Reviews- power of the people

How often have you had a craving for pizza, so you looked up a place online and were drawn in by the fancy website, alluring words, and photos... You were promised a pizza that matched the images online... fresh, oozing with the finest cheeses, and a sauce with the perfect balance of sweet and salty with an herbaceous finish. So you get in your car and drive there only to discover that it wasn’t what you thought it was. Anyone can market their brand and make their product look amazing, but how does a person really know where to go? Let’s dive into a very popular approach… customer reviews. Why are reviews important?  Now more than ever, customers are turning to online reviews for validation before making decisions, whether it’s where they want to go or what they want to invest their time or money in. Typically written reviews act as free word of mouth marketing where the potential consumer thinks, “If they had a good experience, I probably will too” or “If they had a bad experience, I probably will too.” For these reasons, it is important to keep an eye on the reviews that may be coming through about your business. Common review sites:1.    BBB.org2.    Yelp3.    Facebook4.    Google5.    TripAdvisor6.    Foursquare7.    Yellow Pages All of these sites should be monitored in attempts to manage your business’s reputation. A survey found that a total of 86% of consumers of all ages read reviews for local businesses. To break it down a little further, 80% of 18-34-year-olds have written a review, and 91% of 18-34-year-olds trust in the online reviews to make their decisions. The people in these age brackets are the most likely to be making big purchases and decisions, more likely to be repeat customers in different areas, and more likely to spread the word to their friends who are in the same boat. Therefore, having their trust is very important. It’s Not Always Unicorns and Rainbows  Sometimes bad reviews can tarnish the relationship of trust with your target audience. While businesses appreciate the good reviews, they also need to prepare themselves for the negative ones too. In the same mentioned above, bad reviews can drive away 40% of customers who checked out a business online. Without proper management and handling of these poor reviews, it can really hurt a business. Don’t let that business be yours. Don’t Panic! There is a Way to Handle This  We get it, you can’t please everyone all of the time. So, what should a company do when they get a bad review? Simple... Respond to it! It gives the opportunity for the company to redeem itself. For example, say someone complains publicly about your business. The company can respond to the review, explaining what happened truthfully and the consumer’s trust in your business can start to be rebuilt. This way, the upset customer will know that there was a disturbance to the normally well- functioning process, and your prospective clients can see your transparency. More importantly, they can see that you care enough to reach back out. Review Trackers states that 53% of customers think a response within one week of a review is appropriate, however, 63% say that they have never heard back. So, be that company that stands out! Offer your customers what other companies are not. Don’t Stop There  No matter the review- good or bad, be sure to try and respond to all of them. It is very important when working on customer relationships to show gratitude when they compliment your business. With that being said, you can also encourage your customers to write good reviews in person or online. Two great spots for encouragement is when they receive their confirmation email or in-person when they are in your store at their end of purchase. If you know they are happy with your product and they tell you, ask them to spread the word! It doesn’t need to be anything too formal, just a simple, “Thank you so much! Please tell your friends or leave a review online!” Wrapping it Up  If you’re in the business of any sort and you have customers, most likely they will end up reviewing your products and services. Be sure to check in on the popular sites to manage your reviews by responding to positive reviews with gratitude and the negative ones by trying your best to make things right. Contact us for some of our preferred methods and suggestions on how to manage large quantities of reviews. Never forget that your customers are the ones who make your business thrive and if you didn’t have them, you wouldn’t have anyone to sell your products and services to.  Happy customer = happy company.

