Data Guide

In Advertising, Let the Data Be Your Guide

Today, there is no shortage of data. There is exponentially more available data in our hands today than a decade ago, and there will be much more data available tomorrow than there is today. With so much information available, it’s strange that many still rely on their instincts or sales pitches to determine where to put their advertising dollars.

Most big companies get it. They will go so far as to buy other companies just to get access to their data. This has been common for decades, but today the ability to sift through and organize the data in a quickly-retrievable manner makes it even more prevalent than the past. For smaller companies, it gets a little more complicated, particularly if they’re working within a constraint such as limited potential customers bases or localization. That doesn’t mean it’s not impossible.

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Businesses Need to Focus on Getting to the Point with their Advertising

Shortcut

There’s a saying that goes something like this: “Give me the baby. I don’t need the labor pains.”

This definitely applies to modern digital marketing and advertising. It’s actually contrary to certain trends. Faster internet connection, faster mobile devices, and a resurgence of multi-step digital processes point to the concept that perhaps we don’t need to be so focused on getting to the point, but the other factors point in the other direction. Most notable of these factors would be the fact that people have been forced to jump through hoops in the past and those who emulate this same process will not be rewarded.

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The Social Bump: How Social Media Boost Your Site’s Traffic

Staged Selfie

Just about every company, from age-old corporations that got going before the lightbulb was common to brand new organizations that are online-only, want to use social media to get more visitors to their websites. How exactly can these companies accomplish this, though? It takes more than just opening up a Facebook page and waiting for friends. Some companies have done an incredible job leveraging the power of social media to improve their traffic and make the new word-of-mouth work for them. Let’s look at a few of the most successful cases from the recent past to see what makes for a great social media strategy. (more…)

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Is “Quality of Life” Indicative of Nintendo’s Marketing?

Nintendo

With certain video games placing more of an emphasis on health than anything else, it’s clear that there is a demand for said emphasis. The typical gamer does not engage in physical activity as much as he or she should, so the idea of games incorporating more active elements is smart. In fact, one can make the argument that Nintendo was one of the companies at the forefront of this, given the success of its “Wii Fit” series.

With that said, the idea of Nintendo’s recent focus on “quality of life” may not bode as well and I believe it doesn’t speak well about Nintendo’s marketing in general.

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Facebook’s Newest, Most Ingenious Campaign Yet

Facebook Look Back

If you’ve visited Facebook recently, chances are your news feed looks a little strange. Instead of your friends writing statuses, liking instagram photos and posting their most recent candy crush scores, they’re all sharing the same thing: a Facebook movie. Each of these movies is set to a touching and inspiring back-track that chronicles the life of Facebook members through their posts and photos from the beginning. So why is this seemingly simple concept so intriguing and downright ingenious?

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The One-Two Punch: Print and Social Media Marketing

One-Two Punch

In today’s world, there is a huge focus on social media and Internet marketing.  While the Internet has definitely made it possible for businesses to connect in new ways with clients and customers worldwide, the Internet has not totally replaced traditional print marketing, nor should it.

Social media marketing should not be a stand-alone tool, but instead you should have multiple different marketing channels that are available to you and that you work to seamlessly integrate.  Print marketing and social media marketing, for example, can go hand-in-hand in order to reach the most customers and potential customers.

 

How Print Marketing and Social Media Marketing Can Complement Each Other

Print marketing and social media marketing can integrate in many important ways as long as you have a clear marketing approach that you take across all of your different marketing channels.

