Proactive vs. Reactive Marketing

Did you take our advice? Were you able to use any of the ideas from our Holiday Marketing Tip Listicle

We’ve been following our own advice, and we’re having a blast! 

Our team has been picking out holiday cards, creating amusing content and graphics, and starring in award-worthy videos. 

Marketing Has a Purpose

We may be entertaining each other more than getting any work done, but our antics have a purpose. 

You see, we’re implementing a marketing strategy called proactive marketing. We met together months ago and came up with a plan to market our brand this holiday season. Now, we’re putting our plan into action. 

We’re ready and focused, but we don’t want to be blind-sided by something we didn’t see coming. We don’t want to miss opportunities because we’re too focused on following our plans.

That’s why we’re also going to utilize a reactive marketing strategy as we go, and we’re going to teach you the difference between the two. 

Proactive Marketing

What is It?

Proactive marketing is a premeditated approach to marketing where a company attempts to predict and plan for their customers’ future needs and wants. 

To utilize this kind of marketing strategy, you must proactively focus on data-driven market fluctuations and on your buyer personas’ ever-changing pain points. In other words, you are trying to anticipate what you need to do in the future to connect with your customers and make sales on a consistent basis. 

What is its Purpose?

✅ By planning your marketing campaign ahead of time, you can strategically prepare ways to build your brand’s voice, awareness, and value. 

✅ By researching which consumers need your services, you can create targeted content and make plans to publish it through the print and media channels your customers are already using. 

✅ By knowing how and where to focus your advertising dollars, you can develop metrics to show you whether or not you are getting a return on your investment. 

❗❗❗ Ultimately, this pre-planned, buyer-focused, streamlined branding technique minimizes your marketing campaign’s risks and failures, setting you up for the highest success rate possible. 

What are its Risks?

We would love to tell you that planning is always the best marketing strategy, but it does have its faults and risks. 

Sometimes, you can actually waste time making plans and strategies. If you focus too much time on the planning stage of your campaign, you can run out of time to design and implement the advertising content you’ve planned.  

A constant focus on the future can also prevent you from responding to your customers’ current needs and from reacting to the market’s current trends. If you can’t stay relevant in the present, you run the risk of being overlooked in the future. 

Reactive Marketing

What is It?

Reactive marketing, on the other hand, is an active approach to marketing where a company responds to or imitates what their competitors are doing.

To utilize this type of marketing strategy, you decide where, when, and how to advertise based on current events, based on what you think is working for your competition, or based on what you think worked for you in the past. You jump on an advertising bandwagon, so to speak. 

What is Its Purpose?

✅ By responding to current events on social media platforms, you can actively engage with your current customers. 

✅ By interacting, you can get your brand in front of consumers who haven’t heard of you before but share similar interests.

✅ By reacting to news, events, and trends on public platforms, you can show off your brand’s sense of humor, its culture, or its values. 

❗❗❗ Ultimately, this reactive branding technique can make you appear more relevant, responsive, and relatable than other companies. 

What are its Risks?

Just as proactive marketing has risks, reactive marketing can be risky. 

You may think of great responses to current events and trends, but if you don’t create that content quickly enough, it may be irrelevant by the time you create and publish it.

If you don’t filter or think about your responses before you post them, you could offend current customers or drive away potential customers. Sure, your content may go viral and bring you all kinds of attention, but if you’re not careful, you could attract negative attention and damage your brand’s reputation. 

It’s Not Too Late

If you haven’t developed a proactive marketing plan for your business this year, you should at least plan to use a reactive marketing strategy. Prepare to respond to trends, events, and market conditions as they happen. 

Get through this holiday season and then sit down at the beginning of next year and develop a marketing plan that uses a mixture of proactive and reactive strategies to optimize your marketing budgets. 

We don’t expect you to be marketing experts; that’s why we exist. So don’t be afraid to reach out to us for help if you need it. We’re more than happy to help you build your brand!

Holidays are Coming.. Have you Started Marketing?

It’s finally Fall! The holidays are coming, and we are ready!

We’re ready to roast marshmallows, hoard candy, slip into turkey-induced comas, and hang up Christmas lights. We’re ready to sing Christmas carols, host holiday dinners, and give out gifts. 

We are even ready to post and reveal our holiday marketing campaigns! Are you?

Holiday Marketing

Have you started marketing for the holidays yet? Have you at least planned some holiday marketing campaigns? 

In the service-based industry, you probably don’t have to worry about Black Friday sales or product coupons, but you still need to do something to get your brand in front of people.

To help you get started, we’re giving you 25 holiday marketing ideas!

