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The Ultimate Guide to Micro-Influencer Marketing in 2019

Learn the ins and outs of micro-influencer marketing from an influencer and marketer.

Content Isn’t Everything

You’ve likely heard that content is king, and while that isn’t necessarily UNTRUE, it isn’t EVERYTHING.

Content is only a piece in the puzzle. You can create all the high quality, well-edited pieces of content you want, but if it isn’t being implemented strategically, doesn’t take you closer towards a specific business objective, or is just content for the sake of content then it’s really not “king” is it?

I see a lot of gyms posting daily workout videos, which is great, but ask yourself this – is this getting me closer to having more high quality paying members? Or, is this content just being consumed by my current members and isn’t actually helping me reach out to new leads? Do potential members really care what your workout of the day is? They may not even know what those movements are or mean yet… They likely care more about the quality of your coaches, the services you offer, and where you’re located.

Having workout videos and gym content is great, but make sure this is not your WHOLE strategy. I often categorize posts into three different buckets: Promotional, Inspirational, and Informational. Within these categories are targets. Ie. Promotional post about student deals. Informational post about training during pregnancy. Inspirational post about a middle-aged father with diabetes who changed his life in your gym…

If content is king, then STRATEGY is certainly the queen. You need a strong relationship between both to drive marketing success.

Sustainable Marketing – A Case Study

Sustainable marketing starts with sustainable business.

 

‘Sustainable’ can be defined as the following, Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

Sustainability is often used in reference to environmental and social consciousness, however, in this context, it will be referred to the internal environment of your business. Here are my definitions:

Sustainable business: I define a sustainable business as one that is sound financially, has a long-term plan, and is growing at a rate that can be maintained. This business has low turnover in staff and clients (or members).

Sustainable marketing: I define sustainable marketing as something that grows with your business and isn’t a quick fix, program, or short-term campaign.

So, how do we start to build a sustainable marketing program? Sustainable marketing starts with building a sustainable business. Let’s start there using the context of a gym, specifically a Crossfit affiliate.

So, you’ve opened a Crossfit gym. You want to invest in marketing to get more members signed up for your on-ramp program. You’ve been running your own social media, and get your coaches to help out, but understand that having a consistent strategy is important and you don’t have the time to run it yourself. Where do you start?

Start with WHY

Having worked with dozens of small businesses who each have their own strong and unique ‘WHY’, I’ve been doing a lot of thought on our own (93 Agency’s) WHY. A company’s mission should not only apply to their operations but also should dictate all marketing and branding efforts. This is why at 93 Agency we focus so much on our client’s WHY to get down to what they really want to achieve, and how they want to share that with the World.

Over the years 93 Agency’s WHY has slightly evolved, much due to the inspiration and example our clients set. I strive to educate clients in my area of business expertise, however, they also equally educate me.
My goal is to support YOU, the business owner, so you can focus on bettering yourself and your business. If you’re feeling more stressed about social media after the “start-up” phase of our relationship, then I’m not doing my job. I want you to feel like you’re in good hands and that you can spend less time online, and more time with your customers, staff, and/or family.
At the end of the day, relationships are the backbone of a business. Social media is often seen in opposition to building human relationships and connections, but I don’t see it that way. My goal is to help you build more of these connections and to support businesses who strive to connect with more people in order to help their clients and the community with their products and/or services.

I’d love to hear more about your why, and how I can help you help others. I’m always available via email (natalie@93agency.com) to chat (no commitment) about your goals, growth, and marketing.

-Nat

Founder, 93 Agency

New Year, New Focus | Fitness Marketing

I’m excited to announce that we have decided to focus our efforts on helping businesses in the fitness, health, wellness, sports, and outdoors industries!

Why?

It’s my passion! As an athlete myself, I wanted to merge my love of health, fitness, and sport, with my profession and other passion for marketing. It seemed like the natural progression, as 93 agency has slowly been focusing on clients within these industries, and has seen the best results there due to extensive experience in these industries, as well as knowledge and continuous learning of all areas of these businesses. Own a gym, studio, clinic, store, or brand and want to build your business? I can help!

Not part of these industries but want to work with us? We’ve worked with businesses in several other industries, including but not limited to: tech, e-commerce, SAAS, retail, automobile dealing, engineering, and service businesses/locations. We also consult for individuals and professionals.

Contact natalie@93agency.com if you’re interested in getting started!

How Small Businesses Can Compete with Big Companies | Social Media Ottawa

 

Small businesses have always struggled to compete with big companies and franchised businesses for a share of their market. We’ve all heard stories of the ‘Big Guys’ pushing out the smaller, local businesses.

