Social Media takes work

Duh of course it does! Social media takes a lot of work. I mean think about it for a second let’s take Facebook alone. You have your personal page, your business page, maybe a group that you manage not to mention the groups you belong to. You need to stay engaged, on top of trends, and posting regular content people actually interact with just to stand a chance of winning the FB algorithm game. When you add on top of this organic interaction the inevitable paid advertising things can get complicated quickly. And these are just tasks you have to do on Facebook, not to mention the time spent planning posts, writing posts, finding pictures, finding content, replying to comments, answering questions, liking other posts. Now you start multiplying that across Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and any blogs that you have for your business and if you are like me you will wind up with about an hour or two each week to actually run your business and track down leads! That is if you are lucky. I am lucky in that my business is in helping you run yours. No, I will not stand at the register or answer phones for you, sorry, that is why you got into

I am lucky in that my business is in helping you run yours. No, I will not stand at the register or answer phones for you, sorry, that is why you got into business. I help by managing your social media. ‘Yeah, all you do is post for people.’ Not true. Take a look at that first paragraph again. We do all of that for you for any platform you choose. We manage, we innovate, we design, we interact, we execute. You suddenly get a lot of time to actually run your business, to answer those phones, to work the register, to actually be there for your clients. What would you do with all the time you are struggling with social media right now? Would you take on new clients? Would you launch a new service or product? Would you finally finish your book? I know you have dreams for your business, I want to give you the time to make those dreams a reality.

‘Yeah well I can do it all myself.’ Of course, you can! I do not doubt that. In fact, I am pretty sure you are doing an ok job of it right now. But how much would your business grow if you took the 3, 5, 10 hours a week you are spending on social media and actually used that time to run your business? How much more could you earn? What is that time worth to you? If you are making $30-$50 an hour (some will say that is really low others really high – I can’t please you all) that is anywhere from $90 to $500 a week you are already “spending” on social media!

Social media takes work and it takes time. However, the rewards are amazing. Your customers feel like they can connect with you. Your business, oddly enough, feels approachable through the effective use of social media. Connected customers are loyal returning customers. I help you connect with the customers you have and the customers waiting for you to notice them. Social media takes work but it does not mean you have to do all of the work yourself. See for yourself what makes the AR Media difference.

What makes an effective Landing Page?

I remember a year or so ago when I started really seeing, and paying attention to this phrase “Landing Page” I remember I was like what the hell is a landing page and why do I need one? I am going to attempt to answer that through what I have found out in my own research and quest into understanding what a landing page is.


To be short a landing page is nothing more than a page on your website. But it is not just any old page. It is not your homepage for example and it is not your about us page, contact page, or product list page. A landing page is a specific page you create that has one goal to move a potential customer down through your sales funnel.  You may have multiple landing pages for different stages of the sales funnel for one product. Or you might have only one landing page for a product.


The goal of any landing page is to move a visitor towards a goal, be this the next level of your sales funnel or a purchase decision. I want you to notice that last sentence, not every landing page has to move to a purchase decision! You can have landing pages that sign people up for your emails and newsletters just as easily as one that leads to your shopping cart. The goal is to move people towards an intended action. That means two things you need to know what type of people are going to land on your page and what decision you want the to make. You must have both of these questions answered before you design the landing page which I will cover in a moment.


What kind of people are landing on your page?

There are typically two ways for someone to land on your landing page. Either you design an ad or another marketing strategy which leads to your landing page, or another of your landing pages leads to the one you are currently working on. Whatever the case you need to determine what kind of people are coming to this page. Are they former customers? New customers, that have never heard of you before? People that have engaged with you in some way in the past but have yet to make a purchase? The possibilities are endless when it comes to what type of people could land on your page. However, you must narrow that down to a segment that you can easily define. For example, working mothers of toddlers, single dads, homeowners in Virginia, people interested in baking, people searching for a plumber. Whatever it is you need a target audience to start with. As soon as you know what kind of people are going to land on your page you can move on to defining what action you want them to take.


