• How to tell if your digital advertising is working?

    On: June 8, 2018
    In: Marketing, Online marketing
    Views: 936

    Digital advertising is a very cost effective way to improve your brand’s awareness and drive traffic to your website that can be turned into sales. How do you measure the success of your campaign? The following are key metrics that you should be paying attention to:

    1. Set your goals upfront to enable you to focus on the right metrics that will indicate success.
    2. Monitor upticks in web traffic that indicate that you have been successful in attracting users through the combination of messaging and ad creative. In addition to paid search, monitor the increases in branded search and direct visits that coincide with campaign launches.
    3. Click through rates measure the number of times your ad is clicked compared to the number of times it has been shown to users. For example, if your ad is shown to 100 people and 1 person clicks on it, you have a click through rate of 1%. CTR can help you determine the effectiveness of your targeting and creative. Low CTRs might mean the creative isn’t resonating or the audience is the wrong target. 2% is an average CTR rate.
    4. Conversion rate tracks the rate that users take a desired conversion action on your website (purchase a product, make an appointment, request a phone call). Make sure you have conversion tracking set up on your website to monitor accurately. An average conversion rate is 2.5%
    5. Return on investment – in order to attribute ROI to specific campaigns, you need to be tracking ad clicks all the way through to the close of the sale.

    By reviewing the above numbers, you will have a better understanding of which campaigns are performing well and those that need to be improved to bring you better results.

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  • How to set your Advertising Budget

    On: May 7, 2018
    In: Marketing
    Views: 1036

    As I meet with new clients, I find that people have no idea how much money to invest in their advertising. The good news is that there are several methods to determine how much money you need to put aside for your ad budget.

    Here are some methods to use:

    1. Research where your competitors are advertising if you want to be competitive within your industry. Are they using multi-media components or focusing on one medium?
    2. Percentage of Sales Method (my preference) uses a percentage of past sales and projections for a basis of your calculation. You may choose anywhere from 2% to 5% of your sales as your annual advertising budget.
    3. Percentage of Total Budget – if you are a new business you may need to devote more of your budget to marketing. Many businesses delegate between 20-30% of their total annual budget to advertising during the first and second year. If you are purchasing an existing business that is already established, you should consider putting aside 7-10% of your total budget for advertising.

    Whichever method you use, please remember that as your advertising becomes more effective and produces more revenue, you should re-evaluate your budget to continue to promote growth for your company.

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  • 7 Marketing Trends to Watch

    On: April 2, 2018
    In: Marketing, Online marketing, Social Media
    Views: 1127

    There is so much research and studies on all the latest and greatest marketing tools, it can be overwhelming to know which ones to pay attention to.

    Here is what we think are the ones to watch:

    1. Video Marketing – video keeps growing each year as companies continue to incorporate it into their customer experience. Video marketing is projected to account for 80% of total internet traffic by 2020 so jump on the bandwagon!
    2. Storytelling – we all love a good story so it is easy to see why brands are focusing on crafting stories as part of their digital marketing strategy. Marketers are switching from social media being a traffic generation channel to a customer engagement channel.
    3. Social Media Costs Rising – Advertisers much invest dollars on social media channels in order to have any traction. With more advertisers on each social media platform, the cost is rising and forcing advertisers to choose between adding to social media budgets and finding other channels to drive brand awareness.
    4. Chat bots – people no longer have to be waiting for customer service thanks to chat bots and their AI powered live chat tools. Expect to see more companies embrace this technology to improve their customer service.
    5. User Generated Content – you are more likely to trust another person’s opinion over a celebrity endorsement which is why adding testimonials and reviews to your website is a must.
    6. Interactive Content – your content strategy should include quizzes, polls and videos for interactive content.

    Sources: Smartinsights.com

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  • The Importance of Analytics for Email Campaigns

    On: March 12, 2018
    In: Email Campaigns, Email marketing, News
    Views: 1380

    Similar to reviewing analytics for your website to find strengths and weaknesses, looking at email analytics are as equally important for the same reason. There are not any rules as to how often you can pitch or provide content via email campaigns; however you should remember that an email list is permission based so it is always better to err on the side of caution.

