Writing Globally – Travel Industry Copywriting

Lifelong traveler here! I’ve lived on 4 different continents and I am about to call my 6th country home. Early on, I knew I was more than just a tourist. I wanted to be a part of the industry, but wasn’t really sure where I fit in. Recently, I’ve combined my two main passions by working as a content writer for the travel industry.

The travel industry is a great place to be. It’s exciting as a writer because it reaches every corner of the world and has ties to many industries. Not only in tourism sub-markets like airlines, hotels and museums, but also for industries like electronics, beauty products, insurance, clothing and more, travel has a sales impact.

Travel Writing – What I’ve Been Up To

As a travel writer I have experience with businesses from around the world, large and small. Luxury, mid-range or budget, every traveler needs to find information to get where they’re going, and help them make the most of their time there.

 

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Luxury Travel Property Descriptions

I was commissioned to create website content such as Company Story and property descriptions for a luxury real estate development in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. These five star luxury residences and vacation homes deserve five-star descriptions that dazzle, impress, and entice.

Neighborhood Guides for Hotels

I love helping travelers discover local activities, food, and experiences near their hotel. As a freelance writer for Arrivedo, I work directly with hotels to create neighborhood guides that attract new guests and improve the experience for current guests.

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I’ve recently created SEO-friendly, customized guides for Hotel Eleven in Austin TX and Hotel Carris Porto Ribeira in Porto, Portugal. Your hotel can partner with me too!

Blog Posts & Online Articles

Sometimes I do ghostwriting, which means I don’t always get to publish work under my own name. However, working as a ghostwriter (or “ghostblogger”, as the case may be) for The World’s Most Popular Cruise Line® has certainly been a fun project!

I love writing travel articles like these about exotic destinations including what to expect, best foods to try and souvenirs to look out for – because who doesn’t love looking forward to a vacation? I enjoy getting people excited about their travels and describing all the fun adventures they can get into while on their trip. I learn something along the way and get ideas for my own travels. Win-win!

Guest Posts

On occasion, I’m available to contribute a guest post. In the past, I’ve collaborated with other travel sites and communities to share my experience as a digital nomad and long-term traveler. Areas of expertise include financial planning for travel, solo travel, teaching English abroad, moving abroad, running a business while on the move, making the transition to self-employed or remote work, packing and travel tips, and travel inspiration!

This post for SheHitRefresh.com (a travel community of women over 30 who want to break free and live a life of travel) covers volunteering abroad using Workaway.

Operation Gone

What kind of 21st century traveler would I be if I didn’t have my own blog? See what I’ve been up to the past year and a half…

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Still want to see more? Check out some more of my work

 

Writing for the American Dream – Real Estate Copywriting

Though I work with all kinds of small-to-medium businesses in industries as diverse as dentistry, finance, tech, music, events and more, lately I’ve found myself doing a LOT of real estate writing.

Writing for the real estate industry is exciting, not only because there are so many different niches and sectors, but also because the field is central to American communities, families, and economic development.

For so many, home ownership is a pivotal step on the road to the American Dream. So I can feel good about my part in educating homebuyers, tenants, real estate professionals and builders.

Real Estate Writing – What I’ve Been Up To

As a real estate content writer, I have experience in both commercial real estate and residential real estate (B2B and B2C).  I’ve worked with businesses from all areas of the field including homebuilders, commercial real estate firms, home lenders, housing counselors and even a real estate school!

Real estate is a fun industry to write for because there is just so. much. going. on.

Here’s a brief summary of what I’ve been up to on the content creation front:

Press Releases 

Creating buzz for a fast growing commercial real estate and property management firm in South Jersey.  Weekly press releases aim to establish the firm’s strong presence as a leader in the region. I think it’s working, because the founder was recently recognized by South Jersey Biz magazine as one of the area’s top entrepreneurs. 

Website Redesign and Blogging

I recently worked with an Austin commercial real estate firm to help redesign their website. We brought this site up to date by adding a property search feature, online contact form, and more dynamic look and feel.

We also set up a blog so that the company can share insights, money-saving tips, and information that will help tenants and landlords get better results from their real estate deals. Not to mention, it’s great for visibility and SEO.

Online Articles (and more Blogging)

On the residential side, I’ve been tapping into my inner designer through home décor tips and inspiration, as well as covering interior design trends for a brand new site (luanching soon!) I’ve also written articles with useful information on preparing to buy a house and more.

