Category: Inbound Marketing

26
May

Stop Being Annoying: The Right Kind of Email Marketing

Sending out a mass email is easy. Ensuring that your target customer is actually reading said email is not quite as easy. As simple as an email is, there are components that can help make sure the subscribers you are sending them too will take the time to read the contents. So sit back, relax and maybe take a few notes on some tips that will bulk up your email marketing tactics.

Brand Yourself

Once again branding is a reigning force in a solid marketing strategy. Why you ask? Because having a voice and a brand identity will add depth to your mass emails and give your subscribers something intriguing to read. Ask yourself how many email lists you are subscribed to, and how many do you actually take the time to read? The number is most likely low because one of the biggest mistakes email marketers make is that their emails send you to boring town. So, we suggest making it unique. By using sensory words that attract attention and by writing short but powerful sentences, your reader will be more likely to process the information that you are trying to send out. The key is to not waste their time with a long email, but to give them all the information they need to gain interest without making it a three-page essay. Give your email originality and try to stay away from the typical templates, because chances are your subscribers already have a junk inbox full of those.

Make it Personal

Writing content for your emails geared towards a general audience will require some thought, however setting the email tone as if it were to one person as opposed to 400 subscribers will help. Your target customer wants to know that they are not just part of a crowd so be cautious of using words like subscribers or audience. Write to them as if it were just one person receiving the email. Another tip we recommend is changing up your greeting. So often we see mass emails citing “Hi [insert name].” Change it up to “Warm Wishes” or Sixth Gear’s favorite “Cheers!” This will lighten the email so that it will feel less automated and more of a personal approach.

Respect the Process

The most off putting emails are the ones that try and sell you a service or product on the first contact. Not only does it feel harsh and unfriendly to a customer, the idea is to build a trust before hitting them with the deal. The first email correspondence should be about how your product or service can help them, in seeing the benefit they will be more likely to contact for more information. This doesn’t mean you can’t include a defined call to action or link, because those should definitely be included, but be aware of how you are phrasing your copy. The goal is to build trust and strong customer relationship, which will in turn lead to a sale. It is a process, but one that ensures a successful transaction.

Email marketing is a strategy. Unlike a normal email you are reaching a customer base that doesn’t always know what your or your company is all about. So take the time to really plan how to communicate your brand’s message and outline how you would like to approach your target audience. Sixth Gear loves branding and marketing strategies, so share with us you email marketing questions so that we can help you reach your full potential.

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31
Mar

What the Vlog?

Vlogs. It’s a pretty clever name. The blend of video media and blogging is a growing form of marketing and a gateway for business and customer interaction. The idea of vlogging scares a lot of businesses, because the thought of putting your face up on the internet and having to memorize content is overwhelming, but the perks and the simplicity of a vlog may change your mind.

SEO

Yes it is still important to be filling your site with new keyword rich content weekly, however videos are also being indexed by search engines like Google. The perk of posting a video blog is that there is less video posted by businesses on the web in comparison to written content, making it easier to grab those top in relevant search engine results. By labeling your vlog and giving it a relevant keyword title your not only making it easier for potential customers to find your video but your making it easier for Google to index that video. It is a brilliant addition to your inbound marketing strategy, but what about the people who don’t want to sit and watch the video? That’s an easy fix, post a corresponding blog with your video, that way you are giving all spectrums of customers options to get the same information, while simultaneously building your SEO base.

Connecting with an New Audience

It has been documented that roughly 80% of online users will watch an online video as opposed to the 20% that will read an entire written post with the same information. That is a large gap of viewers that your business could be bypassing. Customers respond to visuals, which is why with all social media posts a photograph or link should accompany it, so why not a video? Since customer bases are more likely to watch your video the chances of them spending more time on your website greatly increases. If your vlogs are well done and informative your customers will be more likely to return for more information and watch other vlogs that you post. Connecting with your target customer and prospective clients is key to any successful business, which is why vlogging is becoming a more popular option. Video blogs give you a chance to put a face to your business. Customers like to see who is behind a business, a person that they can connect with. By putting your face out there, you are building a trust and a value to your brand, because not only do you provide a product or service, you care enough to speak passionately about it or take the time to give informative dialogue to further help their decision or assist them in accomplishing a goal.

