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Monday Morning Motivation

guitar

How a Humanities Student Turned a Guitar Into Utah’s Beloved Hot Dog Empire

For the month of February, we’re talking all about college student entrepreneurs. Our 4-part series looks at four very different businesses started by studentpreneurs and the key takeaways that can help you in your business. Questions? Suggestions? Want to us to feature your business? Drop us a line! anna@atxwebdesigns.com.

Who: Jayson Edwards

What: J Dawgs, a hot dog restaurant from Provo, UT

Where: Brigham Young University

The Problem: The city didn’t have a great hot dog place.

The Solution: Sold his guitar and invested the money in a tiny restaurant space near campus.

Jayson Edwards was a student at Brigham Young University. One day he was walking along a street and realized that he could start his own hot dog stand. He had spent two years living in Canada where he had eaten really good hot dogs and realized he missed those dogs–and other people would probably enjoy them, too.

In 2004, he pawned his electric guitar and invested the money in a tiny (12’x12’!) shack not far from campus. The business has been thriving ever since.

Edwards keeps a very simple menu: two kinds of dogs (polish or beef), soda, chips,and condiments. But, he does have one trick up his sleeve: he uses a “secret sauce” that was taught to him by his grandmother.

Initially popular among other college students, his restaurant J Dawgs is now in six locations around Utah. He’s also diversified his revenue streams. Each location sells T-shirts and J Dawgs offers catering services. And to think it all started from a guitar.

Top 3 Lessons and Takeaways:

  1. Specialize. Sometimes the more niche you are, the more profit you can earn. J Dawgs’ menu is extremely simple and extremely good. They’ve focused on what they’re good at (hot dogs, buns, sauce, atmosphere) and replicated it. No need for frills or menu changes.
  1. Secret Sauce! Every company needs a secret sauce. Offer something that no one else does, that no one else possibly can. That way even if another delicious hot dog place popped up, J Dawgs still has the sauce everyone loves. A little touch of exclusivity goes a long way for your brand, and your customers.
  1. Use Your Resources. Edwards had taken a class in entrepreneurship before starting his business, but after starting he continued utilize his school’s center for entrepreneurship. Take a class. Get a mentor. And just start! Edwards didn’t have any capital, so he created it by pawning his guitar. Universities are full of resources.
most important features (1)

The Five Most Important Features of Your New Website

Business owners love a sexy website. They tell us to make their website look cool. They want their users to be impressed by it, to spend time (and money) on it.
What they don’t usually think about are the really practical but crucial elements of a website that we don’t notice until they’re not there–or, worse, done poorly.

1. User Experience

Each website has its own purposes and objectives. None of them can be achieved if it isn’t stupid-easy to navigate the site. I think this is the single most important element of any and every site because I have no patience for websites that confuse me or present me with broken links or missing pages.

As we always say: know your target audience. Know why they’re there. Know what they want. Know how to get them to what they want.

The key to nailing this part? Test, test, test, then test some more. It doesn’t matter what’s on your site or how good it looks if people can’t get what they need, or leave out of frustration.

2. Mobile response

Do I need to say this? 80% of internet users own a smartphone. Hell, you’re probably reading this from yours! Make it mobile responsive.

3. Analytics

Installing Google analytics is so easy that I’m sure you already have it on your site. The question is: are you using it?

It’s the end of the year and you’re planning your marketing for next year (right?). Your analytics will tell you almost everything you need to craft the web site piece of your marketing strategy. How are people finding your site? What keywords are they using? How long do they spend? How many pages do they visit? Which pages to they visit?

You want to know traffic sources, keywords, and user behavior so you can audit your marketing, determine your ROI, and craft growth strategies for the future.

4. About

I hate when I got to a website and can’t figure out what the company does or what their product is for. Have you had this? You go to the about page and it says a bunch of lofty things about how the company has been utilizing innovative technology since 1986 and is a leader in its industry. What does that even mean?

Just one sentence somewhere on the site about what you actually do would be very helpful to the lost visitors who wander to your website from a social media link and wonder, What the hell am I doing here?

Point ‘em in the right direction. Send ‘em home.

5. Social Media Links

It may be a Millennial thing, but I always check out social media links when I visit a new website. It’s a great way to get a feel for the business. I want to know if they’re posting funny memes or if I can see Instagram updates on their Facebook feeds. Do people like them? Is there a new product coming out? Is it a cool company?

 

Put your social media links up and invite people along (it’s an easy way to grow your following–and effortlessly generate more leads).

humans of new york

Humans of New York: A Case Study in Social Media Viral Content

Humans of New York began in 2010 as a project by Brandon Stanton to take 10,000 photos of New Yorkers. In the beginning, the point of each photo was visual storytelling. Every photo was beautifully composed, colorful, vivid. His first book, published in 2013, was a collection of these photos, but even while it was being published, his style had already begun to shift.

Instead of the photography taking center stage, he focused on individuals. He would ask, while taking their picture, about their biggest fears, regrets, loss. Humans of New York became a series of portraits both photographic and literary. His second book was published in 2015 focused on these stories. Sometimes they were a sentence and sometimes a page, but no longer were they merely visual.

Stanton wasn’t a professional photographer, at least not in the beginning. He had worked as a bond trader in Chicago. When he was fired, he bought a camera and moved to New York to take 10,000 photos of its people.

And so another guy moved to New York to pursue his art. It’s not a remarkable story and it’s likely it would have never been anything but some obscure guy’s hobby that we would never have come to know–except that he shared his work on Facebook.

He began photographing in late 2010, and in two years garnered 60,000 likes. That was a good number, especially in 2012, but it’s nothing to what he has today: 18.2 million. He’s traveled with the UN, to the Met Gala, to the White House to interview to President Obama himself.  Both of his books have been #1 New York TImes Bestsellers.

For a jobless, broke New York transplant, he’s done pretty well for himself.

But once again his creativity has shifted, and this time his audience has not followed along.

In early Fall 2017 he launched Humans of New York: The Series, a weekly Facebook video series (I can’t quite call it a TV show) that tells longer versions of New Yorkers’ stories through video. It is, of course, beautifully shot and produced. The stories are evocative, funny, and personal, just like his photo series. Really, fans of his Facebook page should be thrilled by this development, right? Even more stories! Followers always want to know more about the people whose stories he shares. Now we get know quite a bit more.

And yet, the Series page has only 906k likes. (Just for the sake of comparison, his Instagram account has over 7 million followers.)

Why is that? He’s years into this work with millions of followers around the world and more than a dozen who were inspired to carry out HONY projects in their own cities.

I think HONY is a masterclass in human connection. That is, HONY didn’t gain millions of followers by sharing gorgeous pictures or telling good stories. It gained millions by giving his followers something to connect over. Each photo gets thousands of comments, most of them quite compassionate. And the reason the commenters are kind and empathetic–instead of ugly internet trolls–is that the stories are just specific enough to be universal. Every follower reads a story about him or herself. It’s not about the subject. It’s about me.

