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Aug 17 2017

4 Things I’ve learned about small business blogging

I frequently participate in forums on Alignable, asking and answering marketing questions. I occasionally bring bits of the forum here to the blog. Today, I’ll be expanding on an answer I gave to a print company about setting up a business blog. 

How can i start a daily blog related to my business and products? should i just do it on Facebook and use my business page as the “blog” or should i create an actual new site for the blog, then share that link on my Facebook/LinkedIn business page?

Like many others, I would recommend integrating the blog with your actual website. If you don’t have a website, or you are looking to revamp, WordPress and Wix are easy to use, very affordable (sometimes free) and have blog integrations. Our current blog and website are set up on WordPress and I love it. It’s very versatile and if you have a bit of time to learn, or a bit of money to hire a professional, you can do some really stuff.

And yes, you definitely need to be sharing your blog posts on social media. You can set it up so that when you publish a post it automatically goes to social channels, but I also recommend manually posting to increase visibility and engagement.

I blog for a print company and have a few additional insights to share.

1) It takes quite a while to see ROI on a blog. I was blogging regularly for about 3 years before I started to see it make any difference.

2) Most likely you will burn out trying to do a daily blog, especially if you have a lot of other responsibilities in the company. I recommend starting with once a week, or once every other week.

3) Pinterest has been the most effective social media platform for promoting our blog. I always put a picture with every post and then put that picture on Pinterest and often get at least 1-2 clicks to our website.

4) In addition to blogging educational articles, I blog about new products with pictures included. I use a lot of key words in these articles and this has really increased our visibility. Many people who call us from the website do so because they saw one of the product articles. 

Aug 07 2017

Back to School, Back to Marketing

The summer is already coming to an end. Time to pack up the beach gear, get out the school supplies, and get back on a regular marketing schedule. These back to school postcards are a great way to connect with your geographic farm or social list. Your clients are getting back into a routine, time to get back on their radar!

Download Back To School Order Form. Fill it out and email it to info@onestepservices.com

 

Jul 13 2017

Successes and failures of our first Twitter contest

I just ran @OneStepServices first Twitter contest and thought I’d share my thoughts and findings while they are fresh in my mind.

The Contest

The contest was super simple. Every time someone retweeted us, they’d be entered to win a $10 Starbucks gift card. I planned ahead and made sure I could just email the gift card, since I didn’t want to deal with actually purchasing and mailing one. The contest lasted one hour, from 12-1pm. I used #RTtoWin

During that hour, I was on Twitter the entire time. I was retweeting others, posting lots of original tweets, liking tweets. No real strategy here, just spent an hour being engaged in the community.

The Results

I only had 1 person retweet within the allotted hour. I did, however, get 15 new followers. This took our overall following up to 500 which was exciting for me. Many of those followers were other marketing companies, which is good for networking, not so good for making money. But two were potential clients. I made sure to follow those two back and add them to lists to make it easier to stay engaged with them.

Our impressions also increased significantly. The day before, our tweets were getting about 465 impressions. During the contest, they were getting 1,359 impressions. That’s an almost 300% increase. Not too shabby.

The Conclusion

I think simply engaging in the community for an hour straight was more effective than the contest itself. While I don’t think it would be worth it to do this every day, I definitely see value in doing it once or twice a week.

I’ve gotten pretty good at using effective hashtags that get the attention of our target audience. I will continue to use those AND increase the use of photos. Readers, I didn’t use a single photo until 45 minutes into the contest. HUGE FAIL! I should have been tweeting photos from the beginning.

What I’ll do better next time

I think I need to give the contest a little more time. Perhaps a 12-5pm time frame. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try the morning. But I definitely don’t think an hour was enough. I also think I need to promote the contest ahead of time and create a unique hashtag to pique the interest of our followers.

I’m about to read an article from my favorite social media marketing gurus, Social Media Examiner, about how to effectively run a Twitter contest. I’m sure they will give me some more ideas of ways to improve next time. I plan on holding another contest next week so stay tuned!

Jul 10 2017

Direct Mail postcards for expired listings

Are you a real estate agent going after expired listings? Check our latest batch of content ready postcards, with postcards aimed specifically at owners of expired listings. Let them know that you have the tools and expertise needed to get that home sold.

