Category: Marketing

Creative marketing campaigns that caught our attention

 

The best thing a brand can do in marketing is to express why it is unique. Between websites, social media, video ads and search engine optimization, there are ample places to stand out from everyone else.

Guides and tips for every form of digital marketing can be easily found online. These are great for understanding the basic ideas of each marketing tool. But robotically following advice can only get you so far. Push your marketing farther by putting a creative spin on your approach that is unique to your brand.

Each different marketing tool requires you to express your uniqueness in a different way. You can’t just treat SEM or PPC strategies the same as video or social media content. Voices need to differ depending on where you are engaging with your audience. A light-hearted tone might work better on camera than on a search engine result.

Let’s take a look at some creative marketing approaches that brands have used to push their success even farther. 

Jet Blue’s social media marketing

When it comes to social media, most businesses tend to show off what they sell or promote special offers. Being versatile tools, social media platforms allow you to use them in whatever way fits your brand.

Jet Blue Airways takes an unconventional approach by using their Twitter account to provide customer service. Some companies have a separate customer service account used exclusively for these interactions. But Jet Blue’s primary account is the front-facing page for showing how customer-focused the company is. 

Adapt your social presence to highlight the most important aspect of your brand. For Jet Blue, this means highlighting customer interaction. For you, maybe this means showing off charity work or user testimonials. 

Having a diverse social media profile isn’t a bad thing, but dedicating the page to one aspect of business that you take pride in will surely make you stand out. 

Spotify’s email marketing 

The online music streaming giant already has a massive list of members. But the key to their email marketing success is giving those users something special. Word of mouth is the greatest tool for growing Spotify’s user base, so the company has created a strong email campaign for its existing users.

Spotify takes a bold approach to personalization by focusing on content curation and user statistics. At the end of the year, an email is sent out to all users highlighting how they used the service throughout the year. This includes a custom playlist that features the user’s most played songs of the year.

Users are encouraged to share this breakdown using buttons within the email, which work seamlessly because the Spotify service already integrates with users’ social media accounts. This makes it easy for each user to post their yearly breakdowns and access their friends’.

Coinciding with each Friday’s new music releases is an email sent to users highlighting new music from artists they’ve listened to. This is an excellent example of engaging users through content they have already accessed. Provide relevant updates to your users based on the data they are giving you.

Spotify also gives users value outside of the streaming service capabilities. Through personalized data, the service also sends out emails that notify users of upcoming concerts for artists they listen to. This type of message isn’t asking the user to listen to Spotify. It shows the consumer that the business isn’t always out for itself and that it cares about the value it provides.

When it comes to email marketing, people want to feel like more than just a name on a list when they check their inbox. Personalized emails, no matter how large your list, only encourage users to evangelize your service for you. 

Minimum’s website

Your website is the perfect place for creativity to shine. While users expect to be able to understand your website’s structure, everyone wants to be impressed by a unique page.

Minimums, a website dedicated to highlighting remarkable people and the things they own, has a visually engaging site centered on simplicity. 

The strongest part of this website’s design is that there is never too many elements on the screen at once. The squares highlighting the personalities are large and take up either half or all of the screen. 

This is a clear example of letting a brand’s uniqueness drive the look of its website. Minimums might not be directly selling a product, but their approach is one that can apply to any business.

Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry’s video marketing

The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry recently won our bundle up video giveaway. Through this contest, the museum will be releasing a duo of video advertisements that shows off the facility in a unique way.

The museum wanted to use their videos to show, rather than tell. Their new videos are focused almost entirely on showing off children at play. By avoiding over-explaining their exhibits, the atmosphere of the museum shines through on camera.

From painting, to pirate ships, to grocery shopping, everything that the museum currently has to offer was shown off. With future overhauls coming to the exhibits, this is an excellent way to create a format for future promotion.

Without relying on a voice directly explaining exhibits, the skeleton of the video can be reused in the future and swapped out for new exhibit footage. 

It can be easy to rely on a talking head in a video ad. Every business has a message that needs to be told. But it’s important to remember that messages can be conveyed just as well through visuals as they can through words. Don’t let video length restraints hold your creativity back.


Machine Learning: Listen to What Your Tech is Telling You

Machine learning is great for collecting analytics on Key Performance Indicators and building your customer experience. Now that this technology has had years to improve itself, its time to start listening to what its been learning.

As consumers accept more intelligent machinery into their lives, a marketer’s ability to reach them becomes significantly greater. We are now speaking to our devices daily, allowing them to learn and better focus on our needs.

Website design, email communications and content marketing are just some of the many tools that can be improved by artificial intelligence and machine learning. The analytics that can come from customer interaction help tell a story about the user experience and what you should be targeting.

Email Marketing

Historically, experimentation led to better understanding of data like engagement rates. You could send out an email communication on a Monday one week and then on a Wednesday the following week, comparing their success.

