Digital Marketing Office Hours 11/23/2020

Brian Cox (01:30):
(silence). Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us. We're here today with Vince from Distinct Web Design. Hello, Vince.
Vincent Aguirre (01:38):
Hey, Brian.
Brian Cox (01:40):
Hey, everyone. The holiday season's coming upon us and the small businesses are really dependent on this season to help bring them into the black, and this season's been … this year, 2020's been extra difficult for small businesses. So, we thought we'd sit back and have a short discussion here with Vince about some things that small businesses can do to help improve sales online or any way that they can improve sales. So, Vince, I guess we'll just start off with the first question. What do you recommend small businesses do to help with online sales?
Vincent Aguirre (02:15):
Sure. Yeah, that's a really good question. First before I begin, I just want to introduce Jacob, who's here with us. He's interning with Distinct this semester. He's a DePaul student and a senior, and right now I think he's in Northwest Indiana, right, Jacob?
Jacob Correa (02:28):
Yep. Whiting, Indiana.
Vincent Aguirre (02:30):
Nice, nice. So feel free to chime in on anything, Jacob, and I'll spotlight you if you start answering, but Brian, your question was, what am I recommending right now for small businesses to do with the holidays?
Brian Cox (02:40):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yes. That's right. Yep.
Vincent Aguirre (02:42):
Yeah. So, I think the most important thing is to make sure you're being found. I think a lot of people assume, especially in a small community like Greencastle, that we've been here for 50 years, 100 years, everyone knows about us, but that's not always the case. People are moving into the community or people are being overwhelmed with other marketing messages. They might not be thinking about you first. So, making sure that you're being found is the top of mind thing and I do that a lot with clients with what I call an awareness campaign, which is really just finding a way to promote to make people aware of something they're doing right. Right?
Vincent Aguirre (03:18):
You may have been offering catering forever, but a lot of people offer catering. So, making sure people are staying top of mind of what you're doing there. Think about who your customer is and who else wants their time or money. Right? If you are a local restaurant, you're competing with online meal subscription services. If you're an activity to do in town, you're competing with Netflix. You're always competing with people, even if they're not local, or if you don't really think about them, and there's cross competition as well. So, make sure you're staying top of mind, so those people remember you instead of those other options. So, I think those are the biggest things that I would say that I'm trying to really encourage my clients to think about right now.
Brian Cox (04:01):
Yeah. I do find it interesting a lot of times that I make the assumption that people know what other people are doing, and the truth is people get in their own silos and they may have known at one point in time, but they do forget. So, I think the message of remind people what you do and what you do well is very important.
Vincent Aguirre (04:18):
Yeah. Yeah. And I'd say, there's restaurants in town specifically that I love, but I just forget to order from them or go to them. And then, we had some really big success with a local restaurant at the beginning of quarantine, we ran some ads and it was amazing, just my friends anecdotally talking about that restaurant all of a sudden, and I could go and see that they were ordering, they were participating, and it was because of those ads. So, really making sure that your message is staying top of mind and you can't undermine that. It's so important.
Brian Cox (04:50):
Right, and messages change, a lot of businesses, restaurants and boutiques, they've changed how they're doing business and a lot of them now have delivery services or pickup that they didn't have before. So, just making sure that message gets out there is a good idea, I think.
Vincent Aguirre (05:04):
Absolutely, absolutely.
Brian Cox (05:05):
Now, you do deal with a lot of small businesses in our community, and I appreciate that, but when it comes to what they're doing, what is the biggest mistake that small businesses are making online?
Vincent Aguirre (05:17):
Every business is unique. I would say the thing I see most often is people who maybe we're handling their website, but they want to take on some other parts of their social media, or maybe people I'm not even working with, just people I see in the community, but in other communities as well, they are oftentimes trying to mimic large corporations to do what works for them. For example, if I'm Coca-Cola, I can post a Facebook post that says, “Tell me your favorite Coca-Cola memory.” And people are going to comment. That's going to get millions of views, millions of comments, millions of engagement. But if you're a smaller organization here in Greencastle with 200 followers, that's going to be empty space.
Vincent Aguirre (06:02):
Maybe you comment, or one of your family members comment, and it doesn't really accomplish anything. So, one thing that I always tell the clients I'm working with is focus your social media presence around goals and do something that's going to work for you and specifically something that can't work for other people. If you're a Putnam County business, you can talk on your page about Putnam County things, that will get people to engage. But if you're trying to mimic what the big companies, the large multi-million dollar corporations or multinational corporations are doing, it's not going to really work in your advantage. You want to find that smaller, more focused, based on your audience. So, that's what I definitely see often, is people just trying to replicate the warm and fuzzy feeling that large brands can do.
