Coronavirus is changing so much about everyday life. Perhaps one of the most extreme changes is the work environment. Countless businesses have needed to make the shift into a remote work setting. Of course, this can be very challenging for managers and employees who have never had this option. Luckily, in the past decade, countless amazing remote working tools have been created.
Remote working tools allow for us to maximize efficiency as well as create an ability to be well organized. They are purposely made to make it easier to complete tasks during the workday. This is why I prefer to call them “essential” tools over “remote.”
One of the greatest advantages is employers now have access to talent that would not be available otherwise. Similarly, employees can land a position from anywhere in the world rather than needing to be in a specific city. For instance, there could be a fantastic candidate that must be a work at home parent or an experienced employee hire that doesn’t want to move to the home office location. Remote tools give the flexibility and option to have access to these people.
Some might believe that there is a major loss in the ability to successfully collaborate with team members without being in person. However, there are plenty of tools to collaborate virtually on new ideas and strategies and it has never been easier. While working with these programs, everything can be recorded and nothing is forgotten as new ideas pop up. They aid in planning and discussion which can make the experience similar to meeting in person.
One of the most important things to do when choosing a remote tool set is to make sure they work well together. When you have seamless integrations within communications and tools, the team will gain a competitive advantage with the ability to quickly get work done. An example is the use of Slack and Asana. Teams can task in Asana (project management tool) within a chat in real time on Slack.
As previously mentioned, there are several types of remote working tools that will be essential for a team to be efficient. Ultimately, choosing the right ones for the specific team will be vital. There is no one type of tool that can help remote teams connect and flourish. The more important types are project management, communication, collaboration and file sharing tools.
These are tools to help you manage your team and stay organized around project progress. They allow for identifying due dates, resources working on projects, and managing details of tasks. They are on the cloud so real time updates happen and should have a mobile app to ensure you don’t miss anything in real time.
Asana is a wonderful, easy to use app. The tool is straightforward and also allows for a bundle of configurations. Tasks of a project can be loaded into the Asana system directly from a calendar. It works and functions well with integrations and time tracking tools such as Harvest. The mobile application is also efficient and helpful to keep up with while on the go. Project status updates are easily shared and the dashboard and task management is simple to stay on top of.
Todoist is perfect for planning productively on an individual level. Their newest feature allows users to see the entire week at a glance and proactively organize each day. The Todoist app also lets users flag top priority tasks, add subtasks and even add recurring tasks.
Email boxes are difficult to manage and maintain conversations. New communication tools allow for teams to continue to easily follow conversations and add others to these conversations. It breaks down barriers in making sure conversations are on topic and relevant. These include virtual meeting platforms as well as chat/team applications.
Uberconference is a free tool that works well for small group calls. It integrates well with Gmail and Slack. Some key features are the auto record function, video conferencing option, and ability to share screens. Uberconference is really a great tool if budgets are small and there is no need for all of the features offered in a larger platform like Zoom.
Twist gives more structure in a communication app. They organize conversations into threads and it is much easier to break out conversations over Slack. Users are encouraged to create a new thread for every new topic of conversation so information is easily found. Twist was created in reaction to Slack being too hectic. The app promotes productivity and asynchronous communication which allows for the team to be as efficient and stress free as possible.
Slack is ideal for quick communication with internal teams. The app also makes it easy to create workspaces to interact with other clients easily and in one place. Some of the arguably best features are in the paid version of Slack such as integrations to other applications.
Zoom does not need much of an introduction. However, this video conferencing app has proven to be triumphant over competitors. Zoom is ideal for larger groups.
MURAL is a gem. It is the ultimate tool for real time collaboration and visualization. They include agile methodologies in its structure. The templates they provide are thorough and they have an amazing support team that consistently help solve collaboration problems. MURAL is used by engineering teams, marketing teams, and others as a top tool. It integrates easily into Google Suite and has many other integrations.
Milanote is a good option for creating an initial vision board. Milanote encompasses an easy to understand user interface and gives the ability to easily share and restrict access.
Google Suite is a favorite. The programs within Google Suite are great for copywriting, spreadsheets as well as more traditional document management. They also include creative tools that allow us to visualize our ideas and planning. Document access can be easily restricted and the linking features are simple to use. The drive also configures well with virtually every platform and operating system on the market. Not to mention, files can be shared and collaborated on with anyone inside or outside of the company that needs access.
