It’s an easy trap to fall into: You have a website, so you decide you’re done in terms of technology. But, to grow your business, it’s just not enough. Utilizing social media and video in conjunction with print media can broaden your audience, and ultimately, help you grow your business. Although the pandemic is behind us, many businesses are still struggling to get back into the game. That means the marketing of all types is more important than ever. Social media is the least expensive option, so it’s a good place to start. But, make sure you’re using every option available to you.
While it is true more people are turning to the internet for information, print is still an important component of the entire package, especially now. Misinformation online is not uncommon, and print is a reliable tool to help you reach your customers. Send out press releases with any updates on your business. This will help your customers by providing them with useful information, and it will remind customers you are still there, ready to serve them. In some cases, your competitors have gone out of business. Now is the time to send out press releases to let their clients know you are there to serve them.
Did you know most people stop reading articles online after a single scroll on their phone? The higher the word count, the more likely you are to lose your readers toward the end of your release. Because of this, the most important thing you can do when writing a press release is to grab the attention of your readers from the get-go. Make sure your most important information is in the first paragraph of your press release.
Press releases are a great way to introduce potential customers to your staff. Maybe you have an employee who is celebrating an anniversary with your company. Consider writing a profile on that employee. Or maybe you have an employee who started with your company on the ground level and worked his or her way up to an upper-level position. Use a press release to tell their story. Purchase new equipment? Send out a press release. Hire new drivers? Send out a press release.
Send out newsletters via email to share the same key information with customers. Keep in mind, however, that timing is key. You don’t want to bombard your customers with email after email, which may cause them to discard the email before reading it.
Taking out an advertisement in the local newspaper or a trade publication is also important. People often think spending money on advertising when business is slow isn’t a good idea, but that’s not the case. Now is the time to spend the money to let people know you’re there to serve them. Sometimes, you must spend money to make money, and this is the perfect example. National trade publications can help you reach others in your industry while raising awareness of your business.
“Whether you’re attempting to sell a used motorcoach, or perhaps a destination, print advertising still has an important place in marketing efforts,” explains Mark Szyperski, president and CEO of On Your Mark Transportation. “A well-placed advertisement can be easily retrieved when a potential client remembers the print ad but can’t recall the right name to search online. They can go back to the magazine and easily find the advertisement they were looking for.”
Social media is free – so use it
Social media can be a beast, but let’s face it. A large majority of your potential customers use social media, and your presence is a must if you want to get in front of those people.
You are an expert in your industry — make sure your customer base knows that. Remind them you are a resource to them. Show them how you can serve them.
“You want potential clients searching social media to choose you over your competitor. It may sound simple, but just making sure that you’re posting frequently and showing up in news feeds will help ensure that,” says Szyperski.
Social media is also a way to get information out to your customers quickly.
“Whereas a website is more stagnant, social media allows businesses to update their customers in real time. You can update business hours, safety precaution information, and specials at any time, and your followers can see those updates almost automatically,” explains On Your Mark Transportation Social Media/Marketing Associate Laura Dickerson.
Make sure you include hashtags and your location and pay attention to the timing of your posts to help boost engagement. Using your location and some keywords will help your business come up in a search when potential customers are browsing.
“Using, for instance, ‘Nashville, Tennessee’ in a Facebook search with hashtag ‘motorcoach industry’ will help boost your post organically,” Dickerson says.
As for timing, while the Facebook algorithm changes frequently, the latest information suggests posting at least every 48 hours, Dickerson explained. Keep in mind, you want your content to provide value to your audience. Creating content your audience engages with through comments and likes, will help your posts to appear higher in Facebook’s news feed organically.
Dickerson also suggests considering “boosting” important posts. This is a cost-effective way to help ensure your content is seen. Another way to increase ads effectiveness on Facebook is to “geofence” around specific areas, such as convention centers if you have shuttle service, or school bus parking areas when you are driver recruiting.
Video is essential
Using video is another way to gain potential customers. In fact, video is one of the strongest tools a business can use to better showcase what they do on their websites and social media platforms.
