Archive | November, 2015

How to Create a Successful Marketing Event for Your Business

24 Nov

If you truly want to draw attention to your business and potentially attract a whole new variety of customers, there are few better ways to accomplish this than with a great marketing event. Regardless of the type of industry that you’re in, a marketing event is a great way to get a hold of some people who wouldn’t normally have your business on their radar. To accomplish this, however, you need to keep a few key things in mind.

Go Beyond the Sale

One of the most important things to remember about a successful marketing event is that you need to give people an experience that is truly worth leaving their homes for. Getting a person to open up your direct mail material is one thing – after all, you’ve sent it directly to them and they don’t even have to get in the car in order to open it. Getting them to come to your physical location, possibly for the first time, is something else entirely.

Consider a marketing event that a bookstore might have. Instead of just holding a blowout sale (as a customer can typically find similar prices online if they look hard enough), a bookstore might hold a signing with a famous author. Suddenly, you’ve given those people a reason to actually come into the store, especially if the author isn’t one who makes local appearances very often.

Once all of these people are in your store, then you can hit them with sales and other promotions in an attempt to increase revenue. Simply offering discounted prices should never be the most enticing thing about the event that you’re throwing, as most people won’t find it a good enough reason to attend in the first place.

Set a Goal

Another one of the biggest things to remember when creating a successful marketing event is what it is that you’re trying to accomplish in the first place. Are you looking for a way to increase existing customer satisfaction and give back by way of a memorable experience? Or are you looking for a way to reach an entirely new market? The goal that you set at the outset will dictate every choice that you make thereafter.

Give Yourself a Way to Capture Contact Information

As with all marketing techniques, one of the major goals of a marketing event is to capture leads. After all, even if you’re just looking for a fun and exciting way to give back to your existing customer base, the chances are high that one or two of them might bring some friends along with them.

To truly take advantage of a marketing event, make sure that you’re giving yourself a built-in opportunity to capture contact information in the most efficient way possible. Even if it’s something as simple as giving people a chance to win fun door prizes if they fill out a contact information survey, you’ll need something to use when the event is over to keep in touch with all of the new people that you’ve attracted.

These are just a few of the tips that you can use to create a memorable and successful marketing event for your business that people won’t want to miss. If you continue to hold these events on a regular basis, you will have a great chance of reaching people who you may not have otherwise been able to get to without them.

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Finding the Recipe for Successful Marketing

24 Nov

Sara was excited. Her grandmother had just given her the recipe for her famous peanut butter cookies, and she could not wait to make them for her friends at school. She had never been much of a cook, but she figured that with the recipe she should be ok. After all, how hard could it be?

Sara enters the kitchen and begins to gather her ingredients. She notices that the recipe says she needs two bowls, but when she looks in the cabinet and sees that she only has one, she figures that should be ok. She then sees that she needs some baking soda, but only has baking powder– that should be close enough.

Sara begins to get everything into the bowls. The recipe calls for her to mix the sugar with some softened butter, so she sticks the butter in the microwave. Thirty seconds later, the the butter is just a puddle. Well, that will make it even easier to mix it into the recipe, right?

Twenty minutes later, she sticks everything into the oven and triumphantly sets the timer. When she returns after the ding, she pulls them out eagerly and then stops. Wait a minute, these do not look right. They did not rise properly and just look ‘off’. Confused, Sara thought back to her cooking. Did those little details about the butter and baking soda really matter that much? She supposed so. She decided to try again the next day. Tonight, she would pick up some more butter and some baking soda.

Developing Your Marketing Recipe

If you have ever made cookies, you most likely noted Sara’s mistakes right away. You knew that those cookies would not turn out right. Recipes use very specific ingredients because they have particular roles. If you do not use the right ingredients then the food will not act the way it is supposed to.

When you are creating a marketing campaign, you will similarly need to follow a recipe. The difference is that you will need to develop the recipe yourself. You know that you need a variety of different ingredients, such as direct mail, social media, online content, and paid advertising. You then need to mix these different techniques together to engage your intended audience and create the perfect recipe.

Often, determining the exact recipe of success will require some experimenting. You will need to explore where your customers spend their time online and what types of information they are seeking. What types of designs and offers do they respond to best in direct mail? What social media platforms are the most important to them?

