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Keep Chicagoans Fed & Employed

Chicago’s restaurants and food service professionals are really feeling the impact of Covid-19. Since all establishments have been limited in what they can currently offer the public, food delivery has become the main source of revenue for the industry. Fetch wants to share a program that we are helping our clients roll out in efforts to help keep Chicagoans fed and employed. 

Step 1: Big Portions & Simple Pricing

Create a Prix Fixe menu that can be easily replicated in your kitchen. Keep in mind that people are looking to feed their families and loved ones across the city for an extended period of time. Come up with a menu that can be used for multiple servings and meals. Once the menu is created, update all of the delivery services you use (Grubhub, Caviar, etc). 

Step 2: One Stop Delivery Shop

Create a landing page for your establishment that makes it easy for patrons to support you by ordering delivery, curbside pick-up, gift cards, and merchandise. Aggregate the links to all of the delivery services that you have partnered with on this page. Add a personal statement of gratitude to help personalize the impact of people ordering from you. If you have the capability, put an option to order the Prix Fixe menu directly from you. 

Step 3: Share, Boost, Repeat

Post a link to the landing page on all of your communication channels (social media, newsletters, etc). Create messaging that encourages people to order from you. “Let’s keep Chicagoans fed and employed.” Be sure to boost the post to reach an audience in your delivery radius.  Encourage your employees and partners to share with their networks. 

We found these tips to be helpful, easy to implement, and effective in spreading awareness on ways to support your establishment. Chicago’s vibrant and diverse dining scene is an important part of this city’s culture, and although your doors may be closed, our hearts and minds are open to helping you in these difficult times. We hope you and your families stay healthy and safe, and we look forward to the day when we can share a drink again!

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20/20 Revision

20/20 Revision

There is a fine line between being stuck in the past and learning from it. In both instances, the sword cuts both ways for both positive and negative experiences. I have spent the past decade building a small business that works primarily with small business owners. I won’t make the bold claim of having seen it all, however, I have seen quite a bit when it comes to entrepreneurship. There is a saying that goes, “It takes 10 years to become an overnight success.” I am not ready to attest to that statement, but I can say that 10 years gives you quite a bit of perspective. As we enter 2020, I wanted to lean on the previous decade as we move into the new one. We are calling this series “20/20 Revision” not because we are looking to redo anything that happened in the past, but to apply insight from previous experiences as we navigate our entrepreneurial future.

Ready or not here come the opportunities!

One of the biggest attributes I have noticed in successful entrepreneurs is their ability to know when they are or aren’t ready for an opportunity. If you talk to any small business owner, they will tell you about numerous times an unexpected opportunity crossed their path and how they figured it out. While this resourcefulness is common among founders, the capability to differentiate between something that will take them to the next level and something that will cause a setback is a unique character trait that requires clarity in vision, confidence, planning and patience. 

Do as I say, not as I do.

Ask any entrepreneur for advice and trust me, they will give it to you. Over the years, I have leaned heavily on lessons from other business owners as I have built my company. What I have learned is some entrepreneurs may give you advice that they are not actually following themselves. I have also learned that some people are better at articulating lessons learned than others. In order to successfully learn from other founders, you have to be able to read between the lines of what they are saying and hone in on what they are doing. More times than not, you will be surprised by what you learn and even more surprised by who you learn it from. 

We in here!

Know that you belong in the room. There is a perfect mix of humility and confidence that exists within every successful entrepreneur I have met. While most business owners are aware of the trap of overconfidence, the negative impact of too much humility can be equally detrimental. There is nothing wrong with taking a minute to look around and ask yourself “how the heck did I get here?” However, don’t let that manifest into imposter syndrome. You are in that room or situation because of the investment you have made in your business. Go ahead and take it in for a second, you deserve it. Now take a deep breath, act like you have been there before and do your thing!

We’re claiming 2020 as a year of reflection, growth and improvement. That’s why as we embark on this journey of entrepreneurship and contemplate the lessons learned along the way, we plan on taking a deeper dive into each of these topics. Stay tuned for the next blog in this series, and have a prosperous new year! 

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How to Build Your Defacto Board

Whether it’s for a non-profit or a major corporation, boards are essential for different perspectives, ideas and professional development. While having an actual board for your business is a milestone to strive for, you can also curate a defacto board out of your personal network. Building a network that serves as your small business’ board can provide you with the same great benefits that larger organizations enjoy and can elevate your company to new levels. When putting together your go-to team, be selective, and look for the types of people we’ve outlined below with whom to begin establishing mutually-beneficial relationships.

