How to Evaluate Your Marketing Efforts for the New Year

How to Evaluate Your Marketing Efforts for the New Year

The year began with a list of goals on your whiteboard. Break 1M on Twitter. Double your monthly website traffic. Hit $3M in sales. You invested in a marketing strategy designed to help you hit these goals, and now the year is coming to a close. How did you do?

It’s pretty easy to see the wildly successful campaigns and the flops, but most of your work is in between. How do you know what to budget for the coming year? How do you decide not just where to put your efforts but what exactly they should look like?

What Didn’t Work? (And What Did?)

As you plan for the new year, you want to know how to adjust your strategy for maximum results. A few things to consider:

Social Media Engagement

Find your engagement rate by totaling up all the engagements (like, comments, shares) and dividing by the total number of likes for the page. Your rate should be between 0.5 and 1%. Less than half a percent indicates you need to adjust your strategy. More than that and you’re doing great! Maybe figure out why it’s so high and see how you can keep that going—and maybe apply it to other channels.

Social Media ROI

Now take a look at how much time, energy and money went into achieving that engagement rate.

Did you make more than you spent?

Did a higher engagement rate convert to increased sales?

Non-Social Media ROI and Conversion Rate

With the other marketing campaigns you ran:

Where did your sales come from?

What was your conversion rate? Are you pleased with it?

What you were trying to achieve; what you did achieve; where you fell short

What Could Be better?

This isn’t time for strategy–yet. Look at how you performed and decide where it could be better, or maybe just where you want it to be better. Based on what you learned above from this year, choose 3 areas to improve in 2018.

  • Company growth
  • Profit
  • ROI
  • Likes, follows
  • Influence
  • Community
  • Brand engagement
  • Conversions (via social media, email, organic search traffic, etc)
  • Partnerships
  • Web traffic
  • Keyword rankings

Compare what you wanted with you got. If you achieved your goals, great! Could you still do better? If you didn’t achieve them, could do better? Or different perhaps?

New Year, New Goals

Now that you  know what went well and where you want to improve, it’s time to get ready for the year ahead.

One of the things most companies lack is an effective marketing strategy. The thing is that your market is made up of people, and people change behavior based on trends and prices and economies and your competition and so many factors and forces, both seen and unseen. You can’t possibly devise a strategy that sees into the future and accounts for all possible variations factors and circumstances. (But if you can, we want to hear from you!)

For your marketing strategy to be effective, it must also be dynamic. It must respond to changes in the market—and respond effectively. Like, you can’t just watch your market go to snapchat and then start a snapchat account. That may not be the best use of and resources. Maybe you want to start an influencer campaign instead. Maybe things are shifting to video so you should start producing video—but how long should the video be? What sort of content should be in the video?

And a million other factors to be considered and properly executed.

It’s a lot to get right, and a lot of time to invest to keep getting right. But the growth potential is enormous. Get a team working for you that understands your business, your needs and your market, and can adapt quickly to changes.

And if you’re not sure where to start, give us a call.

How to Get the Most from Facebook Insights

How to Get the Most from Facebook Insights

In today’s society, social media sites are a huge contributing factor for sales. Facebook, is especially great for small businesses to generate new leads and build their online presence. Why? Because potential customers spend most of their free time online. According to Social Media Today, the average person will spend nearly two hours on social media every day!

How do you know what type of customers you’re attracting to your Facebook page? Well now there is a new easy tool to use that is called “Facebook Insights”. It has the ability to show you all kinds of statistics about how your Facebook business page is performing. I know you’re probably thinking I’m about to give you the “sales pitch” or be told the elongated “too much information” spill. Surprisingly no, I actually have simplified and highlighted a few of the essential benefits that Facebook Insight has to offer.

  • Your top posts. Facebook Insight allows you to see your most popular post you have. It also shows you what kind of content, posting times, and days are best to receive more likes and clicks from your audience.
  • See who your best fans are. You can see who your most-engaged followers are. Which includes; the location, age, and interests. This is especially beneficial to business owners because it can help you refine your marketing strategy and increase the traffic to your page.
  • How you compare to competitors. Yes, that’s right, Insight helps you see how your business page compares to the competitors page. Awesome right? It can also show you the top five competitor pages and how they are engaging and growing with their fans.
How Do We Reach Millennials? Two Case Studies.