This article only brushes the surface of the many amazing remote working tools on the market. The products chosen for a team must work well together and integrate smoothly to have the most efficient workspace.
At this point in time, there is no telling when the world will return to normal following the coronavirus. Many teams will likely choose to stay distributed even after it is deemed safe to return to the office. It will probably take some time for people to feel comfortable in public spaces again. The safety of working from home sounds a lot better than entering an office building that may or may not have been cleaned properly. Also, the shelter in place rules have been in place for weeks giving time for teams to get used to working in the remote environment.
Any team can succeed working remotely as long as they choose the correct applications and tools. Added bonus, a lot of tools can actually be used free of charge!
There are unlimited ways to connect with your consumer base in recent years. Although that is freeing, it also can become overwhelming very quickly. From social media, to billboards, traditional copy or emails, there are countless platforms to feature and promote your brand. This article will dive into the top 6 email marketing trends of 2020.
Businesses large and small can benefit from a successful email campaign. However, many tactics should be kept in mind. Of course, email marketing has been available and heavily utilized for years. But, it is important to note that what worked ten years ago will not be effective today.
Take a look below to see if your email marketing trends are up to date.
This is one of the most obvious of the email marketing trends and, of course, applies to all kinds of marketing campaigns. Each company has a target audience and it is important to find that demographic. For instance, if selling diapers or baby supplies, make sure your emails are going to new parents.
Sending an automated email to all emails on your list can absolutely feel enticing. However, if the content is irrelevant to their interests or needs, that message is going straight into the trash anyway. The best way to ensure your emails are going to the right customer base is to create targeted groups. These can be segmented by location, age, gender, etc.. Sending valuable content to specific groups will create better engagement and lower email opt-out rate.
Once you create targeted groups, it is vital to only send relevant content. Yet, that is typically not enough. You must get creative with copy and images throughout your emails to immediately grab their attention. Do not send the same email or information constantly, and make sure you continue to learn and inquire what your audience is looking for. However, keep in mind two items:
As you get more comfortable with your target audiences, it is time to create a more specific email marketing campaign. There are several ways to ensure your subscribers are getting the right information that they are most likely to engage with.
Too much written copy and monochromatic images/logos can be boring for the everyday consumer. With so many promo emails coming in every day, it is important to create interesting content.
Perhaps the most effective way to do this is creating an incentive for interacting with your company. Subscribing to your email or newsletter or liking your social media pages are all great ways to get content to your audience. Create a campaign such as “get 10% off your first order when subscribing to our emails.”
Extra tip: add your social media links to the bottom of your email for quick and easy access!
Of course, it is necessary to have clear direction on how to subscribe to your email list. Add an email sign-up pop up on all content you put into the world: your website, blog posts, etc.. Make sure your pop up only requires a bit of information, even just the email itself will suffice. If you ask for too much personal information during the sign up, many will choose to opt out.
Consumers are typically subscribed to several companies’ promo emails. As time goes on, needs and wants change and some businesses become obsolete to that specific person. It is vital to make it easy and painless to unsubscribe. You do not want your last interaction with a customer to be negative with spammed emails they already requested not to get. Adding a “You Are Now Unsubscribed” message email can be useful to let the person know it worked.
Each email you send out should be mobile friendly. As most emails are created on desktop or laptop, this can sometimes be overlooked. The ease of checking emails on a mobile device is apparent. Many smartphone users wake up and immediately check their emails or social platforms. Sending a disorienting mobile device email just looks unprofessional. Luckily, it is simple to avoid this by sending a test email and checking it on your personal mobile device.
There are so many ways to grow your business with effective marketing campaigns. Email marketing is only part of the puzzle. That being said, it is always important to stay on top of the latest email marketing trends!
Your website is the face of your business. Often, it’s the first point of contact potential customers will have with your brand. Even if you operate a traditional brick and mortar storefront, customer engagement with your website occurs when they search for your contact information, operating hours, location, or details about specific products and services. More and more frequently, this is also where customers go to make purchases or payments on their account.
The problem is many websites can be one dimensional and generally look the same and this makes it difficult for customers to distinguish you from your competition. Think about your favorite restaurants or coffee shops that you might recommend to someone. The first ones that come to mind are those that are doing something different to set them apart. These businesses are likely innovators thinking outside of the box about unique ways to improve the customer experience. They also seem to make a habit of going out of their way to create compelling opportunities that drive customers to interact with their brand.
