THE BLOG

29
Jan

The New England Patriots… A Brand That Can Never Be Deflated

The New England Patriots. You either love them or you hate them. As born and raised New Englanders we of course love them, but for those who drink Patriots Haterade we have a few choice words for you… branding and marketing. Say what you want about our beloved Pats, actually keep it to yourself, but you have to admit there is something to be said about the brand, its’ loyal following and ability to battle bad press.

Meet “Pat Patriot” & His Friend “Flying Elvis”

Like every solid brand a logo goes through an evolution. The challenge for many is that through the logo evolution, the original vision is lost. This has never been a problem for the Patriots, as they have been able to maintain their roots in their modern design.

1959, The Patriots who were then the “Boston Patriots” introduced a young lad known to fans as “Pat Patriot”. A man donned in his historical attire with a football touching the ground in hike position. Although that visual wasn’t used by the team until 1961, it became the symbol associated with Patriot nation. The use of red, white and blue produced an aura of patriotism which worked nicely with the American Football Sport. Over the years “Pat Patriot” had a few changes but remained their signature logo until 1992, when a modernized version of “Pat” took over the brand.

“Flying Elvis” is one description for the modern day Patriot’s logo. The design came at a time where media was playing a bigger role, and the complexity of “Pat Patriot” wasn’t clear on all platforms. The choice to go for a simplified profile of a patriot with the streaming flag allows the franchise to use it on all media, marketing and merch without compromising the look and having to tweak the design on frequent basis.

In comparing the two logos they are incredibly different, but oddly consistent. “Pat Patriot” pays homage to the Boston history and although the new logo threw out the colonial attire, it continues to don the patriotic colors and feature an actual patriot. The bridge between the two concepts is not a subtle one, but worked for the franchise. Fans in 2015 continue to rock apparel reflecting the new and improved patriot as well as our old friend Pat. Offering both options in apparel and merchandise has bridged the gap between the two eras of logos cohesively and is what makes their rebranding an impressive mark.

Ride or Die

Much like the loved Boston Red Sox, the Patriots know a thing or two about fan loyalty and how to merge that loyalty with marketing efforts. Introducing the New England Patriots’ Game Day Live app. Combining mobile tech apps the Patriots created a notification system that offers game day updates like traffic, weather conditions and the best addition… bathroom recommendations closest to your seat with the shortest lines… genius.

It’s no wonder the team has sold out every game since 94’. Loyalty programs will always garner appreciation from the fans and the Patriots seem to have all avenues covered. Wi-fi in the stadium, realtime parking updates, and the extra point Patriot credit card that wins you exclusive team experiences and tickets. Loyal Patriots fans are there for the team win or loose, so by providing extra perks, the franchise is simply enhancing the love that is already there.

Ain’t Nobody Got Time for Bad Press

As Taylor Swift says, “the haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate”. But can you hate a team that actively manages their brand? For example. A couple years back, a player of the franchise, he-who-shall-not-be-named was charged with a heinous crime. Although the team was under legal obligation to honor the terms of his contract they wanted his bad name off of the team officially, and proceeded to take it a step further for their fans and brand name. The Patriots came out with a promotion, that all jerseys of he-who-shall-not-be-named could be traded in FREE of charge to get another players jersey… Really? Free of Charge? This was unheard of in professional sports and showed that the franchise cared about their brand image and those who invested in that brand. A great move for the team, and not the only time they would stand tall and rise above bad press.

Almost immediately after the New England Patriots fairly won their spot into the 2015 Super Bowl, controversy regarding “deflated” footballs came out and about for a Sunday stroll. While the Pat’s could have ignored speculation or stomped their feet in protest, they took the situation and media head on so that they could move forward and focus their energy on the game at stake.

All New England fans know our leader Bill Belicheck is a man of few words. As all media platforms turned their attention to #deflategate, Bill stood tall and handled the situation like a pro, which is not the norm for our coach. With little facts known, the team did not need to address the accusations, however made the proactive decision to be transparent, say what they needed to say and move on. Although, media coverage can’t seem to let it go, the Patriots handled the issue with composure and as a brand stood firmly with their feet on the ground, a strong move that can be appreciated regardless if you are a member of the Pat’s fandom.