Some of the different ways that print marketing can complement your social media marketing include the following:

  • Allow participation in contests in social media that can result in real-world prizes that someone can enjoy. For example, you could run a contest so that everyone who follows you on Twitter or who re-tweets something you post is entered to win a great promotional item from your company.  Promotional products are great advertising because when people use a product with your brand on it, this spreads the word about your brand and company to others. A social media contest to win a promotional product gives you lots of bang for your marketing buck because you generate buzz when people enter (and talk about entering) the contest AND you get the benefit of giving someone a promotional product that can be used. You can purchase such prizes from a company like Quality logo Products out of Aurora.
  • Include hashtags and an easy newsletter signup on all print media that you distribute.  Whenever you send out a direct mail marketing piece, provide a print brochure or otherwise give someone print materials about your company, you should be sure to include hashtags that can invite people to visit your social media channels and talk about the product. You can also include all of your information on websites as well as social media channels and user names (like your Twitter handle) so that people who see your print material can quickly and easily find you online.  Those who receive your print material can then visit you on social media as well.  Be sure to make your social media names representative of your company and simple and easy to remember in order to encourage more people to visit your sites.
  • Build a database of potential customers through both print and social media. When someone obtains print material from you, ask for that person’s email address to be added to your online mailing list using a service like Mail Chimp.  When you get someone’s email address, you can then contact them over the Internet and invite them to follow you on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites.  Likewise, if you are running a contest for those who follow you on social media, consider asking for a physical address (to be kept private, of course, not publicly shared on Facebook or otherwise on social media).  When you get the physical address of a customer or potential customer, this makes it possible for you to send print material.
  • QR CodesUse QR Codes.  QR codes can integrate online and local ads by making it easy for people to access your digital information. A QR code included on print material can allow people to connect with you digitally in a very simple and easy way. For more information on generating and using QR codes, click here.
  • Include social media mentions on print material. If you send out marketing material or newsletters in print, you can include things that people have said on social media about your company. These statements act as a reference, and those receiving the print material may become curious and sign onto social media to learn more about what people are saying about your company.

These are just a few of the key ways that you can integrate print marketing and social media marketing. There are many different approaches to take and the right choice is going to depend upon your specific business model. However, you should not assume that since social media marketing seems to be the wave of the future that it is the only kind of marketing you should do.

A comprehensive marketing plan should include social media marketing, email marketing, a great company website, and print materials. You will have multiple ways to connect to clients and customers, won’t have to worry as much about losing trust because of a change in email address or because of a move, and you can offer content and information that people appreciate in multiple formats. This just makes good business sense.

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Defined by the Quest: The Three Types of Marketing in 2014

Quest Marketing

One of the most amazing parts of my job is spending time reading, watching, and testing the practices of others. It’s conceivable that the true secret to my success over the years has less to do with creativity and more to do with listening and deciphering. You have to listen to the channels like Google and Facebook. You have to listen to your customers. You have to listen to your customers’ customers (if you’re an agency like me).

The annoying part of my job is sifting through the recycled techniques and reinvented terminology that surrounds so many marketing practices. In most cases, it’s the same old things repackaged into a different form or applied from a different angle. Those are valuable, but not gamechanging. Still, it’s important to go through them all in order to find the hidden or not-so-hidden gems that arise. The best practices I’ve found over the years haven’t been on the pages of Mashable, Search Engine Watch, or Social Media Today. The real winners have come from some of the least likely sources.

With all of that out of the way, let’s get to the point. There are three types of marketing. Despite all of the various names – push and pull marketing, social media marketing, gravitational marketing, search marketing, influence marketing, content marketing – the easiest and arguably most pure way of looking at it is to tackle everything from a perspective of venue and intent. Where are the people going and what are they doing when they get there? It’s important for me as well as business owners to look at it from this perspective because the collision of the various marketing types is forcing a holistic marketing model to outperform niche marketing techniques or specialized strategies.

In other words, if you look at venue and intent, you can craft your overall marketing strategy much more easily. We look at it as following the quest – what are they doing, why are thy doing it, and how can we be there to help them choose our clients. When people buy your products, they are fulfilling a quest. No, they’re not slaying an actual dragon, but if they’re on a quest to buy a car, then your dealership selling them a car is the culmination of that particular quest.

