New Marketing Video for The Pond Doctor: Certified Aquascape Contractor

Herbst Marketing has produced a new marketing video for The Pond Doctor, an award-winning certified aquascape contractor offering pond installation, pond maintenance and pond repair services to home owners and commercial properties throughout the Northern Virginia area.

Northern Virginia’s Premier Water Feature Company since 2006, The Pond Doctor is an award-winning full-service Master Certified Aquascape contractor specializing in the design, installation and maintenance of ponds, fountains and waterfalls for residential and commercial clients throughout the Northern Virginia region.

Whether you are looking to beautify your home or workplace with a new pond or water feature, or need help repairing or maintaining an existing pond, fountain or waterfall, The Pond Doctor’s experienced crews can help with all your water feature needs.

Visit to see examples of The Pond Doctor’s natural looking ponds, fountains and waterfalls.

The Pond Doctor can be reached at (540) 272-6866 to request an estimate for your new water feature, maintenance or repair work.

How to Attract More Perfect Customers With Free Google Business Listings

Best restaurants search results

Did you know that Google wants to send you more perfect customers .. for free?

A core part of Google’s business is to direct local customers to nearby local businesses that provide the products and services they want and need.

That’s why Google is rolling out new Google Maps and local search features designed to make it easier for smartphone users to find your business online.

What You Need to Do Now

To take full advantage of Google’s local search features (like promoted Maps pins and robust business profiles), you need to claim and verify your company listing on Google My Business.

Your Google My Business listing ensures that your business contact details (name, address, phone number, website, customer reviews and photos) will appear when people search Google for your business and, hopefully, broader searches for similar products and services offered in your city.

Plan to allow 7-to 10-days for Google to send you a postcard that will allow you to verify your business information and make it publicly searchable on Google.

Here’s how to set-up your Google listing in 30 minutes or less:

Search your business name in the Google My Business search bar.

google my business

If your business information is already in Google’s system, it will appear on your screen with a request to verify the contact email on file for the account.

If you find someone else has claimed your business listing, Google will walk you through a series of steps to reclaim it as your own.*

If Google has no information on your business, follow the series of prompts to add your listing to the site. To make the most of your free Google My Business listing, you will want to upload photos, videos and company logos into your Google My Business Dashboard.

Once you have completed your Google business profile, you will need to follow the steps Google to get your business verified by postcard.  If you are lucky, Google will offer you the option to verify your business with a simple phone call.  If this option is offered, be sure to take it — as it will give you instant verification and avoid the long wait to receive your verification postcard in the mail.

Remember — your business contact details and other business information won’t appear in Google Search Results until you’ve completed the  Google verification process.

Once your listing is claimed or added, verified and published, you should begin to notice an increase in phone calls and visits by customers who find your company through Google Maps and Google search!

Website and Facebook Advertising Tips and Tricks

business innovators podcast logoOn May 7, 2016, I was honored to be featured on the Business Innovators Magazine and Radio Show in an interview with Tamara Patzer, owner of Blue Ocean Authority on the topic of Website and Facebook Advertising Tips and Tricks.”

You can click here to listen or download the podcast recording of this interview, or read the transcript of my interview below.

Key Points and Show Notes

1:45 — How Yvonne helps local business owners market their businesses online.

3:05 — How Yvonne helped a local kitchen designer grow her business by creating a new website and social media presence that showcased her work and attracted more of her perfect prospects and ideal clients.

7:25 – How Yvonne helped a local custom home builder land a $150,000 project after revamping his website and posting his information on Facebook.

14:09 – Three things every website needs to have to generate more quality leads.

23:54 – How to advertise effectively on Facebook.

36:00 – A unique and little-known Facebook marketing strategy for restaurants that can add several thousand dollars a month in additional revenue for restaurants.

37:44 – Tips for wedding industry professionals.

38:40 – A unique and profitable Facebook advertising strategy for chiropractors that is generating $10,000 – $20,000 more new patient revenue per month per chiropractor.

Click the image below to listen to the full podcast recording.
Herbst Marketing Business Innovators Magazine interview

Podcast Transcript: Website and Facebook Advertising Tips and Tricks

Yvonne Herbst helps companies in the home improvement and health and fitness industries leverage the power of the internet and social media to reach and attract more perfect customers and generate more repeat business, more sales and more profits.

How Herbst Marketing Helps Local Businesses Market Themselves Online

00:53 — I help companies in the home improvement field and health related businesses create a web presence that establishes them as a top choice in their local marketplace. That can range from setting up their websites, setting up their social media presence, creating web content, creating video content, and helping them get more visible online, so that when people are looking for them they stand out in the search results.

1:29 — Tamara Patzer — can you give us a few examples of how you help them and what are some of the problems or perceived problems that people seem to be having with their marketing today?

1:45 — Yvonne Herbst — Well, a lot of business owners I talk with today used to advertise in the Yellow Pages, they might be advertising in local newspapers and local magazines and they are just frustrated because they are not seeing a return on their investment. They are not able to track that the advertising dollars they are spending in print media these days are generating real dollars and real customers.

And they also know that they could and should be using the internet and social media somehow, but they are just very confused. There are so many choices and they just don’t have time to sort it out, figure out the technicalities. And that’s where I come in.

I help them understand their options and select the best options for them and then often times they might not have any website at all or they might have put up a website on their own that looks kind of amateurish and it’s time for them to step up their game and create a more professional look and feel in their website.

Benefits of an Improved Web Presence

2:55 — Tamara Patzer — Do you have an example of someone you helped to make a better web presence?

3:05 — Yvonne Herbst — Yes, I do. A few years ago I gave a talk at a small local business workshop and one of the attendees was a kitchen designer and she came up to me afterwards and she said she really needed help. She was intrigued with what I said about how to make your website work for you, how to make it get found, how to capture leads.

And so I took a look at her website. It was one she’d built herself. I think it may have been on the Godaddy platform. And it was perfectly fine when she was first starting out, but now she was several years into her career as a kitchen designer and she had a beautiful portfolio of work but when you went to her website it just didn’t showcase her work well. It looked very amateurish.

