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Our Corona Support Action Plan

This is an unprecedented time in our history. We are experiencing a period of uncertainty and hyper-vigilance that we won’t forget. The pandemic impacts many areas of our daily life. And you’re likely thinking about the way your business will be affected. We want you to know that we are here to support you. We’re doing what we can to help our customers and our community navigate this challenging time. Here are the details about how we plan to help, and a sincere ask for your input on what more we can do for you.  

ACTIONS WE’RE TAKING

   

Free Tools & Resources

  As this issue has escalated, we’ve begun curating information that would help our clients thrive during these uncertain times. Check out our recent blog about measures you can take to generate business while practicing social distance. We created a brand new referral directory, Good Company, to help our clients fill marketing gaps and promote their businesses. Joining our referral directory gives your website a back link that Google tracks and uses to improve your search ranking. Plus, by having a link on our domain, you get an extra search ranking boost from all the traffic going to the Wild Monkey family of sites. Reduced Prices We are waving the design fee and offering reduced rates on print orders from Prink through April 31.  

Online Community

Conditions surrounding the pandemic are constantly changing, and there’s no way to predict how this will impact us in the long term. But we’ve found that it helps to share creative ways to adapt to challenges, and we’re doing just that in our Facebook group, The Jungle. Lastly, we’ll be updating our community resources page as we find more information to share with you.  

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

  Please share your questions, feedback, and suggestions with us at info@wildmonkeydesign.com. We wish you the best and look forward to better times, Sincerely,

Ten Tips for Surviving a Pandemic

  • Lean into Digital Marketing – Many small businesses rely on word of mouth for incoming business. But social distancing poses unique challenges for operating our companies as soundly as we always have. That’s why now is a great time to move into social media marketing, content marketing, SEO, and influencer-led campaigns. You can start leaning into these digital channels by making small adjustments. Start your Facebook business page, clean up your LinkedIn business profile, claim your Google My Business listing, and join referral directories like Good Company for better search ranking. If it’s standard in your industry to meet new customers face-to-face to win business, try opening new channels over the web or social media to foster relationships.
 
  • Focus on More Online Sales – If your business has relied primarily on in-store purchases, but you already accept some online orders, try syncing your online and offline inventory. If you don’t already accept online orders, consider which of your products or services can be sold online. Do you offer services that can be adapted from face-to-face to digital?  
 
  • Offer Digital Services – If you are a service provider, consider which parts of your business can be done virtually. Things like training, teaching, coaching, advising, consulting, or counseling can often be done online vs. on-site. Offer online courses or start a virtual fitness class. Stream your live events, trade shows, or conferences. Host webinars or start a virtual summit or networking event instead. 
 
  • Serve a Need Unique to COVID-19 – shelves are bare, stress levels are high, schools and other municipalities have been shut down. Consider how social distancing may be impacting people and the creative ways that your business can address those unique problems. If you have a retail store, consider adding healthy essentials to your product offering. What can you offer now that will be of value when spending, hospitality, and tourism pick up again? More people are working from home. Can your business adapt to serve a home-office or home-school environment? 
 
  • Integrate Social Distancing – Are there parts of your business that absolutely can’t be digitized? Try offering order pick-up, delivery, or curbside services instead. You don’t have to hire a delivery driver. Vendors like Postmates have helped retailers grow local buzz with 3rd party product delivery. The more location-independent your business is, or can become during this time, the better.
 
  • Offer Gift Cards or Flexible Payments – gift cards can increase your cash flow while your business is closed or affected by social distancing. Ask your regular customers to purchase gift cards to show support. Many payment processors like Square offer gift cards. Bonus: You can even offer discounted gift cards; for example, offer $100 gift cards for $75. Social distancing has caused financial strain for businesses and households alike. Companies that offer flexible payment terms, financing, or installment plans may close higher ticket sales more efficiently.
 
  • Heavy up on Merchandise Sales – If you own a location-dependent business like a maker-space, studio, or restaurant, do you also sell merchandise? Sell your special sauce, seasoning, tools, tumblers, mugs, or apparel online. These times present an opportunity to generate interest in other areas of your business that may have gone neglected. If you don’t already offer merch, vendors like Printful offer on-demand print and order fulfillment, so gettings started with merchandise sales is relatively painless. Some restaurants have even opened pop-up shops to sell their perishable items that may not be available at grocery stores due to shortages.
 