Benefits of Influencer Marketing:6 Important Things You Should Know​

 Influencer marketing is the outcome of what it means to be liked by many, to be famous, well-known, and followed. When a woman sees her favorite actress advertising a certain coat, she goes out and buys the exact one. When a man sees his favorite politician eating at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, he has to go try it too. Then, the next thing you know, the coat sales have gone up and the restaurant is no longer a hole-in-the-wall. Every business needs a great marketing strategy and with all of the different methods out there it can start to feel a little overwhelming when deciding what your company's plan should be. In a way, influencer marketing allows the products and services to speak for themselves. Let’s explain in a little more detail why it is beneficial to implement this strategy into your current plan. 1. Fastest-Growing Online Tool Nobody likes pop-up ads. In fact, it has become more and more common that web surfers are starting to block pop-ups and avoid sites with too many advertisements altogether. For this reason, influencer marketing is on the rise. With this strategy, the target audience is already following the thought-leaders, so the likelihood of them going with a brand recommended by them versus a pop-up is much higher.  2. Ability to Reach a Large Audience These well-known figures can reach masses of people on several different platforms with the click of a button. This means that the audience is being reached quicker, thus is more motivated to look up what’s being promoted. This also means turnaround time for sales on a product or usage of services can be near instantaneous. As of 2018, studies show that 75% of the market are more likely to purchase products and services based on a recommendation from social media. The best part is that the guessing game is taken out of the equation. If you have chosen the right leader to advocate for your product or service, their following won’t have to question whether or not they are making the right choice in their decisions. This ensures that your target audience is being reached above and beyond what was already happening. 3. Credibility Using influencer marketing builds trust with the target market. Those of high clout are viewed as credible sources to their followers. Therefore, they trust in their recommendations for products and services. Their name has to back the product; Not to mention, the majority of the influencers in this space choose who they collaborate with very carefully.   4. Budget-Friendly and Great ROI Influencer marketing isn’t as expensive as you might think. Sure, mega-influencers charge more than micro-influencers… But to start, micro-influencers are all you really need. Micro-influencers can have up to ten-thousand followers, and charge anywhere from $137 to $258 per post. That’s a lot of views on products for only a couple hundred bucks! With those prices, the return on investment has high potential for your business. On average, companies using influencer marketing received $6.85 on every dollar spent. 5. Clever Addition to Content Strategy If the need to generate content arises and a company is out of ideas, they can just pull in the photos, social media posts, and/or interviews of those that are involving their brand and an influencer. Because their brand is involved already, they can use them on their marketing sites. This influencer-generated content is great for audiences to see. Consumers like to be in the know about what their favorite people are into, and as a company, it is beneficial for them to know these influencers are supportive of certain brands or missions. 6. Brand AwarenessInfluencers help showcase or start trends and movements. Through their work, they naturally promote brands. If a national or local celebrity is ahead of a trend, interest can be garnered in their use of a product or service related to the original trend. The brand of whatever product or service is being used is then quickly put in the spotlight as well. This creates a good amount of attention for both the brand and the influencer, a true win-win situation.   Influencer marketing is a hot topic in the marketing industry. Be sure to research the influencer before pitching a collaborative idea to them, as you want to make sure they are actually interested in your business category. After that, you will be delighted to watch your company reap the benefits. Sometimes old sayings are true and in this case, “It pays to know people.” 

want your piece of 150 Billion?

Deregulation Of Sports Gambling Is Giving The Power To The States The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, on Monday, May 14th, in favor of repealing the 1992 federal law that essentially bans individual states from commercial sports betting. Nevada will no longer be the only state to allow wagers on the outcome of a single game. The major sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and the NCAA) have all given their varying levels of concern as to how this ruling may incite corruption through match-fixing. I’ve read and heard lots of emotional arguments from sports fans on both sides of this issue. The talking points include references like “The 1919 White Sox”, “Pete Rose”, “March Madness”, and don’t forget how Biff’s character in the movie “Back To The Future 2” corrupted an entire town with the money he won placing illegal bets according to his “Gray’s Sports Almanac”.   Predicting the increase in corruption derived from the deregulation of sports gambling is as sure as the Philadelphia Eagles winning back-to-back Super Bowls. It all depends on who you ask. The more important question (at least to people on the business side of this playing field) is what will happen to the estimated $150 Billion in illegal wagers Americans make each year? Business opportunists and state legislators alike are scurrying to control and develop their “chip in the big game”. Does your business want to start taking bets?   Are you ready to become “The House”? Here’s your strategy: Create/develop your website to accommodate online sports betting - First, the software. Take your time choosing the online gaming software that best fits your needs. Pick a provider that has a lot of experience with the online gaming industry; more specifically with launching online sportsbooks. Pay attention to how much control you are allowed throughout the entire process from design to post-launch. In general, find a software provider that offers most of these features: An advanced gaming management systemLarge coverage of your specific betting marketsAccess to a large selection of betting gamesA customizable front endPayment options that offer multi-currency supportAccessible and knowledgeable customer support Next, consider exactly what you want to include in your online sportsbook for your customers. What software provides the best “look and feel” for the user? You may want to include additional features such as chat rooms, statistics on players, bonus structures for members, or tournament play. How will your players get paid? You want to ensure that you choose a payment system provider that can quickly and easily make transactions. Offering multiple payment options increases convenience for your customers. Your provider should include complete payment processing, integration with all major e-merchants, and fraud protection.      Time to make it all legal! You need to obtain the proper gambling license for your desired jurisdiction in the country and/or state you want to set your business. Specific requirements for these licenses are yet to be determined, as online betting laws are currently being developed on a state-by-state basis. Your gaming software provider may also offer licensee options if you don’t want the hassle of obtaining a license outright. Most importantly, your website’s design has got to look good! It’s one of the most important factors for players when choosing between similar betting websites. Keep it simple and don’t overload pages with unnecessary graphics or videos that may slow down your website. If loading times are too long, players will pick up and move on. Also, make sure your web pages integrate seamlessly with your database. Create an app to accommodate online sports betting - Develop an app that mirrors your websites’ user experience and increases convenience for your customer. Factors important to betting app users: Domestic and international sports coverageLive betting optionsFast odds postsResults of all matches in real timeSign-up and reload bonusesExclusive bitcoin bonusesStatistics for each gameChat roomList of most successful playersQuick and easy depositsDeposit limitsCredit card and e-wallet cashier options  Create a targeted marketing strategy to advertise to the right person at the right time when they are likely to place a bet online - You’ve built your online sportsbook, making sure every function of your website and app maximize your customers’ experience. Now you need to find and register your players. To maximize your search, your marketing needs to predict and interact with your customer when they are “in the betting mood”. The days of simply running ads in desired demographic market areas, then waiting for customers to show up, are long gone. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops have made the internet a pervasive part of Americans’ lives. Your potential customers’ daily use of the internet creates millions of data points that can be harvested and organized to create an ultimate consumer profile. The technology that fields data of this specificity is unlike anything we’ve seen in the past. The questions of who, what, where and when can be answered in real time. Once established, these profiles can be used to market to your customers at any time they’re interacting with information relatable to your services. For example, if a potential customer is searching online for odds in the NBA Championship game, a sponsored ad for your site can be run as a banner on the search page and on that person’s Facebook feed simultaneously. The more your consumer interacts with your brand the more the new technology learns your customers’ habits and delivers catered messaging at the most opportune moments. In addition, the unique profiles created from your customers’ interactions can be used to market to other people with similar internet behavior. Your marketing moves from programmatic to predictive, the most effective marketing to date. There are a limited number of providers that offer this type of software. Up until 5 years ago, these marketing tools were unaffordable for smaller start-up businesses. Choose a provider with a good track record of running these type of campaigns.  Now place your bets. ​