Here are the three types of marketing for 2014 (well, early 2014 at least – it changes so quickly) that we like to tackle:

Fulfilling the Quest

This is the easiest to understand and often the hardest to achieve because of the simplicity of purpose. Everyone knows that if someone is interested in buying a car, they’re probably going to go to Google, Bing, or one of the various classified sites to start looking. They might go to review sites and OEM sites as well, but for the most part they’re ready to seek the fulfillment of their quest, they’re going to try to look for cars.

Search engine marketing of all types, whether it’s SEO or PPC, gives you the opportunity to drive them to your website so they may fulfill their quest. They aren’t searching for Honda dealers to have fun. They have a purpose. They’re in buying mode. This is where you have to be in order to help them fulfill their quest.

Renewing the Quest

More businesses are starting to do this. Many of them tried to do it in 2009-2012 and failed miserably. Part of it was because the venues such as Facebook, banner advertisements, retargeting, and other forms of “passive” marketing arenas weren’t developed to the point that they are today.

Now, the goals have come full-circle thanks to the overall availability of the internet. Mobile devices have made checking social media sites and reading websites the common activity when there are no activities to do. As people ride a bus, wait in line at the bank, or even perform other mundane activities like watching television, they are also surfing the internet. They aren’t going to Facebook to buy things, but they’re open to the concept. They’re open to having their quest renewed.

When they go to Fox News to see what’s going on and the retargeting ad pops up in front of them, they are reminded that they are still on a quest even if they aren’t actively on it at that point. When the business they visited last week pops up on their Facebook news feed, they get that reiteration that they still need to buy something. It might take a dozen instances of seeing a brand and its message before they actually click through, but the statistics are showing that it’s working. Not every sale is made through Google. In fact, some of the most important and actionable clicks come through other venues when they’re not in active buying mode.

Creating the Quest

Of the three, this is the one that’s ignored the most. It’s the hardest to do and the least rewarding when not done right. However, it can be the most rewarding when companies are able to make it sing. This is one that we focus on in particular because in our industry, nobody is doing it right.

In many ways it’s like good old fashioned advertising. No, it’s not like the commercials that we see on television today. Think along the lines of the early days of television when brands were built by establishing a problem that people will see in the normal course of their day and then having that problem solved either in the middle of the initial marketing effort or after further research.

The reason that it’s so hard today is because of attention span. We have seconds instead of minutes to get the message out through most advertising and marketing venues. There’s no longer time to tell a story…

…or is there?

The art of creating the quest is about putting the right content on the right venues that will reach people and establish a need whether they’re in the market right now or not. With this particular article already breaking the 1,000-word mark, there’s not enough time to go into it in detail. We’ll do that next time. Instead, watch the following video that shows two commercials that worked well in their day. Today, having a minute-long television commercial isn’t practical for most businesses, but taking advantage of the various channels online to accomplish the same goal and better is something that we know will move the needle. It’s hard. That’s the point. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

More on that next time. For now, here’s the video:

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Make a Social Media Weekend Plan

Family Time

I know the feeling. Despite having worked every weekend for the last two years, I know the desire to let it all go and just focus on the important things in life like faith and family. I’ll get there, someday, but you can get there now and still be strong at social media management.

See, the challenge is that social media for business is ever-so important. The weekends can be, for many pages and social media profiles, have the highest potential for engagement and interaction. A good chunk of people check social media more regularly on weekends than during the week. It’s also a time when money is spent in different ways so having the right engagement to go after the weekend dollars or the dollars that will be spent in the coming week can be achieved more readily on the weekends.

Unfortunately, you probably don’t have a weekend team watching and controlling everything for you. You’re stuck with it, even if you have weekends off. This translates into one of two most likely scenarios: you either spend time on the weekends using social media or you let your business social media accounts go on the weekends. Either way is bad.

