Google Launches Local Events Search, Milestone is Right There with Them

Yesterday Google announced a new feature as part of their mobile search results capabilities. Mobile users can now find local events happening near them by simply searching for them on Google. This capability is a continuing effort to make mobile devices more beneficial to users as mobile usage by consumers continues to soar.

The new local events feature relies on Google identifying sources of local events data from websites that have events calendars enabled, and that are properly tagged with the relevant schemas. Milestone customers are already benefitting from this new feature if they have Milestone’s Event Calendar feature enabled on their website and populated with local events.

“Staying ahead of the trends has always been a huge priority for Milestone,” said Walter Paliska, VP of Marketing for Milestone. “We were there when schemas became important, we were there when Google AMP was launched, and we are right there now with local events.”

Milestone customers who have purchased and deployed the Events Calendar don’t need to “do” anything to have their properties included in search results. In fact, in preliminary testing conducted at Milestone, our clients are often appearing on page one of local events searches being conducted on mobile phones, simply through the event data that is already posted on their websites. As consumers continue to expand their usage of mobile devices, having access to events and things to do in their area is critical to a successful experience. Location-based businesses like hospitality companies, banks, financial institutions and retailers can take advantage of these opportunities to not only solve real-world problems for their consumers, but also to create exceptional experiences for their customers.

Screenshot of search results for Milestone client The Abbey Resort in Fontana, WI.

Milestone customers who don’t have the Events Calendar feature on their website can add this capability easily by contacting Milestone at 1-408-492-9055 or by email at [email protected] Location-based businesses that are not Milestone customers are also welcome to inquire about moving their properties to Milestone to benefit from advanced technologies like Local Events Listings as well as the myriad of other technological advancements that have made Milestone a premier provider of digital presence solutions for location-based businesses.


Source: Paid Search

New Tutorial: Advanced Electric FX! 100% AE

In this 3-in-1 Tutorial we get the high-voltage action! This massive 56 min tutorial has so many tips and tricks you are sure to learn something new!

Techniques:

  • Direction Lightning Movement
  • Dynamic Reflections with realistic falloff
  • Sub Surface Illuminated Clouds
  • Interactive Lightning bolts
  • Nice Soft Glow recipe
  • No extra Plug-ins needed! 100% After Effects!

Project files and footage coming up! After I gets some sleep!

Source: Video Copilot

Electricity Tutorial Teaser!

Solving some interesting problems with Lightning and Electricity! Watch for the tutorial on Tuesday!

Had a great time at NAB, Adobe has recorded my presentation, will be posting that soon! Thanks to everyone who stopped by, can’t wait to show you all the stuff we’ve been working on!

 

Going over to Present at the Adobe Booth! If you are at NAB, please drop by at 2PM!

A post shared by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Apr 24, 2017 at 12:03pm PDT

Source: Video Copilot

Milestone Wins Hermes Creative Awards for Exceptional Web Design

Milestone, a leading provider of digital marketing software and services for hospitality, retail and finance, won two platinum, two gold and one honorable mention for client websites at the recently announced Hermes Creative Awards.

The Hermes Creative Awards are an international competition for creative professionals and agencies. The Hermes Creative Awards are administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals and recognize the highest standards of excellence in traditional and emerging media and honors individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement.

Milestone’s visually compelling custom website designs are created by an award-winning team with extensive website design and digital marketing experience. Built with Milestone CMS, a next generation cloud-based content management system architected for high performance, consumer-facing web sites. This platform has been built around three core principles: speed, mobile first capabilities and compatibility with modern search technologies like voice search and machine learning. Milestone websites are fully responsive, with user-friendly navigation and are designed to drive conversions and generate higher ROI.

The following website designs were chosen for recognition:

Platinum Award: The Chase Park Plaza (http://www.chaseparkplaza.com/) – an historic, luxury boutique hotel located in downtown St. Louis

Platinum Award: Grand Solmar Land’s End (http://www.grandsolmarresort.com/) – a luxury Cabo San Lucas resort at the ocean’s edge

Gold Award: Seaport Boston (http://www.seaportboston.com/) – a Boston waterfront hotel at the heart of the seaport district

Gold Award: Acme Hotel Company (http://www.acmehotelcompany.com/) – downtown Chicago’s trendiest lifestyle boutique hotel alternative

Honorable Mention: Randy Watkins Golf Group (http://www.randywatkinsgolf.com/) – owner and operator of three Mississippi golf courses

“It is wonderful to have the privilege of working with some of the most talented people in the country in my 20+ years of leading Milestone,” said Benu Aggarwal, Founder and President of Milestone. “We are blessed to have committed clients who trust us to utilize the latest technologies and strategies to produce amazing work and I am honored that industry leaders recognize our talent and capabilities.”

To learn more about Milestone’s award-winning website designs and digital marketing strategies, attend the annual digital marketing conference – Engage – in Chicago, July 17-18. For more information about this conference, please visit: http://www.milestoneinternet.com/2017-digital-marketing-conference.aspx.

For more information about Milestone’s digital marketing software and services, please visit: http://www.milestoneinternet.com/.


Source: Paid Search

Sales Letter Secrets To Living Happily Ever After

entryimage-salesletter

Crafting sales letters is something we are all largely familiar with. I’m sure you’ve buried your nose in plenty of materials guiding you through the standard ‘how-to’ steps that form the basic shell of your next sales piece.

(You can also refer to last week’s post, where I included reference to Dan Kennedy’s ‘The Ultimate Sales Letter’…)

Now for this week’s post. Which, I can tell you now, will NOT give you steps like headline, problem, solution, bullets etc. What I’m going to explore is the nucleus of the sales letter form, the technical stitching and underlying layers that add substance to what you already recognize as the steps to writing a sales letter… and how to tailor it to an EXACT audience.

Quite simply, your sales letter must be readable. If it doesn’t make sense, you won’t sell anything.

You need to consider a number of different factors when it comes to your sales letter’s readability:

*Sentence length: what’s going to read better? Reams of long sentences with too many clauses and badly-formed syntax, or short, easily-digestible sentences that get straight to the point?

*Correlation: how well do your promises correlate to what your customer avatar desires/needs?

*Paragraph length: note: lengthy paragraphs aren’t visually appealing to people who want to read through your letter and still have time to eat their dinner.

*Vocabulary choices: do your words paint a compelling and irresistible picture in your reader’s mind? Do your words pack a punch? Can readers still understand what you’re saying?

When you sit there and think about your audience, do NOT (I repeat- DO NOT) assume they’ll understand your letter at the same level you do when you write and edit it.

Remember- not everyone in the world is a competent reader… while you may have majored in English at university, others may have found their niche elsewhere, such as math. Some people will read your letter and struggle with some of your phrasing.

This where you need to find equilibrium between your words and their effect. Use power words in your marketing efforts, but make sure your writing isn’t over-complicated.

Words matter. So many people I speak to who studied English at college say the same thing; there’s always a better word. For example, why label your lead magnet as merely a ‘workbook’ when you could probably sell more if you called it an ‘expert guide’?

Think about your verbs. If your offer includes a set of DVDs that help people learn more about starting their own bakery business, don’t say ‘learn’. Say ‘discover’, so when people read it they think less about ‘learning’ as they did at high school and more about ‘discovering’ something new and awesome that can make them lots of money.

Now, reiteration is something that constantly crops up when it comes to selling. Reiterating the offer, reiterating the unbeatable price if taken advantage of today, reiteration of why this product will solve all their problems.

When writing a sales letter, reiteration can prove to be successful when harnessed and leveraged in the right way. Again, I urge you to find dynamic equilibrium. Repeat, but not to the point where your reader gets sick of your words and promptly discards your letter into the trash.

