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This Time, It’s Personal: Marketing for Maximum Effect

By | Marketing | One Comment

“Buy this! It’s great! It’s your only option! Don’t ask questions!”

A lot has changed since the days when the above approach was effective.

Today’s well informed and, dare we say, jaded consumers demand that marketing be more than just a general sales pitch – in order to grab their attention, you’ve got to get personal.

So how do you know if you’re hitting the mark?

  • You understand your target demographic. This is paramount. With so many tools and so much research at your disposal, there’s really no excuse for not focusing your marketing efforts. Sell baby furniture? Don’t advertise to single 23-year-olds. This is simply not a smart allocation of your resources. Advertising to single 23-year-olds? Do get on Snapchat and pile on the pop culture references.
  • You have high open rates. Do your marketing emails go untouched? That might be a sign that you’re not appealing to your customers. After targeting their marketing emails, one wedding website saw its open rates increase by 244%. They must’ve overhauled their entire strategy, right? Wrong. They asked their site visitors one simple question: “Are you planning for your own wedding, or a friend’s wedding?” They then added them to one of two mailing lists, depending on their answers, and watched their open rates shoot through the roof.
  • You personalize content – but not too much. Should you use the information you gather? Yes! Just don’t go overboard. It’s very possible that you know Bob was up at 3 AM Googling “how to cheat on your wife” – but don’t reach out the next day with an email saying, “Hello, Bob. We heard your marriage might be falling apart. It just so happens, we’re offering 10% off couple’s counseling!” This is unlikely to inspire Bob to do anything but block your address and wipe his search history. Regardless of technology’s seemingly limitless capabilities, always respect your customer’s privacy.

Still need a hand handling targeted marketing? Contact us today!

Do you need a new outfit?

Do you need a new outfit?

By | Culture, Customer Service, Marketing, Sales, Technology, The Future | No Comments

You know your audience, but does your audience know you?

We have some shocking information:
“Nearly half of all small business owners do not have a website.” [Clutch]

Without one, as small business author Jim Blasingame said: “You might as well be a ghost.” [Inc.]

That’s bad news for them. But you’re in luck – because you’re reading this blog. Which means you likely are in the market for an exceptional website. That puts you light-years ahead of the competition.

If you don’t have a website, you aren’t giving your audience a chance to know you.

A website is the equivalent of buying a new outfit and revamping your portfolio for a prospect meeting: It’s your chance to make a fantastic first impression. As in life, appearance counts for a lot – 75% of users admit to judging a company’s credibility based on their site design [Stanford] – but that doesn’t mean you can slack on substance. Design draws people in, but quality content keeps them.

Remember: A website is a handy marketing tool for you, too. Tracking activity and buying behavior via Google Analytics makes it easy for you to create the content people are looking for. Which is crucial, considering 96 percent of visitors don’t come to your site prepared to buy. [Hubspot]

Obviously, you want to create an awesome online experience that will turn your prospective customer into a loyal one. Your first step? Answering these three simple questions about your website:

  1. Does it clarify what you do?
  2. Is your contact information clearly displayed?
  3. Does it positively and attractively represent your business?

If your answer to any of the above is “No” or (gasp!) you have no website – it’s time to get started. Your website is the one online destination over which you have complete control – don’t neglect it!

 

 

 

The problem with mass marketing

The Problem with Mass Marketing

By | Marketing | No Comments

Maybe one size can fit everyone – but it can’t fit everyone well.

Every now and then, amidst an otherwise successful shopping trip, you’ll come across an article of clothing that claims to be “one size fits all”. Any positive qualities the garment might have will dissipate as you regard it suspiciously and think, “There is no way this will work for me.” Disdainfully, you will place the item back on the shelf and proceed to purchase attire that recognizes the various shapes of human beings.

And that is the precise reaction today’s consumer has to mass marketing.

In the 1990s, your business could count on a listing in the yellow pages, a couple newspaper ads and a billboard to pick up leads. Today, consumers simply have too many choices for that approach to be effective. They’re researching and selecting products and services on their own terms. They’re informed and impatient, which means non-specialized marketing efforts will go unnoticed.

Today’s consumers expect customization.

What your marketing strategy needs (and doesn’t need) is specific to your business and target demographic.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to explore three ways you can use a tailored approach to distinguish your business and create a valuable digital marketing experience.

Of course, if you’re already convinced, you can cut through the clutter and contact us now.

