is that the more followers you have, the easier and faster it’ll be for your social media marketing to work its magic.

In a perfect world, this sounds great doesn’t it? You spend time instead of money to craft an awesome post and the right people will naturally stumble upon it.

Unfortunately, these ever-changing social media algorithms don’t make it that easy. Ready for the truth?

Your followers will only see 10% or less of what you post.

If your reaction is, “Whaaa? What witchcraft is that all about!?” We don’t blame you.

If you’re posting consistently everyday but you stay stuck at only 60 followers, in reality you’re busting your butt for nothing since:

  1. A) You don’t have a big enough audience right now to make an impact with your posts, and 
  2. B) Barely anyone is actually seeing your posts because of these pesky algorithms.

For organic posts to truly work on your gorgeous behalf, you need to have the numbers. You need to get more followers, which then equals to more people seeing your posts.

The next reality is that you need to spend money to make money, right?

Organic reach, especially with Facebook, has been on the decline for awhile.

So if you want to take your social media marketing to the next level, get more people to see your posts, it may be time to shell out some cash and “boost” or “promote” your top posts.

This brings us to paid ads, which are dominating the social media landscape lately. No matter what platform, people are only starting to see select pieces of content and the most relevant content.

So why venture into using paid ads? The upside is that you can increase your reach and customize the post to target a certain demographic, industry, or location.

You don’t have to spend a ton of money either. Even as little as $5 could get your post an extra 1,000 views.

They say you gotta pay to play, and when it comes to paid ads? They do in fact lead to a larger reach than organic content.

If you haven’t explored the world of paid ads yet and want to give it a shot (or you want to grow your following like a mad magician), reach out to our team of experts and we’ll get the ball rolling for you!

2. Engage to Grow Instead of Ignore

If you aren’t authentically engaging with your audience or creating opportunities to grow your followers, why is your business on social media?

Maybe you don’t have a clue on how to engage, or how to create those opportunities (which is totally fine by the way, that’s why we’re here to do it for you!)

First things first, here are some quick and dirty ways to create and maintain engagement.

Let’s start with contests and giveaways. Who doesn’t love freebies, goodie bags, or even a coupon to use if you spend over $50 at your fave store?

People LOVE free stuff and they love winning free stuff even more.

Hosting a giveaway or contest over social media is an awesome way to generate buzz about your business and to start collecting more likes and followers. How? As part of the contest rules, be sure to say you need to “like, share, and tag a friend.”

Next, you might wanna think about going a step further. Ask everyone to answer a question like, “If you were given $1,000 but had to spend it immediately, what would you spend it on?”

If you’re looking to build your audience or grow your followers, make it easy for them to follow you in the first place. But remember to make it fun for them too of course.

Here’s another important engagement tactic—social media customer support. When you get a message or question from someone online, are you replying to them right away?

Even if it’s a gut-wrenching, horrible comment, are you responding with dignity and professionalism? Because the last thing you want to do is ignore the negative messages.

Heck, positive or negative, you should respond to every comment even if it’s as simple as:

“Thank you! You’re the best!”

“Great question! We don’t have an immediate answer for you right now, but we’ll look into it and get back to you ASAP.”

“I’m deeply sorry you didn’t like the item you purchased. We gladly accept full refunds or exchanges within 14 days.”

Trust us, potential clients and customers will respect the fact that you responded to a bad comment or a question you didn’t have the answer to—it shows you care about their concerns and how you’re willing to solve their problem.

3. Content is Everything

When it comes down to it, content will make or break your social media marketing.

Everyone says content is king (or queen) and the same holds true for your social media.

For starters, you need to create content that ties into your business identity. Sharing irrelevant content about your business is a huge no-no.

For example, just because it’s National Pierogi Day doesn’t mean you need to participate in the celebrations too.

If your business has nothing to do with pierogies whatsoever and you can’t contribute anything relevant or clever, it’s probably better to keep quiet on this one.

Because if you continue down this road of irrelevant posting, you’re on the fast track to saying see ya to your followers.

So what can you do to achieve relevant, consistent, and super cool content?

Plan ahead of time, build a strategy, offer truly valuable content, and work with themes. If you’re on Instagram, working with a visual theme in the form of filters or colors will do wonders for your engagement and lead to an eye-popping feed.