For the most part, small businesses can be; Mom and Pop Shops, Sports Stores, Restaurants, Convenience Stores, Bakeries, Breweries, Golf and Country Clubs, Local chains… etc.

Compared to five years ago, small businesses now have more tools at their disposal to compete with big companies than ever. Many larger companies like Shopify and HubSpot are looking to close the gap, by catering to smaller businesses to offer services that will help them compete with big companies. This week, we’re going to tell you how your small business can not only compete with the big guys, but beat them at their own game too. So, what can you do to compete with big brands?

 

Seek out loyal customers (Build Personal Relationships)

The golden rule of success in any business is to always remember, “80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.”

Loyal customers are the bread and butter of any business, but especially so for smaller companies. Let’s face it. As a small business, you probably don’t have the same marketing budget that a company like Samsung would. As a result, gaining new customers and attracting new audiences can be difficult.

However, as a small business, you have roots in the community. A neighbourly referral from one of your loyal customers could begin a string of new business through word-of-mouth. Small businesses have the power of personality. Big brands spend millions of dollars a year to build up their online personality, but as a small business owner, you have the power to create real, meaningful relationships with your customers. For free! That’s why networking and establishing your business as a neighbor in the community will help protect you from losing business to bigger companies. It will also give people a reason to choose your business over the big guys, which brings us to our next point!

Take care of your loyal customers and they will take care of your business. And if there’s one thing you can never have enough of, it’s loyal customers.

 

Find a unique selling point.

Our digital world is constantly evolving. With so much going on and so many advertising messages being thrown at our screens on a daily basis, it’s hard to filter through the noise and find a brand that truly connects with us. As humans, we want to belong. As consumers, we want to be understood and catered to. Your business will fail if you have nothing to offer that separates you from your competitors. It’s that simple. At some point, you have to face the music and realize that you cannot undercut prices like the big guys can. You also can’t supply to a larger market. What you can do, however, is offer something unique. You can offer something of relevance to your customers that not only shows them you care, but that you understand how to satisfy a need of theirs that nobody else has been able to do.

Just so you understand how earthshaking this knowledge is to the consumer, take a second to think about this. Imagine that you are at a rock concert from a well-known band that you’ve been dying to see.

Now, imagine this band shows up late (as many big name artists do, from time to time). You’d be disappointed right? You’d feel like you’ve been cheated out of your money. Well, that’s what we feel like when a big company lets us down.

On the other hand, imagine that next to this big concert, is a smaller band playing at a pub. The atmosphere is more pleasant, you’re not being suffocated by a group of teenagers trying to see over your head, and the band players are actually able to make eye contact with you. Not only that, but you decide to stick around after the show and you get to meet the band! A special privilege most people don’t get to experience at larger concerts. Imagine the feeling of belonging a fan would feel from meeting their band and talking to them without being talked down to or brushed off as ‘just a fan’.

In this scenario, the smaller band won business from the more popular band because of their ‘Unique Selling Point’. So, what makes your business different from the big guys? Do you offer services that they don’t? Find your USP and make it shine like the North Star: For everyone to see and admire.

 

Promote local.

People like to buy local. While online shopping and e-commerce sites offer much of what big box stores cannot, there is nothing that can replace the experience of trying out a piece of clothing or taking a car for a test drive. There are some things that people simply need to see and feel before they make a purchase decision. More often than not, large companies will not have stores in your area. If they do, they may sometimes need to order from a warehouse to refill stock. As a small business, your inventory will likely reflect the purchasing habits and trends of your regular customers.

The basis for any relationship, business or not, is trust. It’s natural to trust a brand in your area than one in another because it’s more relatable. A business that operates in your neighbourhood is much more likely to understand you as a consumer and for that reason, we tend to trust local shops more than big companies.

 

Be agile.

Big companies have more people in many departments, with layers upon layers of management to go through before any decision is every made. With smaller companies, you can usually speak to the owner or a manager directly for assistance with an issue.

Small businesses also have the power to be spontaneous and much more creative. Two things that are extraordinarily successful in the world of social media. If something isn’t working with your strategy, at least you won’t have to worry about getting an entire floor of executives to approve your decision before it’s too late.

E-Commerce

The booming success of companies such as HubSpot and Shopify comes from helping small businesses to compete with larger scale companies by helping them set up online stores and email marketing strategies.

Online stores have been an excellent way for even the smallest companies get noticed and make sales with customers from all parts of the globe. They also provide a unique experience, which certainly beats going to the store on a rainy afternoon.

