Did you miss our articles this month? Perhaps you recently discovered the FTx blog and hit the subscribe button, or maybe you've been hard at work all month gearing up your business for the holiday season and didn't have time to read our weekly posts… Either way, we've got you covered right here and now. We've put together an easy-to-read summary of all the info we published throughout December so that you can get up to speed and stay informed.

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At the top of the month, we brought you a detailed, how-to guide about How to Prep Your Digital Signage for the Holidays. A critical first-step to taking advantage of this powerful information is to invest in digital signage at your retail location, business offices, healthcare facility, or educational institution, if you don't already have a system in place. FTx Digital Signage Solutions, which integrates with our free, cloud-based design software AdPro, can get you started fast, so be sure to check out our solutions if you're shopping around.

The guided steps we went over covered:

Put a System in Place

Even though the biggest holiday season of the year is already in full swing--and yes, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas have passed--with only New Year's and post-holiday sales opportunities upon us, you can still install digital signage at your store and get prepared for the next seasonal sales period. Once you're ready to get down to business, the following steps will apply.

Design Your Digital Content

This is where FTx AdPro will come in handy, and we strongly recommend that you check this free software out. You don't have to be a graphic designer to revamp your usual marketing images with a seasonal spin, no matter what the holiday, when you use our software. And when you do, you'll want to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • • Replace the color scheme of your current logo, slogan, and graphics with the traditional colors of the holiday you're prepping for
  • • Re-design your newsletter header with the same new, seasonal color scheme
  • • Create holiday-themed promo graphics for social media and blog posts, using your new holiday logo and including specific sales, deals, and discounts information

    Get Your Omnichannel Ready

    The term "omnichannel" refers to a marketing content strategy that uses all available channels when advertising and promoting to drive better audience engagement. This strategy creates a unified, consistent experience for your customers that helps to clearly market your brand. In practical terms, an omnichannel marketing strategy would utilize every advertising avenue available, including:

  • • Your website
  • • Your e-commerce store
  • • Your digital newsletter materials
  • • Your social media accounts
  • • Your in-store digital signage

    Use your full omnichannel to deploy all of the holiday graphics, images, and promo ads you've created.

    Create Seasonal Ambience

    Every holiday season, retailers take extensive measures to transform their stores with the decorations and traditional color schemes of the holiday they're promoting with sales. Valentine's Day brings pink hearts and white doilies, St. Patrick's Day uses green shamrocks and little leprechauns, and Easter is all about painted eggs and white bunnies… you get the idea. If you took the time to design holiday digital content using FTx AdPro, then simply deploy the content to your in-store display screens to create seasonal ambience and holiday flair.

    Implement Street-Facing Signage

    Is your retail store within a mall or are you located in a strip mall? Perhaps your store is on an intersection corner in a bustling city? Either way, store windows are another opportunity to interest pedestrian consumers to come inside, which is why most retailers dedicate a hefty budget to transforming their window displays for the holidays. The content you display, however, should be slightly different than that on your indoor screens. Here are some ideas for your street-facing signage that are more likely to get people inside and spending:

  • • Only promote the biggest benefits of shopping at your store
  • • Display a live-feed of your social media feed and include hashtags that you've invented for the holiday
  • • Use call-to-action graphics and be sure to clearly detail the next steps customers must take to get in on the deal you're promoting

    This summary only scratched the surface, so be sure to check out the full article when you have a chance!

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Our next December blog article, What Is Upselling? included all the ins and outs of communicating with customers in such a way that encourages additional sales. We first established the definition of upselling, and differentiated it from cross-selling, as follows:

Upselling refers to increasing the size, volume, or quantity of the product or service the customer already wants to buy. Contrastingly, cross-selling refers to suggesting the customer buy a complimentary item in addition to their original order.

The tips we laid out included:

Upselling & Your POS

Chances are, no matter what specific retail industry your store belongs to, you have a digital point of sale system installed at your checkout registers. If this is the case, then you have a leg up in terms of implementing upselling tactics at the point of sale. When your POS is digital, you can utilize add-on features that will prompt your sales staff with the exact pre-written scripts to read to your customers. These upselling features can be easily programmed to pop-up on the employee-facing POS screen when certain eligible items have been selected. When a pop-up bubble appears, your employee will simply read the offer out loud to the customer and if the customer decides to act on the upsell, then your employee can easily make the adjustment right there in the POS. FTx Uplift is premium software designed to help you and your staff upsell at the register.

Product, Price, and Timing

If you're going to use a feature like FTx Uplift in your POS, then you're going to have to first figure out which of your products will be eligible, what those upgraded prices will be, and finally how to "time" the offer so that it's impossible to turn down. Your sales staff will also need to understand the particulars of this information if you want them to upsell while they're working on the sales floor independent of a POS device, though it would be worthwhile to equip them with FTx Handheld devices, which can be programmed with Uplift, as well. For more on utilizing upselling software, be sure to read the full article.

