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Rise and Grind - A Marketing Podcast
13 minutes | 14 days ago
Why You Should Use Facebook For Business
Facebook is the world’s most popular social network with 2.5 billion daily users. Facebook’s algorithm has been making it more difficult for businesses to reach consumers. However, it’s still one of the best digital platforms to promote yourself on and engage with your target audience. In fact, two thirds of Facebook users visit business pages at least once a week. Facebook users cover a wide range of demographics. This includes a diverse mix of ages, locations, and income levels. Users also have a diverse range of interests. No matter what your industry and niche, you’re likely to find a large audience of target customers on Facebook. Continue reading for more reasons why you should use Facebook for business plus some tips on making your Facebook promotions a success. Why You Should Use Facebook For Business Facebook offers many benefits for businesses. Here are some of the main reasons why you should use Facebook for business. It’s Necessary and Expected It’s generally expected by consumers that they will be able to find you on Facebook. Consumers go to brand Facebook pages to find more information, ask questions, and interact with the brand. If you don’t have a Facebook page, you miss out on engaging with current and prospective customers. Your competitors most likely have a Facebook page and therefore are gaining a competitive advantage. If a customer is deciding between you and competitors, your competitors having a Facebook page is a big advantage. Being able to get extra information and ask questions and get quick responses could be the thing that encourages a prospect to purchase from a competitor. Following a brand on Facebook helps in making customers much more loyal too. Over half of a brand’s social media followers are likely to become loyal and repeat customers. Without a Facebook account you’re losing customers at the decision phase. It’s then likely that you won’t get them to purchase from you after that as they become loyal to the brand that helped them on Facebook. It’s A Low Cost Marketing Platform Marketing activities can be expensive. Social media, however, is relatively low cost. Using Facebook isn’t an exception to this. It’s free to set up your Facebook business page. You also need minimal to no investment to run the page and create content to post. The fact that minimal investment is needed to use Facebook makes it a great marketing platform for small to medium businesses. Even if you do have a large marketing budget, using Facebook means that you can use this budget elsewhere and diversify your marketing efforts. Even if you do decide to run paid campaigns on Facebook, such as ads or paid promotion of posts, Facebook advertising options offer low CPC.It Increases Website TrafficFacebook is a great place to promote your website and its content to increase your website traffic. You can include a link to your website in your “About” section. This makes it easy for followers to find your website for more information or to make a purchase. You can also promote website links in your Facebook posts. Whether you want to promote a new product, a sale, or a new blog post, sharing the link on Facebook will help to drastically increase your traffic. This traffic is also very relevant. People have seen your content in your post and chosen to interact. They are motivated to be on your website which makes conversions much more likely. It Helps With Content Promotion As mentioned above, Facebook is a great place to share links from your website. It’s therefore a good place to share new content with an engaged audience. Some content that you can promote via Facebook includes: Blog postsVideosPodcastsInfographics EbooksReports and Whitepapers By promoting on Facebook, you increase the reach of your content which should hopefully increase conversions.It Helps With SEOHaving a Facebook page can help your SEO strategy. Social media promotion is a part of off-page SEO. As Facebook is the largest social media platform and has a diverse group of users, it should be included in your off-page efforts. Facebook helps with SEO as it drastically increases the visibility of your content. This then leads to increased website traffic and hopefully contributes to a low bounce rate. Increased visibility also means that the chance of your content being linked is a lot higher. This will help you gain backlinks which are highly important to SEO. Sharing on Facebook also makes it more likely that a company with a high domain authority website will see your content and share it. Getting backlinks from high domain authority websites will have the most effect on your SEO. It Helps Build Two-Way Relationships With Current and Prospective CustomersFacebook makes it easy to connect and communicate with your current and prospective customers. You can provide them with extra information and help with problems they may have. You can also use Facebook to appear more human and build a relationship with your customers.You can use your post captions and Facebook’s other features such as polls, to engage with your audience. You can ask their opinion and for advice or ask an open ended question to start a discussion. By posting this type of content and responding to comments, your followers will feel valued. This helps a lot in converting customers and keeping them.You Can Get Feedback Facebook allows you to get direct feedback from your target audience. You can directly ask for feedback or take note of what people are saying in comments, reviews, and private messages. There are not many ways to get this kind of feedback without sending something like a survey. Even through other contact methods like email, you are more likely to receive negative feedback than constructive or positive feedback. Feedback left on Facebook, especially in comments, is more organic. People’s thoughts can also help with things like product development. For example, a string of similar comments may highlight the need for a product line extension that may not have been made obvious otherwise. It Has Advertising OptionsAlong with being a great platform for organic promotions, Facebook is a great place to advertise. There are a range of ad formats and detailed targeting options. A benefit of Facebook advertising is that you can promote your in feed posts to increase their reach. This is useful to grow brand awareness, increase followers, and ultimately get more people interacting with what you shared. These “dark” or “boosted” posts allow you to reach more of your own followers, reach their friends, or reach a brand new audience that meets a criteria you set. You can also run more standard display style ads including single image, carousel image, and video ads. You benefit from a range of targeting options and can even retarget those who have visited your website or used your app. This is made possible thanks to the Facebook Pixel. Once placed on your website, it acts like cookies to track those who interact with your website on Facebook where they are served your ads. Other Facebook ad options include messenger ads and dynamic product ads. Learn more about advertising on Facebook here. It Generates Leads and Boosts Sales Facebook has a vast audience of potential customers. Posting on Facebook and running advertisements, if desired, will help you reach this group. You therefore have a great lead generation tool if you have a Facebook page and post and interact actively. Once you have reached these leads, use your content to inform them, entertain them, solve their problems, and build a relationship. This will help in converting these leads into customers. Once converted, they are likely to stay loyal if you both keep interacting on your Facebook page. Customers that follow you on social media are some of the most loyal and easiest to retain. 5 Tips To Help You Be Successful On FacebookNow you understand the why you should use Facebook, follow these 5 tips to help your Facebook promotions succeed. 1. Have A Strategy Once you decide to use Facebook, you need to develop a strategy. This includes:Creating goalsDetermining how you will measure these goalsPlanning how to achieve these goals and get your message across most effectively Deciding what type of content you will postDeciding how often you will post Deciding if you will do any paid advertising and setting a budgetDeciding who will manage the account and who will plan, create, and schedule content Having a framework outlining what you want to achieve, how you plan to achieve that, and how you will measure success and adjust makes the chance of success on Facebook much higher. 2. Plan Content In AdvanceTo be successful on Facebook, you need to consistently be posting content. To ensure this is done, you need to plan and schedule your content in advance. Try to plan at least a month in advance. When planning, these are the main types of posts you can share on Facebook: Photo Posts: photo with caption (images, infographics, illustrations, animations etc.) Video Posts Linked Content Posts: including a link to content outside of Facebook such as a blog post. Text Only PostsFacebook PollsGiveaways and Contest Posts: to promote any giveaways and contests you’re running. Facebook does have rules on contests and giveaways and what you can ask followers to do. For example, you cannot ask people to follow you to be entered. If planning to promote a giveaway or contest on Facebook, set it up on a landing page outside of Facebook and promote a link to that. Facebook Live Posts Facebook Stories Sharing of Content: you can also share the Facebook posts of others if relevant to your brand and audience.When planning, also remember the rule of thirds. You want to have a split of one third promotional content, one third engaging content, and one third shared content, for example content from industry professionals. Create a content calendar to plan your ideas and store content assets. You can then schedule posts in advance through Facebook’s publishing tools or through a third party platform. Learn more about planning social media content in advance here. 3. Interact With FollowersIf you plan to use Facebook, make sure you set aside time to interact with followers. If you don’t interact then you won’t be very successful when using Facebook. You need to be creating two-way conversations instead of posting and then going quiet. Interacting can include responding to comments on your posts and replying quickly to messages. By responding to help solve problems or just create a two-sided conversation, you make followers feel valued and increase the chances of having satisfied customers. Interacting will help build relationships which helps increase brand loyalty. Having strong relationships with your current customers and prospective customers makes it more likely that they will become repeat customers. 4. Make Use Of Facebook Insights Make sure you’re constantly analyzing your results and adjusting your strategy as needed. Facebook’s Insights is one of the best in-platform analytics tools. It will show you demographics of those that interact with you, your best performing posts, changes in followers, and more. You can also access information relating to each post through publishing tools including:Number of likesNumber of commentsNumber of sharesNumber of link clicks If you utilize tracking links, you can then track these followers once they leave Facebook to interact with your landing page. This will help with measuring the success of posts intended to get conversions. 5. Don’t Expect Instant Success Or Obsess Over Vanity Metrics As with most marketing activities, you cannot expect a lot of success from simply setting up a Facebook page and starting to post. Even if you post high-quality content consistently, it will take a while to get traction. Focus on planning and curating content and analyzing every post for overall success and success in relation to the goal of post. Analyze what content works best for what goals and understand your audience on Facebook. Your success will then grow overtime if you use this information to guide your posts. Make sure you promote your Facebook page as well to gain awareness.Place a link to the page on your website. You can also promote the new page on other platforms you use such as via email. Having a contest or giveaway early on can help in gaining followers too. Even if you cannot ask them to follow you to be entered, contests often get a high number of shares and comments, making your page more visible. Additionally, don’t focus on vanity metrics that don’t relate to your goals. While a high follower count can be beneficial, don’t obsess over this. If you have a smaller following that engages a lot, this is better than having a lot of followers that don’t interact. If your goal is to get sales conversions, for example, then this smaller engaged audience will make achieving that goal more likely. In Conclusion Almost every business can benefit from using Facebook. Using Facebook for business is a great way to engage with your customers and prospects, drive traffic, and get sales. Plus its low cost! If you want to get started on Facebook or improve your efforts but don’t have the time or knowledge to do so, we can help. Brand Hause can assist with planning and executing your Facebook strategy as well as overhauling your presence on other social networks. Our consultations are free, so get in touch today to find out how we can help you!
15 minutes | 21 days ago
How to Optimize Your Instagram Account
How to Optimize Your Instagram AccountInstagram remains one of the most popular social media platforms. Users are continuing to grow despite downturns in the growth of users on other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.It also remains a great platform for showcasing high quality imagery and video, sharing your brand story, and interacting with consumers and prospects on a personable level.We have previously discussed the importance of your business having an Instagram account but once you have Instagram up and running, what can you do to optimize your account to get the best results?Keep listening to discover a few easy ways to optimize your Instagram account for improved results.Top Ways to Optimize Your Instagram Account1. Use an Instagram Business ProfileA first step in optimizing your Instagram account for business purposes is to switch to an Instagram business account. This is an easy process and offers you access to Instagram analytics (called Insights) as well as the option to run paid promotions. You will need a Facebook page and Facebook business manager account but that’s all. You can then see analytics within Instagram including follower changes, reach and impressions of posts, and follower demos. You can also run ad campaigns (story and in-feed ads) via Facebook ads manager with similar targeting options to those offered for Facebook ads. Additionally, with a business profile, you can display an office or store address and opening hours. You can also add buttons for users to easily send DMs, emails, and SMS which is great for customer support and feedback. Ecommerce brands have the option to add a shop button too. 2. Consider Becoming VerifiedYou may also choose to become verified. Verified accounts are those that have a blue check mark, indicating that this is the original and real account that represents a brand. This is especially important for brands or influencers who may have people pretending to be them or even have fan accounts that could confuse Instagram users into thinking that’s the main account of the brand or individual. Once verified, Instagram users will be sure that they are interacting with your brand which should reduce losing followers and engagements to fake or similar accounts.3. Optimize Your Instagram Account ProfileBefore we discuss how to optimize the content you share, it’s important to look at how to optimize your Instagram profile.All aspects of your profile from the profile image and username you choose to your bio can have just as big an impact as the content posted to the account.When optimizing your Instagram profile, keep the following in mind.Choose a Relevant Username That’s Easy to Find Your username needs to be very relevant to your brand with most choosing their brand name as their username.If your desired name is taken, consider altering it slightly if you can’t choose another username.You’ll want a name that will bring up your account if searched for, which is why using brand name is the most popular choice.Chances are, no matter what industry you’re in, there will be people to connect with on Instagram. Learn more in our blog article Don’t Think Your Business Will Benefit From Instagram? Think AgainUse a Branded Profile ImageTo optimize your Instagram account, use a profile image that is instantly recognizable with your brand.This image will show up on your profile in the left hand corner. It will also appear every time you comment and share a post. Using your logo is a good idea. No matter what you choose, try to keep consistency across all social media platforms. Optimize your Bio Your bio appears at the top of your Instagram profile, just under your profile picture and your following and follower counts.Instagram offers you 150 characters for use in thee bio to summarize your brand and explain what you can do for those who interact with you. You want to use the bio to briefly show the benefit you’ll provide. It’s a good idea to include a few keywords that are most relevant to your brand. You may also want to add a call-to-action that points users to the link you’re allowed to place under your bio. Using a few hashtags that are most relevant to your brand is a good idea too, discussed more later on. Lastly, adding a few emojis may help in getting your brand identity across in just a few extra characters. 4. Optimize Your Instagram Account ContentOnce your profile elements are optimized, it’s now time to focus on your content. While your bio, image, username, etc. are very important, ultimately people will be interacting with your posts so optimization of these cannot be ignored. When optimizing your Instagram content, keep the following in mind.Share Quality Content that Highlights Your Brand Success on Instagram is highly related to the content you post. It’s a platform that rewards those who post amazing imagery and videos so you need to be taking the time to create and/or source this high-quality content.Try to keep consistency among posts and use content that strongly relates to your brand. Make Use of Instagram Stories and Highlights Posting Instagram stories is a great way to get the most out of your account. It’s the perfect platform to provide more information to followers and increase interaction with them.Using stories allows you to ask your followers questions and have them ask you questions, allowing for Q&A style posts. You can also use stories to give quick updates and a behind the scenes look at your brand. Once you have 10,000 followers, you can also add links to your posts. This makes stories the perfect platform for promoting content intended to drive traffic to your website. Instagram HighlightsYou should additionally add highlights to your account. Instagram stories only stay on your account for 24 hours, but adding them to highlights saves them to your account, allowing followers to view them whenever they like.The highlights bar sits between your bio information and your posts. It’s recommended to create categorized highlights to help followers easily find the content they’re looking for.Instagram LiveLastly, you can take part in “Lives” via the stories feature. This is a live video that allows you to chat with followers in real-time.You can connect it with multiple other accounts too and there is a chat box allowing followers to ask questions and engage in real-time.Use EmojisInstagram is a relaxed, fun, and creative platform. So use of emojis here, if relevant to your message, can be a good idea.Using emojis can help in making your account seem more personable which can increase the chance of engagement and help with relationship building.Emojis can also add to your message or emphasize it without needing to add lots more characters. While Instagram post captions don’t come with a character limit, you still want to keep your message as succinct as possible. This is equally true with stories where you’ll want to keep text to a minimum due to the limited space available and the fact that followers spend just a few seconds viewing each story. Use Hashtags Hashtags are important to use on Instagram to help with discovery. You can use hashtags in your posts as well as to optimize your account bio.Choose a few hashtags that are most relevant to your brand to place in your bio. Then use a selection of relevant hashtags in each post. This can be one or two within your caption plus you have the option to place more below the caption or in a comment.Don’t overdo it though, around 5 to 15 hashtags below your caption or in a comment is a good idea. Be sure to consistently research the hashtags that are most relevant to your audience and keep a check on trending hashtags that could be relevant. You may also want to look at the hashtags your competitors use to ensure you are showing up alongside them when those hashtags are searched.Use Location Tags Using appropriate location tags on posts and in stories can help with discovery. They are especially useful if you run a local business or if you serve certain areas across the city, state, or country. Even if you serve the whole country or operate on an international level, adding location tags where appropriate can help increase audience size and make your offerings known to those living in or interested in certain areas. Encourage Tagging Use some posts to encourage followers to tag you. This will help increase your reach and expose you to potential customers.Your followers’ followers are likely to be quite similar to them so are also likely to be interested in your offerings.You could also add a line in your bio mentioning tagging. You can additionally use tagged images as user generated content for your page. Mentioning that you may feature their image if followers tag you can increase the chances of them tagging you.5. Use CTAsAs mentioned above, it’s a good idea to include a call-to-action in your bio. This is used to encourage those viewing your account to click on the link placed below your bio copy. You’ll also want to be using CTAs within your captions that direct post viewers to your bio link as this is the only live link Instagram allows you to use. Excluding links in stories and shopping tags that is.6. Use Trackable Links and Content LibrariesYou can only place one link in the bio of your Instagram account and cannot place live links within post captions. It can therefore be difficult to track click through if you change the link in your bio often. You can see bio link clicks in analytics but it will provide just one figure no matter how many links you used over the week or month.Therefore, it’s a good idea to always use tracking links. You can easily create tracking links through Bitly or a host of other platforms. Using these types of links allows you to see exactly how much traffic each link is bringing even if you change your link frequently. Content LibrariesIf you plan to share a lot of content (which means you will be directing followers to multiple web pages each week) using a “content library”, like LinkinBio is a good idea.These allow you to place just one link in your bio. When that is clicked on, followers arrive on a page where they can see your Instagram posts and click through on the link mentioned in each.It’s also a good idea to use tracking links for content libraries. This makes it easy to see who came to your website from which links and posts. You may also have parameters to be able to see what the traffic did once on your website.Story LinksYou can also place swipe up links in stories once they have 10,000 followers. You can see how many link swipe-ups (link clicks) a story got but a tracking link allows you to analyze behavior once on the promoted landing page.Want to learn more about your target consumer? Connect with your existing customers and reach out to new ones through social media. Learn more in our blog article, The Importance of Social Media For Business.7. Link to Mobile Optimized WebsitesAs Instagram is an app, the majority of users use it on their cell phone. Therefore, you want to ensure any link you place points to a website that’s optimized for mobile.Links will most likely be pointing to your website so if it’s not mobile-friendly, be sure to fix that. Your website really should be mobile-friendly and ideally use responsive web design anyway as more and more internet users are browsing on their mobile devices.Make sure any links to other domains that you post are optimized too. For example, if you share a link to a website with an article about your brand check that the website is mobile friendly to offer your followers the best experience.8. Enable Notifications and Interact with FollowersTo be successful on Instagram, you need to be social! This means interacting with followers. This is best if done in real-time, responding as soon as possible after followers interact.These interactions can include people commenting on your posts, tagging or mentioning you, and sending direct messages. You should also assign the task of responding to these interactions to at least one team member. Ask them to activate notifications on their mobile device and respond asap to all of these notifications. 9. Follow a Consistent Posting ScheduleA key to social media success in general is consistency in your posting. This includes the number of times each day/week/month that you post and some consistency in the days and times you post.Therefore, to optimize your Instagram account and efforts, you’ll want to develop a posting schedule and stick to it. While you will want to adjust as you analyze results and other data, try to keep as much consistency as possible.10. Discover the Best Times to PostThere will be certain days and times when your followers are most active on Instagram and most engaged with your posts. Therefore, there will be certain times that are most optimal for posting. There are a few ways in which you can find the most optimal posting times for your audience. Look at Industry TrendsTo begin with, you may want to post at the times that are said to be busiest for Instagram in general or at the times that work best for your industry. This is a good starting point if new to Instagram.Look at Instagram InsightsOnce you have begun posting, you’ll be able to use analytics to help choose the most optimal posting times.As Instagram collects information on those interacting with your account, you can see the times that your followers are most active on Instagram in Insights.This feature uses bars to show the most popular times on each day of the week which will also tell you which days work best for posting. Look at Third Party AnalyticsYou may also want to invest in third party analytics platforms which are discussed more next. These will offer more insights into those who interact with your posts and offer more data driven suggestions for good times to post. 11. Make Use of AnalyticsOnce you have a business profile, you’ll have access to Instagram Insights. This shows things like post reach, changes in follower numbers, follower demographics, and the most popular days and times for follower interaction. Make sure that you’re making use of this information and using it to help optimize your account. For example, if you see that your followers are highly active on Instagram at 9 am on Mondays and 6 pm on Thursdays, you could schedule posts for these times to increase the chance of engagement. Instagram analytics, however, can be quite basic. To really optimize your account, you may want to look into using third party software.These platforms offer more analytics and can offer optimization suggestions, such as the best times to post each week based on past performance of your posts. 12. Use Scheduling SoftwareUnlike IG’s owner, Facebook, you cannot schedule posts within IG. To schedule in advance, you’ll have to use third-party software. Recommended as it’s easiest to keep a consistent posting schedule if plan and schedule content in advance. Create content calendars and have social editorial meetings. Range of options and plans depending on your needs. Many of these also include in depth analytics so need just one for extra analytics and scheduling. In ConclusionInstagram is the perfect platform to connect with your customers and grow your audience. However, just having an account isn’t enough to succeed.Making use of the tips discussed here to optimize your Instagram account is a great start to running an account that builds relationships and increases your customer base.If you need some extra help with your Instagram efforts, we would love to help! Brand Hause offers social media marketing services to help from setting up your account to optimizing it and getting conversions.Get in touch today for a free Instagram marketing consultation!
