Your Guide to a Successful New Year in Online Marketing

We all want 2016 to be a kick-ass year. So in order to ensure its fabulousness (that’s a word, right?!), we want to provide you with a plan to rock your world of content marketing and social media. To execute an incredible return on your time and investment, you need a strategy—and that’s exactly what this is.

Here are our 4 steps to increased productivity and a successful New Year in online marketing:

Plan

That’s right—you need a plan. When managing various accounts, it can get messy, fast. In order to be able to track progress and keep your accounts straight and moving forward, the following steps are recommended:

  • Focus on three ideas. For each account, try and decide what the online focus should be. For example, at Fresh + Fit, we try to pinpoint our social media and blog content to these three points of interest: social media marketing, blogging/writing, and the city of Vancouver. Creating content and managing our clients’ social media in the Vancouver area is what we do—so we try to focus on that. It keeps us accountable to what our business is about, and ensures that when guests arrive at our website or Facebook page, the content will be interesting, informative, and above all, predictable in its topics.
  • Manage monthly editorial calendars. This literally means planning out the month for each account you manage by filling in event dates, promotions your clients’ businesses may be running, and anything else that the social media posts should convey on behalf of your client.
  • Create tangible goals. Working towards set goals helps keep your intentions clear and therefore easier. Goals such as increasing client retention by x-amount, or signing a certain number of new clients per month are helpful to keep you accountable. Without set goals, we don’t know how we’re doing, or what we’re working towards, and this slows down productivity. Aside from business goals, it’s also important to set personal ones.
  • Dream BIG. Don’t limit yourself—set both short term and long term goals, and keep them visible. Your short term goals should lead to your long term ones, and your long term ones should be big enough to make you yearn for success and drive you to work towards them. An example of a short term goal might be to sign five new clients within two months; a longer term goal might be to hire two new employees by the end of the year, and an even longer term goal might be to expand your business within five years.

Your short term goals should lead to your long term ones, and your long term ones should be big enough to make you yearn for success and drive you to work towards them.

Execution

  • Time management. Learning to manage your time and do it well is what sets apart the successful and those who just don’t make it. Wasting time will not help anyone, while learning to manage your work hours wisely will result in greater productivity and an overall happier YOU.
  • Don’t cut corners. When we recommend you use your time wisely, we are not talking about cutting corners and thereby producing an inferior result for your clients. Do your job to the best of your ability, and you’ll feel confident about your skills and what you have to offer. (Which is important when you’re your own boss and need to sell yourself to potential clients.) The same goes for your personal life—cutting corners will result in decreased happiness.
  • Track your progress. Most social media platforms have built-in tools that allow you to track the progress and productivity of each and every post that you send out. The same goes for blogging, although depending on the site and/or host, you may need to install your own analytics plugin. The point is, you have valuable information at your fingertips, so use it.
  • Ask for feedback. There’s nothing wrong with asking your clients or even a fellow blogger/social media maven about your posts and writing. Get some feedback, and consider using it to make what you do stronger. Remember: better results will garner higher client retention and referrals.

Work Load

  • Only take on what you’ll do well. And by this, we mean only accept or source out work that you can really dig your teeth into—don’t take on too much and end up producing inferior results for your client.

Only accept or source out work that you can really dig your teeth into.

  • Avoid burnout. Burnout will make you panic, and your life will be (if only temporarily) harder. Avoid burnout by doing what we recommend above: limit yourself to the amount of work you can realistically take on. If you are being pummeled by clients asking for more work to be done, consider hiring out! And don’t feel guilty about turning away work or telling someone no: people would rather find someone who can focus on their projects than hire exhausted help and receive poor execution. (And trust us: they’ll respect you for having the ability to turn away work when you need to.)
  • Learn to adjust. As you go along with your year, you’ll notice how you’re able to juggle more efficiently and you’ll recognize what your limitations are. Adjusting your expectations and tweaking your goals is a good thing. You may find you’re capable of much more than you originally thought, or you may hit a wall faster than you had anticipated. Whatever happens, adjust. We all do it.