    Here are the 3 important components to look at when analyzing your email campaign:

    1. Open Rate: this number will tell you how well you have built your relationship with the consumer. If the number is low, you need to provide a better value or expectation to the end user to increase the number.
    2. Click through Rate or CTR: this number shows how many people clicked to either a landing page or your website. A low number means your message is not targeted enough and you need to review the copy for improvement to get a better call to action.
    3. Un-subscribers: if this number is high in relation to your opt-in rate, then you need to examine when people are leaving your email. If they are leaving after an autoresponder message, then you need to rework the copy. If they are leaving after marketing messages, rework the way you are presenting the offers. If they are leaving early on in the process, then you need to fix your original subject line, message and call to action.
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  • How you can rise above the Facebook noise and get noticed!

    On: February 16, 2018
    In: News
    Views: 1193

    With over 600 million brands on Facebook, it is getting increasingly difficult to be successful on Facebook Business pages as competition for attention increases and attention spans decrease. So what can you do?

    1. Test Your Messages- Did you know that Facebook tests every post to determine if it deserves to be given priority. If your page as 200,000 followers, Facebook will show the post to approximately 200 of them to test the engagement. If the engagement results are low, your post may end up at the bottom of audience’s news feed. So test every post by looking at positive and negative interactions, percentage of engagement, and click thru rates. After reviewing the numbers, identify areas that need improvement and test again.
    2. Let others be early adopters – Let others test new and risky strategies with any new features and products Facebook rolls out. Learn from their mistakes and don’t waste your precious time and money.
    3. Be real – Write content that is engaging and inspires emotion. No easy task! Remember you have to grab a person’s attention in less than a second and stop them from scrolling past your post. Story-driven posts do particularly well over a post that just has an offer. Blame it on those cat videos!
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  • What are the top 4 marketing trends in 2018?

    On: January 18, 2018
    In: Marketing
    Views: 1093

    As marketers, we are always looking for a way to get an edge over the competition. It’s our job to analyze the trends and determine which ones have the best chance of providing companies successful results. Here are some trends we think you should be aware of and include when reviewing your marketing plan:

    1. Video – social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Periscope have pretty much paved the way for the live video streaming trend. Currently, streaming video accounts for 2/3rds of all internet traffic and that number will continue to grow. When your business uses live video, it gives you the opportunity to interact with your potential customer directly in real time. Also, you can save your videos and repurpose the content.
    2. Artificial Intelligence – AI tools are used to analyze consumer behavior and make decisions on how the information is used. AI robots allow your sales team to spend more time on projects that require actual human insight. An example of popular AI is the use of Chatbots. You have probably been to a website that has a customer service representative pop-up with an instant messaging feature that uses Chatbots. Determine if the use of AI will help you improve different areas of your business.
    3. Personalization – the best way to increase engagement and sales is to give customers a personalized shopping experience. Research shows that 75% of consumers have a preference for retailers that use personalization. In order to enhance this experience, you need to encourage people to create a customer profile on your website/mobile applications so you can monitor their browsing habits and prior purchases. Another method is to send personalized email messages to your subscribers. If you personalize the subject line of your emails, you can increase your open rate by 26%.
    4. Privacy issues – Last year millions were affected by security breaches. Consumers are highly concerned about their privacy while shopping online. You need to make sure your website states that you have privacy protection in place by including security badges, adding testimonials and making sure your site is easy to navigate with fast loading pages as well as the checkout pages are all secure.

    It is important to stay up to date with the latest marketing trends and look toward the future to predict consumer behavior. If you can identify and use trends to your current marketing strategy, you will definitely have an edge over your competition.

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  • Go Mobile or Go Home in 2018

    On: November 29, 2017
    In: Design, Education
    Views: 1607

    Marketers need to make sure that mobile is part of their marketing plan next year. Mobile is becoming increasingly more niche-orientated and delivering at high speeds that reflect on the growth of consumers who now use their cell phones more than their personal computers or tablets.