The Biggest Opportunityon social media-Linkedin 

Build your network strategically.LinkedIn has many different users and some may surprise you in their specific areas of expertise and knowledge. Make sure to be strategic when growing your network so that you can get the most value out of it. Make smart decisions when accepting and reaching out to other usersDiversify your contacts where need be Try to genuinely connect with your network.Post content that relates to your business goals, current industry trends, and the things you find interesting whenever possible. If you post regular content more often your network and onlookers will better see your profile and get to know you through the lens of what you post. Post regularlyActively engage by participating in groups and threadsLike, comment, and share thought-provoking content Let your network know you’re a credible source.A LinkedIn profile showcases you and your personal brand. The profile you create is your public resume and should represent your achievements and individual strengths. Credibility is important. Keep information as up-to-date as possibleBe honest when describing your job experience and skill set This is the biggest opportunity on social media. Don't miss out on this untapped resource.    

Trending: Twitter is NOT Dead

Twitter is alive and well in the eyes of users all over the world. A constantly updating machine, with real-time information about businesses, pop culture, and world trends, it should definitely be on your list of top social media forums to have and use. Creating a Twitter profile for your business and advertising on the site allows you to connect with potential consumers in a very personable way.
A big trend on Twitter is the growing amount of video that has been produced, distributed, and consumed by Twitter users. Video views on the site have skyrocketed to about 220 times more views on video-focused content since last year. Engagement by users in the form of tweets with video content being liked and/or retweeted is up as well (
Video content is expected to grow in terms of the volume being produced, but shorten in the overall length. Videos give the power to the user so that they can create and share media through mobile devices and different platforms quickly and effortlessly. Video-focused content truly lets your company’s mission be showcased effectively and in a way that gets the consumer involved.
Types of videos that are expected to take over the Twitter and social media scene in the upcoming year:
• Native: Anyone can produce, edit, and distribute an original video to share it at any time. This could be a way to showcase something specific about your business to viewers.

• Live Streaming (with Periscope in regards to Twitter): Real time recording of an event or promotion as it happens from the first-person perspective is shared with the public through video content. This can be a novelty because it can be shown once, but you can decide to keep it around after video recording has ended.

• GIFs: Give a snippet of an idea related to your brand and can be translated across many platforms.
Twitter will be the social media forum to watch and could help your business grow in terms of getting your brand name out there, actively communicating to your audience, and getting your content flowing through new video content.
Contact us to see what video solutions are possible for your business today!

