Why Storytelling is Such a Powerful Tool for Brand Creators

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Stories are ingrained in the lifeblood of human civilization, from primitive cave paintings, to the Epic of Gilgamesh; Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, all the way to the modern development of film and television. We’ve always been compelled to relate and intake, cultural wisdom in the form of stories, myths and legends.

To prove this point researchers at the University of Washington in St. Louis, studied levels of brain activity in the minds of participants who listening to excerpts read from a children’s picture book. Researchers found that, rather than just passively consuming the events of the story, areas of participants’ brains that corresponded to the movements of the story’s main character actually lit up. Showing that, when we listen to stories we actually see, and feel the experiences they evoke as if they were real.

For a company looking to create a unique brand, in a crowded marketplace; establishing this sort of a connection with customers is a much sought after advantage. Here’s what you have to gain, from using story telling in your brand creation.

Set Yourself Apart

In 2007, companies like Motorola, Nokia and Blackberry ruled the roost when it came to mobile technology. While Apple had gained some public attention with its wildly successfully portable iPod music player; the company was still considered a lightweight when it came to actual mobile phones.

Then, early in February 2007; Steve Jobs and co dropped this advertisement and shortly followed with a formal introduction at their Macworld Expo, later that year. Within 2 months Apple had sold a staggering 1 million iPhones, and the product was well on its way to dominating the mobile phone market for years to come.

Yet, the iPhone was not the first smartphone on the market; nor did it come from an established name in the industry; so what led to this overwhelming success? Watch that video again, and you’ll see that the answer is storytelling.  From the beginning Apple had a clear story to tell about their product and through simple advertisements and on-message branding they made customers believe it.

Subtle Call to Action

At marketing firms like brandmatters.com.au, differentiating a product isn’t enough; companies their marketing efforts to actually pay off through direct conversions. Without storytelling, creating that motivation within customers can seem awkward and aggressive, but with it you can organically motivate customers to take action.

Every good story has a moral at the end, as listeners we’re trained to listen for one. So when a brand takes you through an emotional journey where they lead an audience surrogate through obstacles and problems; customers have their ears pricked for the solution. Of course those solutions are offered by your company’s offerings.

Customer Loyalty

Loyal customers are less expensive and time-consuming to retain; and they actually spend more on your products. A Harvard Business Review study revealed that customer’s actually spend more on their 6th purchase from a company than on their first, and even more on their 8th. Spend less, and earn more, who wouldn’t want to get those benefits?

Storytelling helps you create a brand that customers can relate back to their own values and experiences, and once you’re successful in forging that kind of bond, it lasts!

 

Five Creative Ways of Making Your Startup Stand Out from the Crowd

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If you are working hard to get your new business off the ground, you might want to appear unique and approachable at the same time. While the majority of businesses created today operate on the internet, you should not neglect the importance of branding through networking and carefully designed marketing materials. Make a statement about your business online and offline, and show off your best side to potential business partners and customers. Find out how below.

1. Create Unique Stationary

“Business Cards” by Paul Reynolds is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It is important that your new business is credible, and you show your audience that you are serious about your offer. There is no better way than brand yourself and make people remember you from business meetings and networking events than creating unique business cards, Custom Labels & Tags, and promotional gift items. Make sure that you choose an appropriate and easy to remember logo and color scheme that you can use for creating brand awareness in your new market.

2. Engage in Video Marketing

One of the most underestimated ways of creating awareness about your new company is video marketing. You don’t have to have a full studio with all the latest equipment, and can create a short presentation in just an hour highlighting the benefits of your offer to potential clients. Many online marketers use videos for personal branding, as they can help them get their values and mission effectively communicated to the target market.

3. Create Unique Presentations

Whenever you meet a new potential client, make sure that you tailor your business presentation to their needs and industry. Use their name several times in the presentation or project proposal, and tell them why this feature is important for their business.

4. Personalize Your Messages and Videos

If you want to make a statement and get the job or project, you should create personalized video messages and send them to your potential clients through email or the cloud. This way, they will know that you made the effort to address their particular needs and concerns, instead of creating bulk marketing materials to distribute to everyone. Even if you have an autoresponder, it is important to segment the market and tailor each message to the individual company’s industry and level of engagement.

5. Create a Strong Brand Message

“Raising brand awareness – Own your Brand Conversation” by Thos Ballantyneis licensed under CC BY 2.0

Before you can become successful in the world of business, you need to develop a personal and business mission and vision. A brand message should be something your audience will remember, and can relate to. If you want to end their struggle with cloud administration, or want them to have more flexibility when hiring temporary workers, build your brand message around this aim, and make it consistent across all your marketing channels. This way, you will be the guy they remember for making HR easy, or one who saves them money on accounting software.

Whenever you are thinking about your future business, consider how your future customers will see you. Get them to give you feedback on your marketing and branding messages, and tailor your brand image to their needs and wants. Using personalization and unique marketing materials will help you stand out from the crowd.

Influencers: Why You Need Them And How To Identify Them

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The power of marketing in the digitally led global business climate should never be underestimated. The sad fact is that no matter how incredible your product, no matter how well run your operations and no matter how much time, blood, sweat and tears you pour into your business, it all amounts to little if the right people don’t know who you are. There was a time when marketing was a strategy of broadcasting. You’d send your message out as far and wide as possible and hope that the right people would find it. Today, the world of social media and digital connectivity has made it far easier to identify your target audience and market directly to them via pay per click advertising. This reduces extraneous marketing costs and maximises the chance of your content and advertising reaching the right audience. Yet, as important as it is to know your target market, it’s just as important to know who influences their behavior.

