What’s Holding You Back in Online Marketing?

What’s Holding You Back in Online Marketing?

Be honest with yourselfWhile I’ve developed a fantastic career from inspiring others and teaching them about the finer points of online marketing, I can honestly admit that I’m a lousy pastry cook.  I’m also dreadful on ice skates, frustrated by politics and virtually useless when it comes to pop culture trivia.

I bring up these points not to make light of my shortcomings in life, but to show that we cannot ever really experience true growth without realizing what we’re bad at.

Just the other day, for example, I met with a friend who was furious that he was overlooked for a promotion at work.  And when he started rambling off the strengths of his resume compared to the person that was hired, it did sound like he was an excellent candidate.  Once we took a closer look at the job vacancy though, it clearly stated that the company was looking for someone with experience in email marketing…and my friend had none at all.

Here’s the thing though; my friend had been waiting for this position to become available for over a year now, and he knew each and every qualification that the company would look for.  Since he had such a stellar resume for some aspects of the position, he completely overlooked the one criterion that he wasn’t good at- and it was ultimately what cost him the position.  To make things even worse, I’m fantastic at email marketing and we hang out several times per week.  I could have easily made this a strength on his resume if he mentioned it a year ago.

So I want you to hear one thing loud and clear today- it is okay to struggle with some things in life.  Heck, I think it’s a core requirement for being human.

Instead of ignoring these shortcomings, however, you need to embrace them, seek out knowledge that will help you overcome these obstacles and become a better professional because of it.  By the way, I’m not talking about cooking or ice skating here either.

I’m talking about the traits that really matter in your life.  Listening.  Teamwork.  Generosity.  Honesty.  Empathy.  Dedication.  Loyalty.  Plus the hundreds of other skills, traits and abilities that you use within your profession on a daily basis.  And surprisingly, these are often the hardest things for us to see within ourselves…even though we can spot them a mile away within our friends and co-workers.

So what’s holding you or your company back in the world of online marketing?

Can My Business Get a Serious Boost in Sales with Internet Marketing?

Can My Business Get a Serious Boost in Sales with Internet Marketing?

internet marketing spartanburgBelieve it or not, it’s not just business owners who can gain immense benefits from learning about internet marketing and search optimization.  With some hard work and determination, almost anyone can drive in serious profits through a properly run website.

Well, I’d better back up for a moment and say that very few websites actually make any money at all.  The reason that they fail is due to a lack of knowledge about how internet marketing really works, so they end up experimenting, getting frustrated and ultimately quitting.  To me, that’s not really a failure though…that’s like walking into a knife fight with a set of salad tongs and hoping for the best.  It just doesn’t end too pretty when you’re not really prepared.

That’s why I start every conversation with new clients with one simple question- how will the website you want me to build help you make more money? 

Even though I can find the answer to that question myself for most industries, it’s the client who will ultimately sink or swim with their new domain unless they have a solid grasp on where their customers are coming from, what type of information those people are looking for and how to actually get them to go from being a lead to a customer. 

Even if Upstate Synergy is running your campaigns for you, there still has to be someone on your end responding to leads via email, social media and through your website.  And when people search for a business from their smartphones, they want the answers they’re looking for RIGHT NOW.  If you can’t provide that then they’re on to the next business…and that’s where most internet marketing campaigns end up falling short of their projected mark.

So understand this- internet marketing can completely revolutionize your business if you are fully dedicated to the process.  I have clients every single day that see their bottom line go from zeroes to heroes by optimizing their websites and working their online leads properly, but a web development firm can only do so much. 

In other words, it is my job to deliver the leads to your doorstep.  It is your job to close the deal.  And if you’re not willing to learn how the lead generation process works, then you shouldn’t invest another penny in your website or any form of online marketing.

The good news is that Upstate Synergy is here to teach you everything you could possibly need to know about internet marketing and we will happily come to your Upstate business and fully educate your staff on the latest trends and techniques.  So if your current campaigns are not delivering new customers to your doorstep, feel free to contact us through the enclosed form and we’ll happily perform a free website analysis to see what you can be doing better.

Learn to Truly Respect Your Subscribers in Email Marketing

Learn to Truly Respect Your Subscribers in Email Marketing

trust in email marketingLet’s face it; very few businesses get it right when it comes to email marketing in Spartanburg.  Either they completely overstep their bounds by filling their users’ inbox with non-stop advertising, or they simply send a message or two per year and hope for the best.  Neither method actually produces results though because that’s not what the consumer signed up for.

Take Papa John’s Pizza, for example.  Some of their promotions, like earning a free pizza for placing an order during major sporting events, are fantastic ideas that drastically boost their sales on big party occasions.  So you know they have some smart marketers in place within their corporate offices.

Why then do they email their entire lists with “specials” 8-12 times per week when the offer is actually regular menu price?  It makes absolutely no sense since they’re finding their way to spam folders and alienating their customer base more and more every single day.

Learn to Build Actual Relationships

Email Marketing RestaurantsThe main thing Papa Johns (and everyone else) does wrong is forgetting that email is supposed to be about building genuine relationships.  That can’t happen if your marketing department doesn’t have respect for their customers though, because people see straight through false promises and gimmicks these days.  The average person receives over 250 emails per address, per day, so we’ve become very good in a very short period of time when it comes to spotting spam.

Here’s the amazing thing though- companies who respect their customers and use email to build stronger relationships actually see five to ten times the average return on each campaign.  And they gain up to ten times the conversions with only a handful of total messages sent out each month…which completely goes against the way big business handles email.

So instead of trying to sell something, message your customers only when you have something of value to tell them.  They will respect you for it a whole lot more and it is the only way to create lifelong customers that are always willing to listen.