Holiday Marketing Tip Listicle

Mail Outs

  1. Holiday postcards
    1. Design branded Holiday cards to send to current or potential customers to showcase any holiday specials or simply to spread some Holiday cheer.
  1. Handwritten cards to every client from the year. 
    1. Hand write individual cards for every client you helped throughout the year thanking them for their business and wishing them a happy holiday.

Branding

  1. Do a holiday version of your logo 
    1. Your logo can be a really simple way to show off your Holiday spirit. Add some Holiday themed elements or change the color scheme for an extra Holiday flare. 
  1. Give your website a temporary Holiday Facelift
    1. Even if your business is only online, spruce up your website with Holiday themes to show off your Holiday spirit.
  2. Add a holiday-specific download to your website 
    1. Downloads are a great way to share tips and tricks specific to your industry that can help your customers throughout the holiday season.
  3. Create holiday-specific landing pages on your website
    1. If you offer a specific service/product during the holiday season, add a holiday-specific landing page to your website to highlight that service/product and provide more information for your customers.

Social Media

  1. Update your Facebook & LinkedIn cover photos 
    1. Update any cover photos to reflect the holidays
  1. Holiday Posts
    1. Just like you would decorate a physical brick-and-mortar location, decorate your Social Media. Post Holiday content to create a festive and inviting atmosphere for your customers when they visit your page.
  2. Facebook/Instagram Live
    1. Host a Facebook/Instagram Live to connect with customers. Use that time to answer any of their questions regarding your services, policies, etc.
  3. Photo contest
    1. Host a photo contest on your Social Media to entice followers to engage (i.e. ugliest sweater contest, most creative Christmas trees, most festive pets). Have followers vote on their favorites and offer a reward (giftcard, etc) to the winner
  4. Post Holiday Updates on Google My Business, Bing, and other Local SEO
    1. Make sure to update any SEO Listings your business may be a part of with any holiday updates or holiday specific hours.

Content

  1. Create a free guide (like this one!)
    1. Create a free guide for your customers offering helpful advice to get through the holidays that are specific to your industry.
  1. Best of 2021 Blog (celebrate wins of 2021)
    1. Create a blog highlighting the wins of 2021. We know this year has been one for the books, but there’s always a silver lining.

Video

  1. Holiday wishes from your team
    1. Create a video with your team wishing followers a Happy Holiday or sharing some of their favorite Holiday memories.
  1. Behind the scenes during the holiday season 
    1. Create a video with your team showing followers what it’s like to work at your business or be you during the holiday season.
  2. Guide Videos. 
    1. Create fun and exciting videos that give your customers some guidance throughout the holidays. This can be creative or related to your industry (how to hang Christmas lights, how to put together a good gift basket, how to wrap presents, etc).

Digital Ads

  1. Update your Google Ads to reflect the season (show example of Christmas Google Ad)
    1. If you offer holiday specific services during the Holiday season, make sure to update your Google Ads to increase conversions for these specific services.

Small festive gifts/Referral Gifts

  1. Free Stocking Stuffers
    1. Hand out free stocking stuffers to any clients who come into your office during the Holidays (i.e. stickers, stress ball, small toy,  etc.).
  2. Holiday Specific Referral Gifts:
    1. Send out holiday specific gifts (Ornaments, Calendars, etc) to your referring partners that are branded with your business.

Email

  1. Write out a Holiday Email to send to customers (mail chimp)
    1. Customize an email wishing your customers a Happy Holiday while promoting your brand.

Brick and Mortar Location/Fleet

  1. Decorate location
    1. Spruce up your location with Christmas decorations to create an inviting and festive environment for your customers.
  2. Host an Open House or Holiday Party
    1. Host an Open House/Holiday Party allowing customers and their families to come to your location to learn more about your services and enjoy some light refreshments. Consider having small activities for children to do to attract more families to attend.

Community

  1. Charity Drive 
    1. Use your location to collect toys, food, etc for local shelters.
  2. Volunteer at local charities
    1. Have your team volunteer at local charity events (food drives, animal shelters, etc) to help your community and build stronger relationships with those around you.
  1. Local Events
    1. Set up a booth and participate in any local holiday shows, craft shows, or gift shows.

And...GO!!!

You have no more excuses! It’s time to get your Holiday Marketing Campaign going. 

You don’t have to agonize over offering discounts or coupons. Instead, take time to thank clients for their loyalty, to show off your brand, and to connect to your audience. 

So go on...spread some holiday cheer, and send us ideas you have that didn’t make our list!

How to develop a content strategy

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Content strategy is a hot phrase right now, is it really all that it’s cracked up to be?

The answer is, YES.

