The Complete Guide To Maryland Payroll

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The Step-By-Step Guide To Building A Website With Weebly

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Need A New Business Idea? Key Stats About 5 Industries That Are Booming Because Of COVID

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How To Choose The Best Ecommerce Website Builder for Small Business

This post originally appeared at How To Choose The Best Ecommerce Website Builder for Small Business via ShivarWeb

How To Choose The Best E-Commerce Website Builder for Small Business

Choosing the best e-commerce website builder for a small business can be challenging, especially when you consider the variety of options available. By doing a little reading and research before committing to a website builder, you can make the best possible choice for your small business.

Summary – Best Website Builder if you want…

Based on my experience working with many website builders, there are a few that are a good fit for most people. They all have free trials available.

  • Simple Ecommerce
  • Quick Setup
  • Focus on Simplicity
  • Small Site Appeal

Weebly

Weebly
View Plans
  • Robust Ecommerce
  • Full Platform
  • Focus on Features
  • Ecommerce Appeal

Shopify

View Plans
  • Lots of Options
  • Drag & Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Broad Appeal

Wix

Wix
View Plans

Focused on something specific?

WooCommerce is a plugin / plan for WordPress that has some learning curve, but also infinite versatility for content-heavy for business websites. (see review). View plans.

We’ll discuss all of the factors you need to consider when choosing an e-commerce website, including what features to look for from a website builder. And after you’ve perused our tips and tricks, you’ll be able to confidently select the best e-commerce website builder for you and your business.

Primary Considerations

To help you come away with the best possible chance at finding the e-commerce site builder that works for you, we’ve provided an in-depth look at everything you may need to think about before laying claim to a domain.

Inventory

Not all website builders allow users to host an unlimited amount of products. Some have inventory maximums that can potentially limit a business’s commerce.

Understanding how many (and what kinds) products you can advertise on your website can help you choose an ecommerce builder that works best for your business.

If you work with a small amount of inventory, or products that are constantly changing, you may not necessarily benefit from using a website builder that offers infinite inventory options. However, if you intend to list hundreds of items (or more), springing for the unrestricted inventory space can be a massively beneficial move.

Because website builders often offer multiple pricing plans, you may be able to select the precise features that work best for you and your business without spending extra on unwanted functions or apps. 

Always be sure to check for inventory limits on your favorite building plans, and while you’re there, also check commission fees.

Commission

Some ecommerce website builders may charge commission fees on products sold online, typically at a percentage of the total cost of the item. Though this is a small price to pay, it does accumulate over time, especially for businesses that find sudden or rapid success. 

Business owners hoping to diminish profit losses of any size or amount may want to choose a website builder that charges zero or minimal commission on sold goods and items. Of course, it’s worth mentioning that the cost of commission is negligible when compared to other types of common costs, including shipping and handling.

Still, it is crucial to be aware of potential commission losses when deciding on a website builder. It’s also essential to become familiar with different pricing plans.

Price

The cost to own and run an e-commerce site varies based on the exact services provided. Many website builders offer a wide range of potential plans, each with a monthly or annual price. The free or low-cost plans tend to be the most basic and feature the fewest options, templates, or capabilities. 

However, that doesn’t mean that a basic e-commerce site isn’t a valid option. The perfect e-commerce website builder for you is one that meets your needs, doesn’t go over budget, and allows for future expansion. When it comes to pricing, it’s often better to start with the less costly, simpler plans.

You can always choose to upgrade to a more comprehensive plan in the future, and you won’t be paying extra for features you don’t want or need. Besides, starting with a low-price plan allows you a little time to try a website builder. 

You could have a feature-packed, unlimited inventory, affordable builder but not understand how to use it. Having a little time to practice with a site builder can help you discover how right it might be for you and your business. This can prevent ease-of-use issues that might develop later on down the line.

Ease of Use

An ecommerce website builder that is confusing or difficult to master can feel endlessly frustrating. If you’re not comfortable with a builder’s design or user interface, you may end up needing to hire a web designer to help you finish your site. This is an additional cost that can help you arrive at a better final product, but it’s not completely necessary.

The best e-commerce website builders for small businesses are easy enough for anyone to learn and use. They don’t require excessive HTML knowledge or design experience. If your preferred website builder is giving you a headache every time you attempt to work with it, it’s probably time to consider a different service.