As one of the top NFL teams with the most loyal following, the Patriots are without a doubt doing something right, because regardless of rumors, bad press or losses, their seats are always full with insane New Englanders rain or snow… which is something not every professional sports team can say.

Best of luck this Sunday boys. In Bill We Trust.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

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22
Jan

Whistle While Your Social Media Works!

We all know a business or two that refuses to get on Facebook or Twitter. They want to do things the “old fashioned way”… hey we get it, your business has been successful in the past without it so why change? But the truth is that social media over the past few years has become a necessity for any competitive business.

The reservation that so many businesses have is that they assume it will take up all of their time. Depending on your strategy, yes it can be time consuming, but your level of involvement as a business owner is completely up to you. Whether you are looking to get your feet wet with social media for the first time or ready to dive right in to a full fledged social media campaign, let’s take a look at some of the basics.

Dip Those Toes In

Social media won’t hurt you. So get started by creating profiles for the top platforms conducive to your business. Most common are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest. At the very least, you should set up a Facebook page and Google+ Business Listing. All you need to do is sign in with an email and start building out your profiles.

Make sure you are direct in your approach. Choose usernames and handles that are applicable to your business and ideally contain your business name. Take a similar approach with your bios and descriptions, make sure they include enough relevant information so that anyone looking to connect with your business on social media can tell exactly who you are and what you do without having to search outside of your profile.

Next, take on the cover photo and profile picture. The biggest deterrent for a customer is a photo that is blurry and unprofessional. Don’t be that business. Be that business with a killer photo that is sized correctly and looks amazing to you and your target audience. Search for the latest dimensions that way you know you are right on point before uploading that big beautiful image.

Quality vs Quantity

It is a common misconception that the more often you post the better the result. Although posting frequently is good for your businesses, posting excessively can harm it. Here is what we mean. When posting on social media you want to be sending out quality material. If your daily post is the same, “stop by our store” than your audience will get bored fast, especially if that message is posted multiple times a day. So, instead of posting every hour on the hour, test out posting daily or even every two days but with content that is engaging, uses imagery and is informative, not redundant.

Building an Audience

Now this is the hard part. The set up and even posting daily are relatively quick tasks, but building an audience takes time and effort. There are multiple ways to go about building your social media following. There is the easy way, where you can pay for followers, but at the end of the day those bought followers will not be engaging with your material or business, they are simply there to look like you have a following.

Then there is the right way, try adding new followers with the idea that many will reciprocate and follow back. Although this is a tedious task it is an effective and proactive strategy. Another option is to launch your very own social media promotion. Give a promo code or deal to those who like your business on Facebook or Twitter or post a photo of your product on social media using designated hashtags for you business. This provides an interactive route that engages customers while ensuring they will ultimately become a follower and even a repeat customer.

Not so bad eh? Social media management isn’t as scary as it may seem. By setting aside a small amount of time to get started and by taking a few minutes every day or every other day to post, you will be golden! If this still seems like a daunting task, contact us as we would be happy to discuss our social media management packages with you.

16
Jan

So You Think You’re Ready for a Web Designer?

You have a new business or your website was made in the year 2000… what you need is a web designer. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In order to get your new website up and running there are a few things you need to do before you say yes to the designer. This week we will outline your pre-website checklist that will ensure you have a seamless and manageable web design experience. Also, your future designer (cough cough) will love you for it!

#1 Get it together will ya!

Focus your thoughts. It is good to look at other websites for inspiration, but before you send a list of links to your web design team, narrow it down. If you give ten completely different layout styles then your first design mock up will more than likely be a disappointment. Narrow the scope by deciding which aspects you absolutely need for your website and which elements are up to the discretion of the designer, that way there is zero confusion and a clear direction.