YouTube is a great way to increase your reach. While some might think of YouTube as just a website, many people now use it to search for a myriad of things, including business information, how-to videos, entertainment videos, and more.
On Your Mark Transportation video intern Sydney Brashear explains that when you upload a video to YouTube, it stays there until you decide to delete it. Consumers love this because if, for example, they are looking at a how-to video, they can pull up the video, again and again, should they need to. Perhaps you can produce a video on a tour destination, or on how to successfully host a group trip.
These videos do not have to be highly produced and costly. Using your phone and simple editing apps can still produce a great video. If the idea of that seems daunting, consider checking with your local high school or community college to see if they have a video production program. Students may very well be looking for projects for some hands-on experience.
Using video may also be a good way to target baby boomers, Brashear says. Potential customers who can’t come in to check out your business in person may enjoy watching a video that introduces your staff. Getting to see the faces behind your business may give customers peace of mind.
Google and other search engines factor in several things when ranking your website on search. One of those key ingredients is video. Video can help increase the number of clicks to your site. If you put a video on YouTube, for example, and you use the embedded code on your site, you’ll likely gain new visitors. If you post your videos to your social media accounts using the link to your website, you’ll also increase your website clicks.
A website is great, but is it up to date?
An up-to-date website is also important when reaching new customers.
If there’s a golden rule to websites, On Your Mark Transportation website designer, West says content is king. New and fresh content is key to drawing people to your site — and keeping them there — and video helps meet that goal. When consumers view a video on your site, they are more likely to stay on your page longer than they would if they were just reading your “About Us” and “Contact Information,” for example.
Brashear suggests placing a video explaining who you are as a business or a video with important information toward the top of your site. While she warns of having a video open as soon as a customer clicks on your site, she says placing it about a scroll down from the top is best. And just like you should have a tab for news or blogs on your site, consider a video tab. That way, customers can click on the tab and view all the videos in one easy-to-find place.
Where do I start?
It can be overwhelming to think about tackling all the social media outlets at once. “We recommend taking the time to analyze where you believe your audience is engaged online. For many businesses, Facebook and Instagram are great places to start. The two platforms are well integrated, making it easy to manage them simultaneously,” says Dickerson. “You can give a description of your business in the about section, list your business hours, link your business page to your website, and easily track user activity.”
Still, it’s important to have a presence on other social media sites. It never hurts to engage your customers in various ways — be it asking them to send in photos or tag you in their posts — especially if they had a positive experience traveling with your company. To ask them to engage, you need to be on the platforms your customers are using.
Businesses should also consider utilizing Google My Business, Dickerson adds.
Google My Business is another free social media platform that allows you to share your information with current and prospective clients. If you have ever wondered how companies get their names and locations on maps or how they are boosting their Google ranking, they are using Google My Business to do so.
“Google Analytics is tied in with social media and your website. You can track where people are searching your business from, how long they are staying on your site, manage reviews, and list your services and products,” says Dickerson.
For more information, type “Google My Business” into the Google search engine.
Many business professionals also use LinkedIn, so having a business presence there is important as well. Often, business leaders are also the people making decisions on school boards, athletic booster groups, or church boards.
Don’t feel daunted by needing to post in multiple groups. You can also use a scheduling system, like Buffer.com. This way you can set up all your posts in one location at one time, and Buffer will post them to the various sites at the time you want. You can do a week’s worth of posts on multiple social media sites on a Sunday in a couple of hours.
Does all this seem a bit overwhelming? Perhaps consider hiring a college intern with a marketing background. Claudia Rollins, a student at Lipscomb University in Nashville, is a marketing intern for On Your Mark Transportation LLC. “Being an intern provides me with ‘hands-on’ experiences while bringing the latest information to my organization to help them, as well,” Rollins says.
When your social media and websites are current and actively engaging customers, they will only serve to supplement your newsletters, press releases, and advertisements in print. Used in conjunction, web content and print content create the ultimate package for your customers. Remember, now that some businesses are failing to advertise, it’s the perfect time for you to get your name out front.
On Your Mark Transportation LLC is a consulting firm to the ground passenger transportation industry. This article was written by Amy Nixon, who writes press releases and blog content for their clients.
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