Trial Usage

Some website builders allow users to experience a free trial period, while others are a little less accommodating. If you’re new to e-commerce website building, it may be helpful to try several ecommerce builders and see which one works best for you

Trial periods typically last anywhere between seven days and a full month. Most allow users to explore basic features or plans, with the option to upgrade to a more comprehensive range or plan in the future. Choosing to engage in trials can ensure that you invest in the best e-commerce website builder for your small business.

Secondary Considerations

In addition to the factors laid out above, there are also a few features to keep in mind while browsing through e-commerce website builders. Inventory options and commission percentages are vital, but it’s also wise to keep an eye out for specific, potentially helpful features. 

For example, website owners can benefit from having access to tons of templates or design options. Individuals interested in an e-commerce site can also benefit from using a website builder that allows clients and customers to utilize multiple popular payment options.

Let’s explore some of the most crucial features to look for in an e-commerce website builder. Doing so will help you decide which features to focus on, and which you can live without.

Templates

When website builders offer dozens or hundreds of design templates and options, users can customize their site and make it unique to their brand. Rather than wishing that your cookie-cutter site had a little more flair, you could quickly and easily make it yours with the help of pre-set templates and design features.

If you enjoy the creative aspect of website design and creation, you’ll definitely want to choose an e-commerce website builder that allows you to express that creativity. Some builders may also allow users to upload music (and sell it on the site), videos, and photography. 

With the right blend of media and inventory, you can attract the right clients and customers to your business. Of course, it also helps to have multiple payment options available for patrons to use. 

Payment Options

When a customer is ready to purchase a product online, they must choose among a wide range of payment options. While credit and debit cards are fantastically common and familiar, there are several other payment options that are quickly becoming just as popular. 

For example, while debit cards and major credit cards are generally accepted everywhere, alternative forms of payment like PayPal can provide greater accessibility to a wider audience. Many e-commerce sites opt for payment plans, too, so consider whether those options would be beneficial to your consumers.

Staying ahead of the curve means embracing “the new,” and website builders must stay competitive with their payment options if they’d like to attract the most customers and clients. Restricting payment options to standard debit/credit can be harmful to a small business. 

Opening up your payment options can help you reach a greater variety of customers and clients, resulting in more sales and a boost in your audience’s reach. If you’re not familiar with some of the newer payment options, you may want to reach out for a little support and guidance.

Support

When you’re building a website, you might occasionally run into a few trouble areas or issues. It’s normal to have questions or require a little technical support from time to time. 

However, not all website builders offer 24/7 assistance and chat support. Some customer and client support systems are massively lacking, resulting in slow results for both users and customers.

Choosing the best e-commerce website builder for a small business often means choosing one that offers consistent and reliable technical support. Always check to see if your preferred builder offers anytime-anyplace support, or if they require more rigid reporting to help solve issues.

Though technical support might not seem like a huge deal before you invest in a website builder, getting stuck with poor support can be a huge detriment to the site-building process. It can also lead to feelings of frustration that inhibit you from finding success online.

General Tips

Starting a website doesn’t have to be a time-consuming challenge, especially when you have the right information at your disposal. By taking the time to educate and prepare yourself before committing to a specific service or builder, you can increase your chances of success. 

The following tips and tricks may help you expedite the website building process, find the best possible e-commerce builder, and save a little money.

Compare Your Options

Before you decide on a website builder for your small business, it’s wise to take a moment and compare all potential options, their prices, and their features. Though this particular process might take a little time and forethought, it can be significantly beneficial. 

Getting to see all of your choices compared against one another may help you choose the option that is best for your budget and preferences. You can even use Excel spreadsheets to help you gather and organize your information.

Choose Zero Commission

Whenever possible, always choose the lowest commission. While this might seem like an obvious tip, it’s entirely possible to forget about commission percentages when you’re busy comparing pricing plans and additional features. 

Always double-check your preferred plan’s commission fees before making a final decision or payment. You may be thankful that you saved yourself from paying 5% of every sale toward the website builder or hostsite. Additionally, it may be wise to try as many free trials as possible before committing to a specific website builder or plan.