You could make your claim in your headline. That’s the first instance taken care of. Then, you can reiterate in the following examples:

*In the bullet points (re-phrased)

*In the testimonials

*In the offer

*In the guarantee

*In the title for the order form

*In the P.S

 

Finally, I bring your attention to a major factor that influences the writing of a sales letter for a specific audience. Dual Readership.

You’ll find half of your recipients will fall under the ANALYTICAL category, where they take the time to read through long copy, make logical decisions based on statistics and facts, spend time musing over the testimonials and only take action when they’ve been provided with an avalanche of information.

The other half are IMPULSIVE; people who skim read, look out for the large bolded headlines, highlighted words and phrases, photographs, celebrity social proof and are stirred by emotional pulls.

Got an important promise embedded in a short paragraph? Underline it. Maybe highlight it too. Every heading and subheading can benefit from being emboldened. Italicize other words and phrases that you feel serve a bigger purpose in your selling endeavours.

In order to appeal to both readership paths, you must again search for and nail the appropriate balance. Your sales letter should offer enough information to satisfy the analytical readers, but not so much that the impulsive readers give up.

I recently sent out a piece of sales copy to a list of people, who we at GKIC have invited to attend our upcoming bootcamp this month. How did I lay it out? Completely handwritten, with titles written in a thicker pen. In fact, my opening headline was ‘I Don’t See Your Name On The GKIC Bootcamp List???’

 

Image uploaded from iOS (3)

 

Every so often I underlined words and phrases, such as ‘HUGE mistake’ and ‘This really is for everyone’. I even added appropriate strikethroughs when explaining how much money people have made from our bootcamp strategies. It’s these little touches that both the analytical and the impulsive notice.

As my P.S, I used the reiteration tactic; ‘you’re probably wondering why I sent this as a handwritten letter? In a plain envelope? I did it because it’s one of the most successful formats that has now been used in over 100 different business categories… at the bootcamp, I’ll tell you more about it.’ A successful way to drop the subject of my entire letter into the close!

I’m going to leave you with two things.

Firstly, a quote. Sean Platt discloses in his article ‘5 Reasons Why All Freelancers Should Learn To Write A Sales Letter’; “Sales letters are roads paved with words which lead buyers to solutions, sellers to profit, and writers closer to their happily ever afters”.

You, dear friend, are both the seller AND the writer. Get your sales letter right and you’ll profit AND live happily ever after.

Secondly… an exclusive announcement.

At GKIC we’ve been working really hard to make our mark across another content channel; Podcasts.

Podcasts provide an excellent opportunity for busy business enthusiasts to tune in and listen to your strategies, whether it’s on the subway or in a cab, getting ready in the morning or relaxing last thing at night.

Introducing our very own podcast:“The Small Business Marketing Hour: Hosted by GKIC

gkic-podcast

 

We don’t want to give too much away… so why not check it out for yourself?

Available now on:

*iTunes

*Sticher

*TuneIn

*Google Play

*Soon to be available on I Heart Radio (May 21)

Tune in and give us a listen.

gkic.com/podcast

Don’t forget to subscribe…

 

Source: Dan Kennedy

CH&LA Southern California Speaking Event – Top Ten Trends for Digital Marketing in 2017 and Beyond

Event: Southern California Hotel & Lodging Conference

Where: Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center, 601 W McKinley Ave | Pomona California, 91768

When: Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 12:00am – 12:00pm

CH&LA and AAHOA have partnered to bring the largest one-day conference and trade show in Northern California to the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center this year. Each year over 450 hoteliers attend this special event to get educated on a variety of industry topics and to attend the trade show to see and buy the latest new products and services.

Click Here for More Info

About the Speakers:

Tammie Carlisle is a 16 year hospitality industry veteran who brings an extensive background in hospitality sales and marketing to Milestone where she is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with hospitality clients and industry associations in the Western United States. Tammie has also spoken at several CH&LA and CABBI events and conferences in previous years. Tammie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of California Santa Cruz.

Craig Carbonniere, Senior Business Development Manager for Milestone, is a 12 year hospitality industry veteran. He brings an extensive hospitality management background to Milestone and is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with hospitality clients and industry associations in Southern California. Prior to becoming a supplier, Craig managed various hospitality disciplines for Grand Pacific Resorts, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, and The Walt Disney Company. Craig also serves as Vice President of Communications for his local HSMAI chapter and is known as a trusted advisor for developing hotel ecommerce strategy.


Source: Paid Search

CH&LA Northern California Speaking Event – Top Ten Trends for Digital Marketing in 2017 and Beyond

Event: Northern California Hotel & Lodging Conference

Where: South San Francisco Conference Center, 255 Airport Blvd | South San Francisco CA, 94080

When: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 12:00am – 12:00pm

CH&LA and AAHOA have partnered to bring the largest one-day conference and trade show in Northern California to the South San Francisco Conference Center this year. Each year over 450 hoteliers attend this special event to get educated on a variety of industry topics and to attend the trade show to see and buy the latest new products and services.

Click Here for More Info

About the Speaker: Tammie Carlisle

Tammie is a 16 year hospitality industry veteran who brings an extensive background in hospitality sales and marketing to Milestone where she is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with hospitality clients and industry associations in the Western United States. Tammie has also spoken at several CH&LA and CABBI events and conferences in previous years. Tammie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of California Santa Cruz.


Source: Paid Search

ADA Conformity: It’s More Than Just Lawsuits

You may have heard about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but do you know how it applies to your digital presence?

What is the ADA?

The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. As part of the ADA, the law mandated that websites should abide by a minimum set of best practices to ensure that users with impairments would have equal access to the world-wide web. The challenge with the ADA conformity clause is that Congress did not establish any guidelines regarding what qualified as an ADA conforming website. Over the years, as the legal system has dealt with lawsuits related to ADA conformity and website access, courts have leveraged guidelines established by the world-wide web consortium (W3C), as guidelines by which to interpret the ADA conformity of specific sites. The W3C guidelines, known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are organized in three different levels, level A, AA and AAA. The court system has largely held that websites must meet level A and AA guidelines to be considered “conforming.”

Why care about ADA?

The default answer, of course, is legal protection. Over the past few years a series of well publicized law suits have been brought against website owners, particularly small to mid-sized businesses, resulting in awards that range from as little as a few thousand dollars to many tens of thousands of dollars. While protecting your business from ADA lawsuits is a very viable reason to ensure your website is ADA conforming, there is a much larger issue at play. In fact, by not providing ADA access to your website, you are simply alienating the nearly 20%* of US

consumers who have some form of disability. Having ADA conformity on a business website is more than good legal advice, it’s smart business advice.

How ADA Impacts your site

Having established that ADA conformity is a good business proposition, what exactly do you need to consider before making your site ADA conforming? ADA conformity for websites is largely based on four core areas:

Visual How does the website work when visually impaired visitors arrive? Is it screen-reader friendly? Are there elements of the site that are only accessible with a mouse and do not have keyboard access?

Auditory Auditory conformity is largely focused on the interaction of audio and the user. Specifically, do any videos included on the website contain closed captioning?

Tactile Can users access your website without relying on a mouse? Is keyboard navigation of all items on your site, including carousels, possible?

Cognitive Cognitive conformity deals with issues around font size, color, contrast and accessibility for users who may have learning or interpretive impairments.

The ADA Opportunity

The fact that nearly 20% of Americans have some form of a disability should be of significance for any business. The challenge of ADA conformity for your website starts with protecting yourself from lawsuits. In fact, since 2015, in the hospitality industry alone, more than 240 lawsuits have been filed, many receiving awards between $10,000 to $75,000 per lawsuit.** When you consider the cost of updating your site, the benefits of becoming ADA conforming are obvious. There is, however, a second, more important consideration. ADA conformity is more than just about protecting yourself from suits. In fact, a website that is not ADA conforming creates a barrier to the 20% of Americans who have disabilities; becoming ADA conforming is not just safe, it’s good business.