Creating a content strategy will help you do a few things:

So, how do you create a strategy based around your content? 

Audience

Establish who you are speaking to. Before you do anything with content, you have to understand who will be reading your content. 

Create three fictitious buyer personas and get very detailed with who they are. Even down to the nail polish they wear or the restaurants they frequent! We’re not kidding. How many kids do they have? What jobs do they hold? 

For more information on how to identify your ideal audience, check out our blog about buyer personas {link to buyer personas blog}. 

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What, Why and How

What is your service or product that you’re offering, why are you offering it or why do your clients need it and how are you going to make this information valuable/appealing to your audience? 

Content Maps 

Content maps are an interesting but very effective way to visually see the purpose of your content. 

Start by creating a central topic/theme that is the center of your business. Then create sub-topics or themes from that main topic. Of those sub-topics or themes, list out blog ideas that you can create based off of those sub-topics and themes. From each of those blog ideas, you’ll list out social media post ideas that will point back to your blogs or simply serve the purpose for social media posts. 

An additional way to create a content map is by mapping out each customer stage in their buyer journey. Within each stage, you’ll list out each topic or category of content that would fall in those stages.

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Content Calendars

Once you have established what your content will be and for who, you’ll need to determine when you will distribute this content and where you plan to do it. 

Creating a content calendar for the year in a spreadsheet is an easy and cost effective way to plan out your content per month. Make sure each month has a common theme that will be consistent across all of your marketing platforms, then listing out blog titles, social media posts, emails, videos and any other content you plan to distribute. 

This is helpful to look back on and know what content was written in which month from prior years to see how that content performed and if you should repeat and tweak that content or scrap it. 

Content calendars are also a great way to help you repurpose content so you don’t have to recreate the wheel every time you go to produce content!

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Document the strategy 

Documenting your strategy means you need to write it down. It should live within your Marketing Plan {link to marketing plan blog}, with a section dedicated to your content strategy. 

This will make your marketing plan a bit longer, but having everything in one place is very helpful for your team to reference back to easily. 

According to the Content Strategy Institute, those with a documented content marketing strategy:

At The Social Brand, we love creating content and marketing strategies for our clients. But, if you’d rather get a jump start to create your own marketing plan, we’ve got you covered. 

Identifying Ideal Clients or Buyer Personas

Identifying Ideal Clients or Buyer Personas 

Have you been feeling like all of your marketing efforts are for nothing? Maybe you’ve said, “social media is pointless” or “blogging doesn’t do anything for my business.” 

We’ve heard it before and we get it! 

We have some good news, though; it probably isn’t your marketing that is the problem...it’s your audience. You simply might not be speaking to the right people!

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The Buyer Persona

Let us put it into perspective. Do you remember meeting your best friends and feeling like you’ve finally found people who understand you? Now, think about meeting someone who you knew immediately had nothing in common with you...we can feel the discomfort. 

“When a business is speaking to the wrong people, that means the right people are being ignored.” 

When a business is speaking to the wrong people, that means the right people are being ignored. This typically happens when the brand hasn’t determined who they are actually talking to. They may not know who they even want to talk to. It’s human nature to think everyone thinks like we do, but when we are speaking for a business, we are speaking to our ideal customer - NOT ourselves! 

That ideal customer - the one we want our brand to reach - is what we call the buyer persona. If we can identify our buyer persona, we can tailor our advertising content to target our ideal customers through media channels they are likely to use. That type of targeted marketing can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of our marketing plans.

Identify Your Target Audience

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So how do you begin to identify your buyer personas?

Step 1: Understand Who Needs Your Product or Service.

First, you need to understand your product or service. Take an analytical look at it to figure out if it’s designed for specific genders, certain age groups, or distinct locations so you don’t advertise to the wrong types of people or to customers in the wrong geographical areas. For instance, you wouldn’t want to advertise children’s toys in an AARP magazine, and you wouldn’t want to promote denture services to an online community of new moms. 

So get really specific. Figure out who needs your product or service and where they are located. Are you trying to reach women? Men? What type of people need your products? College students? Athletes? Widows? Can people anywhere use your products? If so, are you willing to ship nationally or internationally? 

What about your services? Do you offer them internationally online, or are your services for people who must come into your office? If your brand is limited to a certain geographical location, then you need to concentrate your advertising efforts within that region. 

Step 2: Identify 3 Verticals Within Your Customer Base

After you clarify the gender, age, and location of the people you’re trying to reach, collect data points about your actual customers. Look through their LinkedIn profiles, social media feeds, and other platforms that reveal information about your customers’ likes, dislikes, activities, education levels, careers, values, etc. 

