Category: Blog

Don’t Overlook the Cover

They say not to judge a book by its cover, and on a certain level, we agree. The story behind the front cover could be vastly more intriguing than what we see at first glance. But, how many people missed the reading experience because there was no captivating art?

 

In the same way, how many people are glancing past your business because there’s no compelling design to draw them in?

 

You probably don’t want to know the answer to that question.

 

Good graphic design isn’t reserved for trendy small businesses or the titans of your industry. If design hasn’t been on the radar as a tactic for improving sales, then it’s time to reconsider.

 

65% of the world’s population are considered visual learners– they absorb & retain more information when it is presented visually. An effective design campaign would include a variety of graphics, images, and minimal text to stand out to the audience.

 

Research has also shown that visuals are processed at an exponentially higher rate than text. Good design has the power to instantly convey emotion & depth that text-only advertising cannot compete with.

 

Design, whether you like it or not, overflows into every area of a business’s marketing & story.

 

Here are just a few examples of where design has the power to affect your business:

 

  1. Logo
  2. Branding
  3. Advertising
  4. Social media
  5. Website
  6. Printed materials
  7. Products
  8. Presentations
  9. Emails

 

And more!

 

By implementing good design practices for each of the pillars listed above, your business will have an incredibly powerful brand with a consistent look, feel, and message. Effective design will inspire confidence in your business and brand and will act as a catalyst towards sales.

 

Don’t miss out on the chance to tell your company’s story visually! Chances are, you’ll have a fun time doing it.

 

Reach out to learn more about our professional design services.


Fighting Through Writer’s Block

All writers have gone through it at one point or another. It’s something we all hate, and it hinders our ability to write effectively. Yes, you guessed it, writer’s block.

Writer’s block happens when you want to write, and you’re prepared to write, but you don’t know where to start or get to a point in your writing and get stuck. Sometimes you can be stuck for a few minutes, other times, a few hours, and even a few weeks or months.

When you have a hard deadline and get struck by the block, it adds more pressure and anxiety on you to produce your best work. According to Neil Patel, New York Times best-selling author and entrepreneur, a few causes of writer’s block can include perfectionism, performance pressure, fear of rejection, etc.

However, there are a few ways to try to break yourself out of the block.

Take a break

You’re probably wracking your brain and staring at the page, thinking the words are just going to pour out your brain, through your eyes, to the page like creative word vomit.

(Sometimes, that does happen!) But taking a break, getting up to take a walk, cleaning something or running errands could soothe your mind a little while allowing the ideas to flow through. For example, if you take a break to get groceries, a new paragraph could pop into your head while you’re picking up a loaf of bread. Crazy, right?

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes

If you weren’t the writer and were just a reader, what would you want to happen next? What would you like to learn from this piece? This would also give you the opportunity to decide if you want to be straightforward with your work to feed into what you THINK the audience would like to know. You may even choose to take a hard left and completely switch up the game to shock them altogether.

Sleep on it

Believe it or not, many people have been able to beat writer’s block through sleep and dreams. If you write before bed or even have the thought of your article/story on your mind, your dreams will reflect that to give you the inspiration you may be looking for.

Brainstorm

Try to do additional research on your topic or theme and start free-writing. Now, free-writing can leave you with a bunch of weird words, horrible grammar and sentence structures. But it’s your brain emptying all the thoughts, and at the end, you can go fishing in the madness to see if anything stands out or would be beneficial in your overall piece.

If all these fail…

Do something that keeps you relaxed and centered. Doing this long enough will keep you clear-headed and allow your brain to produce the content you’re searching for. Everyone has something that helps take their mind off of the outside world. (Don’t they?)

