About Debbie Ernst

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So far Debbie Ernst has created 8 blog entries.

How HOT!Content Helps Local Businesses Connect With Their Community and Build Brand Awareness

HOT!Content is a daily content email by industry, reputation monitoring and advertising. HOT!Content™ subscribers build a loyal community and leverage community goodwill to build their brand and grow their customer base. A recent Facebook study highlights the opportunity for local businesses to build brand awareness across communities: 46% of businesses surveyed say they maintain a close connection to the local community And, the feeling is mutual; 48% of people surveyed say they shop locally to support local businesses* Social media provides a convenient way for both businesses and consumers to connect and engage to create a dynamic community. Facebook recommends the following tactics: Create your online presence Post engaging and relevant content Interact with your customers online Two critical challenges local businesses face in building their online community are lack of time and lack of knowledge. We developed HOT!Content to overcome these two issues. Small business owners hear a lot about the potential of digital, but they don’t really understand how to use it and learning how isn’t high on their priority list. We knew we had to offer them something that they could use ‘out of the box,’ that would deliver immediate results without a significant investment in time or financial resources. With HOT!Content, busy local businesses build, engage and retain a community of customers and prospects with relevant content; reputation monitoring and targeted advertising services. HOT!Content subscribers receive a daily email with curated content by industry that contains five articles with images or videos that are ready to post to your social media pages; reputation monitoring that alerts you when your average rating or number of consumer reviews changes; and digital advertising services. We invite you to get started building your local business brand and community with HOT!Content. And, it is FREE. Click here to learn more! Please connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+. Source: Facebook, www.facebook.com/iq/articles/how-local-businesses-forge-connections-that-build-brands/

Over 50,000 Local Businesses Now Subscribe to HOT!Content

We are thrilled to announce over 50,000 local businesses now subscribe to HOT!Content™.  HOT!Content enables businesses to engage, build and retain a community of customers and prospects with relevant content; reputation monitoring and digital advertising. “We are excited to have reached this milestone,” said Kurt Strumpf, COO, “but we’re even more excited about the recent explosive growth of our subscribers. In the past year alone, our base has doubled – a trend that we expect will continue.” HOT!Content subscribers receive a daily email with curated content by industry; reputation monitoring and digital advertising services.  With HOT!Content, businesses experience how to build a loyal community and leverage that goodwill to grow their customer base. “Small business owners were hearing a lot about the potential of digital, but they didn’t really understand how to use it and learning how wasn’t high on their priority list,” said Strumpf. “We knew we had to offer them something that they could use ‘out of the box,’ that would deliver immediate results.” Andy Anderson, President of FASTSIGNS in Rochester, Minnesota sums up the enthusiasm subscribers have for the service: “Engage121 solutions keep my business active and current with engaging posts. And a lot of people are reached. It is definitely working. I love it!” “As our users’ confidence grows utilizing HOT!Content, so does their willingness to explore our paid digital marketing management and advertising subscription services, like our Digital Marketing Assistant solution,” says Strumpf. “It’s a mutually beneficial approach that helps keep both our clients and our company on the leading edge of this ever-evolving technology.” Our digital marketing solutions are designed specifically for the more than 25 million small businesses in the U.S. and Canada; including both franchised and independent local businesses in the real estate, financial and professional services, early education, direct selling, retail, restaurant, fitness, beauty sales, and home services industries, among others. And our services seamlessly integrate with social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube, as well as consumer review sites like Facebook, Google, Yelp and Zillow. We invite you to click here to learn more about HOT!Content. Please connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+.

Let’s Get Started Writing A Press Release For Your Local Business

A story in local media shows your business is the local trusted expert. Have you considered submitting a press release about your business to local media, but you are not sure how to get started? The Engage121 team has the following suggestions to create your engaging press release. First, let’s begin with the fundamentals. A press release is a short newsworthy communication directed at members of the news media to kick off a conversation with a reporter or editor about a product or service launch, company news or employment announcement. It is a useful tool to generate media coverage to position your local business as an expert in your field and ultimately help your business grow and succeed! Is your story newsworthy?  A newsworthy story contains information that your readers will care about. Local: As a local business, your story will be of interest to local publications with readers in your area. Influence: The larger the impact, the more people will be interested. Relevance: It is important to share how your story is relevant for your audience. Brand or Name Recognition: Brands and names that people know increase interest in your story. Tips for writing your press release.  Press releases contain the following four parts: The headline/subhead The purpose of the headline is to explain your news and encourage readers to want to learn more. The body The body includes the pertinent information reporters will want and need to know, without explaining too much. It should answer the following questions: who, what, when, where and why. And, be sure to include a quote to add a personal element to your story. Lastly, grammar matters so please check for typos and grammar mistakes before sending. The About Us section Background information about your business should be included in the About Us section. This section is usually the same in every release and can include links to your website and social media sites so readers can learn more. Contact Info At the end of your press release, include your contact information so a reporter knows how to reach you for any follow-up questions! Want to get started on issuing your Local PR today? The Engage121 Local PR solution makes it easy for you to share your business news and announcements. As a HOT!Content subscriber, Local PR is available through your HOT!Content. Open your Hot!Content email to get started. Not a HOT!Content subscriber? HOT!Content is a daily email containing five interesting and engaging articles, images and videos - all ready to post to your social sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. And, it is FREE. Click here to learn more!

