5 Scary Good Small Business Digital Marketing Tips

The Internet can be a scary place and having to figure out your business’ digital marketing can be a pretty daunting proposition. Here are five tips to help you slay your digital marketing monsters and grow your business online.

#1: Transform your social media into social marketing

Congrats on getting your business set up on social media — now what? Just posting to your businesses Facebook or Twitter page isn’t enough. For your business to be competitive today, you need a well-rounded social marketing program that includes organic posting, monitoring and engagement, and paid advertising.

Remember, if you aren’t harnessing the full power of social marketing for your business, you’re falling behind.

Want to know how to get started? Check out our Smart Business Owner’s Guide to Social Media.

#2: Solicit reviews to soar above the competition

It’s easy to underestimate the importance of online reviews. But the truth is that positive reviews can mean the difference between getting new business or watching your competitors get new business.

You need to encourage your happy customers to take the time to write about their experiences. Your customers understand how important reviews are, and as long as they’re happy with your product or service, they won’t be annoyed if you ask them for a review.

Remember: even happy customers don’t tend to go looking for ways to leave you a good review. You need to make it as easy as possible for them to leave you a positive review.

#3: Bone up on blog basics

Many business owners overlook the potential rewards that blogging can provide. Done properly, a blog is an excellent way to connect with your audience and generate quality leads for your business.

Always write with your potential customer in mind. Think of the questions or issues they may have and write articles that provide information that they would find useful. That’s how you keep your readers coming back for more.

Writing quality posts takes time, but if you plan your content and stick to a schedule, you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time.

#4: Make videos that suck customers in

Video is the key content trend of the moment — if you’re not creating video content for your business, you need to be considering why not, and whether it may be a viable option moving forward.

Start with short videos. After all, you’ll only have a few seconds to capture your audience’s attention, and once you have it, you won’t have it for very long. Don’t waste too much time on lengthy introductions — get to the point of your video fast and get your message out quickly. Your audience will thank you for it.

If you’re posting your video to social media (and you definitely should be!), remember that many people watch videos without any audio whatsoever. If you have people speaking in your video, think about adding captions so that your video’s still engaging to those with the volume down.

#5: Carve yourself a top spot with great UX

You may have heard the term “User Experience (UX)” recently and are probably wondering what it means and if it matters for your small business. The short answer is YES.

When someone (aka a user) visits your website, you have a very short time to grab their attention, showcase your products and services, and convince them to choose your company. If you’re not taking the time to consider how users progress through the information on each page and what information they need, then you’re going to miss out on customers.

The same goes for the experience your visitors have on their mobile devices. Your mobile-optimized website (you do have a mobile-optimized website, right?) will make sure that users can, well, use your site –  no matter what device they’re using.

To help you get started evaluating your own UX, here are some common pitfalls you should avoid.

Visit hibu.com today to see how your local business can leverage the power of social, search marketing and more to help you grow your business online.

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Presenting the NEW Hibu.com!

 brand new hibu website, digital marketing made easy

The New Hibu.com – increased interactivity, free tools, product “sync” and a whole lot more

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve launched a new company website! The new Hibu.com presents all the products and services we offer, plus the new site gives you all the ins-and-outs of what sets us apart from all the other digital marketing options local businesses have today.

We make it clear that we are truly different from the other options out there – we don’t offer DIY templates, or software packages, we’re not a lone designer who will disappear when you need support. We are Hibu — Digital Marketing Made Easy.

The new Hibu.com shows how our products work together to deliver greater results for our small business clients. The site shows how, with Hibu, your business website works with your social media, how your online reviews will appear on both your site and on social pages – all your digital marketing is in “sync” and that increases the effectiveness of each connected marketing solution.

All the digital marketing a local business needs. All from one provider. All designed to work in sync to maximize results. That’s the promise we make – and deliver — in the new site.

Of course, the new Hibu.com is visually captivating – as you scroll through it, you’ll see…

  • Stunning graphics
  • Increased interactivity
  • Dozens of videos (including many of actual clients)
  • FREE tools visitors can use to score their current business website and check to see if there is incorrect information about their business out on the web
  • Up-to-the-minute social connectivity, showing the latest Blog and Twitter posts
  • And much, much more

But don’t take our word for it – go visit the new site yourself. Look through the beautiful new pages and see how we’re positioning our products and services. Watch the videos and read through the reviews. It’s an opportunity to take pride in the company we’re all part of.

