• Marketing Trends for 2019

    On: December 1, 2018
    In: Uncategorized
    Views: 18
     Like

    What will happen next year in the world of marketing?  Marketing is always changing and the better equipped you are to manage those changes the better your results.   Here are some trends to be aware of:

    • Ads need to be more relevant and valuable to the consumer. This is the reason more dollars are going to be invested in content marketing and influencer marketing.  The 4 most trusted sources of advertising are: people you know, branded sites, editorial sites and reviews.
    • Consider using integrated campaigns and creative distribution tactics that focus on ways to engage audience members that your competitors may not be considering. Traditional media is not dead.
    • Consumers expect that companies will communicate with them in the ways they like. That is why it is important that you know your customer’s communication preferences.  Analysts are predicting that 50% of online searches will be made through voice search by 2020.
    • Use automation marketing with care. It can still cover the basic tasks, but it is important that you add a personal touch or offer direct help to your customer when possible.  You still can’t beat that personal interaction with a customer.

    These are just a few examples of trends to look out for in the year ahead.  Remember that there is no magic bullet to build a marketing strategy but these tips can help you achieve your marketing goal.

    Read More
  • Developing a Marketing Plan for a Small Business

    On: November 1, 2018
    In: Uncategorized
    Views: 49
     Like

    Many companies underspend on their marketing efforts when they view marketing as whatever is left over from operational costs or overspend when they do not define their target market. One of the best ways to ensure your marketing budget is being well invested is to create a comprehensive marketing strategy and plan.

    A marketing plan should include defining your target marketing, defining your position against competitors in your market and tactics to reach your target market and differentiate yourself from the competition.

    Here are the 6 steps:

    1. Figure out your sales funnel including tracking results through the revenue cycle from prospect to customer. Review website traffic, leads and sales so you have something to measure.
    2. Operational costs – how much cost in time and labor to deliver contacts? Do you have the staff to handle internally or can you hire an agency?  The costs may be higher, but the results can justify the additional expenditure.
    3. Determine business goals – what are the objectives per quarter and year
    4. Treat marketing dollars as an investment ~something that will bring you a quantifiable return over time.
    5. Where are you at in your business growth – you are either in growth mode or planning mode
    6. Understand current and future trends. A marketing budget should include traditional market approaches as well as the emerging social media market.  Don’t always react to the latest and greatest marketing idea without research.
    Read More
  • Making your welcome email, welcoming!

    On: October 1, 2018
    In: Email marketing, Marketing, Online marketing, Uncategorized
    Views: 86
     Like

    We all know the importance of making a first impression whether it is your store, your staff and your advertising.  One of the elements a lot of businesses are using is email to reach new and repeat customers, but how often have you thought about the type of experience you are giving these people with your emails?  My guess is probably not much.

    The open rates for welcome emails are usually over 50% which is much higher than for typical email correspondence.  For this reason alone, it is imperative you take the time to make this first impression a lasting and good one!

    Here are some things you need to include:

    • Make customers feel good about signing up with you starting with the subject line (welcome to xxx), let them know they are part of a community of people who have joined your e-newsletter and make them feel safe by restating that you will not sell their information to a 3rd
    • List a preview of what they can expect from your emails such as type of content and how often you plan to send. If you’ve made an offer that required them to sign up, include a download or coupon of that offer.  One of the main reasons people sign up for your email list is to receive a special offer.
    • Make sure your emails are getting through and not going into spam. You can accomplish this by using the Spam Checker if you use a program like Constant Contact.
    • Personalize your emails to set you apart from competitors and use copy to engage your customers so the messages don’t look automated. Make sure the copy and words represent your brand.
    Read More
  • The Power of Video Streaming

    On: September 1, 2018
    In: Marketing, Online marketing, Uncategorized
    Views: 96
     Like

    Video streaming is becoming standard fare for consumers and is giving traditional TV watching a run for its money.  Here are the latest stats on streamers from Nielsen:

    • 93% of streamers are watching traditional TV
    • Streamers aged 25-54 consumed 2 hours and 30 minutes of over-the-top (OTT) content per day. (OTT is the term used for the delivery of film and TV content via the internet, without requiring users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite pay-tv service like a Comcast)
    • 47% of those streamers above only watch traditional TV while 46% consumed a mix of traditional TV and streaming
    • 59% of US homes are streaming enabled

    Streaming devices attract a young, affluent audience.  Homeowners that are 35 years old or less are 34% more likely to own a streaming device.  They are also 32% more likely to have children and 17% more likely to have a college degree.   If your target market includes this audience, your marketing plan should consist of a video streaming component.