Establishing Best Practices

I do ghost-writing too! From the perspective of real estate professionals, I recently created a series of 10 thought pieces that help establish best practices and build knowledge for those in the field.

Articles targeted to new real estate agents, established brokers, and agent teams covered how to grow and manage real estate teams, hiring for teams, how to prep for an open house, how to build a real estate “farm”, working with HOAs, marketing tips, and more.

Real Estate Content Writing Services

  • Real Estate industry research
  • Press releases
  • Blogs
  • Media kits
  • Brochures
  • Presentations
  • Social media
  • Email marketing
  • Online articles

Related Services & Specialties

  • Website development or redesign
  • Editorial and content calendar (topic development)
  • Content management and web publishing
  • Content distribution – sharing on social media, LinkedIn, email, to contact lists, etc.
  • Sourcing royalty-free images for blogs
  • Digital presence consulting

Not sure why content marketing is important to your business? Check this out…

To request samples or a consultation, contact me here:

 

Why Your Brand Needs a Story

No matter what you do, your job is to tell your story. — Gary Vaynerchuk

A major aspect of growing any business is developing a great brand. And the number one way to build a great brand is with great content.

Top brands use content to tell an evolving story, while sprinkling in their knowledge and expertise in the field, product benefits, or how their service will make your life easier. In other words, the story comes first. What you’re selling comes second.

The story comes first. What you’re selling comes second.

By consistently and continuously telling your unique story, you will separate yourself from the competition, which means you can charge more than your competitors.

With so much competition in the marketplace today, it’s easy to become just another [insert product or service here]. Becoming “just another” is the fast track to becoming a commodity in the minds of your customer — a commodity is something that is easy to come by and thus, doesn’t have a lot of value (like water, bubblegum and plastic bags.)

Use Content to Tell your Brand’s Story

To make your story interesting, you should focus not just on what you do – but WHY you do what you do. In other words, what is the passion and mission behind your brand, and even more importantly to the customer – how do you help them?

Most people are looking for products or services that make their lives easier, save them time, or create a positive emotion (such as in the case of luxury brands, hotel rooms, and travel experiences).

By showing the customer exactly how you make their lives easier, save them time, or make them happy – through content such as blog posts, graphics, email newsletters, videos, photos, and the pages on your website – you’ll create value in your ideal customer’s eyes and will remain at top-of-mind until they are ready, willing and able to buy your product or use your service.

Tell Your Brand’s Macro and Micro Stories

Within a strong business brand, there are two types of stories: (1) the macro story, and (2) micro-stories.

A macro story is the overarching narrative you want to communicate to your ideal clients.

The key to developing a meaningful and memorable macro story is putting the WHY of your services front and center, followed by the HOW and perhaps the WHAT. It’s easy for business owners to focus on the WHAT – when in fact this is the least important part of your story.

Within your macro story, there are many micro stories — more specific topics that flesh out your macro story and personalize your brand.

Here are some examples of great brand stories (in my own words):

REI

Macro story: We help people get out and enjoy the outdoors.

Micro stories: We sell gear that is designed for trails, slopes, and waterways and our products are fitted with efficient, lightweight and innovative features. We also support conservation efforts nationwide and send volunteer missions to help clean up and rebuild local habitats.

Whole Foods

Macro story: We are America’s healthiest grocery store.

Micro stories: We maintain the strictest quality standards in the industry by selling only foods that are free from additives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats. We support sustainable agriculture and we also make eating healthy fun through recipes and meal ideas.

Notice that in both cases, the product is not mentioned at all in the macro story.

If you’re an auto repair shop, your macro story might be that you help drivers get back on the road quickly and safely. But your micro story (or stories) are the details of how you do it – what processes you use, what kind of specialized expertise you offer, or what benefits and guarantees you provide to the customer that differentiate you from the competition.

You may have noticed, there’s a psychological effect at play here: The more people know about your professional and personal story, the deeper they’ll connect with you, and the more they’ll trust you.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – sales is all about relationship-building and trust.

The more people trust you, the more they’ll be willing to hire you at the price you want to charge, since it’s human psychology to:

  1. Want to work with people we trust, and
  2. Spend more money on people we trust

Are you telling your brand’s unique story?  Let me help you find your WHY.