Is your websiteproviding the best roi?

 "Our website is on the card, but don't go there. It's really bad." It's funny how often I hear these words. As a website designer, it's difficult for me to comprehend how any self-respecting business owner could let their most valuable marketing asset fall into such a state of disrepair. But then again, not everyone spends every day learning and practicing marketing and building websites. I've realized that it's simply an issue of education. So listen up, because you're about to learn something. Let's talk about your website. You may not know this, but your website is your main marketing hub. Much like "all roads lead to Rome," all marketing channels lead to your website. You can try to cut it out of the equation, but even then you're only making things harder for yourself. Done properly, your website actually amplifies the effect of all your other efforts. From cold calling to open networking to mass mailings, you'll see much higher conversion rates with the right website design, as well as numerous other less-tangible benefits. Think of it like a multiplier. You've already spent money on other channels, and you want to improve your ROI. A bad website design would have a multiplier of less than one, meaning that you'll actually close less business. But a great website can have a huge multiplier! Let's talk about some of the main ways a great website design can supercharge your marketing.  A great website design increases conversion Conversion should be the key of any website, and your design is going to be a huge part of that. A great website builds immediate trust with your visitors. You will immediately be perceived as high-quality and legitimate. Conversely, a bad design can make you seem out-of-touch, cheap, and more than a little shady. Not exactly what you want when you're trying to sell to someone. Properly designed pages present your content in a way that makes it easy to follow along with and more effective. If broken down properly, you can have large amounts of information presented and have your visitors actually read it. As long as your content is good, this is huge for conversion. A modern design improves the user experience across devices, especially mobile ones. A huge percentage of website visits are now on mobile devices, and people will leave immediately if the site doesn't adapt properly. Additionally, if you target younger demographics, you don't really have a choice but to make your site mobile-friendly. That's almost all those Millennials use!  A redesign can have the best ROI of any marketing effort A website is an investment. While the initial cash expense may be higher than some other options, a good website should last many years with minimal maintenance. And it has fantastic ROI. Since most people will end up at your website before ever buying from you, it absolutely needs to be high quality. Otherwise you'll find yourself struggling to make your sales process work. You could get a million people through the door, but if they all turn away upon seeing your website, that's wasted potential. The right site will close all of your deals for you. It should push potential clients over the edge and turn them into customers. And for most businesses, a new website is less costly than just about anything else with that kind of ROI. And remember, it multiplies the effect of your other marketing. The more you're already investing elsewhere, the more important (and beneficial) it is to have a fantastic website design.  E-Commerce performance can improve dramatically When your entire business consists of your website and getting sales through your online store, the website design is more important than ever. It needs to be as easy as possible for visitors to find the products they are looking for and check out with them. The right website and user interface design is critical. Once you've made your store as efficient and possible and maximized conversion, you can further optimize by using Social Boom's AIM tool to determine the demographics of the people who are actually buying your products. This information is invaluable. With this demographic information, you can further optimize your site to target those individuals. You can even use it to target them in all other areas of your marketing, which will get even more people to your site.  The right website improves your public image and brand Let's face it: your website is essentially the public face of your business and brand. Even if you have a storefront, it's likely that more people are going to your website than your store. Having a great public image can help with things you might not expect. The following are all benefits you can look forward to after a quality redesign: You'll get more referrals, as people are more proud to share you with people that trust them. You are more likely to get backlinks from other denizens of the web, which results in better search engine placement, and more traffic. And that, in turn, can lead to even more backlinks. It's a snowball effect! You'll be filled with a sense of pride about your brand. You'll actually want to share it with people!  A website redesign is very often a great choice, but it's not for everyone For the right website, nothing can beat the incredible multiplying power of a simple redesign. However, it's possible that it's not for you! If your site still has a quality design, there's probably no need to redesign. Just because your site is a couple years old doesn't necessarily mean it needs to be redesigned. Your efforts might be better spent revamping the content or analyzing your visitor flow to maximize its effectiveness. Likewise, very small businesses with no budget, or those with a 100% offline sales process (as long as it's working) may need to take a look at their situation and do some analysis before making the decision to invest in high-end website design. But if your site is out-of-date or out of brand, and especially if you're struggling to get a good return on your marketing efforts, then you should definitely look into having your website redesigned.  THANK YOU to guest blogger Brian Johnson (Owner of PageCrafter) for writing this blog post! You can learn more about Brian’s business, PageCrafter below! 


10800 Normandale Blvd., Suite 300, Bloomington, MN 55347​

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