THE BLOG

22
Feb

A Simple Guide to Creating Your Buyer Persona

You may have heard of the term buyer’s persona before, however you may not completely get what it means. Don’t worry it’s not something every business probably knows about, but it is an element of inbound marketing that you should become familiar with. Essentially buyer personas are fictional people, but they represent your ideal customer based on analytics, trends or data you’ve collected.

There can be multiple buyer personas for your business so it is only a matter of creating those “individuals”…and that my friends is what we are here to guide you through.

Step 1: The Wonderful World of Collecting Buyer Information

Although the buyers you are creating may not be real, the information that they are based off of is. Every great marketing campaign, idea or outline will be based off of information that either your customers offer or staff provides. So whether you create a form that asks the questions you need answered, analyze customer trends or talk with employees and the interactions they have with consumers, you will be able to get an idea of who these buyers really are.

Step 2: Constructing a Buyer Persona

As we mentioned before, you can create as many buyer personas as you want, but in order to do that you will need to make sure the right questions are answered through the collection tactics mentioned above. Once you have collected enough information you can really start to shape together your buyer. The more well rounded the persona you create the easier it will be to market products/services or fine tune the type of customer service they receive. Here are a few key elements your buyer persona may want to touch on.

  • What is their age?
  • Are they married?
  • Do they have kids?
  • What is their education level?
  • What is their income?
  • What is their job role?
  • What is a normal day like for them?
  • What tools or products do they use in their job?
  • What industry do they work in?
  • What are challenges they face in their role?
  • What service or product purchases do they often make?
  • Where do they purchase these items?

These are just a few examples of the type of questions you will want answered by the buyer you create. Why? Because knowing their home and work life along with challenges and trends will help you help them. Say you’re buyer persona has a challenge in the workspace, if you are able to provide that solution more directly you will most likely become your buyers new best friend, which will more often than not lead to a long-term customer/business relationship.

Step 3: What to Do With These “People”

Your buyer personas are meant to be a guide. Whether you use them to fuel your next marketing campaign or create a new structure for working with customers, your buyer persona will give yoru brand and staff a clear vision of what they want and how you can provide it to them. The great thing about buyer personas is that they are meant to help both sides achieve their goals, whether in simplifying a service they currently use or offering a product that will better suit their wants and needs.

So, if the time has come to really kickstart your inbound marketing efforts start collecting that data and creating those buyer personas for a useful and throughout tool for your staff and brand.

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23
Jan

Blogging Recipe

Blogs… who needs em right? Well, if you want to be the top cupcake in your industry, than you do need them. They are an essential ingredient of your content marketing plan and require an equal mixture of creativity and research to have the perfect blend.

Below are the specific ingredients needed for an exceptionally baked blog, follow the instructions carefully and don’t forget to preheat your typing hands.

(Step 1) 2 Tsp of Demographic Research

In order to create the perfect blog you first have to research. Who is your buyer, what do they hope to gain from a blog post, and which long tail keywords should you be using. By creating this scope you are narrowing down topics and content that will interest your demographic.

(Step 2) 1/2 Tbsp Blog Topic/Title

Now choosing your blog topic can sometimes be harder than actually writing the content itself, but it shouldn’t be if you have zoned in on your target demographic. Your topic and title need to be able to entice your reader and hit on your business’s target keywords. Keep in mind that your blog topic and title need to be focused and short. Having too many ideas pulled into one topic can be confusing for the reader and will not help you make sure those keywords are present.

(Step 3) 4 Cups of Content

This is where the real work comes into play. Blogging can be tricky when it comes to the length of the content. Too short won’t really allow you to give much to the readers and too long will loose them in paragraph three. It is important to find a length that allows you to get your points and tips across without being too wordy.

(Step 4) 1/2 Cup of Branding

Keep your brand in mind while writing your blog copy. Your brand has a voice and tone that should be present on every piece of content including of course your blog. By using your brand’s tone you will create a likable blog post that doesn’t feel generic, and this can go a long way with readers and their attention spans. Keep it creative and keep it light in order to keep readers coming back for more.

(Step 5) Mix It

Mix all of these components together aggressively and put it into your website on high, then enjoy what a mouthwatering blog looks like.