By | 2018-09-19T19:01:46+00:00 August 31st, 2018|Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Local PR|

Small Business Owners, How Complete Is Your Online Presence?  Let’s Find Out With Our FREE Digital Marketing Assessment

Free Digital Marketing Assessment The Engage121 complimentary Digital Marketing Assessment pinpoints areas of opportunity for your small business to enhance your digital marketing presence. Today’s digital technology provides a wide and growing variety of online channels to allow consumers to interact with your businesses online from Google to Yelp to Facebook. In fact, a recent study concluded that 80 percent of U.S. small businesses are not taking full advantage of digital tools to access new markets and target new customers.* We want to help small businesses understand how to optimize digital marketing with our Digital Marketing Assessment, a complimentary report designed to identify and navigate the digital marketing opportunities you may be missing. According to Kurt Strumpf, CTO of Engage121, a robust digital marketing program should Develop and strengthen online prominence to ensure that your business is discoverable Build a strong online reputation to grow your business Create an active social presence to enhance your business’s local SEO Engage your social media community to connect your business to prospects and customers “Our expert team will evaluate your business’s digital presence against these guidelines to show you exactly where you need to focus your attention for optimal results,” says Strumpf. “In addition, our Digital Marketing Assessment will help ensure that your business has a complete and accurate online presence, which is critical to success in today’s online world. Research shows that 80% of consumers lose trust in local businesses if they see incorrect or inconsistent information.”** The Digital Marketing Assessment is the latest complement to our Digital Marketing Assistant solution that provides busy small business owners with expert help to create, grow, and maintain their business’s online presence. Engage121 client Michelle Glacken, a small business owner with Kiddie Academy early education and childhood development centers, says, “The experts at Engage121 ensure we have a consistent professional online presence, which allows us to focus more on our children and families.” “Claiming your digital presence gives you a competitive edge and makes it easier for customers to find you,” says Engage121 CEO Jon Victor. “Taking advantage of the relatively inexpensive potential of today’s digital ‘tools’ is, simply put, good business. Our Digital Marketing Assessment is an easy, no-cost way to begin the process to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your existing program.” To request a complimentary Digital Marketing Assessment, please click here. For more information about Engage121 or to schedule a demo of our local digital marketing solutions, please visit www.engage121.com. Sources: *https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/connected-small-businesses.html **https://www.chatmeter.com/blog/why-local-listings-management-is-a-must/

By | 2018-08-01T20:33:54+00:00 August 1st, 2018|Free Digital Marketing Assessment|

88% of consumers making local searches from a mobile device take an action, such as calling a business, within 24 hours!

Consumers are searching for local businesses like yours every day, does your business appear in local search?  According to Google, local results appear for people who search for businesses and places near their location.  And, they're shown in a number of places across Google Maps and Search.  For example, you’ll probably see local results if you search for “Italian restaurant” from your mobile device.  Google will try to show you the kind of nearby restaurant that you’d like to visit. We recommend that you take a minute and search your local business on Google using search terms that consumers would use, such as “real estate agent near me ” or “local print shop” or “daycare in my town”.  You may find that your business doesn’t appear for relevant searches in your area.  If this is happening to  you, then it is imperative that you improve your business information in Google My Business. Complete these tasks to maximize how often consumers see your business in local search results:  Claiming your business and completing your profile with accurate information  Verifying your location because unverified businesses will not show up in Maps/Waze searches  Keeping your hours accurate  Managing and responding to reviews  Adding photos  Maintaining directory listing accuracy across the web  Promoting your business with Google Ads Your business information needs to be accurate and complete to improve your ranking on local search results.  To make sure your business appears in local search, there is a lot to do and the Engage121 team is here to help. The first step is our FREE Digital Marketing Assessment to evaluate how complete your online presence is on social, Google and Yelp; how accurate your business listings are on all the internet databases (there are over a dozen sites) and how you are doing generating consumer reviews (because Google cares – a lot – so you should, too).  Your Digital Marketing Assessment will not take long.  And, you will learn what to do to make sure your online presence is highly visible, professional and attractive.  To get started today, click here to learn more. Sources: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/advertising-channels/mobile/the-mobile-movement/ https://support.google.com/business/answer/7091?hl=en

