Category: Tips and Techniques

04
Feb

The Social Network

Oh social media. Somedays we love you and somedays we just don’t get you. We post too much and people don’t engage, then we scale it down to every few days and customers might like our stuff, but it is not a guarantee. Social media and content driven tactics like blogging may seem unpredictable, and yes it can be, but there are a few rules of thumb that will get you back in control of your social and ready to dominate just about everything.

The Sean Parker Notion

What exactly does that mean? It means that you don’t want to jump on the social wagon down the road, get in on the action now so that your business can actually enjoy the benefits of your hard work. If you don’t already have social profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, what are you waiting for? Social is here to stay and businesses in your industry have already been using this free marketing tool to their benefit.

Never be afraid to try a new social media platform. Companies like Facebook and Twitter all started with one follower. If you are introduced to a new platform that hasn’t really grown yet, don’t be afraid to try it out because there is a good chance it could explode, and you and your business will already have had your feet in the water.

Social channels to consider signing up for:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest
  • Youtube
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+

Avoid a Winklevoss Loss

Copying an idea isn’t exactly what you want to be doing with your social media channels. No one likes to see businesses in the same industry doing the same thing. It’s gets boring and will win you no points with your consumers.

Instead be original in your content. Utilize your brand’s style and voice in your social media posts, that way no one could ever doubt it’s your work. Standing out within your industry is the goal of every big or small business, and social media allows you to do that easily.

Tips to be original in your social media:

  • Use your own images in posts for a creative touch and opportunity to showcase what your business offers or how your brand differs from others.
  • Creative language. We cannot stress enough that every piece of content your business launches needs to have your brand’s tone and voice present. Social media is a perfect platform to show your audience your unique style through content.
  • Offer social media only promotions. Not only will this be unique to your business, it will help expand your social following, which could lead to more new customers.

Post Like A Zuckerberg Boss

Posting every day to social media is a must, but there is always the debate of how often. Once a day? Twice? Is every social media platform the same? We can tell you this, every social media platform is not the same and the amount of times per day to post depends on that platform and the content you have ready to share.

Facebook posts should be no more than twice a day. Why? Because people don’t like to see the same business posting multiple times per day. It’s an aggressive form of marketing and is why twice a day is plenty.

Twitter is slightly different. Since you are restricted on the amount of words you can have post per tweet, 2-3 times a day is a great plan for Twitter.

Instagram is kind of the more the merrier. People like looking at imagery so 1-2 times per day is awesome, but feel free to sneak in a few more if you have extra great photos for your business that day.

There is no exact science to social media, but by following a few guided rules consistently, social media can really enhance how your business connects with customers. So, if you haven’t joined already become a part of the social network and start making each post count.

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23
Jan

Blogging Recipe

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

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

(Step 1) 2 Tsp of Demographic Research

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

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

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

(Step 3) 4 Cups of Content

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

(Step 4) 1/2 Cup of Branding

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

(Step 5) Mix It

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

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

17
Dec

Marketing Wars: The Brand Awakens

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

Becoming a Marketing Jedi

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

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

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

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

Avoid Stormtrooper Status

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

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

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

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

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

14
Dec

How SEO Stole Christmas

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

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

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

Content that is written two paragraphs too small…

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

A wonderful awful content idea…

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

Maybe SEO means perhaps a little bit more?

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

03
Nov

This is the End… of-Year Marketing Tip

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

#1 Use Your Social Media

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

#2 Spruce Up Your Website

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

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

#3 Bright & Shiny Print Collateral

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

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

28
Oct

Bring Your Brand Back From the Dead…

Not every business can thrive from the start, brand growth takes time, creativity and a heartbeat. So what do you do when you feel your brand is dead? …Wake it up.

#1 Fresh Blood

When your brand’s corpse is rotting on the marketing slab, it might be time to give it some fresh blood, meaning you need to put some life back into it. If your brand is struggling to reach a target audience it may be because it’s key facets are falling flat. Your logo, vision and identity should all carry the same message and reflect the same visual aesthetics in wording and design.

A great design can really make a difference in the livelihood of your brand, so elevate your look, potentially add a more modern feel, and see if the fresh take gives your brand the jolt it’s been needing.

#2 Live Bodies

Loyal customers are the heartbeat of your brand. Without loyalty your brand will not have the backing it needs to survive. So how do you create loyalty? Implementing new marketing initiatives that involve perk programs, discounts, etc. is a great place to start. These types of programs let the bodies know that their investment in your brand matters, and that as a company you are willing to give back.

#3 Haunting Message

As a business owner you want your brand to “haunt” your customers after they leave your store or establishment. Whether it is through a catchy slogan or captivating logo design, it is important to create an emotional connection, so that regardless of where they see your copy or visuals they relate it back to your business in a positive way.

#4 Reach Beyond the Grave

Reaching beyond the grave is where your social media skills will come to life. Social media has become the marketing haven for dying brands looking to move past their fate. It allows you create connections with demographics that your brand may not have previously reached, and is why it is a necessary entity for any business looking to expand their customer base and solidify their place in the visual and social world.

Just because your brand may not seem to have a pulse, it has the chance to live again through a few marketing changes, aesthetic enhancements and defined vision. Don’t wait for the grim reaper to do his bidding, be proactive, pull your brand from the grave and live another day…

07
Oct

“The Importance of Being Updated” (Like the Importance of Being Earnest… haha get it)

Keeping up appearances is a necessary part of being a website owner. Although having a prim & proper exterior is a crucial aspect of your household’s good name, it isn’t the only element that needs adoration.

