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2018

You don't need to be a natural salesperson to grow sales for your small business, you just need the right strategies. In my experience working with small business owners, video has led to positive results attracting new clients.

 

The goal with video content marketing is to start the conversation with an interested prospect. It's not to make the sale on the first introduction.

 

The key to success is following the right steps even if you are camera shy. It’s important to note, however, that before you turn on the camera, you must first define your audience, identify how they consume information and set the stage for your on-camera entrance as the expert.

 

Here are 5 steps to using video to increase sales.

 

1. Identify Your Ideal Client

 

This may sound obvious but identifying your ideal client makes it easier to also identify their needs, wants and problems. You can also acquire information about your ideal client's key business stats, including  revenue, business size,  industry profile, or the type of product or service offered, among other details. This information is important because you have a better ability for targeting in your advertising and social media marketing efforts.

 

2. Identify Where Your Ideal Client Resides

 

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It's important to identify where your ideal client resides online. In other words, what type of information do they consume and where do they consume it? Thus, the job title of your ideal client matters. For example, if you're the owner of a software company that sells services to chief information officers of consulting companies, there are certain publications, trade organizations, Facebook and LinkedIn groups they spend time with. Additionally, the CIOs may read or study certain information for their industry. Knowing this helps you create valuable content for your prospective client.

 

 

    Related Content: 3 Social Video Marketing Tools to Grow Your Business

 

3. Make a List of Frequently Asked Questions

 

After identifying the ideal client,  craft a list of frequently asked questions. People buy goods and services for two reasons: to get a desired result and/or to solve a problem. The CIO you sell goods and services to is always looking for answers and solutions to his or her company's problems. Creating a list of FAQs highlights you as the expert to solve that problem. More importantly, answering a question your prospect is concerned with before they ask shows you're aware of their challenges. It makes it easier to show your expertise.

 

    Related Content: The Small Business Owner's Guide to Social Media

 

4. Understand the 3 Keys to Video

 

This is the most important part of using video for your marketing and client attraction strategies. I shoot my own videos for LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook and in my experience, lighting, sound and backdrop are overlooked considerations when shooting a video. . Many business owners struggle with video because their lighting is bad, audio is terrible and the backdrop isn't framed correctly. You can quickly and easily shoot your own video with your mobile phone, a tie clip microphone (easily found online)  and use your office or backyard for the backdrop. If you're not skilled with video, you should consider hiring a videographer to help.

 

    Related Content: Q & A: Growing a Social Media Following

 

5. Make Sure Your Video Has Important "Calls to Action"

 

Adding a call to action is one of the easiest, yet most overlooked strategies to selling with video. A call to action is a direct instruction to the viewer to do something you want them to do. For example, on radio or TV ads, a call to action would be "visit our website" or call this 800 number to buy this product.

The difference with your video is that you're not asking your viewers to buy anything, instead you're asking your viewers to contact you, post a comment with a question and/or share your video with a colleague.

 

If you provided important content to a prospective client, your next step is to encourage them to make contact. The call to action guides your viewers to your next steps.

 

A Word of Caution with Video

 

Don't fall in love with the vanity metrics of your videos. Vanity metrics are likes, shares and comments. Vanity metrics don't lead to new clients because if a viewer is interested in your services, they'll call or email you directly based on your call to action. The goal is to present yourself as the expert with the right experience to solve your prospective client's problem. Think of it this way: who you connect with is more important than how many. Wouldn't you be happier if you connected with the CIO of a major company, even though you only had 10 views on your video?

 

About Ebong Eka

 

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Ebong Eka is no stranger to the world of personal finance. As a certified public accountant and former professional basketball player he offers a fresh perspective to small business planning and executing. With over fifteen years of accounting, tax & small business experience with firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte & Touche and CohnReznick, Ebong provides practical money solutions tailored to the everyday person, the aspiring entrepreneur or the small business owner.

