We all want our customers to be satisfied and happy with our products and services, but the next part of the equation is keeping them loyal to the brand. There are many practices you can use to improve customer loyalty and developing a relationship with your customer base is the key. Companies find that one of the best ways to build a relationship is to reward their current customers.
Leverage Data You Already Have
This marketing strategy aims to increase repeat business by surprising customers with an unexpected gift. Rewarding customers in this way creates a more positive feeling toward your brand and encourages them to go back to your company for future purchases.
Understanding your clients and rewarding them based on their behaviors reaches them in a personal way. Building a customer database is an ideal way to collect information, such as the anniversary dates of their first purchase with your company. You can then use this data to time rewards in meaningful ways that speak to your customers.
Surprise and Delight Strategy
It is always best to have a variety of methods in your arsenal to attract repeat business from customers. There is no “one size fits all” recipe for building customer loyalty, so the more tools you have in your toolbelt, the better.
Consider these time-tested methods of reaching customers and bringing them back for future purchases.
Collect feedback and use it wisely. When you ask customers for their advice and feedback, they will likely be open and honest. Take their words to heart and make the changes they suggest. When you let customers know about updates and changes you’ve made based on their feedback, they will organically feel like part of the team
Offer special deals. Your current customers will be likely to purchase more if you reach out to them with coupons, promotions, and freebies that they wouldn’t typically receive.
Focus on customer service. A strong customer service game is essential to any business, but gaining repeat business is much more effective when the customer is impressed by over-the-top service.
Make customers feel like VIPs. Using “club” membership techniques to allow customers to build up rewards points is one of the most effective means of improving customer loyalty.
Read More about how to use the “Surprise and Delight” strategy to improve customer loyalty:
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Online Reputation Management Helps All Three
Managing your business’s online reputation is not a quick fix, but it is an issue you can – and should – take swift action regarding. Moving your business in the right direction by gaining an overview of your brand’s current reputation via a brand reputation audit is an important first step.
This site contains affiliate links, which means we could earn a commission on anything purchased through those links. See our full disclaimer here.
If you’ve ever taken an entry-level reading, writing, or speaking class, the terms “logos, ethos, and pathos” have likely been drilled into your head. Representing logic, ethics, and emotion, respectively, these three keys to unlocking the gift of persuasion were supposed to be able to sway others to your opinion with ease.
Who’d have thought you’d be right back here, years later?
Well, besides the ancient Greeks (who used the word “pathos” as one of three artistic proofs and a key point in the rhetorical persuasive triangle) – those of us in design and marketing circles still utilize emotion every single day.
In fact, emotion is one of the strongest persuasive elements you’ll find in design. Certain color choices and design elements appeal directly to the pathos of your audience – and they do so subtly, engaging throughout the user journey. In the end, that makes for a more visceral connection with your brand and a competitive advantage for you.
So, how can you wield this power for yourself? Check out this list of design trends that are giving us (and your audience) the feels:
Classic Blue. Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year is timeless. Simple, yet elegant, true blue is also the age-old color of loyalty and stability. It’s everything the world needs right now and an ideal color to inspire feelings of safety and dependability.
Gradients. Say what you want about these attention-grabbing hue transitions, in 2020, they’re so much more than your WordArt fill of choice. The best ones evoke thoughts of an inspirational sunrise or a peaceful sunset and can be used as a background to transfer those very emotions to your users.
Abstract & Dreamy Illustrations. The trend of abstract or dreamy illustrations exaggerates the concept by pushing the boundary even further by using unrealistic proportions, placement or color. This can be a great way to engage the user by giving them something visually interesting to break up long-form content.
Modern Art Deco. Art Deco is so 1920s; but perhaps it’s no coincidence the trend has made its way back around – albeit in updated fashion – in the 2020s. Sleek, graceful and elegant, 2020s Art Deco inspires your users to feel just that right mix of sophisticated and wealthy.
Bold and simplistic. Whether we’re talking fonts, graphics, or your products themselves, there’s something to be said for being straightforward. In 2020, we’re finding that bold, clear design elements evoke feelings of trust, clarity, and just enough confidence to ring true to users searching for brands they can rely on.