Maintaining your website will allow it to work to it’s full potential and prevent strife from hitting your business’s beloved marketing tool.

#1 Keep A Watchful Eye on Your Plugins

As an agency that primarily develops with WordPress, plugins are essentially the sugar to your tea. They are added aspects that enhance your website, but also keep it safe from harm. Keeping your plugins up-to-date will do more than help your website run efficiently, but it will keep it in pristine condition so it can deter potential hacking threats.

In the past few years, website hacking has become a burden among the online community that even the smallest of businesses have to be cautious of. Anti-malware plugins and security add-ons will be there to dismiss the less distinguished hacking groups and keep your websites reputation in good standing.

#2 A Good Appearance Will Earn You Good Prospects

Appearances can be everything when it comes to attracting suitable customers. Those who keep their websites up-to-date visually will appeal to new customers looking for a professional and proper business. Now, this doesn’t mean that every trend that comes through the web design world should be added to your site, but if you want to compete for your customer’s hand, than keeping up with the always changing times will be beneficial.

#3 Rules of Engagement

As trends in web design sweep through, so do the rules of your favorite search engines. The top search engines like Google & Bing are constantly changing their algorithms, and your website should abide to their demands. They are the reigning houses in the online community, and their rules trump your outdated design.

If they say “responsive”, your website says “of course, right on it”. Why you ask? If your website doesn’t keep up with the changing rules, it will be sitting alone at the SEO ball. Search engines determine how you are organically ranked, and if you website doesn’t keep up pace than it’s rankings will slip.

It is a complicated world your website takes part in, but you can make sure that it remains at the top of society’s standings by keeping an eye on plugins, trends and the every changing search engine rules…or hire someone (ahem) that will hand all of those things to you on a silver platter.

07
Sep

The Art of Being Cool

It’s hard sometimes… trying to hang with the cool brands. You see them, out there, with their fancy logos and multi-million dollar ad campaigns. As a small business you want to be them, but without a huge budget how can you compete with the existing “cool kids”?

The Art of Being Cool has nothing to do with the amount of money you spend per month on “cool status”, it is about the foundation that you build, the effort you put in and the opinions created by your customers, which doesn’t always mean spending $5,000 on a monthly social media campaign, capeesh? (Yea we still stay capeesh here)

Step 1: Research for Realz

What makes a brand cool? While being cool isn’t an exact science you can take note from other industry leaders. By looking at their brand you can get an idea what customers like about them. Do they have contemporary style that speaks to a demographic or does their content differentiate them from their competition? Your approach should always be original, however, it is okay to utilize what has worked in the past for similar businesses as a foundation as they have already played the game of what works and what doesn’t.

Step 2: Branding Is So Basic… Wait is basic a good thing?

Who knows if being basic is a good thing when it comes to the cool factor, but branding basics are essential to your efforts. First is the brand vision. The actual backbone of your whole branding persona comes from your vision and mission, which includes what it is you do or provide and how it will benefit your customer base. The simpler the better.

Next is the aesthetic aspect of your branding. The logo and brand guide. This is where “cool” comes into play. You can say a lot about a brand through their visuals and is why a great graphic designer will be able to create a persona you are looking to portray.

Step 3: The New Classic

Now that you have the look and can walk the walk, it’s time to see if you can talk the talk. Content & social media can be a game changer when it comes to the evolution of a cool brand. Many business get hung up on social posts and blogs for their website. The pressure of being engaging can sometimes be so much that the content comes across as flat or fake.

Our advice? Be yourself. If you talk to your customers through content as though it were a regular conversation, your posts won’t seem so robotic or generic. The more genuine and “real” you are, the more comfortable your demographic will feel and the more likely they are to see you as a “friend” and not a business that is just trying to sell them a product or service.

Being cool doesn’t happen overnight for a small business, it takes work from you and your customers. So keep their taste in mind and give them a brand to talk about.

28
Aug

Anatomy of the Web Design Vol. 1

The anatomical elements of a website vary depending on the needs of your business. Although every web design is different, their are three vital “organs” that ensure your website is functioning as a whole.

Your Home Page is Where the Heart Is

Considering your “Home” page may be the first interaction your customers or clients have with your business, it is imperative that you put your heart and soul into it. This is the area to not only attract your target audience with aesthetics, but present them with your vision and purpose.

A well designed and professional home page should have a clear focus. Too many times you see a cluttered or overwhelming page that has no direct purpose, so the solution is to have a clean design that is easy to navigate through, showcases your brand’s vision and offers a visually appealing first impression.

About Your Brand’s Internal Qualities

Although your “About” page may not seem like an important aspect of your website, it actually has a huge impact on the value customers place on your business. As a consumer we often look for validation in a company. Do they have experience or are they a qualified provider? These questions often help us determine if as a consumer we want to contact for further information or purchase a product.

So even though you might think this is a wasted page on your website, to your future customers this might be the element that helps them commit to your brand and services.

Contact for Assistance

A “Contact” page is the backbone of your website. The purpose of your site is to attract customers to contact for more information, hence the importance of a page dedicated to this function. An easy to use contact form is the best way to capture leads by email and open a conversation. One thing to keep in mind is to always include your business’s direct contact information, as some individuals like to have a personal interaction straight away instead of utilizing a web-based form.

The anatomy of a web design is simple. Your home page is the heart of the website, the about section serves as an internal function and your contact form is the backbone that’s sole purpose is to generate solid leads. With these core pages present, your website will be strong, healthy and ready to be an active source for your business.

07
Aug

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?