17 minutes | a month ago
Tips For Writing Press Releases
Getting coverage by the media is very beneficial for businesses. Whether you have a new product, have won an award, are working on a new partnership, or have something else newsworthy to share, getting the press to cover the story will help you a lot. But how do you get the media to take notice of your news and relay it to their audience? Press releases are still one of the best ways to do this. By summarizing your news and sending that summary directly to media contacts, you bring attention to the event. If your story is interesting enough and is something their audience will appreciate, it’s likely to be shared. You can even use press releases as part of your crisis management strategy if your company is involved in a negative event. But how can you increase your chances of your press release being noticed and covered? Keep reading for our top tips for writing press releases along with more reasons why press releases are extremely relevant. Are Press Releases Still Relevant?Press releases are still one of the main ways to relay important information to the press with the hope of getting the story covered. They are essential for ensuring the media and the public are made aware of your company’s latest news. A press release is a one or two page document used for sharing company news with the media. They are generally sent to media outlets and industry professionals. Some things that press releases cover include: New product launches Partnerships or sponsorshipsAnnouncement of an eventAnnouncement of awards Breaking news announcements New research and data findingsNew executive hires Crisis management Why You Still Need To Send Press Releases Sharing press releases can provide your company with benefits, such as:Gaining Attention and Awareness: your media contacts are likely well trusted by their audience and have a much larger reach than you. Having them share your story makes it more likely that people will take notice and act where applicable. For example, consumers are more likely to purchase a new product of yours if their favorite publication writes about it. Improving Your SEO: having your story published and having others share it can help get you backlinks. The media contacts you send the release to will likely work for a publication with a high domain authority. These backlinks from high DA websites are very valuable. If the press release is published online, use keywords like with other web content. This can help in the press release being discovered by media contacts that you did not send the release to directly. Building Brand Reputation: having trusted publications cover your story can help improve your brand image and reputation. They already have a good reputation and high level of trust with their audience. If well regarded publications cover your story, this reputation gets passed on to you and their audience will see you as a brand they can trust and should purchase from. Improving Your Company Image: during a crisis, a press release is a good way to manage the story and your company image. Use a crisis management press release to explain what happened and how you are fixing the situation. This can avoid the story being twisted by the media. Showing you are quickly and actively trying to fix the issue helps minimize the damage to your reputation. Being A Cost-Effective Form Of Marketing: it is inexpensive to send press releases. If you have a good list of media contacts, it will not cost you anything except time to distribute the release. Even if you pay to use a media database or service to send it, hopefully the press coverage will recoup that cost. Tips For Writing Press Releases Once you have decided to send a press release, use the following tips to ensure it is a success and gets you the promotion you are after. Set GoalsLike with other marketing efforts, set goals for each press release you send. Think about what you are trying to achieve by sending the release and then monitor the results as best you can. The main goal is to get as many publications as possible to cover the story. This is also the easiest goal to measure. Some other goals and success metrics could include:Growing Your Social Media Following and Website TrafficThis can be measured by noting your followers for each platform or website traffic before you send the press release. Then note any increases each time the story is shared. Finally note the total increase over the time period between you sending the press release and coverage stopping.Obviously not every new follower or website visitor will be due to coverage gained from the press release. But this gives you a good idea of the results. Compare percentage growth to growth over a similar time period without media coverage. Any difference is likely due to the press release. Building Brand AwarenessYou could assess this by surveying a sample of your target audience before the press release is sent. Ask how many are aware of your brand. Their opinion on you. Knowledge of the topic of the press release etc. Survey them again after news coverage is complete to see if awareness increased. Additionally ask them how awareness was increased. This can help show which publications are most effective at reaching your target audience. Improving Company ImageThis is likely the main goal of a crisis management press release. Like with brand awareness, ask a sample group’s opinion on the company before the press release is sent and covered in the media. Also ask what would help improve the way they view the company. Use this info to inform your crisis management strategy. Then ask them again on their opinion of the company after the press release is sent and covered. Build Your Press Release List Once you decide to send a press release, you need a list of media contacts to send it too. If you already have the contact info of members of the press, collect all their info in one place. Do you have enough contacts on your list? Are they relevant and the best person to contact? Add and edit this list as needed. If you have no contacts or need to expand your list, there are a few ways to do this:Get media lists from events and trade shows: most industry events, especially trade shows, will publish a list of media contacts at the event to all those attending. Network at events: whether you get a media list or not when attending events, be sure to network with the media too. Having actually spoken with a contact makes it more likely they will view and publish your story. You may also be able to get better contact info than what is provided on the media list. Network via social media: connect with media contacts on their social media platforms. LinkedIn is best for this. If they use a personal account on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to promote their work, you can connect with them there too. If their personal account has no mention of their work (for example, they don’t post about their work or have their job title in their bio) it’s best to try Linkedin first. Use media databases: there are databases that house media info. There are some that are free while others require payment to get the contact information. Do research of your own: make a list of the media companies that you would like to contact. Then visit their website to try and find contact info. Many publishers now have an online masthead with contact info. At a minimum, you should be able to find a general email that you can use to request contact info for the best press contact. Make sure you are sending the release only to relevant contacts. Think about the story and which contacts are best for covering it. You shouldn’t necessarily send every press release to every contact on your list. For example, new product launches may be interesting to both business and consumer publications but a new executive hire will only be interesting to business publications. Decide The Best Distribution MethodNow you have a list of contacts to send your press release too, how will you get it to them? Some common press release distribution methods include:Via emailSharing on social media Using PR distribution or syndication servicesEmail is the most frequently used method. Try to send each email individually and personalize them instead of sending a bulk email. Publishing the press release on social media as well will increase its reach. You may then get press contacts reaching out to you as opposed to you contacting them first. When sending press releases via email, you need to think about your subject line and email copy. Use a subject line that is short and grabs attention. This could simply be the same as the headline of your press release. Keep your email copy short too, briefly explaining the contents of the press release, telling them where to find the press release (is it attached? Is it via a link?), and to get in touch for more info. Make Sure Your Story Is Newsworthy The point of sending a press release is to get coverage in the media. If your story isn’t worthy, it therefore won’t be shared. Your story needs to be big news in your industry and/or related to current trends and events.Some examples of newsworthy content include:Exclusive Research: if you have a conducted a one of a kind study and have an innovative white paper, research document, data etc. this can make a good story for the recipient’s publication Newsjacking: this is when your story is related to a current news story or viral event or trend. This makes the story appealing and timely to the recipient’s audience. Newsjacking can also help expand the audience that will be interested.Stories With Emotional Elements: content with an emotional element always resonates better as people connect with it in a deeper way. Getting the recipient emotionally invested makes it more likely they will share the story. Once that happens, it also makes it more likely that the publisher’s audience will share the story. Emotional connection with content is what causes it to be shared. Additionally, consider the following when determining if your story is newsworthy: Is this urgent news? Is this something that is important for a large audience to know about? Are people going to be affected by the information? If your story does not meet at least two of these, it probably won’t be of interest to the media. Create An Effective MessageYou need to phrase the information on your story in a way that makes it interesting and valuable to your contacts. When forming your message and press release copy, try to think like a journalist. What do your contacts do in their own writing to grab the attention of their audience? You need your press release to really stand out to get it covered. Some things to consider to appeal to your media list include:Make it easy for them to understand: they need to instantly understand what the story is about. Keep it short and to the point: your media contacts don’t have time to look through pages of info. Get to the point about what your story is and why it should be covered. Make it easy to take out info for their own stories: include all the main details of the story plus quotes. This makes it easy for them to form their story without needing to contact you for extra information. Don’t over promote yourself: simply tell them the news. Do not use superlatives, for example, by saying your new product is the best. They know that you think your story is important, you do not need to reiterate this. They are also never going to say that you have the best product in their story. They need real information and facts to help get the story across to their audience. Follow A TemplateMost press releases follow a similar template. Reporters receive many press releases each day. Following this standard template makes it easy for them to quickly find the information they need. A press release isn’t the palace to be creative with your formatting! Press releases should be one page or two pages at the most. Use a common font like Times New Roman or Arial. Also keep font sizing standard. The main copy should be 12 pt with headlines 16pt and subheading 14pt as a standard. As for the layout of information, press releases follow something called the Reverse Pyramid. This means the most important information is given priority in paragraph one. It is followed by secondary information on the story, ending with details like company information. 1. Write A Great Headline Your press release needs to stand out among hundreds of other emails and press releases your recipients receive. The headline on your press release is how you will grab attention.The headline needs to be informative and interesting. Use action verbs in your headline and minimize jargon and superlatives. It also needs to be short and to the point. Keep it under six words. You can then add a subheading if needed. Make sure your headline is centered, bolded, and in larger font than the rest of the text in the document. Your subheading should be in a font smaller than the headline but larger than the rest of the text. Make sure to italicize the subheading too. Once you have chosen a headline, use online tools to assess its effectiveness. Headline Analyzer, for example, will assess effectiveness relating to an objective, tone, and what can be improved. 2. Include Contact Information You need to include contact information in case recipients have questions or need to request extra material like images. Include the name, phone number, and email of the best contact for this. Most press releases put this information at the top, under the headline and “For Immediate Release” but before the first paragraph. If you want to include extra information, this can be placed at the end of the document. Extra information can include the company’s web address and social handles. 3. Make Your Lead Clear In The First ParagraphThe lead (or lede) is the main point of your press release. You need to use your first paragraph to provide all the key information on the story. By scanning this paragraph, the reader should know exactly what the news event is about, how it happened, and who was involved. The lead is used to get the reader to continue reading. Once you have their interest, provide additional information on the story in the following paragraphs. When writing your lead, use the 5 Ws:What: what is the story about? What newsworthy event has happened? Who: who is involved in the story?When: when did this event happen? Or when is it going to happen? Where: where did the story happen? Or where will it happen? Why: why is this happening? Why is it important? You can also mention how the story happened or how it is going to happen. 4. Provide Extra Information in The Second and Third ParagraphUse the second and third paragraph to provide supplemental information to what was provided in paragraph one. Add details that strengthen your paragraph one information. The reader should now know all the key information so focus on explaining why the story is important and why it should be covered. You can include:EvidenceExtra background information - for example, how the event came to happenArguments Issues 5. Include Quotes Your press release should include at least one quote. These should come from the main team members related to the event. Ideally, these people will be key stakeholders such as employees in executive positions. Keep these quotes short and relevant to the event. Reporters can then pull these quotes for context in their own articles. These quotes can be placed before the first paragraph or between paragraphs one, two, and three. Use them in the place that they make the most sense and add the most value. 6. Closing Statement Finish providing information on your story with a short closing statement. This should be just a few sentences that sums up the story and why it is of interest. You can also add that contact about the story is welcome using the contact info provided at the top of the press release. 7. Boilerplate This is a sentence or two about your company. This should generally be developed and then used in each press release you send. Rewriting this each time can be confusing and send mixed messages. 8. End With ###A common practice is to end a press release with three pound signs (###). This signifies that the press release is finished. It is a best practice that shows you understand how reporting and news releases work so it’s worth including. Additional Press Release Writing Tips Follow AP Style: as press releases are sent to the media, write them in the style they write. Most journalists follow AP Style. You can learn more here (link) and make sure all releases conform. Proofread: journalists are perfectionists when it comes to grammar and spelling. Just having grammatical or spelling mistakes can make them ignore your story. Be sure to edit your content and run it through a tool like Grammarly to catch all errors. Keep It Short: as mentioned, press releases should be two pages at most with one page being preferable. Also use short sentences with limited adjectives, superlatives, and jargon. Measure ResultsOnce the press release is sent, start analyzing the results. Some things to measure include: How many people responded (what % of those you contacted responded)Number of times your story was promoted Number of backlinks you gainedNumber of social shares Number of brand mentionsIncreases in web traffic and social followers Number of conversionsYou will be able to gain some of this information quickly, such as how many people responded. Other things like backlinks and conversions are likely to keep growing over time until eventually trailing off. These can also be difficult to directly measure. Follow the guidelines above, under Set Goals, to help measure things like increases in social media following, website traffic, and brand awareness thanks to the press release. Once you start getting results, plan how you can improve on your next press release to get more exposure and better results. In Conclusion Press releases are one of the most effective ways to get important company stories in front of the media. By following the above tips for writing press releases, you’’ll be able to get your story in front of those that can and will get it covered.
26 minutes | a month ago
How To Create An Email Marketing Strategy
Email marketing is a very popular and effective form of marketing. Email is a great tool to build personal relationships with current and prospective customers. It also makes providing information and offers directly to your audience easy. There are almost 4 billion global email users. Over 90% of these check their email everyday. This suggests that most of your prospects and customers have an email account that they interact with daily. Email is therefore the perfect platform for communicating with these individuals.Continue reading for more reasons to use email marketing plus how to create an email marketing strategy that converts.Reasons To Use Email MarketingSome of the main reasons to use email marketing are to:Build relationships: email can help build relationships more than any other platform as you are communicating “one-on-one”. You also have a lot of segmentation and personalization options to make communication more personable. Promote content: email is a good platform for sharing new blog posts or other relevant and useful content. You can then use click through rate to analyze audience opinion of content. Clicking through to website pages will also help increase your traffic. Generate leads: the combination of improving relationships and offering valuable and relevant content, product suggestions, and offers will help in generating leads and conversions. Benefits Of Email Marketing Email marketing on average generates some of the highest ROI of all marketing techniques.Email is up to 40 times more effective than social media marketing for customer acquisition. Communicating via email helps nurture leads with useful and personalized content, making an eventual sale more likely. Email marketing is a relatively low cost. There are very few rules in email marketing. It is your own platform to connect with your audience in pretty much any way you like. How To Create An Email Marketing StrategyAlthough a large percent of your audience use email and check it daily, you will be competing for attention in their inbox. An effective email marketing strategy is needed to catch their attention, get your emails opened, and your CTAs clicked on. Define Your Audience Make sure you understand who is on your email list. What do they want and what do they find valuable? Create content that appeals to these people and meets those needs. Start off by sending content for your current customer personas. If you are using an email service platform like MailChimp, you will then be able to get more info on the individuals on your email list. You can see what content is resonating and what is not by analyzing open and click through rate. Set Email Marketing GoalsLike any marketing activity, you need to set goals for your email marketing campaigns. Look at average industry benchmarks for email to help set goals. The two main email marketing metrics are:Open Rate: the percent of subscribers that click on and open the email to see the content. Average Open Rate is 15% to 20% across all industries. Click Through Rate: the percent of people that click on the email’s call-to-action. Average CTR is 3% to 5% across all industries. You should also set goals on the monthly number of new subscribers and email deliverability. Additionally, set a revenue generation goal. See Analyzing Email Marketing Results below to learn more about the main email marketing metrics and how to measure and improve these.Build An Email List One of the first steps in email marketing is starting to build an email list. This is a list of people that have authorized you to contact them by email with information and offers relating to your business. Start list building as soon as possible and run promotions consistently to get new sign-ups. If you are a new business, consider starting to get sign-ups pre-launch. Ensure that all subscribers are opt-in. This means they chose to sign up to receive your emails. Never buy contacts for your email list and try to practice double opt-in. This is when you get new subscribers to confirm their sign-up in a welcome email. This email usually asks them to simply click a confirmation button/link. But how can you entice people to sign-up to your email list? Here are four common methods to try:1. Lead Magnets Lead magnets entice sign-ups. You offer a useful, and usually free, resource in exchange for signing-up to your email list. Some types of lead magnets include:Educational Content Sharing educational, informative, and useful content for free in exchange for sign-up is a great way to grow your email list. Examples of these types of lead magnets include: ChecklistsE-booksWebinarsReportsTemplates You will want this resource to offer value and include information that could lead to a sale. For example, provide information that solves a problem with your product or service organically recommended as part of a solution. As this is your first direct contact with the recipient, ensure the content demonstrates the value you can provide. Also deliver the resource in an easy to consume format. Content lead magnets are usually offered digitally by emailing the recipient a direct or download link. Contests You do not want to rely on contests as your only sign-up method. Using contests can result in sign-ups of individuals after free things who will never convert to customers. Contests are however a good method to use every now and then to grow your email list. Once the winner is announced, offer all those who entered a discount code or free with purchase item to encourage a conversion. Deals and Discounts Do be careful using discounts as they can hurt your margins. They are however a good way to get email sign-ups. They can also encourage larger purchase orders, especially if recipients have to spend a certain amount to benefit from the discount. You can also promote deals that may encourage a purchase such as buy-one-get-one-free. Again, only use a deal incentive every now and then. A good way to protect margins is to offer early access to promotions you are already planning to run. For example, offer early access to a sale that non-subscribers will be able to access in the next few days anyway. 2. Opt-in FormsOpt-in forms make signing up to your email list easy. Add opt-in forms to your website and use to request an email and name. Asking for too much information can deter people from signing up. You can collect more information from these subscribers later on, for example by emailing a survey.Use an attractive and simple design and enticing call to action. Set up a newsletter signup landing page with the form. Put links to this page in your website header, footer, and/or navigation bars. You can also place links on content pages such as blog post pages. Lastly, consider having a pop-up box appear with a form for sign-up. These are most effective when they appear after the visitor has been on the website at least 20 or 30 seconds. 3. Pre-Launch Pages If you are starting a new business you should be generating buzz (and collecting emails) before you launch. Create a pre-launch page with email list sign-up. Promote this in other pre-launch promotions such as those on social media. Promote email sign-up as an easy way to keep up to date on news and important dates. You can even offer a discount for early subscribers to use once the business is open. 4. Direct Requests Do not forget to ask customers you come into direct contact with to sign-up. If you have a store location or exhibit at trade shows, ask customers and prospects directly to sign-up. If you ship directly to consumers, you can also include a sign-up request with their order. For example, include a business card telling them where they can sign up on your website. Again, a discount or other incentive for doing so can increase the number of sign-ups you receive. Choose An Email Service ProviderYou can email directly from a generic company email address (made easy to reach multiple contacts with a mail-merge) however using an email marketing platform or email service provider (ESP) is the best option. Using an ESP gives you access to a range of features to help make your email marketing campaigns a success. Some main features you will have access to include: Access to email design templatesAccess to tools to build forms and landing pages Ability to A/B test Analytics metrics and reports Ability to connect with your CRMAutomation functions The ESP’s good reputation which helps with things like avoiding spam filtersThere are a few good options on the market but MailChimp is the best one to start off with due to its ease of use and range of features. Types Of Email Marketing Campaigns There are a range of types of email campaigns that you can choose from. The three main campaign types are transactional emails, promotional emails, and lifecycle emails. 1. Transactional EmailsTransactional emails are those sent in relation to a transaction, such as an online purchase. These are intended to provide information on purchases. Transaction emails should also include prompts for future actions. Transactional emails are some of the most interacted with. Open rates are on average 50%+. Click through rate is around 9% compared to an average of 3-5% for other emails. This is because recipients expect and anticipate them and want to open them to get info on their order. The three main types of transactional emails are order confirmation emails, shipping confirmation emails, and feedback emails. Confirmation EmailsThese are emails sent once an order is placed. They confirm what was ordered, the cost, estimated arrival date, and any other related information. Recipients are opening the email to get this info in particular. But you can also use these emails to try to up-sell them. Confirmation emails have a high open rate (70%+) so are a great place to build relationships and attempt to up-sell. Improve confirmation emails by:Suggesting related products to up-sell: suggesting additional products to purchase is an easy and personalized way to increase sales. These could be added to their order before it ships, purchased in the future, or purchased as a gift. Offering discounts or free shipping on future purchases: provide these offers within a limited timeframe. These “bounce-back” offers help encourage customers to return and purchase again thanks to an enticing deal. Getting the customer to join your community: instead of encouraging an additional purchase in the email, get them interacting with you elsewhere. You can then use these interactions to encourage more purchases. For example, ask them to follow your social media accounts.Shipping Confirmation Emails These are emails sent to confirm a client's purchase has been shipped. They give an idea of when items will be delivered and may offer tracking. These also have a high open rate and provide another opportunity to up-sell. Improve shipping confirmation emails by:Making tracking orders easy: this will not help with up-selling but provides useful info to the customer. Making the entire purchasing process including delivery easy will entice customers back in itself. Including related product suggestions: make suggestions related to what they purchased. For example, if they purchased a dress, suggest matching accessories. If the suggestions are not relevant, they will probably be ignored.Suggesting they refer a friend: set up a rewards program that encourages referrals. For example, for every 5 friends they forward a link to, they get 10% off their next purchase. This incentivizes word-of-mouth marketing (one of the most effective forms of marketing) as well as encouraging additional purchases. Feedback Emails These are sent once orders have successfully been delivered. These can be a link to a quick survey or feedback form or simply a rating system embedded in the email. Improve feedback emails by:Focusing on customer satisfaction: unlike the other two types of transactional emails, try not to focus on additional sales too much. Getting feedback on the purchase process and your products is as valuable over time as up-selling is. Placing the feedback form on your website: you can then initiate product suggestions after feedback is submitted. Being on your website already may encourage them to look around some more too, especially if their experience was positive. Using positive reviews on your website: for example on a dedicated testimonial page or on specific product pages. Seeing positive feedback from real customers is proven to encourage others to purchase. 