Download Expired Listings Postcard Order Form

Not going after expireds? Not a problem. We also have a new traditional listings lead generation postcard. This “Choose Your Selling Adventure” postcard shows people that regardless of their situation, they need to give you a call!

Download  Choose Your Selling Adventure Postcard Order Form

 

Jun 30 2017

Summer direct mail postcards for real estate agents

Summer is in full swing! And we know the beach is calling your name and you’re finding it hard to choose work over Pina Coladas, but it’s so important to keep marketing and prospecting even during the slower summer months. Our content ready postcards make it so easy. Just pick one, give us your info, and we’ll plug it in and mail it on your behalf. So go ahead, download an order form and submit it, then take a well deserved lounge by the pool.

Download the Pool Tips + Whats Your Next Move OSS Order Form

postcard marketing direct mail postcards

 

Download the Summer Bucket Order Form

 

Download the 4 Reasons and Navigate Order Form

Download the Summer BBQ Order Form

 

Download the HighDemand+SecureHome_OSS-OrderForm

direct mail summer postcards

 

Jun 28 2017

4 direct mail contests for real estate agents, small business and nonprofits

Contests are a great way to engage your audience. Whether you are trying make connections with current clientele, or you are trying to build a list of potentials, a contest is a fun way to get people to notice your brand and take action. Of course, there are hundreds of different types of contests. Below I’ve detailed the four most popular contests you can easily run through direct mail.

Coloring Contest
Audience: Typically families. Usually kids will want to do the coloring but you need the parents to give permission and fill out the entry form.
Execution: You mail a coloring page with an attached submission form that asks for basic contact information. Participants can make the form back or drop it off at a predetermined location. You pick the winner on a designated date. Typically, there are a few different winners, one for each age group. You can mail the prize or drop it off. Do not make the recipients claim the prize. The idea is to make entering and redeeming as easy as possible.
Your Benefit: You can collect contact information for leads and follow up with emails and/or phone calls.

Drawing/Raffle
Audience: Anyone
Execution: This is a very popular one with our real estate clients. They mail out a flyer that details the prize, which is large and relevant to motivate participation. $500 gift cards to theme parks, grocery stores, and home improvement stores are common. The flyer also has a tear off portion that asks for contact information and also asks for a bit more information about the participant (are they interested in selling, do they want a free market update, etc). Participants can mail the tear off portion back, or drop it off at a local office
Your Benefit: You get more information about people on your mailing list, which you can use for follow up emails and phone calls.

Scratchers
Audience: Anyone
Execution: My son subscribes to a children’s magazine. On one edition, he received a postcard with three spaces to scratch off. He did so, and won a small prize which he claimed by mailing the postcard back to the magazine company. This contest works well if you have a lot of small prizes to give away. If you have many winners, you’ll get lots of great response but you have to be sure you’ve got enough prizes and an inexpensive way to get them to the participants.
Your Benefit: You can take the opportunity to gather more information, or keep it simple and just engage your audience in a positive way that builds brand trust and recognition.

Mystery Envelope
Audience: People that live near your brick and mortar business.
Execution: I’ve seen this one done at restaurants a lot, but it could work for any brick and mortar business. Send participants a scratcher or sealed envelope. Assure them that there is a prize voucher inside but that they have to open or scratch it off in the store in order to redeem. Make sure the prize is something they can use while in the store that day, like a discount or free product.
Your Benefit: Brings people into your store and motivates them to purchase that day. You don’t have to pay for return postage.

One Step can help facilitate any of these contests for you by designing, printing and mailing the entry forms. Just give us a call at 949-587-5301 or email info@onestepservices.com to get started.

Jun 22 2017

Stay top of mind with these summer real estate postcards

Download the Pool Tips + Whats Your Next Move OSS Order Form

Share important pool safety tips in with this postcard, which also has a strong call to action on the back. Postcards like this are important for building trust and staying top of mind with owners who aren’t ready to sell right now.

direct mail postcards

You don’t want people calling any real estate agent, you want them calling you! This lead generation postcard tells homeowners why you are the most qualified agent to sell their home.

postcard marketing

Jun 06 2017

Tip Tuesday: What NOT to post to your business social media profiles

Our lives are lived online. We post the mundane details and the life changing events. But, there is such a thing as oversharing, particularly on your business page. Posting certain things could jeopardize the safety of you and your family, unnecessarily upset a lot of followers, or detract from your main brand message. Here are a couple tips on what you should keep off your business social pages.