Real Life

  • Make time for good food. Remember to eat well, and stay hydrated. You’re working in an industry that contributes to flat bums and an increased desire for artificial sugar and a lot of caffeine. Beat the stereotype by chowing down on food that gives you real energy and honest nutrition.
  • Spend time with family and friends. This may seem silly to have to write, but work can take over your life if you let it—especially if you’re working from home, and/or for yourself. We totally understand your desire to try and get everything done and learn about how to do it bigger and better, but don’t forget to blow off steam and maintain healthy relationships. These relationships will save you time and time again from yourself—we promise.
  • Get up and move your body—often. Again with the flat bums, right? Sitting and working on your laptop for hours on end isn’t good for a body that’s designed to move. Help yourself out by getting up and moving around every hour or so, and if you can fit a quick workout or walk in or even go up and down the stairs a few times in the middle of the day, your body will thank you.

Sitting and working on your laptop for hours on end isn’t good for a body that’s designed to move.

  • Work meditation into your daily routine. There are many entrepreneurs who absolutely swear by the positive effects of nightly meditation. (See Russell Simmons‘ number one rule for successful entrepreneurs below!) When you’re gazing at a your computer for hours each and every day, your brain needs to way to quiet itself and power down. Mediation can help—even if it’s only for five minutes just before bed.
  • This one is BIG, guys. Sleep is our natural way of recharging, repairing, and sorting out unconscious thoughts and emotions. Think 4-5 hours a night cuts it? No way. You need 7-9 to recharge properly, and anything less will do more harm than good.

So with all of this information, we hope you implement it and have the best and most productive New Year you’ve had yet. Online marketing is fun, and you should have a good time while producing great results for both you and your clients.

Happy New Year! Check out the following video:


 

*If you’re interested in having fun, energetic, and informative blogs written for YOU by Fresh + Fit Vancouver writers, click HERE.

5 Marketing Lessons to Learn From Star Wars

By Jennifer Browne

As Stars Wars Episode 7 prepares to launch at the end of this week, I can’t help but think that Disney has done as amazing job promoting this movie. I mean, Disney is Disney—they kind of rock their marketing campaigns. But the kind of hype and buzz that is occurring right now WORLDWIDE because of their efforts, is to be talked about and learned from.

Now, if you’re thinking that you have a very small business and no budget for promo and most definitely no team of publicists on retainer 24/7 (whaaat…you don’t have that?!), we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t matter. In this day and age, marketing, if done well, can be free. You don’t need a professional publicist, and your own marketing campaigns can take off and go viral, just like others’ did.

(And will.)

So starting with a few lessons from Star Wars, here are our suggestions on how to rock a marketing campaign for your business, whatever type of business it may be:

Plan

Begin Early

If you have something to promote, start now. Okay…start a few months before your event date/product launch/coupon promotion, or whatever. Starting early creates a buzz, and lets people know that whatever you’re promoting must be cool enough to talk about in advance.

Also, develop a marketing plan.

The Star Wars campaign began as soon as it was announced that The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm—and that was in 2012. Disney began their campaign THREE YEARS before the movie was scheduled to release. The campaign actually had its own name, and it’s own website (Star Wars Celebration).

Saturate the Market

If you have something to promote, promote it everywhere. Talk about it several times a day on social media. Get chatty with your customers or clients. Send out weekly emails. Place free online ads in your local papers, and start a countdown.

Don’t just do one of these things—do them all.

The Star Wars franchise exploded last holiday season, when anything and everything that could possibly do with the movies appeared. There were Halloween costumes, toys, games, posters, and school supplies. Fast-food chains offered swag, and ads were seen on public transit. Theme parks got on board, and huge food companies made little Star Wars-shaped fruit bites.

This got so exciting for people that last week, I walked past a man in a restaurant with a massive fresh Harrison Ford tattoo on his equally giant bicep.

True story.

Advertising Campaign

Don’t Stick to One Strategy

I mean, maybe don’t publicly encourage people to tattoo your logo on their bodies, but to be all cliché, don’t place all your eggs in one basket, either. Spread ‘em out. Send a newsletter. Host a giveaway contest. Promote your product or event on social media, and provide an incentive for anyone who re-tweets your posts.

Take a quick survey on how other people in your line of business are promoting themselves, and then do ALL OF THOSE THINGS.

Go all kamikaze on this, and you will reap better rewards.

