How to Build a Referral Program – Part 3 – Tools to Make a Referral Program a Reality

Tools to Make a Referral Program a Reality

If building a referral program sounds very complicated, particularly if you’re not a web developer and have no talent for online marketing, maybe this post will be helpful. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that already exist on the market for taking the complicated and making it intuitive:

  • – One of the most popular and well-reviewed tools for referral programs online, Ambassador makes enrolling, tracking, and rewarding all easy to manage from a single, simple dashboard. You’ll particularly like the intuitive analytics that show you exactly where you’re having the most success.
  • Referral Rock – Here you can create, track, and expand upon referral programs to boost word-of-mouth sales. There are plenty of options here, including creating referral rewards, customizing the “friend offer,” and links to help you share information about your referral program on social media.
  • – If you’re looking for more social media engagement, WishPond helps you create landing pages, contests, promotions, and automation for leading platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
  • – Easy, simple, and intuitive—the exact kind of program you want if your focus is to make the process as navigable for your customer as possible.

Internet Marketing Tips For Restaurant Owners

It is common knowledge that the restaurant industry is extremely competitive. Although food is in constant demand, many cities are over-saturated with restaurants and – as a result – there are more tables than customers. Consequently, many restaurants suffer losses and many go out of business within a few months. To succeed, restaurant owners have to serve the best food with the best service and also constantly spread the word about how great they are. Marketing is crucial to their success. In this digital era, business owners are doing their marketing online since it is fast, interactive, and cost-effective. If you’re a restaurateur and you want to be a step ahead of your competition, you need a checklist of internet marketing tips to attract more customers and keep your business flourishing.

1. Build a website for your restaurant business.
A beautiful, mobile responsive, and user-friendly website will help you showcase your irresistible menu, amazing place, and great service online. It will also serve as your restaurant’s main presence online where your customers can find you, contact you, make reservations, and get interesting content related to food and dining that they can share with their friends on the Internet or social media.

Having a website will also let you register your own domain name, and create customized emails to establish, protect, and promote your brand online.

2. Blog about your amazing restaurant.

Spread the great news about your restaurant—its food, place, price, people, and customers—through blogging. If you’re using WordPress to power your website, you can also make a blog within it. Blogging can give your restaurant business a boost because it helps you:

  • Share the wonderful stories, images, info graphics, videos and other content about your restaurant.
  • Increase your brand’s visibility on search engines by creating and publishing more blog posts or content that search engines love to index.
  • Enhance your brand’s virility on social networks by creating shareable blog posts or content that people can share on their social media channels.
  • Establish yourself and your staff as experts in the restaurant industry by writing and blogging expert tips, guides, advice, and articles related to food and dining.
  • Inspire your blog’s readers and be a thought leader who can influence the world.

3. Get your content ready.
Content is king when it comes to internet marketing. Start creating and collecting awesome content to share with your target customers.

  • Interesting articles and stories about your restaurant, food, staff, and featured customers.
  • Useful guides, tips, and advice related to food, dining, wines, coffee, and other things that will help your existing and future customers.
  • Captivating photos of your restaurant, food, and the amazing people behind it.
  • Interesting videos to highlight the great experience your restaurant offers to customers.

4. Build a Facebook business page.
Creating a Facebook business page is free. To ensure that your customers will find your place, create a local business page so that your map location will be easily searched by potential customers. A Facebook Page is your gateway to Facebook marketing and promoting your restaurant in the largest social network on the planet.

If your restaurant doesn’t have a Facebook Page yet, create now with the following simple steps:

  • Create a personal Facebook account
  • Go to
  • Click to choose a Page category
  • Select a more specific category from the dropdown menu and fill out the required information
  • Click Get Started and follow the on-screen instructions

After creating a Facebook Page, you can already:

  • Upload a logo and an appetizing cover photo to attract food lovers.
  • Complete your about page, description, location, and contact address.
  • Post interesting photos, videos, links, and other content to increase engagement (likes, shares, and comments).
  • Create call-to actions.
  • Promote your brand through Facebook ads.

Read this post from Post Planner to check 50 Facebook Pages of restaurants to learn from.

5. Promote your brand on Instagram.

People love to take selfies everywhere and instantly share them with their friends and even with the world. Instagram makes it possible for everyone to take pictures and instantly upload to social media using smartphones and Internet. If your restaurant, coffee shop, or bar doesn’t have an Instagram Page, you’re missing a lot of opportunities to promote your brand to potential customers.

From getting started with Instagram to using videos and hashtags, here’s an Instagram Marketing Guide from Social Media Examiner to promote your restaurant.

