How to Incorporate Storytelling into Your Content

Everyone loves a good story, right? And with content marketing gaining prominence, it is important that your work stands out. This goal can be achieved by including storytelling within your pieces. There are several ways to include storytelling in your content. One way is to tell a story that gives your audience a reason to engage with you regularly. Have a good narrative, one that includes multiple parts fed out at changing times. This gives your audience a reason to keep coming back; they are interested in the next piece of the saga.

Another way to incorporate storytelling into your content is to tell tales showing how your brand relates to your audience. The stories, even though they are fiction, can help provide another perspective on your brand. They can give more of a backstory around the feelings and culture of the company, conveyed in a thoughtful, entertaining way.

You can also tell a story about a topic to make it easier to understand. Sometimes, a complex problem is more easily explained via a narrative. If you can remember Schoolhouse Rock, you know what I mean.

But, why do this? Stories are not only memorable but also shareable. People can tell others about them. What better way to show how word-of-mouth advertising can work. A person reads a good story on your site, tells his friend about it. That friend goes to your site and reads that same good story. She then tells another friend of hers and so on and so on. Think of the potential power in that.

By telling a good story, you show your audience that you are not just trying to sell them something, that you are trying to connect with them at some deeper level. Give them a reason to like you, maybe just a bit more than a competitor.

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4 Print Campaign Examples Millennials Love

With so much advertising being thrown at millennials, it makes sense that it takes an original message to cut through the noise. And with the rise of digital media, print ads have to work twice as hard to convey a message to tech-savvy millennials. Millennials want print ads that cut to the chase and utilize attention-grabbing, direct visuals to convey their message. Here are some examples of print campaigns that speak to millennials, as well as to the young at heart.

Boredpanda.com has a list of ads that are chock-full of millennial favorites. Let’s pick out and discuss some highlights:

1. Volkswagon: Precision Parking

If there’s one thing millennials love, it’s cuteness. This Volkswagon ad features a cute hedgehog parking between goldfish, just the kind of image millennials enjoy.

2. Reading Campaign: Face-A-Book

Millennials love social media, so this reading campaign ad is sure to turn their heads, turning social media giant’s logo Facebook into a pro-reading message. Good advice for millennials, and everyone else.

3. Oogmerk Opticians: Get the Respect You Deserve

When people think millennials, they think hipsters, and this ad for Oogmerk Opticians shows how to turn anyone into a hipster by giving them a pair of trendy glasses.

4. Lego: “Imagine” The Simpsons

Many millennials grew up watching The Simpsons and playing with Legos, so this ad combines the best of both worlds, with The Simpsons characters built out of Lego blocks. All that’s missing is Homer’s pink donut. Maybe there will be a circular Lego in the future?

What makes these ads stand out in the minds of millennials? Not only are they all creative and well thought out, but they are simplistic too. Most people don’t have time to sift through wordy, overbearing direct mail pieces. Keeping yours creative and to the point is a great way to catch the eye of not only millennials but other generations as well.

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Is Blogging Right for Your Business?

A blog keeps you engaged with your industry and your community. It can position a person as a thought leader—in any business.

If you are reading this, you already know that the dynamics of doing business has changed. Advertising has changed. Today’s clients expect companies to engage them. Blogging provides a straightforward entrance to the world of online engagement.

Keeping your website reader-worthy makes it into something more than the modern version of a phone book listing. And it will rise in search results through blogging. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is vital for businesses today. If your potential client seeks your service on the web but finds another provider first, you have a problem! You can turn this around with quality blogging.

Setting Up Your Blog

Your website might enable a blog already. As it helps bring in clients, you may seek writing support, so blogging goes on in the background while you handle your professional responsibilities. Consider it part of your marketing budget.

To start, it’s important to establish desired return on investment (ROI). Are people finding your updates, and sharing them with their friends and colleagues? Do readers locate the content of your posts worth returning to? A useful service shows you stats on the time users spend on your blog and how your posts are shared.

Of course, you also want information on how many readers explore your services or place orders. With statistically measurable goals, you can see if your efforts are working, or if it’s sensible to get pros involved with your marketing.

When to Post?

Blog weekly. You can schedule the posts so that they don’t go out at 3 am when you finish writing. Again, if time’s an issue, hire quality writing support. Give your readers material that is valuable to them.