One last reminder is that in order to keep results consistent you will need to continuously add new blogs to your site that way you keep keyword rich content coming to your website often, positively affecting your organic search engine rankings. Other than that have fun, be creative and happy blogging!

08
Jan

A Quick Guide to Being a Likable Brand

Not every customer that comes through the door will fall in love with your brand. Why? Because it is impossible to be everyone’s cup of tea, but as a business it is your job to do everything possible to make your brand relatable and likable to your demographic. So today we are going to give you a quick guide to achieving that goal.

Step #1 Let Your Personality Party

One of the most appealing aspects of a brand is when it has a great personality. I know.. it is strange to think that a brand can have personality but it can.

How do you determine your personality? That’s an easy one. Look at your demographic/buyer persona to determine who you are speaking to than take it a step further and note the way your employees interact with customers along with the atmosphere your business has created. This will determine the foundation of your brand’s personality. For example, if you are a professional divorce law firm a casual quirky persona may not really resonate with your clients who are having a rough time. By knowing exactly who it is you are speaking to than creating that personality will come naturally.

Step #2 Create Cool Content

Once your brand is ready to take to the dance floor creating cool content will get you noticed. There is an abundance of content opportunities your business can publish. Do you have great product photography? Or fun tutorials for customers? These are the types of content you want to spruce up and put out.

What makes it cool? Knowing your demographic again will be your best starting point. Keep in mind what content they like to see. For example, if you are a surf shop down at Jacksonville Beach it might be a good idea to showcase local surfers on your Instagram feed or even do a quick video on beginner surf tips to get those who aren’t as dialed into the surf style a part of the action.

Step #3 Be Consistent with Everything

If you want to be well liked by your customers, staying consistent in your marketing, customer service and product & services will be the key. As a customer we like consistency. If you have a meal at a restaurant one week and love it than get it a few weeks later and it is hardly recognizable than the chances of purchasing that meal again gets slimmer.

So how do you stay consistent across the board? By paying attention. Getting customer feedback is a great tool to help you keep your brand on the path of consistency. Really hone in on what they like about your brand and then work on keep those aspects on point. It is definitely okay to try something new, but keep in mind the foundations that you’ve created and your customers love. If you do that than you my friend will be solid.

Now you have the key tools to create a really likable brand that is consistent, cool and ready to party with customers. Cheers!

04
Jan

Sixth Gear’s 2016 Resolutions!

There is something about starting a new year in business. If last years marketing campaigns or rebranding efforts didn’t really make the cut there is always another year to step your game up, the only question is where to start?

Narrowing down your brand’s “New Years Resolutions” may seem like a resolution in itself, but we’ve got a little guide that will help you outline your 2016 strategy.

#1 Social Media Musts

This is the year to really take your social media efforts seriously. It seems to be an after thought for many small businesses when it should be at the forefront of your marketing regime. Social media has quickly become a necessity for any brand looking to have a competitive edge within their industry, and 2016 will be no different.

Every year new social media platforms are introduced to the public, and businesses in all industries hop on to make their connections with current and potential customers. Your resolution will be to actively participate and utilize your social media accounts to better your business. Posting is just the beginning, this year take an initiative to learn each platform and how to best use analytics to improve how you market your content and connect on the web.

#2 Responsive Design Do’s

Responsive web design is no longer just a trend. Having a website that is easy to navigate on mobile devices is essential to having a strong web presence in your industry. The vast majority of leads lost is due to having an out of date website that cannot be viewed correctly on devices like iPhones and tablets.

Search engines like Google have already begun taking away points to those websites that do not follow the responsive design guidelines. Search engines want the best websites to be fully viewable and accessible for individuals using their search engine, and if your website doesn’t abide then your organic search engine rankings will start to fall off. Your resolution this year if you haven’t already made the switch is to have your website transitioned into a fully responsive design.

#3 Branding Benefits

Your visual identity is often defines your brand, and it needs to be clear, aesthetically pleasing and bold. If you’ve felt that your brand hasn’t had the same response it did years ago or isn’t really catching on with your customers, 2016 might mean the year you consider a rebrand or tweak of your current elements.

