light-man-hand-pen

It’s 2017, and the future is digital. Marketing has done a lot of evolving over the past few decades, and the modern digital era has revolutionized how businesses are reaching out to and interacting with their customers. Digital marketing has largely taken over, but just like traditional marketing, not all avenues of digital marketing will work with every group of people. Depending on your target market, it’s possible you should be creating memes and gifs, or writing long Ebooks. Knowing what types of content you should be putting out, and how to effectively use it to create more business, however, is easier said than done (if it were that easy, 50% of businesses wouldn’t fail within their first five years). Since digital marketing is currently the most valuable marketing strategy to implement, How do you reach your target market through digital marketing?
Who is your target market?

Within your target market, there are many (many) subgroups. For example: if your market is mostly female millennials, there may sub groups depending on marital status, location, budget, and more. As a result, there are many ways to segment your audience: you cannot be all things to all people. The more specific your segmentation, and the more carefully you craft your content to cater to those specific groups, the more effective your marketing will be.

Types of content: who likes what?

Generally speaking, different generations tend to drift towards specific types of digital content. Knowing what types of content your specific target market gears toward is essential in creating a digital marketing strategy that works.

  • E-books: E-books are a great way to deliver longer and more detailed content to your audience. They’re a great way to present information about your products or services, or related information that your market is interested in. Generation X and above tends to appreciate E-books, and the more extensive and detailed information, the better. Make sure that the CTA you use for the Ebook download is easy to follow, and the text in the Ebook is a readable, good sized font.
  • Social Media: The best part about social media is that everyone is on it. No matter the age group, gender, or socioeconomic status, most people in the United States are active in some form on social media. Baby boomers tend to be drawn more to Facebook, where they’re 19% more likely to share content than any other generation. Instagram is geared more towards the millennial generation, and Twitter is popular among gen xers, millennials, and centennials. Millennials and centennials are avid Snapchatters, and typically gravitate towards the next new thing. If you’re marketing to them, it’s important to stay on top of social media trends and be very aware of what’s going on.
  • Email: Email marketing is not dead! On the contrary, it remains an incredibly effective way to reach your audience. Campaign Monitor reports that there are 3x as many email accounts as Facebook and Twitter accounts combined. Social media may be the hot new marketing toy, but email is here to stay, and those numbers are hard to ignore. Don’t get caught up in the new trends and ignore something with tons of potential and life left. Make sure your emails are short and sweet and include interesting images to keep your readers’ interest. Adding video to emails increases the click through rate by 200-300%!
  • Videos: Because video watching takes up 1/3 of all internet activity, video marketing is currently one of the smartest things to implement in your marketing strategy. Longer, more detailed videos are ideal for baby boomers, while short, visually stimulating 30 -60 second videos are best for younger target markets.
  • Infographics: Infographics are popular for a reason – they get shared 3X as much as other content on social media! This type of content is ideal for younger generations and visual learners, who would rather see than read through blocks of text. When crafted correctly, infographics are an excellent way to grab and hold attention. They are a great way to present information in a more interesting and visually appealing way, and they’re more likely to be read by millennials than an article or blog post that holds the same information.
  • Gifs & Memes: Popular with millennials and centennials, gifs and memes are a more recent addition to the digital marketing culture. According to the New York Times, 23 million gifs are added on Tumblr every day! Gifs and memes, when used in moderation, make great additions to blog posts, social media posts, and email. You can create your own gifs to show product details, animate data, or explain step by step processes, or you can use previously generated ones to add personality and humor.

It’s important to develop a digital marketing plan that resonates with your target group. Whether your market is teenage boys or professional women, your marketing plan must be tailored to your specific audience. It’s also important to keep in mind that you and your audience may not agree on aesthetics or style, and that’s okay. What truly matters is creating digital content that resonates with your audience, whether it’s your style or not.

Should you use humor

Sometimes, humor is used as a genius marketing move. Other times, not so much. Humor has the potential to both build your brand and destroy your reputation. Would it work for you? Should you even try?