Unlike with baking cookies, when you mess up a marketing recipe, it will often not be as obvious that there was an error. If most of your marketing campaign has a decent amount of success, you might not notice right away that your paid advertising campaign was not bringing in customers unless you closely monitor your different channels. If you do not identify the problem, however, you risk needlessly spending money.

To be successful in marketing, you are going to combine several different techniques into a unique recipe that helps to get your message in front of the right people at the right time. To ‘taste’ the recipe, however, you need to make sure that you regularly use analytics to gauge how well the campaign works together. You can use this data to refine your efforts and become even more successful.

Creating a successful marketing campaign does require careful thought and the precise combination of different parts. If you are interested in starting a new campaign, contact us today to get started.

Building Anticipation for a New Product or Service Through Marketing

24 Nov

Marketing materials that you put out into the world aren’t just a great way to introduce a new product or service to your target audience. If done properly, they can also be an invaluable way to create a huge amount of buzz and anticipation surrounding an upcoming product or service launch. That can then translate into increased sales when it is eventually ready for release. By keeping just a few, key things in mind, you can use hype to your advantage and build the type of momentum that most businesses can only dream of.

Master the Art of the Tease

One of the major lessons to be learned about building anticipation for a new product or service through marketing is to master the concept of teasing. If you were still a year out from the launch of a new product, for example, you wouldn’t necessarily want to send out a mailer detailing all of that product’s functions right away. Not only do you not want to "give the game away" just yet, so to speak, but a year is an incredibly long time in the world of business. Things can change, so you don’t want to lock yourself into something that you may end up dropping down the road anyway.

Instead, you can send out a mailer talking about the exciting new product that is on the horizon and detail all of the hard work that you’re putting into it. Instead of talking about what it specifically does, talk about the problem in your customers’ lives that it is designed to solve. Talk about the overarching goal of the product in a way that both gets people excited and makes them want to learn more.

It’s About Steady Updates

Another major technique to make use of when building anticipation is to check in periodically with your customers prior to launch. You wouldn’t want to send out a mailer teasing your product and then not check in again until it’s ready to launch. You would want to send out materials two, three, or even four times during the year, revealing larger bits of information each time. Not only does this give you a chance to build the hype surrounding your product or service a little more each time, but it also helps to keep it in the forefront of a customer’s mind – even though it isn’t released yet. Not only will your customers have a higher level of anticipation, but they also won’t have a chance to forget about what you’re up to.

Learn From Hollywood

If you want to take a master class in building anticipation through marketing, look no farther than movie trailers. Every Hollywood blockbuster usually follows the same format when it comes to their previews. First, roughly a year from release, a teaser trailer makes its appearance. This preview is usually around a minute in length, gives away virtually none of the plot and really just broadcasts the look or spirit of the movie. Six or so months later a longer, full trailer is released, which is usually about two minutes. This expands on the promise of the teaser, gives a way a bit more of the plot, but still leaves a lot to the imagination. A final trailer is released in the weeks before the movie itself, which is usually around three minutes and not only lets you know exactly what the plot will be, but also showcases amazing images that you immediately need to see more of. Building anticipation is all about escalation and Hollywood seems to have created a formula that works wonders, regardless of the type of business that you’re in.

Marketing is one of the best tools that you have to not only announce a new product or service to the world, but to build the type of anticipation that always translates to increased sales.

Overcoming Negativity

24 Nov

Irish author James Joyce once said that anything you don’t feed dies. He was talking about spirituality, but the statement applies to just about every facet of your life from your stomach to your imagination.

Positive energy is something each of us benefits from in several ways. It helps generate positive feelings within us, but it also transfers to the people we come in contact with. A smile can make a significant difference to someone who happens to need one at just the right moment. But what happens when you cultivate negativity, instead?

Appropriately used, sarcasm can be quite entertaining and revealing. But at its base, sarcasm is an expression of negativity. Even when the ultimate message is a humorous, positive reversal, the delivery of that message through sarcasm is negative. Yet some people seem to thrive on delivering a kind of satirical sarcasm. However, while these folks may be seen as clever, they are rarely perceived as happy individuals.

Negativity and pessimism are just as contagious as optimism and positive attitudes. They have a certain toxicity that becomes a shared experience. Negative people spread negativity like a disease, while positive personalities spread the warmth of optimism more like the vibrancy of good health. And really, what this is actually about is health, because few things in life make you feel better about yourself than a positive outlook. Few things make you feel less good about yourself than a negative one.