Try a Free Trial

If you can take advantage of a free trial, you should. Not only will you be investing zero capital to try out a potentially advantageous website builder, but you’ll also get to change your mind with absolutely no risk. Starting with a free trial can help you avoid buyer’s remorse as a result of a poor builder choice.

To make matters even sweeter, most website builders that offer free trials also allow users to upgrade those trials to full-fledged paid accounts at any time. So, if you find something that you like and you’re interested in getting a little more from it, you can turn that free trial into a long-lasting smile.

The Next Steps

Now that you’re aware of which factors to consider and what features to look for, you can select an e-commerce website builder that’s ideal for your small business. Taking the time to consider potential inventory limits, commission payments, and the long term costs associated with an e-commerce website builder can allow you to choose an outstanding-quality service.

  • Simple Ecommerce
  • Quick Setup
  • Focus on Simplicity
  • Small Site Appeal

Weebly

Weebly
View Plans
  • Robust Ecommerce
  • Full Platform
  • Focus on Features
  • Ecommerce Appeal

Shopify

View Plans
  • Lots of Options
  • Drag & Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Broad Appeal

Wix

Wix
View Plans

Focused on something specific?

WooCommerce is a plugin / plan for WordPress that has some learning curve, but also infinite versatility for content-heavy for business websites. (see review). View plans.

Choosing website builders that offer plenty of attractive templates, payment options, and customer support features can help your new site reach audiences and keep them coming back for more. 

But overall, comparing your options and trying several potential builders is one of the most effective ways to find the best service for your business.

“”

How To Build A Squarespace Website For Your Business The Easy Way

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Oregon Businesses Affected By Wildfires Can Now Apply For Federal Aid

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22+ Fitness Center & Gym Marketing Ideas To Find More Customers

This post originally appeared at 22+ Fitness Center & Gym Marketing Ideas To Find More Customers via ShivarWeb

Fitness Center & Gym Marketing Ideas To Find More Customers

Most fitness center & gym owners would agree that there’s nothing like finding a good customer. But it’s hard to find a good customer if you don’t have calls & emails coming in.

Some gyms have a location that brings in applications with nothing but a sign in the window. But for most fitness center managers, you have to go out and market your gym to get a quality pool of potential customers.

I’ve consulted on search marketing for several large, locally based business. Based on those experiences, here are some fitness center & gym marketing ideas that you can use to bring in more customers.

Create Neighborhood-Specific Website Pages

For many gym customers, city searches are too big, street searches are too small, and ZIP code searches are not relevant. Neighborhood searches are just right.

Google Suggest - Neighborhoods for Gyms

That may sound obvious, but most local businesses that I’ve worked with still don’t focus their marketing on neighborhoods. It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. But it can still be worthwhile.

If you list multiple locations on your website, simply organize them by neighborhood (i.e., make neighborhoods your category).

If you have a single gym location, create a neighborhood & next to your neighborhood pages to try to rank for “gyms in [neighborhood]” searches.

Create Niche Amenity Pages

Lots of gym customers have specific amenities and/or requirements that they want. Instead of listing your amenities in a giant list, make detailed pages about each amenity. Try to rank for searches like “gyms with [amenity]”.

You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “[city] gym with” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.

Google Suggest - Amenities for Gyms

You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.

Google Suggest - Amenities for Gyms

Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.

If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk.

Google SERPs

Create Local Data Pages

Create resource guides for people moving or visiting your city. Create lots of them.

Google SERPs

Use Google Autosuggest to understand what people are searching for in your city.

Google SERPs

Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews

You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.

But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.

First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.

Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.

You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.

Local Listings for Gyms

Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka lease applications) from Google Maps.

Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses

I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.

No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.

With fitness center & gym marketing, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries.

Note – This is where the big guys – Planet Fitness, Orange Theory, LA Fitness, etc are useful. See what they are doing in [large city] and steal their tactics.

Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.

Here’s what you’ll see.

Gym Link Building Ideas

It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.

The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.

Work with Local Blogs

Every city, no matter how small, has an interest in what’s going on. In Atlanta, where I live, we have Creative Loafing, Porch Press, Atlanta Voice, Atlanta Parent, etc.