Need more insight on design, engagement, and all things marketing? Get in touch for advice on everything from web design to social media and brand management. Or, if you’d prefer a call, dial (800) 871-4130.
2019 Graphic Design Trends Recapped and 2020 Design Trends We Love (so far!)
Graphic design is always evolving. Every year new trends emerge and old fads become obsolete. We work online so we look at a lot of websites and, as designers ourselves, think it’s extremely important to know what is going on in the design world.
If you are adjusting to working from home or already were, these tips were put together to help you make the most of your time and energy working from home.
Increase your productivity, efficiency, focus and sanity with these tips:
Update Your To-Do List Every Morning and Use a Planner
Discover Your High Productivity Periods
Avoid Work Creep and Set Real Work Hours – It’s easy to let your work creep into your personal life when you’re already at home. When you set work hours and stick to them, you are more productive during those hours.
Create a Rewards System
Use Time Management Apps
Build a Permanent Work Space, Preferably Not in the Living Room – Establishing a permanent work space allows you to commit and focus on the work at hand. Avoid areas where many distractions are present.
Don’t Work in Your PJs (Dress for Success)
Develop a Morning Routine
Take Short Breaks and Stretch Regularly, Preferably Outside – Allowing your body to sit for too long sets in fatigue and you will be less productive.
Invest in Quality Technology and Comfortable Office Furniture
Stay Off Social Media
Eat Healthy Meals & Snacks – Eating more often or unhealthier foods is mush easier at home where your kitchen is. Be mindful of what and when you eat. Keep your body and mind more productive by eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
Listen to Music
Use Video Chat
Daily Affirmations – Develop the powerful habit of using daily affirmations to help achieve your goals and dreams. Keep your mind off of negative thoughts and what you don’t want in your life. We recommend the 30-Day Affirmation Challenge by Brian Tracy.
Marketing Tips & News
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Consumer trends are constantly shifting, making marketing a delicate and ever-changing process. Modern consumers are incredibly discerning, quick to research brands before committing to purchases, and have more choice and buying power than any previous generation.
It’s essential to convey your brand’s authenticity and tell a story that captures your target audience’s attention and imagination, but it’s equally important to know when to step back and really listen to your audience.
Modern Consumers Want Personal Connection and Memorable Interactions
Do you consider yourself a good listener? Or are you just very good at pretending to listen while you wait for your turn to talk? Think carefully about this and then apply this question to your brand’s marketing. Are you developing the content you think your audience wants, or are you paying close attention to what they say to you and other brands in your niche?
Good listening is different from good hearing; it’s one thing to hear what another person says and repeat it back, but listening is another thing entirely. To make a truly profound and valuable impression upon your market audience, you need to develop a conversation with them.
Today, the brands that succeed in their markets are the ones that take the time to get to know their target customers on a deeper level. They generate content that not only appeals to their interests and needs, but also resonates with them. They reach out to their customers to learn more about their goals and expectations for doing business with certain brands.
Social media and email marketing are two of the most valuable channels you have when it comes to gathering information directly from your customers. Take time to develop thought-provoking questions and try to go above and beyond when it comes to crafting answers to your customers’ thoughts and concerns.
Honing your ability to listen to your audience will not only help them recognize the value your brand offers, but also enable your brand to serve your target market’s needs even better.
Everyone wants to reach that coveted spot at the top of the Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Is it possible for your company, or are those spots only reserved for the biggest of businesses?
The truth is that any business (yes, including yours!) can have a popular ranking post with the right approach.
Here’s the Lowdown:
Start with a template. An easy to fill blog template will help you organize your thoughts, choose the right keywords, and take the other steps necessary to create content that is optimized for Google Search. We have a template that you can follow for keyword research, blog creation, on-page SEO checks, and editing!
Use the right tools. There are plenty of free tools available to help you with keyword research, on-page SEO checks, and more. We like SEMRush for keyword research and blog optimization.
Use images and screen captures. Having images not only makes your content more interesting to read, it also helps you look better in a search engine’s eyes.
Gather contributor quotes. Using quotes from influencers in your field helps with your social media (people want to share things they’re quoted in!) and makes for good networking.
