It’s no secret that businesses need to optimize their digital efforts in order to remain relevant and competitive. This means having a mobile-first web strategy, and strong SEO should be second nature by now — allowing you to focus on the next wave of tech trends.
Social Media is a constantly evolving space. It’s hard to keep up with the trends, algorithms, and updates within each app. It’s also hard to keep growing your following, increase engagement, and feel connected to your community.
So what is the key to long-term growth?
Strong brand identity makes it easy to remember when customers are looking for a product or service you market. It increases trust and exponentially increases customer loyalty as customers share in your brand values and goals. A strong brand differentiates you from everyone else in your industry - it allows you to cut above the noise. Ultimately, a strong brand identity means increased profitability and longevity. Do You Know What Benefits Can Be Reaped Your Brand Identity?
From tastes to taste-makers, the culinary industry is always pushing the envelope (or is that napkin?) when it comes to the fresh, the novel, and the innovative. Food is something that we experience in so many different ways - whether it's consuming, preparing, sharing, or even viewing - giving us endless dimensions to explore it. Let's take a look at some of the creative directions the world's gastronomes have taken food in recent years and what lessons we can take from them.
Meeting your customer where they are at has arguably never been easier. The average person in 2020 spent 145 minutes a day on social media. This may not be great news for mental health, but it’s pretty good news for marketers locating their customers.
In addition to spending time online, there are 1 billion messages exchanged between people and businesses every month on Facebook Messenger, and 70% of people expect to message businesses more in the future for customer service questions. As customer expectations increase for businesses' interaction on social media, it’s essential to review your operations.
It looks like we can finally see the end of the COVID tunnel, and it’s just in time for summer! The StellaPopsciles have put together a soundtrack to help turn the heat up and kick off your summer. From 80s classics to today’s top hits, these picks are sure to put you in a sunny mood. Now get ready to find your summer motivation beat, or just sit by the pool sippin’ on a summer cocktail.
So you and your website have been through a lot. Ol' Faithful has been around since you landed that key client, hired your first employees, and started your newsletter. It's treated you well, but maybe, just maybe, it's time to move on.
Look, we know it's easy to get attached to your website. Especially if it's still sending traffic and sales your way. But sometimes, we stick with a good thing long after it's time to move on - often due to sentimentality, inertia, or even uncertainty about what's next.
With 1 billion monthly users, Instagram is no longer an “optional” social media platform for your business. It’s now a necessity—especially if you have products or food to sell. With the latest shopping and food delivery options on the Gram, you can both leverage the power of social media and the convenience of online shopping.
For many people, design is synonymous with appearance. The design of something is what it looks like, right? Well, to some extent, sure. But design goes way beyond just looks: it's also about function and communication. Good design uses visual elements to clearly, appealingly communicate a message or serve a particular function. It should look great but also work well because design that doesn't can have a major impact on the user experience - and your brand.
Every so often the marketing world gets itself a new buzzword. Some stick. Some don't.
Content is king.
And more recently: Surround sound marketing.
Nowadays, the world is truly like a global village. Most people––voluntarily!––share a ton of personal information through social media. Granted, such habits could pose some safety risks. However, it may also have benefits. Intrigued? Keep reading, friends.
What other people say about your business matters. But the new word-of-mouth is all happening online. An incredible 91% of people read online reviews, and 84% give those reviews as much weight as input from their friends. Great reviews are great for business (92% of people will check out a local business with a 4 star or more rating), and bad ones...well, 40% of people will walk away from a business with bad reviews.
Your brand isn’t just that cool business name or that fancy logo. While those things are important, a brand is much more than that. It’s about perception and how your customers view you, view your brand, and view your products. The totality of those perceptions are what make the impressions––both good and bad––that your brand will leave behind, imprinted on their hearts and minds forever. No pressure. While a brand is made up of many things, there are a few key functions that all successful brands have.
A brand is more than a logo or your website's color scheme. It's your business's identity writ large and put out into the world. But that identity doesn't just come out of nowhere. From what you look like to how you sound, your brand's identity is built on top of the scaffolding of a brand strategy - what you stand for, what makes you you, and what kind of success you're reaching for.
Don Draper might be able to pluck a genius idea from the air on demand, but research shows that the rest of us take a while to hit upon concepts, themes, or innovations that will actually land the right way. But as the business world inexorably speeds up and there's increasing pressure to continuously develop new and brilliant ideas while adhering to ever-stricter time and budget limits, we need to create space for our teams to come up with truly great ideas. Because let's face it, when it comes to creative thinking, first in isn't always best dressed.
From Google to social media to TV commercials, we're exposed to thousands of ads every day. We see so many ads that we're almost blind to them. That is until one breaks through the noise and pulls at our heartstrings. Suddenly, we find ourselves tearing up, clicking through, and even making a purchase. What is this phenomenon? Emotional marketing.
You could have the greatest idea for a business, product, or app ever — but if you don't have a strong name to support it, you might struggle to make it a success.
But with so many brands competing for attention and revenue, it can be daunting to even begin thinking about a name. After all, there's more to a brand name than just how it sounds or how much you like it. Read on to learn seven important steps to take when naming your brand.
To achieve solid ROI on your advertising campaigns, you need to be both targeted and ubiquitous. Common wisdom says that it takes 6-8 touches (interactions) for a prospect to hand over money for your product. Basically, by putting your product or service in front of an interested prospect's face multiple times, you'll begin to build recognition, rapport, and trust. Once you've done that, conversion is just a step away.
The best way to be targeted and ubiquitous? Retargeting.
In May 2020, Google announced that if sites wanted a ranking boost, they needed to meet its freshly rolled-out Web Core Vitals. The announcement gave site admins and marketing teams a year to get on top of things, but guess what? Yep, a whole year has passed, and that time is here.
Farmers brand their cattle for a reason: so you'll never mistake one of their herd for someone else's. Every brand is bold, unique, and the sum of years of hard work. It's the same in business. Your brand identity is the equivalent of Farmer Bill's cattle stamp. It's a mark of who you are and who you're not. Cutting corners, compromising, or failing to police how your brand is presented to the world muddies up that brand promise - and your reputation.
When brands talk about social, it's mostly from a communications and marketing perspective. Which posts translate into the most likes? How much content should you create to meet your engagement metrics? Are you visible on all the right channels?
But social offers way more possibilities than ticking off some KPIs in your marketing budget (although those matters too!). Social media has grown to become a massive ecosystem where all of your existing and prospective customers hang out and talk about their interests and concerns, giving you a ton of opportunities to make sure your brand is delivering exactly what the market needs.
One is not like the other—at least that’s how it should be when it comes to your brand. Unfortunately, many brands appear to simply be echoing the landscape around them, virtually drowning themselves in a sea of “not that different.”
We get it, it can be tough to differentiate yourself and your brand when the internet has essentially leveled the playing field for everyone, big and small. You have to crawl and drag yourself from the pit of the deep to make yourself heard above all the noise. No small feat!
Are you sometimes amazed at how accurately you're targeted by ads—especially ads that pop up, say, for a store you're currently in? Of course, we all know that's no mistake. Marketers are getting savvier by the day in how they serve you ads and offers. And what's making that even easier? Geoframing.
Ever wondered about what makes something art and something else design? Basically, art is primarily concerned with aesthetics, and design is about function first. If you're a designer, an amazing-looking chair that you can't actually sit in is a terrible design. But it might just nab an artist a MacArthur Fellowship.
As marketers and advertisers, we aim to create successful campaigns and motivate our target audience to take action. We analyze data, look at market research, and dive deep into how consumers or clients make decisions.
Everyone wants to be the next Apple or Nike. Or so they say. What they really mean is that they want to be as successful, as awe-inspiring and as beloved as Apple or Nike. Because these two brands are irresistible. They’re among just a handful of brands that have superfans – fans that line up for a new product launch or stay up late to watch a new demo.
If you want your brand to be loved, you've to remember your brand-customer relationship is a RELATIONSHIP. Customer loyalty and trust don't just come out of nowhere. Just like your personal relationships aren't guaranteed without a little work. Thus, we can apply The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, albeit creatively, to how your approach connecting with your customers.
No matter how you slice it, catering your business to appeal to repeat customers just makes sense. Though one-offs or “one-night stands” can be fine and infuse some necessary capital into your business during a slow period, ultimately, it’s more costly and less efficient for you to chase after new customers day in and day out.