Find those and become a regular fixture. All local blogs act on tips & press releases. Very few have a “boots on the ground” journalist. If you can be the place to provide inside information, local trends, free images, and consistent write-ups, you’ll earn attention and links.

Local Magazine with Gym Links

That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.

Your neighborhood pages, rental listings, amenity pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.

Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads

A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.

Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.

Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested customers.

You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once. Be sure to take advantage of Facebook’s Lookalike ads. You can target your *exact* customer (ie, those who like CrossFit, Jillian Michaels, etc) and live in a specific neighborhood.

Be sure to also browse Facebook’s Ad Library to get ideas for solid local gym ads.

Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads

Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best customer is someone who searches for “gyms in [neighborhood]”.

But that search click will be very costly.

But like Facebook, you have an “in” – Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.

Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.

Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads

Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.

Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.

But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.

List on Locally-Popular Review Websites

Review websites are a dime a dozen. They will send traffic to your listing. But they are expensive and require a lot of legwork.

The key is to find a few key review websites that are popular in your area – and list on those.

Gym Review Websites

You can use Google Trends, customer interviews, SEMrush, or simply looking at the Google Search Results to see who is more popular for your city / neighborhood.

List on NextDoor & Local Forums

NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising fitness center manager.

These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for gyms. NextDoor also has a new early adopter ad program.

Advertise / Post on Local Subreddits

Reddit is an attractive website for many industries. But local subreddits are especially interesting for gym owners for a couple of reasons.

First, they are hubs for local discussion & recommendations.

Second, they are the first place for people to plan a move visit to ask specific, local questions.

Now, they are decidedly non-commercial with lots of rules. You should get to know them before posting or commenting as a commercial entity.

However, you should explore their sidebar wiki for research.

You should get in touch with the moderators to listen to their rules about business posting. And you should look at running ads or giveaways there.

Post Listings w/ Photos in Instagram

Think about how you can take workout & equipment photos & repurpose them across different platforms. I don’t think you should simply post listings on every platform, but instead use photos from actual workouts and fitness equipment to create a truly interesting feed on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.

For example, suppose you have a unique piece of gym equipment. Post a tutorial on how to use it! So much gym equipment is useless to members because they don’t know how to use it. Take that opportunity to educate and help followers envision themselves in your gym space.

Develop a Local Workout Pinterest Board

Pinterest is an incredible resource for people looking to improve their lives. You can get in front of prospects with a locally-focused Pinterest board.

Use local photos, guides, etc from real workouts to provide ideas. Promote local trainers, businesses, etc.

Identify & Market Local Employers

Your customers are all working somewhere. And your prospective customers all will want a gym coming or going from their job.

Identify all the largest employers & sources of potential customers nearby. Create resource pages for those employers (especially if they are large).

Create discounts, bonuses, etc. Get in touch with those employers to see if there is a way to collaborate.

Identify & Market Local Schools & Amenities

Take what you did with local employers and do the same with local amenities and resources.

Create pages that act as resource hubs for neighborhood amenities & schools.

Identify & Market Popular Customer Sources

Take previous & existing customers and try to understand where those customers came from and how they found you.

See if there is a way to build off that success.

Cross-Promote Local Fitness Professionals

Local fitness professionals (trainers, nutritionists, sports instructors, etc) usually have an incredible offline network, but have a poor online network.

If you are investing in your online marketing efforts, try to develop a relationship to cross-promote the professionals.

Cross-Promote Local Businesses

Your customers will spend money nearby. Figure out what other businesses do well when you have 100% occupancy. Offer a way to cross-promote, especially if they have multiple locations or a presence with your target customer.

Remember that even a link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.

Use Events To Get Social Media Attention

Events like open house tours, openings, holiday showings, etc are marketing staples for gyms. But events have a bonus effect online.

You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure. Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square.

Use Video Tours To Hack Social Media

Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video tours of equipment & workout tutorials.

Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.

Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth

Referral fees are also a staple of gym marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.

Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes (i.e., access numbers), or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.

Find & Sponsor Local Charities

Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.

First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts.

Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.

Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.

Next Steps

There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for gym & fitness center owners. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.

Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.