2. Promotional EmailsPromotional emails are intended to make subscribers aware of promotions. These are usually sent to your whole email list. Some things that are promoted in promotional emails include:New Products: email is a great way to let your audience know of new products. Unlike promotion on social media, the email will be delivered to all subscribers. Therefore making each contact aware of the new product is more likely. If the product appeals to one particular group, you could send to a certain segment only. Seasonal Offers: email is a good platform for notifying customers of seasonal offers. A lot of customers will be anticipating seasonal promotions. For example, it is assumed that most companies will run Black Friday deals and end of season sales. Providing all the promotion information in one place is valuable to contacts, especially those anticipating the offer. Subscriber Only Deals: a good way to encourage sign-ups and get sales from your email list is offering subscriber only deals. These can be discount codes, free shipping, gifts with purchase, or any other promo you think will be effective. Ensure these offers are also time-sensitive to add a sense of urgency. Newsletters and Content Updates: email can also be used to promote your content marketing efforts. This is often done by a newsletter. You can use this newsletter to update subscribers on company news and promote new content such as blog posts or videos. ……3. Lifecycle EmailsLifecycle emails are sent to certain subscribers based on where they are in the customer lifecycle. These include targeting warm leads, new customers, returning customers, and customers you are losing. The four lifestyle emails are shopping cart abandonment emails, welcome emails, additional purchase emails, and win-back emails. Shopping Cart Abandonment EmailsThese emails are sent to people who have products in their online shopping cart but have not checked out. These are warm leads. They have certain products they want to purchase and have almost completed purchasing. The average shopping cart abandonment rate is 60 to 80%. You can win back more than 10% of these sales with cart abandonment emails. Improve shopping cart abandonment emails by:Reminding recipients about the items in their cart: simply reminding the prospect that they did not purchase could convert the purchase. Using text and no or few images: images often have to be enabled to be seen in emails. This can affect how the text is shown before they are enabled. You want recipients to see your copy straight away so limit images. Include a link to their cart in the copy to make it easy for them to purchase. Using a clear call-to-action: include one straight to the point CTA that directs the recipient to completing their purchase. Offering an incentive to purchase: offering an incentive like free shipping or a percent off is effective at getting customers to complete a purchase. However try not to consistently offer this as customers will start abandoning their cart to get a deal. You can also inform customers when items in their cart are low in stock. This adds a sense of urgency without reducing sales revenue. Welcome Emails Welcome emails are sent when people create an account and/or sign-up to your email list. These emails are important as the recipient has shown an active interest in your company. They are most likely interested in purchasing so these emails are intended to complete the sale. Improve welcome emails by:Sending the email straight away: interact with the individual as soon as they initiate contact. This is especially important if you used a lead magnet to get the sign up. Making contact when you are top of mind helps build a relationship and creates a strong first impression. Providing value straight away: show the value that you bring straight away. Do not send a lot of promotional emails at first or use overly sales based copy.Providing email content and frequency information: use this email to let the recipient know what they can expect from being on your email list. Tell them how frequently they can expect emails and the type of content that will be sent. Additional Order EmailsThese emails use the recipients past purchase(s) to suggest other products to purchase. Improve additional order emails by: Suggesting your top selling products: this a good start for new customers or if you have a limited product range. Using data to suggest products: to do this, you will need to use segmentation data from sales. This can be found in Google Analytics. Using this information helps make next purchase suggestions relevant to each customer. Using a discount ladder: start by suggesting related products. If that does not produce a sale, offer a small discount. Then increase that discount over another one or two emails if conversion does not happen. For example, offer 5% off, then 10% off, and then 15% off. Win-Back Emails These emails are intended to win-back customers that have stopped purchasing. Improve win-back emails by: Testing email content: use A/B (split) testing as soon as you add these emails to your email marketing strategy. Try a range of CTAs and offers. What is the minimum discount you can offer to get customers to return? Getting in touch as soon as purchasing drops off: the longer you wait to get in touch, the less likely it is that customers will purchase again. Work out the average time between purchases for your customers. Send a win-back series to customers that have not made another purchase after this time period. Email Creation Once you decide on the type of campaigns you will be sending, you can start creating the emails that you will send. Email Content No matter what type of campaign you are running, each email will have the same main content components. These email content components are:Subject Line: this is what will encourage recipients to open the email. Make your subject line clear, actionable, and enticing. Make sure it relates to the content that the reader will find in the email. Email Copy: make sure the copy in the email is consistent to your brand and adds value. Make sure it relates well to your subject line. Try to stick to one main topic as well. Images: include relevant, high quality images. Ensure they are optimized for all devices and do not detract from the message of the email. Also ensure they are not too large, this can affect deliverability and formatting of your email. Most ESP will tell you if your images are too large and you can re-size within the platform. Call To Action: use your CTA to lead to an offer or action related to your copy and subject line. Make sure this stands out and it is clear what the reader should do and what they will get in return. Some other things to consider when creating your email include: Personalization: use a personable and direct tone. You can also set up merge tags to address each recipient by name. Timing: test out different send days and times to get an idea of which times work best for which types of content. A lot of email service providers will also use your past campaign data to suggest optimal send times.Device Optimization: make sure your design looks good on all devices. Most email service providers give you the option to see the desktop and mobile layout within the platform. You can also send a test email and check the formatting on different devices. Email Templates Using email templates, provided by email service providers, is the option most people choose. If you are a skilled designer or have one on your team, you can create your own design and upload as HTML. But templates work great for most businesses. These templates allow you to upload and drag and drop content. You can also add extra sections to the template if needed (for example, if you need an additional image.) A/B Testing A/B testing (also known as split testing) allows you to test content variables with a sample of your audience. You create two emails with changes in variables. One gets sent to half of your sample and the other goes to the second half of your sample. The email with the best response is then sent to your whole email list, increasing the chance of success. Some variables that can be adjusted include:The subject lineThe call to action or offerThe images usedThe copy used The overall email design Ideally, test just one variable at a time. Most email service providers have an A/B test option making this process easy. You can also set it up so that you simply get results of the test instead of the best performing email being sent out to your whole list at the end of the test period. This allows you to perform another test if the open and click through rates do not meet your targets. Email Automation To make sending targeted emails easy, you can automate your email series. Automating emails is best done through workflows.These automated email campaigns, often known as “drip campaigns”, are a series of emails sent once a certain action is taken. The series is then adjusted or ended as each recipient interacts with the emails. Automating Emails Through Workflows Workflows are when a series of pre-determined emails are sent to subscribers after they complete a certain action or fit into a certain group. For example, they may be sent when an individual leaves items in their cart or has not purchased for a while. The emails will then be edited or the series will stop once actions are taken. For example, you will send the same first email to everyone and then a different email to those who opened the email and clicked through and those that did not. These emails basically take a segmented list and continue segmenting throughout the campaign. If someone opened the email, clicked through and took advantage of the offer, they do not need to be contacted with that offer again. If they clicked through but did not purchase, you can send an incentive. If they opened the email and did not click through or did not open the email, you can send another email with a new message and/or extra incentive. Using automated workflows makes conversions much more likely as each email is tailored to the recipients’ needs and place in the purchasing cycle. How To Avoid Spam Filters Having your email go into your subscribers’ spam boxes can be very damaging to your campaigns. Your subscribers are likely to miss your email if this happens. This will skew your analytics and affect your returns. Here are some ways to avoid spam filters:Get whitelisted: this is when you are added as a contact to subscriber email address books. As a verified contact, your emails will go straight to their inbox. Ask each subscriber in the welcome email to add you to their address book. Explain how to do this and why it is important. Be careful with your copy: do not use all caps or multiple exclamation points. Also avoid “spammy” phrases like “click below”, “click here”, “opt-in” or “order now”. Use a well known email service provider: you are more likely to make it through the spam filters if being sent through an ESP. Use double opt-in: use this email to ask to be whitelisted along with confirming sign-up. Analyze Email Marketing Results There are four key performance indicators to consider when evaluating your campaigns. 1. Open Rate Open rate is the percent of total subscribers that open your email. Subject line is one of the main things that affect open rate. Some ways to improve open rate include:Changing and testing your subject lines. Using A/B testing is a good way to test what works best with your audience. Adjusting the time and/or day that you send emails. 2. Click Through Rate Click through rate (CTR) is the percent of subscribers that click the link in your call-to-action (CTA). CTA plays a big role in your CTR. If both open rate and click through rate are low, you will need to look at your content and change your approach completely. If open rate is good but CTR is low, then you need to improve the content within the email. People are attracted by what you are offering but are disappointed or not interested in what the content provides once they open the email. Make sure you evaluate the offer or CTA and make sure it provides value to your list and it is clear what the reader needs to do. Some ways to improve click through rate include:Improving and testing your CTA. Try adjusting your CTA and analyze change in CTR. You can also use A/B testing to help in finding the most effective CTA.Adjust the content of the entire email. Confusing or uninteresting content as well as content not being synced with the email subject line could be causing low CTR. If your content does not provide value, your CTR will suffer no matter what CTA you use. 3. DeliverabilityDeliverability is the rate at which emails reach your subscribers’ inboxes. Some ways to improve deliverability include:Removing emails that hard-bounce (emails returned to sender due to invalid email addresses) from your email list. Removing those who do not engage from your email list by “cleaning” your list.Using techniques to avoid spam filters. 4. Unsubscribes This is the number of people who opt-out of being on your email list after opening your email. Assess emails with a high unsubscribe rate. What could have caused this?When analyzing your email marketing strategy, also consider the following: Email List Growth and Health Keep track of the weekly and monthly growth in your email list. If growth is not what you would like, look at your signup promotions and adjust. Remember that a smaller list with high engagement (high open rate and CTR) is more valuable than a large list with low engagement. Cleaning Your Email List If you have an email list with low engagement, consider cleaning your list. Low total engagement is mainly indicated by a low open rate. You can clean your list with a series of emails to those that do not interact. To clean your email list, send a series of three to four emails to those on your list who have not opened an email in the last three or more months. Ask if they still want to be included on your email list. If so, ask what you can do to make the content more valuable to them. Collect responses by providing a feedback link. Offer a clear unsubscribe option too. Automatically delete any contacts that do not interact with the series. It is then more guaranteed that your emails are going to people interested in your offers and content and are likely to convert. Revenue You also need to be keeping track of the actual number of sales being generated from email promotions. If your campaigns are not reaching your sales goals, work on improving CTAs, personalization, and list segmentation. What To Do When You Meet Your Goals Your campaigns can always be improved, but there becomes a point when the time it takes to get better results outweighs the benefit of more opens, clicks, and sales. Set a solid target for each metric and once you reach that, continue with your current approach until you see these rates decrease. This allows you to focus your time on other tasks. Good target values to set are a 20% open rate, 5% CTR, and 20% of revenue attributed to emails. In Conclusion Email marketing has a host of benefits and is a great way to communicate and build relationships with your customers. There are a range of uses for all segments of your customer base. Add to that the fact that it is a relatively low cost marketing tool and we are sure you understand why email should be included in your marketing strategy. If you are new to email marketing or just do not have the resources to set up campaigns yourself, get in touch with Brand Hause! We can help plan and implement email marketing campaigns that provide value to your email list and ultimately convert. Get a free email marketing consultation today to see how we can help you and your business.
11 minutes | a month ago
How To Increase Website Traffic Through Social Media
Are you’re looking to build brand recognition and create a community around your brand? Are you trying to drive traffic and generate conversions? Then including social media in your marketing plan is a must! Social media can help you connect directly with your ideal audience and provide them with useful and interesting content that will make them want to interact even more with your brand. But how exactly do you optimize your efforts to increase website traffic through social media? Continue reading to find out!Which Social Media Platforms Should You Use?The major social networks which include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are a great place to start but also consider the following platforms if their style and audience align with your brand: Pinterest – great for showcasing imagery and linking to helpful content such as “how-to guides” Reddit – for showcasing industry knowledge and connecting with a highly engaged audience. Google+ – for sharing content on Google’s platform. This is great for SEO too.Snapchat or TikTok – to show quick and more “on the fly” content such as behind the scenes and sneak peeks. Do not try to use every social media platform. You may not even need to use all four of the most popular platforms depending on your brand and goals. Choose only those that are the best fit for you. Top Ways To Increase Traffic Through Social MediaFor most brands, the ultimate goal of all digital marketing efforts is to drive website traffic to convert sales. Therefore, driving traffic will most likely be your number one desired result from using social media. Here are some easy ways to do just that! 1. Optimize your profile/bio on each social media platformYour bio or profile is one of the first things people see when they visit your social media accounts. This includes Twitter and Instagram bios that appear at the top of the account and Facebook’s “About” section. Just like with SEO, keywords as well as relevant hashtags are important to use in your bio to help social platform users find your page (which will then lead them to your website.) The bio provides a little info about your company and importantly, has a link to your website. This link will direct people to your website for more info and also counts as a backlink! 2. Promote Blog Content And Create A Posting Schedule Make sure to share blog posts whenever they are posted. This will increase the number of people who become aware of the new post being live. This will also help with SEO as it will increase the amount of traffic to the page. The social performance of links (link clicks and shares of the post.) will also contribute to your SEO performance. Create Content Calendars and Social Media Schedules To ensure content is created and shared most effectively, develop a well-planned content calendar outlining the blog posts you plan to produce (planning content and social posts a month or two in advance is a good practice.) Then sync this with a social media posting schedule.You can do this using an online calendar, spreadsheet, or even a calendar print out. Alternatively, platforms like Hootsuite and Buffer can help with planning and scheduling posts for multiple platforms. Learn more about creating a content calendar here. Re-sharing Content If you have older content, you can also add this to your upcoming social media promotions if it is still relevant and valuable. Creating evergreen content (content that is not time-specific, such as trending stories, and always stays relevant and interesting) means that you can re-share content over time. This means you will have lots of content to share (and will get website traffic) without having to create new blog posts all the time. Each post will not reach your entire audience of followers (for Facebook, it is estimated that only 2% of followers will see each post if paid promotion isn’t applied) so re-posting can help increase the reach of blog posts. When sharing a link again, analyze the post caption and image you used previously and edit. For example, you can change the caption or post at a different time to increase reach and engagement. Ways to alternate the message include just posting the blog post title next to “New Blog Post”, asking a question, or stating a fact. Do any of these perform significantly better than others for getting click-through? If so, utilize that caption style more frequently than others. 3. Make Your Content ShareableGetting followers to click through to read your content is great but having them share it with their network too is even better! This will drastically increase your reach and hopefully will therefore increase your CTR and website traffic too. Encourage content sharing by making sure all blog posts have a social sharing tool embedded. A lot of sharing bars will include the number of shares next to each platform icon. If your content is well shared, this information can help in building trust with other visitors and ultimately lead to a higher conversion rate. You can even install a “Click To Tweet” button next to quotes, stats/facts, or particularly interesting snippets. 4. Optimize Your Social Message For Each PlatformAll platforms have different posting capabilities and effective ways to form social messages. For example, Tweets work best when short and to the point and you’re only allowed 280 characters including those in the URL and hashtags. Instagram however, highlights great imagery before text captions (captions won’t appear in the “discover” feed unless images are clicked on and even in the user’s feed of accounts they follow, only the first 3 lines of text show below the image with the rest showing only if they click to see more.) Instagram also lacks in-caption linking capabilities so you need to effectively direct followers to your bio to find the link or make use of Instagram stories with swipe-ups. The major social media platforms also have different image dimensions, so you will need to size all images appropriately before creating and scheduling your posts. By creating posts with each platform in mind, you increase your chance of getting interaction with your post and ultimately link clicks. 5. Post When Your Audience Is Active On Each PlatformThere are certain times when social platforms are the busiest. Start by posting at those times. As your audience grows, you can use each platform’s analytics to see when your audience is most active. You can then adjust posting times to coincide with those times. You can also use third-party tools to get more in-depth info. Just from posting and assessing results too, you can see good times to share, in particular, good times to share certain types of content. Blog posts may not get a lot of click-through on Monday mornings but a fun engagement post such as a meme may perform great. The blog post share may perform better around lunchtime or in the evening when followers have the time to click through and read. 6. Engage With Your AudienceDon’t forget that it’s called “social” media for a reason! Don’t just schedule posts and forget to interact with your followers.Answer questions, gain feedback and improve the experience followers have with you. The comment, for example, that a follower posts could be one of their first interactions with your brand so make sure they feel valued and get all the info they need. Engaging also gives another chance to drive followers to your site therefore increasing traffic. You can suggest a complementary post to read or lead people with questions to relevant pages on your site. 7. Prioritize Sharing Visual ContentPosts with a visual component perform around 40% better than those without. Using visual elements makes it more likely that people will notice the post and click through on your link. Ensure all or almost all posts have some type of visual element. This can include a relevant image, graph, infographic, animation, or video. 8. Optimize Calls-To-Action To Send People To Your WebsiteIt’s important to lead followers towards your desired action with a call-to-action in your message/caption. Include things like “Read more”, “Click here”, “Learn more here”, or “Visit our site” to persuade followers to click through to the content on your site to increase social referral traffic. CTAs can increase link clicks by over 250%! Test out different CTAs at different times and see which perform best and prioritize those for future posts.9. Try Paid Social AdvertisingIf you are new to using social media platforms, organic (non-paid) posts may be effective enough to gain desired reach and meet your social media goals. However, if you want to give the reach, engagement, and CTR of your posts a boost or try something other than feed posts (such as Facebook ads), paid promotions could be a good option. You don’t even need to invest a large percent of your marketing budget to test out social advertising with the average cost-per-click (CPC) for a Facebook campaign being $0.45 to $0.70. Most social media platforms allow for paid promotion of posts (referred to as boosted posts or dark posts). This allows you to promote an organic post to reach more of your target audience. You can target followers of your page or non-followers who meet certain criteria. This can include being in a certain location, being a certain age or gender, and/or having certain interests. For Facebook and Instagram campaigns, you can install a pixel on your website and re-target those who have completed certain actions on your site, for example, those who have visited a certain product page in the last 30 days. These paid posts will appear like organic posts in your targeted users’ feeds or stories. You can also invest in social media advertising such as Facebook ads. Unlike promoted posts, these appear more like a Google ad, allowing for a more ad style image (although the less text the better) with a short caption explaining your offer and a CTA. Checking If Your Strategy Is Working Once you have a strategy including posting schedule and social message guidelines, make sure you are frequently checking results and adjusting strategy as needed. Some things to consider include: Changes in activity on posts: With changes to posting strategy, are you seeing increases or decreases in certain activities? This could include posts getting more or fewer clicks, shares/retweets, comments, or reactions such as likes. Less and less interest in your content: With so much content to compete with, if what you are posting isn’t very valuable, unique, or interesting, then people may just start ignoring it. If you see your social referral traffic decrease, this could be the problem and you may need to plan a content strategy revamp. In Conclusion With these tips and tricks, you should see your social referral traffic increase rapidly. If you would like to try out social media marketing but don’t have the time or need some more advice, Brand Hause can help! We offer highly effective Social Media Marketing services, to help you take your social media presence and results the next level. Interested? Get in touch today for a free consultation!
6 minutes | 2 months ago
Why Storytelling Is Important To Your Brand
With so much organic and promotional content in the world today, it can be difficult for brands to stand out. Using storytelling in your marketing is a great way to differentiate yourself. Storytelling refers to using a narrative based on your values and brand personality to promote yourself to your audience. Using storytelling is a great way to attract more attention, make your brand look more human, and create relationships with your audience. All of these aspects should result in you growing your customer base and converting more sales. If done well, you will definitely see better results by including storytelling in your marketing promotions!Continue reading to understand exactly why storytelling is important to your brand. Why Storytelling Is Important To Your BrandStorytelling Builds A Brand IdentityBrands today need to have a personality in order to connect with their audience. They need a way to engage with their prospects and appear relatable. Storytelling helps in connecting with your audience and building meaningful, two-way relationships. Along with sharing information on products and services, you need to share the story behind your brand and what you sell. Your brand is created around the story of your business. Playing off of this story has a lot of benefits. Storytelling Helps Brands Stand Out Creating this brand identity through storytelling helps in differentiating your brand. The market is extremely crowded with products, services, and related content. More and more content is being shared every day so you need to create content that grabs attention. Stories are individual to your company and are a unique way to help you stand out from the competition. You can use storytelling to simplify information and generate an emotional response. Unique topics that you can use to form stories include: Brand History and Beliefs Brand Successes and ChallengesCustomer Stories: their problems and how you helped them Company Life: idea generation, product production, background on the founders etc. Be sure to encourage customers to share their stories with you and get them interacting with the content.People are becoming more aware of marketing tactics and will not interact with them. Storytelling helps get around this and will make your brand stand out. Consumers prefer to interact with engaging and entertaining content. You can use more direct marketing efforts once the consumer is interested but need to lead with something more organic. Helps You To Get More Customers And Build LoyaltyAs storytelling creates a strong relationship with consumers, they are more likely to become loyal and repeat customers. Along with using storytelling to create an emotional connection, you can use it to start conversations, asking for customers’ opinions, ideas, and feedback. This feedback can then help with future content ideas. Creating content around your brand as well as the ideas and opinions of consumers will have the best results. Focusing on your audience and their views makes them feel valued and helps them relate to the content. Storytelling is also effective at expanding your reach which should help in gaining more customers. You can share story content on all platforms such as on a blog, in newsletters, and on your social media platforms as well as through advertising like TV commercials. Not only should this relatable content get more engagement with your current audience, it should help grow your audience. Stories should evoke an emotional reaction. This makes sharing of your content much more likely. If followers share your content, it will be exposed to a larger audience who are likely to also relate. Helps Your Brand To Make More Sales As mentioned, storytelling helps get more customers and makes you more relatable to your audience. Taking a more organic approach to marketing shows that you do not just care about getting profits. This will in fact help in getting more sales! You show how you can help the consumer in an honest and engaging way. This makes you more trustworthy and builds a relationship which makes sales more likely. People like brands that feel more human. Having a story and supporting something can be a big differentiator. Consumers are likely to choose the brand with a human side over others in the market. Boost interest and sales. Lots of people purchase based on emotion. They choose the brand they feel best about not the one that logically is the best choice. Why storytelling and not just informational content is important. There are also many similar products and services. A story however is unique to you. It’s a good way to differentiate and win the sale. How To Create On-Brand Stories To create successful stories, ask the following questions when planning content: Who are you as a brand? How did your company come to be? What are your mission, values, culture? What type of person works at your company? What do you offer? What products or services do you provide? How do your products or services provide value to consumers? Who you do it for? Who do you help? Using customer success stories is good for storytelling.Why you do it? what are your goals? Why do you offer what you do? What benefits do your customers get? How do you do it? How are your products or services made and sold? Try showing the process in storytelling content.What is coming next? how are the company and your offerings going to change and evolve? Is your vision changing at all? Use the responses to these questions to form stories that reflect your brand values and connect on an emotional level with your audience. Additionally, consider the following to create successful story content: Keep Stories Personality Driven You need to include characters in your stories. You need to show a challenge that was overcome to create an emotional connection. Without these characters and problem and solution template, your stories will not be relatable and it is less likely that an emotional connection will be created. This relatability and emotional connection is what makes storytelling effective and will make your audience want to connect more with you. Keep Your Storytelling Efforts SimpleYou should not use a complicated narrative. Show a problem, solution, and success. This simplicity makes the content easy to understand and will get your message across easily. In Conclusion Storytelling is a necessary part of your content and marketing strategy if you want to be successful in today’s market. Sharing relatable stories, both concerning you as a brand and your customers and their success with your products or services, is sure to create better relationships with your customers. Storytelling is also effective at differentiating yourself, expanding your reach, and getting more sales. Interested in using storytelling in your marketing strategy? Brand Hause can help you with that! We offer services to help with marketing strategy, content creation, and social media promotions to ensure you are crafting the best stories and promoting them effectively. get in touch for a free consultation to learn more.