And so I sat down with her and spent quite a few hours just interviewing her, getting to know her business, getting to know what she wanted her website to do for her, compiling her photos and organizing them, and created a new website for her that showcased her beautiful photos and a lot of blog content that explained the different projects she had worked on and explained the kinds of questions you should be thinking about before you launch a kitchen remodeling project, how to choose a kitchen designer and all this content positioned her as an authority in the local marketplace for people who are looking for a custom kitchen design.

So, a few months after her new kitchen design website launched — after I optimized the pictures, the blog content, and got her listed on Google and other directories, got her listed on, coached her on how to get reviews, and produced some educational kitchen design tips videos for her — people started finding her for her long tail keywords, like “kitchen designer in Reston Virginia” or “kitchen remodeling in Fairfax Virginia” … and so they find her just by searching and then they would get intrigued by what they saw and what they read.

And she told me that within 6 months the number of leads she was getting through online search was equaling the number of leads she was getting through word of mouth recommendations, and so her investment in her new website, the optimization, the blog content, the customer testimonials and reviews, really has paid off for her.

New Website for Expert Kitchen Designs, Virginia

New Website for Expert Kitchen Designs, Virginia

6:07 — Tamara Patzer — Did she notice that the length of time it took for her projects to go from start to finish — meaning the relationship she had with her new customer — was shortened after she got her new website?

6:19 — Yvonne Herbst — Yes, one of the comments she made to me was that now when she goes out to meet with potential clients it has made it less awkward in that initial encounter because they feel like they already know her, they know her style, they have seen photos of her work, they have watched her videos, and so they already trust her.

6:50 — Tamara Patzer — I think that’s really important because in the world today, like what you said, her online presence equaled or exceeded her word of mouth or real world referrals, so her website was acting like a referral partner for her. And you also did some work for her husband who is a custom home builder. Can you tell us a little about that?

Learn More: Read or Listen to the Interview with Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs

7:25 — Yvonne Herbst — yes, but before I talk about that I’d like to mention that this kitchen designer now has a couple of dozen reviews on, which is the premiere social media site for people in the home remodeling industry. And if you look at her reviews, a lot of these projects are $50,000 – $100,000 projects and probably a good third or a half of them pointed out that the people who hired her found her online. So that just illustrates how it does take up front work to pull your information together and present it in a way that is findable online, but the up front work certainly has paid off. (See example review below.)

> Click Here to Watch Sandra Brannock’s Authority-Building Kitchen Design Tips Videos

As far as her husband goes, he is a home builder, and they have a synergistic relationship because she designs the kitchens and if her client does not already have a construction company in mind, then her husband can come in and build the kitchen she has designed.

And he was in a similar position. He had a very rudimentary website that did not showcase his work well at all and so I built his new website and featured photographs of his building projects in a very attractive way with photo galleries and when the website was done I put up his Facebook page and then I put up photos of his work on my own Facebook profile and just by luck the night I posted the pictures of some of his projects they were seen by a friend of mine who was fed up with her own contractor and she had decided to fire him. So the photos I put up on my Facebook page caught her attention.

Brannock Enterprises Custom Home Builder Amissville VA

Facebook Mention of New Website for Brannock Enterprises

And then what happened — because this is the way people work these days — is she went out and looked at reviews and what other people were saying about his work and she was impressed with what other clients were saying about their experience with him.

And ultimately she hired him to do a $150,000 project – building a cottage by a pond on their property.

Learn More: Read Andria Corso’s Review of Brannock Enterprises Custom Cottage Construction in Amissville, Virginia

So this again points out how the ecosystem of the web works these days. You get an authority-building website that showcases your work and you get customers or clients to come in and say good things about you on your own website and other review sites and it turns into business.

10:30 – Tamara Patzer — I think you are absolutely right and those are very good examples. And it also proves how fast something can happen in the online word, because like you said you posted the home builder’s information and it just so happened that it caught the attention of someone who wanted to find a home builder at that exact moment.

And at any one time you are probably only going to have 3 percent of people looking for what you have but it just happened that you were in the right place at the right time and I think that social media and having an online presence puts you in front of the right audience because you can target the very words and people who are your audience. So that is really important.

Let’s talk more about business in general and basic marketing, because I know that you talk a lot in public and you do presentations. So when you meet business people, what do you think their biggest misconceptions are about what you do for them or what you are able to do for them?

Basic Marketing Principles for Local Business Owners

11:57 – Yvonne Herbst — Well, I think a lot of business owners realize that they need a website but they just think they can put up a website themselves and business will just start flowing to them and then they are puzzled when it doesn’t. They don’t understand all the different moving pieces beyond having their website up there that go into marketing your business online.

They also don’t understand basic marketing principles. Like they will get very hung up on having a trendy looking website but then they make it hard to find their phone number. It’s trendy to have their phone number hidden in small print at the bottom of the page.

And they also don’t want to put up some kind of lead capture mechanism or an offer that will get people to give them their email address so they can follow up with them.

They tend to talk about themselves too much. They don’t think in terms of what problem am I solving for my ideal client and how can I communicate that in a powerful and engaging way.

So it’s about who they serve and the problems that they solve.

13:25 – Tamara Patzer — I think that’s a really good point. You mention that a lot of times people have the misconception of “build it and they will come.” They think that if they build a website that people will come but pointing out the fact that sometimes people create websites that are just fancy online brochures. You mentioned a couple of factors about a good website.

Can you give me three tips about what a good well-designed website should include?

Three Tips for Improving Your Website

14:09 – Yvonne Herbst — Well, you need to capture the visitor’s interest within the first 3-5 seconds. So on the home page of the website it should be really clear what you do and who do you serve and how can you help them?

So you need compelling visuals and a compelling message on the home page. And there should be a clear invitation to call you or email you.

And if you can offer something educational or something that will benefit them when they provide their email address, then you can set up an autoresponder that will send them the information they requested and that is the beginning of cultivating a relationship that will lead to sales in the future.

You know, most people who come to your website in most cases are not ready to buy that minute. They might be researching their options. So there needs to be a lead capture and lead nurturing system in place on your website.

15:30 – Tamara Patzer — So people come to your website and you would have some kind of an educational program via email or something so that they can get to know those people better.

The Importance of Online Reviews

So what about reviews? Do you get very much resistance from people about asking for reviews?