Someone who has spent their career at large corporations

This type of person is especially important for any business owner and that’s because this person can help provide insight into various ways companies are structured – from department breakdowns to the hierarchy of positions. This person’s perspective will help fill in the gaps on how you build your business and can be a great reference for what your business is doing right and also what can be improved. 

A successful career sales professional

Behind every business, there’s the aspect of sales. While sales may come easy to some, it’s a skill that must be cultivated. Having a successful sales professional in your network is golden for the small business owner who is great at what they do but didn’t come into business ownership with a sales background. This person can provide fundamentals and advice on how to properly navigate the sales process. From establishing funnels to creating packages and services to closing a deal, the insight gained from these conversations is priceless. 

A career professional in your field

This person does not have to be a business owner themselves, but they do need to have done what you do for a longer period of time and at a higher level. While most industries have changed over time, it helps to have someone who has been there and done that. While the potential to have innovative conversations is definitely there, the larger takeaway is having someone who understands the fundamentals of what you do.

A good listener

This person may or may not have experience in your industry or in business at all. However, this person is great at listening and is ready and willing to give you their ear. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to talk it out and by having the opportunity to have conversations without the expectation of a response, you can do just that. In fact, by having an unbiased listener, you can often talk through things and arrive at your own conclusion or solution. 

Building a personal network takes time and patience, but it’s an important aspect of business development that can elevate your company to new heights. Always remember, you are who you surround yourself with and the same can be said for your business. By placing yourself among people who are smart, talented and experienced, you and your business will benefit.

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How to Craft Long-Form Written Content

Blogs are a major player in helping elevate your brand to thought leader status. They engage your audience and offer up an easy way to get across expert information. After reading your posts, your audience should leave knowing how to do something new or with valuable knowledge they can apply to their life, business etc. Here’s how to get started.

The Topic
The entire idea behind thought leadership is that you are publishing content that places your brand as an expert, so that’s a great place to start when brainstorming content ideas. You want to be very intentional with what type of information you’re providing your readers. For example, one subject has many different angles. You could write a How-To Guide on making cupcakes, but you could also write a piece on Top Cupcake Trends. Both posts are placing you as an expert on cupcakes, but take very different approaches. The key here is whether you’re offering a How-To Guide, the Do’s and Don’ts or even Three to Five Things You Should Know about a certain subject post, you need to provide insider information that you (someone who is an expert in the industry) would know and your audience wouldn’t.

The Structure
Due to the flexible nature of blogs, there isn’t a hard and fast rule on the best way to structure them, although you should also be aiming to make your blogs as digestible as possible. You should also ensure that each of your blogs have an introduction and conclusion.

See your introduction as an appetizer. You want to get your audience hungry, you want to hook them in. Introductions should be brief but also inform your readers in an interesting way what the next course is going to be. Your conclusion should wrap up the ideas you introduced in the blog. View this section as your dessert. Your readers are mostly likely pretty full on information, but they’re looking for a little something sweet to end the meal. Now we get to the entree, whatever happens in between the intro and conclusion is up to you. You can structure your blogs with bulleted lists, paragraphs and even graphs and charts, the only thing to keep in mind is that you don’t over serve. Make sure your main ideas are clear, easy to read and don’t present an overwhelming amount of information.

Making a Content Series
One great way to increase your thought leadership credibility is by implementing a content series. A content series is basically just a series of blogs. For example, you would have a mother blog on a certain topic, such as thought leadership. Then you would have 2-3 subtopics of that main topic outlined in that mother blog – like long-form written content, visual content and media. Having deja vu? That’s right, you’re currently in a content series. The beauty of a content series is that you have the ability to take a deeper dive into a specific subject in a cohesive way.

By integrating a robust, knowledgeable blog presence on your website, you’ll not only reinforce your authority to website visitors, but you’ll also increase searchability and have the functionality to share across digital channels such as social media and newsletters.

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Using User-Generated Content

You’ve created it. Your friends have created, and you’ve seen it all over social media whether you know it or not. We’re talking User-Generated Content (UGC). User-generated content is an affordable and inexpensive means of building credibility for your business. It’s about showing your customers that you care about their needs and it helps foster a human connection. UGC can prove very beneficial for your business. Why? Because your offerings are being praised by your audience’s peers. It can take the form of a nice comment on Facebook, a curated photo of one of your meals posted to Instagram or a rave review on Yelp. Think of it as word of mouth but digital.

Now that we know what UGC is and how beneficial it can be, the next step is to determine the type of UGC you want and strategize towards it for the best results. Here are some tips to help you devise a UGC plan for your business:

Engage Your Audience:

In order to engage your audience, have them interact with your brand and provide you with UGC, you need to put a focus on engaging content. A simple way to do this is by asking questions in your social media posts. For example, if you’re a restaurant, you can ask what everyone’s favorite dish is. You can also encourage people to leave reviews on Google, Yelp or Facebook. If you want to amp things up a notch, you can partner with micro-influencers or you can host giveaways where an entry requirement is to leave a review, comment about what they love about your business, etc.