You will want to update your blog about upcoming events where your company will have a presence and about any special promotions you are running.

Community Engagement

The best return from your blog will involve engagement. Enable people to sign up and be alerted to your new blog entries. Allow reader comments. And yes, set up a Facebook page as well as other social media platforms suited to your business. Make sure the word is getting out about your company.

Need inspiration? Watch a big company, one you’ve known a while, using social media. Pick out some ideas that would work for you. Then set a timeline to implement them.

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How to Make the Most Out of Your Marketing Budget

With marketing for any business, the quintessential goal is to figure out which communications or activities will result in the largest number of leads for the lowest possible cost. If you’re on a tight budget, use the following tips to learn how to make the most out of every single marketing dollar.

Do You Understand Your Audience?

Before you launch your first Facebook campaign or dive head first into AdWords, you should make sure you know your target audience. As the name suggests, a target audience is a particular group at which your campaign is aimed.

For instance, if you’re looking to attract more 30-somethings into your boutique because of their high-profit margins, your marketing campaigns should speak directly to this audience. Defining your target audience is undoubtedly the first and one of the most important steps you can make.

Get Social

According to Pew Internet Research, 8 out of 10 online American adults use Facebook.  With so many of your potential customers liking, sharing, retweeting, and engaging with brands online, social media marketing is relatively easy and exceptionally low cost.

Even if you already have a strong Twitter or Facebook presence, you should also investigate other platforms where your target audience congregates. In either case, it’s imperative you share valuable content your audience is most likely to want to read.

Get Involved with Your Local Community

Wherever you live, there are many marketing opportunities you can take advantage of throughout your local community. As an added bonus, many local marketing initiatives do not require significant outlays of cash.

For example, one way you can increase your brand reach is by setting up booths at local festivals and offering coupons, promotional material, and other swag with your business logo. You can even raffle off free services or products at church functions or schools to make sure your local community engages with your brand.

Always Say “Thank You”

Another way to get the most bang for every marketing dollar is shockingly simple and free — always say “thank you.” Take whatever opportunity you can to show your customers you appreciate their business and engagement. Some of the most frequent opportunities to thank customers include:

  • When the customer completes a lead capture form
  • If the customer makes a purchase
  • If a customer leaves a social media review
  • When customers make referrals

Whether it’s a thank you page for completing a form or a thank you email following a customer purchase, showing gratitude to the customers who chose your brand is virtually free and can result in valuable repeat business and customer loyalty.

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How to Incorporate Marketing Automation into Your Business

It is important that companies focus on marketing if they are going to get their name out there. More and more businesses today are using marketing automation because of how beneficial it proves to be.

  • It saves the business owner and their employees’ time.
  • It helps to reach customers promptly.
  • It allows the business owner and the employees the ability to work ahead.
  • It can turn potential customers into paying customers.

If you are impressed with what marketing automation has to offer and you want to implement it into your business, there are a few methods that have proven to be quite successful.

Sign Up Forms and Automated Welcome Emails

It is a good idea to put sign up forms on your website. This is an excellent way to get the email addresses of people who are prospects so that you can make them paying customers. When you have an email list created, you can set up automated welcome emails. When customers sign up to be on your email list, and they get a welcome email right away thus showing them just how much you value their business. Manually sending out these emails can be time-consuming whereas automating them allows you more time to focus on other tasks. After all, time is money.

Send Out a Series of Event Reminders

If you are planning to have a sale or a big promotion, you want your customers to know about it. If they don’t visit your website before the sale, they will miss it. You can set a series of automatic event reminders to send to the people on your email list so that they don’t miss out on anything.

Encourage Recent Buyers to Buy Again

Once they purchase your product or service, you can set up an automated email to be sent out thanking customers for shopping with you. At the bottom of the email, include a few photos of additional items that you have in stock. When the customers see these items, they might see something they like and buy again.

Reward Your Loyal Customers

If you want your customers to keep returning, you should reward them for their loyalty. This may be through a 10% off coupon, discounted shipping, a voucher for a free service, or any other reward you want to give. Rather than sending these out one by one, you can create an exclusive email list containing just your most loyal customers. You can set the emails to go out periodically to encourage repeat customers to keep buying.

Marketing automation is a great way get emails to your customers on time so that they remember to buy especially during sales and promotions.

