Drive More Business With Pokémon Go

So you’ve heard all of the buzz about the new Pokémon Go app, or you’ve seen all of the people staring at their phone screens and promptly running towards non-existing objects. However, not all of us were born in the 90’s and grew up with Pokémon to know just how big this phenomenon is. So we are here to fill you in on all the fun and offer you ways to capitalize on this movement and benefit your business without too much time and/or money.

What is Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is a mobile application that allows users to interact in virtual reality. The ultimate goal of the game is to catch Pokémon while using an interactive map to find the characters. Currently, these maps and locations are set by the creators of the app and cannot be changed. The game has three major features (1) hunting for Pokémon, (2) visiting Pokéstops and (3) gym battling.

How does the game work?

Hunting for Pokémon. Once users have downloaded the app, the main goal is to catch Pokémon. In order to catch them, you have to hunt for them by walking around. They can appear anywhere from on your couch, to on the bench at the park down the street.

Hunting Pokemon

Hunting Pokemon

Visiting Pokéstops. In order to catch Pokémon, you need to have Pokéballs. You toss these balls at the characters in order to catch and secure them. Pokéstops are places users can go and get more Pokéballs. These places are static and the locations are set by the creators.

Visiting Pokestops

Visiting Pokestops

Gym Battling. At level 5 of the game, you choose a team and begin battling at gyms. Gyms are locations in the game that are typically matched with real-world landmarks and larger locations. At these locations, users can battle their Pokémon against other users Pokémon.

Pokemon Gyms

Pokemon Gyms

How Can My Business Benefit From it?

It’s up to you to take the initiative to make this virtual reality game worthwhile for your business and be among the first to benefit from the latest trend. Here’s a three-step process your company can use to make the most out of Pokémon Go.

  1. Check for nearby Pokéstops or Gyms. As stated before, the location of Pokéstops, gyms and Pokémon are set by the creators on a static location map. You might be lucky enough to be at or near one of those locations. You’ll want to know this because you can use it in step three to bring the customers to you. Google Maps has some user-created Pokémon Go Maps for your reference (here is an example of the Las Vegas map), but the easiest way to know is to download the game yourself and look at your surrounding area .
  2. Bring the Pokémon to you. Although you can’t change the maps to manipulate the location of Pokémon, Pokéstops or gyms, you can drop what’s called a “Lure” to attract more Pokémon to your respective area. Lures are purchased in the in-game store and can cost as little as $1.19 per hour. Where there are Pokémon, there are Pokémon hunters which can drive a surplus of foot traffic to your store.
  3. Create a Pokémon promotion. Promotion implementation is going to be an integral part in this strategy. Use social media platforms to market the fact that you have a just dropped a lure, or you that you have a Pokéstop or Gym nearby. Using this tactic to get people in your location won’t be enough; once you have them, keep them with offers and promotions. For example, create a deal where everyone level 5 and up gets a discount on a product. You can also offer free giveaways to Pokémon hunters if they complete a small task such as post on their social media account about a Pokémon they found in your store or write a yelp review about your business.

Pokémon Go did the work by creating the app, now all you have to do is (1) check for gyms or Pokéstops near you, (2) fill your store with Pokémon and (3) offer a promotion or giveaway event. They did the hard stuff, so sit back, relax and reap the rewards. Who knew a simple game could have so much influence or not only its users, but on businesses alike?

4 Steps to Advertising on Twitter Effectively

Interested in advertising on Twitter but intimidated by all of the options available to you and unsure where to start? Fear not – setting up advertising on Twitter is fast, simple, and can be completed in 4 easy steps:

Step 1: Select Your Campaign Objective

Go to Twitter Ads to get started. The below screenshot will be what you see first:

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You have a few different options for campaigns on Twitter – it all depends on what your end goal is. As you can see below, all you have to do is choose one of the campaign objectives and you’ll be directed to the next screen.

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The “Set up your campaign” screen is where you’ll enter the name of your new campaign. For the purpose of this article, we’ll go with “Website Clicks”:

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You can either choose to have your ad begin running immediately and continuously or you can set a start & end date. This all depends on your budget and what you are comfortable spending.

