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Marketing

SEO, SEM and Y-O-U

Remember that nondescript, drab and depressing, concrete-block store where you once did all your in-person shopping?

No?

Of course not, because it doesn’t exist. Just as signage and descriptors help guide visitors to the location of a brick-and-mortar storefront and provide a warm, inviting welcome inside, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) provide the proper digital signage to help the right customers find you online.

There are many complex intricacies and nuances involved in SEO and SEM, and it’s easy to geek out and dive down the rabbit hole of high-level and extensive explanations; however, simply put, SEO produces practices and strategies to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results — in other words, traffic that you don’t have to pay for. Similarly, SEM acts in the same way — and often in tandem with SEO tactics — by using paid strategies to make your business more visible in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

“SEM quickly capitalizes on targeted keyword searches; SEO provides the foundation to convert and retain the traffic generated by SEM strategies,” according to an article at Forbes.com. “Carefully intertwining both SEO and SEM techniques will produce a stronger digital marketing campaign with stronger performance and noticeable results.”

At SaveOn, making sure you have all the tools for business success at your disposal is a cornerstone of our mission, which is why we have introduced our custom SEO/SEM solution is designed to drive more traffic and sales to your business through four optimization categories: a web presence assessment, customer services, on-site optimization and off-site optimization. 

The web assessment is an in-depth audit of your website to identify and highlight areas for improvement. Among our custom services are keyword research, content development and copywriting, and site updates.

On-site SEO is content and structural improvements that improve your website’s ability to rank well in SERPs. This can include custom content, selective keywords, proper tagging of headlines, links, lists and images. Properly optimizing your content improves the visibility of that page to search engines for the key phrases targeted by the page content.

Off-site SEO refers to other tactics and activities that you do away from your website to improve its ranking in search. This includes content linked back to your website, links from high-value sites back to your site, social postings, business meta-data and content distribution.

Since implementing this arm to help our partners meet each their unique goals, we have already developed numerous successful case studies showing the advantages SEO/SEM optimization can have on the bottom line of any business.

  • An insurance company sought to improve its ranking on Google search results from Page 2 to Page 1. Our team implemented off-site optimization strategies, to help improve the search results placement. In fewer than three months, we were able to deliver three new Page 1 placements, elevating exposure of this insurance company with a total of five keywords on Page 1.
  • An HVAC company wanted to increase website traffic and stand out from the rest of the competition. We refreshed the content so that it was more focused toward keywords that the client wanted to target. We also created extra blogs for them every month and put out a press release. Six months later, website traffic rose from 4,000-plus to 16,000-plus, with four of the company’s main keywords on Page 1 of SERPs.
  • A dental clinic wanted to direct its patients to the website for COVID-19 updates and guidelines being implemented. We recommended that the clinic break down its different services into separate keywords and localize them for the locations being targeted. We also created blogs and refreshed the content for several webpages to get the targeted keywords to rank. After four months, 45% of the target keywords pertaining to the different services the clinic was offering were on Page 1 of SERPs.

A potential customer is simply a customer you haven’t met yet. SaveOn’s digital business strategies help make those initial introductions and connections easier. In addition to making your website more discoverable and desirable through SEO and SEM strategies, we also can give your business a boost with microsites, an email database, geo-addressable fencing, retargeting, digital contests, event targeting and more.

SaveOn is top-of-mind provider of innovative marketing solutions, and we are passionate about the growth of our business partners. Connect with us today at saveon.com to find out more about how we can help you make connections with your customers.

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Marketing Online Deals

Autism Acceptance Month: Celebrating Our Differences

We’re bombarded throughout life with messages both implicit and explicit telling us what it is to be ordinary and what is required of us to fit in with the crowd. We’re told what it means to think ordinary, look ordinary, dress ordinary and act ordinary.

The problem about ordinary is that it’s just so … ordinary.

Ordinary is pedestrian. It’s mundane and routine. In a word, ordinary is boring. It’s boring because it lacks excitement, distinctiveness and the individualism that makes something special enough to stand out to be noticed and appreciated. The truth is, it’s those sometimes subtle and sometimes overt differences between us that make us unique and interesting. Ordinary will always fall short because it’s not extraordinary.

April is Autism Acceptance Month, and the Autism Society of America is commemorating the designation with its Celebrate Differences campaign. The campaign is designed to raise awareness about the signs, symptoms and realities of autism, but it is also focused on providing information and resources on how to become more accepting and inclusive of the autism community in everyday life.

Autism refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to a 2020 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, roughly 1 in 54 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder, and it is four times more common to be diagnosed in boys than girls. 