There’s an alternative. You can have your weekends (mostly) and still stay on top of social media as a result. Here’s how:

  1. Set up your mobile alerts. If you have a heavily-trafficked social media presence, you’re probably monitoring manually through the week, so you can turn it off then. For the weekends, yes, it means your phone will be blowing up, but you can still stay on top of it and make a decision about replying or waiting until Monday based upon the urgency. Thankfully, if it’s a casual communication, there’s nothing wrong with waiting until Monday. However, there will be important business communications and you don’t want to make those wait.
  2. Schedule. When I see businesses that post 5-days a week, it annoys me. Social media doesn’t take weekends off and your presence shouldn’t, either. If it makes it easier, set up a theme for the weekends. Don’t ask questions if you’re not ready to answer the responses. There’s nothing sillier than blowing a weekend with a question that brings in 500 responses blowing up your phone. Save those for the week.
  3. Get creative help. A part-time employee or contractor that you can trust can cover the weekends for you at a very affordable rate. Students and stay-at-home parents come in handy here. Give them tasks that can help during the week as well such as creating content that will be posted later, scheduling up Mondays that are often meeting-heavy, or vetting the new likes and followers from the week.

Social media might not rest, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Do it the right way and either minimize or eliminate the need to be omnipresent all week while still maintaining a strong presence.

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2-to-1: The Magic Ratio for Twitter Image Marketing

Epic 1967 Mustang

Let’s state this for the record. I am not convinced that using the new image features on Twitter is the best way to go when it comes to marketing your business. It still smells too much like spam and if it’s not handled properly it could do more harm than good.

With that said, there are definitely instances when it could do VERY well, particularly when it comes to gaining exposure and picking up more Twitter followers. The key is making sure you’re keeping a 2:1 ratio aspect ration for your images.

They are displaying that way regardless of the size or shape of the image when seen in the screen. They can be enlarged, of course, but that’s so old school. With the new Twitter feed displaying them inline without a click and the fact that they’ve added the engagement actions under each post across all of the platforms, it makes sense prevent people from having to click to see the whole picture.

Look at the example below, a tale of two Tweets. As you can see, the top image that I just posted fits perfectly into the frame that Twitter gives us. The one below it forces you to click through to see it. It doesn’t matter how compelling the message is, only a handful of people will click to find out what the punchline was. They’re much more likely to skip right past it, particularly if they’re like the majority who check Twitter on mobile.

Proper Proportions on Tweets

If your images are twice as wide as they are tall or close to that ratio, you’ll be able to get the most impact out of your Twitter image marketing. Don’t go out and make a bunch of ads at that ratio. Again, this can be abused and you’ll turn more people off than ever before if you spam the system (and feeds). Keep it legit and everything will be just fine.

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A Hodgepodge of Predictions and Stats for Marketing in 2014

Hodgepodge

It’s that time of year, again. We’re going to eat a lot of different foods that we rarely eat the rest of the year and we’re going to hear a lot of predictions about the future of marketing. The future, of course, is made up of a ton of digital marketing practices. Every year, it gets bigger. Every year, there are more options.

It can actually get pretty confusing.

One of the common themes of the hodgepodge of statistics in the infographic below is that spending will continue its shift away from traditional advertising and more into digital. This trend has been happening for over a decade now and it shows no signs of slowing. The funny part is that what’s not mentioned in the graphic is any indication that traditional media such as television is shifting dramatically to include the second screen as a way to interact with content being shown on ads. This is a no-brainer, yet it seems like very few are doing it right.

Another shift is the continued growth of social media throughout the marketing spectrum. Whether through email social sharing buttons, increased spending on various social media advertising platforms, or the good ol’ content marketing practices that have been driving us all for the last couple of years, social is clearly the biggest gainer throughout 2013 and will continue to make gains (for both the social sites themselves as well as the advertisers) into 2014.

One final omission from the graphic – an emphasis on video. There’s no doubt that video is getting bigger every day. People are spending more time on it. Businesses are spending more money on it. Mastering the art of getting your message to flow and resonate on video advertisements is going to get more and more important. Faster devices. Faster internet connections. It’s a recipe for success to those who recognize it.

Here’s the graphic itself from the folks at WebDAM.

Marketing 2014 Infographic

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