MNCTA Recap: Online Marketing Q&A
The team at Esultants enjoyed getting to talk to you—together and individually—about how to use online marketing tools to reach your new and existing customers.
As promised, we have compiled your questions from the conference with our answers and resources. Our mission at Esultants is to help each of our clients with individual online marketing plans. We hope we can do the same for you!
What should I do about all the phone calls from Google?
Phone calls claiming to be from Google are almost always scams. Remember that Google will never charge for inclusion on Google Business or search results, offer to improve your ranking or profile, or ask for your password or verification code. Be cautious anytime someone asks for your personal information on the phone.
How do I add seasonal hours to my Google Business page?
Accurate open hours ensure potential customers know exactly when to visit you. However, keeping hours up-to-date is tricky for seasonal businesses.
When you are in season, add your daily hours to your Google Business. You can also set special hours for holidays and events. When your selling season is over, remove your open hours so that your hours appear unset. Do not mark your business as closed during the off-season; this will display the "Permanently Closed" message on your Google Business profile.
You can also list your opening and closing dates on the home page of your website to avoid any confusion.
Does email marketing work for tree farms?
Email marketing allows you to send branded emails to your audience. Because email is inexpensive and has a high ROI, nearly every industry uses it to some extent. However, high competition means that not all businesses are successful. The number one reason people unsubscribe from email lists is from receiving too many emails, most of which aren't interesting or useful to them.
The Christmas tree farm industry has an advantage in email marketing because it is seasonal and personal. If you send a couple emails a month during November and December, your customers won't get tired of you. Just be sure to offer value in every email! Send an email announcing your opening date with a picture of your crew, or send an exclusive 10% off coupon.
What tools can I use to start email marketing?
If your site was built with LiveEdit, you already have email marketing built into your website (learn LiveEdit's email marketing platform). If you are using another website developer, we recommend MailChimp as a free, easy-to-use email program.
How do I stay relevant on Facebook versus my website?
Social media relies on more frequent updates than your website. We recommend posting on Facebook once a week as a minimum and once or twice a day as maximum during the Christmas season. For your website, adding or revising content seasonally (every 3-6 months) is sufficient. Sign up for our newsletter to receive our Countdown to Christmas online marketing checklist in late summer.
How do I optimize my website for Alexa and other voice search tools?
Alexa uses many of the same ranking factors as Google. Alexa measures daily visitors and pageviews, engaging content, high-quality inbound links, and relevant keywords -- all of which can be tested with a full SEO Report and Site Audit. However, Alexa and other voice search tools rely on website accessibility to help users navigate the sites they select. Optimizing images and internal links are the best way to keep voice search users on your website.
What does website accessibility mean? What disabilities should I be aware of while optimizing my website?
The goal of accessibility is to allow people of all ability levels to access your website. This means being screen reader friendly for blind or visually impaired users, and making all audio elements of your website available in text form for users who may be deaf or hearing impaired. When we make a website accessible, we focus on the following areas:
Closed captions for videos allow deaf users to access all the audio content in the video.
Pictures on your site should have alternative text so screen readers can communicate the image description to blind or visually impaired users.
Screen readers can't read text within an image, so having text-based links allows the blind and visually impaired to know the link's destination.
Some users may not be able to use a mouse, so your site needs to be easy to navigate using keyboard functions.
How much does a website really cost over time?
A website is like a physical business. You have to pay for a domain name (like registering your business name), hosting (like rent), and development (websites are built and remodeled like a shop). Some small businesses hobble together a combination of the cheapest options of each. The problem with that, besides low-quality, is remembering to renew with each of those providers.
Websites don't have to break the bank. If you get it set up correctly the first time, your website can actually be extremely cost-effective. We have found from clients who have switched to us from other providers, the high maintenance costs are what became overwhelming. A benefit of working with Esultants is that we utilize a secure content management system while emphasizing training and support, so you can make changes yourself and save money—if you’re willing to use your time that way. We don’t force you to be dependent on us for all your ongoing maintenance.
I still have so many unanswered questions!
No Q&A session would be long enough to answer every possible question about marketing businesses online. That's why we have a regular blog and email newsletter to keep our friends and clients updated on the latest website and social media best practices. You can also ask us your specific questions online!
—The Esultants Team
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Online Marketing Newsletter
We offer online marketing tips in our monthly email newsletter. Sign up to receive our Countdown to Christmas online marketing checklist in late summer.