Brian Cox (06:47):
Yeah. I agree. I think one of the great things about Putnam County is that we do appreciate local and we are a pretty tight knit group, really. So yeah, I think if you're able just to focus on Putnam County and what's going on in Putnam County, I think that's the best way to do it. And yeah, I agree with that. So, I noticed a lot of people are changing how they're doing things. I see a lot of the boutique owners are doing a great job of doing live events and they hold up the number, if you want to buy this product and people can stop by and pick it up, and I think that's pretty innovative and I really respect that. One thing I do notice that are a lot of people are doing a lot of Facebook ads, which are great. They're doing boosting and they're paying for those ads. Is that what you recommend or do you have anything else you'd like to say?
Vincent Aguirre (07:30):
Yeah. So, I'd say boosting is a great place to start and I would never tell a company or a business in town not to boost, but you have to be careful because Facebook makes that button big and easily accessible, so you throw money at it. They make money. The auction, if people are running ads, the more people running ads, the more expensive they get. So, it's really a revenue generator for Facebook. Now, it's effective, but it can be more effective if you're proficient in how to do it properly. So, if all you can do … You have a small budget, you're just going to push boost, that's fine. That's great. Good start. It's going to help you. But working with someone or really taking the time to learn how things work to target your market and have a strategy behind it is really going to be most beneficial.
Vincent Aguirre (08:20):
One thing I always like to ask is, “Why are you boosting this? What is your goal? Are you measuring something?” Maybe you're giving something away and you want to see how many people redeem that. Maybe you just want people to be aware of something, but make sure that you're asking yourself why you're boosting and you can go from there. But I think boosting in and of itself is a really good tool. It's going to increase the views on a post or on your page tremendously. They say … I haven't looked at this data in a couple of years, but I'm sure it's still really accurate. It was about five to seven percent of your followers would see a post by default. That's a very small percentage, even if you have 1,000 followers on Facebook, now you're not looking at a lot of people. So, by boosting it, yes, you're going to get more awareness, but don't become in love with the boost and don't just throw money at it. Really create a strategy or work with someone that can help you create a strategy around that.
Brian Cox (09:13):
Right. Yeah. Don't just boost for the sake of boosting, right?
Vincent Aguirre (09:16):
Brian Cox (09:17):
Have a plan or an idea behind it and make sure you're prepared for the boost. If you put something out there and then somebody calls you on it, as far as, “Hey, you said, you're going to give a free meal or 10% off, and then you don't end up doing it.” Just make sure you back up your boosts or your posts. So, there are lots of tools out there for people to use and it can get overwhelming on what they should use, what they shouldn't use, there's only so much time in the day, especially for small business owners. Is there a specific tool that you would recommend people are using this holiday season?
Vincent Aguirre (09:47):
Yeah. So, I want people to be careful and not get too invested in tools or really worry too much, but what they should be worrying about is how they're measuring their measurable data. So, one tool to do that, it's a really nice tool called Databox. We are a Databox partner. We're trying to implement that in a lot of our client workflows. But Databox can take data from any of your online tools and show it to you on one platform. You can look at your QuickBooks, your website traffic, your Facebook traffic, all these things. But the reason I bring that up is because I want people to really start looking at some kind of measurable online marketing data, even if it's just Facebook followers, but set a goal, work around that strategy and to make sure you're setting a goal that's going to help you be successful.
Vincent Aguirre (10:34):
So, really Databox is a tool that you can use to do that, but there's tons of free tools. Facebook has their own analytics. There's really a lot of ways to do it, but that's the number one thing before you start worrying about getting fancy and doing all these fun, warm, fluffy things, make sure you have a goal you're measuring and you're using the right tool for that.
Brian Cox (10:55):
Yeah, I agree. I think sometimes we're always looking for the next thing that's going to boost all of our sales, and once in a while it becomes more of a whirlwind than it does a helpful tool. But you got to know what your data is and you got to know what's working for your business. So, that that's a good tip. I appreciate that. Yeah, Jacob?
Jacob Correa (11:12):
I'd love to chime in and pose a question to Vince. So, with these tools, what are the top three say data points, business owners should be looking at to increase their awareness and their sales?
Vincent Aguirre (11:25):
Yeah. That's a really good question. I think it's going to vary. And again, it comes back to your goals, but if you just had to start somewhere, I would look at your Facebook reach. So, that's going to be the people who have engaged with your Facebook. And I would look at … If you don't have analytics for your website, download the tool, called … or install the tool called Google Analytics. And from there, you can look at your page views. So, that's going to be the number of people who have landed on your page, and you can look at the visitors and you can look at some more specifics about the pages people are engaging with. But if you really just are trying to start somewhere and you don't know where to begin, start with your page reach, both on Facebook and on your website analytics.
Vincent Aguirre (12:05):
And I would start with users or sessions on your website analytics there as well. And that gives you just a feel of how many people are engaging with you. And that's an easy … You can dial that down more, to have more useful information, but at the end of the day, more people on your website is never going to be a bad thing. Now, they may be relevant or irrelevant, but more is going to be better and you can start from there. So, just try to make sure your numbers are ticking up.