The Series is packed with beautiful stories. I’ve never watched a disappointing episode. And yet, they lack that magical quality that the photos have. I see the person telling the story and i’m touched or I laugh. But I don’t see myself, not quite. And with 30 minutes of stories, there isn’t an easy entrance point to a conversation via thread. You can’t name the person in the film (there are no names), and it’s weird to mention time markers. What stuck out to me may not be what what you remember.

If you want your content to be shared, it must be creating connections, building a community. THat’s what great content does: connects you to a greater whole.

marketing 2018

How to Create a Great Marketing Strategy Going into 2018

I have all sorts of practical advice for your 2018 marketing plans:

  • Audit your marketing for 2017. Check your ROI and where it’s greatest. What went right and what could improve?
  • Reach out to your customers. Offer gift cards in exchange for feedback.
  • Survey your almost-customers. Ask what you could do better.

But none of those will do you much good if you miss the bigger picture, the greater message, the whole point of your marketing: the people who will pay for your product. Your people.

Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, thought leader, blogger, author  and the Internet’s resident marketing guru. The Internet has lots of great thought leaders in marketing, but I think that Seth Godin is the most insightful. He did a Q&A on Tim Ferriss’ podcast and was asked what most marketers do wrong.

Here is part of his response:

Nike did not invent the running tribe. There were already runners before Nike showed up. What we do when we lead a tribe often is we find people who are already connected and we merely show up to lead them.

For most businesses, we don’t even lead them. We merely service a tribe that already exists so that when you find a group of people who share an instinct, an interest, a connection, a leader, a goal, you give that group of people something with which they can take action.

The way I abbreviate that long sentence is “people like us do things like this.”

People like us do things like this.

It’s easy to get stuck thinking about marketing tactics and platforms. How should you tweak your Facebook strategy to get more engagement? What influencers do you tap for your next campaign? Should you post 3 times a day on 5 networks? Or do 5 times a day on 2? Which should those be?

None of those questions do you any good if you don’t know the who. Who are you trying to reach?  And why do they care about seeing your posts?

Your job as marketer is to answer these questions. Answering these questions will help you tap into the tribe that will buy your product.

Study your market. Understand them better than anyone else. Get why they do things the way they do.

Then, craft your marketing strategy.

Prove That You Get It

I wrote a post last month about the eggs that understood me.  They could have a more expensive business model because they could charge a high price for eggs. And they could charge a high price because the company understood that people like me would pay for them.

As you craft your marketing strategy for the coming year, audit your 2017 marketing, survey your customers and almost-customers, find which social media platforms your audience hangs out on and which influencers they rely on for product advice. Then, craft your strategy around them.

Not around platforms, but around people.

Your people.

savvy marketing

How a Savvy Marketing Strategy Brought in Over $450 Million

In November, the New York Times reported what was maybe the most shocking story they’ve done all year.

An old, damaged painting was sold at auction, among a fierce and lengthy bidding process–let that sink in for a moment before you continue reading–for a hefty sum.

Hm, no. Law school debt is a hefty sum. A mansion in Beverly Hills is a hefty sum.

This painting?

Sold! To the highest bidder for $450.3 million.

$450.3 million! I’m not even sure how one person–never mind 4!–can produce that kind of check and not have it be for a small island, or at least some sweet Manhattan digs. A painting?

Here’s what (also) caught my attention, though, and why I’m sharing this here today, emphasis my own:

Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi,” considered either the most important old master work to be auctioned in a generation or a damaged painting hyped by savvy marketing, sold on Wednesday night for $450.3 million with fees, a record for any work of art sold at auction. It far surpassed the sale of Picasso’s “Women of Algiers,” which fetched $179.4 million at Christie’s in May 2015.

Now that’s an interesting line. A painting beat out Picasso–by a lot–and it might not even be a master work by Da Vinci? Is it really fair to put this on the marketers?

But Christie’s marketing campaign was perhaps unprecedented in the art world; it was the first time the auction house went so far as to enlist an outside agency to advertise the work,

Aha!

creating a video that includes top executives pitching the painting to Hong Kong clients as “the holy grail of our business” and likening it to “the discovery of a new planet.”

A new planet? Are you even kidding me? Savvy does not even begin to cover the savviness of this marketing team. How on Earth did they pull that off?

I’ll tell you how: they knew their market! They knew that if there was any chance at all that this could be a real Da Vinci, then it was virtually invaluable–there would be almost no limit to what a serious art collector would pay to have it in his or her collection.

They pulled out all the stops.

They told a story that resonated with that audience.

They pulled off one of art’s most successful marketing campaigns in history.

I love this story!

When we talk about knowing your audience, this is what we mean. Price doesn’t matter. If you have something that someone wants, and you communicate its value to them, there is no limit to what you can do with that.

I mean, don’t be an ass about it. Don’t run the great name of marketing through the mud by manipulating your audiences just so you can go swimming in your piles of money.

But if you have an amazing product, it deserves an amazing story. Tell it. Because your customers want it.

2018 Marketing Strategy

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.

reach millenials

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.

all-over-linkedin

Why Every Entrepreneur And Business Owner Should Be All Over Linkedin Right Now

There are 300 million people in the United States, and 500 million people on LinkedIn. Are you one of them? You should be. In fact, we think that if you’re a business owner, you should be all over LinkedIn.

It’s a big network, yes, but more importantly: it’s a big network filled with other professionals, entrepreneurs and business owners. On this platform, you have direct access to your peers, as well as future (and current) employees, and other thinkers in your field. Use it to build your business through networking, conversation, and exchanging ideas

LinkedIn allows you to connect with your audience in a way that virtually nothing else can. No ads or marketing (though arguably posting on LinkedIn is totally a form of marketing). No podium to stand behind or website to navigate or email app to open. Just you and your audience. It’s your best social media tool for building connection and relationships, and establishing yourself as a thought leader.

Three Ways to Establish Yourself (and your business!) on LinkedIn

Networking (duh)

To be clear, we’re not talking about networking as that slimy thing people do when they give out business cards, talk about themselves and their business and never listen to what you have to say, but will happily email you four months later asking for a favor.

No.

We mean networking where you make connections with other people with whom you have something in common. We mean connecting person to person by:

-Sharing your ideas, successes and struggles (!) on your page.

-Congratulating people on their successes.

-Asking for help when you need it.

-Offering help when you have it.

In other words: building lasting relationships.

Thought Leadership

As a business owner, you have a valuable perspective on your industry, one that can probably help other people, and can definitely spark conversations with others in (and outside of!) your field. Perhaps the greatest value of LinkedIn is being able to disseminate these ideas to an audience who can benefit from them. Your page can be a lab for new ideas, and a venue for valuable discussions with others in your field.

LinkedIn allows you to write and publish your own posts. Use it to give value to your contacts. It will help you grow, professionally and personally.

Groups

Straight from LinkedIn.com: LinkedIn Groups provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts.

Facebook has a very popular group option—but a ton of people aren’t on Facebook and don’t want to maintain an account. You already have a LinkedIn, as do 500 million other professionals. Talk shop, post jobs, ask for help. Or, build a group for your customers and use it as an unbeatable option for market research.

