Posts in Business Development
Build Trust. Take Control. Reputation Matters.
 
Review Management | Rooted ID | Charleston, SC
 

Review and reputation management is more important than ever for businesses. Did you know that?…

  • 95% of people search local businesses online.

  • 91% of people read online reviews about local businesses.

  • Most consumers look at 2 or more reviews before making a decision.

  • 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

  • 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant.

Whether you shop online or buy from local stores and service providers, chances are you also judge and ultimately choose who to patronize based on their online reviews… and not just of the Google variety. Based on your industry, there are likely other websites/apps which your target customers are turning to to research the products and/or services you offer (Facebook, Yelp and YP just to name the major ones).

For the past year, Rooted ID has been working diligently on a solution for a dilemma that we have seen both newbie and seasoned business owners or marketing managers struggle with during our 8 plus years in business…

How do you effectively ask for testimonials?

Like most any marketing agency, we recommend that our clients ask for testimonials as part of an overall marketing strategy to build their reputation. Stats prove that an average consumer considers online reviews in purchase decisions and that positive online reviews create new leads for companies, so it’s no wonder that review management software solutions for businesses are popping up right and left. The problem is that many businesses are signing up for these tools without a real understanding of how to leverage them.

We believe that the most effective way to ask for testimonials is to implement a defined process which includes offline & online marketing strategies centered around the functionality that quality review management software provides.

As such, we have designed an affordable review and reputation management solution ($125/month or less) to help business owners and marketing managers…

  • Develop a repeatable process to ask for (and actually get) testimonials and online reviews.

  • Know when and how to confidently ask for reviews.

  • Receive encouragement and accountability from our agency for your company’s role in the process.

  • Leverage all of your positive online reviews in marketing efforts to further improve your reputation and gain new customers.

  • Track results.

REVIEW MANAGEMENT PLANS ARE $125/MONTH (OR LESS WITH AN ANNUAL PLAN)


When you are evaluating your marketing dollars, we strongly encourage you to prioritize a solution for review and reputation management. Here are just a few links to reputable sources who agree…

Turn positive reviews into more business.

84% of people trust reviews online just as much as from a family member or friend...

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Connect with customers before negative experiences get to a review site.

What does this mean for you? You can take control of your reputation…

 
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Customers can easily access all your review sites.

You can focus your star power in the communities that matter in your industry, to your business.

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Hiring a qualified branding and marketing agency should be a financially realistic option for growing businesses. Rooted ID was founded on that premise in 2010, and our commitments to affordability, quality creative work and practical solutions still ring true. To learn what our affordable review & reputation management solution can do for your business ($125/month or less), fill out the form below to request a complimentary meeting or call.

Confidently Plan and Budget for Marketing
 
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Whether you are just starting a business or your company has been around for three to even thirty years, not knowing how much to budget for marketing is a problem that plagues business owners. But, what if you could confidently plan and budget for marketing? 

When posing the question “How much should I budget for marketing?”, business owners are met with a myriad of answers…

  • It varies by industry.

  • It depends on your business size.

  • It is based on how much you want to grow, and how fast.

  • It should be between 2% and 10% plus of your sales.

  • It depends on if you are B2B or B2C.

Sound familiar? While there is some truth to all of those answers, the many variables often leave business owners feeling like they are pulling numbers out of mid-air when trying to budget for marketing. This is a real problem when an owner is trying to write a business plan, get a business loan, attract investors, manage cash flow or simply plan for the future.

Even worse, some companies operate with no plan or budget for marketing. This puts business owners in an extremely vulnerable situation. They often react to whatever opportunity comes their way and end up getting into contracts for advertising that isn’t effective, hiring people who aren’t skilled enough to handle the multiple facets of marketing, skipping over important steps like clearly defined branding and so on. The result?... misspending, overspending or even underspending.