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How to Drive Sales with Your Monthly Newsletter

Driving sales is the primary factor towards the growth of any business. With more sales, come more revenue and thus more profit. Sales can be divided into two parts: initial sale and upselling. Initial sale is when a product or service has been sold to your customer, and upselling is when you offer a better package or an improved deal with an increase in price and increase in the benefits the customer will receive if they opt for it. One of the best ways to drive sales and upselling is through monthly newsletters. Newsletters can be tailor-made and personally addressed to your customers as they arrive in their email inboxes. Today we will discuss some golden points that, if included in your newsletter, can boost your sales.

Include Relevant Content

Your newsletters must be informative and filled with articles which are relevant to its readers. Features like dynamic content can come in handy and show different and related stories to individual subscribers of your newsletter. Short, simple articles about how to solve your client’s problems and quick tips about how to deal with daily issues people come across can make your newsletter interesting for people to read.

An Image Says a Thousand Words

Try adding a compelling image relevant to the content in your newsletter. Pictures draw more attention, and through it, you can promote your business. Take a shot by adding an upselling link of your product to your website. While it may seem unimportant, attractive visuals can help to make the customer stick to your newsletter.

Promote 1 Thing at a Time

You might be selling many products and advertising all of them may increase your chances of a click on any one of them, but it also increases the frustration of your reader by making them feel you are all about getting money from them. As a result, they could opt out of your newsletter, and as such your company will disappear from their sight and mind. The magic ratio between educational and promotional content should be 9 to 1.

Use a Minimalistic Design

Usually, the most common mistakes made in newsletters are stuffing it with content. Try using a clean, minimalistic design and keep a balance between blank spaces and content. Such designing makes the newsletter look attractive and engaging.

Track Your Results

Finally, make sure to follow the sales conversion ratio from newsletters so that its shortcomings can be measured and changes can be implemented.

The newsletter is an informative and assuring tool to drive sales. They get delivered right to the reader and are better than one-time tv advertisements or a radio broadcast.

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How to Connect Mobile with Direct Mail

With mobile phones and devices being utilized in virtually every aspect of life, mobile marketing is becoming one of the number one ways to reach your target market.  With an overload of digital ads on a daily basis, how can you find a way to utilize digital marketing and ensure that your product or service stands out?

Direct mail is a great form of advertising to present your company in a physical way in front of potential customers.  So why not find a way to merge both the benefits of digital and print marketing mediums?  Try the tips below to help connect your next direct mail campaign with your customer’s mobile devices.

Get Connected on a Social Level

Social media is an effective way to connect and engage clients and prospects with your business.  You can use various social media platforms to keep your customers updated on current offers as well as new products and services available from your company.  Social networking outlets are also a great way to drive traffic to your site as well as expose yourself to a larger audience through sharing capabilities.  To take advantage of social media options include your social media icons on all of your direct mailing pieces.

Connect Your Mailing Piece to a Video

Through QR code linking you can take your customer directly from your direct mail piece to a video on YouTube or one that featured on your site.  Show your product or service in action or provide your customer with useful information through a well-executed marketing video.

Stay Connected Via Text Messaging

Compile a client texting list, by offering discounts, coupons, or rewards for texting a word or code and accepting to receive text message advertising and updates.  With spam blocking software and the prevalence of readers deleting email advertisements before they read them, text messages are a more efficient way to get your name in front of the customer and stay in the front of their mind.

Providing ways for your customers to engage with a direct marketing piece digitally is an effective way to increase your company’s ROI on a marketing campaign as well as promote future customer engagement.

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Get to the Point: Why Less is Sometimes More When it Comes to Your Direct Mail Pieces

Providing customers a tangible sense of the products and services you offer, direct mail campaigns have long been an indispensable part of any solid marketing strategy. For all their proven success driving sales generation, strongly targeted mailing pieces can be difficult to create.

One of the biggest hurdles marketing professionals face on this front is a tendency to delve too deeply into the subject matter for which they have a passion. Proving you are an expert on your product is important, but better reserved for face-to-face discussions on the sales floor or in your office. When it comes to crafting a direct mailing campaign, it is usually a good idea to KISS – keep it short and sweet.