#2 Content Completion

There are many things that need to be accomplished in order to complete a new website, and content is one of the areas you play the biggest role in. Good hearty content takes time to create and compile and with it being such an important aspect of your website, it is crucial to do it right. Start with keywords you know your customers will search for and gear your content towards information that includes those keywords naturally. If you are not fond of your writing skills construct a full outline of information and bullet point items that way a copywriter can easily jump in and generate some creative and keyword rich text.

#3 Money will never grow on trees, so know your cap.

If you are shopping around for quotes, know your budget. For example, if your budget absolutely cannot go above three grand, make sure the agency knows that, because if their minimum for a website starts at five thousand, you are wasting both parties’ time. Although having a budget in mind is key, having some wriggle room could help your cause. This website will represent your business, so you want it done right. If a great design team sends a proposal that is slightly more than what you had in mind, be open to the opportunity because a well designed responsive website is really a long term investment that works for you 24/7.

#4 Timeline

Be realistic. It takes time to design, develop and build out a website. If you need a website in a week, it’s not going to happen. Figure out when you need your website and be sure to seek out a designer that can work within the proper time restraints. This is not a piece of business you want to rush and in order to get your dream website there are proper steps to follow that cannot be done overnight. Be patient and great designs will come.

You are ready… well, once you have taken on this list you are ready! Your website is more than likely the first interaction you have with a customer, so make it a memorable first impression and say hello with a clean, easy to navigate and branded web design.

08
Jan

I Don’t Give A Damn About My Bad Reputation… You Should!

In every industry, having a good reputation with customers and other businesses is… well, good business. Is a good product enough to to build a reputation from? Not exactly. Good branding, web design and marketing help the cause, however building a reputation takes time and consistent effort.

How long does it take?

Building a reputation within a community of customers and businesses doesn’t just happen. Building a reputation is much like marketing strategies. They need be nourished and consistent. It can take years of good word of mouth to build a solid reputation within your industry. Social media and platforms like Yelp have helped to speed the process up significantly, but in order to get good ratings customers have to recommend you, and like most it takes more than one visit.

Building a Foundation

So you’re new to the whole business thing and need to grow your reputation. Where to start? Marketing. Getting your name out there on promotional items is a great way to get people talking. Sign up for a booth at a local event or sponsor a community sport. Engaging your community and reaching out will show them you are a business with integrity.

Adding value to your name can easily be done with words. Reach out to local publications and try and get your information out there through ads or a short article introducing your business. Being in a respected publication gives off a professional weight. To a reader and potential customer seeing an article or ad from your business sends a message that your product or services are legitimate.

Brand it. Brand it all. As a new business or a business without a reputation, branding will most likely be your answer. Small businesses that do without branding are hard to recognize and rarely stand out. If at an event there are two booths selling the same product. One has a branded tent, business cards, shirts labels etc. While the other has a generic set up, disconnected business cards and a simple branded product on the table, who will make the bigger impression? The cohesive branding. Customers and competitors can appreciate a well branded product or service with a clear professional quality.

Meet Your Peeps

Networking is one of the most valuable ways to build a good business reputation. Why? Because getting new referrals and recommendations are more common if your business peers like you. Join a group or reach out to other local businesses to strengthen your web. This may seem silly but it will make a huge difference in your ability to build a reputation over time. You don’t want to be that business no one likes to work with. So get your face out there and meet your people.

Now a strong business connection is important, but customer connections are the icing on top of the cake. Interacting with your customer base and putting a face to your business is smart. As a consumer we like to know there is a real person behind the product or service we love because it gives the brand a more personal quality. So if you can impress with a product and your face to face interaction, then your reputation will start to ignite.

Never underestimate how powerful word of mouth is for your business. Although building your reputation takes time, it is well worth the effort. Just providing a good product or service will not automatically get customers through your door. But being known for the good product or service, will.

02
Jan

2015 is here. What now?

We play this game every year. We say we are going to be bigger and better than the year before, but many small businesses don’t know where to start. So, let us begin shall we?