Keys to conformity

There are three key considerations to ensuring that your website is ADA conforming: Technology, process, and design.

On the technology front, the most important question is about your Content Management System (CMS). Is your CMS capable of creating ADA conforming websites? Do you have alert-systems in place in the CMS that will flag when ADA conformity issues are introduced in your site? For example, when installing 3rd party applications website owners should make sure to understand the impact of these additions. ADA conformity is not a “do it and forget it” approach; modern websites are constantly evolving, changing, and being updated. It’s critical to have a CMS that is able to not only create ADA conforming content, but is also able to identify ADA problems in your website.

With the constant evolution of websites, having an ADA-friendly development process is also critical. If your website development is done in-house, you need to ensure that planning and testing for ADA conformity is a core part of your website design and development process. If you work with an agency or a third-party vendor it’s important that your vendor have a well thought out and documented process for creating ADA conforming content and checking for problems.

Finally, ADA conforming design must consider a whole set of subtleties and nuances that might escape the untrained eye. Once again, it’s essential to ensure that your in-house or agency designers understand ADA conformity issues and have had experience dealing with ADA conforming design.

Examples of Issues with ADA

To understand the complexities of ADA conformity, consider a couple of quick examples of some of the subtle changes that must be made to a traditional website to achieve ADA conformity:

  • Skip to content ADA conforming websites must provide a means for a user to quickly skip non-screen-reader friendly content like hero images and jump to the text part of your website.
  • Manual carousel control Website carousels may be popular and fashionable, but they can create problems for users who have disabilities. ADA conforming carousels must be manually controlled and avoid excessive use of animations.
  • Full keyboard control How much of your website can be controlled and used with just a keyboard? Having full access to all content without having to rely on a mouse is a critical part of ADA conformity
  • Screen reader friendliness Is your website friendly to people with visual disabilities? Is your content screen-reader friendly?
  • Field label problems Finally, consider something as simple and, seemingly, straight-forward as a form on your website. While placing field labels within the field may provide a “unique” look, it often makes the form unreadable for screen readers.

Getting certified

You can self-certify for ADA conformity. In addition, there are several third-party organizations that will provide ADA conformity audits to provide you with a full report, either confirming that your website conforms to ADA guidelines as of a specific date, or providing you with an audit of the changes necessary to become ADA conforming. There is no such thing as a “guarantee” that having an ADA-conforming website will provide 100% protection from lawsuits. It does, however, significantly lower your risk.

Summary

The issue of ADA conformity for websites is not new, and is not likely to go away any time soon. Any consumer-facing business, but especially location-based businesses like hospitality, retail, or financial-services businesses, should make ADA conformity a core part of their business strategy and of their website development process. Not having ADA conformity as a central goal of your website strategy, is simply asking for trouble, and sends the wrong signal to your client-base.

* https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/miscellaneous/cb12-134.html

** https://www.wsj.com/articles/companies-face-lawsuits-over-website-accessibility-for-blind-users-1478005201


Source: Paid Search

Writing Headlines That Close In For The Kill… And Get It

entryimage-headlines

 

Please raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by a headline.

By victimized, I mean it’s been waiting sneakily in your line of vision with baited breath, and as you gaze in its direction, BAM! it pops out, all 72pt and bolded, and even though you may only read a random word from its imposing sequence, your moving gaze can’t help but stop.

There’s an urgency within you, a burning desire to carry on reading.

And why is this?

Saying something of genuine importance and interest to the recipient usually succeeds. You say it with a headline”- Dan Kennedy, The Ultimate Sales Letter.

 

UltimateSalesLetter

 

I’m not talking about the ‘how-tos’ or other generic headlines that don’t do the rest of their piece’s content justice, or in other cases are residing quietly at the bottom of the barrel.

No, I’m talking about headlines that have BODY behind them. Headlines that are so darn powerful, bound in flesh and pumped with blood that they evoke response from their recipients.

I’ll start with LENGTH. Long as opposed to short. At GKIC, we’re a fan of both. Take for instance, this long headline that was used to fill a seminar:

In Two Breathtakingly Intense Days, I Will Present Breakthrough Income, Wealth, Marketing And Success Strategies And Honest-To-God “Secrets” Exclusively For Professional Speakers Superior To Anything You’ve Ever Seen, Heard Or Even Imagined, With Their Value To You Assured By The Most Daring Guarantee Ever Offered By Any Seminar”

… but even a two-worder ‘Stocks Suck’ reiterates the fact that idea trumps form.

But length doesn’t just apply to number of words. It also alludes to TIME.

What your headline says and how it says it are absolutely critical. You compare it to the door-to-door salesperson wedging a foot in the door, buying just enough time to deliver one or two sentences that will melt resistance, create interest, and elevate his or status from annoying pest to welcome guest; you’ve got just about the same length of time, the same opportunity.

entryimage-headlines2

So, once you’ve come up with an idea for your headline (whether it consists of less than five syllables or more words than the Miami Dolphins’ NFL game on Christmas Day 1971 had minutes), you need to make sure your BENEFIT is super-clear… so that when given the time, your headline doesn’t go unread.

Think about dog sleds in Ottawa. Usually they lead with the strongest canine at the front, right? Apply this rule to your next headline; telegraph your BEST BENEFIT, the one that really sells your product/service, the one that is guaranteed to get the best reaction, and whack that in there among all those power words and all that punctuation.

For example…

You’re a toothpaste manufacturer. There’s lots of benefits of your new toothpaste that you could list, like plaque-blasting stats and gum health. BUT, what do people generally want? They want white teeth and nice-smelling breath. Insert the whitening stats and you’re onto a winner.

As I read more of Dan’s ‘The Ultimate Sales Letter’, I came across another piece of valuable content: ‘How To Flag A Reader And Let Him Know This Is For You.

One of the simplest ways to strengthen a headline is attachment of a Flag. The Flag is brief, as brief as a single word, stuck on the front of the headline, to reach out and grab the attention of certain specific prospects, by telegraphing that the message is specifically for them.

Here’s some headlines PRE Flag…

  • Corns Gone in 5 Days or Money Back
  • Guaranteed Weight Loss Up To 15 Pounds First 15 Days- With No Exercise
  • 28 Days to Healthier Gums

 

And what they read like once the Flag has been attached…

  • Waiters and Waitresses on Your Feet for Hours: Corns Gone In 5 Days or Money Back
  • Disappointed Dieters: Guaranteed Weight Loss Up to 15 Pounds First 15 Days- with No Exercise
  • Seniors: 28 Days to Healthier Gums

 

Or, to improve them even more, you can add a ‘Problem Flag’…

  • Foot Pain? Corns Gone in 5 Days or Money Back
  • Embarrassing Belly Bulge? Guaranteed Weight Loss Up to 15 Pounds First 15 Days- with No Exercise
  • Blood on Your Toothbrush? 28 Days to Healthier Gums

 

As you can see, there are specific elements to headlines that, when considered and implemented properly, can have a profound effect on THEIR effect. We all know the rule about problems- make sure you identify your prospect’s problem, agitate it until they’re almost begging for relief, and then offer them the solution.

Casual excited entrepreneur reading a letter with good news in a desktop at workplace

John Carlton reiterates my point in the 7th Step of his Simple Writing System:

‘Hooks’

And cue his famous one-legged golfer headline:

Want to slash strokes from your game almost overnight?