20 minutes | 2 months ago
How To Create A Social Media Content Calendar
Social media marketing should be an important part of every company’s marketing strategy. Creating enough content to post however is challenging for many.The key to curating enough content and having successful results on social media is planning ahead. This planning is made easy using a content calendar. A content calendar helps you organize your ideas and assets. Planning ahead with a calendar also encourages idea generation sessions and makes scheduling and reviewing posts easy.Continue reading for more benefits of using content calendars and how to create a social media content calendar of your own.Why Use A Social Media Content Calendar? Content calendars are pretty much essential for anyone planning social media content. They help you organize your ideas and assets making scheduling and posting easy. Content calendars also help you to: Plan Ahead You should be planning social media content a month or two in advance. This planning should take place earlier for big events, promotions, and holidays. Using a social media content calendar helps you plan ahead.By dedicating a time each month to content planning, you make generating social media content easier. It ensures you have all your content planned, scheduled, and ready to go. You therefore will not be scrambling for post ideas each day. Having content planned means you can focus on other tasks without having to stop to think of ideas and post to social.Post ConsistentlyFollowing a schedule and posting consistently is important to achieving your social media goals. It is the key to high engagement which in turn will lead to higher organic reach.Planning and scheduling all of your posts ahead of time, ensures that you consistently have content to post on your platforms. Reduce The Chance Of MistakesPlanning and scheduling posts gives you time to copy-edit and fact check them before they go live. It also gives the option for multiple team members to check the posts. Some platforms do allow editing of posts once live. However, it looks bad to have mistakes even for a short amount of time. There is also the risk that mistakes never get noticed. Other platforms, like Twitter, do not allow for editing once a post is live making pre-checking even more important. Undertake Additional Social Media PromotionsHaving your daily posts planned and scheduled allows for planning of additional social media promotions. This includes starting influencer partnerships and running contests.It also allows you to keep track of relevant trending content during the month and incorporate that on-the-fly. Having posts planned and scheduled also opens up time for creating content you cannot create in advance and/or schedule like live content. Keep Track Of Important Events And Holidays Planning in advance helps you remember important events, holidays, and special days relevant to your brand. In the planning stage, use online calendars to get event and holiday dates. Along with getting a general events calendar, you can find monthly calendars relevant to your industry. You can even get daily emails telling you what special days are coming up. Track What Works And Improve Having a content calendar is not just good for planning. It helps you track results too. You can include a section for metrics in your calendar. It is then easy to see post performance as you go through the month. If certain posts are not doing well, you can adjust similar posts. Equally, if some posts are doing very well for achieving certain goals, add some more of that style post. How To Create A Social Media Content CalendarSo how do you create a social media calendar? To have the most success, you need to do more than just create a calendar. You need to assess your current social media success and set goals. Along with generating a calendar template, you will also need to set up a planning and approval workflow. Finally you can plan content ideas and populate your calendar with these ideas and related assets. Follow these 7 steps to create a content calendar that will give you the best results! 1. Audit Your Social Media ChannelsBefore you begin planning content, you need to know how your current social media efforts are going. You should really be constantly tracking post and account performance and adjusting as needed. Full social media audits should be conducted every quarter or every 6 months. You will want to look at metrics such as link clicks, reach, likes, and shares on each post. When doing so, consider:Which posts have been performing best for your goals?Which have not been as successful? What opportunities for improvement are there? Also look at your follower numbers and how they have grown or decreased over time. Setting Social Media GoalsMake sure you set goals for your social media efforts. These should vary for each account. Some common goals include reaching set targets for: ReachEngagement (link clicks, comments, likes, shares, mentions)LeadsConversions 2. Create A Social Media Content Calendar Template You now need to think about the calendar template itself. You need to decide where the calendar will live. As well as what will be tracked in the document. Depending on your needs, some options as to where to create the calendar include: An online calendar: for example, you can set up your calendar as a Google Sheet. Allowing for the benefits of an online calendar with the freedom to use whatever layout you like. A Microsoft Excel calendar: This is a good option if your company requires you to save the entire document to their internal server. If not, using Google sheets is a better option for the benefits cloud storage offers. A paper calendar: if you prefer writing down ideas this is a good option. If you do not need much content and work alone this could be enough for you. If you do need one of the above options too, using a paper calendar can be good for the first planning stage. You can then move information to your main calendar, adding in resources like image links as needed. Once you decide on a location to create your calendar, decide on the layout and fields you need included. Common Content Calendar Headings Include:Copy: so you can insert the caption copy you will use. Image or Video: you can add a link to the image or video you will use. You should be storing these assets in cloud storage which provides you with a direct link to the asset. Also note if the asset needs to be created and who will create it. Set a deadline date for each piece of content creation, in the calendar and/or on a task management platform. Content Link: include a URL if applicable. For example, if you are promoting a product page or new blog post. If the link is yet to be created, make a note to get the link sent to you when the page is live. Hashtags: include any hashtags you will be using if not in the caption copy. For example, if you are putting relevant hashtags in a comment. Date of post Time of post Post category: either use a heading and write the category or color code the info for each post. Platform to post on: this could be a heading but ideally create a new tab for each platform.Post format: make a note of what type of post it is. For example, main feed, story, poll, quiz etc. You may also want to include: The campaign that the post associated with: For example, label that it is part of a new product launch campaign or that it is intended to increase brand awareness. If the post is paid or organic: If it is paid, what is the budget?If the post been approvedA link to the post once published Analytics on the post performance3. Set Up A Workflow Before you start planning and scheduling posts, set up a workflow structure. This includes considering:The number of times you will want to be posting each day/week/month.Which times you will be posting at. You can use analytics from each platform to see which times and days are best for posting. You can adjust as you go if you notice interaction is actually better at different times What is your content calendar planning process going to be like and who will be involved?Content planning processIn relation to the third point on your planning process, additionally consider: When you will plan each monthWho you will plan post ideas with, if anyoneWho will set up and schedule postsWho will approve posts Where posts will be scheduled Who you will need to work with outside of your department. For example, the graphic design department for infographics or video production for video content4. Plan Social Media Content Now that you have your goals, workflow, and calendar template decided, it is time to start planning your social media content.The Rule of Thirds Begin your planning by deciding content categories and what ratios you will post these in. For example, for every promotional post, you need two engagement posts. A good guideline for this is to use the rule of thirds. This rule states that your social media content should be made up of:⅓ promotional posts⅓ industry insight and content sharing. This relates to sharing valuable content from others in your industry. This can include collaboration with industry experts or influencers and re-shares of content other’s created (with permission or credit.) ⅓ posts to engage with your followers. To build and humanize your brand. Themed Posts Next mark off important dates on the calendar and generate post ideas for these themed posts. These include upcoming:Promotions: make sure you know want promos you are running and include them in planning. Includes sales, special offers, contests etc. Note down anything that needs to be promoted in the month you are working on (communicate with other departments for this) too. For example, if there is a sale in the middle of the month, you will want to plan promotional posts around that.Product Launches: also find out what launches or other product/company news is upcoming Holidays: You will probably remember to plan for big holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas but there are “holidays” everyday! Many of which could be relevant to you. Use a website like National Calendar Day to see which unique days are coming up. You can also get an email from them each day with the next days holidays. Events: these could be industry specific, local, national, or international Other Types Of Social Media Posts Finally, fill in the rest of the space with other ideas to reach the number of posts you need. Plan for the ideal number of posts you want each month. Even if something else comes up to post, like a trending story, some planned evergreen posts can be rescheduled. Some social media post idea include:Blog post shares (if blog posts are created, ensure they are shared when first published and then again at intervals with a new caption)Shares of other content created by your brand, such as YouTube videos Infographics Polls and quizzes Questions for your followers to answer (great for engagement) User generated content Shares/re-posts of relevant and useful industry content Social Media Content Planning Collaboration Encourage other departments to think about social media content in advance too. Being asked to post about something day-of or with just a few days' notice is frustrating. Having a set time each month for idea contribution helps avoid this. Tell other employees how and when to submit ideas in order to include them in your monthly content plan. Once idea creation is completed and in an easy to understand format, get your post ideas reviewed. Even if you do not need official approval, getting a team member to take a look can help with additional idea generation and edits. 5. Create Social Media Posts Once you have your post ideas. You can start creating the posts. Most posts will include a combination of copy (also called the post caption or message), image or video, and possibly a link. Use the following guidelines for each post component: Copy Each social media platform has different guidelines for creating the best captions. Use the following guidelines when creating your copy: Facebook: allows for higher word count but still try to keep it short. Around 110 to 150 characters is good. You can use a hashtag every now. They do not have much effect though on Facebook so are not necessary for every post. Twitter: has a maximum 280 character count. However, tweets of around 90 to 100 perform best. Using a few hashtags (around 2 to 4) can be beneficial but these will count as part of your 280 characters. Instagram: opt for around 220 to 240 characters. Remember links are placed in bio, so direct people there if sharing a URL. Hashtags are still relevant on Instagram. Use between 10 and up to the max of 30 as long as relevant. You can include one or two in the caption if relevant. Then add in a comment or under the main caption. Use one or two emojis too! Pinterest: use between 140 to 125 characters for pin descriptions. Pin copy should be directing viewers to a website location with content relevant to the image used. Hashtags are not very effective on this platform so can be left out. Focus on including keywords in your copy. Pins are found in the discover feed and through searches so keywords are important. LinkedIn: using 90 to 150 characters for LinkedIn captions generally has the best results. Hashtags and emojis should be avoided. A lot of LinkedIn posts will be used to shares links to your own or other’s content. So the caption simply needs to be a brief description of the content. Images and VideoAlong with copy, you will need to source (or create) images or videos that will accompany the post. Start by determining:What assets you haveWhat needs to be found online (ex. On a stock image website or from UGC) What needs to be requested from others (for example if you are collaborating or doing a sponsored post for another brand) What needs to be created (by you or others on your team) Image and video guidelines for the major social media platforms are: Facebook: posts with images perform better than text alone. Good quality video performs well for engagement. Twitter: images and videos help tweets perform well but still include some text only tweets. Instagram: images and video are necessary! Short video is good to include but always include image posts too. That is unless video is very important to your brand and is high quality. For example, if you are a video production company. Pinterest: images are also necessary for Pinterest. You need to use high quality images (to encourage clicks and “pins” on the viewer’s boards.) Make sure you use an image related to your description and the link included in that description. LinkedIn: images can help posts stand out on LinkedIn as long as they are relevant and professional. A lot of linkedIn posts are content shares. For those posts, an image from the content is usually pulled automatically. Each platform has different image dimensions so check those and edit images as needed. Once you have the required visual content, upload into a social media content library (explained below.) Label with relevant information and/or store in a relevant folder. You can then get links to these images and videos from the storage location to place in the image/video field of your content calendar. Links Conversion based posts will require a link. This would be for any post attempting to get the viewer to another location online. It could be a blog post page, another of your social accounts, product page, special offer landing page etc. Tracking Links It is a good idea to use tracking links for social media posts. This is especially true if you are hoping for direct sales conversions. For example, sales from a post promoting a new product. You can see from analytics how many people clicked on a link. Tracking links however track their activity after they click the link on social and reach the landing page. You can then easily see not only how many people clicked the link on your post but also how many completed the desired end action. If you have a high number of links on the social post but few conversions, you may need to adjust your landing page. Link Shortening If links are very long or if you do use tracking links (which are often long and contain random numbers and letters) consider using a link shortener. Some scheduling tools like Hootsuite offer the option to shorten links when you schedule the post. Or you can find free online tools to do so. 6. Create A Social Media Content Library It is best to house all social media assets like images, videos etc. in one place. Storing all assets in one place saves time when looking for assets and allows for a direct link to the asset to be placed in your calendar document. Ideally use cloud based storage. You should have a lot of assets and will not want them taking up space on devices. Using cloud storage lowers the risk of losing these assets too. A content library should: Be accessible from all devices (desktop, phone, tablet)Be accessible by any team member that needs access Be able to hold a large amount of files Provide file and folder links to place in your calendar Dropbox and Google Drive are reliable cloud storage systems. You can also use your company’s internal network although that may not provide all the aspects listed above. 7. Schedule Social Media Posts Although you can plan your calendar and publish each post day-of, using a scheduling tool is the best idea. Some benefits of scheduling posts include:It allows for checking of posts in advance, reducing errorsIt ensures all planned posts are set up and actually get posted It allows for posting at the most optimal times, even if these are not during working hours If possible, set a day (or however much time you will need) aside for scheduling. If you cannot do all your scheduling at once and/or are waiting for a lot of assets, you could schedule at intervals. For example, scheduling a week of posts at a time. Some third party scheduling tools will also have a limit to the number of posts you can schedule posts depending on the version you have. For example, Hootsuite’s free version limits you to scheduling 30 posts at one time. So scheduling at intervals would likely be necessary. Social Media Scheduling Platforms Facebook allows in platform scheduling but most platforms do not. So scheduling software is necessary. Most scheduling platforms also include more in depth analytics and additional useful features. There are many options to choose from. Do some research on the best platform for your needs and budget. Consider the following three most popular social media scheduling platforms: HootsuiteHootsuite is one of the most well known social media management platforms. It integrates with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube. You can set up a free account which allows you to connect three social media platforms and schedule a total of 30 posts at one time. Their Professional plan allows for 10 social media accounts to be connected and unlimited scheduling at $29 a month. You can upgrade to a Team or Business account for $129 and $599 per month respectively. These allow for more accounts to be connected and multiple users to be able to use the platform at once. Along with scheduling, Hootsuite offers analytics and content and team management tools. BufferBuffer is another popular platform with social media marketers. Buffer integrates with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Their free account allows for the connection of three social media accounts but just 10 scheduled posts. A Pro account is $15 a month. Eight accounts can be connected and 100 posts scheduled at one time. Premium and Business accounts are $65 and $99 per month respectively. Both allow for 2,000 scheduled posts at a time, additional users, and eight and 25 connected accounts respectively. Buffer also offers team management and features like scheduling first comments and scheduling Instagram stories. Sprout Social Sprout Social is a good option for more those looking for analytics and social listening tools as well as publishing tools. A Standard account is $99 a month and allows you to connect 5 accounts. Upgrade to a Professional account for $149 a month to connect 10 social media accounts. This option also offers more in-depth reporting and analytics. Both types of account come with a built in content calendar tool as well. In Conclusion Hopefully this helped you understand how to create a social media content calendar along with the importance of planning ahead. Not only will you save time and always have post content but you should see improved results. You will also have more time to focus on other promotions and tasks. Are you looking to improve your social media post content and posting consistency but need some help? Get in touch with Brand Hause! We offer social media marketing services to take you social presence to the next level! Get in touch for a free consultation.
14 minutes | 2 months ago
Is Your Website Performance Hurting Your Business?
With so many consumers conducting product and service research online, your business’ website is one of your most important marketing tools. Many businesses however do not make the most of their website which is damaging to marketing efforts and sales potential. Is your website performance hurting your business too? You want to make sure that potential customers can find all the information on your offerings that they need. They also need to have your most up to date contact info, reviews, and recent portfolio if applicable. Your website should be easy to navigate and well optimized. Making some changes and updates to your website could turn it from something damaging your business into one of your best marketing assets. Keep reading for some common website performance issues hurting your business and ways to fix these. Website Performance Issues Hurting Your BusinessThere are a range of website design and non-design problems that could be negatively affecting you. The following are some of the main website performance issues hurting your business. An Outdated Website Having a website that is outdated is damaging to your business. In fact, an out of date website is the main problem businesses face online. A large percentage of consumers will visit a company’s website as a first step in the purchasing decision making process. An outdated website can make you lose credibility, give the impression you are no longer in business, and ultimately make you lose customers. Things that can be outdated include: Your website design and usability - business credibility is judged a lot by these. Your website content - for example, if you have not updated a company blog in over a month or a project portfolio does not have recent projects.Your website information - for example, if you have rates that are out of date.Having out of date website components can reduce your trustworthiness and make your business seem outdated too. It can even make people question if you are still in business. They may leave your website as they do not want to spend time researching a company that appears to be out of business.This is especially bad if people landed on your website from a search as they have no other information on you. Your website is your first impression, you do not want that to be bad! An outdated website will also affect your SEO and SERP position. Google and other search engines favor sites with frequently updated and fresh content. Not keeping your website updated is a major negative in terms of SEO strategy. Consider the following things when determining if your website is up to date:Is all the information about your products or services correct and up to date?Is your contact info correct?If you have blog content, is the blog updated frequently? Ideally, a new post will be published at least once a week. Do the photos used reflect your best work? And are portfolios updated with your most recent projects?Does your design reflect your brand now? Does it correspond with how you promote your brand elsewhere? Website Design and Structure Issues Your website’s design and structure is a main element that could be hurting your business. You want to ensure you keep your website design clean and modern. It also needs to be easy to navigate. Website Structure and OrganizationYour website layout and navigation structure is important. Visitors need to be able to find what they need easily and without too many clicks/page changes. Ensure your website offers a good user experience with content that is organized and easy to navigate. This includes having a logical drop down menu and relevant internal links.Website DesignYour website design is something else that could be hurting your business. You want to have a consistent and professional look across the website. You should use a professional web developer to design your website. This ensures that it looks great and functions correctly. A developer can also help with site structure and organization including mapping and usability. Along with having a generally pleasing and on-brand design, here are some other design components to consider:Images The images used on your website could be hurting your business. Ideally, you will use your own high quality images and not stock images. It is absolutely worth it to hire a professional to take pictures for your website. These can then also be used for other promotions. Text The way text is displayed on your website could be damaging your business too. Make sure you use an easy to read font like a sans-serif font. Other fonts can be difficult to read and can look unprofessional. Also include headings like H1 for main titles, and H2 and H3 for subheadings. This makes reading and understanding content easier for visitors and indexing purposes. Ad Placement If your website hosts ads as an extra revenue source, take note of where they are placed on the site. Ensure they are not popping up over content and are easy to exit out of. Also try to avoid video advertisements that auto-play. Having a website with lots of clutter such as flash animations or videos that auto-play are a deterrent. Ideally ads will run on the right hand side of the website and in header and footer locations. Branding IssuesHaving outdated or inconsistent branding across your website could be hurting your business. Make sure the colors, fonts, and even tone used on the website are consistent across the website and with your other promotions. Your branding in general needs to be appealing and relevant to your brand. Make sure your logo is also displayed and that it is professionally designed. Look at your website and ask if you are giving off the impression you want. If not, then your branding may be off and should be adjusted. Website Optimization Issues There are many non-design issues that could be affecting your website’s performance and ultimately hurting your business. These optimization problems include issues with: SEONot having an SEO strategy will likely be damaging your marketing efforts in general but not optimizing your website and its content is an issue. In general however, make sure to use keywords across the website and also consider website speed, mobile friendliness, location optimization, broken links, and your content.Website Speed A common website performance problem that hurts your business is website load speed. A main reason for visitors to exit a website is slow loading speed. Pages ideally need to be loading in under 2 seconds with 3 second load times as a maximum. Any slower and you will lose visitors, increasing your bounce rate and reducing sales conversions. It is estimated that you lose 7% of visitors for every second over 2-3 seconds that a page takes to load. Not only do slowly loading pages lose visitors and sales but they affect SEO and SERP ranking too. You can monitor your website page speed with online tools such as Chrome’s browser extension Page Load Time. You (or your developer) can increase website speed by caching, optimizing images, ensuring videos are embedded on your website and hosted elsewhereResponsive Website Design and Mobile FriendlinessMore and more people are using mobile devices to view websites. The number of people accessing the internet on their phone has surpassed those on desktop. Having a design that does not look good on all devices could be hurting your business. Not being mobile friendly can detract visitors and affect SEO. Having a mobile friendly site is a ranking factor and will affect your SERP position.Responsive web design (RWD) is the automatic alteration of a webpage’s layout based on the device used to view it. This mainly refers to ensuring your website looks appealing on desktop, mobile, and tablet devices. This can also be referred to as optimizing your website for mobile or making your website mobile friendly. To have a well performing website you must make sure you have a responsively-designed website. If using fixed-width content areas on your website, which do not adapt to other devices, you should update to RDW. If you do have a responsively designed website, make sure to consistently check that all content blocks (forms, images etc.) function correctly on all devices.Location Optimization Not optimizing your service location online is another website issue that could be hurting your business. If you serve a specific local market, make sure the location you service is very clear on your website. Optimizing your site based on location is important to ensure you appear in local searches. The biggest issues local websites suffer from are:Not having a phone number and address displayed Not having prices displayed Poor quality content that does not include location keywordsYou can fix these issues by including your location in the following places:In your website’s content In your website’s footer where your contact info is On website’s “Contact Us” page You can also add Google Maps and schema codes to your website to optimize your location. Broken LinksHaving a lot of broken links on your website is also damaging. This can include pages you have listed (on SERP or social media platforms for example) that no longer work or broken internal links.If a visitor clicks on a link to a page that is broken without a redirect, they are likely to leave your website completely. It is especially frustrating if the link was supposed to provide information they needed to help in decision making. Search your website for broken links and fix them, redirect them, or at least have a 404 landing page. This page will appear when any broken link is clicked on and will direct visitors to another relevant page. It is then more likely that visitors will stay on your website. Content Having useful, relevant, and informative content on your website is important for SEO and for consumer research. Product and services pages, discussed below, are part of this. But having other content such as blog posts is important as well. Not Having Enough Content Not having enough content could be a website issue hurting your business. People will come to your website looking for as much information on your product or service as possible. The more informative, valuable, and entertaining content you can give them, the more likely it is that they will make a purchase. Low Quality ContentAnother problem could be that you have low quality content. This could be resulting in a high bounce rate and loss of sales. Make sure content is relevant and useful to consumers. Do not just add content for the sake of adding it. For reader experience and SEO, try to write articles of 500 words plus. Include a range of media too such as images, infographics, and videos if possible. For SEO purposes, also ensure you use keywords. Content should be free of errors and grammatical mistakes.Content VariationLastly, do not rely solely on one type of content. If you have a lot of text based content, try adding some video or something more interactive. If you have an image heavy portfolio website, try adding more text like case studies on completed projects.Product and Services Page IssuesPeople will visit your website to get more information on the products and services you offer. If your website does not provide these potential customers with all the information they need, you will not get their business.Make sure each product or service you offer has an individual page with a detailed description. This should include what the product/service is and how it can help the customer. Focus on the benefits the customer will gain, do not just product attributes. Also include price and where they can get the product/service or how they can begin the process of getting it, for example by setting up a consultation. Providing a Frequently Asked Questions page is also a good idea. An FAQs page can easily and quickly provide any additional information website visitors need. Not Having Testimonials and Reviews Not having testimonials or reviews on your website or having outdated ones could be hurting your business. When searching online for a product or service to meet a need, customers rely on reviews/testimonials a lot. Make sure you consistently have up to date reviews on your website and search engines and social networks. Most consumers do not find reviews that are more than 3 months old relevant.Ensure to ask customers to leave feedback, either directly or with an automated email after a purchase is fulfilled or service completed. Reviews help with credibility as well as customer decision making and conversions. Good reviews also make it more likely you will rank high on Google for local searches. The main places people look for reviews online are on Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Ensure you also display these reviews on your website. This can be on the home page, product pages if you have reviews for specific products, or on a dedicated testimonial page. If you can choose, show 4 and 5 star reviews. Negative Reviews While you might not display these on your website, you can get negative reviews on other sites like Facebook. Make sure you have responded to negative reviews with an apology and solution. This will limit the amount of damage negative reviews do in affecting purchasing decisions of other customers. Call To Action Issues If your website does not have effective calls-to-action (CTAs) or does not have them at all, you could be losing out on conversions. Make sure you include CTAs to tell visitors what you want them to do next. For example, tell them to contact you or to visit your store along with why they should; what will they gain from doing so? The call to action needs to be valuable to the website visitor. Include how completing your desired action will help them and why you are the best option on the market. This could even include mentioning a discount or other added value component. Always mention the best way to get in touch. Include an online scheduling/appointment tool if applicable to your business. Ensure all scheduling forms are also easy to find and function correctly. Make sure your contact info is easily displayed on each page of your website, for example in the footer. Location Optimized CTAsAs mentioned, location optimization is important. This can be true in your CTA too. For example if you serve Boston area customers include this in the CTA. For example, say: “Visit us at our Boston showroom to get started!” Instead of: “Visit us at our showroom to get started!” In Conclusion Your website performance is a critical part of your marketing strategy and success. By adjusting website issues and updating it regularly, it can become an informative and valuable tool for visitors leading to increased sales conversions. If you need help improving your website’s performance, Brand Hause can help. We offer web design and search engine optimization services to ensure your website’s performance is helping and not hurting your business. Get in touch to learn more!