15:57 – Yvonne Herbst – Yes, it’s an ongoing process. A lot of people are shy about going to their clients and asking them to review them. They feel like they shouldn’t be tooting their own horn; they feel like that comes across as arrogant. They also are concerned about imposing on their customers or feeling like they are asking for too big a favor.

But what I’ve found is that in most cases if people are happy with the work that you have done, they are more than happy to send you a testimonial.

The difficulty can come in when it comes to asking people to review you on Google because typically you have to have a gmail address and login to Google before you can leave a review so there is a little bit of a barrier there, but if you have a client with a gmail address it shouldn’t be hard to direct your customers and clients to your Google My Business page – you can even give them a link to that page — and ask them to share what they liked about working with you, or what they like about your products or services — and that also helps your search results. When people are researching your company and they see lots of 5-star reviews and your competitors have few or no reviews, it helps you stand out. It gives you more authority.

17:35 – Tamara Patzer — I think you are absolutely right because word of mouth is how most people perceive that they get most of their business, but as we move more online we do get more and more business from the virtual world because people do take time to research a purchase online before they buy it and people do go online to see what other people are saying about you. It’s so easy to push a button and find out lots of information.

Budgeting for Online Marketing

18:18 — Tamara Patzer — I want to talk with you about expectations. When you work with a marketer or a marketing company such as you, what do you feel are some of the things that people don’t realize is involved when working with a marketing company?

18:37 – Yvonne Herbst – Well, first of all they need to have a budget. It’s amazing how often you will talk with a company and you will ask them about their budget and they haven’t given it any thought and they are a little bit shy about what they are willing to spend. It’s a bit of a dance because they are afraid to say how much they are willing to spend in case they are in danger of getting ripped up. But what I am able to do for you varies depending on how much you are able and willing to invest. If you have just a tiny budget the marketing strategy can be very different from what we can do for you if you have a budget that allows us to do paid advertising on Google or Facebook.

Whether you have a budget that would enable me to take the burden off the client in terms of creating regular content and post regular blog articles or get videos done for them.

You can’t expect to get stellar results with a $500 budget. It’s important to be up front with people and discuss what you are willing to invest, and you also need to be willing to put in time and effort on your own end to provide the information the marketing agency needs to do a good job for you.

The OnBoarding Process

20:20 – Tamara Patzer — How much time would you say it takes to do what you would call an intake with a new client?

20:30 — Yvonne Herbst — Well, in the case of the kitchen designer and home builder I mentioned, I probably spent about 10 hours up front just interviewing them, getting a feel for their business. This was not all in one sitting but over several conversations, getting an understanding of their business, getting an understanding of their ideal client, getting an understanding of their value proposition and what differentiates them from their competition, trying to coach them.

In many cases it’s hard for clients to articulate what differentiates them and why a client should choose them over a competitor. So I help them clarify that. I help them wordsmith it. I help them create content that explains that clearly.

Most business owners aren’t good writers. They don’t like to write. They like doing their own job. So they need help honing their message and crafting a message that is powerful and engaging.

So that intake process can take around 10 hours and then you need to expect that the marketing person might be putting in another 50-100 hours creating the website, setting up your social media presence, and if we are doing videos for you then there is time involved in going to your place of business and videotaping you and editing the videos and then getting the videos uploaded and optimized for search and disseminated around the internet.

So a marketing person is not a mind reader. They can’t get inside your mind. You have to spend time and thought on your end so your marketing expert can help you.

22:35 —Tamara Patzer — I think that is really good advice and I hope business owners are listening because you are echoing what often happens to me because I will say, “Do you have a budget” and often the answer is, “No, I haven’t thought about that” or they feel uncomfortable because they are afraid that you are going to take what that number is and get it all spent.

But really what it is all about is having the budget to know whether or not we have to go for all the free strategies or do we have money to do paid advertising like a Facebook campaign.

Facebook Advertising Tips

I want to talk about Facebook because it is something that I think we all should be looking at, because I think there around 1 billion people using Facebook and we are not trying to get a billion people to become our client. We are just wanting to get the perfect client.

So why do you think people should be advertising on Facebook?

23:54 – Yvonne Herbst — I saw recently that there are around 7.2 billion people on our planet right now, and out of that there are around 3 billion people connected to the internet, and of those 3 billion people there are 1.3 billion people who are active Facebook users. That’s not just people who have put up a Facebook profile page and aren’t using Facebook at all.

And Facebook has acquired a tremendous amount of data on its active users. And what is interesting is that you can target almost any demographic you want inside of Facebook and get your message in front of these active users in a very cost effective way.

For as little as $5 a day in direct ad spend on Facebook you can reach several thousand people a day who have a specific interest in what you are doing.

Facebook Lead Ads

The trick about advertising in Facebook is that they recently introduced something called Lead Ads. You have probably seen these ads that show up in your news feed in Facebook, right? If it says sponsored it is a paid Facebook ad.

Example of a Lead Generating Facebook Ad for Dentist

Example of a Lead Generating Facebook Ad for Dentist

And these paid Facebook ads come with calls to action. One call to action is Call Now, another Download, another is Learn More, another is Watch a Video. So what you can do with the Learn More call to action is send people over to your website with a video they might watch or a report you can offer them, but before they can get that video or report you are asked to provide your name and email address and possibly your phone number.

And what Facebook lets you do now is integrate these lead capture forms with your email autoresponder system, like Constant Contact or Aweber or Infusionsoft so that you can now get leads through Facebook and put them into your autoresponder.

So this is a time saving move. You don’t have to get back to the person immediately. They fill out the form and get immediate get your video or report or coupon that you offered in your Facebook ad. And then you can set it up so they get regular follow up email messages and in some cases text messages from you to cultivate the relationship to the point that they know, like, trust and are ready to buy from you.

26:55 — Tamara Patzer – Wow, that is really phenomenal – how much you can do with Facebook. And that is a great value. I mean if you get one client that would be a really good value.

Facebook Advertising vs. Google AdWords

27:09 – Tamara Patzer — So how is advertising on Facebook different from advertising on Google?