What a successful website engagement strategy looks like for your brand will greatly depend on what you hope to gain from increased interaction with your customers. Here’s a few ideas to help you get started with increasing website engagement for your business in 2020.
Play to Win! Gamification is a great way to reward customers that play games with winnable discounts, loyalty points, or exclusive offers. Don’t want to give away the kitchen sink? Offering non-monetary rewards such as personal recognition through badges, special mention on social media platforms, newsletters, etc. can offer your customers the same gratification.
By adding a layer of interaction that could be as simple as moving around puzzle pieces, spinning a wheel, or popping a balloon, you create a connection with your customer. They have a chance to get a benefit to something they wouldn’t normally have access to. Not to mention, this is all while having some fun.
Enter to win! Win big when you organize a contest, giveaways, drawings, or sweepstakes. Who doesn’t love free stuff? Despite outward appearances, contests can be a very cost-effective method to help your business. For instance, giveaways can drive traffic to your website, generate leads, segment email lists, grow brand awareness, promote products, improve brand loyalty, and grow your social following.
After all, nothing really comes for free. Potential and returning customers are required to perform certain measurable activities like visiting your website and inputting personal information such as receipt number or email address. Where your competition might be asking for this same information, are they offering a chance to win in return?
Create an emotional connection with your customer. Do you have an emotionally compelling product success story or an exciting service use case? If so, storytelling might be for you!
Stories give your customers the opportunity to relate personal experiences and values to your brand. A great example of using storytelling to drive online engagement is revamping your About section with compelling media. Customers want to visualize the early beginnings of your brand story and follow along your road to success. This will create a rare connection that allows you to highlight your company values and relate to your customers on a deeper level.
When used in concert with other website engagement metrics, direct customer messaging (push notifications) can be a powerful customer communication tool. Instant contact with customers is a privilege so be mindful of your messaging and it’s value to your customers. Here’s some great ways to leverage push notifications to strengthen your customer relationships.
Connect with your customers anytime from anywhere. LiveChat offers a wide array of customer centric value propositions. From anticipating customer needs, to addressing pain points – when you respond to customers in real time, you increase conversions. Businesses that use the chat function, boost productivity and minimize phone support costs by creating automated workflows triggered by specific activities.
Here are some initial examples of ways to best utilize live chat: Build rapport through positive scripting, up sell bundles and add-ons, offer personalized discounts, and give relevant product information.
Catch them off guard! Your website paints a picture and sets the tone for sales conversions. With hundreds of design layouts to choose from and customize, why would you want a cookie cutter template? While we encourage you to keep the structure simple and consistent, that doesn’t mean that you can’t change it up a bit with your design. Think about what makes sense for your customers. Below you can find some common designs to help you decide which is right for your business.
The list goes on and ultimately you can work with a designer to create a custom design that speaks to your customers in a way only you can.
Figure it out! Website engagement statistics show that roughly 70% of consumers want to learn from your website before taking additional action. In today’s day and age consumers like to make informed purchases. Whether you’re involved in high-end technology sales or in the business of selling common goods you can’t go wrong when you add value to your website.
With the information superhighway at their fingertips it’s important that you establish yourself as a trusted advisor and an authority in your market.
When you utilize website engagement tools, they need calculate the value and/or functionality of your product or perform side-by-side product comparisons you equip yourself with valuable product feedback and create trust between you and your customer. This can lead to fewer customer service issues, and faster sales cycles. The bottom line is an informed customer is a happy customer.
Wow visitors with responsive interactive design sets to showcase your offerings and your ability to innovate in style. Fluid effects, transition animations, 3D models or scanning, map pins, drag and drop shopping carts, hover effects, timeline markers, music bars, and so many more!
Choose the right combination effects and animations to create micro interactions.
Remember, you only get one chance to create a memorable first impression. A positive perception can bring additional opportunities to interact and engage with your customer. These key factors lead to an increased customer lifetime value. However, it is important that you engage with your audience in a meaningful, exciting way.
Clearly defined and measurable objectives are critical in the success of any website engagement plan. When website engagement ideas are implemented, individual goals may vary. It’s important not to initiate multiple website changes at once to measure specific outcomes of website engagement models.
These tips will help you engage your clientele throughout your website in 2020!
As marketers, it is commonly known that what works today, may not work tomorrow. The field is constantly evolving and sometimes it is hard to stay on top of current trends. Now, in the social media era, this ever-changing environment is even more relevant.