Why You Need to Hire a Content Writer

As a business owner, you’re looking for ways to improve visibility and remain at top-of-mind with your customers.

If you’ve heard that a blog or other content marketing can draw traffic to your website, you heard right! But that’s not the only reason blogging is awesome for your business.

Content marketing in the form of a blog builds trust with your customers, educates them, and gives the SEO bots fresh new content to index (and they LOVE fresh new content). It also humanizes your brand and catches readers who are in the research phase – aka lead generation.

If your website’s blog has been sitting there for weeks without an update, it’s time to consider content writing services. If your business doesn’t have a blog at all, it’s DEFINITELY time to hire a writer.

You Know You Need to Write Web Content … But You Don’t Have Time

You probably have a content piece that you started writing a few months ago and then never finished. Or maybe you have an idea that’s been swirling around in your head, but you haven’t had the time to sit down and write it.

If you know you need to create meaningful content for your site’s blog, but you just don’t have the time, then it’s time to consider hiring a content writer.

A skilled content writer can save you boatloads of time, and time is money. A good content writer will stick to deadlines and keep your editorial calendar on track. After all, we don’t get paid unless the work is done.

You Don’t Know What to Write About

Some business owners have plenty of ideas and no time. Others have no time, and no ideas. If you know you need to write web articles to draw traffic to your site but don’t know what to write about, you need an experienced blogger.

As a web copywriter with over 10 years of experience and hundreds of blog articles under my belt, I can help you identify the topics that your ideal client is searching for. I can also take your ideas, even if it’s just a few bullet points, and whip it into a sparkly new lead gen tool in the form of a blog, email, website page, lead magnet, or all of the above.

Tell a Compelling Brand Story

A good copywriter does more than just fill pages on your website. The right content writer can fine-tune your message and create a clear mission across your social media, website, emails and ads.

Your brand story is perhaps the most important piece of your marketing strategy. Even more important than WHAT you do is WHY and HOW you do it. The why and how are what makes up your brand story, and your brand story is what makes your ideal customer trust you, like you, and ultimately buy from you.

As a copywriter and digital media specialist, I’ll help you figure out what your brand’s own story is, and then help you scream it from the mountaintops!

Get a Fresh Perspective

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a business’ blog or website and thought to myself “What the heck are they talking about”? Especially in industries like real estate, finance and tech, it’s easy to fall back on industry jargon.

I get it – when you work in your business everyday, you’re so in tune with the topic that what you write seems to make perfect sense. But it may not make sense to your customer.

Good marketing content is easy for the everyday reader to understand. A content writer can spot industry jargon, or “cop speak” from a mile away and brings a fresh perspective that you often need.

My specialty happens to be turning complex subjects into plain English. I can help you create clear, concise content that people actually want to read.

Copywriters Write Content that Converts

As a business owner, you know what your customer wants, their pain points, and what sets you apart from your competitors. But you probably don’t know how to turn that into a compelling brand story. A content writer does.

A good content writer knows how to write specifically for the web, how to keep fickle web readers on your page and MAKE THEM CLICK THAT BUTTON!

As a content writer, I will take your business knowledge and turn it into something to the point and effective. In other words, something magical.

Writing effective content for the web is nothing like writing short stories, essays, or any other kind of writing. It’s a special skill, and we content writers pride ourselves on nailing it, every time.

Fill out the form below to schedule a free consultation about your content marketing needs.

To Make the Sale, You Need to Stand Out

Here’s why…

First of all, you may or may not know that I am a digital nomad since January 2017 and am currently working from various locations around Europe. It’s pretty awesome!

The other day I was at the morning fish market in Hamburg, Germany (eating fish sandwiches at 7am is an experience I highly recommend, by the way) and I noticed that among the many booths, some of the sellers were yelling out their prices to passersby. Those same sellers were also singing songs, joking with the crowd of people gathered around, and generally seemed to have a lot of personality.

I would dare to wager that those guys sold more fish than the other booths. Why? Because they stood out.

My theory comes from one of the basic principles of salesSelling is all about relationship-building.

In the case of these fish vendors, their boldness allowed them to stand out, which created a starting point of interaction with these potential customers.

Build Relationships to Make More Sales

This experience got me thinking about sales reps in general, and how critical being memorable, standing out, and building relationships are to making a sale. It’s important to note that if you own a business then you are, in fact, a sales rep.

