• Don’t use these phrases when writing online content

    On: May 2, 2019
    In: News
    Views: 2936

    When you are writing for online, your goal is simple and easy copy to understand.  Forget about the fluff and gain readers. Here are some “fluffs” to avoid:

    • Believe and/or Think –subjective words that indicate doubt, replace with know
    • Always and/or Never –seldom 100% true, use many or rarely instead
    • Often – be specific on how frequently something happens
    • Stuff – not only is this term unprofessional it is not specific enough
    • It and thing– both are non-descript, replace with the specific word you are referencing
    • Really or a lot –Omit this word and replace with a more accurate descriptor
    • Got – replace with obtained, received or earned, it just sounds better

    In addition to above, drop these words from your copy and your sentence will still have meaning (in order, just, that, then, completely, entirely, so, as a matter of fact, the thing is, absolutely, anyway, when it comes to).  Strive to improve your writing and use action verbs, less adjectives and omit overused phrases that don’t add to the meaning of your content.

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  • Why a business can’t (and shouldn’t) be everything for everybody

    On: April 1, 2019
    In: News
    Views: 564

    If you want to build your business around a brand that will serve everyone, you will always fall short.  It is impossible to offer something that everyone will want and need all the time and even more impossible to please everyone.   Businesses make the mistake of wanting to offer too much in an attempt to gain more business.  What happens?  You run the risk of weakening your business proposition and brand promise by going too broad.

    A better approach is to become the expert in your chosen field and be the best at one or two things.  Pick your target customers that need your skills and are most likely to appreciate them.   The audience may be smaller, but your return on investment will be greater.

    Once you have determined your specific expertise for a specific customer base, always strive to evolve and improve your offering.   This will keep customer engaged and repeat purchases thus growing loyalty to your business.    Your goal is to understand what matters most to your current customers and what problems you solve for them to showcase your brand and value.

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  • How to choose the right social media marketing channel for your business

    On: March 7, 2019
    In: News
    Views: 538

    The growth of the internet has really altered the way businesses can market themselves. Before choosing a marketing channel it is important to ask yourself some key questions to find the right fit.

    Determine which target market you want to reach and how your service or product will benefit them. The key is to use marketing channels to build relationships with these prospective customers.

    It is important to note that different social media channels will produce different results. Here is an overview:

    This is by far the biggest social media channel, and can be thought of as the “social” home for your business. Creating a business page for your company is a must, but remember that it needs to be updated on a regular basis with not only promotional information, but engaging and interesting content as well. Also, be aware that this platform does need a considerable amount of human and financial resources (advertising)

    Twitter is full of people with things to say, and you can listen! Twitter is meant for people you actually want to communicate with. You may think the 140 character count (or the amount of words you can tweet) is limited, but when used correctly, you can reap the rewards. Twitter is also a great way to connect with your customers. If you have an unsatisfied customer you will hear them on Twitter, and this is your chance to excel at customer service.

    If you want to reach women 25-45, and you have a visual product, this may be the social channel for you. If your business is image heavy –a photography studio, retail shop or an ecommerce site – then Pinterest for business makes sense. Once someone pins the image, the web address associated with that pin can serve to draw in new customers.

    Instagram is a photo-sharing program. What makes Instagram different from other photo-sharing programs is that it’s a free app which can be downloaded onto iPhones and some Samsung and Android devices. Instagram is great for products, pictures of staff and developments within your business, and using this social media channel can add the ‘we’re just human’ factor to your business. The majority of users are female between the ages of 18-35.

    LinkedIn is the largest social media network for business people and professionals but most small business owners still don’t have it on their marketing radar. Business owners are now realizing the value of this site and the opportunities to build relationships and sales leads. Approach this social media channel more seriously and assume that the users will want serious, professional and informative information. You can share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish yourself as industry experts.

    This social media channel is the most popular video oriented site with over 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, so having content here that is optimized to be found by someone looking for your product, service, or niche can boost your Search Engine Optimization) ranking. Also, videos are 50x more likely to appear on the first page of search results as part of the blended results that Google now shows.

    If your business can visually show how their services, products and employees are different from all the rest out there, this social media channel is a winner. Note the costs and human resources involved in producing good, valuable videos before signing your business up.

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  • Digital Marketing Predictions for 2019

    On: February 7, 2019
    In: News
    Views: 608

    Are you wondering what’s in store for the digital marketing industry this year?  Here are 4 predictions from Kent Lewis, founder of Anvil Media:

    • Video will continue to be king. Personalized video will start replacing chat, mail and phone calls as ways brands communicate with their customers.  Video will also be used to create thank you, support and messages to customers.
    • Increased brand transparency and purpose will be driven by Generation Z as they age and their buying power grows. Companies need to think about their brand’s story and how to connect with this new consumer group. As voice search becoming more prevalent, this trend will affect Google search with a new campaign type.
    • SEO to be replaced by Answer Engine and Research Engine optimization. Websites will have to think about the best way to optimize to answer questions, allow for research or convert from search engine results pages directly.
    • Amazon becoming more of a search engine. This fact will create increased importance on SEO for product pages and promoted products that match a customers’ search query.
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  • The Advantage of Working with One Agency for all your Marketing Needs

    On: January 10, 2019
    In: News
    Views: 623

    Having a successful campaign is the result of having a team of marketing professionals that work under the same agency.  Since the market down turn in 2007, there has been a misperception from clients that they can save costs by outsourcing their media and creative to different firms.  However, what ultimately happens is a breakdown in coordination, lack of communication and eventually results for the client.

    Here are the advantages of using one marketing firm:

    Collaboration – when you have the media and creative teams working together they have a much better understanding of not only what is needed and when but what is possible so everyone is starting on the same page with the same goals for the client.

    Efficiency – working with one firm is more efficient especially when you have last minute changes or needs. The client doesn’t have to coordinate with two different companies and worry about everything coming together.

    Interdependence – when the creative and media departments are under the same roof, you receive one seamless, integrated and effective team that can give your marketing the attention it deserves!

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  • Marketing Trends for 2019

    On: December 1, 2018
    In: News
    Views: 599

    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: News
    Views: 757

    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, News, Online marketing
    Views: 705

    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, News, Online marketing
    Views: 608

    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: News
    Views: 794

    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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