Your research goal is to identify commonalities and trends among your customers - what we call the “Verticals.” Ideally, you should see the gender, age, and location you identified from your product research in Step 1 appear as verticals among your current customers. 

But now, Identify 3 other verticals amongst your current clientele. Do they face similar challenges? Do they consume certain types of media?  Do they work in specific industries? Are their hobbies, interests, and values similar?

Take your time and be thorough. If you aren’t finding the data you’re looking for, consider emailing customers and asking them to fill out an “About Me” Survey you’ve created. Maybe even call clients you know well. Explain what you’re doing, see if they are willing to help you, and ask them pointed survey questions. 

Create a Profile of Your Buyer Persona

Once you’ve identified your target audience and their commonalities, it’s time to make a Buyer Persona Profile. In other words, create a written biography about the customers you’re trying to reach. 

We suggest that you start by giving your ideal buyer a memorable, alliterative name that captures the essence of who they are or what drives them. For example, maybe you’re trying to reach a Stressed Susan, a Fun-Loving Franklin, or an Eco-Friendly Edward. 

After you pick your Buyer Persona’s title, write out specific data points about him or her. Try sorting the biographical information into categories, or verticals, such as:

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Put Your Buyer Persona to Use

Once you’ve done all this work, what do you do with it? How do you use your Buyer Persona?

Well, you use this golden nugget to develop marketing strategies to reach your ideal buyers! Knowing the types of people they are, where they live, and what they do will help you tailor your advertising content to meet your buyers’ needs. 

You’ll know where and how to display your advertising messages to reach your personas best. You will know which media channels and communication methods to use, and you’ll be able to use a tone/voice that will appeal to your buyers most effectively and move them to take action. 

So dig your heels in! Do your research and create your Buyer Persona.

Try using this Buyer Person worksheet to help you out.

3 Steps to Budgeting Your Marketing Plan | ft. Erin Reece, Bear Financial Solutions

When you’re getting started with marketing, you may have never spent money on advertising and marketing before. You may have only employed word of mouth. 
Most businesses in their first six to twelve months may not have any advertising monies to spend at all, so when you get to the point in your business where you want to spend money on marketing, here are three steps you should take to make sure you are budgeting efficiently.

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Make a List

The first thing you need to do is make a list. Make a list of all the things you want to spend money on for advertising. Do you want print materials? Do you want to send things in the mail? Do you want to do it all online? Do you want to do specific, targeted email campaigns? Do you want to boost social media posts? 

There are many different ways you can spend money on advertising, and working with a brand strategist like The Social Brand is going to help you develop a strategy to decide which is the best place for you to spend money.

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Prioritize the List

The next thing you want to do is prioritize that list so you know what you want most. Boosting your social media posts may be the most important thing for your specific brand strategy, so you’re going to prioritize that right at the top. 

If you’re the type of business that has a tangible, retail product that people can put their hands on, print materials might be best for you. A lot of people like that real tactile feel of paper in the mail, so that may be the most important advertising spend for your particular brand strategy. 

Again, working with a brand strategist is going to help you make the decision about what’s most important. 

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Cut Where Needed

Once you have your list and you’ve prioritized what’s most important to you, the next step is to cut where you need to. A lot of times, you’ll sit down and make your list of advertising wants, and it may be way out of the realm of what you can afford. You want all of these things from your list, and then you realize you can’t actually spend all that money on those things. 

So go ahead and take your list. Narrow it down to your priorities, and cut out those things towards the bottom of your list. That doesn’t mean don’t revisit them later, but for the very first ad spend you’re going to do, you might just have to cut that stuff right off the bottom and save yourself the money for that period of time. 

Don’t forget to revisit your original list six months, twelve months, or even eighteen months later. Then, you can decide if it’s necessary to add those back into the fold of your advertising expenditures. Revisit your Marketing Plan, and decide where you’re going to allocate monies for the overall marketing strategy of your business. 

Guest author: Erin Reece, founder of Bear Financial Solutions

What to consider when developing a marketing plan

If you aren’t planning and preparing to get somewhere, how will you ensure you get there? With running a business, you have an end goal in mind...to increase revenue. Does that just happen? Definitely not! 

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You need a game plan and you’ll need to execute that plan. In order to achieve those business goals, a marketing plan is needed. 

Here are five things to consider when developing a marketing plan, so that you can achieve those business goals! 

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  1. Set Business Goals 

Seems easy, right? Don’t just write anything down, get specific. SMART goals are the most effective way to set goals. SMART goals are - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound. 

Develop your business goals within these categories so that you’re able to track whether the goal was actually achieved or not. Try to make these goals for the next 1-3 years, giving ample time to see results. 