 

Ebong is the founder of EKAnomics, a sales, pricing and leadership firm. He is also the founder of Ericorp Consulting, Inc., a tax and management consulting firm. Ebong is the author of “Start Me Up! The-No-Business-Plan, Business Plan.

 

Ebong is also the founder of The $250 Tax Pro, which provides tax preparation and consulting services in the Washington, DC area.

 

Web: www.ebongeka.com or Twitter: @EbongEka.

You can read more articles from Ebong Eka by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Ebong Eka to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Ebong Eka is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Ebong Eka. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Conversations have always been a core part of commerce. What is emerging now at a rapid rate is the automated part of a customer’s journey from pre- to post-sales. This automation is birthing a new paradigm often referred to as “Conversational Commerce” and it’s forecast to be a multi-billion-dollar industry in less than ten years, according to an April report from MobileMonkey.

 

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“A sale isn’t made until a conversation is started. Marketers need to focus on creating conversations, not leads. Conversations create revenue.” —David Cancel, CEO Drift

 

More and more people are using online chatbots to start conversations with businesses. That includes people who work at companies of every size, sector and industry.

 

To help shed light on how chatbots are reshaping online experiences today, the teams at Drift, SurveyMonkey Audience, Salesforce, and myclever came together to create The 2018 State of Chatbots Report. The report is based on a survey of 1,000+ U.S. adults.

 

Key findings include:

 

  • The top perceived benefit of chatbots is the ability to get 24-hour service, according to 64 percent of respondents
  • The second most popular benefit is getting an instant response to inquiries, said 55 percent of participants
  • Key decision-makers are using online chatbots: 41 percent of people starting online chat conversations with businesses are executives

 

A Messenger chatbot is a third-party software system that integrates with your Facebook business page and helps to automate responses when people send a private message to your Facebook page, via Messenger. Plus, within the Messenger terms, you can send broadcasts to those people who have begun a conversation with you. In an era when email open rates are declining, Messenger open rates can be as high as 90 percent, according to Chatbots Life.

 

There are numerous Messenger chatbot platforms on the market today. The one that I’m favoring and recommending is MobileMonkey. The Boston-based company is free to get started and they provide excellent customer care – including a toll-free phone number.

 

Installing a Messenger chatbot on your Facebook business page is quick and easy and can instantly give you a significant advantage over your competitors.

 

Various messages that you might want to automate include:

 

  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • Common customer support or technical help questions
  • Directions to your store/business
  • Support navigating various product choices
  • Order confirmation and shipment tracking
  • Follow up once a parcel has arrived and ask for a product review
  • Make product recommendations

 

     Related Content: How to Increase Authentic Business Reviews on Facebook

 

“Businesses are turning to Messenger to help their customers find the perfect gift, book appointments, get personalized deals, receive shipping updates and so much more.” —Andrew Kritzer, Product Manager, Messenger Platform.

 

Chatbots can help you to guarantee a great user experience by providing instant replies with pertinent information.

 

Here’s the key, though: don’t think online chatbots should ever be “set and forget.” One of my favorite options to include in a chatbot sequence is, “Talk to a human.”

 

A couple more notable stats from the 2018 State of Chatbots Report include:

 

  • 43 percent of consumers said they prefer dealing with an actual person (this was the No. 1 potential barrier to using chatbots, which makes sense)
  • 34 percent of respondents say they would use a chatbot to find a human customer service assistant

 

     Related Content: How Good Is Your Customer Service? Here Are 6 Steps to Find Out

 

So, look for ways to use a Messenger chatbot that can partially automate the customer experience. Your chatbot should augment and supplement your community managers and online customer support teams, not replace them.

 

For a comprehensive resource, check out The Complete Guide to Conversational Commerce by Matt Schlicht, founder of Chatbots Magazine.

And, if you’re looking for some helpful ideas to get started, here are 20 Examples of Facebook Messenger Chatbots to Inspire You in 2018.