LinkedIn was built for people like you. Use it like a pro.

legal-is-no-different

When It Comes to Your Brand, Legal is No Different than Customer Service

I’ve written before on the blog about Derek Sivers and his book Anything You Want. It’s just such a good read! It’s a slim volume broken down into like 2 and 3 page chapters, each one a little morsel to help you think differently about your business. I always feel both more inspired and more thoughtful after spending a few minutes reading it.

I wrote in September about the genius piece of content that was the CD Baby confirmation email. He makes a point in the book that it’s the little things that matter, those tiny human touches that make your customers go crazy for your business.

I agree.

One of Sivers’ examples is about how two lines of programming code cleared up the phone lines AND thrilled customers. CD Baby used to ship via FedEx each day at 5 PM, so customers would call and ask what time it was at the warehouse and see whether they could still get an order shipped that day. Sivers added a countdown to the site that, by the way, is in use by many online outlets–most apparently Amazon–that gives the numbers of hours left before the next shipment.

We don’t think of that as part of marketing–it isn’t really–but marketing and branding are so closely linked that it might as well be. It reminded me of Netflix’s recent cease and desist letter, which is another little piece of branding genius.

Some guys started a Stranger Things-themed bar in Chicago. Naturally, corporate giant Netflix wanted to shut it down. But, Netflix is a savvy corporate giant and so it knows that  brand-building can happen anywhere and that legal is no different than customer service.

Totally.

Live by this. Do all your business with this as your foundation, and you’ll be set for life.

begin marketing

Don’t Wait! Why You Should Begin Marketing for the Holidays Now

Don’t Wait! Why You Should Begin Marketing for the Holidays Now

Between September 25 and December 25 is a 90 day window. It’s when school is back in session, Fall has officially begun, and people are just starting to think about the holidays. Pumpkin starts showing up in treats and drinks, and the beginnings of holiday decorations are popping up on the shelves. This is the time to launch your holiday campaign.

If You Don’t Have a Campaign Ready to Launch

What are you waiting for? Move your other stuff to the back burner and spend the next week putting ideas together. This is the shopping season! This is Black Friday time! Be ready to not only have offers, but to ensure that people are going to take advantage of them (because it doesn’t matter how good your deals are if people don’t know about them!)

Four Steps to Crushing the Holidays

  1. Release New Products at the Beginning of Fall. It’s no coincidence that Apple holds its keynote in September. They hype up their new products, get reviews, do the ad blitz, release the products, and get enough buzz generated to carry them through the holidays. If you’re not a giant like Apple, you have to be really strategic about your release date. You don’t want it too soon so you don’t have the holiday momentum, and you don’t want it so close to the holidays that people have already bought their gifts. Take your leads from your market.
  2. Hype hype hype. Effectively building hype means talking about the product, building anticipation for the release date, and instilling FOMO in your following. Start out with teasers and leading up to a date of reveal. When you reveal what you’ve been working on, give a tour of the product (no details! But enough that they know they want it) and host a giveaway. As you work toward the official launch date (and you should set a launch date–see #1), it’s a great idea to get collaborators on board to reach a wider audience and to showcase the awesomeness of what you’re selling
  3. Collaborate & Influence. Maybe the best tool in your arsenal is jealousy. You want your instagram followers to go all Veruca Salt on your product–so give your golden egg to a few people with good followings. Have them talk about it. It can an influencer type relationships or a collaboration where you work with someone else or help promote their thing, too. Maybe a mix of both? The point is: you want people to see how cool it is to use the product (which is different from just seeing how the product is).
  4. Limit the Opportunity. So now you’ve got the word out and you’ve got buzz going and people waiting in line (sort of) to get your product. So what do you do to drive them to your site? Keep that sale window short. Have a 24-hour black friday sale. Have a Halloween sale. Have something that is time-limited so that people don’t put it off and lose interest. Or! Have a sale that goes a few months,. But be sure you emphasize the limited quantity.

All of this takes great strategy and execution, which is why we say to start planning now! Get in front of people multiple times so they want it. Then hype it, execute, and enjoy the holiday season.

transform your blog

Transform Your Blog Into A Lead-Generating Machine

Here’s the only good thing about shopping at Costco on a Saturday: free samples. I hate crowds, parking, and waiting in lines, but oh man do I love free samples. And you know what? It works! I never would have bought that bag of sausages with the special sauce if the lady hadn’t given me a piece fresh out of her little portable oven.

Your blog is a kind of free sample. It gives a taste for the quality of your work, establishes trust, and is totally free! You don’t want your blog there just talking up real estate on your site. You want it to be a resource for your visitors—and ideally, you want it to be the reason visitors come in the first place (like samples on a Saturday). Because if people go to your site to seek out your advice on something, or your reviews of a new product, you’ve established yourself as an expert in the field and a trusted resource. That’s how you get good business, loyal customers, and great referrals. In short, it’s how you generate leads.

Establish Yourself as the Expert

Everybody claims to be the best in an advertisement. This is your chance to show them that you actually are the best. You can solve the very problem they’re coming to you to get solved. As an expert, you understand not only what you do, but what that particular customer wants. When you can demonstrate that, you’ve got yourself a sale.

Write Great Pillar Articles

Pillar articles are in-depth articles that serve to both establish your expertise and drive traffic to your site. Write about four for your site, each one 1000 words. Take your time, do your research, and ensure that they’re engaging, readable, informative, and helpful. That’s how you rise up the search results rankings and get more and more people checking out your business. This is one area you probably want to hire out for. Read on to see why.

Use Calls to Action

Calls to Action are your opportunity to upgrade that reader to a customer, thought perhaps not directly. Put an opt-in form at the end of the post and make them a subscriber. Ask a question to get them talking in the comments or on your forum. Ask them to share the post on social media. Or direct them to your online store. Done right, your pillar content brings in new traffic and directs them to customerhood.

Produce High-Quality Content

Because these articles are so so crucial to your business, get them professionally produced. Get a designer to put together infographics. Get a writer to write the post with calls to action. Get someone to do the research for it. Since this will be the first thing many see, you want it to be stellar, the best content on your site.

Everything on your blog should be providing value to your customers. Produce your posts with that in mind, then direct them to the part of your site that will most benefit them. You’ll have no problem generating leads.

startup_

Startup- Here’s how to spend your investors money wisely

Marketing. Really great marketing.

Because it doesn’t matter how great your management is or how brilliant your content or how ingenius your business idea. If people don’t know about it, if people know about it but don’t understand how it improves their lives, your work is for nothing.

Invest in Market Research

It is so easy to start a business. Most fail. This is crucial to succeeding. You can’t just launch a business and say, Here we are! Give us your business! That’s not going to work. You have to first get in front of them and second persuade them with your pitch. Whether that pitch is a video or landing page or tweet, you don’t have much time to convince them, which is why knowing your audience is everything.

Who is your ideal customer? What do they read? Where do they hangout? Why do they need your product? What do they do in their freetime? What words are going to resonate with them, compel them to be interested? How will you solve their problem? How will you help them understand how you will solve their problem? You’ve got to answer these questions so you can craft effective marketing campaigns.

Launch a Killer Campaign

Because you’ve done your research, you know what sort of visuals, colors, words to use, and you know where to put your ads and where to guest blog, which social media platforms to leverage and which influencers to partner with. When all is accounted for, running a good campaign costs a pretty penny. You take all the information you gathered to craft a campaign that elevates your brand, brings traffic, and ends up in sales.