#1 Make Plans

Decide where you want to go this year. Moving forward with no direction will make it difficult to accomplish any goal. So, decide. If you want to double your revenue this year, mark it down. If you want to expand your social media following by 500 new followers then do your research and get following. Saying your goal out loud feels good, but writing it down and creating a strategy to attain it will feel even better!

#2 Go Big or Go Home

Ask any successful business owner what their secret is and hands down they will say they took a risk. Starting any business is a risk, but we are talking about getting out of your comfort zone. If you have been getting in a consistent stream of revenue of the past few years, great! But over time businesses that grow are the ones who see longevity. Put up that billboard you’ve always wanted or update that website you’ve been with since 2003 (we know a great web designer, wink wink). 2015 is the year to try something new and expand.

#3 Continue Good Habits

If you spent last year grooming your social media and expanding your following don’t stop now, keep it going. Elaborate on facets that worked and only trash ones that failed miserably. Many business marketing strategies need to be nourished in order to be successful. Social media and blogging are prime examples. If left stagnant they cannot do their job of driving more traffic to your website or business location, which is why continuing good habits is important in order to have consistent success.

#4 The Year of the Brand

Throughout 2014 we have discussed the importance and necessity of creating a bold and original brand. 2015 is the year to take those branding ideas and put them to work. As a business owner you should love your brand. If you don’t, how do you expect your customers to love it? Work with a graphic designer to create the mark you can stand behind. Your brand is your business. Take on the New Year with a cohesive visual identity and brand that is used throughout all marketing channels and business collateral.

A new year equals new opportunities. Be bold, organized and inspired. Let 2015 be your year! Cheers!

23
Dec

Did Your Business Make the Naughty or Nice List?

Have you been a nice small business this year? The clock is ticking with only a day left until Saint Nick makes his appearance, so to make sure you end up on the nice list we are going to take you through the musts of 2014.

Have You Been A Scroogey Small Business?

One way to end up on the naughty list this year is by not giving back to your customers. Through deals, customer loyalty programs and thank you e-blasts, your customers will notice your dedication, which goes a long way. Loyalty programs are one of the best ways to gain returning customer traffic, so what do you have to loose?

Be A Part of Whoville

Even the Grinch ended up joining the merry circle of Whoville, so have you supported your small business community this year? Well lets just say you did. By supporting other small businesses like yourself, you are opening a whole world of opportunity. Businesses that work well together, help each other out. The chances of getting customer referrals or cross promotion will greatly increase if you support others in your community directly or through platforms like Facebook.

Socializing Sally

Utilizing your social media is another must of the year. Connecting with your customer base and driving traffic to your website is the ultimate goal in social media marketing. Whether you are posting daily or weekly any little bit helps and will keep you business active and engaging. Do right by your small businesses by including social media into your marketing strategy.

Responsive Rhonda

This is the biggy. The one item that will absolutely get you on the nice list this holiday is a responsive website. Too long have businesses subjected their customers to a website that looks terrible on a tablet or smartphone. Its time to do the right thing if you haven’t already and go responsive. With more and more of the general public searching on digital devices other than their computers you want to make sure your website is equipped to fully function regardless of the screen size.

If you don’t have any of these items checked off on your 2014 to do list, there is always next year. We can’t help your small business with the coal you might get Christmas morning but we can set you up for success in 2015. Take on the year with all the necessary elements to keep your customer base satisfied and your small business on top of it’s industry.

18
Dec

Nice Try, You’re Not on Christmas Vacation Yet… Five Ways to Stay Productive This Week!

It’s that time of year. Your little holiday vacation is so close you can almost taste that spiked egg nog and endless tray of assorted non-frosted cookies no one eats. It’s close, but not close enough, and staying productive… well… the struggle is real.

#1 What!?! A Twenty Minute Compilation of Cute Animals!

There is so much to look at online. Whether it is Facebook, group messages, holiday deals, or adorable holiday kittens on Youtube, distraction is serious problem when you have work to focus on.

