Archive for July, 2017

Video Marketing on a Budget

It is now common knowledge that every business with an online presence must invest in video marketing. Video content is engaging, helps explain the features of the product and gives a storyline. However, creating quality videos may be a challenge if you are working on a shoestring budget. Video marketing is becoming an expensive project, particularly when the company is new to the idea.

That should not dissuade you. Here are a few techniques to enable you to come up with amazing video content without breaking your bank.

Don’t buy the equipment, rent

Buying video equipment is a good long-term strategy. However, it is just a waste of money when you are low on your marketing budget. You can rent state-of-the-art video equipment at reasonable prices. Look around for a video equipment rental company that will offer you a bulk package that includes most of the basic video equipment.

Develop the story in-house

There are the chances that there is a writer among your employees. Utilize the talent rather than hiring a writer from the outside as it can get pricey. Come up with the outline of the story together with your marketing team. After you are done with the main points, you can then hire a writer to help in storyboarding if necessary.

Storyboarding is an artistic way of approaching screenwriting as each scene has to be drawn out. The most important points are also drawn in every scene. These drawings act as templates for organizing the images.

Hire amateur and student actors

You have to hire actors with some experience if you wish to have quality videos. However, this doesn’t mean you have to break your bank account to hire leading screen actors. There are many amateur and students actors and actresses that will work at low prices as they build their resumes. Others will work free in return for a good recommendation. You can get the actors from Craigslist, BackStage, Manday, or a nearby university that teaches arts.

Make use of the free editing software

Premium Avid video and Adobe Premier software are the standard software options available for professionals. However, you have to hire qualified staff and buy the license to handle the project.

There are several Smartphone-based and desktop based free video editing software options in the market.If you have a Mac, you can make use of iMovie and Movie Maker for the Windows PCs. They have easy to use features and user-friendly interfaces.

Use DIY video animation

Animation is now a technique of creating engaging concepts without using real people or natural scenes. However, it can get expensive when you hire a company to do it for you. However, there are cheaper software options such as Sparkol and GoAnimate.

GoAnimate allows you to import music and images in the design of the animation. On the other hand, Sparkol enables you to use the entire animation board when making your movie thereby eliminating the need to put any person in front of your camera.

Just because you’re on a limited budget doesn’t mean you cannot (and should not) invest in video marketing. It just may be the tactic that launches your company on the map.

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Print Advertising vs. Digital Advertising – When to Use What

John Wanamaker, a 19th century department store tycoon from Philadelphia, once said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Mr. Wanamaker had only print options at his disposal and advertising at the time was in its earliest stages, so imagine how confused he would have been if he were alive today. Print options such as newspaper and magazine advertisements, direct mail campaigns, and flyers compete with an explosion in digital advertising techniques that use social media, influencer marketing, games, and advertising that interprets a user’s online activity to curate advertising content. So how would we advise a modern-day Wanamaker to navigate this complex landscape? Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when choosing between print and digital advertising:

  • Humans still respond strongly to print: A 2015 study by Temple University’s business school found that while digital ads were a cost-effective way of quickly getting the attention of consumers, physical interaction with print left a stronger memory that more directly affected purchase decisions.
  • Geographic target: Digital has no geographic boundaries, whereas print is typically focused on a particular town, city, region, or country (for national campaigns). International print campaigns are not unheard of but are less often used given their expense. So as a rule, if you’re trying to target geographic area, print may be your best option, whereas digital is best if you’re trying to reach the widest audience.
  • Cost: For a tight budget, digital ads can be the way to go. First, digital campaigns are typically priced on a variable cost basis, meaning they are more easily scalable to a target budget amount and digital’s ability to target certain types of users enables you to create a campaign focused on certain user types, whereas print campaigns tend to hit a specific geographic area for a fixed price. Second, digital ads generate data on user trends that can be used to further customize the campaign to fit a demographic.

For many companies, some combination of print and digital can be exactly what is required. Modern advertising is increasingly a mixture of art and science, so a professional marketing firm that specializes in both print and digital can be a big help in designing the right campaign.

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How Small Businesses Can Utilize Direct Mail

Large-scale marketing operations are often beyond the means of small businesses that have to watch every dollar closely. Direct mail is a great option for these types of organizations, offering them ways to identify and gain customers without breaking the bank.

Test Various Offers

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, small businesses can use direct mail to test different offers before launching a larger campaign. They can split their mailing list into groups and send varying messages, service offers or other opportunities specific to their trade. As results of the different mailings come in, businesses can get rid of the other messages and direct what they now know is an effective message to a larger group or use it as the basis for other marketing campaigns.

Test the Feasibility of a Larger Campaign

Entrepreneur also recommends that smaller businesses use direct mail as a way to temper a potentially overwhelming response to a more major marketing campaign. It can be devastating to a small business if they start off with something such as a full-page ad in a major newspaper. If too many people respond and the business can’t handle that response properly, it will likely lose those potential customers forever. A smaller direct mail campaign keeps responses within reasonable bounds.