Rack Up 7-13+ Touches
https://www.onlinemarketinginstitute.org/blog/2013/10/why-it-takes-7-to-13-touches-to-deliver-a-qualified-sales-lead-part1/ But, you’re doing more than looking for sales. You’re actually cultivating relationships. This is the fun part of building a business in 2017, and it’s also going to help your business build long-term success. Your campaigns need to be well-crafted and fresh to get eyes, and they have to establish a connection to keep those eyes on your channels. Whatever form of content you’re producing, tell a story that connects to your audience.

Don’t Do It Alone

It’s so time intensive to do marketing right. It’s complex, involved, and always shifting. Few startups have the capacity to do it well, and that’s part of why so many fail. Entrepreneurs work really hard to make excellent products, they pay for beautiful websites, they get investors and hire great people—and then they fail because the people who would have been happily loyal to them didn’t know about their product, or didn’t see its value.

You worked so hard to make your idea a reality. You worked so hard to build a good company. Don’t do all that work just to see it all collapse. Market market market. Market smart. Market often. Market well. And as your business grows and changes, shift your strategy along with it.

video, podcast, blog

Should my Content be Video, Podcast, Blog or all 3?

It’s easy to feel like you should be on every social media channel. Get a facebook, a twitter, and instagram, a youtube, a pinterest, a blog so that you can reach everyone. The more people who see your page, the more who will follow, the bigger influence, growth, and revenue = social media jackpot!

Except, people don’t just follow you because you’re around. They follow you because you’ve got good content, because you’re providing videos they want to watch and share, or memes or information. Basically, like in all things business, you have what they want.

The problem is, every platform is a little different and if you put the same content on all the platforms, you just come off as stale and lame. But if you produce different content for every platform–well, you don’t have time for that as a startup.

So how do you choose?

  1. Do the thing you’re best at. Not everyone presents well on camera, and not everyone is interesting to listen to, or can write engaging blog posts. Think about your strengths and interests and those of your team. It’s going to take dedication so choose a form of content that can be produced both well and consistently.
  2. Go where your market is. Not everyone is on facebook as their primary platform. Instagram is influencer-heavy. Both lend themselves well to video. If your market includes commuters, people who exercise and students, a podcast may be a good fit. Blogs are great for every website because they’re easily integrated into SEO-optimization strategies (in fact, they’re often a cornerstone) but they, too, require writing skills, good visuals, and a bit of technical knowledge.

Videos and Podcasts and Blogs, Oh My!

Video marketing is said to be the big thing of 2017. The American Marketing Association says that 85% of US search traffic will be driven by video by 2019. Engaging video content is already king on social media. Every major social media platform now includes options for video, whether it’s a disappearing snapchat-style video, live streaming, or improved options for sharing.

Of course, the payoff for viral video is significant. It’s what everyone hopes for. But creating viral video may be one of the most energy and time-intensive options. It requires scripting, equipment, editing, music, not to mention content that quickly engages your viewer. In other words, unless you have a really great company to make your videos and the budget to spare, it’s probably not the best option to start with. (Then again, if you have the strategy and the means to execute, go for it! But don’t bother with trying to maintain other social media channels as you get it off the ground.)

Podcasts have a very low barrier to entry. All it takes is a microphone and a computer. But for a well-produced podcast, a podcast that gets listened to and that gets advertisers and a strong listener base (which is the reason you’re putting it out, right?) then you should at least get an editor. Plenty of podcasts start out without one, but production values will be much better which means more people will be willing to listen and share. You can invest in nicer equipment and greater sophistication as you go, but since podcast is all sound: make it good from the start.

In addition to the technical aspects of a podcast, it requires a weekly commitment. Are you going to interview a new guest each week? In person, by phone or by skype? Think about the time it will take to find, research, book and interview guests. If it’s not an interview show, what value will you be providing your listeners and who will be in charge of producing that content? How will you promote it? How much time will you devote each week to producing and recording?

Blogs are arguably the easiest and most low-maintenance form of content. They also help to boost your SEO rankings, and all you need is a solid writer. A good blog should always be a part of your website and your social media strategy. Like podcasts and video, it’s a great way to build brand awareness and establish your company as a leader in your field. Video is showing up more and more in search results, but people still visit websites and scan pages for their answers. It’s easy to share information at a glance, to tell a story in the time it takes to scroll down the page. Plus, embedded graphics are shared on social media sites, providing another avenue for visibility and traffic.

No matter what you choose, you’ll have to invest some money and time. You need a strategy for engaging and growing your audience, converting views and likes to sales, and a consistent production schedule. Commit to one and make it amazing.

Money-Wisely

Startup- Here’s how to spend your investors money wisely

Marketing. Really great marketing.

Because it doesn’t matter how great your management is or how brilliant your content or how ingenius your business idea. If people don’t know about it, if people know about it but don’t understand how it improves their lives, your work is for nothing.

Invest in Market Research

It is so easy to start a business. Most fail. This is crucial to succeeding. You can’t just launch a business and say, Here we are! Give us your business! That’s not going to work. You have to first get in front of them and second persuade them with your pitch. Whether that pitch is a video or landing page or tweet, you don’t have much time to convince them, which is why knowing your audience is everything.

Who is your ideal customer? What do they read? Where do they hangout? Why do they need your product? What do they do in their freetime? What words are going to resonate with them, compel them to be interested? How will you solve their problem? How will you help them understand how you will solve their problem? You’ve got to answer these questions so you can craft effective marketing campaigns.

Launch a Killer Campaign

Because you’ve done your research, you know what sort of visuals, colors, words to use, and you know where to put your ads and where to guest blog, which social media platforms to leverage and which influencers to partner with. When all is accounted for, running a good campaign costs a pretty penny. You take all the information you gathered to craft a campaign that elevates your brand, brings traffic, and ends up in sales.

Rack Up 7-13+ Touches
https://www.onlinemarketinginstitute.org/blog/2013/10/why-it-takes-7-to-13-touches-to-deliver-a-qualified-sales-lead-part1/ But, you’re doing more than looking for sales. You’re actually cultivating relationships. This is the fun part of building a business in 2017, and it’s also going to help your business build long-term success. Your campaigns need to be well-crafted and fresh to get eyes, and they have to establish a connection to keep those eyes on your channels. Whatever form of content you’re producing, tell a story that connects to your audience.

Don’t Do It Alone

It’s so time intensive to do marketing right. It’s complex, involved, and always shifting. Few startups have the capacity to do it well, and that’s part of why so many fail. Entrepreneurs work really hard to make excellent products, they pay for beautiful websites, they get investors and hire great people—and then they fail because the people who would have been happily loyal to them didn’t know about their product, or didn’t see its value.

You worked so hard to make your idea a reality. You worked so hard to build a good company. Don’t do all that work just to see it all collapse. Market market market. Market smart. Market often. Market well. And as your business grows and changes, shift your strategy along with it.

Zero-sum

In This Zero-sum Game, Call in the Marketers.