8 minutes | 2 months ago
Why Your Business Needs A YouTube Channel
Video is currently one of the most consumed forms of content. It also has some of the highest engagement rates of all content types. If you are considering adding video to your content promotions, hosting on YouTube is the best option. With over 1 billion unique users a month, having a YouTube channel gives you access to a huge market. It is also a great platform to help increase brand awareness, improve your SEO efforts, and get leads and conversions. Keep reading for 7 reasons as to why your business needs a YouTube channel. 1. Generate Traffic and Grow Your Audience YouTube has over 1.9 billion active users a month and is the second biggest search engine after Google. It accounts for almost one third of online activity. What does that mean for you? It means that YouTube has a large audience of potential customers! One that you are missing out on without a YouTube channel. By creating appealing, useful, and engaging videos, you can get this audience to interact with you on YouTube. You can then direct them to your website, increasing traffic and hopefully sales. Attracting and interacting with YouTube viewers also helps make this audience aware of all other platforms and promotions. YouTube is one of the most effective platforms for growing not just website traffic but also your social media following and email lists. 2. Build Your Email List and Social Following As mentioned, having a YouTube channel is a great additional way to get email list sign ups and followers on your social media platforms. Always include a link to your email sign-up plus links to each social media platform in your video descriptions. Also mention them in your videos, encouraging viewers to sign-up and follow. You can even use video to promote special deals and contests being promoted on these platforms. Telling viewers that they can win something or get a discount by following your socials or signing up to an email list is a great way to get conversions. 3. Increase Brand Awareness and Engagement People engage better with video content than written content. It is easier and more entertaining to consume. Interestingly, viewers of video retain up to 95% of the content’s message compared to retaining around 15% of written content’s message. Another benefit of hosting videos on YouTube is increased sharing. Out of all content types, people are most likely to share video. In fact, there are up to 1200% more shares of video compared to shares of text and image content. Having a YouTube channel is an extension of your brand. It is an additional platform on which to show your brand personality. Video allows for even more personification of your brand than a blog or social media posts do. Make sure that all videos are on tone with your brand and the host or narrator are relevant to the brand. Include brand colors, tag lines, and your logo where applicable to increase brand recognition. 4. Generate Additional RevenueYour business can benefit from having a YouTube channel due to the additional revenue stream it creates. Once your videos get a certain number of views, you can allow advertisements to run before and during the video. You will then get revenue as long as you have not used any copyrighted materials in your video, such as music. Advertisements on YouTube also have some of the highest acceptance rates and conversions of those online. You even have the option to make some content available to paying subscribers only. But this is something to consider once you have a large subscriber list and high engagement rate.5. Search Engine OptimizationHaving a YouTube channel can help your SEO in a range of ways. It also allows you to access a ranking system off of Google. Just like with Google, search results pages on YouTube are not ordered randomly. An algorithm is also used to sort results for queries.In fact, ranking on YouTube is easier than on Google. So you have a higher chance of being discovered for queries. Having a top position on YouTube for certain queries can also mean you show up in the “video” section at the top of Google SERP for the same query. This video section appears for 65%+ of all queries searched on Google. YouTube SEO Despite being easier to rank on than Google, YouTube is still a very crowded and competitive space. Ensure you are creating useful, relevant, and high quality videos. Do not just create video for the sake of it. If not well planned and executed, your YouTube videos will probably not be successful.As with Google, there are a set of guidelines for YouTube SEO to help your content get rewarded by the algorithm. Some ways to optimize your video in order to appear high up on YouTube results pages include:Having a keyword optimized title, video description, and tagsSaying the keyword in your video Uploading your own closed captions (instead of using automated ones)Including a video transcript in the description Creating playlistsUtilizing SEO embed to help Google crawl and index the pageOn top of this, you will want to focus on viewer engagement and growing your video views and subscriber list. YouTube uses video engagement as a ranking metric. The number of people watching your video, commenting, and liking tells YouTube how useful it is to viewers. Videos with high view counts and other engagement are more likely to appear at the top of the results page for the relevant query. Make sure to promote videos across your other online platforms to increase views. And encourage engagement such as liking and commenting within your video script. Multimedia Website Content Another thing that will improve your Google SERP ranking is including multiple media formats, like video, in your website content. To not affect page load speed, these videos should be embedded and hosted somewhere else. Having videos already hosted on YouTube makes this easy. Backlinks YouTube can help you with link building too. Having backlinks (when others link to pages on your website) is an important part of your SEO strategy. Having a YouTube channel allows you to link your website in the “About” section and in each video description. As domain authority is a secondary ranking component for links, YouTube is a great place to include links. As YouTube is owned by Google, the search engine considers it a trusted, high domain website. A high domain authority website linking to you makes your website more authoritative. The more authoritative your website, the higher your pages will rank in Google SERP. 6. More Creative and Valuable ContentHaving a YouTube channel allows you to create unique content. Video content is also one of the most valuable forms of content. It is easier to understand and is more enjoyable to consume. Using video allows you to demonstrate products with more ease and present information in a more enjoyable and creative way. For example, a Q&A with a company’s founders is an interesting and personable piece of content. It is much more engaging and relatable however as a video with the founders on screen than as a blog post. Some other great content ideas for YouTube videos include:Product tips and recommendationsProduct reviews and unboxings Product demonstrationsBehind the scenes content How-to videos Customer testimonialsLive videosRemember to also repurpose blog posts as videos as a way to re-share old content. 7. Generates Leads and Sales As with all content marketing, the ultimate end result is to get leads and sales. YouTube is a very effective platform for this. As mentioned, video is an effective content form for providing product information and explaining value to consumers. This is proven by the fact that over 60% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product after watching a related video. In Conclusion Having a YouTube channel will prove to be very beneficial your business. If executed correctly, you should see brand awareness and audience size as well as sales increase. If you would like to start a YouTube channel but need help setting it up or creating videos, consider working with us. Brand Hause offers video production services as well as help with the running and promotion of your channel. Contact us now to learn more and get a free consultation.
13 minutes | 3 months ago
How To Perform A Brand Audit
Have you been experiencing drops in sales, drops in website traffic, or decreases in customer satisfaction? These all indicate that your business is not performing at its full potential and most likely has a branding issue. Branding relates to how you resonate with your audience. If you aren’t seeing your desired results, it means your audience doesn’t relate to your brand and what you are putting out there. These issues could be the result of many things including problems with your website, the product line itself, or your sales methods and materials. To fix these issues, you need to understand what you are doing that your target audience doesn’t like and how to fix it and what you are doing well and how to optimize that. You can find this out by performing a brand audit. Even if your performance is good, it is essential to stay on top of your brand performance to stay competitive, innovative, growing, and successful and avoid becoming outdated or irrelevant. What Is A Brand Audit?A brand audit is a detailed analysis of your company’s image and performance. It is essentially a brand “health check” and shows how your brand is currently performing. It will compare performance with your goals and with the performance of your competitors and the wider market. A brand audit establishes your brand performance by discovering strengths and weaknesses and perception of your brand. You can then align your strategy more closely with your goals and customer expectations.A brand audit also helps you to understand how you can differentiate yourself from your competition and take advantage of industry trends. All of which will help in making your brand more successful!Why Is A Brand Audit Important?Brand audits are essential to understanding where your business stands in the market. They help you understand what you are doing well and what could be improved so that you can continuously be improving your strategy to keep customers satisfied and stay relevant in the market. Performing a brand audit can help you understand the following:Your position in the market and what improvement strategies should be developed.Your customer expectations and if your products or services are aligned accordingly.Your strengths and weaknesses. Your brand sentiment.What opportunities you could take advantage of and the major threats your business faces.How To Perform A Brand Audit Create A Brand Audit Framework So how do you perform a brand audit? The first step of performing a brand audit is deciding what it will look at. Will it look at mainly internal or external factors? Do you want to understand how you are doing in relation to goals? Or how you are doing in relation to your competition? Looking at your strategic objectives can help to pinpoint exactly what you should be auditing. List all of the topics to be covered and then outline how you will go about the process. For example, you could use a mind map with main categories to cover and lines off of those showing what under that category needs to be looked at. Things to cover in a brand audit include:Your target market and your marketing plan to reach themYour strengths and weaknessesYour brand image, perception, value, and awareness levelYour main competitors and your competitive standing Industry trends and opportunitiesExternal threats Your website and analytics Your social media Your branding and advertising materials You may need to look at how your brand is functioning and performing internally and externally. External performance refers to how your brand is performing in the market and how customers see your brand. Internal factors look at how your company’s corporate strategy is performing and how efficiencies and staff motivation can be adjusted and improved to help the brand as a whole succeed. Looking at internal and external factors will give a clear and extensive view of your brand. A combination brand audit, however, is time-consuming.Most brand audits will include at least the following: Assessing Your Brand and Advertising Start by assessing how you are currently portraying your brand through advertising materials and digital design. Collect all current branded materials such as:ProposalsBrochuresPresentationsReportsAdsEmail templatesRecruiting materialsTrade show and event displaysSocial media page designWeb page designLogosNote inconsistencies in branding and compare materials that perform well with those that don’t. Is it differences in design and copy that could be causing inconsistencies in results? Or could it be the medium being used? If none of your branded materials are having a strong effect on customers, you may need to re-brand completely. Examining Your Website And Analytics Examining your website analytics is a major part of any brand audit. More than 80% of consumers will search for products or services to meet their needs online. Therefore, your website is highly important to your brand’s success and is where consumers will start to form a view of the brand. Understanding the following will help in determining if your website is successful in attracting and converting your target customers or if your website branding is off and needs to be adjusted to gain those desired customers. You can use Google Analytics to find the following data. Traffic Analysis Start your website audit by looking at website traffic. Your website is the main source that people will use to learn about your brand and even the place that products will be purchased. Therefore, you want to ensure you are driving a high amount of qualified traffic. Begin by looking at traffic origin. What are the main platforms driving traffic to your website and which don’t send as much? If you are running campaigns to get web traffic from certain platforms such as social media channels, are these converting? If not, what can be done to improve the amount of traffic sent? Analyze the channels that drive traffic to your website. You need a diverse range of traffic sources. Relying on one or two traffic sources means that algorithm changes and decreased reach can drastically hurt traffic. See which work well at sending qualified traffic and why and which don’t and how you can adjust. Finally, look at the demographics of the traffic such as visitor location, age, and gender. Are the visitors to your site your target customer? If not, you will need to adjust and improve your strategy to ensure you are driving qualified traffic. Bounce RateNext, look at your bounce rate. This is the percentage of visitors that visit your site and leave immediately. You want a low bounce rate and a bounce rate over 50% should be looked into and fixed.A high bounce rate indicates that something is wrong with your website which makes people leave quickly; maybe it is slow loading or the landing page is confusing, unappealing, or doesn’t provide useful information. Conversion Rate How many site visitors are completing your desired action? This could be conversion to a customer but could also include signing up for a newsletter, creating an account, or requesting info. List your desired conversion activities and see which content is working best to get these conversions (ex. What is working best to get newsletter sign-ups) and what isn’t working and then adjust strategy accordingly. Remember to check conversion rates over time, are they increasing or decreasing? What could be causing this? Page ViewsThis will show how many times each page on your website was viewed over a certain amount of time. Which are viewed most and why could that be? And which are viewed least and why? This helps show what content or products are most popular and which aren’t performing well. Determine what is right with popular pages and wrong with pages with low page views and how to fix this (promote more, edit, or even drop the page.)Looking at Social Data Social data can provide you with data that isn’t available anywhere else. Like with your website, check your social media follower demographics. If they don’t match your target audience, you’ll need to adjust your social strategy to effectively reach that audience. Social data can also provide more info on exactly what products and content your audience likes. Posts promoting products or content with a high number of reactions, shares, link clicks, and positive comments indicate that they appeal to your audience. Those with poor performance aren’t appealing to your audience. What can be done to improve products and content that don’t appeal? And how can you optimize the high performers? Talking to Customers The next part of performing a brand audit is getting information and feedback from your customers. They are ultimately the ones that interact with your brand. Customers have a lot of essential information on what you are doing well and what could be improved. Some ways to get customer feedback include:Running polls: ask 1 question per poll online or through your social media pages.Using online surveys: post links to these in pop-up ads on your website, through email, or on your social media profiles. Offering an incentive, like 10% off their next purchase, can help increase the number of customers who complete the survey. Asking questions over the phone or via email: directly communicating with each customer can improve the quality of results but is more time-consuming. Some good questions to ask include:How would you rate your overall experience using our website? What did you like? What could be improved? Why did you decide to do business with us?Why would you consider a competitor? Have you been pleased with our customer service? Use your quantitative data collection to help in forming questions as well. For example, if you see from analyzing your website that you have a high bounce rate, then make sure to ask questions about your website and it's landing pages; Why are your customers entering the page but then leaving straight away? Net Promoter Score You can also use these interactions with customers to determine Net Promoter Score. This is the percentage of customers that would speak highly of you and recommend your brand to others. Ask the question “How likely are you to recommend us to others on a scale of 0 (not likely at all) to 10 (extremely likely.)” Then subtract the percent of your ”promoters” or people who scored 9 or 10 from the percent of “detractors” or people that scored 0 to 6. You want a net promoter score of at least 5%. Brands that perform the best get scores of 50%+. Focus Groups If you notice some things that are performing particularly badly, such as your website or customer service, you could choose a sample of customers to create a focus group. Ask them to go through an activity such as navigating their way around your website or going through a customer service request and get them to note issues they encounter and how they would ideally like those to be fixed. Once you notice problem areas, this is a great way to get direct feedback from customers on how they should be improved. The information collected from customers adds useful qualitative data to all the quantitative analytics data. It provides a more complete view of how your brand is perceived and gives info not available from data such as knowing why people would use your brand over the competition and your customer satisfaction level. Looking at Sales Data Analyze the entire customer journey to discover specific areas that discourage your clients from purchasing or certain products that don’t perform well. Once you understand those issues, you can fix them to offer a smooth customer experience from start to finish and products that are desirable. This will not only help show problem areas but can highlight areas to exploit too. Looking at CompetitorsYou should list your top competitors and analyze them. Competitor analysis helps to understand how competitors position themselves and how you can compete more effectively. You can use competitor analysis tools or do your own research to discover and analyze the following about your competitors:Their products and market share: how you can differentiate yourself and gain a larger share of the market? Their sales tactics: what channels do they sell through and what is the sales process like from start to finish? Are they missing any opportunities that you could take advantage of? Their marketing strategy: what is their website like? What types of content do they use? What advertising campaigns are they running? Their content engagement level: what content appears to be popular on their website and social media pages and what doesn’t perform well? (Use the number of comments, shares, and likes to assess this)Their strengths and weaknesses: use the above info plus anything else you think they do particularly well or poorly to create a list of strengths and weaknesses for each competitor. Are there any common weaknesses that you could capitalize on to get a market advantage? Or is there something that everyone does well that you could improve on even more?Brand Audit Findings Report Once you have completed collecting all the data you need, review and analyze it and consolidate the information into core findings. In your findings report, start by including your top three to five differentiating factors or “brand pillars”. Use these to then help create a brand repositioning statement. This is a short and to the point statement outlining exactly what you bring to the market that nobody else does (similar to an elevator pitch.)Next, you will need to use your findings to devise an action plan intended on fixing issues that you discovered and taking advantage of strengths and opportunities. Start by making a report outlining the issues you found, along with how you plan to fix them, the expected results and a timeline of how long it should take to receive those results. Then highlight the things you do well and how you can optimize them to get even better results and take advantage of opportunities in the market. Again, include expected results and a timeline. Once your report and strategic plan are completed, you can begin putting the plan into motion. Be sure to monitor progress once all “fixes” are implemented by performing another brand audit. Ensure this is done continuously, for example, you could conduct a quarterly brand audit along with weekly or monthly benchmark checks, to make sure you are on track, additional issues are being spotted and fixed, and all new opportunities are being taken advantage of. Think your company needs a brand audit but you don’t have the time or knowledge to complete one yourself? Get in touch today to learn how Brand Hause can help you audit your brand and plan an effective re-branding strategy!
12 minutes | 3 months ago
Is Cold Calling Dead?
Everyone has received a cold call, and many have been the cold caller themselves. For most people, these calls are not met with much enthusiasm. This is especially true if the company calling is not relevant to your needs and/or is too pushy in getting a sale. Cold calling is the unsolicited contact with a person or business in an attempt to sell products or services. It is a common sales tactic used to try to convert leads that companies have had little to no contact with before. It is however becoming less and less popular as a lead generation tool. In the current market, does cold calling still have a place? And if so, what can you do to make your cold calls a success? The Current State of Cold Calling Cold calling generally has a bad reputation. It seems outdated and is considered quite intrusive. It is also one of the most time consuming marketing tactics. More and more consumers are relying on internet research when making purchasing decisions. They are also being targeted with more and more digital advertising. Even these types of online ads are considered intrusive and annoying by many. It is therefore easy to see why people do not want to contact cold prospects via call. Cold calling however is still a main form of prospecting for many companies. What’s more, cold calling can be successful. If it is not, the problem is most likely the salesperson and that they have not adjusted the way they conduct these calls. Most companies will need to undertake some form of “cold” marketing to get enough leads. While there are more options available these days and more data to use to help with targeting, cold calling still has its place. Most companies will need to undertake some form of “cold” marketing to get enough leads. While there are more options available these days and more data to use to help with targeting, cold calling still has its place. Cold calling is one of the most direct forms of marketing. You can communicate directly with your prospect, personalize your approach, and really understand their needs and concerns. It is also relatively low cost to conduct, resulting in high returns if you can get a lot of conversions. Just like all marketing tactics, cold calling works for some prospects and not for others. It is important to research each prospect and only call those that fit a predetermined profile. For example, you want to make sure you are contacting the main decision maker. Whether cold or not, phone calls are still a great platform to sell through. You can directly talk to the prospect gaining information on them and their needs. You also hear their concerns or objections and help ease those. Keep reading to find out how to make your cold calls a success! How To Be Successful At Cold Calling From researching prospects in advance to creating a calling script, and analyzing each interaction, there is a lot you can do to make your cold calls a success. Try these tips for your next set of cold calls and you are sure to see better results!Create A Targeted Cold Calling ListWhen creating a list to reach out to, do not just include everyone whose contact information you have. Make sure you know exactly who you need to be getting in touch with. For B2B calls, ask yourself:What kind of industry does your target client work in?What size company do they work for?What is their role/title? Who do they report to? Who reports to them? - if they are not a decision maker, it probably is not worth calling them. What tools may they be using?For B2C calls, think about the demographics and psychographics of your target customer. There will be certain customers that are a better fit for cold calling than others. For example, you may target 30 to 60 year olds, but the 50+ segment is probably most likely to respond well to calls. Call this segment and target the 30 to 49 year old segment in another way. Narrow down your original list of contacts to include only those that meet the criteria of your target cold call customer. Calling people that do not fit this is a waste of everyone's time. Keep On Top Of Industry Events If making B2B calls, be sure to keep up to date with industry news and trends. There are many “trigger events” that you can use to initiate a call. Keeping up to date can help in highlighting times when companies may be in the market for a new vendor. Frequently check industry news websites (and/or sign-up to their newsletters and follow on social media) and set up Google Alerts for certain phrases. Trigger events to look out for include:New Hires: many companies will publicize new executive hires. These new hires will often be decision makers so are a great contact for you. When new higher-ups join a company, they often look at current suppliers and consider changes. Getting in touch with these new hires as soon as possible can put you at the top of their list if they decide to make a change. Company Expansions: opening new store locations, expanding product lines, or other expansions are a good reason to get in touch. The company may need additional suppliers to meet demand, suppliers for a new location, or a supplier that can offer good economies of scale. If you can help, the prospect will find your call valuable. Mergers and Acquisitions: if one of the companies involved is a current client, get in touch early to keep the account and hopefully up-sell the new company. If not, it is still a good opportunity to get your foot in the door. Like with new hires, executives often look to make changes after a merger or acquisition including changes to suppliers. Gaining Additional Funding: companies getting extra funding is a great reason to get in touch. They may be looking to improve the quality of their suppliers or replace a current supplier that cannot meet their demand with an increased budget among other things. Make sure you are on their list as a potential client to work with on their new budget.Contacts Interacting With You: if a client frequently opens your emails or newsletters for example, be sure to reach out. Interaction like this from a prospect is a good reason to call. They are likely to know who you are already and may have been considering working with you or reaching out themselves. Even if you are selling consumer products, still keep on top of trends in your industry and current events. There are many trigger events that can make your products or services more appealing to your target audience. Know What Times Work Best For Calling Use industry data and your own and other sales reps’ experience to find the best times to call. Research the best times to call for certain industries. Also test out call times to see when you get the most responses. More experienced sales reps will know what times work well for certain prospects so ask for their advice if you can. According to research, calling on weekdays between 3pm and 5pm works well to get a response. If you have no other information on good calling times, try that time period first and adjust if needed.Do Research Before Your CallConduct research on the individual prior to your call. Then create a pitch tailored to them and what their needs appear to be. Research the industry they are in along with the prospect’s history and interests. Try to determine what problems they may be facing and how you will convince them that you can help with these issues. Understanding the prospect helps create a personalized pitch. This will make you appear interested in helping them and not just in making a sale. People are looking for as much information as possible during the purchasing decision process. Use your call to give them as much information as you can so that they understand how you can help them. The call can even be used to help them realize they have a need for a product or service like yours. Plan The Call In Advance All salespeople should plan for their cold calls in advance. This includes planning a general outline of the call, questions you need to ask, and how you will incorporate information you discovered through research. Opening Statement Planning a strong opening for each call is highly recommended. You have about 10 seconds to convince the prospect that it is worth their time to stay on the call. Plan an opening statement to use and then adjust based on results. Make sure you tell the prospect who you are and the company you represent. Also sum up clearly and concisely what you want to discuss and the value you offer them.QuestionsBefore the call, plan a list of questions to ask. Make sure these questions are open ended so that they require more than a yes/no/maybe response. You need to form questions that create a two-sided conversation and help you collect information on the prospect and their needs. Calling Script Having somewhat of a full calling script can help some salespeople too, especially if they are new to cold calling. Do not follow a script word for word though. Use it to guide you from question to question. Each prospect could give different responses and lead the conversation in a different direction. You therefore need to be able to adapt as the conversation progresses. Focus On The Client, Not On Selling When making cold calls, use an inbound not outbound sales method. You need to use this first contact as a way to understand the customer and begin to provide value to them. Do not use this call to start selling your product or service.You also do not want to overwhelm the prospect. They will not be expecting your call so are already caught off guard. Providing too much information upfront can overwhelm them to a point where they cannot process the information so choose instead to end the interaction. Ask easy questions, let the prospect talk, and use the call to start building a relationship in a relaxed way. Use Success Stories Consider collecting some success stories to use in your calls to back up what you offer. Obviously you will tell the prospect that your product or service is the best for their needs. Backing this up with testimonials from happy customers can increase your trustworthiness and make your points more credible. Hearing that someone else had a similar problem or need and got good results using your product or service can be the thing that keeps your prospect from saying no. Set Up Next Steps As mentioned, you should not be using this call to get a sale. It is a way to learn more about your prospect. You do need to set up a next step at the end of the call. This next step will probably vary based on the responses of the prospect. Some common next steps include asking for an email address and sending a follow up email and asking if you can schedule another call or in-person meeting. Do Not Be Afraid Of Rejection You are quite likely to experience rejection when making cold calls. Use these rejections to help improve future calls. If the prospect is nice in their rejection, ask why they said no. Do not try to sell anymore after asking that. Simply use their response as a way to understand why they decided to reject your offer. End by thanking them for that information and make a casual suggestion for future contact. Consider the reasons for rejection when planning for and making future calls. Many people will have the same objections so you are more likely to be able to overcome these if you plan for them coming up. Make sure to keep a positive attitude no matter how many rejections you get. The more you practice and use each interaction to plan your next, the better you will get at cold calling. Like with any marketing or sales technique, the first attempt probably will not get the best results. You need to assess what went well and what did not and adjust as you go. Analyze Each CallAfter each call, analyze how it went whether it was a success or not. Some things to look at include:What answers were given to open ended questions?What questions get people talking the most?What are some common objections?What worked at easing these objections? What did not?If there are other sales reps on your team, discuss your calls together. See what similar problems arise and discuss how these could be fixed. They may also have suggestions for you on improving your technique. Voicemails Over 70% of cold calls go to voicemail. To be successful at cold calling, you therefore need to know how to leave an effective voicemail. To be effective, you must get the recipient's interest. Ensure you mention something that makes them want to call back. Create a standard voicemail message, adjusting case by case if necessary. This is a quick one-way message so you do not want to waste time thinking what to say on the spot. You can, however, try variations of your message and see which gets the most callbacks. Decide what you want the recipient to know and choose one main message to focus on. They need to know who you are, what you offer, and why they should call back in a clear and concise way. Also make sure you:Keep the message under 20 seconds long Use their name and tell them your nameHave a friendly and upbeat tone Indicate urgencyDo not sell to them! Do not offer offer sales based incentives like discounts in return for a callback In ConclusionIf done correctly, cold calls can still be an effective way to contact leads and convert them into customers. Hopefully these tips help with your upcoming cold calls! By having a well segmented calling list and personalized pitches, you are much more likely to get your prospects on to the next step.