Start at the Beginning

Some businesses can afford to spend thousands of dollars on the production of video blogs, and I mean hey, good for you. But a video blog doesn’t have to be a Jerry Bruckheimer production, no offense Jerry, but all you really need is to start with is a decent script. A script will outline and assist you with talking points and key content to hit. Don’t think of it as an acting job, because this is your business and who better represent your brand then you, talking about what you know and what you can offer. Next is equipment. You could spend 10,000 grand on a state of the art camera, however it is not necessary. Customers want to see a clear image with clear audio that’s it. The key is to make it look professional. Make use of good angles, good lighting, clear audio (which means clear diction), and a clear image. With all of these functions you do not need to be over the top, unless you want to be. After you have filmed your vlog and have done any editing that may be needed it is time to launch. The idea is to get your video everywhere. Include links on Twitter, Facebook, your website, and sites like Youtube and Viveo, because the bigger outreach you have, the better.

Vlogging sounds scary, but it is a simple tool that opens the opportunity for big results. With informative dialogue, an idea, and a camera you can give your businesses an immediate edge over your competitors, and stand out in your search engine results. So, are you ready to Vlog?

To prove we are practicing what we are preach, check back soon for the first installment in Sixth Gear’s vlogging series!

24
Feb

Likes, Tweets, and Posts… #OhMy

Posting on social media… if an 11-year-old girl can post to 7 different social media websites without even looking at her cell phone, then why are so many big brands having issues with even the simplest posts?

Today we are going to take that problem head on and let you in on a few secrets that will change the way you post on social media, giving your brand the professional look it requires for success.

The Branding Mistake

Posts that are without an original tone can sometimes set your brand back. For example if a new pub in town decided to post “Have you tried our new chicken sandwich?” would you be compelled to comment? The idea behind posting for a brand is to let customers know who you are and what makes you different then your competitors. Giving your brand a voice and having that apparent through your postings will put you ahead of the game and show that you are an individual entity not just a pub selling chicken sandwiches. Once you have your brand identity defined, posting will come easy. However, sometimes a little too easy. Often times we see brands posting paragraph long statuses that are daunting to even look at. So what is the cure? Less is more. Words I’m sure we have all heard in this lifetime, and those few words definitely apply to social media posts. It is proven that consumers are more likely to like your post and respond/share when using minimal wording with a larger focus on imagery. Just make sure your links are going to the right place (another social media faux pas). By giving away all of the information in your post, it is less likely that a consumer will visit your website for more details. Give them enough to intrigue their interest enticing them to search your website for more information, just make sure that all of the content is easily accessible.

Conversation

The whole purpose behind social media is to captivate a consumer and drive them towards your website. In order to captivate you need a dialogue of content that will engage customers. Not sure what we mean? Ask yourself this question, would you be more likely to respond to the statement “A tantalizing aroma that will start your morning off right – Sixth Gear Coffee” or “Who needs a fresh cup of Sixth Gear Coffee for this Monday Morning?” You want to engage your customers and ask them questions they can respond to not statements they can just read. Conversation is good, but many brands are terrified if the conversation turns bad? Customer complaints are the best and worst aspect of social media. It used to be easy to keep complaints under wraps but now customers can post their experiences, both positive and negative, all over your pretty pages. The good aspect is that your business will know what to improve on, the bad is every other customer can see you faults. However, there is a proper way to handle the situation, and that is by always responding. You will hear from any marketing company including Sixth Gear that responding to bad press openly is the best thing you can do. By ignoring complaints it makes your dissatisfied customer feel like their suggestions are not being heard or that you business does not care enough to respond. Which may not be the case, many brands feel that by not responding they will keep the situation contained when in reality you are only leaving customers assuming that their thoughts are not being addressed. Your customers know you cannot be perfect so own it. Respond to those negative comments by thanking them for their suggestions and state that you are working or have already fixed the problems and would love to see them back in your establishment so that you may give them the service that is expected. It’s simple and doesn’t leave much room for argument and will show your consumers that you care and are looking to improve in anyway you can.