You can’t do everything. FIrst of all, you don’t have the time, and second of all, you’re not that good. But you can do one thing and I bet you can do one thing better than anyone else. It’s the reason you’re here, starting your business and working round the clock everyday to get it off the ground. You’ve got something to share, something that only you can offer. As an entrepreneur, then, your most important job is getting that thing into the world. As the leader, you set the vision and guide your team to achieve it.

That’s it.

But. If you don’t get the word out, and if you don’t get to your target market, not even your best work is going to matter. How can it if the very people it’s designed to benefit never hear of it?

To do that, you need a top search engine ranking which means a great SEO strategy. You’ll need excellent content on a consistent basis; great user interface and user design; a good social media strategy that will include separate content and daily maintenance; and succeeding at the online marketing game (not to mention the ground marketing game) is not easy. It takes lots of time and energy, and great execution. It should be a sustained priority.

Which means: you can’t do it yourself. Don’t put it on your team, either. Optimizing a website takes at least an experienced developer, a great writer, and a dedicated social media manager. Outsource it so you and your team can focus on building the best company.

You Have One Job

Look, your business is your baby. I get it. It depends on you for its very survival. It needs to be held and changed and fed every three hours, and there isn’t anyone else who can—oh, sorry. I thought we were talking about an actual baby.

No, your business is not an actual baby. It’s a business. You’re its leader. If you’re in all of the details and you’re not letting your people–that presumably you hired–do their job, then you’re failing at two jobs.

1. You’re providing lousy leadership.

2. You’re not doing the thing that only you can do!

With startups, especially in the early days, there will be fires and meetings and learning curves, and they will take your time, energy, and attention away from your most important job. That’s just reality. Don’t make it worse by giving yourself more jobs.

Focus Only on High Impact Activities

“If you service low-impact activities, therefore, you’re taking away time you could be spending on higher-impact activities. It’s a zero-sum game.”  Cal Newport

Perhaps the most important aspect of your company is your marketing.

Remember that.

Everything feels important in your new company. It seems you’re indispensable to its success. Do not make the mistake of getting involved in every little thing, especially something as complex and time-consuming as marketing. Like Cal Newport says, it’s a zero-sum game and diverting your attention is costly.

Focus on being great. Let your marketing focus on getting your great work seen by the world.

Content-Sucks

Your Content Sucks and No One is Reading It. Here’s Why

Were any of you around for CD Baby? I wasn’t, but I read Anything You Want by Derek Sivers, the founder and architect of CD Baby and you should really go read that book It’s quick and awesome, like a dip in a freezing cold river. In the meantime, I’ll share with you the most memorable and beloved part of CD Baby. Oh, but first let me back up.

CD Baby was around in the earlier days of the internet, when CDs were around and before Amazon was the Great Overlord of Earth. So, you’d go to this site and order a CD and they’d send you a confirmation email. But not just any confirmation; the most charming email you’ll ever get from a company. And today, it shall serve as our case study.

Thanks for your order with CD Baby!

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow. A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing. Our world-renowned packing specialist lit a local artisan candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy. We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day.

We hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. In commemoration, we have placed our picture on our wall “Customer of the Year.” We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.com!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sigh…

We miss you already. We’ll be right here at store.cdbaby.com patiently awaiting your return

See what I mean? You’ve got to get this book! It’s great for entrepreneurs, but also everyone.

When I talk about good content, ^this^ is what I’m talking about. This was around before content marketing was even a thing but it’s still one of the greatest of examples of good content in the history of the internet.

What is “Good” Content?

The simplest measure of good content, and the one we’ll be talking about today, is how engaged you were. How do you know? Ask this simple question: Do I want to keep reading? It doesn’t matter the reason. Some content is informative and some is funny and some is gossipy and some is super technical. That’s what makes it such a useful question; it applies to all kinds of content. If you wanted to keep reading, it was good content.

Good content tells a story

This CD Baby email is telling several stories. It’s telling the story of a company that values creativity. It’s telling a story of customer care and experience. It’s telling one hell of a story of CD delivery. And when you’re done, you feel so good. In that way, it’s also telling you the story of a company that you want to remain loyal to.

As you develop content, keep in mind the stories being told and ask yourself if they’re true. Ask yourself if they’re stories that you want to read. This would be a good moment to dip into Simon Sinek’s golden circle talk, but I’m not even going to get into that because I don’t need to. You’ve met great story tellers in your life. It doesn’t matter what they talk about because they make everything so interesting.

Be a storyteller. Let your content tell the story of your company, your values, your people, your personality.  And if you’re not a good story-teller, hire someone who is.

Good Content Feels Like a Person Made It

Wendy’s Twitter account made a splash not too long ago for its wit and sarcasm. It doesn’t act like a sales machine or a promobot, and its certainly not beholden to stiff corporate decorum. Their Twitter account is always interacting with its followers in funny ways. At a time when retail and restaurants are taking a hit (thanks, Millennials), this fast food restaurant has 2 million followers. McDonald’s has nearly 3.5M.

It’s not because of the product, or because people love the CEO or believe in the company’s mission. It’s because those 140 characters are really good. These aren’t corporations just checking the box on social media. They have people managing their accounts, and a strategy directing them, and they’re successful because of it. People want to read and engage and connect–even with fast food restaurants in 2017.

If you forget everything else about this article, remember this: you are a human being. So is everyone who is going to read/watch/listen to your content. Be real! If you’re smart or snarky or deep, just own that. Apply it every time you create. Your content will stop sucking and start gaining followers.

Social-Marketing

Does Social Marketing Always Need to be Social?

Marketers know the social sphere matters, but they can’t explain why they need to invest in social marketing. Thankfully, all that is changing using real numbers and relevant metrics.

Now, I know most social marketers consider their actions to be marketing. However, marketing and social actions are two different things. One uses social networks to generate defined, immediate, measurable results and the other uses social networks to build social engagement, brand loyalty, and customer satisfaction. This is exactly why it’s hard to measure the real impact of social actions. The two sets of metrics aren’t interchangeable. Social networks build themselves around brand-building metrics and marketers rely on hard ROI.

Thankfully, when it comes to connecting soft social actions with hard ROI, marketing outcomes are moving in the right direction. The social market is developing and evolving rapidly. Yet marketers fail to realize they need to stop justifying their social actions with notions of long-term community building. Don’t’ get me wrong, long-term community building is important on social networks, but if it isn’t paired with a focus on actions that produce measurable impact, then even the largest and most carefully curated social network is valueless.

Rather than exclusively thinking of social networks as platforms for taking soft social actions devoted to brand building, remember that social actions can drive meaningfully measurable results. There’s certain software, you can easily track the impact for direct social actions and measure click-throughs and conversions. Recent developments on the top platforms make it clear these networks’ efforts to court marketers are increasingly moving away from social actions and toward enabling functional advertisements. The impact of social actions is gradually becoming more clear, but the impact of marketing on social networks is definitely measurable now.

Audience-and-Improve

Wow Your Audience and Improve SEO

In today’s society, to truly establish yourself as a leader and wow your audience you need to create longer and more in depth content. This will truly help show your audience what you know that benefits them. There are 6 reasons why you want to write longer content that is deeper, offers more facts, and engages your audience in a better way. You can truly delve into a topic with more words than reading longer content or watching longer videos. The first step, start with longer features and higher quality. Secondly, dig deeper include more visuals. There are different types of content that lend themselves to digging deeper.