Machine learning can make this process easier and even provide data more specific to each customer. It’s likely that all of your contacts have different engagement patterns, driven by what they want out of your service.

On an individual level, find a way to identify when people are active and what type of content or service they are active with. Maximize your response rates by building automation that segments each type of customer into lists that receive targeted email communication at ideal times.

There can be an overwhelming amount of white noise in data collection. A marketer can manually break down all of the info on customers into spreadsheets. But this takes up precious time and likely includes a lot of irrelevant data. By looking for the overlapping data points from all customers, machine learning can help block out the white noise and identify your true KPIs.

Creating content for voice search

Treat rankings in voice-activated search results differently than written search results. Optimizing for these rankings is equally important. Voice search is fast on its way to becoming the standard.

After years of learning how to optimize our content and websites for desktop search results, it’s time to rethink our approach. Voice search adds a new factor, and luckily the same technology that powers the search can help us optimize for it. Because smart devices are most often used for local searches, they can add a great deal of data to geographical analytics.

The most important piece of data to consider when targeting for voice search is how users are speaking to their devices. Users expect their devices to understand and respond to them similarly to an actual person. Questions need to be understood despite slang and intonation differences. This highlights the importance of using keywords that are easily vocalized while still being unique.

These devices will become more efficient at interpretation over time, just like online translation tools have. You can now plug in the phrase “a piece of cake” into Google translate and you aren’t just going to get a literal translation anymore. Similarly, smart speakers are learning to deliver more than just direct search results.

Website design and services

Search results are this first step toward engaging a potential new customer. But once that web-searcher ends up on your page, they are looking for a good user experience.

The placement of images, text and calls-to-action all work toward a good design for users. Digital applications can analyze how people interact with your platform and inform you about what works in your design and what doesn’t.

AI and machine learning can power programs on your page like customer support. Chatbots give customers the impression that they are talking to a real person who understands their issue and immediately wants to help. This can save you time and money, while allowing your site to be available to help 24/7.

Build loyalty through recognition

Your website is a great place to give your customer a personalized experience even when they aren’t in your store or at your business. Customer loyalty systems allow people to walk into any branch of a store around the country and be recognized as a regular and offered their favorite drink order.

Machine learning powers this in-person interaction the same way it can power returning customer recognition on your web platform. Integrate tools that can build out a customer profile the more they return to do business with you. Eventually, everything your system has learned from this will help you better identify what new customers might be looking for.

It’s easy to see that machine learning is already powering nearly every digital tool that marketers use today. These systems aren’t going to change the way marketers work overnight, though. Right now, we are able to offload tedious tasks and allow us to work more efficiently. The beauty of automation through machine learning is that it only gets better with time.


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.


Tips for Commercial Video in 2019

In an age where everyone wants  to avoid ads and commercials, the truth is that commercial video is engaging more people than ever before. Video can incorporate many types of content, such as graphics, text, voiceover and photos. All of these come together to create a medium that stops page scrollers in their tracks. Showing your product or service in action is the preferred way for customers to learn what you have to offer. Every business should be using video in some capacity to reach customers or clients. But what are the most important aspects to focus on when building commercial video?

Find the right platform

Between YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more, it can be challenging to create video that connects with the right audience through the right platform. In most cases, commercial video should be built with the platform in mind. Creating video ads for YouTube is entirely different from Snapchat. Users have different expectations for each video service, and the ads they find on that service should align with their expectations.

For example, Snapchat users aren’t expecting to watch a professionally shot and edited video on that platform. They come to see quick clips from their friends. Between viewing stories from their friends, users expect that ads will have the same look and feel. Knowing how to create an ideal snapchat ad is a useful skill, but the key is to never overthink it.

YouTube ads live on the opposite end of that spectrum. This platform is more suited for people that log on expecting to spend quality time with their viewing content. This environment is perfectly suited for YouTube’s ability to provide highly targeted ads on videos. It’s a more personal experience that requires a more professional touch. As a bonus, YouTube has added vertical video to its available formats for video ads.

Email is also a fantastic home for video marketing, and it is often overlooked.  Using video in email marketing can lead to much greater click-through and open rates, as well as increasing how often the video is shared among potential customers.

Utilize the right content

The quality of the video is only one aspect to consider when choosing a platform, though. Equally important is the actual content of your video. While customer testimonial videos work great on almost any platform, other types of content like informational videos don’t necessarily fit on a platform like YouTube or Snapchat. YouTube videos can be longer than most platforms, but viewers don’t want to spend too much brainpower on a video ad there. Video tutorials that explain a product or service will always find a better home on your website, where customers intentionally visit to learn more.