It's hard for some of us to imagine a world without smartphones, the internet, and social media. Millennials and Generation Zers have always interacted with friends, family, followers, and even their favorite brands online.
Just like these two generations, there are also brands that are digitally native—meaning their business has only existed in the digital world, and their sales are almost entirely made online. Examples include Zappos, Casper, Bombas, and Warby Parker. On the flip side, you have legacy brick-and-mortar brands like Coke, Pepsi, Microsoft, and Nike that have existed for decades and have had to delve into the digital world to remain relevant.
This past year has required consumers to become intimately familiar with digital shopping and services. Even though stringent lockdowns are mostly in the rear window, people have shown a marked change in how they shop, consume content, and connect with people. ScreenTime reports are way up, and people are glued to their inboxes. The upshot? Email marketing is more important than ever - and so is capturing those crucial email addresses.
When making a sale, your customers need to know who you are. Nobody buys your product or service when they can’t find you. And in today’s world, this means visibility. Your customers need to find you online. Sure, it’s worthwhile to have a physical storefront. But—especially in the post-COVID world—most of our interactions are taking place online. This goes for business transactions as well.
Creating an amazing homepage is both an art and an exercise in self-discipline. When you are first setting up a website, it can feel like your homepage is just sitting there like a blank canvas, waiting for you to fill it with “all the things” that make your business the bee's knees.
Rookie mistake, friends.
Your logo design is important. And saying it so simply is such an understatement it feels weird to even state. However, so many young businesses overlook just how important it is. It's not something you can slap together and call it good. Remember, bigger isn't always better. A smart design can make your business stand out more effectively than size.
As we emerge blinking into 2021, we think it's safe to say that we're different people than we were before COVID-19. The human impact of the coronavirus is significant, and as marketers, we want to be attuned to this change so that we can meet people where they are post-isolation. Here are some of the ways we anticipate consumer behavior will be different in 2021, and how brands can bridge the gap.
KISS: keep it simple, stupid. That old phrase is just as relevant today as when it was first trotted out. In fact, it might be even more so. According to a recent study, brands are failing to deliver the simplicity that today's consumers crave. Let's take a look at why simplicity matters, who's getting it right, and how to keep your brand as simple as it can be.
Experiential marketing is about creating a meaningful connection between a brand and its customers. It’s more than just promoting the product or service, it’s designed for customers to actively engage with the brand and the company’s core values. This can look different for every brand, but common tactics are events, pop up stores, and interactive experiences in specific areas. However, what’s typically done in experiential marketing is likely unsafe and unsanitary in the new normal. So how do we adjust?
We’ve been feeling a little extra naughty this year. Maybe it’s the masks, maybe it’s being stuck inside with our family 24/7, or maybe the lack of toilet paper. So, to get through the holidays, StellaPop rounded up a list of their top 8 podcasts. Beware - listening to these podcasts might help land you a spot on the naughty list this year.
Get ready to plug in your headphones and ignore the rest of the world until Christmas.
Whether you are feeling naughty or nice this year we can all use a little extra Christmas magic (since 2020 was the year no one asked for). The StellaPop team put together the ultimate holiday playlist to get you in the spirit.
Now grab some spiked eggnog and sit by the fireplace because it’s time to get festive!
Successful marketing is all about standing out in the right ways. Great creative campaigns are memorable, appealing, relevant, and actionable. They get your brand out there in surprising ways that attract attention and engagement - and inspire sharing and discussion. Here's how to build a creative campaign that's as distinctive as it is unforgettable.
A growing trend among businesses is the use of retail media to influence their customers. This is mainly because brand loyalty is hard to come by.
A Neilson study posits that only 8% of buyers are actually brand loyalists. That means that most purchases these days are decided upon at the point of sale, or at least very near to it. Enter the wielding of retail media tactics to capture those buyers.
We all leaped into 2020 with big ambitions and lofty goals. But this year has thrown all sorts of twists, turns, and surprises at us. If you've fallen short of your resolutions for the year, now's the ideal time to start planning a major comeback for 2021. Not sure where to start? Here's our master list of marketing resolutions for 2021 to set you off on the right foot.
2020's Halloween festivities might be wrapping up, but we're already prepping our costumes, decorations, and content calendars for next year. Like the fiendish killers, fiends and foes who make the spooky season so great, we like to stay a step or two ahead of things, our industry included!
If we've learned anything from the horror films we've been watching this spooky season, it's that the best fictional killers are meticulous planners. If they want to come back for a second or maybe third installment of their franchise, they need to analyze their success rate, improve their methods and, of course, keep tabs on their victims.
We all know that 2020 has brought an onslaught of shifts that we now have to navigate in both our personal and professional aims. Data Privacy isn't a new conversation but is one that Covid-19 has most definitely affected.
As we inch closer to Halloween, we've got all things creepy and kooky on our minds. Among them? Necromancy. Fortunately, in our field, that has less to do with resurrecting dead bodies and more to do with bringing content back from the dead. Here's how and why to give your content a second lease on life.
As Halloween approaches, we're digging deeper into our analysis of humanity's darker side. Today we're going to take a look at what exactly it is that fascinates us about serial killers and why they linger in the collective memory. While we much prefer our content to be killer in the metaphoric sense, we can definitely learn something from the world's "rippers" - real or fictional.
Marketing isn’t a cakewalk! It can be a real slog at times, and you might wonder if all your hard work is really making a difference. Plus, all these new ways to market… it’s not like the old days where you just stuff some mailers, lick envelopes, and say a few Hail Mary’s!
Nothing is for everyone. Even Halloween isn't (although let's face it, the naysayers are wrong.) That same idea holds true for your content. To create truly killer content that gets inside your audience's brains and gives them a chill or two, you need to know who your audience is and how to capture their attention. We do this by fashioning audience personas.
While a strong immune system is one of the population's best bet against viruses, brands need to focus on a similar approach: building up their own immunity. With 55% of temporary business closures since March now permanent, it's clear that COVID-19 presents a serious health risk to the nation's businesses. If the past few months have compromised the health of your brand, here's how to give your business a boost to keep it fighting fit.
As Halloween approaches, we're all embracing our inner spookiness. We want our decorations to induce gasps, our costumes to elicit screams, and our trick or treats to be utterly memorable. But it's not just on Halloween that we should be thinking about making a killer impression. Our brands should be striving to create content that's a total scream all year round. Here's how to create marketing content that will cause a shiver down your fans' spines - and that will give your bottom line a bump in the night.
Social media is bursting with opinions; many of them shared in the 6,000 tweets we send a second. But Twitter barely scratches the social media opinion-sharing iceberg. About 500,000 of us browse Instagram every day, and when we're not doing that, we're watching 1 billion hours worth of YouTube videos. That doesn't even count all the commenting, sharing, hashtagging, and tagging what we're doing across the half dozen social platforms we're active on. To put it bluntly, social media is where all the important conversations are happening. And it's vital that your brand makes an effort to hear and respond to what users are saying about you, your industry, or your competitors.
Marketing strategies look different based on a variety of factors– the size of a company, its goals, target audience, whether it’s B2B or B2C… the list goes on. However, one thing that should stay the same no matter what kind of business is being run is the presence of a brand style guide.
If you've spent any amount of time managing people, you've probably come to the conclusion that creative people are wired differently. While there may be the odd unicorn who is happy to abide by workflows and Excel spreadsheets, creatives are usually happiest in a less structured, regimented environment. Here's how to create an environment that lets your creative team thrive while also ensuring all that big picture thinking results in something real and tangible.
There's no question that podcasts are popular, and the podcast listening demographic is on the rise, particularly during this Covid-19 pandemic. Podcasts are popular because they give listeners a way to consume information that doesn't require them to read or keep their eyes on a screen. They can simply tune in and listen, whether it's from their cell phone, their car on a long commute, working out, or catching up on household chores. In short, it's convenient!
In life, and in business, you can only get so far when you go it alone. Even sharks, those fearsome creatures of the deep, have developed a mutually beneficial relationship with a species of fish called the remora, which swims alongside - or even attaches itself to - the shark—both species benefit. The remoras get transportation and a free meal, while the sharks enjoy free grooming.
“Fish are friends, not food.”
The famous line from Disney’s Finding Nemo comes from a great white shark named Bruce. He’s befriended Nemo, a tiny clownfish. An unlikely partnership, but Bruce has done wonders for sharks, now they suddenly have an ally, making us wonder– are all sharks bad? Maybe they’re friendly?