27:11 – Yvonne Herbst — Well, what you need to think about when advertising on Facebook is, Google is a search based platform. So with Google Adwords what you are doing is researching keywords that are being searched. Google has a keyword tool that lets you see what keywords people are searching for in Google and it will tell you how much traffic there is for various keywords and phrases and about how much you should expect to pay to get a click on your ad in Google.

So Google is entirely search driven and people who are searching in Google are much further along in the buying cycle. They are interested in buying soon. They are interested in finding an emergency plumber or a locksmith or a local restaurant.

With Facebook, it is better for piquing people’s interest in a social way. Let’s say you are at a cocktail party and you are introduced to someone, you don’t say “Hey, I’m a home builder and let’s set up an appointment so we can see how I can remodel your home,” or, if you are a chiropractor, you don’t immediately say “let’s make an appointment for a chiropractic service.”

No, you get to know people, you have a social conversation and find out what your common interests are. Then you might follow up with them later on, but you don’t try to sell yourself right away in a social setting.

So Facebook ads are social ads targeted to people with an interest in what you are doing. They are there to pique their interest, to get them to click through to watch a video, or to get a coupon for your restaurant, or to learn more about whatever it is you are doing. Maybe get a how-to or tip sheet.

Then once you get these people into your sales funnel, you can follow up with automated messages with more information to move them forward in the buying cycle. And because they requested information these are permission-based messages. You aren’t spamming them.

How to Get Started Advertising on Facebook

29:57 – Tamara Patzer — So, if somebody wants to start advertising on Facebook, how do they do that?

30:02 – Yvonne Herbst — Well first of all you have to have a Facebook Business page. You can’t advertise just from your own personal profile page. You have to have a business page set up for your business.

Then you have to go to and set up a business account there. They will ask you for your credit card information because when you advertise on Facebook they will bill your credit card. You can set a threshold inside Facebook for when your credit card will be billed, so you can say you don’t want to be billed until you have accumulated $50 or $100 in ad spend on Facebook. You are not billed immediately until you meet the threshold that you have set

Then once you get your business account set up, when you go to your Facebook business page there will be a message that says “Manage Your Page with Business Manager” and you have to click that link before you can post status updates as your business and not your personal self.

From there, there are 2 ways to create ads inside Facebook. One is through the adverts manager which is a simplified advertising tool, but if you want to dive deep and take advantage of lead ads, you need to use the Facebook Power Editor to create your ads. That gets into more detail than I can get into in this interview today but I can talk with your listeners and provide more information if they like.

Facebook Boosted Posts

32:05 – Tamara Patzer — So what is a boosted post in Facebook?

32:10 – Yvonne Herbst — A boosted post is the most basic form of Facebook advertising yo can do. Let’s say you have written a blog and you post the link to that blog on your Facebook page and you are given the option to boost it.

You want to create an eye-catching graphic to accompany that post to call people’s attention.

And Facebook has rules that any image you post that accompanies a boosted post cannot have more than 20% text on that image. If it does, Facebook won’t approve your boosted post.

Then when you boost your post, you have the option to say you want everyone to be able to see the ad, or you only want people who have liked your page to see the ad, or you want everyone who likes your page plus their friends to see the ad, and you can specify the geographic target area where your ad will be displayed as well.

So you can specify you only want people who live within 5 miles of your business to see your ad.

A lot of business owners assume that if 500 or 1,000 people have liked their page that ALL of them will see everything they post on their business page. But in fact, Facebook only shows your business page posts to 1-2 percent of your Facebook fans so if you want to make sure that ALL your Facebook fans see your post then you have to boost our post to ensure that everyone sees it.

And you can specify if you want your post to be displayed over 1 day or 3 days or 5 days or any period of time.

So boosted posts are a way to ensure that everyone who has liked your page sees what you are publishing and it can keep you top of mind with this audience.

33:34 – Tamara Patzer — So do you have any other good ideas besides Facebook for business owners? For example, can you connect your boosted post with a coupon?

33:57 – Yvonne Herbst — Well you can put a link to your website in your boosted post. For example I have a dog grooming client where I will upload a coupon image to her website and then we will boost a post advertising her dog grooming special with a link to the downloadable coupon in the status update on her page. Then people can click that link and download the coupon from there.

35:20 – Tamara Patzer — OK, so boosted posts are an inexpensive way to test a concept or an ad and you can actually take them to your website where all kinds of things can happen with Facebook like retargeting or remarketing. Do you also offer different campaigns? Would you like to talk about your birthday campaigns?

A Unique Facebook Campaign for Restaurants

36:00 — Yvonne Herbst — Yes, birthday campaigns are especially good for restaurants or day spas or any kind of business that provides personal services. Florists for example.

One of the intriguing audiences you can target in Facebook is people with birthdays coming up within the next 7 days. So a restaurant can advertise a free dinner or lunch to people who live near the restaurant and have a birthday coming up in the next week. Birthday celebrants can bring a lot of money into a restaurant because people usually bring at least one and often several people or a large group of people to a restaurant on their birthday.

So when someone decides they want that offer and click on the Get Coupon link, the restaurant receives an immediate notification of this lead and they can track the performance of their Facebook ad and see that it is really working. I know of restaurants that are generating 50-60 leads a month or more and several thousand dollars a month or more from this one marketing technique.

So these birthday celebrants are automatically added to the restaurant’s email list of customers and we can also add them to a text messaging list.

And the beauty of this marketing strategy for restaurants is that it’s a very cost effective way to build your customer list and get a positive return on your ad spend. Once these people are automatically entered into your email database , you can continue to send weekly or monthly offers and invitations to these people long after their birthday to keep them coming back and spending money in your restaurant.

Facebook Campaigns for the Wedding Industry

If you are in the wedding industry, you can target people who have become engaged in the past 3-6 months and send them an offer for your florist services, or wedding planning services, or DJ services.

The key is that you need to send people to an intermediate page – what we call a “landing page” — where your prospects have to provide their name and email address in order to get the offer. Then they are entered into your email or text message autoresponder system and you have their permission to follow up with them.

Facebook Marketing for Chiropractors and Health Professionals

I know someone who does marketing for chiropractors. He advertises Dinner with a Doc and advertises special events to people in the chiropractor’s local area who suffer from migraines or backaches or any kind of condition that a chiropractor can treat and the offer is to come have dinner with the chiropractor for free and learn how chiropractic can remedy your health issue.

