Posts in Digital Marketing
8 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019

Tis’ the season for all the marketing experts out there to start making predictions for 2019. They’ve waded through the craziness that was 2018 (and a crazy year it was… cough… Facebook… cough), analyzed what happened, and used that information to try to see what is going to be important in the year to come.

There’s A LOT of information out there - so, instead of making our own list this year, we’ve read through some of the more reputable sources, and pulled out what is, in our opinion, the most impactful predictions, specifically for small businesses. We’re comparing it to what we’ve seen happening in our world, and what we believe will be what shapes 2019 in the world of marketing.

Forbes

Chatbots - We’ve seen these grow in popularity among larger brands, and chances are you’ve probably interacted with one, whether that is to ask about when a package will be shipped, or request pricing information. Not only are they getting better and more natural at answering customer service questions, but Chatbots can be great at warming prospects and setting up sales appointments. With the rise of businesses like Drift, Chatbots are becoming more and more popular (and affordable) for small businesses who struggle to keep up the influx of customer requests.

Local Influencer Marketing - We’ve all heard of influencer marketing, and have probably been exposed to a post or 2 from some of our favorite celebrities (hey there Kim K…). But on the hyper local level, the same concept can be used to make a big impact for small businesses. Seek out local blogs or influencers who reach your target demographic and geographic location.

Digital Marketing Institute

Facebook May Be Peaking (For the Younger Ones) - With all the data and political drama that Facebook dealt with in 2018, younger populations are continuing to shift their attention away from the platform. This is a great reminder to really pay attention to your target market, and put your marketing efforts into where they are. It may mean moving away from outlets you’ve used for years, and investing in new ones.

Video, Video and More Video - Video is continuing to be even more important this year and users are gobbling it up. Combining a traditional video strategy with live video can not only help engage people more with your content, but drive more organic traffic (since Google is using it as one of it’s major ranking factors).

Good Content Still Matters - I love this one (as a content marketer myself!). Creating valuable content (both written and video) is continuing to matter in the new year. Your audience has many choices when it comes to spending their money, so taking time to make their experience with you unique and valuable is going to go a long way in 2019.

Neil Patel

Voice Search - The king of search knows his stuff when it comes to SEO trends, and he’s right on point touting the importance of voice search in 2019. Between Google Home, Siri and Alexa, we are talking to our devices more and more. This means that the terms being searched are changing (they are following a more common sentence structure) and the results being shown are changing as well. Utilizing long form key phrases to match these voice searches in your blogs and content can help you continue to rank high in search results.

Podcasts - He’s not the first, and he won’t be the last to mention the importance of podcasts and audio content in 2019. As our worlds get busy, we are looking to consume content in ways that fit into our crazy schedules. Audio content that can be consumed on the go, in our cars, doing chores around the house, or while working on something else, is going to continue to be consumed in large quantities in the new year. With a lower cost of entry, it is easier now, more than ever, for small businesses and solopreneurs to jump on the podcast train, and share their knowledge with the masses.

Big Commerce

Mobile is More Important Than Ever - Mobile isn’t new, and we’ve consistently focused our efforts on ways to make content easier to consume on mobile devices (scrolling content, vertical video). But consumers are purchasing more and more from mobile devices, so making that process easier and smoother is going to become equally as important. Utilizing mobile shopping apps and social media shopping carts can be great ways to drive more mobile purchases for product based businesses.

So there you have it - the top trends we (and the rest of the digital marketing world) see happening in the New Year. Let us know your thoughts! Have you already started implementing some of these things? Do you plan to in the new year?

Hub Digital wishes everyone a safe and happy Holiday Season! We look forward to sharing more great content and tips with you in the New Year!

School is in Session inside The Hub!

It's Back-to-School here inside The Hub! We're bringing you brand new Masterclasses and Training to kick start your fall marketing plan.
 

Is Q4 your time to shine?


Q4 and Holiday Season isn't just for Christmas Sales (although it's that's your jam, let's go!). It's a big time for many businesses as people are back from vacation, their kids are back in school, and it's time to get stuff done before the Holiday season. In this month's Masterclass I'm bringing you some GENIUS (if I do say so myself), ways to take advantage of the season and bring in some MAJOR Q4 sales.
 

Struggling to connect with your audience?

It could be because you're not reaching the right people. We've got Jessie McGath whose dropping some truth bombs on finding your ideal audience, connecting with them, and shifting your mindset so you can actually grow, and stop spinning your wheels.
 

Confused about all this Google stuff?
 

It's all good - you're not the only one! In the "Ask Hubble" podcast this month we're breaking down the different between Google+ and Google My Business (I know, why so confusing Google!?), as well as talking about how to get in front social media influencers and use them to grow your business online!
 

All of this content (PLUS one more Guest Expert training later this month) is brand new this month inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

Oh, and because you can try it out FREE for the first seven days, you can check all of this stuff WITHOUT paying a dime!

I can just hear the chorus of "Thank You's" now! (You're welcome by the way!)

.S. School is session - time to up your marketing game!

How to Vertically Record Your Computer Screen For Mobile

With the launch of IGTV, and the increased popularity of Live videos on social media platforms, we are consuming more and more content on our phones and tablets. So, what does this mean for content creators and business owners looking to connect with their audiences? It means we have to shoot things mobile first. Mobile first, most importantly, means shooting in a vertical format. Studies show that a majority of people prefer to watch videos on their phone vertically, because it's how we naturally hold our phone to make calls, text, or browse social media. While that's easy to do on your phone (duh, it's a mobile device). It can be more difficult to do that on your computer.