Social media has taken over and is now an integral part of everyday life for many people. Of course, it only makes sense that social media is now used for marketing, selling products, etc.. However, utilizing these platforms can be tricky for many reasons. Among some of them are that new apps emerge, some become obsolete, and how they are used change as users or the apps evolve. This can make social media marketing hard to always use to its highest potential.
Although there are many ways to better utilize social media marketing. Here are some of the top trends for 2020.
Influencer marketing is key for a new age business. Across all platforms, Facebook to Youtube to even Linkedin, there are influencers for different niche groups. Influencers are useful across so many diverse industries. These individuals have varied reach depending on followers, but they can offer amazing benefits to companies.
Of course, influencer marketing is not a new way to market and has ultimately changed recently. The most important part of influencer marketing is finding someone who is trustworthy. Traffic is much more important than likes for a page. According to a HYPR study, in 2018, 64% of influencers admitted to buying likes. More importantly, an August 2019 study by GlobalWebIndex indicates that social media users are more interested in the type of content that influencers share rather than how many likes they get.
That being said, trustworthiness for celebrities and other high paid influencers has gone down since they are making so much money. Their posts and recommendations do not seem genuine anymore. Companies should begin utilizing smaller, maybe local, influencers that have better relationships with their followers. These individuals do not cost as much money and are likely to help sell your products, service, and brand.
There is more detail about Influencer Marketing on our other blog.
Similar to influencer marketing, social media groups and communities are not a new feature. However, they are more popular than ever–especially Facebook groups. These social communities are made by brands, local communities, music fans, political parties and everything in between. Individuals can express their beliefs, ideas, or opinions and share it with like-minded individuals. These communities have really become more niche and unique as time has gone on–it seems as though there is a group for anything.
Brands can utilize these groups by creating a new one specifically for their company or joining existing groups that align with the products or services that they offer. This can increase exposure to the precise target audience any brand is looking for. Then, once the traffic is there, brands can release new products and get real time customer feedback.
This brings the next point. In this age, immediate responses are expected by consumers. Not to mention, friends and family.
Customers look to social media to write reviews, good or bad, to ask questions, among many other things. According to Conversocial’s 2018 report, 37% of people expect a response within 30 minutes, 31% want one in two hours, 26% in four hours and only 6% do not expect a response. Great customer service is clearly judged on a fast response time. Facebook even lets consumers know what the expected wait time is based on the average response time of the company.
This form of customer service is sometimes the first interaction an individual has with a company. And, of course, you want to make a good first impression. In 2020, it is important to utilize this feature of social media to better present your brand and offer the same kind of service that someone would get if they picked up the phone or came into the store/office.
For typical B2C companies, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have long been the most popular platforms for advertising. LinkedIn has shown to be great for B2B tactics. However, as time moves on, more apps are created and can have their own advantages in social media marketing. Not to mention, Facebook has lost 15 million users in the past two years, especially those in younger generations.
This year, it will be important to explore all platform options to find the best representation. Target audience will depict which alternative services are best for each brand. For example, TikTok, which was launched in 2016, has a huge following of people ages 16-24. Also, Pinterest has become a great place for e-commerce as 75% of users say they are interested in buying new products compared to other digital platforms.
One other trend that is dominating is ephemeral content. Attention spans are not what they used to be. The everyday individual, for personal or commercial use, wants quality, fast content. Instagram stories, snap chat stories, tiktok videos, etc. are all great examples of this type of content. These features and apps have also gained so much popularity due to the engaging, short content. Social media users can spend hours clicking through 10 second videos.
According to a Cisco Study, by 2022 82% of online content will be video. This can be compared to Cisco’s 2016 study that predicted that videos would make up 75% of all online content in 2020. Clearly, video content is beginning to have control of media and it should be included in a content schedule and strategy.
Short stories on Snapchat or Instagram is a great way to get started utilizing ephemeral, video content.
There are many ways to utilize social media to gain brand recognition or sell products and services. This year, these are the trends that will help your company the most.
As we all know, a successful business model includes a strong and multifaceted marketing strategy. When we talk with clients there is often confusion about different types of marketing efforts, and their relative value and purpose. The most common misconceptions clients communicate have to do with influencers and media. For that reason, we’ve put together some valuable information to help clear things up.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Media in marketing is broken down into four parts: owned, shared, paid, and earned. These parts are not mutually exclusive. A comprehensive marketing strategy will encompass a combination to meet specific campaign objectives.