And remember… this is just the first step in launching the NEW Hibu.com. Over the next few months, the site will continue to evolve, taking full advantage of changing technology to present our products and services, and expanding on-site services designed to meet the needs of our current clients, making Hibu.com a compelling and worthwhile destination for prospects and customers alike

Check out the new Hibu.com – take a look at the site, look at all the different solutions we offer – and how everything works together to maximize your results… then give us a call and let’s talk about building a custom digital marketing solution for your business.

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Breaking News: Hibu receives BBB A+ Rating

Cedar Rapids, IA – October 17, 2017 – Hibu Inc., a leading provider of digital marketing solutions to local businesses across the US, announced today that it has received accreditation from the Better Business Bureau and has been awarded the prestigious A+ Rating. Receiving this accreditation speaks to Hibu’s track record of delivering results in accordance with BBB’s demanding standards.

As BBB states, “BBB accreditation is an honor – and not every business is eligible. Businesses that meet our high standards are invited to seek BBB accreditation. Businesses deemed to meet Accreditation Standards are presented to the BBB’s Board for review and acceptance as a BBB Accredited Business.”

“We’re pleased to receive BBB Accreditation because we value building trust with our clients,” said Laura Dement, Hibu VP of Marketing. “We’re proud of our A+ Rating – the highest rating BBB awards — we understand that our BBB Accreditation gives our clients confidence in our commitment to maintaining high ethical standards of conduct, and our dedication to embracing a ‘client for life’ culture.”

If a business has been accredited by the BBB, it means BBB has determined that the business meets accreditation standards, which include adhering to standards of advertising, safeguarding privacy, and committing to making a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints.

As with all BBB Accredited Businesses, Hibu adheres to the BBB Code of Business Practices, a comprehensive set of policies, procedures and best practices for representing trustworthiness in the marketplace. The code is built on BBB Standards, which call for building trust, advertising honestly, being transparent, honoring promises, being responsive to client’s needs and safeguarding their privacy.

Hibu has been partnering with local businesses for over 80 years, helping hundreds of thousands of US businesses connect with their customers.

About Hibu

Hibu Inc. is a leading provider of digital marketing solutions to local businesses across the US.  Through a comprehensive portfolio of services including digital listings management, website development and management, search engine marketing and optimization, online and mobile display, online reviews and social campaign creation and management, Hibu helps businesses compete and succeed.  Providing one-on-one service, expertise and transparency, Hibu has simplified the digital marketing process allowing clients to partner with a single marketing services provider to achieve their marketing objectives– saving them time, frustration and money.  Hibu is a Facebook Marketing Partner, Google Premier Partner, Yahoo Preferred Partner and Bing Ads SMB Select Partner. For more information on Hibu, visit www.hibu.com.


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The Best Ways to Promote Your Business Event Online

Pack the house for your next business event

Whether you’re planning an in-store demo, an on-site workshop or organizing or sponsoring a community or charitable event, our friends at Yell gathered some great (and mostly FREE!) ways to make sure your event is seen online.

Make a Facebook event page

Facebook has a great events tool, enabling you to set up a page for your event, and to keep an eye on who is attending. You can create the event page…add the date, time and details about the event…then invite people directly from your Facebook contacts.

Plus, when someone clicks “attending,” it shows up on their News Feed so that their friends and followers also see the event!

Advertise on social media

In addition to any print advertising you’re doing, running an ad on one of your social media platforms is a cost effective, targeted way to spread the news about your business event.

[Make sure you] schedule regular organic posts promoting the event. Tag relevant supporters or partners in the comments sections to enlist their help in spreading the word.

Tip off the press

Not everyone is on Facebook! To capture your remaining online audience, reach out to relevant writers and editors for local, trade and national publications. This means writers whose patch covers your business – and whose readers will be interested in your event. Explain the purpose of the event and outline the “hook” for them – the reason they and their readers should be interested. Offer them a press pass and ask them to write about the event in advance online (and in print). If there’s a standout publication you want to target, consider offering them an exclusive interview.

Plan an email campaign

Draft a series of emails to gradually reel in your readers. Engaging copy is a must, as is a link back to a page on your website with full details. The email itself doesn’t have to include all the information – it should be short, snappy, attention grabbing, preferably with a good graphic. Give those who can’t make it an option to stay in touch, like “Can’t make this event but want to keep an eye on our other activities? Follow us on Facebook.”