Traditional video ads focus more on marketing a line of products. But recent trends show that video marketing focused on a specific product can be effective. Because it is so important to instantly grab a viewer’s attention, video marketing should cut right to the chase. Show your audience exactly what they get from your business instead of leaving them wondering who and what you are as they click the skip ad button.

This is highlighted by a recent trend in film trailer marketing. Have you noticed that every movie trailer on the internet now has a 5 second highlight reel full of the best parts of the trailer your about to watch? While this might feel awkward in front of a trailer that you specifically choose to watch, it makes a huge different on services like Twitter, where you want to capture attention as people scroll through posts. Even though this specific tactic can’t be used for product videos, it is proof that finding the right way to quickly grab attention is very important.

Find the right tone

The most unique thing about video content is its ability to connect with our emotions far better than most still images can. The largest driving force in video sharing is emotional content. Research has identified that there are essentially just four basic human emotions. It doesn’t take long for viewers to understand that your video makes them happy, sad, afraid or angry. Once you know the best platform for your video and what content you are featuring, you can identify the best emotion to target in your brand marketing.

If you know your video is going to appear on social media channels, it might be best to showcase a lighter side to your company. You can build engagement and a personal connection through a happy tone. On the other hand, companies with an important message can utilize negative emotions like sadness or fear. This tone is often found in more traditional commercial video on television and in front of movies. Negative emotions rarely fit into viral content, but they can spur people to action when viewed in a more traditional format that can’t always be skipped over.

Get started with video now

Video marketing is the most important tool in a businesses’ toolbox in 2019. Understandably, it can be challenging to start making videos for your company without the right tools or skills. King and Columbus is announcing the launch of a new video package contest. The winner of the Bundle Up Video Giveaway will get a custom business photo and video package created by our expert team. Enter to win at kingandcolumbus.com/video-giveaway.


LinkedIn is becoming an advertiser’s best friend

LinkedIn is more than just a tool for professional networking and job seeking. The platform is also great for businesses looking to increase revenue.

Sponsored content has a valuable home within LinkedIn. This is thanks to recent changes made by the company that lead to “higher quality” clicks. LinkedIn is  focusing on helping businesses achieve their marketing goals. So what has changed and how can you maximize to your company’s benefit?

Campaign management:

One key change LinkedIn recently made to advertising campaigns is through mobile ads. When mobile users click on the “see more” option, ads with longer copy will now display the full text. This option previously sent users to a landing page or a lead generation form.
This change will allow for greater accuracy in your ability to measure campaign success. Click-through rates will now only reflect users who intend to follow a link within a digital advertisement.

Monitor success through Google integration:

Google Campaign Manager now accesses LinkedIn ad performance. The integration allows you to monitor ad success alongside other channels you might be using Campaign Manager to track. It can be very useful to compare your LinkedIn advertisement performance to your other paid campaigns.
Check out LinkedIn’s announcement post to find instructions for enabling Google Campaign Manager integration for your advertisements.

Carousel ads:

LinkedIn recently introduced Sponsored Content carousel ads. These advertising units can contain multiple pieces of sponsored content. A single carousel ad can feature up to 10 scrolling cards, allowing for a variety of visuals to engage your audience. Measure clicks and impressions individually by each card, so that you can see which visuals and stories work best. More than 300 advertisers tested the carousel Sponsored Content service and nearly 75%  saw a higher click-through rate than standard campaigns.

Targeted advertising:

A personalized experience is great for audiences, but privacy is just as important. Facebook has built a reputation for saving user’s personal information to generate highly targeted advertisements. While targeted ads can be great for your business, privacy concerns will turn your audience away. Testing users’ trust has led to a decrease in Facebook’s ad revenue.

User data privacy is not taken as lightly at LinkedIn, and audiences are beginning to understand that. Facebook confirmed that two-factor authentication stores phone numbers and then uses them in targeted ads. LinkedIn does not follow this practice.

LinkedIn’s ad targeting is only based on user’s actions and public information. Third-party data is not used in targeted ads. Easing the concerns of users will go a long way toward engaging them with your ads. A positive impression from your audience leads to increased ad revenue.

 

Want to explore more social advertising? Learn why Snapchat could be a good fit for your business.


Retargeting Will Help Your Brand (& we have the stats to prove it!)

There’s been a lot of debate in the digital sphere on whether or not retargeting is a marketing tactic that actually works. Well, we’re here to tell you that yes, it absolutely works. Retargeting is a strong digital marketing tool that will help your brand reach the percentage (roughly 98%) of web users who don’t convert immediately after visiting your website.

The reason you see more results with retargeting as opposed to general ads is because retargeted ads reach people who have already been following your brand and products. It’s a powerful tool for your business to use simply because you’re able to focus more on people who have already expressed interest in your products or services. Then, boom. There’s the conversion.