Amazing Secret Discovered By One-Legged Golfer Adds 50 Yards To Your Drives, Eliminates Hooks and Slices… And Can Slash Up To 10 Strokes From Your Game Almost Overnight!

John’s steps to getting that all-important hook (which, when placed in your headline, makes your sales copy so much more successful) include gossip, opinions, rumours, common wisdom, myths, legends and competition. All of these are relatable between YOU and your prospect.

If you’ve Flagged your headline, you could add in a few impressive statistics that are relative to those prospects. It all depends on who you’re targeting and how much research you’re willing to put in.

People generally will try and NOT read your headline if they can help it.

Make sure they CAN’T help it!

Source: Dan Kennedy

Where are the Tutorials! + NAB 2017!

Yo Andrew! Where are all the Tutorials!?! A reasonable question actually.

I don’t have a simple answer but maybe I can share a bit of my process with you.

This year I’ve been working on a bunch of amazing content for Video Copilot! My goal was to dig deep into default plug-ins and try to find things that were NEW and interesting!

The cycle begins!

ACTUAL PROCESS From the last couple of weeks:

As you can see, every deviation would evolve into something new. This basically goes on until I feel like I’ve come across something that is new that is innovative and also LOOKS COOL! And while each step of this process would make a formidable tutorial, there is always something that will make it better.

The problem is that everything can be a little bit better. And perhaps this mindset is a bit of a curse for a guy that makes tutorials!!!

The truth is that I care a lot about making Tutorials. Genuinely. I don’t want to create another lightning tutorial, I want to create one that adds something new and challenges my skills as well.

There is a certain satisfaction from trying to use 100% built-in After Effects Plug-ins. And that is what I have been trying to do recently.

But I also get that it’s frustrating to hear “Coming soon” so I’ve been trying not to talk about things until they are done. The madness is not lost on me! But because of my tutorials “process” several weeks go by and THEN I really want to deliver a great tutorial. And now that it’s taking so long I want to make it even better! It’s a viscous cycle! Which makes bouncing back and fourth between projects very hard because if you have ever opened an old project after a while… there’s going to be some notes!

Needless to say, Tutorials are not dead, in fact this process has lead to some incredible techniques and content that I can’t wait to share! I just need to knock them out!

If you are interested, I recently talked a bit about this and other things with my friend Ash on the Collective Podcast!



BTW, If you are at NAB this week, please drop by the Adobe booth!

 

Electro-Shock! With sound! 100% AE! #no3rdparty #aftereffects

A post shared by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Apr 21, 2017 at 1:23pm PDT

Source: Video Copilot

Get the Most Bang for Your Buck Out of the Customer Journey [Webinar]

Register for the complimentary Google and Milestone joint webinar on optimizing marketing spend in the customer journey.
This webinar will focus on three key areas of how the customer journey affects businesses today:

  • Understanding the customer journey
  • Consumer behavior in each stage of the journey
  • Measuring the customer journey to optimize spend

See how you can measure the direct impact of your marketing programs across the various stages of the customer journey and how to optimize your marketing spend to yield the best results.

Webinar Registration


Source: Paid Search

Drive Higher ROI from Your Website while Competing with OTA’s.

New Milestone CMS feature returns $21 FOR EVERY $1 YOU INVEST IN the Revenue Recovery Module

A hotel operates in an environment that is getting increasingly competitive. At the same time, OTA fees keep rising year-over-year. In such an environment, website conversion rate is always a key indicator to any hospitality business. On average, one third of visitors will begin a reservation but only 5% will complete the booking. In a study done by Sales Cycle*, 81% of people abandoned their travel bookings online. With the average hotel’s conversation rate around 2-3%, increasing conversion rates means directly driving the top line.


While these statistics may seem troublesome, the good news is that there is a compelling strategy that is available to help the situation. Over 30% of customers are willing to book the same day and over 50% within the same week. That’s an opportunity ripe for the taking. Milestone now offers a new feature as part of its award-winning content management system (CMS) designed to directly help business professionals like you take charge and drive higher returns from your existing website.

THE REVENUE RECOVERY MODULE

Our Revenue Recovery Module is one of the most effective ways of directly enhancing your bottom line and driving online bookings for your hotel. It is the only type of marketing communication that remains private while delivering a personal connection to your potential hotel guest. Most importantly, it has an opt-in process that turns it into absolute permission marketing.

1. Reservation Retargeting Email Campaign: Encourages the visitor to complete their original booking.

  • Emails are auto scheduled the moment a user abandons a reservation without converting.
  • Milestone will set up your email account, design your emails and develop your automated email campaigns.
  • Email campaigns are integrated with your booking engine.

Email captured during the booking process which will be used to send retargeting email campaigns to drive back conversions.

 

2. Reservation Reminder: The user can request an email reminder to book later

  • Milestone will develop for you an automated email campaign that are auto scheduled at the request of the user.

Email Auto reminder request

 

3. Reservation Abandonment Promotions: Marketing Promotion messaging displayed when users on your website display “exit intent.”

  • Milestone will develop for you automated site abandonment promotional messaging that will be programmed into your existing Milestone Marketing website.
  • Marketing promotion messages are triggered based on agreed upon settings and visitor interactions determined by client.

Marketing promotion banner

 

STILL WONDERING IF IT DRIVES CONVERSIONS?

We tested these new features on our live customer websites over a period of 2 months to gauge the effectiveness of the campaigns and their ability to drive revenue and bookings and found that hotels could drive a relatively high conversion rate of ~6-8% and a ROI as high as $21: $1.

*Your results may vary **70% would NOT have returned on their own & is completely new business.

Your website is your key branding and eCommerce asset and it’s never too late to take ownership of your eCommerce strategy. At Milestone, we help over 2000 customers drive higher conversions and revenue. To learn more about the Revenue Recovery Module features and pricing, please contact us at [email protected], 408-492-9055 or www.milestoneinternet.com.

*https://blog.salecycle.com/stats/booking-abandonment-why-people-abandon-their-booking/

 

About Milestone CMS:
Milestone CMS is a next generation cloud-based content management system architected for high performance, consumer-facing web sites. This platform allows hotels, retailers and financial services organizations to rapidly deploy and manage websites, location pages and micro-sites with great ease and at a fraction of the cost of existing systems. Milestone CMS has been built around three core principles: speed, mobile first capabilities and compatibility with modern search technologies like voice search and machine learning. Milestone CMS allows companies to build websites that consistently score over 80 on Google’s speed tests for both desktop and mobile, and that are powered by innovative technologies like Google AMP.

Contributed by Gaurav Varma, Product Marketing Manager


Source: Paid Search

HSMAI Oregon Speaking Event: Top 10 Digital Marketing Trends in 2017

Title: Informing Members of HSMAI Oregon Chapter about the top 10 digital marketing trends in 2017.

Event: HSMAI Oregon Chapter Sales and Marketing Meeting

Where: Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel, 8235 NE Airport Way, Portland, OR 97220

When: April 20, 2017, 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Search marketing continues to change and evolve. Learn how to grow revenues using different digital marketing strategies – search, local, mobile, social media and more. In this fast-paced session, Tammie Carlisle, AVP of Sales and Customer Service at Milestone, Inc. will cover ten of the top travel trends in 2017. Voice search and artificial intelligence are just two of the topics that will be covered in this session. You will walk away with practical tips and ideas you can apply at your hotel to stay ahead of the curve.

LINK: http://hsmaioregon.com/meetinginfo.php?id=19&ts=1490989628

About the Speaker: Tammie Carlisle

Tammie is a 16 year hospitality industry veteran who brings an extensive background in hospitality sales and marketing to “Milestone Internet Marketing” where she is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with hospitality clients and industry associations in the Western United States. Tammie has also spoken at several CH&LA and CABBI events and conferences in previous years. Tammie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of California Santa Cruz.