What is an influencer?

Influencers can make all the difference between your content falling on deaf ears or going viral.  The rise of the influencer is a relatively new phenomenon but one which numerous big brands recognize the value of. Influencer marketing works in a similar way to celebrity endorsement, but influencers tend to be easier to reach, cheaper and more receptive to working with brands. They tend to be individuals who have gained a sizeable and loyal following on social media.

Why you need them

Like celebrities, they’re usually attractive and aspirational figures whose look, style and habits your potential customers find aspirational. They can help you by endorsing your products, link building and even agreeing to be the face of your brand. They can also help to elevate your brand’s status, giving you a degree of “cool by association” in the eyes of your target market. Moreover, unlike roping in a celebrity, influencers tend to actively want to work with brands. They may well have content of their own to monetize and will be grateful to be able to piggyback on the recognition of your brand in order to expand their own reach.

How to identify an influencer

Instagram and YouTube celebs like Zoella or Jamie Genevieve may not be the best influencers for your brand, it’s important to find an equivalent that speaks to your target market. Looking for people with large followings and an interest in your product or service is a no brainer, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s important to keep an eye on an influencer’s social media engagement. Throwing money at an influencer with a large following is unlikely to pay dividends if that following is not actively engaged with the influencer. Make sure that their posts all have a healthy amount of likes and comments.

Important caveats

Any time you associate your brand with any individual, there’s always an element of risk. There’s a chance that they could be ostracized by their following by their actions, their posts or their political affiliations. They can misrepresent your brand or mislead your potential clientele. Thus, it’s extremely important to make sure that your influences are vetted and well managed.

The Art Of Making Your Content Go Viral

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“So, content is King is it?” I can hear you saying it now, “I have the content. I have lots of content, but why aren’t I king yet?”. There are many reasons why (besides living in a democratic republic or not being next in line to the throne by blood) your content may not be making you king. You see, when Bill Gates made that statement way back in 1996 he misled a lot of people. It’s not having content that makes you King (although the quality of your content is a major factor), it’s the way in which you implement and share that content, whom you share it with and when that will determine its success. There was a time when simply having some form of content marketing (however ill-strategized) gave businesses a leg up, but those days are long gone. Content marketing is no longer a novelty, in fact it’s used by around 94% of brands. In order to make your voice heard among the masses, you need to give yourself a viral boost. But how?

If there were a single, foolproof way to make your content “go viral”, everyone would be doing it and the exercise would be pointless. However, there are some ways in which your content can be tweaked to enhance your likelihood of going viral.

What is “going viral”?

Many use the term “going viral” in relation to online content without a particularly clear idea of what it means. So, for the sake of clarity, virality is how quickly and widely a piece of content is shared around the world. When content goes viral it’s very often a case of the right people noticing, consuming and distributing the content at the right time. The rise of social media celebrities means that certain people are well placed to share content with their sizeable following and boost its distribution exponentially. These people are called influencers.

While many books and articles claim to be able to impart the secret of virality, the truth is that it’s a process that will occur organically under the right circumstances. While you can’t force these circumstances, there are some things you can do to help yourself…

Invest in regular, high quality, relevant content

Sounds like a no-brainer doesn’t it? The fact, however, is that too many businesses think that they can build a powerful content strategy on cheaply sourced, poorly written or irrelevant content, just as you can’t build an impenetrable fortress on sand. Your content should be posted regularly (for regularly read daily), and should be of high quality, written in a way that is SEO friendly (use the Yoast plugin if you need guidance with this). Outsourcing your content is all well and good, but the more specialized your field, the more specialized your content should be. Your content should be attuned to the demands of your target market and address issues, news and trends that matter to them.

Dare to be different

In an age where more providers than ever are dishing out free content to your target audience, it pays to do what you can to make your content look or feel different. For example, turning a regular series of blog posts into an instant Flipbook gives your content the look and feel of a magazine. This will be more appealing to readers and increase their chances of sharing it.

It’s okay to make lists

A small but vocal online subculture look at list articles with disdain, but look at Buzzfeed and you’ll see that some of their most shared articles are in fact lists. Lists are popular because they represent digestible yet information dense format that’s suited for consumption in small doses while on the go (which, in case you weren’t looking is how people consume their content these days).

Have personality

Aside from providing specialist information and the kinds of insights that only you and your insights can give, it’s important to have personality. After all, intelligence is attractive in our friends and loved ones but nobody wants to hang out with a walking encyclopedia. Finding the right balance between personality and making your content feel weighty is a tricky one. Your tone should be engaging without glossing over salient details. You should be funny without being flippant, you should be articulate without being confusing and information dense without being dry.

Finally, know your onions

You can have the punchiest and most engaging prose style in the world, but if your information is incorrect or unfounded, audiences will not forgive you for it. Having someone tear your insights to shreds on social media because you didn’t do you research isn’t a good look on any business.

5 Interaction Channels That Create Unparalleled Brand Loyalty

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With the explosion of e-commerce retail, customers now expect the shopping experience to be cohesive and connected. In other words, if consumers have a dispute to settle, they want to receive timely and efficient customer service on the channels — phone, email, social media, live chat and more — in which they spend a majority of their time.

But the quicker your business recognizes the channels that are most optimal in providing a positive brand experience, the sooner management will see a bigger return on investment. Plus, happier customers are never a bad thing. Here are five popular omnichannel options to consider.

