Marketing Tip of the Week: Video!

In today’s world, marketing means more than putting an advertisement in the local paper. With the proliferation of the internet, super-fast computers and smart phones, taking marketing into your own hands on social media and your own personal web page is not only recommended, it’s necessary! And now there’s one more avenue you can travel to get word about your business in the hands of potential customers, video!

Do It Yourself

You don’t need a camera crew and professional writing to make a great marketing video for your business. All you need is a smartphone, a vision and someone with the willingness to stand in front of the camera. Admittedly, smartphone videos are not as nice in quality as the more expensive options, but they are more than serviceable for the 30 second spots you’ll want to produce. These aren’t supposed to be masterpieces anyway. They are small videos to help get your customers and potential customers excited about your company.

So how do you do that?

Keep It Real

You want to make a video that shows passion and excitement for your company brand. You goal shouldn’t be to impress the viewer with your stylistic creativity. Instead, show them what makes your company great, what makes your products valuable. These traits will sell your video and by extension your brand.

Don’t Forget to Share

It does you no good to create a passionate and exciting video if it never goes anywhere. Put it on Facebook, Twitter, your personal website and anywhere else you can think to post it. Ask your audience to share it with their audience. There’s a lot of utility in the words, “Please Like and Share.” People will, and you will reap the benefits.

Videos are no longer unattainable expenses. They are an easy and cheap way to increase customer interest, and you can make one in an afternoon. So don’t squander the tools you already have access to, make a marketing video today!

Marketing Tip of the Week: 3 Summer Content Marketing Tips

Content marketing is nothing if not dynamic. It allows you to change your marketing focus as easily as changing your socks. All it takes is the next blog post or social media update to take your strategy in an entirely new direction, and that’s why it’s so useful regardless of your type of business. With summer finally upon us, here are some tips for taking your content marketing in a warmer direction.

Add Summer to Your Theme

Although your emails and blog entries are probably already light and fun, you need to make doubly sure you keep them from getting too heavy during the summer months. Your customers are thinking about vacations, hitting the road or getting away from it all with some other summer activities. As such, you need to manufacture marketing to match. Try to structure content to take advantage of this focus on fun and sun.

Summer Deals!

Everyone likes to save a few bucks, and seasonal marketing is always an eye-catcher. Whether you’re a nursery and greenhouse offering a discount on live plants or a local gift shop with a 10% off sale, adding a bit of summer to your sale is sure to catch a few more eyes.

Tips and Tricks

Summer heat can cause some issues as well as provide the opportunity for a good time. Promote yourself as an industry expert by offering your customers some valuable summer advice. Even if your business isn’t easy to situate in a summer context, you can still provide a few ways customers can beat the heat. Helpful tricks and tips will give your customer a reason to click.

Don’t let summer pass you by without taking full advantage of its marketing opportunities. Use the season to provide your customers a reason to come back!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Prioritize Your Website for Mobile

The mobile consumer market is building at a rapid pace. The number of people making purchases through their mobile phones has more than doubled in the last year alone! So if you aren’t fully optimized to take advantage of this new influx of customers, there’s no time like the present.

Web-Responsive Design

The first step in making sure your site is ready to receive mobile customers is web-responsive design. Web-responsive means that your site reacts or “responds” to the device your customer uses to view it. Therefore, if your customer is accessing your site on a PC it looks like it always does. But if they access it on a tablet or smartphone, it will resize itself appropriately. This may require stacking side-by-side columns into one row or moving your content into clickable headings that open the copy up at the press of a finger.

The most important thing for mobile is guaranteeing your site has large buttons and easy to use navigation. Customers can become easily frustrated if they are consistently hitting the wrong key due to your buttons being too small or too close together. And as you well know, frustrated customers won’t stay customers for long.

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Marketing Tip of the Week: Post at the Right Time!

The conversation about social media is never ending, and for a good reason. It’s possibly the single easiest and fastest way to increase your market awareness, grow your customer base and make more money. In other words, social media is important to the continued and future success of your business. In recent weeks this article has covered different outlets for social media, how to determine which is best for you and the best ways to structure your content to succeed on those platforms. (In case you missed it, here is part 1, part 2 and part 3.)

Not Just What But When

Today is the day you discover not what you should say, but when you should say it! That’s right, there has been research done to determine the best times to post on all the most popular social media platforms in order to reach the broadest audience and potentially influence the most customers. Where does this research come from, you ask? Well, I’m proud to say not from me. There are a plethora of statistical sites that run numbers like this, but the data I’m going to share with you today came from SumAll.com. So, without further ado, the best times to post for each of the major platforms is as follows:

  1. Twitter 1-3 pm
  2. Facebook 1-4 pm
  3. Tumblr 7-10 pm 
  4. Instagram 5-6 pm
  5. Pinterest 8-11 pm
  6. Google+ 9-11 pm

Why It Matters

Now obviously, you can post at other times as well, but you want to make sure your most important posts are made either during these windows or right before them. Why? Because the more time that has passed between your audience logging in and your post, the more time it has to get lost in the stream of material cascading through their feed. Have you ever had a friend ask if you saw their Facebook post only to reply with a shrug and a promise to go look for it? And then how much trouble did you actually have in locating it even when you were looking for it? If you want your content to be seen, the need to be posting when your customers are browsing cannot be overstated.