If you're like me, a lot of times I like to use my computer to record myself (it's much more steady than trying to hold my phone, think and talk all at the same time), or record my computer screen. Often, I talk over slides or an internet browser to better showcase the strategy or technique I'm teaching about. What I've realized though is the horizontal format of our computer screens does not translate well on mobile phones.

So, after a little bit of research I figured out how to successfully rotate my computer screen so I can still screen record what I'm doing in a more professional way, and it is SO much easier to view on a phone. Check out the video below (shot vertically of course), to get my step-by-step instructions on how to do it!

For more quick tips and tricks like this, be sure to follow me on Instagram (@hubdigitalmktg) and check out my IGTV station!

We're celebrating the 4th of July...

.... with brand new content inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

What do we have for you this month?

Ever wondered how your website is REALLY doing?

I've got a step-by-step video all about one of my favorite tools (Google Search Console) that includes how to set it up, explores all the features and tools, and walks you through how to analyze your results. Check out the latest Masterclass this month to get my tips and advice.

Speaking of websites.. frustrated with trying to write that perfect, customer converting copy for it?

Your website should tell your story, showcase your brand, AND convince your potential client/customer to buy. I know, easier said than done right!? Don't worry, I've brought in copywriter Amy Lanci, to give some of her best tips and guidelines for writing THE BEST website copy.

Putting out content but still struggling to get more followers on Instagram?

This month I invited guest expert, Yael Bendahan, And together we're exploring how to keep your instagram growing consistently with REAL potential clients and customers who will REALLY engage with your content (among other things).

All of this content (PLUS one more Guest Expert training later this month on how to get more organic traffic to your website) is brand new this month inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

Oh, and because you can try it out FREE for the first seven days, you can check all of this stuff WITHOUT paying a dime!

I can just hear the chorus of "Thank You's" now! (You're welcome by the way!)

Are you ready for all this?

Oooohhh I'm SUPER excited about some of the AMAZING content I just launched for June!

What's got me so pumped? Let me break it down for you...

The June Masterclass is all about the #1 way to reach your target market.

With all this  noise around GDPR, it has people wondering. Is email marketing even worth it? Spoiler alert: YES! Check out the latest Masterclass to learn my best practices, favorite email platforms (some are FREE), and best ways to grow your email list with engaged followers

This Month's "Ask Hubble" Podcast is all about some social media hacks.

Hacks you say? That's right, I've got a guest on with me and we're diving into how you can still get around the new Facebook algorithm to get some real organic views (YUP! It's still possible!), AND talk about how you can use Google+ to get some real website traffic.

Oh, and our Guest Expert Training is giving you the exact steps she used to go from $0 to $10K months in less than half a year.

Oh yeah... We've got online growth expert Melodi Maxton spilling some MAJOR secrets on how she organically grew her business WITHOUT a following, social media presence or website. Interested to find out how she did it?  

All of this content (PLUS one more Guest Expert training on how you can make passive revenue WITHOUT creating your own online course or product)  is brand new this month inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

So head on over and get instant access to all of this PLUS some amazing past trainings inside The Hub!

Are All Those "Free" Trainings Really Worth It?

If you own a business and are on Facebook, or Instagram, or just online in general, you've probably seen them. The ads that claim you can: "Make $10K in 30 days from Facebook ads", "Get 10x more traffic in a Week from Pinterest", or "Use My Secret Technique to Get 10K Instagram Follows Now"! And they all boast that you can get these things simply by joining their FREE, 1 Hour, Webinar, Masterclass, Training, etc.

These ads sound almost too good to be true, and can be really tempting to business owners and entrepreneurs looking to grow their business online. So, the question becomes, are these "free" trainings really worth it?

Short answer: Yes! They can be! Let me explain...

Depending on the source, there can be some AMAZING little tidbits of information that can help you feel inspired to take the next step in your business, help you tweak something that wasn't quite right, or help you get that much closer to mastering a marketing technique you've been trying to learn. However, as with anything, there are good and bad, and in order to truly get the most out of your time (and in some cases $$) spent, there are a few rules you should follow.

1. Know your source. I can't stress this enough. While the training may be free, it doesn't guarantee that it's worth your time (or energy or effort to implement their strategies). Do a little research around the person offering the training and see if they put their money where their mouth is. If they're telling you they can help you be successful on Instagram, make sure they are themselves! There is nothing worse than spending time on strategies that don't work (or even worse, will be detrimental to your business). 

2. Curb your expectations. Those claims they make in those ads (Make $30K in 30 Days!) is more often than not, the exception, NOT the rule. Know that while a lot of the information they give away IS useful to your business, you most likely will NOT get that kind of result. But that's OK! As long as you go into the presentation with realistic expectations about how their strategy can help your business, you won't find yourself disappointed in the end.

3. Know you WILL be sold something at the end. In exchange for giving away tips, EVERY single one of those giving the training will pitch you something at the end of it. Don't get annoyed or frustrated, they have to make money too! In fact, I always suggest hanging around through their sales pitch. More often than not if you do, you'll get extra bonus content for sticking through it (even more free stuff!) and who knows - the class, course, or program their pitching may actually be what you were looking for. Many times you can get great pricing on self study courses or group programs that will help you finally master an area you were struggling with. (But again, make sure you do your research before purchasing anything!)