Inform Current Customers and Offer Rewards

A newsletter to current customers is a good way to keep them informed of new opportunities and keep them interested in the business. Mailings to current customers can also take the form of referral rewards, states Entrepreneur. Small businesses can offer rewards such as discounts to their current customers each time a referral becomes a customer.

Target Ideal Customers

Experian recommends that small businesses use direct mail to identify their best potential customers. Targeted mailing lists can be expensive, but produce better results than mass mailings. For example, small businesses can test mail responses and look back at their demographic theories. It may turn out that a message to targeted consumers ages 19-30 was only useful for those under 25. This information can make future campaigns more effective.

If you find your business struggling with its tight budget, don’t push the idea of direct mail from your brain. In the end, you may find it to be a useful – and cost-effective – solution

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8 Clever Packaging Examples

There are many different packaging containers which are stylishly designed to suit the intended contents. Even though you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, a good package design will attract more clients by making an appealing first impression. Below are some examples of attractive packaging containers;

1. 100 x 100

These stylish milk containers are designed using cardboard. The cardboards contain seeds of various herbs, so upon consuming the milk, you can use the box to recreate new life using the embedded seeds.

2. Balzac’s Coffee Roasters

These coffee containers are associated with a micro-roaster based in Ontario. You will notice that the design reflects the core values of this company which revolves around natural, sustainable, local, and artisanal products.

3. Puma’s Clever Little Bag

These awesome bags are designed using very few resources and raw materials. By using these bags, you will be saving approximately 60% of diesel, energy, and water as compared to the manufacturing process of traditional bags.

4. Newspaper Egg Cartons

Newspaper egg cartons were designed by Marian Obando using hay and newspaper to cushion the eggs. The eggs are cleverly wrapped using pieces of recycled paper from which you can get more information about the product.

5. Graze

These snack boxes are sold on a subscription basis, to people who wish to package new tasty meals. You will notice that the boxes are clean, lightweight, and very sustainable.

6. Light Bulb Packaging

Created by Esther Li as a students work, the packaging is very durable and only uses one strip of cardboard to cushion the bulb, while at the same time displaying to you how they look.

7. Petit Natural

These are bright juice packages which were designed by Isabela Rodrigues. The design is very straightforward and sweet, incorporating many attractive colors and cheerful lettering which makes them stand out in comparison to your typical juice containers.

8. Colgate Max Night: Pizza Box

With the aim of promoting the Colgate Max Night variant, unique Colgate-branded pizza boxes were designed and supplied to local pizzerias. Taking a look at the inner part of this pizza box, you will notice that it appears like a human mouth, which reminds people of the need for good dental hygiene.

These are some notable and cleverly designed packaging containers which will ensure that your products are preserved securely, without interfering with the environment.

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5 Proven Strategies to Attract More Readers to Your Blog

For seasoned bloggers or anyone who blogs, there exists that phase where one felt like they were blogging in a black hole. New bloggers spend a considerable amount of time and money to blog only to get rewarded with zero comments. The frustration and disappointment can often result in many of them giving up. What many bloggers fail to understand is in today’s world of information overload, it’s harder to get attention with tactics like blogs and social media sites due to the number of competitors on the internet. However, it’s also very easy to attract the attention you need to your blog in inexpensive ways.

1. Optimize your content for SEO

While this method could cost you some cash, the results are entirely worth it. By optimizing your content, people can quickly find you on their search engines and access your content. SEO optimization takes some time, so you will need some patience, but it ultimately pays off big time.

2. Share your blog posts on social media platforms

There couldn’t exist a better way to share your blog content than through social media. With the huge number of people using social media, chances are many will come across the link to your blog and click on it. This also presents another consideration; you should frame your blog title or information in a way that will attract guests to read your content. Some examples include asking the reader an interesting question and prompting them to click on the link to your blog post for the answer.

3. Enhance reader interest by employing catchy topics

It’s essential human nature to judge a book by its first impression, and yes, people are going to judge your blog post by its title. To attract the attention of readers, employ uniquely constructed and interesting topics that arouse the curiosity of the reader. You could also use a humorous title; everyone loves humor and will want to read more.

4. Create epic content

If you are to attract more readers to your blog, you need to create content that sets you apart from the rest, is only found on your blog, and is what you’re known for. Your content makes it easier for people to recommend your blog posts to their friends. Epic posts form the backbone of your blog. Without epic posts, you’re not unique; you’re just like the rest of the blogging crowd.

5. Make it easy to share your content

You should employ tools to your blog page that make it easier for readers to share your blog post with friends on social media or email. There exist numerous blogging tools to choose from that allow social sharing.

If you feel as though your blog audience is minimal, don’t get discouraged. Using this tips can quickly and efficiently result in an increase in blog engagement.

