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Here’s a story for you… (a true one!)

Here’s a story for you… (a true one!)

You know how “they” always say take care of yourself first?
Well, it’s true, you must put your own oxygen mask on first (and make sure your gas tank is full!)

For those of you who are my personal friends, and not just clients, you may recall I lost my closest friend in September. I was just developing a new normal, when her mom passed away, and so now I’m dealing with those emotions and travel plans for the funeral. (I’ll be out Jan. 28-Feb. 1, BTW)

However, this is a quick story on how I do need to take care of myself and my family first. With growing up in the middle of nowhere, I am usually very vigilant with filling my gas tank up when it gets to a half tank, and at the very least a quarter of a tank. Even though I now live less than a mile from a gas station, I still usually keep my tank at half or fuller.

This week I ended up taking my son to school two extra days than normal (usually carpool), and between finding out about the death, working on my clients projects, and driving Lincoln to school and extracurriculars, I didn’t notice how low the fuel gauge was.

My normal morning routine was thrown off on Thursday and I headed out the door for school drop off. Had the kid, his lunch and his backpack; had my water and my keys, but I forgot my purse… normally not a big deal. I go to school and come back (hour+ round trip).

On the way back from school I was listening to a podcast, and when I got to a quiet stretch of road decided to return a client call. When I was doing that I noticed that my need fuel light was on. I quickly glanced over at the “miles to empty” reading and it said 6 miles! I had JUST passed the last Tucson exit heading south, the next gas station was 15 miles. I immediately took the next exit, mapped it back to QT and it said 3.8 miles. I decided we’d see how trustworthy the miles to empty actually was!

I jumped back on interstate, being careful to not accelerate to fast and drove 55 mph back to the next exit. Thankfully the light was still green so I didn’t have to idle at that one… 1.8 miles to go and supposedly 3 miles left on the tank.

I got to the second light, and had to make a left hand turn… thankfully that light was still green and traffic was light.

It was at 0.3 miles to go and 1 mile left on the tank…I pulled up to the gas pump that was empty and it had a yellow bag on it!

 

I circled the parking lot and got another pump… made it with 1 mile left on the tank.

Now, I knew I had forgot my purse. Yet I also knew I had a $5 bill stashed in the van for emergencies and I figured it was a good time to set up Google Pay…

Google Pay wouldn’t work at the pump so I walked inside with my phone and my $5 bill. I asked the cashier if he knew how to use Google Pay, and he did, it seamlessly worked!!! I was able to prepay and fill my tank mostly up… and the van started! I made it back to my home office with 5 minutes to spare before another client call. Here’s my 3 tips…

  1. Use a mental checklist every time you go get in your vehicle… keys, water, wallet, etc.
  2. Stash a $5, $10 or $20 in your vehicle
  3. Check your fuel level every time you get in the vehicle…make it a habit!

Here’s to 2022 and making it your best year yet! Mine is off to a start, not a great one, but it’s started and I’m looking forward to every day I have on this earth, spending it with my family and friends and serving my clients.

THANK YOU for choosing Shield Bar Marketing as your partner or for simply being someone who tells others about us.

Sincerely,
Nikole Haumont, Founder
and the crew: Zeann, Renz, Jenelle, Sam, Bristy and Janrea

Thank you to Suburban Real Estate Group in Arizona for choosing us!

Visit the website here: https://suburbanrealestategroup.com/
Click here or on the image above to learn what we created!

Email Marketing–Why It Is Important to Have An Email List

Email Marketing–Why It Is Important to Have An Email List

Sending plaintext emails might seem out-of-date in the age of social media marketing. In reality, it’s the opposite. Email marketing works nearly as well as any other marketing channel when it comes to acquiring and keeping customers.

 

 

In your digital marketing strategy, email should be a key component. If you don’t use email marketing, then you’re losing out on money. A great deal of traffic comes from email marketing, which is also our main means of communication with our Shield Bar Marketing clients.

Email Marketing: What is it?

One of the most lucrative channels for direct marketing is email marketing. A commercial email marketing message is sent to your newsletter subscribers, or people on your email list who have explicitly approved to receive your emails.