When you launched your business, one of the first things you probably did was spin up a website. Though it's served you well since then, we're willing to bet that it's chugging on a little slow these days - and maybe developed the digital equivalent of a few leaks. If you want an online presence that can help you swim with the apex predators in your industry, it's time to upgrade from the digital equivalent of a dinghy to a boat with all the bells and whistles. Or, to paraphrase Roy Schneider's famous Jaws line, you're gonna need a bigger website.
Everyone loves killer creative. But creative on its own can only do so much. Having no end game in mind when crafting your creative results in lost conversions, missed opportunities, and tactics whose impact you just can't verify. No shark sets off into prey-filled waters without a plan, and neither should you. Here's why your company needs a strategic marketing plan - and how to build one.
Stealthy, sneaky, and all about the ambush, sharks rely on catching their prey unawares. As marketers, we see something familiar in those sharktastic tactics. They way sharks hunt has a lot in common with guerilla marketing, a kind of surprising, unconventional marketing that pops up out of nowhere and sticks in your mind. No wonder Discovery's Shark Week is so big on the idea.
Whether you’re a fan of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week or not, we can most likely agree on one thing– it’s a highly anticipated event! For over three decades, they’ve attracted millions of viewers, and each year people come back for more. But aside from the amazing content produced, what contributes to Shark Week’s success? Marketing. Taking inspiration from Shark Week, let’s dive in (pun intended) to understanding how to build excitement with your marketing.
Shark Week, the Discovery Channel's week-long celebration of the ocean's most fearsome, toothsome creatures, has been racking up record views since 1987. Each year, millions of viewers tune in to check out these silent killers from the safety of their television set or mobile device, with the show has become such a phenomenon that it's inspired countless ads and plenty of Twitter #trendingtopics.
Google My Business is the online equivalent of a phone book listing. It tells customers who you are, where to find you, what your opening hours are, and how to get in touch. But My Business goes well beyond the typical phone book advert. In addition to serving up the basics about your business, it can be configured with photos, menus or services lists, and FAQs.
Though we are living in trying times, and there are a lot of things that seem beyond the scope of our control, it’s more important than ever to focus on what we can control.
COVID-19 has reshaped how the world does - and thinks about - business. For the past few months, brands have been navigating shutdowns, lockdowns, shifting market forces, and drastically changing budgets and personnel requirements. But now that there's light at the end of the tunnel, it's time for your brand to shift its mindset from surviving to thriving. Here's how.
In the digital realm, plenty of things are a mere flash in the pan: the viral hits, the trending topics, the memes, and the April Fool's Day pranks. Those are all great for a quick burst of traffic, but they don't necessarily have staying power. Evergreen content, on the other hand, keeps driving traffic to your page in the long term - and it's critical to a powerful content marketing strategy.
Having a powerful personal brand not only opens up new professional opportunities, but it can also give the brands you work for - or with - a boost. But your brand is only as powerful as how visible it is. And these days, brand visibility is closely linked to your online presence. This is why it's vital to ensure that your personal branding strategy includes an on-brand, authoritative website for easy perusal by potential clients, collaborators, investors, or members of the media.
Marketing in the finance world can be a tough job, especially if you're marketing financial services. Younger customers are wary of traditional banks, inexperienced when it comes to investing, and unimpressed by insurance. But all is not lost. If you're determined to connect with potential customers, here's what to keep in mind.
As a small business, you know how important it is to build your brand. Getting the word out there is vital, but so is figuring out what exactly that word is. And the more you try to do one, the more you realize that you need to get the other figured out. Welcome to the complementary, symbiotic concepts of branding and marketing!
If you're a little fuzzy on the difference between the two, don't worry: you're not alone. Even the most seasoned business owners sometimes struggle to figure out where one ends, and the other begins. That's why we've written this primer for you.
The world might be on pause, but your brand shouldn't be. In fact, now is an ideal time to push your brand forward with a brand update, refresh, or overhaul. By using these quieter times to revamp your brand identity or refocus your positioning, you can emerge from lockdown with a fresh, up-to-date brand that grabs consumers' attention in all the right ways. Here's what we anticipate to be the top branding trends of 2020 and beyond.
Much of the country might still be on lockdown during COVID-19, but your brand doesn't have to be. We get that it's unnerving to dip a marketing toe into the ever-shifting waters of our times and that your instinct might be to "go dark" until things feel more certain, but that's the last thing you should be doing. Now is the time to dig in and push forward so that you're in a strong place to weather any market shifts. Here's how.
It happens to the best of us: you spend all that time and effort growing your business, and suddenly you've outgrown your brand. Maybe you've refocused your service offering. Perhaps you've narrowed in on a new audience. Maybe you're doing everything right - but your competitors are doing it better. Or it could be that COVID-19 has got you rethinking who you are and what you stand for.
Calling all coffee lovers! It’s finally here - the fuel that will ignite the fire that burns inside all of us. Our first passion gets us up in the morning. Our second passion keeps us up.
Starterfluid Coffee is a heart-pounding, mind-sharpening, sleep-scaring fuel like the world's never seen before, but sorely wishes it had. Because if history had run on Starterfluid all those what-ifs and could be’s would be done and dusted.
Click Here. Learn More. Buy Now. There are so many different ways to craft a call to action (CTA), but not all are created equal. And there's actually a lot more thought put into them than you might think. Many companies test and retest CTAs to come up with the ones that convert the most successfully.
It goes without saying that our event and professional development calendars are looking very different these days. All those in-person conferences, workshops, and classes are now taking place online, which means a tremendous shift in how they're delivered. Instructors and mediators are working hard to figure out how to create a community amongst remote participants - not to mention how to create a sense of hands-on immediacy in a virtual environment.
Today's brands are expected to do more than simply sell products or services. Their audiences want them to stand behind particular ideals or beliefs, and to use their reach, clout, and resources to effect change in the world. And not just in the vague "help the planet" or "be kind" way that so many brands have relied on in the past. As the world has become more politicized and divided, and as income, class and racial disparities have become more evident, consumers want brands to openly and assertively stand behind the things that matter to them.
In a perfect world, you build it, and they come. But business owners (and marketers) know all too well life isn't as easy as that. It takes time for a customer to move from the notion that they might want to buy something to the step of actually buying it. Brands need to make an ongoing, dedicated effort to courting customers in order to make that coveted sale. Enter the marketing funnel.
From the Curiosity Rover to singing astronaut Chris Hadfield to the recent SpaceX launch, NASA is never far from our newsfeeds. And with a whopping 58.2M followers on IG, 37M followers on Twitter, and 22.5M likes on Facebook, it's a staple of our social media accounts as well. Let's take a look at what makes NASA an enduring, inspiring presence that the world wants to get behind - and how you can use those same ideas to launch your business into the stratosphere.
What do successful businesses have in common with ballerinas?
What can entrepreneurs learn from basketball players that might help their companies survive and even thrive amid devastating worldwide health and financial crisis?
It’s called the pivot.
If you have a little more downtime on your hands than usual, or you're starting to prepare to open back up for business. Now's the time to knuckle down and get ahead on those marketing tasks that you don't usually have the time to attend to. The hard work you put in now will pay dividends when the country reopens for business.
With the work from home world slowly transitioning to a new reality and restaurants closed to sit-down dining. Everyone is spending much of their time indoors, and we're learning to appreciate the lost art of cooking. Turns out, all that time in our prior lives spent watching the Food Network is finally coming in handy. But that's because food isn't just about food; it never has been. Food is about comfort, coming together, trying new things, and exploring the world through taste. At its heart, cooking is a creative act - and a powerful (and tasty) way to keep your creative juices flowing during the lockdown.
COVID-19 has ushered in new ways of living, working - and spending. With the majority of the nation currently under lockdown, non-essential businesses closed, and huge levels of uncertainty around the future of work and the economy, consumer mindsets are drastically shifting.
Life is anything but business as usual right now. Chances are that your plans and goals for the year are swiftly becoming unmoored as shutdowns continue, clients slash budgets, and your usual channels for getting the word out become less viable.
This COVID-19 thing is putting a monkey wrench in all the plans for businesses everywhere. For that reason alone, it’s important to keep your website updated regularly to reflect the most current situation. Things are changing quickly these days, and while it might feel like a hassle to constantly update your site with new information, in the long run, it will only help your business succeed and stay afloat during these uncertain times. Below are a few tips to help you stay current with your website.
Everyone has been helping to do their part and social distancing to help flatten the curve. However, with being at home for almost 2 months, almost everyone is starting to feel a little stir crazy and could use a little pick-me-up.
