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Category Archives: Culture

Do you need a new outfit?

Do you need a new outfit?

By | Culture, Customer Service, Email 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!

 

 

 

Make that Pokémon-ey: Monetizing the World’s Pokémon Go Obsession

Make that Pokémon-ey: Monetizing the World’s Pokémon Go Obsession

By | Culture, Economy, Fun, Sales, Strategy | No Comments

“Have you played Pokémon Go?”

Unless you’ve spent the two weeks hiding under a rock (which is a totally legitimate pastime, of course), someone has asked you this question by now. Released on July 6th, the tremendously popular app has already been downloaded at least 15 million times [Heavy] and is worth approximately $29 billion [MoneyNation]. There’s no doubt that Pokémon has been a financial success for its developer, Niantic, and rumor has it that McDonald’s is already preparing to pounce on this marketing opportunity [Gizmodo]. But what about the rest of us? Is there a way for small business owners to get in on the game that so quickly made its way to the top?

Turns out, there are several – and most of them are free!

  • Pick a side. If you haven’t already played Pokémon Go, the basic premise is this: 1) Create your trainer (i.e. avatar), 2) Choose one of three teams: Team Instinct (yellow), Team Valor (red) or Team Mystic (blue), and 3) Scurry about collecting and training Pokémon in various locations. Once you’ve picked your team, you can get in on the fun by providing corresponding deals to other “team members.”
  • Buy a lure. Purchasable in-game, lure modules last 30 minutes each and attract a bevy of “wild” Pokémon to a specified location. As many business owners have already discovered, they’re also a great method of enticing patrons. Inc estimated that it only costs $1.19/hour to keep the lures (and the humans that follow them) coming all day – and you can bet you’ll make that money back in no time!
  • Connect with millennials. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to appeal to marketing-wary millennials by actually playing the game, sharing your finds on social media, and offering discounts on products to people who’ve caught certain valuable Pokémon. Your younger audiences will appreciate the fun vibe!
  • Work that Pokéstop. If you’re fortunate enough to have a storefront near a landmark, monument or other prominent building in your town, advertise it. People flock to these spots in order to restock in-game items, and if you happen to be nearby…well, you just found yourself a whole bunch of potential customers.

We don’t know exactly when this idea might be implemented, but Niantic CEO John Hanke has already expressed interest in further monetizing the app with sponsored locations. “Pay us to be locations within the virtual game board – the premise being that it is an inducement that drives foot traffic” [Financial Times]. In the meantime, let the above suggestions keep you busy.

Happy hunting!

Make that Pokémon-ey: Monetizing the World’s Pokémon Go Obsession

 

The Polished Approach: Why Uber Doesn’t Scare People

The Polished Approach: Why Uber Doesn’t Scare People

By | Branding, Culture, Customer Service, Economy, Technology, The Future | No Comments

A few days ago I was watching a Comedy Central show called Nathan For You, in which a guy named Nathan “helps” struggling small business owners. Part of the show’s charm is that Nathan often has pretty good ideas, but (primarily for comedic effect) he implements them all wrong. In this particular episode, Nathan decides to initiate a motorcycle taxi service. At its core, the idea isn’t bad – bikes have lots of advantages over cars (namely the ability to legally weave throughout traffic), and the cool factor never hurts. So Nathan recruits a couple of biker-looking bikers in a bar and sends them out onto the traffic-riddled Los Angeles streets, instructing them to pull up alongside stopped cars and offer their services.

Not surprisingly, this approach is not met with much success.
Correction: this approach is not met with any success at all.

Why? Because it centers around a couple of biker-looking bikers grunting, “Hey, wanna get on my motorcycle?” And that’s it.

When you think about it, Uber is kind of a crazy idea too. You’re hopping into the personal vehicle of a stranger (often while inebriated) because they have a “U” sticker on their window. Sure, you have an app. They have an app. We all have apps, but what can the app really do if something goes awry? Yet somehow, Uber makes you feel safe. Uber’s app is cool. Uber’s ads are classy. Uber’s customer service is awesome. In short, Uber’s done a great job of marketing their services.

You need to give your customers a reason to trust your product, and a lot of that has to do with presentation. Even the best concept won’t get anywhere if it isn’t marketed properly – and that’s where we come in.

Don’t get in your own way. Call Counterintuity today!

Image by Mark Warner is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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Struggle Of The Seasoned Marketer

By | Business Etiquette, Culture, Strategy, The Future | No Comments

Today’s fast-paced, technologically advanced world can make even the savviest 25-year-old feel inadequate. So what if you’re about twice that age and feeling about half as savvy? Fear not! There’s no need to let your birthday get the best of you. A couple tips for succeeding as a seasoned marketer in a youth-driven market:

  • Ask for help! Whether it’s requesting your teenaged daughter help you with your Instagram profile (she’ll roll her eyes, but will likely oblige) or observing how the new intern does it, you can learn a lot from the younger people around you who have come of age in this crazy-connected world.
  • Get involved. That new app everyone has been talking about? Try it out! Most are free or cheap and very user-friendly. The more time you spend with technology, the less intimidating it will become.
  • Don’t be discouraged. Remember that everyone is exploring a new technological frontier every day, and half the time they’re just as lost as you are.

If the struggle is all too much, we do like to think of ourselves as experts on the digital world: shoot us an email and let us give you a hand.