Feature Articles — A featured article requires more research and has a different format that’s shorter than blog posts have. Often a long article consists of quoting other authorities, books, individuals to further the points being made in the article. To demonstrate your authority, knowledge, and expertise you need to write long articles that will help be useful to you and your audience.

Case Studies — Typically a case study covers so much and the content is usually longer. You must define the problem, offer the solution and share the results via the case studies that you publish. This will certainly keep people reading. People like reading how a solution worked for other people, so case studies are a great choice for longer content.

White Papers —The intent of a white paper is to give authoritative information to guide the readers to answers about an issue that matters to them. A white paper is traditionally used in government and education circles. It will describe benefits, present a set of questions, tips or points about the topic, as well as recommendations and solutions.

Instructional Videos —Videos are known to grab the attention of the audience, and what better way to demonstrate your knowledge and build authority than a long, in depth video tutorial on an important topic for your niche.

If you choose to include longer more in depth content to wow your audience, it needs to be more appealing visually. Make sure to add in images, plenty of bullet points, subheadings, and headers. Also, it’s okay to send people to new pages for the rest of the content it’s essential good for SEO in today’s search engine climate.

Audience-and-Improve

Wow Your Audience and Improve SEO

In today’s society, to truly establish yourself as a leader and wow your audience you need to create longer and more in depth content. This will truly help show your audience what you know that benefits them. There are 6 reasons why you want to write longer content that is deeper, offers more facts, and engages your audience in a better way. You can truly delve into a topic with more words than reading longer content or watching longer videos. The first step, start with longer features and higher quality. Secondly, dig deeper include more visuals. There are different types of content that lend themselves to digging deeper.

Feature Articles — A featured article requires more research and has a different format that’s shorter than blog posts have. Often a long article consists of quoting other authorities, books, individuals to further the points being made in the article. To demonstrate your authority, knowledge, and expertise you need to write long articles that will help be useful to you and your audience.

Case Studies — Typically a case study covers so much and the content is usually longer. You must define the problem, offer the solution and share the results via the case studies that you publish. This will certainly keep people reading. People like reading how a solution worked for other people, so case studies are a great choice for longer content.

White Papers —The intent of a white paper is to give authoritative information to guide the readers to answers about an issue that matters to them. A white paper is traditionally used in government and education circles. It will describe benefits, present a set of questions, tips or points about the topic, as well as recommendations and solutions.

Instructional Videos —Videos are known to grab the attention of the audience, and what better way to demonstrate your knowledge and build authority than a long, in depth video tutorial on an important topic for your niche.

If you choose to include longer more in depth content to wow your audience, it needs to be more appealing visually. Make sure to add in images, plenty of bullet points, subheadings, and headers. Also, it’s okay to send people to new pages for the rest of the content it’s essential good for SEO in today’s search engine climate.

marketing the millennial

Marketing the Millennial

Did you know Millennial’s spend 6 hours a day checking email? Yes, it’s true! According to research done on CMO.com. Those results are spread across a wide range of demographics, but the numbers don’t lie. The results show that 70% of Millennials check their emails while watching tv, 50% check their emails while in bed, 40% check their emails while on vacation and 42% check their emails while in the bathroom. Their involvement in email far outstrips the usage of any other group.

I mean seriously, Millennials were pretty much born with the digital spoon in their mouth. Which would explain why millennial’s tend to create their own rules of engagement via email. Did you know a millennials believe it’s appropriate to use emojis when communicating with a direct manager? Seriously, emoji’s have meaning to the millennial. Do the older generations even find that to be an appropriate means of communication? I think not! However, as a marketer, it’s important to know that the millennial does consider it appropriate.

Let’s put some numbers into perspective so 70% of the millennials check their emails “While Watching TV” this means they are watching tv on their smartphones, tablets, and watches. Email alerts typically pop up all the time and they read them. Email is not only relevant for millennials, it also remains to have the highest ROI for direct marketers. Marketers need to keep the following in mind to ensure they grab millennial mindshare and don’t just add to the noise in Millennials’ inboxes:

  • Make sure your emails are mobile friendly
  • Contextual email is everything
  • Pictures are worth a thousand words—optimize emails for images and allow for quick feedback through emojis
  • Less is more—Quality over quantity will win the day.

If you use the tips listed above, focus on the target audience and your email marketing strategy, you can really get skin in the game. After all, millennials truly are your biggest customer.

marketing the millennial

Marketing the Millennial

Did you know Millennial’s spend 6 hours a day checking email? Yes, it’s true! According to research done on CMO.com. Those results are spread across a wide range of demographics, but the numbers don’t lie. The results show that 70% of Millennials check their emails while watching tv, 50% check their emails while in bed, 40% check their emails while on vacation and 42% check their emails while in the bathroom. Their involvement in email far outstrips the usage of any other group.

I mean seriously, Millennials were pretty much born with the digital spoon in their mouth. Which would explain why millennial’s tend to create their own rules of engagement via email. Did you know a millennials believe it’s appropriate to use emojis when communicating with a direct manager? Seriously, emoji’s have meaning to the millennial. Do the older generations even find that to be an appropriate means of communication? I think not! However, as a marketer, it’s important to know that the millennial does consider it appropriate.

Let’s put some numbers into perspective so 70% of the millennials check their emails “While Watching TV” this means they are watching tv on their smartphones, tablets, and watches. Email alerts typically pop up all the time and they read them. Email is not only relevant for millennials, it also remains to have the highest ROI for direct marketers. Marketers need to keep the following in mind to ensure they grab millennial mindshare and don’t just add to the noise in Millennials’ inboxes:

  • Make sure your emails are mobile friendly
  • Contextual email is everything
  • Pictures are worth a thousand words—optimize emails for images and allow for quick feedback through emojis
  • Less is more—Quality over quantity will win the day.

If you use the tips listed above, focus on the target audience and your email marketing strategy, you can really get skin in the game. After all, millennials truly are your biggest customer.

boost b2b sales

Boost Traditional B2B Sales Through Digital Marketing

As we all know, traditional B2B sales have a patterning process where field representatives meet with their customers, educate them on the product and attempt to close the deal. However, that is not the case in today’s business climate. Many B2B sales are declining because they are finding it hard to adapt to the new modern, sales cycle and the several marketing channels. Let’s face it, technological innovations have changed the world around us. There are now well-designed solutions and support to obtain information about products.

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t immediately reach for their phone and start googling something that’s on their mind. We look for general information, solutions, the latest trends, celebrity gossip and last but not least the infamous consumer reviews on restaurants and products. Seriously, nowadays the internet can answer just about anything.

Unfortunately, many B2B sales organizations aren’t taking advantage of today’s digital technology and marketing. If the B2B sales organizations understood the process better, they could increase their sales and be more efficient.

Let me show you three effective ways you can boost your B2B sales all by leveraging digital marketing.