Be sure to set your budget at this time while you’re setting goals. The sweet spot for a marketing budget is 6-12% of gross revenue.

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  1. SWOT Analysis 

So, you want to drive growth and increase sales opportunities, right? This is how you do it. 

Your business needs an intentional marketing strategy and execution plan that are on track with your business goals. This starts with a SWOT of your current marketing strategy. SWOT is your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in relation to your competitive position, target markets, target audiences, current positioning/messaging,services or products, and market partners, etc.

Strengths - Does your company have any advantages? 

Weaknesses -  What does your business need to work on? 

Opportunities - What changes can help you grow and scale?

Threats - Are there any obstacles your company is facing right now?

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  1. Target Audience 

As a business, you already know what types of people you sell to or service. Diving deeper into these types of people will allow you to connect more deeply with them which increasingly builds more trust. 

If you haven’t heard of the “Know, Like and Trust” factor, you’ll need to remember it. In order for clients to become repeat clients, they need to know you, like you and then trust you. By digging deep into the lives of a few fictitious buyer persona’s, you’ll be able to determine how old they typically are, what types of jobs they have, what their families look like...etc. This will change the way your content speaks to them and will ultimately help them to feel known by you...they will KNOW you! After that, the like and trust factors fall into place. 

Make educated guesses of who these ideal clients are, based upon their demographic data, online behavior, and what you might know of their personal histories, motivations, and concerns. You can also think about their challenges, goals and preferences. 

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  1. Determine Marketing Goals 

Determining your marketing goals will give insight into what are the marketing priorities for the company, as well as your expectations for your marketing efforts. 

Revisit the SMART goals strategy when creating these goals like we did for your business goals above. Make sure they are smart, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound. This will avoid spinning your wheels on frivolous tasks and instead help you focus on needle moving activities for the business. 

Align these goals with your business goals. For example, 10% increase in leads from the east side of (city) and passed to sales by the end of Q3 2021.”

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  1. Create your Activity Plan

Your activity plan is your action plan. What are the actions you’ll be taking within your marketing plan that help you reach your business and marketing goals? 

Categorize them by campaign and then determine which actions will be taken for that campaign. 

Campaign x Q1:

Blogging 2x a week

1x/month email blast

Social media posting 12x/month 

Conclusion

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Creating a plan always leads to success! The plan only fails if you don’t execute it. It is time consuming and is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. Be patient with a marketing and business plan, nothing worthwhile happens overnight. 

Kickstart your marketing plan with a free marketing plan mini-course, courtesy of The Social Brand! 

How To Get People To Open Your Emails

Here at The Social Brand we are constantly talking about how to get your business in front of the right people, your people. You might think that once you have someone’s email, it’s game over and you’ve won! But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 

After you’ve reached the milestone of acquiring an email address, you’ve now entered into a new world of strengthening a relationship with that person. It’s called, how to continue providing valuable content that will be successfully delivered to your audience and give them a desire to open your emails.

Your email lists subscribed to you for a reason, they want your knowledge and expertise to help them. 

But first thing’s first, you need to make sure that your communication lines are open and your email doesn’t get lost in their inbox. 

  1. Hitting the Inbox

Without realizing it, your emails can be flagged as spam. There are various reasons for this but a few are done innocently without any intention of acting “spammy” and you would never be aware of it without a professional’s help. Let’s address some of them. 

Try to avoid using spam “trigger” words in your subject line such as, amazing, click here, free, guarantee, and order now.

Sometimes email providers have built in tools that check for spam trigger words and will automatically list your email as spam. 

Not verifying your domain can also play a key role in getting your emails sent to someone’s junk or spam folder. If your email is hosted somewhere, you’ll need to verify your domain (@abc123.com) so that your email list’s email provider will trust where your email is coming from, knowing it isn’t spam. If your domain has not been verified in your email marketing software (Mailchimp, Hubspot...etc.), this could be a reason why you don’t have a high open-rate among your email list. 

  1. Keep it short and sweet

Are we talking about the subject line or the body of the email? Both, actually.

If your subject line is too long, the reader won’t be able to see the entire line since it will get cut off. There’s only so much space in a subject line. The shorter it is, the better your chances are at your reader understanding the subject of your email and ultimately opening it. 

What is an example of a short and engaging subject line that won’t mislead people?

“What you need to know about ________”

“Here we go”

“We thought you might like this”

“Your last chance”

“One day left”

Each title is focused on the reader. Using words like “you,” “we,” “your” and “I” will personalize the email and will help the reader to feel as you are talking “with” them and not “at” them. 

Maintaining a shorter length in the body is also a good idea. Think about how many emails your audience receives on a daily basis. How long are those emails typically? 