6 minutes | 3 months ago
Characteristics of a Great Logo
A logo may seem like one of the less important elements of your brand. However, your logo has a big impact on how your brand is perceived. It is a very important part of your brand identity and can help a lot with brand recall. An effective logo needs to be unique and represent your brand exclusively. By being relevant to your brand, it should become instantly recognizable. Consumers should be able to see the logo alone and know the company it is associated with. They should also think of the logo when they interact with the brand, even if it is not on display. With so many logo designs, how do you make one that stands out and perfectly represents your business? Keep reading for the characteristics of a great logo along with some tips on the design process.Characteristics of a Great LogoThere are a few basic characteristics of a great logo that make it effective and memorable. A great logo should be: SimpleYour logo is not the place to go overboard with colors, images, and fonts. You need to keep the design extremely simple. While it needs to be creative and unique, a simple design will make your logo easy to recognize and remember. The logo will be focused on for a short period of time. Viewers need to recognize the company that the logo is associated with and remember it after just a glance. It must highlight the most important parts of the brand while using minimal elements. It should include just a symbol and a few words at most. Simplicity will avoid giving across mixed messages. MemorableThe logo needs to be memorable. Consumers should be able to see it once and recognize the brand it is related to. Every time they see it, they should instantly know the brand it represents. Consumers should ideally be able to remember the logo without seeing it. The best logos can be recalled without seeing them. For example, everyone thinks of the Nike swoosh when thinking of the brand alone. Consumers do not need to see the logo to recall it. Logos are made memorable by being simple, unique, and relevant to the brand.TimelessA great logo needs to be timeless. Your logo is one of your main brand identity components. Ideally, you do not want to change your logo once a final design is chosen. This means that it needs to be designed to be relevant for years to come. If you frequently change your logo, consumers will be confused. It will affect memorability and brand awareness. Make the design timeless by avoiding trending elements and focusing on your brand and what it represents. Versatile To make a great logo, it needs to be versatile and effective in a range of formats. ScalableYour logo will be used in a range of sizes and on a range of media. It needs to look good when printed in small, medium, and larger sizes. It should look as good on a 300x250 pixel web ad as it does on a billboard. Make your logo scalable by designing it in vector format. This will allow it to be used in a range of sizes on a range of media. Non-vector files are likely to pixelate. Black and White Your logo also needs to look good in black and white. Even if you have used colors, your logo will likely be printed in black and white at some point. Ensure that the colors are not required to get the message across otherwise this meaning will be lost when reproduced in black and white. If your logo looks good at the sketching stage before any colors are added, it should work in black and white. Relevant To Your Brand A logo is the main visual representation of your brand. You must understand your brand and the message you are trying to get across with the logo. This should be related to your brand personality, what you represent, and who you are trying to reach. Colors and Fonts Use colors and fonts to help with this. Colors should be on-brand and used to represent the emotions you are trying to get across. Fonts are used to help communicate tone and define personality. A technology product, for example, is likely to use slick fonts and modern colors. A toy store, however, is likely to use fun and cursive fonts and bright colors.Creating A Great Logo Now you know what makes a great logo, you can start planning your design. Use this timeline as a guide for creating your logo. 1. Create A Design Brief: think about what your logo needs to represent. Discuss this with your whole team. Brainstorm ideas for images or symbols that relate to your brand along with what you represent and what brand identity elements to include. Even if working with a logo designer, they will ask you for this information so you need to have a good idea of what the logo needs to represent. 2. Do Research: conduct research on the logo’s of you competitors and what style of logo is most popular in your industry. You will want to differentiate yourself and improve on logos already being used. However, take note of what others in your industry are doing. Any trends that appear are there for a reason so take note of them when drafting your design. 3. Sketching: you can now start drafting out some designs using your brief and research to help guide you. Sketch out a few designs and start getting feedback from your team. Once a few designs are chosen, you can design them in a program to get a better idea of what the final logo will look like. 4. Revisions: once you have one preferred design, think about how it can be improved if at all. Ask your team again or even ask your target audience for feedback. You will probably make a few sets of revisions before the final logo is decided on. When doing this consider the points above, ask if your logo design is:SimpleMemorableTimelessVersatileRelevant to your brand If not, then revise the design to meet these criteria. Once the design does meet these, you can get it professionally designed and begin using your new logo! In Conclusion Your logo is one of your most important brand elements and there are many things to consider in the design process. It needs to be extremely relevant to your brand while also being simple with the ability to represent your brand in a range of formats for years to come. Although it may seem like a lot of work, taking the time to design and revise your logo until it is perfect will absolutely pay off! If you would like some help creating a great logo, get in touch with Brand Hause. Our team can help with formulating your design brief and conducting research in order to then design a logo that represents your brand and what you offer. Contact us now for a free consultation!
13 minutes | 3 months ago
Don't Think Your Business Will Benefit From Instagram? Think Again
Instagram is the second most popular social media platform after its owner Facebook. It has over 800 million users, with this number continuing to grow everyday. Not only does it have a huge user base but these users are highly engaged. 500 million of these users interact with the app everyday, with over 35% of these checking it multiple times a day. Instagram’s audience is extremely varied and users have a range of interests. Chances are, no matter what industry you are in, there will be people to connect with on Instagram. It is especially useful for reaching consumers aged 18 to 45 and those interested in creative and lifestyle brands and content. Instagram is also a good social platform for any size business. You do not need to be a big brand with a huge advertising budget to use it and succeed. Big brands will generally get lots of followers quite easily. However, smaller brands can get a large and engaged following by implementing a well-planned strategy and working hard on their content and relationship building. You do not even need to invest that much, if anything except time and creativity, to succeed! Continue reading to discover all the ways in which your business will benefit from Instagram. Why Your Business Will Benefit From Instagram From increasing your reach to being able to create content that really connects with your audience, Instagram has a range of benefits for businesses. These are some of the main reason that your business needs to be on Instagram. Having An Instagram Account Is Expected Most consumers expect brands to have an Instagram account. They may expect to find you while searching within Instagram or expect to find a link to your account on your website. Not being able to find an account can hurt your reputation and disappoint potential customers. An Instagram account will also help with trustworthiness and credibility, especially if you get your account verified. Your Competitors Are On Instagram The majority of your competitors will have an Instagram account. If you do not, they have a competitive edge. On the other hand, if you find that a lot of your competitors do not have an account, you may be able to get ahead of them by starting one. Look at what your competitors are doing on Instagram. Take inspiration from their efforts and improve on those promotions to get ahead! Instagram Helps With Brand Personality Posting and engaging on Instagram helps build your brand personality. Consumers are no longer okay with purchasing from faceless corporations. They want the brands that they interact with to be relatable and have a unique identity. Instagram helps you build this personality through posting imagery and video that engages, entertains, and informs followers. You can use your bio and post captions to help explain your brand, what you offer, and what you believe in. You can also directly interact with your followers and ask them questions, forming a two-way relationship. Along with posts relating directly to the products or services offered, you can post content showing company processes and culture. This helps in showing that there are people and ideas behind the products or services being sold. Some types of posts that can help in building a brand personality include: Showing Processes: for example, how a product is made or how your team comes up with new product ideas. Customer Feedback: share customer success stories and positive reviews. You can also share customer posts featuring your products. Company Events, Employee Profiles etc.: showing day-to-day company life and giving followers a behind-the-scenes look at your operation is a good way to build a connection and make your brand appear human. Interactive Stories: this can include doing question and answer sessions, asking your followers questions and running polls, and using the “live” feature to connect with followers in real time. Instagram Helps With Discovery Instagram is a great platform on which to be discovered by new prospects. You can be discovered thanks to:HashtagsUsing hashtags helps you to be found by users that like interacting with content similar to yours. You can be found when the user searches a hashtag you have used. If the user is particularly interested in content relating to a certain hashtag they will follow the hashtag. Content using that hashtag then has the chance to be shown in their feed. Some ways to utilize hashtags on Instagram include: Using In Your Bio: you can include a few relevant hashtags in your bio. Do not overdo it though, include just one or two. Make sure they are something that is relevant to a core part of your brand. Also include keywords in your bio, even if not as a hashtag. Your account can then be suggested when these keywords are searched.Using In Your Post Captions and Stories: you can include hashtags in your post captions. Include a few relevant ones within the caption copy. Then use more in a comment or underneath the main caption. Try to use the maximum of 30 hashtags per post when starting out on Instagram to increase the chances of being discovered. You can also include a hashtag or two in your Instagram stories.Using Branded Hashtags: you can even create a specific hashtag for your company. This is called a branded hashtag. Use it in all your posts and in your bio. Branded hashtags help with identity and visibility. Encourage followers to use the hashtag for something in return. For example, you could offer the chance to be featured in your feed or story if users include the hashtag in their posts. Tagging Having an Instagram account also allows you to be tagged in other people’s posts. This could be by other businesses or influencers that you work with or customers. Consumers may choose to post content showing them using your products. This can be a post directly promoting the product or simply them tagging brands included in an image they post. Being tagged exposes you to a new audience. The audiences of people you work with and your consumers are likely to align with your target audience. This increases the chances of them following you back and becoming a customer.The Discovery Feed Instagram users have a few ways to find content. If they follow you, your posts have the chance to be shown in their home feed (the algorithm will determine if they get shown.) Content can also be found in the discovery feed. Users do not have to follow you or even have interacted with you before to see your content here. The discovery feed will automatically populate with content similar to content they have interacted with before. Users also have the option to categorize the feed by selecting pre-determined categories. For example, they can choose to show travel related posts only. The discovery feed is a great feature as your posts will show to users interested in content similar to yours meaning they are likely going to be interested in your content and products or services. The Search Function Users can also discover content through the search function. Searching a keyword will bring up relevant accounts, hashtags, and places. You should focus on one or two keywords that really represent your brand. Try to include these in your handle (account name) and bio in order to have your account appear in the search for those keywords. Just like search engine marketing, the account with the best reputation (determined by post followers and engagement) will appear at the top of the list for searched keywords. Appearing high up for relevant searches helps put your account in front of those actively searching for the content you share. Story Shares Users have the ability to share the stories and posts of other users in their own stories. This helps increase visibility for the brand being shared. Viewers of the shared content can click on the story to be taken to the original account. This means that creating share worthy posts and stories can get you in front of the followers of others who are not aware of you yet. Just a few shares by those with a good following can increase your reach significantly. Connect and Collaborate With Like Minded People Instagram is a great platform to network and connect with like-minded businesses, influencers, and prospective customers. It is a very targeted platform. The algorithm shows content relating to posts each user interacts with, making it likely that the users served your content will be interested in it. Using other targeting elements like hashtags helps connect with your target audience too. Additionally, it has good networking capabilities. You can comment on and like posts related to your industry and message like minded-companies, industry professionals, and influencers. Having this contact helps start and grow relationships. For example, you can build a relationship with an influencer that appeals to your target audience in order to work with them. Some ways in which you can collaborate with like minded companies and influencers on Instagram include: Doing “Lives” with themRunning contests togetherDoing account takeoversDoing interviews or Q+As together Getting them to review your productsGetting them to promote your products or services in their posts and stories You can use relationships started through Instagram for other marketing activities too. For example, working together on advertisements, doing product collaborations and sponsorships etc.Include CTAsInstagram provides lots of great opportunities to include calls-to-action in your content. CTAs are necessary to encourage followers to take the action you desire them to. You can include CTAs in your post captions and within stories. Your post captions will have to direct followers to your link in bio. Stories will allow you to include a swipe-up link that takes the consumer directly to your chosen landing page. This makes completing the desired action easy for them which makes a conversion more likely. Drive Traffic Along with being able to engage with your audience and build relationships, Instagram is effective in driving traffic. The aspects of Instagram mentioned above such as discovery features, placement of CTAs, and posting relatable and valuable content will help in driving traffic to your landing pages. This can include traffic to your website, blog, e-commerce store, or even other social media platforms, depending on your goals. If you frequently promote new website content and other landing pages in your post captions, consider using a third party platform for your link in bio. These platforms store all your content links in one place. This means that even if you have promoted a new piece of content, the consumer can still follow the link in bio and easily find the content that has been promoted previously. Some good options are linktr and linkin.bio by Later. Boosts SalesHaving an Instagram account provides an additional platform on which to drive sales. All your promotions, no matter how organic or direct in style, should result in driving sales in some way. Your more organic posts that are intended to engage and inform your audience, help to create brand awareness and build relationships. This helps with brand recall for when followers are in the market for a product or service like yours. It can also help with need realization. Viewing and interacting with your posts alone can encourage the follower to make a purchase. You can also use Instagram to promote new products, special offers, and sales promotions. Lastly, the advertising options on Instagram are effective in converting sales due to being native in style and being able to utilize defined targeting options. Shoppable Posts Instagram additionally allows you to tag products within posts. This allows users to click on the tag if they like the product. They will then be directed to the product page on your website to learn more and purchase. You will likely be posting a lot of product related images so it makes it super easy for your audience to learn more and complete a purchase. This ease will make sales much more likely. You can set up product tags easily by creating a product catalog through Facebook Business Manager. Advertising As mentioned, having an Instagram account provides you with an additional platform to advertise on. Instagram is an effective platform to run paid promotions on as all ad formats are native. Each ad option is designed to blend with the platform’s organic content. You can run single or carousel photo ads, video ads, or story ads. You also have great targeting options (set up through Facebook Ads Manager) to make reaching your target audience super easy. Learn more about Instagram advertising and other online advertising formats here!Get Feedback And Collect Data Having an Instagram account provides you with lots of ways to get feedback from and information on your audience. To get feedback directly from your audience, ask questions in post captions and on stories. You can also utilize polls within your stories to get feedback. Instagram’s analytics can additionally provide information on what types of content engages your audience the most. You can also get demographic information such as the location, gender, and age profiles of those that interact with you. Connecting your account with a third party social media scheduling and analytics platform, like Hootsuite or Buffer, can provide additional data and analytics. In Conclusion In the current marketing environment, it is crucial for your business to be using instagram. Luckily, it is a fun and easy platform to use. You will also probably need to invest less in using Instagram than you do with other marketing activities, yet can still get great results and returns. Want some help getting your Instagram strategy started or improved? Get in touch with Brand Hause today for a free consultation. We offer social media marketing services which include helping you set up your instagram account, plan content, and ultimately get you the best results.
12 minutes | 3 months ago
9 Tips To Make Your Website User Friendly
Your website is one of your main digital marketing tools. It should provide visitors with all the information they need to make an informed purchase decision. This includes providing answers to all the questions they have and convincing them that your product or service is better than the competitions’. To be successful, you also need to consider how user friendly your website is. This means considering user experience and making sure your website is simple and easy to use. The user should be able to find what they are looking for easily, quickly, and with no errors. So what do you need to do to make your website user friendly? There are a range of things to consider including technical and design elements. Continue reading for 9 easy tips to make your website user friendly. 9 Tips To Make Your Website User Friendly1. Improve Website Speed The speed at which your website loads is highly important in making it user friendly. If your pages are slow to load, you will lose visitors. This will increase your bounce rate and you will lose potential customers. Website visitors want to get to the content they need immediately. You should aim to have a page load time of two seconds. Three seconds is the absolute maximum. Any longer and visitors will drop off. The rate at which they drop off will increase significantly with every extra second of load time. You can find tools to check your website speed such as Google Page Speed Insights. If your website load time is over two to three seconds, you will need to fix this. There are a few ways to decrease your page load speed and ensure it stays at the target loading time. These include:Removing Old or Unuseful ContentGet rid of outdated content and duplicate content. Check URLs in Google Analytics and/or Search Console to see how much traffic they bring before deleting. If the content does not bring significant traffic, remove it. Reducing Media File Size or Embedding MediaTry to upload images and other media using the smallest file size possible. You should also be embedding media like video instead of uploading directly to your website. Video and audio files are extremely large and will reduce your website speed. Upload video to a host site like YouTube and embed the video on your website. Only include media that adds value to the content otherwise it is reducing website speed for no reason!Compressing Website CodesCompress code using zipping software. This reduces HTTP responses. The more HTTP responses you have, the more traffic you get to the server which slows website speed. Tools used to check page speed, will also often identify ways to reduce your website loading speed. You may be able to implement these changes yourself or ask your website developer to do so. 2. Consider Information FormattingA main reason for people visiting your website is to get information. To make your website user friendly, visitors should have access to all the information they need. This information also needs to be in an easy to read and understand format. Provide All The Product Information Visitors Need Ensure you offer visitors as much information as possible to help them in their purchase decision making process. You need to show them everything you offer and exactly what your products or services do. They additionally need to understand how these products or services will provide value. Ensure you make it clear why they should choose you over a competitor. Also, include price even if the visitor cannot buy online and make it clear how they can purchase and how they can contact you. Other Information Formats Along with detailed product or service descriptions, having a range of other informative content makes your website even more user friendly. Blog Posts Blog posts help provide visitors with more in-depth information about your products and how they can help. When creating blog posts, use keyword research to find topics and queries people search for that are relevant to your offerings. This will additionally help attract new leads from search engine results pages.Videos Video explanations or demonstrations are another good content form to include to increase website user friendliness. Video is much easier to consume so will make the information search process easier for the visitor. You can embed videos alone or include them on blog post pages as a summary of the text. FAQs A lot of visitors will be looking for the same information and have the same questions. Increase your website’s user friendliness by including all these questions plus helpful answers to each on a dedicated Frequently Asked Questions page. If you have a lot of product specific questions, you could also include relevant FAQs on each product page. Readability Along with including as much information to help the visitor as possible, you need to make the content as easy to consume as possible. Long blocks of text, for example, are overwhelming and offer a bad user experience. Consider the following to improve the readability of your content and overall website user friendliness: Use Headings: using headings makes it easy to skim content. Having scannable pages that allow the visitor to find the information they need easily is important to user friendliness. Use H1 headings for main titles, H2 for the topics under those titles, and H3 for topics covered under your H2s.Use Short Sentences and Paragraphs: keep sentences under 25 words and paragraphs between two to four sentences long. Use simple and concise language: try to avoid too many adjectives and superlatives. Limit jargon unless absolutely necessary. Use bulleted and numbered lists: any list should be split out into a bulleted or numbered list and not listed in a sentence using commas. Especially if you need to expand on each item in the list. Include a table of contents for long pieces of content: if you have multiple headings, include a clickable contents list at the start of the text. Visitors can then click on a particular heading of interest and go directly to that section of text. Use a uniform font: use one font throughout and change size only for headings (H1, H2, H3 etc.) Use a sans serif font which is easiest to read for digital content. Include relevant media: separate sections of text with relevant images. These images do need to bring value to the text though, do not just include for the sake of it. Offer a video summary of the text: inserting a video can help visitors consume all the information included in the text more easily. They can then go to certain sections of text after viewing the video for more information if needed. 3. Improve Website Navigation Upon entering your website, visitors will look to the navigation to orient themselves and find what they need. Your navigation needs to cover the main categories people will look for. Do not overcrowd your navigation though. You can either have a navigation bar near the top of the webpage with 4 - 5 main categories and drop down lists from those. Or have a “hamburger” menu with a drop down of categories. Visitors want to find what they need easily without going through multiple layers of navigation subheadings. To make the wording in your navigation user friendly, do not use abbreviations of acronyms. You can conduct A/B testing if necessary to find the best type of navigation, location for navigation, and category names. Search Function Ensure your website has a search function. Have the search function available on every page, not just on the home page. The search function should be at the same place on every page. Make sure the search feature is optimized to bring back relevant results. Visitors will search using keywords and not necessarily the exact name of a page or product. You need to ensure the search function still helps them find the information they are looking for.4. Improve Website Design ElementsYour website design is another element that is important to consider when making your website user friendly. Some of the main things to consider are: BrandingHelp visitors identify and remember your company by using your logo and other brand elements on your website. Defining your brand can help with trustworthiness. Branding also helps with brand recall for future purchasing decisions or information search.Ensure your logo is included in your website design. The top left is a good position for the logo. People tend to look here first when entering a website so this placement helps with instant brand recognition.ColorsIf your brand is associated with certain colors, use these in your website design. Stick to one color scheme across the whole website. Light and cool toned colors work well. If your brand uses darker or highly pigmented colors, just use these for small details and keep the rest of the color scheme light. White Space As mentioned above, you should be balancing text with media. Do not overcrowd your website though. Ensure you have a good amount of empty “white space” between the text and media on your website. An overcrowded website is unappealing and difficult to navigate. Just like big chunks of text with no separation, a crowded website will overwhelm visitors. Instead of attempting to go through everything to find what they need, they will most likely leave. 5. Make Your Website ResponsiveOne of the main user issues with websites is that they are not optimized for mobile. To make your website user friendly, make sure it is responsive to all devices. Responsive website design (RWD) is when your website design is automatically adjusted to look and function well on the device being used. Over half of web searches are now made on mobile so making your website mobile friendly is a must. Talk to your web developer about making your website responsive and optimized for all devices if it is not already. 6. Use Calls-To-Action Another way to make your website user friendly is by including clickable calls-to-action on each page. It needs to be clear to visitors what you want them to do and how they can do that. Using clear and concise calls-to-action help the visitor know how to complete the next step. They also help you in getting more visitors to complete your desired action. Some common CTAs include:“Contact Us”“Get a Quote”“Download Now”“Click Here to Purchase” “Learn More Here”7. Include Contact Information Having your contact information clearly displayed is an easy way to help make your website user friendly. Try to provide as many contact options as possible as each visitor will have a preferred contact method. Include phone number, email address, and store location and hours if applicable. If you have contact info for multiple locations make this easy to understand. List under location headings or include a map that shows the closest location’s info when an address or zip code is entered. Chat Functionality Including an on-site chat function will improve your website user friendliness drastically. Being able to get their questions answered instantly is a major plus for visitors. Having quick access to additional information also makes it more likely that visitors will make a purchase. 8. Include Social Media IconsSocial media accounts are additional platforms on which you can share information and connect with your audience. Including links to these accounts on your website is good for user friendliness as it means visitors can easily access these platforms and this extra information. Some users will prefer to contact you via social media. Some people will also prefer to consume content through a post on social media as oppose to through a product page or blog post. 9. Offer Online Shopping If you sell a product that can be purchased online, offering online shopping will increase your website user friendliness a lot. More and more shoppers are favoring online shopping for its ease and convenience. It can be frustrating to have to go to another website or to a store to purchase once visitors decide they want the product. Buyers also do not want to be restricted by store hours. If you cannot offer online shopping, for example if you offer a service or custom pieces, make sure it is easy to schedule an appointment via your website. Ensure your store locations and hours are very clear too. In Conclusion Implementing these tips should help in making your website user friendly, improving each visitor’s experience. A well functioning website will reduce bounce rate and ensure visitors can find all the information they need. This should ultimately lead to more sales conversions. If you think you website’s user friendliness could be improved, Brand Hause can help you with that! We offer custom website design services to help create a site that provides a great user experience. Get in touch today for a free consultation to discuss your website design needs and how we can help.