Last December, the internet lost their ever-lovin’ minds over the infamous “Wendy’s Twitter Roast”. In case you missed it, the famous fast food chain Wendy’s got involved in a heated exchange on Twitter with – for a lack of a better word – an internet troll. It went a little something like this:

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 11.27.22 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 11.27.39 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 11.28.01 AM.png

 

Ouch! Thuggy-D might need a little aloe vera for that burn.

Admittedly, this verbal takedown was an unusual approach. It definitely brought attention to the brand, and probably won quite a few sassy hearts. They lost a few customers, too, without a doubt. Not every brand can afford to take the risk Wendy’s did so blatantly on social media. Most other companies are busy trying their darndest to make sure their customer service department bends over backwards to make people happy – like Pier 1 Imports (incidentally, our next door neighbor!) for instance:

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 11.32.16 AM.png

And, of course, using humor for your brand isn’t limited to social media and customer service. It can be used in advertisements, content offers, website material, brochures, or anything else related to your company. The question remains: should you use humor for your brand? How do you know?

There are pros and cons to implementing humor in your marketing strategy.

As a Fort Worth creative agency that likes to have fun, we like to think there are some pretty good upsides to using humor. But, as with most things, there are some pros and cons, and there is no universal, one-size-fits-all answer – every company is different! You should first consider your audience: who are you trying to connect with? Although you personally might be someone who appreciates humor, your ideal customers may not be. Know your audience and focus on speaking to them the way that they want to be spoken to.

Next, consider your long term goals. Will implementing humor get you closer to those goals? Will humor bring you closer to your target market – or will it repel them?  It’s important to think about whether humor will serve your brand’s greater good or just provide short term/shallow results.

Pros:

  • Potential relationship builder: If your target market appreciates humor, they’ll also appreciate your use of it. Using humor can instantly boost customers’ view of you, and create a more favorable impression of your brand in their minds.
  • Adds personability: Humor can show the personable side of your brand, and showcase the brand’s unique personality, and what makes you different.
  • Proves you’re not a robot: It’s easy for companies to get so caught up in appearing professional that they go too far the other way, and end up feeling mechanical. Humor can break a brand away from this, and make your brand feel less stiff and more relevant.
  • Creates memories: People remember things that make them laugh. Using humor in your brand’s voice is a great way to stick with people. This is especially true for television commercials, where the funniest commercials are usually the most remembered (Heck, off the top of my head I remember a funny Velveeta cheese commercial from 3 years ago).

Cons:

  • Potential suicide/alienation: Will using humor alienate your current fan base? If your current customers see your brand as sleek and professional, using humor can potentially hurt the solid reputation you’ve built up, alienating faithful customers. Don’t alienate the customers you already have by trying to reach out to new customers: it’s incredibly risky, and the odds aren’t in your favor.
  • You might not be as funny as you think: Before you post that comment or hit “print” on that flyer, ask for several outsiders’ opinions first. We’ve all laughed at our own jokes, only to find ourselves the only person in the room that enjoyed it. There’s too much on the line to risk that in your business. Some people like knock-knock jokes. Some people like puns. Some people would rather jump off of golden gate bridge than hear either one of those things, and will dismiss your brand completely if they see you use them.

In the end, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Here are some questions to ask yourself to find out if humor is right for your brand:

Ask yourself these questions first:

  • Is the overall message I’m trying to convey getting lost in the laughs?
  • Will this alienate my current fanbase?
  • Will this offend ideal customers?
  • Is it too confusing?
  • Is it an “inside joke” that some won’t get? (e.g., a Friends tv show reference that your market may not be familiar with)
  • Will it further my end goal?
  • Is it really funny?

If you still aren’t sure if you can afford to use humor, consider trying it out on a case-by-case basis. It’s a solid place to start, and based on the reactions you receive, it should give you a pretty good idea of how to move forward. Remember, no matter how many “likes” you get on Facebook, or giggles you get from viewers, the bottom line is your bottom line. Sales should always be your long term end goal, and if humor helps you get there, then congratulations, you’re officially crushing it.