Check your work! Always be sure to run your finished blog through an online SEO checker like SEMRush. You’ll get a ranked score and have opportunities to improve right from your Google Doc.
It’s time to publish! You have researched, written, and edited your blog for clarity and optimization. Now, disseminate it through multiple channels to expand your reach. Think beyond just your blog and share to social media channels, LinkedIn, Medium, and via email blast.
Writing a popular ranking blog post takes time and planning (and we mean a lot of planning). Want to know everything there is to know about writing a blog post that ranks well? Follow our step by step guide and use all the tools we have to make the process easier.
Now you’re ready to create your popular ranking blog post – download our blog template and get started!
Following a specific approach to content writing can help you make the most of your content marketing efforts. Here, you’ll learn how to start a blog and create content that helps improve your online visibility.
Our approach is simple: Help our clients to attract leads, convert customers and create brand promoters with strategic website marketing services, including…
Premium Website Blogging
Like optimized website content, high-quality blog posts help to refine your brand, connect to customers and improve search engine rankings. Whether your blog posts act as assets for weekly social media sharing or double as informative sales tools, a blog producing consistently superb copy helps to establish your company as a subject matter expert in your industry.
Keeping your dynamic business page fresh and engaged should be a priority. Here’s Why.
Do you have a Google My Business page? If so, you likely already know that it is a boon for your Local SEO. But are you leveraging it to its full potential?
Like any other aspect of running your business, maintaining your Google My Business Page can require a lot of time and effort – but it is well worth it. Since most customers see information about your business via Google and GMB, it is essential to update and monitor your page as frequently as necessary.
Why Update Your GMB Page?
To the casual, local user, GMB is the destination central for learning more about your business, including directions, reviews, and even looking at photos of your establishment and products or services. For some industries, such as hotels, GMB allows you to look at services and available amenities that people can see directly in their Google Maps app.
Since GMB is constantly evolving, it is important to continually monitor your business page and provide updates frequently. Here’s why:
You want people to find you. GMB is one of the single most important factors when it comes to people looking for your business locally. Making sure your content is optimized for search and that you have accurate location data is essential.
You want (good) reviews. Your customer reviews and rankings help affect your online reputation as well as how well you rank. Addressing fake or spam-like reviews through consistent monitoring will only help.
GMB updates its algorithms frequently. Google is always adding new features that can help your local SEO. Knowing what these are and making updates to your listings accordingly will help you stay ahead of the curve.
You can use GMB to increase conversions. Updating your listing to reflect short-term sales and special events can turn the casual observer into a paying customer.
So how often should you update your GMB page, exactly? There is no ideal answer, though most experts will recommend searching for big changes or spammy reviews daily. For business owners who don’t have enough time to monitor their own listings, that’s where we come in. 🙂
We can help keep your listing and fresh and as up-to-date as possible.
“Businesses that monitor and update their GMB pages have a distinct advantage over those that do not.” – Adam Dorfman, Search Engine Land
From the Eminent Team
Our approach is simple: Help our clients to attract leads, convert customers and create brand promoters with strategic website marketing services, including…
Local Marketing Services
Local marketing doesn’t stop at adding geographical locations to your keywords. Successful engagement with the community as a whole can represent priceless opportunities to solidify your growing brand and draw in new customers. Whether it’s connecting with regional business organizations or coverage by local news organizations, Eminent SEO can offer the local marketing services that help your company expand its reach.
Nearly one in four adults in the United States has a disability that impacts activities of daily life. While most business owners know that federal law mandates physical accessibility and covers structures such as wheelchair ramps and counter heights, many overlook the fact that the internet should be accessible to all as well. Which laws cover compliance? How can you make your website more accessible to the disabled?
Which Law Covers Compliance?
Accessibility for individuals affected by a disability has a historically been the center of discussion and a point of contention in the United States. Many businesses and government entities chose to provide accessible entrances and other features on their properties to enable those with disabilities to access their facilities. Yet, others remained unaware of the physical barriers provided by features of their buildings or ignored the difficulties experienced by people unable to utilize facilities and services due to their disabilities.