Or if you’re on Facebook, for goodness sake remember to optimize your business page to the max. How you ask? Don’t forget to fill out the “about” section with your business contact info, address, hours, or website.

Treat your social media platforms like a storefront. A storefront where anyone can come across what you do, and don’t let them escape!

If people are interested in your services or products but can’t for the life of them figure out how to reach you, then you probably lost them for good.

As much as your content should be varied and different, you also gotta remember to stay true to your business’ brand.

For example, say you’re always sharing vibrant, positive photos on Facebook. Then suddenly, you’re in a cold and wintery mood so you choose to post black and white snapshots instead.

If any potential clients or customers see this stark change, they’ll wonder what’s up and could very well change their mind about doing business with you.

Another juicy tip if you really want to keep things interesting for your audience: go for a triple-threat combo of using words, photos, and videos in your social media marketing.

Now if you’re thinking, “Holy moly, who has time to do all this?” Well, we do!

With our tribe at Zonion Creative, we do more than just the strategic stuff when it comes to social media marketing. We help you make a statement, we help you grow and connect with your online audience, and the best part?

You can sit back and relax because we’re more than happy to navigate through this social media minefield for you.

Just say the word!

The Importance of SEO

The Importance of SEO

It’s time to get real frank and honest here.

We’re talking SEO frank and honest. Now if you’re thinking, “SEO wha? That’s like FOMO right?” or, “Is SEO the new CEO?”

Nuh-uh, my friend. If you don’t have the slightest idea what SEO is, and the importance of SEO in today’s day and age, then it’s time for a huge wake-up call.

SEO = Search Engine Optimization.

We’re not about to get all smarty pants on you and drone on about the technical intricacies. We believe you already know why SEO is important and why you need it—you’re a superstar business owner after all.

BUT here’s a little reminder anyways. A reminder of how you can really use it to up your game, your online presence. And ultimately, how to up your chances of drumming up more business moolah.

For starters, what is SEO?

Think of it as feeding the most delicious 10-course meal to Google and other search engines. We’re talking Chef’s Table on Netflix delicious.

Let’s say you consistently make the engines over-the-moon happy with this exquisite “food” (aka special keywords and phrases that appear on your website and in your content).

If you keep this up and blow them away time and time again, they’ll remember you, they’ll even reward you. How? By increasing your chances of your website getting found when someone searches for that special keyword or phrase.

You’ll be at the top of their minds, which means your website and content will show up first when searched. Pure gold, right?

Here’s the thing though, obviously there are consequences if you overfeed the search engines. Trust us, they WILL NOT be very happy with you if they’re overfed.

There’s a fine line between just the right amount of food and overindulging, right? The same goes for SEO. It’s equally important to not keyword-stuff your content.

Make your SEO game work for you, not against you.

Now we’re sure you’re wondering how to do that. How to reap the benefits and finally discover the jackpot of why SEO is important, so amazingly amazeballs important.

The reality though is that a successful SEO game doesn’t lead to instant gratification or instant high-flying results. In a perfect world maybe, but then it’d all be too easypeasy and where’s the fun in that?

Hate to break it to you but, just like pretty much everything else, SEO takes a crap ton of time and consistency. Not to mention learning and relearning as algorithms constantly change in the online world.

We know you want to spend your precious time doing what you do best in your business. So voila here’s the next best thing: let us do the heavy lifting on the SEO because we’re the tribe who gets it.

For 2018, word has it that these three strategies are important as ever for your SEO game. Let’s dive in.

  1. Mobile-friendly Website = Priority Ranking

Tell us, who doesn’t have a smartphone these days? I mean, you see babies and great grandparents glued to them like pros, like it’s always been an extension of themselves.

We spend sooo much time browsing websites, social media, and email on our phones we don’t even realize we’re doing it. So if your business website isn’t up to par—if it’s not mobile-friendly—you could be losing out on some prime visitor traffic.

Your SEO game suffers too as a few years ago, Google started prioritizing its search rankings with website content that performs best on mobile devices.

What can you do? Make sure your website has a responsive mobile-friendly design and that your content and SEO is consistent whether on mobile or desktop.

Sound like a mouthful and not sure where to start? Reach out and ask us! We don’t bite because our tribe is always lighthearted and fun.