Get Noticed

Images are incredibly important in the rat race for attention on social media. Recent studies show that when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. According to Buffer Social, tweets that contain images get 150% more retweets than tweets that don’t have images. Additionally, Buzzsumo reports that Facebook posts that contain images get 2.3 times more engagement than those with no images.

As an inbound marketing agency, a big part of our job is social media management. Social media marketing is important, and in today’s modern world maximizing your online presence is a must.

How do you maximize your online presence?

In a nutshell, you must consistently engage with your market on the social media platforms they frequent. This includes posting relevant content that your audience actually wants to see, and one of the most important aspects of that is putting out visually appealing content.

First, you must analyze your target market and find out what kinds of content they want to see. What entertains them? What fuels their passions? What interests them outside of your company? All of these things must be carefully considered before developing your social media plan of attack. Once you know the types of material and content that would be most productive for you to post, you should think about the best way to draw attention to them. The best way to draw attention to many things – social media included – is through visual stimulation.

Simply put, if you want people to notice your posts, you need to make them notice those posts via relevant accompanying visuals.

What will these visuals look like?

Different markets look for different things. The same things that will attract some customers will repel others – and that’s okay. Not everyone is your ideal client, and you can’t make everybody happy. Focus on what your specific target market wants to see, and produce that content. Sometimes, it will take the form of an infographic. According to MassPlanner, Infographics are “liked” and shared on social media 3 times more than any other type of content! Or maybe, it’s an awesome photograph. Or perhaps a graphic, video, or gif. The type of visual content you’re posting should be different depending on the social media platform you’re on. For instance, Snapchat is better for posting behind the scenes, real-time shots of your products and office, and Instagram is ideal for posting images of the face of your brand.

Now, for the fun part.

Adding visual emphasis in your social posts might be easier than you think: hand-drawn graphics aren’t necessary for every single post. Simply putting text on an image boosts both visibility and interest. Our social media team developed a social media series centered around weird Texas laws for an online legal service, TexasLegalDocs. It was a great way to show off the brand’s personality while posting content that was both relevant and interesting to the brand’s audience.

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 10.35.20 AM.png

 

Studies show that when the title of a blog post is in an image accompanying the post, the open-rate increases. The image below was used as an attention-grabber to direct traffic to a blog post about long term care for a financial planning organization we worked with. Statistically speaking, people like statistics, and putting one on an image can be a great way to get noticed.

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 10.40.27 AM.png

 

Wendy’s does a fabulous job of managing their social media pages. In the post below, they’ve taken the most boiled down version of their offer possible and splattered it across an image with attention-grabbing color contrasts and mouth watering images. Someone scrolling through their Facebook feed couldn’t possibly ignore the point of the post, because it’s so delightfully simple and bright. If Wendy’s had written the exact same thing and put it in the text box rather than on an image, most people scrolling through their Facebook feed would probably never notice it.

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 10.39.20 AM.png

 

Developing quality visuals for your social media plan can be challenging. Remember, quality is better than quantity in this case. It’s better to have fewer, more powerful posts than to damage your online reputation and lose followers over too many low-quality posts. Making sure your visuals are appealing and not just “noise” is just as important as finding the right medium to express them.

Managing a productive and successful social media presence is just one part of inbound marketing. Inbound changes the way that people see businesses, and it changes the way that businesses interact with and reach out to their customers. If you’re interested in learning more about the proven power of inbound, download our free checklist today: How to Run an Inbound Marketing Campaign.

 

New Call-to-action

pexels-photo-226569

First came telephones, then cell phones, and now smart phones. What once began as a simple concept has transformed into a massive culture shift worldwide. When I spent a summer in Uganda, most of the people living in the mud and stick huts I saw didn’t have so much as running water – but they had cellphones. In the U.S., you’d be hard pressed to go anywhere without finding people glued to their phones. Restaurant, bar, park, shopping mall, streets, cars, homes – you name it, wherever you go, mobile phones are sure to be there.

Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and mobile marketing is just one piece of the ever-changing puzzle. Technology updates constantly, and customers’ buying habits update with them. Because of this, businesses simply can’t afford to ignore the current growing need for mobile marketing.

