Mobile Marketing Trends In The Spotlight

April 15, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

Doing business the modern wayIt seems like these days, everyone is out and about all the time and we are accessing more and more of our information while we’re on the go. Here are a few mobile trends that are important for your business.

Responsive Websites that are optimized for mobile are king

Mobile search is expected to surpass desktop search this year. What does that mean? It means that more people are doing everything online via their phone or tablet rather than their desktop. Mobile interactions could very well be the only interactions you have with your customers (& potential customers). This is becoming so important that Google introduced a new label in its search results, indicating if a site is mobile friendly, meaning it looks good & works well on a mobile device. So you want to make sure your website is responsive and optimized for mobile. An optimized, responsive website could mean the difference between a potential customer finding you on their cell phone, or not.

Location Based Marketing (Geo-targeting) is growing

With so many consumers using their mobiles phones while they’re on the go, Local search is going to continue to grow. Local search allows consumers to search for specific businesses or promotions based on their current location. So, if you and your mobile device are near Central Park in New York City, it will show you businesses and promotions in that area close to you. What does this mean for your business? It means that it is now more important than ever to claim your listings on places such as Google and to make sure that places such as Yelp and Google Maps have your correct address listing and are showing the correct business location on their maps.

Localized Payments are the future

With the rise of mobile comes the rise of localized payments, such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay. The market has already shown that people prefer to make the bulk of their purchases online, quite frequently using their mobile devices. Apple Pay could very well succeed where Google Pay wavered, with the bulk of Apple users already storing their credit card information in their iTunes account, and accustomed to quickly and seamlessly purchasing things without having to reenter that information every time. This year will see a rise in consumers who want to use localized payments to pay for things in store as well, such as using their Apple Pay account to pay for services at your business location. It’s definitely a trend to keep an eye on.

With the rise in mobile usage, and the importance of being able to reach your customers while they are on the go, it’s more important than ever to stay on the cutting edge of technology. These are just a few of the important mobile trends that will continue to grow and impact your business moving forward.

The Importance of Staff Training

April 1, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

Portrait of business colleagues holding each other and laughingFew things are more important for the strength and growth of your business than your employees. And devoting time and resources to their professional development is one of the most productive investments a business can make. Unfortunately, we often get so bogged down in the day-to-day running of our businesses and staff training takes a backseat. But staff development just makes good business sense and here’s why.

It increases job satisfaction, which increases productivity.

Staff development and training makes employees feel valued. It shows that you have an interest in their future and in helping them grow within your company. It makes them better equipped to do their jobs and to move into new roles. Studies have shown that happier employees who feel valued by their employer are more productive overall.

It increases loyalty.

Employees who feel valued and like the company is invested in their professional growth are more loyal and less likely to leave for other outside opportunities. That means you can spend more money and attention on improving your business and less on training new hires.

It can save you money.

Staff training is the best possible way for your employees to learn their jobs and develop skills to do them more effectively. Having a professional development program in place can help streamline the training process and, over time it can save you money. Employee retention can also help you save money, as you have to spend less time, money, and effort hiring new staff.

It helps create and foster best practices.

By creating processes and training everyone, you are creating best business practices. Ongoing training helps you to refine and maintain these best business practices. These practices will not only make your staff better at doing their jobs but will also help you streamline your business and set you up for healthy growth.

By taking an interest in your staff and putting programs into place to help them grow professionally, you’re making a huge investment in your business. And it doesn’t even have to be costly or time-consuming. It is as easy as taking an interest in your staff and taking the time to discuss their future goals with them. From there, you can develop the type of training system that will work best for your business and your employees. And that’s a win-win situation.

Why is Content Marketing So Important?

March 17, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

Group of Multiethnic People Discussing About MarketingEveryone is talking about content marketing these days, and telling you that you should be doing it better and more often. But what is content marketing and why is it so important anyway?

Content marketing is the creation and sharing of valuable content (or media) that is relevant to your target audience in order to attract and keep customers. It could be anything from a blog post on your website to an infographic hanging in your waiting room; or anything from a video demonstrating a popular technique to a Pinterest board you maintain with useful photos/links/information for your clients. The key is that it needs to be valuable to your clients and relevant for their lives and your business’ expertise.

Okay, so now we know what content marketing is. But why is it so important to your business?

Well, you want to be a resource for your clients and potential clients. Providing your readers and followers with valuable content is a great way to establish a relationship with them and set your brand up as an expert resource to look to when they have questions. It allows you to communicate with your clients without always trying to sell something to them.