    Here are some trends you need to know:

    1. Google announced last year that they would be indexing websites based on their mobile sites, not their desktop sites. Therefore, if you want to rank highly, make sure your website is responsive and the buttons work for touch screens.
    2. Make sure you have personalized online content that includes a welcome message to a new customer, a welcome back message to a prior customer and offer special deals for return customers.
    3. Optimize your site for fast speed. If your web pages are taking more than 3 seconds to load on mobile, the bounce rate rises to 53%. Check your site’s speed at Think With Google.
    4. Location-targeted ads are key to your mobile marketing success. Local searches are becoming 50% higher than general mobile searches. Pinpointing consumers while they are near your location can influence their buying decision.

    Mobile usage has increased from 3 to almost 6 hours over the last couple of years. It is predicted that by 2018, more that ½ of all consumers will be using their mobile devices first for anything that requires them to be online. So get your marketing plan ready!

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  • What you should know about posting pictures on Facebook

    On: November 16, 2017
    In: Photography, Social Media
    Views: 1335

    Everyone likes sharing photos on Facebook, but posting photos that you don’t own or includes other people comes with specific responsibilities both ethically and legally.

    Copyright Infringement

    Photos automatically belong to the person who took them. The photographer, not the camera owner owns the picture. If the photo you are using belongs to someone else, you may be committing copyright infringement if you upload it and share it without securing consent.

    Privacy Violations

    Posting photos without permission is a violation of their trust and may lead them to taking legal action against you. Do not post picture of children without their parent’s permission. Facebook has authority to remove photos that contain explicit content, hate speech, personal attacks or depictions of harm, violence or illegal drug use.

    No Technical Restrictions

    There are no restrictions from Facebook to stop you from uploading photos. Facebook does offer people the opportunity to remove objectionable photos after they have been posted by filing a copyright infringement claim or report abusive content.

    Get Permission

    You are not required to secure permission before posting a photo, but it is a good idea to ask permission from the other people appearing in the photo whenever a photo depicts someone in a potentially embarrassing or upsetting way. It is also a good way to ruin a good friendship.

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  • Following the consumer journey 

    On: October 12, 2017
    In: Consumer Journey, Google analytics, Marketing, Online marketing
    Views: 2153

    The consumer journey is the digital path that a consumer takes while online from awareness to purchase.  By understanding the buying habits of your online target audience, determining how they find you online and the steps they take to actually purchasing or making a call to action, businesses can minimize their marketing effort and maximize their revenue.

    Where to start?

    Since consumer journeys are solely based on how they engage with your website, start be breaking down each online interaction to determine where there are drop offs.  People are most likely to enter your website through a search engine.  You want to make sure you have optimized your website with the proper key words that will be used when a consumer is looking for your product or service.  You will want to take advantage of Google Ad words to assist with searches.

    Next, you want to review what pages on your website people are going following their search.  Not every consumer journey starts on the home page.   Make sure all your pages provide an opportunity for further engagement otherwise the consumer will exit your website.

    The final step of the consumer journey is the checkout or call to action.  You need to understand how consumers interact with this page.  A complicated or unsecure site may result in an abandoned shopping cart.  Make sure you have assurances to your consumers against stolen identity, price increase protections, secure site icons, and return policies.

    Google Analytics is great way to study the traffic patterns and behavior on your website to determine what needs to be modified to enhance the consumer journey for your business.

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  • 10 Social Media Content Ideas for your Small Business

    On: September 14, 2017
    In: Social Media
    Views: 1210

    Trying to figure out what content to post to your social media doesn’t have to be time consuming. Take these ten ideas when deciding content:

    1. Video from an event! Social media users love video and they can be 10 to 15 seconds.
    2. Showcase your positive customer reviews and testimonials
    3. Announce an event or award you received
    4. Photos and spotlights on your employees
    5. Photos of employee pets
    6. Inspiration quotes or your company goals
    7. Do you do any charity work? Mention it on social media and be sure to include a picture.
    8. New product announcement or service you offer
    9. Take a vote on something your company does by asking your audience for their feedback
    10. Third party content. Don’t be afraid to use content from the web that relates to your business or service (research/product reviews)
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