1. Texting

These days, anything can be done from the palm of our hands. Knowing people send upward of 100 texts per day to family and friends, why not make it yet another option for customers to reach your support team?

Indeed, give the people what they want. According to Marketing Sherpa, 27 percent of consumers ages 18 to 34 prefer to receive communication from brands via text versus a paltry 6 percent amongst those age 65 and older.

Additionally, an eWeek study concluded that 89 percent of consumers want companies to offer multiple channels in which to respond to support requests. Of that same group, more than half (52 percent) said they would prefer having a conversation via text conversation with a customer support rep.

 2. Live Web Chat

Looking to save time, drive more business to your website and keep your customers satisfied? Implementing live chat support on your e-commerce site could do the trick. In fact, this feature provides the immediacy that consumers want — without having to pick up the phone and wait on hold for an eternity.

Not only does live chat provide more in the way of efficiency, it can also save your organization time, particularly if the feature employs AI to more quickly provide answers or tips. Because most customer service issues addressed via live chat can be solved in 42 seconds, these interactions often don’t need to be escalated to the phone or via email. Moreover, 63 percent of customers are likely to do business with a brand whose website offers live chat capabilities.

3. Email

The speed, efficiency and record-keeping capabilities of email no doubt allows this communication channel to remain popular throughout the business world. Plus, no matter your industry, email is bound to be a popular communication tool to connect with colleagues, customers and clients any time of the day.

In fact, 91 percent of all consumers use email every day, providing a basis for this interaction channel to be standard in your customer service offerings. From inquiries related to distribution and service downtimes to account balances and missed payments, email provides a host of opportunities to easily rectify most customer service issues.

Plus, easy-to-use, navigable interfaces via Gmail and Outlook mean most employees won’t need a rigorous onboarding session, as most employees use a similar system at home. And with tools like MailChimp, you can select from a number of email templates that can be tailored to best communicate with your audience.

4. Voice

Despite monumental tech advances in recent years, consumers still want and enjoy the ability to have a two-way conversation with support reps to rectify an issue. In fact, customer support via phone still accounts for 68 percent of all customer service interactions, according to New Voice Media.

Like email, most consumers expect the brands in which they do business with to offer phone support. For many, it’s the speed and convenience of picking up the phone and speaking with someone directly that makes this interaction channel appealing. Of course, long hold times and call transfers can be a major turnoff.

But cloud-based customer engagement platforms can eliminate some of these pain points. In fact, cloud contact center solutions, including those sold by Aspect, provide flexible options that allow businesses to more efficiently provide answers to questions and inquiries from any number of service channels.

5. Social Media

The ability to instantly connect with brands via social media not only provides you more ease and flexibility, but it also lets you hold their feet to the fire should certain companies not respond in an efficient manner. Indeed, calling out a company directly on Twitter can have massive implications on how it handles future customer service inquiries.

And this communication channel is only continuing to grow in popularity. Case in point: An estimated 1 in 3 consumers who use social media prefer this channel to communicate with brands versus phone or email. Plus, the ability to have instantaneous back-and-forth conversations between company and consumer via social media is meaningful: Consumers spend 20 percent to 40 percent more time and money with brands that respond and engage via social media.

So who are these consumers? According to Marketing Sherpa, 18- to 34-year-olds are most likely to use social media as a customer service tool, followed by consumers ages 35 to 44. So, on which channels should your brand be providing customer service? While social media and email remain the more popular options, do some research to determine how your customers like to communicate.

 

Digital Marketing Strategies That Work: A Quick Guide

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In this modern technological world that we live in, digital marketing needs to be part of your business plan. Businesses and consumers are all going to be looking online, so if you want to get their custom, then having a good online presence is the way to help that happen. If you’re just starting out with your business, then it can feel like a pretty overwhelming place to be as it can be ever changing. So here are some of the sure fire ways that you need to be implementing as part of your digital marketing strategy; are you doing any of them already?

Know Who To Target

To market your business in the best way that you can, you need to know who your business is trying to target or who the ideal customer is for you. You might have an idea of this, and may have designed your business in a particular way for a certain demographic. But when you use online platforms, you can actually check who your business is marketing. Using online tools related to your website, you can check the location of people that view your site. You might not have intended to go global. But if you have plenty of viewers from overseas, it could mean you targeting your audience or product to suit those overseas too, for instance.

Identify Goals

Having an idea of what you want to get out of your online presence is a great way to be specific with what you decide to do. Do you simply want to get more followers on social media or more hits and shares on your blog posts? Do you want to rank on the first page of a Google search for a specific keyword? Do you want to double your current revenue from your online store? When you identify a goal, you will then be able to take the right steps to achieve it.

Look For An Agency or Mentor

If you have only got a small team of people at work, none of whom are particularly savvy when it comes to digital marketing, then it could be a good idea to look for an agency to outsource the work to. You could also look for an online mentor to help you, such as someone from LDI (Lifestyle Design International), for example. If you’re not sure what that is, then you could look up a Lifestyle Design International review to see if they could help you achieve what you want to do. When you want to achieve online, then you do need to get the best advice to help you.

Audit Your Owned Media

At the heart of what you will do with your digital marketing strategy is your owned media, which will essentially be the content that you have. If you have a website, then anything from your about or contact page needs to be looked at, as well as blog posts and anything relevant you are sharing that way. Boost the posts, use keywords, images, and social media posts to help.