You have probably heard the old adage before, but how exactly does it apply to branded mailings? Put yourself in the customer’s place for a minute. You’re sifting through your mail after a stressful Wednesday when you come across something that looks more like the Epic of Gilgamesh than a catalog – how likely are you to actually read it?

Not very.

In other words, a direct mail campaign virtually guarantees your message will get into the consumer’s hand, but not that they will actually read it. Keeping your pieces concise and to-the-point exponentially increases your chances of getting the customer engaged in your product.

The expert marketer achieves this by limiting their mailings to three key areas: what their product does, why it is better than the competition, and a call to action. With an efficiency of language in mind, you should strive to limit each of these points to a few punchy sentences or impactful bullet points.

Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll see reader engagement skyrocket in no time at all.

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Common Website Mistakes to Avoid

Websites are the modern equivalent of a business card. They’re necessary to stay competitive. If you don’t have a website, the chances are that your competitor down the street does.  And you can bet that customers will go to that business in a heartbeat if they can’t find out anything about your business online.

These days, an online presence confirms your legitimacy as a business.

With that being said, you don’t want to waste people’s time when they do come to your website. They want readily available information that gets straight to the point of what they need. Wading through useless, peripheral information will only frustrate them and send them clicking over to your competitor before the web page has finished loading.

Website mistakes which can cause that situation to happen more quickly include:

1. Talking Too Much About Yourself Instead of What You Can Do for the Client

Your website is a marketing tool. It is not a one-sheet for your personal or business biography. Your “About” page can give some relevant background about your business’ origins or mission statement, but when people visit your website’s homepage, the focus should be on how they landed on the right website to get exactly what they need. The “who” is not as relevant in this case as the “what” and “how fast.”

2. Forgetting to Add a Search Box

If all the things that you offer can’t fit on one page, then people will probably want to do a quick look up for what they need. The emphasis here is on the word, quick. People are used to doing web searches, and they will look for a search box if they don’t immediately see what they are looking for. That search box should be in a highly visible place because if your visitors have to search too long for it, they’ll just as soon go to Google and search for another business that can deliver whatever it is they’re looking for.

3. Allowing Links to Other Sites to Open in the Same Window

The goal is to keep your website visitors on your site for as long as possible. The longer they stay and engage with your content, the more likely they are to become a customer or at least a subscriber. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to link to third party sites for such things as reading source material or to complete a purchase. No matter the reason that they leave, you always want your visitors to come back. Make it easy for them to do that by having all of your outbound links open in a new window. This way, your website remains present and available as a reminder for visitors to take another look whenever they’ve finished doing the offsite tasks.

By having a website for your business and avoiding these three common mistakes, you can create a better online experience for your prospects and customers.

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4 Ways to Get Creative with Content Marketing

What is the absolute BEST way to get your website content seen? People consume content all over the internet in many different ways.  Think of various websites like Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook.  The popularity of these platforms lies in the fact that people can choose how they consume information.  So, how can you make use of this when creating your own web content?  Here are four ways to get creative with your content marketing strategies and help encourage more website engagement from your viewers:

Video Blog with Transcript

Video blogs are exactly what they sound like… a video of you (or someone else) speaking on a topic; and they are becoming increasingly popular.  However, you should consider taking that video a step further by including a transcript of it on the same page.  By doing this, you will optimize both the written content as well as the video content for search engines.

Infographics

Many people love infographics, and for a good reason! They are incredibly easy to understand and can be reviewed quickly.  Infographics are nothing more than simple images that convey your message.  A Google Image search of the term “Infographic” will provide several hundreds of examples.  Best of all, with the right tool (like that provided by piktochart.com), creating a custom infographic can be easy.

Expert Interviews

Nothing gives you credibility like having a celebrity endorsement.  However, that is not always possible.  The next best thing is showcasing an individual’s expertise – whether that is someone within your company or outside of it.  Creating content using an expert interview is an excellent way to add credibility to your website.  You can even combine this concept with the video blog tip, above.

“A Day in the Life”….In Photos!

People love to see a story. Is your company having a business retreat soon?  If so, that could be an excellent opportunity to add a “human” element to your website and help your target audience connect with you.  Just a few pictures, each with a caption telling the story, can go a long way towards building rapport with your audience.

With so much content on the web, it is important that yours stands out among the crowd. Changing things up and throwing in something other than a blog or whitepaper every once in a while can make a world of difference for your business.

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