Society’s attitudes toward those on the autism spectrum has drastically shifted in recent decades as awareness has increased about the disorder and new therapies have been created to treat the diagnosis, such as the Autism Recovery Through Synergy (ARTS) program implemented by Dr. Tami Peterson, founder and CEO of the Oxford Recovery Center in Brighton, Michigan. The ARTS program teaches autistic children the behavioral skills that will help them become more successful in their homes, school and communities.

Raised awareness has created a bridge of understanding and the ability to see beyond the dry and clinical stigma of diagnosis to the flesh-and-bone, feeling-and-thinking people behind it — and, more importantly, an understanding of how the members of the autism community are able to play a valued role in the fabric of our society.

That bridge of understanding connects awareness with acceptance. Yet while attitudes have shifted, there are still more steps to take on the journey. It’s part of the reason why more autism advocacy groups are changing April’s designation from Autism Awareness Month to Autism Acceptance Month.

“While we will always work to spread awareness, words matter as we strive for autistic individuals to live fully in all areas of life,” Christopher Banks, president and CEO of the Autism Society of America, said in a news release. “As many individuals and families affected by autism know, acceptance is often one of the biggest barriers to finding and developing a strong support system.”

At SaveOn, much of our focus is turning the ordinary into the extraordinary for our customers. However, we encourage you to take time this month to recognize the extraordinary all around us every day and help accept and celebrate and our differences by taking part in Autism Acceptance Month. To find more about how you can help, visit the websites of Autism Society of America or Autism Speaks.

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Marketing

Geofencing Targets Potential Customers in Specific Areas

In his early 20th century work “Mending Wall,” American poet Robert Frost wrote that “good fences make good neighbors.” Due to the technological advancements of the 21st century, that phase can be revised to denote that “good geofences make great customers.”

Deploying the wrong marketing strategy for the desired result can have all the grace and subtlety of a Sherman tank. Sometimes the big and noisy scattershot guns need to remain holstered in favor of the surgical and exacting preciseness of the simple scalpel. Geofencing is a digital marketing tool of such delicate and effective accuracy in aim and intention.

Geofencing is a location-based technology that allows a business to define a geographic boundary and then create a virtual barrier around the location that communicates with mobile devices entering the area. That communication can be anything from a text message to an email alert to an app notification.

According to Business 2 Community, mobile ads with geofencing have double the click-through rate, and 53% of shoppers visited a retailer after receiving a location-based message. With geofencing being compatible with 92% of smartphones and the average user spending five hours a day on a mobile device, the odds of finding success with this marketing technique fall greatly in the favor of the brand sending the message.

Used wisely, geofencing can communicate with potential customers who may already be interested in the service or product you offer. Content can be tailored to specifically to customers in the geofence who are already more inclined to be open to receiving information associated with your brand. For example, a vehicle dealership might geofence an automotive show to highlight the dealership’s ongoing offers, promotions or events. This targets an audience base that is likely already interested in your product.

However, the effect of geofencing can take an even more hyperlocal approach by setting up a perimeter around a competitor. Such a tactic provides customers the ability to immediately comparison shop or, at the very least, raises awareness of an alternative local option, according to GeoMarketing.

Finally, geofencing helps to personalize the customer experience by finding desired group of prospects for your business, delivering ads to them and providing businesses with the ability to track the success of converting prospects into customers.

Geofencing can be extremely helpful for businesses looking to generate new leads, promote exclusive offers, distribute information about upcoming sales or events and so much more. Geofencing enables your business to reach an audience of potential customers based on where they are and have been. Whatever your message might be, geofencing allows you to reach an audience of real-world people who are already in the proximity of your brand and who could eventually become loyal, valued customers with the right information while they are there.

SaveOn takes great pride in providing a well-stocked arsenal of marketing options that fit whatever need you have and reach whatever audience you want. For more information on how we can help your business target the right customers, visit saveon.com.

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Marketing

Setting Your Company Apart with Direct Mail Postcards

The room is packed shoulder to shoulder. It’s hot. It’s sweaty. It’s hard to take a breath.

This is your battleground.

Everyone is vying equally to gain singular attention of your target audience. The noise of competitors makes it even more difficult for your voice to rise above the growing and steamy static and discord. You could resort to a gimmick to be noticed, but that would only detract from the message you want received.

Why try to stand out in the crowd when you can separate yourself from the crowd completely? You can stand on your own as the sole voice without anything or anyone else distracting from the information you are relaying.

That’s what direct mail postcards provide — an uninterrupted link between you and your future customers. No distraction. No competitor. No problem.

In a world where the wielding of technology is often heralded as the ultimate marketing weapon, the humble postcard seems like it should be the antiquated antithesis of good marketing strategy; however, what the troubadours of all things tech tend to overlook is sometimes the simple, the tangible and the simply tangible resonate most deeply with respondents. 