 

Email marketing helps drive sales, inform customers, and build communities around brands. You may refer to your email marketing as your “newsletter.” If it’s sent through a system, such as MailChimp and gives the recipient the option to unsubscribe, it is email marketing.

 

In modern email marketing, bulk mailings have been replaced by customized, segmented, and personalized offerings. Sending emails to prospects and customers is an extremely effective method of digital marketing. Prospects who receive marketing emails effectively become customers, and one-time buyers become loyal, repeated customers. Even if the email is not opened, they may see your message in preview and will probably see your name or your company’s name in the list of emails, reminding them of you.

 

Businesses use email marketing to increase leads, convert leads into customers, and stay in touch with customers for longer periods. However, email has many benefits beyond that. Businesses must create email lists before they can begin email marketing.

Why do you need an email list?

Your website can be set up to collect email addresses, usually in exchange for a free PDF download, discount coupon or exclusive behind-the-scenes access. These subscribed addresses may then be used for sending emails. If you want to sell your products or services, email lists can be used to send out blog posts, company announcements, and product or service announcements.

 

The purpose of an email list is to compile contacts who have granted permission for you to send them updates and promotions from your business.

 

With an email marketing program, you can create your email list, and then send mass emails to all your subscribers about your blog posts, online store, or other business services.

 

Do you think buying an email list is a good idea?

No matter how tempting buying an email list might be, it’s risky. Those who didn’t sign up for your mailing list will likely mark your emails as spam. Plus, if they’ve never visited your website, they’re not as likely to be interested in your products.

 

You should only send emails to people who have agreed to receive them. It’s not just legal, but also ethical.

Exactly why is it important to build an email list?

Email lists generate ten times more conversions than social media campaigns. Marketing via email requires an email list. Plus, email marketing is an “owned media,” where you are in charge of the list and often you send to it. You want to move people from your social media, that can be fleeting, to an owned media so you can continue to educate, entertain or market directly to your ideal client.

 

If you offered a freebie in exchange for their email address, your subscribers were extremely interested in what you had to offer when they joined your email list from your website and clicked on the confirmation link. This makes them much more likely to convert into paying customers.

 

Do you have some doubts about how important an email list really is?  Some reasons why it is important to have an email list are described below.

❖    Getting messages from customers is easy

Consumers check their emails every day at least 91% of the time, according to studies. Many people don’t check social media for days on end. Businesses would be wise to build an email list due to these statistics.

 

A person receives your words directly in their inbox after you send an email. Social media makes it more likely for your customer to miss your update due to its nature. It demonstrates the advantage of using email lists to get your message in front of your customers in addition to social media.

 

The importance of sound customer communication cannot be overemphasized. A stronger relationship with customers results in increased sales, boosts revenue, and delivers invaluable marketing. In contrast, failing to communicate with your clients will result in them forgetting about your brand.

❖    A chance to build brand advocacy

Brand advocacy is the process of an organization’s customer recommending its product to their friends and family members. 92% of people are willing to trust their friends and family, so the power of recommendation could be greater than all your other marketing efforts.

 

Sending them personalized messages on a frequent basis, dealing with their pain points, getting their feedback, rewarding their loyalty, and empathizing with them through their emotions can help you reach your audience. You will improve your customer retention rate as a result, and you will maximize your revenue!

 

❖    You can grow your business by building an email list

 

The biggest challenge for marketers is still acquiring new customers. Four out of ten marketers state that acquiring customers is their top priority. It is possible to generate email leads for your business using content marketing, social media marketing and promotional events. Your focus should be on converting those leads into customers. Email marketing is the perfect method for achieving this.

 

You can launch a lead retention campaign once you establish strong communication with your lead. This will educate, engage, and boost their trust. By doing so, you’ll boost your chances of converting them into customers.

❖    Sending emails builds trust

Your customers will trust you more when you send them emails. You can send emails to people to their inboxes so that they can read them privately. Neither a billboard nor social media timeline displays this message publicly.

 

You can communicate more intimately. Customers can ask you questions by responding to your email since email lists make them feel like a part of a private conversation. Building trust and a relationship is easier this way.