Step 2: Select Your Target Audience

On the next screen, begin by selecting the age, gender, and location of the people you want to advertise to. You can even narrow it down further by targeting what languages they speak, what device they are most likely be scrolling through Twitter on, what events they’re attending, and even the TV shows or networks they’re watching. You can also create ‘Tailored Audiences’ where you can target a demographic using their email addresses or even their Twitter IDs.

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As magical as it is having all of these customizable fields at your fingertips, try not to target too many people at once. If you target too broad of an audience with one campaign, you won’t have any idea what worked and what didn’t because it was all jumbled together. The best way to advertise effectively is to just choose one very specific group of people for each campaign and analyze the results afterwards so you know which audience is most likely to respond to your ads the next time around.

Step 3: Set Your Budget

The next step is selecting a budget that you’re comfortable with but that will also yield the desired results. You’ll need to set a daily maximum spend for your campaign (which resets at midnight) and we recommend also setting a maximum budget for the entire life of the campaign. This just means that Twitter will stop running the ads the second your campaign reaches this number.

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You’ll notice the “Advanced Options” drop-down menu underneath the “Set a total budget” field. There are 3 choices available to you in this menu: Automatic bid, target cost & maximum bid. This is referring to the fact that each time one of your ads is eligible to be shown on Twitter, it goes up against the other eligible ads (aka your competitors) and an auction takes place. If your bid isn’t high enough to beat the other advertisers, your ads will not appear as often as your competitors’.

Advertising with the automatic bid option means Twitter will optimize each of your ads for the lowest amount possible while staying within your budget. There isn’t a lot of control with this option and there’s a good chance you could get out-bid each time.

With the target cost option, you give Twitter a target cost (ex: $3 per link click) and they will typically stay within 20% of this target while trying to win you the auction. What’s great about this option is that it’s flexible enough that you have a greater chance of winning auctions against other bidders. Plus, Twitter will even tell you what other advertisers are bidding at so you’re not just taking a shot in the dark.

The maximum bid option is similar to the target cost option, but it has less flexibility. For this option, you set a maximum bid (ex.: $2 per link click) and Twitter will never exceed that number in the bidding process and you usually end up paying less. Twitter will also tell you what other advertisers are bidding for this option as well.

Ultimately, it depends on what your budget is and what you’re comfortable spending, but we recommend either the maximum bid or the target cost option. You may be inclined to go with the cheapest option, but if it is less likely to achieve your advertising goals right from the start is it really worth it?

Step 4: Choose Your Creative

You’re almost done – you’re at the finish line! Now you get to choose what image your audience will see and what message you want to put out there. This will depend on what your goal is, but for now let’s stick with our “Website Clicks” objective. You can choose to promote a previous Tweet or create a new one – we recommend always creating new content to keep potential customers interested.

As you can see from the example below, you can either use a “Website Card” (that just means an image with your message and a call to action) or you can just send a message with a call to action.

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We recommend always using an image in your ad – it’s the same cost as just a normal Tweet and has twice the impact. Below is an example of how your ad will appear to your customers:

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These ads will appear mostly at the top of user timelines, but also at the top of relevant search results and user profiles (only select user profiles that fit the targeting parameters).

That’s it! You’ve done it. You’ve officially set up your first advertising campaign on Twitter. Be sure to utilize Twitter’s handy Analytics tool to keep an eye on the results so you are continually creating effective advertising campaigns.

The Importance of Online Reviews

If you’ve ever shopped online, chances are that you’ve seen and considered reviews for merchants you shop with and products that you’ve browsed. Customers prefer real testimonials to marketing fluff, so it’s no surprise that reviews are the fastest growing social marketing tool for online stores. According to a 2012 study, almost 33% of shoppers trust reviews over a particular brand or its marketing. If you’re considering adding reviews to your website or online store, there are a few things you should know.

Online reviews are a becoming a big factor in determining your placement in search and shopping results. Total number of reviews, review quality and length, and trust of your review platform all play a big role. A 2013 study reported that almost 85% of users considered reviews before visiting a new restaurant, hiring a contractor, or making a major purchase, so it’s no wonder that search engines take reviews into account more than in the past.

In general, there are 3 different types of reviews.

Merchant reviews are a measure of trust in your business in general. When someone fills out a merchant review, they’re reviewing your customer service, shipping time, and overall quality of shopping experience. Merchant reviews are powerful incentives to trust your brand.