If you focus solely on what your product or service is or does, you risk blending in with all the others who provide your same service or sell the same product.

But by creating a personalized experience through conversations with your customers – whether that conversation is in the form of an online survey, a blog post, a video or a song – they get to know you better and in turn, begin to see you as a human with a personality, and not a sales person they are trying to avoid.

This is the first step to building lasting relationships with your customers.

Personalization Makes You Memorable

If you’re creating memorable experiences, hopefully you’re doing it in a positive way. Another common wisdom in the sales world – people buy from people they like.

If your potential customers like you, then they’re more likely to trust you, and people buy from people they trust.

When you leave the fish market you may think back on the souvenirs you saw, the coffee you bought (a godsend at that early hour), the vendors selling baskets of fruit and the beer being drunk in the live music hall. Yes, you read that right. Germany is an amazing place.

Naturally, in a fish market, you’ll have seen more fish vendors than anything else – dozens in fact. Which ones will you remember? Probably the ones that sing songs and make friends with passersby.

How will you stand out and add your personality to the marketplace?

This Applies to Your Business Too

Sure, selling fish is nowhere near as complex as getting someone to use your legal services or sign up for a monthly software service – but the principle remains the same. Stand out in a positive way, and you’re more likely to get the business.

We’re all being sold to all the time, and there are multiple providers of nearly every service or product out there. How you differentiate yourself and stand out to your customers will affect their decision to buy from YOU and not the other guy.

Ask the Experts Digital Marketing Trends 2018

Ask the Experts – Digital Marketing Trends for 2018

Ask the Experts Digital Marketing Trends 2018

In 2017 personalization in marketing automation got smarter and smarter. It was a big year for Facebook and LinkedIn groups, and it was the year Instagram Stories exploded. With the shift to 2018 comes changes in digital marketing, whether we’re ready or not. New digital marketing strategies are entering the marketplace every day, as technologies emerge and user behaviors demand a more integrated experience. How will your company evolve this year?

Here, 4 International Experts share how 2017 shaped the world of digital marketing, and what they think will be the biggest trends to watch in 2018.

Liam Hennessy – Digital Marketing Strategist/Media Analyst, 6H Media

I think customer service (or “customer experience”) very slowly crept in and has started to dominate the domain of marketers as well. Since social media allows real-time interactions with brands, last year it became all the more important for companies to keep a friendly and informative face.

In terms of SEO there are some interesting indicators: “linkless” mentions of brands on sites may very well become a Google ranking factor (this is already the case on Bing). The recent collapse of net neutrality in the States, however, could very much be a game-changer in terms of content marketing and SEO. ISPs may decide to limit website speed and content unless users pay premium, having considerably adverse effects on SEO efforts in the USA. Should this be the case, marketers may have to get very creative and technical about displaying their content on the slowest speeds. On an international scale, however, this is unlikely to be an issue – at least for the time being.

Liam is a digital marketing strategist, copywriter and general lover of wine and travelling.

Michael Shipley (“Ship”) – President and Co-Founder, Kahuna Marketing

For nearly a decade now, mobile has been the next big thing in digital advertising, and for nearly a decade now it has not lived up to the hype.  While there is no denying the growth in mobile consumption, and its value in a balanced marketing plan, it has simply been another screen for text and banner ads.  That changed for me in 2017 however, with Google’s integration of Nearby Notifications on Android devices.  Now it’s easier than ever to reach consumers on mobile screens, and connect online advertising with in-store engagement.  While location data has been available for years, integration into the OS means there are no special apps required.  On top of that, there are no media fees associated with the Nearby Notifications.

Looking ahead to 2018…this will be the year of Amazon. Not only has it established itself as the bottom of the funnel for retailers, but it has emerged from the 2017 holiday rumble as the leader in smart home technology and services.  With a recent announcement of the expansion of its search and video advertising products, Amazon has put the industry on notice.  They have the platform, the consumers, and the cash to disrupt in 2018.

Kahuna Marketing is an online advertising agency based in Hawaii.

Rachael Piper – Owner, Rachel Piper Consulting

I think particularly in the digital media discipline data remains king. We historically backed ourselves into a data corner and I don’t foresee us breaking free of that. At first people were not convinced that spending advertising dollars online was a good idea, but now according to recode as of 2017 digital ad spending (41%) has surpassed TV ad spending (35%) for the lion’s share of media spend and it is predicted to make up 50% of ad spending by 2020. In addition to users spending more time digitally, I believe that a major contributor in convincing Advertisers to spend their media budgets digitally is the accountability that digital provides.