We also know what we’re getting ourselves into with SEO. We’ll dive head first into researching and evaluating your most important keywords—the keywords that were meant to shine bright on your website.

Next, our SEO experts will breakout their tools to analyze your competitors and gather even more insight on what truly works best for your business.

Trust us, we got you!

  1.  Prune Your Content

Let’s not beat around the bush—content and links are the foundation of badass-working SEO. Your website content and blog posts literally need to be the best stuff ever otherwise no one gives a hoot, including the search engines.

If a strong content marketing strategy isn’t part of your business plan, you could be missing out on the growth you’ve been craving for, even crossing your fingers for!

Once you’ve written something—awesome or not—it doesn’t stop there. Go back and add more value to your blog posts. Maybe it could use an infographic, or an instructional video (because video is hot right now too and FYI, people are staying put on the video marketing bandwagon because it’s working).

Even better, comb through your old content and check if it’s still relevant. If it’s not, it’s time to prune and improve.

No one wants to read about an obsolete dentist tool or technique that was introduced 20 years ago, right? Same goes for that once beautiful and serene city park that no longer exists.

If your audience doesn’t care, neither will the search engines. And your SEO game? Sadly it’ll flatline, but you can prevent this from happening of course!

We’re always here for you so you can bet we’ll help you spruce up and optimize your web pages, content, and more. We can add those credible links for you and help promote your content.

Plus, we love all the behind-the-scenes work with tracking your website search performance, page views, traffic sources, and conversions.

The important jargon you probably don’t want to spend tons of time on, right? But that’s why we’re here to help!

  1. The Rise of Voice Search

With Google and Amazon speakers now making their way into homes across the country (for better or worse), people are gravitating towards instant information via voice more than ever.

They say one in six Americans own one of these speakers and the numbers are only growing. So what does this mean for SEO?

Wait for it, hold your breath—your content should be optimized for voice search phrases and keywords too.

If you’re shaking your head thinking you want to give up now, we don’t blame you. We get it. Like we said, SEO is A TON OF WORK.

But how cool would it be if your business pops up when someone asks, “Hey Google, what’s a healthy restaurant nearby,” or even, “Alexa, find me an accountant in San Francisco.”

Pretty dreamy, right?

With all of these SEO improvement options to consider, we hope it sheds new light on the importance of SEO and why it’s more relevant than ever.

If you’re still unsure about it all, talk to us! We’re up for the challenge to make SEO work for you, not against you. Rant to us about your struggles, and we’ll make sure to get you back on track again.

We’ll give you the results you’ve been looking for and to prove it? We always send over weekly or monthly status reports and recommendations.

SEO is a long-term game and we’re here to consistently tweak and improve your plan so you’re always on the winning side.

Company For A Cause

Company For A Cause

Ever thought about why you started your business? In other words, what’s your business purpose? Your “why?” There are many reasons why someone would start a new business, and many business owners haven’t really spent time thinking about why they started their business in the first place. (It’s ok if that’s you – we won’t tell anyone)

Maybe you are really good at a particular skill like graphic design, coding, or you’re a great seamstress. Everyone told you that you just HAD to go into business, and rather than moonlight on projects at the end of a busy day, you went all in and hung out your shingle.

Or, maybe you started your business because you saw a need in the marketplace for something and decided you could fill it. A lot of great businesses are born this way. You realized something was missing and you couldn’t rest until you were the missing piece of the puzzle. Innovation was the name of your game, and you’re changing the world, one widget at a time.

Or, sometimes people start businesses as a way to give back to a cause they care about. Today we’re going to focus on these companies for a cause and talk about why someone may start this type of business, and how it works in their marketing.

Business with a social mission is, well, big business! Many people feel good when they buy from a brand that helps others. This of course adds to the brand’s bottom line, so it’s a win-win. And we love those!

 

Millennials love socially minded brands

Love em or not, if you market to millennials you’ll want to pay attention this!

Millennials not only prefer businesses with a social good component, it’s a big part of their decision making when it comes to purchasing. Consider this – millennials make up about 30% of the population and spend on average $200 billion yearly (that’s a lot of dough!). You don’t want to forget about them when you’re trying to get a piece of the marketplace pie.