Some of the biggest brands in the world have seen branding changes in the course of their history. Updating your brand doesn’t mean a complete overhaul… although sometimes that is needed. Simple changes or a focus on branding other key items in your business like print collateral, social media etc. could help you up your industry game and be the bold choice your customers are looking for. This year’s branding resolution is to take a look at your brand as a whole and decide what works, what doesn’t and what could be improved for a bigger impact.

#4 Web Design Wants

Nothing says a new year like a few web updates. Trends will come in go throughout 2016 but that doesn’t mean you should ignore all of them. A few aesthetic updates on your business’s website will be able to give you a fresh look without redesigning the entire site.

Areas like the navigation bar and home page are simple spots that could change the way your customers use your website without shaking it all up. Your web design resolution is to take a look at your current website and decide if it is organized in a way that is conducive for searching and appealing to your current and potential demographic.

#5 Content Marketing Challenges

If you thought content marketing was going to quietly go away, then we need to sit down and break the news to you… it is here to stay. Content comes in various forms whether it be a blog, post or graphic. We are living in an age where there is always new content being added online, and your business will need to be as active.

Areas of content marketing like blogging are a great way to keep up and stay sharp. If elements of your business like your website are never being updated with new content your organic search rankings could start to see a serious drop. If your competitors are consistently posting and putting out new media they will soon become the desirable option to the majority of audiences that search online for products, services or speciality businesses. This year your content marketing resolution will be to put out a blog a minimum of every two weeks, so that you can remain where you are on the industry totem pole.

Now, we aren’t saying these resolutions need to all be accomplished within the first month, but make this year the year you stick to your businesses resolutions and start to see the perks of it all.

We wish all of our past, present and future clients a happy and prosperous new year, cheers!

17
Dec

Marketing Wars: The Brand Awakens

So, we may be just a little excited for the new Star Wars to come out this week, and although this our fun way of showing our fan status for the new franchise, we are also going to cover key marketing tips that will help you take on the dark side and showcase your brand’s jedi skills.

Becoming a Marketing Jedi

The task will be strenuous, it will take time and patience to become a marketing jedi… but it will be worth it. You don’t have to have a marketing budget the size of the galaxy to get the results you are looking for. All can be accomplished with a few standard rules.

#1 Keep your brand consistent. Sometimes we can go a little wild with marketing materials so it is important to understand that consistent branding will allow your customers to recognize you regardless of what print element or digital campaign you’ve launched.

#2 Be bold. Staying in the shadows is not your game, you want to come out strong in the marketing department. If you can’t give it your all to multiple campaigns throughout the year, then pick a couple. A few strong marketing campaigns compared to an abundance of mediocre ones is better. Focus on one at a time and the force will be strong with you.

#3 Stay relevant. Although it is easy to reuse the same marketing materials year after year, your loyal followers will want to see something new. Keep your campaigns whether print or digital relevant so that you keep the attention of past and potential customers.

Avoid Stormtrooper Status

Following the crowd is easy, but it doesn’t mean it is the chosen path your marketing plan should take. Although you can take note from other successful brands in your industry it is key to be original and creative, because no one likes an exact copy. So, how do you avoid stormtrooper status?

#1 Stand out. Following industry trends is one thing, but when it comes to your marketing strategy you will need to implement those elements as well as introduce new ones. If you blend in with other brands like yours, why would customers choose you? You want to give them a reason to choose your brand, and to do that you need to stay ahead of the crowd.

#2 Use your social card. A great way to set yourself apart from your competitors is by taking to social. There you can let your brand’s personality lead. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow you to create real dialogue with customers and showcase the type of customer service you provide and create with content the type of atmosphere your business offers on a daily basis

#3 Take risks. Not every marketing campaign is going to be a hit, but the great thing about that is you can learn from it. Not all risks pay off, but it allows you to see what works and what doesn’t. If you play it safe all year round you could potentially fall into line with the rest of your competition and could lead you back to square one. So take a marketing risk and analyze its’ results for a better strategy going forward.

Lastly, the most important lesson of all… be one with the force your marketing strategy.

14
Dec

How SEO Stole Christmas

Every website on the internet liked Christmas a lot… But the content never written meant SEO did not!