Selecting the Best UGC:

Not all UGC is created equal. When selecting which content to share or repost, first look at things like grammar, quality of any visuals and overall shareability. Then, once you’ve compiled some options, strategize on how to get the most mileage out of these posts. To put this in context, pretend you’re the owner of a clothing store and you have a pair of jeans that are about to go on sale. Say you also have a great review of these jeans. Instead of just randomly selecting content, use the review of the jeans to also highlight that they’ll be going on sale.

Post Branded Hashtags:

Hashtags are a secret weapon for optimizing user-generated content. Consumers can easily look up content through branded hashtags. Try to keep your hashtags short, simple and unique to your business. Look at your competitors’ hashtags and think strategically about phrases and words that best describe your offerings. 

Sponsored and paid advertisements on social and digital have become redundant, and consumers may have a tendency to scroll past them. The right UGC strategy can be just what your business needs to create a connection that’s meaningful, engaging and profitable. 

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F.A.T. Stacks 101: Digital Ads

After you’ve properly set up the backend of your website and carefully curated your contacts, you can utilize what you’ve set up to really get in front of people using digital ads. Read on for the basics in beginning to use digital ads to both drive new traffic to your site, as well as engage with existing users.

Driving New Traffic

Digital ads can be used to drive new users and increase overall traffic to your website. One way to do this is by creating a general ad to get in front of new audiences that do not already exist for you. Not sure who to target for your first ad campaign? Start with the data you already have. A great strategy for targeting new users is to create a look-alike audience based on the data of people who have already been on your site. This will allow you to cast a wide net, but with parameters by targeting people with similar features or attributes as those who have already interacted with your brand. 

Also important to note – you should exclude from this particular ad the audience that has already been on your site. The message to people who haven’t engaged with your brand will be different than the messaging you want in front of people who have previously interacted with your brand

Engaging With Existing Users

Digital ads can also be used to engage and re-engage with people who have already been on your site. You can create these ads to be more specific based on users’ activity while on your website. Remember those pixeles we talked about setting up? That’s how certain ad platforms track activity. You can now use that data to create an ad to specifically target people who have viewed a particular product or read a certain blog on your site.

An important step to keep in mind here is that these two types of ads (driving and engaging) should be run concurrently. This is important because it will allow you to get initial engagement, and also to send those new contacts through your retargeting systems. Now when someone in your new audience clicks through to your site, the brand will be reinforced in front of them as they convert over to an existing user.

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t despair, contact us for a free assessment or to inquire about our simple stack install package.

Interested in the digital aspect of marketing? Read here to learn about contact curation, the other side of marketing.

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F.A.T. Stacks 101: Putting It All Together

Your website backend is properly configured. Your contacts are listed and tagged. You have digital ads running to drive new traffic and engage with existing users. What’s next? It’s time to tie it all up and put everything together utilizing what you’ve set up.

First, you’ll want to design a specific content series on a topic your audience is interested in. Say, for example, you’re a marketing company that focuses on small businesses. Perhaps you could create a blog series on the topic of small business marketing covering the specific topics of branding, digital marketing and thought leadership. Your contacts would be tagged according to actions they have taken on your site or completed in your newsletter – maybe they read a branding blog or clicked through to an article about digital ads. So you know this is a topic they care about.

Then, you’ll want to create some sort of lead capture to draw people in to the series. This could be something like a downloadable resource or guide – something that people find valuable and will input their information to receive. Once someone submits their information to download your guide, they will automatically be entered into the content series and tagged appropriately.

Your digital ads now serve two purposes. You can use a retargeting ad to engage with users who have submitted their information and shown they are interested in your topic (creating custom audiences based on their site activity may prove useful here). You can also run ads to drive new traffic to your site and push your content series out to a broader audience who might be interested.

So a user’s journey might go something like this: I’m a small business owner looking to grow my brand. I’m wondering about custom audiences and doing some online research when I see a digital ad directing me to an online resource guide for small business marketing tips. I see one of the topics it covers is – aha – custom audiences! I click the ad and am taken to your lead capture page where I enter my information in order to receive my downloadable guide. From there, I am automatically entered into your content series where I also receive emails about other topics I may find interesting (branding and automation, perhaps). Based on my tagging, I also often see retargeting ads. This leads me to click through to your website, decide I like what I see, and reach out asking for more information. Ta-da!

If this still seems like a bit too much, or you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t despair, contact us for a free assessment or to inquire about our simple stack install package.