Forming A Practical Marketing Wing For Your Business

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Every business needs to have a marketing team that works non-stop to make sure the products and services of the company are projected in a positive light to customers and clients alike. However, the traditional style of a marketing department is slowly going to the door, and more modern practices are now being pulled in. Rather than just working on ways to make the business and the newest item look great and innovative, now marketing teams are more inclined to show customers how. This means that the marketing and communications departments, more so for small businesses that have to make sure each employee possesses multiple talents, are able to practically make this happen. No longer should a small business try to go outside the company to get a logo, animation, mascot, digital walkthrough or model, made so that the products and services are better understood.

Hiring and filling a group

Marketing staff is a versatile bunch, and many are more orientated toward the analysis and behind the scenes impact of the projections, advertisements, and campaigns have on the business. Others are simply more creative and want to be much more hands-on with regards to the actual creation of the project. Therefore it’s vital to realize that some marketing professionals will be better at formulating a plan, watching the figures and others will be more inclined to take the artistic route. Those that are can be shown an Altium course. At seminars, meetings, exhibitions, and lectures, they will be put on training courses. Here they can learn the importance of design and be shown the essentials. They can also go on to do, more advanced courses that will delve deeper into the software and technical aspect of designing and managing components.

Research and impact

Of course, if this method is done, that means there will be a split in the marketing department of your business. This is actually a good thing, as smaller teams that work together are able to almost purify a subject and the results down to a simple form. However, the impact that design has on the business, especially with regards to clients that are familiar with the business, should be studied and logged. The research and impact a marketing campaign has on consumers, can and should be made into a digestible report for the business itself. If consumers are reacting positively to one part but are nonchalant toward the other, this can be corrected and improved with more staff members dedicated to sifting this out. The design team can, therefore, use their creative means, to alter a patch of the campaign, be it a 3D model, the logo or simply an interactive component that consumers are reacting to such as a smartphone app.

Forming a creative wing for your marketing department isn’t just about including more artists and creators. It’s about now making the design of such projects, purely in-house and not having to rely on a third-party. Therefore the communication between departments has to be bolstered, and though the original team will have to split into practical and technical minds, the evolution of marketing campaigns is paramount.

Wow The Market With Your Positive Brand Reputation

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Whether you are an entrepreneur at the head of a massive business empire or you’re a freelancer using your name as a brand, the way others perceive you can make or break a deal. First impressions, as the saying goes, always matter. However, when these first impressions can be shared with others, they become difficult to address and fix if they’ve been negative. Imagine this scenario: As a young graduate, you’ve prepared for an interview for your first job, but on the big day, your nerves get the best of you. The interview turns into a fiasco, and you don’t need long to realize that you’ve ruined your chances for this job. Others candidates have made a better first impression. It’s annoying, but unfortunately, these things happen. Maybe you’ll be lucky next time. Now, put yourself in the same scenario, but with one noticeable difference: The interviewer publishes an article about how bad they found you and why no company should bother hiring you. You’ve not only ruined your chances for this specific job, but for any job! The same thing can occur at a business level. Creating a positive reputation is about making sure that the interactions with your market run smoothly and that, if mistakes happen, they can be sorted out efficiently and durably.

Monitor what others say about you

You may try hard to appear on top of the search results on Google and Bing, but what happens when others beat you to it with your own branded terms? When bloggers, reviewers or journalists write about your company, they use your brand name. Depending on the reputation of the online platform their commentary is published on, it’s likely to appear before your own website, especially if you’re looking at customer reviews. Tracking what others say about you is part of your Online Reputation Management strategy or ORM for short. Indeed, there’s nothing worse than finding that the top search results for your brand rank negative reviews or articles about your business. It’s damaging to your reputation and your growth, and that’s precisely why there are options that you can use to remove online content and improve your brand reputation. When a blogger publishes something negative about your brand, for example, you can contact the webmaster to remove the page, or in some instances, you can ask Google to remove the information permanently in the case of fraud, sexually explicit information or even Right to Be Forgotten in the EU.

Be a confident professional

Building a positive reputation begins with your professional skills. Becoming an expert in your business environment is at the core of making the best possible impression. In a word, the day you neglect your professional training is the day you will cause harm to your reputation. While you may not need to become the very best, your ability to remain knowledgeable about the latest industry trends and evolutions is essential to maintaining the image of expertise that you crave.

Shout about your successes

Nobody likes to sound big-headed or pretentious. As a result, less and less small businesses like to shout about their achievements and latest successes. But let’s get things clear from the start: If you don’t tell the market about your results how do you expect people to know about them? Self-promotion is not a shameless excuse to boast. It’s about promotion what your business is good at. So make sure to create success stories and monitor the metrics that you can share with your audience.

Let others tell their stories with you

The main reason why happy customers are so precious is not that they’re easier to deal with for your customer service team, but instead, it’s because they are your best advocates. If you don’t like the idea of promoting your successes, maybe you can let your best customers do the promotional work for you. When a customer shares a positive experience they’ve had with a brand, their circle of followers listen carefully. Why so? Firstly, because people trust what strangers say about you. Secondly, because it’s likely that your customer might be describing a meaningful issue that others struggle with too. Promoting your services for their problems also presents your brand as a solution to people in a similar situation.

Share your knowledge

You don’t always need to talk about your successes. Sometimes, sharing your experience willingly can make all the difference to an audience. You could speak at a conference, for example, to share your expertise about a specific market theme, or publish a book to discuss a niche business strategy. Usable knowledge is, after all, the best advertising campaign you could get.

