Category: Inbound Marketing


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.


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!


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!


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.


You’ve Got Email Marketing

With all of the marketing options out there, its’ hard to to decide which ones are best for your business. Social media is always an easy choice and for good reason, but what about the other guys? What about the forgotten and often neglected… email marketing? You know those pretty emails that pop up and entice you to check out a new deal, product or article. What is it about those e-blasts that draw us in and propel us to read more. There isn’t an exact science behind it, but there are a few things that tend to capture our attention and make e-mail marketing a must have in your comprehensive strategy.

The Subject of All Things

Subject lines are the heart of email marketing. Why? Because typically that is what prompts you to open up the newsletter. If your target readers aren’t intrigued by your email subject, than that newsletter you worked so hard on, typically goes into cyberspace trash.

A subject line is not the time to get crazy and over the top creative, but instead fresh and urgent. What do we mean by urgent? If your target customer doesn’t feel like there is something worth looking at now, it will be out of sight and out of mind. Create a sense of urgency without using the words “urgent”. By giving readers a little fire beneath them while staying true to your brand’s voice and style, they will be more likely to click open and see what you have to offer.

Get a Little Action

Creating a call-to-action is probably one of the more important facets of your email marketing campaign. Give your reader an easy way to take the next step towards interacting with your business. Whether it is a link to your website, a product or coupon, it allows them to have an immediate response from your business and not just a standard email. As a consumer we like to get to the point and a call-to-action will expedite that process.

Short & Sweet

It is easy to be long winded when it comes to your brand. Mainly. Which is great, however for those who joined an email list and may not know you so well, they don’t want to read through paragraphs of an e-blast.

What to do? Make it short, simple and to the point. Align your subject line and copy to reflect the same promises. If you are having a 50% off sale but have the subject read “Puppies” than it won’t really make sense. You want to deliver what was offered in a few sentences with a creative flair cohesive to your brand’s identity. With this, your customers won’t feel overwhelmed, and will more than likely choose to read, not trash.

It’s easy to fall in love with email marketing. With this marketing tool you have the ability to send out e-blasts daily, weekly or even monthly, while opening up numerous opportunities to capture new leads. Now doesn’t that sound like marketing love at first sight?


The Reign of Content Marketing

It is easy to post on social media, or throw up a blog on a website. However it is another thing to actually put together a content marketing plan and keep it consistent and innovative. So many businesses and brands get caught up in the lack of content, but that doesn’t have to be you. You can be strong, organized and always be looking for new ways to make your content stand out.

#1 Know Your People

The first thing you learn in marketing 101, is to know your target audience. Why? Because they are who you will be writing your content for. When researching your demographic, try to get a good sense of what they like to read. Do they like informative blogs, tips or are they more image and video focused. By narrowing down the type of content your target audience finds appealing, you will be able to push information out in the format that they are most likely to view, and in turn open up a conversation regarding your services or products.

#2 Get Ready to Socialize

Regardless if you are a fan of social media or not, it is a necessity. Any business that wants to be taken seriously by their customer base, will have accounts on the top social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Why? Because social media is not just for chatting with old high school friends, it is a driving force when it comes to managing your content marketing. With a few words, you can reach hundreds, even thousands of potential consumers. Through engaging posts you can stand out from your competitors and allow your demographic to stay up to date with your business’s news without having to check the website on a daily basis. Through social media, the information is accessible and always ready to be shared.

#3 Sharing is Caring

If you want your content to really move, you need to ensure it is sharable. One way to guarantee your customers share is to make it easy on them. Add social media share buttons or email links to your blog, that way if they like what they read, it can easily be shared to email contacts and friends on Facebook. The easier the process, the more likely individuals will be to spread the word.