“”

How To Calculate Shipping Costs For Your Business

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“”

How To Choose The Best Website Builder for Videographers

This post originally appeared at How To Choose The Best Website Builder for Videographers via ShivarWeb

How To Choose The Best Website Builder for Videographers

Building your website can be a tough but fulfilling part of growing your videography business. Website builders make building & maintaining a website much more accessible and convenient. But they all have tradeoffs, and videographers usually have very specific requirements.

For videographers, a website builder has to explicitly allow spaces to showcase previous work while also fitting your preferred aesthetic and giving your clients access to pricing, and other details about your work.

That means not every website builder will suit your needs.

Summary – Best Website Builder for Videographers

Based on my experience working with many website builders, there are a few that are a good fit for most people. They all have unlimited storage with native players in addition to embed tools. They all have a free trial or free plan available to try.

  • Name-brand
  • Integrated Tools
  • Focus on Templates
  • Creative Appeal

Squarespace

View Plans
  • Built-in Features
  • Drag + Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Broad Appeal

Weebly

Weebly
View Plans
  • Lots of Options
  • Future-proofing
  • Focus on Versatility
  • Content Appeal

WordPress

WordPress.com
View Plans

Need Maximum Control & Versatility?

Self-hosted WordPress has a learning curve, but also provides the most versatility, control & affordability. Learn to build a videographer website here.

Every website builder will tout itself as “the best” – and they all have options for videographers. But before doing a side by side feature comparison, I’ve found that it’s more useful to understand what you are looking for.

Every videographer runs a slightly different business. Portfolios are almost always important. But what about retail & download ability? Streaming? Embedding? Copyright considerations? Additional content & media?

Think about what you need and how you want to build your business. Here are a few primary & secondary considerations for choosing the best videography website builder for you.

Primary Considerations for a Videography Website Builder

Your website is the primary piece of brand identity potential clients will see before they decide to contact you or not. Your choices for a website builder can have a massive effect on a potential client’s first impressions. 

Type of Features

There are a lot of different types of features that can go into a videography website. But the exact features that you’ll need all depend on your business.

  • Will you be developing a website to bring in new clients?
  • Will you simply be hosting a portfolio?
  • Will you need to sell your videos to the public or stream them?
  • Will you need archive storage? Or copyright protections?
  • Will you need to gather appointment bookings?

And does it matter if you have all these features upfront or build them over time? Do you already use a 3rd party like Vimeo pro for these features or do you need more?

Type of Design

Think about how you want to design and maintain your website. There are different approaches with upsides and downsides.

Some builders start with a template but overlay a drag and drop editor. This provides convenience, but also means that your design might not be just right.

Some builders provide customizable themes that provide a uniform look, but also lock you into to a degree. And some other builders go further with defined templates. There’s usually a tradeoff between convenience and control.

If you know HTML/ CSS and feel comfortable editing your own site, then you might want to go the self-hosted route with WordPress and a WordPress website builder.

Type of Company

There are plenty of niche companies that focus on a single industry (like videography) and others that are large with resources to build out features that appeal to lots of different industries.

Neither approach is better or worse, but it’s worth considering. Do you prefer features built specifically for videographers or globally useful features that you can apply in your own way?

Secondary Considerations for a Videography Website Builder

No matter how you build your website at first, it will be an ongoing investment. It’s worth thinking through how you hope to grow your business & website over time.

Integrations

There are a lot of tools for videographers. Some are indispensable, some are convenient, and some are straight-up cheaper than any other option.

It’s worth considering whether you want an all-in-one website builder or if you want a website builder that simply integrates well with other 3rd party tools via apps, extensions, or plugins.

Are you planning on uploading, storing, and playing the video on the website builder – or will you just be embedding from a 3rd party.

Are there other 3rd party tools that you want to integrate with?

Marketing Tools

Consider what type of marketing that you are planning to do. What role does your website play? Will you need to track data or integrate 3rd party tools? Will you be doing content marketing or social media campaigns?

Budget

Your budget should be an obvious consideration, but I don’t think it should be a primary consideration. Ideally, your website should be a business investment that more than pays for itself.

But you also should not be paying more than you can or should. Outline your business expenses and where your website builder fits. It might be simpler to go with a videography tool suite like Vimeo Pro or a cheap website builder until you can build your own client base.