This guy is getting 10-20 leads a month from one campaign for his chiropractor clients and these leads are turning into $20,000 or $30,000 a month in long-term patient new patient revenue. So the return on your investment when advertising on Facebook can be huge.

The key is to craft an offer and a compelling image that will get people wanting to learn more and sign up for your event.

40:16 — Tamara Patzer. — Wow. If you were not taking notes, I recommend that you go back and listen to this interview a couple of times because Yvonne I think you have given some really dynamite examples of how to market businesses online, how to create great websites and a great online presence, and then how to start using Facebook for advertising with a small budget and then of course as your business grows you can increase your budget.

Social Media Marketing Guide for Businesses

Social Media Marketing for Business: What trumps Google for getting found, attracting attention, arousing interest and increasing sales?

If you said social media, you guessed right.

With an ever-growing base of frequent and loyal users, sites like

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter, and
  • YouTube

are powerful channels for reaching more of your ideal customers and staying top of mind.

But successful social media marketing is very different from advertising in conventional media like newspapers, magazines, direct mail, radio and TV.

Successful social media marketing requires a shift in your mindset, emotional intelligence, and strategic planning.

The Social Media Success Plan for Business

Successful social media campaigns incorporate:

  • Timely and engaging content that you create – blog articles, videos, podcasts
  • Archived content that provides genuine value to your target audience
  • Other people’s content
  • Personal stories
  • Inspirational messages and quotes
  • Funny memes and images
  • Events and offers

Over time, your disciplined and consistent social media activities will:

  • Raise your visibility across the entire internet ecosystem,
  • Keep your brand, your products and your services top of mind,
  • Subtly and expertly guide your target audience into your sales funnel,and
  • Help you convert more prospects into customers

The Ultimate Business Goal

If you are like most business owners I know, your ultimate goal is to make a good income doing work you love so that you can:

  • Enjoy financial security,
  • Experience financial freedom,
  • Provide for your loved ones, and
  • Spend more worry-free stress-free time with your family and friends, doing the things that make life worthwhile.

Your social media marketing plan can help you achieve this goal.

Steps To Reaching Your Goal

Step 1: Identify your perfect customer(s)

Marketers call this step “creating your avatar” — a detailed picture of the kind of person who will love your product or service, become a loyal repeat customer, and who will be happy to recommend you to their family, friends and other social connections.

Take some quiet time and create a description and a mental picture of this person. Are they:

  • Male or female?
  • Married or single?
  • How old?
  • Where do they live?
  • What kind of house do they live in?
  • What kind of car do they drive?
  • What is their level of education? Where did (or do) they go to school?
  • Who do they most enjoy associating with?
  • Where do they work?
  • What kinds of hobbies do they have?
  • What are their most pressing problems, worries or concerns?
  • How does your business help them solve their problems, worries or concerns?
  • How do your products and services make their lives better?
  • What kinds of changes are they hoping to make in their lives to be happier or healthier?

Step 2: Create a 12-month outline of content you can create that will provide value to your perfect customer

Think about and research:

  • Relevant topics and content themes for each month of the year
  • Monthly, quarterly and annual events you can host
  • Other people’s content that you can share or repurpose and rebrand for yourself

Step 3: Create a detailed calendar of the relevant and engaging topics you will post about for each day of each month during the upcoming year.

social media planning worksheet

We recommend that you keep your social media posts varied and interesting by posting information in a variety of media and formats.

Examples include:

  • Original how-to tips (articles, videos, podcasts, images)
  • Infographics
  • Answers to questions your customers frequently ask
  • Answers to questions your customers should ask .. but don’t know they should ask
  • Funny or intriguing quotes
  • Curated content (content other people have created with some introductory comments by you that offer your own perspective plus links to the original content)

Stumped for ideas?

Think about the top influencers in your industry and visit their websites and social media pages to get ideas … and think about how you can adapt their content, put your own spin on it and make it your own.

Step 4: Create the Content

To reach the largest audience possible, you will want to create content in a variety of formats so it can be consumed according in the way(s) your target audience prefers.

  • For people who prefer to read, you’ll create written articles and blog posts.
  • For visual learners, you’ll create arresting images with intriguing, engaging, funny or thought-provoking captions.
  • For people who prefer video, you’ll create a series of short, entertaining and/or educational video messages.
  • And for people who like to learn while driving, you’ll create downloadable audio files and podcasts that they can listen to in the car.

Step 5: Publish Your Content on Multiple Platforms: Make Yourself Visible Everywhere

Reach your perfect audience on social mediaImagine the power of seeing your name and your business everywhere you go online. The more people see you, the more they will think of you before anyone else when they need the products or services that you have to offer.

By publishing your content in multiple formats on multiple channels, you’ll be multiplying your visibility exponentially, getting noticed and helping more and more people get to know you, like you, and trust you.

Happy customersAs you build up recognition, you’ll get more and more people spreading the word about your business, signing up for your events, buying your special deals and taking advantage of your exclusive offers.

And you will be rewarded with an ever-growing base of loyal customers who will be willing ambassadors for your company — people who will happily recommend your products and services to their friends, family and other social connections.

How to Get More Customers Through Facebook

Have you figured out how to use Facebook yet to get customers and create sales on demand?

If your Facebook activity is limited to posting status updates and boosting posts, you are not leveraging the full power of Facebook for your business.

If you would like to learn a proven ninja technique to create more money on demand, read on.

First You Need to Capture Leads

First, we need to talk about the art and importance of capturing “leads.” A lead is a person who has given your business permission to contact them. The ability to generate leads on demand is one key to your business success.

When people willingly give you their name, email address and/or phone number in order to get something you are offering, they are sending you a clear signal that they WANT to do business with you. These are the people who are your best prospects (apart from your existing customers).

Example of a Facebook Lead Generating Ad

Example of a Facebook Lead Ad

The lead ad pictured above shows how easy it can be to motivate people to give you their name, email and/or phone number with an appealing and irresistible offer. Once you’ve captured this information in your own customer database, you can slash your marketing costs and increase sales substantially simply by e-mailing, texting, and sending direct mail to the people on your list.