#4 Optimization Prime

That term SEO always seems to pop up, and for good reason. As you know in order to have great organic search engine rankings you need to keep your website updated with new keyword friendly content. Blogging is the gem in your content marketing plan. Don’t believe us? When Sixth Gear first started blogging, when searching “branding jacksonville” our site wouldn’t even show up in the first few pages of results, which mean’t no one saw us. So what did we do? We started blogging about the various services we offered and gave tips for those looking to market and brand their business. After two months our site made it to the top spot when searching “branding jacksonville” and we have stayed there ever since. This didn’t come easy to us, but through weekly blogs we have kept our top spot and know first hand that if you want to make a plan for content marketing, a weekly blog needs to be at the top of that list.

Marketing isn’t always a strict science. You find what works for your brand and what doesn’t, and than proceed from there. By adding social posts and blogs to your business plan, you could begin a long reign atop the competition.


The Good Kind of Traffic

Website traffic, it is the peanut butter to your website’s jelly. The goal of all websites is to have consistent new traffic searching through your pages. The longer an individual stays on your website the more chances you will have to turn them into a lead or a consumer. When you launch a new site, you will not automatically see thousands of views per day without putting a little sweat equity into it. You have to work, but that work will help you reach your traffic goals.

The Content Game

We have said it once and we will say it again, content is key. Not only will quality content help with your organic search engine rankings, it will help you avoid being penalized. Search engines like Google are doing everything they can to reward websites that are playing their cards right, and penalize those who are trying to cheat their way to top rankings. When websites have little content and big self promoting ads next to it, Google will see that as potential to be flagged. They are looking out for your customers and want to reward you because you are making an effort to give them enticing copy to view.

So, keep in mind that the better the content, the better your rankings, and the more website traffic your business will see. Play the game by putting out consistent and keyword rich content and you shall be the winner.

The Responsive Movement

Responsive web design used to be the trend hitting the streets, but now it has become a necessity to survive on the world wide web. How many times have you searched for a business on your phone or tablet, and get a website that has tiny font, no way to navigate without expanding the view or is incredibly slow. Those businesses suffer from being irresponsible and not updating their websites to a responsive design.

Mobile devices are becoming one of the most common ways to browse the internet. So, top search engines like Google are coming to the rescue again by penalizing websites that do not utilize those designs. Google wants everyone to be able to view your website as it was intended on any electronic device. They reward those who agree and is why a responsive design will not only make the experience easy for your customers, it will give you a better ranking which again means better web traffic.

Although creating content in the form of blogs, videos, photographs, etc. is time consuming, it is a facet of you business that needs constant attention. Moral of the story? If you build a website, it doesn’t mean they will come, you have to put in the effort and time in order to see a change in new website traffic.


Four Ways to Increase Your Website Traffic

As a business owner you know that increased website traffic means more potential customers or clients… but what are you actually doing to increase that traffic? It is a common misconception that you have to pay top dollar in order to get a steady stream of traffic coming through your website. Although the use of online ads and SEO specialists will be able to give you everything your heart desires, there are things you can do on your own in order to start getting your website where you want it.

#1 Use Social Media

Never underestimate the power of social media. By creating pages for your business on multiple platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Linked In, you are opening the door to new customers. Engaging posts, imagery and links to your website, are three elements that are needed in order to get the new traffic moving. One thing to keep in mind is that it won’t happen overnight. Social media management requires a commitment in order to provide the website results you crave, and need.

#2 Don’t Discount Email Marketing

Sending out mass emails may seem like dated marketing methods with all the fancy smancy options available but the bottom line is they work! Having an email list can be key to website traffic success. Creating links to blogs or important sections within the website on your monthly or weekly newsletter will get customers from the email to your site, with the click of a button. Make sure your email utilizes a creative headline to capture your customer’s attention.

#3 Have We Mentioned That You Should Blog

Blogging is no joke, especially when it comes to building up your website traffic. Consistently writing new content for your website is what drives your search engine rankings up. Clever titles and filling out the blog with keyword rich material isn’t always easy, but it will give you results. Like social media, blogging is a commitment. Writing a post every other month, may not be enough depending on how saturated your industry is. In order to get your website on the top of it’s rankings we would recommend anywhere from daily to weekly or at the least bi-weekly postings.