 


Source: Paid Search

The 10 Rules of Direct Response Marketing

entryimage-10rules
If you’re in the Direct Response Marketing game, and you’re not already asking yourself, “what can I do to increase revenue FAST?” every minute of the day, then I urge you to continue reading.

Freelance direct response copywriter Dean Rieck says: “Response is one of the five keys of successful direct marketing. And if you have that, the other four don’t matter.

Simply put, Direct Response Marketing is designed to provoke an IMMEDIATE response from the customer, through clear CTAs (calls to action) and other techniques, in order to generate reactions and feedback while encouraging decision-making.

That’s all well and good, and to be honest it’s pretty self-explanatory, right?

Which is why we at GKIC make it our aim to arm marketers with every single tool they need to market efficiently, because although this process sounds simple enough, the ins and outs can actually be quite challenging.

Generating a direct response from consumers isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sure, lots of people are taken in by mediocre advertising, but if you REALLY want to make the big bucks then you need to master the following 10 rules (outlined by our founder Dan Kennedy in his book, ‘No B.S. Direct Marketing- The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Direct Marketing For Non-Direct Marketing Businesses’).

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Think of these as the 10 Commandments! (in order to succeed thou shalt implement them wisely and then thou shalt get results…)

1. There Will Always Be An Offer or Offer(s)

NOTHING, I mean nothing, goes out your door without offers.

To generate a response from your consumers, you need an irresistible offer that is going to urge them into taking action IMMEDIATELY. What will you offer them? Is it going to be of value to them? How will it improve their current situation? Ask yourself these questions, and NEVER end a ‘conversation’ with your audience without making the offer.

Dan states that you’ll find a lot of businesses get by with ‘implied offers’. They’ll give all their details but won’t ACTUALLY say what it is they’ll do for you.

But what REALLY generates a response is direct marketing that tells the consumer how your product can enhance their life, solve their problems, make their day better etc, and the steps they need to take in order to reap the benefits.

THIS is how you make money.

2. There Will Be Reason To Respond Right Now

If you’re unfamiliar with direct-response copywriter John Carlton, I recommend you get familiar right now. A friend of Dan’s, John advises imagining your prospective customer as a gigantic sloth, unlikely to move, with its phone out of reach.

You need to think about this sloth when constructing your offer. Is a plain, mediocre offer going to cause that sloth to move, reach out for its phone and take action? Probably not.

Your offer should generate a direct response. That’s the whole point. I reiterate my point about providing value to your prospects- if you can truly convince them that investing in your product/service will answer their prayers and satisfy their current desires, then you’re onto a winner.

3. Clear Instructions

I’d like to turn your attention to Dan’s two sub-rules:

* Confused consumers do nothing

* Most people can follow directions

Anything you put together in your next strategy, whether it’s a flier, an advert, a sales letter etc, make sure the pathway to taking action is clear for the consumer…. “with high sidewalls (to prevent the prospect from wandering off)”.

If you’re currently sending things out WITHOUT clear instructions, STOP. Make some changes.

4. There Will Be Tracking And Measurement

3d rendering of an success concept

Dan says; “you need real, hard facts and data to make good, intelligent marketing decisions.

Do you want to make unintelligent marketing decisions?

Didn’t think so…

When making marketing decisions, it doesn’t matter what you and your colleagues think/feel etc. It matters what your AUDIENCE thinks and feels.

Tracking means accurately collecting all the information you need to determine what advertising is working and what isn’t, which offer is pulling and which isn’t, what marketing has traction and what doesn’t”.

Ultimately, you’ll be able to know what your ROI is for each dollar. As long as you get systems in place to capture all the data you need, and make the time to get a thorough analysis underway, then what seems as a confusing drag will start to become profitable and easier the more you do it… especially if your employees have a tendency to become lazy with or confused by the whole concept.

From now on, ye shall spend no dollar without tracking ROI”.

5. Branding As By-Product

If you’re the CEO of a giant company that is recognized worldwide, then by all means invest in brand identity. If you’re an entrepreneur investing your own capital, then take Dan’s advice- “focus on response and sales”.

Sure, you may actually build your brand without knowing along the way, which is awesome. But don’t spend time doing it on purpose. Dan states that there are many types of direct response ads that are designed to motivate qualified leads to step forward and take action, that succeed WITHOUT branding. All they need is a clear CTA and BAM, sorted.

6. There Will Be Follow-Up

There are fortunes in the follow-up. Most marketers make the mistake of only following up with a lead on ONE occasion.

But to be a SMART marketer, you need to build out a way to continue this follow-up with your prospects.

Imagine somebody refers you to one of their closest friends. Or a business fellow, perhaps. What are you going to do? Simply say ‘thanks’ and move on?

NO NO NO!

You speak with the person who made the referral, and you ask them for their closest friend or business fellow’s details, so you can approach them personally. Start up a sequence that involves a letter or email, with something free and valuable that is going to kickstart this new relationship.

No response? Send another letter or email. Keep at it!

7. There Will Be Strong Copy

I love this quote from Dan: “you can’t send a shy, timid Casper Milktoast guy out into the street to knock on a door of a home or walk into a business and beg in nearly a whisper for a few minutes of the prospect’s time. So you can’t do that with ad, flier, letter or postcard either. Send Arnold Schwarzenegger instead.

In a nutshell, your copy must be compelling enough to get your prospects to take immediate action. Your vocabulary choices should aggravate your prospect’s problems so much so that they can almost FEEL the pain, and then soothe them immediately with whatever it is you’re offering, and how it can solve their issue.

Think about your audience. Speak to them like they’re human beings (which they are…) in a conversational tone that hooks them in with power words, packs a punch and sticks in their mind.

(NOTE: for further information on kick-ass sales copy, I urge you to read another of Dan’s books “The Ultimate Sales Letter.”)

8. In General, It Will Look Like Mail-Order Advertising

Dan says that David Ogilvy once admitted: “only direct-response guys really knew what they are doing” and that HIS guys were guessing. Who would you copy?

The ‘G’ in GKIC, Bill Glazer, is a ‘master’ at using mail-order style advertising. Our two founders suggest making a swipe file of mail-order newspapers and magazine advertisements that show clear calls to action. Next time you construct an offer, flip through the file for inspiration.

9. Results Rule, Period.

From this moment forth, you are (if not already) completely, wholly, ultimately results-driven.

Nobody EXCEPT your customers is going to put money into your business and personal bank account. NOBODY ELSE. All that matters, is what your customers think. If you make sales, then your strategy has worked. If it doesn’t make sales, scrap it.

10. You Will Be A Tough-Minded Disciplinarian And Keep Your Business On A Strict DIRECT Marketing Diet For At Least Six Months

Last but not least…

Think of this as a regular diet.

Cut the crap.

Purge the junk.

Stick to a new regime guaranteed to get results.

If your new business diet consists of nothing but the previous nine rules, I promise you that your direct response marketing efforts will pull through. Don’t let anything toxic slip through the net.

As Dan says, “anything that doesn’t conform to the prior nine rules, do not let it in at all. Just say no. And bar the door.

Source: Dan Kennedy

Social Media Strategy: How Much to Spend and Where

While social media has become a mainstream marketing channel, there are many variables that hoteliers are not taking advantage of to increase their revenue. Unlike other mainstream marketing avenues, social media is not static, as platforms continuously find ways to increase engagement with both users and advertisers. As social platforms have realized their massive marketing opportunities within their user base, they have increasingly capitalized on their clearly defined users by providing advertisers access to them. Today, the popularity of social channels has created a “pay-to-play” model that leaves many business owners and managers perplexed as to which channels to focus on, and the right budget to allocate in order to maximize return on investment (ROI).