9 minutes | 4 months ago
How Video Marketing Can Improve Your SEO
Are you looking to give your Search Engine Optimization strategy a boost? Or are just beginning to optimize your website and aren’t sure how to get started?Most people are aware that written content such as blog posts featuring keywords or phrases and more technical SEO techniques such as backlink acquisition, improving site speed, and removing broken links are all important parts of SEO strategy. But did you know that video marketing is another thing that can boost your SEO?The addition of video to your website can drastically improve your SEO efforts and drive more traffic. Video is currently so effective in reaching those goals that it is becoming one of the most important forms of content marketing. Read on to learn how video can improve your SEO! SEO Overview If you are still wondering why search engine optimization is important or are even unsure of what it is, here is a quick overview. SEO techniques help to grow your visibility on search engine results pages (SERP). The higher your website ranks, the better as more people will be seeing your site when searching relevant queries and it’s more likely that they will click through to your website. Good SEO can drive more traffic than any of your other digital marketing efforts so it’s definitely worth investing time in! Search engines use algorithms to determine page rank. These algorithms are ultimately looking for high quality, valuable content and relevance to the searcher’s query (this is where keywords play a role.) Over 90% of online activity starts with a search engine. If people search, it is targeted, they are specifically searching for that query. So if your products or services and content relate, you want to make sure you are at the top of the search page and are one of the first sites they see and click on. Most searchers will click on the top 3 SERP entries and very few searchers will get on to page 2. So being high up on page 1 and having a strong SEO strategy is crucial. How Utilizing Video Content Can Improve SEOSearch engine algorithms are increasingly prioritizing websites with video content from DIY tutorials to jaw-dropping aerial drone footage. Adding video to your website can help with a range of things including increasing click through rate from SERP, lowering bounce rate, and increasing time on page. These are all great for your business but are also things Google and other search engines look at when determining your rank on SERP for queries. If a lot of searchers are clicking through to your website, staying on the page and not leaving straight away, and spending a decent amount of time on the site, search engines assume your content is valuable so will increase the chance of others seeing it by placing links higher up on results pages. Time on page alone increases on average by at least double for pages with video compared to those without. Algorithms also favor sites with a mix of great quality text, images, and video. Multimedia content is seen as more informative and valuable, therefore ranking higher than content with just text or text and images. Lastly, video can help in improving your content quality which makes it more likely that you will get backlinks (when other sites link to your content, indicating to Google that your content is of value which increases your SERP rank.) You can’t however just place any video on your site and hope to see your SERP rank, CTR, time on page, and number of backlinks increase. Even if the video placement at first drives traffic, low quality video will cause visitors to leave your site quickly which will in turn tell search engines that the content isn’t valuable and you will drop in the rankings again. The video used needs to be of high quality in terms of both the content within the video itself and the quality of the actual footage. How Video Generates Traffic Search engines consider the amount of traffic you get when determining search rankings. Sites don’t get lots of traffic for no reason; visitors are coming for something that must be valuable to them so search engines assume others with the same queries will find that website useful too. Whilst it is important to embed video on your website for the reasons mentioned above, you will get the most video views by also hosting the video on YouTube as well as other social media channels. From that, you can then use the caption/description to lead viewers to your website, generating more traffic (placing a URL in the caption will also count as a free backlink!)How Video Increases Time On SiteSearch engines also care about the amount of time people are spending on your site. If traffic leaves straight away, it indicates that you don’t have useful content and your search engine ranking will suffer.Video helps keep people on your site for longer and it is easier to consume than reading written content, so visitors are more likely to stay and watch. Your bounce rate will therefore decrease, helping your ranking to improve. How Video Helps Gain Backlinks The number of backlinks you have is another factor that will determine ranking. Number as well as quality of backlinks is important. Quality refers to who is linking to you. The higher the domain authority of the linking sites the better. Number of links shows that people find your content valuable enough to share which is great but high-quality backlinks are even better as it shows that not just average web users but well-regarded websites find your content valuable enough that they want to share it with their audience. To be shared, your videos will need to stand out. Think about who you would ideally like to share and link the video and make sure it offers something to that audience. Whether it informs them, entertains them, or even shocks them! To get shares and backlinks, you need to evoke an emotion from the viewer. As the video connects with your original target audience, and they share on social or link to it on blogs/websites, it will build traction (or start going “viral”) and will start to be seen by more who relate and will in turn share/link, with the video ideally reaching and appealing to popular sites with high domain authority. When planning video aimed at building links and generating social sharing, ask yourself the following questions and if the response to any is “no”, rethink your video: Would you link to the content? Is the content interesting to your target audience?Does the content elicit emotion?How To Create An SEO Friendly Video Marketing StrategyDon’t just jump into video creation without a strategy. You need to know what you want to get out of using video. Without knowing this, planning, creating, and promoting video content will be difficult and won’t provide the SEO results you are looking for. Make sure goals are well defined and that video complements other content you have or are planning to create. Plan your video so that it is interesting, engaging, and has all the info the viewer needs about the topic. Embed Video On Website Landing PagesOnce your videos are created, they need to be published on relevant pages of your website. Visitors to your site need to be impressed straight away or they will leave. Your landing pages need to keep visitors engaged to stop this happening. As people are getting so used to seeing text content, it can be difficult to keep visitors engaged with text alone. Embedding video on your site is a proven way to keep your website visitors engaged. It will also increase the time they spend on the site and the number of conversions you receive. Give Your Video ContextDon’t publish video to your website on a page all by itself or with just a short caption. Video is a great content format and strong written and well optimized content is a good start too but if you really want to boost your content quality and improve SEO, combining the two will help you see the best results. Therefore, make sure the video is embedded within relevant and well-optimized written and visual content. The written content could be a transcript of the video or the video could be used to help explain something from the text in more depth or add more value in another way.Make Sure Video Content Is Informative And ValuableDon’t include video that isn’t helpful to visitors. Make sure it is giving them information they need that is answering questions and helping them to make a better purchasing decision. By giving information in a few formats such as once in a written piece and again in video, the consumer is more trusting of you and you are gaining credibility. As the search engines notice this, your ranking will increase. Consistency Is Key Don’t just create and add a few videos to your site and then abandon video strategy all together. You will need to work continuously to improve your video marketing campaign and add new video content to relevant pages. Try ranking for as many relevant keywords relating to your target customer’s search intent as possible. For each of these keywords, you will need to create valuable content so you can do that in part by creating and uploading more videos. Hopefully these tips will help you in improving your SEO strategy with video content. If you want to take advantage of video marketing but don’t have the time or experience to do so, Brand Hause can help! We offer strategic, high quality, and creative Video Production services along with Search Engine Optimization services, to help you take your digital marketing to the next level. Interested? Contact us for a free consultation!
7 minutes | 4 months ago
How To Be Effective Working From Home
Working at home is becoming a more and more desirable situation. However, it can be difficult to know how to be effective when working from home. There is less structure and management at home and many more distractions. If you do not know how to effectively plan your work day, tasks may not be completed and your productivity can drop. If you know how to set yourself up for success however, working at home can increase productivity and work enjoyment.To help you out, we have come up with 11 tips to make working at home effective for you.1. Create A Motivating And Dedicated Work SpaceThe ideal situation for being effective when working from home is to have separate leisure and work zones. If you have a room that can be used as an in-home office, be sure to maximize this. Make the space as comfortable and appealing to you as possible. Even if you have to spend a little furnishing it to become a motivating work space, it’s worth it. Having a separate office also helps make it feel like a space to work and keeps your leisure space separate, making that more enjoyable.If you don’t have a room free to use as an office, try to separate another room into an office. Add a desk and anything else you need in any free space. 2. Follow A Regular Office Job Routine Depending on your reason for working from home, it's usually most effective to follow a standard office routine. Have a morning routine similar to if you were going in to work. Wake up with enough time to get ready before a set start time each day. Shower and get dressed, get coffee and have breakfast, and complete any other activities such as going to the gym. Sticking to this routine everyday will help with productivity. If you work at home to avoid a “9-5” routine, still try to keep some consistency in your working routine.3. Dress Professionally A big part of keeping an office routine is dressing professionally. While some people can work effectively in pajamas or sweats, most people are more productive in work clothes. If you aren’t uncomfortable in full work wear like a suit at home or if your previous offices had a casual dress code, that’s fine. Just ensure you wear something that you identify with it being work time as opposed to leisure time. Being in work attire also helps indicate to others at home that you are in work mode and shouldn’t be interrupted. 4. Make Your Working Hours Clear Set your work hours and stick to them. Your job may set these for you and require you be working certain hours even from home. If not, it can be effective to have standard work hours. Unless you work at home specifically to have a different schedule, stick to working 7.5 hours a day between 8am and 6pm. Once hours are decided, ensure everyone knows them! Post them on your office door and include them in your voicemail. Also make sure family and friends are aware of your at home schedule. Be sure to stick to these hours as much as possible, including stopping when it is time to stop working. If you are more flexible on times you can work, find your most productive times and set these as your hours. That could mean working from 7am to 11am and then again from 4pm to 7.30pm with leisure time in between. 5. Set Rules With Those That Could Disrupt You To be effective working from home, make sure others know there are “work time” rules. Set these rules with anyone in your home space, whether that’s a partner, children, or roommates. Also set rules with family and those in your social circle. For those that you share your home with, make sure they know the times you work. Set rules as well. For example, tell them that when you are in your designated working space, you should not be disturbed. Also make it known that just because you are home, it doesn’t mean you can do all the things you usually would. That includes chatting, household tasks, and activities with your children. Make sure friends or family that may call or stop by know when they can and cannot do so. Whilst you may get some personal texts at an office job, people aren’t calling or stopping by so set the same rules for your work hours at home. 6. Limit Or Eliminate Social Interactions As mentioned, make sure friends know the work schedule you are keeping and that they shouldn’t bother you during these hours. It is also important that you stick to limited social interaction during these hours. It can be tempting to meet up with friends if you have flexible work hours. However, this can mean productivity drops and work may not be completed. Just like at an office job, you could meet up quickly at lunch with friends but otherwise only socialize in the evenings and on weekends. 7. Prevent Other Distractions Along with people, you can find many other distractions while working at home. The main one is entertainment sources. This can include temptation to watch TV, play video games, check social media sites, or browse the web in general. Setting up dedicated working hours should help with this. But it is also useful to remove shortcuts to distracting websites, log out of social media accounts, or even use blocking software to block sites during certain hours. If you have a particularly needy pet, like a dog, you may need to set up arrangements for them too. Try to keep them out of your working space when possible if they are a distraction. If that doesn’t work, consider getting someone else to take care of them in the day.8. Make A To-Do List At the beginning of each week, identify what needs to be done in order of priority and time needed. Then create a do-to list each day adding new tasks if they come up. The best way to do this is by including tasks with a range of time limits, interest level, and priority. For example include a few quick to finish tasks and any absolute priorities. Aim for a mix each day of the most appealing tasks (such as something creative) and less appealing tasks (such as responding to emails or generating reports.) Once you have created your lists, make sure all tasks are completed by given deadlines. If you have created a list of varying interest and priority, complete in order. Otherwise you can be left with all your less interesting tasks to do at once or with not enough time to meet deadlines. Using calendars like Google Calendar and/or project management software such as Asana helps with planning and completing tasks. 9. Use Cloud Storage Storing work files on your computer’s hard drive can be risky. If you lose your computer or it crashes, you can lose everything. Instead, use a cloud-based system. Google Drive is great for documents and spreadsheets. DropBox is also a good option for files like PDFs and images.Using cloud storage allows for easy sharing with colleagues and they can directly edit and comment on documents. You will also save memory on your computer or external hard drive and you can access your work from anywhere. Additionally, if you are working out of your home, have roommates, or have sensitive files, consider using a VPN. This will help keep your network and files encrypted and safe. 10. Schedule Break Times Along with dedicated work hours, schedule breaks each day. All companies have set break times they allocate so allow yourself these at home too. Include the break times you get when in office. If you aren’t directly working for one company ex. If you are freelance, try to set aside two 15 minute breaks and at least 30 minutes for lunch which is standard at most companies. 11. Work Outside Of Your Home Working somewhere outside of your home can help productivity. For example, this can be a shared workspace or coffee shop. The change of scenery can boost creativity and there are less distractions than at home. Hopefully these easy to implement tips will help you be effective when working from home! Let us know in the comments if these helped and if you have any of your own working at home advice.
9 minutes | 4 months ago
5 Ways To Get The Most From A Trade Show
For both newer companies and well-known brands, exhibiting at trade shows is essential for increasing your brand awareness and making connections with potential new clients. Not only is exhibiting a highly cost-effective form of lead generation but in-person meetings form more meaningful relationships making the chance of landing the client higher compared to pitching over the phone or via email. But with so many other exhibitors to compete with for the attendees’ attention and business plus the high spend involved in exhibiting, how can you get the most from a trade show? Keep reading to find out how to ace your next trade show and get the best ROI!5 Ways To Get The Most From A Trade Show 1. Pre-Trade Show Strategy Do Your Research Before registering for a trade show, do your homework on the most valuable and fitting shows for your company to attend. Research all feasible options (this could be shows in your area, across the country, or even internationally depending on your budget and goals), get to know the show itself, what your competition has previously done there (ex. What size booth do they invest in? What show specials have they offered?), and what about this show will help you reach your goals and achieve strong ROI.Once you have chosen the best trade show or shows to exhibit at, register and start planning your pre-show strategy. Pre-Show Reach Outs If you have access to the attendee list, reach out to all good potential leads. Send an email with a brief overview of your product or service, an outline of what you will be promoting at the show and any special offers that they can benefit from. End by asking if they would like to schedule an appointment to meet at the show. Don’t forget to schedule meet-ups with current clients too. Trade shows are a great place for face-to-face catch-ups to make sure they are happy with your services. You could even convince them to extend their contract or increase their spend with you. Promote Your Booth and Presence At The Show You will need to generate awareness and excitement about your booth before attendees arrive. Creating show content and promotions targeted at attendees is the best way to do so. This will aid in illustrating the value to them of your presence at the event to get them to mark your booth down as one to visit. Advertise show promos such as demos, contests or giveaways, and new launches on all platforms that attendees could see. Create a blog post or press release outlining promos to share on your website and across your social media platforms. You could also promote promos in individual social media posts and/or in newsletters. Include your booth number on all promotions so attendees know exactly where to find you.Many trade shows and their organizing bodies will also have newsletters and website content on show preparation and happenings. Make sure they are aware of your promotions and new launches by sending over press releases, they may pick-up the stories to feature, making you more prominent to attendees. Leverage Social Media Along with promotions mentioned above, be sure to use any hashtags the event has created. Again, this will make the event aware of your content and they may decide to share it. Your content will also appear to attendees searching for those specific hashtags to help in their pre-show preparations. Commenting on the event’s posts can also be helpful. Attendees also looking at the post will be exposed to you and may click through to your pages and plan a stop at your booth as a result. 2. Generate Media Coverage Many trade shows invite relevant influencers, news outlets, and industry leaders to provide press coverage. Media attendees may walk the show and stop at interesting booths but most schedule appointments months in advance so making sure you are on their appointment list is a must. You should be able to get the press/media list from the event website or by requesting it. If this isn’t available, see who was at the show last year. Many media guests will return year after year. Decide which media attendees are valuable to you and reach out to them to set up an appointment as soon as you can. Introduce your company and explain your selling points and what you plan to promote at the event. Make sure you have something new and interesting they would like to cover and put emphasis on that. For example, focus on a new product you are launching that is one of the first on the market instead of telling them about your older product line.3. Optimize Your Booth Attendees need to be encouraged to stop at your booth as they walk the floor and then need to be wowed during their time with you. The booth should be exciting and enticing but also have something strong to offer the attendee once they interact. Booth Design Don’t overpack the booth, keep furniture and inventory minimal. Ensure there is a good amount of space for your team and visitors plus space to conduct demos or have product samples displayed. Don’t place long tables at the front of the booth as they block the entrance, making it less welcoming. Place these at the back of the booth and bring visitors in to get to any materials (samples, sell sheets, etc.) they display. If you need something displayed at the front, opt for a smaller bar height table. Ensure your branding such as company name, logo, and tagline if applicable are prominent. Keep the design clean with a focus on your products and branding. Setting up a relaxing space will also attract attendees. Walking the trade show floor is tiring so having your booth as a place to sit and relax whilst discussing your offerings will be appealing. At Booth Promotions Ensure you have clear sell sheets or brochures on your offerings. Marketing materials need to be easy to understand - what are you offering, why is it valuable, and how can the attendee get it. Have easy access to everything you will need during your pitch such as samples or price lists. If your product is functional, consider setting up a demo or having a video of the product in use to share. Seeing a product in action will be more appealing to attendees than listening to a pitch alone or reading a brochure. Host Giveaways To Increase ConversionsGiveaways are a great way to entice attendees and get their contact info or get them to complete an action. The prize needs to be a decent one to generate interest (over $100). You won’t have time to meet everyone so getting attendees to leave contact info in exchange for the chance to win increases the number of leads you will leave with. You could even request that to win, they try a free trial or schedule a meeting. Encouraging this next step makes it more likely you can convert them to customers after the show. Set Up The Next Step Make sure to set up the next step after all meetings. Schedule a follow-up call with the prospect, another in-person meeting if they are local, or a time to demo your product. This will help in keeping you top of mind and push the sale forward. Also encourage them to follow you on social media or sign up to your newsletter if you update/send these regularly, to show them more of how you can help them, even when you aren’t in direct contact. 4. Network! Chat with others wherever you can (waiting in line for food or in elevators for example) and attend any networking events put on by the show or their partners. At large shows especially, it can be difficult for attendees to visit all the booths they want to so networking allows you to meet good prospects that may not have made it to your booth. Even staying at the host hotel if there is one (something many exhibitors and attendees will do) increases your chances of striking up a conversation with what could be a new client!5. Post-Show Strategy After the show, you should have a lot of new leads. To make the most of the trade show, you now need to plan how to move these leads to the next step and convert them into customers. Post-Show Coverage Create and send press releases with a show recap and successes. This could summarize your show experience or showcase any awards you may have won or other successes. Remember to still pass these on to media outlets as well as leads for a chance to be covered. Follow-Up Strategy Re-connect with those you set up next steps with to thank them for meeting with you and confirm their next appointment. It’s always a good idea to email anyone you met with at the end of the day to re-cap your meeting to avoid them forgetting about you or confusing you with another brand. For those you didn’t set up next steps with, promptly send a follow-up email reminding them who you are and asking if they would like to schedule a meeting once they are back in office to discuss how you can help them further. Don’t forget to put all new leads into your CRM and tag them as “Trade Show Leads” with the specific show name if possible. This will make it easier to see who from the show converted when calculating ROI. Calculating Return On InvestmentYou will ultimately know if you made the most of the trade show after calculating ROI. Calculate your total expenses relating to the show and then your total revenue to put into the equation:ROI = (Revenue – Expenses)/ExpensesIf you tagged all leads and sales in your CRM with the trade show tag, you should easily be able to pull a report to see your total business from the show.Remember that not all sales will be completed straight away so plan to calculate final ROI at the end of your average selling cycle. And make sure to update the number if new sales relating to the show are closed after calculation.With these practical tips, your next trade show should be the best ever! If you’re looking for some extra help to optimize your trade show experience, consider setting up an appointment with Brand Hause! We offer custom Event and Trade Show Marketing with services including exhibit design, exhibit program management, and event planning to ensure you succeed at your next show or event. Learn more about our services here and get in touch today for a free consultation!