    Read More
  • AdWords and Invalid Clicks

    On: August 2, 2018
    In: Uncategorized
    Views: 158
     Like

    An invalid click is defined as “any clicks or impressions that artificially inflate an advertiser’s costs”.  They can be a result of automated robots to suspicious activity.  Even though Google has an Ad Traffic Quality team monitoring its traffic to prevent advertisers from paying for invalid traffic, click fraud is still out there.  Is your AdWords campaign getting invalid clicks?  Here are some ways to check:

    • Monitor your own ad traffic
      1. Break down and segment your traffic based on different channels
      2. Use Google Analytics to understand the source of your traffic and behaviors
      3. Don’t partner with low-quality sites
      4. Don’t click on your own ads which may raise a red flag from Google
      5. Check to make sure your ad campaigns adhere to Google policies
      6. Use the site authorization feature so you can identify certain sites that have access to your Google ad code and prevent unauthorized use of your code by others
    • Keep in mind that click tracking through third parties is risky
      1. It can inadvertently disclose sensitive information about your website
      2. It can disrupt Google’s ad delivery and its Terms and Conditions
    • Google assists in detecting invalid clicks through:
      1. Filters – automated algorithms proactively filter clicks before it is charged to the account
      2. Offline analysis – Data from offline analysis is used to update the online monitoring systems. Both automated algorithms and manual analysis are used to detect any invalid clicks while offline.
      3. Investigation – all inquiries about invalid clicks is addressed by Google and commonly resolved within a week.
    Read More
  • How to tell if your digital advertising is working

    On: July 16, 2018
    In: Uncategorized
    Views: 127
     Like

    If done well, advertising online can really make a difference to your business, but you need to track and measure the process to determine what is working and what’s not working.  Here are things you need to measure:

    • Track your sales and website activity before, during and after the campaign. You need something to measure against to determine your position.
    • Use Google Analytics to track conversions to your landing pages and website. Also look at visits and unique visitors both new and returning to your site.  Returning visitors mean there is interest.
    • Social media posts should ideally hit the main funnel levels ~ awareness, consideration and finally conversion. You will have different prospects at different levels of their engagement checking your pages and products.   Be sure to review their comments, click-throughs and likes to gauge their level of interest.
    • Look to other media for coverage to boost your campaign such as PR outreach, email campaigns or video to see if you get increased clicks
    • Track traffic sources including direct, referral and organic. You want your organic traffic to be supplemented with referral traffic from your digital campaigns.
    Read More
  • Guide to Email Marketing

    On: August 10, 2017
    In: Email Campaigns, Marketing
    Views: 560
     Like

    It is important to have the right strategy for your email marketing to see a better return on your investment. You shouldn’t be sending emails just to send an email. Send emails that are going to be valuable to your target audience and will strengthen your relationship with them.

    Here are some tips to put into practice:

    • Know you audience and how they prefer to be spoken to (formal, informal)
    • Build your own list through sign ups on your website, blog, contact forms with opt-in info instead of purchasing a list
    • Include a welcome email for all new subscribers to confirm permission
    • Segment your messages towards specific audiences
    • Make sure your copy is clear and concise to meet short attention spans
    • Check image to text ratio to ensure your text version will support HTML emails
    • Offer subscribers something of value (industry tips, coupon, etc.)
    • Make sure you have a call to action so subscribers know what they need to do
    • Do not have a “no reply” email address- you want to encourage 2 way conversations
    • Review metrics for open rates and clicks to determine what worked and what didn’t to adjust accordingly
    Read More
  • Myth – My organization doesn’t need at crisis communications plan.

    On: August 3, 2017
    In: Uncategorized
    Views: 512
     Like

    Oh my friend, yes you do. Even if it is a simple list of who gets called first.

    And why? Because anything that enters social media streams about your company, true or not, can be discussed with a potential for escalation. And if there is a real crisis you need to be prepared to speak with the media.

    A few things to consider: Who is the point person that delivers the message? Who is in the key team should a crisis arise? How and when do you reach out to your key stakeholders to keep them updated on the situation?

    Get your crisis plan ready before you ever need one.

     

     

    Read More
  • Creative Myth #5 Stock Images – fact and fiction

    On: July 19, 2017
    In: Art, Marketing, Photography, Uncategorized
    Views: 583
     Like

    Myth:  If I pay for a stock image from a stock website, I own the image.

    Well, yes partially.  You have paid for the licensing rights to use an image or in other words you have paid for royalty free copyrights.  However, that image is still available for anyone else to “buy” and use.

    Why this is important…if you are creating a key marketing campaign around a single image or small packet of images and have only invested in the rights for usage, your competitor or someone else in your industry might also love and use them.

    Images are so critical to tell stories, based on shorter attention spans and massive amounts of daily messages.  If your image or images are critical to your “story”, hire a photographer or purchase full rights for the images.

     

    Read More
  • Creative Myth #4: Branding and Logos are the Same Thing

    On: July 13, 2017
    In: Branding, Marketing, Uncategorized
    Views: 466
     Like

    These two words are often misused and misunderstood. Branding is about the elevation of a company, product or service from being a commodity to being distinct and recognized through identity, marketing, advertising and most importantly, client experiences. There are many competing products, services and organizations, but branding creates that crucial distinction from the competition.

    Logos by themselves are a graphic icon and/or typographic mark that identifies and represents a product, service or company. Logos are part of brand identity which is the visual part of branding that includes advertisements, signs, uniforms, packaging and many other collateral materials.

    Read More