4. Make sure you follow through. Even though the training may be free, your time is not. If you're going to invest an hour of your time in a course, make sure you follow through! More likely than not, the tips they give you are TOTALLY doable, it just requires your commitment. And if you do decide to invest in the program their selling, you ABSOLUTELY must make sure you complete it. Self-study courses are filled with people who purchased and never completed them. Only buy if you are truly committed to taking the entire course so you don't leave feeling like you wasted your time and money.

Speaking of investing, do you have $9 to invest that you actually want a return on? Check out The Digital Marketing Hub where you can get access to full Masterclasses, Guest Expert Trainings and answers to your digital marketing questions for only $9 per month!

UPDATE - The 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing

Since it is #ThrowbackThursday, we're bringing back one of our VERY first blogs we every wrote here at Hub Digital. Back in April of 2014, we wrote about the "7 Deadly Sins of Marketing" and gave some very pointed advice on what you shouldn't be doing when it comes to marketing. Since that way basically a lifetime ago in the digital marketing world, we decided to bring it back today and see if these "7 Deadly Sins" still hold true in today's environment.

2014 advice - 1. Setting your expectations too high - Many businesses and products fail before they even get started. You can't win a marathon by taking one step; it takes leaps and bounds to cross the finish line. Don't expect one ad or post to complete the job. Digital marketing takes creativity, dedication, and patience to build a following.

2018 edit - This one still absolutely holds true today! One of the things we work with our clients on is a reasonable timeline and expectations on how their business can grow online. We've all heard those stories about businesses that went from 0 to 6 figures in 1 month. And while that's great for them, it's important to recognize that these are the exception, not the rule. Marketing yourself online DOES work, but it does take time to see significant results.

2014 advice - 2. Being uninformed about your audience - Know your target audience, tone and message. The best message can be wasted on the wrong audience.  Determine what they will and will not respond to. Throwing darts at a wall may make them stick, but you'll never get the bullseye you're looking for that way!

2018 edit - Were we genius or what!? But in all seriousness, I don't think anyone can argue that it makes sense to just market to everybody all at once. Not only is it cost prohibitive, but it can make it seem like your business doesn't have a good handle on things, and can be a turn off to potential customers.

2014  advice - 3. Trying to use every available outlet for recognition - Though you may have a million ideas running around, sometimes focusing on a few is the key. Out of the large number of possibilities, choose a few that coordinate the best with your product or business. Posts that need more context could be shared on Facebook, for example, rather than Twitter, which has a character limit of 140.

2018 edit - This one is still absolutely true, but I think for different reasons. While restrictions in each outlet have loosened, it's still important to let yourself off the hook when it comes to posting on every outlet, all the time. Think about which ones your customers use the most (hence how point #2 is so important!) and what you enjoy doing. Combine the 2 to create a social strategy that works for you.

2014 advice - 4. Inconsistent timeline of posting - In an age of instant gratification, the audience no longer wants to wait. Posting consistently with updates reminds the audience so they don't forget about you. DO NOT give them a chance to become impatient. This is where choosing a few valuable outlets (#3) comes in handy. Pick ones that you know you can easily update on a consistent basis. 

2018 edit - This is still partially true. You must stay consistent with your social postings, blogging and email blasts, but there really isn't a a set time or day that's better for posting. With mobile becoming the medium of choice to access online, we are able to view content throughout the day, whenever we wish. This means that you can loosen the reins and vary posting times, and still see good reach from them.

2014 advice - 5. Overwhelming your audience - On the flip side, don't suffocate the audience with updates. Posting too much or sending too many emails can feel like spam which leads most to block or ignore future information. Everybody has that one friend that talks your ear off over lunch, and no one likes them. Finding the happy median between lack of posts and constant information is paramount for successful digital marketing. People will also enjoy two thorough and entertaining posts rather than five poor attempts. Rely on quality over quantity.

2018 edit - Hmmmmm.... Maybe? For a while social media sites, like Facebook, were all about quantity. The more you posted, the more you were seen. But now, with the recent algorithm changes, we're headed back into the world of quality over quantity. Facebook is pushing for well thought out, engaging content from businesses, not just random musings. We'll see this continue to evolve as these changes play out over the next few months.

2014 advice - 6. Neglecting mobile users - Many users access social media and sites on their phones, iPad, or tablet. Everyone is on-the-go and wants their entertainment/information to follow suit. Don't starve certain sections of your audience. Make navigating your business convenient with a mobile site that caters to mobile users' needs. 

Quick Tip: Also eliminate unnecessary images and videos to minimize loading times.

2018 edit - This has never been more wrong or more right! First of all, mobile is EVERYTHING now. Almost all your websites, content and efforts online should be focused towards mobile. Mobile searches, social media views and website traffic has officially surpassed desktop. Not optimizing your stuff for mobile is probably the #1 mistake a business can make. So, what's so wrong about this piece of advice? The elimination of images/video! Video has never been more important than it is right now. By not utilizing images and video on your website or in your marketing strategy, you're not only going to take a HUGE hit on SEO, but you're going to alienate a giant portion of your audience that will only watch video content over ready blog content.

2014 advice - 7. Biting off more than you can chew - After all of the other advice, sometimes you just need help. Recognizing that you cannot handle everything is important and there are people ready to assist at a moment's notice. Don't be hesitant to ask for help.

