Topic: Reputation

Reputation tips and tricks

Our Team’s Favorite Festive Local Businesses 0

We’re sharing our favorite local businesses to visit around the holidays

Local businesses are fun to visit year-round, but there’s something extra special about visiting a your favorite spot in town when it’s decked out for the holidays.

Here are some of our team’s favorite small businesses when the holiday season is in full swing:

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Glascott’s Saloon

Chicago, Illinois

“Glascott’s is one of those friendly neighborhood establishments in Chicago that people find themselves drawn to time and time again. Their over-the-top, yet classy, Christmas decor is something to be relished and looked forward to every December. You’ll see friendly faces throughout the year, but the holidays are special here and is the be the place to be for a familiar experience while embracing the holidays.” — Matt Lapinski, VP Marketing

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Blue Genie Art Bazaar

Austin, Texas

“It’s a pop up business / event that starts Thanksgiving weekend and goes until Christmas Day. Blue Genie Art Bazaar hosts local Austin artisans, so I’m able to purchase gifts and treats for myself from small businesses all in one place! They have something for everyone — clothes, jewelry, homemade soap, toys, robots — you name it!” — Katie Ratcliffe, Community Manager

Mama’s Boy

Athens, Georgia

“You are going to wait a long time, but it’s worth it! The flakey buttermilk biscuits, the homemade jam, and fried chicken is so good, it will make you jump out of your seat! It’s a great start to the holidays and a place where I always leave with a to-go box. They have been around for almost 12 years, and recently opened up a second location. The atmosphere and the great customer service make it one of my favorite reasons to go home — that and I get to see friends and family!” — Geoffrey Brown, Regional Development Representative

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The Driskill

Austin, Texas

“The lounge in the Driskill feels so cozy especially during the holiday season. The hotel is a landmark in Austin and it’s fun to admire the architecture while sipping a drink and listening to some live music.” — Megan Blackburn, Account Manager

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Succulent Native

Austin, Texas

“Succulents make a PERFECT gift for the holidays! They’re beautiful, affordable, and super low maintenance to take care of, and (IMHO) no place in Austin does succulents better than Succulent Native. I love this business’ story, the owner is so kind and creative, and her shop is so unique! You can find all kinds of fun things to create the perfect succulent arrangement. I just love this place!” — Rebecca Bradford, Account Manager


via Pittsford Farms Dairy on Facebook

Pittsford Farms Dairy & Bakery

Pittsford Farm Dairy

Pittsford, New York

“Fresh ice cream, baked goodies and bread, and other things you can only get Upstate! It’s always festive around the holidays and a must-stop when I’m back in my hometown.” — Emily Howeth, Event Marketing Associate

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Mozart’s Coffee Roasters

Austin, Texas

“Every Christmas, Mozart’s puts on a light show for free. It runs every night, and the lights follow different Christmas tunes. It’s pretty spectacular to sit there holding a cup of hot cocoa and watching the show. What’s more, I love that the crowd is always diverse — you’ll hear at least three different languages around you!” — Brooke Bullard, Content Specialist, Out of Office

Learn more about the small businesses that our team loves to visit during the holidays and year-round here.

Want more content like this? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram!



Our Team’s Favorite Festive Local Businesses was originally published in Main Street Hub on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Source: Main Street Hub

The Biggest Content Trends for 2018 0

Step up your content marketing in the new year

Every year is the year of something in the world of content marketing. Getting ahead of the content curve is the best way for your brand to start off the new year fresh, relevant, and engaging!

As you plan your small business’ 2018 brand and content strategy, keep these 4 things in mind:

Visual Content

Visual content — especially video — has been on the rise since 2015. It’s a great way to grab your audience’s attention and keep them on your social media pages. People are 6x more likely to retain information if you present it visually than in a text post.

It’s the best way to get your audience engaged on social media, especially Facebook, which brings us to our next trend — live video.

Live Video

When Snapchat launched, it was the only mainstream platform that offered disappearing content. Since then, dynamic, as opposed to static, content has become so popular that Facebook and Instagram have started offering their own versions of this type of content.

Read more from Facebook and learn how people are spending more time watching and interacting with live video than static video content.

It’s worth evaluating your business to make sure these strategies are in line with your brand voice and ROI, but staying relevant and on top of trends like this is a sure-fire way keep your customers engaged for the year to come.