Organic Social Reach is Dead

Social platforms bring the promise of an enormous engaged base, with 78% of all Americans having a social profile. This extreme density of users leads to an oversaturation of content. Social media platforms use algorithms to provide consumers with a better experience by de-cluttering the massive amount of content, highlighting topics and information that is deemed most “relevant” to each user. Facebook began prioritizing popular posts in 2009, and has continued to tweak what users see based on preferences and engagement. In 2015, marketers were faced with a daunting challenge. Facebook announced that business posts would be displayed less often in user news feeds compared to friends’ posts. Today, only 2-3% of posts created by businesses are shown to their fans, a trend that is guaranteed to remain as Facebook has warned the organic reach of posts will eventually decline to 0%. Marketers can no longer rely on creating engaging, relevant posts that will be automatically fed into followers’ timelines, but must rely instead on paid campaigns. As Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels expand on these practices, the need for well planned, well executed and well targeted paid social campaigns will become increasingly necessary.

Reach Your (Social) Customers

Consumers thrive on social media platforms, and tools are available to allow marketers to not only reach, but also to engage with these users in highly targeted ways. The biggest marketing mistake is to think your customers are not using social channels. Facebook alone has over 1.7 billion users. Marketers need to understand which channels are used by their target audience and how their audience interacts with each channel. For instance, a consumer could get dinner inspiration from Facebook on a daily basis, while using Instagram more sporadically to plan future travel. Pew Research Center has insightful research that allows marketers to better understand social platforms and their users. Once you have a solid sense of channels that are right for your business, it is time to identify advertising options to meet your goal. Is your goal to increase traffic to your website? To increase your page followers? Gain video views? Or perhaps you wish to increase engagement within your current followers? Having clear goals will allow you to carefully select advertising options to include in your strategy and assist in budgeting. The following advertising options are traditional for social media marketing and can fit into most social strategies:

  • Facebook Boosted Post – Allows you to get additional reach and engagement on a post. This ad type also includes a page like button, so if people like the content, they have the option to like your page. If you have a special or offer to share, this is a great option for it. Be sure to include a link for more information in your post.
  • Facebook Carousel Ad -This allows up to 10 images to be rotated in the advertised post and drives users to specific sites, pages, or apps. This can be done with a single image as well.
  • Twitter Promoted Post – This is like Facebook’s Boosted Post and it also has a follow button for anyone who wants to follow the business handle moving forward. One key thing to remember is to avoid using a hashtag on any promoted posts. If users click the hashtag, they may not be engaging with your tweet but you will be paying for that click. Instead, focus on the content that matters for you and include links to drive traffic to your site.

The options above are in no way a comprehensive list of social media advertising vehicles. We recommend reviewing social advertising options quarterly, as they are continuously changing, and budget to test the latest methods for reach and engagement. Since there are always new ways to reach your users, flexibility is crucial.

Target Practice

Targeting your preferred consumer has a direct impact on your budget. Advertisers are drawn to social channels due to their targeting capabilities. Businesses can target social users based on location, age, gender, interests, connections and more. Businesses new to social advertising should start broad, relying on the platform’s advertising system to see who responds well to published advertisements- the results may be surprising. The broad targeting can give a deep understanding of the type of users that engage with specific messaging, giving you an opportunity to later target those demographics uniquely. Travel, for example, tends to be a universal interest, so targeting only people that expressly state interests associated with travel will not lead to better results, just more marketing spend. The reason for this, obviously, is that the narrower your target, the larger the cost per action charged by the social channel. Rather than testing for narrow interest ranges, we recommend testing different ad options with varied audiences to achieve the best mix of advertisement and audience demographics. When measuring results, it is also critical to ensure your audience size and your result samples are large enough to make proper decisions. High click-through rates are pointless if the volume is insignificant.

Budgeting for Social

Your social campaigns should target current followers, they should aim to acquire new followers, and should also be used to test out new audiences and advertising methods. A huge benefit of social media advertising is that it is relatively low cost in comparison to traditional channels, making it an ideal platform for testing and measuring engagement. When developing a social media advertising budget, a good rule of thumb is to use 10% of your paid media budget (PPC) on social media. Drilling down further, divide your social advertising budget based on the channels that contain your target customers. Milestone recommends spending 80% of your budget on Facebook, which includes Instagram, a Facebook owned subsidiary. Instagram ads are developed through Facebook’s ad platform, ensuring maximum visibility. The remaining 20% of your budget should be spent on Twitter advertising. Focus your social budget on paid options that will bring reach and engagement. Most of these options still offer a “like/follower” option on the post. A little spend can go a long way. Milestone tested almost 100 of their clients with a $10 Facebook promoted post with excellent results:

  • 1,278% average increase in engagement
  • 456% average increase in reach

Average social media budgets vary by industry and audience size, however, it is common to allocate $1 per new Facebook fan. Salesforce released research regarding social media advertising costs, and the research shows the average cost per click is $0.65 in the United States. Some industries see an average cost per click as low as $0.16.

Targeting impacts your budget greatly; businesses pay more to target a smaller market versus a larger market. For instance, a locally advertised “weekend getaway” that targets audiences within 2 hours of a destination would have a much higher cost than a national campaign for a week-long stay. The reason for this is simply one of demand. Narrower campaigns like the first example require the advertising platform to discard a significant portion of their “inventory” to satisfy your demand. A broad national campaign, on the other hand can be more fully automated and can leverage a broad audience to display the advertisement. Tracking your ROI for individual campaigns becomes very important once you start testing out targeting and new social strategies.

If the social advertising options seem a bit overwhelming, businesses can opt to choose a daily maximum budget or a lifetime budget for social advertising. Choosing maximum budgets will ensure budgets remain constrained and do not grow out of control. Budgets can be set as low as $1 a day, but, of course, lower budgets must also be accompanied by adjusted expectations on results. Businesses fluent in social advertising often put a minimum spend behind each social post, knowing that without a spend the effort to create the post would be fruitless to a small organic reach. When businesses have more valuable content, such as videos, specials, or events, more spend would be suggested to reach more users.

Final Thoughts

There are many paid social advertising options available within the various platforms to begin or elevate your paid social strategy. Brands have seen such success with social media advertising that they have moved their paid marketing budget completely to social channels. Our recommendation is not to transfer your entire marketing budget to social advertising, but to consistently use paid social to increase your reach and engagement, and allow the flexibility to test out the latest targeting methods. The granular targeting capabilities of social platforms ensures paid social will remain a strong advertising channel and necessary for businesses. With the decrease of organic reach of social posts, businesses need to focus as much time on creating their content strategy as they do to promote their content.

Contributed by Nisha Thakkar, Director of Client Services at Milestone Internet Marketing

Nisha Thakkar is a Director of Client Services at Milestone Internet Marketing. She manages a team of seven SEO/Social Media Strategists that focus on the hospitality industry. She also leads the social media practice for the organization. She also manages social media training, paid social, the content marketing team, research, development of new ideas and all strategic social media activities for the client base. Ms. Thakkar works with her team to support SEO strategies and activities for Milestone Internet Marketing clients – including website updates, email blasts, listings management, analysis, reporting, etc. Ms. Thakkar has led a social media webinar for Milestone in 2016 (which is available on the Milestone blog). Ms. Thakkar can be contacted at 408-492-9055 or [email protected]


Source: Paid Search

5 Ways to Be Found – Online & In Real Life – Part 3

To quickly recap, your business has one or more physical locations that depend on people being able to find you both online and offline. The challenges you face are that customers don’t know you exist, they are unable to engage with you and they can’t physically find you. There are five steps you can take to begin the process of ensuring your business is found. Steps 1, 2 and 3 were discussed last week. This week we finish up with steps 4 & 5.