Whether you are a Who down in Whoville or a local brand in Anytown USA, SEO is important, ask us why and you’ll see. Okay that is all for the rhyming… for now, but the message we would like to discuss this week is the importance of new content all year long.

It is easy to forget about your blog and content updates on your website during the holiday season. We get it, you are busy and there may not be time, but good SEO is what sets apart the top brands in your industry. Fresh and original content is a necessity for your website’s success and is why these few tips will make it easy for you to stay on track during all of the holiday NOISE NOISE NOISE!

Content that is written two paragraphs too small…

Changing a word here or there on your website will not be your ticket to the SEO beast feast, but a medium length blog or event update (1 paragraph) might do you good. Search engines like to see that your website is active, so one word change won’t make a difference when your site is being indexed. The key is to create hearty copy that is original and enough to catch the eye of the top search engines like Google.

A wonderful awful content idea…

Keeping your content up to date is a job on it’s own, but being original and creative is the key to actually having that new customer traffic stay on the page to read it. The longer customers stay on your website the better. Why? Because if they are reading through your material or viewing new specials then there is a good chance it will lead to a sale or further interest. So, when you are filling your website with the best of the best, make it original, make it appealing and put that to the test!

Maybe SEO means perhaps a little bit more?

SEO isn’t just a fancy schmancy word to throw around, it is an important aspect of your website’s daily job. Your website works for you all year round, helping drive customer traffic to the important facets of your business. So for the rest of 2015 and into the new, lets remember that SEO efforts are still very much needed, and a little blogging here and content added there will make all the difference.

03
Dec

All Is Branding & Bright

It’s that time of year when the world falls in love… with branding. When you’re a big or small business the holidays = marketing mayhem. It is the main time of the year to pull out all of the stops and show your customers what you’ve got.

So, what makes a brand really shine during the holidays?

#1 Silver & Website Gold

All year long your visual identity is the driving force behind your marketing campaigns, and the holiday season is no different. This is the time of year to add a little seasonal sprucing to your entire brand. First off is your website. There is no need to revamp your entire website for the holiday season, however you can utilize your home page to showcase specials and discounts giving your brand a good name in customer satisfaction.

Before hitting the stores the majority of customers go to the web to look up local deals and specials, so you want to make sure your website reflects current campaigns. Although this is the time of year to step up your marketing it doesn’t mean you should loose sight of the branding efforts and identity you have previously been pushing, you still want your customers to recognize your brand even under all of the silver and gold.

#2 Have Yourself A Social Little Christmas

Every great brand has a personality. Whether you are super serious or calm and inviting, that identity should be clear in every marketing campaign you do, including social media. During the holidays your social media platforms will be your best friend. They are there to give direct information to your target audience and give you a chance to showcase your brand’s personality. So before you post up your next special or holiday announcement pay attention to the wording and tone you use, keep in mind that even though it is the Christmas season you still have to carry on the persona you have worked so hard to develop online.

#3 And A Print Item in a Pear Tree

If there is one branded item to really focus on during the holiday season, it is your print collateral. Whether it is customer bags, brochures or inserts they should reflect your brand. Why? Because those items will still be around after the holidays and you want your customers to recognize your brand so it stays in their thoughts.

Many businesses see a lull after the holidays come and go, but not you. By including branded print collateral you will be the impressive business on your target audience’s mind and it will be the gift that keeps on giving.

Holiday marketing is one of the best times of the year. Share with us how you showcased your brand this year and how we can help take it to the next level in 2016!

25
Nov

Give Thanks to Your Website

The holiday season is all about sharing the love and giving back to those around you. Your website works tirelessly all year long to bring your business sales, traffic and above all, joy… so don’t you think it’s time to give thanks to your website?

#1 Let Your Website Get Stuffed on Content

Show your website you appreciate it’s hard work by feeding it new keyword friendly content, regularly. This will allow your website to work to it’s highest potential year round. It is important to keep your website content new and active so that search engines like Google can easily index your site and give you the organic search engine ranking your website and business deserves.

#2 Check the Turkey and Updates

Protect your website by always keeping plugins and security mechanisms up-to-date. There are so many viruses and hackers out there trying to put a damper on your holiday season, but don’t let them. Take the time to check in weekly to make sure all plugins are updated, there are no broken links or SPAM messages trying to attack your beloved website. The few minutes it will take to check in, could save you time and money from a hacked or virus filled website.