The Americans With Disabilities Act, instituted in 1990, addressed these difficulties. In the same spirit as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Act – otherwise known as the ADA – recognized the rights of disabled people to gain access to businesses, government entities, and public spaces. The Act requires most organizations to provide reasonable accommodations for employees and public individuals to access their facilities.
As a result of the ADA, organizations began to install the wheelchair ramps, accessible restrooms, and other physical accommodations we have grown accustomed to. The changes provided access to many businesses, services, and products formerly unavailable to disabled people. However, one thing nobody anticipated in 1990 was the eventual rise of the internet.
The Internet Added a New Dimension to ADA Compliance
Since 1990, the internet has become a central part of the lives of many Americans. People use the internet for entertainment, research, business, and much more. While the necessity of getting online and using a website to accomplish a task was not something that was crucial to survival in the 90’s, times have certainly changed. Now – perhaps particularly for disabled individuals who experience difficulty leaving home to accomplish business – online accessibility is a legitimate concern.
In its original language, the ADA required every organization to provide equal access to its facilities and resources for disabled persons. Now that millions of people nationwide utilize the internet to shop and accomplish business and personal tasks, among many other things, it stands to reason that organizations’ online services should remain accessible as well. As the ADA has evolved, undergoing changes as recently as 2018, some changes apply to internet accessibility.
ADA Is Not Specific
Title III of the ADA states that although the original ADA does not mention websites, its stipulations regarding equal accessibility should apply to web access for sites that provide public services. As such, the writers of the ADA have provided Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG, to provide recommendations for organizations to make their websites more accessible.
Other than these guidelines, however, the ADA provides no specific law requiring all business websites to maintain ADA compliance. In short, there are not laws in place requiring you to format your commercial business site in any way. However, in recent years, a series of lawsuits and their associated rulings have begun to shape how businesses should go about providing accessibility.
Tips For an ADA Compliant Website
Although your business may not be required by law to format your website to adhere to certain standards, ADA compliance can help you avoid litigation in the future. In addition, it is simply good business practice Follow these suggestions for maintaining ADA compliance:
Ensure your site can be navigated by keyboard. Multiple disabilities make accessing your site via mouse or touchscreen impossible. In addition, some third-party accessibility accommodations utilize keyboard navigation to work effectively. Thus, your website should be fully functional with keyboard-only commands.
Provide enlargement features. Users of your site must be able to easily enlarge text and media features for use on a standard screen or third-party accessible screen. Primarily, you must ensure your content can be enlarged up to 200% without requiring your users to scroll horizontally or breaking up content.
Add alt tags for media files. An alt tag allows a user unable to understand a media feature on your page – whether photo, video, or audio file – to access a description of the content behind the tag. When your users click on or mouse over an alt tag, it will provide a description of the contents of the media file as well as its purpose on the page. The description could be audio for those unable to view a photo, or text based for those unable to hear an audio file.
Add transcripts for media content. In addition to alt tags, provide full text transcripts for video and audio files. Deaf and hard of hearing people are unable to access the content of these formats, but can read transcripts.
Optimize header code. Your site’s header code should provide vital information about the language used on the page. Disabled users utilizing text readers depend on header code to identify the language used so that the text reader is prepared to read in the proper language.
Ensure website availability across all devices. Whether a disabled user is utilizing a computer, smartphone, tablet, or other accessibility device to navigate your site, all portions of your site should be available on all devices. It is crucial to ensure your website loads and all features and subpages are fully navigable.
Provide accessibility instructions. In the event that users experience access issues – primarily input issues – when attempting to navigate your site, provide on-screen suggestions for other approaches. Such instructions should be automatic, clear, and easy to follow.
Ensure your website is easy to navigate. In general, taking care to organize your site in a way that makes access intuitive is important for any user’s experience. Arrange clickable links, buttons, and features like menus so that any user is able to determine which features to select, and clearly distinguish separate site features from one another. Finally, ensure your color and text style selections are easy to read for users of all ranges of vision.
Provide accessible documents. Any documents or files users download from your site should be provided in multiple formats, including HTML, .pdf, and .rtf for access by third party accessibility programs and devices.
While commercial business operators may not yet have a stringent set of requirements for access, providing accessibility accommodations is just good practice. As the legal boundaries of ADA compliance change, it is essential that you provide access to your site to all your users, in order to ensure you stay ahead of the compliance game.