  • Offer Other Ways to Shop – There’s more than just online and in-store purchases. A phone call often goes a long way for your overall customer experience. Get to know your customer base by letting your patrons know that they can shop by phone. Bonus: If you don’t normally deliver, consider offering delivery temporarily. 
 
  • Maintain Your Customer Experience – Don’t keep your customers in the dark. Communicate with them about any changes to your product or service offering, service interruptions, or amended hours in response to the pandemic. Using marketing tools like Mailchimp, or Easy Texting will make reaching out to your customer list much faster and easier.  
 
  • Find support – stay up to date with information to prepare for near and long term impact. Organizations like the U.S. Chamber offer resources for combatting the Coronavirus. If you are a veteran, minority, or woman-lead business owner, there may be exclusive resources available for you. 
Join us in our private Facebook community where, in addition to our regular sales and marketing tips, we are trading tips, and best practices for keeping our customers safe and our businesses thriving during this challenging time. 

The Tools You Could Be Using But Probably Didn’t Know Existed

Because we are passionate about helping small businesses, we make it a point to regularly be available for digital marketing and advertising questions. Our goal is to be helpful and resourceful whenever possible. Whether it’s during our monthly digital marketing office hours or on a scheduled 1×1, we’re always happy to provide assistance as you navigate the twists and turns of the digital landscape. One of the most frequent questions that we get asked is “which tools should I use?” Technology is constantly changing with new tools entering or adapting to the marketplace all the time. It can be tough to know which tools are right for you and your business. As a rule of thumb, the tools that we recommend must follow some general guidelines before we recommend them to our clients or partners.
  • Is it useful to the bottom line? – a tool is only as good as it is useful. If it doesn’t inch you forward toward increasing leads, sales, or revenue, chances are, it’s not the tool for our clients.
  • Is it accessible and easy to use? – accessibility is in the eye of the end user. If a tool is excessively expensive (ie. It doesn’t deliver any value or return on investment) or if it’s way too complicated to use, it’s probably not a good look for your business. Many small business are short on time and resources, especially when first starting out. We cannot in good conscious recommend a product that doesn’t help the client in the time and resource department.
  • Would we use it ourselves at A Squared Ads? – most tools that we recommend have been used by a member of our team in the past or are currently being used in the daily operations at our agency. We can confidently stand by the tools and apps that we recommend to our clients because we’re familiar with them and they drive real results.
With these main guidelines in mind, here are the tools you could be using but probably had no idea even existed.
  1. HubSpot CRM
  2. HubSpot Buyer Persona Generatorhttp://hubs.to/nDzW7 Learn what a buyer persona is and how to conduct research, surveys, and interviews to build your own. Create a buyer persona that your entire company can use to market, sell, and serve better.
  3. Canvahttps://www.canva.com/ need graphics but don’t want to hire a graphic designer? Here are some things that you can tackle with Canva
  4. Godaddy
  5. HootSuite – Automatically schedule posts. Hootsuite pricing is tiered based on your plan type. Paid plans start at $29 per month for a Professional plan and range up to $599 per month for a Business plan. Custom solutions are available for Enterprise organizations, which have their own unique pricing structure. Keep your social presence active 24/7 by automatically scheduling posts to fill the gaps in your scheduled content.
  6. MailChimp
  7. Planoly
  8. Zapierhttps://zapier.com/ – Connect Your Apps and Automate Workflows. Easy automation for busy people. Zapier moves info between your web apps automatically, so you can focus on your most important work. Over 1,000 apps.
  9. Rebrandlyhttps://www.rebrandly.com/ – Rebrandly is the most complete and reliable management platform for your links. The easiest way to create, measure and share short URLs with a custom domain name
  10. Google Drive
  11. Google Forms
  12. Square
  13. Calendlyhttps://calendly.com/
  14. iohttps://www.draw.io/
  15. Storybrandhttps://www.mystorybrand.com/ Clarify your message by creating a BrandScript. Create Marketing Materials that Work, Grow your business. They also have marketing courses and workshops
  16. Piktochart is the easy-to-use design tool that helps you tell your story whether it’s in the format of a presentation, report, banner, or infographic with the visual impact it deserves.
    1. https://piktochart.com/