CTR (click through rate) was the early holy grail of digital KPIs (key performance indicators). I believe this was the wedge that helped break open the digital media door because we were able to point to hard numbers and say “X amount of impressions drove Y clicks for a CTR of Z” and thus measuring the impact of advertising down to an impression-level was introduced. As with anything (especially anything digital) in order to remain relevant, it must evolve which I think has been a continued obstacle for our digital media discipline.

It is a process; for example, CTR (click through rate) is no longer the end-all-be-all when it comes to measuring digital media’s impact/effectiveness. Now we have to have a lot of conversations around how CTR and Conversion Rates often are not positively correlated or how CTR and Video Completion Rates often have an inverse relationship because one either clicks or completes the view, not both. We’ve evolved enough to know that CTR is no longer the all-inclusive metric to measure the impact of digital media, but we also haven’t replaced it.

We also often have predicaments where a Client wants a cool, integrated Native brand awareness buy, but expects that to drive the same ROAS (return on ad spend) as a programmatic buy, which is not likely but also isn’t to say the Native buy wouldn’t be effective. So we need more understanding that different digital media tactics yield different results and a better data-backed understanding to show how it all works together.

All that to say, we did see some advancements in 2017 in terms of telling a more of a complete story with cross-device data and “closing the loop” offline with more accurate location-based data and in some cases being able to directly tie back to offline purchase data.

This is great and much more advanced than traditional media, but it is also problematic because we’ve set this expectation that we’re measuring everything. However, in reality, the data we currently have only tells us bits and pieces of the whole story. We are still a long way from where we want to be, albeit digital does tell much more of the story than traditional media. Which isn’t to discount traditional media because it all plays a role and works together, but traditional media hasn’t historically had to sing for its’ supper the same way digital has. Digital has built its’ worth on its’ accountability and therefore the responsibility lies on its’ shoulders.

So for the love of all things pixelated, I hope we see an accurate, digestible, platform agnostic, reasonably priced attribution-modeling tool emerge in 2018. I’m also curious to see how we go about tracking and measuring ads in the emerging AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality) and Hologram, etc. worlds in the (near) future.

Rachael is owner of Rachael Piper Consulting, specializing in Digital Media since 2012.

Marion Chloé Theis – Marketing + Business Coach for Women Entrepreneurs

I really felt a turn operating in marketing in 2017: from faceless corporations and brands, we switched to a more personalized approach in targeting, but also in messaging.

With plenty of new tools & technologies – chatbot, re-targeting, Facebook ads – it is now possible, more than ever, to make your marketing highly targeted.

But technology without strategy is useless. If your marketing is bad offline, it’ll be bad online as well – the only difference is, more people will see it. Global brands are only starting to understand this, but when you’re mainly online – like in my clients’ and my case – it is crucial to have a clearly defined and powerful marketing identity.

On a global level, marketing switched from B2B and B2C to a « H2H » approach: a Human to Human one. Personal branding has been growing immensely this year: we don’t talk only about business anymore, but we talk about people (us and our customers) and to people. We brand ourselves but not in a corporate, polished way.

We also stopped selling and started building relationships instead. Relationships based on value first, with content strategies at their core. Yes, the goal is always to get clients and make money. But it’s done in a different, subtle way. To get people’s trust, you first need them to believe in your expertise and that’s exactly what content does.

Facebook groups are certainly a proof of all of this: mixing personal and professional interests, they allow like-minded individuals to connect and support each other. But (even) more than a community, they’re also a fantastic branding tool to use. Facebook groups are the ideal combination of personal branding, relationship building and content creation and represent to me perfect illustration of the year 2017.

I definitely believe that 2018 will bring even more depth to personal branding, storytelling and putting value first – and also more opportunities to make it sustainable and scalable.

We’ll make a step further down the road of authenticity, taking a learner approach instead of an expert one. Saying we’re struggling when we are struggling, showing people the not-so-glamourous side of managing a business and a brand is, as surprising at it may seems, what is going to get us more clients.

Showing vulnerability is what makes us connect as human beings. Being authentically you in how you run but also market your business is what’ll make you stand out. It’s a step forward in relationships building, a more intimate one.