Starbucks Instagram Page
(The Instagram Page of Starbucks) 

6. Use Pinterest to promote your brand.
Mouth-watering food photos are best utilized in marketing using Pinterest. Pinterest is a social media network based mostly on images. It also gives people the ability to pin richer media like infographics and videos. The image-based social network can also pin or publish photos and videos from your website and blog to generate more traffic and attract more customers.

If you’re implementing social media marketing to promote your restaurant, Pinterest is one social platform you should not miss. Here are 12 reasons why your business needs Pinterest Marketing by Jeff Bullas.

7. Create a Google Account.
Google has a lot of products that are very useful for marketers. YouTube, Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, AdWords, Google Drive, you name it. By creating a single Google account, you will have the power to create a Google Plus Page, YouTube Channel, Google Analytics account, Google Webmaster’s Tool account, and Google AdWords account among others. It also lets you verify the address and location of your restaurant on Google Maps/Places and claim your brand’s unique URL or username.

Furthermore, YouTube can’t be ignored by business owners and marketers. It has already transformed ordinary people into stars. Hence, if you want your business to be the next YouTube sensation, create a YouTube Channel for your restaurant and share amazing videos about your place, food, people, and their great experiences. You can also upload videos showing testimonials from your delighted customers.

8. Boost your brand using Twitter.
Twitter is the social platform for people who want to know what’s happening in the world or in a specific location right now. The microblogging platform has already evolved from letting its users tweet 140-character text messages to sharing images, videos, and other rich media using Twitter Cards. Twitter is also a mobile platform, thus, giving everyone with a smartphone the power to instantly share their stories with the world, which may include their experiences, photos, and videos with their favorite food and restaurants.

With Twitter, you can share delightful photos of your products to attract customers. You can also use hashtags to encourage a trend and tweet links to drive more traffic to your website or blog. Twitter also lets you promote your tweets through Twitter Ads to geographically targeted audience to reach your target customers and increase sales.

9. List your restaurant on local business directories.
To increase your brand’s visibility on the Internet, claim your business listing on popular online directories, such as Google Places, Bing Places, Yahoo Local Listing, Yelp, Foursquare,,, or the top directories in your own country. Claiming your business listing gives you the ability to update your listing with the right information, so that your potential customers will find it easily and smoothly. It also increases your restaurant’s search engine visibility and ranking since Google usually shows search results from high-authority local directories.

Check out this list of places where businesses need to be listed.

10. Improve your conversion by maximizing calls-to action.
Visitors may come to your website, blog, and social media pages. If you’re not guiding them what to do next, you might be losing income opportunities. Increase your sales by improving your call-to actions. For instance, on your Facebook Page, utilize Facebook’s menu features for Local Businesses and Restaurant/Café. To add a menu to your Page, simply do the following simple steps:

  • Click “About” below your Page’s cover photo
  • Click “Page Info” in the left column
  • Click to edit the Menu section
  • Upload a PDF file of your menu
  • Click Save Changes

You may read Facebook help about creating a “menu” on Facebook Page for more information.

11. Invite food bloggers – Get people to help spread the word.
Bloggers are online influencers and could help spread great news about your restaurant. Their blog posts rule the search engines, social media, and even the mobile world. If you own a restaurant, bar, or café, connect and make friends with influential bloggers in the travel, food, and lifestyle niches. Invite them to come to your place, experience your food and service, and blog about them. Travel bloggers usually own a DSLR camera for taking beautiful photos about their experiences. Hence, prepare to charm their audience with your delightful dishes.

12. Invest in targeted paid ads.
If you can spend money on traditional advertising such as TV commercials, radio advertising, and print ads, invest in paid digital marketing. Paid online advertising services include Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Instagram Ads and sponsored posts on food and travel blogs. Running online ads like Facebook Ads is a must for restaurant and café owners to increase brand awareness and reach more target customers.

Facebook Ads lets you choose various objectives for your campaign, such as sending people to your website, promoting your Page to get more fans, and boosting your posts to get more engagements.

Facebook Ads Campaign Objectives
(Different objectives in Facebook Ads)

To learn more about social media advertising, read this guide from Hootsuite Blog.

13. Run contests to reward your customers.
Gamification rewards your existing and future customers, and encourage them to be loyal to your business. You can run contests on Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms as they are easier to manage. For example, you can start a “selfie with your favorite dish” contest to convince your customers to publish their photos and moments with your restaurant on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Here’s a guide from Social Media Examiner about running an Instagram contest in four easy steps.

14. Timing your online marketing campaign.
Timing is key in every successful marketing campaign. When it comes to enticing people with foods or beverages, it’s common sense to do it when they’re hungry or thirsty. So what’s the best time to display your restaurant’s mouth-watering pictures, videos, posts, and ads on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other media? It depends on what you serve (breakfast, lunch, snacks or dinner), who your target customers are, and where they are. The best time to post on social media could be different for each type of industry, thus, I advise that you create experiments to determine the perfect time for your business.