So, just how many of them consider a cause worthy of their hard earned dollars? About 68% of millennials state that a social or environmental cause would be important when deciding what to buy. That’s a pretty good indicator that if you’ve got a cause, you can use it to your marketing advantage (and rake in some millennial moola)!

Of course, it should go without saying that if you’re going to join the ranks of companies for a cause, you’ll need to actually care about that cause, right?  It’s the shared cause that matters to the millennial – not just a random afterthought tacked on at the end of a busy marketing calendar. (We know you’d never do anything like that, this warning is for the other guys…)

 

What brands are rocking a cause right now?

There are tons of businesses that give back to great causes, but here are a few that we think are doing a great job.

  • TOMS gives shoes to people in need. Whenever someone buys a pair of TOMS, someone in need gets a pair of shoes. It’s a simple business model that gets them big results!
  • Stella Artois beer partnered with Water.org and Matt Damon to bring clean water to those in the developing world.
  • Sudara gives back by providing living-wage jobs, skills training, and education to those who were previously stuck in human trafficking.

 

Your Why Matters

In the end, whether you choose to be a business with a cause or not, there’s one takeaway we’d like to leave you with that works for any type of business – Why you started your business matters!

If you haven’t really thought through the why you started your business, now’s the time to get on that! As Simon Sinek has famously said, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” In his book Start With Why, Sinek goes into details on why your why matters (try saying that 5 times fast!) We’d recommend you check it out. Or, you can check out this shortened version of his TED Talk if you’re too busy saving the world to read an entire book.

 

Zonion gives back

Here at Zonion, we’re excited to start our next chapter with a company for a cause – our very own  Elephant. Elephant is a way that we help other businesses market to their local audience, while also giving back to a cause we care about – elephants of course.

When you buy advertising through Elephant, we give 5% of proceeds to help banish cruelty to these gentle giants and let them live in peace. We think it’s pretty awesome, and we’d love to  tell you more about it. Ready to find out how you can join our cause and give back to elephants while also growing your biz?

Click here to head over to Elephant and help us celebrate our grand opening!

Ready to get digital?

Ready to get digital?

How to modernize your marketing methods.

Remember the good ol’ days when you could take out an ad in the local newspaper or Yellow Pages and have clients lining up around the block for your services? Those days are gone. Sorry.

Nowadays it’s still possible to get a big bang from advertising, but the methods have changed. Today, it’s all about digital. If you’re newly arriving to the digital age, then pull up a chair, grab a cup of tea, and get ready to bring your biz up to speed with digital marketing.

Start with Your Website

If you’re just getting started with digital marketing we suggest you start with your website. Seriously, if you’ve got a sad little website that harkens back to the dawn of the internet, it’s time to whip that baby into shape.

If you can make one change to your site, make sure it is mobile responsive. This is an absolute must in order to attract your ideal customers (and keep Google happy). Why you ask? It’s no surprise that cellphone and tablet usage is on the rise (maybe even an epidemic?). That means that people are turning to their phones more than ever to search for what they need. If they land on an unreadable page, or one that is seriously hard to maneuver because it doesn’t work on their device, it’s not only bad feelings about your site they have – They start to distrust Google too. That, of course, makes Google unhappy. And when Google’s not happy, nobody’s happy.

Not sure your website fits the bill? You can actually check how mobile friendly your site is with this handy tool from Google.

Of course, you’ll also want to make sure you have swoonworthy graphics, up to date fonts (no Comic Sans!!!), and content that doesn’t put them to sleep.

SEO

Once you get your website working for you and your customers, you’ll want to think about search engine optimization aka SEO. What is SEO for? In a nutshell, it’s to improve how you get found on Google and other search engines. When someone types a phrase into the search bar, the results that show up are thanks to SEO. Of course, that means you need to have the right words on your site for Google to find you. By the way, if you believe that an SEO campaign consists of writing a keyphrase over and over until the end of time, think again!

While keyword phrases are still “key” to getting found by search engines, what matters most is that you have smart and helpful content that answers questions and solves problems for your ideal clients, while still making use of keywords. Please don’t write a bunch of mumbo jumbo and expect the Google Gods to send you an overflow of traffic. It doesn’t work that way and you’ll actually lose brownie points (and credibility too). So, get those keywords in your pages, but don’t overdo it. Everything in moderation.

