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Reaching Out to Your Community

Reaching Out to Your Community

If you're a local business, you want your community to be on board with your efforts. That's just common sense.

But what's also common sense is the other side of that equation: You have to be on-board with your community, too. It's not enough to cross your fingers and hope new customers will walk in the door. You've got to work hard to be a community participant and give back if you want the relationship to work both ways.

So what are some simple ways to reach out to your community? Here are just a few.

1. Use your social media for the greater good

When you can share important community information (like health events, non-profit fundraisers, and community celebrations), you take the spotlight you've created with your social media presence and shine it on others.

Make yourself known as a community resource. It's as simple as sharing a Facebook post or retweeting others every now and then.

2. Be a local expert

Find ways to share your knowledge with the community to position yourself as the local expert. That might mean speaking to civic groups, appearing on local radio shows, or writing a regular column for a local newspaper or magazine.

While they require a little extra time and effort, these activities are helpful for your fellow neighbors and build name recognition for you and your brand.

3. Partner up

You can reach new audiences when you partner up with a local business or organization. Maybe you co-host an in-store fundraiser, or you provide the food and drink and a community art event. Any time you can get your foot in the door and meet new faces, both parties reap the benefits.

You can keep your investment low while still seeing a large positive impact.

4. Lend a hand

If your business thrives on referrals, look for ways you can build trust with your community by being an active participant. Coach a soccer team. Lead a civic group. Join a book club.

Not only will you get some enjoyment out of it, but you'll form new relationships with families and peers alike.

Being a beacon to the community means people grow to feel a source of pride when associated with your business. You become a trusted friend and well-known name throughout the area. Give it a try, and see how it impacts your business relationships.


How to Take Content Marketing Offline

How to Take Content Marketing Offline

So, say you've created an excellent content marketing strategy. Your blog posts are insightful, your social media is engaging, you're offering free materials in exchange for a reader's email address, and you're collecting more leads than ever before. Well done.

But now that you've created this beautiful marketing machine, have you considered taking some of those materials and using them offline? As in, sharing your resources directly with an audience in real life?

You can repackage your content marketing materials and present them in a whole new light when your audience is sitting in front of you.

Here's how:

1. Take lunch meetings

Have a potential client or two that's still on the fence about working with you?

If the distance isn't too far, make the reach and offer to sit down in person with him/her to go over how you could work together. This is an opportunity to educate the client(s) by sharing some of the information you've included in your content marketing. Since an on the fence client is in the midpoint of the sales funnel, work from that stage in your content marketing plan to help encourage them to follow through.

2. Be a Public Speaker

Have you found an opportunity for you to share your expertise? Then go for it.

Speaking at conferences, meetings, and in front of organizations helps you share the knowledge you've collected from your industry and also positions you as an expert. Later, when someone at one of those speaking engagements needs experience in your unique industry, they'll think of you.

3. Teach

One of the most powerful ways you can share your knowledge is to actually go out and teach it to others. Now, you don't have to give away all of your trade secrets. But pull from the material in that great eBook you put together or spend some time training people how to use a handy tool you've created. Often times, there are associations, local colleges, and clubs who would love to have you come share your expertise.

4. Offer Consulting Sessions

Sometimes a client doesn't need your help on an ongoing basis. They really just want to pick your brain. This could be a time when you provide an in-depth walk through of a content marketing piece, or even a time to build a strategy together. By offering in person consulting sessions for 1-3 hours, you're creating an opportunity for both parties to get what they need. You charge an hourly rate, and they get only the information they're after. No frills, no fuss.

Your content marketing materials can still be impactful outside their natural habitat. All you have to do is put them to work.

5 Predicitions for 2015

5 Predicitions for 2015

You've probably read a post or two that recaps the past year (yes, we did one of those, too.) But now that it's 2015, it's time to start looking ahead instead of behind.

It's time to make plans, to get prepared for the future, and to build a strategy that helps make this year more successful than the last.

None of us can see the future, but we can make some predictions that will help guide our paths based on trends, new areas seeing growth, and by evaluating what works (as well as what doesn't anymore.)

Here are a few of our predictions for marketing in 2015:

1. Paid Advertising on Social Media

Facebook has already jumped into paid advertising with both feet and even announced that in 2015, business pages will pretty much have to pay if they want their promotional materials to be seen by, well, anyone. The good news is Facebook's advertising platform has improved dramatically over the past year and enables pages to target users better than ever before.

But you can expect to see this trend continue to grow on other platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, too. As all of these social networks find their footing with revenue-generating opportunities, advertising seems to be the first area they'll push.

2. More Copywriting, More Content

Content Marketing is no longer just for the early adopters. Everyone is doing it, and if you're still not, it's time to get on board. 2015 should be a year in which you regularly publish valuable blog content, create lead generators (like free eBooks, templates, checklists, etc.) and start collecting email addresses so you can stay in touch with your audience and help them through the sales funnel.

3. Video, Video, Video

Online video is quickly becoming one of the most powerful marketing tools throughout social media. Old and new platforms like Vine, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and many others are making video creation easier than ever. And since video combines both audio and visual elements, you can communicate a powerful, concise message in just a few seconds.

4. Influencer Collaboration

One of the most popular ways to expand the reach of any marketing effort is to partner with a powerful, relevant voice within your target community. Whether that means collaborating with a popular blogger, YouTuber, or Podcaster, finding ways to connect with new audiences starts in this arena.

5. The Growing Importance of Design

Design has always been important, but now it's becoming critical to businesses' success. The everyday consumer is valuing it and taking it into consideration when make purchases or signing up for products. A recent study found that design was a reason that 46% of people trusted a website. If you have a website, marketing materials, or social media presence, it may be time to refresh the look.

As you look forward into 2015, think about the areas you can surge ahead and get on board with new strategies before your competitors. Don't rush it, but do your homework and see how you can thoughtfully transition into new territory.

What would you add to this list? Send us your suggestions at @wearelumen on Twitter.