Mother's Day is about more than flowers and chocolates. It's about celebrating the women who shaped us into who we are - and whose lessons and advice influence how we live and work. Here are some of the life lessons from Mom that have turned out to be invaluable in our marketing careers.
May 4-8 is Teacher Appreciation Week, which has us reflecting on all the wisdom our teachers imparted on us during our school days - and continue to as they oversee our homeschooling efforts during these testing COVID times. In fact, we'd love to give a shout-out to every one of the nation's smart, dedicated, savvy teachers. Because teachers aren't just the great unsung heroes of our society. They're also one of our biggest inspirations as marketers. Here are just some of the ways that's true.
There’s no denying it anymore. A product that’s beautifully crafted and designed sells itself; no heavy lifting required. On the other hand, a poorly designed product can leave you dead in the water. If you value your bottom line, you cannot disvalue design. Just look around you at a few well-known brands.
Creativity is a key factor in business success. Creative minds are able to bring together ideas and concepts in the novel, engaging ways, with the results being unique brands, incredible innovations, and unbeatable market positioning. However, when you spend your days behind a desk, it's easy for those creative muscles to atrophy.
Here's how to channel your inner creativity.
With almost all workplace activity has shifted online, and social media engagement way up, keeping your brand active on social is more vital than ever. With that said, brands need to ensure that their approach to social considers the impact of coronavirus on how we live and work - and is sensitive to that at all times.
If your business is shuttered or facing reduced interest due to the impact of COVID-19, your social media presence may be the last thing on your mind. But now, more than ever, your social media presence matters. That's because social media engagement is spiking across almost all platforms. TikTok and Snapchat usage are up 47% and 18.5%, respectively, with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all seeing an increase in interest of about 15%.
Productivity is a powerful metric in today's workplaces. It's also something we incessantly strive for. There are myriad articles, tools, and even startups designed to help us optimize every moment of our working, and waking, day. But productivity isn't the only marker of a day well spent. In fact, sometimes being overly productive can lead to major gaps in how you think and work. The most commonly identified gap? Creativity and everything related to it.
Social distancing has given us an unlikely star: the Tiger King. A trending topic all over social media, this eponymous star of a new Netflix series has captured the imaginations of the world's quarantined populace. With his blond mullet, sparkly jackets, and unfettered self-belief - culminating in an attempt to run for President - Tiger King is a big, bold, strange and yet somehow captivating personality.
Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you haven’t. Boiled down into a nutshell, it’s the process of the tactics and strategies you use to position yourself a certain way in the minds of your customers. It’s the message and story you tell that reveals who you are as a company.
Design isn't just about creating things that look good. It's about solving a problem in an appealing, functional way. And according to McKinsey's recent report The Business Value of Design, it's a good business idea. Their research indicates that businesses that invest in design thinking are twice as successful as those who don't.
The challenge, however, is in being able to demonstrate the value of design. While many designers and companies are aware of the ROI that great design brings, selling it to consumers - or even to higher ups - isn't always so easy.
The Novel Coronavirus is rapidly spreading around the world, sickening hundreds of thousands and killing thousands. On US shores, multiple states have declared a state of emergency due to the virus. In addition to its medical impact, we're also seeing an incredible economic one. Supply chains have been disrupted, the market is in free fall, major events are being canceled, and small businesses are struggling.
The speed at which the virus has thrown our lives into upheaval shows just how important it is to have a corporate crisis response ready to go. Here's how to approach yours.
For years now the public conversation has been focused around "disruptors" - brands that seek to become market leaders through a powerful USP. They're different from disruptors. The conversation is shifting towards a new type of powerhouse: the challenger brand.
A challenger brand is a mission-driven company that sets itself apart with a vision for improving things for the customer. It's less about a winner-takes-all competition mindset and more about progressing the category. Challenger brands challenge ideas or processes, not just other companies, as disruptors do. They're about challenging a what, not a who.
Despite the pervasiveness of social media, it can still be daunting for some businesses to fully leverage it for marketing purposes. This can be especially true for government contractors. But no matter how intimidating, the benefits of social media marketing can't — and shouldn't — be ignored.
Let's look at some key reasons why social media should play a key role in any government contractor's marketing strategy.
Building a great brand requires ongoing work. That's because success is a moving target. Business growth and market shifts impact the overall trajectory of your business, requiring you to adjust and adapt. If your business is losing customers or seeing a drop in sales or revenue, it's time to think about a brand audit.
Marketing metrics have moved beyond clicks and impressions and towards attention metrics. Attention metrics measure how a user is engaging with your content. Likes and shares are indicators of engagement; comments are an even better one. Then there are the micro indicators, such as scrolling, tilting a phone, swiping or completing/rewatching a video.
Raise your hand if when AI entered the everyday home and workplace, all you could think about was Disney Channel's Smart House and the AI system overtaking the family and losing it? Or perhaps the 2001 movie AI that was just a little bit creepy? Anybody?
We've more than entered an age of AI where it doesn't just exist in the plot of sci-fi movies. People are using AI products and services in every part of their daily lives - both at home and at work.
There’s no denying that making, well, just about everything a service these days is a “thing.” From productivity and platforms to identify and infrastructure, XaaS (affectionately dubbed—you guessed it—everything-as-a-service) is a market that’s expanding rapidly.
Gartner predicts that public cloud services worldwide will grow by as much as 17% this year. That means numbers growth from $227.8 billion to $266.4 billion overall, with cloud app services and SaaS brands accounting for $116 billion of that number all on their own.
Businesses know that websites are a critically important piece of marketing collateral. The digital equivalent of a business card, they serve to validate you as a business, while also generating trust, reliability, credibility and even sales. Your website is where people will arrive after Googling you or meeting you at a conference. And they can be the make-or-break between someone choosing you or a competitor. While the initial outlay for a small business website can seem hefty, a well-designed, strategically crafted website will recoup every penny.
When you begin to develop your marketing campaign, you'll start with your objective of the campaign.
- Are you looking primarily to create brand awareness?
- Are you launching a new product? Trying to improves sales?
- Are you targeting a new customer? Trying to improve your relationship with your current customers?
Whatever your objective is of your campaign will determine how you handle each marketing touchpoint.
Integrated marketing strategy. Your team comes in saying they want to develop a truly integrated marketing campaign. It'll produce results. It'll create brand recognition, lead to better cost management and ultimately make more impactful connections with customers. It's all so exciting.
Magic words are one thing, but brand focus is one of the most important concepts in business marketing. However, it's one that brands are often leery of. This is because brand owners think "focus", they worry that they're giving up potential sales and profits by narrowing their offering. Focus goes against our natural inclination to cast a wide net and capture as wide an audience as possible.
But successful brands know that the danger isn't in being too focused, but rather in being not focused enough.
We’ve moved from a one-size-fits-all economy to a mass customization economy, and we can examine the effects in many different aspects of business. The attention of marketing has since shifted from features to benefits, to experience, to tribal identification.
Selling has evolved from “what it has” to “what it does” to “what you’ll feel” to “who you are.” For certain industries, features and benefits are still extremely important— however, personal identity is on its way to surpassing them. A consumer’s personal identity and the brands they choose now go hand and hand.
First, facts. You are constantly creating and casting vision, whether you’re aware of it or not. Humans are born creators, we create everywhere we go, by the very thoughts we think and the beliefs we believe. However, if you’re not paying attention, or establishing a creative vision intentionally, there’s really no telling where you might end up! It certainly won’t help you plan the trajectory of your business and brand.
Are your marketing campaigns falling on deaf ears? No matter how good your campaign is, it won't succeed unless you're targeting the right audience in the right way. That's where buyer personas come in. Buyer personas give you the information you need to make better decisions around how and where to reach your ideal audience. Without them, you're simply gambling your hard-earned money on campaigns with questionable ROI.
Here's how buyer personas can help you break through the noise in order to reach your target audience and convince them to make a purchase.
In the age of the Internet, social media, and smartphones, one could almost believe such a statement to be true. However, there’s something to be said for going old school on occasion. The simple truth is that not everyone is Internet and media savvy.
In the same way, there are readers in the world who prefer a real book to an eBook, something they can hold in their hands, even sniff if they want to—there are people who prefer real mail. They want to check the mailbox, not an inbox. They enjoy receiving something they can look over and hold in their hands.