If you’re just getting started with SEO, never fear. SEO giant Moz has an extensive beginner’s guide to SEO that you can check out and learn all you need to know.

Socially Aware – Get started with social media

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat – depending on what you sell, there are several social media platforms crawling with your ideal clients. But, does the idea of getting started on social make you nervous?

This is an area where many people throw in the towel because there are so many platforms, it’s enough to make your head spin. We suggest taking it slow. Choose one or two platforms and get really comfortable there. Start showing up, interacting with your audience, and then when you’re ready, you can move on to another platform.

Confused about what to say? Start by joining the conversation your clients already have going in their head. Not sure what that is? Ask them! And for a perfectly executed campaign, ask us!

Blogging

If you think of blogging as some sort of online diary and nothing more, you’re missing out on one of the greatest ways you can share information with your customers.

Blogging done right can help your target market see that you are the solution for their problem. How do you do that? By answering their questions.

Yep, the best way to get started with blog posts that will get you business is to ask your customers what they want to learn about and then teach them. Sure, you will be giving away free advice, but that will only increase your popularity and get you known, liked, and trusted. Plus, since it takes about 7 touchpoints before you turn a prospect into a client, you’ll stay top of mind when you continually put out awesome content. Win win!

PPC – Pay Per Click Ads

Your ideal clients are searching for what you sell on a daily basis. Sure, in the past they opened up that trusty ‘ol Yellow Pages, and flipped through the ads. They are still doing the same sort of search today, just not in some flimsy paged book. Instead, these days customers are searching Google, or asking Siri or Alexa to find what they need.  

If we had to sum it up, we’d say that PPC ads are like taking out an ad in the Yellow Pages on steroids. Instead of showing up on paper to a handful of people, you show up all over the web to anyone who is searching for what you sell.

Of course great PPC campaigns begin with an understanding of SEO best practices (yep, that again), and a deep understanding of what your ideal customers are looking for, so don’t jump into PPC before doing that research.

Need a little help?

Are you ready to join the digital age and start marketing your business on the world wide web? The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone! Here at Zonion, we help business owners just like you get their marketing efforts online in a flash. We also don’t require an arm and a leg to get started. Phew!

TRIBE is the perfect solution for businesses who are ready to tackle the digital world without breaking the bank. <<Check out our membership specials>> to see how we can help you ramp up your digital efforts and start putting more cha-ching in your bank account.

Holiday Cheer

Holiday Cheer

Not to blow an unwelcome horn in your ear but… Right at this moment, how holiday cheerful are you?

Are you slammed out of your mind with last minute customer purchases or nervously looking at your cash flow as your seasonal work dried up? Is your company going to hit its budgets for this year? What happens January 1st?

Or maybe on a more personal level you’re grumpy because people aren’t saying Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, or the snow plows aren’t getting your street as fast as other neighborhoods.

It’s time to HOLD IT! Stop right there. Yes you. All of this is not worth losing your cheerful attitude and enthusiasm for a bright new year. Just take 5. Not after the new year, NOW.

If you need to, pour a cup of tea, an espresso, a glass of wine or a bourbon and pull out a piece of paper. A napkin will do.
Answer these three questions:

  • What am I doing this for
  • What am I worried about
  • What am I hopeful for

Now, if the first one (why are you doing this) is still as true today as it was when you started your company, then give yourself a big holiday hug. Excellent!

If the third one (what you are hopeful for) is still what you dreamt of when you stayed up late plotting your course in the stars, have a drink on us! Fabulous!

Lastly, if you like so many others have a list of ‘what I am worried about’, it’s time to talk with an advertising agency like ours.

Because we’re full service and we’ve been around the block more than a few times to help you with worries like:

  • Cash flow
  • Running out of inventory
  • Having too much inventory left over
  • My competition has a better campaign than me
  • Am I advertising in the right places
  • Can I pay my bills and cover my marketing too
  • Is my P&L solid
  • Why am I not at the top of google searches (but my competition is)
  • Am I using social media correctly
  • Is my TV ad reaching the right people
  • What should I be planning for a solid new year
  • Where do I start!?

How about you start by telling us the answers to those first three questions. We’d love to hear your why, and your worries.

It’s free to talk to us. It’s confidential. And it’s fun, because we’re goofs at heart. If you need a tribe, join ours!