Technology-wise, I see Instagram & Facebook stories allowing just this. These snippets of your daily life will make you and your brand appear more human, more lively, more relatable. Whatever you choose to share, don’t overthink it and be as natural as can be – because you’re the best at being you. They’re a powerful tool to reach an audience and get them to like and trust you easily – and it’s pretty fun to do!

I also see chatbots playing a major role in 2018. It’s relationship-building scaled to a whole new level. Of course, chatbot in and of themselves won’t make or break a business. But they might just be the piece that makes your audience turn into customer. Being able to deliver content directly to a client’s Messenger is really, really powerful.

In 2018, you’ll want to have a place in your ideal client’s daily life while not spending too much time doing so – which means automating and speaking to an audience. If you follow these two rules, then 2018 will be the year of your marketing breakthrough!

If you liked this post, I have more marketing ideas for you! Get your free downloadable guide to sharing your content with the world:

 

6 Best Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Business

For many of us, the end of the year is a time to wind down, relax, and enjoy time with your loved ones. I am a big fan of this practice of mindfulness and being in the moment!

For many small businesses, however, the year’s end is an important time to look back at successes and missteps, analyze sales data, and plan out a marketing strategy for the coming year. Maybe you’re wrapping up projects with clients in the next few weeks, pushing to meet end-of-year goals or gearing up for a big kick off for a new business promotion?

If you’re in the latter boat, consider some of the most effective (and foundational) marketing strategies for small business.

Marketing Strategy: Branding/Identity

There’s never a bad time to take a good, honest look at your company’s branding and identity. Your company name, website, logo, colors, imagery and other graphic elements should all work together to communicate your strategic positioning to your customers.

Are you trying to exude a feeling of luxury? Safety? Reliability? Your branding is an essential tool for casting yourself in the desired light. If you’re feeling wobbly on your branding, consider hiring a good freelancer or a branding agency to help you refine things.

If your brand is already rock solid, I recommend creating a brand book to better communicate yourself to partners, vendors, and internal teams. Make sure your brand is properly applied to all documents both internal and external.

If you need a recommendation for a good designer to create your brand book, let me know! I can point you in the right direction. If you’re feeling adventurous, use a tool like Canva, Powerpoint/Keynote, Adobe PDF Writer, or Pixlr Editor to create your own.

Marketing Strategy: Content Marketing

Content marketing is all about making yourself discoverable on the web and adding value for your potential customer or client. It is not about spamming them with sales pitches!

With content marketing, you position yourself as a helpful expert in your field by sharing valuable information that matters to your ideal client. Content marketing pieces include your blog, social media, email marketing, white papers, reports, ebooks, etc. (more on these “Lead Magnets” below).

For example, if you’re in the real estate business, you might find that there are a lot of searches for tips on buying a home. Then you would write a post for your website’s blog about things for first time home buyers to look out for. Next, you can share that post on your social media and LinkedIn profiles, and send it to your email list. Your customers and potential customers will appreciate the helpful knowledge and will keep you in mind for when it’s time to act.

Check out this post I wrote geared towards commercial real estate tenants to get the idea.

Marketing Strategy: SEO/Local Search

SEO is complex and ever-changing – so don’t be surprised if you’re not able to do this one all on your own. There is so much value in a good SEO/local search expert, and if you haven’t noticed, it’s pretty competitive out there!  So getting started with Google AdWords couldn’t hurt either.

However, there are some low-hanging fruits that you can definitely self-squeeze to improve search rankings. Some of the main factors that influence your search engine ranking include keywords, content quality, links to and from your site (through subject expertise, collaboration and partnerships), mobile-friendliness, security and user experience.

The #1 easiest thing you can do for better SEO is to have a consistent, informative, keyword-friendly blog. Google loves websites that consistently push out new content. I specialize in blog creation and management for a variety of business categories, if you want to chat about this.

digital marketing strategy: build your email list

Marketing Strategy: Build an Email List

Don’t have an email list? You’re missing out! An email list is a crucial part of modern digital marketing and one of the most powerful tools you can have. The people who opt-in to your site are expressing interest in you – now it’s your move!

Another purpose of email marketing is to stay relevant in people’s lives before they’re ready to buy what you’re selling and to stay “top of mind” for word-of-mouth opportunities. It’s also great for promotions tailored to your best customers.