Brian Cox (12:36):
Yeah. So, I try to tell people that I really think the ability for people to be able to buy stuff online is important, especially with all the people concerned about health and making sure we're masked and we're all safe, online sales could be a big percentage of your sales this year. How do you feel about making sure that your website or your Facebook, you can buy stuff online?
Vincent Aguirre (12:58):
Yeah. I couldn't agree more. So, I have a … You can't read it on this screen, but it's an article we wrote about the online economy, from last year. I'm going to put it in the chat, hopefully people can grab that. But really it's more important than ever and it's been important for a while. Even if you can't physically sell a product or a service online, you can still be found online to have that product. One thing that's really important, more important than ever is your Google My Business profile. Google generates it automatically for businesses, but you can go in and claim it. And if you're not working on that profile, you're not going to be found online by people around you, and that's the easiest, low hanging fruit.
Vincent Aguirre (13:40):
If you're on Google My Business, let's say there was a second Chamber of Commerce in Putnam County. If one of them's not on and someone searches Chamber of Commerce, you're immediately going to be found if you're on it. Versus if we're talking about something on a larger basis, like let's say shoes. If I type in shoes, Amazon can come up, eBay, Nike, Adidas, all these companies can come up, but if there's a shoe store locally, that's selling shoes and it's on Google My Business, they're going to show up number one. And you're going to show up above all those big brands, just for being local. It's a huge advantage that you have to take advantage of. So, I'd say that more important than ever to make sure you're at least being found online, whether you're a product, a service, really any type of business can benefit from that. I'd be really curious, Jacob's input, especially for his generation, how … I would say, my generation and his generation are already skewed online, but Jacob, how are things adapting during this pandemic? And what's your generation looking to for shopping?
Jacob Correa (14:44):
Yeah. Well, I mean, we live in the age of the internet, right? So, everybody buys everything from online. Whether if they're looking for a certain product, they go to Amazon or if they want some certain food, they go to Grubhub or any additional local restaurant that offers delivery services. And so, I think with my generation and my lived experience, it's about like, I want something, I'm going to look online for it rather than of course, travel outside. I mean, especially during COVID. But yeah, if I go to Amazon and find my product, or if I'm looking for a certain service or food nearby, I usually go to Google. And something I learned interning with Distinct is the importance of local SEO for small businesses.
Jacob Correa (15:25):
And so, if you really focus on your local search engine optimization and make sure that you are found when somebody Googles either your product or service, that'll really get your numbers up and your engagement up. So yeah, like say, if I'm looking for … If I want pizza, I'm going to Google best pizza places around me and whoever is the top number one or two, probably I'm going to look at their menu and then give a call. And so, yeah, from my lived experience, it's more about just searching up on the internet who is the best, who has good reviews, who can be trusted online?
Vincent Aguirre (15:56):
That's great.
Brian Cox (15:59):
Yeah. I'm all for buying stuff online. Just buy it locally, right? I mean, Amazon is not local, but I do believe in buying online.
Vincent Aguirre (16:12):
And it's surprisingly easy to compete with Amazon when your online presence is being taken care of because you can easily show up above Amazon for being local, like I said earlier, or even if you really have a product that has a skew number, you can show up in the Google Shopping toolbar. And I truly like to believe that most people are going to stay local when it's as easy as Amazon because I don't want Amazon. I don't want to wait two days most of the time. To be honest, sometimes I'll buy something on Amazon and I'll regret it, and I'll go find it locally and I'll return it because I want it locally, specifically with technology. But you have to be able to be as easily accessible as Amazon and it's really not that challenging if you are spending the time or working with someone that can help you.
Brian Cox (17:04):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right, right. Hey guys, I really appreciate all this advice. Vince, if somebody has more questions or they want an online person to work with, is Distinct the place to go and how do they get ahold of you?
Vincent Aguirre (17:17):
Yeah, absolutely. Our website's You can contact us on there. You can schedule a meeting. You can read, we have a really robust knowledge base of articles and whatnot. We're definitely here to help. And Brian, we're going to do two of these a day for the next seven days, right? I think-
Brian Cox (17:34):
Right. I think Jacob's going to run those. Yeah.
Vincent Aguirre (17:37):
But yeah, definitely feel free to reach out and we're here in Greencastle. We service Putnam County, West Central Indiana. We have clients all over the country, but we're definitely here to help and we're here to help the small businesses compete with the large corporations. So, that's what we're here for.
Brian Cox (17:51):
That's great. Coming up, Small Business Saturday, it's Saturday the 28th, but it's just the beginning of the holiday season. We're going to shop small and local all year long. Thanks, guys. Appreciate it.
Vincent Aguirre (18:03):
Thank you. Take care.
Jacob Correa (18:04):
Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving.
Brian Cox (18:06):
You too.
Vincent Aguirre (18:06):
Happy Thanksgiving.