Knowing how much money to allocate for marketing is one of the most important decisions that a small to mid-size business has to make, and Rooted ID can take the guesswork out of this for you. Over the past eight years, our team has fine tuned our processes and standardized our pricing. As such, we have a proprietary approach that enables companies to improve brand identity, increase brand awareness and receive ongoing marketing support for what many agencies charge for just a website. For most businesses, a budget of $15,000 per year will cover the unique marketing strategies that we recommend for their brand (including peripheral costs like professional printing, website hosting and Facebook advertising). Obviously, this amount could be more or less depending on a company’s specific needs and preferences.*

Rooted ID is a smart solution for startups and established brands alike. For what you would easily pay a part-time employee with limited marketing experience (necessitating the need to bring in other resources and spend even more money), you will get direct access to a small team of experienced designers, copywriters and marketing coordinators. Our process ties all work to specific deliverables which helps to ensure that you are spending marketing dollars wisely.

Hiring a qualified marketing agency should be a financially realistic option for growing businesses. Rooted ID was founded on that premise in 2010, and our commitments to affordability, quality creative work and practical solutions still ring true. To learn what a $15,000 annual marketing budget could do for your business, fill out the form below to request a complimentary meeting or call.

Our clients meet us at different stages in their business, and our process has helped many owners over the years. We encourage you to read our case studies, view our portfolio and check out our online reviews.

*We frequently work with clients with smaller budgets and love the challenge of stretching their marketing dollars! If you are interested in learning more about our solutions but know that you cannot yet afford our recommended marketing budget, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We can likely serve you simply by scaling back on the number of deliverables. 

Halloween Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Halloween is just around the corner, and my family is gearing up for a long list of festivities! We have a few trunk-or-treats on the list this year… For those of you who aren’t familiar with “trunk-or-treat,” it’s basically a convenient alternative to trick-or-treating that takes place in a parking lot (or similar space). Participants decorate cars, trucks or suvs and hand out candy to kids who go car-to-car instead of door-to-door. 

My son’s daycare is hosting their second annual trunk-or-treat this year, and while it’s intended to be tons of fun for the kids, it’s also an excellent marketing opportunity! Participants are encouraged to bring friends (potential daycare customers), and the event is sure to attract some attention from passing traffic. School staff will be in attendance taking photos for email newsletters and social media pages… And why not? Costumed kids make excellent marketing content!

Trunk-or-treating events are a great way to gain exposure and make a positive impression upon the community. If it sounds like too much work, consider teaming up with neighboring businesses or strategic partners. 

Holiday marketing definitely isn’t one-size-fits-all. Trunk-or-treat events are best suited for B2C businesses, especially those that are targeting children and/or families.

A Few Other Halloween Marketing Ideas

  • Parties (adult or family friendly)
  • Contests (pumpkin carving, costumes, etc.)
  • Seasonal gifts, offers or promotions
  • Festive window displays or decorations
  • Seasonal content for newsletters, social media pages, blogs and/or ads 

Need help crafting effective seasonal marketing strategies for your small business? Getting to know one another is a great place to start! Email Kendall@RootedID.com to schedule a complimentary call.

Leverage Social Media Connections for Your Small Business

When crafting a social media strategy for your small business, there are a lot of important things to consider:

  • Appropriate platforms
  • Profile elements like company descriptions, imagery and icons
  • Frequency of posts
  • Topics/content for posts

That last one is a doozy…  As a copywriter, I’m pretty particular when it comes to content, and it’s all too easy to spend hours upon hours nitpicking what to post and share. Good content is an extremely important part of any social media strategy, but what if I told you that there is another (often overlooked) aspect of social media marketing that’s just as crucial?

Social media is, at its core, a platform for social interaction and connection. Get the most out of your social media strategy by leveraging connections effectively.

Reach a new audience via Facebook

Facebook posts that are made from a company page are only displayed in the news feed of users who follow the page. Facebook also has an algorithm that controls what goes into news feeds… which means that every post is not seen by every follower.  The most obvious way to combat this (and reach a whole new audience) is to run an ad or sponsored post. Facebook advertising is an effective strategy for a lot of businesses (especially B2C), but there are other ways to reach a new audience. Use that like button! You probably use the “like” option on your personal profile, but you can “like” things as a company as well. Partner with other businesses and organizations, and share each others’ content. To be most effective, a like should be mutual. 

