• Making your welcome email, welcoming!

    On: October 1, 2018
    In: Email marketing, Marketing, Online marketing, Uncategorized
    Views: 86
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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: 96
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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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  • How to tell if your digital advertising is working?

    On: June 8, 2018
    In: Marketing, Online marketing
    Views: 170
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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: 273
     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: 308
     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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  • What are the top 4 marketing trends in 2018?

    On: January 18, 2018
    In: Marketing
    Views: 460
     1

    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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  • Following the consumer journey 

    On: October 12, 2017
    In: Consumer Journey, Google analytics, Marketing, Online marketing
    Views: 541
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    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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  • Guide to Email Marketing

    On: August 10, 2017
    In: Email Campaigns, Marketing
    Views: 560
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    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
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  • Creative Myth #5 Stock Images – fact and fiction

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

     

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

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

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