What action should people who land on your page take?

This could be anything from signing up for emails to purchasing your product or service. But you need to clearly define the goal. The closer your action goal is to your target audience the more effective and useful your landing page is going to be, also the easier it will be to design it. Do you want people to purchase your product, sign up for a newsletter, download a white page, sign up for your membership site, or schedule a service call? If you have someone who is brand new to your business landing on your page and they know nothing about you getting them all the way to a purchase decision can be hard. It might be better to get them to sign up for emails instead. Offer them a freebie if the sign-up. Now your next landing page can take these people, who are now followers and hopefully engaged, and move them towards a purchase decision. Do you start to see how this works? Baby steps are key and useful. I would not have fifteen landing pages between a potential client and a purchase decision but maybe one or two. Landing pages are about leading people. So make your job easy and lead them to one decision at a time. Build trust. Nurture trust. Assure they are doing the right thing. Then purchase.


Designing your Landing Page.

Now that you know who is coming and where you want them to wind up, you can start designing your landing page. The key here is the grab their attention, engage them, and gently lead them to the desired goal. Along the way, you will want snappy text, amazing photos, polished (high production value) video, and more. You will want to assure them that this decision that you want them to make is the right decision. Sweeten the deal by offering them a discount or a closely related white page or other valuable product that does not cost a lot for free. All of this is leading towards that decision. And the decision you want them to make has to be clearly articulated. Let them know why they need to make this choice and remind them of everything they will get. And make the choice easy for them submitting their email, clicking a button. When you are finally at the point in your sales funnel that you are selling your product or service be sure your landing page includes reassurances that you are the right choice for them. Be engaging, have high-quality content that effectively communicates the growth you want the person to take. Lead, do not force them to the decision you want them to make. The most effective landing pages all lead to just one goal. So do not have a lot of extra links on your page/s that can lead a client away from that end goal whatever it may be for that landing page.


Well, that about covers landing pages in a nutshell. If you have any questions please contact us and we would be happy to answer you. In the meantime keep on excelling at your marketing strategy. Attract clients into your sales funnel and lead them down a landing page like a boss.

The Case for video

Why should you use video in your social media and online strategy? To be honest in my opinion there is no better way to establish and grow a relationship with a client than through talking with them. We value verbal communication in our society.  We feel closest to the people we can see and talk to. Video allows a business to carry on a conversation with their customers in a that way emails, photos, and even phone calls cannot convey. Social Media is about connecting and video is a powerful tool any business can use.


The amount of money being spent on digital ads is set to eclipse the amount spent on traditional television ads this year according to some sources. Not only does viewership keep increasing on youtube year after year after year but now video is increasingly playing on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and now even Pinterest. In fact rumors are rife that the Facebook algorithm (the thing that determines if you post is seen by people) is favoring more and more video content over other content. Just look at your personal feed to see if these rumors are true or not. Every study confirms over and over and over again that if you want the maximum impact from your posts and advertising dollars, then video is the way to go.


Now while social media gives you the freedom to use video or not, social media is different from traditional television in some very critical ways especially when it comes to video advertising. You need to keep these differences in mind when working with an advertising agency or video production company. Chief among them is the fact that social media is about community/entertainment while television is about information/entertainment. A lot of times people watch things on computers instead of just the TV and they may have the audio off. So grab them with amazing visuals. Encourage them to turn on the sound. Provide CC right in the video.  Attention spans are even shorter online than they are on TV. You have 5-10 seconds on the long side to grab someone’s attention with an online video. After about 30 seconds you will either lose them or keep them depending on engaging content that they are seeking. And lastly, increasingly content is watched on smaller cell phone screen which means different visuals are better for online content than in traditional television. Since the screen is smaller you will want more medium and close up shots. Your text should be bigger and less per slide and other considerations.