If you have just 500 to 1,000 people on your customer list, you can usually get somewhere between 2-5% to take you up on an offer (assuming you have an appealing offer that you are sending out to your audience.)

Did you know that you can also upload your customer list into Facebook and send messages directly to your best customers and prospects in their Facebook news feeds?

This form of advertising can yield a large return on a small advertising investment, because you are directing your message exclusively to the people who have already expressed an interest in your products or services.

Facebook Lead Ads: The Savvy Business Owner’s Secret Weapon

One of the biggest problems business owners face is getting the correct e-mail address from their customers. Facebook’s latest advertising innovation — Lead Ads —removes this obstacle.

Facebook Lead Ads let you send appealing messages and offers to your ideal audience of Facebook users. When they click your ad, a new screen pops up with their first name, last name, and e-mail address automatically entered into a form. You can configure the form to request their phone number as well.

When the Facebook user clicks the submit button on the Facebook Lead Ad form, their correct email address is automatically sent to you.

Facebook gives you the option to get more information as well, such as gender, age, phone number, occupation, and more! However, we recommend that you limit the information you request to no more than 2-3 form fields, especially for mobile users. This increases the chances that people will complete the form and you will capture their information.

How To Create Money on Demand Using Facebook Lead Ads

When people sign up to receive something you have advertised through a lead ad (i.e., a free lunch or dinner, a free trial service, a free video, a free report, etc.) you can set things up so that customer’s name and email address is automatically entered into your own database.

As people are added, they are automatically emailed (or texted) a follow-up message with the information they requested (coupon, instructions for receiving a free trial, free video, free report, etc.) and one or more time-limited additional offers. You can set your additional offers to be valid for one day only or a very limited time to encourage a prompt buying action.

Your system can be setup to send a follow up thank you message, offers, news and invitations on a predetermined schedule. By maintaining a regular stream of follow-up messages, you will keep your brand top of mind and generate more repeat and more referral business from your customer list.

This marketing system will easily set you apart from similar businesses in your local marketplace because very few owners implement disciplined and personalized systems like this.

What Kind of Return Can I Get From Lead Ads?

It’s not unusual for a $150 ad campaign to generate new leads for $2.00 or less per lead. When was the last time you spent $500 on a newspaper or magazine ad and saw 250 leads come in?

Now not every lead will turn into a buyer right away .. but if just 20% (50) of those 250 leads bought $20 worth of stuff from you, you will have generated an extra $1,000 from a single email offer.

While traditional media have their place, it’s not unusual for businesses to spend $60-$100 or more to acquire a new customer using newspaper, magazine, TV or radio ads.

Follow Up To Maximize Sales

Since we all live busy lives, a good percentage of people who requested your coupon or offer won’t come in to redeem it before it expires. That’s not a problem. What’s important is that you now have the capability to continue marketing to this group of people as long as they give you permission (by remaining on your email list.)

That means that you can continue sending out messages, offers and promotions to your customer list for many months to come – and the more offers you send out, the more business will flow back to you.

Successful owners are leveraging the power of Facebook to reach and attract new customers and keep existing customers coming back more often.

It’s a great way to make the most of your marketing dollars and get a rewarding return on your advertising investment.

Facebook Launches New Professional Services Search Site

Facebook Professional Services Search SiteFacebook has launched a new search site ( that makes it easy for prospective customers to find top-rated local professional services companies and decide who they want to hire for a wide range of services.

Auto repair services, dog groomers, hair salons, cleaning services, remodeling companies, photographers, plumbers and other services professionals should familiarize themselves with this new Facebook feature and start encouraging their best customers to review them on Facebook to achieve competitive rankings in the new Facebook professional services site.

What Does a Facebook Professional Services Search Look Like?

On the Facebook Professional Services page, you can type your exact query into two search boxes (one for business type and one for location), or you can browse through categories such as Automotive, Home Improvement, Financial Services, Medical & Health, and more.

More than 80 types of businesses are listed at the bottom of the page … but you can find many other business categories by typing in a business category into the search box. The Professional Services page automatically provides you with results for the town or city you are in, but you can specify a different town or city as well.

The search results display information found in the companies’ Facebook business pages, including the business’ name, phone number, hours of operation, street address, star rating, and even reviews. The top of the search results page also includes a background photo of the searched city.

Here are a few search results we found for various service providers in the Northern Virginia area:

auto repair


home improvement

Georjeans Dog Grooming Warrenton VA

How Will Facebook Professional Services Search Affect Your Service Business?

As a service provider, you will want to do what you can to leverage Facebook’s Professional Services site to get found by — and attract — potential customers in your local community. It creates yet another place where you can increase and benefit from online visibility.

We recommend that you take a look at your company’s Facebook business page and make sure that all your key business information has been added to your page. If you have not yet verified your Facebook page, be sure to do that too.

Make sure you have a process in place to ask your customers to rate your business and leave reviews on Facebook. The more happy customers you can get to share their positive experiences with your company on Facebook, the greater your chances of attracting more leads and customers with the new Facebook professional services search capability.

Here is a complete list of professional service companies that will be showcased on the new Facebook services site:

Arts & Marketing
Broadcasting & media production
Entertainment service
Graphic design

Automotive customisation
Automotive repair
Car dealership
Car parts & accessories
Car wash & detailing
Racing cars

Business services
Advertising service
Business consultant
Computer Services
Employment agency
Entertainment service
Internet service provider
Printing service
Transportation service

Cleaning service
Decking & patios
Garden centre
Home decor
Interior designer
Kitchen supplies
Mattresses & bedding
Mobile homes

Event planning
Bands & musicians
Event planner
Event planning
Event venue
Wedding planner

Financial services
Currency exchange
Financial Planning
Insurance Agent
Mortgage Brokers
Tax preparation

Lifestyle Services
Dating service
Food consultant
Personal coaching
Sewing & Seamstress

Medical & Health
Alternative & Holistic Health
Counseling & mental health
Physical therapist
Plastic surgery
Pregnancy & childbirth service
Women’s health

Pet Service
Animal shelter
Dog training
Pet breeder
Pet groomer
Pet shop
Veterinary surgeon

Spa, beauty & personal care
Beauty salon
Cosmetics & beauty supplier
Hair salon
Nail salon
Skin care
Tattoos & piercing

How to Win Over Your Competitors’ Customers

Social Media MarketingWould you like to win more business from your top competitors’ customers?