You can use Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your social media posts.

15. Send email newsletter and greetings.
Make your customers feel special by sending them email greetings on their birthday. This is a simple way to remind your customers that you remember their big day. To get the emails of your customers, you can do it online by asking them to sign-up for a free membership at your website while requesting them to fill up their information like their name, email, and birthday. You can also ask them right at your restaurant or café. Of course, give some valuable rewards so they can be encouraged to sign-up with your website or fill up a customer information form at your place. Furthermore, don’t forget to respect their privacy.

16. Manage your online reputation.
Give your restaurant or café a likable brand or identity online and off. Prevent bad mentions about your business by establishing and implementing quality control policies. Detect search and social mentions about your brand using tools, like Google Alerts and Social Mention. Respond to your brand’s criticisms in a humble, polite, and proactive way. Maintain your good online reputation by rewarding your loyal customers and continuing to train your staff. For more ORM tips, read our 22 tips to managing your brand’s online reputation.

17. Know your competition.
Sun Tzu, in The Art of War, said the following:

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

In other words, you have to understand both your competitors and your own business.

Identifying your competitors online can be done by simply using Google search engine and Facebook search graph.

Google will show the restaurants in your area that are getting first page ranking in its search results.

The top results in Google when I search for restaurants in my city:

best restaurants in dc - Google Search 2016-03-31 14-53-52
(Google’s first page when searching restaurants in Washington, D.C.)

You may also use Yelp to identify competitors.

The top results displayed by Yelp when I search for the restaurants in my city:

Best Restaurants in dc in Washington, DC - Yelp 2016-03-31 14-52-35

After identifying your competitors, you can observe and audit their websites, blogs, Facebook pages, Instagram pages, and other social pages, as well as how they interact with people and customers. For more comprehensive and advanced discussion on how to use competitive auditing and outsmart your competitors, read this article by Neil Patel.

Final thoughts
In this digital era, owners, managers and marketers of restaurants, bars and cafés should harness the power of digital marketing to build up their brands, earn loyal customers, win their competition, and make their business more profitable and sustainable. But before unleashing your digital marketing strategies and tactics, remember that your online marketing success will greatly depend on your actual products and services – and how you really make your customers happy when they visit your place.

No matter how good your online marketing campaigns are, if your customers are not satisfied with your food, place, people and services, your business will hardly meet success. Therefore, to have a holistic and long-lasting online marketing success, do your best to give your customers the greatest experience.

Get Automatic Reviews With A System

Systems help simplify complicated things. In this case, getting automatic reviews shouldn’t be something that you try to do periodically. It should be something that you do with every single customer or client.

To maximize the number of positive reviews you get, you need a foolproof system.

Amazon’s system is fairly straightforward:

You buy a product
You get the product
You get a request to leave a review on Amazon a few days after

Amazon has done their own internal testing and determined that this particular timing worked best for the majority of their customers. However, your customers may be different, so it is important to always test.

Timing is important

Why are customers different when it comes to this? Most of it comes down to the type of customer you have and the product.

First, certain people expect online shipping to be faster. They want their product right away so they can start using it. This is typically true if you have a young demographic.

Secondly, some products take longer than others to test thoroughly enough to leave a good review. A frying pan only takes a few minutes to test, but a large book can take weeks to read.

If your product takes a longer time to test properly, give your customers a bit more time.

How to get consistent results

The only way to ensure that your customer gets your review request “X days” after they’ve purchased something is with an autoresponder.

After they buy something, add them to a new list just for customers.

Then, set up your autoresponder to send out an email asking if everything went well.

Finally, send your review request sometime after that first message.

I recommend trying different time delays to discover which one produces the most reviews.

The best way to get great reviews if you’re starting from scratch

Every business faces its own unique challenges when it comes to getting online reviews. The hardest stage is right at the beginning when you have no reviews.

When you have no reviews (or very few), potential buyers are hesitant to be the first buyers. They want to see that other people have bought your product and liked it.

To make things worse, people often don’t want to leave the first review. Unless they are an expert on your product, they don’t want to leave an opinion and look stupid if they’re wrong.

Instead, they’d rather look at other reviews first, get a general consensus, and then leave a review if their own opinion matches everyone else’s. This is also why it’s important to get off to a good start with a few glowing reviews.

Do not get fake reviews: Incentivizing reviews is a gray area, but buying fake reviews is clearly over the line. If you go on Fiverr or Google phrases like “buy 5 star review”, you’ll find a ton of people willing to write you a five-star review without even seeing your product.

Even without considering the ethics of doing this, it’s obvious that these reviews won’t be very useful.