Owned media is paid for, owned, and distributed by you. This includes business assets such as your website, blogs, white papers, case studies, brochures, signage, email, newsletters, staff uniforms, company vehicle markers, other promotional materials and so on. Owned media is considered an investment in business and is best kept evergreen.
Shared media is paid by you, owned by a third party, and distributed by you. It encompasses social networks and Brand Channels like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Yelp, et. al. While most networks are free, they should not be taken lightly. Social media is said to influence some of the most intimate of consumer decisions and most of them have come under fire for unethically manipulating both network control and reach.
We like social media because it offers channel diversity for your customer and further strengthens that bond and more broadly your brand presence when you’re able to meet your customers where they are.
Some consider “shared media” as “owned media” but in the recent past, we’ve seen companies involved in controversial industries lose Brand Channels despite massive following.
Paid media is paid by you and owned and distributed by a third party. Commonly referred to as advertising, this includes any media you pay for on various mediums such as; billboards, radio, print, video, and banner ads. Other paid media might include product placement, sponsorship, teleshopping, and affiliate networking.
Paid media is attractive because it is the most direct path to get your products and offerings in front of customers. Digital giants like Google and Facebook have become experts at reaching targeted demographics. They’ve made it their business on making quality connections between advertisers and consumers.
Earned media is considered the most esteemed media and usually falls under public relations. You can’t purchase good earned media; it is voluntarily given. This includes media you are not directly responsible for, such as news coverage, broadcasts, press releases, radio talk show mentions, magazines, digital and print publications, ratings, reviews, word of mouth, referrals, and endorsements.
These types of media coverage are accomplished through any reputable media outlet. It’s verifiable and consistent. For this reason, coverage is of extremely high value.
There’s a segment of industry professionals that will call any combination of the above media types “Convergence Media”. Due to the complexity in variables and highly specific nature of convergence media we aren’t going to dive too deeply into this type of media.
A great example of convergence media is to do with influencers. Depending on the influencer, there might be an unspecified combination of paid, earned, shared, and owned media, to meet specific objectives or contract terms. While it’s impossible to clearly define convergence media, it’s important that you know it exists and that it is not in itself actually a type of media.
An influencer can be defined as any person with a measurable influence over a substantial audience that is typically identified by industry focus. This is a broad definition that might include political lobbyists, activists, market analysts, journalists, editors, authors, bloggers, thought leaders, public speakers, comedians, athletes, musicians, celebrities, reality TV stars, models, entrepreneurs and niche industry experts.
Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. They are best categorized by the size of their following, how they achieved it, and whether or not they are monetizing it.
Celebrity influencers extend brand reach exponentially with 5 Million+ active followers. Think of A-list celebs such as Adam Sandler, LeBron James, or Elon Musk. These influencers are household names, and because of that many have leveraged their reach to grow their own Brand Channels. Some excellent example of this is Jessica Alba’s all-natural product line, Honest Company. These stars can cost, on average, in the neighborhood of $1 million dollars for a single social media post.
Mega Influencers are content creating machines that usually have a team of people helping to manage their channels. These influencers have refined their personal branding and are capable of earning a noteworthy income from their influencer status and may or may not already be considered B-list celebs on the red carpet. These influencers make an estimated $50k per post.
The Macro influencer category is loaded with social media stars that earned their claim to fame by generating shareable content. They are almost certainly monetizing their following and looking to move onto the next level. This tier can make six-figures and consist of a montage of influencer types, niches, and personalities. These influencers are estimated to make an average of $15k per post.
Mid-Tier influencers are working hard to engage and grow their target audience. They are the bread and butter of the influencer world driving the highest ROI for brand and channel partners. Maybe that’s because mid-tier influencers are likely working hard to increase their influencer revenue which can average $5k per post.
These influencers aren’t usually getting photographed in the supermarket and may not be a universally recognized authority in their market, but they pack a healthy punch and know their value. With a loyal and dedicated following we see many micro influencers helping brands bring products to market. Micro influencers have earned the trust of their audience over time and are likely monetizing their following as they can earn up to $5k per post.
If nano influencers have a notable reach but have not likely clearly defined their influence. They are usually looking to monetize, which for obvious reasons, and can make up to $1,500 per post depending on a variety of other factors such as niche, platform, and the personality of the influencer. These are the influencers to watch, you likely have a few in your own network.
Now that we understand what marketing media consist of and who influencers are, we can clear the air we can dissuade confusion.
Media is content. Whether it’s physical, digital, word-of-mouth, or ad copy – it’s content that requires distribution channel to reach an audience.