As you browse the internet, you probably get annoyed by intrusive display ads. You might even ignore them completely. And you're not alone: A study found that 86% of consumers suffer from "banner blindness" – where they can't even recall the last banner ad they saw. And these days, a lot of people are going out of their way to avoid display ads by using ad blockers.
Christmas is without a doubt one of the greatest stories ever told. It has been passed along through thousands of years, told by both oral and written traditions and has withstood the sands of time. Was Jesus secretly a Branding Genius? We’d say so!
Why is the Christmas story so memorable? A large part is because simply put, stories stick. Stories have staying power. Even bad ones!
‘People think in stories, not statistics.’ - Ariana Huffington
Whether you are trying to appeal to a consumer, a colleague, or a client, stories are an influential tool. People naturally listen, respond, and remember them (especially more than facts and stats). Stories are passed on again and again, and in business, they can be used to help drive you forward. Uri Hasses of Princeton, studied the brain activity of audiences as they listened to a speaker tell a story and the results showed that the speaker and the listener had very similar brain activity. Research suggests that stories can affect employee performance, by allowing them to think, feel, and respond the same way as a character in a story.
Ah, that satisfying thump you get when you set your marketing materials down on the table at a meeting. "Thump value," as it's known in the industry, arises when you've developed a suite of quality, on-brand materials that you can use to impress prospective clients, customers or vendors. Together these say that you're here, you mean business, and you know what you're doing.
Let's explore what it takes to maximize your thump value.
The new year is fast approaching, and we all know what that means: new year's resolutions. It's a time to reflect on the last 12 months and make new goals. But it doesn't all have to be about more gym time and fewer carbs — this is the perfect opportunity to step back and assess your marketing efforts.
As you take stock of your company's marketing practices, be honest. What's holding you back from improving your customer attraction, engagement, and conversion? What could you be doing better?
We have a few ideas for marketing goals to set in 2020.
A brand isn’t just about an image, pretty colors on a website or a cool logo. A brand is also about the message, emotions, and value you create for your customers and clients. Every company or brand starts because they want to solve a problem, fill a void, or make something better.
Do you know what your brand's fundamental purpose is? Do your employees? Your company and brand should be built upon your purpose. Having a solid purpose, and knowing what it is, can be a major factor in the overall performance of your business.
Here's how to identify and lead with your brand's purpose.
Welcome to the digital age in which Google is the yellow pages, Facebook is your billboard on the highway and Youtube is our television.
For the consumer, these entities are all tools and points of access to anything and everything they want. For the business owner, these are the platforms in which you can reach your potential customer.
Your brand's marketing mix is like the legs of a stool. Every leg is important. They all support the same thing and you need them all in order to hold it up. Your brand might not have all the same legs as another stool but it should definitely have more than one - you can't stand up a stool by relying on just one leg.
Let's go over some of the most valuable marketing 'legs'
Are you struggling to generate new leads or garner first-time customers? If so, you might have a discoverability problem. What does that mean? Quite simply, people can't find you online and may not even know you exist.
Boosting your visibility is a critical component of increasing sales and growing your business, and there are a number of ways to go about it. Read on to learn how to improve your discoverability!
Topics: Digital Marketing
Google BERT has been dubbed, "Google's biggest change in 5 years," and "One that will impact one in ten searches." But what exactly is it?
Rolled out on October 25, Google BERT is a deep learning-powered Natural Language Processing (NLP) model designed to help Google better understand language in order to serve more relevant results. Rather than returning results based on search strings, it looks at the relationship between the words in a sentence and at the wider context of a search.
The pharmacovigilance industry is poised to grow into an $8 billion market by 2024. That’s a massive increase of over 10 percent since 2017. And that means two things. First, there’s money in this industry. And second, it's going to become more competitive.
And when there’s more competition, companies need to work harder to reach their audiences. That requires marketing. But it requires more and better marketing than what most companies are doing right now. Here's why your organization needs to up its game.
You already do a lot to effectively market your company: You're on social media. You have a blog. You produce videos. Your email marketing program is humming along. But have you ever considered podcasting?
You might say this sounds like a difficult endeavor that would take too much time and resources. Besides, it's out of your comfort zone and you probably couldn't garner enough listeners to make it worth it.
But to that, we say, not so fast! There are a number of reasons why podcasts are a powerful marketing tool and why they're not actually as daunting as you might think.
If you haven’t bothered developing a monthly content marketing strategy, we daresay, you’re behind in the times. However, you can’t just create content willy-nilly. There is no true success without a solid strategy, and strategy requires forethought, not mere execution. Without a strategy, creating content is a waste of time.
Creating a strategy to produce regular marketing content that engages and connects with your prospects is like making a plan to fill your car up with gas each week. Fail to fill, and you might find yourself stranded on the side of the road somewhere.
Most high-performing businesses spare no shortage of time and effort in developing a viable business strategy, and a hard-hitting brand strategy to support it. But what about a creative strategy? Too often brands conflate brand and creative strategies, robbing their business of either destination or approach. The businesses that truly succeed are the ones that complement their brand strategy with a creative one.
Content marketing is king, but especially when the right people are creating it. In today's media landscape, those people are users. In fact, both brands and consumers agree that user-generated content (UGC) is more influential than those created by brands. The reason? UGC is authentic, engaging and helps humanize brands. It's created by fans who want to give brands a boost.
UGC runs the whole gamut of media: blog posts, pictures, videos, Tweets, testimonials, reviews, and customer feedback. The possibilities for brands are huge, but too often brands fall short when it comes to fostering this content.
Creativity underpins the success of any profitable brand, even those not usually considered to be in a creative niche. The reason for this is that the thoughtful application of new ideas is critical to a business being able to improve its processes, offerings, and profitability. Creativity in business is about more than invention. It's about innovating: taking an invention or idea and incorporating it into your business model.
As you're looking for investments, you may be tempted to focus on your priorities versus those you're seeking investment from. This temptation comes from the very human habit of viewing the world from your standing point, versus that of the person next to you.
When you're pitching to venture capitalists - be it an individual or a firm - you can't afford to ignore their priorities for investment.
Let's say you just crafted a perfect email to your customers. It's clever, exciting, and beautifully designed. But what if that email doesn't get delivered to 50 percent of your list? That's frustrating, to say the least.
But how could that happen? It could be that your email sender reputation isn't up to snuff. Let's explore the factors that can impact your email delivery rate and how to boost your chances to get those important messages into inboxes.
Being a brand today is like being a senior in college: you're constantly working at staying socially relevant as new classes come up. Not only is the market moving at a faster pace, but consumers have heightened, more sophisticated expectations of brands. To stay top-of-mind, your brand needs to evolve in a way that differentiates you from competitors while meeting the needs of customers, all without losing your established identity and credibility.
There are a few courses of action your brand can take to stay relevant in 2019.
With everyone and their brother using social media these days, standing out can be a challenge. If you want your business to be noticed on sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, you'll want to mix it up and stay on top of the latest trends.
Below are three ways to liven up your feeds and keep your audience engaged.
The days of one-size-fits-all are long gone. Custom, create your own and modify are now common options on menus of products. The "Chipotle-style" of restaurants where you create your order based on available ingredients are commonplace. Consumers now expect tailored experiences adjusted to suit their specific needs, tastes and interests. To meet those expectations, today's brands need to adjust their product and service offerings accordingly.
While much has been made of the idea of personalization, today's businesses should be focused instead of customization. Let's take a look at what this entails and how it can be achieved.
Despite the rise and success of social media, email campaigns are still a highly effective marketing tool. They give you a chance to reach your audiences based on where they are in the customer lifecycle, which is a key strategy to keep them engaged and coming back. Of course, you don't have the time to be manually pushing "send" on hundreds of emails every day. That's where email automation comes in.
Let's explore four key types of automated email campaigns you should be running.
Brand marketing is like a car: it's a handy tool that ticks along, getting you to where you need to be. You only realize how much you rely on it when it's out of action. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to set and forget your marketing approach, assuming that since it's working today it'll be working tomorrow.
Like any vehicle, your marketing plan needs regular TLC. Just as you wouldn't want to forego your regular tuneups, you don't want to skip out on the care and maintenance of your marketing efforts. Sure, you might be able to get away with it in the short term, but sooner or later wear and tear will start to rear its ugly head. And the repair costs will pile up.
In the last few months, how many Shark Week articles have you seen popping up? My guess is if you've been online, you've seen at least a whispering of Shark Week since about mid-July.