Properly Manage your Email Lists

trust in email marketingAnother thing that completely boggles my mind is how large corporations violate their own privacy policies without giving it a second thought.  For example, you’ve probably come across several websites recently that had a banner offering a free eBook download in exchange for you sharing your email address.  And honestly, this is a great way to generate potential leads…and it’s also a great way to chase potential leads away.

Case and point- a local Spartanburg insurance company (that I’m not going to call out directly) offers a free PDF download to teach potential clients about deductibles and other things they should consider before choosing a home insurance policy.  Just in the past week, however, they’ve emailed me about RV insurance (I don’t have an RV), motorcycle insurance (I don’t have one of those either), an upcoming agent conference (I’m not a licensed agent) and three other messages that had absolutely nothing to do with me.

Now, if this company really wanted me to use them for home insurance, wouldn’t it make a heck of a lot more sense for them to only contact me about that one service?  But they can’t do that because their email lists are all clumped together into one generic category.  In other words, they have no idea who I am or why they’re emailing me in the first place…but they just keep on messaging anyway.

To avoid this common problem, you absolutely must sort your email lists based on each lead’s initial interests.  The more specific your messaging is to their needs, the more your campaigns will convert and produce favorable results.

When You Sell, Offer an Unbeatable Value

email marketing offersLet’s talk about Papa John’s one more time- specifically, all those “specials” they send me as a trusted customer.  I’ve always wondered; do they really think that Americans are so unbelievably stupid that they wouldn’t glance at the actual online menus to see that they’re not being offered a deal?  And once we realize that we’ve been lied to, do they really still expect us to order from them that day anyway?

As my twelve year old likes to say, “Heck to the no-no.”

Here’s the almost laughable thing that happens though; when consumers see an offer that initially interests them, it creates a genuine desire to buy.  If the messaging is not genuine though, then that initial interest will push them straight to a competitor’s doorstep.  And in Papa John’s case, there’s no telling how many pies they inadvertently sell for Pizza Hut, Dominos and all the independent franchises.

So the point here is that if you’re going to make a sales pitch through email, then it better be a genuinely good offer that the consumer doesn’t have to think too hard about.  Because if there’s even the faintest hint of doubt within that messaging, then you’re actually marketing for your competitors instead.

Turning a Facebook “Like” into a Lifetime Customer

Turning a Facebook “Like” into a Lifetime Customer

While most small-business owners know that social media can be an excellent marketing tool, very few understand what it takes to turn a simple Facebook “like” into a long term customer.  That’s because we’ve all been ledto believe that businesses have to brag about their products and services in every last breath.  That was 20th century thinking though, and nothing drives off today’s consumers on social media faster than heavy self-promotion

State Bicycle Company’s Facebook Campaign

State Bycicle Company

We can all take a cue from State Bicycle Company.  This small business was in dire need of a larger online presence and with its marketing expenditures at an all-time high, Facebook seemed like it could be the answer.  Mehdi Farsi, the State Bicycle co-founder, decided to use social media to open up new dialogues, talk about upcoming releases and create engaging contests and promotions.  Rather than focus solely on the number of “likes” his company acquired, or even how much it was selling, he aimed to use Facebook to build meaningful relationships.

Within the first year alone, the company increased its sales by $500,000 through Facebook, added ten times as many followers and reduced its marketing budget by 80 percent. Here’s how they did it-

Get to Know Your Ideal Demographic

Ideal Demographic

Even though there are over 829 million Facebook users online daily, a large portion of these consumers will have absolutely no interest in your business. That’s what State Bicycle Company realized as it sought to identify its ideal customer. The company tried everything from music giveaways to local events to measure the overall response, and the employees even studied their competitors to see what types of people were following them.   

The lesson to be learned here is that mass marketing is not always the best concept on social media sites.  Users turn to Facebook to interact and build connections with others they can relate to, and that certainly applies to your company’s brand.  The more a business knows about its ideal consumer, the stronger its marketing efforts will become.

Develop Relationships with Customers


That’s why a Facebook campaign’s goal should  never be to just boost sales. Farsi had that in mind when he started the social media marketing campaign,  and the vast majority of the company’s posts were designed to start conversations with potential customers.  For example, instead of simply posting about an upcoming trail ride, it asked Facebook fans who would be interested in attending and how the company could make the event even better.  Another clever campaign was asking users to post pictures of their ugliest bicycle, with the fan-proclaimed winner receiving a brand-new premium ride.

“Facebook has been critical,” says Farsi. “(It) has allowed State Bicycle Co. to have an open dialogue with our customers and potential customers.”

It’s also a good idea to take into account Facebook’s latest algorithm change, which ranks each user’s post based on popularity. That means for content to appear toward the top of a person’s news feed, the posting account has to have plenty of accumulated “likes” and comments over time.  Facebook then compares all of a user’s followed people/pages to see which one is the most popular at the time.  That’s how the algorithm determines the order in which posts are displayed, so each like and comment is crucial for any business to boost its ranking.

Experiencing the Domino Effect

Domino Effect

At the same time, State Bicycle Company also realized that by being social, it gained a much wider audience than they ever had before.  The average user on Facebook has 350 friends, and a single “like” can potentially give your business exposure to of all of them.  That’s why building solid relationships with customers can drive in more profit than any other marketing method on the planet.

At Upstate Synergy, we can help you design smart, consumer-focused campaigns that will keep your readers talking about your business.  By integrating Spartanburg County residents into your brand and showing that you value their input, it creates a lot more than additional sales- it creates actual relationships.  Let us show you how to get started today; the first step is filling out our contact form and meeting for a free one-on-one consultation.