• Marketing Trends for 2019

    On: December 1, 2018
    In: Uncategorized
    Views: 24
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    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.

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  • Developing a Marketing Plan for a Small Business

    On: November 1, 2018
    In: Uncategorized
    Views: 53
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    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.
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  • Making your welcome email, welcoming!

    On: October 1, 2018
    In: Email marketing, Marketing, Online marketing, Uncategorized
    Views: 92
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    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.
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  • The Power of Video Streaming

    On: September 1, 2018
    In: Marketing, Online marketing, Uncategorized
    Views: 102
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    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.

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  • AdWords and Invalid Clicks

    On: August 2, 2018
    In: Uncategorized
    Views: 163
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    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.
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  • How to tell if your digital advertising is working

    On: July 16, 2018
    In: Uncategorized
    Views: 130
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    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.
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  • How to tell if your digital advertising is working?

    On: June 8, 2018
    In: Marketing, Online marketing
    Views: 175
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    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: 278
     1

    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: 314
     1

    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, Uncategorized
    Views: 377
     1

    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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