❖    Faster results can be generated through email marketing

E-mail produces results faster, which is easy to understand. Your recipients can immediately read and open the email once it is delivered into their inboxes. This has become easier now that nearly everyone owns a smartphone.

 

Most people open transactional emails, even though they tend to skip notifications and promotional emails. In addition to those who save them for later reading, those who read them within 24 hours do so as well. This leads to results in just a few days!

❖    Bring Back Visitors

70% of users never return to your website after leaving. If you want proof, check out your Google Analytics and see how many new and returning visitors you have.

 

It is also important to keep them. Their attention has been drawn to your website among all the others. A casual web surfer may not turn into a loyal fan unless you take steps to promote your site properly.

 

If you send an email to your subscribers, they are much more likely to revisit your website. Your next great post, well-written announcement, or well-timed sales release will inspire them to come back.

❖    A more effective marketing method than social media

People who want to make an online presence are most likely to use social media. Marketing via social media is certainly one of the best ways to increase brand visibility and drive leads.

 

Users of the internet need email more than social media. People check their email inbox more frequently than their social media accounts, as almost every internet user has an email account.

 

Being a one-to-one communication medium, email marketing has its own advantages. Email gives businesses worldwide complete control and can be used to generate new customers. A/B testing and segmentation are also capabilities of this email platform, allowing businesses to launch near-perfect marketing campaigns!

In Conclusion

An organization’s growth and success are dependent on its communication. You will gain an advantage over your competitors with a personalized touch to your email. To connect with your customers, a list of email addresses is valuable for doing email marketing. Comparatively to any other marketing channel, it’s easy, reliable, flexible, and affordable. Email marketing is on track to succeed in 2021 and beyond due to these features.

 

Thanks for reading! If you gained value from this email, please forward it to 2 small business owners or solopreneurs that might find value too!

 

Sincerely,

Nikole Haumont, Founder

Shield Bar Marketing

 

 

P.s. if you’re ready to create an email marketing campaign, be consistent with the one you have or upgrade what you are currently doing, reply to this email. We can help!

New Features on Instagram that will Help Small Business Owners

New Features on Instagram that will Help Small Business Owners

Instagram has recently announced some very major changes that are making users, especially small business owners who use their platform to promote their business, anxious about the app’s future. Here are recent changes that Instagram has made and changes that they have announced they are going to be making in the future that every small business owner needs to be aware of:

 

Facebook Launched Messenger API for Instagram

Since Facebook owns Instagram, most business owners that market themselves on Facebook also find themselves promoting their business on Instagram. Whenever someone replies to a story that you post or messages you directly, you had to go to your inbox on the Instagram app in order to respond. Facebook has now made this task a lot easier and less time-consuming. If you use a social media management platform like Hootsuite, you will now be able to check your Instagram messages and story replies.

 

Instagram Reels Now has Ads

Instagram has said several times that making Instagram reels consistently is the easiest way to organically grow your following, especially if you are just starting out on the platform. Reels Ads is now available to a larger group of people after being tested during the first half of this year. Just like your standard Reel, these ads can be up to 30 seconds in length. You will be able to add a description to these ads, where users can view the likes and comments.

 

Instagram is No Longer a Photo Sharing Platform

Recently, Instagram’s CEO Adam Moserri announced that Instagram is no longer a photo-sharing platform and that video will now be prioritized on the app. This seems like an obvious change after all, since the app has spent the past year prioritizing Instagram Reels in an attempt to adapt to newer trends. Still, it is causing some small business owners to panic since they primarily share pictures instead of video content.

 

The app is not rushing into these changes and has instead announced that this change will happen throughout this year. This change does not mean that users should panic and trash all of their pictures. It simply means that users should start to plan to allocate some time producing video content monthly, as everyone waits to see how Instagram will choose to implement this change.

 

The App is Experimenting with Recommendations

            Instagram’s CEO also announced over the next couple of months they will be experimenting with recommendations. This is great news for small business owners on the app because it means your content can potentially end up on someone’s feed even if they don’t follow you yet. The app already has some recommendation features that accomplish this but this update means that you will have even more opportunities to end up on someone’s page who isn’t following you.