 

Advertise/Promote with Social Media

As we mentioned before, social media is the place to be if you’re a small business. With more reach than some of the biggest media companies in the world, it’s no wonder why almost 90% of small businesses are active on social media.

The landing page of your website or social media page is essentially the entrance to your place of business. If someone were to walk in your store or business, that first impression will be from your online presence.

We’re always searching. Whenever we are looking for a new car, house, set of cutlery, or what have you, we tend to do our research online. Now, when people search for your brand, they will have the opportunity to discover your story online. Be different. Be relevant. AND MOST OF ALL: PROVIDE VALUE.

Social Media is free to use and post your content, making it a cost-effective tool for small businesses with little to no advertising budget. If you want to take the next step and grow your reach, advertising with social media platforms have netted businesses some of the highest ROI’s (returns on their investment) in the industry, alongside video marketing and email marketing as the most efficient and effective strategies in the marketing world today.

The Battle for ROI. Google Ads vs Facebook Ads | Social Media

With over 100 billion monthly search queries, it’s easy to see why paid search is at the top of many marketer’s to-do lists. The problem is, getting your paid search ad in front of the right people can get pricey. It’s not as easy as it looks, and you’ll often be competing against other businesses for popular keywords. As the owner of a small business, you have to make sure that you are getting the most return for every marketing dollar you spend. We’re going to break down the myths commonly associated with paid search marketing and reveal how social media ad platforms, such as Facebook ads, can actually take your dollar much further than you expected.

Google ads and paid search marketing are effective marketing strategies, nobody can deny that. However, there are a few common misconceptions around the level of success a paid search campaign can do for you compared to social. Here’s a short list of reasons why social media ads are more effective for small businesses than paid search ads:

Better Targeting Options

For years, marketers have been restricted to the confines of understanding audiences from basic demographic information. Facebook and all its genius allow us to actually target people based on their digital behavior, interests, and common connections. In addition to this, you can create Custom Audiences which allow you to track users on your site with a piece of code. Then, you can target those people who visited your site with retargeted Facebook ads.

Retargeting ads are much more effective because they are reaching an audience that has already shown an interest in your business by visiting your page. You’re also showing the potential customer that you understand their needs by reaching them with the right message, at the right time and the right place. This will build trust between the brand and the consumer, which means they’ll be receptive to more ads/promotions like this.

Improved Conversion Tracking

While Google AdWords and Facebook both have their own platforms for analytics and managing your ads, Facebook actually has more options for accurately tracking your conversions. Facebook allows you to look a little deeper into the consumer’s buyer journey. Facebook ads will track users that click on your ad, as well as which of those users that clicked also converted on your website into customers. To do this, you will have to add a piece of code on the page you want to track conversions for, but it’s quite simple and quick to do. You can then build audience profiles around your campaigns to learn how certain audiences react to a particular message.

It’s not to say that you can’t track conversions with pay-per-click or paid search ads, but you can do the same thing with Facebook ads. So, why spend more time tracking two platforms when you could achieve the same and more by using a more efficient and cost-effective platform for advertising?

Positive User Experience

Paid search ads or banner ads are intrusive. As a matter of fact, most people will look for the top organic results because they know that they did not pay to be there.Visual content is much more engaging than the text-only Google ads that have been around for nearly a decade. According to recent social media studies, visual content (content that has a photo or video element) is 40x more likely to be shared, liked, and commented on than static text content. Google serves text-only ads, and for that reason, you’re that much less likely to have a higher return on your ad spend than with Facebook ads.

The customizable nature of Facebook ads allows you really mix things up as a marketer. Instead of the same, text-only ads appearing in your search, you can choose a wide selection of ad formats. Unlike a banner ad that just kind of sits on the side of your page like an eye-sore, Facebook ads seamlessly integrate into the users home page news feed.

Not only is visual content more appealing, but research has shown that consumers are 60% more likely to remember the information of an ad with visual content than text-only ads.

BONUS:

Facebook ads often cost FAR LESS per CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions), resulting in more ad views, link clicks, and customers.

Let’s recap.

The fact is, people are using their smartphones for entertainment. They are also using them for research, daily news, and more. If your audience is already using social media, then it’s only logical to reach them where they spend the most of their time, right?

While paid search ads may not be the best way to maximize your ad spend, they are still effective when used in conjunction with your other marketing efforts. For small and medium-sized businesses, your dollars are best spent on social media advertising and the magic of custom targeting. This will get you a higher return on your investment for every dollar, and provide those new customers with a user experience that your competition could only wish for.