Knowing how much content is out there is incredibly enticing, but don’t go down that path. Stay strong and avoid it. Keep your browser open on pages that only pertain to work, that way you don’t feel the need to click a tab over and spend endless hours looking at holiday crafts on Pinterest. Out of sight out of mind is the motto of the week, and will assist you in the productivity struggle you are facing.

#2 Now Walk It Out

One of the best ways to stay focused during a lackluster work day is to take outdoor breaks. Fresh air and natural sunlight give you the boost of energy needed to stay productive in a stale office environment.

Those with views to the outside world and have the pleasure of natural sunlight tend to ne more efficient throughout their work day. Soaking up that vitamin D and getting a different surrounding allows you to shut your mind off for a few moments before returning to your daily tasks.

#3 Make A List and Check It Twice

There is something about crossing items off of a checklist. Having a concise list will assist your organization efforts and give you a direct focal point. While checking off individual items the tasks will seem less daunting and is a visual remind that now is not the time to zone out.

#4 No Need To Be An Overachiever

Hey, if you are a multi-tasker that is wonderful, but if you are struggling to get things done before the holidays, give yourself a break. Focusing on one item at one time is actually better for you. Having too many projects at once is distracting and overwhelming. Complete your to do list one at a time and revel in your singular accomplishments.

#5 Mr. Clean

A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. Too many items on a desk can actually mess with your overall focus. So clean up and get organized, that way the only thing in your eye line is the work on your computer. Capeesh?

Christmas vacation is in sight… you are almost there. Stay strong and stay productive the next few days and you shall be rewarded with gifts. Literally. Have a Happy Holiday from our team at Sixth Gear and we wish you the best of luck in your end of year productivity.

15
Dec

Hey You! Small Businesses Owner… Are You Ready for 2015!

Don’t worry you didn’t miss Christmas, we are just getting you prepped for the start of the year. A new year brings new opportunity. Implementing new ideas into your small business can sometimes be costly, but no worries, because in 2015 we have you covered with three ways to enhance your business without breaking the bank.

Don’t forget your old customers!

Many new year business strategies involve recruitment of new customers. Yes, that is a great plan however we have another strategy to add in 2015. Maintaining established customer relationships.

Loyalty goes a long way, and instead of focusing on all new customers, spread some of the love and gratitude to those who already hold value in your business. Kick off your marketing by reaching out to your following through a thank you email blast or even implementing a deal or discount for existing customers. This shows your commitment to your loyal consumers and ensures they continue using your services or products.

Smile pretty for the camera!

The time has come. Fuzzy photos will no longer be acceptable. With the clarity of smartphone and digital cameras there is no excuse to have mediocre photography on your website or social media channels. So out with the old and in with the new. You don’t have to be the next Ansel Adams, just be aware of your surroundings.

If you are shooting outdoor photographs of your business think about light. Sure we all love sunny days but is it best for your shot? Not really. Too bright can be too much, so make sure there are clouds in the sky and you have the ability to shoot a clear image. Same goes for product shots. As a small business hiring a professional photographer may not be in the cards, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on a great image. By using some natural lighting or a good setting you can elevate a shot all on your own. Sounds like a win-win to us.

Change it up!

Freshen up your website and social media! This doesn’t mean you should rebuild your entire website from scratch, but maybe add in a few new additions. Test out some new slider images or relevant text that gives your customers new content to view. Many websites are adding social media feeds to their landing page in order to keep it active, a smart move that not only helps build your social following, but keeps your site relevant.

Social media pages can become stagnant when new visuals are not being added in. Keep your Facebook or Twitter page alive by changing out your cover photo or adding new photo galleries. Posting daily is a must, however if you are not getting the result you are looking for try a different approach. Adding a visual to your post in the form of video or photography will increase your likelihood of being read. Hashtags continue to rule the social media universe and is recognized on almost all of the social platforms. If you didn’t use hashtags in 2014 then get on it in 2015. Hashtags are the perfect addition to your social media change up and by using relevant short words for your industry you can expand your following and reach an audience you never thought existed.