If you are a business owner in your community, you have probably heard about something called a local citation. You may have wondered what this term means. In simple terms, a local citation is any mention of your business on the internet. They can range from a partial citation such as a mention of your company name all the way to a complete citation that includes the company name, address, and phone number.
Does a Citation Need to Include a Link?
While a link back to your website within a citation can be helpful in giving your website an extra data point for search engines, it is not necessary in a local citation. Even without the link back to your website, the Google algorithm will still identify that your company was mentioned through the local citation information and give you credit for the mention. The more often your company is mentioned other websites, the greater your local ranking will be on search engines.
These citations are located in a business listing directory such as:
Any other online directory such as your local chamber of commerce website
These citations will include the most information about your business such as the company name, address, phone number, website, and even directions or a map to your location.
Yelp and Facebook also include an option for customer of your business to leave reviews or comments regarding your products or service. These reviews are often used by potential customers or clients when deciding whether or not to visit your establishment.
An unstructured citation is simply a mention of your business information on any website that is not a business directory. There are many places to find unstructured citations such as:
Unstructured citations may include a blog about your products or services or even a mention of special deals your company is currently offering.
They may include a phone number or website link in addition to your company name but, this information is not required as long as your company name is mentioned.
Why Are Local Citations Important?
There are two main reasons that local citations are extremely important for your business. The first is to verify that your business exists to search engines such as Google. If the only mention of your business comes from your own website, many search engines will struggle to verify that you have a legitimate business. By having your company name mentioned on other reputable websites, the search engines can easily verify that your business exists.
Local citations will also help you to establish prominence for your business in search engine algorithms. Have you ever wondered how search engines rank the pages that are displayed at the top of the results list? The algorithms for these search engines factor in citations when ranking local search results. The more citations your company has on the web, the higher your company’s listing will rank in search results. The key to ranking higher in the search results is to get your company name and information mentioned as often as possible throughout a variety of websites.
Are Some Citations More Important Than Others?
While having your company name mentioned anywhere will help you, having it mentioned on certain websites will help more. For example, having your company mentioned on the white house website will be more beneficial than having it mentioned on a small-scale blog. Citation value is separated into different classifications of importance.
Core Search Engines
Search engines are not distributors of business data. They receive the data and categorize it when determining how to display the information in search results. These include Google, Bing, and Apple Maps.
Primary Data Sources
These are the data collectors that verify information from a variety of sources and distribute the information to other sites. They include InfoGroup, Acxiom, Localeze, and Factual.
Tier 1 sites are the prominent sites on Google and are often used by people who are searching for businesses. There are two types of sites listed in tier 1, generic and Hyper-Local and Niche sites.
Hyper-Local and Niche
Tier 2 sites are still prominent on Google search results but may be lesser known such as:
These sites are not frequently listed in Google searches and are not very well known by the general public.
My Local Services
These sites have a very low authority and are rarely heard of.
When looking at citation options to get your business more attention from search engines, it is important to consider the quality of the citation.
Consistency Is Important
When it comes to local citations, it is important that each citation for your company lists accurate information. To do this, you will want to look at each site that features a citation for your business and make sure that there is only one listing and that the listing contains accurate information about your business. You will want to focus most of your attention on the Core Search Engines, Primary Data Sources, and Tier 1 sites. You should then verify your tier 2 citations as well to ensure accuracy within those sites. Tier 3 and 4 are the lowest priority when verifying citation accuracy as they will not make or break your SEO.
How to Build Local Citations
There are five important steps to follow when creating citations for your business. It is important to follow all five steps to ensure the best possible results.
Step 1 - Email Address
To create listings for your business you will first need an email address. It is always recommended when doing anything related to your company to use a company email address rather than your personal email address. This means an email address that is associated with your company’s domain not a Gmail or Yahoo address. Having a company domain email address will cause your listings to be more trusted and more likely to go live after creation.
Step 2 - NAP Consistancy
Be sure that your name, address, and phone number are the same on every site that your listing appears. The formatting may be different on individual sites and that is fine as long as the information contained in the listing is correct. Check to make sure no numbers have been inverted or swapped in the address and phone number fields and that there are no spelling errors in the company and street name. These errors may cause your listing to be less trustworthy and delay it going live.