So take this information and use it to make your marketing strategy more efficient. After all, successful marketing means a successful business!

Marketing Tip of the Week: 3 Social Media Marketing Tips

A few weeks ago I talked about a few specific social media platforms and how best to determine which is best for you and your marketing strategy. (If you missed those posts, they are part 1, part 2, and part 3.) This week I’d like to focus on some general social media tips to improve your footprint on whichever platform you’ve chosen to use.

Social Media Marketing Tips

  1. Images are Your Friend - Using images with your posts is proven to be an extremely effective way to increase clicks, reposts and general interest overall. It’s as true on social media as in any other walk of life, a picture is certainly worth a thousand words.
  2. Post More than Once – What I mean by that is to post the same content multiple times a day. Why? Because your audience may check their site at different times of the day. Posting once in the morning, at midday and again in the evening will garner you the largest audience, and if you cater to a customer base from different time-zones, you have the best opportunity to reach your entire base.
  3. Don’t be Afraid to Re-post – As you build your readership, you may find that information you’ve posted in the past can be relevant to your new audience. You’ll want to avoid posting the same thing within a short period of time, but pulling information you’ve posted 6 months or a year ago and reposting it is more than acceptable, it’s smart. It allows you to reuse material and reduce the amount of new material you have to create while also providing your new audience with information they may find helpful.

Use these tips to help increase your footprint with Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform of your choice. Join me next Friday for yet another Marketing Tip of the Week!

Marketing Tip of the Week: 3 Tips For Using Google+

If you’re looking to improve your online visibility, it might be a good idea to use the social media site hosted by the web’s most popular search engine. Not because they give more weight to their own site, but because it is so seamlessly integrated into their processes that there is no need to game the system any further. And it is that seamless integration that makes it an invaluable tool for being recognized online.

3 Google+ Marketing Tips

  1. Complete Your Google+ Page – I put this first because it is by far the most important step. Fill out your profile completely, link to your product and web pages, and find and use key words to promote your business. This completed profile is what your customers and potential customers will use to find you in other places on the web.
  2. Circle the Competition - Google+ allows you to circle (or follow) your competitors. This is valuable because it allows you to see their marketing strategies, ad concepts, etc. You can determine how successful these strategies are and use them to inspire ideas of your own!
  3. Use Large Images and Catchy Headlines - The key to having your ads and other content viewed is in not giving the reader a choice about whether or not to view it. Large images will stand out when scrolling through a news feed, and once that draws the eye, a catchy headline will pull them in the rest of the way. Remember the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Don’t go text heavy when a nicely placed image will do your talking for you.

So if you aren’t already on Google+, now’s the time to start, and if you are, allow these tips to help you be more successful!

 

Marketing Tip of the Week: Create a Campaign

It’s easy to think up ideas for one-off ads, but it’s a bit harder to come up with concepts for ad campaigns. Yet, despite the added difficulty, in the end a campaign is always the best way to get customer buy-in and generate consumer interest and new leads, and because of its versatility, it will save you precious time!

Expandible Yet Succinct

You know you’ve discovered a good idea for your campaign when you have something you can expand on but the essence of which could fit on a fortune cookie. Simplicity is important. You don’t want to send a message to your customer that is too hard to grasp, but at the same time it must be malleable enough so that it can be explained through different ad concepts.

Think of the Allstate ads. They posit many different scenarios involving car and home insurance, but the theme (and in this case the slogan) for each is the same: “Allstate. Are you in good hands?” This campaign furthers their brand while giving them the versatility to create ads for many different mediums and audiences.

Diversify Your Delivery

And that’s what makes a good ad campaign so special. You can take a common thread or theme and spread it throughout all your different outlets in slightly different ways. You can focus your content and make it more interesting to the unique personality of your audience.

For example, your Facebook followers may have a different “feel” or personality than those who follow you on Twitter. The way you approach your Facebook followers may not work for your Twitter followers and vice versa. Working within a particular theme, you are able to tailor your content to your followers. Because you have a large, over-arching idea you don’t have to (and really shouldn’t) copy and paste the same ad to both sites. Instead you can take the theme and create an ad suitable for each individual audience.