 

     Related Content: Facebook Privacy: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

 

About Mari Smith

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Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Online ratings and reviews are a powerful form of user-generated content to help grow your business. In fact, reviews are a form of word of mouth, which is the most trusted source consumers consult before buying.

 

According to a study by TurnTo Networks, 90 percent of shoppers’ purchasing decisions is influenced by user-generated content. The primary conclusion of TurnTo’s study is ratings, reviews and other user-generated content are more influential than advertising.

 

Plus, a survey by earned content platform Olapic showed that 76 percent of consumers believe the content everyday people share is more honest than advertising from brands.

 

This surely presents a tremendous opportunity to invest further in your customers’ experience.

 

Enabling Facebook Star Ratings and Reviews

 

The Reviews feature on Facebook is incredibly easy to set up if you already have a Facebook business page. Why not encourage your happy customers to leave a review to help attract more customers?

 

Facebook first established the star rating feature in November 2013 as a way to encourage more customers to review local businesses. Any visitor to your Facebook business page can rate your store on a scale from one to five stars. Your average Facebook page star rating is displayed on your page by default. The page rating is an average of all public star ratings.

 

Once a customer has chosen her star rating, she can also add a written review.

 

Facebook allows your customers to choose the level of privacy they prefer on their review. Ideally, you want to encourage your customers to select public. However, just like publishing content on our personal Facebook profiles, reviewers can choose a setting such as specific friends, all friends, friends and their friends, or public.

 

Related content:  Facebook Privacy: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

 

First, make sure you have the Reviews tab enabled on your Facebook business page. Go to Settings, Edit Page, Add a Tab. If you don’t see Reviews as a choice, you may need to switch templates.

 

Next, you can drag and drop the order of your tabs to feature the Reviews tab more prominently – perhaps at the very top of your page.

 

How to Get Customers to Leave Reviews

 

So, how do you encourage more customer reviews? Here are a few suggestions:

 

1. If you’re shipping a product, include a postcard inside the box with a clear and simple invitation to leave a review on your Facebook page. Tell your customer exactly what to do. For example, “We’d love to hear from you! Please share your experience on our Facebook page. Go to fb.com/pageusername > tap on the Reviews tab > select your star rating and write your rave review! We’d love it if you shared your review publicly.” startup-3373320_640.png

 

2. Send your customers follow-up emails asking about their experience with your company. Invite them to leave a star rating and write a review for you on Facebook so that their experience might benefit others. Be sure to include a direct link to your Facebook Reviews tab: https://www.facebook.com/pageusername/reviews

 

3. Include your Facebook Reviews URL with an eye-catching button on your website. Invite your customers to share their experience of your company, product or service on your Facebook Reviews tab.

 

4. Set up a Messenger chat bot to communicate with customers. Integrate the Messenger button on your purchase confirmation page, or other relevant web page(s), asking customers if they’d like to receive updates from you via Messenger. Follow up with an invitation to leave a star rating and write a review. Include a button that links directly to your Reviews tab.

 

5. Regularly monitor the comments and posts by visitors on your Facebook page. Look for potential customer reviews. Comment publically and/or private message these customers asking if they’d be willing to share the same feedback on your Reviews tab so that future customers can benefit from their experience.

 

 

How to Deal with Negative Reviews

 

Many businesses may fear enabling Reviews on Facebook in case they get some low stars or negative reviews. However, understanding Facebook’s guidelines can help you to increase positive reviews and report any negative reviews that don’t follow Facebook’s rules.

 

Reviews must follow the Facebook Community Standards. Reviews must also be based on personal experience and focus on the product or service offered by your page. If a review doesn’t follow Facebook’s rules, you can report it to Facebook and request its removal.

 

Keep in mind that most people simply want to be heard, understood and valued. When your company responds promptly and courteously to an upset customer along with proactive steps to rectify the situation, the negativity can often be quickly diffused and turned around.