Run a competition

Competitions are guaranteed to attract interest and, if you’re ticketing your event, you can offer a ticket to the event itself as a prize. Post the competition on all your online platforms. Example post: “Win a free spot at our hands-on workshop next month – simply answer this question / like this post / enter your email address for a chance to win.”

Finally: ask for help

Enlist the support of your business partners, customers and other ambassadors. Invite them along to your business event, and ask them to help you to spread the word online too!

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Visit hibu.com today to see how your local business can leverage the power of social, search marketing and more to help your next event reach the right audience.

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4 Reasons to Share “Curated Content” on Social

Small businesses can save big on time and effort with ready-made content

Facebook and other social networks are great for sharing news and pictures, posting your thoughts and more. In fact, for most people and businesses, social media is all about YOU:

  • YOUR profile or Page
  • YOUR posts and updates
  • Connecting with YOUR customers

So why in the world would you share SOMEONE ELSE’S content on YOUR social channels?

“Curated content” – content that’s relevant to your business or customers from OTHER PEOPLE that you share in YOUR social media – can keep your customers engaged and coming back for more while saving you the time and effort required to create original posts.

1. Curated content keeps your social pages active… and keeps them from being empty

There’s nothing more disappointing than visiting a small business’s Facebook Page or Twitter feed and seeing… nothing. Or nothing recent – that’s just as bad. An empty or inactive social page can send all the wrong messages:

  • Customers may think you’re not going to be responsive via email, @ mentions, direct messages and other digital options
  • Customers may think you’re too busy to keep up with social media…and wonder if you’re too busy to keep up with them
  • Worst of all — customers may actually think you’re out of business!

Sharing curated content is ideal for keeping your Pages active – and not having to constantly ask yourself “When was the last time I posted something?” in a panic.

2. Curated content is faster and easier to share than your own posts

We’ve all been there: struggling to figure out WHAT to talk about on Facebook…then searching endlessly to find the right picture…or waiting for a video to upload on a slow connection.

Finding and sharing ready-made content can be the shortcut you need whenever work gets busy, or inspiration doesn’t strike. It can literally be as easy as clicking the “Share” button!

3. Curated content can look more professional and polished than your own posts

Sometimes the pictures you took of a recent job just don’t look very good. Sometimes you can’t find the right words (or you write too much… or not nearly enough!) about a topic that you absolutely want to share with your local customers.

You can avoid worrying about whether your post is “perfect” by sharing someone else’s. Just set it up with a short message about why it matters to your customers – and you’re all set to share a quality post.

4. Curated content shows that you have your “ear to the ground” of your industry

Your customers absolutely want to know about YOUR business – but talking about yourself all the time on Facebook can get old fast. You can tell them about what you do without always telling them about YOUR BUSINESS.

Curated content lets your audience know that you’re paying attention to trends and keeping up with what’s new in your field. Try sharing content from different sources:

  • Leading figures in your industry
  • Publications in your industry
  • Local organizations you’re involved with
  • Local news publications
  • Infographics and other informative, information-rich content
  • Even clips from TV shows and movies that reference your industry!

Pro tip: Hire a curator!

Curated content can absolutely be a quick win to keep your social profiles active and up to date, but it still takes time to:

  • Find the content you want to share
  • Make sure it’s relevant to your audience
  • Write the short set-up paragraph to introduce the post and say where it came from
  • See if it’s working – if no one is Liking, Sharing or Commenting on your curated content, it’s obviously not what your audience is looking for

Let someone help with the heavy lifting! Your focus should be on running your business and working with the leads and customers your social marketing drives to you. A social marketing partner, like Hibu, can take on the task of finding and sharing curated content for you, and you can get back the one thing that no small business has enough of… time!

BONUS: Who needs posts – aren’t ads enough?

Ads can help you reach your target audience, but remember that it’s an audience that’s on Facebook. There’s a good chance they’ll check out your Page too – and an empty Page (or a Page without relevant, recent content) won’t inspire much confidence in your business.

Find out why your business needs social ads and posts to reach, engage and re-engage your social customers.