Next Steps

Based on my experience working with many website builders, there are a few that are a good fit for most people. They all have unlimited storage with native players in addition to embed tools. They all have a free trial or free plan available to try.

  • Name-brand
  • Integrated Tools
  • Focus on Templates
  • Creative Appeal

Squarespace

View Plans
  • Built-in Features
  • Drag + Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Broad Appeal

Weebly

Weebly
View Plans
  • Lots of Options
  • Future-proofing
  • Focus on Versatility
  • Content Appeal

WordPress

WordPress.com
View Plans

Need Maximum Control & Versatility?

Self-hosted WordPress has a learning curve, but also provides the most versatility, control & affordability. Learn to build a videographer website here.

That said, there are plenty of options out there. The most important task is to understand how you run your business and what features, design & budget you’re looking at.

“”

22+ Bank Marketing Ideas To Find More Clients

This post originally appeared at 22+ Bank Marketing Ideas To Find More Clients via ShivarWeb

Bank Marketing Ideas To Find More Clients

Most bank managers would agree that there’s nothing like finding a new client But it’s hard to find a good bank client if you don’t have account applications coming in.

Some banks have a local name brand or location that brings in new clients with nothing more than a “Submit Application” link. But for most banks (especially local banks competing against MegaCorp), you have to go out and market your bank to get a quality pool of potential clients.

I’ve consulted on search marketing with one of the largest FHLB banks in the country in addition to many local businesses. Based on those experiences, here are some bank marketing ideas that you can use to bring in more clients.

Create City-Specific Website Pages

For prospective clients, location searches are usually fraught & confusing. I’ve never seen a bank with a good Branch Locator…even though customers are searching based on their city / neighborhood.

That may sound obvious, but most financial firms that I’ve worked with still don’t focus their marketing on neighborhoods or cities. It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. But it can still be worthwhile.

If you have multiple branches, use those branch pages to rank for “bank [city / neighborhood] search. Don’t just depend on a single Branch Locator page. Build a specific page for each branch, including information about the surround area.

If you have a single branch, create a neighborhood & next to your neighborhood pages to try to rank for “bank in [neighborhood]” or “bank near me” searches.

Create Niche Offering Pages

Lots of prospective customers have specific features and/or requirements that they want from a bank. Instead of listing your offerings in a giant list, make detailed pages about each amenity. Try to rank for searches like “bank with [offering]”.

You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “[city] bank with” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.

You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.

Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.

If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk like this example for “atlanta apartments”.

This idea might be tedious. But it can be fast and scalable. You can use the same template over and over – just customize the details of the service.

Because here’s the thing – a lot of your potentially best customers are already searching out banks with these different services. But they are having to ask about them in random forums and long Google Searches.

Last week, I listened to a podcast episode about searching out banks that do house rehab refinancing loans. The podcast host gave a long tutorial about subscribing to CoreLogic and tracking down banks that did these loans…but what if the bank just had an explainer page about these loans in the local market? You’d be much better positioned to bring in these customers than putting the research work on them.

I personally chose my financial institution because they provided Health Savings Accounts – and had a clear explainer page about setting one up.

Create Local Data Pages

Create resource guides for people moving to or just trying to learn more about to your city. Create lots of them.

Use Google Autosuggest to understand what financial terms people are searching for in your city.

Again, people are doing this research already. Without pages on your site explaining these topics, you are leaving these customers up to the influence of big financial websites where big banks can compete with $$$ ad money.

Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews

You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.

But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.

First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.

Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.

You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.

Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka lease applications) from Google Maps.

Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses

I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.

No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.

With bank marketing, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries and the Megacorp bank making a big local push.

Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.

Here’s an example of what you’ll see from the local car industry.

It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.

If you drop in a national bank, you can sift & sort their local mentions. If a national bank has gotten attention from a local source, then you should have an extra shot at the same attention as a local bank.

The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.

Work with Local Blogs

Every city, no matter how small, has local publishers and bloggers that get traffic simply because they are local.

In Atlanta, where I live, we have a popular Curbed blog in addition to the AJC Real Estate, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and dozens of smaller neighborhood newspapers and real estate blogs.

Find those and become a regular fixture. All these blogs act on tips & press releases. Very few have a “boots on the ground” journalist. If you can be the place to provide inside information, free images, and consistent write-ups, you’ll earn attention and links. Mine your loan information or business network for tips & local trends. Use those to get attention.