Remind People of Your Previous Successes

When Disney announced that they would be releasing an Episode 7 (actually, four more movies), they went ahead and re-released the previous six.

I know this, because my husband bought them all.

Also, right after the movie announcement, Lego began producing and selling Star Wars-themed building sets, with all of the most popular scenes and characters. This was particularly brilliant, because children who are my kids’ ages (under 10), probably didn’t know anything about the franchise.

But now they do—and kids are all about the swag.

So when conducting your marketing campaign, try and incorporate your previous successes. For example, if you own a juicing company, promote your first (presumably successful) juice as a lead-up to the release of your newest one.

Make Your Product or Event Buzz-Worthy

Now we’re talking about your event or product; not so much your campaign. If you’re going to go through the trouble to create and manage an amazing marketing campaign, you should make sure your event or product is worthy of the hassle.

Why?

Because if it is, you can use this campaign to piggy-back your next. Think ahead! Disney has one hell of a vested interest in making sure that 1) their promotions all pay off, and 2) the movie itself doesn’t disappoint. And so should you, when conducting an amazing marketing campaign.

Hey, and you know what? When all else fails, use The Force. (No, we’re not drinking.) We mean to imply that if you can envision it, and you want it bad enough, it will happen. It’s on you, and you alone.

So go get ‘em.


*If you’re interested in having fun, energetic, and informative blogs written for YOU by Fresh + Fit Vancouver writers, click HERE.

5 Rules for Social Media Automation

Our lives are insane. Glorious, but insane. We are living in a generation of bigger, better, faster, stronger. (Thank you, Daft Punk.) So we cut corners when we can and try and we stretch our hours to make it seem as though our days are 30 hours, not 24.

(Even though they actually feel like 6.)

Automating your social media posts sounds genius, and it is, until it isn’t. What do we mean? Well, there are rules to follow regarding social automation, and that’s what this post is about. Check ‘em out:

DO Use Hootsuite to Schedule Your Week in Advance

I know, we’re plugging HootSuite, but honestly? It deserves to be talked about. HootSuite Scheduler is an amazing tool that allows you to fill your socials calendar and post on a consistent basis. Use it!

DON’T Forget to Measure How Well Those Posts Did

Because otherwise, there’s no point. If you’re posting irrelevant information that your audience doesn’t connect with or care about, there’s no point to posting. Period. The whole idea is to be providing interesting content that your readers will enjoy, which makes them want to connect with you, which makes them want to do business with you.

So no blind posts—watch the reactions, and measure their success. If you’re noticing a buzz, great! Keep doing it. If not, it’s time to change your content. You won’t know this unless you measure.

Content

DO Make Your Posts Relevant to Your Audience

There’s that ‘r’ word, again. Relevance is to social media what ketchup is to a hot dog—you gotta have it.

By creating and posting and re-posting content that your readers will enjoy and connect with, you are doing them a service. You’re helping them. You’re making a difference, and they won’t forget it—they’ll come back for more.

If your content is not relevant to the audience who sees it, you need to either change your audience, or change your content.

DON’T Forget to Read the Articles You’re Promoting

This one seems like a no-brainer, but we have ALL been there when a message pops up that reads “What about this article is appealing to you? Have you read it?”

And the answer? Uhh…nope.

Don’t put yourself in the position where you’re sharing content that you don’t even like or agree with, because you didn’t take the time to make sure it reflected you or your online persona. Open up those links, and read, baby, read.

DO Change the Way Your Posts Look Depending on the Platform

This is also important, because while Twitter requires 140 characters or less minus an image file (which is totally clutch because we’re a lazy society who loves to look at pictures instead of read) and/or link, Facebook is much more chatty, and Instagram’s pics need to be high-quality—not the same kind of pics you can get away with on Twitter.

We’re not saying you have to completely post different things, but what you post on Twitter and Facebook may not be right for Instagram. And what you post on Instagram is using much too short and concise for Facebook.

Bottom line? Make sure your posts make sense.

There are many more rules to learn, but we feel these are the basics. Once you’ve got these down, you’re good to roll up your sleeves and learn more. Because that’s what social media is all about: learning. It’s about sharing content, connecting with people, and measuring your impact.

And you ROCK, so we want to hear from you. Connect with us @freshfitvan.