Influencers are individuals (usually people, but sometimes animals). Brand Channels are frequently mistaken as influencers. It might be tempting to think of the New York Times or Facebook as an “influencer” the reality is, they are media outlets that allow their users to create brand channels.
A key point to remember is that while you may produce media for specific Brand Channels, media outlets, or influencers, the media itself, does not embody a single distribution channel. A perfect example of this would be a cross-channel marketing campaign to promote an instore sale. That campaign would likely produce a combination of media, such as: flyers, emails, social media posts, influencer video requests, and pay-per-click ads. All the marketing deliverables in this scenario are types of media with varied methods of distribution.
Our clients visualize their success daily. They utilize our marketing expertise as their vehicle of choice to help get them to the finish line. If we think of various marketing media initiatives and influencer engagement models we deploy as drivers of success for that vehicle, we recognize that some drivers maneuver the road more gracefully than others, while some put the pedal to the metal but at the cost of the car. We notice that a few might have impeccable night vision, and maybe a even let you roll the windows down to take in the view.
Now, I want you think specifically about public relations. In this scenario, PR is the road your traveling on and your customers are the landscape on which that road exist. It controls, monitors, and guides brand messages across multiple channels, ultimately paving the way for customers to interact with your brand.
The climate of public relations offers unique and sometimes unexpected challenges. It heavily impacts brand viability and can dramatically increase awareness of leadership and your company. The purpose of PR is to maintain, enhance, or adapt a company’s public image based on deliberate objectives in support of your brand schema.
Without public relations, it would be impossible to unify brand messages regardless of the amount of money paid to influencers or third-party advertisers. That’s precisely why PR experts are the people brands turn to when facing negative publicity. Hopefully this helps clarify a few things, for a few people.
“The outside perception and inside perception of Microsoft are so different. The view of Microsoft inside Microsoft is always kind of an underdog thing.” Bill Gates
Speaking to a digital device brings back memories of old Star Trek reruns with actors speaking into a handheld device: “Beam me up, Scotty. There’s no intelligent life down here.” In those days, communicating through voice automation was about as likely as speaking to your lamp or coffee maker: “Turn on!”
But, alas, with the voice automation technology of today, we can do just that. Personal assistants can hear, understand, and follow our commands to turn on appliances, check the weather, and even order a pizza. Is voice automation a temporary fad or a vital new methodology for business?
With 46% of the US population using an Intelligent Personal Assistant (IPA) in order to keep their hands free to perform other tasks, many are already using voice automation to search the internet for information. So, businesses that use paid search advertising need to be to catch that wave, because voice automation for paid search is here.
Surprisingly, a growing number of people are using voice automation for more and more tasks. Take a look at these revealing numbers:
With users speaking into a device in order to effect an internet search, you can expect some notable differences over text queries. Let’s take a look at each and decide how to handle them in paid search.
When typing in a search on Google, we commonly use the fewest number of words possible. “Paid search” or “pizza near me” are good examples. We can then refine if needed from the results that are delivered.
With voice search, queries tend to be longer and more conversational. The above examples would likely become, “How can I increase paid search?” or “Where is a good pizza place near me?” We speak in a more natural manner when searching by voice than when we type.
Therefore, your paid search keywords need to be longer and more natural. For instance, instead of just using “pizza” or “pizza near me,” you may also want to include, “good pizza near me,” “best pizza near me,” “new york style pizza near me,” or even “best pizza in town.” Try to think of how users would speak to a friend, and use that basic phrasing when choosing keyword phrases for paid search.
Voice automation searches also tend to be in the form of questions. After all, we are “asking” Siri or Cortana or Google to help us, so why not do so politely, as we’ve been taught? So, using our example above, some of your keyword phrases should look like this:
Mobile voice search is three times more likely to be local-based than text search. This is because most smartphone searches are also local. How simple is it to whip out your phone and say, “Hey Siri, are there any new york style pizza places near old town?” The local reference combined with standard location tracking software enabled on most phones allows for very accurate local searches.
How can you get more local with your paid search listings? Use local places of interest that matter to your business. “Where is the best pizza near the University of Oklahoma?” “Who makes the best new york style pizza in Times Square?” These local identifiers can be even more profitable than simply adding “near me” to every phrase.
When using voice automation search, the results are often in the form of local or business listings or crowd-sourced sites. That means a user will only see your business contact information.