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11 ways to make your website stand out

11 ways to make your website stand out

By | Content Marketing, Marketing, Viral Video, Websites | One Comment

The internet is a big place. Accordingly, you don’t want people playing “Where’s Waldo?” with your website. Here are 11 ways to help your website stand out from the crowd.

  1. Give people something extra. In exchange for their email signup, give them a downloadable how-to, some free research, or a coupon code.
  2. Update frequently. And show them where the updates are, with a news scroll, or blog preview, or even a popup.
  3. Focus your visitors’ eyes on one thing. Remember, you can’t focus on multiple things – that’s the opposite of “focus.” So point people to the key thing you want them to do, and make sure it also benefits them.
  4. Make it fun. Graphically, and with words.
  5. Make it searchable. Because we’re busy, and we expect everything now. If you’ve got a lot of content, no one is going to hunt around in your site, so help them find it.
  6. Add a blog. Certainly you know things. Share them. Become a recognized expert.
  7. Update it at least 11 times a month. (And triple your traffic.)
  8. Make sure it’s mobile friendly! More than 70% of all visits to the internet are via mobile. Run this; if you failed the test, you’d better address this quickly, because it’s already dampening your traffic.
  9. Use video! Research shows that video will keep people on a web page an average of 50% longer – and the longer they stay there, the more likely they are to get involved.
  10. Think “headlines and graphics.” Because that’s what people will see, that’s what you should spotlight. Supporting text is just there for support. (And for SEO.)
  11. Be you. Whether “you” is just you, or an entire team at your company, no one else can be you, so you should be good at it. Make the site sound like you, look like you, and make sure it reflects your values. Because just as there’s someone for everyone, there are people searching for a company like yours. Make sure it’s you they find.

 

 

Making your business a special place

Making your business a special place

By | Marketing | No Comments

Lately, we’ve been talking about “the specialness of space.”

Here’s an excellent example of how one brand took the time to make its space special. I strongly encourage you to invest four minutes in watching this video about designer Rebecca Minkoff’s store of the future. And then ask yourself, how can I make my space special?

Are you making your place special at a physical location?

With a physical location you’ve got lots of potential opportunities. Here are eight ways to take advantage of it.

  1. Put out a sign! Preferably one with an arresting graphic or color, so that people who pass by notice it and stop in. I’ve never driven by Amazon, have you? But I’ve certainly passed restaurants and shops and stopped in, based on a sign.
  2. Direct people to buy other things, with in-store signage and displays. I may have come in for a book (I’m old-fashioned that way) – can you interest me in a calendar, too?
  3. Speed up the check-out process. Don’t make me wait in line. Take a cue from Apple, Nordstrom Rack and others – station people with portable checkout stations around the store
  4. Got something that’s not moving? Discount it, or bundle it with something else, so I feel that I got a bargain. (And you moved slow inventory.)
  5. Focus on local marketing! Local signage, and local involvement with charities and with your local Chamber of Commerce, will spread the word in places online can’t compete.
  6. Let people touch/taste/try. Until scratch-and-sniff goes electronic, this is something you can provide that digital can’t touch.
  7. Say hello! If you and your team greet me in a friendly, helpful way, you’ve established a relationship. As every successful bartender knows, that’s the key to repeat business.
  8. Finally, ask yourself, “If I were the customer walking in, what would make my visit here even better?” And then do whatever that is.

Whether online or at a physical location, find what makes your business special and take advantage of the opportunities available to you. Make your business the next store of the future!

Image by waferbord is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

What makes a landing page work?

What makes a landing page work?

By | Content Marketing, Digital advertising, Marketing | No Comments

Think of a landing page like a free giant classifieds ad in the newspaper. Except your ad can be more than three lines and have pictures.

A landing page is a goldmine of information – for both you and your customers.

What makes a landing page work?

Here are seven checkpoints your landing page should pass with flying colors:

1. Right at the top in bold clear wording, it tells a customer what you are offering and what you want.

“Sign up and get your free virtual scratch-and-sniff sticker now!”

2. Right along with your beautiful top header, you will have a beautiful stunning image that helps you sell your offer.

Maybe it’s a real-life picture of what a virtual scratch-and-sniff sticker looks like. Maybe it’s just the colors of my flavors that get you happy to click. Point is: It will be so beautiful, you will want to keep reading what’s next on the page.

landing-page-scratch-sniff

3. And you will be rewarded! A landing page should next give a nice summary (think elevator speech) of what the offer is.