It’s easier than you might think to figure out who your competitors’ customers are and then persuade them to try your own product or service. The secret is to do your research using social media.

Here are five simple steps you can use to capture the attention of your competitors’ customers who have already purchased products or services similar to what you have to offer.

Step #1: Do Your Research

In order to get the attention of your competitors’ customers you need to first understand what makes them tick.

Start by asking yourself some key questions about these customers.
– What is your competitor selling them?
– What do their customers like about their product?
– What do they dislike?
– How are your products or services better than what they are buying from your competitors?
– Do you have a better solution to their problems?

Social media hold the keys to getting these answers quickly and easily.

Start by checking out your competitors’ profiles and postings on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, and so on.

  • Do your competitors have online reviews?
  • What are their customers saying about their products?

You can also set up a Google Alert to notify you whenever your competitor’s name or individual product names are mentioned anywhere on the web.

Some basic research like this will give you plenty of insights that will help you figure out how your products or services are different from and/or better than your competitors’ products and services.

Step #2: Connect With Your Competitors’ Customers

Now you are in a position to use social media to target your competitors’ social media followers and fans with an intriguing offer or message.

It’s easy to do this on Facebook and Twitter because they give you the exact tools you need to advertise directly to these customers.

Facebook lets you create a Lookalike audience consisting of the fans of your competitors.

Twitter offers Follower Retargeting to create audience segments based on the businesses they already like.

Step #3: Impress Your Competitors’ Customers

The next step is to impress your competitors’ customers with an attention-getting offer that is genuinely interesting and valuable to this target market.

You’ll need to set up a one-page website (known as a landing page) with an offer and a form that people must fill out to claim the free offer, discount, or other incentive you are advertising.

By requiring people to provide their name and email address (at a minimum) to claim the offer, you are creating a highly valuable email list that will be a genuine asset to your business and help you make more money easily.

The easiest way to create a landing page that will get people interested in your product or service and collect names and email addresses is to use a software tool called Lead Pages.

At this stage, you should not be focused on making a sale. Your goal is simply to attract the attention and interest of potential customers with a valuable free (or discounted) trial offer and get them onto your own proprietary email list.

Step #4: Sell

Once a potential customer has subscribed to your email list, then you can take the next step and invite them to buy something.

Since the people on your list have already indicated an interest by providing their name and email address to you, the sales process will be easier and faster.

Since you have already delivered value in the form of a free or discounted product or service and cultivated some goodwill, your potential customers will be more likely to buy when given the opportunity to do so.

Step #5: Retain

Now that you have ethically attracted the interest of your customers’ customers, you must work to cultivate their loyalty and retain them as a long-term customer.

The easiest way to do this is to ask your customers what else they want or need that you can provide them .. and then give it to them.

5 Reasons You Need a Birthday Club

Birthday Club Marketing

If you are looking for a simple and easy way to increase revenues and profits quickly for your restaurant or local business, you should consider implementing a birthday club. Birthday Clubs are proven revenue boosters that can bring more high-value customers into your restaurant every week.

People who are are celebrating birthdays are in a splurging mood — ready to spend plenty of money to commemorate the occasion. Restaurants who cater to this market segment can increase revenues and profits virtually on demand.

Birthday clubs also work well for: hair salons, day spas, nail salons, jewelers, house cleaning services, caterers, car washes, car detailing shops, auto dealers, and any other kind of business that can offer an enticing birthday special to bring new customers in.

An Overlooked Marketing Strategy

Even though people celebrating their birthdays are high-value customers, most locally-owned restaurant and independent business owners have not implemented a disciplined marketing system that capitalizes on this market segment.

5 Benefits of Birthday Clubs

1) High-Value Customers: according to the National Restaurant Association, an average birthday patron generates $78 in revenue per table.

2) Goodwill: Patrons and their guests who dine with you on their birthday bring good will & upbeat energy to your restaurant. It keeps your establishment happier!

3) Group Buys: Birthday guests seldom dine alone on their birthday. Most birthday guests are accompanied by friends and family members for their birthday celebration. The average birthday table is 3-­4 people.

4) Low-Hanging Fruit: More than 55% of all Americans eat out on their birthday. Why not capitalize on what would be lost revenue?

5) Revenue Multiplier: Each new customer you bring in can have a high lifetime value when they enjoy themselves and choose to dine out regularly at your restaurant (or purchase more products or services from your local business after you have impressed them with their birthday purchase.) Each new customer who becomes a loyal repeat customer can have a tremendous positive impact on your bottom line. Imagine how you can profit by bringing more birthday groups into your restaurant (or other place of business) on a daily basis.

How to Create a Birthday Club

STEP 1: Create an Enticing Birthday Offer

It’s important to make sure you have an enticing offer that will motivate people to celebrate their birthday at your restaurant (or, if you own a different kind of business, by choosing to purchase a product or service from your business).

Complimentary meals or desserts for the birthday celebrant are the most popular offers that work well for all kinds of restaurants.

STEP 2: Design the Marketing Materials

You will need to create marketing material to showcase your birthday club and encourage existing customers and new customers to sign up for your club. These can be postcards you send in the mail, business-card sized cards you provide to guests upon paying for a meal, or table tents with a call to action to join your birthday club.

STEP 3: Set up a Web Page and Automated Follow Up Messages

Your marketing materials should direct readers to a web page where they can sign up for your birthday club. This web page features a form your customers fill out that adds their information into a database. It is also programmed to send messages and offers out to your birthday club members at the right time (a week or so before their birthday.)

But that’s not all! Your automated email system (which we refer to as an “autoresponder”) can be programmed to send out regular messages and invitations throughout the year with offers and invitations designed to bring more people into your restaurant more often.

STEP 4: Manual Sign-Up Form

You can also give existing customers a card to fill out with the information needed to join your birthday club (name, email address, phone number and mailing address) and then enter their information into a spreadsheet or a database program such as excel or google spreadsheets

STEP 5: Ongoing Management Tasks

Birthday clubs can yield tremendous benefits for your business. However, they also require ongoing management by a dedicated employee or other individual who will oversee and manage your birthday club tasks.