Consider these recent statistics:

  • 77% of the U.S. population currently owns a smart phone (Pew Research Center) – and this number just keeps increasing.
  • By 2018, an estimated 8 in 10 people will open their emails exclusively from their mobile devices (EmailMonday).
  • Additionally, over 50% of smart phone users grab their cellphone immediately after waking up (Express Pigeon).
  • A whopping 4 out of 5 consumers use their smart phone to shop (Carnival.io).
  • 75% of users access the internet via their mobile devices (Carnival.io).
  • The average user spends 4-5 hours per day on mobile (Branch).
  • Currently, 69% of emails are opened on mobile devices (Branch).
  • By 2020, 90% of U.S. sales will be influenced by digital, the majority of which can be attributed to mobile.  (Data & Marketing Association).

It’s vital to keep up with technology and trends in order to stay relevant in the fast-paced industry of marketing. Because of the recent boom of smart phones, if you want to remain front and center in your customers’ minds, mobile marketing is a must.

So, how can you reach your audience through mobile?

  • Optimize your website for mobile. If someone visits your website from their phone and your site isn’t mobile friendly, chances are pretty good that your prospect isn’t going to stick around to wrestle with it. Instead, they’ll head over to the competition. Important factors you should keep in mind when optimizing your website for mobile devices: make sure your page speed is lightning fast, design for large clumsy fingers (no tiny buttons or buttons that are placed too close to each other!), and use HTML5 rather than Flash, since some phones aren’t equipped with that plugin.
  • Create a strong and interactive social media presence for your business. Social media is a great place to show off the personality behind your brand, and to really connect with your customers. Respond to comments, thank people for follows and re-tweets, and make sure you’re consistently posting quality, relevant content that will make people glad they’re following you. Fortunately, you don’t have to create an account on every single platform out there. Instead, find out where your target market is hanging out on social media, and be there. For almost everyone, it’s a good idea to be active on Facebook, but for some businesses, meeting your target market where they are will mean being active on LinkedIn, Instagram or Snapchat as well.
  • If it makes sense for your brand, create an app. Research shows that mobile users spend most of their time in apps other than in website browsers. When people download your app, you have increased your brand visibility exponentially, and created a direct marketing channel to that audience. Thanks to push notifications, you can be even more present in your customers’ everyday lives. Apps are also a great way to build customer loyalty and engagement! Customer loyalty features are a giant incentive for your customers to download your app, and a great way for you to surprise and delight. Last but not least, if your business sells merchandise, creating an app can streamline the checkout process and make purchases fast and easy, with the added benefit of increasing the likelihood of future sales.
  • Keep up with your email marketing – and make darn certain that you have a great mobile version of those monthly newsletters. Email marketing is an incredibly valuable form of inbound/content/digital marketing that can keep your audience engaged and informed. With most newsletter creation programs, there are easy-to-configure options for mobile optimization of your newsletter design. Since so many people open their emails on mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly newsletter can make the difference in whether a person unsubscribes from your list or not. When optimizing your newsletter for mobile devices, it’s a good idea to use a one-column design. Make sure your fonts aren’t too small, use images sparingly, and stay away from too many calls to action.

Mobile optimization is one of the best ways to reach new customers and nurture relationships with existing ones, and it can be one of the most affordable, effective ways to enhance your current marketing strategy. Optimize your marketing strategy for mobile – your future self will thank you.

evergreen

If your business is actively content marketing, chances are pretty good that you’ve run across a few dry spells and rough patches in conjuring up new content. After all, constantly churning out brand new quality content that appeals to your target audience can be quite a challenge. Do you want to save yourself some time and a migraine this weekend, while creating content that will drive visitors to your website forever and ever? Master the art of creating evergreen content.

What is evergreen content?