Step 3 - Categorization
Read through all category choices and choose the ones that best describe the type of business you own. Then be sure to select the same categories on each site you are posting the listing to. This consistency will make it easier for search engines to verify your business and see that it is a legitimate company.
Step 4 - Details
Add as much detail as you can without going overboard. You can add photos, your logo, a description of your company, hours of operation, contact information for social media accounts and much more.
Step 5 - Verification
Claim your listing. Once you have created the listing on a site, most will ask you to verify the listing before allowing it to go live. This verification process will be done via email or phone. For phone verification, the company will call your business and request that you enter a pin number you had previously received or give you a pin number to enter online. Verified listings have more authority and a higher level of trust.
Finding Citation Sources
There are a few ways you can go about finding citation sources for your company listing. Which option you choose will depend on how much time and money you have to devote to the project.
Hire a Company
If you have the money to invest in the project but lack the time to do it yourself, hiring a company to do the legwork for you is a great option. These companies will find the most reliable citation sources for businesses in your local area and compile a list of the top citation sources for your local area.
Search for Citation Sources
You may also choose to search for citation sources on your own. This process can be lengthy but the rewards for your company will be great. Begin by finding the top national citation sources. These may include:
Google My Business
Once you have compiled this list of national listing sites, you can then look for citations based on your business category and location. Begin a search that contains your company type, city, and state.
Review that results of other citations for similar businesses. You can do this a general search or search out specific competitors and review their citations. This will help you to determine which direction to go while creating your own citations. You can accomplish this by searching for the following:
(city) Business directory
(city) Business Listings
(keyword) Business Directory
(keyword) Business Listings
When determining how to best optimize your local SEO, citations are considered one of the basic foundations for any company. Citations should be created before you focus on engagement, content, and link building. One of the greatest parts of local citations is that you never have to worry about them again unless any part of your business information changes. These changes may include moving to a new location, new phone number, make changes to the company name, etc. If any of these things occur, it is important to update your citation listings to maintain the most accurate information.
Business owners and the employees that work in the medical marijuana community may not think about whether they have public support for their marijuana dispensary. And why should they when the primary focus is on serving the people who already find value in their products and services. But there’s a larger picture here that affects the long term livelihood of any cannabis-based company and it’s centered around neighborhood sentiment about the industry as a whole. If this speaks to you, without the support of local municipalities, businesses, and the people who live nearby, your marijuana business won’t have a leg to stand on.
Know the Legal Challenges of Marketing Marijuana
Enthusiasm is great when you want to open your doors with the intention of serving the public well. But intention doesn’t pay the bills; your customers help you do that. The playing field for the cannabis industry is tightly woven with regulations and laws that may have loopholes for constructing workarounds, if you can find them.
Although marijuana laws differ from state to state and invariably with the federal level as well, following specific laws pertinent to your state of business is paramount to setting yourself up for success. And while some states may seem to have more forgiving or gracious pathways to starting a cannabis business, government strategies have long been set up in a manner that won’t be in your favor.
This is why you need to hire legal experts in marijuana, real estate, and intellectual property.
There are intricacies involved in the medical marijuana industry that don’t enter into any other business. And if your cannabis business is going to have a website, which it should, intellectual property may be involved. In addition, since the marketing of marijuana has other laws that must be abided by (especially when marketing products for sale online), you’ll need to know what you can say and visually display, and what you can’t. An attorney with expertise in cannabis will know how to properly draft the terms and conditions of your website, as well as what’s needed in the physical location of your operation.
Real Estate Aspects
Searching for and securing the right space for your marijuana business can be a lofty battle, likened to a chess game that you’re stepping into – with a deficit.
It isn’t about knowing what you need today to run effectively and efficiently, but foreseeing your needs one, three, and five years down the road. Even if you’re looking to rent space from a property owner, (if they are good with your business model) adjustments will most likely be required to accommodate your needs. Tenant improvements can easily be worked into the lease agreement. But unless you’re taking up an entire strip center or planning on being housed in a standalone facility, you will have to share your intentions with nearby tenants, property owners and homeowners.