Sure, you’ll get five-star reviews, but they’ll include no actual information that your potential buyers will care about. In addition, most fake reviews are extremely easy to spot. And if a potential buyer sees multiple fake reviews, their warning bells will go off and cause them to buy someone else’s product instead.

So although you could buy reviews, you are better off focusing on earning them.

To do so, follow these steps.

Step #1 – Pick a site to focus on

There are tons of third-party sites that aggregate reviews on products or businesses. For example, both Google and Yelp focus on local businesses, while Amazon obviously focuses on physical products and e-books.

To start with, pick just one review site to focus on. You can always expand to other sites once you’ve gotten some traction.

Step #2 – Offer a free sample or product

As I said, you need to earn your reviews, which means getting them from actual customers. This is where it’s a good idea to offer a discount, sample, or even free product in exchange for a review.

Wait, what? “Didn’t you just say NOT to offer incentives?”

If you remembered that, well done. That means you’re paying attention.

Incentivizing reviews is murky territory, but only if you don’t disclose it. If you do, they are perfectly compliant with the law and just about anyone’s ethical code. And when you need those first few reviews to get the ball rolling, a few reviews that aren’t perfect are still extremely valuable. Additionally, just because your customer needs to disclose that you offered them something doesn’t mean the review will suck.

Here’s an example of what one might look like:

As one of the first customers to buy (product name), I was lucky enough to be offered a free sample to try.

I received the product after 3 days in perfect condition. Since then, it’s worked exactly as expected.

In particular, the (feature) is better than every other (type of product) I’ve tried.

I’ll definitely be buying more in the future.

Obviously it’s not a perfect review (since I’m talking about a product that doesn’t exist), but if you could get started with 5-10 reviews like that, you’d be set.

The disclosure reads naturally and doesn’t really take away from the rest of the review as long as the reviewer is being honest.

Step #3 – Provide instructions

Figuring out how to leave a review is easy for you and me. However, for the non-tech-savvy person, leaving a review might be a head-scratcher.

To make sure that customers have no problems leaving a review, provide detailed instructions on how to leave a review. Even if they shop on a well-known platform like Amazon, most people have never left a review before. You need to walk them through it.

Step #4 – Make sure their experience is amazing

This is something we’ve already noted, but I want to re-iterate it because the only way you are going to earn a great review is if you provide a superlative experience.

The buying experience is composed of many different parts:

the branding
the packaging
the shipping process
the product itself
follow-up/customer service

Too many businesses make a great product but ignore the rest of the buying experience. Then, they get three-star reviews saying the product was fine, but the shipping sucked, or they couldn’t get fast replies from the company when they needed help. It’s not hard to make sure these other parts of the buying experience are great, but you need to spend some time and effort making sure that they are.

If you do that, the quality of the reviews will take care of itself.

How to Get More Online Reviews

Everywhere you go, you see reviews. Whether it’s a physical product, food, or some type of service, if it’s worth talking about (in good or bad ways), it has reviews.

Some of this feedback is simply comments on blogs and forums. But mostly, reviews exist on large e-commerce sites where companies sell their products.

The most important thing about reviews is that people are passionate about them.

According to, 30% of Internet users check out reviews on Amazon before buying a product. And that’s just Amazon.

This digital bathroom scale on Amazon has nearly 12,000 reviews and 143 questions and answers about the product. The fact that it’s nearly half-off will help drive sales, but the reviews and customer interaction have a huge impact. Before, people would ask their friends about products. But now, they increasingly rely on online reviews.

People trust reviews to inform them about their decisions, and reviews play a huge role in final purchasing decisions – whether it’s to buy a particular product or choose a specific doctor. 

Although there’s no way to definitively say that reviews are good for business, just about every study or anecdotal case suggests that they are. You don’t have to be a big e-commerce site to add reviews to your personal website store.

Potential customers trust reviews for a few reasons:

  • They represent a real use situation
  • They are less likely to be biased (than a sales page)
  • They give visitors confidence to buy, proving there won’t be any issues with the purchase

Getting reviews is hard: If you’ve been selling online, you’ve probably noticed that it is difficult to get customers to leave reviews. People want to buy things, but they don’t really want to do any extra work. Writing a good review can take 5 to 15 minutes without providing much of a benefit to the reviewer.

That’s why people typically leave a review for one of three reasons:

  • They hate the product
  • They love the product
  • They’re somewhere in-between but would like to clear up any confusion around the product for other potential buyers (essentially just doing something nice)

The first two reasons are pretty self-explanatory.

Obviously, you don’t want people leaving reviews if they hate the product. That’s how you get negative reviews and one-star reviews that actually decrease your conversion rates.

So, how do you prevent it? Simple: have a great product along with great customer service.