 

*If you’re interested in having fun, energetic, and informative blogs written for YOU by Fresh + Fit Vancouver writers, click HERE.

 

Effective Content Marketing in 5 Simple Steps

Fresh and Fit Vancouver is a collective of writers that supply the local wellness community with content writing and social media management—and there’s a lot that goes into making sure our writing and posts are making connections.

The old way of sending a message to consumers is dead. We, in the last ten years or so, have reduced our ability or want or need to focus longer than about 8 seconds on any given piece of information. What does that mean? It means that when you want to communicate something to a potential customer or client, you’d better do it in a way that makes them want to deliberately focus for longer than that. Your message needs to be interesting, relevant, new, and contain visual stimulation.

This is where the term ‘content marketing’ comes in:

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Here are 5 things your message needs to contain in order to be successfully absorbed by consumers, and these are things our writers strive to include when compiling our tailored blog posts:

Originality

When consumers are looking to make a purchase, commit to a subscription, or invest their time and hard-earned money in a specific company, they need something to stand out about what you have to offer. If you’re offering the same thing as everyone else, why would they choose you?

Offering original content is vital to the success of catching and maintaining a reader’s focus. When people learn something new, they remember you, and that is what it’s all about. Content drives traffic, and good content pulls you up to the top of relevant Google searches. Which brings us to…

(But first, click HERE to read over 30 interesting stats and facts about content marketing.)

Content Marketing

Relevance

In order words, know your demographic, and market to your target audience. If you’re blogging consistently about light fixtures to a readership who’s interested in food photography, you might be putting a lot of content out there, but it’s doing nothing to help you or your home hardware business.

You need to know who you’re targeting, and understand their needs. Then, give them information that they can use and keep coming back for. If you read this post because the term ‘content marketing’ is in the title, and then we gave you a piece on the best time to post a blog, that wouldn’t be helpful to you. You wanted to learn about content marketing.

Not surprisingly, this happens all the time.

Make sure your writing is relevant to what the reader is looking for when conducting a Google search, or thinks he’s going to get by reading the title of your blog post.

Interest

I’m often reeled into reading a blog post, if it begins with a hook and a sensational title. You could be writing about the same thing, but a title that says “Fresh Water Fishing” won’t be as interesting to most people as a title that reads “5 Ways NOT to be a Loser on the Lake.”

There are many other ways to create interest, but in our opinion, one of the best ways, is to be yourself and try not to copy other writers. Your writing and blog structure will be more interesting if it’s from a different prospective than everyone else’s, and it will be if you’re true to yourself and supply unique writing, in your own voice.

Visuals

This might make us sound a bit like monkeys, but we’ve become lazy, and prefer to look at pictures instead of read words. (Maybe not all of us, but most of us.) As juvenile as that may sound, visual stimulation helps your readers to remember your post. A funny meme or a helpful video is what people remember and respond to, in this age of lack-of-focus.

For example, would you rather read the steps to complete a certain exercise, or be taught how to do it on video? Most of us respond much better to PopSugar Fitness videos than we do when reading about the same exercise in a health magazine.

Besides memes and videos, simple images and brand logos do the trick. Remember: assume you only have 8 seconds to convince someone to read your post. You want to make it as stimulating as possible.

A Call-to-Action

Every single time you end a piece of writing intended to be read by your target audience, you need to include a call-to-action. What’s a call-to-action? It’s basically asking for your readers’ business or continued attention.

For example, you might write “To view more posts on this subject, click HERE”, and then link HERE to another one of your bog posts. Another example might be “If you enjoyed this writing, why not let us know? Feel free to comment below!” Or, it might be “Like this blog? Hire us to write your blogs for you.”

A call-to-action is simply a way to encourage your readers to continue their relationship with you, and there are many ways to accomplish this.

To recap: your to-do list for successful content marketing includes:

  1. Originality
  2. Relevance
  3. Interest
  4. Visuals
  5. Call-to-Action

When your message incorporates the five things listed above, it has a MUCH better chance at being successful at attracting new clients and retaining current ones. Content is the present and future of marketing, and learning how to do it effectively will garner impressive results.


*If you’re interested in having fun, energetic, and informative blogs written for YOU by Fresh + Fit Vancouver writers, click HERE.

(Hint: This is a call-to-action.)