The mailbox is like a year-round Christmas tree. You never know what sort of unexpected presents are going to show up each day. According to a Gallup poll, more than 4 in 10 U.S. residents enjoy checking the mailbox, which makes it an ideal avenue to get direct access to your target audience.

Direct mail marketing is the process of delivering marketing materials directly to people’s homes through magazines, inserts, postcards, flyers, catalogs and more. Using direct mail postcards has numerous advantages.

  • In a study by Marketing Charts, more than 30% of baby boomers made a purchase from direct mail marketing methods, which outperformed recommendations from friends and family, online consumer reviews, email ads, TV ads, print and radio.
  • Direct mail postcards have a personal feel and high readership. BusinessKnowHow.com noted that postcards are much more likely to be read than direct mail letters — 94% to 14%. In addition, a postcard lets a business communicate directly and immediately with customers.
  • Direct mail is not cost-prohibitive. At a fraction of the cost of traditional postcards, direct mail postcards are one of the most cost-effective and affordable forms of targeted marketing available.
  • Postcards can be used as a complementary piece to a larger marketing initiative, and they provide an immediate-impact response with the customer. There are no envelopes to open with a direct mail postcard. You message is front and center when customers are flipping through that day’s mail. And the unencumbered colors and graphics on the quality-stock card are going to give a person pause to take a closer look.

Each month, SaveOn reaches millions of people in Chicago, Detroit, Twin Cities and West Michigan in their mailboxes via our monthly magazine, postcards, inserts and more. We make reaching your future customers easier by offering supreme deals on direct mail postcards that include design, printing and mailing. Reach out and capture the attention of your target audience with postcards, flyers or 4-page circulars at 75% savings. Leave the crowd behind and standalone proudly. Visit SaveOn.com for more details.

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Marketing

Creating a Marketing Plan that Yields Big Results

You have a great company, and you have a solid product or service. You are even doing some advertising and marketing to attract new customers, so why aren’t sales where you expected? To get the results you want out of your marketing efforts, you need to have a well-rounded, fully thought-out marketing plan from inception to execution. Our team has put together a guide to creating a marketing plan that is sure to result in the hard ROI your company is looking for.

Brand Positioning

Every good marketing plan starts with research and background. The first thing you should do is perform a SWOT and competitive analysis. The SWOT helps your company identify its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The competitive analysis will show how your business and products compare to your direct competitors. It’s important to know what your competition is doing, as well as how they’re positioning their companies and products because you need to differentiate your business from theirs.

Using the information from your SWOT and competitive analysis, you will be able to identify your company’s key differentiators and unique value proposition, or the one thing that sets your business and offerings apart from the competition. This will help you formulate messaging that speaks to your distinctive attributes.

Finally, before you can form messaging and a marketing plan, you have to determine who your target audience is. A big mistake many businesses make is trying to talk to everyone. There’s no reason to waste your money marketing to people who have no interest in your products or services. Although you may get less impressions or have to spend more initially to reach people in your target market, it’s worth it in the end because your efforts will result in more qualified leads, sales and new long-term customers. To identify your target audience, you will need to ask yourself demographic and psychographic questions like:

  • What gender are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • How old are they?
  • Are they married and do they have kids?
  • What is their education?
  • What do they want?
  • What are their pain points?
  • Where do they go?

You can learn more about who your audience is through customer surveys, reviews, competitive analyses and creating customer personas. Additionally, you can use resources like call tracking. Call tracking data allows you to know where your calls are coming from by ZIP code, day of the week and hour of the day. All of this allows you to make educated decisions about your advertising campaign and coach your call center or receptionist to make the most of the leads you receive. At SaveOn, we offer call tracking to our advertisers at no additional cost.

Once you have your research and background information finished, your next step is setting a budget.

Budget

Businesses should have a firm budget identified before drafting a marketing plan. You will need to take several things into consideration when setting a budget:

  • Your marketing plan will need to include a variety of marketing and advertising mediums.
  • Will you outsource artwork and creative for the campaign?
  • Will you need to purchase software to execute and track the campaign?
  • How long will your campaign run?

You will most likely want to leave a little room in your budget for additional costs. Looking at past marketing campaigns can help you estimate costs for your upcoming marketing plan.

After your budget is approved, you are ready to start drafting your marketing plan. The first step is identifying your goals and key performance indicators.

Goals and KPIs

A plan without an end goal is a sure way to waste your money. By setting SMART goals, you ensure your campaign is headed in a good direction, but it also is achievable in the timeframe you set. After setting your SMART — specific, measurable, accurate, realistic and timely — goals, you will need to identify KPIs. A KPI is a measurement that tells you if your campaign is meeting its goals. KPIs can include but are not limited to:

  • Revenue growth
  • Number of new customers
  • Website visitors
  • Digital ad conversions

Your next step in your marketing plan is identifying the strategies and tactics needed to reach your goals.

Strategies, Tactics and Marketing Mediums

Now that you have long-term SMART goals, how are you going to achieve them. You need to create a few strategies and tactics to carve a path out to reaching your goals. Strategies should be a big-picture plan to reach a goal, while tactics should be concrete, smaller steps to get there.

For example:

SMART goal: To increase visitors to our website by 10% by Dec. 31, 2021.

Strategy: We will use digital marketing to drive people to our website.

Tactics: We will implement geofencing, retargeting and SEO/SEM.

Your strategies can and should use a combination of marketing techniques to reach your audience.

Types of Marketing

Content Marketing

Content marketing is creating shareable material that you put online, such as blogs, videos, e-books or webinars. The purpose of these marketing tactics is to position your businesses as a thought leader, answer customer questions before they have to ask, create brand equity, attract new customers and increase sales. These can be valuable tactics for your business because they are easily accessible and sharable. They drive customer interaction and inevitably convert to sales.

Email Marketing

Email marketing allows companies to send commercialized messages to your segmented audiences. You can promote sales, offers, information and more to your customers. In the United States, more than 90% of people 15 years or older use email, and email marketing has an ROI of 4,400%, according to OptinMonster. That means, for every dollar you spend on email marketing, your company will potentially see a $44 return.

If your email database isn’t quite large enough to reach your audience, you can always use advertisers to help you. SaveOn has more than 140 million opt-in email records in our database. We can help you target your message to the audience you want to reach using more than 750 filters, including geography, age, gender, household income, levels of interest and more.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is using social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and more to promote your products and services. According to Statista, there are more than 3.6 billion people on social media today. Businesses have a great opportunity to reach their target audiences on social outlets, increase brand affinity and convert fans to sales. In fact, 70% of business-to-consumer marketers have gotten their customers through Facebook, OptinMonster found.

Businesses with a strong social media following can gain sales and customers through creating engaging content with calls-to-action. Those without a large, active following can still find success on social media through social media advertising. Social media advertising tends to be less expensive than traditional ads and gives businesses more control over the ad spend.

We offer social media advertising to our business partners. Our team of advertising experts help create messaging, set up campaigns and monitor your budget, so you get the results you want without the stress or hassle.

Digital and Mobile Marketing

Digital and mobile marketing is using the internet and online digital technologies like desktops and smart devices to reach audiences. A Nielsen study found that chief marketing officers said they found digital marketing was more effective than traditional marketing like TV or radio, and 82% of CMOs expected to increase their digital advertising budget. Additionally, 50% of consumers who search for a local business on their mobile device visit a store within a day.

SaveOn has years of experience working with companies to deliver effective digital marketing campaigns. We’re able to offer our business partners special lowered digital advertising prices, and we specialize in mobile marketing, geo-addressable fencing, websites, retargeting, SEO/SEM, event targeting and deliver marketing messages.

Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing is the process of delivering marketing materials directly to people’s homes through magazines, inserts, postcards, flyers, catalogs and more. Although email and direct mail campaign tend to generate similar response rates, a MediaPost study found that direct mail marketing generates five times more purchases than that of email marketing.

SaveOn connects millions of local savers in Chicago, Detroit, the Twin Cities and West Michigan to businesses through its monthly magazine, inserts and postcards.

Coupon Marketing

Coupon marketing has been around for decades and has not let up in popularity or effectiveness. In 2019, 91% of Americans ages 35-54 used coupons, and 77% of consumers spend $10-$50 more than planned when using a coupon. We strongly suggest incorporating coupon marketing into your marketing plan. If you need help reaching new customers, using a trusted couponing source like SaveOn is a solid choice. We send coupons from local businesses out to millions of consumers in Chicago, Detroit, the Twin Cities and West Michigan each month through direct mail and digitally.

Write Messaging

Now that you have your marketing mediums chosen, you’re ready to write your messaging. Messaging should be targeted at your audiences identified earlier in the process and optimized to each marketing platform. Remember to always stick to your unique differentiators, and don’t be afraid to venture outside the box with your ideas.

Evaluating Success

Finally, your plan must be measurable. A marketing campaign can only be called a success if there is something to indicate whether you reached your goals or not. Use your KPIs to see if you reached your goals. If you find that something isn’t working, evaluate why and change it. The people who you are marketing to are constantly changing their opinions, wants and needs based on the world and what they’re being offered. Make sure you are open to trying new marketing methods when things no longer are working. Staying up to date on marketing trends is an important piece of the planning and evaluation process. Our team at SaveOn is here for you. We specialize in shining a light on your company’s unique offerings and can help you identify and reach your target audience through our marketing solutions. To learn more about our marketing programs, visit SaveOn.com.

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Marketing

Why Mobile Marketing Matters

In retrospect, Pete Townsend seems a bit more of an oracle than a songwriter when he penned The Who classic “Going Mobile” in 1971.

A half-century later, there are upward of 5 billion unique mobile users worldwide, and 2.7 billion of them use smartphones, according to the digital-insights gurus at DataReportal. In the United States alone, the Pew Research Center estimates that 285 million residents will have a smartphone by 2023. Then there’s the oft-cited statistic released several years ago by the Mobile Marketing Association of Asia indicating that more people on the planet own a mobile phone than a toothbrush.

As disquieting as that information may be to the American Dental Association, the growing use of mobile isn’t going away and shows no signs of plateauing anytime soon. It’s a reflection of the changing on-the-go world, and every day more people are relying on their mobile devices as their window to view and stay in touch with the wider world wherever they may be.

All of this is why mobile marketing is essential to incorporate into the marketing strategy for any business. Your audience is no longer a static target. To reach them and get your message seen and heard, you have to meet them where they are at any given moment. There are a variety of ways to use mobile marketing, and often different methods are employed to meet different needs. Some of the most common strategies include:

  • Mobile apps: Smart Insights reported 2020 saw 35 billion mobile app downloads. Companies that have mobile apps are primarily targeting existing customers through promotions and increased engagement to enhance retention and reward loyalty. Coupons and special deals can transform existing customers into brand ambassadors.
  • Mobile game marketing: Mobile gaming is a booming business, with 2.7 billion gamers around the world at the end of 2020, according to Pocket Gamer. Additionally, an average of 234 daily minutes spent gaming is anticipated by 2021. Advertising appearing in mobile games through pop-ups and banner ads is an exceptional way to promote new products or deals.
  • Location marketing: Location-based marketing strategies such as geofencing and geotargeting puts your business in front of an audience at a predetermined location. Location marketing is an ideal tactic for small businesses seeking to target a particular audience in a specific community.
  • QR codes: Quick-response codes work with any camera-equipped smartphone and provide a wealth of data from text to URL links, sending consumers directly to whatever information a business is looking to put in front of eyes.

There is a plethora of other mobile marketing avenues that can be explored to meet the distinct objectives of a business of any size. It’s important to experiment with different approaches and then analyze and benchmark results to see what works best for you. However, being succinct in your message is key. Mobile devices have small screens, so make your message count in a low word-count to have the biggest impact.

SaveOn can keep you moving to reach your audience at any place and any time. Find out more about how we use mobile marketing to help our clients obtain a higher level of success by visiting saveon.com.

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Marketing

Help Your Business Start 2021 with a Bang

It’s said that hindsight is 20/20.

But that quippy proverb takes on a whole new meaning now. After the tumultuous year the business community just experienced, it’s likely many business owners are pleased to see the number 2020 in the rearview mirror.

A new year brings new hope and new opportunities. It’s a reset button, a fresh start, a tabula rasa to reexamine your goals, recommit your determination and reinvigorate the idea that the unknown days ahead contain unlimited potential for success.

However, just because the days ahead are unknown doesn’t mean you have to approach them unprepared. There are steps that can be taken to help kickstart success and begin 2021 — ah, that beautiful number that seemed to take so long to get here — with a bang.

The coronavirus pandemic that tested the limits and endurance of the business world isn’t over, but the sun appears to be coming up over the horizon and the dawn of better days are approaching. Here are a few tips to help you put your best foot forward and greet 2021 chin up and head-on:

  • Don’t make your marketing budget an optional expense: Although many businesses continue a day-to-day struggle to keep the doors open, the lights on and make payroll, it’s never a good idea to stop thinking about marketing strategy. The marketing budget may be smaller than in years past, but it is still a vital component for your business to keep your name in front of the right eyes. It’s an investment in you.

In a forbes.com article, PostcardMania founder and CEO Joy Gendusa explained that the company slashed its marketing budget following the 2008 recession to detrimental effect, losing $5 million in revenue by 2009. The lesson: The marketing budget is sacred.

“Where possible, you need to get the word out to prospects and customers alike that your business is alive, kicking and ready to be of service,” Gendusa wrote in the article.

  • Bolster your social media presence: From the mom-and-pop shop to the national chains, a strong social media presence is a critical strategy for success in the 20th century. We live in a world where word of thumb has replaced word of mouth, and social platforms are one of the best ways to stay connected with your current customers and raise your profile and awareness with your future patrons.

With more than 3 billion people worldwide using social media every month, the potential for engagement only keeps growing, according to an article in marketinginsidergroup.com.

“If people don’t know about your business, they can’t become your customers,” the article states. “Social media boosts your visibility among potential customers, letting you reach a wide audience by using a large amount of time and effort. And it’s free to create a business profile on all the major social networks, so you have nothing to lose.”

  • Put your business on the Google Map: Take the time at the start of the year to update your Google My Business profile. Google My Business provides business owners with the ability to have their companies pop up in local search results and appear on Google Maps. Setting up a Google My Business profile is relatively simple and can reap numerous rewards when properly optimized — from improving engagement to boasting your business in local search results.

An article in business2community.com, recommends filling the Q&A section of the profile with frequently asked questions, adding images or video and responding to all reviews.

“A robust Google My Business profile is more important now than ever. If you want to show up when local searchers are trying to find businesses like yours on Google or in Google Maps, a complete and optimized Google My Business profile is the place to start,” the article states.

It’s important to also take stock of the previous year and pinpoint what did and did not work for your business. However, equally important as looking back is looking forward. You invested your life into your business, so do your homework and study up on the trends and predictions being made in the coming year to determine how you can better reach your customers.

SaveOn has been helping business of all stripes extend their reach to target audiences for years. Find out more about what SaveOn can do for you by visiting saveon.com.

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Marketing Online Deals

Generosity Shines on Giving Tuesday

There’s good reason that it’s not known as “The Season of Getting.”

From the smaller stage of helping workaday employees make their everyday ends meet to the broader perspective of keeping the nation’s economy on track at a steady hum, consumerism indeed has its undeniable values and virtues. However, even the most squinted and pessimistic eye can’t deny that the holiday season encompasses a softer and more global approach to giving of ourselves for the purpose of offering a hand to our friends and neighbors who are struggling and in a time of need.

That’s why in the height of the holiday shopping hysteria, Giving Tuesday plays a vital role in reminding us that the threads of kindness and compassion bind us all together in this complex tapestry of humanity. It’s also why businesses large and small play essential parts in the ensemble cast of making Giving Tuesday a success each year.

Since 2012, Giving Tuesday has encouraged people to engage in acts of good on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving through its mission of building a more just and generous world.  

“Giving Tuesday strives to build a world in which the catalytic power of generosity is at the heart of the society we build together, unlocking dignity, opportunity and equity around the globe,” according to the organization’s website. “We believe that generosity leads to greater civic participation and other pro-social behaviors. … Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts and everyone has something to give.”

At SaveOn, we’re proud that so many in our extended family of businesses choose to take part in the spirit of Giving Tuesday during the holidays, as well as throughout the year. These businesses serve as shining examples of compassionate commitment in the regions they serve as they strive to do their part to make their community’s better places to live, work and play.

With so many feeling isolated and alone this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, The UPS Store in Lake Orion, Michigan, is using its care package services to help families and loved ones stay connected while following social distancing guidelines.

As a designated essential business, The UPS Store has remained open during the pandemic. Care packaging is just one way the brand is helping customers get through this time as a resource of hope and outreach.

“Many of our customers are missing their families and friends, so sending a care package is a great way to be there for one another from a distance,” said franchise owner Neil Patel. “Our packing experts are trained in advanced packing techniques and can pack just about anything. We know how important it is for your package to arrive intact to help bring a little good cheer.”

Another proud member of the SaveOn family, MSP Plumbing, Heating and Air in St. Paul, Minnesota, has been committed to the comfort of its customers for more than a century. MSP takes great pride in being an active member of its community by supporting local charities and causes.

“We know that 2020 has been a tough year for all, and we believe everyone could use a little extra comfort. MSP would like to take the holiday season to show our commitment to our community by supporting people in need,” MSP said in a statement. “We are asking for your help by sharing instances of individuals, families or groups who may have had a rough year and could use a little extra happiness this holiday season.”

MSP is asking people to visit mspoffers.com/committed-to-our-community and nominate an individual or family that has had an especially challenging year and could use a little help. The MSP team selects a winner each week to be awarded and celebrated on the company’s website. 

Ann Arbor, Michigan, favorite Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies spreads its Giving Tuesday sentiment throughout the entire year to our four-legged friends by accepting year-round donations for local pet rescues and charities.

“Our community is our family and our priority at Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies,” said owner and founder Dan Gilmore. “You can feel it in the way we treat our customers, both new and returning. You see it in the way we partner with local businesses and organizations. We are most grateful for all the support and consistency in our businesses during this most tumultuous year. We miss seeing everyone all the time, but we know things will be better soon, and we plan to be right here.”

These businesses, and many more just like them, reflect the importance SaveOn places on taking an active role in the community and giving back to the people and the causes that help define a region’s purpose. There are no small acts of giving. Consider supporting the local businesses that support you this Giving Tuesday.

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Marketing

Giving Small Business a Big Boost Saturday

More than being the backbone to the U.S. economy, they are also your friends, neighbors and community members. And perhaps more than ever before, they need your help this year.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses make up more than 99% of all businesses in the nation and employ more than 47% of the private workforce. While large chain retailers and online marketplaces get their due in the post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping rush, Small Business Saturday draws attention to the importance of small businesses and highlights their vital impact on local communities.

Black Friday tends to get the loudest fanfare during the holiday shopping season, with legend holding that the additional influx of consumer purchases allow businesses to move out of the red and into the black in their ledgers. However, Small Business Saturday, which falls on Nov. 28 this year, has been growing in reputation and recognition for the past decade for its dedication and devotion to the entrepreneurs who pump the lifeblood into our local communities.  

Small Business Saturday was first observed on Nov. 27, 2010. According to Wikipedia, the event was created by American Express in partnership with Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Boston-based nonprofit Roslindale Village Main Street. Held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Small Busines Saturday was meant to serve as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The inaugural event was held while the nation was battling back from a recession. On the American Express website, the company said that the mission of Small Business Saturday was to aid small businesses that served as the core of local neighborhoods. The following year, the shop small movement had gained momentum and the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in 2011 in support of Small Business Saturday.

According to the Farm Bureau Financial Services website, in 2012 American Express encouraged small-business owners to promote their businesses, and the credit card company offered small-business owners free, personalized ads to spread over the internet. That year, an estimated $5.5 billion was spent across the nation at independent businesses. By 2013, neighborhoods began celebrating the day and pledging support to local businesses and organizations. 

Participation in Small Business Saturday continues to grow year over year. Figures compiled by Farm Bureau Financial Services indicate that more than 95 million people shopped at small businesses on Small Business Saturday in 2015 and spending reached $16.2 billion. In 2016, Small Business Saturday reached record highs, with 72% of U.S. consumers aware of the day and an estimated 112 million shoppers.

It’s something to take into serious consideration because shopping with local, independent storeowners can pay extensive dividends for you as a conscientious community member. Making the decision to shop locally is reaffirming your dedication to, and investment in, your fellow residents and their commitment to enhancing quality of life in your own backyard. The results don’t simply serve as a benefit to an individual business owner. Rather, it creates a cyclical stream of reward throughout an entire community.

  • By frequenting independent entrepreneurs, you’re investing in yourself by keeping the community in which you live economically viable. Varying studies have shown that anywhere from 48% to 73% of each dollar spent locally remains in the local economy.
  • You can expect better service, more attention to detail and a more knowledgeable staff from a local business. This is their livelihood, and they are going to develop personal relationships with their valued clientele. You are going to matter.
  • Local stores give a community an individuality that can’t be found or replicated anywhere else. Shopping at local businesses not only supports that concept, but it also helps encourage it to bloom.
  • A small retail establishment is likely going to have fewer than 20 employees; however, that small package packs a powerful punch. The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council said business with less than 20 workers made up 89 of the businesses in the nation. That’s a lot of jobs and opportunities being created by your support.

A diverse public marketplace spurs competition and increases consumer choices. Plus, sometimes the most well-received gifts are the unique, one-of-a-kind items that you’re far likelier to find at a small business.

Our extended SaveOn family helps support hundreds of small businesses that benefit your family and your community. With the struggles and sacrifices these storeowners have made this year in the face of a national health pandemic, your support for these local dreamers and doers is appreciated more than ever before. This year, the reach of your holiday purchases can extend far beyond the gift recipient.

Happy holidays and happy shopping from SaveOn.

Categories
Marketing

9 Promotional Tactics to Maximize Local Business Traffic

Having a solid consumer product or service is only half the battle of owning a successful business. The other major piece of the puzzle companies try to perfect is getting customers through the door. A recent survey found more than half of Gen Z, millennials and Gen X are actively trying to shop at local establishments.

How do you get local patrons through your doors (or onto your e-commerce site)? Promotion.

Here are nine promotional tactics that can maximize your company’s local traffic.

Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising is a great way to introduce potential local customers to your brand, products and services at a relatively low cost. You can advertise on a number of sites or apps, including:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Snapchat
  • TikTok

These popular platforms vary in spending minimums and advertising options, but they all have one thing in common: control. You have absolute control over your campaigns. With social media advertising, you can adjust creative, spending audience and more throughout the campaign at no extra cost, as seen in traditional advertising.

Another benefit of advertising on social media is that your ads can be seen 24/7. With traditional media, you often pay a flat rate for an ad — and if people don’t see it, they don’t see it. Social media ads run all day and night, and they bill by impressions, clicks or conversions. This results-based billing method is enticing to companies that have a tight budget and need hard ROI.

A third pro to social media advertising is your ability to easily target and track audience engagement. Social media platforms let you target people by age, gender, location, job titles, interests and more, so you will be able to get as specific as you want, ensuring your money is going toward the people most likely to buy your offerings. Additionally, the analytics included in the platform will let you know your impressions, reach, clicks, audience demographics, etc.

Digital Advertising

Digital advertising is another way to meet your audience where they are. In fact, a report from Hootsuite and We Are Social discovered people are spending around six hours and 42 minutes on the internet every day. This presents a unique opportunity for businesses to target their local audiences through digital ads.

Through online advertising, your business can increase brand awareness, build a better understanding of your audiences and their behaviors, and create higher-performing content.

Like social media advertising, digital advertisements are billed based on interaction and run 24/7. You can also adjust creative more easily than traditional ads. This type of advertising has a few popular options for advertisers, including:

  • Geofencing – Targeting audiences by building a geographic boundary. When a mobile device enters the geofenced area, some form of ad will be triggered to populate their phone.
  • Retargeting – Ads that are sent to people who have recently visited your website to remind them of your brand, products or services.
  • Display – Push ads that appear based on targeting parameters.
  • Search – Pull ads that appear when someone searches keywords that you have paid for.

Traditional Advertising

Traditional advertising includes newspapers, magazines, billboards, radio and direct mail. Although we’ve talked about some of the downsides of traditional advertising, there are still many benefits of using traditional media.

For one, your target audience may prefer to see ads on traditional platforms. Older generations like Gen X, baby boomers and traditionalists tend to be more receptive to traditional ads than millennials and Gen Z.

Another upside to using traditional advertising is it gives your company a bit of legitimacy among people who are unfamiliar with your brand. Younger generations who grew up with the internet know to be skeptical of scams and fake news online. If they are unfamiliar with your brand, you may come off more legitimate in traditional media because they are thought to be more trustworthy.

Finally, by advertising out in the community, you will be sure to reach people locally and build word-of-mouth publicity.

SEO

Search engine optimization is another tactic that can be used to promote your business and pull people into your website. Simply put, SEO is the process of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search results, according to Moz. Ensuring your website has useful content, includes keywords that people are searching for (without overdoing it), have informative title tags and meta descriptions, and build qualified inbound links will help you rank higher in organic searches, which will drive people into your website.

Sponsorships

Sponsoring community events has two major benefits. First, it can get your business’s name out in front of the right local audiences. Secondly, it generally supports good causes or organizations that help your community. Local sponsorships tend to not be overly expensive, and they also help your brand build credibility and good rapport. Sponsorships sometimes will even include the opportunity to have a booth or table at the event, which gives you the chance to meet and talk to potential customers. This is an awesome way to introduce your company in a fun and authentic way.

Host a Sale with a Community Link

I’m sure you’re thinking, “We have sales all the time, and it only brings in a few extra purchases.” What can make these sales more exciting to potential customers is connecting them to a local event like a big game, community event or gathering, or a holiday that your town loves. Bringing locality to a sale or having it connect with other things happening in the area makes your sale more relevant, adds an excitement element, brings attention to the sale and will likely attract more local customers to your business.

Offer Samples or Product Demos

Who doesn’t love free samples or trying before you buy? People love to get free stuff and know exactly what they’re buying. Giving away free samples and offering product demos give the customers a chance to test out your product or service and see that they can’t live without it.

Strategic Partnerships

Strategic partnerships are used all the time in marketing. Starbucks and Barnes and Nobel, Spotify and Uber, Nike and Apple, and Taco Bell and Doritos are famous examples of hugely successful strategic partnerships. Partnering with a local, reputable business does a few things. It expands your marketing efforts, doubles your audience reach, adds value for media coverage, creates excitement and builds brand credibility. Many local businesses form partnerships every day to increase local traffic to their businesses.

Content Marketing

Breaking through all the noise from the internet, advertisements and media is harder than ever for businesses. Content marketing is a proactive strategy to create interesting, shareable content in which your audience is interested. Your content should have a narrative and tell a captivating story. This helps you appear authentic and gets people genuinely energized about your products and services without feeling like you’re just trying to sell to them. Types of content marketing can include:

  • Blogs
  • Social media
  • E-books
  • Videos
  • Photo galleries
  • Websites
  • Webinars
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Paid ads

Our team has been working in the marketing realm for decades, not just promoting our own brand but helping connect businesses to local savers. We are always here to guide you, answer your questions and to help you increase sales. Learn more about how partnering with SaveOn will help you reach your business goals at saveon.com/business.