Instagram has been making an effort to be more transparent with their users this year about the changes they are making to their platform and even taking the time to break down how their algorithm works in some of their recent blog posts. A lot of the changes that Instagram has announced will benefit small business owners and help them to manage their time more efficiently. Make sure that you check back in to stay updated on future changes Instagram is making.

 

 

New Features on Instagram that will Help Small Business Owners

Instagram has recently announced some very major changes that are making users, especially small business owners who use their platform to promote their business, anxious about the app’s future. Here are recent changes that Instagram has made and changes that they have announced they are going to be making in the future that every small business owner needs to be aware of:

 

Facebook Launched Messenger API for Instagram

Since Facebook owns Instagram, most business owners that market themselves on Facebook also find themselves promoting their business on Instagram. Whenever someone replies to a story that you post or messages you directly, you had to go to your inbox on the Instagram app in order to respond. Facebook has now made this task a lot easier and less time-consuming. If you use a social media management platform like Hootsuite, you will now be able to check your Instagram messages and story replies.

 

Instagram Reels Now has Ads

Instagram has said several times that making Instagram reels consistently is the easiest way to organically grow your following, especially if you are just starting out on the platform. Reels Ads is now available to a larger group of people after being tested during the first half of this year. Just like your standard Reel, these ads can be up to 30 seconds in length. You will be able to add a description to these ads, where users can view the likes and comments.

 

Instagram is No Longer a Photo Sharing Platform

Recently, Instagram’s CEO Adam Moserri announced that Instagram is no longer a photo-sharing platform and that video will now be prioritized on the app. This seems like an obvious change after all, since the app has spent the past year prioritizing Instagram Reels in an attempt to adapt to newer trends. Still, it is causing some small business owners to panic since they primarily share pictures instead of video content.

The app is not rushing into these changes and has instead announced that this change will happen throughout this year. This change does not mean that users should panic and trash all of their pictures. It simply means that users should start to plan to allocate some time producing video content monthly, as everyone waits to see how Instagram will choose to implement this change.

 

The App is Experimenting with Recommendations

            Instagram’s CEO also announced over the next couple of months they will be experimenting with recommendations. This is great news for small business owners on the app because it means your content can potentially end up on someone’s feed even if they don’t follow you yet. The app already has some recommendation features that accomplish this but this update means that you will have even more opportunities to end up on someone’s page who isn’t following you.

Instagram has been making an effort to be more transparent with their users this year about the changes they are making to their platform and even taking the time to break down how their algorithm works in some of their recent blog posts. A lot of the changes that Instagram has announced will benefit small business owners and help them to manage their time more efficiently. Make sure that you check back in to stay updated on future changes Instagram is making.

Latest Changes on Facebook Small Business Owners Need to Know

Facebook is constantly changing its algorithm and features. Here are some recent changes that Facebook has made recently that may affect business owners who market themselves using Facebook:

Facebook Advertisers can Update their Focus Event

Since Apple has released its App Tracking Transparency update, Facebook has been experimenting with several different changes in order to ensure that business owners who use their platform to run affordable advertisements can still have a positive experience. One of the biggest complaints since Apple’s update has been released, is that Facebook users are noticing that their conversions have been dramatically decreasing.

Part of the reason for this decrease is that some conversions are still happening but the app is simply unable to report the conversion since some users have turned off the app’s ability to track which websites they have visited. In order to help find a solution to this problem, Facebook is starting to release different features including the ability to update their focus event. Before this change users would have to manually pause the campaign and make these changes. This change will allow for a smoother, less time-consuming experience that will make it easier to implement changes that can enhance your campaigns.

Facebooks has Added Estimated Conversions

On the 7-day attribution window, Facebook has now added estimated conversions. This feature will help advertisers get a better understanding of what their actual number of conversions looks like, even with the loss in data Apple’s new update has contributed to. A lot of advertisers are trying to find ways to maximize their reach to Android users since Android has not given their users the option to disable tracking.

Facebook has responded to this by providing more event options to users when they are setting up their campaigns. This means that advertisers who are trying to maximize their reach to Android users will be able to optimize their campaigns more.