Benefits of Content Marketing

  1. Content marketing is a great way to build your brand and voice. In order to build your brand and your voice you need to communicate with your clients. Content marketing allows you to establish a relationship with your clients and allow them to get to know your brand and your voice.
  1. Content marketing sets your brand up as an expert resource. By providing content to your readers that is relevant and valuable to them you are setting your brand and business up as an expert resource. Done well, this will eventually mean that people will seek out your brand when they need information or guidance because they trust your brand. It is a great way to build a relationship with both current and future clients.
  1. Content marketing allows you to communicate with your clients outside of selling services to them. You don’t want all of your communications and interactions with clients to be about selling them something. Content marketing allows you to interact with people and establish a relationship with them by sharing information that they find useful. Once you’ve established a relationship with them, they are much more likely to come to you when they’re looking to purchase a service.

 Types of Content to Create & Share

Content needs to be valuable and relevant to your clients. It needs to be something they find useful, interesting, or relevant to things going on in their lives. It should set your brand up as an expert resource for them to turn to. And it should not be selling anything. If you can create content that meets these criteria, then you will be very effective at growing your brand through content marketing.

Content marketing should not just be an afterthought of your marketing strategy. It should be the most important component of your marketing strategy, and should touch all other aspects of your strategy, from social media and blog posting to marketing and promotions. Done well, it is the most effective means to grow your business.

Do You Have A Social Media Strategy?

March 5, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

56676-Social media is one of the most important parts of your marketing plan. But we’re often so busy attending to the day to day details of running our business that we forget to really think about what our approach should be. In this age of social media, when everyone is always online, you need to devote some time to crafting a social media strategy beyond just using it to share your specials. Here are a few things to think about when creating your social media strategy.

Focus on sharing knowledge - You know your business well. So share some of that knowledge with your followers. Set yourself up as an expert on certain topics that you and your business are passionate about. Then create posts that help showcase those topics and highlight your expertise. When your followers have questions, you want them to come to you for advice and answers.

Create a posting schedule and stick to it – You don’t have to post everyday, but you should post regularly and it should be on a consistent schedule. So figure out what works best for you and for your followers and stick to it. You want your followers to know when you will be posting and to start looking forward to seeing your posts.

Keep your branding consistent - you always want your followers to know that they’re following the right Facebook page or Twitter feed and know who they are interacting with online. So your logo and branding should match across all media (from your website to email marketing and onto Facebook and Twitter).

Engage your followers – You want to generate discussion and encourage your followers to interact with each other and with you as your business persona. So create posts with that in mind. Ask them questions. Start discussions. Whether it is a link to an article or video you’ve created, a question or poll you have for your followers, or just a link to an article they might find interesting, post things with the goal of creating a dialog.

Once you sit down and create a strategy, stick with it. Then take a look at how your new strategy is affecting your social media statistics as well as your bottom line. From there, you can make smaller changes to make your strategy even more effective.

In this day and age, where everyone is interacting online 24 hours a day, your social media presence is key. Make sure you are using it effectively in order to grow relationships. Now, more than ever, it can have a positive effect on your bottom line.

What the Net Neutrality Ruling Means for You

February 27, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

binary dataOn Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to implement a new net neutrality policy designed to ensure that internet service providers treat all legal content equally.

The policy, called the Open Internet Order, requires internet service providers to act as neutral gateways rather than a gatekeeper who handle access to different types of internet content in different ways or, more importantly, at different costs.

What does this mean for the small business owner?

It means you will be ensured equal access. The new regulations will ensure that all information you want to access on the internet (from webpages to audio, video, and other formats) will be treated equally by internet service providers. Internet service providers (ISPs) will not be able to discriminate against content by blocking it or slowing down its delivery through slower transmission feeds while charging for faster lanes of their internet network.

That means that your small business has as much access to the internet as a huge corporation. It means that your customers (& potential customers) will be able to locate and visit your website and that the site will load for them as quickly and easily as it does today.

The new policy bans three key things that help protect both consumers and you as a small business owner.

  • No blocking – Broadband providers cannot block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No throttling - Broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No Paid Prioritization – Broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration — in other words, no ‘fast lanes.’ This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing the content and services of their affiliates.

So what happens next?

The new policy will go into effect in 60 days. Several ISPs have threatened litigation over the new policy, and there is also a movement in Congress to make net neutrality part of an updated version of the Telecommunications Act. That legislation would ban paid prioritization but would stop short of treating broadband like a utility.

Once again, as small business owners, all of us need to speak up and become part of the conversation.

Maintaining a Healthy Brand in 2015

February 25, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

Branding Word ConceptYou’ve put a lot of work into building your brand and it is an important part of your business identity. But you can’t just neglect your brand now that you’ve created it. It needs a bit of regular maintenance in order to keep it healthy. You do such a great job of helping your clients look their best and maintain their health.