Image by Blake Patterson is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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Seal It With a Smiley Face

By | Business Etiquette, Culture, Facebook, Fun, Social Marketing, social media, Twitter | No Comments

The smiley face: bet you’ve never given this little guy much thought. So you may be surprised to hear that a recent study by the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory showed a simple smiley face has the power to positively influence your social media presence and alter a reader’s perception of you. Here’s why you might want to give the emoticon a space in your daily discourse:

  • Scientists have determined that looking at a smiley face activates the same parts of our brain as looking at an actual smiling face. It’s an easy way to add a human element to your email. Interestingly, this only occurs when the colon is put first; parentheses first doesn’t have the same effect.
  • Emoticons suggest a friendlier, more competent person is behind them. Not only can emoticons increase the likelihood that your reader will like you, but they can help the reader more easily remember what you’ve said.
  • There is a strong link between emoticon use and user influence on social media. The more powerful the user, the more likely they are to use emoticons in their online communications.

Are emoticons okay to use in your work emails? That’s a judgment call. But research shows that the writer’s credibility isn’t affected by the use of emoticons. So if something makes you smile, don’t be afraid to show it!

Image by PublicDomainPictures is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal.

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Creative vs. non-creative

By | Culture, Design, Email Marketing, Fun, Holidays, Strategy, The Future | No Comments

Recently, we’ve been having discussions internally about the Counterintuity culture. We started that conversation in October as part of our planning for next year, brought it into our annual retreat, and now it’s feeding into our work writing and designing a new Counterintuity website (launching early next year).

Questions we’ve been asking:

  1. What makes Counterintuity different?
  2. What makes Counterintuity fun?
  3. What does Counterintuity do?
  4. What makes Counterintuity successful for clients?
  5. If you could tell someone one thing about Counterintuity, what would it be?

The idea that being fun and different should be a given is what leads us to things like, say, the image on our holiday invite this year:

 

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We’ve heard from a lot of people about how much they love this image. We’ve also heard from some of them that “of course” that idea came from Amy or myself, i.e., the owners.

Well, no. The idea to do an “awkward family photo” invite came from Jaclyn, our operations supervisor, who ensures that everything here operates like a well-oiled machine. And who started here four-and-a-half years ago as an assistant.

Her position here isn’t as what some marketing companies would call “a creative.” (Sure, she’s always been clever; that’s part of why she got hired.) We don’t believe in separating people into “creative” or (heaven forfend) “non-creative.” We put everybody together and ask for us all to be creative, whether you’re a writer or a designer or a primary phone-answerer. We’ve found out that that’s part of what makes us different.

 

 

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How important is your email title?

By | Content Marketing, Culture, Email marketing, Email Marketing, Fun, News, Strategy | No Comments

In one word? VERY. It can determine whether your audience sees your message at all. In the days of overflowing inboxes, people are quick to delete something that looks either unimportant, uninteresting or spam-ish.

With over 5,000 AdAges, clothing sales and Twitter mentions, the one email I opened yesterday had the best title. And while sex will always sell, this wine shop got my attention and made me giggle.

Next time you’re emailing to your list, take an extra minute or two when writing the title of the email. It’s the first thing your audience will notice. Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind:

  • If you can be witty, then be witty. If you can’t, then don’t. Always get another opinion (or two, or three) to make sure your wit transcends the internet.
  • Avoid using all caps or exclamation points (unless you’re using them to be witty, like in my example above). People think that you’re SCREAMING at them when the caps lock is on, and studies show that exclamation points are associated with spam. Plus, email platforms are more likely to label your message as spam, or simply kick you right into the junk folder.
  • Don’t mislead the reader. They’ll unsubscribe or simply delete you in the future if you continually don’t give them what your title promises.

Email open rates can vary industry to industry. If you’re not getting over 20% then you may want to tweak the formula a bit. The title is a good place to start. Remember, if they don’t open it, there’s no way they’re getting the message.

*Shameless plug: Counterintuity clients generally enjoy +30% open rates. We also maintain monthly reward emails for our clients that consistently have +58% open rates. Call us for more information at 818-848-1700.

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A day of digital detox

By | Culture, Email marketing, Email Marketing, Facebook, Technology | No Comments

Yesterday,  thanks to a Baby Bell conglomerate who shall remained unnamed, our office got an unintended retreat from our lifeline, the Internet.

For the first hour, sheer terror set in.  No email, no Facebook, no Twitter, no website access – the very tools of our trade were literally inaccessible.  By hour three, with a bevvy of IT and AT & T (whoops, spilled the beans) specialists working on our equipment like a fine-tuned team of neurosurgeons, panic had turned to acceptance.

Forced to work offline, some began writing, others reading printed materials and whitepapers long ago placed in the “Must Read” box.  Though disconnected from the 21st century, we connected with each other, our clients and our industry by makeshift methods our grandparents would have thought customary.

Yet an inexplicable calm and sense of accomplishment filled the air, even into hour five.  We had unintentionally yet successfully “unplugged” for the day. Instead of Armageddon, we experienced a temporary respite from the online hullabaloo.  We caught our collective breaths, read about advancements in our industry, brainstormed aloud and on paper, and recollected (or for the youngers, learned) what it was like to be marketers in the pre-digital era.

The Internet is back up today. While we’re all ecstatic to have the trappings of our modern workspace back, our unintentional day of surrender taught us that an occasional day spent unwired can be a beneficial and even necessary experience.

In fact, we can’t wait to tell everyone on Facebook about it!