Facebook is Adding Sound to some of their Emojis

While the other updates the app is releasing are more on the technical side, Facebook is also launching a new feature that will add sound to some of their emojis. The library of this new type of emoji will be updated regularly with clips from different famous TV shows and other classic sounds. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Bridgerton, and Fast and Furious 9 are just some of the shows that will have sound clips featured in this new emoji library.

These new emojis will be available in the messenger app and can be found by clicking the speaker icon. These new emojis can be a useful tool to use in order to stand out and deliver a unique response when you are engaging with people via direct message.

Throughout this year, Facebook has released several new features and this momentum is expected to continue as they continue to find ways to adapt to Apple’s new update. One main takeaway that small business owners should keep in mind is that even if your reported conversions or insights, in general, seem to be drastically decreasing, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your ads are less affected. The app is still adapting and trying to find ways to give users more accurate insights while still allowing their users to opt out of being tracked. In order to run effective ads on Facebook make sure to regularly check back in to see what other changes the platform has made.

With the constant changes in social media, it can be hard to stay up-to-date with it and your own career knowledge! We are here for you.

Nikole & the Crew,
Shield Bar Marketing

p.s. We would love it if you would take the time to leave us a Google review! Click here > click on the grey “review” button.

12 Steps to Marketing Your Business by Shield Bar Marketing Founder, Nikole Haumont

12 Steps to Marketing Your Business by Shield Bar Marketing Founder, Nikole Haumont

This originally was a podcast episode on the Time2Fly Podcast. Click to listen!

Last week, we talked about a couple of different things that you needed to have done on your website. You’re free to listen to that podcast at any time, just go to time2flypodcasts.com and you can see our latest episodes there. And this week I wanted to talk to you briefly about the 12 marketing must haves when it comes to marketing your business, at least according to me.

 

Now, why should you listen to me? Well, I have been in marketing for 20 years now. I actually started doing website design back in 1999, made a detour into print media, including owning and selling a successful horse magazine. And I had a year and a half long stint at Go Daddy where I learned even more about the ins and outs of marketing, along with all of the information that I continuously learn on a weekly basis, whether it comes to social media or websites.

 

Now these are the 12 things that I feel any business needs to have in place. Now you don’t have to do all 12 at one time, but the first three are definitely the most important that should be done at the same time. And if you’d like to have a free PDF download of these 12 steps, just hop on over to the front page of shieldbar.com, you can request the free PDF to be delivered directly to your inbox. So, without further ado, the first six that I want to visit with you about our website design, search engine optimization, Google My Business listing, digital advertising, email marketing and branding. As I said, the first three that you should do simultaneously is website design, search engine optimization and Google My Business listing, these are all intertwined.

#1 – Mobile Friendly Website

With a website, this is going to be the central hub of all of your marketing activities. You need a website that is mobile friendly, secure, branded, and well designed. Now, listening to last week’s podcast, you also will probably want to consider having that privacy policy on there and making sure that it’s ADA compliant. But at a minimum, make sure it’s mobile friendly, period, end of question. The majority of searches now begin on a mobile device. How many times a day do you find yourself reaching for your mobile phone to look something up? Heck even my seven-year-old has known since he was three that we can just ask Google by pressing a little button there on my phone. 

 So mobile friendly, a lot of website designers are going to tell you that that’s going to cost a lot of extra money to make it that way. To me, that is something that’s a standard package offering, and you shouldn’t have to ask for it. It should be something that’s automatically included in the pricing from your designer. So, make sure you ask them: Is this site going to be mobile friendly? Is it going to be secure? And are you going to follow my instructions on how I want it to look? 

Now, depending on what type of business you’re in, you may want more of a simple website, or you may want something that’s over the top and beautiful. And of course, beautiful, is subjective to whomever is looking at it. So, make sure you have a designer who’s going to listen to you and also offer you great feedback. You don’t want somebody who’s going to be condescending and say, well, this is how it should be. You want somebody who listens to what you have to say and explains in layman’s terms, not in our geek speak about what it would take to accomplish that.