From its first launch in 1988, Shark Week has been a hit. And in 2019 it seems to still be gaining momentum as it's adapted to new methods of marketing and technology.
This year, Discovery Channel saw a 109.2% increase in their primetime TV ad impressions compared to the week before Shark Week (iSpot.tv). Then on Thursday (Aug 1st), a prime television slot, Discovery ranked three out of the top five rated shows with Monster Mako: Predator, Great White Kill Zone and Return to Shark Island (The Neilson Company).
Being successful in business is all about solving problems, whether it's for your customers, staff or stakeholders. Every new proposal, plan or initiative should arise from an identified business need.
The same is true of marketing. It can be easy to think of marketing as a "fluffy" creative endeavor whose impact is difficult to quantify. But this is a misnomer. Good marketing is all about solving business problems.
Let's take a look at some of the business challenges that marketing can be used to address.
Bravery is quite the buzzword in marketing and advertising these days. People talk about being brave and fearless, but the reality is that bravery goes hand in hand with fear. To be brave actually means to step out into something, to take a risk, in spite of fear… not to take a risk with an absence of fear. If there’s no fear involved, is the step you’re taking really a risk? Probably not. Ergo, it’s probably not all that brave either. What are you afraid of?
When you think of Instagram, what comes to mind? Puppies? Brunch pics? Perfectly composed selfies? While this is all accurate, The Gram can actually be a powerful marketing tool for businesses. And yes, animals and food can be part of your strategy, but there's a whole lot more to consider.
Before You Start Posting
Outline your intentions
As is the case with any marketing initiative, you'll first want to sit down and set some goals. Ask yourself what you're trying to achieve with Instagram – do you want more sales? Engagement? Awareness? Followers? Setting goals is important because it informs the content you publish on Instagram.
Topics: Social Media
You've spent countless time and energy perfecting your product, and now it's time to send it out into the world. But what kind of packaging will it be presented in? Of course, you want to keep it safe and secure. But beyond that, you want the packaging to be an extension of your brand – representing who you are as a company.
As a business leader, giving talks and presentations is par for the course. But one bugbear that even the most experienced speaker tends to struggle with is the infamous Powerpoint presentation. Used well, Powerpoint can be an effective tool for engaging your audience and illustrating your point. But all too often these slideshows become unwieldy, repetitive and text-heavy. The outcome is a presentation where your audience is focusing on what's on the screen rather than what you're saying - or worse, they're nodding off.
Google makes the rules and we live to follow them.
Below are 7 things to AVOID doing, so you can stay on Google’s good side and rank high in their search results.
1. Absolutely "no thin" content.
A common practice among site owners trying to manipulate search results is to create thousands of pages targeting a different keyword search term and having very little useful content for its visitor. If a webpage's content consists of a short paragraph of text with a search term used abundantly within the text, it's not very useful to a visitor and is not worthy of a good ranking.
A solid content calendar is critical to the success of your company's content marketing program. And there's no one better to prepare that content than your employees. They know the information your customers want to know, and what kind of questions are being asked of you. Blogging is also a great way to keep your employees on top of industry news and trends.
Unfortunately, actually getting your employees to write those blog posts can be like pulling teeth. Even assigning blog posts to specific employees often doesn't help. Too often they struggle with motivation, with structuring their posts, and with writing something that doesn't require multiple rounds of revisions.
In today's increasingly competitive business world, it's becoming more and more essential to truly connect with customers, stand out from the crowd and create a brand that is memorable.
Think about sports mascots. Every college has them, as do many great brands. We're not saying you have to have a mascot to be a great brand with bandwagon fans, but we are saying you can learn some lessons from them. After all, they are one of the few branding tools that have withstood the test of time.
If you know anything at all about marketing in today’s technological landscape, you probably already know that having an email list is imperative. There’s just no getting around that fact that most of the world today communicates through a screen.
Even more important is having an email list that’s engaged, with people that actually want to receive your emails. That’s no small feat in an era of too much information and inbox overwhelm. So how does one go about building such a holy grail of modern-day marketing? There are several ways actually and implementing a few of them at once will likely give you the best results.
While there are various studies looking to determine exactly how many hours a day the average person spends on their phone, they all draw a similar conclusion – around 3.5 to 4 hours. That's nearly a quarter of time spent awake, not to mention phones are usually the last thing we connect with before falling asleep.
What does this mean for businesses?
It means everything must be designed with mobile in mind. There's a very high chance that when your target market sees your website, e-newsletter, or digital advertisement, it will be from their phone or tablet. So from marketing strategies to user experience, to graphics, mobile design needs to be a priority.
Good news! This shocking amount of 'screen-time' = a massive opportunity for your business to shine and to connect – as long as you're thinking ahead and staying up to date on trends in the mobile design world.
The commercial real estate business has been making some huge changes and is flexing some market muscle when it comes to end-user innovation. There are so many different office space configurations and ways to lease those spaces it can be hard to keep up.
Really, it's almost crazy. There are more options than ever for business owners to get into real estate space and each seems to be uniquely oriented toward each a specific niche.
There are traditional long-term and short-term office leases, service agreements, coworking, flex office spaces, and the list just keeps growing.
Thanks to Marie Kondo, people across the world have been asking themselves, "Does this spark joy?" And if the answer is no, the item goes out the door. She has taught us to tidy up not just our homes, but our lives.
So what does this have to do with marketing? We can learn a lot from this philosophy of simplicity. Marketing designers often reference KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid. It's a little more brash than Marie Kondo's advice but expresses the same important idea: that many times, less is more.
What do you know about typography? When it comes to branding, typography matters quite a bit. The typeface, negative space, alignment, height...it all communicates subtle messages to your customers.
It's the body language of words. As an element of design, it can be used to guide the eye, giving visual cues. Which, in turn, is why it's important to pay attention to since it can easily turn into a hot mess.
Hey, Alexa/Siri/Google/Allegra/WhateverYourName Is! How do I get you to find my content?
AI assistants and smart speakers are growing rapidly in popularity. Currently, at least one in six Americans are using a smart speaker, and it's estimated that about 8 billion voice assistants will be in use by 2023. This means that people are starting to replace their traditional internet searches with voice search. In fact, Gartner predicts that 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen by 2020.
In the big world of government contracting, many contractors are beginning to realize the necessity of social media marketing in getting attention, messaging, and building relationships with government decision makers. If you haven't already built a strong system of communication tools, including a robust social media strategy, now is the time to get going.
Here are eight steps to getting started:
Establishing and evaluating metrics for your business campaigns require a solid understanding of the differences between quality and quantity. The debate is age-old. Is it better to have a ton of web traffic and eyes, or better to have less traffic and eyes, but more sales and conversions? Some camps will tell you quantity is always better, whereas others believe quality is paramount. After all, isn’t the sale the whole point? Well, yes, and no.
You’re ready to start investing a solid monthly budget in content marketing for your business.
It might be because you’ve been told a good content marketing strategy is going to increase traffic on your website and leads for your business.
Maybe you like the idea of establishing yourself as an authority in your industry and know a quality blog can do just that.
Perhaps you’re BIG on meeting your customers where they spend their time so you know your business needs to find a way to be on social media.
Regardless, you know not only is content marketing a thing, it’s THE THING.
And if you don’t know it yet...well we're telling you now.
In marketing, rules constantly change as advertisers and businesses discover new and fresh ways to market to their right people, and consumers respond, react, and engage with their favorite brands. One strategy that’s getting bigger is experiential marketing.
You might get the gist just from the name, but basically, you’re creating an ad strategy that helps consumers experience your brand. Some call it an immersive experience, while others call it engagement marketing.
Whatever you call it, think of it like this. Why listen to your favorite singer on YouTube if you can see them live, in action? Because we all know there’s something special about seeing a live show that you just can’t convey adequately through a video or an mp3. It’s immersive, and you have to experience it firsthand to really get the full effect.
Have you ever landed on a website and immediately felt turned off? Sometimes it's really obviously chaotic and overwhelming, other times it just feels out of place or even is disorienting. In all likelihood, you left the website. Plus, you probably didn't bother to look at whatever product or service that brought you to the website in the first place.
We live in an increasingly visual world, and looking the part is critical to thriving in the market. Today's consumers are highly informed when it comes to design and branding, meaning that they'll approach your brand with a sophisticated set of notions and assumptions. To survive market disruption, your brand needs to look great - and it needs to reflect what you do and who you are.
Here's what your brand's visual identity needs to deliver.