  1. Encourage reviews and gain trust

Having a presence in local directories and maps is a good start, but you want to go a step further to stand out from your competitors and gain the trust of your customers. Begin by putting images on your profiles. Nothing is more compelling than visual elements that showcase your business’s physical location. Letting your customers see who they are doing business with builds a level of comfort.

Interacting with consumers on social networks takes this even further by giving a voice to your brand. Show customers that you care and stand behind your products and services. Similarly, paying attention to what people say about you on review sites is also important. While positive reviews are always preferable, use negative reviews as an opportunity to build more trust. Reply thoughtfully and accurately to any concerns, showing consumers you care about their experiences.

While the benefit of trust is obvious from a human standpoint, there is also a benefit for search ranking. While the exact impact is debatable (and likely changes every year), as Local SEO Guide points out in its 2016 Local SEO Ranking Factors, “things like reviews and photos and having an Owner Verified (OV) profile correlated with positive GMB performance”.

Pro Tip: Utilizing commonly occurring words in reviews about your business (or your competitors) is a great way to come up with fresh content for your website. Common themes among paying customers are likely to be important to new customers too.

  1. Website structure

Tips one through four have focused on enhancing your presence everywhere but your website. However, to close the loop and really present your business in the best way possible to people and search engines, take some time to check on a few key elements of your website.

Start with the same critical NAP information you use for directories and maps. Make sure your business contact information is easy to find on the site. Put it in your footer as well as your contact page. Formatting this information with structured data (schema.org) helps to ensure that search engines also understand exactly who and where you are, and makes you more likely to rank well in voice search.

Verify that the content on your site supports the enhanced information you share in your listings. Do you talk about your business category anywhere? Are there sections of the site that discuss your unique selling points and value propositions?

And finally, make sure that your website provides a strong mobile user experience. Nothing derails a potential customer like clicking to your website on their phone only to discover they can’t actually see anything on the site or navigate without squinting and stabbing at tiny links that don’t go to the right places. Since Google announced they are moving to a mobile-first index, having the right structural elements like title tags, heading tags, and schema on your mobile site is potentially even more important than having them on your desktop site.

Pro Tip: Google offers a great free tool that analyzes your site and gives you tips on how to improve both mobile and desktop friendliness.

Measuring success

So you’ve done all the legwork and addressed the challenges. How do you know that it is positively impacting your business? Are you truly meeting both search engine and customer needs to drive more traffic to you?

Having a strong local presence will result in your business getting more online visibility for a variety of searches, as well as more phone calls, more clicks on Google for directions, and more people in the door. One of the simplest ways to measure the increase in impressions and phone calls is through Google Search Console and Google My Business Insights.

The Search Console shows over time not just how many clicks your website is getting, but how many impressions you receive in search. A person doesn’t necessarily have to click to become a customer: if the search result shows the information they need to be able to call or find you that is a win even without the click. Google My Business Insights take that one level deeper and actually track the number of times people click for directions or to call your business directly from your GMB listing.

Screenshot of an upscale boutique hotel in San Francisco’s Union Square district.

The GMB and Search Console typically only show data for up to 90 days, so you’ll either want to export data regularly, or use a tool like Milestone’s NAPtune that allows you to store your data so you can see bigger trends over time.

Once you have made the effort of creating a strong and accurate presence and are tracking your success, continue to drive those customer interactions by monitoring your presence and making sure your information remains updated wherever it can be found. The Internet is not a static document, so make sure you have a plan to monitor and maintain your business data across the web. Ensuring consistency through ongoing monitoring and updating of your profiles builds trust and awareness with search engines and people. Accurate information when customers want it, wherever they try to find it is the key to getting them in the door and winning their business.

If you have additional questions please leave a comment below, visit our website, or email us at [email protected].

For an easy to read PDF of this blog series, download the white paper5 Ways to Ensure Customers Find Your Business.


Source: Paid Search

How To ‘Be Somebody’ And Spark Your Sales

It is common knowledge that ‘celebrities’ are perceived as superior to the rest of the population.

They are highly regarded when it comes to ambition, opinion, latest fashion trends and even in some cases, knowledge, but the truth is; what REALLY makes them different from everybody else?

Take Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers’ 27 y/o quarterback. He was ranked the number 1 NFL player for 2016- therefore a celebrity in his PARTICULAR FIELD.

‘Relativity’-speaking, Einstein was and STILL IS a celebrity in the field of science. More specifically theoretical physics.

What I’m getting at here is this- these people are ‘celebrities’ because they’re that damn good at something.

They specialize in a certain industry. Cam Newton is insanely good at football, and Einstein was/is a science genius. Swap roles, and their celebrity statuses would probably relinquish somewhat. My point is, they didn’t have to undergo a complete metamorphosis to become a completely different person- they became really skilled at something and that’s how people know who they are.

Remember Kenneth Branagh in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? His role as the narcissistic Gilderoy Lockhart gave us the quote; “celebrity is, as celebrity does”. Although most of what emitted from this egotistical character’s mouth was utter baloney, this quote does actually speak a lot of sense.

Which brings me to my next point…

Can this self-built celebrity status bring success in the realm of business and marketing? Yes, yes it can.

Our founder Dan Kennedy hit the nail on the head with his ‘8th Wealth Magnet’.

In No B.S. Wealth Attraction in the New Economy, he talks about how we already live submerged in a celebrity-obsessed culture and fame-driven marketplace… no matter what YOUR market and audience may be, it is almost certainly taken in by ‘celebrity’- as a concept AND the people it includes.

So by default, becoming a celebrity within your own business/industry is the key to making the big bucks, right?

Become a shepherd, and charge your sheep to follow you.

I’m not talking about becoming someone akin to the Kardashians, or someone who appears on Oprah. I’m talking about becoming a ‘local’ celebrity to your clientele, which (given how quickly and eagerly everybody laps up the whole ‘celebrity’ thing) will vastly improve your referral rates, sales and customer relationships.

How does one go about beginning this process?

Your ‘brand’ is what makes you famous, and should position you as the expert in your field. Make yourself the epicentre of your advertising… you don’t have to do this forever, but it would be prudent to begin with. Also at this point I urge you to sit back with a fresh page in your Moleskine and a new ballpoint, then make some swift notes about WHO you are and what you’re good at.

Once that’s been jotted down, start to expand on your notes and think about what makes you stand out from the competition.

Did you go for broke and hit the jackpot? Are you completely self-taught and resurrected after a disastrous failing? Did you spend time and capital investing in a risky idea, only for it to be the making of you?

People like to hear the ‘raw’, exposure story. People gossip right? And what’s more, they gossip about celebrities. If you go in with your story about how bankruptcy almost killed you until you jumped aboard the marketing ship and HEY PRESTO here you are today, they are more likely to buy into you AND your business.

Why? Because they might be able to relate. People want to hear about people.

Next, what makes you unique in the minds of your audience? How will they remember you, as opposed to every other Tom, Dick or Harry?

What’s something super-cool about you that isn’t necessarily an everyday fact? Did you visit Thailand and get blessed by a monk? Did you ‘find yourself’ on a journey of self-discovery through the Amazon? Did you get bitten by a shark during that fatal family holiday of ‘88? Did you meet somebody inspirational during college? Did you achieve at university? Did you lack any sort of prospect until reading a marketing book turned your life around?

I could go on forever.

Remember- making yourself a celebrity to your customers automatically sparks their interest.

Which is why it’s also a good idea to use other celebrities as part of your marketing strategies…

33% of U.S adults believe celebrities can make a positive difference to whatever it is they’re promoting.