Example: I’m a local restaurant owner who hosts an annual event for a soup kitchen. I know the soup kitchen has a Facebook page. I should (from my company page) “like” the soup kitchen’s page, and request that they reciprocate the favor. I can now tag the soup kitchen in my posts. If I create an “event” on Facebook, I can encourage the soup kitchen to share it on their page (which they would happily do)… now I’m reaching a whole new audience (soup kitchen followers). 

Gain Introductions via LinkedIn

One of the greatest features LinkedIn has is “Shared Connections.” This feature allows you to look at profiles (of potential clients) and see what connections you have in common. If you have a mutual connection, you could request a virtual introduction. This is an especially useful tactic for gaining B2B leads. 

Need Help?

Need help crafting a social media strategy for your small business? Getting to know one another is a great place to start! Email Kendall@RootedID.com to schedule a complimentary call. 

The Key to Effective Marketing: Diversify

Like most business owners and working professionals you probably feel over-extended most of the time. Perhaps your efforts to network and “get the word out” are contributing to that feeling.  Sound familiar? We’ve put together some tips that may help.

Three is the Magic Number

Experts suggest that there may be a thing as “too much networking.” According to Ivan Misner, PH.D. (author of Truth or Delusion: Busting Networking’s Biggest Myths and founder of BNI), “three is the magic number.” Experiencing a School House Rock flashback? Well you’re in luck! I’ve included some fabulous YouTube videos below so that you can get your nostalgic fix after reading.

If three groups is a good rule of thumb, the next step is choosing the right groups. 

Choosing the right Networking Groups

Research – When it comes to networking, a little research can go a long way. You want to figure out the following before attending: 

  • Is the group industry specific?
  • Is the group active (regular events or meetings)?
  • Is a member directory available? If so, consider researching your fellow networkers.  

Diversify - We consider it best practice to mix things up. Consider picking three groups that fall into three separate categories. Misner breaks networking groups into the following categories:

  • Strong-Contact Networks – Structured, industry/profession specific, referral-based – ex. BNI
  • Casual Contact Networks – Less structured, membership is not limited by industry/profession – ex. Chamber of Commerce
  • Service Organization – Associations that support humanitarian efforts – ex. Rotary
  • Professional Associations – Designed to support a specific industry, may include direct competitors 
  • Social/Business Organizations – Combine business networking with social activities – ex. Jaycees
  • Women’s Networking Groups – ex. ABWA
  • Online Networks – Internet based networking opportunities (groups or information exchange) – ex. It may be as simple as blogging or emailing newsletters.
Plan to Put Yourself Out There

Like many of you, we have spent a great deal of time fine tuning our plan for the coming year.  It can be a pain staking and time consuming process. Like us, your instinct may be to bar the door, sit down at the computer and fret over the details.

However, we are resolved to take a different approach and challenge you to do the same… put yourself out there to start the new year with a bang! Networking may not seem like a priority right now, but this is actually a perfect time of year to surround yourself with other entrepreneurs who have a renewed focus on their business and personal lives. Not only will you benefit from the positive energy, but there is always the chance that someone’s 2013 resolution would make them a perfect lead for your business.

We recommend that you proactively seek out networking opportunities. Not only can you easily find lists of open events online and in business publications, but it is usually simple to go as a guest of someone who is in a membership-based group.  Just ask! 

Once you actually make it to an event, be sure to use your time wisely with these valuable networking tips…

  • Ask insightful questions
  • Add value
  • Learn their "story"
  • Share a memorable fact
  • Keep a list
  • Make small promises and keep them
  • Reward your "power" contacts

So, get networking and let us know what your favorite events are and why! 

Be Smart About Goals

Chances are that you have heard a thing or two about SMART goals. With resolution season upon us, you may even be setting a few Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely goals for yourself, but goal-setter beware! Those SMART goals may have some undesirable side effects. 