Imagery

So many brands look unprofessional due to the postings of blurry and badly edited images. Once again, if an 11-year-old can throw up a photo of herself and her girls at the One Direction concert with perfect clarity then your brand can live up to the task. Post with mobile optimization. Meaning clear images with text that can be seen on a hand held device. If you are having a hard time viewing text on a desktop then you can only imagine how it will look on your iPhone. Before you post images be sure to look at it as if it were on a small tablet. Can you see it? Is my content visible? If the answer is no then try something else. Posting a poorly optimized image is a waste of your time as well as your consumers. With the majority of social media content being viewed on mobiles, then it only makes sense that your posts are geared towards that particular viewing standard.

Social media posts are one of the greatest way to allure new clients to your business, just make sure your postings are not turning them away. Following these simple techniques will enhance your brand’s professionalism while engaging your audience in way no other marketing tactic can. For us at Sixth Gear, we have your back and are here to help you in anyway we can with this form of inbound marketing. So always remember to post with a purpose and give your brand its own individuality.

17
Feb

A New Generation of Lead Generation (See what we did there?)

As business owners most of us have a experienced a time when generating a lead can seems like the impossible dream. We think we are on the right track and then for weeks all you hear is the sound of your panicking thoughts. It used to be as simple as throwing an ad in the newspaper and then the next day your business was back to normal, but in today’s digital world it takes much more then print advertising.

Lead Generation

The two words that make us cringe and hang our heads in shame. Every new or even established business has had the daunting task of trying to generate leads. So today we are going to discuss a few techniques that will take the stress of lead generation off of your shoulders. Generating leads is all about creating online traffic. The more potential customers you drive towards your website the more likely they are to become your patron/client. So the question is, how do we create more website traffic? Let’s start off with the use of SEO-friendly content and inbound marketing. We know Sixth Gear has driven these concepts into everyone’s minds numerous times, however it is the best way to start a conversation with your audience and make your online presence known.

Think about the last time you were searching for a restaurant online. Say you decided that you wanted sushi in Jacksonville, FL. So you pull up Google and type in “sushi jacksonville fl” and you instantly have hundreds have results to choose from. The websites with the best search engine rankings will come up first, so what do you do? Do you click on the first few or go to page 27? Obviously you click on the first couple of results and choose from those options. This is where content and inbound marketing come into play. In order to get on that first page of results for the keywords and phrases most relevant to your business, you have to have a website filled with well-written keyword nourished copy, which can be done with both static website content such as your About Us, Services, etc. types of pages and on a regular basis via your website blog. Using great content in a properly coded website is the best way to have your website indexed properly driving your organic search engine rankings up making you visible to more people, in turn driving prospective leads right to your doors.

Paid Search Marketing

Paid search marketing, often referred to as Search Engine Marketing or SEM (even though that term was originally coined to describe both organic and paid search engine efforts), can be another fantastic way to really drive clients towards your site. Strategies like Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads are ideal for both websites that do and do not have a good organic search engine visibility. The idea of PPC ads is to be the first website customers view when searching keywords. They are the highlighted sites above the organic results on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, making them the most visible to a searching consumer. The concern many businesses have when looking into PPC ads is the thought of being charged in scenarios when someone visits your site twice in a row or clicks on it by accident then immediately leaves your site, luckily Google has already thought of that. Tracking repeating clicks and internet users that click off of the site promptly are one of the great features that Google uses ensuring you are only being charged for one click per customer. In addition to PPC ads there are many other forms of paid search engine tactics such as retargeting ads. Retargeting ads show up as banner ads on other websites after an individual has already viewed your website. This strategy keeps your business fresh in their mind while they view other websites and is a great way to re-direct the consumer to come back to where they once were looking.

Joint Effort

We feel the most effective way to generate new leads is a joint effort between inbound marketing, SEO and paid search marketing. Inbound marketing is a continuing marketing process involving blogging and social media efforts that delivers quality results. Studies show companies that use Twitter double their total internet leads. The main reason for social media is to direct followers to your website. Being proactive by adding new followers, tweeting, retweeting, and the use of direct messages are all ways to promote your business and interact with your potential clients. Creating original blogs that are interesting and not only give you great content indexing opportunities but also answer questions that potential clients would be searching for are the most effective. Here is an example, a bakery could potentially blog about frosting a cupcake and title the piece “How to Frost a Cupcake”, creating an opportunity to show up at the top of the search engine results when a person types in that same question. Joining the use of those marketing tools with a more aggressive approach of paid search marketing is a combination that guarantees success.