In the era of social media and digital marketing, email lists may seem like an old-fashioned marketing strategy, but there’s no denying the results that occur when a budding brand or business successfully rolls out a stellar email marketing campaign.
Being able to target your audience by directing your copy straight into their inboxes is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get your point across.
If you’re venturing into the big bad world of online or b2b marketing, there’s no better way to start growing your business than developing a solid email strategy. And the secret to any great email campaign starts with developing and build a solid email list.
Topics: Digital Marketing
Everyone wants their content to go viral. It's the dream! But is that something you can really do on purpose? Maybe, maybe not. But one thing is for sure: If you want your content to be shared, there are several strategies you can employ.
Keep in mind that just because you have high traffic to your website, blog, or social media channel doesn't mean that your content is actually being shared. And sharing should be a top goal, as it immediately amplifies your audience – for free.
Below are eight ways to pump up the shareability of your content.
Good web design makes for a user experience that's appealing, intuitive and engaging. It's the difference between a site that converts and one that doesn't. With 88% of users refusing to return to a site after a poor experience, building a site that meets today's web design standards is a must.
Here are the 8 web design commandments that should never be broken.
Topics: Website Design
What's black and white and read all over? A newspaper. Bada-ching. While that joke may never get old, newspapers have aged quite a bit over the years. Still, even though media has evolved from its print days, its soul remains the same.
Social media is a powerful tool to expand your reach, strengthen your brand, and build relationships. And if you think of your website as a country, then you could argue that your social media channels are your embassies – the outposts you have in other communities to communicate about your company.
So how do you make sure you're fully leveraging your embassies? Take a look at the tips below to make your social media presence all it can be.
Touchpoints play a vital role in the marketing strategy of any business. Properly leveraged, they're the key to taking a customer from the initial awareness stage all the way through to conversion. When you get touchpoints right, you can create customers who are more than loyal. They're obsessed with your brand and what you offer.
The most profound effect on our actions, impact that makes a lasting impression and sets our future selves up to perform the same action again and again, stems from emotions, not logic. Emotions operate on an altogether different playing field than cognitive thinking.
Put simply, they knock it out of the park when it comes to effectiveness in advertising and brand building. Instead of appealing to higher minds, brands are hitting people right in the guts, using ads that invoke emotion and attempt to trigger a specific response. Sound a bit like manipulation? Well, it is. But it works.
When we talk about creativity we're not talking about a toddler's glittery Popsicle stick creation - though it's rooted in the same place.
Creativity is novel, non-obvious, useful, and moving ideas executed in a novel, non-obvious, useful, and moving ways.
Approaching business with creativity is essential to your business success. This is particularly true when you're talking about branding and marketing. Why?
Let’s face it. Social media isn’t going anywhere. Neither is the internet.
So, it just makes good business sense to learn how to utilize one of the most powerful tools at our disposal in this new era of marketing and branding. While it may seem like a footnote for many busy business owners, neglecting your social media presence and failing to build a community around your loyal clients and customers is setting you up for failure over the long-term. Remember that the people you connect with online aren’t just “online.”
There are a number of ways to influence the perception of your company in the public eye. From advertising to marketing to public relations, you have a cornucopia of options before you to solidify your brand and interact with customers. But what's the difference between them all? Read on to find out.
Most brands know that they need to stand out, but when it comes time to execute, many take the safe route. They compete with the market, instead of trying to break out ahead of the curve. But differentiation is one of the most important elements of a successful brand. If you aren’t different, you are dying. To stand out in the sea of sameness, you must differentiate your brand through a seamless choreography of messaging, branding, product offerings, and communications.
For many years, marketing and advertising have used rationality behind their advertising campaigns. After all, it just makes sense. The reasoning is that if you hit people with enough information about features and give them a cool USP (unique selling point), logic will prevail. The consumer will digest all the facts and data, realize your brand offers exactly what they’re looking for, and make a perfectly rational buying decision. Except erm… no. That’s rarely what happens.
Content marketing is on another rise in popularity and has been for quite a while now. If you’re a business or a brand, chances are, you’re doing a lot of it as a way to promote your brand, without actually promoting it.
This means that now more than ever, your brand is part business, part publishing company. Blogs are the new norm for many businesses, with pressure to publish engaging content that search engines love on a regular basis.
This is not a case of
With all the marketing, branding and advertising jargon out there today, it's easy to get confused. You've probably heard a lot about the importance of a brand strategy as well as the hot topic of content marketing. But what's the difference? We are here to tell you and help you understand how they work together to strengthen your brand.
Creative giants have long ruled the advertising world, but times are changing. Small creative agencies are proving that mighty is more potent than massive. Big brands are working with smaller creative shops, swapping bureaucracy for innovation and agility. Small agencies cut through the noise, think outside the box, care about the work, and attract top talent who want to work closely with their clients.
For big ideas, it’s best to think small. Here are a few reasons why you should choose a small creative agency:
They very well could be.
If you are noticing a spike in your email click activity, and you don’t have a valid explanation for it, then you could be the victim of an email click bot. You may have heard of SPAM bots before, designed to collect or farm email addresses from the web, create lists, and spam people with unwanted emails. Bots are actually the source of quite a bit of traffic on the internet. It’s estimated that around 48% of web traffic originates from a bot, and they are far more sophisticated today than even a few years ago.
Topics: Digital Marketing
No one likes taking tests. Tests are stressful and anxiety-inducing. But, as much as we hate to admit it, they might just be a necessary evil.
That's why we're going to ask you to test your brand. Now before you start sweating or stress eating that bag of Goldfish, just remember that this test can only help your company improve. And we promise we won't send you home with a note for your parents if you don't do as well as expected.
In case you need a refresher on what exactly a brand is, it's the overall perception of your business in the mind of the public. It's the culmination of your company's personality, visual presence, voice, and psychological associations.
The internet abounds with articles on how to write for SEO. Conventional wisdom says that search engine ranking is the only metric that matters. With a high ranking comes clicks, and with clicks come monetization and conversions. But writing for bots and SEO is hardly the way to optimize your content. There's little point in getting those clicks if your readers immediately bounce. After all, those bots may determine the rankings - but it's people who determine your success.
Topics: Digital Marketing
All brands are promises. A successful brand is one that delivers on that promise consistently. Like pinky swears made to friends, a brand promise begins with a simple verbal pledge – but the real value lies in the unspoken commitment to those words for days, months and years to come.
Gone are the days when social media was “merely social.” In today’s landscape, social media is now just another form of advertising, similar in many respects to traditional media. It’s a pay-to-play system, one that requires money to gain traction and to build a targeted audience. That’s not to say you can’t still build an audience organically, but it is probably about a gazillion times harder than it used to be. (Yes, we checked. Gazillion is a statistic.)
Humans are a storytelling species. We have always used
Blogging is part of any good content marketing plan. But writing a blog isn't as easy as firing off a tweet or uploading a photo to Instagram. A blog needs to appeal to a time-poor audience, hit certain beats, and present key insights and takeaways - all while staying on brand. Sound scary? Don't despair! Here's how to write a blog post in twenty minutes that will get clicks, inspire shares and encourage comments.
Topics: Digital Marketing
It's a dog eat dog world out there today. In order to survive, it's uber important for your brand to stand out, be recognizable and be unique.
Branding and business have everything to do with what we presume about human behavior, based on our research. And branding, especially in this digital age, has everything to do with the visual.
You've done all the work behind the scenes. You've met a dozen times internally to strategize, brainstorm and collaborate. But now comes the most important part: presenting your work to your client.
Presentations are a high-stakes challenge. You're trying to sell someone on an idea, and no matter how good that idea is, if its value doesn't come across, then your client won't bite. Here's how to present your project, concept or work in a way that will get buy-in from even the most challenging client.
Brand partnerships that work don’t happen by accident. They are born of thoughtful collaboration, strategic thinking and a realistic vision shared by both parties.
When done right, brand partnerships can have the power to elevate both brands. But, you can't force a connection. There's gotta be a spark. You want to have common ground with the other brand, but not so much common ground that you're competing with each other.
No longer is it enough for a business to merely be a corporate brand and business entity. The companies that are succeeding in today’s culture are the ones that are learning how to humanize their brand and resonate not just with customers as a whole, but customers as individuals.
No longer is it enough for a brand to merely do business with people. No longer is it enough for brands to merely be social and engage their customers and clients. Now it is important for businesses to do both of the above, as well as humanize themselves and simply, “be real,” with customers today.