Organic Content

In the competitive world of paid content on social media, even if you pay to get more reach for your content, it can still can get drowned out by other paid content. For that reason, it’s going to be super important going into 2018 to make sure your organic content is just as high-quality as the content you would boost. If your fans and followers are drawn to your page by an ad or sponsored post, it’s important that the organic content they see on your pages is thoughtful and consistent as well.

Plus, odds are, your business is trying to figure out the best ways to reach new audiences and build a younger, millennial fan base along the way — the best way to do that is to be authentic in your content. And you can do that with organic content. It’s generally accepted that the millennial generation is skeptical of ads and don’t want to be “sold,” but it’s important to note this doesn’t just apply to millennials. According to marketing expert, Neil Patel, “consumers overall want that same transparency.”

TL;DR: Tell your story with high-quality, organic content, and if you want to put money behind some of your content, be sure to boost what you think might draw in new audiences.

User-Generated Content

The majority of consumers trust other shoppers’ and diners’ opinions more than advertisements, which is part of the reason user-generated content has become so popular. What is user-generated content?

“User Generated Content is defined as any type of content that has been created and put out there by unpaid contributors or, using a better term, fans. It can refer to pictures, videos, testimonials, tweets, blog posts, and everything in between and is the act of users promoting a brand rather than the brand itself.” — TINT

Whenever you reshare a happy customer’s photo or review, you’re sharing an authentic, unaltered view of your business. This is a great way to build trust and bring in new customers in the new year.

Integrate Main Street Hub into your content marketing strategy for 2018! Get started with us here.

Read up on what we do for 10,000 small businesses across the country.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram so you don’t miss a thing.



The Biggest Content Trends for 2018 was originally published in Main Street Hub on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Source: Main Street Hub

Bad Marketers Have No Understanding (of Their Customers’ Needs) 0

Smart marketing…is built around customer personas.

Who is buying from you – and exactly how much do you know about them?

What are your customers’ biggest challenges?

What problems keep them up at night?

If you’re like most small business owners, you can provide an off-the-cuff description of your buyers – but can you answer these three questions?

Smart marketers can. They deeply understand their customers’ biggest needs, challenges and desires. They recognize that not all customers are the same and create “personas” to analyze each segment individually.

What is a customer persona – and how do you create it?

As the name implies, a customer persona (also referred to as a “buyer persona” or “marketing persona”) is a general, semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. Think of it like a composite sketch of a distinct type of buyer. But while the word “fictional” is used in the definition, a persona isn’t plucked from the air. It’s based on research and data about customers’ demographics, attitudes, challenges, concerns, behavior patterns, motivations and buying criteria that influence their purchasing decisions.

Here’s a quick overview of how to create a customer persona:

Gather and assemble data – and your team.

You will likely have to conduct market research (i.e., surveys and interviews) before creating a buyer persona, but you may already have useful data in your website analytics and CRM software. Bring together team members from marketing, customer service, sales/business development and any other customer-facing department to participate in the project.

Select and define a distinct group of buyers.

Start by selecting the biggest, easily definable group of customers you have, and then consider them collectively. Give the group a name, and define relevant characteristics that make them unique, such as:

  • Demographics (e.g., age, gender, salary, location, education, family)
  • Employment (e.g., job title, duties, industry, company size)
  • Goals, concerns and challenges (While it’s important to understand how you help solve their problems/achieve their goals, it’s also essential to think beyond your products/services and consider everything this type of individual deals with.)
  • Values and motivators (e.g., what guides their decision-making and behaviors; what objections do they have to your products/services)

Develop a marketing message and elevator pitch.

Once you know what’s important to this audience, as well as how you can help them meet their goals and overcome key challenges, use that knowledge to describe your products/services in terms relevant to this type of customer. Translate that description into an “elevator pitch,” which is a succinct, persuasive message that sparks interest in what your business does.

Repeat this entire process for each segment (distinct group of customers) you serve.

How do you leverage customer personas in marketing?

Creating detailed personas provides tremendous structure and insight for your company. Understanding each audience allows you to:

  • choose the best ways to connect with customers and prospects (e.g., social media, phone, email, in person);
  • hone marketing messages to make a greater impact;
  • create more targeted, relevant content for each type of buyer and each stage of the buying process;
  • stand out more effectively from the competition;
  • ultimately turn more prospects into buyers.