Be sure your opening and closing times are accurate as well as your address and phone number in every public listing. Users will often click the available links to complete their business, and if yours are inaccurate, they will move on to the next one.
By nailing down and using keyword phrases that better suit voice automation tendencies in your paid search, you can leverage these technological advances to speed ahead of your competition.
How do you know if all these changes are working? As with any SEO strategy, testing and adjusting is an ongoing process. Make the changes illustrated above and do some testing. Adjust. Repeat. Too busy for all that? That’s why we are here.
At Cast Influence, we live for applying agile approaches like voice automation search to help you engage and activate your audience. Drop us a line and let’s chat about how our disruptive innovation and growth strategies can give a boost to your business marketing strategy.
The importance of blogs is to have an effective content marketing and SEO strategy. I would even say that it’s required. Blogs provide a medium for you to distribute thoughts, statistics, promotions, content, and collect leads. All of which is at the core of marketing today.
Your blog needs to provide relevant information and links to further information. What information should it provide you ask? Well, it is a matter of identifying who you want to target and at what stage in the buyer journey the audience is. If they are just conducting research on a topic, you want to provide valuable information on topics they may be searching for. If they are closer to buying, you may want to provide a solution to a problem article. Just make sure that blogs don’t just stand alone. Offer ways for them to get more information via a download or connect them with another article providing them with more answers.
Blogging is one of the largest components to a successful SEO strategy. As stated in the stats above, websites with blogs have 434% more pages indexed. That increases your ability to rank dramatically. Additionally, blogs can be picked up and linked to by other relevant blogs and sites. This type of back linking is some of the most powerful you can receive.
You have blogs and social media is a wide open audience. Blogging gives you valuable content and attracts more followers of you and your brand. It pushes people to your website where they may find additional resources that will help them in their quest for relevant information. Without a blog your social media will often just include other company or news blogs. Great as that is, wouldn’t you rather they were going to your website?!
Last and certainly not least, generating leads is the most alluring part of blogs. Combining all the other reasons brings us to producing leads. It is one of the focal points on attracting people to your brand and thus finding ways for them to engage with you. Depending on how your website and blog is set up, you can offer almost unlimited ways of interaction. Signing up to a newsletter, listening to a Podcast, joining a webinar, announcing an upcoming event, and downloading a white paper are just a few.
One of the biggest complaints I hear from business owners and marketers is not having the capability to show the value and impact of marketing efforts. Core to this problem is understanding how marketing is defined. Marketing is a science and because of that, not everything will work the way you want it to—results can be unexpected. Marketing requires making multiple assumptions, rapid iteration based on results of those assumptions and a thesis of results. Until the first step (and investment) has been taken, further optimization of actions will be delayed until you fully determine the next best step forward. Each product, service, app and brand caters to a different demographic at varying points in time. There is no marketing quick fix to boost sales and you should be skeptical if someone promises you something that “just works.”
Where do you start?
You MUST paint a picture of where you are and where you want to be. This should be done in a way that can be visualized and easy to edit as key metrics or KPIs change. The metric that matters most is the cost per sale or overall sales resulting from the support of marketing.
I use the word ‘support’ because it’s nearly impossible to determine where someone heard about your company originally or how they initially engaged. It could have been an ad on the radio, over conversation with a friend, in a product review or a podcast interview. You want to prove value by showing that marketing support helped to push sales to the end goal.
How can I create a visualization of my data?
Here’s the good news: I have a free spreadsheet template to help you with this. It has been created to give you a way to show how budgets and conversion percentages can change the cost of sales. I explain a little more about this in the video. You can download the Marketing KPI Visualizer Template here.
If you need help determining where to find data or how to build your marketing strategy using a metric analysis, we can help. This can involve anything from measuring your website traffic to helping you build content programs. You may also want to look into CRM tools such as Hatchbuck or HubSpot that can dramatically increase your ability to track results.
Welcome to my first post in an ongoing effort to help you cast positive influence to your audience! Each month, I’ll share Justin’s Musts clueing you into the latest digital technologies and marketing tools I’m obsessing over.
In a 100% uptime world, you need tools that automate, track, report, and communicate your brand message while streamlining operational process. And don’t worry, cost friendly options are right at the top of the list. These are useful for all organizations from SMBs to large enterprises.
Keep in mind some of these tools may still be in beta, but are worth exploring to help them gain adoption.
Without further delay, here are a few tools I think are worth taking a look at.