Constructing a strategy to generate new leads takes time. Boosting search engine rankings and a social media following do not happen overnight. So don’t let the commitment scare you from the potential rewards of improved lead generation. Take these techniques and apply them to your business. Then let us know how it went because we would love to share your success story!

10
Feb

Save the Copywriters!

Copywriters. The voice behind a brand and the tagline behind an advertising campaign. I think we like to believe that all copywriters still sit behind mahogany desks smoking and drinking their brandy while constructing the perfect slogan. But, lets be honest this isn’t a Mad Men episode and copywriters are becoming rare and endangered. So this is our campaign to save the copywriters and discuss why Sixth Gear advocates for their dying art form and the benefits of their content.

So what happened to the good old days? With the increase in social media and the use of web based marketing the amount of content being thrown onto the Internet daily is massive. With 1.5 million blogs, 60,000 + websites, and a few million videos added to the web each day it’s hard to keep track of what content is of professional quality. So we are going to break down what good content is and how to make sure your rich keyword material is out there to be seen by all.

Let’s start off with bad content, shall we? With search engines like Google indexing keywords around the clock, you would think that one could just put the same word you are trying to rank well for all over your website, immediately boosting your search engine rankings and get you that employee of the month star you’ve been waiting for. But luckily for the copywriting world that isn’t the case. Using keywords and phrases naturally is the correct and only way to produce quality content. Bad copy would include using the same word in the same sentence the same way over and over again. This technique along with other tricks such as creating text on the background of your website in white so that it is not seen but present can lead to a penalty and if severe enough put your website on the “blacklist” making it virtually impossible to find via search engines. The only solution is to create well written copy that isn’t thrown together in a few minutes and incorporates rich keyword material, making it easy for search engines to index you and place you where you belong, at the top.

Copywriting used to be a different industry. Copywriters were known for the ability to sell or influence a consumer with just a few words. It took complete skill and talent. The copywriting generation today still needs those natural skills but the fight for survival is slightly different. Instead of working together with an artist, we now work hand in hand with web developers. Developers are our knights in shining armor, who ride in with their responsive web designs and images wrapped in metadata. They are the force that drives our content to the public.

So we’ve discussed what bad content is and the collaboration of modern copywriters and web developers, now it is time to talk about the creative aspect and voice of a copywriter for a brand. A copywriter is essentially a storyteller. For each brand, website, or blog a voice needs to be determined. The goal of a copywriter is to sell a product, entice, and influence the consumer or audience. As discussed in our blog last week branding is everything and a key component of every brand is good copy. Each brand is different and should have it’s own voice and to find that voice you need to first identify whom your selling to. Being aware of your demographic allows you to use the correct language and wording that the audience can associate with. A good copywriter does not just throw around fancy words and call it a day. They do their research. If you are selling to a group of ten year olds the content shouldn’t use words that need a dictionary attached to it. We all love a good thesaurus but know your audience because sometimes simplicity is all you really need.

At the end of the day copywriters are here to stay. There was a time when Google rewarded content solely based on the density of keywords with complete disregard for the actually quality of the content being provided but Google has adapted and improved to rewards those that supply the Internet with quality content rich with naturally phrased keywords. Sixth Gear is an advocate for the survival of copywriting. Having a lead copywriter on our staff handling client content, taglines, social media, and blogs has driven our business into new heights, gaining us better search engine rankings, a larger social media following, new leads, and our clients’ respect for the power of the written word. It has now become a common trend to hire someone that does copy along with multiple other web design elements. With the copy being just another add on it’s voice and purpose becomes secondary, and with words being so important to a brand’s foundation like the taglines “Got Milk” or for Apple Inc.’s slogan “Think Different” it’s hard to argue that copy isn’t the foreground of any great brand. So join Sixth Gear in an effort to promote copywriters and give them back their place in the advertising and marketing industry, designing with their sole tool, words.