If you have multiple announcements and updates that need to be made in your email blast, try to shorten those announcements in snippets with a link that will send the reader to your website or social media pages. Or you can break up the email blast into an email sequence so your readers will be updated every few days or weeks about different topics, to avoid reader fatigue. 

The longer you require your reader to scroll down your email, the higher the chance they will exit out of your email without reading or clicking on anything. The less engagement your readers have with your emails, and the higher the chance an email provider will think your email is spam or junk and might send your email to the wrong inbox.

Finding the sweet spot on a good length to maintain the attention of your reader will help your open rates, increase your engagement within the email, and show your reader that you respect their time. 

  1. Value over promotions

When you lead your emails with how your reader can spend their hard earned money, this will only look as though that you want something from your reader. 

Instead, you’ll want to lead with value. Serve your audience first, then ask for the sale later. 

We all do business with people we like, right? So what is it about your business that your audience would like? What are some values that you want to share with them? 

What information do you have that would benefit your audience in some way? 

Oftentimes, a company newsletter or update is what readers enjoy most because they aren’t being asked to do anything. You are the one doing something for them. 

Only after providing value is when you should offer promotions. 

  1. Target the right people in your audience 

Congratulations on building up your audience! Now you need to put that audience into different categorized groups so you can make sure each group receives the most relevant content that would interest them. 

These categories will depend on your type of business. What are your different customer personas? Which buckets would they fall under? Are they interested in different things? Do they live in different types of areas? Are they different demographics?

You’ll need to evaluate who you are talking to and cater your emails to each category. 

If you run a medical office serving different age groups but you have an update about pediatric care, you’ll want to include that email to parents associated with your pediatric patients. You probably wouldn’t send that same email to your elderly demographic because it wouldn’t be relevant to their needs.

Having this targeted approach will improve your open rate since you’ll be sending specific types of emails to certain types of people. Those people are more likely to open the email, versus someone ignoring it because the topic doesn’t pertain to them. 

  1. Mobile optimization 

It’s 2021 and our smartphones are used for just about everything that a computer can do. To follow the theme of serving your audience, you’ll want to make it very easy for your audience to find and access your content.

Because of this increase in technology without phones, the majority of emails are opened via a mobile device.

Since 2011, open rates from mobile devices have increased by more than 100% and it is continuing to grow every year. (Campaignmonitor.com)

In 2020, 81% of emails were opened on a mobile device. This means your emails will need to be optimized for mobile devices so they can be read with ease. If emails are not optimized well for a mobile device, you will risk having a very low open-rate of your emails and may even increase the chances of your audience unsubscribing from your email list because they aren’t receiving any value from you since they can’t see it.  

 

Do you have any questions about digital marketing? We are always here to help and answer questions for entrepreneurs and small businesses about how you can find your people.

Ways To Use Email Marketing To Boost Your Business

There’s a common misconception that email is dead. Contrary to this belief, email is one of the best ways you can reach your ideal audience and grow your business. 

We are past the days of “you’ve got mail” and only receiving spam emails. Now, your email inbox probably has much more value in it than it did 10-15 years ago. Marketers are honing in on the craft of email marketing simply because well, it works. 

Oftentimes, a small business owner will assume that their optimal reach or top priority is or should be their social media presence. While social media presence is indeed crucial, it should not be your top priority. Your email marketing should actually be at the top of your list, after you have nailed down a stellar website of course, ahem--we’d love to help you with that, by the way. 

In this blog, we will cover five ways to use email marketing to boost your business, specifically for small businesses and contractors. 

  1. Lead magnet - lead with FREE

This may sound counterintuitive, but leading with free resources shows the client and prospective client that you are already invested in them whether or not money is involved. 

This builds trust and does it quickly! Do you have a free download or free consultation? Maybe you have a helpful checklist or an audit that would give people insight into your knowledge. 

A lead magnet will not only build rapport and trust, but it will help build your email list! 

If you are starting at the ground floor without anyone in your email list, a lead magnet is where you start. 

Like we mentioned in the beginning of this blog, social media is not the priority, your email is. But why?

When you are sending emails to your email list, you own that list. Typically, you are paying for an email service that allows you to host those emails, craft and email and distribute an email campaign. Think--Mailchimp, Hubspot, Flodesk...etc. You have authority and autonomy over those contacts in that list and can essentially connect with them when you choose. 

On social media, this is not the case. 

You may have hundreds or thousands of followers, but you don’t own those followers or the algorithm on that platform. This means that your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter can all be manipulated. Your account could be shut down for any reason at any time without any notice. Crazy, huh?