If you create a product that everyone loves, you’ll get tons of reviews. In reality, most products have customers that fall into all three camps. What you need to do is focus on the people who already love your product and the ones that like it. A solid three- or four-star review can still help your conversion rate.

The Best Ways to Get the Most Reviews from Your Happy Customers

Most business owners love to create products. But not all business owners love to sell their products or services. Selling often feels like you’re doing something wrong and imposing on the people you genuinely care about. It’s hard to ask for anything but it needs to be done.

You need to start by realizing that selling doesn’t have to be underhanded. If you create a truly valuable product, sales is simply letting people know about it. If your product is great, people will buy your product and thank you for the opportunity.

After you make the sale, however, you need to ask customers to review it.

If you don’t ask, most will never even think of doing it, even if they don’t mind. Although it might seem like you’re imposing on them—asking for something without giving something in return—you aren’t. Most happy customers are glad to help you spread the word of your product so that other people will also give it a shot.

So, stop thinking that you’re taking advantage of your customers and realize that you’re helping each other. Ideally, you want to ask for reviews as soon as you can after the purchase is made and your buyer had the time to receive and test the product. If you ask too early, customers can’t review the product because they haven’t had the chance to use it. If you ask too late, they’ll have forgotten about it and are less likely to review it (although late is better than early). You could do what Amazon does. Amazon typically sends an email reminder asking you to review a recent purchase a few days after you’ve received it.

What’s the right approach? How to ask for a review

It’s important to carefully approach the subject of reviews with your customers.

First, you want them to receive the product and be happy with it. The more satisfied they are, the more likely they are to not only leave a review but leave a positive one. Before asking for a review, I recommend contacting customers and asking them if they had any problems with their order. If they have had problems, they’ll let you know, and you’ll have the chance to fix them. If they haven’t had any problems, some will let you know, but the others just won’t reply. It’s safe to ask any of these customers for reviews.

Finally, the way in which you ask for reviews is important. Being persuasive with your request can double or triple the number of reviews you end up getting.

Tip #1 – Be appreciative:

Reviewers don’t get much out of the process. It’s just a nice thing they can do for other people reading reviews in the future. That said, many reviewers will give you reviews if they know that the reviews are important to you.

The online doctor review site – Real Self – does a good job of this. There are two parts of the email in particular that make it work so well:

  1. “…would love for you to share your experience…” – They don’t just ask you to leave a review for the fun of it. They’re making it clear that they appreciate it and value it.
  2. “…will also help others make informed decisions” – Since the customer was just in the tough situation of trying to make a good decision, they are likely to be empathetic to other people in the same situation. Some customers will leave a review just to help others.


Tip #2 – Make it simple:

Most reviewers leave reviews because it’s a nice thing to do. There is, of course, a limit to how much most people are willing to give just by being nice. Make leaving a review as easy as possible.

First, if you’re asking for a review on any third-party sites, always link directly to the review forms on the specific sites:

Alternatively, if you’re asking customers to leave a review on your site, let them start the process by clicking on a star rating within an email. All the biggest sites do this for a reason. It works.


The other benefit is that it makes it really clear that you’re looking for the customer to leave a review (they know what stars represent).

Tip #3 – Do NOT offer an incentive:

I think this is unethical and there are obvious moral issues because you’re essentially bribing your customer for a good review.

Even if you don’t intend your incentive to be a bribe, most people feel compelled to provide good reviews if they’re being compensated for it (without any other potential buyers being aware of it).

If you are going to offer an incentive, you should ask your reviewers to disclose that fact in their reviews. If the review discloses the incentive, not only is there no moral argument, but it’s also not violating any laws.

Tip #4 – Be clear about what you’re looking for:

If you just have one textbox that says “your review,” customers could write about anything, even irrelevant things.

However, if you break down the review into descriptive fields, your reviewers will have a much better idea of what to include:

You can prompt the customer to talk about certain aspects of the product that you believe influence buying decisions (shipping, packaging quality, durability, etc.).

Speaking of great reviews…here’s what’s in them

You can dictate the contents of a review by prompting your customers to think about certain topics.

This is important because most people don’t know what a good review consists of. They’ll often leave reviews like “great product” even though that’s not really very useful.

Instead, you want to prompt them with any (or all) of the following:

  • including their background situation
  • any special features of the product or buying process
  • their overall impression
  • would they buy again?

When you send your review request, just tell your customers that they can include any information they’d like. However, they should consider things like…(pick from the above list).

Part #1 – A quick background:

Not everyone buys a product for the same reason or knows as much about a specific type of product as others.

The best reviews include a quick statement about why a customer bought a product. If another potential buyer is in a similar situation, they will automatically become more interested (it resonates with them).