By | 2018-08-01T19:17:57+00:00 June 20th, 2018|Google My Business|

Engage121 Celebrates 20 Years of Innovation in PR and Social Media Marketing

We are thrilled to celebrate our 20th year of providing innovative and time-saving solutions for PR, marketing professionals and small business clients. In our early years, we emerged as the technology leader in localized PR solutions for the franchise industry. From this experience promoting local businesses to local audiences, we recognized the value of social media marketing in building a loyal, local community of prospects and customers. In 2010, we launched our flagship social media management portal. Today, we offer a suite of no cost and subscription services that serve over 40,000 small and medium sized business owners in the U.S. and Canada. “Social media offers small and medium sized business owners an affordable and scalable way to promote their products and services and build their businesses’ reputations at the individual consumer level,” said Jon Victor, CEO of Engage121, Inc., “but entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of this potential face challenges. There’s a learning curve, it’s time consuming to do social media ‘right’, and it can be difficult to gain enough of an understanding about social media marketing to make the business decision to invest in it. As Engage121 moved toward its 20th year in business, we knew we had to make social media marketing for small business easy and time-efficient, and we had to give business owners a chance to try it before they made the decision to buy it. And that’s just what we’ve done.” Social Media Assistant is our professionally managed, full-service social media marketing solution. With Social Media Assistant, clients partner with our dedicated social media experts who post relevant and engaging content daily to their social sites, create and schedule advertising campaigns, and build each client’s reputation with social and review site response management. For small business owners not yet ready to invest in social media marketing but eager to test its potential for their businesses, we created our free HOT!Content™ service. Small business owners struggle to find the time to create and source fresh, eye-catching content for their social pages each day. With HOT!Content, clients receive a daily email with five interesting and engaging articles, images, and/or videos, curated by industry, ready to post to their social sites. Now small businesses can easily use social media marketing to build awareness of their businesses, identify new prospects, and cultivate customer loyalty with a minimal commitment of time and resources. Our innovative team continues to provide valuable solutions for our small business clients with the addition of two automated social media marketing services, at no cost. SmartPost selects the most relevant and engaging content and automatically posts it to our clients’ social sites to keep their social pages active. Reputation Monitor alerts your business when your average rating or number of consumer reviews changes on a variety of consumer review sites and blogs. “The past 20 years have been an exciting and challenging time in the PR and marketing technology industry,” said Victor. “As our company’s focus shifted to this new medium, where the only constant [...]

By | 2018-09-19T19:02:52+00:00 April 9th, 2018|Engage121 News|

Ten Ways to Thank Your Customers and Employees on Social Media This Season!

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” Dr. William Arthur Ward (1921-1994), American author, educator and motivational speaker There are many ways to thank the people that support your business. And this Thanksgiving and Holiday season is an ideal time to share your gratitude. We are happy to share these 10 ideas for thanking your customers, employees and business partners on social media: Acknowledge your Facebook fans and Twitter followers with a positive Thank You message Do you support a local cause or charity?  Thank the organization for the opportunity to give back on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn Post a group employee picture with an appreciative Thank You caption and share it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn Create a Pinterest board and fill it with Thank You stories featuring your customers, employees and business partners Tweet a thank you message to one of your loyal customers on Twitter Have you reached a follower milestone on Facebook? Post a sincere Thank You to acknowledge your fans. Recognize a valued employee with a recommendation on LinkedIn Create a video with a Thank you message this Holiday season to post on Facebook and YouTube Thank fans that share your posts on Facebook and followers that retweet you on Twitter Spread the spirit of thanks and encourage your employees to acknowledge co-workers and customers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ this season And remember social media is a platform to build communities. Gratitude goes a long way in establishing trust in your professional relationships. Thank you for reading this article. We invite you to connect with Engage121 on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+.  

By | 2018-05-07T12:55:12+00:00 November 2nd, 2017|Uncategorized|

7 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Facebook Business Page

Facebook recently announced that their community has reached 2 billion monthly users. Most importantly, among these 2 billion are no doubt each and every one of your customers! As we know you will agree - your business needs a Facebook Business Page to reach these customers. Facebook Business Pages have features designed specifically to help your business connect with people and cost-effectively advertise your company. A Facebook Business page is essentially a new channel to reach not only existing customers, but also prospective customers. And it’s free. With your Facebook Business page you can professionally represent your business and reap these 7 benefits: Get found - easily: Facebook has a built-in search engine that many consumers use to research companies they want to do business with. And, equally important, Google indexes your Facebook Business Page so you will be more easily found on Google, too. You’re going places: When you set up a Business Page, you officially become a “place” to which people can check-in and mention – both are great for local, social awareness. Advertising power: Only Business Pages may place ads on Facebook. And with customized website ads, you can drive new leads to your website at rates that many local businesses find very attractive. App functionality: Business Pages can utilize apps which allow you to create custom tabs, forms, polls and surveys. These types of posts encourage people to respond and connect with your business. Social validation: The strongest credibility you can achieve is a written testimonial. Facebook allows customers to write reviews – right on your page. Generating this “social proof” should be an important piece of your marketing plan. Scheduling: You can schedule posts on a page, which allows you to periodically plan your posts thoughtfully, based on events that you know will be happening. Become a detective: Facebook's “Insights” provide measurements of activity on your page, so you will learn what topics, products and ideas are of interest to your customers and prospects. Facebook has created a robust tool to help you professionally grow your business; take advantage of a Facebook Business Page! If you’d like help creating your Facebook Business Page, our dedicated social media specialists can help you jump start your social media success today. Click here to learn more.

By | 2018-05-07T12:55:12+00:00 July 24th, 2017|Uncategorized|