<

2018 edit - DUH! That's what we're here for! ;)

The Tools I Love That Make Marketing Easier

Today is Valentine's Day and we're talking LOVE here at Hub Digital! And by LOVE I mean some of the marketing programs and tools that we heart and use everyday. Check out the video below to learn more about them and why I recommend them, and then follow the links below to check them out for yourself!

The tools mentions in this post:

Canva - Graphic design program filled with templates to design everything from documents, to social posts, to banner ads. Can even create animated graphics for more exposure and engagement on social media.

Buffer - If you need help scheduling and managing your social media posts, we recommend Buffer as the easier to use, less expensive option.

ActiveCampaign - The email marketing platform for those with large lists and who need more integrated automated sequences and to move contacts through different sales funnels.

Mailchimp - For many businesses, Mailchimp covers more than enough of the emailing needs of a small business. PLUS it FREE up to 2000 subscribers AND automatic sequences are included!

Zoom - If you have video conferencing or Webinar needs, Zoom can cover both and is less expensive and more reliable than it's competition.

Drift - Have LIVE conversations with website visitors or encourage them to schedule appointments with you during your off hours. Engage your customers when they are thinking about you and your business.

The 5 Pillars of Digital Marketing

Here at Hub Digital, we believe that there are 5 main pillars to digital marketing. They are the 5 different areas that you should be exploring to help promote your business online. What are those pillars you ask? Good question!

- SEO
- Blogging
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Paid Advertising

Seem overwhelming? I mean, running your own business is hard enough! How are you going to tackle all these different things on top of that?

Don't stress! Yes, you should do make an effort to use each of these pillars in a successful marketing campaign. BUT, it doesn't mean you HAVE to do everything in each of those pillars. Explore ways that you can integrate some of these strategies into your marketing routine.
- Can you repurpose your blog into a weekly or bi-weekly email campaign?
- Can you spend 10 minutes each month researching those keywords and using those as future blog topics?
- Can you spend a few dollars each month to boost a great Facebook post to get some more reach on it?

See! It doesn't have to be hard!

Check out our Facebook live from last week to learn more about these 5 pillars, why they are important and how you can integrate them in your business' marketing.

5 Days to Jumpstart Your Digital Marketing

2018 is here! And at Hub Digital we came into it swinging. We challenged some amazing VIP's to start their year right with our mini challenge, "5 Days to Jumpstart Your Digital Marketing". On Facebook Live each morning we dove deep into a different pillar of marketing, and we talked about some of the best tips and tricks to tackle each of them.

It was so amazing to connect with so many entrepreneurs and business owners to help them start their year right. They asked some amazing questions, gave each other some awesome advice (that's right, it wasn't just me talking!), and got inspired to kick some serious marketing butt this year!

So then I got to thinking, why would I want to keep these information only to a select few? Why not open it up to the rest of you so you can rock it as well? So, that's what I'm doing! Check out the videos below and create your own online marketing mini challenge! Challenge yourself to work on your own digital marketing. Challenge yourself to do some of the marketing things (cough... blogging... cough) that you've been putting off for a while. And challenge yourself to commit to growing your business this year, even when you don't feel like putting in the time and effort.

Check out the videos below and feel free to always reach out with any questions you have! Oh! And don't forget to join our private group, The Digital Marketing Hub, so you won't miss out on even more tips, tricks, and future challenges!

Day 1 - Keyword Research. The very first thing you must do when it comes to your digital marketing is keyword research. In this video we walk through the process of researching long tail keywords and how you can brainstorm them for your business to compete better in search.

Day 2 - Blogging Brainstorming. Creating content, or blogging, is one of the most effective marketing strategies for SEO, and for connecting and selling potential clients and customers. Check out Hub Digital's ideas for coming up with blog ideas so you never end up staring at a blank screen again.

Day 3 - Content Planning. By planning your content, you are much more likely to stick to your marketing plan. Learn some of our best strategies to planning your blogs, social media posts and website content.

Day 4 - Promoting Your Content. How can you promote your content for FREE? We all know social media works, but we have some lesser known ideas (have you heard of a blog carnival?) that will help you promote your content for FREE!

Day 5 - Pinterest Ads. We all know about Facebook ads, but have you explored Pinterest Ads yet? Get some of our best tips and tricks to promoting your business on Pinterest (even if you didn't think your business would traditionally work for Pinterest!)

Keeping Your Marketing Running While Squeezing Out Every Last Drop of Summer
Digital and online marketing tips from Hub Digital, Rhode Island.

Here in New England it took a while for summer to arrive. The cold and the rain hung around for a while, so we’ve spent every sunny day of August soaking up what we could. If you’re anything like us, you’re probably spending the last few weeks of summer trying to squeeze in as many final beach trips, ice cream sundaes, frozen margaritas, and lazy mornings with the kids as possible. 

While we all like to hit the pause button and head out on vacation these last few weeks before school starts, we also all understand that not all of our business can wait for the cooler weather.  Sometimes we’re off having a little too much of a good time, only to return in September to a backlog of emails, a giant To-Do list, and a book of business that could use a little kick in the pants to get going again. And to us, most importantly, a marketing plan that was pretty much ignored all summer long.

So this week, we’ve compiled a few simple tips to help you stay on top and keep your book of business organized and your marketing strategy optimized. Taking some time before heading out on the boat (lucky you!), or off to the zoo for the day, will ensure that your business is still working for you and ready for you to return after soaking up some rays.