Perhaps this includes a short bulleted list of 3-7 features on what that offer includes. Keep it simple. People want to know what they’re getting when they sign up. The important question these features answer for the customer is: “Is this product (or service) something that I want?”

Our free virtual scratch-and-sniff sticker is the new future of electronically delivered items—Watch out Amazon!

  • No wrapper
  • Instant delivery!
  • Comes in 5 assorted scents in delicious flavors (Grape, Bubblegum, Lime-tastic, Very Berry and Licorice)

4. It also lists 3-5 benefits that make your product (or service) especially unique.

  • Lasting scent through our special e-delivery system – sign up now!
  • 100% no flavor mix-up guarantee
  • Immediate access to our 300+ flavor catalog

5. You’re on the edge of your seat now, right? You definitely want to submit the form and see what happens next. Let’s close the deal with your Call To Action (CTA)!

Yes, I want to get my free delicious sticker now!

6. Just fill out this form, and click submit.

Note: Make sure your form is just the right length (not a questionnaire), and that it helps you help them. Here’s the form:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • E-mail
  • Choose my flavor

You can also ask for 1-2 other things that might help tailor future offers like:

  • Who’s your favorite cartoon character?
  • What country are you in?

But keep in mind that the more fields you ask for, the less chance someone will fill it out.

7. The last part of a successful landing page is a thank you page that re-directs back to your website.

Don’t forget this! This page is often called your “conversion tracking page” and where your conversion tracking code will go, if you’re running an advertising campaign.

Ready to go? You can do it! Just leave us a comment and let us know where we can send your free sticker…

Image by Joe The Goat Farmer licensed under CC BY 2.0.

GIF It Up: Why You Should Incorporate GIFs into Your Marketing Strategy

GIF It Up: Why You Should Incorporate GIFs into Your Marketing Strategy

By | Content Marketing, Fun, Marketing, Social Marketing | One Comment

The GIF (pronounced with a hard ‘g’) has ventured far from its natural bitmap habitat in the CompuServe nerdosphere. It can now be found posing as punctuation, starring in texting conversations, dancing through every Buzzfeed article you’ll ever read, and hogging any available space on your phone. (Do you have available space on your phone…? Teach us your ways.)

Recently, the GIF has also become an important presence in email marketing, digital ad campaigns, and company blogs and social media – for good reason. Here’s why you should consider working these little guys into your marketing strategy:

They’re a great solution for that short attention span we’re always talking about. People just don’t pay attention the way they used to; a 10-second lull and they’re already deep in phone mode, sucked into an endless Reddit thread they may never escape. GIFs are an easy way to keep people interested – because regardless of how easily distracted they are, who can look away from this?

Images boost your engagement. Facebook posts with images see 3x more engagement than those without, and researchers found that “colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80 percent.” [Xerox] Additionally, people are 40x more likely to share a post with visual content.

GIFs are trendy. Want to be seen as a cool, hip company? GIFs are the ticket. They show that not only do you keep up with pop culture (from which GIF-makers most often draw inspiration) but you’re in tune with your younger audiences – and that counts for a lot, considering millennials count for one quarter of the American population and boast approximately $200 billion in annual buying power. [Forbes]

Already using GIFs in your marketing? We’d love to hear how! Let us know in the comments section.

#Lemonade: A Lesson in Guerrilla Marketing

#Lemonade: A Lesson in Marketing

By | Marketing, Strategy, Twitter | No Comments

We could all learn a few things (about marketing/branding/life) from Beyoncé.

For instance: how to grab the attention of an entire nation, become the top trending topic on Twitter, and essentially claim ownership of yet another emoji.

Maybe your product doesn’t have the flowing mane of a majestic unicorn or the body of a warrior princess – you can still adopt the main idea behind Queen Bey’s proven tactics to awe your audience.

What is that, you ask?

It’s simple: Take risks.

Beyoncé’s latest couple projects have set more than just the Beyhive abuzz due to a radical marketing approach – i.e., forgoing the usual press tour/single releases/interviews for a surprise! album release. You don’t have to revolutionize the music industry to take this same approach with your own business – all you have to do is think outside the box. If you have an awesome unorthodox idea, go for it. People are drawn to the innovative, the exciting, the never-been-done-before. If the answer to WWBD is “Do it,” then go ahead – do it!

And if you’re still struggling to make Lemonade, just contact us – we’re quite well-versed in the counterintuitive, ourselves.

#Lemonade: A Lesson in Marketing