Additionally, any mention of expertise also makes the review more credible (e.g., “I have purchased x types of product”).


Part #2 (optional) – A brief description of product and buying process:

Unless you’re selling your products through a well-known fulfillment service like Amazon, shipping speed and safety are still big concerns for online shoppers.You should obviously make your shipping information very clear on your sales pages.

But people also want to know how fast and secure your shipping is in real life, not just in theory.

If a potential buyer sees multiple reviews praising your shipping process, they’ll feel assured.

Part #3 – The overall result:

The most important part of any purchase is how good the product is. That’s going to be the focal point of any review.

Part #4 – Would you buy again? 

Customers can often find at least a few good things to say about a product. Nice people leave nice reviews—it’s that simple.

However, the ultimate test of a great product is if it earns the loyalty of a customer. When customers say that they will definitely buy from you again in the future, anyone reading the review will know that the reviewer is serious when they praise the product:


If you sell anything online, remember that reviews are one of the biggest factors that affect your sales, so don’t ignore them.

First, come up with a plan of attack to determine what type of reviews you need.

Next, optimize your sales funnel to maximize the number of customers who leave you reviews—and not just any reviews, great ones.

How to Find Trending Ideas

Content marketing is only useful if you can first find trending ideas. Check out this useful list of sites, apps, and tools to help identify trending ideas:

Free Business Name Generators

Sometimes when you are starting a new business or offering a new product, you have a great idea but can’t quite settle on the right name. Check out this list of free business name generators:

How to Promote Your Content in Less Than an Hour a Day

Why Promoting Content is Important

In his post “The 80/20 Rule for Building a Blog Audience” marketer and entrepreneur Derek Halpern notes:

If you spend time writing a piece of content, and that content only gets 1,000 readers, chances are there are one million other people in the world who can benefit from what you wrote.

Why then, would you spend more time creating content when you already have something that your ideal customers can benefit from?

Halpern has an 80/20 content strategy, that is, he spends 20 percent of his time creating it and 80 percent of his time marketing it.

While this is a fantastic strategy if you’re new and need to grow your audience quickly, content marketing experts warn that sticking to this strategy can mean that you’re under-serving your existing audience.

So how can you grow your audience while still focusing on creating massive value for your existing readers and followers?

Here’s a plan: Give yourself quick wins with an automated strategy and a checklist.

Promoting Your Content: 5 Quick Tips

1. Send it to Your Email List (Time taken: 3-5 minutes)

One of the best ways to get immediate traction with your content is to send it to your email list. Your email subscription list is typically comprised of people who have signed up to receive updates from you because they like and trust you or your brand and want to hear from you.

These are the people who are most likely to add high numbers to your social shares, to read your content the moment it’s published, or to forward it to others who may benefit from it.

Your email subscribers are most likely the most engaged of your audience, so it’s always a fantastic idea to share content with them on a regular basis.

2. Schedule it on Social Media over a Period of Weeks (Time taken: 5-10 minutes)

A social media editorial calendar can be a fantastic thing and one most business owners swear by, especially if they run small operations with little help.

When you publish a post or a piece of content, one of the best things that you can do is to spread out the promotion over a period of time using tools like Buffer or Hootsuite.

3. Email Everyone who is mentioned in your post or article (Time taken: 5-10 minutes)

A fantastic way to not only connect with your audience, but to connect with other people in the industry and their audience, is to mention them in your articles and blog posts and then let them know when you’ve done so, in order that they can share with their readers if they so choose.

To find someone’s email address quickly:

  1. Look through their website for a “Contact Me” or “About” page to see if you can find it there.
  2. Try LinkedIn. Often, people who want to be contacted will put their email address up in order to be found.
  3. Google combinations of their name with “” (in quotes) to see what comes up. For instance, if you were looking for my email address, you’d be able to find it very quickly by using the search term [Gabe “”]

4. Syndicate Your Content (Time taken: 10-15 minutes)

Building partnerships with larger media organizations is the ideal way to syndicate and share your content. This however, will take lots of time and effort.

While you’re working on building those, don’t forget to utilize the free networks like Medium and LinkedIn that offer you similar syndication opportunities to reach new audiences.

Medium has a great guide to publishing on its platform and the things to keep in mind. Read it here.

And in this fantastic post about publishing to LinkedIn, Noah Kagan lays out the following tips:

  1. Make your titles between 40 and 49 characters long
  2. Make your posts on LinkedIn visual! Add 8 images
  3. Don’t add video or other multimedia assets to your posts
  4. Use “how-to” and list-style headlines
  5. Divide your post into 5 headings in order to attract the greatest number of post views
  6. People like to read long-form content on LinkedIn – 1,900 to 2,000 words long
  7. Don’t get your audience all fired up
  8. Make your content readable for an 11-year-old
  9. Promote your LinkedIn publisher post on other social networks!
  10. LinkedIn likes get you views, shares, and comments
  11. Publish your LinkedIn posts on Thursday

You shouldn’t syndicate every single post. Choose posts that may resonate with unique audiences. It’s a great way to bring interested readers over to your website. I also don’t recommend syndicating new content immediately.