Are you ready to improve your brand perception and build a reputation that will attract future customers? Then it’s time to maximize your expertise, monitor branded content, and make the most of your satisfied customers.

Social Media Engagement 101: How To Boost Your Followers Interaction

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If you’re considering making any form of branding or business online, it’s always important to remember your audience. If you want to build your online presence, you should always consider social media engagement.

Some might think that since you’re starting an online business, or want to gain revenue from blogging, it’s alright to stop with just increasing your audience size. However, you’re missing an essential step. It’s always important to be consistent with follower interaction to grow your presence online. For those who are curious, the following are the top ways on how to increase follower interaction on social media. Let’s take a look.

Social Media Engagement: Why Follower Interaction Matters

If you want to make your online presence considerably relevant to your customers and fans, it’s always important to engage with them on a regular basis. This allows them to “grow” into your products and services. People who frequently visit your sites and social media accounts should be the ones you constantly engage with.

  • These people, although “lurkers,” can be transformed into fans and even customers.
  • Devoting time to build relationships with them can potentially jumpstart sales, increase numbers in positive reviews, and even develop customer loyalty.

Follower Interaction Know-How

It’s therefore a priority to make sure you’re engaging with your followers in order to boost your so-called “cred” or credibility. After all, it’s much more comforting as a customer to be able to interact with a service or a brand as it establishes good relationships. Customers may prefer to buy products from a service that they know they can ask questions to or talk to, than to buy from a “reputable” brand that ignores its customers.

If you think it’s time to start focusing on follower interaction, you’re on the right track. Here are some of the best behaviors for social media engagement that you can do for your business and branding.

Consistency is key. Perhaps you can start by making sure there is a consistent theme throughout your social media platforms. Use a common color scheme, a common logo, and focus on your niche. This allows people to “know” what they’re getting into.

  • This affords them the opportunity to trust you, as they know what to expect.
  • This also means it’s important for you to start developing ways to “show” your brand to other people.

Advertising is perhaps the most common way to generate follower interaction. Be warned, however, that it also tends to be extremely expensive. Social media platforms such as Facebook give you the option to “expand” your reach via your ads. For a fee, Facebook can “boost” your posts and help reach more people.

  • This is a double-edged tactic, however, as there’s no guarantee on the level of interest people who will see your ads. They can be potential customers, or just lurkers who can see your advertisement.
  • This is still a good shot if you have the spare budget. After all, expanding your advertisements’ reach can help you assess just how popular a potential product or service can become.

Creating unique content is perhaps the second-most common way to generate follower interaction. It also tends to be the cheapest way. However, be warned that this process takes a lot of time. This is because you have to slowly develop content to make you a relevant figure in your niche.

  • If you’re planning on sharing pieces created by others, don’t forget to give them credit.
  • If you’re planning to make unique content, try utilizing useful quotes, viral videos, funny GIFs, and even entertaining graphics.
  • Remember to always create content that’s unique and not used anywhere else as this helps to improve your overall reputation as an authority leader.
  • Make sure all content is spell checked. Spelling mistakes can appear unprofessional.

Collaborations can help, especially if you’re friends with people from other famous brands. If not, try approaching the notable figures in your niche if you could perhaps do a collaboration. You can for instance offer if your service or products can be “joined” with theirs, as you can boost the chances of selling products.

  • Examples of collaborations can be blog posts that promote products and services, contests and giveaways, and other forms of unique content.
  • This also helps you develop more fruitful relationship with other figures in your niche. This can help establish a good presence even to other members of the market.

Other Things You Can Do

Finally, here’s some other things you may be able to try to help increase follower interaction.

  • Offer freebies, contests or other incentives that may grab your follower’s attention.
  • Trigger emotions by sharing funny posts.
  • Share random questions or quotes to help peak their interest.
  • Share something controversial but not too controversial. You want to peak interest but not make people hate you if they don’t agree with you.

These are just some of the ways that you can engage your followers better to get better interaction.

Conclusion

At U-Thrive Marketing, we know that these tips above of course do not work “instantly.” You have to mix and match elements of these tips in order to boost your chances of getting more followers to become customers. Try to find ways to have these techniques “match” your branding and marketing, as this helps establish your “identity” in the market.

Bill Sheikh

I am the founder of U-Thrive Marketing, Tulsa’s premier online marketing and website design firm. We have helped hundreds of businesses across Oklahoma and the rest of the US take their online marketing to the next level. We specialize in generating more customers for the businesses we work with by utilizing proven online marketing tactics such as SEO, PPC & Social Media marketing. We also have a team of experts that specialize in website development, website design and graphic design. I have also been personally featured on many national and local publications related to marketing. 

Marketing Methods Debunked

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Marketing is one of the most important things a business needs to do. Right from the beginning you should be looking for ways to market yourself, and your products. The official definition of marketing is, “The study and management of exchange relationships”.  Basically, you’re communicating with your customers products and offers. Without it, you’ll be struggling to get yourself noticed in a very big world. Before you start a marketing campaign, you first need to do some market research. Knowing exactly what your customer wants, and what your competitors are doing can help build your own marketing campaign. This can either be done in house or outsourced. Getting an expert to look into your market for your first campaign might be a little easier than giving it a go yourself, that way your first campaign will be strong and effective. There are a lot of different ways of marketing, some of which can be confusing. This article is going to debunk some of the most effective.

SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. This is one of the most effective methods for getting your website noticed within a search engine’s rankings. It works by increasing traffic to your website, or a particular web page within your site, and in turn boost your overall rankings. Everything is on the web at the minute, so getting your website to the top is so important, hence why SEO should be your number one method of putting yourself or product out there. Like with market research, it may be best to outsource this one yourself. A successful SEO campaign can be hard to do, but SEO can be self taught. The backbone of SEO is link building. So basically, a search engine his little ‘robots’ that’ll crawl through all the websites on a web search. Within a website or webpage there should be a number of links that the robot can follow through the continue its crawl. If you have no links, and the robot can’t crawl your site, you site will be right at the bottom of the rankings. So this is where keyword research and link building come in. The more links that are dotted around the web that link to your website the better. Search engines assume that the bigger and better that your link building profile is, the more interesting your site is. But you can’t just build spammy links on random fake sites. This could face you being penalised. You also can’t build hundreds and hundreds of links at once. Again, you’ll be penalised. The robots aren’t stupid, you need to build your backlink profile up naturally. This is where companies that specialise in building backlinks come in handy. As you start to dabble in the world of SEO and backlinks, you should start to notice a rise in your rankings pretty soon.

Social Media

Again, this is a really big method of marketing, purely because social media is so huge. It is however, not as effective in terms of drawing traffic to your site as link building would be. It is more to showcase yourself to the world much more quickly. Social media is a real time thing, people are constantly tweeting, putting a picture on instagram etc. As soon as you tweet or post something, it’ll instantly start to get noticed. Your business should always have the three main social media pages set up. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you create a business page through Facebook, they have a really good tool called boosts. Basically, if you post something such as a new deal, you’ll be asked if you want to boost the post for a set price. This will then rocket the posts views from maybe hundreds, to in the thousands. The prices are relatively cheap, but it isn’t alway reliable in terms of meeting the right people. If you’re going to utilise Twitter, you need to think of hashtags that are relevant to your business. For example, if you’re selling gift hampers, you could promote a product by using hashtags such as #Gifthampers, #Christmas, #Birthday, and so on. Twitter is huge, and if done right you could be sending a lot of people your way. Make sure you’re always active in terms of tweeting, and try to gain followers as best as you can. Instagram is more for just showcasing what you have to offer, it won’t be as effective in terms of sending people to your website. Use it to show professional pictures of your products, and again you can use the hashtags that instagram has to build a decent following. Make sure you show your products off in the best light, use photo editing software to make them look as professional as possible.

Adwords

This is a service ran purely by Google, and it is effective if used alongside other methods such as link building. If you’ve ever done a Google search, you’ll notice that at the top of the search they’ll be three pages separated from the rest of the search with a little ‘Ad’ sign next to them. These are Adwords. Google uses keywords to determine which website should appear for which search. This is the difference between natural non-paid rankings, and paid rankings. To get your website in the top three, you’ll have to be paying a bit of money. You’ll be competing against other companies to take one of those spots in a particular keyword search. So for example, if you’re running an Adword campaign for the keyword ‘Sports Clothes’, they’ll be a few other companies doing the same, pumping money into this keyword search to try and secure the Adwords spot. It’ll sort of become like a bidding war to stay there. Whoever pays more, wins. It is effective in the sense that your website will get noticed instantly, and it does look more trustworthy. But it can be a really expensive game, and unless you want to constantly be paying a lot of money, it’s only a temporary method. But it will boost sales quickly, even if only for a short period of time.

Once More With Feeling! Making Emotions A Key Part Of Your Marketing

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When you are marketing your business, an impression needs to be made right off the bat. Ultimately, standing out from your peers is key; this will bolster your brand, your identity, and will beat your competitors. To do this, it’s almost a very simple formula; you trigger the emotions of the right audience at the right time. So how do you do this?

Giving Your Customers Meaning

You need to provide a sense of meaning for your customers when it comes to marketing a specific product if your customers are unhappy, whether this is because they don’t have a specific product in their life or not, you can attempt to provide a way to avoid pain. The notion of the psychology of pain is something that lots of marketers talk about. And while fulfilling a need or filling a hole in your customer’s life is something that you can do by showing how your product fulfills these needs, it is important for you to be genuine in this respect. If your marketing is, in essence, untrue, this is not particularly moral. You have a moral responsibility to uphold too!

The Importance Of Resources And Platforms

Platforms in the marketplace, such as online stores, are a valuable resource to get your product out on a mass scale. And for entrepreneurs like Issa Asad, Amazon is one such platform that is a great way to present products and to stimulate your customer’s emotions. Instagram marketing is another one where you can reach a lot of people quickly. But it’s also important to make the most of the resources at your disposal, such as marketing agencies, but you can also use your own wealth of knowledge, and also research into these platforms like Amazon, and see where certain products are going wrong, and why they are not travelling as far as they should.

The Importance (And Power) Of Value

The thing about marketing a product is that it’s not just an item that delivers a specific need, it actually fulfills an emotion. A great example are modern smartphone advertisements, these phones are not just a way to contact someone, but they are now a way to capture your children’s first steps, capture vacations with friends, and can span generations, in addition to the handy little features on the phone itself! But the emotion is the key to getting a product to fly.

Communicating With A Purpose

With so many different marketing campaigns, it’s much harder now to keep your customers attention. Their attention span will go to the cheapest competitor, and so this is why you need to push emotions with your marketing, this is going to be the thing that will resonate. The cliché, of course, when people buy an item from a store, is that it’s not about what they bought, it was how they felt when they bought it. This is a key to establishing relationships with your customers, so if you can work hard at the emotional aspects, this will have a lot of benefits for you, not just in terms of the marketing, but in terms of the business.