Key tips for email marketing: Keep it short and sweet, and only reach out when you’ve got something important to say. Add an email signup form to your website and social media profiles today to collect more leads! I am a big fan of MailChimp for their fair prices, helpful chat support, and excellent online knowledge base.

Marketing Strategy: Lead Magnets/Content Upgrades

You’ve probably been involved in a lead magnet exchange before without even realizing it. A lead magnet is a digital piece such as a PDF guide or free ebook which you receive in exchange for your email address. These “content upgrades” are a great way to accelerate your list building efforts. You can repackage a piece of content you have already created, or better yet, create an item that is a complement to an existing blog post or article.

Of course, lead magnets are branded with your logo and web address, and now you can follow up with these new leads via email. Lead magnets can be offered on your website and distributed automatically using your email marketing provider. Or, you can use them in your advertising to increase click-through rates.

Marketing Strategy: Be Social

But do it strategically. Social media can be a great source of exposure for your business, and it’s made businesses more human, thank goodness! At its best, social media is integrated with all your other strategies – it meshes with your branding, serves an outlet for your content marketing, it helps build your SEO through review and links, and drives traffic to your website.

While almost every small business owner I know is aware that they should be using social media, many are not sure how to go about it.

Rule # 1 – You don’t need to be everywhere. Figure out where your customers hang out and go there. It could be more than one, but it doesn’t have to be all. Once you’ve decided where to focus your energy, commit to it. Be consistent. Consider hiring a pro to help you create and share content on a regular basis. Too often, it’s added to the existing job of an admin or another role within your organization, and it falls by the wayside.

All of these strategies are proven and cost-effective. Most of them, you can implement yourself, if you have the time. However, calling in a professional like a good freelancer can help you learn the ropes, and can actually save you time and money by doing it right the first time.

If you like this article, I have a treat for you! Get your free downloadable guide to sharing your content and getting more views:

instagram product photography

How to Get the Most Out of Instagram for Business

9 Useful Tips for an Awesome Instagram Feed

By now, you know you need to be marketing on social media. Starting out on Instagram can be overwhelming, from knowing what to post, when to post, how to use all the features, and what the heck is a hashtag!?

Why Instagram?

The simple answer – it’s where your customers are!

As of April 2017, Instagram currently has over 700 million monthly active users. 70.7% of US businesses are using Instagram in 2017. Therefore, it’s likely that your competition is there. And if you’re not, you may just be overlooked.

  • 60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram.
  • 1/3 of the most viewed stories are from businesses.
  • 75% of Instagrammers take action after being inspired by a post.

Based on that, I’d say it’s worth the effort. You might even have some fun! I’ve put together some tips for maximizing your Instagram for Business account.

Optimize for Business

First of all, make sure you’re set up as a business account! It’s easy to switch over if you’re still using a Personal Account. Just click the “Settings” button on your profile page (it looks like a little gear), scroll down and click “Switch to Business Profile”. You’ll then be prompted through the whole process of adding a description and basic contact info.

A business account gives you insights about your stories, posts and followers. You can create paid promotions to drive engagement. Plus, the platform uses your contact info to create call to action buttons like “Call”, “Email”, and “Directions” so your clients can reach out to you directly from Instagram. Analytics are in the top-right corner.

Use Instagram Stories

They took a page from the Snapchat book, and it worked! The feature was released in 2016 and has taken off like wildfire. With Stories, you can post a series of images and/or videos that will show up in a slideshow format under your “story” tab. Stories disappear in 24 hours, but don’t worry, you can always start a new one! Start a Story by touching the camera icon at the top left when on your home screen.

Instagram stories are great for boosting engagement and brand visibility. Big brands have reported up to 6% higher engagement with Stories over static posts. And, if your fans view your stories, your static posts are likely to show up higher in their feed.

Share the moments of your day, including behind-the-scenes clips, work in progress, or highlights from events. Give fans a more in-depth feel for your brand by showing your staff clowning around or by giving a tour of your HQ. You can embellish pictures and videos with emojis, captions, hashtags, customized stickers, and even lenses.

instagram stories tips features how to

Engagement is Key

I recommend taking at least 20 – 30 minutes per day to engage, ie follow, like, comment, and mention others. Who, you ask? Engage with other pages that might share your same audience, and pages within your location, industry, or target age demographic. Interact with events that might be happening in your realm. Search popular hashtags and interact there.