In a moment’s notice, you could lose all of those followers and never be able to contact them again. 

Don’t worry though! Because, email marketing is here to save the day. You own those contacts. 

After you have done the hard work of creating a “freebie” or lead magnet, offer people so much value that it’s impossible for them to resist the offer...then BAM! You’ve achieved trust, and have gained that name and email. 

It’s yours. Now, you have the ethical responsibility to treat that email with respect and serve them with what they actually need. 

  1. Boost your social media engagement 

This is why email marketing is pretty cool. It can send your peeps to where you post content and provide additional value. 

In your email blast, you can remind your email list of some things you recently posted with a link to your social media platforms. 

Don’t repost the entire post in the email though. Don’t give away the farm. All you do is post the picture with a line or two from the description and then a “read more” button linked to the original post. 

This will not only help your engagement on those platforms, but if some of your email list is not already following you, there’s a high chance they will once on that platform! Increasing your following at the same time. Two birds, one stone. 

  1. Gain exposure and registrants for events and promotions

Do you have an upcoming event or promotion? Of course you should be marketing that event and promotion on other platforms with a solid strategy in mind, but you should definitely include it in an email to your email list. 

Whether they are customers or not, you want to let them know about that sale or promotion. 

This is providing value to that email list. People love saving money! Let them know!

Your event could be providing value to them with socializing with the right network, or a chance to win a cool prize. You won’t be “spamming” them if you are giving them something of value. 

To piggie-back off the social media algorithm comment above, if you were only relying on posting about your event or promotion on social media to “let the masses know,” you are doing your business a disservice because it will be missed by the majority of your followers. It won’t hit every single account that follows you. 

Verses, your email blast. You can have the peace of mind knowing that each of your email contacts received that email. We can’t ensure that they will open the email, but it landed in their hands! Just make sure you have a killer subject line so your contacts will feel compelled to open the email 😉 

  1. Increase your website SEO 

Have you posted a blog recently? Send your email list to it!

Link a graphic, a title and a description of what the blog entails and send them to your website to read the entire post. 

The more external links pointing people to your site, will help your SEO and let Google know that people are interested in what your website has to say. Trust us, you want Google on your side!

  1. Educate 

Give a tip of the month, or insight on why certain parts of your business are more intricate or important. 

Create an email series on How-To’s that will bring value to your audience.

Your email list is not there for you, you are there for them. Telling them something they don’t know already or solving a problem for them, this makes you valuable to them. 

You are just a click away from being unsubscribed to, so make sure that it’s worthwhile for your email list to keep you around! 

Serve your audience

What’s next? You’ve created your lead magnet, started growing your email list, have been sending out awesome emails...what do you do now? 

Keep doing it. Keep serving. 

Come up with a strategy to continue to serve with value. Who is your audience? What behaviors do they have when they read your emails? What links are they clicking? 

Go over the analytics in your email marketing tool and figure out what you should do more of, and less of!

The more you continue to serve your email list, the more they will be interested in what you actually sell and you will see your business grow naturally. 

5 Ways Facebook Improves Patient Care

Facebook can often get a bad reputation for how its users interact on it, but have you thought about how it can be used to help your medical practice? 

Maybe you have thought about it but you just didn’t know what to post or why it’s important for you to be active on it. 

Well, that’s what we’re here for, friend. 

It’s our job to show you how your presence on Facebook can raise brand awareness, increase your connection to your patients and increase patient retention. 

In this blog, we’ll tell you 5 ways Facebook can improve patient care and what relevant content you can begin relaying to your patients now in order to grow your specialty medical practice.

Feeling motivated? Grab your Medical Marketing eBook for a more comprehensive guide on how to improve your marketing today!

  1. Build rapport with patients

Your medical practice is centered on the actions of the patients you serve. They can either leave your office feeling appreciated and loyal to you and your staff or they can feel disconnected and unsure. Easily keep clients engaged with a few simple strategies!

Building rapport means showing them why they can and should trust you. Showing up on platforms like Facebook, where your patients are already scrolling through daily shows them that you are relevant and want to stay in touch with them. 

A great way to leverage Facebook in order to build rapport is utilizing patient testimonials.

With so much focus on advertising and other technical marketing jargon, it’s easy to put word-of-mouth marketing by the wayside. But not so fast!

In 2020, 87% of consumers read online reviews when looking for local businesses, which was up from 81% in 2019 (BrightLocal). BrightLocal also found that the most common industries in which consumers rely on reviews are: 1) Restaurants, 2) Hotels, 3) Medical, 4) Automotive, 5) Clothing Stores. 

