Category: Branding

Branding in the digital age: DIG South takeaways

The world of digital marketing is changing faster than ever. As the pace of change accelerates, so too must marketers who want to avoid looking archaic.

A great way to stay ahead of the game is to always break your efforts down into the two different schools of marketing. Branding is how you get your clients to know you and direct marketing is how you get them to act.

During our visit to the DIG South Tech Summit in Charleston, we learned a great deal of ways to improve and maintain the quality of your branding and direct marketing efforts.

Building a better brand

Branding isn’t just about presenting the look and style of a company to customers. It’s now much more personal than that. Your brand is who you are, what you do, and why other people should care.

Similar to a personal reputation, your brand needs to be protected and upheld. Without proper care and direction, you can potentially tarnish that reputation.

Make sure you always remind yourself of your end goal when making branding decisions. For example, if you want your brand to evoke positivity, always use that as a guide when branding yourself.

Be realistic about how your brand can represent positivity. Be honest and don’t push a tone that doesn’t always fit. And be consistent, so that your audience will never forget your values.

Keeping your brand agile

If your resume is what you do, your brand is how you show how you do it. In the same way that a resume is constantly updated to reflect new achievements, your brand needs to evolve with the constant changing of digital marketing strategies.

Even though change is the only constant in branding, you still need to stay true to your values. How does a brand maintain its core values while also evolving? The answer is to always listen and respond to your customers.

As long as you spend more time listening than talking to customers, you will always stay in touch with what they want out of your business. Your core values and products attracted them in the first place, so staying aware of customer desires ensures that you can combine your reputation with successful new digital marketing plans.

Some good ways to stay in tune with your customers are surveys and analytics. Though not widely accessible, eye tracking technology can be utilized to find the most compelling aspects of branding elements like logos.

If you want the image portion of your logo lockup to stand out more than the typography, eye tracking tech can show where someone locks their eyes. If people rarely look at the image on your logo, try to use leading lines in your text to point the eye toward your image.

A truly agile brand is able to identify when evolutionary or revolutionary processes are needed. Identifying this is made easier when collaboration is a part of your company culture. Collaboration between coworkers and between the business and consumer are both necessary in deciding on major branding decisions.

We picked up on a few strong tips for improving your direct marketing as well. Automation is becoming more expansive than ever. It’s finding its way into all aspects of marketing and advertising. Videos, traditional ads and even smart speaker content are all driven by machine learning and automation.

Utilizing native video

Native video has a unique role in the world of advertising. It grabs attention quicker and easier than traditional ad spots. But it has a hard time holding that attention. People end up reading more video headlines than they do for native advertisements, even though the completion rate of a full video is typically low.

The power of native video is its ability to lift a brand better than more traditional video advertisements. Through machine learning, in the time it takes to load a web page you are able to get your video ad in front of the right person and have higher conversion rates.

So what content makes a native video ad effective? The following are key factors to consider when creating and structuring your video.

  • Grab attention
  • Keep it short
  • Mention brand in first five seconds
  • Get to the point
  • Lead with the headline
  • Add text to the video
  • Create mobile-friendly video

Remain straightforward with your messaging. Say what you need to say and it will help people convert. Ad recall and purchase intent happens in the first 7 seconds of the video. So put your most important messaging and visuals right up front.

Keep direct marketing on the right path

Automation is a key pillar of every single marketing platform available. There is practically no way you aren’t using some form of automation already. But are you getting the most potential out of that automation? Are you pointing your efforts in the right place before leaving them to handle themselves?

Without proper planning and management, automation can distribute bad ideas at scale and end up annoying your audience. While automation can ensure that people who opt out of emails get removed from your list, that’s not going to be enough.

Take this further by using automation to segment your audience based on their interests. Utilize the analytics of where and when they click on things to group out mailing times and topics.

Automation can get your ads in front of the right audiences on websites, but research shows that a greater emotional response is tied to direct messaging, such as email marketing. Nothing creates a stronger response than physical mail, but through automation, we can trigger more emotion in digital mail than ever.

You can make individuals that you market to feel more valued, even without sending them a postcard in the mail. Instead, create multiple versions of your emails that are customized for how someone engages with your brand. Target a previous customer that bought the closest thing to your new product and tell them that they’ll love your new product based on their purchase history.

When someone feels like they’re getting a different message than the other thousands of customers on your list, they’ll feel valued. And in a generation where inboxes are flooded with dozens of messages daily, it has become essential to make your messaging stand out before it gets deleted.


The Power of Empathy in Your Content Marketing Strategy

It’s no secret that content generation has grown to be one of the most exponential modules of small business marketing. The weight of content in any business’ marketing plan is, or should be, heavy. However, 85% of marketing leaders fail to produce content that effectively connects with consumers. If you’re consistently finding yourself in a content-based rut, are you finding yourself wondering what your strategy is missing?