If you have a storefront, you can also search yourself as a “place” and engage with anyone who has tagged a photo at your location. If there’s ever press about you or events you’re involved in – be part of the conversation!

Posting a genuine comment on another user’s page keeps you in peoples’ feeds, on their minds, and creates reciprocity. It’s like the Beatles said – “…in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

PROTIP: Posts that tag a location get 79% more engagement!!

Mix Up Your Content

In addition to still images, try mixing in some videos, boomerangs, and slideshows (posts with multiple photos).

Boomerangs play a one-second video forwards and backwards on a loop. They are really fun and easy to make. All you need is the Boomerang app and a little bit of motion.

Another aspect of mixing it up – instead of posting only product pictures, try mixing in images of your team, location, signage, events, or things that inspire within your industry. All are great ways to expand your content offering. Depending on your audience, you might even throw in a meme or two.

PROTIP: Instagram photos that feature faces get 38% more likes than those without.

Host a Contest or a Giveaway on Your Profile

The prize can be big or small; it doesn’t matter. People love free stuff! Consider offering a few freebies of your product or swag like a branded t-shirt.
The key to a good contest is to keep it simple. A formula I have used with success is to ask fans to 1. Like the post, 2. Follow your account and 3. Tag a friend in a comment. Then choose a winner at random. Be sure to let followers know when you’ll choose the winner, and then follow up. You can announce (and tag) winner in the comments or make a separate post to give them a shout out.

You can gain lots of new followers and lots of engagement this way, and your fans get something out of it too.

Collaborate

Speaking of contests, try partnering with other brands or influencers for one! Partnerships are an effective way to promote your Instagram contest to both of your audiences, and also share each other’s followers. Once you find a cool business to partner with, organize a giveaway or series of giveaways and use the same steps as above, asking people to follow both accounts.

Everyone benefits from the cross-promotion and you can even make the prize bigger. You can also try collaborating on events or general posts. This doubles engagement & associates your brand with other (potentially prestigious) brands.

Embrace the Hashtag

Hashtags are one of the most misunderstood features of social media. Trust me, they work!

Hashtags identify a topic of interest and are searchable. So, when you use a hashtag on your posts, it’s indexed by Instagram and becomes searchable/discoverable by other users. Click on any hashtag within the platform to see what I mean.

Every industry has some popular hashtags that you can use to garner engagement. Get creative and come up with a few that are unique to your brand. Use them consistently and you create a living archive of your best posts or products. Include the hashtag on your profile page bio to encourage people to use it.

PROTIP: Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6% more engagement than those without.

Reward Your Followers

As a way to show your appreciation to followers, offer them first dibs on new promotions, products, events, or company news. Post a teaser photo or series of photos to create anticipation, and let them know that you are putting followers first!

Keep Your Profile Updated

It can be easy to forget about your social profiles when updating to a new office phone or address. If you do, however, you could miss out on new prospects!

In addition, update your profile photo every once in a while to keep things fresh. To make things easy, schedule a profile photo update in your content calendar every 3-4 months.

If you have a blog, update the link in your bio to feature new blog posts. Then post an image from the blog directing people to your website via the profile page. It’s all connected!

Ready to join the fun and get started on Instagram? Still have questions? Get in touch! I’m here for ya’.

Read about the latest trend in Instagram engagement

Sources:

https://business.instagram.com/getting-started

https://sproutsocial.com/insights/instagram-stats/

trends in digital customer care ebook 2017

Trends in Digital Customer Service 2017

Our digital marketing landscape is always changing.

In 2017, the business world has become increasingly digital. With developments in mobile apps, social media, email marketing, online ordering, and selling directly from your Instagram page, the lines between storefront and e-commerce shop are becoming increasingly blurred.

For some, keeping up with the constant evolution of online marketing is an inconvenience. For me, it’s an exciting challenge. Keeping up definitely keeps things interesting! One thing that’s not going to change anytime soon: today’s customer is a digital customer.

What can we learn from our digital customers in 2017 and beyond? How can we use technology to better serve them?

I am happy and honored to be included among 10 international experts discussing this subject in the ebook 2017 Trends: Social Customer Service Trends by 10 International Experts (in English and Spanish!)

international expert digital media rebecca rosenbergdigital customer care trends 2017

Thanks to my colleague Billie Sastre for putting this together.

Read the entire ebook here.