#3 Get Your Website Gussied Up

Show how thankful you are to your website by giving it a little makeover. Small changes and aesthetic updates are sometimes needed when a web design is a little past it’s prime. Trends change, and although we don’t have to follow the trends of each season, it is a great idea update your look every so often, so that your website can compete for best in show and give your customers something new to look forward to.

So remember to give thanks to your website this holiday season, and from your friends at Sixth Gear, have a Happy Thanksgiving.

18
Nov

Seasonal Marketing Must Haves

It’s that time of year when your marketing mayhem begins. It’s the holidays, and even if you don’t have a strategy in place, there is still time to make the most out of your business’s end of year marketing budget, and get the push in sales you’ve been waiting for all year.

Graphics Galore

Graphics for social media are one of the easiest ways to up your marketing initiatives for the holiday season. Although it might not seem like an item to immediately add to your marketing checklist, it is definitely worth it. Why? Because it is a simple way to keep your brand current and active.

Many businesses utilize holiday graphics on social media by taking the cover photo space on each platform to unleash a holiday themed image letting customers know of an upcoming holiday sale or event happening. It is essentially free advertising for your business and will be a reminder to your target audience that there are things happening all year long, which could lead to many more visits.

Email Tidings

A holiday newsletter is a simple marketing tool that can be incredibly effective. How? Newsletters offer a direct link to customers. Through a newsletter you can offer a seasonal greeting or special discount which will in turn create sales opportunities and a positive image for your brand. As a customer they want to see you care about their loyalty, and by sending a holiday newsletter you are solidifying your customer/business relationship while offering them a little something extra.

Christmas Collateral

Planning a flash sale or Christmas shopping event? What better way to let customers know than by getting a few print collateral items to hand out, keep at the register or place within bags after a customer purchase. This little reminder of holiday sales is an effortless way to market your brand.

Word of mouth is always important, but for most individuals it is often “out of sight, out of mind”. Stay with your target audience by giving them a visual piece to take with them, that way after they’ve left your business they keep in mind that there are events coming up, which will lead to a return customer.

Your business’s holiday marketing plan doesn’t have to be over the top and drain your end of year budget. A few tweaks to your social graphics, e-blast with holiday greetings and seasonal print collateral can help you stay present on the shopping list of potential and returning customers.

03
Nov

This is the End… of-Year Marketing Tip

When you own a business it seems like the last two months of the year fly by. With holiday sales, events, etc., the whole end-of-year marketing strategy sometimes gets left behind. But not this year, this year is the year where you step up your game, so that when 2016 hits, you are prepared and already have great momentum.

#1 Use Your Social Media

Although social media is the popular girl in marketing, it isn’t just there to sit and look pretty it’s there to help your business grow. An endless stream of possibilities just waits for you on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. So what better way to spend a little of your end-of-year budget then on new graphics to entice new customers and post boosts. Boosting a post can open a whole range of new customer interaction and won’t drain your marketing piggy bank either.

#2 Spruce Up Your Website

One way to really utilize your end-of-year marketing budget is by being proactive before the next year starts, and your website is one of the areas that it could greatly impact. It is easy to keep pushing website updates on the back burner, because (A) your website might look okay as is, and (B) it functions, so why bother when you can get around to updates next year. But, let’s be honest, you said that in 2014.

Your website is the face of your business in many ways. Sure your logo and branding elements play a huge role in that, but your website is often the first interaction you have with new customers, so in make your first impression count. By adding a few new content & design tweaks you will be giving your brand a fresh look for the start of the New Year, and that fresh look may just be the edge you needed to stand out from your competitors’ 2013 web designs.

#3 Bright & Shiny Print Collateral

So you have done all of the website updates, you’ve spent a little on social media and you still have room for a few more marketing upgrades. New print collateral isn’t a bad way to start off the year or launch a new design. Think how great new rack cards or brochures would look at your business and show customers that you are ready to start things off in 2016 with a bang.

You don’t have to go on a huge budget spree to get the results you want. The small enhancements mentioned above are changes that can make a huge difference and be fairly simple and cost effective components of your total marketing strategy.