Emotion is the vital thing when marketing products now, so instead of that flashy poster, think about stimulating your customer’s emotions. This will prove beneficial in every aspect of your business.

Why is it Important to Give away Promotional Gifts?

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In today’s crowded business market, companies, no matter big or small, are competing more than ever before when it comes to delivering their messages. As businesses keep on launching different types of advertising and marketing companies to attract customers, it becomes tough for one message to stand out from the rest.

Also, the rise in the cost of marketing a new product or service makes it necessary for a company to come up with an effective strategy to promote its business. Therefore, companies make use of corporate branding to bring out their message effectively and efficiently. There are a number of good options available throughout the city when it comes to branded merchandise stores.

Why are promotional gifts useful marketing tools?

  • Unlike a traditional advertisement, promotional company products are hard to miss. A tote bag featuring your logo will grab more attention than a newspaper ad, and it can be used on a day-to-day basis
  • Flyers have become less efficient means of marketing as most of the times; they are either ignored or thrown away. But it is not true in the case of promotional products, for example, t-shirts or stress balls, as they are more like gifts than advertisements
  • Billboards, radio spots, newspaper advertisements and television commercials are excellent, but they are not exactly genuine. Promotional gifts are not only more creative but also more tangible to customers
  • Any experienced marketer can tell you about the high costs of traditional marketing methods. Promotional gifts are easily available in a diverse range of shapes and sizes, such that there is something for every budget, although if it is just a key chain

How are promotional gifts used regarding marketing?

  • Promo gifts rapidly spread the word about your business. People love gifts and samples, and clients are likely to tell their friends about the personalized products you distributed with your friendly slogan
  • Employees deserve rewards for their hard work and dedication, and high-ticket promotional gifts can improve morale and reinforce loyalty
  • Sending follow-up emails to clients is always smart, but giving a high-quality promotional gift is even better. For example, sending a gift like a table calendar after a big sale can bring you some repeat business
  • A lot of firms print coupons on promotional pens or provide t-shirts that entitle customers to avail discounts. There is no limit to what all you can do if you get creative with your promo items
  • By making use of your custom merchandise as prizes, you will give winners what they want and expose your brand at the same time

How to distribute your promotional products?

  • Direct mail is still one of the most effective marketing mediums as it puts your message directly into customer’s hands. You will need potential client’s names and addresses to pull this off though, as mail sent to current resident always ends up in the round file. Also, it is important to pre-calculate your shipping costs
  • Trade shows normally have a wide variety of attendees from several career fields. It means there are ample opportunities to market your brand and get new clients. There tends to be a lot of competition at conventions. Hence, you need to work hard to customize a stand-out promotional gift that will attract clients
  • Conferences are excellent resources to market to others within your industry and meetings give you the chance to meet face-to-face with customers. Providing participants with a personalised gift for attending your seminar will surely give a boost to your brand

These were the importance of giving promotional gifts and how they prove to be beneficial for your brand. Hope you find this article informative and helpful.

How To Get People Offline & Into Your Store

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Although many retailers are focusing their attentions on their online sales and their website presence, for many of us our businesses are all in bricks and mortar. Having a retail startup in the digital age comes with its own set of challenges. Whilst online retail is all about getting traffic to the site, physical retail outlets are all about increasing foot traffic into the store.

With the continual rise of online shopping it has never been more important to be looking at unique and creative ways to make our retail stores thrive. So today we are sharing our top tips on how retailer startups can boost foot traffic by using different approaches to garner attention in-store.

USB Chargers

This is a bit of a new development when it comes to the sorts of things that shoppers are looking for. Providing USB outlets within your store is a great new way to keep people in your store for longer than they would usually stay. Have you noticed people gathering around USB portals in train stations and airports? We have such a dependence on our mobiles now that keeping them charged has become really important.

So whilst it might seem like an unnecessary detail just think about all that extra time shoppers will be spending browsing as they wait for their phones to charge. It is a super simple strategy to creating a solution to the age old problem of how to keep shoppers in your store for longer periods of time.

Free Wi-Fi

This again is tapping into our love of mobile phones. With many mobile phone providers no longer offering unlimited data, people are now turning to more and more places and areas that offer free wi-fi. Advertising in your store window that you offer free wi-fi can seriously boost the foot traffic to your store. A recent study revealed that over 60% of shoppers spend more time in-store after they have tapped in wi-fi details. So again this is a simple trick to getting more people inside your store and keeping them there for longer periods of time.

Your Entrance

If your entrance looks shabby and old then you are going to struggle to get people through the door. Think of design features such as aluminum canopies to offer shelter to customers coming in and out, whilst also offering an attractive design feature. Focus on your window displays in order to best show off your products and keep these fresh by changing things around every month or so. You can even ensure you bring in dog lovers, by offering somewhere for people to tie up their dogs with a bowl of water (and even biscuits, if you want to show that you really, really love dogs). You’d be surprised how much custom is lost by customers not being able to find anywhere to tie up their dogs, so use little tricks like this to your advantage.

In-Store Events

All store owners should be looking at ways to promote their company and ways to peak interest in the local community. In-store events and clubs, depending on the type of products you sell, are one of the best ways to do that. Look at your store as a way of being a key member of your community, a company that pulls people together and a company that thrives to connect the local people through the products that you stock.

You can also think about sponsoring and co-hosting local events, again to raise your profile and to have a bigger and more well respected presence in your local community and stronger relationships with your customers.