-Jaraya


Targeted Emails, Optimized

In the digital realm, marketing concepts are constantly evolving, so it’s important for a company to continue adapting to new strategies and tactics. We’ve seen design trends, website layouts, and social media platforms, like TikTok and Instagram, take-off overnight. If you aren’t up to date with the new trends, you can easily fall behind in the competitive market. However, one channel of marketing that has proven to remain useful and effective for over 20 years is Email Marketing. In fact, according to HubSpot, 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months. With the correct tools and tactics, you have the power to connect your brand with consumers on a personal level. Here are a few tactics we use as an agency to optimize our client’s email marketing strategy:

Personalize – As consumers, our inbox gets flooded with junk mail and impersonal messaging every day. It’s important to catch your reader’s attention before they even open the email. It’s also important to keep in mind that yes, it’s easier to get attention with a subject line that reads “SALE 50% OFF”, however, these leads will most likely have a short customer lifetime value – take the sale and unsubscribe. When you can create a personal connection through your messaging and targeting, you retain long-term customers that can add a lot of value to your brand.

Experiment – Keeping up with marketing trends can be challenging and never-ending, but it is key! The great thing about emails is we all get them. So before you get too wrapped up in the newest fad, think about what emails you are more likely to open. Try out different types of messaging, imagery and design to see what’s working and what’s not. A/B testing is a fast and efficient way to test and improve your emails.

Analyze – Email marketing platforms like MailChimp, HubSpot, and Site Impact provide a ton of metrics to help you understand an email’s performance. A few of the key performance indicators we analyze as an agency are total sends, open rates, click-through-rates, and total clicks. Knowing how many people interact with a send will allow you to analyze what types of emails are successful. Knowing who is opening your email can help you manage your email lists, follow-up with leads, and create that personal connection we are all striving for.

Email marketing is a powerful and fun way to connect with your audience. Get personal, don’t be afraid to test new tactics, and evaluate your results. Repeat!

Follow along for monthly marketing blogs.

-Reid


Video Marketing: Entertainment to Trust-Building Sales

The “new normal” of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a shift from traditional forms of advertising to digital. Brick-and-mortar stores are getting less foot traffic and have set up restrictions on in-person purchasing, making online services more convenient and attractive. Professional videography is an enticing and creative way to draw users into your social media presence or website, create a trusting relationship between the two, and eventually convert sales to drive revenue.

Videography is one of the most dynamic forms of advertising and can be used across multiple advertising platforms. Videos are often featured at the header of a website both for general branding purposes and to display examples of the brand’s products and services. The same video could be reformatted into a shorter clip to promote products and services on social media, video display ads, and YouTube advertising.  The return on investment that video has increases significantly as it can be used across various platforms, reaching far more consumers.

The interactive and storytelling aspects of video become appealing content for a consumer to engage in. Video shows potential consumers a clear idea of the voice behind the brand, what the brand stands for, and what they can expect from your product and services. Ninty-eight percent of users have watched a video to understand more about a brand’s services. It is a chance for the CEO or representative of the brand to add a personal touch to the work they do. This is extremely important for building trust with potential consumers and helps to convert views to sales effectively.

Video is ubiquitous in the world we live in; we see them on billboards, across social media, and even featured on Spotify songs. Videography has a unique way of drawing in consumers and entertaining even the most passive purchasers. It can help exponentially grow social media following and shares with the interactive network that social media has grown into. Clear messaging to the public, brand loyalty, and a high return on investment are all aspects that make video a very important marketing service for your business.

 

-Matt


A One-Stop Shop for Advertisers

When I first heard about Facebook Business Manager a few years ago, I was amazed you could do so many things from one place. It was such a game-changer knowing you could create paid ads, control who has access to your page(s), track activity happening on your website, and simply manage everything in one place. When I first saw it, let me tell you, I was terrified. There are truly so many functionalities in this one platform. Once you dive into it, you will fall in love as I have, and your life will be SO much easier!

The best part about Business Manager is anyone can use it—no matter how small a business you have. You no longer have to mix your personal Facebook with your professional Facebook page. All business-related notifications will be right in one place, so no more alerts about your uncle’s 70th birthday and someone asking for a business estimate in the same place. By being taken directly to your business assets, this will help you stay focused on your work.