You don’t have to be arrogantly negative to spread a negative outlook. Even humor and light-hearted expressions of mock jealousy can color a situation with a darkness that partially blocks out a portion of the comedic effect. As funny as Rodney Dangerfield’s "poor me" approach was, it still left us feeling a little bit genuinely sorry for him in some way.

Being negative can devalue the spirit. It can tarnish the soul. It defeats you with your own words. Refusing to allow negativity to take hold and control you is a daily objective that can literally turn your life around, as it has done for many.

There is an old Native American tale that bears witness to this fact in an entertaining way. As the story goes, one evening an elderly, Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that constantly rages inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves fighting inside us all. One wolf is evil. It is anger, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, lies, guilt, self-pity, envy, jealousy, resentment, false pride, superiority, inferiority, and ego."

He continued, "The other wolf is good. It is joy, peace, love, truth, humility, kindness, benevolence, hope, serenity, empathy, generosity, compassion, and faith."

The grandson thought about this for a moment and then asked his grandfather, "If it is a battle, which wolf wins?"

The wise, old, Cherokee brave replied, "The one you feed."

Backlinks: An Online Handshake

24 Nov

When you speak with SEO professionals, you may hear them talk about the importance of backlinks. Backlinks are when another site links to your site. These links are important because not only do they help drive traffic to your website, but they are a sign to Google that your site provides information that people appreciate and view as worth linking to.

In the beginning of 2015, there was controversy following one of the Google ‘hangouts.’ John Mueller, of Google, seemed to indicate that webmasters should not focus on building backlinks. This took the marketing world by storm, as many people dedicate time and energy to developing a high quality backlink profile.

Careful analysis of the problem, however, demonstrates that this might not have been what Mueller meant. At other Google hangouts in the past, he gave advice about how to appropriately go about building successful and useful backlink profiles. It is now largely agreed by many marketing professionals that Mueller was speaking about avoiding using illicit tactics to build backlinks, such as engaging in, ‘I link to you, you link to me’ backlink schemes.

To understand how backlinks should ideally be developed, it can be useful to look at how business is conducted in person.

The Role of a Handshake

Place yourself in a corporate meeting between two important executives. They are sitting at a long table in a professionally furnished conference room. They sit at opposite sides, each with a team of assistants taking notes of the meeting and making sure that the bosses are always equipped with a glass of ice water.

The two hash out their ideas. They want to see if their information aligns and if they believe they can work with each other. No executive wants to run the risk of doing business with someone who would ruin their reputation. Before any deals are struck, they want to make sure that this is a professional with whom they want to have their name publicly associated with.

After a long conversation, they both stand up.

“Well, I suppose we are in agreement,†says one.

“Yes. I will have my team get started on the contract right away,†says the other.

They reach out and they shake hands– and now everyone in the room knows that they will be willing to vouch for the other.

The Role of the Backlink

The handshake is a backlink. When one site links to another, they are publicly vouching for the content on that page. They have reviewed the information and found it to be in line with what they believe about the topic at hand. They trust that when they send their page visitors to that website, the users will be able to obtain useful information that will help them answer their questions.

Backlinks should not be something that you ever have to trick the other website into doing. It is not supposed to be the end goal of SEO. Instead, backlinks should be viewed as a part of a larger SEO strategy that involves creating high quality content that people are interested in reading and find helpful.

That does not mean you cannot ask for backlinks. If you find a website that aligns with your intended audience and you think your content would be helpful, there is nothing wrong with asking for a link, but it should always be done upfront and honestly.

You can build backlinks by writing guest posts or thought-leadership pieces for other websites. You should also be sharing your content on social media to increase exposure and build more backlinks.

Google, and its algorithm, want to keep an eye out for backlinks that come from low quality sites or always seem to come from the same types of sites. They want to make sure that the backlinks are diversified and gained honestly. If a poor site links to you and you do not want the backlink counting against you, then you can always disavow it to let Google know that you want no part of that link.

When it comes to building backlinks, remember to always build them honestly and with the end user in mind. Just like a handshake in business, it should be viewed as a public vouching for the other site. When you view it in that context, it will be easier to understand the role of backlinks in the online web community.

The Millennials: How to Use Print to Capture the Attention of the Technology-Driven Generation

24 Nov

Officially, a person is a millennial if they reached young adulthood sometime around the year 2000. Also commonly referred to as Generation Y, these are people who are just now becoming the age where they matter most — at least as far as marketing demographics are concerned. They’re starting to break out on their own, live their own lives, and spend a great deal of money. Historically, they’ve also been the most difficult to market to for one simple reason: technology.