So, as you can see, it only takes a few simple details and a bit of strategic thinking to get more foot traffic to your store and to increase the profile of your store in your local area. So get thinking about the different ways you can ensure the success and future growth of your retail business.

Shake Up Your Site With A Complete Content Supercharge

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When it comes to creating content, you can often find yourself getting a little bit stuck. Whether you’re always running out of ideas, not reaching the traffic levels that you’d hoped, or can’t seem to engage with your audience, you may be in need of a little help. Sometimes, you don’t even know that you’re struggling until you read something like this and think, yes – that’s me! When that’s the case, you may even need to shake things up and go for a complete overhaul. But again, how do you know where to start?

It’s the nature of content to be interesting, entertaining, informative, educational, or even inspiring. When you find that your site’s content isn’t any of these things, you may need to regroup and get yourself back into a strong position once again. Whether you’re a writer and run a blog, or you’re an entrepreneur with a business site, the process is going to be largely the same. Because content is content; it needs to be engaging regardless of its purpose. So now’s the time to spice up your current content and start to head in an entirely new direction, and here’s how you’re going to do it.

Research

Read Anything & Everything

First of all, you’re really going to want to get your research in. This can often be the most important part of all. Because how are you to know where to improve, if you’re not able to find out what you should be doing. Looking at different content marketing ideas as Forbes.com tells us is just one avenue towards making this happen, but you can also read different marketing and business sites and blogs to find out some great ideas for taking your site to the next level.

See What The Industry Is Up To

But you’re also going to want to take a look at some of the sites in your particular industry too. Whether you have a blog or a business site, you should be looking at what your competitors are doing with their content, as well as other blogs and sites that are in the same niche as you. Here you will be able to see what you’re doing well, as well as where you need to improve, and even get some ideas for going forwards too.

Head To Social

Then, you’ve also got social media to scour too. Because you can often get some really great ideas from different social media platforms. In short, you need to be able to tackle your research from all kinds of different angles, and social media can often provide you with that final piece of the puzzle to pull things together.

Create

Generate Some Ideas

Okay, with your research complete (or enough for now anyway), you’re then going to want to get onto the actual creation side of the overhaul. And the first part of this is all about generating some ideas. Based on your research, your mind should be buzzing with different creative ideas you have for new content, as well as things like design and even features too. So, now, you need to get these ideas down on paper.

Spice Up Your Posts

Then, when it comes to creating some content, you’re going to want to think about making things a little more exciting. There are lots of different ways that you can spice up your content, but you’re definitely going to find that varying your post types can help too. Don’t always stick to long, lengthy posts. Go in with videos and fun imagery, even detailed infographics to make things more exciting too.

Focus On SEO

From here, you should also be sure that you’re putting enough emphasis on your SEO. If you really want your site or blog is sing, it needs to be optimized. But don’t panic, if you know nothing about SEO right now, you can learn all about it. With a few tweaks to the way you approach creating content, you’ll feel like a pro in no time.

Analyze

Analyze The Results

Then, you’re going to want to think about analyzing the results of your new efforts. Because putting content out there isn’t enough. You need to be ensuring that it works and actually engages with your audience. To do this, you need to be checking in with your site analytics on every post to see which are working and why, and which aren’t, and why.

And Your SEO

You should also think about doing this with your SEO. Again, you don’t have to panic. Because there are software services such as Botify.com that were created to specifically help you with this. You need to ensure that your SEO is not only working, but that it’s getting you the results you need, and to do that, you need to start analyzing it.

And, Finally, Your Social Too

The last area that you should look to analyze on a regular basis is your social media. Because if your want your content to be king, social plays an important part in it. Is your content shareable, or popular with your audience? You can use social to find out. So you need to get onto your platforms and look into the analytics to find out what’s working the best.

Optimize

Create New Content Based On The Results

From here, you then need to take all of that analysis that you’ve just done, and come up with some clear conclusions. The results are likely to show you what kinds of content works for you, and what doesn’t do so well. So you’re then going to be able to take this information to continue on creating new content. But this time, you should find that the content is much more of a hit.

Try New Things

As you start to move forwards with your new content, you’re also going to want to ensure that you start to try new things. Because sticking to the same old stuff is just one way to get yourself stuck in a rut again. So, to help you try out new things, you not give A/B or split testing a try? You could find out what ideas work best among your audience, to continue to optimize your content going forwards.

Ask The Audience

At this stage, you should also be asking your audience what they want. It’s easy to think that you should know what they want, but you’re only human – you can’t read minds. To find out what your readers want, you need to ask them. It’s what all successful businesses do. Because if you want your content to work, it has to be what they want.

Repeat

Re-Apply New Results

Then you’ll find that you get to the stage where you’re pretty much repeating the above processes. It’s the best way to ensure that your content stays relevant and really gets you the results you want, whether you’re a blog or a business. You should be researching, creating, analyzing, and optimizing over and over to ensure you’re putting out the best of the best.

Trial Trends

But, again, don’t be afraid to try new things. You should be thinking about the different ways to can apply new content marketing trends as sites such as Contentmarketinginstitute.com talk about, as you’re going forwards. Some might not work, but when something does, you’ll be glad you gave it a go.

Adapt To Industry Changes

And finally, you’re going to want to ensure that you move with the times. That’s why the idea of constantly repeating the steps is so important. The world of content is fast-paced, and what works for you now may not work for you in a few months time. So you need to use this repeated process to keep yourself ahead of any industry changes.