What this means for you a business owner is sadly your television commercial will not be as effective online as a custom commercial designed specifically for online audiences. You need to find a company that understands the differences between traditional TV advertising and new online trends. Now this is not to say that a traditional advertising agency can’t give you what you need, but have you priced them recently? A company focused more on online advertising and marketing should be able to give you a better deal for at least a few more years, though with increasing prevalence of video online video fees will go up as agencies get busier. Supply and demand. But beyond price going with an agency that has experience online can be beneficial to you as they will know effectively how to use that video. Now we can get back to the case for video.


Why video? It is what your customers expect. These studies that show increase in video consumption online and on social media, some of that is driven by the increase in available video content, the majority is because people are watching more video. You can infer from this then that your clients and customers now expect video as part of your marketing and advertising strategy. If it is not there, you might still be able to win them over but that is an obstacle you will have to overcome. When it is so easy to get professional videos done for your business why would you still have this obstacle in your sales funnel?


Why video? It presents a consistent message. How many times a week are you asked what does your business do? How many hours do you spend composing emails, talking on the phone, or talking in person about your business and what makes it special? How would your effectiveness increase in sales if instead people email, call, or start off speaking to you saying, “Hey I saw your video, your business looks amazing! Tell me how can you help me specifically?” A video can answer all of your common, what do you do, what do you make, why are you different questions you constantly receive about your business. With a video you know your answers will be consistent. With a video you can now spend time fostering leads instead of introducing them to your business. And with a cool introductory video on your homepage you can now capture the attention of new customers and clients and start the conversation about your business before you even get there!


So why video? It is what your clients expect, it presents a consistent message, and it is effective. So why are you not using video? Do you need help coming up with a plan and strategy? Because if you do not have a plan no matter how many videos you create they will never be as effective as you want. Do you need help filming a video? Lets face it, sure you can do a selfie style video from your phone. But by and large what that says is I am cheap and going to do this on my own. Is that really the message you want to send your clients?

We are happy to answer any questions you have about video production here at AR Media. We are also happy to consult on any ideas that you want to run by us. Our door is always open Hope to hear from you soon. Until then get out there and create a video for your business!

What is a sales funnel exactly?

What is a sales funnel anyway and why do I need it. Well, a sales funnel is nothing more than creative marketer-speak for a series of emails, social media posts, landing pages, opt-ins, freebies, and blog posts wrapped up together with some marketing voodoo all with the goal to lead new customers to purchase your product or service. Is the picture any clearer yet? Well don’t worry in today’s post we are going to tackle the issue of what exactly is a sales funnel and how do I use one.

On the one hand sales funnels can really be anything. They can be your great Aunt Louise telling all her friends about your business and how proud she is of you. Thanks Great Aunt Louise! But before we start taking them apart maybe we should talk about why it is called a sales funnel instead of let’s say a sales horseshoe, you know for luck… sorry that one was lame. It is called a sales funnel because of how people move through it.  

Sales funnels usually start with something designed to get people to stop and take notice of your business. This could be a storefront, an ad, a blog post, an email – pretty much anything. This attention grabbing piece is designed for broad appeal of your core customer base. It captures most of the attention and usually asks people to follow you or even submit their email. This is the top of the funnel, the widest point where the most people enter. As you move down the funnel through successive opt-ins, discounts, assurances of purchase, etc. Your funnel starts getting smaller and smaller as fewer people move on to the next stage. That is ok! Because by the time people make it to the bottom of your funnel they are so ready to buy they wonder why they had not done so weeks ago when they first saw your attention grabber. So a sales funnel is a series of elements that lead people to purchase your product. It is a funnel because fewer and fewer people make it to the next stage, but that just means they are more and more likely to purchase your product.