Chances are, if you happen to see a young person who can’t be bothered to look up from their smartphone or tablet for a single second to take a look at the world around them, you’re looking at a millennial — or at least a stereotypical one. In reality, it’s actually pretty straightforward to market to millennials, as long as you go about it in the right way.

Be Relevant

By far, the absolute best way to market to millennials is the same way you market to anyone — by being as relevant as possible. Go out of your way to understand Generation Y. Discover how they think and — more importantly — what they’re looking for. You can try all the flashy gimmicks you want or sink a huge amount of time and effort into social networking and similar bits of technology in an attempt to gain a foothold in this ever-important market, but none of it will mean a thing if your message is completely irrelevant to the people you’re after.

It’s Print’s Time to Thrive

Print marketing is actually one of the most powerful techniques you can use to attract the attention of the millennial generation for a very simple reason: it’s difficult to ignore. Whereas baby boomers have decades of experience sifting through direct mail and advertisements in general, it’s still something unique to the younger generation. This makes it more impactful, giving you a competitive advantage over those who forgo this route.

You can also make your print and digital campaigns work together. Use a QR code on your direct mailers, for example, to give millennials the opportunity to begin the conversation in print and finish it online where they feel most comfortable.

Personality Talks

Each new generation tends to be a little more informal than the one before it, but not necessarily in the way you might think. What this trend really means is that each new generation embraces a true sense of personality more than the one before it. Millennials are after a sense of fun and a company that represents a hipper image that they want to be part of. While injecting as much personality as possible into your mailers might not work for that 50-year-old housewife, it will absolutely capture the attention of a millennial.

With each passing year, the millennial generation becomes more and more important. They’re already poised to overtake the baby boomer generation in spending, sooner rather than later. Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. By going after the millennial generation now, you’ll begin to amass an army of loyal followers ready to spend money on your products or services for decades to come.

Ways to Ensure Everyone Has their Favorite Type of Content

24 Nov

Imagine three friends walk into the local grocery store. They’re roommates in a nearby apartment building and are planning a fun get-together with their friends that night. The friends split up, each with a separate shopping list, and plan to meet up at the cash registers in half an hour.

Thirty minutes later, they reconvene and look over each other’s selections. The one tasked with selecting salsa pulls three jars of Brand A out of her bag. The other two roommates grimace slightly.

"What?" she asks.

"Oh, it’s nothing," another roommate says. "It’s just that I prefer Brand B salsa. I always find Brand A a little too watery."

The other roommate chimes in, "Really? I always prefer Brand C. I find Brands A and B both to be too mild."

They each laugh. "Wow!" exclaims the first roommate. "I had no idea there were so many different opinions regarding salsa. How about I get one jar of each? Then, we can all have our preferred flavor at least some point in the evening."

Like the friends in this story, your customers often have different tastes and preferences. When planning your marketing, you must remain considerate of your customers and recognize that it’s possible for different customers to have different content ‘tastes.’

The Different Types of Content

The digital world has long been dominated by text, but in many ways this is changing. People are realizing how critical and engaging images are when added to text. In fact, tweets that contain images are known to receive up to 5x the engagement of those without images.

People like images because they give them something to relate to. When you see a picture of a company’s customer using their product or service, it becomes easier to see yourself in that position. As a brand, you can take advantage of this by beginning to build a stronger relationship with potential customers and enticing them to do business with you.

Videos have also become an increasingly important aspect of digital content. Customers have begun demonstrating their preference for this form of content in many ways, and customers upload 300 hours of video every minute on YouTube alone. Visuals allow people to process information up to 60,000 times faster, making it a valuable way to communicate with page visitors.

There are also other valuable forms of content to consider. For example, on social media, memes and other fun images are easy to create and share with audiences. These types of images fit well with the casual attitudes of many social media platforms, while also communicating basic ideas about the business and industry.

Infographics are another generally appreciated form of visual content because they communicate valuable information in an easy-to-digest format. Infographics can be used nearly anywhere, from your website and blog, to your social media platforms.

The content of digital marketing continues to evolve as marketers realize that not all customers will respond to the same type of content. Just like the roommates who all like a different type of salsa, you can be confident that different customers appreciate different types of content. By producing a variety of content types to nurture your relationship with all these different groups, you’ll create a strong digital marketing campaign.