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4 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to social media, most small business owners are self-taught. You have learned how to use Facebook and Twitter with a personal account. Thus, you think it will be a breeze running a business account. The experience is useful, but there are some rules of social media that you must abide by.

When using social media, you have to ensure that you remain professional at all times. Here are some of the main mistakes that could harm your business on social media.

1. Choosing The Wrong Trends

When dealing with social media, you find yourself wanting to jump onto a trending topic to raise awareness about your brand. However, this may backfire on you. It may end up seeming as if your business is insensitive to the plight of others. In general, never jump on to a trend that is about any tragedy. Always ensure you know why the topic is trending and if it may affect the standing of your business.

2. Posting Too Much

When using social media, you do not want to irritate your followers by posting too much. Look at the engagement statistics to establish how many times you should post in a day. When using Facebook, about three to five posts a week is good. On Twitter, just a few tweets a day should do it.

3. Not Being Responsive

The whole reason we have social media is that you can engage your audience. If you do not interact with your audience, there is no point in posting anything. Even when the customer is complaining, reaching out to them on social media could help to lessen their frustration.

4. Hard Selling On Social Media

It is okay to mention a new product or an upcoming event on social media. However, that should not be the only thing appearing on your account. In most cases, 80 percent of your content on social media should be helpful to the customers. The other 20 percent can be promoting any events or products that are on your site. If your social media strategy is hard selling, you will fail.

As easy as social media may seem, it is even easier to screw up. Luckily, all of these mistakes are easy to avoid, and with a little work, you can be a social media pro.

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Why Print Must Be a Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

Once upon a time, print marketing was the only game in town. Flyers, banners, posters, business cards, and ads in newspapers were essentially your sole options for getting the word out about your business.

Then the Internet happened.

And with the advent of company websites, email lists, and social media, everything changed. In the last few decades, marketing has switched almost entirely to a digital platform.

So does this mean that print media is a thing of the past? Not even close. In fact, there are many reasons for why it is important to incorporate print advertising into your content marketing strategy.

1. It hangs around.

Emails can be archived and never seen again with just one click. Top-of-the-page banners and side-of-the-screen ads are instinctively ignored. But a brightly-colored brochure with engaging pictures or a fun and unique business card is something you might not immediately throw in the recycling.

To the contrary, you might put it on the fridge or keep the business card in your wallet. In other words, print media hands around, and that’s what you want a good marketing strategy to do.

2. It’s already “printed.”

Much of marketing involves coupons and discount codes that must be printed to be redeemed. This is a pain for a lot of people, which is why most skip this step and never engage in that type of marketing.

On the other hand, coupons and discount codes that have already been printed and mailed or handed out are much more likely to be used. Furthermore, even though some coupons can be redeemed by showing a barcode on your phone, most people find even this cumbersome. Taking a coupon out of your purse, though? That’s easy.

3. People trust it.

Finally, remember that most people today remember the old ways of marketing. They remember looking for jobs in the newspaper and clipping coupons from magazines. They remember handing out business cards at mixers. This makes these marketing strategies trusted. People have confidence in print marketing because they remember using it to great effect once upon a time.

Digital marketing still offers numerous advantages that print marketing will never rival. But what we should recognize is that current and potential clients and customers will often respond positively to print media tactics in ways that they wouldn’t if you just shot them a mass email every week. Try implementing print media into your marketing strategy and see what it can do for you.

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3 Basic Print Layout Mistakes to Avoid

When creating your print design, there are some common mistakes which you should avoid at all costs. These errors will make your printout look messy and unpresentable and, as a result, you can lose clients. Below are the easily overlooked aspects when setting a print layout.

1. Failure to add Bleed

You will notice that at times the document layout will extend to the edges of your design. In this instance, it is important to use “bleed,” which will extend your colors past the edges of your document. After printing the design, you can trim off this extension, ensuring that there is no white edge on the finished product.

2. Using a Low Resolution

A file may look fine while on your screen, but upon printing, it will appear blurry. This can happen if the file is not set at the right resolution, or if you have imported a pixelated image. The quality of your printout will be determined by the dots per inch (dpi) and the resolution. An image with 300dpi will be of much better quality compared to the one with 72dpi, which is why 300dpi is recommended.

3. Setting Incorrect Size

Before sending the design for printing, you should confirm that it matches your desired size. You should also ensure that the design is positioned correctly and has the right proportions. If you intend to have a have a 25 x 25mm sticker, you should set the layout at 31 x 31mm so as to include the bleed area. After setting your document correctly, you should send it to the printer without making further changes. There are many pre-set templates which can be downloaded online including PDF versions with step-to-step guides on how to set your design’s proportions correctly.

Evidently, there are many mistakes which can lead to a low-quality design, but they are typically easily avoidable. If you avoid these mistakes, your printout will no doubt be presentable and attractive ensuring that your clients stick around.

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