11 minutes | 4 months ago
Video Marketing Do’s and Don’ts
Video is one of the most viewed content forms online. Approximately 75% of internet users watch video at least once a week. Video is being viewed on hosting sites like YouTube, on social media, and on company websites. If you don’t have video as part of your marketing plan, it’s time to consider it if you want to be successful online. If you’re new to video or have been producing video content for a while without great results, you need to understand what you should be doing and what you shouldn’t. Follow these video marketing do’s and don’ts to make sure you’re putting out high-quality content and getting great results in return! Video Marketing Do’sWhen creating video keeps these points in mind to make your video marketing a success. Do: Have A Strategy The first step in adding video content to your marketing promotions is to make a plan. You need a strategy in place that outlines:How videos will be planned, produced, and promotedYour video marketing goals and a timeline for achieving those goalsYour video marketing budgetWho your target audience is How you will analyze results If you just make videos for the sake of it, you will not get good results. Formulating a strategy makes your chances of video marketing success much higher. It also sets up a framework to effectively analyze each video you share. This allows you to make changes and improve as you go. Do: Have A Consistent Look and Create Professional Content You should keep a consistent look across all videos to help with brand image and recall. Use the same font and colors across your videos. Also include your logo and other brand elements if applicable. Even if you have a few different series/playlists, keep consistencies. For example, you may have one playlist with how-to videos and another with behind the scenes and Q&A videos. Make sure each category is differentiated but keep brand consistency across them to avoid confusion about who is producing the videosYou will also want to be producing high-quality, professional looking video. Use good equipment, have a script and video outline, and use a well known editing program. If you cannot do this yourself, outsource to an agency, video production company, or freelancer. The investment is worth it for the great quality content you will get. Producing low quality video can be worse than having no video at all. Do: Create An Interesting Storyline and Include Personality Video is a great platform to use to build on brand image and personality. It’s also a great place to get creative and produce something unique. When making videos, think about your brand and how you can inject your brand personality into them. Also come up with ways to be creative and produce something different from your competitors. Additionally think about your target audience and include points that will be most interesting to them. Your videos need to show how you can help solve your audience’s problems. Your content should provide something valuable and have a positive take away for the viewer. Do: Use Video To Show How To Use Your Products and Their BenefitsShowing how to use products and the problems they solve is a good use of video. People like seeing step-by-step guides and these videos make purchasing and keeping customers satisfied more likely. Some ways to show your products via video include:Doing product demonstrations and how-to guidesProducing customer testimonial videos outlining the customer’s problem and how your product helpedFeaturing customer reviews on the experience of getting and using your product and what made it stand out to them. Do: Include CTAsWhile you don’t want to be overly promotional, do include a call to action in your video. This can be directly telling viewers where to go to buy a featured product. Or it can be a lower involvement call to action such as: Directing viewers to your website or a certain page on your websiteAsking viewers to follow you on social mediaAsking viewers to sign up to your email list/newsletter Asking viewers to like your content and subscribe to your channel Think about what the content is promoting and what the most relevant call to action is. If the video is mainly talking about one product, telling people to visit your site to buy or learn more should be effective. If it is a more personality based video, such as a tour of your office space, use social based CTAs such as asking them to subscribe to your channel.Do: Use Video SEOSEO techniques for video are mainly based on the algorithms used by YouTube. YouTube is the second largest search engine after its owner Google. To have your videos found, it is therefore important to implement SEO tactics just like with web content. These tactics will help your videos rank for queries on both YouTube and on Google’s video section of SERP. Use keyword research tactics to help with content generation. Include your keyword in your title and throughout the video. Including a transcript in the description is an additional way to feature your keyword. Be sure to also use tags and include your keyword in the description copy whether using transcripts or not. Do: Make Videos Mobile-Friendly Over 70% of video is viewed on mobile devices. It is therefore important that your video is optimized for mobile as well as desktop. Make sure that video is produced to have the same effect on a small mobile screen as it does on a larger desktop screen. For example, use large fonts and shoot the video as close to the subjects as possible. Do: Promote On Social Media Along with having your video on a hosting website like YouTube and on your website, be sure to promote it across social media. Video content performs well on social media and is a great way to increase reach. Social media’s sharing features will help in increasing your video’s exposure even more. Try to edit videos for each platform. Facebook and Linkedin are good for longer videos but try to shorten your content for Twitter and Instagram. You can also post teaser videos to social media, directing followers to your channel to watch the whole video. Do: Look At Results and Analytics Make sure you’re looking at all available analytics as you go. For every video you make and promote, look at its results and adjust your strategy as needed. Look at the number of views as well as where people stopped watching your video. If viewers are not watching all the way through, edit your messaging to get them to watch the entire video. Additionally look at the number of people who completed your desired action. Did you meet your goals for the video? If so, use similar techniques for your next videos. If not, think about why your content didn’t work and adjust. Analyzing will help in showing what works and what doesn’t for your goals. You’ll also be able to see which platforms are best for which goals and content types. Use all this information to improve your strategy and get better results! Video Marketing Don’ts Along with following the above tips, keep these common video marketing mistakes in mind too in order to make your video marketing a success. Don’t: Over Promote Use your videos to educate and entertain. Do not use them as a way to just promote yourself to viewers. You can talk about your company and products or services, even including a soft sell. However, mainly focus on providing value to the viewer.Show the user how your product or service can help them and add value in an entertaining way. Instead of just saying how great you and your products are, show how to use your products, problems they help solve, and proof of how they help through testimonials.Don’t: Use Jargon Or Overcomplicate Things As you need to get your point across quickly, don’t make your videos too complicated. Also limit the use of jargon and technical language and explanations. You want your videos to be appealing to as many members of your target audience as possible. Therefore, create a simplified script that gets your point across in an easy to understand way while appealing to a range of individuals. Don’t: Make Videos Too Long You need your video to be long enough that everything of value can be covered. However, having a very long video can be damaging and many viewers will not watch the full video. Focus on making maximum impact in the shortest amount of time. Get to the point quickly and make sure you grab attention in the first three to five seconds. Depending on the type of content, try to keep videos between two and 3 minutes long. Videos of around 30 seconds are good for sharing on social media and for quickly summarizing information. If you need a little longer for some videos, keep them under ten minutes at most. If you feel like you need more time, also consider doing a series on the topic. Break a longer video up into multiple two to three minute videos, linking to the next installment at the end of the video. This makes it more likely the video will be watched in full. It also makes it more likely that the viewer will decide to watch the next related video.For example, try splitting a ten minute video into four two and a half minute videos. This can actually make it more likely that a viewer will watch all ten minutes of video compared to if you posted the ten minutes of footage as a whole. Don’t: Overly Rely On Sound Over 80% of videos are viewed without sound. Therefore, create video that isn’t dependent on sound to get your message across. Even if the narrative adds to the video, make sure it makes sense and is appealing without sound. Use captions on your videos. Also try to focus on telling a story through your video footage, using infographics and images with annotations if appropriate. Don’t: Focus On Only One Platform Don’t only upload videos to your website or only use YouTube to host them. There are a range of platforms to promote your video on so try all of them to see which work best for you. Host your videos on YouTube and Vimeo to get the most exposure. Then embed the video from one of these sites on your website instead of uploading in directly. Video files are large and can slow down your website speed if uploading directly to the server. This is especially true if you plan to include lots of video on your website. Embed from YouTube or Vimeo to avoid this problem. As mentioned above, also share on social media to get increased reach. Consider the audience on each platform before posting. You may need to edit your content for each platform’s specifications and audience. Don’t: Have Unrealistic Expectations One or two videos are not likely to get great results alone. Even if you frequently post good content, it can take a while to get traction and see a big increase in sales thanks to videos. You need to be consistently creating and posting high quality video to start seeing success. You also need to be promoting your videos frequently, interacting with viewers, and analyzing results.In ConclusionVideo can be a great addition to your marketing promotions. Hopefully these do’s and don’ts have helped you understand the basics of how to produce and promote video successfully. If you’re considering using video in your marketing strategy but don’t know where to start, contact Brand Hause. We can help plan, produce, and promote high-quality video that meets your marketing goals. Get in touch now for a free consultation!
13 minutes | 5 months ago
Why Product Packaging Is Important To Your Marketing Strategy
The product packaging you use should be seen as one of your main marketing tools. While it is most important for products sold in store, it should be carefully thought about for all products, even if sold online. Your packaging needs to be designed in conjunction with your brand. The design needs to be on-brand, featuring your logo and other brand elements like colors, typography, and taglines that you are known for. It also needs to be relevant to the product inside and provide information on the product as needed.Product packaging will add to the experience of products purchased online. It will have the same effect for medium to high involvement products that consumers have researched and go into the store intending to purchase. For lower involvement purchases, product packaging is extremely important. It is potentially the only marketing medium you have to sell your product to the customer. Consumers of low involvement purchases do not have time or motivation for research. These consumers will make a decision based on the information on your packaging and sometimes on the design alone. Continue reading for more reasons as to why product packaging is important to your marketing strategy along with some tips for creating great packaging! Why Product Packaging Is Important To Your Marketing Strategy As mentioned, packaging is a very important marketing tool. It will add to the consumer’s experience and can be the thing that convinces them to buy. Here are some other ways in which product packaging is important to your strategy. Function At the simplest level, packaging contains the product and protects it from damage. Do not forget to think about the structural design of packaging and the durability of the material you are using. You need to ensure it will protect the product and stay intact throughout its journey until the item is finally opened. PromotionProduct packaging is another medium you can use to express and promote your brand. Packaging should include your logo, tagline or mascot if applicable, and brand colors and typography. Branded products are necessary for product recall and uniformity. Make sure the design and information is the same as that promoted in other advertising efforts for the product. While you should not be changing your packaging too frequently, adjusting your packaging is a great way to update your brand without changing the product. Changing your brand image, advertising, and packaging can have a huge difference to your sales if done well. Attracts Buyers For products sold in stores, packaging is the main thing that will attract buyers to your product. Getting buyers to notice your product and pick it up to learn more is the first step in getting that individual to purchase the product. You will therefore need to conduct research on what colors, images, designs, and other packaging elements will attract your target customers. You also need to know the types of products that will be sold around you. What are their designs like? What can you do to make your product stand out more than theirs? Facilitates Purchasing DecisionsAlong with attracting buyers to your product, packaging will help them make a purchase decision. The consumer will probably have little information, if any, on your product when they find it on the shelf. They are unlikely to conduct online research in the store so the information on the product packaging is all they will use to make a purchase decision. Use your packaging to include the following info as applicable:IngredientsNutritional informationInstructions on useProduct description Product benefits Make sure this info is easy to understand, concise, and scannable. Consumers do not want to spend long making a purchase decision while in store. Make it very clear what your product is, how it will help them, and why your product is the best on the market. Differentiation Well-designed, eye-catching product packaging is a good differentiator. This is especially true for similar products with few other differentiators. One third of consumers make purchasing decisions based on packaging alone. Your packaging therefore needs to stand out and look different (and better!) than your competitors’. For low involvement products, packaging will probably be the only thing that influences a decision to buy. Be sure to conduct a lot of research on what your competitors’ product packaging is like. Combining this information with knowing what attracts your target consumer will help to effectively differentiate yourself through your packaging design.Product Packaging Tips Now you understand why product packaging is important, here are some tips to create great product packaging. Begin your product design process by considering the following questions:What is the product? - this will help determine the structural design of the product packaging as well as the design and informational content to include. Who is buying the product? - think about demographics and psychographics of your target customer to create a design that will appeal to them. Where are people buying the product? - is it being purchased in a supermarket, boutique, online etc.? The design will need to be different for each location. For example, packaging for a product purchased online does not need to attract attention or include information on reasons to buy the product. Products purchased in store need to be able to attract attention and provide information on product features, benefits, and use. You will also need to consider the packaging of products around yours. How will you stand out? Once you have thought about the above points, you can start designing some product packaging prototypes, test these, and decide on a final design. During this process make sure you follow these “x” tips.Design Product Packaging That Is Relevant To The Product When designing your packaging, ensure the design works well with the product type and experience you are trying to create. It needs to effectively illustrate what is inside and what value will be gained from using the product. Your product packaging should additionally match up with your advertising efforts for that product or product line. If you have TV ads, magazine ads, and/or digital ads, make sure everything is streamlined. Consumers that see your ads and would like to buy need to be able to easily identify the product. You can test the relevance of packaging to the actual product using a focus group. Ask the participants what they expect to be inside and if expectations were met when they opened and used the product. Even if you get an initial sale based on packaging, consumers will not purchase again if the product does not meet expectations. They may not even purchase from your brand at all again! Make Information On The Packaging Easy To ConsumeConsumers will be looking for some information on the product before purchasing. They do not want to spend a long time finding and consuming this information though. You therefore need to make product information scannable on your packaging. Highlight the main features and benefits you want to get across in a clear and very concise way. Use your design and some basic information on the front of the packaging to grab attention. Then include a more detailed but still brief description on the back. Consumers should be able to understand what the product is and the value it will bring them in under 30 seconds. Test Your Product Packaging Designs Once you have a few designs drafted, test these designs with your focus group. Some ways to use the focus group include: Placing your design with those of your competitors and asking which they would choose and why. Asking what information they got from the packaging. Do they know what the product is and how it will help them? Asking if the expectations created by the packaging are met when they consume the actual product. Use this information to make adjustments to your packaging designs and help in making a decision on the design that will go to market. Understand Your Target Consumer Like with other aspects of marketing, you need to understand what your target consumer is looking for in order to be successful. Firstly, understand the demographics of your target customer. Their gender, age, income level, and other demographics will be important in determining the packaging design. Just one difference in demographics, such as targeting high income women aged 30 to 40 vs. high income men aged 30 to 40, will drastically affect your product packaging. You should then think about their personality and interests. Is your target customer looking for something stylish, professional, quirky etc. Use this demographic and psychographic information to help in creating a packaging design that will attract your target audience.Understand Your CompetitorsAs mentioned already, you will want to use your competitors’ product packaging designs to influence your own design. No matter where you sell your product, look at your direct competitors’ packaging. How can you improve on their designs and give consumers that buy your product a better experience? If sold in store, look at your direct competitors’ packaging plus the packaging of products likely to be sold around you. How can you differentiate yourself? How can you make sure your product grabs the attention of your target customer more than other products on display? Consider The Product Packaging Material The actual material used in your packaging is just as important as the design and informational elements. Some things to consider when choosing product packaging material include:Will the material effectively protect the product throughout its journey from production to use by the end consumer? Does the quality match your product value and the experience you are trying to create? Even if you sell a lower price point product, very low quality packaging will discourage purchases. What is the material made from? From example, could it be beneficial to use a sustainable/eco-friendly material? What happens to the packaging when the product is removed? For example, do you want it to be recyclable? Just like with other packaging elements, make sure the material used is on-brand for the product being offered. For example, if your company sells a high-end product, the packaging material should also be high-quality and sophisticated. Consider Longevity You will not want to change your product packaging frequently. This will confuse consumers and damage brand awareness and recall efforts. For this reason, you need to ensure your product packaging design is timeless and will stay relevant and attractive overtime. Try not to use colors, imagery, or other design elements that are based on current trends. Think about what the product and product line offers and represents and use that to create a packaging design. Think about how the product line may be extended over time and make sure your packaging design can be adapted for this. Oreo, for example, has been using a very similar design for years. This design for their original cookie has then also been effectively expanded on for a range of new cookie flavors. Consumers can easily tell that the brand is Oreo based on the similarities in packaging. They can also easily identify each flavor variation based on slight edits to the packaging. The only time you do not need to consider longevity is if you are creating packaging for a limited edition product. This will most likely benefit from having a trending or seasonal design. Design When in the design stage, you will need to think about the following: Structure You need to first think about the actual structure of the packaging. First decide what design and material will work best to protect your product. You can then get more creative if possible, making a structure that is interesting and allows you to differentiate yourself. ColorsPeople react to colors in different ways. Lighter colors and use of just one or two colors create a more simplistic and sophisticated feel. Using lots of colors and/or bright colors gives more of a fun feeling. Conduct research on what colors appeal to your target audience. Show them colors you are considering and designs in a few color choices. What message do they get from these colors? Which colored packaging would make them purchase? TypographyUse an easy to read font that allows content to be quickly scanned. Use easy to read font colors too that complement the packaging colors. Imagery Imagery can be used to help show what is inside the packaging. Do not go overboard with images as it will make the packaging confusing. Informational Content Include all the necessary information in your design. This could include information on what the product is and what it does, how to use it, and nutritional information. Other Brand Elements: logo, tagline, mascot etc. Your packaging should feature your logo to make it recognizable as part of your brand. Also include relevant taglines, mascots, or other brand elements that are consistent across your other product packaging and advertising. Required Marks Some products require certain marks to be placed on the packaging so make sure you know what these are and include them. They may need a barcode, age guide (for toys, video games etc.), nutritional marks (is the product suitable for vegetarians or vegans for example) and more. Evaluate Your Final Design Once you have chosen a final design, undertake one last evaluation (you could use your focus group again for this.) Ask the following questions to make sure the packaging represents the product and your brand as best it can: Is it clear what the product is?Does the packaging honestly represent what is inside? How will the design look on a shelf with other products? Does it attract your target customer?Does it stand out from your competitors? Is the design versatile? Is it adaptable if you expand the product line? In Conclusion As you can see, your product packaging is so much more than just something that contains your product. It should be seen as a major part of your marketing strategy, helping with everything from the experience of using your product to actually getting it purchased. With so much competition, you cannot create sub-par packaging if you want to succeed in the market. If you think your product packaging needs an update or you would like help with creating packaging for a new product line, we would love to help you out! Brand Hause offers design services to create packaging that perfectly promotes your brand the product being sold. Most of all, we create product packaging designs that sells! Get in touch today for a free consultation to learn how we can help with your product packaging and other design and marketing needs!
10 minutes | 5 months ago
Why Your Business Needs A Blog
A vast amount of digital marketing strategy and advice at the moment is focused around content marketing. That refers to creating and promoting different forms of content including video, images, podcasts, and most frequently, blog posts. Why does your business need a blog though? And is it really worth the time and effort it takes to run a blog? We say that it definitely is worth it and having a blog can provide many benefits. These include better search engine visibility, more leads, an engaged audience, and more. Just in terms of leads, it is proven that blogs can increase them and are more effective than paid advertising in generating qualified leads. If you are still wondering exactly why your business needs a blog, read on for our top 11 reasons!11 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Blog1. A Blog Drives TrafficHaving a blog is a great way to drive traffic to your website. Blog posts will increase your visibility on search engine results pages (SERP) for queries related to your business. Creating high quality content that incorporates relevant keywords increase SERP ranking and click through rate and therefore traffic. Most purchases start with a problem. More than 90% of people search online first for a solution and more information to start the purchasing journey. By creating content for relevant problems and queries, you provide searchers with the information they need. It is then more likely that they will choose to become a customer. Blog content is also great for social sharing. More social exposure will result in more traffic too. 2. A Blog Helps With SEO Google and other search engines like new content and blog content is an important part of SEO strategy. Search engine algorithms reward you for consistently producing high quality content. The standard landing and product pages on your website are not enough for this. To house the amount of content you need for a successful SEO strategy, your business needs a blog.Internal Linking Having a good amount of blog posts also helps with internal linking. This is when you link within your content to another one of your links. Along with backlinks (when others link to your content), internal links are a crucial aspect of SEO. You can use internal links within content to direct visitors to related products or services or to another piece of content that may be useful. Or use them on product pages by linking to content that provides more information on the product. Internal links help provide more value by directing visitors to other useful pages which should increase time on site and reduce bounce rate. These both contribute to your SERP ranking and make a conversion more likely.3. A Blog Creates Content For Social MediaHaving blog content creates a good bank of content for your social media platforms. It can also reduce social planning time. Blog content should be based on popular keywords. Things people are searching for are usually of interest on social media platforms too. Therefore you can plan for blog and social content together. It is also encouraged to re-share content at different time intervals and with different messages based on the social platform used. Therefore creating 10 blog posts a month could turn into 20 to 30+ social media posts. Social Sharing of Blog Posts When you have blog content, there is also the option for readers to share it via their social media accounts. Adding a social share bar on each blog post page makes this easy. Shares will increase visibility and exposure to an audience that you may not have reached otherwise. Once content is posted on social media platforms, awareness can be increased even more through followers sharing or commenting. All of this sharing and extra exposure will increase traffic to the actual post. Therefore your content and products are exposed to more prospects, which should result in a higher number of conversions. Frequent posting of blog content will encourage people to engage more with your pages and visit them more frequently to see what new posts are available or click through from their feed more often. 4. A Blog Offers Audience Insights And Feedback Another reason as to why your business needs a blog is that it is great for getting feedback from your audience through two-way discussions. Once you start creating blog content, make sure the comments section is enabled. It is also a good idea to encourage discussion, for example, by asking a question at the end of the post. This will get you real time feedback from your target audience. Social Media Insights and Feedback Sharing each blog post on social media allows for the same two-way conversation. Again, generate discussion by asking a question in the post caption and responding to comments. You can also analyze reach and number of shares and reactions to assess how your audience responded to the post. Consider editing anything with lower engagement for future shares. You can use high engagement content to help determine what was wrong with lower performing pieces or just ask your audience! Comments can also provide new ideas directly from those who purchase or are considering purchasing your products. Blog Post Analytics Analytics from the blog posts (found in Google Analytics) along with social data can provide information on the audience that is interacting with your content. As mentioned, you can see if they are resonating with the content but you can also see who they are. Analytics will show demographic information such as age, gender, and location. You can assess if those viewing the content match your target audience. If not, either adjust the content or adjust your target audience to match those actually interested in your content and products. 5. A Blog Gives Your Brand A Voice Regular website copy such as “About Us” pages and product and services description pages are not very personable. Having a blog gives your brand a voice. Blogging can help build brand image and create relationships with your audience. A blog allows you to become more relatable, approachable, and friendly even if using a more professional voice. For example, a cosmetics company may have a blog with a friendly, upbeat tone, like a friend is giving you advice. Whereas a financial company blog will be more authoritative and knowledgeable. Both of these are relevant to the brand and product or service being promoted and will improve the connection with your target market. Be careful you identify the correct tone for your target market. Depending on the exact target audience, switching the two voices in the example given would probably not be beneficial to either brand. 6. A Blog Helps Build Email ListsHelping to build email and newsletter lists is another great reason why your business needs a blog. Email marketing is an effective way to reach interested individuals but getting sign-ups can be difficult. By frequently posting blogs and promoting on social, you keep your brand top of mind. If visitors find your content useful and entertaining, they may want to receive more from you via newsletters or emails. Encourage sign-up by including a sign-up link within the blog content or in a sidebar. You could even set up a pop-up with a sign-up box. To get the best results, have this appear after a visitor has been on the page at least 30 seconds. Pop-ups that appear when visitors enter a site are closed at a higher rate than those that appear after some time on site. You will then gain a larger email list of interested prospects who you can re-target with company news and product updates, special offers, or other content. You can also re-promote blog posts via newsletters. This will increase awareness of all new posts, help re-promote older posts, and ultimately increase traffic. 7. A Blog Keeps Your Audience Updated Having a blog is an easy way to keep your audience updated. It also allows you to provide more information than on a landing page or in a social media caption. You can provide a whole range of valuable content including ways to use your product/service, company news, and industry trends. By keeping your audience updated on new offerings, special deals and promotions, advertising campaigns, and any other relevant trending information you are more likely to convert them to customers. 8. A Blog Helps You Share Useful Information About Your Products A Blog lets you give in-depth descriptions of products, their benefits, and how they can help visitors. This is not usually possible with copy on landing pages and product pages alone. Blog posts additionally allow you to promote case studies, how-to guides, videos, and more. They also allow you to appear as an authority. You become more trustworthy as you are providing useful information and not just directly promoting products or services. Long-form blog posts can also show consumers that you understand the problems they face and know how your products or services can help and add value to their lives.9. A Blog Sets You Apart From The Competition You probably do not need to change your product and landing pages that often. Having a blog allows for new and useful content to be added frequently. Blog content will make your website more interesting and valuable to visitors, giving you a competitive edge. As mentioned, blogging adds personality making you more relatable and trustworthy to consumers. It also allows you to provide more information and promote your offerings and unique selling point in a contextual way. All of these blogging benefits will give you a big advantage over competitors if they are not creating blog content.10. A Blog Generates Qualified Leads Increasing lead generation is one of the most appealing reasons as to why your business needs a blog. Quality content makes you more trustworthy, provides extra information, and is an organic way to promote your products or services. These all result in more qualified leads and more conversions. As mentioned, blog content is a big part of SEO and helps increase SERP position, audience reach, CTR, and traffic. High CTR and traffic result in more leads as long as the content they land on is useful and appealing. If not, they will just bounce and all the traffic and potential leads are wasted. Having more content to be shared by visitors and shared and engaged with on social media will increase the leads you receive as well. 11. A Blog Improves Your Own Expertise By undertaking content planning and keyword research, you are thinking in depth about what your customers and prospects are interested in. By also analyzing feedback and performance data on blog posts, you can increase your knowledge on what your audience wants and adjust to meet these wants. All this additional research and idea creation will result in even more ideas and more insights into your offerings, your industry, and your target market. This is critical knowledge to have to ensure you are always meeting consumer’s needs, being innovative, staying ahead of the competition. If you think your business needs a blog but you are not sure where to start, contact Brand Hause. We can help with blog content creation as well a social media strategy and SEO. Get in touch today to learn more.
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