Remember, marketing a small business isn’t about casting the widest net possible. It’s about bringing in quality leads and then retaining the loyal customers who will become your main source of income.

Are You Guilty Of This Social Media Mistake? | Lemonade Stand Marketing

Owning a business, big or small, requires you to wear a lot of hats. You’ve got a lot on your mind, and there is always something more important that you could be doing. As a result, many business owners tend to treat their social media accounts like a lemonade stand; yelling about their promotions to the first person who will listen, undermining the value of their service with uninspired content, and spamming the reluctant few who have subscribed to your pages with the same messages over and over. Until they eventually unfollow your business’ page. We’re going to tell you how you can take your business to the next level and avoid damaging your online presence further.

 

Social media is constantly changing. Be proactive and stay ahead of your competition.

 

Long gone are the days where posting the same photos and weekly status updates could net you a steady growth of organic followers.

Watch your competitors for clues. Keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing isn’t copying if you’re doing it better than them.

Stay on top of trends. Social media is all about being at the right place, at the right time, with the right message. If there’s an event or trending topic that has to do with your business, make the most of it. Tailor your content to the audience and the context it serves. These are skills you will learn as you commit more hours to managing your profiles and pages, but it will undoubtedly pay off.

 

Stop telling. Start showing.

 

One of the most difficult aspects of creating high-quality content for your audience is to assess the value it provides. It’s easy to say that your promotions are of value to you because you’re the owner. Think about what action you want the potential reader or viewer to take. One of the best ways to capture anyone’s interest is to make them feel like they are missing out by not subscribing to your blog, your channels, or your mailing list.

Instead of simply creating an event page, think about how you can take it one step further and truly wow your audience and interest them in your event. Consider what sort of information might pique the interest of potential attendees. You could create an event page on your website that the event ad will lead to. If there’s a famous guest speaker in attendance or any other main attraction, use that to draw the masses.

If you’re a restaurant owner and you’ve got a new menu, don’t just post a picture of the new menu. SHOW US. Show us how these new and fantastic menu items can be used. Think of food pairings, or describing the history of a dish to give it a story. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good story? The point is, show your audience the value of your service. Put it to use.

Most people will search for a brand online before making any sort of purchase. With that information in mind, the content you make available to them will be your source for testimony to show the true quality and personality of your business.

 

Conclusion

 

While lemonade stands may have been a fun way to start a business as a kid, those tactics won’t work on a population consumed by digital content. Highly active brands are out there using every tool and resource available to create almost addictive content for their followers. We can all take some time to learn from these iconic brands to help us break away from lemonade stand marketing tactics. Social media isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and is best used in collaboration with your other marketing channels. Used effectively, social media can be the most cost-effective marketing tool in your arsenal.

Make sure to follow us so you can be the first to know about new articles on marketing tips for small businesses, industry news, case studies and more!

The Power Of Email and Social | Inbound Marketing

Social media is a powerful marketing tool on its own. Partnered with email marketing (average ROI of 3800%), these tools can become a magic marketing duo. Successful integration of email into your social media marketing strategy can greatly improve your SEO, generate leads, and create a brand experience that your audience will enjoy and remember.

Does this mean that you have to start buying mailing lists to contact people with your messages? NO! The genius of inbound marketing is to eliminate the nuisances of outdated marketing tactics such as purchasing lists and spammy messages. In this article, we’re going to show you how email and social can work together to create a successful, cohesive, and consistent inbound marketing strategy!

 

Cross Promote

Tease your audience about the perks of email by posting hints on social media as to what they’re missing out on. Vice versa, you can also send an email to your subscribers about the joys and benefits of following your social profiles.

Twitter and Facebook both have features that allow you to create a post or form for others to enter their information like an email address (lead ads). Just be sure to make the offer worthwhile! Contests and giveaways can go a long way here!

You can also add social buttons to the header/footer of your emails, similar to how you would add them to a blog or webpage. They should not be disruptive to the content and should provide a call to action that directs your audience from one brand touchpoint to another, taking them to the next step in your sales funnel.

Facebook also has a feature which lets you add a button to the top of your page. You can use this for many things, but it is especially useful as a “Sign up” button for people to enter their email address.

 

Coordinate

Line up your weekly/monthly content by topics or relevance so that email and social content do not repeat, confuse or distract users from your objectives. Coordinating your content with a calendar is a good way to make sure that your content is organized, not scattered. This also allows you to ensure that multiple teams or departments will be on the same page. Consistency is the name of the game here!