#2 – Search Engine Optimization

Along with your website, you need to make sure that you have search engine optimization. I include basic search engine optimization in all of my sites. Some designers are going to charge you extra for it. And if you get into a lot of SEO, yes, you definitely should be prepared to pay more for it. But at the minimum, when you’re writing your blog posts or creating content, just remember h1 tags, so the big text on your website is the first thing that Google and Bing see. Now you don’t want an entire page full of h1 tags, because that’s going to make it hard for them to decipher what is actually important. When you’re using WordPress, which I design in, there’s actually a plugin called Yoast that you can fill out and update all the information pretty easily.

 It even gives you a green light to just tell you that you’ve done all that you can. If you have a gray button, it means nothing’s been done. If you have a yellow button you’re getting there, and if it’s orange or slightly red, that’s not a good thing, you have lots of work to do. Make sure you have that SEO done. This is what Google and Bing look for. It’s like an address to a building, if it’s not there, you can’t find it. So, if that address doesn’t match up with that building or that SEO doesn’t match up with that website, people are not going to find you. 

#3 – Google My Business

And the third and probably the most important thing to make sure you have going as soon as that website is live, is your Google My Business listing. This is going to be the foundation to any business that provides services in a specific geographical location. Even if you’re an online only entrepreneur, still list your Google My business listing, you don’t have to list your actual physical address, so it shows up on Google. You do have to provide it when you establish your listing, but it doesn’t actually show there if you make sure you clicked the correct box. 

If you have any questions on the GMB listing, please feel free to reach out to me it’s something I do almost on a weekly basis for clients, is double checking their listing, making the links work properly, making sure they have their logo and their photos uploaded. Maxing out every single section on there going to make a huge difference. And as you grow, you’re going to want to be listed on other local listings. This is a new service that we actually offer at Shield Bar Marketing, you can be listed on almost 100 local directories. If you have questions on any of those, feel free to reach out to us at Shield Bar Marketing on that. 

#4 – Digital Advertising

When it comes to digital advertising, I know people are like, oh my gosh, I have no idea where to start. I don’t have any money to spend on digital advertising. I just want you to know it’s not a luxury upgrade. Even modest budgets can get great returns. So, whether you’re advertising on Google, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest any of those, as long as you can have a small budget and you can test out on those, you can start seeing results. Now you’re not going to see results immediately. You’re going to need to test different ads. And if you’re doing this yourself, be prepared to test at least a half a dozen ads before you ever get any traction. If you hire a professional to do it, of course, you’re going to be paying a setup fee and a management fee, but they should be able to get you results sooner than later when it comes to digital advertising. And make sure you don’t sign any long-term contracts. Seriously, if we can’t deliver to you within one month or two months or three months, or keep your business going, we shouldn’t deserve to have your business, correct?

#5 – Email Marketing

I believe customer service needs to come first. And of course, once you have that website up and you have people coming and checking it out, you need to make sure that you’re capturing their emails and sending out email marketing. It’s kind of like the yard maintenance company that shows up and takes care of things month after month, a monthly email marketing campaign will work. You need to share information, education or entertainment and kind of lay off the whole sales pitch in your emails as far as I’m concerned. Some people may not ever actually open your email list and there’s different sides to that story of whether you should delete them off your list or not. A lot of it’s going to depend on how big your list is, how much you’re paying to your email provider for having that spam compliant email marketing system.

But if you have people on that list and let’s say you are a company that maybe once every three years, they actually need to contact you. Well, if you show up in their inbox every single month, you’re not trying to pitch them something. So, when they do open the email it’s educational or entertaining, you will be in the back of their mind when that problem happens. For example, with a garage door repair company here in Arizona, they are one of my clients and with garage doors about once every 10 years is when your garage door is actually going to have serious problems unless you run into it or if your spring start to have problems. 

Well, once every 10 years, how do you keep clients coming back for more? Well they’re customers so, you have to be out there advertising over and over. But if your friend runs into a garage door and needs immediate service and they ask you, who do I call? Well, if that company has been reaching out to you on a monthly basis, you know, I got somebody in my email, let me find it right quick for you. And they can hand over the information. So, email marketing is a long-term plan.