What to avoid

  • Tunnel Vision – Focus isn’t a bad thing, but intent focus on specific goals can come at the expense of your general operations, customer service or product quality. Be ever mindful of the valuable standards and activities that keep your business going. Goals should never get in the way of these things. Consider the following case study—    
    • The Ford Pinto – You know the one… Fifty-three people died in rear-end collisions that resulted in explosions. The goal was to create a car that was under 2,000 pounds and under $2,000. Safety standards were compromised, and the Pinto’s gas tank was located in the rear of the vehicle. …so mission accomplished, but it was a far cry from a Ford victory.
    • Narrowly Defined Incentives – Incentives are powerful motivators… but they can sometimes encourage undesirable behavior.  Consider the following case study—    
      • The Sears auto repair staff was presented with a productivity goal… bring in $147 for every hour of work. Mission accomplished, but not because productivity improved.  Staff members were overcharging companywide.
      • Hard and Fast Rules – SMART goals are a valuable tool. The auto-correct setting on your phone can also be a valuable tool. It can also lead to awkward situations. Auto-correct doesn’t pick up on context clues… It is unable to think for itself. The same goes for your SMART goals. Be prepared to reevaluate and amend accordingly.

Peter Bregman, a blogger for the Harvard Business Review, recommends substituting goals with “areas of focus.” He goes on to describe the differences… “A goal defines an outcome you want to achieve; an area of focus establishes activities you want to spend your time doing. A goal is a result; an area of focus is a path. A goal points to a future you intend to reach; an area of focus settles you into the present.”

Keep in mind that goals and “areas of focus” are not mutually exclusive. I would never suggest abandoning your resolutions only three days into the year… but maybe Mr. Bregman is onto something. Consider identifying “area[s] of focus” that are most important to you and reinforcing that focus with specific goals when appropriate.

The truth is that we have no idea what next month or next year looks like, and opportunity can present itself in unexpected ways. Mr. Bregman encourages us to “resist the temptation to identify the outcome [we] want to achieve. Leave that open and allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised.” I tend to agree. 

If Sandy Hit Your Town, How Would Your Business Fare?

An interesting read on the Wall Street Journal yesterday got me to thinking... if a storm like Sandy hit here, how would Rooted ID fare? How about my customer's businesses?

Since we located in Charleston, I am sure that I could find many examples of small businesses that never re-opened after this area's most notable storm in 1989, Hurricane Hugo.

I encourage you to read the Wall Street Journal article about 3 small business owners affected by Sandy. WSJ is tracking how they are trying to rebuild or scale back during this difficult time. I think that this is a great opportunity for us to count our blessings and possibly even learn something about our own business through someone else's challenging situation.   

What's In Between Your Ears?

Many small business owners are familiar with Brian Tracy (self-help author, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, business coach, the list goes on).  And, if you are, you have likely heard his famous quote, "Today the greatest source of wealth is between your ears."  It's a cool quote, and we even posted it on our Facebook page the other day.

But, that got me to thinking about how important that phrase actually is when it comes to how you run your small business.  If the greatest source of wealth is between your ears, what's in between your ears?  That answer is different for everyone.  For some, it is their knowledge of how to cut hair, others are educated in how to do chiropractic adjustments and some people are whizzes with numbers.  For me, it is a knowledge of branding and marketing.  The cool thing is that so often that thing in between your ears that can produce you wealth is the same thing about which you are passionate.  What a blessing to be able to make money doing something that you love!   

Why is it then that so many business owners spend their precious time doing the things that they don't love, that they aren't good at and that don't produce wealth for them?  I get it... it takes a lot to run a small business.  You have to run the day-to-day operations, create sales, manage employees, handle your marketing and keep track of the money.  It would be expensive to pay somebody to manage all of those things for you just so that you can do the one thing that you love the most. 

However, I challenge you to seriously consider outsourcing some of the business tasks that pull you away from using that God-given thing in between ears that can be a source of wealth for you.  Start small - pick one.  Of course, Rooted ID is all about taking the burden of marketing off of small business owners who don't have the skill, time or desire to do it.  Maybe you actually love handling your marketing (for some, it is a creative outlet), but you dread doing payroll or cleaning your store.  That is a perfect thing to consider paying someone to do.

I have a large network of people that can help you - an accountant, a payroll company, a cleaning company, a strategic business planner, etc.  Please let me know if I can link you up with these sorts of people to lighten your load.  It is time for you to work smarter, not harder!