 

Custom Audiences

Did you know that you can use your mailing list to create a custom audience on Facebook? This will allow you to specifically target those in your mailing list with promotions and content through Facebook Ads. Additionally, you can add a Facebook Pixel to your website to track users who have visited your site and retarget them on Facebook. Using these custom audiences, your ROI for ad spend will be much greater and the cost of acquisition per customer will be much lower. This is because people who have either visited your website or subscribed to your mailing list are already interested in what you have to offer.

You can also upload subscriber lists to most social platforms like Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

Indirect Email Marketing

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have niche communities that are called groups or lists. Usually, these groups are public and anyone who is interested can join. Some of these groups have moderators and will not let marketers in, but if you have something of value to offer, they might let you post in the group. What does this have to do with email marketing?

When you have subscribed to or joined a group on a platform like LinkedIn, you will be sent a notification triggered by activity within the group via email. This is a unique opportunity for small business owners to really network with their audience on a niche level. With this method, you won’t have direct access to their email, but you’ll be getting into their mailbox indirectly.

 

Your Turn!

Try using these strategies to support your blooming online presence! The businesses that have the most success are the ones that plan everything from start to finish, and never give up. It can be overwhelming, but if you ever have any questions, you know who to ask!

 

Not sure if what you’re doing is working? Sign up for a risk-free Social Audit with 93 Agency and let us show you why we’re the go-to social media experts! Don’t forget to follow us on social media for your weekly dose of small business marketing tips.

Storytelling 101: A Guide For Small Business | Content Creation

 

New businesses often have common ‘startup’ issues. As an agency that specializes in finding and solving these common issues, we can tell you that most of those mistakes can be easily spotted on your online presence and through your content creation process.

 

What does storytelling have to do with your business?

 

First of all, storytelling is a form of entertainment. Naturally, as humans we feel the desire to be entertained. The beauty of storytelling is that it allows us to escape reality very briefly, detaching us from the stresses and responsibilities of everyday life. Social Media is often the perfect distraction from reality because of how quickly we can consume the content. If someone is surfing around social media, they are likely going to different pages, while watching their own news feed. Now imagine if you could get one of these users to stay in one place for an extended period of time. The chances of them making a purchase in the store is much higher, right?

That’s where storytelling comes in. You want to keep your guests (potential customers) interested so that they will stay in your store long enough to make a purchase. The same theory applies to your digital and social marketing. As consumers, we are thirsty for more content. At the same time, there are so many marketing messages directed at consumers that they don’t know what to look at. It’s our job as the marketer, to make sure that our message is the one they are paying attention to. How do we do that? Storytelling.

 

What story will you tell?

 

Every business has a story, the same way every person does. Where did you start? What problem are you solving? Incorporating elements that speak to the history of your brand and personality in your marketing strategy will ensure that your business is relatable. If your consumers can relate to your brand, then they will trust your brand. Brand storytelling is our way of letting the consumer know that we understand their personality, their lifestyle, and most importantly, what satisfies their needs. Just like a best friend would.

After all, if a consumer trusts your brand, they will be loyal. Everybody knows that 80% of your business comes from the loyal 20% of your customer base, so it’s no surprise that the secret to the long lasting success of any business is trust.

 

How do you build a story around your brand that people can trust and relate to?

 

People aren’t stupid. They know if it’s worth following a particular page or not because they can almost instantly tell whether or not the content they are looking at is valuable to them. That’s why the quality of your content is so important. It’s important to always focus on providing VALUE.

Imagine that your newsfeed is like the first chapter of a book. If I don’t like what I’m seeing in the first few pages/posts, then why would I subscribe to suffer through more boring and invasive messaging that I can clearly tell is meant to sell me on something? That answer is, I wouldn’t. And neither would you. Create content that you yourself would enjoy viewing. Ask yourself, is my content valuable in helping my customers with issues they may be having? What questions is it answering?

Then, build your story through a steady, consistent stream of content that highlights your brand’s best qualities. These qualities could be in the form of services, products, and more. The idea is to openly show them the things you care about. By doing this, you are showing that you care about more than just selling, and that you want to help them with their pain points.

 

Conclusion

 

Hopefully you have a better understand of why spamming your page timeline with promotions and advertisements will not build trust with your customers. What will build trust with your brand and customers is transparency and credibility. People will follow and support your business because they believe in your story. Remember to entertain, entertain some more, and then entertain again.

Why do you think we call a tissue a Kleenex? A copy machine a Xerox? Storytelling, my friends. Storytelling.