Pablo allows you to use free high resolution stock images and quickly edit and size them for your social media posts. I use this religiously when I need to create an attractive image quickly.
TeamGantt is a paid service but it’s worth it to create easy to use Gantt charts. It has the ability to prioritize tasks in real time as they change in urgency and allows you to step out of list prioritization, giving you the ability to give your project teams relevant status and transparency to your clients. In the example, you will see how we use it for our website projects. This is a project manager dream.
In a time of heightened security around passwords, take advantage of Dashlane. Dashlane securely remembers all of your passwords and auto fills forms for you. IT’S FREE for one device and super easy to use. You couldn’t ask for more.
There are many calendar tools on the market, my favorite is Calend.ly. This handy tool allows you to sync your calendar to automatically let others see when you’re free. No more back and forth trying to herd cats! Calend.ly also lets you create team events for scheduling and specify the time durations for scheduling. We have even incorporated the embed code into our own website.
Make sure you subscribe to our blog. We will be giving you a monthly list of the new technologies that you can utilize to help propel your success.
Marketing’s core mission is to connect with key customers where they are and deliver targeted messages about products and services that are relevant, timely and compelling. However, as technology advances and customers are browsing the web, interacting on social media, viewing videos on small screens and relying on technology to enhance their lives, marketing needs to be there, too. For most mid- and small-sized businesses, staying current and relevant in an industry is enough of a challenge. Responding to additional changes in marketing can overwhelm even the most tightly run organizations. It’s time to borrow a concept from IT and use Managed Marketing as a Service (MMaaS) to stay agile and adapt to the latest marketing trends.
New marketing solutions follow the IT model
A managed IT service delivers a collection of benefits to its clients. An outsourced solution ends the break-fix model of calling in an IT service to bring a system or functionality back online. You’ve likely worked in an office that outsourced its IT – where systems and equipment were maintained externally and system issues were monitored to prevent costly repairs and downtime. Agile businesses rely on this model to keep their technology up and running and to update their equipment and functionality. Outsourcing this work allows the business to have access to a team of experts when their business’s budget and size wouldn’t allow them to have these experts on the full-time payroll.
Marketing has become a multi-niched industry and thus can follow this same modeled approach.
The Value of MMaaS
This is a boon for small- and mid-sized businesses, who can benefit by taking advantage of this outsourcing model called MMaaS. Like its IT cousin, MMaaS gives businesses access to a highly skilled team without the expense of these experts’ annual salaries.
The benefits of an MMaaS service are:
Brands may still complete some marketing efforts in-house, but time-consuming projects or those that require specialist training or sky high software expenses can be outsourced, freeing up business leaders to explore methods, platforms, venues and audiences to gauge a project’s long-term effectiveness. The flexibility MMaaS provides ensures profitability, while reaching customers in new ways.
Effective Marketing Outsourcing to Accommodate Businesses’ Needs
Many teams hold a misconception that outsourcing is a sign of weakness or even laziness. On the contrary — marketing team diversity provides a competitive edge over organizations who hire one or two people to perform all marketing functions. Consider your current limitations like your team’s access to workflow software. Are you satisfied with the tools your company uses for campaign management, marketing automation, web analytics and standard CRM? Pricing for Salesforce Marketing Cloud starts at $400 per month for email, mobile, and web marketing and Social Studio is even more at $1,000 per month.
I’m an advocate for MMaaS as a turn-key solution that frees up a brand’s time and capital to focus on the core mission: providing their customers with high-quality goods and services.
Picking a Marketing Agency
Just as your business evaluates purchases and new hires, so too should your business have a process for selecting MMaaS for outsourced work. Check the agency’s references with a call to previous clients. Ask them about their experiences, how easy it was to work with the agency and how committed the agency is to timely delivery.
Ask your agency contact about their processes. Verify that their workflows are intuitive and that they fit well with how your business operates. Request the agency provide you with samples of their work. View their blog to see if the agency blogs regularly with engaging, useful posts.
Ask yourself these questions: Does the agency understand what you want, are they capable of the work and are they a good fit for your company culture? Answer yes to these questions and you can feel good about contracting with them for your outsourced marketing work.
Build Your Business with Managed Marketing Solutions
As you continue to grow your business, your focus should be on continuously improving your product or service; as well as hiring the right people. The time you spend outside your brand’s core mission takes away from your core mission, making it a wise decision to leverage the power and flexibility of MMaaS.
Want to learn more about how your organization can leverage MMaaS or Marketing Solutions? Contact us here