Want to make sure certain employees have access to your page and others don’t? Business Manager is where it’s at! You have the ability to give anyone access to manage your page.

So let’s break it down. What exactly can you do from Business Manager?

· Run and track your ads (Facebook AND Instagram)

· Connect with agencies or marketing partners (like us)

· Manage assets such as your page and ad accounts

· Detailed reporting and analytics on page and ad account

· Access valuable Pixel data

· Manage billing

Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve, but the benefits are so worth it! If you spend a little time each day dabbling in this platform, you’ll get it in no time. If your company has a good bit of moving parts, this is the one central place you can keep everything together. Check out Facebook’s help article here for more info.

Stay tuned for more monthly marketing blogs to come!

-Maddie


Finding the right length for your video

Marketing in the digital age has become a battle over people’s attention. As we become more and more inundated with screens, social platforms and videos, attention spans continue to shrink. A marketer’s goal is to capture as much of someone’s time before they click, scroll or swipe away to the next thing. It’s no secret that video content is the best way to get someone’s attention. But how should a video be crafted to make the best impression on that viewer’s attention? The most important thing to look at here is the length.

Human attention spans are growing shorter and shorter, now falling behind even goldfish. It is obvious that content should not drag on. But when it comes to length, it’s not as easy as making your video “short.” Depending on factors such as platform and target audience, “short” can mean a number of things. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube all have different ideal lengths. These lengths are based on what users typically come to the platform hoping to watch.  Expectations of engagement time vary widely from YouTube to Twitter.

YouTube

The most robust home for video also carries the need for the longest content. Users log onto this leading  platform looking for in-depth content that will keep them occupied. The nature of subscribing to specific channels and creators means that people come in mostly knowing what they want to watch and how long they want to spend watching it.

In recent years, YouTube has shown a tendency to favor longer videos, around the 10 minute mark. Content creators have struggled getting their content in front of subscribers if they fall under this length. When thinking about it from a marketing standpoint, this length requirement doesn’t directly apply. But it does create a unique definition of “short” when creating commercial video for YouTube.

Users aren’t scrolling through a number of posts during a YouTube session. So if you want to make an impression, its best to stay around the two-minute mark. You can use this length to create a how-to tutorial or product demo. Ideally, it will be run as an advertisement in front of another channel’s video.

“For the majority of people, a 15 second ad is fine, 30 seconds is acceptable, and a minute is pushing it,” adds our in-house videographer Matt Crum. “Anything over that is really for your existing audience or someone who is already on the verge of becoming a client.”

The ad can either be a shortened version of the full two minute video, which would be posted on your channel, or it can be the full content with the option to skip after a few seconds. Both methods are equally effective, so long as the user has a way to click through to your channel.

Facebook

Choosing the right  length for Facebook is all about catering to sharing. If the audience for your content isn’t incredibly broad, that same 2-minute mark might work perfectly. But if you’re reaching a wide audience and your content is highly shareable, you’ll want to trim a minute off of that length. Similar to YouTube, longer videos are better suited for speaking directly to a targeted audience.

Social media platforms, especially Facebook, are often viewed on mute. This is important to consider when planning how much of a viewer’s time you are going to take up. Because the user needs to get the point without hearing anything, the video needs to be long enough to get the idea across. This is the reason why you want your video to last between 1 to 2 minutes. A 30-second video, while better suited for a user scrolling through their feed, is too short to effectively communicate a message without sound.

With this in mind, it’s important to be sure that your video remains visually interesting from start to finish. One minute doesn’t seem like a lengthy amount of time at all, but your video can’t just be footage of someone talking with subtitles for muted viewers. The visuals need to accurately represent the value of your product or service during the time you have. This means that multiple shots are needed. Or if your video is a product demo or tutorial, the subject of the video should be using or interacting with your product the entire time, rather than pausing to explain something.