Birthday Club management tasks include:

  • entering new subscribers into your database,
  • tracking the performance of your marketing efforts,
  • keeping Birthday Club marketing materials current and up to date.

If you do not have the internal resources to manage a birthday club effectively, we can help! We specialize in managing profitable revenue-generating birthday clubs for restaurants nationwide.

Our proprietary Birthday Marketing Program can help you attract more new customers weekly by reaching out to thousands of people in your local area who have a birthday coming up within the next 7 days.

We can get your message seen by customers living within 1 mile, 5 miles, 10 miles or any other radius of your restaurant you specify! We then send these customers to your restaurant to celebrate their special day.

Spaces Are Limited: Contact Us Today

To avoid saturation and maintain the novelty and effectiveness of our Birthday Marketing Program, we limit the number of restaurants and local businesses we work with when setting up Birthday Clubs in your area.

If you are interested in learning how we can help you increase revenues and profits for your restaurant, we encourage you to contact us today to reserve your place in our program.

Simply The Easiest Way to Increase Revenues and Profits

If you like the idea of filling your restaurant seats with more new patrons — or bringing more new customers into your place of business — on a daily basis, you should contact us today so we can determine if this is a good fit for your restaurant or local business.

Our Birthday Club Marketing Program is simply the easiest, hassle-free way to increase your revenue and drive new customers into your restaurant daily.

New Website for Blizzard Interior Design

Herbst Marketing has launched a new website for Blizzard Interior Design, a full-service interior design company serving clients throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Melissa Kasun, President and Founder of Blizzard Interior Design, needed a state-of-the-art mobile-friendly website that looked more professional than her outdated Vistaprint website.

You can see how the original website looked below.

Original Website

Blizzard Interior Design original website

Blizzard Interior Design original website

The New Website

Melissa’s new website is built on the mobile-responsive Divi WordPress theme and includes photo galleries that showcase her interior design projects, as well as a link to her affiliate shop offering home furnishings and home decor products from One King’s Lane.

Blizzard Interior Design Northern Virginia

New Website for Blizzard Interior Design

Blizzard Interior Design has served residential and commercial clients in Virginia, Maryland and on Capitol Hill for over twenty years and has contributed design work to the Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center for AIDS research and treatment (Whitman Walker Clinic) in Washington DC.

Founder and Principal Designer Melissa Kasun holds a BA in Fine Art and Design with emphasis in Architectural Concepts and Spatial Design. While attending Virginia Tech she was honored with the opportunity to submit her work as part of the accreditation process for the University’s Design Department conducted by The Foundation for Interior Design Research. Her interpretations of trending design and implementation have also been published in The Washington Examiner.

Melissa lives in beautiful and historic Prince William County in Virginia with her husband of twenty-one years Michael, her two daughters, Victoria and Erica and their German Shepherd, Luna.

7 Ways to Turn Blog Readers Into Customers

Attract More Perfect Customers By Blogging

Attract More Perfect Customers By Blogging

Every website I create for clients includes a self-hosted blog. I always advise my website clients to make time to blog because it is an affordable and low-cost way to position yourself as an authority and attract more perfect customers.

But small business owners typically have two main problems that stop them from blogging:

  1. They have a hard time finding time to blog.
  2. They have a hard time coming up with content for their blog.

Every successful business solves real problems for real customers. If you aren’t providing products or services that people want and that make their lives better, then you won’t stay in business for long.

So, the place to start when writing your blog is to think about the problems your customers have and how you help your customers solve them. When your blog content provides information of real value to real people, it positions you as an authority and will help you attract more perfect customers.

With that in mind, I recently stumbled upon an excellent podcast by Chris Luck that explains exactly to create a successful blog that turns readers into paying customers.


Podcast Highlights

For those of you who would rather read than listen, here are the podcast highlights. But I encourage you to listen to the podcast as well.

  1. Know Your Audience.
  2. Who are your customers? What do they want and need? Why do they buy from you?

    Write about your customers wants and needs and how you can solve them in language they can understand.

    Before you start writing, think about the person you are speaking to — the person who is most likely to take action as a results of reading your content.

    Think about their gender, profession, marital status, family composition, hobbies, interests and the problems they face.

  3. Select a topic that will solve a pain.
  4. Blog topics that target precise pain points attract those people who are searching for a solution to a problem.

  5. Format your blog article so it can be scanned quickly.
    • Write short paragraphs that have no more than 3 sentences.
    • Use headlines, subheadlines and bullet lists.
    • Use a large font that is easy to read on all devices.
    • Insert images to break up the text.
  6. Decrease distractions.
  7. Imagine your blog article is a road. You want this road to take your readers from one point directly to another without exit ramps, signs or billboards to distract their attention.

    Make it easy for readers to stay focused on one single point that will help them solve their pain.

  8. Don’t be promotional.
  9. Even when your real goal is to attract paying customers, make sure that each of your blog articles provides something of value that makes it worth the readers’ time.

    You can always offer something for sale at the end of your blog, but if your readers feel like they did not get something of value from the blog content itself, you are less likely to convert those readers to customers.

  10. Use a bold call to action.
  11. A call to action is an invitation to your readers to contact you or provide their contact information in order to access something more that you can offer them.

    Your call to action might be to fill out a form to get an informative free report or access to a video with more information.

    Your call to action could be a button that says “Click Here to Learn More.”

  12. Use retargeting.
  13. You can add a piece of retargeting code to your website that identifies just those people who have read your blog. This gives you the power to create ads that will follow your readers around the internet and invite them to come back to read another article, download a free report, or watch a free video.

    Google Adwords, Perfect Audience and Facebook Custom Audiences are tools that let you set up retargeting. Retargeting is a low-cost form of advertising that can keep you visible and top of mind in your ideal audience (and potential customers) for as little as $0.50 per thousand impressions (CPM).

    Need Help Creating and Publicizing Your Blog Content?

    I can help you generate ideas for your blog content, write your blog for you, and promote your blog so it gets seen by the right people to keep you top of mind.

    CLICK HERE to contact me

    …if you would like to discuss your blogging needs or schedule a business blogging consultation.