Category: Marketing

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:


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 4 Dig South Sessions

Last week we were pretty lucky to be a Gold sponsor of Dig South Tech Conference at the Gaillard Center. Thought leaders in tech, marketing, and advertising industries held sessions throughout the conference, and we honestly couldn’t get enough. There were so many good talks, and takeaways from each session.

We wanted to narrow it down and share some our faves with ya’ll:

Virtual Reality: This session was given by Tealanie Baldwin, partner of Payscout, a global payment processing provider. Baldwin explored the possibilities of VR commerce, and how being fully immersed in the purchasing process increases conversion frequency.

The main takeaway from this session was simply to always be thinking in the future. It’s more important to think about what your customers will want, rather than what they currently want. Living in a culture that’s constantly changing, people want what’s coming, and they want a real experience. VR offers the opportunity to truly give people that experience.

Storytelling: Storytelling weaved its way into several presentations. Content has notably grown to be one of the most important aspects of marketing strategy, and each speaker had something to say about that. The most impressionable talk was led by Meg Oepen, Head of Content at Under Armour – basically one of the most badass brands EVER.

Under Armour has a massive budget, so some of their tips were slightly less applicable. However, they focused majorly on the core of history in their brand, and how they use content to show that. Under Armour is a brand that cares about the history behind the subjects of their ads.

Essentially content should be driven by feeling, to make people feel how we want them to feel, so they take the actions we want them to take.

Crisis Communications: Lane Kasselman, former Uber Executive, and current founder of Greenbrier, gave an incredible talk on the value of effective crisis communication. We walked away feeling motivated to do our jobs better, and to be prepared for anything and everything that could come up during a day on the job in the PR and marketing world. He emphasized the value of 24/7 customer service (especially at night), so that you can stay on top of any issue that may present itself before it gets to a higher place.

The major takeaway here was the motivated energy in Lane’s presentation. It was impossible to leave without feeling extremely motivated to stay current and prepared for whatever might pop up, so that you can do the best job possible.

Product Development: Jocelyn Mangan, COO of Snagajob gave a stellar talk on the value of working together as a team to create the best marketing strategy possible for your product. What we found most valuable here was the emphasis put on the value of the relationship between sales and marketing, and understanding what each member of your team does. Understanding one another’s work will give your team the power to perfectly shape your marketing strategy.

I bet you can tell that we wish it was last week around this time. Dig South was still going strong! This year’s sessions really amped us up for next year, and what I’m sure will be the best sessions yet. Did any of you go? Which sessions were your favorite? Hit us up in the comments below!


5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs SEO

I’m sure you’ve come across the term “SEM,” and you’ve heard  that to have a successful business, you need “SEO.” You probably receive emails, phone calls, and solicitations in the mail every single week from companies that all want to sell you search engine optimization. But are any of them telling you WHY you need search engine optimization?

Here are five reasons why your business needs SEO:

  1. It delivers your highest return on investment

There is no other form of online marketing that can deliver a return like SEO. It’s important to use a reputable SEO company. Using an inexperienced company or one that is simply outsourcing the work overseas and has absolutely no idea what a successful SEO campaign consists of won’t yield the results that an experience company will.

So many businesses get frustrated by these low quality companies that simply don’t have the knowledge to deliver results. When done correctly, SEO can deliver nonstop organic traffic that would cost a tremendous amount of money if it was being paid for through a paid search campaign on a per click basis.

When SEO is done correctly, it can deliver consistent traffic to your website. If you’re working with an experienced and knowledgeable SEO provider you will not have to worry about these issues. So many companies fall for services that promise the world for a few hundred dollars and this just isn’t realistic. You have to be willing to invest in a service that does it correctly.

  1. SEO isn’t going away

SEO will never go away. It continues to evolve over time and the companies that understand it are constantly adapting. Over the past few years the mass link building spam has been penalized and now the focus revolves around creating content and earning links from high quality and relevant websites.

The concept of SEO will never change, but the techniques to maintain rankings will always change. SEO will be around as long as the Internet is, so it is a good idea to get involved now instead of sitting on the sidelines.

  1. Your Competition is doing it

Many businesses are under the assumption that SEO only needs to be done until top rankings are achieved, but that is not accurate at all. If your website reaches the top spots it will require even more work to maintain and continue to improve the rankings.

Your competition is going after those top positions as well, so you need to either compete to beat them to it or sit back and let them take the majority share of traffic for your industry. Are you going to sit back and just hand them business? Simply ignoring SEO is just giving your competition business without a fight.

  1. Your Customers Are Mobile & Searching

Mobile traffic continues to increase at a rapid rate and it is now outpacing traffic from desktop computers. SEO allows your business to be found by consumers that are actively looking for the services and products your business provides. Local search engine optimization can help your business be found by individuals that can turn into store visits, phone calls, or even instant online purchases. Mobile search is the future, so you need to make sure your business is ready for it.

  1. Everyone Looks For Businesses Online

With a SEO strategy in place you can increase the odds of your potential customer base locating your website and engaging with your company. Think about how convenient the Internet is for a consumer. They can search for a business, review products, review the business, and even make purchases. This can be done from the comfort of their home on a desktop, or while on the go from a tablet or mobile device. If you want to be found online then you need SEO.

There is no denying every business needs a SEO strategy in place to attract organic traffic and be found online. It provides a tremendous ROI when done correctly, and is a great long term marketing strategy.


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.


Why Your Business Needs Digital Media Marketing Now

It’s easy to say that your business knows the value of digital marketing, and is going to start using it. The main problem with this is that just saying that you’re going to start implementing that strategy lacks urgency and overall promise. 49% of businesses don’t implement digital marketing as part of their strategy. Is your business part of this percentage? If it is, you need to change that.