1. Take a day to dive a little deeper and evaluate your current direction and growth strategy. While you don’t have to tackle everything on here (yet), it helps just to ask yourself some of these questions. Knowing where you stand will help you begin to formulate a plan, so when you return rested, and tanned, from your vacation you’re ready to address any issues, or dive right into any new projects or plans.

  1. What is working well?
  2. What needs to be tweaked? 
  3. What do your numbers look like up to now?
  4. Have you hit your growth goals?
  5. Where are new clients/business coming from?
  6. Are your current clients/book of business your ideal?
  7. Are you investing enough here, or too much there? 

2. Pick one day a week to schedule out all your content. If you’re usually someone who waits until the ‘day of’ to write that blog or Facebook post (and there’s nothing wrong with that… usually…) try switching it up during this time of year. Getting a few days ahead of the curve will help you ensure new content is constantly being updated in your absence and you won’t feel resentful about having to hit your computer to write a blog (or even worse, forget it all together) while everyone else is out having fun.

3. Commit to (limited) customer service 2x per day. We all know connecting with your potential clients or customers is important and so is answering their questions or getting them to engage on your social platforms. Commit 30 minutes, twice per day, to answering emails, liking/commenting on social posts, joining groups, etc. Do what you can, but make sure when that 30 minutes is up you shut your computer (or crash your Facebook app) and get back to enjoying your vacation!

4. Plan something big for the fall, and give yourself deadlines. There’s nothing worse than seeing time slip by and feeling like you could have done so much more. The fall and 4th quarter is a huge time for many businesses, and we don’t want you to feel like it passed you by. Commit to tackling a new project, marketing strategy, or big launch in the fall and put all the dates in the calendar NOW. 

Always wanted to run a lead generation campaign to really boost your email list? Give yourself deadlines for when you will have your lead magnet ready, your automated email sequence up and running and your Facebook ads live. 

Thinking about doing a big pre-holiday, in-store sale? Mark the dates off on your calendar now and work backwards to plan when your email campaign will start, your creative will be designed and ads will go live. By putting these dates in your calendar, you’ll be able to enjoy your time off while still feeling excited about the months to come. Plus it will give you target dates for when the party must stop (or at least calm down a little) and the productivity must start. 

So, whether you’re taking some well deserved time for R & R or whether you’re still hustling (or hopefully a combination of both), we hope some of these tips might help you get the most out of these dog days of summer, without leaving your business, or your marketing plan, high and dry.

What the heck is influencer marketing anyway?
How to find influencers and brand advocates from Hub Digital Marketing in Rhod eISland.

We’re guessing you’ve heard this term?  How about the term ‘Advocate Marketing’?  They’re similar but totally different!  Brand advocates, customer advocates or, as we like to call them ‘brand champions’, are existing customers or clients who like (or love!) a business and aren’t afraid to use their own time, energy or brand to endorse it.  An Influencer is a bit different as they are people that usually get paid in some way to use their brand (influence) to endorse a business thus increasing the reach (getting in front of eyeballs that they’re not currently in front of) of that business.

Brand advocates are usually easier to find than you might think and utilizing them is a great inexpensive component that should be a part of your marketing strategy.  

A couple of tips on how to identify brand advocates:

  1. Are you following who is tagging your business on social media?  Start paying attention to those notifications and see if any of your customers are saying nice things about you, liking and sharing your posts, etc...  
  2. Ask your sales team to start making a list of customers that seem especially happy with your business…those that are ‘touching’ the customers/clients the most will probably be able to create that list pretty quickly!

A couple of ways you can leverage that love:

  1. Ask why they like you and/or what they like about you.  This is a great way to get a testimonial that you can share in your email campaigns, on social media or in ads and it’s also a great way to find out what you’re doing well (maybe you don’t even know something you’re doing well or maybe this will validate something you want to invest more time, money and energy in).  
  2. Reward them for sharing with coupons, discounts or some kind of VIP treatment and build even stronger relationships with those amazing clients or customers!

Influencers, on the other hand, are usually people or brands with large social followings whether local, national or global, that have built a very loyal audience.  Influencers are usually paid to promote or endorse a brand whether that be with fees, products or some other kind of agreed upon compensation or trade.  Influencer marketing is a great way to reach audiences you’re not currently in front of and when done right it works really well.   It’s not just about finding popular people though as it has to make sense in some way for these ‘influencers’ to be endorsing a brand and keep in mind that finding the right influencers should convert to more followers, shares and hopefully sales.  

An easy tip for finding relevant influencers:

  • What do you do?  Are you a local business selling direct to customers like a Laundromat?  Have you noticed there are some local women out there that seem to have huge social media followings?  One of them might even live in your neighborhood that you see at the bus stop everyday!  She would be an excellent influencer for your Laundromat and chances are that if you reached out to her and offered some kind of service in return (maybe she would love to drop off and pick up blankets or other laundry?)…she’d probably be happy to help you with your marketing!  You can just pause for a minute and think of this scenario on a larger scale if you’re a business with a national or global audience.  B2B business strategies are different, of course, but similar in the way that you should focus on a business (or person) that compliments your business and authenticity is still super important.

What do you do once you find an influencer?  