This is where the challenges can come at you from all sides. We witnessed this in Phoenix, Arizona.
Embrace the Negative Nancys
A desired location for a medical marijuana dispensary is more than just logistics. The property has to come with the right zoning. If it doesn’t, a zoning variance is required. This is where it gets sticky. To prepare for the zoning hearing, other public meetings will take place designed to help the cannabis business acquire positive sentiment behind their proposed zoning variance request.
Here’s what can happen, and does.
By proposing your cannabis enterprise to the local residents (business and homes) you will be opening yourself, your personal and business brand, to a litany of ridicule and judgment. Not everyone is an advocate of what you do. In fact, there remains a lot of fear about it in the minds of many naysayers.
To have a viable shot at easing their fears, perhaps even removing them, give them a forum to speak. Make sure you listen to them. What the naysayers will tell you often provides the clues to what you’ll need to do to quell their negativity. If you can do that, they are less likely to show up at the zoning variance hearing and derail your plans for occupancy.
If a nearby homeowner is concerned about his family’s welfare and the risks that a cannabis store might bring, explain the characteristics of your security protocols. If privacy is an issue (should neighboring property back or side to the proposed cannabis shop location) discuss how to remedy it by adding height on an existing perimeter wall. Share your operating hours with them and come up with a plan that everyone can live with.
Marijuana Industry Advocacy Is a Full Time Job
Just like in any industry, not everyone is going to love you. But staying cognizant of potential setbacks fueled by misinformation or unflattering public sentiments will help you avert the same.
Top Tips for Public Support in Marijuana Dispensary Marketing
Public relations will have an impact on marijuana dispensary marketing, be it good or bad. To arm yourself and create a strategy ahead of time, you’ll need to map out potential challenges. Once you’ve identified them, generate a list of solutions for each challenge. This will save you time, energy, and money because you’re eliminating prospective setbacks to your business launch that would come with being positioned on the defensive, instead of the offensive stance.
Tips to Stay On Top of the Public Outcry
Stay current on state marijuana laws
Stay current on local legislation
Know key players in local government who are marijuana advocates
Forge positive relationships with other business owners who will speak well of you
Attend community and charity events
Host neighborhood meetings to show local support
Retain solid legal representation who knows the marijuana industry
Partner with a marijuana dispensary marketing agency
Keep facility security and employee professionalism as a priority
The Sweet Spot between Outreach and Off the Grid
It’s been said that people can’t criticize you if they don’t know you exist. True. But with easy access to people, places, and all the what-ifs and what-fors that fall within them, a point, click or swipe on social media makes staying silent a virtual impossibility, pun intended.
While it may be an initial preference to keep your cannabis business on the down low, it’s not a strategy that will give you any traction and credibility. If you want to be a leader within your community, take on what’s necessary to get you ahead, use the existing laws and regulations to your advantage, and leave the rest behind.
If you are a business owner or marketer, you know that social media is one of the top ways to interact with potential customers and get your brand out into the public eye. You have probably used Facebook to interact with existing and potential customers, and likely have heard of Instagram as an advertising and interaction platform.
Did you know that there are 1 billion active users monthly on Instagram? Of those 1 billion, at least half are engaging with not only friends, but with brands, too. Instagram users actually engage with brands 10 times more than they do on Facebook.
Using Instagram properly can make a huge difference in the engagement levels your business sees each month. One way to increase your brand awareness is through Instagram sponsored posts.
What Are Instagram Sponsored Posts?
Instagram sponsored posts are organic posts made by you on the Instagram platform that you can then use as an advertisement for your brand, so long as you put money behind it. Unlike traditional advertisements, you will use an existing organic post and all of its engagement to reach more Instagram users.
These will look like any regular Instagram post, but will say “Sponsored” next to your company’s name. Like this:
If you want to be able to target a specific audience, you should make use of true promoted posts. These posts will only appear on the Instagram platform. But, you can target them to a specific audience based on age, location and interests. You can add your website URL and even an action button to help drive potential customers to your website.