#6 – Branding

Number six. And some people are going to say, oh, you need to have this locked in before you do anything else. I don’t necessarily agree with that. But it’s the branding. The right symbols, the right colors to promote your brand will help you to stand out. They’re going to help people recognize you and understand what your brand is about. However, if you don’t have the budget from the get  go to get branding exactly the way you want to, just be open to the idea that anything you do online can be changed over time. As you’re developing your branding, be open to changing it. What you pick today may not resonate with you tomorrow. And a lot of it’s also going to depend on your ideal client and customer who you are targeting. 

So, you may try something and it’s just not working. You can always change it. Anymore, you don’t put as much stuff into print, so anything digital, you can openly change it, whether it’s the banner, whether it’s your logo, things like that. I would suggest having at least a color palette that you want to stay in, picked out from the beginning, but don’t be locked into that you have to have these three specific pantone colors on every single thing you do and that your logo has to be on every single thing you do. You can change that stuff and grow with your business. Because how you start today is going to be different than what you look like three years from now, what you look like from nine years from now. So, don’t be hung up on making sure your branding as exactly right before you ever get to finding that first customer or client. 

Here are the last six steps to marketing your business that I feel are important. 

#7 – Directory Listings

Directory listings. Now, yes, I know I mentioned Google My Business as number three at the very beginning, and that is technically a directory listing. But you need to be on other directory listings too. All of these listings, as long as you have your website in there, will help to organically drive your website to the top of the search engines. Directory listings are not search engine optimization; SEO is done on the website. But anytime you have other websites linking back to your website, it drives that information up. So, think of directory listings like the local gossip, telling everyone about your fantastic service or product. So, think Yelp, Angie’s List or Facebook. Those all have different listings based on your type of business. And with the advent of voice search such as, Hey, Alexa, what do you have for X, Y, Z start thinking about different things that you’re going to have appear on there too. 

#8 – YouTube

Now, number eight in marketing your business, YouTube, you need to be on YouTube. Video is huge when it comes to content marketing right now, and it’s only going to get bigger. You can show people how to create something, you can share your desktop and show them how to do something online, you can do a video about your daily life, whatever you do, you make it engaging. You can do it from your phone. You don’t have to get with the green screen, you don’t have to have a professional recorder. I will say this, make sure that you’re over a minute in length when it comes to recording on YouTube. Anything less than a minute and YouTube kind of thinks you’re just shooting a commercial and they’re not going to rank you. 

YouTube is also owned by Google and Google takes six to eight weeks to index your website to show changes on your website in search engine results. However, YouTube is another search engine and you can actually get your videos ranked within 24 hours. If you fill out the description, you add the tags and you know, all the other little tricks to come into creating the search engine optimization within YouTube itself. I like YouTube videos because one, people usually can get their point across. Their passion shows through you can see their facial expressions, or you can see exactly what they’re doing step by step on the computer screen. What I suggest is you get that transcribed and then you embed the YouTube video along with your transcription into your website itself.

So, then you have YouTube working as a search engine for you, you have the transcription and the video on your website, which also helps with search engine optimization. Then you take pieces from that transcription and you turn them into social media posts, or you send it out to your email marketing list. Just like what you are reading now! You can take YouTube and make it the top of your funnel and have everything broke down from there. So, think about this. 

Let’s say you shoot a five-minute video one time per month, you send it out to your VA or to the company that you’re working with who handles all of this for you, which is something shieldbar.com does by the way. And once a month you put out this content, it gets added to your website, it gets transcribed, there’s search engine optimization on YouTube, there’s search engine optimization on your website. You have 12 different pieces taken out of there to create social media content and it goes out on your email marketing list. How awesome is that? Five minutes of work, okay, probably more like an hour, because you want to probably outline what you’re talking about, but you can use that content over and over again. Once you added YouTube to your arsenal, it’ll definitely up your game. 

#9 – Pinterest

The ninth thing that you need to think about adding them is Pinterest. This is especially if you have fantastic photos that go along with what you do. Pinterest is actually a visual search engine. You can go back and listen to the podcast interview I did with Cara Chace, I’ll link to that in the show notes, and learn more about Pinterest, but it’s a visual search engine. The work that you do today will return results year after year. Kind of like investing in an upgrade to your home, that you’re going to love this is going to make your life that much more enjoyable. Think about Pinterest with graphics and those graphics can come directly from your blog on your website. 