Evergreen content is content that is permanently useful, relevant, and timeless. For example, an ebook of recipes will be useful for the rest of the foreseeable future. An ebook about how to use Facebook Live, however, while useful at the moment, probably wouldn’t be relevant for the rest of the foreseeable future. While the first example is good information on a subject that will not change, the second example could  change in a day. Things that are constantly changing, such as technology, are great topics to write about. They are not, however, evergreen content that will remain useful to your audience forever.

Why create evergreen content?

Creating evergreen content can save your team bucket loads of time down the road. Instead of continually producing brand new content every day, investing in evergreen content can save your valuable time by allowing you to repurpose content that you’ve already created.

When you share content on social media, for example, according to Facebook, your posts are only organically seen by 16% of your followers. That’s a staggeringly low number, my friends. On the flip side, however, it means that you are able to re-post the same content multiple times without risking people feeling overwhelmed by you over posting. [This has to be done well, however – don’t repeat the same post! When posting about content that you’ve previously posted about, make sure your new post is fresh and brings out different aspects of the content that you haven’t previously mentioned.] This way, you get the most bang from your buck, and maximize the content that you’ve already spent time on.

In addition, evergreen content boosts your SEO. By creating content that people are going to keep searching for forever, you’re setting yourself up for unlimited hits on your website. Evergreen content, in other words, is one of the best ways to drive consistent traffic to your website permanently.

So, now that we know what evergreen content is and why you need it, let’s jump into the good stuff.

How do you create evergreen content?

When creating evergreen content, there are a few things to consider. First, what keywords are both profitable and relevant to your business? What things do you want your website to come up for? Consider basing your content around those keywords – subtly, without banging your audience over the head with it.  Then, make sure you narrow your ideas down, and make sure each piece of evergreen content is specific. If your focus is too broad, you may lose a good portion of your potential audience. People want to know exactly what they’re going to get, and they don’t want to waste their time with things that aren’t what they were looking for. Last, write your piece with authority. If you state something as fact, make sure you’ve clearly included the evidence to back it up, or your audience may grow wary and skeptical. If they’re going to go spend the time going through what you’ve got to say, they want to be certain that it’s foolproof information that’s worth their effort. Time is money, and there are roughly 103,324,122 things vying for your audience’s attention when they come across your article/blog/ebook/etc.

There are several types of evergreen content that are fairly simple to create. Here are four of them:

  • How-to’s: No matter what it is that your company does, there are a plethora of how-to’s that would be interesting to your target audience. Hair salon? Write a how-to on caring for split ends. That’s something that people will be searching for forever (curse you, split ends!), it will drive people to your website, and your followers will definitely want to read it. Electricity company? Write a how-to on preparing for a power blackout. Whatever your business is, there are plenty of timeless things your audiences will be googling from now until the end of Google.
  • Checklists: People like lists. Create them as a blog post, or as a downloadable content offer. Either way, people will want to read them. Travel company? Create a list of “What to pack on your trip to Bermuda”. That’s going to be a timeless list that probably won’t change much (if at all), and there will be a never ending pool of people who have never been to Bermuda that will definitely want your list.
  • Regular Lists: People are always googling things that will inevitably lead to “list” – type content, even if they don’t realize it. For example, just a handful of the things I’ve personally googled in the last few months that led me to incredibly helpful “list” posts are: “Best veterinarians in Fort Worth”, “Best drugstore mascara”, and “Best queso in Dallas.” And what did I get, when I googled these things? I got lists. Some of them, I noticed, were years old. Had the information changed? Nope. Was I happy to have found these lists? Oh, yes.
  • History of__: If you weren’t a fan of high school history class, I have great news! Your evergreen “History of…” posts can – and should – be interesting. Again, the goal is to find topics that your audience would actively care about, and write about that. Do you own a bar? Write about the evolution of beer. Include some mouth-watering visuals (and sprinkle in some humor, if it fits your target market), and boom: more evergreen content that will never change, and will always be interesting.

Don’t get discouraged if it takes a minute to build up your arsenal of evergreen. Remember, this content is going to be around a while, and will very likely be some of the most viewed content you ever publish, so quality is better than quantity. The Sistine Chapel wasn’t built in a day!

Page 2 of 1312345...10...Last »