#4 A Responsive Website Is Must

As mentioned in our blog last week, Google and other search engines have or are in the stages of changing their algorithms to penalize websites that are not responsive and mobile friendly. Why? Because in order to create a quality user experience, individuals need to be able to view your website on any electronic device. Those who have responsive websites are now seeing their sites climbing the search engine rankings, which means… more website traffic.

You don’t have to invest thousands when it comes to increasing your website traffic, you just have to invest your time. By consistently putting out quality content in your blog, or creating links within your e-blast, your business has the opportunity to get a slice of that sweet online traffic pie.


Creativity + Content = Blogging

Blogging is a key component of good search engine optimization. The equation is simple, the more you blog original content rich with keywords, the better your search engine rankings will be for those terms. Only common issue is… how to keep a blog interesting over time.

#1 The Relevant Theory

Make sure your topics make sense for the now, not the past. The best way to get readers interested in you content is to write about current information. Relate your business to the most recent industry news or get creative and write your blog post as a current celebrity. Giving your blog a fresh approach that allows you to reach to a broader audience.

#2 Know Your Numbers

Know who you are writing to. The only way you can reach your demographic through content is by getting to know them. If your target audience is 65+ and your using 2015 lingo like “bae” there is a good chance you will not win any points or returning readers. Do the research and put yourself in your target audiences shoes. If your customers are interested in “how to” tips, than give the people what they want. Make sense?

#3 The Sum of Your Brand

Don’t forget about your brand when you go to write your blog. Your brand’s voice will need to be strong in order to keep your target audience interested in what you have to say. By writing with your own flair, you are creating an atmosphere through your content which will set up the experience they can expect when interacting with you or your business directly.

#4 Unparalleled Topics

There is no need to blog about the same topics over and over again. If your customer base has read it before they don’t need to read it again and again. Keep the topics fresh so that your content won’t seem redundant and loose it’s steam.

Following the four rules of blogging will keep your blog from getting negative marks. Think outside of the box, do your research and you will be primed for success.


Give My Regards to Blog-way!

The art of blogging has become a critical tool for businesses of all industries and sizes. The more blogs your website posts, the more opportunities to engage your target audience and the better search engine rankings your website will get.

Blogging is a simple concept that creates new traffic which turns into fresh leads and more returning customers/clients. Now, how do you dominate the blogging world? By following a couple of easy to execute ideas you will be able to get the most out of your blogs.

Title of Show

It is all about the title of your blog. The title is the first opportunity to grab your target readers attention, so don’t always go for the obvious choice. For example this blog could have been titled “How to Write a Blog”, but although that title explains the core of the entry, it is a bit lackluster.

Be creative in your approach. Puns, light humor and a play on words are great go-to-concepts when creating your original blog title. Take ours for example, “Give My Regards to Blog-way!” is a play on the lyrics “Give My Regards to Broadway”. Corny? A little, but it stands out among the various titles out there in reference to writing blogs.

Stay on point. In your creativity, make sure you don’t stray too far from the topic. Your title should give a clear direction of your blog to avoid any confusion or reader disappointment.

Blogs and the Amazing Technicolor Image

In 2015 we are officially in the visual age. With the popularity of platforms like Instagram, Youtube and Vine it is evident that the use of imagery is appealing.

Articles with images gain 94% more total views. What?!? Who would ever post a blog without an image then? You’d be surprised how many businesses miss out on key viewer opportunities by not including an image in their blog.

Another photo perk? Social media allows users to share, and if you have a big beautiful image with a link to your blog, your followers are more likely to share the post which will drive more traffic to your website.

The Brand and I

Branded content. Your brand identity should come forward on all writing. Why? Because for some, a blog post could be a potential customer’s first interaction with your business. By writing with your brand identity in mind, a reader will get a good feel as to the kind of atmosphere you are looking to create.

Not sure how to write as your brand? Look at how you interact with your customers/client base. Are you casual? Highly professional? These aspects are a great base to work off of when creating a specific tone for your content.

Alright blogger, you are now officially ready to take the stage and get the most out of your blogging.