Walk a mile in my shoes and you'll understand.
We love to put ourselves in the customer's shoes. Why? When making any decision regarding your customer's experience, set the scene as if you were a first-time consumer. Asking a few key questions. How would we have gotten there? What would be looking for? What are the fewest steps to any buying decision?
It's the start of the new year and everyone is talking a big game about the goals they want to achieve in 2019. The gyms are packed with new members. Scales are purchased. Whole30 is started. Motivational quotes fill Instagram feeds and seem like they'll never end. These people are really determined.
You know what they say, a project without a plan is a wish.
It happens to us all the time. A client asks us to design an ad, create a brochure or build a website. That's awesome - it's what we do, after all - but before we get started we need to know exactly what we're creating and why.
All of this information goes into a creative brief, which is the roadmap we use to determine the eventual creative output. What is a creative brief? It's a plan on what and how to deliver a project. Why is a creative brief important? As creatives, we're strategic partners. We don't just design for the sake of design. We want to ensure that what we create meets your business goals. A creative brief provides the foundation needed to make sure that we're delivering what you need.
Millennials used to be the biggest buzzword in marketing. For years, brands were scrambling to find new ways to tailor their content to meet the younger demographic. Sometimes it worked (like with Spotify’s New Year’s campaign) and sometimes it didn’t (see: Pepsi’s disastrous Kendall Jenner commercial). However, as 2018 comes to a close, we’re faced with another grim reminder that we’re not only getting older, but Millennials are too. In fact, Generation Z is set to outnumber Millennials in 2019 and is set to become the next biggest target group.
In recent years the C-Suite has expanded to include innovators, designers, marketers and other creatives. The 90s saw the rise of the Chief Marketing Officer as a crucial team member (a role that tech companies can't get enough of today). More recently, designers are starting to rise to the executive level - see companies such as PepsiCo and Johnson & Johnson, both of which have set aside corner offices for Chief Design Officers.
So what's behind the rise of the creative executive, and why should your company take note?
Social media is a wonderful way to expand your customer base, interact with followers, and show the world what your company is all about. But we all know how easy it is to mindlessly scroll through your feed, barely paying attention to anything you see (Facebook users spend an average of 1.7 seconds with any piece of mobile content).
Today's brands bridge the digital and the physical in a complexity of ways. You interact with customers in-person or in-store, through social media, via your website and through physical assets such as packaging or marketing collateral.
If you’re scratching your head, asking yourself what the heck a brand positioning statement even is, keep reading. We’ve got you covered. In a nutshell, a brand positioning statement is your mission, condensed down into a sentence. Think of it as similar to a logline or the premise of a story, found in fiction and television. Except this one is about you and your business.
Our attention spans are getting shorter, and so are our videos. Today, short-form videos are the secret to winning the attention of your fans - and their fans. And the social media titans know it. From Twitter to Instagram to Facebook, every major platform has rolled out short-form video functionality. Even Pinterest and LinkedIn are in on the game.
Topics: Digital Marketing
A touchpoint, in its most basic of definitions, is a point of contact between your business and your customers, clients, or audience. There is an opportunity with every touchpoint to either strengthen your brand relationship with your customer or weaken it. It all boils down to how you approach it.
Topics: Social Media
Do you know your audience as well as you should? Unfortunately, not taking the time to research your market is one of the most common mistakes brands make, and it’s one of the biggest factors that can help turn any campaign from a sizzling dud into a star.
Twitter is all about doing a lot with a little. Even with its recently doubled character count, brevity is the name of the game. The most successful Twitter brands are the ones that deliver their message in a way that's sharp, focused and valuable.
And the stakes are high. A poor tweet game means your feed will sink into oblivion - or worse, become a meme for all the wrong reasons. Getting it right builds reach, trust and brand equity.
Topics: Social Media
What do you think when you think of luxury? Sure, Louis Vuitton bags, Lambos, and bottles of Dom Perignon spring to mind, but the term may not be as regal as you think. By definition, luxury brands are ones that provide a sense of exclusiveness; they’re brands that have built a reputation out of offering a highly personalized service that typically exceeds expectations.
With the release of Interbrand’s yearly Best Global Brands report earlier this month, luxury was far and away this year’s best-performing category. In fact, luxury products increased an impressive 42% from last year. It seems everyone’s hopping on the luxury bandwagon these days -- from tech companies to budget brands and more.
So you've reached that point: You can no longer stand your current website and something must change. It's redesign time. Redesigning a website is no small undertaking, and there's a number of things to consider throughout the process.
Here are eight things to keep the top of mind as you embark upon your website redesign journey.
Looking to boost your web traffic and grow your leads? You need to start blogging — and regularly. B2B companies that blog 11+ times a month get almost 3x the traffic of those who blog only once a month, and 4x the leads of those who blog 4-5 times a month.
Topics: Digital Marketing
If you’ve ever heard the old adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” then you have some idea of what it takes to run a successful and quality email marketing campaign that generates results in your business. You may have also heard the old adage, “The money is in the list.”
Topics: Digital Marketing
Years ago making an explainer video for you or your business was a costly, time-consuming endeavor. But today high-quality video creation tools are all around and easily accessible.
We're not just talking Facebook Live, Periscope or YouTube Live, although those are great for those off-the-cuff branding moments.
You might be the smoothest-talking salesperson in the world, but if you don't have a value ladder you're leaving money on the table. When combined with a sales funnel, a value ladder helps you deliver the right product or service to a prospect — driving up conversions and profitability.
Instagram stories are a great way to add a human interest element to your brand or personal brand accounts. Now, keep in mind, Instagram isn’t for everyone. The audience that hangs out on this platform is typically between the ages of 25-34. If that’s your target market then you’re in the right place.
Topics: Social Media
We all know the four Ps of marketing: product, pricing, place and promotion but there’s one more I’d like to add to the list: pivot.
In seven years as a social media marketer I’ve learned that pivoting is part of the gig. To succeed in the digital space you have to be comfortable with change and learn to expect it. There’s no point freaking out over Facebook layout changes or ad policies. All you can do is accept those changes – or better yet, predict them by looking ahead.
On January 11, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg dropped a big ol’ doozy on digital marketers and businesses who use Facebook to reach their ideal audiences. Facebook is returning to its roots. The news feed will now prioritize the personal experience, users can expect to see more content from friends and family rather than from digital publishers and businesses. I believe Facebook called it "interpersonal or relational content."
Topics: Social Media
Often clients will ask me how to handle negative comments on social media. The answer: Embrace them.
Why? Because a negative comment is an opportunity to set the record straight. It also is an opportunity to engage with your customers in a place where they maybe didn't think you were watching.
Topics: Social Media
Real estate marketing is all about selling a lifestyle. It's about helping buyers see themselves living or working in a particular space — or showing investors how others can. Properties are sold by showcasing an experience and aligning it with a prospective buyer's goals, aspirations and specific needs or requirements.
Topics: Social Media
In recent months Facebook has come under scrutiny over how the platform is being used to share “fake news”. To help combat the dissemination of misleading or unverified information, the social media giant has disabled editing of link previews.
Topics: Social Media
It’s important to know where you are in order to know where you’re going, wouldn’t you agree? The same goes for social media. In order to make any kind of progress, it’s vital to know where your strengths and weaknesses lie in order to make the necessary pivots and plans to achieve desired results. First, do you know what results you’re looking for? This is step one to social media success even before you create your very first piece of content.
Topics: Social Media
In July 2017, Facebook dropped the gauntlet on thousands of advertisers to not just tweak their advertisements, but also the landing page your audience is sent to after the link has been clicked within your ad. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know before launching your next Facebook ad campaign.
Topics: Social Media
The secret sauce lies in the OG (original gangster) method from Twitter-ers: You know, the hashtag — also once known as a number or pound sign. Oh, the good ol' days. But this little ol' symbol is a gamechanger for yoursocial media marketing strategy.
So, of course, you engage with people on the network and at times it does seem like a game, however, you must remain authentic when liking a photo and commenting (yes, more than just an emoji is best). Yeah... yeah... but get to the point, but why do they work?
Hashtags work because they allow you to connect your content with a bigger picture, a bigger network, a bigger theme that your desired audience and network are already using, making your photos (and therefore your brand) easier to find.
Let’s see this magic at work. Navigate to the "search" section of your Instagram app. Here you can search for any topic that you’re interested in and find other people who are posting about this topic. Note: The search doesn’t have to be a hashtag outright.