How Do We Reach Millennials? Two Case Studies.

We’re always being asked by clients “How do we reach Millennials?

Millennials aren’t so different from other markets, but no one confounds businesses quite like them. They don’t buy homes, watch TV, get married. They move back in with their parents. How can you possibly reach a market that moves back in with their parents?

Speaking as a Millennial, I have some ideas.

Attractive look, easy feel.My generation has a keen eye for design, and especially ease of use. We grew up with the internet and know both how ugly a website can look (remember Angelfire?) and also how beautiful web design has become. We have no patience for websites that are difficult or ugly to navigate!

Authenticity over legitimacy.  What inspires trust with my parents: a company with Credentials and a Plan that can Solve Your Problems. Companies that use stock photos and jargon and have men in suits with degrees and 30 years of experience were considered more trustworthy.

Yeah. Right.

We saw the housing bubble burst, your banks fail, unemployment soar–and all because those credentialed, experienced decision-makers. You don’t need to have a bunch of degrees or a sweet (suite) office–in fact, we kind of prefer you not. Show us your personality and we’ll decide if you’re trustworthy.

We recently had two clients who wanted to connect with the millennials in their market. Here’s how we helped them out:

Vista 360 Health

I don’t have before pictures of this site which is fine because virtually all health insurance-related websites suffer from the same problems. I chose Cigna to be our stand-in. Take a look:

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 6.15.56 PM.png

Aaaa! That’s what I think when I see this page. I don’t where to look or what to click. There’s so much text and way too much information. There’s pictures and calls to action and buttons and colors and everything is just out there. No clear design hierarchy or path for navigation. In short, I am overwhelmed.

Take a look at it now:

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 6.25.33 PM.png

Wooooooow it’s so beautiful! And clear! Far from being overwhelmed, the bright colors, clear shape, and obvious design hierarchy make me want to hang out at this site forever! I feel like a real human created it.

I click on Individuals and look at this:

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 6.28.16 PM.png

  1. No awful stock photos (Millennials hate stock photos)
  2. Diversity!
  3. Bitmoji–not necessary but it shows me they know their market (me).
  4. Intuitive design. I can read the copy, or I can just click the buttons. They’re clear to see and easy to understand.
  5. Again, the whole page is clean and inviting. Remember up top how we said that attractive look and easy feel was fundamental? This is what we’re talking about.

Bottom line: this website is beautiful. I can find my way around without getting stuck or frustrated. I can tell the company put a lot of thought into making it easy for me, which means they value me. I like a company that values good design and a human touch. They’ve made me a happy customer.

Public Employees Credit Union

Before:

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 5.13.00 PM.png

Oh, dear. I think this is even worse than Cigna. Problems:

  1. It’s all crammed together–it doesn’t even use up the whole screen!
  2. I have to go trekking around the page just to find what I’m looking for–
  3. –and there’s so much information strewn about that I keep getting distracted and confused
  4. I don’t get any sort of human touch from this site. In fact, I think they may have hired a robot to smush as much information into an 800 pixel square as it could manage
  5. Absolutely no sense of design, and therefore no understanding of me.

In short: I don’t want to do business with this place.

After:

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.47.04 PM.png

There it is! This is a site I’m happy to navigate.

  1. They cleaned up the design. I can find my way around the site now.
  2. It’s got a cohesive color scheme. It’s not like Millennials go around judging websites on the merits of their design, but we’re very attuned to it even if we’re not conscious of it. Getting it right shows us that you value us.
  3. Instead of looking like a robot dit it, it looks like actual humans run this credit union, and like those humans value my goals, priorities and choices.

Bottom line: Millennials are wary of banks (see: bailout, shady business practices). I know credit unions are different, but it’s still a financial institution. It’s more crucial than ever to show that you understand us and value us. This website acts as a great resource for me (because I’ll do a bunch of research before ever picking up the phone to talk to you) and shows a business that, when I’m ready to talk to, I can trust.