5. Create Quick and Easy Graphics to Share on Social Media (Time taken: 10-15 minutes)

If you’re using images in your posts anyway, a quick and easy win is to share the headline or quote from your post along with an image. If not, you can quickly and easily do so in Canva or many of the other image-creating resources mentioned in this post. We’ve found that it’s incredibly helpful to share images in your social media posts, since according to a 2013 Pew Research Study, nearly half of all Internet users have reposted a photo or video they found online.

This can help you gain traction on image-oriented social sharing networks even if you don’t have much of a presence on them.

Setting Up Your Google+ Business Page

Here is a tutorial to set up your Google+ Business Page.

Connect4 Consulting Google

Before you do anything, create a Google+ Personal Profile. You will need to have a gmail account to get started with creating a personal profile. This is as simple as signing up for a Google+ account. Make sure you use your real name when signing up for this personal account, as it will help serve to verify your business for Google+.

Once you have a personal profile, on the left hand side menu you will find a “Pages” button. Select “Pages” and then choose “Create a New Page”.

After you select “Create a New Page” you will be given choices to what category best describes your business. If you are a bricks and mortar business who relies many on local customers select “Local Business or Place”. Otherwise, select another category that fits your business best. You will be prompted to submit various pieces of information depending on the business category you selected. It is important this information is accurate so Google can verify it.

You will want to enter a well-thought out description of your products and services to help Google users find you. You can also enter a photos or a logo that will serve as visuals for your Google+ business page. You will also want to make sure you fill out all links to other social media and your business website. Brand your business accordingly with your logo and colors.

Keep adding content! Add videos and more photos. Google+ loves graphics and content, but make sure it is all consistent with your branding.

Of course, you will want to let everyone know you are on Google+, and Google+ will help you through its own network of Google products.

Getting your profile set up is the easy part, consistency will be the key to your success. Google loves content, update regularly which will help with your business ranking on Google.

Google+ Business Page – Why It’s Important

If your business doesn’t show up on Google, it’s as if your business doesn’t exist. A website will help you for sure, but creating and maintaining a Google+ page will literally put your business on the Google map. It will help you build your brand awareness online, allow you to share content, and essentially gives you another billboard to get your message out.

If you’re still skeptical or reluctant to create yet another social network page for your business, consider the following reasons why it’s critical that you set up your Google+ business page.

Connect4 Consulting Google

Google Search Visibility

Search engine optimization is all about getting your website found by your potential customers, and Google has the majority market share when it comes to search. If Google offers you additional tools for free, you have to use them.

Blended Search Results

Google+ content – the content that you post on your Google+ business page – can rank in search results separately from the content that is on your website.

Google+ Factors Into 3-Pack Results



Earlier this year Google dropped the Carousel and replaced it with the 3-Pack display of organic listings. Currently there are five factors that influence the 3-pack results:

  1. location, location, location – local search favors results located in a 25 mile radius
  2. strong social signals – Google+, Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor
  3. reviews – businesses with plenty of positive reviews are favored
  4. scheme and citations need to be accurate
  5. good SEO – credible backlinks

Authorship and Publisher Markup

Authorship and publisher markup can increase your search engine reach now that semantic markup has been adopted by the major search engines.


Google+ Pages and personal profiles can be linked with a website to generate even greater reach on search engines using Publisher and Authorship markup, respectively. As a result, your headshot and Google+ profile stats can show in the search engine results page when your content ranks!

Google+ Authorship connects a Google+ personal profile to an individual webpage, blog post or article. This is great for gaining exposure and building a personal brand, especially if you’re in an industry that makes you the face of your business.

You should consider creating a Google+ Profile for yourself and connecting it to quality content you write or distribute online, especially if you are a:

  • doctor
  • lawyer
  • realtor
  • insurance agent
  • consultant


Google+ Publisher connects a Google+ Local page to your website. People searching Google for your business name or other brand signals will see a “Knowledge Graph” of information pulled from Google+ about your business. You can take a look at HP’s knowledge graph below and can easily imagine how this helps them stand out from a smaller brand that has not yet set up its Google+ business page and activated any of these fundamental marketing features.


When Publisher is implemented correctly, branded searches may show your visual branding, the number of Google+ followers you have, recent Google+ posts and even reviews.

However, it is important to note that Google penalizes Google+ pages without new content. If you don’t update your content frequently, you may see competitors listed at the bottom of the knowledge graph.