If you incorporate strategic retargeting within a much larger digital marketing plan, you’re going to see amazing results. Need proof? Check out this infographic (gotta love a good set of stats):

While we heavily disagree with the idea that it’s ineffective, it’s true that you need to have a solid strategy in place to actually see conversions. Need help figuring out what that strategy might be for your business? Drop us a line for a free consult.


3 paths to viral success

If you’re a small business, there’s about a 97.99% chance you’ve Googled how to produce content that will go viral. Probably recently – maybe even right now and that’s how you got to this page. What could be better than to have one of your marketing pieces connect to people on the level that they want to share it with everyone they know?

To do this, you basically need to make sure the content you’re curating is “share-worthy” for your customers. That’s the goal, right? You want to distribute messaging that people ultimately share with their networks, leading them back to your website to get the inside scoop on what you can do for them.

We’re not even going to front on the fact that we’ve spent a lot of time researching viral content marketing campaigns. By doing a deep dive into the mystery of viral success, we came out with these 3 takeaways:

  • Get personal with your audience. 80% of marketers say that personalized content has proven to be more successful than general content. At the core of a viral campaign you will find an emotional appeal that resonates with people. Create messaging that hits home with your target market, because the emotion evoked will determine the actions that follow. The goal is to reel people in so that they’re not only glazing over your piece, they’re engaging and sharing.

  • Connect people with what they care most about: themselves. People scroll through their social media newsfeeds on autopilot. The average person spends 12 hours and 7 minutes per day consuming media messaging. With so much clutter, it’s important to stand out with something that make folks think: It me. You want people to see themselves in your brand and product.

  • Create expressive messaging. Be as open, honest, and vulnerable as you want your customers to be when trusting you with their needs.

If you want your marketing message to go viral, one thing you can plan on is that it takes time to strategically plan and implement a viral campaign. Don’t have time to invest in the goal? HINT: Work with a team that knows the ins and outs of content marketing, and let them walk you down the red carpet to viral royalty.

Need help spreading the word? We can help with that.


What makes a 4th of July campaign stand out

While holidays are the perfect time to take a step back and relax with loved ones, they also present excellent marketing opportunities for businesses. Independence Day is one of the most revenue-driving holidays in the books. Retailers, service providers, and food/bev businesses bring in the big bucks when the 4th comes around.

The average American household spends $346.50 on 4th of July food, drinks, transportation and supplies. So, what’s the secret to securing your piece of Independence Day revenue? One word: storytelling. A solid 4th campaign is entirely driven but informative, well-rounded content. Make it more about why we celebrate this holiday, and less about hard intentions to drive sales.

We wanted to share a couple of our favorite Independence Day campaign ideas to celebrate the holiday:

  1. Create catchy subject lines for your 4th of July emails. Last year, California Avocados kept it cool with this one: This 4th of July, add some green to your red, white, and blue. It’s a headline you’re definitely going to remember, and it stays consistent with the brand and holiday. I mean, who doesn’t want avocado on their burger?

  2. Share local events and quick information that will position yourselves as a brand that’s deeply involved in community activities – that can only fare well.

  3. Insert your brand into the overall Independence Day story. Show your patriotism!! Have a product that feeds into the “independence” theme? Share it. Tell us the story behind it. Sell it.

Have a wonderful and safe Independence Day and remember why we celebrate!


National Selfie Day FTW

It’s National Selfie Day, so obviously we’ve got to shine some light on why we embrace the selfie in all of its egocentric glory. Selfies became a thing around 2013, and have since evolved into an effective tool for brand awareness overall promotion.

All small businesses are looking for these two very important things: brand establishment and identity. While the term “selfie” might sound ludicrous, it actually presents a unique way for brands to identify the people behind the product. It’s a fun and creative way to give your brand the personality it needs. Showing your employees as real people will strengthen a B2C relationship, as well as the overall branding.

Not only does it give your brand an extra pinch of personality, taking advantage of the selfie also allows your business to see and experience the personalities of your customers. For example, launch a new product with a selfie and hashtag –then invite your social media followers to post a selfie of them with the product. See which products they like and are willing to share with others. This allows you to get to know your customers better in addition to increasing engagement and social following.

For businesses asking the question: How can we better highlight the people that make our products and brand amazing? Diving into the world of The Selfie is absolutely an answer to this. Last year, 282 million selfies were posted on Instagram. Have a selfie showcasing a product that you’re particularly proud of? Give us a follow on Insta and share the magic!

Long live the selfie!


Why Does Your Business Need Video Marketing?

By this time next year video will account for 80% of consumer internet traffic. A.KA., video is now an essential component of lead generation in marketing strategy. Incorporating video into your business’ marketing plan might seem like a pretty big leap into the unknown, but this is a leap that’s totally worth it.

If you even have the word “video” in the subject line of your email, you’re open rate will increase by 19%. For some of our favorite stats on what we can expect from video over the next year, check out the infographic below:


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