If you want to run engagement-oriented sponsored posts, you can choose a past Instagram post from your profile and use the targeting options that are available for typical Facebook and Instagram ads. The benefit of this type of sponsored post is that all engagement on and off platform will be transferred to the original post while the sponsored post is running. This increases your user-generated content (USG) and helps to spread the word of your brand.
How Are Sponsored Posts Different than Other Types of Instagram Ads?
Promoted and sponsored posts both focus on promoting existing posts as they currently are. This includes all user-generated content. Other types of Instagram ads focus on brand awareness, lead generation, conversions and traffic.
These ads will create new posts even if you are using the same image and caption as an existing post; they will not carry over comments left by users in the past on similar/identical posts. By creating a blank slate, you can’t capitalize on the engagement that exists on the original post.
When you initially create your sponsored post, you will be asked what the objective is for that post. You can choose from the following options:
The option you choose will determine who sees your ad. Both Instagram and Facebook will only show your ad to people their algorithms identify as most likely to take your desired actions. This means you may have a hard time getting more engagement while also getting new leads by creating just one sponsored post.
Creating Instagram Sponsored Posts in Ads Manager on Facebook
Because Facebook owns Instagram, you can create sponsored posts that can populate both platforms. The Ads Manager is extremely easy to use when creating a sponsored post.
Narrow or Broad Target Audience?
First, you will go to Facebook’s Create Ad page and choose “engagement” as your objective. Once you have chosen your objective, you will then begin choosing your targeting:
You may choose to create a narrow target audience if your brand will appeal to only a certain type of person.
Or you may choose to keep your targeted audience as broad and general as you can.
This choice depends on your brand and to whom the sponsored post would be most relevant.
While having a broad and general audience may allow you to reach a higher number of individuals with your sponsored post, having a more narrowed target audience may just get you more engagement on the post coming from individuals who are truly interested in your brand and what you have to offer them.
What to Post, Where to Post
Once you have chosen your target audience, you will need to choose your placement and determine how much you want to invest in this sponsored post. Choosing the correct platforms will affect whether people will be able to view likes, comments and shares. This can affect the overall engagement the sponsored post generates.
Once you have handled all the logistics of the post, it is time for the fun part: choosing your creative. This is the step where you review all of your previous Instagram posts and determine which organic post you would like to use as a sponsored post. In many cases, you will have a similar post on both Facebook and Instagram, so make sure you select the Instagram version of the post.
The final step is to review your ad and submit it. During this process, you will want to check that you have chosen the correct post, the correct target audience and the correct objective for this sponsored post.
When Should You Create Sponsored Posts on Instagram?
Instagram sponsored posts are not ideal for every situation; whether you should use sponsored posts or the traditional ad system will depend on your ultimate objective for this campaign. Are you looking to simply get more attention to your brand, convert engagement into profit, or increase local store traffic? Then a traditional ad may be a better option.
However, there are four cases when a sponsored post can reap benefits for your brand and business:
Shoppable Posts: Instagram allows business owners to tag a product in their images and create a link for users to purchase a product they like immediately. These posts only work on mobile and the Instagram platform, so you will want to use sponsored posts with Instagram-only placements.
More Brand Awareness and Visibility: Even brick-and-mortar companies can benefit from sponsored posts on Instagram. These posts can raise the awareness of your brand while allowing you to engage with current and potential customers. This engagement level can lead new customers to your store.
Accumulating More User-Generated Content: Again, using an organic post with plenty of user-generated content will gain you more UGC on a sponsored post. When people see posts that already have a ton of UGC, they are more likely to take notice of the content of your post.
Leverage Your Existing UGC: Chances are you have at least one post that is doing really well in the engagement department. If this is the case, you should consider using this post in a sponsored campaign, as it will likely do well with a larger audience. As a bonus, the user-generated content it has already earned will carry over into the sponsored post.
Sponsored Posts and Traditional Ads Can Go Hand in Hand
Instagram sponsored posts in conjunction with traditional Instagram Ads can help you reach a diverse set of goals for your business. Traditional ads serve to drive specific actions, while sponsored posts are available to boost the momentum of your existing organic posts. When getting started, you should test out both and see which works best for your individual business needs. You will likely see differences in the way your audience responds to each type.
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