So don’t continue wracking your brain for single ad ideas, expand your concepts and create a campaign!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Marketing Through Text

This isn’t a subject we’ve tackled before, but texting is not only a completely viable marketing option for your business an increasingly more effective one as well. Everyone has a cellphone these days, and most carriers offer unlimited talk and text. Now that it’s largely free for customers to receive your texts, it feels similar to email except that a text appears much more personal and is more likely to be read immediately. Take advantage of your cellphone and use text marketing!

Keep Your Customer Engaged

Marketing is all about keeping your brand top-of-mind with current customers while simultaneously enticing new customers into the fold. Texting allows a new and easy way to accomplish both of those goals.

  1. It’s more personal (and should be shorter) than an email. Because a text is often read immediately, it can be used to promote same-day sales or offers with a reasonable expectation of customer action. An email requires a more long-term expectation. The text is the tool you use when you want to promote a short-turnaround offer.
  2. Potential customers who may be interested in your products but want to be enticed into the store may subscribe to your text campaign in order to get the deal they want that will help them walk in.

Use Short Code

Have you seen those promotions that say, “Text 11456 for blah, blah, blah”? Companies do that because it’s easier for their customers to remember the shorter number, and the campaign is normally promoted on tv or radio and not in print. And THAT’S because this kind of campaign works best when piggy-backing on a larger more over-arching campaign. It becomes the call to action at the end of your radio or tv commercial spot.

The short code seems like a simple technique, it’s only two numbers shorter after all, but you’d be surprised how much easier it is to remember than a full seven-digit number. And remember, if the text will sign the customer up to a subscription of any kind, let them know up front. You don’t want to lose customers who become angry because they didn’t understand the texts would continue to come in.

So look into keeping your customers engaged and don’t neglect your full range of marketing opportunities by dismissing text marketing.

Marketing Tip of the Week: Build Your Email Mailing List

Email marketing should be a substantial portion of your marketing strategy. It’s an easy way to keep in touch with your customers without being intrusive, and it allows you to direct their attention to new and exciting products or services. But the first step in email marketing is having customers to which you can send that important information. Here are some excellent tips for building your email list!

3 Tips for Building Your Email List

  1. Make sign-up easy and simple. You only need two bits of information from your customer to get her on your mailing list: her name and her email address. Asking for more could leave your customer feeling like she is spending too much time and effort filling out a form. Once she starts receiving your newsletter, it will become possible to mine for more information. But initially, simple and easy is the way to go.
  2. Do you use Twitter for your business? Facebook? Pinterest or Instagram? Never hesitate to include a link on any of your social media posts to a quick and easy sign-up for your newsletter. The people who follow you on social media are the most likely to sign up for your newsletter, so it’s an ideal place to ask.
  3. Advertise your sign-up request everywhere you can. The goal is not to overwhelm your customer with requests, but every digital location should include a link to the sign-up form. This will allow those who haven’t done it yet to sign up, and those who have to disregard it.

It’s really quite simple. Advertise, ask for minimal information and use your social media to best advantage. Now that you have a basic plan, you can get out there and begin growimg your email mailing lists!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Instagram!

We’ve talked time and time again about Facebook and Twitter, but Instagram is one of those social media sites that often gets left out. And they are aware of it. In order to bolster their perceived usefulness for business customers, Instagram released a blog post that offers 5 tips for better marketing … with pictures. Feel free to click into that link above, or if you’d prefer you can stay right here and I’ll detail each of those tips for you.

5 Tips for Better Marketing with Instagram

  1. To Thine Own Self, Be True – This is about branding. Who are you as a company? Does the picture you’re posting reflect this image? This is an exciting question because it allows you to think outside the accepted norms for your business. You may be a florist, but are flowers the only accurate reflection of your business? What other kinds of images can you use that will evoke other aspects of your business’ personality?
  2. Prize Experiences – Don’t forget that Instagram also allows for short video! Perhaps it’s not the picture of your product that can best convey the excitement of your business. Maybe you need a picture or video of a satisfied customer or a customer receiving a gift from your location. Maybe it’s the experience one can have with your product that makes it special. These types of images can send powerful messages that a simple product picture struggles to convey.
  3. Seek Meaning – Similar to the point above, seek meaning is a call to find an image that expresses what your product means to customers. How does your product impact people on a daily basis? What affects can it have?
  4. Inspire Community Action - Instagram uses the hashtag system and so you can use your business to support community programs, highlight community activities or even create some of your own! Use it as part of your local marketing campaigns.
  5. Be Self-Aware – It’s important to understand not only how you view your company, but also how your customers view you. What do your customers think is the exciting and defining characteristic of your company? Showcase this to draw in new customers!

So if you’re thinking of jumping into the Instagram pool or even if you’d previously written it off altogether, hopefully these tips will let you breathe some life into your Instagram marketing campaign!