1. Stay connected to your customers

With today’s digital technology and marketing, you are able to stay connected to your customers, educate and support them anytime, anywhere. Online content never sleeps! Consider this your 24/7 marketing depot for your business. This is very important because today’s customers spend a lot of time self-educating through digital channels. You have the ability to lead and influence your customers to make the selections and best purchasing decisions for them.

2. Know your customers

Digital Marketing can give you access to an abundant amount of data so you can really know your target audience. With online digital channels, you can learn about the people who have visited your website, track returning visitors, show you what they viewed and even tell you what device they used. It’s pretty scary to think about as a customer but as a business owner, this is a great benefit. This can help you understand your customer’s expectations across all platforms. When you know your customers, it will be easier for you to deliver the most relevant content.

3. Interact with your customers online

Yes, you can now interact with your customers through a website. Businesses can now build effective online tools that complement the sales process for them. So, a website can’t provide an actual sit down meeting, but it can deliver a great user experience. It’s important you personalize the content so you can extend your customer relationships. This can actually be more convenient than any “in person” sales contact.

Remember, at the end of the day, both traditional sales and digital channel process will ultimately be decided by the consumer. However, digital marketing is an essential part of any B2B sales strategy. It’s always ready to help drive sales, so use it wisely and to your benefit. Enjoy!

product feed advertising

Use Product-Feed Advertising on Social Media

For nearly 15 years, marketers have been relying on product display ads to boost advertising campaigns. A few short years ago targeting capabilities, advanced analytics, and product ads opportunities, weren’t available. It’s time to carry these results over to other marketing channels, get your marketers excited and improve advertising. How can you do that? Simple, with Product-Feed-based advertising. Product-feed advertising on social media may be your solution for delivering highly targeted personalized ads to your audience. We have listed four advantages that product–feed advertising has to offer that you may want to consider.

1. Boost Ad-Performance

No one enjoys seeing ads they care nothing about. In all honesty, reaching the right people with the right message isn’t always easy but by automating the process, feed-based advertising creates efficiencies. It will boost ad performance in ways that truly move the needle.

2. Consistency

Feed-based advertising allows you to reach your audience with relevant products at the right time. Consistency is important not only as consumers return to your website, but also in the ads they view. Although people move from device to device they are almost always logged in as themselves on social channels. Which means, you have access to a personalized and authenticated data.

3. Accelerate the Process

The purpose of programmatic feed advertising is to addresses the issue by accelerating the development process. This makes things easier for marketers. Rather than rely on a creative agency or in house team to put them together, assemble ads from the product feed itself. It will not only save you save time but money.

4. Ability to Scale

Feed-based advertising streamlines the process so that you can combine the right ad and or destination with the data you have. You can effectively manage and optimize social ad campaigns on Instagram and or Facebook at scale.

Conclusion

If you want a simple strategy that can be personalized, boost performance and retargeted for maximum impact, then get feed based advertising!
It will not only deliver consistent customer experiences but it will accelerate the creative development process.

product feed advertising

Use Product-Feed Advertising on Social Media

For nearly 15 years, marketers have been relying on product display ads to boost advertising campaigns. A few short years ago targeting capabilities, advanced analytics, and product ads opportunities, weren’t available. It’s time to carry these results over to other marketing channels, get your marketers excited and improve advertising. How can you do that? Simple, with Product-Feed-based advertising. Product-feed advertising on social media may be your solution for delivering highly targeted personalized ads to your audience. We have listed four advantages that product–feed advertising has to offer that you may want to consider.

1. Boost Ad-Performance

No one enjoys seeing ads they care nothing about. In all honesty, reaching the right people with the right message isn’t always easy but by automating the process, feed-based advertising creates efficiencies. It will boost ad performance in ways that truly move the needle.

2. Consistency

Feed-based advertising allows you to reach your audience with relevant products at the right time. Consistency is important not only as consumers return to your website, but also in the ads they view. Although people move from device to device they are almost always logged in as themselves on social channels. Which means, you have access to a personalized and authenticated data.

3. Accelerate the Process

The purpose of programmatic feed advertising is to addresses the issue by accelerating the development process. This makes things easier for marketers. Rather than rely on a creative agency or in house team to put them together, assemble ads from the product feed itself. It will not only save you save time but money.

4. Ability to Scale

Feed-based advertising streamlines the process so that you can combine the right ad and or destination with the data you have. You can effectively manage and optimize social ad campaigns on Instagram and or Facebook at scale.

Conclusion

If you want a simple strategy that can be personalized, boost performance and retargeted for maximum impact, then get feed based advertising!
It will not only deliver consistent customer experiences but it will accelerate the creative development process.

provable roi

How to Create a Provable ROI in Social Media

How do you measure the return on investment from social media? Understanding the value of social media is important but really comes down to experimentation. I mean honestly, it’s hard to tell how much revenue a Tweet you sent out last week brought in, or if you’re last Instagram post boosted your bottom line. Many businesses are struggling to grasp the financial impact social media marketing is having for them.

You track your return from the quantitative data you receive from experimenting. That’s right, this will help your businesses determine what works best for their brands. We’ve broken down the process and listed a few simple steps to follow.

1. Set Social Media Goals

Before you can get into measuring your return, you need to set goals! Your goals should be quantifiable and linked to a specific campaign. Why? This will allow you to track individual links that you share on Twitter, Facebook or other social media channels. Also, to ensure you get the most accurate number, you really want to set your goals based on actions that convert a casual browser to a lead, and ultimately a paying customer.

2. Track Your Goals

Once your goals are defined, the next step is to track them. Tracking is an extremely important part!

3. Measure Your Social Media Expenses

In order to figure out whether you’re getting a positive or negative ROI for social media campaigns, you have to measure how much you’re spending. This includes; man hours, content, social media tools and ad costs. After all your time is valuable and expenses add up.

As you can see, tracking your social media ROI isn’t impossible. You just have to take a planned and strategic approach. Happy experimenting!

real estate agent

If You’re A Real Estate Agent READ THIS!! Top 4 Ways To Land More Leads & Clients Using The Internet

Use videos, photos and social media to get your clients to see the lifestyle they could enjoy in a new home.

Real estate is a thriving but competitive industry and with so many real estate agents clamoring to get their piece of the pie, entry into the market gets more challenging every day. Every agent small or large depend on content marketing. It has the potential to provide substantial exposure even on a low-cost budget and can transform your business extensively.
When compared to other industries, real estate companies have a better chance of surviving in a competitive market. People are always looking for some place to live and this creates the potential for you to reach thousands of clients. If you are selling mid-market homes in Fort Lauderdale, (for example) you have an explosive potential market to people living in Florida. Consequently, you will find prospects in other states who want to buy a house in Fort Lauderdale.
With these possibilities, content marketing can be profitable for you because it can place your listings in front of unexpected prospects.
The real estate industry is also visual and applicable. Chances are, if someone is not interested in real estate, they might be eager to share content about a lovely condo or a prominent house.
Since real estate is relatable, it does not require a pro to know and share that type of content. However, if your business is about pest extermination, you will have a much smaller audience of potential sharers, even though anyone could become your client.