13
Jan

Content is King

It is daunting isn’t it? Trying to market your business towards your target audience and knowing exactly what they want at all times? In previous years it was a challenge to reach your target audience all at once. There were billboards, radio and TV spots, flyers, newspaper ads, and although those methods can be incredibly useful when it comes to attracting new clients, they aren’t necessarily the best or most cost effective methods available. In today’s business environment, about 85% of consumers use the Internet to find local businesses. So the question is how do we get that percentage of online searchers to find their way to your company? The answer is simple, inbound marketing. A combination of marketing strategies that follow a simple practice, have your content be found where your audience is searching.

Reaching your client base is easier then you think. In order to dramatically increase the visibility of your business online you need to be disseminating the right content. Whether original or curated, content such as articles, blogs, social media posts, and videos that are rich with key words, phrases and subject matter relevant to your business are exactly what search engines pick up on and use to determine that your business is a relevant results when someone searches those same terms online. The results distributing this content can often be seen immediately but is definitely dependent on how competitive your industry is locally. For example, if you are a ski shop in the middle of Idaho chances are it won’t be too challenging to land the top spot on the first page of Google but the same could not be said if you were located in Colorado, it could take months to increase your ranking and ultimately your new client traffic.

Either way, the key is to constantly be nourishing both your website and your social media profiles with quality content. If posts are made every once in a great while it will be less likely that your content will resonate with your future customers along with search engines that are indexing your information constantly. However with consistent and well-written content the step into rankings will be effortless and opportunities for your site and business to be seen will be endless. Remember there are 85% of the Internet’s users seeking local businesses online and it is your task to make sure you are seen by them.

Make your mark. Establish your presence. Attract new clients.

06
Jan

Keeping Resolutions

Once a year comes that special time where we all make that thing called a “resolution” and vow to really make something of the future year. So we start by making a plan and for about two weeks are really invested in that plan until we get over it and find something else to do, leaving that resolution right on the doorstep. We often make the excuse that I don’t have the time or there are so many other things I need to do, and at Sixth Gear we get that, but we’ve come up with a game plan for our organization and our clients this year. With new staff and a new image, it’s time to get some new business and we want our clients to do the same.

Over the past few years marketing has taken a new turn. Whether you are a large enterprise or small business owner, inbound marketing is a crucial element of any marketing strategy. In our past years we have focused on the effects of a well-designed brand and image and it’s ability to take a business into new heights. Although imagery is alluring, the written word is influential. With content being such an important aspect of any businesses model it is of equal importance to have it seen by your customers. Within the past year the addition of social media has been a critical aspect in gaining new clients and engaging current ones on forums that they use on a daily basis. With programs like Facebook, Twitter, and Google + that are used by 73% of all Internet users it has become the largest playing field to market yourself on. Now, a lot of business owners are under the assumption that social media usage is most commonly used by the younger generation of Smartphone and iPad users, which are more than likely, not your target audience. But in 2013 the 45-55-age bracket was stated as the fastest growing social media users, not what you had thought huh?

In 2013, 62% of marketers said they will either hire or write their own blogs for the New Year. Blogging has become a key component of inbound marketing and the greatest part is you can write or hire someone to write about anything anytime and however often you want. If you want to give business tips or lay out suggestions for keeping a healthy body in the New Year, you can. There is no limit to what you can write about. The topics are endless and blogging is a great way to give your business the voice that clients want to hear.

Now I know it seems daunting. The task of writing weekly and posting daily, it can be a lot to take on. Our recommendation is that if you don’t have the time or desire for daily attention to social media and other inbound marketing tactics, then hire someone to do it for you. At Sixth Gear we offer an abundance of packages that can assist you in your venture to market yourself in a new way. With the expansion of Sixth Gear we are primed more than ever to take on this venture with you. So whether you want to market yourself or have us take care of it for you, know that you have Sixth Gear on the same plan for this New Year. More inbound marketing is our resolution, so why not make it yours. In collaboration, we know we can make 2014 a successful and progressive year. So raise your glass to inbound marketing and a New Year, cheers!