Build your rapport with search engine optimization (SEO) by sharing clients on Facebook. This helps patients find your website on search engines like Google and Bing. 

Have positive Google reviews? Share them! Post them on Facebook to highlight a patient’s happy experience. You don’t need to share personal information that would put your office or a patient at risk, just sharing how they enjoyed their visit and why. 

Videos from happy clients are easy to ask for because they shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes! You can post these to your website, but be sure to add subtitles to your video since viewers are usually watching videos without sound.

You can add these videos to your social media and a link to your website. This builds rapport with your social media followers, as well as pointing patients back to your website where they can make appointments easily. 

  1. Be Personable 

There are many ways that you can make patients feel more at ease when entering your office and one of them is helping your patients feel as though they know the people in your office. 

Sure, they might know their name or how long they’ve worked there, but they may not feel a connection to them. 

This connection doesn’t have to be as deep as you may think. 

Adding personal fun facts about your staff could help patients relate to your staff before ever stepping foot in your office.

Little pieces of information about their hobbies, favorite movies or food, or favorite places to visit, could be great topics of conversation that could put a nervous patient at ease. 

Making a light-hearted post about how your Office Manager, Ashley, visited the Pacific coast this past summer and her favorite part was seeing Hearst Castle, would make for some great content if your employees are comfortable with it.

  1. Provide educational health information 

You want the best for your patients and love seeing them thrive in their health, so give them a chance to help you by maintaining and improving their health.

Try to incorporate short videos of helpful tips for the flu or COVID-19. Wyzowl says 66% of consumers prefer watching a video compared to reading about a product, and Hubspot says 54% of consumers want to see more video content this year.  

An example of an educational post is letting your patients know the best ways to stay healthy throughout the year. This can look like sharing specific tips and health strategies in specific seasons.

With educational content, you will not only be their doctor for when they’re sick, but you’ll be the helpful source on social media on how to recover from illnesses or remain healthy!

Do statistics apply to medical offices since they are patients and not customers? Just the opposite. Your patients are your customers. They are buying your knowledge and expertise and are trusting you. 

Remind them of why they trust you by popping into their Facebook feed and dropping some knowledge bombs on them and ways that they can improve their life! 

  1. How to get your patients to help YOU

Remind your patients what is helpful for you to know as their doctor, and what they need to keep track of before they come see you next. Changes in their health? Life events that could have caused emotional or physical stress? The last time x, y or z happened? Shot schedule reminders based upon age?

Life gets busy and your patients won’t remember everything. So a simple reminder is always helpful! This won’t just be helpful for them, but it will be helpful for you to be fully informed and better able to diagnose/advise them when they do come in for a visit. 

And don’t forget, if they are following you it’s because they want to hear from you. You’re not bothering them or disrupting their day, you are delivering value to them. 

  1. Streamline the appointment process 

Every medical office will feel different, much like any business will feel and look different. 

Conveying the tone and organization of your medical office is imperative for clear communication between you and the client on what they should expect when they come for their visit. 

Do you have first-time patient forms that should be filled out?

Maybe you require existing patients to fill out an update chart at every visit.

Or possibly a fun activity for your younger patients to help them feel more calm and peaceful during their appointment? 

Define how you want your patients to feel throughout the entire appointment visit, from start to finish, and figure out what needs to be communicated in order for that experience to be achieved. 

Summary

Facebook doesn’t need to be complicated or overwhelming. All you need is a plan of action.

As a medical office, your priority will always be the patient which is why having a presence on social media is ever increasing. Wherever your patients are, you should be also! 

We love watching medical practices flourish and we firmly believe you need to connect with your people in order to do that!

If you need help creating a game plan for your marketing, download the free Medical Marketing eBook, below. 

Meet The Team: Ryan

Hi 👋. I am Ryan, the Website and Graphic Designer here at The Social Brand. I handle everything regarding websites, including building, optimizing, and maintaining, to building brand assets, like logos and various printwork, for small businesses. I help ensure that other small businesses are building a digital presence that truly works for them, rather than against them.

I grew up in Maryville, TN in the Foothills of the Smoky Mountains. I originally wanted to be an environmental scientist with the goal of saving the Hemlock trees... After a semester I wasn't good at the whole math portion of science and changed my major to graphic design. While in college, I worked as a barista at Vienna Coffee Company and became a founding member of their marketing team after graduation. I currently live in Knoxville,TN with my dog June and wife Makenzey. We enjoy hiking, doing photography together, traveling, and serving our community with our church family. 

My favorite part of working with The Social Brand is the fact that the work we do through building other’s digital presence helps make small business owners and their employees lives better so they can focus and serve their own customers.

Some “fun” facts about me: