When it comes to marketing every firm has a budget. Essentially, for any business owner the bottom line is the same; spend less money but receive equally impactful results.

When it comes to developing a marketing budget that brings strong results, business owners should expect to spend a good percentage of their revenue as a primary source of investment for their campaigns. In fact, based on statistics, it is estimated that for a business seeking to grow at a steady and healthy rate of 20% that business would have to roughly spend 8%-14% of its total annual revenue. Knowing this can be a huge benefit in regards to estimating how much to plan for a yearly marketing budget for an established or start up firm.

The following article will focus on how to constitute and develop a marketing budget that pays dividends to a company’s marketing goals.

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If you have been a part of, or are an owner of a business that utilizes online marketing, chances are you have heard of tools such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Rightfully so, for many local business, online marketing may seem like a very daunting experience because of the scale in which digital marketing can attract. The reality is however, maybe you just want to cater to the people in your local community, or the people passing through. If you don’t sell something that can be shipped or mass-produced, there may not seem like much of a need to deal with SEO, right? Wrong.

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social media marketingWith the recently announced Facebook News Feed Algorithm update, there’s been a lot of short-sighted advice being handed out in response.

With the increased suppression of organic reach for brands, people have suggested everything, from focusing on Facebook Groups only, to abandoning Facebook altogether. In my opinion, we all just need to take a deep breath and think objectively about what we’re hoping to get from social media marketing.

Why does it exist? Why is your brand participating in the first place?

Now, this may not be a popular opinion with the social media purists, but social media marketing is MARKETING just like any other channel. The model is essentially to gather an audience, segmented by data, then sell things to that audience via advertising.

That’s the way the process works. Misunderstanding this dynamic will doom your social media efforts when it comes to business results.

So before I review the five main reasons that I see which lead to social media marketing disappointment, I want to make something very clear. Growing a social community and getting them to engage with your brand is very important. However, to act like doing so is the sole reason Facebook, Twitter or Instagram exist is simply ignoring reality. You need to have a multi-pronged effort that works to capture people’s attention, while also advertising to them in a value-based way. THAT is the power of social media.

Here are some of the key reasons why your social media marketing efforts aren’t working out the way you’d hoped.

1. You’re Overestimating “Community”

Community building is important in social media marketing, however, most marketers grossly misunderstand the type of community they are building.

When most social media marketers think of a social ‘community’, they imagine thousands of people gathered around their brand, patiently waiting for a piece of content to come out which will immediately improve all their lives. In reality, you’re supposed to be showcasing the value of what your brand brings to the table in an educational, informative and value-driven way, in the hope that your community will choose YOUR BRAND when a need arises.

We have to stop pretending that people really want to be friends with brands. If you’re a social media marketer and disagree, quickly try to recall the first and last names of the actual people in your community. You probably can’t.

Once we all get a realistic understanding about what TYPE of community we’re trying to build, and WHY we’re building it, the results of our social media marketing efforts will improve.

2. You Aren’t Advertising

I’m still baffled at the amount of “marketers” who are averse to social media advertising – it’s literally the most cost-effective way to reach a targeted group of consumers.

The free ride is over, and really, it has been over for a long time. While not every business has a large budget to invest in advertising, a little can go a long way with social media.

We strongly urge brands to pinch off some budget and test social advertising. If you don’t, be ready for a lot of disappointment when it comes to your social media marketing results.

3. You Get Distracted by Flashy Tactics

If you value tactics over strategy, you’re doomed to fail. No amount of “hacks” or “tricks” are going to scale for your business in social media.

You need to start with the goal of your efforts and work backward, fleshing out a strategy that’ll help you achieve your business goals in a cost-effective way.

Realize that everything you do takes time and that you must asses the amount of time you’ll sink into an activity versus what it’ll give you. You know, the old ROI conversation.

Be cautious of flashy tactics, they usually become obsolete quickly.

4. You Don’t Understand Data

One of the biggest potential weaknesses in any social media marketing strategy is failing to understand the data. If you can’t measure, analyze and react to the data created by your social activities, you’re essentially flying blind.

While you’re at it, you also need to invest time in understanding attribution models. The theoretical consumer process of ‘see post’, ‘click link’ and ‘buy product’ almost never happens. Consumers tend to bounce around before they purchase, and by not understanding the data behind how your audience shops, you may misinterpret the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Get familiar with Facebook Insights, Facebook Analytics (from the Pixel) and Google Analytics so you fully understand exactly what your efforts are producing.

Success with social media marketing isn’t only about Likes, engagements, and shares – in fact, these stats alone are largely irrelevant to your broader business goals.

5. You Act Like a Big Brand – You’re Not

If you’re modeling your social media marketing strategy after Coca-Cola or Nike, you’re probably way off the mark. Top companies like these have built brand equity over decades, and unless you’re prepared to go to market with immense budgets, trying to borrow ideas from them likely won’t work.

Small to mid-market businesses have to work extra hard (and smart) to cut through the noise on social media. Never ever assume that people simply know you and that they’ll automatically understand what you’re trying to accomplish. Be realistic, be humble and go to market with a scrappy and smart plan to build your brand every day.

You cant skip years of brand building and hope that assumed brand equity is going to bode well for your business. Spend the time and money building awareness, and prospecting new clients. With time, your brand will grow.

Once you stop making the above mistakes, you’ll surely see slow and steady improvement for your social media efforts. It’s time to actually use social media for marketing.

Business ProfileCongrats! You just got some new followers to like your companies Business Profile on Instagram… Nice! The only problem is you don’t just want new followers; you want to make sales! Your customer sees your product and oh man… there’s no action button for him or her to buy it! For individuals who don’t set up their social media correctly, forgetting to put an action button on your post may be the difference between having a viewer or potential sale.

The purpose of this post is to inform you on how to add Instagram action buttons to your business profile. By doing this, you open many opportunities and make it easier for your customers to purchase your product, book consultation, or request a quotation from your business.

By adding a call to action, you provide your customers and viewers a potential opportunity to interact with you and allow them to take the first step to know more about you and your business.

Therefore, without further adieu, let us run through the steps to help you set up your Instagram action buttons.

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email marketing

The General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR is a regulation prescribed by the law in the EU. The bill primarily focuses on the protection of both, data and privacy for all individuals within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). It also addresses and regulates the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas.

Quite recently, due to the implementation of the GDPR, there has been a direct and evident impact on marketing practices. Specifically, email marketing. The GDPR which has been active since May 25th, 2018, has been the causation for a vast majority of marketers forcefully changing the process in regards to how they seek, obtain and save consent.

Ultimately, the purpose of this post is to inform you of how despite the implementation of the GDPR in the EU, how email marketing can still flourish under the new laws and regulatory conditions.

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Web Developer

Some people think it’s easy to build a website. There are many website developer tools available that allow you to drag and drop pictures, and insert wording.  Keep in mind that these tools use templates that are generic, and not specifically designed to meet your business needs. Web development requires behind the scenes coding that’s done by skilled web developers.  There are plenty of DIY projects that you can tackle yourself; Here are 10 reasons why building your business’s website should not be one of them.

 
Reason #1: Customization
Free website templates and DIY web builders cannot be customized, are very basic, and are not interactive. If you wanted to add an extra feature or additional content, a basic website template or web builder wouldn’t give you this option.  If you think you’re the first person to benefit from a free website builder, think again–there are thousands of other companies that have made the mistake of using the same, boring, generic template.  Now you’re stuck with a site that looks like everyone else’s.  How unique is that?
Reason #2: Efficiency
Web development hard work, and it takes a long time to build a great website.  If you’re not a professional web developer, the hours upon hours you spend trying to create a website could be more efficiently spent generating business and growing your client base.  Why not let someone with experience and knowledge build it, it’ll save you time and money.

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yelpWe’re excited to announce that Sooner Marketing Solutions is a Yelp Ads Certified Partner! We are now able to support and manage Ad campaigns for all of our clients – both large and small! We are so happy to have been given this opportunity as it allows us to better serve our clients. The purpose of this post is to inform you of our recent partnership with Yelp as well as the benefits associated with the coalition. 

What is Yelp and Why is it Important?

Yelp is a transactional platform consumers visit when they are looking to purchase from a local business. It is extremely important because it is emerging as the leading consumer review site for many types of businesses. Fast food, marketing, auto dealer type businesses, or anything else corporate related, Yelp has a strong influence and is highly regarded by a wide demographic of consumers. In fact, it currently receives high priority from the Google Search Engine results, generally, in the top 5 search results according to numerous tests. This means that with a good review, let alone a partnership, any businesses credibility and digital portfolio is instantly improved for the better.

When looking at the United States, the social platform has an estimated 94.3 million unique visitors on both, desktop and mobile and on top of that, is the 20th most-visited internet property for desktop and mobile combined. In addition to that, according to Nielsen, consumers rank Yelp as the #1 review site for finding local businesses and nearly, 79% of consumers purchase within a week after visiting Yelp.

Clearly, for any business, the platform has a huge influence on their potential customer base. Based on that, this makes Yelp a hugely important aspect of digital marketing for any corporation.

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1. Outside perspective

The number one reason to hire a marketing consultant is for the outside perspective. You may have assembled the most talented team of marketers on the planet, but you’ll always be blinded by some level of bias. A consultant, on the other hand, can come in and see things clearly without being affected by the issues that weigh you down.

2. Specialized skill set

Marketing consultants always have a general background and knowledge of how to handle a variety of different needs, but most have a specialized skill set to offer. For example, you’ll find consultants who specialize in PPC campaign optimization or content marketing. When you work with these folks, you can quickly target a specific area without wasting time, money, or resources.

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So your thinking about starting a digital marketing agency but your not too sure on where to start. There are so many niches, platforms, courses that for most people, it becomes too overwhelming to even think about starting a business. People want to know what are the barriers of entry towards starting an agency.

Barriers of Entry

There are always challenges and barriers that make it hard for someone to start up right from the get-go. For digital marketing agencies some of these barriers include,

  1. Number of social media platforms
  2. Cost
  3. Time

Let us dive in deeper detail when looking at each of these barriers.

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Upwork, Fiverr, Guru, Loom, so many options for business owners looking for freelancers. The question is, however, should businesses trust a self-employed freelancer or a well-established marketing agency when deciding which entity to use for their marketing campaign? The reality is that freelancers are everywhere, thanks to individual websites, getting access to a freelancer takes nothing more than just a few quick clicks and a payment upfront. Rightfully so, there are always two sides to each coin, and with that in mind, it’s time to tackle the pros and cons of hiring a freelancer, v.s hiring an agency.

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