  • So, you’ve found an influencer and you’ve agreed upon a payment for their shout out but what are they going to say?  This depends on the type of business you have and the influencer’s brand style.  Authentic is ALWAYS best.  Most influencers already have a specific language and style - think about some Instagram feeds and how all the posts flow in a way that really kind of looks similar, maybe it’s the kind of images they use, like beach pictures, or maybe it’s the same color scheme or filter throughout?  These influencers might have no problem pushing out some great endorsements that seem very organic.  For some influencers though, they may be very agreeable to sit down with you to either brainstorm ideas with you and/or take what you craft for them to ensure the messaging they’re pushing out is both consistent with their brand (so their loyal audience won’t think twice about trusting them and hopefully will jump on board to support your brand) and consistent with your integrated messaging and marketing strategy.

Whether you decide to start leveraging the love with your existing brand advocates or you decide to seek out new influencers to help spread the word about your amazing company (or better yet…both)  they are both proven effective tactics and we wish you tons of new growth!

 

Hub Digital's Favorite Marketing Tips
Hub Digital is an online and digital marketing consultant agency in Rhode Island.

We often get asked what is the one tip, or the most impactful thing, we like to tell clients. Today, the Hub Digital team has gone through our entire toolbox and picked out our favorite ones of the bunch. 

Tuni’s favorite marketing tip…

Self Awareness.  Who are you, what do you do and, most importantly, WHY do you do it?  What makes you or your business different and stand out from your competition?  What do you enjoy most about your business or work?  What seems to get the best response from your clients or customers?  Where do sales come from?  Follow the money…where do you generate the greatest margin and/or what part of your business generates the most revenue?  

So, just like me, this tip is simple and complex at the same time but I promise that the clearer you are on the answers to these questions the easier it will be to grow your business!  

Then, one of my other favorite tips (after you have the answers to these questions) is to share.  Share your expertise with your followers through blogging, email campaigns (permission based of course), social media posts, contributing to relevant groups, writing articles and so on.   Remember two things: people do business with people and businesses that they know, like and trust and building that brand trust is key.  I always say ‘help them help you’ and by physically networking, blogging, emailing your list and staying active on social media you will build a loyal engaged following that will convert to sales and grow your business.  Doing what you love (or at the very least enjoy) and really honing in on your unique value proposition(s) then sharing will help them help you…promise!  

Amy’s favorite marketing tip…

Want to do something? Chances are there's a tool for that! There are so many cool platforms and software companies out there that are helping to make marketing a little easier. Often times you may be trying to bootstrap your processes or are wasting time on outdated techniques. Do some research around what you need in your business to reach or connect with new clients or conduct your day-to-day business.  

Some of my favorites:

Satori - Do your clients/customers need to make appointments for meetings or calls with you? Link Satori with your Google Calendar and the times of the day you're available for them, for streamlined scheduling. Now, right through your website or a link you send them, they can see when you're available and pick the time that works for both of you! Their information is then saved right in Satori where you can automate reminder emails, send out surveys or paperwork prior to your meetings, or follow up with contracts they need to sign. 

Buffer - While we don't normally recommend scheduling your social posts through a 3rd party scheduler (stats have shown your organic reach actually decreases when you use them), sometimes it's a necessary evil. If your choice is between scheduling in advance or not posting at all - we definitely recommend choosing the former. Of all the scheduling tools we've found Buffer to be the easiest to use and it provides some of the better stats and feedback so you can evaluate what is working and what isn't. 

Zoom - We've discovered this recently at the recommendation of other industry leaders. Zoom is a super streamlined, easy to use video conferencing platform that you can use to not only schedule calls or have meetings with clients that aren't in your area, but you can use it to host webinars to large audiences. A really cool bonus? You can go live in Facebook right in Zoom so you can broadcast your webinars or talks to your audience on there with just one click. 

Mailchimp - Have you struggled with finding an email platform that works for you? Depending on your emailing needs, Mailchimp is FREE up to 2000 subscribers and offers clean templates and great stats so you can easily track open rates, click thrus and manage your lists. There are also amazing automated tools you can set up to save yourself time and a low monthly rate that won't break the bank. 

5 Content Hacks For Your Digital Marketing Strategy
5 content hacks for your digital marketing strategy from Hub Digital.

When we talk about Digital Marketing, we talk a lot about the importance of a well-designed website, Email Marketing Campaigns, Social Media Marketing, SEO, and so on…but did you know that Content Marketing is a major part of all of that?  

So, some of you may be thinking ‘what the heck does content marketing mean?’  

Marketo’s definition that we agree with, – “Content marketing is the savvy marketer’s response to the new, relationship-based, buyer-driven, digital marketplace.” We like this description because it refers to the importance of relationships and selling the way your customers want to buy!   

Content marketing is basically telling your story (or stories) to your identified audience segments and sharing your valuable knowledge, services or products with them - a major part of your continued brand building and growth strategy.  If you do this right, you will continue to strengthen existing relationships, create new ones and build trust with all of those followers which will then convert to more sales of your products or services.

Help them help you!  

1. Make sure your content is easy to share!  Don’t just create that awesome website content and those super interesting blogs then just let them sit there stagnant on your site!  You can use it in an email campaign, post it out on your social platforms, and post to groups and other outlets.  

2.  Use CTAs (Calls to Action) and test!  Maybe you’re creating links within your blog content?  Analyze which links are getting the most action.  Or, have buttons strategically placed on your website pages. The top of the page often makes it easiest for people but you might want to play around to see if you get more action when you place it somewhere else on your page?  And, you can have more than one, in fact, we recommend you do!  Include calls to action in your email campaigns, on your social posts and within your blogs that will then drive those interested followers back to your website and hopefully they’ll stick around and learn even more about your amazing company!