So how do you use a sales funnel? Any way you want, because a sales funnel can be made up of so many different unique parts. Each sales funnel has a few things in common though. At the top is the attention grabber. This is the thing/s that says look at me! I am special! Here is my brand! With this part of the funnel, the goal is to get people to pause and say wow, that looks cool I want to find out more. Those people who pause in their busy lives and start to find out more are the ones who enter your funnel, they are also the group that contains those individuals who are likely to buy your product or service.

Now that you have their attention, what do you do? This is the central portion of the funnel and where you can insert the most variety. The goal in this section of the funnel is to lead people from attention to purchase, sounds easy right. Well, the hard thing is, very rarely can you say hey look at me, now buy and have that work. More often than not you need to foster and grow that relationship between you and the client. This is the center of the funnel. One of the methods I use is AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. You grab their attention, you develop their interest, you feed their desire for your product, you prompt them to take action on that desire and to purchase. How you go about doing this is up to you. White sheets, monthly newsletters, emails, blog posts are all great ways to increase the interest people have in your product or service. You are freely sharing how your product meets a need they have, how your service will save them time, how their lives will be better for having known your business. Videos, opt-ins, discounts, small freebies, all increase the desire of your potential customers to really go ahead and purchase your product. They allow them to see the product in action, to experience your service this assures them that any action they take will be beneficial to them.

This leads us to the bottom of the funnel the all important purchase decision.It is here where the magic happens, the customer decides to take that leap and trust your business with their money. This is the endgame and the end goal.  In this part of the funnel, you are making the straight up pitch. You are asking them to buy. You have already grabbed their attention, you have developed their interest and desire, they are ready to act. So you pitch. When you pitch this is a critical key, you have to re-assure them. In this moment of action, the customer has to overcome their sense of buyer’s remorse. Everyone goes through it to varying degrees. But it is up to you to assure the client that your business has their best interest at heart and that you are the only ones who can solve their need. When you win this battle you have a new client for your business.

Sales funnels are complex beasts. They have many different interlocking parts. But they do not have to be scary. They are an easy beast to tame and to use to your advantage in your business. A good website is the first step to any online sales funnel. I would argue to any sales funnel but I know there are some who will argue back with me, to which I say it is ok have your opinion. On top of a good website, having engaging social media is key to the upper sections of that sales funnel. Video can help with the middle and lower sections. Having a marketing manager who understands sales funnels and is willing to sit down with you and come up with a strategy that fits your business is invaluable. You need to find someone who understands each business is unique and takes the time to learn about your business and develop solutions. AR Media Productions works hard to listen to our clients. We then develop social media, video, and digital media-based solutions. If you need help with setting up your sales funnel please contact us. We are ready to listen and offer advice.

Top 5 ways to use video

1) Create An Intro Video

Describe your business and what it does showcase your premise. Showcase a few products. Showcase happy customers and happy employees. Does not need to be fancy but think of this video as the first welcome to my business item new customers will see.

2) Create A Product Or Service Video

These short little videos are wonderful for the product page of your website. Show your product or service in action, show how it fixes the problem. Show satisfied customers.  Basically, you are showcasing your product or service for the world to see. 

3) Create A Testimonial Video

Do not be satisfied with just showing happy customers let new customers hear from your current fans. Have customers come in for a video testimonial or hire actors to deliver a written testimony from a customer. Be sure to showcase your regulars if they are willing and if you can get some shots of them using your product or service even better!

4) Create A Training Video

Happy employees make happy customers. Be sure your employees are trained and ready to handle anything your customers may throw at them. Training videos are a great way to boost your training efforts. If everyone in the company is unable to attend a training seminar or other live event record a video of it to share with everyone afterward.

5) Create A Marketing Video

Think of this exactly as you would a commercial. These videos work to raise brand awareness and are useful online and on television if done correctly. Remember where you are going to place this video, and if it is online then the rules are different. You have fewer seconds to capture and keep people’s attention. The screen will most likely be a mobile phone. The message needs to be clear and the tone relatable.