Use Video to Sell a Completely New Lifestyle

The real estate is a visually alluring industry, but many agents have not used it to their advantage. The standard photos of the past are no longer appealing and workable. You have a better chance using the 360-degree video, which produces an exceptional experience, where virtual reality allows your clients to tour their future homes.
The use of these visual opportunities makes you stand out among your competitors. Influencers most likely will shy away from sharing photos of unattractive houses. It is important then that you have new and interactive content that will be much more appealing, thereby increasing the likelihoods of it going viral.
Yes, you need to use a video, but it is better to use a video that provides a walk-through tour of a house rather than a set of videos. Ensure too, that you check out the shops, restaurants and the local scenery and include these in your photos and videos. This allows prospective clients to have a knowledge of what the area offers. Bear in mind too that you are not only trying to get them to purchase a house but you are selling them a complete new lifestyle. A video is ideally
suited for painting that picture for your prospects.

Turn luxury homes into shareable content

If you specialize in selling only lower-end houses, you might want to look at luxury properties as a means of making content marketing stress free. Prospects tend to be more eager to share content about a magnificent million-dollar house rather than a starter home costing $100,000.
Even if you don’t sell luxury homes look at them. Why not visit a luxurious house and create a video while touring the place? On the other hand, you could tour the cheapest, most awful house you can think of. This kind of content is what people will want to share. Maybe you can’t buy it, but it will create shares, generate backlinks and will increase traffic to your website.

Demonstrate how to renovate a Fixer-Upper

The creation of educational content is one more strategy you can use to get backlinks to your website. The real estate industry is ideally suited for content creation. Why? Because of the numerous possibilities that exist for creating content for persons who want to take on DIY home improvement ventures, flip houses, or just need to hire a contractor for big renovation project.
Another strategy you could use is to create video series, and as you walk through these properties, you tell persons about the improvements required. Similarly, you could show before-and –after pictures, which would indicate the amazing makeover of a fixer-upper. As people begin to share this content on social media it makes prospects aware of what to expect in an upcoming home purchase.

Build Links with Local Companies

While you’re crafting content for prospective buyers, don’t overlook the influencers and businesses in your locality. For example, in Fort Lauderdale (as mentioned before), you would probably want to sell homes in a specific section of the town where numerous businesses are located and would appeal to the interest of your clienteles.
You could visit every store, interview the owners, and then indicate to potential homebuyers the advantages of living in the area. Doing this allows you to “kill two birds with one stone.” You not only get potential homeowners to buy but the owners of local business will become interested and willing to share that content on both their websites and on social media.
What are the benefits for you? With every 10 companies you feature, you could total seven or eight backlinks and shares, which is an incredible ROI that will multiply your visibility to the persons who are following those companies. The bonus for you is that because all those followers live in the area they will be interested in buying a house there.
Real estate helps prospective homeowners to get a glimpse of the lifestyle they would enjoy living in their new homes. The use of photos, videos and other content is a great way to attract homeowners to your website. While you are trying to entice homeowners, think about what would interest influencers and what they would want to share. If you provide them with value and a reason to share your content, you are well on your way in achieving your goals.

real estate agent

If You’re A Real Estate Agent READ THIS!! Top 4 Ways To Land More Leads & Clients Using The Internet

Use videos, photos and social media to get your clients to see the lifestyle they could enjoy in a new home.

Real estate is a thriving but competitive industry and with so many real estate agents clamoring to get their piece of the pie, entry into the market gets more challenging every day. Every agent small or large depend on content marketing. It has the potential to provide substantial exposure even on a low-cost budget and can transform your business extensively.
When compared to other industries, real estate companies have a better chance of surviving in a competitive market. People are always looking for some place to live and this creates the potential for you to reach thousands of clients. If you are selling mid-market homes in Fort Lauderdale, (for example) you have an explosive potential market to people living in Florida. Consequently, you will find prospects in other states who want to buy a house in Fort Lauderdale.
With these possibilities, content marketing can be profitable for you because it can place your listings in front of unexpected prospects.
The real estate industry is also visual and applicable. Chances are, if someone is not interested in real estate, they might be eager to share content about a lovely condo or a prominent house.
Since real estate is relatable, it does not require a pro to know and share that type of content. However, if your business is about pest extermination, you will have a much smaller audience of potential sharers, even though anyone could become your client.

Use Video to Sell a Completely New Lifestyle

The real estate is a visually alluring industry, but many agents have not used it to their advantage. The standard photos of the past are no longer appealing and workable. You have a better chance using the 360-degree video, which produces an exceptional experience, where virtual reality allows your clients to tour their future homes.
The use of these visual opportunities makes you stand out among your competitors. Influencers most likely will shy away from sharing photos of unattractive houses. It is important then that you have new and interactive content that will be much more appealing, thereby increasing the likelihoods of it going viral.
Yes, you need to use a video, but it is better to use a video that provides a walk-through tour of a house rather than a set of videos. Ensure too, that you check out the shops, restaurants and the local scenery and include these in your photos and videos. This allows prospective clients to have a knowledge of what the area offers. Bear in mind too that you are not only trying to get them to purchase a house but you are selling them a complete new lifestyle. A video is ideally
suited for painting that picture for your prospects.

Turn luxury homes into shareable content

If you specialize in selling only lower-end houses, you might want to look at luxury properties as a means of making content marketing stress free. Prospects tend to be more eager to share content about a magnificent million-dollar house rather than a starter home costing $100,000.
Even if you don’t sell luxury homes look at them. Why not visit a luxurious house and create a video while touring the place? On the other hand, you could tour the cheapest, most awful house you can think of. This kind of content is what people will want to share. Maybe you can’t buy it, but it will create shares, generate backlinks and will increase traffic to your website.

Demonstrate how to renovate a Fixer-Upper

The creation of educational content is one more strategy you can use to get backlinks to your website. The real estate industry is ideally suited for content creation. Why? Because of the numerous possibilities that exist for creating content for persons who want to take on DIY home improvement ventures, flip houses, or just need to hire a contractor for big renovation project.
Another strategy you could use is to create video series, and as you walk through these properties, you tell persons about the improvements required. Similarly, you could show before-and –after pictures, which would indicate the amazing makeover of a fixer-upper. As people begin to share this content on social media it makes prospects aware of what to expect in an upcoming home purchase.

Build Links with Local Companies

While you’re crafting content for prospective buyers, don’t overlook the influencers and businesses in your locality. For example, in Fort Lauderdale (as mentioned before), you would probably want to sell homes in a specific section of the town where numerous businesses are located and would appeal to the interest of your clienteles.
You could visit every store, interview the owners, and then indicate to potential homebuyers the advantages of living in the area. Doing this allows you to “kill two birds with one stone.” You not only get potential homeowners to buy but the owners of local business will become interested and willing to share that content on both their websites and on social media.
What are the benefits for you? With every 10 companies you feature, you could total seven or eight backlinks and shares, which is an incredible ROI that will multiply your visibility to the persons who are following those companies. The bonus for you is that because all those followers live in the area they will be interested in buying a house there.
Real estate helps prospective homeowners to get a glimpse of the lifestyle they would enjoy living in their new homes. The use of photos, videos and other content is a great way to attract homeowners to your website. While you are trying to entice homeowners, think about what would interest influencers and what they would want to share. If you provide them with value and a reason to share your content, you are well on your way in achieving your goals.