3.  Ask.  Yup, it’s not always easy for us to ‘ask’ for something, but your audience is already there! These people (yes, they’re just people like you and me) have either given you permission to email them, have clicked on your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter or have connected with you on LinkedIn, so you can definitely ‘ask’ every now and again.  We always recommend the 80/20 rule – share interesting or helpful information 80% of the time and only ask (or clearly advertise) 20% of the time!  

4.  Ok, back to SEO (Search Engine Optimization, or, in laymen’s’ terms ‘how you rank in search’). Make sure you’re using rich key words and phrases within that awesome content.  Google Adwords Keyword Planner is a great tool but if you just Google search ‘how to find keywords’ you’ll find all kinds of great tools, both free and paid.  Using rich keywords and phrases will help people who want (and need) to know more about you find you.  Trust us, they’re looking!  

5.  And, drum roll please…our favorite content hack tip here is: ‘Guest Bloggers!’  We love to feature complimentary businesses and colleagues within our content strategy and often utilize this tactic for our clients as well.  It’s a great way to not feel so alone on your island, and it’s an even better way for both parties to expand their reach.  You can get your information in front of people that might not know about you and expend your audiences.  And, in the long term it’s a much more comprehensive way to educate your followers on the breadth and depth of who you are, what you do, and most importantly…why you do it! 

Big SEO For Small Businesses - Online Class!

STRUGGLING WITH GETTING TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE?

Having a hard time mastering Search Engine Optimization? Not even sure what SEO is and how it will even help your business? We're so excited to announce enrollment is opening for the only SEO class you'll ever need.

In it we'll walk you through; what SEO can do for your business, understanding everything that goes into an SEO strategy, and how you can master it to drive more website traffic and more sales.

Everything you've ever needed to know about SEO and how to optimize it all in 15 easy to follow lessons that you can take in your own time and when it benefits you. Not sure you need this class? Let us tell you why you do:

  • 70% of links search users click on are organic.
  • When consumers are exposed to both search and social media influences by a brand, their overall search click-thru-rate went up by 94%.
  • The #1 driver to websites is search, beating out social media by more than 300%.
  • SEO Leads have a 14.6% close rate, while leads from advertising have a 1.7% close rate.*

*Stats courtesy of Search Engine Journal

What You'll Learn

Big SEO For Small Businesses, is a 15 module course designed to walk you through everything you need to create a comprehensive SEO strategy that will drive more traffic to your website and help convert that traffic into sales.  Learn More!

Hub Digital: Our "Why"
Why Hub Digital loves to help small business grow and flourish online in Rhode ISland.

Last week we told you who we are... this week we're explaining our "why" - why we love helping small businesses grow. We always tell clients that it is super important for them to identify their why, so no we're putting our money where our mouth is and identifying ours! ;) 

Find out the "why" behind Hub Digital here: 

Hub Digital: Who We Are
Who Hub Digital is and who we help throughout Rhode Island.

While it might seem like we're super education-focused lately, we are tenaciously passionate about working with small to medium sized businesses to reach their business development goals. 


Who are we? We are a dynamic boutique digital marketing firm that is dedicated to serving businesses that know their niche, but might be having some trouble reaching the right audience. Check out our latest video to find out more about Hub Digital.

Michelle Girasole - Optimizing Your Email Open Rates
Learn some quick changes to increase your email open rates.

Today, Hub Digital is proud to feature one of our favorite partners and friends, Michelle Girasole of Constant Contact, who is breaking down how to get more attention with your email marketing.

Email -  Five Seconds Can Make or Break Your Next Customer Sale!

If your customer reads your next email on their mobile device, it will take them just under five seconds to decide if they will read it or delete it.  That email had better be good if you want to get their attention and your next sale!

Despite this daunting fact, email is still one of the best values for your marketing dollar.  Entrepreneur Magazine just published an article suggesting that email marketing is the "The One Marketing Tool Entrepreneurs Should Focus on for 2017".  It is more effective than many other marketing tactics - not only for building brand awareness, but also for inviting ACTION, the lifeblood of your business. And remember, a customer sale is not the only measurable action, though this is the ultimate end goal.   If customers are opening your emails, reading the content, clicking on buttons, links and graphics, asking questions and/or sharing your content on their social media channels, then congratulations!  This means you have nurtured a treasure trove of highly engaged subscribers, which will soon lead to sales with consistent, relevant and valuable marketing outreach and sales effort.  

If you send an email out and hear only crickets, it is time to rethink your strategy.  There are three questions you need to ask in order to achieve success in email marketing:

1) Who cares?  You have likely built a large list of email subscribers. Are these people all prospects for business, or just people you know?  Do you segment your list and send targeted messages based on their interests, or do all subscribers get the same message?  It may be time for a list review.  Clean out those addresses that bounce.  Segment the folks who click on emails into a "VIP" list that gets special offers or early notice of news or deals.  Treat them special, because they are.  On average, only 5-18% of subscribers click through, according to Constant Contact, who reviews 200 million customer emails every year.  The ones who click through should get special attention, and if you don't know who they are, you need to find out.

2) What do they care about?  What you say in the subject line of your next email should speak directly to the very topic that your customers care the most about.  About 1/3 of email subscribers decide to open the email or hit delete, based solely on the content in the subject line!  Make your subject line compelling and deliver on the promise of the subject line in the body of your email.  Create content based on what they have clicked on in the past - what are their interests?   What questions are they asking you at the networking meetings?  What problems have you solved for customers this week?  Turn those questions and problems into the storytelling that sells your services or products.  80% of your content should be informative, educational and/or entertaining.  Only 20% should be sales-oriented, so if you are using your email to deliver discounts and sales offers exclusively, you are missing the point.