Take on the new year with a pep in your step. A few additions to your small businesses routine could have a dramatic impact on your year. So give it a try and see what success can stem from it!

05
Dec

The Twelve Tips of Christmas

Twelve Writers Writing

Content is key. Over the past year we have written multiple blogs about the importance of including keyword rich material in your website. Consistent new copy on your site will engage your active customers and enhance your SEO efforts. So, whether you have one or twelve writers writing, get frequent content out there to be read by customers and indexed by the top search engines.

Eleven Responsive Websites

A responsive website is not just a trend, it is a necessity. In order to stay competitive your website needs to be easily accessible for all… meaning readable on all electronic devices. Don’t make your customers squint and get frustrated while looking at your website. Make sure it is responsive and looks good on all phones, tablets and computers, no matter the size.

Ten Logos Leading

Logo-A-Go-Go was among a few of the many blogs we wrote about the importance of a well-designed logo. Your logo is a key element of your brand. It is the symbol, mark or signature your customers relate to and place a value on. A logo should be timeless, simple and versatile in order to make a statement like these ten leading logos below.

ten_logos_leading

Nine Creative Spaces

We’ve said it once, and we will say it many more times. The space you work in can greatly affect your creativity and productivity. Creative spaces should feel creative, and color has a lot to do with that. Dark and grey tones can drag down your mood while blues and yellows give off a sense of calmness and positivity. Natural light is another must have in a creative space and has been known to enhance productivity. Check out Google’s Headquarters and see how some of the best creative’s work!

Eight Marketing Must Haves

Implementing a marketing strategy for your business isn’t as difficult as it may seem. With these eight elements, you have the ability to market your small business like a pro.

  1. Do your research. Take a look at your competitors and marketing campaigns that have been successful in your industry. Getting a background is the best way to outline your marketing game plan.
  2. Know who you are marketing to. Know who your target audience is. If you market to the general public, you may have a hard time reaching them. Narrowing the spectrum will increase your chances of implementing a successful campaign.
  3. Cohesive Brand. Your branding should be visible on all marketing materials. Take Target for example; whether it’s Christmas or summer their branding elements are apparent on all marketing items.
  4. Content Marketing. Blogs are your best friend. Offer your target audience helpful tips or information about your product or business via your website. This will drive new website traffic and potentially increase their viewing time on the site.
  5. Email Marketing. Email marketing is still as effective as ever. Provide useful content or specials to your customer base and reach them on an alternate marketing platform.
  6. Social Media. Social media essentially equals free advertising. You can post product photos or content that will automatically show up on your followers news feed. It is simple and accessible for all.
  7. Engage Customers. Engage your customers on social media or in store. Giveaways are great way engage your target consumer.
  8. Quality Visuals. There is nothing that turns a consumer off more than poor quality media. If you are going to use imagery (which you should) make sure it gives you the professional look you need.

Seven Social Winnings

Social media is a great way to interact and reach your customer base. These seven tips ensure you are getting the most out of your social media posting.

  1. Use professional quality visuals to attract customers to your post.
  2. Post frequently, but not obnoxiously.
  3. Respond to negativity calmly, than find a solution for both parties.
  4. Use relevant hashtags to expand your audience.
  5. Brand your social pages with your logo, color palette and professional cover photos.
  6. Keep posts short, but informative.
  7. Utilize the opportunity to engage customers, through giveaways and tips.

Six Designer Cravings

2014 has brought a year of web and graphic design trends. Here are the top six worth giving a look for your new website or re-design.

  1. Flat Website Design
  2. Large Home Page Imagery
  3. Motion Graphics
  4. Mix N’ Match Typography
  5. Parallax Scrolling
  6. Minimalist Design

Five Standout Titles

The best way to get your blog noticed is by having a great title. Here are five ideas to help your title standout.

  1. Be unique in your title choice. Generic will get your blog lost in a sea of blah.
  2. Be accurate. Make sure your title makes sense in regards to the blog content.
  3. SEO friendly. Use keywords in your title to boost your organic search ranking.
  4. Short & Sweet. Too long a title can turn off readers.
  5. Enticing. Think about the titles that attract you and use it as a base.