#10 – Facebook

Depending on who you talk to. They’re not going to agree that Facebook is in my number 10 spot, but Facebook is social media. Yes, it’s one of the largest, fastest growing social media platforms out there. And of course, they’re linked with Instagram so, you can post right over to Instagram too. But think about Facebook as being a four-season room but add to your home. It adds functionality to your marketing. At least you’re going to need a Facebook page and you’re probably going to want a Facebook Group depending on your business. You’re going to want to make sure whatever you do on Facebook, that you’re consistent. You’re going to add photos, you’re going to add text, you’re going to drive them back to your website and you’re going to try to get those people also on your email marketing list, so you have multiple touch points to every single person out there. 

Yes, I know you could build your entire business on Facebook. But that scares me because Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, any of those can go away tomorrow or they can totally change their algorithms. The only things you truly own when it comes to marketing is your website and your email marketing list. You can move those two things to multiple different companies, depending on your budget, depending on your time, depending on if you like who you are working with or not. So, think about that. Your website, you can move. Your domain name of course, you want to keep that and you can move it if you need to. And your email marketing, that list, you own it. Nobody else can tell you what to do with it as long as you make sure you have a backup copy of that list. 

If MailChimp goes out of business tomorrow, or they get sold, or if AWeber says, you know what, We’re no longer going to let people add more than 2,500 names, you move it somewhere else and you’re good to go. So yes, Facebook is number 10 on my list because it’s something that you add once you have that website in place and you have a place to drive that traffic to, to connect to learn more from you.

#11 – LinkedIn

Number  eleven on my list is LinkedIn. If your perfect client is another business, LinkedIn is definitely a no brainer. But also depending on what kind of service you offer, you may need to be on the professional LinkedIn site. LinkedIn is kind of like Facebook, it’s another social media tactic, but it’s a commercial upgrade that can be a real workhorse in your marketing arsenal. So seriously consider being on LinkedIn, especially if you’re business to business, or if your ideal client is that professional out there that you want to make sure you’re connecting with.

#12 – Graphic Design

And now the twelfth thing, and this is something that I actually enjoy doing, but I still don’t think it needs to be higher than number 12 is graphic design. Your graphic design from business cards to billboards is going to help tie everything together. So, when you meet somebody in real life, you can hand them that business card. Maybe you have your Facebook link on there. Maybe you have your YouTube link on there. You’re of course going to have your domain with your website and you’re going to have your email address on there and probably your phone number. But that graphic design is going to be consistent across all medias. So yes, graphic design does tie in with branding. So you’re going to want your branding figured out before you go all gung ho on doing PDFs, banners, doing anything printed, where you’re paying money for a physical product, you’re going to need that brand and figured out.

But the graphic design can tie everything together, so you have a consistent look across all mediums. So if people are on your YouTube channel and they see your banner there and they click over to LinkedIn and see your banner there, it doesn’t have to be the exact same, but you’re going to want the same feel and the same color palette going up. So, if you have any questions or you want to have this download, hop on over to shieldbar.com, fill out the little form in the upper right corner and we’ll email it to you. And of course, like any good email marketer, we’re not going to rent or sell your name to anybody else. Your information is safe with me. 

A quick recap of the 12 Steps to Marketing Your Business: 

  1. Website design 
  2. Search Engine Optimization
  3. Google My Business Listing
  4. Digital Advertising
  5. Email Marketing
  6. Branding
  7. Directory Listings
  8. YouTube
  9. Pinterest
  10. Facebook
  11. LinkedIn 
  12. Graphic Design

Depending on who you talk to, depending on who you listen to, we all probably have different ideas of how that list should go. And honestly, I could probably make you a list of 99 things to do to market your business without much effort. But these are the top 12 things I think that you should consider and in the order of importance, according to my 21 years in this industry.

Thank you for reading! Feel free to share on your own social media.

~ Nikole Haumont, Founder, Shield Bar Marketing