 

It’s important to get into the habit of checking your Reviews on Facebook regularly and responding to every single one. Negative and less than optimal reviewers could be turned into your best advocates with the right approach. And, your positive reviewers are most likely your absolute best customers. You’ll want to really nurture the relationship you have with them.

 

Related Content: The Small Business Owner's Guide to Social Media [Ebook]

How to Boost Positive Online Reviews for Your Business – And Deal with Those Pesky Bad Ones

 

About Mari Smith

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

The Small Business Owners Guide to Social Media 65% of American adults use a social networking site, according to the Pew Research Center

 

This collection of articles seeks to help entrepreneurs understand social media and capture the attention of their target audiences. Whether you're curious about which platform is best for you, how social advertising works, or how to better engage and grow your audience, our small business experts provide specific insights that are applicable to nearly every industry.

 

Whether you’re new to social media or you’re an expert, download this guide (PDF) to help you grow your business.

 

Online reviews have become a guiding force in how consumers and B2B buyers alike decide where to buy. A whopping 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and consumers spend an average of 31 percent more with companies that have excellent online reviews.

 

The number of online reviews your business has even factors into your business’s search engine results position on Google. With so much importance attached to reviews, how can you get more good ones? Here are some tips for boosting your star rating—and for dealing with negative reviews.

 

Do’s and Don’ts to Get More Good Reviews

  • Do provide great service. Yes, it’s obvious, but too often forgotten: The only sustainable way to get more positive reviews is to offer outstanding products and services.
  • Don’t bribe customers for reviews. Incentivizing reviews by offering a discount or reward in return violates many review sites’ terms of service, including Yelp’s. (Check the terms of service on each review site to be sure what their rules are.) 26497034_s.jpg
  • Do ask customers to review your business. The best way to do that is in person. When you know a customer is happy with your business, say something like, “We'd love it if you’d review us on Yelp.” Here are some other ideas to encourage reviews:
      • If you have a brick-and-mortar location, post signage indicating which review site/s you’re on.
      • Print “Review us on [SITE]” on your receipts or invoices.
      • Include requests for reviews in your email newsletters and other email marketing materials.
      • Link to your review listing at the end of your email signature.
  • Don’t assume you’re “done.” Consumers read an average of seven reviews before they feel confident trusting a business. That doesn’t mean you can get seven reviews and then stop. Keep a steady stream of new reviews coming to keep your listing fresh.
  • Do make it easy for customers to review your business. Don’t make customers search all over the internet for your review listings. Start by directing them to your review site of choice, whether that’s HomeAdvisor, Yelp or Google.  (Of course, you want reviews on more than one site, but if you have 50 reviews on Yelp and only two on Google, you’ll want to focus on Google reviews for a while.) Put clickable icons on your website and in any digital communication with customers, so all they have to do is click to go directly to your review listing and start writing.

 

Handling Negative Reviews: Do’s and Don’ts

There’s good and bad news about negative online reviews.

  • The bad news: Consumers are 21 percent more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than a positive one.
  • The good news: A few negative reviews can actually make customers trust your reviews more. If a business has no negative reviews, 95 percent of consumers suspect the good reviews are fake or the bad ones have been censored.

 

Consumers have become more sophisticated about reviews, and most can recognize when a reviewer is being irrational. It’s the negative reviews founded in reality that give you a chance to learn from criticism and improve your business.

 

Here's how to deal with bad reviews:

  • Don't ignore them. Reply to a negative review as soon you see it. Reputation management software for small businesses can help you monitor and manage reviews.

  • Do be understanding. Express empathy for the customer’s unhappiness.

  • Don’t discuss it in public. Ask the customer to contact you privately to discuss their concerns. It’s best to talk by phone or in person, as texts and emails are subject to misinterpretation.

  • Do share the happy solution. Once you resolve the matter, ask the customer if they’d be willing to add an update to their original review.

 

Most customers who complain simply want to be heard. Listen, respond, and who knows? You could turn that negative reviewer into a raving fan of your business.

 

 

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

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