Here are a few key things to do in order to keep your brand and your business happy, healthy, and growing:

Keep offering all those amazing services (& think about adding a few new ones)

Your clients come to you for a reason: You’re good at what you do. Keep up the good work. Make sure your services menu is up to date and that your staff is still receiving the necessary training to continue to offer consistent services. And take some time to talk to your staff and clients about any new trends or treatments that they’d like to see you offer.

Keep providing excellent customer service

Your clients are loyal to your brand for a lot of reasons. And one of the biggest ones is your fantastic customer service. They know that whenever they have an interaction with your company it is going to be a positive one, especially if they have a question or a problem. Excellent customer service not only helps you maintain loyal existing customers, it also helps you bring in new clients due to your stellar reputation. So keep up the good work!

Put Your Strategic Marketing Plan into Play   

Remember that marketing plan you put together last year? You know, the one we talked about way back in October of last year, in preparation for 2015?  Well, have you implemented that plan yet? If not, pull it out and get started. A strategic marketing plan makes it easy to plan out your marketing calendar and allows you to create more effective promotions throughout the year. Didn’t have time to put one together yet? Check out our post: What will you do in 2015? and get started.

By doing a few key things on a regular basis, you can easily maintain the health of your brand. Plan out some time on a weekly basis to pay attention to what is going on with your brand, evaluate what is working and what is not, and then be ready with a plan in place for your marketing and planning needs. By maintaining the health of your brand, your business will keep on thriving.

Why Blogging Is Good For Your Business

February 17, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

Blog Media Showing Weblog WebsiteWe’re all so busy running our businesses. There is only so much time in the day and so many different important tasks to handle.  It can be difficult to decide what is worth our time and effort and what is not. Blogging is one of those things that is well worth the time and effort. Here are four benefits of blogging on your website.

Blogging can establish you as an expert

Posting blog articles about things you know, whether it is the benefits of massage or how to do a proper blowout at home, is a great way to set you up as an expert in your field. Making your website a resource that your clients and others go to for advice or expert information is a great way to drive more traffic to your site.

Blogging can help improve your SEO

Want to show up earlier and higher in search engine results? One of the best ways to do that is to consistently add new content to your site. The best way to do that is by blogging. Even posting twice a month can help improve your search results. And, by driving more traffic to your site, you are not only improving your SEO, but you’ll also start to see your customer base grow.

Blogging can help you build relationships with your clients

Blogging can be a great way to establish a relationship with your clients, and then to continue to foster and grow that relationship. If your clients feel like they can go to your site for information, tips, or advice that contributes to strengthening the relationship they have with your business. A strong relationship is a huge deciding factor when clients are choosing a place to bring their business.

Blogging gives your clients and followers something to share on social media

If you are posting good information on your website in a shareable format, your clients and followers will share that information on Facebook and Twitter, for all their friends, family, & followers to see. This is a great way to expand your client base.

Blogging is an activity that does not take a lot of time each week but can have a huge payoff in so many ways. Make an effort to incorporate blogging into your annual marketing schedule. Even just two posts a month can make all the difference, and with your SpaBoom Marketing Suite, blogging is built right in. Now get out there and blog.

How Well Is Social Media Working for You?

February 10, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

magnifyThe new year is always a great time to take a look at what you did last year, analyze what worked and what didn’t work, and use that information to plan out your strategy for the rest of this year. With Valentine’s Day coming up fast, you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to leverage your social media and make this holiday successful.

Now is a great time to see what worked and what didn’t work over the Valentine’s Day period last year as well as the rest of 2014. It’s also a great time to analyze your social media posts from 2014 using Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics.

Did you know that you can pull reports that show you detailed information on your social media accounts and how they performed in 2014, or over a certain holiday period last year, such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day?

Did you know that you can pull reports on your FB insights page?

  • On your business page, click on the “Insights” tab across the top. From there, you can click on “Export” which can be found on the upper right corner – just to the far right of where you clicked on Insights and just below your name or page name.
  • Once you click Export, a new pop up window will open and you can select the parameters of the report you would like to run.
  •  Select the Data Type you would like to see. There are three types:
    • Page
    • Post
    • Video
  • Select the Date Range you would like to look at
  • Select the File Format you would like to see your report in. For most purposes, you will want to select Excel.
  • Once you’ve selected all the parameters, just click on “Export Data”. Your report will be generated and a window will pop up giving you the option of opening the report or saving it to your computer.

From there, you can see how many new likes your page received in 2014. You can also take a look at what posts received the most likes or shares. From there, you can analyze whether certain types of posts do better than others. For example, on my page, posts with an image or video tend to get more likes and shares. This can help you plan out posts for this year in order to increase shares and likes on your page.

You can also view stats on Twitter

Twitter also gives you the opportunity to generate and print reports for tweet analysis.

To view Twitter Analytics, go to: https://analytics.twitter.com/ . From here, you can view statistics about your tweets, including information on impressions and engagements. To run a report in Twitter Analytics, just press the “Export Data” button close to the top right corner of the page.