Product reviews rate the quality of individual products. Product reviews help build trust in the particular brand of a product, and allow customers to read personal stories from other buyers who’ve used that product, as well as share those reviews on social media. In fact, 42% of all Amazon customers have left product reviews, and products with postiive review have sold 200% more than those with no ratings. The best and most trusted review programs only allow reviews from someone who has actually bought that product.

Local Reviews are reviews you collect either in your physical business location or on the go (using a tablet or phone, for instance). You can then syndicate that review to many online lists and social media platforms to get you the most exposure available when someone searches your business.

While you can always install a simple review plugin or use whatever comes built-in with your e-commerce platform of choice, it’s far better to have reviews collected by a Google and/or Microsoft approved third-party review company. Those reviews are guaranteed to be from actual customers, which means they can’t be faked. Depending on who is collecting your reviews, can be used to boost your visibility and attractiveness in Google Adwords, Google Shopping, Yahoo and Bing ad networks.

We’ve found Shopper Approved to be the best review company overall. Their prices are highly competitive and their customer service is top notch. Their review management tools are easy to use, and they’re one of the most trusted names in the business. Shopper Approved collected 70% more review and are historically more visible on search engines than their competitors. Most importantly, their ratings are fed to Google so shoppers will see your review stars when browsing Google shopping.

Want to get started with reviews for your website or online store today? VenturaU can set you up with a 30-day free trial of Shopper Approved. For more information, contact us today.

Using Social Media to Your Advantage

Understanding and taking advantage of the benefit of social media is crucial to any e-commerce marketing strategy.  Knowing where to start with social media can be intimidating, but it’s really not so bad once you understand the basics.

Let’s take a look at the top 4:

Facebook. Using Facebook is probably one of the most effective ways to advertise online today. Not only can you specifically target custom audiences that will benefit your business, you can target their friends as well. This means the net you can cast to boost your sales can be as large as you want it to be – think of it as word of mouth via the web. Currently, Facebook has over 1.15 billion users. Think about how many potential customers that could mean for your business, and the power to reach all of them is literally at your fingertips! Advertising on Facebook is easy, relatively cheap, and fast. Your ads become live the second they are approved, and in most cases this means the same day you submit them. Targeted advertising has never been so simple.

 
Twitter. Having a presence on Twitter is less important than being on Facebook, but it’s still crucial. It’s an easy way to share articles, promotions, links, etc. that directly relate to your business. You’re not limited to followers or people liking your page. You are able to get your promotions out to the entire Twitter community simply by posting a few words and a few hashtags. Most of the users on Twitter that follow companies or brands do it to get access to exclusive content; this gives you the upperhand in being able to give out “exclusive discounts” for your Twitter followers, it encourages loyalty to your brand. Plus, Twitter offers analytics that allow you to analyze your Tweets and understand exactly what it is your followers are looking for.

 
Instagram. Instagram is obviously image based – which is great news for you! Images are the quickest way to get your message across almost instantaneously. Post colorful graphics promoting a sale, photos of products, coupon codes… as long as it’s eye-catching, the users on Instagram will respond, tag their friends, and spread word of your business far & wide. Advertising on Instagram is simple – you can use the Ads Manager on Facebook and control both your Facebook & Instagram ads in one place. This simplifies the task of coordinating your promotions and enables you to advertise on two platforms in one convenient place. In addition to convenience, it’s been proven advertisers on Instagram are seeing results thanks to Instagram’s Advertising Solutions which include but are not limited to Clicks to Website, Website Conversions, Page Post Engagement, and more. Oh, and #DontForgetTheHashtags.

 

Pinterest. Let’s not forget about this one. Pinterest is frequented by such a diverse user base it’s a great place to get your message out to more than one type of audience. Since Pinterest is category based, this gives you the opportunity to organize the different products/services you offer into specific boards so they are easier for your customers to find. What’s great about Pinterest is that every pin you post has a link that leads back to the source of the image, which means users are only one or two clicks away from being on your site. The average lifespan of a pin is 3 months, which is 1,000 times longer than Facebook or Twitter, so Pinterest makes it much easier for users to find you and your products. It’s great for boosting inbound clicks, keeping your content fresh, and since keywords are crucial it’s excellent for SEO.

 
Still feel intimidated? That’s where we come in. VenturaU specializes in marketing & social media presence. We can help you get yours started or help you improve your existing one – either way, we want to help! Contact us today to see what we can do for you.