3) What happened last time and what do I do next?  Most email marketing platforms worth their salt have automated reporting that tell you exactly what happened the last time you sent an email out.  Who opened?  Who didn't?  Who clicked? What did they click on?  What time of day did most people read it?  Who came back more than once?  What emails bounced back as undeliverable?   All of these factors should be studied within 24 hours after you send your email, and careful consideration should be given as to what to do next.   There is so much knowledge at our fingertips that can help us pack some power into the next email we send, and yet many of us just look at the open rate as the single factor of success.  Read your reports and make marketing decisions based on what you find.

Email is the number one app used on smartphones today.  Access to email is everywhere we go, and so we have an opportunity to reach people wherever they are.  We're no longer restricted to communication during daytime working hours to people sitting at their desktops.  We can reach them at the coffee shops, football fields and even in their beds.  (When was the last time you checked messages one more time, before turning out the light, hmm?)  This is a powerful marketing tool, and we must use this power wisely.  By using email to nurture your audience, you will build credibility and trust, and invite action.  And, people taking action is the only thing that will drive ever your business growth. 

Michelle Girasole is an email marketing industry veteran.  A marketing professional for 24 years and a Constant Contact solution partner since 2003, Michelle is the only one certified to teach Constant Contact workshops in Rhode Island. She teaches many free workshops for Rhode Island small business and non-profit organizations, many sponsored by SBA/SCORE and the area chambers of commerce.  For a calendar of her upcoming workshops click here.  

Stay Committed to Your 2017 Marketing Plan
Learn how you can committ to a successful marketing plan in 2017 with the girls from Hub Digital Marketing.

Did you struggle with your marketing in 2016? Did you want to blog, had plans to cultivate your email list, and tried to come up with something clever to post social media? Well, you've already taken the first step towards making 2017 more successful for your business. Knowing that your digital marketing is important, and wanting to do something to better it, is key to getting you started in the right direction. 

Now it's time to do something with that drive. Make a commitment right now that you will not give up on your digital marketing this year. You are going to write engaging blogs, connect with clients on your email list, and rock your social media. Sound good? Good! Check out the video below to find out how you're going to do all of this while still having the time to run your business.

Pretty cool right? Ready to dive in? Of course you are! Click here to learn more about "How To Create a Year's Worth of Content In One Day" and see what you can do for yourself and your business for an under $20 investment.

Pop Ups: Don't Block 'Em, Unlock 'Em
Don't let pop-ups annoy you. Learn how you can use them to your advantage from the Hub Digital team.

Whenever we hear “pop ups,” admittedly our minds still think of pop ups from the early 2000s – back when Windows had that gloomy grey color scheme and all pop ups felt like scams.

Today, we’re reinventing the pop up. They don’t have to be annoying, or scam-y, and they can be a digital marketer’s best friend if you do them correctly. In fact, when done well, users really enjoy relevant pop ups.

So why should you use pop ups?

Well, the largest pull to use pop ups is that they are a great way to generate warm leads that actually want to consume your content. Pop ups are actually proven to drive sales, and websites that have them outperform competitors who don’t. Think about it – by signing up with their email address through your pop up, they’re saying “yes, I want to receive updates from you in my inbox,” which drives sales.

When a user is presented with a pop up, they have to take action – whether that’s saying “yes, here’s my email” or by clicking out of the dialog box. So there’s a 50/50 chance they’ll give you their email address… and an even higher likelihood if you accompany your pop up with some kind of deal. 

Pop Ups Best Practices:

  • Offer something. A great way to generate leads is by offering a discount, access to your blog or newsletter, or downloadable content, say… a free Ebook to whoever subscribes. Think about it in terms of your own habits – how likely are you to just give a website your email address? Probably pretty unlikely. You’d have to be offered something or be really interested to trust the website enough to give your email address away.
  •  Don’t make it look pop up-y. There are so many ways that pop ups can look like a beautiful, cohesive component of your website. Be creative and make your ads bold and bright, and make sure it looks nothing like the pop ups we all remember and loathe from the 2000’s.
  • Don’t put too many on your site. While users may enjoy relevant pop ups, they don’t enjoy constantly having to click out of several of them while they’re surfing your site, or having the same ones pop up again and again.

There are a few different kinds of pop ups.

  • Entry Pop Ups are the ones that show up immediately when you enter a website. These are most effective if you’re a retailer, and we suggest you accompany them with a discount. Caution: an immediate pop up has the potential to deter guests from your site, so you have to be careful and offer a good deal! 

  • Timed Pop Ups pop up after a certain amount of time the user spends on the site. These are usually really effective because users have already stayed on your page for a certain length of time, so you know they’re interested in your content. Timed pop ups like “Want content like this sent to your inbox?” or “Download our free Ebook to learn even more” are usually very effective.

  • Scroll Pop Ups occur once the user has scrolled down on your webpage or blog post a certain percentage of the page, and won’t pop up before. These are said to be the most effective type of pop up because you know that the user is interested, since they’ve already taken the time to consume your content that much! These will generate the “warmest” leads, or leads that are most likely to end up making a purchase.

Here’s to reinventing pop ups!