Twitter Analytics allows you to take a look at how each type of tweet performed. Maybe your most popular tweets are articles from other places that you shared or retweets of things. Perhaps your top tweets include photos or videos. Analytics will help you determine what is and what is not working for you on Twitter.

Things to take a look at and think about when planning your social media for 2015:

  • Best times to post to reach your audience based on analytics and insights. Insights can show you when your target audience is online. Use this information to schedule posts for peak hours of the day or week.
  • What sort of posts gave you the best interactions – photos, videos, shared articles, blog posts, etc. This is useful to know when planning out the types of posts you want to share going forward into 2015. By knowing what gets the most interaction, you can drive more activity on your page.

By taking the time to analyze how your social media performed last year, you can set yourself up for even more social media success this year. Take some time today to study your data.

Not sure how to check your Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics? Check out the articles we posted about them last year:

Are You Looking At Facebook Insights?

What Can Twitter Analytics Do For You?

Don’t Get Shot Down By Cupid!

February 3, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

arrowValentine’s Day is coming up fast! And with only two weeks to go before the big day it’s time to make sure you have everything in place. Don’t let Cupid shoot you down this Valentine’s Season. Be sure to let your clients know that you’re here to make their Valentine’s so much easier with all the wonderful gift ideas you’re offering.

From romantic couples massages, to indulgent skin and body treatments, or breathtaking hair styling or makeup services for the big night out, show them all the different ways you can help them with gift giving this Valentine’s season. These days, giving someone an experience is so much more popular than just an item. Make sure you remind your clients and followers of all the wonderful experiences you have to offer. And, of course, there is always the gift that is perfect for everyone’s special someone: Instant Gift Certificates so they can pick their own experience.

No matter what love potions you’ve created, now is the time to let your clients know what you’re offering and make it easy for them to purchase it all online. Here are the things you should already have in place for this Valentine’s Day. And if you don’t, then it’s time to get started.

You should already have your Valentine’s packages and promotions created. Make sure your service menu is up to date with your Valentine’s offerings so your clients can easily purchase them for their special someone.

Check your Instant Gift Certificate links (on your website, social media, and in email campaigns) to make sure they are working properly. And while you’re at it, take a minute to look at your gift certificate designs and make sure you have the right ones for Valentine’s Day in your offerings. If not, you can log into your SpaBoom account and add a few more.

Make sure your email campaigns are generated and scheduled, ready to be sent out over the next couple of weeks. Let your followers know that you’re here to provide them with the perfect experience for their loved one’s Valentine’s gift.

Social media is always a great place to talk to your clients. Use it this season to share your specials and promos, or to provide last minute gift options. You can schedule all of your social media posts from your SpaBoom account. Make sure they’re scheduled and ready to go out. And remember: people are more likely to click on posts with photos, so make sure you attach a photo to all those posts as well.

Now that you’re ready to go, be sure to promote the convenience to your clients and followers, both online and in person at your location. After all, what you have to offer is definitely the right gift for your clients’ loved ones.

Valentine’s Day is almost here. Make sure you’re ready for the Season of Love.

Ways to Make Your Business More Efficient

January 28, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

Business office networking and communicationRunning a small business in this economy can be challenging. You need to run your business as efficiently as possible in order to remain competitive in the marketplace. Here are a few things you can do to make your business run even more efficiently.

Don’t expand too quickly.

Your business is successful because you’ve got the proper workflow, staffing, and systems in place. But if you expand too quickly, you may not give yourself enough time to evaluate these workflows and determine if they will work on a larger scale. But expanding slowly, you give yourself the time to ensure that all the workflows, systems, and technology is scalable.

Streamline your workflows

By testing and regularly tweaking your workflows to be more efficient, you will save you and your staff time and money in the long run. Workflows should never be implemented until they are tested and all of your staff should understand how they work and why they exist. Your staff is also your greatest resource for testing and improving workflows. Listen to their feedback.

Cross train your staff

Training can increase your employees knowledge and comfort level in their own job. But cross training your employees so they can perform other tasks or cover other positions in the company can make your business even more efficient. It also increases employee satisfaction and retention. An employee who feels you are invested in their professional growth is less likely to leave the company. Employees who feel valued and have the knowledge and resources to do multiple jobs means you can focus more resources on growing your business and less on training new hires.

Be communicative with your staff

Maintain open lines of communication with your staff. Don’t make them wonder what the thinking is behind workflows or company decisions and don’t let them hear it second hand. Involve them in discussions about the company vision and listen to them when they have thoughts or ideas on improving the business. A company will run much more efficiently if everyone is always on the same page.

In the long run, making your business more efficient will save you time and money. Take some time to look at your business plan and evaluate where you can implement these changes to streamline how your business runs.