Four Compelling Blogs

Blogs are abundant in today’s content marketing world, which is why you need to have a compelling body of copy.

  1. Start with the title. Choose a title that will catch your readers attention.
  2. Play around with formats. Change it up and write in paragraphs or lists to keep it interesting.
  3. Use a visual. Giving you blog a visual will do wonders. The average person responds better to visual content over text, so give the people what they want!
  4. Don’t write a book. A blog is meant to give helpful or useful information, not compete with the length of War and Peace. Keep it short so that your readers will be more likely to finish the post.

Three Great Brands

A great brand is able to withstand time, has a logo that emulates an emotional connection and its’ name is why consumers choose them. These three brands have all hit those marks.

three_great_brands

Two Tweeting Don’ts

Try not to over tweet and whatever you do… do not send Twitter SPAM, don’t be that business.

And a Website with SEO, Please

Search engine optimization should always be on your mind. The better your organic search engine rankings are, the more visits your website will receive. A stagnant website with no new content will become static noise in the search engines eyes, but a website that has new content will makes it alive and kicking and will make a big difference in your website’s overall visibility.

Disclaimer: The logos used in this post are registered trademarks owned by their respective companies of which Sixth Gear LLC is not affiliated with or sponsored by.

28
Nov

A Five Dollah Crock Pot!?!… Black Friday Marketing Rodeo

We are all guilty of participating in the Black Friday hype. I mean how can you not? The deals are insane and the marketing is spot on. Brands like Target and Best Buy have some of the top marketing campaigns for what some like to call the “shopping apocalypse”, and although they are big names, small businesses can take note of their tactics for next year.

Sephora’s Social Celebration

Social media has become a significant aspect of today’s marketing strategies, so it only makes sense that Black Friday campaigns follow suit. This Black Friday Sephora definitely bought their tickets to the gun show. In an industry where you market beauty products the opportunities are endless when it comes to print materials, but the well-known brand went a different route.

Sephora went to their social media channels and came out with a limited time campaign to send their followers Snapchat’s of upcoming Black Friday deals. Ten-second previews of the deals kept the customers interest peaked and ready for the next snippet. Since Snapchat is only one social media platform, the marketing crew took it a step further and set a time for the Snapchat fun to expire and move the campaign to Instagram. There you could view all the sent deals at your leisure. It was a slightly brilliant move and had two sole purposes. One, to build their social following and two, give a complete new way to experience pre-Black Friday sales content. There are only so many ways to stand out selling the same products the same way, but Sephora understood how powerful social media is and found a way to reach their target audience differently.

Target Thoughtful Takeover

Target, how do I love thee, let me count the ways. Target is the branding King! They know how to play to their customer base and are all about making their shopping experience easier. So what better way to make shopping on the busiest day easier then with a map? Target rolled out all the stops this year, with a new website feature where you can enter the store you will be shopping at and get a map to help guide you to items on the day of. I mean… Genius. Adding that feature not only assists customers in finding their items with ease, it boosts their customer service grade to an A+. Target likes to let their customers know they are thinking about them and this was a perfect example.

Best Buy Love

We have all seen it. The endless lines outside of a Best Buy while heading home from Thanksgiving dinner. It is dedication, however this season it became unnecessary. Best Buy now presents an extended sale on all channels. You can go to the store or shop on their website for the same deals and same items. As a store known for their outrageous lines and chaos, this is a great marketing move. They have managed to make the Best Buy shopping experience actually enjoyable and accessible for all.

Now as a major retailer, pulling off a Black Friday Marketing campaign is a must, but small business owners can participate as well. Take your website for example if you have an eCommerce store you could participate in black Friday or Cyber Monday by offering a discount code or percentage off coupon. Social media is another easy way to take over the Black Friday channels. Offering discounts via social media will allow you to grow your overall following while driving traffic to your location as well as your website. There is so much you can do to kick your holiday marketing into high gear and if not this year you can always prep for the next!