Offer Personalized Product Recommendations

Analyzing and using customer data to tailor personalized recommendations to your shoppers has never been easier than now in the age of digital commerce. Whether customers are shopping in-store using a digital POS at the counter or shopping from home on their computers, your systems can accrue an incredible amount of information about each individual shopper, which is why our next tip is that you offer personalized product recommendations as an upselling opportunity. This upselling tactic edges into the territory of cross-selling, but if done correctly, your customers will not only appreciate it, they'll act on the offers, too. Because your digital POS, and also your e-commerce site, are capable of recording customer purchase histories, you can program specific triggers for customer-preferred items and favored products and services.

And we finished off the article with listing these additional upselling practical tips & strategies to help you sell more:

  • • Include upselling as part of your customer support services
  • • Use upselling during customer service interactions to boost satisfaction
  • • Integrate automated upselling into your loyalty rewards program

    If you'd like the full package when it comes to upselling, cross-selling, and integrated POS, the FTx Total Enterprise Solutions is for you.

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Mid-month, we got highly specific with Social Media Marketing Secrets, which kicked off our new series regarding each area of digital content marketing that, when used in concert, can maximize your online presence and expand brand awareness. The information contained in this article is so valuable that you really have to read the whole post, but in the meantime, here are the best kept social marketing secrets to keep you ahead of the curve while growing your loyal customer-base:

Target Your Goals

Identify your goals. Maybe your goal is to improve all of these areas for overall impact and revenue. When defining your social media marketing goals, use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym--specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. 

Target Your Audience

Once you understand your goals, the next critical objective to determine involves your audience, or ideal customer. Do you have a clear understanding of who your customers are? Depending on who you define your customers to be, you will be able to determine which social media platform will benefit your marketing efforts the most. 

Study the Competition

Before you're ready to begin creating and generating social media posts, ad campaigns, and other initiatives, it's a good idea to first check out your biggest competitors to analyze how they're using social media, how many followers they have, and how often they're posting and engaging with other users.

Develop Content

Having researched your competitors and structured your business goals, you are now ready to create the content of your social media posts and ad campaigns. The visual aspect of your posts can be a photo, graphic, or video. Social media marketing places a huge emphasis on visual content so make sure the quality of each post is professional and eye-catching.

Develop Character

Your business has "character", which is to say that your company has an ethos, mission statement, and personality, all of which shine through in your brand. Integrate the character and characteristics of your unique brand into your social media marketing content by presenting a uniform "look".

Interact Online

Engaging with your audience is the entire point of social media marketing, even if you've structured your business goals to drive website traffic and increase e-commerce revenue. As users "like", "follow", and "comment", you must actively respond, keep conversations going, and most importantly, remain available in case a user tries to gain customer service help via the platform.

Experiment

As we mentioned earlier, the visual content of your social media marketing posts can involve photos, graphics, and video. Depending on the medium used visually, you will find that certain posts generate more audience interaction than others. As you post and engage your audience, you can play around with strategies to maximize engagement. Experimenting with popular posting strategies that work for you can also include playing around with A/B testing for any social media advertising campaigns you might have invested in.

Measure

As you experiment with posts that generate a lot of engagement versus posts that fall short, you must always measure and analyze the success-rate as you go. Measuring your progress and also measuring how close to achieving your original goals you're getting is vital if you want to grow. Choose a few key performance indicators (KPIs) to keep a close eye on.

Automate

If you want to save time you can deploy your social media marketing content from one automated platform instead of going onto each platform individually to post. There are a number of affordable social media automation tools on the market today, such as HootSuite. Utilizing this technology, you can schedule all of your posts for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the rest days, weeks, or months in advance.

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Our final blog article this month was also aimed at guiding you through getting the most out of your digital content marketing efforts. Tips to Build SEO covered the foundation of how to properly build your company's search engine optimization in order to improve your ranking on Google, Bing, and other sites. Similar to the social media marketing secrets we shared earlier, our tips to build SEO are very detailed so you'll need to read the original article to get the most out of our professional advice. But here is the condensed version:

Selecting & Using Keywords

Keywords are the foundation of SEO, but what are they really? You can think of keywords as the words, phrases, or questions that a Google user would type into the search field in order to generate a list of possible websites relevant to that search topic. Keywords won't help you optimize your website's ranking within search engine results unless you're using the right words and phrases.

In the article, we broke this down into two parts--selecting keywords and using those keywords. The tips to select keywords that we introduced included:

  • • Know Your Audience
  • • Target Longtail Keyword Phrases
  • • Use Different Variations of the Same Words & Phrases

    The tips to use the keywords you've selected involved the following:

  • • Keywords Inform Content (not the other way around)
  • • Use Different Keywords (on the webpages and the backend)
  • • Leverage Traffic Analytics (make adjustments as you go)

    What else can you do to increase your SEO ranking and drive traffic to your website?

  • • Use "Title Tags"
  • • Use "Meta Descriptions"
  • • Tailor URL Structure
  • • Include Internal Linking
  • • Increase Page Speed

    That just about wraps it up. In case you missed the informative topics we presented throughout December, now you have a quick-reference summary to kick off the New Year and execute your best digital content marketing ever for 2021! As we mentioned, nothing beats reading the original articles, so we encourage you to take the time. Have a Happy New Year and we'll see you in 2021!