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See how your online business listings change over time

Your business info could be wrong on sites, directories and apps…

Here’s something most local businesses don’t think about: even if your business name, address and phone number is correct online today…it might not be tomorrow.

Or next week.

At least not everywhere your customers are looking for you online.

Watch this short video to find out how often your business could be listed with the WRONG information online — and what you can do make sure it’s corrected, protected and under your control.

Did you know…? Local businesses like yours have autogenerated listings online, on social media and more. If you’re not taking control of your most important online business information, someone else could be — and they might not have the facts right.

Ready to update ALL your business listings online? Visit Hibu.com to learn more about the power of correct business data.

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3 ways to engage more of your Facebook fans

Simple ways to add interest and drive interaction with your Facebook Page

As most local businesses know, there’s a world of difference between “I have a Facebook Page” and “I use my Facebook Page to connect with my customers and grow my business.” Using both Facebook ads and posts is important. So is understanding the difference between ads and boosted posts. But as Hubspot recently pointed out, there are plenty of other ways to create a more engaging Facebook Page. These are a few of the simplest!

Add more to your ‘About’ section than just basic information

Don’t underestimate the “About” section of your Page – it may be one of the first places your customers look to learn about you.

Think about what you can add that’s unique to your business and your story:

  • Your mission statement– Why do you get up and do what you do every morning?
  • Promises or other guarantees – Even a high-level commitment to excellent customer service can mean a lot to potential customers
  • Company milestones – When were you founded? When did you get an important certification or other recognition? When did you first get involved with or sponsor a local organization or event?

Pin important posts to the top of your Page

Your Facebook Timeline is just that: a timeline with the newest posts at the top and the oldest at the bottom. And chances are, your customers aren’t scrolling that far down your Page.

Facebook lets you “pin” an important post to the top of your Timeline:

  • Breaking news, like changing hours for the holidays
  • Offers and promotions, especially timely and limited-time offers
  • Upcoming events, like local events you’re sponsoring

Just click the dropdown arrow in the top right corner of the post you want to pin…and click “Pin to Top.” You can only have one pinned post at a time, but think of it like a storefront window: just swap your pinned posts when it makes the most sense!

Determine the ideal timing and frequency for your posts

A little observation goes a long way when it comes to smart social media. Try posting at different times of the day (and night!) to see when people interact with your posts the most.

  • Do you get more “Likes” but fewer “Shares” in the morning?
  • Are pictures you post during lunch getting comments?
  • If you post polls, surveys or other interactive content – is it getting more attention on weekdays or weekends?

This can absolutely be a “gut feeling,” but the catch is that you have to post continuously for a week or two…at different times of the day…on different days of the week…AND avoid posting too frequently (remember, your posts should be valuable to your audience).

If you’re not sure where to start, look at some of the big brands in your industry and see when they’re posting. That could be a great example to follow!

BONUS: Decide whether you want Facebook fans to message you privately

Private Messages (or PMs) can be a great way for your followers to reach your directly through your Page. Just go to your settings…click “General”…and look for “Messages” in the results:

Messages-2.pngBut make sure you have the time to promptly check and respond to messages! There’s no point in creating a sense of exclusivity…just to privately ignore your customers and prospects.

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The 4 motivating factors that turn your site visitors into customers

Does your website highlight these “motivating factors”?

As a small business owner, you know what makes your company great. You hear it from happy customers all the time:

  • “What keeps people coming back is the QUALITY of my work.
  • “My PRICES are very competitive and fair.”
  • “When someone needs me, I’m there – FAST.”
  • “I am a fantastic REPUTATION. Just ask around about my work.”

But do your site visitors instantly see what sets you apart? Can they figure that out in those crucial few seconds they spend looking at your site – especially on a phone?

Turn browsers into buyers with the 4 motivating factors

No matter what line of work you’re in, there’s at least one motivating factor you can focus on.

Better yet: highlight something from EVERY category to make sure there’s something for every visitor.

3 ways to use the 4 motivating factors:

1. Prominence
Are your motivating factors easy to see on each page? How about on mobile? “Above the fold” may be a dated concept (especially on mobile), and you don’t need gimmicks like starbursts or animation to draw attention to a well-designed page, but make sure your factors are easy to find.