And…

According to a ‘Social Media Week’ study, one celebrity endorsement can spark an instant 4% increase in sales figures.

See what I mean?

Consider these other stats from the study- “In 1984, Nike launched what later became the most successful athlete endorsement campaign in history; the Nike Jordan shoe brand. In 2009, statistics showed that Jordan continued to boost Nike’s bottom line with the Jordan Brand taking 75% of the basketball shoe market, and a 10.8% share of the overall shoe market in the United States”.

If a celebrity is associated with it, it MUST be worth investing in. Harness the power of celebrity endorsements to make your business completely desirable.

Or you could BE the celebrity. That, readers, is the bottom line.

At GKIC, we do love a bit of celebrity profiling. In a previous post I spoke about our headlining speaker at SuperConference, Steve Spurrier. He’ll be taking to the stage with other business celebrities to give you their ‘raw’ exposure, and just what makes their businesses grow.

If you want premium access to the hot trends (and by these I mean super-successful spark-provoking growth hacks) that work for business ROCKSTARS right now, then make sure you grab your ticket… there are just 9 days to go!

Register here <<<

Source: Dan Kennedy

5 Ways to Be Found – Online & In Real Life – Part 2

Last week we discussed the challenges for businesses that need to be found both online and offline. To quickly recap, your business has one or more physical locations that depend on people being able to find you both online and offline. The challenges you face are that customers don’t know you exist, they are unable to engage with you and they can’t physically find you. So how do you ensure your business can be found in all the right places by search engines and people?

Have no fear! As daunting as those challenges can seem, when planned carefully in advance, there are clear paths to success. Here are five simple steps to ensure your business can be found:

  1. Create a database of accurate and consistent business information

The traditional vital pieces of information about your business are name, address and phone (NAP). However, as searchers and search engines become more savvy, additional pieces of data like your website URL, business category and hours of operation are equally important.

The first step in your process to being found is to make sure that inside your organization you have 100% accurate and consistent information about your business. This way no matter where that information goes, you can be sure that consumers are seeing the most accurate information available.

Pro Tip: Validate your street address against a national standard, like the United States Postal Service. Formatting it correctly in the first place can prevent errors down the line with directories that may use different standards from your internal organization.

  1. Clean your presence

Once you have your master set of accurate information, the next step is to find out where your business is already listed online. Gain access to those listings, fix any errors, and enhance the listings with quality images and content. Taking over existing listings is better than just creating new listings for a few reasons:

1) Creating a new listing without addressing older ones can lead to duplicate pages that confuse potential customers and the search engines

2) If anyone is already using the older listings, you want to enable them to keep doing so, but with more accurate information

3) While it may be a small factor, older URLs do tend to have a bigger impact on search rankings than new URLs.

You can find existing listings in a variety of ways. The simplest is to Google your business name and see what comes up. For more detailed analysis and deeper search into quality listings that can impact user behavior, you can use a listings management search tool like Milestone’s NAPtune.

Pro Tip: If your business changed its name or phone number, remember to search for that previous information as well. You don’t want old listings coming back to haunt you or your customers.

  1. Publish new listings in critical data amplifiers

Not all business listings are created equal! Since every customer is unique, you need to make sure your business is represented well in any place users can find you – from search engines, to maps, to mobile apps, to in-car navigation systems. While that could mean having to find and manage thousands of listings, a more efficient way to go about it is to identify the key data amplifiers – the handful of sources that collect business location data and power the rest of the internet.

By focusing on having correct information in these core data amplifiers – like Google My Business (GMB), Facebook, Infogroup, Acxiom, Localeze, Factual, etc – you can be sure that your accurate data is being pushed through a complex set of websites, hitting all of your key customer journey endpoints.

Screenshot of listings being managed by NAPtune

Pro Tip: While data amplifiers are a great way to spread your information exponentially, make sure to also build direct relationships with the directories/apps that your customer base uses most to ensure timely, accurate updates.

 

Stay tuned for next week’s post which will cover more solutions to the problem of being found online and offline.

If you have additional questions please leave a comment below, visit our website, or email us at [email protected].


Source: Paid Search

Kick Ass With Your Next BIG Idea

So many hats, so little time. Sound familiar?

I get it, we get it.

As a business owner you’re probably ALWAYS on the go, struggling to find five minutes where you can really take a moment, breathe (count to ten…) and focus on your business – let alone learn new skills.

It’s super-important to get fully-immersed in learning new skills and considering new topics. I mean, how else will you make mistakes and learn from them?

How else will you be able to talk tactics, formulate a plan of attack and really get stuck in?

Nobel Laureate Tim Hunt makes a valid point; “if YOU aren’t working pretty hard and totally immersed in the business at hand, somebody somewhere else in the world IS.

You have to beat them to the punch.

If you’re fully-immersed in your topic, your research will be thorough and rich in information, and your commitment will really show when it comes to seeing results.

Not only this, but the more you immerse yourself, the better you’ll get at being productive.

That’s all well and good when you have an idea to run with. But what about actually GETTING these new ideas?

In his book, “A Technique for Producing Ideas”, James Webb Young explains that while the process for producing new ideas is simple enough to explain, “it actually requires the hardest kind of intellectual work to follow.

He also explains that discovering new ideas is not the SOLUTION to finding more of them, but rather the need to mould our minds in the PROCESS of producing new ideas.

You can’t just sit around waiting for inspiration to hit you over the head with a baseball bat.

You need to be actively gathering the information around you, preparing your brain to make connections and gearing it up for a new idea to form.

Once you have a brand new idea, what do you do with it?

I’ve broken an example process down into these four stages:

1. Produce The Idea
2. Note Down The Idea
3. Organize The Idea
4. Put The Idea Into Action

It sounds pretty simple, and sometimes inspiration DOES hit you with a home run, but staying fully-focused will result in a breakthrough idea that, when implemented properly, could unlock a brand new goldmine within your business.

Getting to grips with the process of generating new ideas is crucial to what happens next. There are of course a couple of ways to give your brain a gentle shove into thinking up new strategies:

Drown It

NOT literally. That would definitely NOT be productive!

What I mean is, try overloading your brain with as much information as you can. You’ll find yourself approaching the next idea, and even if it fails at least the creative parts of your mind are on full alert for next time.

Self-Critique

Don’t get attached to your ideas. They are not baby animals in spring! They are there to be manipulated, changed, added to, chopped, discarded if need be, all kinds of processes.

By not criticizing your own ideas, you run the risk of missing out on extra opportunities that may pass you by while your attention is elsewhere.

However… if you’re wearing too many hats, you may not be able to commit your time fully to each of these stages.

How many of BIG ideas get pushed to the back of your mind and lost forever because you simply DON’T have time to implement them? Do you plan time each week to simply “think?”

Many successful GKIC members tell me that they start off each morning or end each day simply thinking about their business and asking the question “What am I doing today to drive new business? What am I doing today to close new business? What am I doing today to drive new leads?”

Then on top of a daily check-in with yourself and your business – you can plan to have lunch with yourself while reading your newsletter, a book, or listening to an audio CD that will open your mind to new ideas that can grow your business.

And my favorite way to focus on the business, is to actually get out of the business, away from the day-to-day drama and invest my time and energy into learning new skills, honing my current skills and planning for the future. It’s why I love our F-A-S-T Implementation Bootcamp.

It is designed to give you 2 days immersed in our unique tools and ideas, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life with COMPLETE FOCUS and ZERO interruptions, for two straight days.

You can get all the details here – and join us on May 4-5, 2017 for our next Bootcamp!

Source: Dan Kennedy

Digital Marketing with Proven Results. Call (888) 924-5558 Now. The only SEO, Design & Marketing Company with Proprietary Referral Software and Tangible Results.

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