Knowing your customers’ challenges is fundamental to smart marketing.

Marketing without a clear understanding of what makes each audience “tick” is about as accurate as throwing darts blindfolded.

Don’t guess. Get expert help!

Make your marketing more targeted. And effective! Give BARQAR’s experts a call today.

 

The post Bad Marketers Have No Understanding (of Their Customers’ Needs) appeared first on BARQAR.


Source: Barqar

Meet Our Photographers 0

Get to know the talent behind the lens

At Main Street Hub, our goal is to create authentic content for our customers that is true to their voice and speaks to their customers.

One of the ways we’ve been able to accomplish this goal is by offering our customers a professional photo shoot when they partner with us. We’ve been able to do this for our customers because of our incredible nationwide network of experienced freelance photographers.

Get to know some of our photographers behind our customers’ compelling photographs:

Sonia Jackson

San Antonio, TX

Instagram: @sonia_zeye_photography

How long have you been shooting for Main Street Hub?

“I’ve been shooting for Main Street Hub since December of last year.”

What’s your favorite thing about photographing local businesses?

“I love finding places that I didn’t know about. I’ve discovered some FABULOUS restaurants.”

Do you have a favorite photo shoot memory?

“I would have to say my favorite place was The Bang Bang Bar. It was unlike any place I’d ever been in. The concept is fun, and the place is inviting. The staff was absolutely wonderful — they were a riot!”

Lawrence Knox

Houston, Texas

Instagram: @lawrenceeliz

How long have you been shooting for Main Street Hub?

“My first shoot was on May 9, 2017 at an auto repair shop in Houston. Since then, I have photographed an interior design business, a pet resort, a batting cage training center, a martial arts school, a custom boot shop, multiple crossfit locations, a variety of restaurants, Edible Arrangements, an engine supply store, a car wash, a beer store, a wine store, a hypnotherapy service, and a massage spa.”

What’s your favorite thing about photographing local businesses?

“I’ve had the incredible opportunity to meet so many people who are passionate about their craft, and it’s inspiring to listen to their life stories as I do my best to communicate them through the lens of my camera. The majority of the business owners I have come across are excited to be taking this next step in promoting their work. It’s a very personal experience to walk into a store and meet its owner.”

Do you have a favorite photo shoot memory?

“I leave the majority of my shoots feeling reinvigorated, so this is a difficult question.

“I love walking out of a business feeling as if I was a small part of it, and I felt that way at Kuk Sool Won, a martial arts school. For instance, the students removed their shoes when entering the dojang (classroom), and they asked me to do the same. I enjoy that feeling of inclusion.

“And when I photographed iShine Express Car Wash, there were cars going through the car wash, but none being detailed. They insisted on cleaning mine in order to get a few action shots. Showing the same kindness, many of the restaurants I’ve photographed wouldn’t let me leave without boxing up some of the food I photographed as a snack for the drive home or dinner for later.”

Daniel Kwak

New York, New York

Instagram: @dkcre8ive

How long have you been shooting for Main Street Hub?

“Since April 2016.”

What’s your favorite thing about photographing local businesses?

“I like the diversity of businesses I get to shoot and learning what images are important to them. For example, I learned that hair salons love pictures of how their hairstyles falls into layers. Restaurants like dishes hot, even ‘smoking’ if you can get it. I learn something new on every shoot.”

Do you have a favorite photo shoot memory?

“A cafe owner pulled me aside after a shoot. He said he really wanted my help.

“He had been in business for over 30 years at the same location in the upper east side of Manhattan. In just the last five years, the neighborhood drastically gentrified. He needed to rejuvenate his business and hired a manager that strongly encouraged using social media to attract new customers.

“He had a new line of menu items: bowls piled with quinoa, kale, and other trendy health items that you would never find in a New York City diner a decade ago. He laid out all the bowls in neat rows ready for me to photograph them.

“After the shoot, he pulled me aside, poured me a cup of coffee, and admitted to me that his social media campaign had to work, or he would be forced to shut the diner.

“I shared some of the images from the back of my camera. I think he felt comforted by it and was excited to get off on the right foot on social media.”

Want to join our freelance photographer network? Apply here!

Learn more about our customers and team by following us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram!



Meet Our Photographers was originally published in Main Street Hub on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Source: Main Street Hub