  • Include “24-hour service” or “1-hour response” near your phone number
  • Include any licenses, certifications, partnerships and other “trust icons” with your logo
  • Make sure your hours and payments accepted are easy to spot at the top and bottom of your pages

2. Repetition
Not everyone will start on yoursite.com. In fact, if you’re doing online marketing the right way, every page of your site is the home page. If you have an business-wide offer or guarantee, don’t be afraid to include it on every page.

3. Relevance
If you have a 10% discount for drain cleaning services…you might want to reconsider including it on a page about luxury bathroom remodeling.

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How a blog can benefit your business

Think like a publisher to drive traffic, grow your footprint and showcase who you are

In our experience, every local business wants a blog on their website…but very few take the time to publish blog posts on a regular basis. We get it: it’s not easy to decide WHAT to post…and even harder to find the time to do it. After a while, you probably find yourself asking “Is it even worth my time to blog?”

SocialMediaToday.com shared a great article about the power of posting on your website’s blog.

1. Blogs can drive traffic to your site and social profiles

Each blog post is content that can resonate with your audience and GROW your audience when it’s shared. From social media to old-fashioned emails with a link, posts are a great way to engage your audience and drive them to your website or social pages.

And the more you publish, the better your chances of being looked at as an authority on a topic.  We can’t promise you’ll be the next Judge Judy – but posting regularly (and encouraging people to share your posts) could make your audience think of you as THE personal injury attorney in your local area.

2. Blogs can build the size and reach of your site for more chances to get found

Every page of your website is a chance for search engines like Google to find you and serve up your content to a local customer’s search query. And every blog post you publish adds to that page count, and your chances to get found!

Plus, updating your site every time something changes can be a pain. A blog post is a great way to share the latest and greatest news, promotions or alerts with your audience.

3. Blogs are a great place to show some personality

From SocialMediaToday.com:

Who do people buy from? They buy from people they trust and people they can relate to.

When was the last time you felt any sort of connection to a website? That’s rare, right?

Now think of the last time you related to someone when they told you a story. Happens daily, yes? Even multiple times each day?

Blogs help show who is behind the logo of a brand.

What do you stand for? What are topics you’re interested in? The more you blog, the more people are given a chance to relate to you, and to build an emotional connection with you (your brand, company, service, product). And that leads to sales.

BONUS: Promote your blog posts and respond to comments to build customer engagement

Picking a topic and following through on a post is a great first step…but getting your content in front of your customers is what really matters. Don’t wait for them to find your post:

  • Make sure you share your posts on Facebook and your other social profiles
  • Ask your customers if they’ve checked out your site and your blog lately
  • Have an email list or newsletter? Include a post (or a link to your blog) the next time you send something out

Check out the top ways to promote your site online and offline for more tips on getting (or growing!) your audience.

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The A-B-Cs of Small Business Marketing

A quick crash course in terms your local business should be thinking about

School’s back in session, and this a great time to brush up on 26 things that can impact your digital marketing – and your business success!

A is for Advertising

Display ads, social ads, and mobile ads

B is for Bing

One of the top search engines

C is for Conversion

The goal of your marketing campaigns

D is for Digital

Digital marketing made easy

E is for Easy

Digital marketing made easy

F is for Facebook

Turning social media into social marketing

G is for Google Ads

Putting you at the top of the search results

H is for Hibu

Of course H is for Hibu! And how Hibu helps local businesses with digital marketing made easy.

I is for Impressions

The number of times your ads are seen

J is for Java

A powerful program that helps the Web run

K is for Keywords

Relevant words or phrases to get your site and ads seen

L is for Listings

Your business information needs to be correct across the Web

M is for Meta

The on-page information that helps your site get found

N is for NAP

Your correct name, address and phone number online

O is for Optimized

To make sure your website gets seen

P is for PPC

Pay-per-click search ads

Q is for Query

The word(s) someone uses to search

R is for Ranking

How high you appear in the search results

S is for SEO

Maximizing your visibility online

T is for Twitter

A powerful social network to promote your business

U is for URL

Your website’s “address”

V is for Visibility

Making sure you’re seen on search engines, directory sites, apps and mobile devices

W is for Website

Your business home online

X is for UX

The user experience that makes customers want to interact with your site

Y is for Yahoo!

Another top search engine

Z is for zero

The only level of effort that you absolutely can’t afford to put into your digital marketing!

Want to learn more? Check out this post about going back to school with the 3 R’s of Digital Marketing.

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