Instagram

Instagram has a video limit of 60 seconds. The ideal length of a video on this platform is actually far less than 60 seconds anyway. According to HubSpot, 30 seconds is best, as videos that get the most comments typically average about 26 seconds in length.

Since this service only allows for short clips, flashy visuals are a requirement. You want the user to experience an incredibly brief, but compelling clip that encourages them to follow a link in your page’s bio. It is also important to remember that videos loop on Instagram and are played on mute as long as the device is set to silent mode.

Create your video with these things in mind. People often rewatch looping videos multiple times if they are brief enough. Quick, flashy cuts  will make viewers feel the need to watch it again to take it all in. Even though it is short, viewers will spend enough time with it that an impression will be made.

Get your video stream started

You will want multiple versions and cuts of your commercial video in order to integrate it well with each of these services. Your full video can be cut into its most visually interesting and flashy shots. The goal is to push the viewer to the full version, and eventually to your website or product page. There is still time left to enter our Bundle Up video giveaway contest. Your business has a chance to win a video package of varying lengths, each best for a different video platform.

Have questions? Meet the King & Columbus team at our monthly marketing meet up.


What you should know about web security protocols

Cookies, HTTPS and SSL might sounds like a confusing combination of letters and sweets, but when it comes to web security, these protocols are actually fairly straight forward. Knowing their differences and how they can each protect the integrity of your website is crucial. They can be easy to implement, and most users are already familiar with seeing the terminology of “HTTP” and “cookies.”

Cookies

Starting with the most familiar web security concept, let’s look at how cookies work for both users and websites. When a user comes to your website and enters in information, their web browser stores a small file of letters and numbers. This file acts as a key that allows the website to access the computer’s memory and recognize the user.

For websites with large databases and advanced customizability, cookies can do wonders for the user experience. If a user can be instantly recognized and catered to when they pull up your site, they will constantly come back for that ease of use. This can help to simplify the process of purchasing a product or service through your site. You can even build your website around the use of cookies. Give users the ability to arrange content in a way that suits their interests or needs. More customization is always a good thing for connecting with users and clients.

HTTPS

While web security featuresgive users peace of mind,  HTTPS matter much more for those who run websites. One key use that new web platform features get out of HTTPS is permission requests. Web pages and apps can use this feature to enable access to user media such as photos and audio.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a more secure version of a procedure that has existed for a while. The additional S, for security, was added on to the HyperText Transfer Protocol, which enables the exchange of information over the internet. HTTPS is an extra procedure that encrypts data between senders and recipients.

Think of it like sending a box that contains all of your personal identification info to someone through the mail. If someone were to intercept and open this package, all of the info within would be undecipherable and would mean nothing to the interceptor. HTTPS make it so that only the sender and intended recipient can decipher the contents within that box.

Setting up HTTPS for your website involves getting a certificate, which is where SSL comes into play.

SSL

On the topic of encryption, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is the standard protocol used to encrypt information sent between web servers and browsers. The first step in the process of ensuring your web security is hosting with a dedicated IP address. This is something you can set up with an IP hosting service, or work with your current web host to upgrade your account to have a dedicated IP address.

Next, you can purchase an SSL certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority (CA). There are many trusted CAs out there and you can work with your web administrator to decide which one to purchase through. Acquiring this certificate will allow your website to be fully trusted by internet browsers and mobile devices. It is also important to note that there are a few different types of SSL certificates, and you should know which one suits your business best.

Having the SSL certificate is what upgrades your website from HTTP to HTTPS. You can configure your site to automatically direct users to the HTTPS version of the page. One added benefit of an HTTPS protected site is that Google offers SEO benefits to pages with SSL.

You’ve seen the iconic padlock on your web browser’s URL bar. That lock comes from using SSL, and now you know how to add that lock to your website’s address. So lock down your security and take control of your privacy and that of your users.


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