Times Are A-Changing, But They’re Mostly The Same

Millennials may behave differently than what you’re used to, but at the bottom of it are the same basic needs: we have problems we need you to solve, and we want to trust you to do it. We just want to see more of the people than the corporation.

Are You Sending The Wrong Message With a Poorly Designed Website?

Are You Sending The Wrong Message With a Poorly Designed Website?

How important is your online presence to your users? Seriously, think about the last time you came across a website that just made you laugh because of how poorly it was designed. Did that make you second guess or affect your decision to do business with them? Imagine walking into a poorly designed storefront,  that is unorganized, and smells of dead rodents. Would you continue to shop there or would you walk out and find a similar storefront that sells the same products and or services with a better user-experience? There have been countless times that I personally have come across websites that were not designed with the end-user in mind. Do you think I reached out to this particular business?  Take a wild guess….NO!  I searched for another vendor or business that was more appealing. I mean honestly, if you don’t care about your online presence, imagine what users are thinking about your company?

According to researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, it takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first opinion of your brand once they’ve perused your company’s website. Let’s be honest, if you don’t meet the consumer’s expectations and needs in that moment, you will more than likely lose that potential business. No one wants to wait 1-3 minutes for a website to load especially if it’s non-mobile-friendly. Unfortunately, this happens way too often. Many companies focus on spending thousands of dollars on marketing and neglect investing money on their poorly designed websites.

Does this sound like you? Consider the following tips before you invest money into your marketing budget:

Think like the user

Keep the end-user in mind. First impressions continue to be a primary factor for an end-user. When you have a poorly designed website, your credibility is on the line. A negative first impression of your business can greatly impact you and help others negatively voice their opinion about your business to all their friends and family. A website is a representation of the quality of a company’s products and/or services, so make sure your site accurately represents your business.

Focus on Design Principles

What constitutes a well-designed website? Focus on usability, utility, and have a user-centric website. Don’t forget the rule of thumb, simplicity is key! You want to ensure you condense your content that way your users can find the information quickly and effectively. Remember to keep in mind who are your users and how are they going to use your site. If you focus on these design principles, your website will not only look attractive but it will help increase leads.

Is There An ROI To The Amount Of Facebook Likes? Do Followers = Sales?

Is There An ROI To The Amount Of Facebook Likes? Do Followers = Sales?

Social media is a marketing tool, so does that mean that more likes and follows means greater business growth, sales, and money? All our hours developing a badass content calendar,  making shareable videos for Facebook ads and crafting perfect 120-character tweets–those are dollars in the bank, right?

Well, often yes. But it’s not quite that simple.

What Social Media Is (and Isn’t)

Social Media is a marketing tool. It is a great way to connect with your customers, engage them, and maybe above all: to build community. Usually building your brand also grows your business.

But social media itself doesn’t make money. If anything, it costs money–and potentially lots of it. Total up the time and resources you spend on making awesome content or putting together influencer campaigns and it can be a spendy venture.

A huge following on Facebook and Twitter should mean you’re getting lots of referrals to your website and that that traffic is converting to sales at a high rate. Social media is a great (!) referral source, a way to get new customers in the door and out via the register.

Analyze This

So how do you know if your Facebook efforts are paying off?

Analytics, my friend. Google Analytics will show you your referral sources and whether they converted to sales. (It will also tell you a  million other things, all for free, so if you’re not already using it, what are you waiting for?) Facebook Insights will show you the results of your campaigns, boosted ads, engagement, page growth, and even demographics. Twitter and Instagram (and just about every major platform out there) all have their own business analytics options, and there are entire companies who specialize in getting you this data.

Size Isn’t Everything

Surely someone on the internet has calculated how a following corresponds to sales. And it’s likely that if you got a million followers this year, you’re going to see a (considerable) boost in sales. But, it really isn’t about the numbers.

The reason social media is such a powerful marketing tool is referrals. People talking about your stuff, tagging friends in pictures, sharing posts, tweeting about their new workout gear–whatever it is, those person-to-person recommendations are more valuable than any campaign you could produce in a studio.

Don’t worry so much about the numbers. Build a community of engaged customers and the sales will take care of themselves.

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