Integration With Other Google Platforms

You can increase your exposure even more by integrating your Google+ business page with other Google platforms like YouTube and Gmail. YouTube has more than one billion users. If you have videos on YouTube and aren’t yet on Google+, now is the time to set up your Google+ business page and connect the two platforms.

Conclusion – Set Up Your Google+ Business Page

If all of this makes perfect sense to you but you don’t have the time to implement any of it, consider contacting us – Connect4 Consulting – to help you find your way. We specialize in websites, social media, and communication. A Google+ Business page is truly a blend of website, social media, and communication.


Eight Steps to Improve Website Marketing Using Pop-Up Ads

Pop-up ads are becoming a very popular marketing tool on a broad variety of respectable websites. A decade ago – eons in Internet years – popups were one of the most-hated online advertising technique, and a residual hatred of the marketing tool lingers today.

Reasons Today’s Pop-ups Are Very Different From the Pop-up Ads Ten Years Ago

1. Internet browsers are much more sophisticated and prevent pop-ups from opening new windows. Instead the new pop-ups open in the same window and are very easy to close.

2. Marketing pop-up ads can now be controlled entirely by site owners who can take their on-site user experience, audience loyalty, and long-term brand into consideration to determine when and where to use pop-up ads.

3. Website technology now lets site owners to be very selective about who is shown marketing pop-up ads and who isn’t.

4. Personalized messages can be served on a dynamic basis.

5. The timing and activation of the pop-up ad is very sophisticated so the pop-up can be displayed after a user has been on a particular page for a certain period of time, for example.

For these reasons – as well as the fact that implementing these pop-ups is cost-effective (contact us at Connect4 Consulting if you’re interested) – marketing pop-ups have returned and are becoming more popular. But they aren’t suitable for every site or brand or audience. A site owner needs to think long and hard about their particular audience and ask whether a pop-up will annoy visitors.

When done right, marketing pop-up ads are a great way to engage visitors, drive sales, increase email subscriber lists, and generate tons of new leads.

When done wrong, however, pop-up ads annoy visitors, degrade user experience, and fail to convert prospects into paying customers.

superoffice-pop-up example

Eight Steps to Improve Website Marketing Using Pop-up Ads

Step 1:  Figure out what your audience values

Before writing your ad, you need to understand what your audience wants. Google Analytics is an excellent resource for determining what your users want to read, buy, or subscribe to. Next, your messaging should meet these three standards: It must be clear to the user. It must be concise. And, it must convey maximum value.

Step 2: Be flexible with your offer and provide different offers to different customer segments

A first-time visitor is better suited to an email signup. Once you have their email address, you can use that to provide valuable information as you build the customer relationship.

Step 3: Don’t over think the design

Remember the Keep It Simple Stupid mantra? Same concept here. Effective pop-up ads grab attention by conveying value without distractions.

Step 4: Think Win-Win

If your “$10 Off” offer isn’t converting, think about changing the campaign to an email sign up in exchange for something of value to your users. The trick is finding out what type of offer works best for your traffic. Sometimes, quick sales are just not feasible.

Step 5: Put your pop-up ad on high profile pages and make sure you promote high value items

Since your end goal is to generate leads, signups, and new sales, make sure that the pop-up ad is on the right page and promotes purchase of the right item. To find out which pages get the most traffic, open up your Google Analytics and run a traffic report for the last 12 months.

Step 6: Make sure your goals are in sync with your visitors’ goals

The marketing pop-up ad will generate the best results when users want to do the same thing you want them to do. Once again, Google Analytics is the best way to find out what they want to do. Once you know what your users want, you need to ask yourself whether your goals line up. Is this a product you want to promote? Is it an email list that’s valuable for you to build?

Step 7: Optimize and refresh your offer over time

All offers eventually go stale, so periodically refreshing and updating your offer is critical to maintaining effectiveness.

Step 8: Get in front of visitors before they leave and do so without disrupting user experience

When you launch your pop-up ad is just as important as your message.

If you launch the pop-up too early, you might interrupt users naturally on the path toward your desired action. Launch too late, and a good chunk of users will leave before they see it.

There are 5 ways I know of to activate your marketing pop-up ad:

  1. Upon entry
  2. Upon exit
  3. After “x” number of page views
  4. Scroll-activated
  5. Time-activated

Which one will work best for you? Only your tests will tell.


If you’re interested in learning more about the feasibility of marketing pop-up ads on your website, we are here to help you. Contact Connect4 Consulting at 202-236-2968 or send us an email. Remember that the details are what separate successful campaigns from those that fail to generate results. When done wrong, this marketing tool won’t help you at all. But when done right, it can engage visitors, drive sales, and help you build your email list.