  • Personal details. Things like where your kids go to school, where you live, the fact that you eat at the same breakfast spot every Thursday, should all be kept OFF of your business page. You don’t know who is monitoring your activity and may want to use that information to harm you and your family.
  • Vacation details. Don’t post when you are going on vacation or where. If necessary, Avoid posting pictures until after you are back. Believe it or not, there are people who track when people go on vacation so they can rob them.
  • Strong political or religious views. Occasionally something may come up in the news that is political or religious in nature but also directly related to your business or industry. In that instance, it may be good to comment in a moderate, rational manner to open up a discussion amongst your followers. But most of the time, your opinions about religion and politics are better left offline. No need to frustrate or annoy customers over something not even related to your business.
  • Your net worth. Most people are not posting a specific number of their net worth. But all those pictures of your new car, new jewelry, kitchen remodel, vacations, etc speak volumes about what you’re worth. Again, robbery and identity theft are big concerns here. You don’t want to make yourself a target.

BONUS TIP

  • Watch what others are posting about you on Facebook. This only applies to your personal FB profile, but you can set up filters so that nothing gets posted to your timeline without your consent. And on any social media channel, if someone posts to their profile something about you that makes you feel uncomfortable, ask them to take it down.

Have you ever posted something to your business profile that you later regretted? Let us learn from your mistakes, share in the comments below.

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Jun 06 2017

Direct Mail Postcards: Summer Bucket List

School’s out and parents are looking for activities. Be a helpful resource with this Summer Bucket List postcard. Choose your county and we’ll provide 5 county specific activities. Or, if you have your own activities, we can plug those in as well.

These postcards are great “sticky pieces” meaning they are likely to stay in recipients’ hands for a while, giving your name and brand repeat exposure.

Download Summer Bucket Order Form

 

May 25 2017

Cool your jets: How one encounter can change your client’s perception

About a year and a half ago, my husband and I switched mobile carriers. We did it primarily to save money, as the one we were with was getting crazy expensive. We knew that coverage wouldn’t be as great, but we aren’t world travelers. So as long as we could text and surf the web within the 15 mile radius in which we live our lives, we didn’t care. We wanted to save money.

The actual plan was significantly cheaper. The phones, however, were not. And by the time you added phone payments, and taxes and services, our monthly payments were the same. This was not properly explained to me at the time of signup. Nor was it properly explained to me that at the end of our 18 month “lease” we would still owe quite a bit of money on our phones. On top of that, our data connection was poor and our phones consistently dropped calls even at our house. These little surprises made me angry, to say the least. But after a couple fruitless calls to customer service, I eventually just gave up trying to get solutions.

I read just the other day that it’s not the customers that are complaining that you need to be worried about, it’s the customers that aren’t saying anything. This is 100% true. I never even talked to a rep about the bad connections because I was so peeved at them for scamming me on price. I just wanted to pay off the phones and switch back to my original carrier. And that’s exactly what I would have done. Except…

Today I had to call customer service. And I was lit. The woman on the other end was very professional. She listened to my complaints. Some she was able to resolve, others she explained more thoroughly so they weren’t AS annoying as I had thought. She brought my anger down from a 9 to a 5 (since the insanity that was the 2016 presidential election, I can’t seem to get it down below that). I don’t love our current carrier. I’m not going to start recommending them to all my friends. But one interaction with a competent customer service rep got me to rethink my decision to leave, at least for the time being.

Readers, do not underestimate the power of one positive connection with a client. Every time you pick up the phone, send an email or type a text, assume that THAT is the interaction that could make or break the relationship with that customer. Also, keep an eye on those silent customers. The ones who aren’t interacting with your brand at all, who are placing fewer orders, who aren’t recommending you the way other clients do. Reach out to them and find out what you can do to turn them into brand enthusiasts.

Have you ever had an encounter with customer service or an account rep completely change your view of a company? Tell us the story in the comments below.

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