Chances are the answer to this question is: emotionally charged content. More specific, it may be lacking empathy. As defined by Mirriam-Webster, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Bottom line is that you want to understand your audience and what they need, so you can answer those needs. The best way to do this is through effectively appealing to their emotional side, and sharing those feelings.

In a study conducted by BuzzSumo, the most popular emotions evoked by marketing experts are awe, laughter, and joy. These three emotions account for 57% of marketing content leading to conversions. All three of these should certainly be a focus point in your strategy planning simply because you want to associate your brand with positive emotions. If people feel good when they engage with your brand, they’re going to come back for more. The whole point of having solid brand messaging is to make your customers want to come back for more.

A statement that spoke to us while we were at Dig South was that our job as content marketers is to “evoke the feelings we want them to feel, so they take the actions we want them to take.” We found this to be extremely insightful, because emotion is what will transform a B2C transaction into a trusted relationship, resulting in a happy customer – and happy business.

It’s difficult to reach the results you want if you’re not taking the time to feel with your customers. The story being told needs to be an emotional experience for all parties. For example, most recently, we probably felt all of the things while experiencing Mother’s Day ads. Check this one out:

I mean, come on. Can someone hand me a tissue? Everyone’s mom deserves a Macy’s purse.

If you’re a savvy marketer, you know the power of emotional appeal and will be able to make an impact on your customers through sharing and understanding how they feel. Having trouble pulling the heartstrings of your consumers? We can help with that.


Top Challenges for Small Businesses

Starting a business is takes a lot of hard work, focus, and attention to detail. Getting up and running comes with a lot of rewards, but also presents challenges that you need to get past (as we all know). As we were doing our daily digital dive, we found this infographic from Infusionsoft that really spoke to our experiences with growing our business and wanted to share!

What are your biggest obstacles as a small business?

 


Digital Media Strategies for Entrepreneurs, Soloprenuers, Mompreneurs, or any other -preneur

Congratulations, you’ve done it! You’ve finally decided to launch that business you’ve been dreaming about starting forever. And, we know you. You’re an expert in your field and have the product or service you’re offering  nailed. You know how to give white-glove customer service and you have your accounting system and CRM primed and ready to go. You’re only missing piece is how to get your prospective clients knocking on your door.

Well, good news! It’s 2018 and most people are looking for the next business they’re going to work with on their computers or on their phones. But, how do you make digital marketing work for you on a shoestring budget?  (Don’t think we’ve forgotten you’re a start-up)?

Here are the places we recommend you start:

Email Marketing

Email is still King. People still check their email accounts dozens of times a day. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Demand Metric and the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), it was concluded that email marketing had a return on investment of 122%. That’s why an email address is the most coveted piece of information a consumer can give to a business.

The first thing you should do if you want to get started with email marketing is sign up with a service like Mailchimp or Constant Contact. Their interface is user-friendly and free until your list gets so big you’re making money anyway and can pay for it.  Email marketing, just like any other marketing strategy, has some best practices. Once you have chosen a marketing service, take advantage of the large amount of training videos and blogs they have available to ensure you’re not making rookie mistakes. You don’t have time for mistakes on your way to a successful business!

Social Media Marketing

Organic social media is still free and has a very long reach. While it’s true what you’ve been hearing: Facebook algorithms have changed making it harder for organic content from business pages to be seen. They are pushing business pages to pay for their views. While this can be frustrating that we are no longer getting the eyeballs on our posts like before, there is an upside.

If you pay to boost your posts or run some targeted ads, you don’t have to post as often organically which  saves you the most valuable resource of all: TIME. So consider scheduling a few boosted posts and a few tweets (or Instagram posts if that’s more your market) a month and then re-allocate all the time you were spending on Facebook in an attempt to be creative to garner engagement to email marketing! You’ll definitely see more return on your investment!

Website and SEO

Your website is your business’s online front door. Are your visitors being treated well? If your email marketing is on point and your social media is doing its job driving clients to your website, you want to make sure your website is closing the deal. If it’s not doing the job, you may need to invest in some website help.

An expert can tell you if your website isn’t optimized to get the most traction for when Google crawls it and sends the information back. Things like missing keywords, title tags that aren’t unique to every page, missing or incorrect meta descriptions, and missing image ALT tags and filenames make it hard to rank high in Google searches.

As a business owner, it’s hard to be an expert at everything. Hiring a specialist who can help you identify potential problems with your layout or your functionality is a good use of your resources.  

Partner up with someone that can help

If you think you may need the help of an expert, we’re here for you. If you’d like to talk about how to make email, or social media marketing work for you, or would be interested in a FREE SEO audit of your website, reach out to us. We can help with that.


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