You can also use a Content Explorer tool from SEMrush, Ahrefs, or BuzzSumo to see what news has driven social media shares.

That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.

Your neighborhood pages, offering pages, service pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.

Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads

A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.

You know more about the neighborhoods with retirees moving in. You know about the popular and growing dealerships. You know the local business networks.

Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.

Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested customers.

You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once.

Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads

Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best customer is someone who searches for “bank in [neighborhood]”.

But that search click will be very costly.

But like Facebook, you have an advantage – Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.

In other words, Google will reduce your cost per click for a query like “local atlanta bank” compared to Chase or Bank of America because your landing page can actually match that query better than they ever could.

Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.

Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads

Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.

Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.

But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.

List on Locally-Popular Review Websites

Bank & financial review sites are a dime a dozen. They will send traffic to your listing. But they are expensive and require a lot of legwork.

The key is to find a few key review websites that are popular in your area – and list on those.

Or – track down the sites that currently show up for you brand name and work on those.

You can use Google Trends, customer interviews, SEMrush, or simply looking at the Google Search Results to see who is more popular for your city / neighborhood.

List on NextDoor & Local Forums

NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising bank manager.

These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for financial firms. They also have an early adopter advertising program for truly local businesses.

Advertise / Post on Local Subreddits

Reddit is an attractive website for many industries. But local subreddits are especially interesting for bankmanagers for a couple of reasons.

First, they are hubs for local discussion & recommendations.

Second, they are the first place for people to plan a move visit to ask specific, local questions.

Now, they are decidedly non-commercial with lots of rules. You should get to know them before posting or commenting as a commercial entity.

However, you should explore their sidebar wiki for research.

You should get in touch with the moderators to listen to their rules about business posting. And you should look at running ads or giveaways there.

*Personal aside – this route is how I found my local financial institution. Delta Community Credit Union had high praise on multiple Atlanta subreddit threads.

Develop a Local Financial Pinterest Board

Pinterest is an incredible resource for people looking for local financial tips. You can get in front of prospects with a locally-focused Pinterest board.

Use local photos, sites, etc from your own customer experience to provide ideas. Promote local artists, makers, businesses, events, etc.

Identify Government Resources

Think about how you can leverage your financial and local status to get more attention. There are tons of government and financial websites where you can get a link & profile.

These profiles might not drive much direct traffic, but they will absolutely help your ranking & visibility in search engines and other marketing venues.

Identify & Market Local Employers

Your customers are all working somewhere. And your prospective clients all will want to bank close to their job.

Identify all the largest employers & sources of potential customers nearby. Create resource pages for those employers (especially if they are large).

Create discounts, bonuses, etc. Get in touch with those employers to see if there is a way to collaborate.

Identify & Market Local Schools & Amenities

Take what you did with local employers and do the same with local amenities and resources.

Create pages that act as resource hubs for neighborhood amenities & schools.

Identify & Market Popular Customer Sources

Take previous & existing customers and try to understand where those customers came from and how they found you.

See if there is a way to build off that success.

Cross-Promote Local Non-Profits

Non-profits usually have an incredible offline network, but have a poor online network. If you are investing in your online marketing efforts, try to develop a relationship to cross-promote the non-profits.

Cross-Promote Local Businesses

Your clients frequent lots of local businesses. And those local businesses also would love to have a local financial partner. Offer a way to cross-promote, especially if they have multiple locations or a presence with your target customer. This strategy is basic bank marketing (think appraisers, real estate agents, etc), but taken to the digital world.

Remember that even a link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.

Use Events To Get Social Media Attention

Events like openings, financial courses, holiday showings, etc are marketing staples for banks. But events have a bonus effect online.

You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure. Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square.

You can also sponsor local events and make sure that you are included in all of their social media promotions. You’ll get a lot more visibility compared to only at the event visibility.

Use Local or Industry Focused Videos to Hack Social Media

Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video with a local take.

Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.

Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth

Referral fees are also a staple of bank marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.

Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes (i.e., account numbers), or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.

Find & Sponsor Local Charities

Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.

First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts.

Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.

Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.

Next Steps

There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for local bank managers. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.

Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.

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