The Tactical Funnel: Why it’s Vital to Your Ad Campaign

  Paid advertising is an investment in the growth of your business. It can help you drive more awareness for your brand, generate more leads, and increase revenue. Whether you’re on the fence or eager to invest in paid ads, it’s crucial to establish your advertising infrastructure before diving in. One of the first steps in establishing an advertising infrastructure is to develop a sales funnel. Your brand is more likely to make sales under the following conditions:
  • the contact has interacted with your business
  • the contact has become familiar with your brand
  • the contact decides that they like and trust the brand enough to make a purchase.
This process referred to as the “Know, Like and Trust” factor in marketing and advertising. It means that blasting an offer out into the universe won’t translate into more sales. Instead, your contacts must have a series of interactions with your brand that help them know, like, and trust your company before they make a purchase or become a client. These interactions are all part of the sales funnel, the blueprint plan for how you will acquire leads and funnel them down, converting them into revenue-generating customers. The funnel consists of three sections. Marketing and advertising efforts cover the top levels of the funnel, awareness, and interest. Sales efforts generally include evaluation and purchase at the bottom. Marketing and sales tend to converge in the mid-level of the funnel to cover prospects in the consideration and intent phase. With a well-planned sales funnel in place, paid ads can help generate traffic and promote awareness while you focus on closing the deal. Many small businesses and solopreneurs are missing revenue opportunities because they lack a tactical sales funnel. There is so much information available about this concept, but it can be difficult to digest if you’re just getting started. This article gives a simplified, high-level introduction to the sales funnel concept. [Get help with establishing your sales funnel and more]   

What is a Buyer Persona Plus Three Ways to Use It

It’s great to be open to a range of different customers but focusing on a specific buyer persona or target demographic can help improve the effectiveness of your marketing and brand positioning. For example, if your establishment is family-oriented, your brand colors, marketing material, offers, and promotions might cater to families and the things that are important to them (like kid-friendly menus or family deals). On the other hand, if your establishment is more upscale or adult-oriented, you might choose brand colors or messaging that panders to a higher income bracket with disposable income. This group could support increased pricing, exclusive offers, even after hours or professional events like mixers and happy hours.   Learn what a buyer persona is, how to create one and three ways to use it in this blog post.   What Is a Buyer Persona? According to HubSpot, buyer persona (also known as a customer avatar or customer profile) is “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” We would take this definition a step further and note that your buyer persona is just as much who your customer is– as who your customer is NOT.   Creating a Buyer Persona By constructing a profile of an existing customer using data from within the company, small business owners have a clearer view of the buying patterns and habits of the potential client. They can then make projections about the long-term value of that person as a customer. So where can you find the data you need to determine the habits of customers?
  • Website Data – review your website data to determine how much traffic you’re getting, how often you’re getting it, which pages your customers are viewing, and how often they come back.
  • Social Data – which social media channels are your customers connected to, who is engaging with your content and what types of content get the most engagement?
  • Transactional Data – examine your previous transactions to find out which group spends the most and determine the product or service that generates the most revenue.
  • CRM Data – CRM’s like HubSpot and Salesforce are great tools that help small businesses track contact history, correspondence, engagements, meetings, and the general relationship with the customer. Information within your CRM can help you identify gaps within your sales and marketing process so you can make more sales.
  • Mail Data – mail platforms like MailChimp and Constant Contact can be used to establish, maintain, and grow your mailing list. Within these platforms, you can review your data to determine the open and response rates of your e-mail marketing campaigns.
  • Point of Sale – if you operate a brick and mortar business or frequently interact with customers in person, it’s likely that you have a general idea about your buyer persona. Consider the requests, questions, concerns, and complements of your current customers. What observations have you or your sales staff made from customer interactions?
Tools like HubSpot’s Make My Persona tool can help https://www.hubspot.com/make-my-persona   Three Ways to Use Your Buyer Persona Now that you’ve learned what a buyer persona is and a few different ways to create one, here are three ways that you can apply it within your business.
  • Tailor content to suit the customer – by sending out personalized messages and experiences, businesses engage customers and build a long-term relationship.
  • Sell more to an existing customer – mining customer profiles to see their spending habits, likes, and interests enable marketers to make personalized offers.
  • Reward loyal customers – identifying the right customers, and offering gifts and incentives tailored to their taste increases customer lifetime value.

What Makes You Love A Brand

In today’s consumer-driven world, there’s an onslaught of competing products that have identical features but differing brand names. As someone who actively toes the line between consumer and marketer, I can’t help but wonder what it is that makes us love some brands; why are we so loyal to some but not others? I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review that discussed how brands gain and maintain competitive advantages. It stated that given a choice, the human brain would like to do the same things repeatedly, claiming that each time a consumer chooses a product, that product gains an advantage over the products the consumer didn’t want.

This is the Blog that never ends it just goes on and on my friends!