There are a lot of reasons why you need digital marketing, not soon, but now. The main one being that you need to step up and meet your competition. Everyone is turning to a digital strategy because it’s simply easier to reach consumers. You can really get to know who you’re targeting with tactics such as pixels, Facebook ad campaigns, and various other technological advancements that allow you to get to know the consumer better.

96% of Americans shop online, with targeted ads an overall simplicity factor being the cause. It’s just easier to shop online, so if you don’t have a digital strategy now then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to increase your e-commerce, and ultimately overall, revenue. Businesses that are waiting on starting this process are putting themselves lightyears behind their competition, and will certainly suffer from it.

We loved this video that Hubspot put together that quickly highlights what technology can do for your business:

Needless to say, your business needs digital media marketing – now. Not 2 months from now, right now.


Heavy Lifting: The Weight of Content

One of the most important – and possibly most time consuming – components of a solid marketing strategy is content. Essentially the heart of any marketing and advertising plan, content gives a brand character and tells its story with the goal of differentiating it from the competition.

Content curation and implementation should be part of your long-term content marketing strategy, simply because it takes time to develop quality content.  Additionally, there are so many types of content and ways it can be distributed. Consistency is key in making sure all of your messaging is cohesive and tells the brand story. Think of each content piece as a part of your brand’s story. All of it comes together, building a pitch that will make a lasting impression on your audience.

“Story telling is critical to every business. That’s why your content plan should be central to your marketing strategy. Every piece of content you share, from social media posts to e-newsletters, tells customers a piece of your company’s story. A solid marketing plan is grounded in great content that builds a connection with you audience, helps them develop trust in your brand and teaches them something new.” – Rachel Cook, Agency Content Editor 

Additionally, news flash: not all content needs to be written wordage. Content isn’t the same as it used to be, and is constantly changing. Visual  vs. text is a constant content battle, and these days it seems like visual is coming out on top. It takes the brain .25 seconds to process visual content, which is about 60,000 times faster than text. We’re not working with just your classic old fashioned content anymore.

Check out the top content styles that don’t fall under the standard written format:

Video: Video represents 74% of all internet traffic driving business to company websites. Video content is crucial. Did we mention YouTube is the second most used search engine?

Infographics: This style of content has grown to be extremely popular, and is liked and/or shared on social media 3 times more than any other content.

Memes and Gifs: Marketers are beginning to turn to funny and unique memes to make an impression on their customers.

Audio: There are quite a few ways to advertise via audio methods. Take Spotify for example, 140 million people use this platform MONTHLY. The audience growth Spotify is experiencing allows them to expand the ad business at 50%, according to their VP.

One thing that you have to keep at the top of your mind – if you’re consistently shelling out content, make sure it’s good. While it’s important to feed the marketing machine with your business’ content, if it’s just there to be there, you’re not going to see any results. A common mistake is for businesses to post unlimited amounts of updates on social media, blogs, etc. and the quality is pretty much (sorry not sorry) – bad. We’re huge advocates of quality over quantity – all the way.

Creating quality content takes time however when raising brand awareness, which ultimately results in more revenue is the result? If you ask us, it’s worth it.


Tools we Love for Small Businesses

Let’s be honest – when you’re kicking a business off the ground money can be tight. Finding the right tools is crucial for your budget, as well as your productivity. As a small business ourselves, we have some stellar tools that we use on a daily basis, and the best part is that they’re all low-cost. Several of them are actually free. Check ‘em out:

All-star accounting:

Billing, invoicing and keeping track of payments is every small business’ least favorite part of the ride. Additionally, it can be a confusing process. We’re a huge fan of Freshbooks, which is a tool that makes numbers a little less daunting. With a premium yearly plan at  only $45 a month it’s affordable and works very well. Freshbooks covers all types of things you would need, such as invoicing, expense reporting, estimate billing and more.

Web and Analytics tools:

How is your business doing online? To make sure you’re on top of your web performance, Google Analytics is something that every business should have. Google also has an SEO tool for keywords called Keyword Planner. Moz Keyword Explorer is another tool we love to use to find the best keywords for business. If used correctly it can increase clicks and leads.

Do you ever find that you need a fun copy filler? Our web designer recommends this cute cat themed lorem ipsum generator that will definitely answer that need

Design:

Want to create amazing social images but have no idea how to use photoshop? Canva is a design tool that has preset layouts that will make this a super easy task. You have the option of selecting an existing dimension for your needs, or creating custom dimensions for a special project. Canva also has a selection of free images. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, Pixabay is a great image resource for free photos.

Sometimes when you’re editing photos, it’s difficult to know exactly what colors you’re working with. Image Color Picker will help identify the hex code to fix that problem. In terms of typography, check out TypeWolf. They have the latest typography trend as well as site of the day featuring trendy typography

Managing multiple projects can get quickly get complicated. A tool we love for this whether solo, or on a team, is Trello. It is free for the basic package and then just $9.99 per month for a small team. This is a small price to pay for excellent, on-track communication. For social media management, there are several amazing tools out there, but we are definitely team Hootsuite.It’s free for up to three social accounts and then under $20 for 10 accounts per month. Hootsuite helps you visualize your entire social calendar and schedule posts pretty far in advance. Want to know which platform your customers are coming from? Use bitly to create unique links for each platform so you where your customers are.

These are only a few of the many tools we love for small businesses. Do you know of any we left out, or that you love? Share in the comments! We enjoy learning new things just as much as you do.


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