What can a marketing calendar do for you?

Too busy to focus on marketing?

Create a marketing calendar so that you are continually getting your message out there. To create a marketing calendar, you’ll need a couple hours and a spreadsheet (there are apps that can help you organize too, however, a simple spreadsheet will do the trick).

Create a grid with one axis listing the time intervals and the other listing your marketing activities. Be sure to list all marketing activities including any major events you may be attending. If you end up with a period that has a handful of events, you may be able to cut back on nonessential marketing. Conversely, you can use slow times to work on building your brand with more long-term marketing efforts (direct mail, email marketing, social media marketing).

For each time frame, get specific on what your marketing plan will be. List out who is responsible, the budget, materials needed and any other key details. Here’s where a Google calendar is so helpful. Set up reminders and recurring events to help you be consistent and relevant.

As always, if you need help creating your calendar or any of the items listed on the calendar, let us know! We are always happy to help.

Need to know how to Monetize your blog?

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I blog. My blog helps my SEO and establishes my credibility in the market.

Hey, after 35 years in design, print and signs…I need all the help I can get.

And I’m not alone. 77% of business to consumer marketers leverage blogs as a marketing tactic (Content Marketing Institute). One major problem with blogs, however, is that there isn’t always a direct link between the products featured on the blog and the ability to purchase them.  To solve this problem, retailers are experimenting with new technology that enables them to create shoppable images that can be used in blogs and other social posts. These images help consumers discover all available items and link them directly to the product pages for purchase. A home furnishing retailer recently tested this solution and reported a 110% increase in click-thru rates when compared to traditional blog posts.

Getting people to travel from your blog or other content piece to the shopping cart is the goal of any content marketing campaign. Getting creative with how you direct people to the cart can push your piece over the top and increase sales.

Hey Millennial Mom! You feeling a bit overlooked?

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45% of Millennial Moms feel overlooked by retailers

If your target market is women (specifically moms) roughly between the ages of 24 – 34, you may be missing the mark in your advertising. In a recent study, 45% of this demographic said they felt like they were being overlooked by retailers.

Millennial Moms are socially and technologically savvy. They have grown up with blurred lines of private and public and they actively consume content on the web. On average, M&M’s spend more than 17 hours per week on social media. If you are marketing to these women, you’ll need to engage with them on their terms. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Vine, hobby/news blogs and Twitter are the go-to online advertising place for this demographic.

If your target audience is NOT moms between the ages of 24 to 34, this little post can still be a help to you. What exactly is your target audience? Make sure your advertising dollars are being spent in the right place. Know your target audience and the most effective way to communicate with them before you begin a new campaign.

Secrets of Re-marketing Pros and Cons

Untitled design (1)Re-marketing lets you show online ads to people who have visited your website or used your mobile app before.

For example, you go online to look for a product—a pair of shoes, a new dishwasher, a car. The site you’re on (whether it’s Google or another search engine) puts a little line of code called a cookie on your computer, smartphone or tablet. When you visit another site, there are blank ad spaces just waiting to pick up that little line of code and show you an ad for the very same product you were searching for.

I first noticed this when Rhonda and I were doing a bit of car shopping in December. Our online search was quickly followed up with…you guessed it…ads for the exact same car we had researched online.

Re-marketing can be one of the most cost-effective tools in the online sales arena, and for some products, it can also be remarkably effective at converting shoppers to buyers. Re-marketing may work because it can create multiple impressions. We’ve long known that the more impressions we have of a product, the more likely we are to recognize and buy that product.

If used too frequently or too long however, re-marketing may alienate some customers as it can be seen as an aggressive and pushy sales tactic.

If you’re looking for a short-term bump in sales for a seasonal product or a limited time offer, then re-marketing could be ideal. Try starting a campaign on a regional basis or for a single product to see if re-marketing is ideal for your product or service.

Need a few quick tips for better local SEO?

Trying to win the online search results battle with your website?

Try these 3 quick tips to make sure your local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is giving you the upper hand.

Quick Tip 1

Set up and optimize your account with Google My Business (www.google.com/mybusiness). When you select your category for your listing, make sure your website has a page that is relevant to the category you selected. Google will see the connection and send traffic for those keywords to your site.

Quick Tip 2

Make your site secure. It isn’t often that Google tells us what to do to positively impact rankings. The fact that they have mentioned that secure sites will be given a ranking boost should be enough of an incentive for you to invest in an SSL for your site.

Quick Tip 3

Encourage Reviews – Encourage your customers to leave ratings and reviews of your business if they are satisfied with your work. Whether you ask for the review with a simple email after the service, a flyer at checkout, or a callout on your website – the more positive, authentic reviews your business receives, the better your business will appear in search (both via the search engines and the local review sites themselves). We send every customer a very short email survey request…and ask for them to post their comments and reviews on FaceBook and Google.

Take a quick look at your analytics before you implement these changes. Then look again a month after you put these items in place. Did you notice an increase in traffic?

As always, if you need help with any of the items above, please let us know. We are happy to help!

Wouldn’t you Like More than a “Like”?

If you’re using Facebook,

You probably have noticed the new types of interactions that measure  “Reaction” on your posts. Reactions allow the user to express their feelings in new ways; the “Like” button is still available of course, but respondents have more options now. The new reactions are love, wow, haha, sad and angry.

According to Facebook, it won’t matter if someone likes, “wows” or “sads” a post — they will initially use any Reaction similar to a Like to infer that the user wants to see more of that type of content. Over time however, Facebook will weigh each Reaction differently and serve content on your news feed based on what you have liked (or loved) in the past.

If your company has a FaceBook page, you should be acutely aware of this new feature. Why? Because fan interaction is becoming more and more important to the ROI of your Facebook account.

The more Reactions you get to any given post can help ensure that your fans are seeing your content on a regular basis.

Ask these questions before revamping your website

We’ve been in the website business for a few years now.

We’ve worked with all kinds of companies from startups just launching their brand to established businesses who want to take their sales and service to the next level using their website. Regardless of what the company does, the goal of the website seems to always center on increasing sales and customer service or support. Essentially, the website needs to function as the sales and support staff when its human counterpart is off duty.

It is a tall order, but if a site is designed correctly with the necessary content, it can be done. We’ve come up with a list of questions to help you identify what should be on your site in order to accomplish your goals. Before you embark on a website revamp, sit down and answer these questions as completely as you can. Too often we see websites put up with high hopes of conversions and sales, but they lack the necessary content and flow needed to live up to the expectations.

Answering these questions will give you a head start on knowing what your site needs in order to be successful.

1. Describe your customer in as much detail as you can.

2. Are you looking to widen your customer base? What would your new customer look like?

3. Why does your audience choose you over your competition (try to avoid platitudes here, be specific)? What value do you provide?

4. What is the goal or action for your audience (fill out contact form, complete online sale, sign up for e-news, etc.)?

5. What search terms would people use to find your company online?

6. What geographic location do your customers reside in?

7. What elements about your current creative work?

8. What customer service concerns come up on a regular basis with your products/services?

9. What “offer” can give to new customers to make them want to contact you (or like/follow/friend you)?

10. Website content needs to be updated regularly, what topics could you write about on a weekly or bi-monthly basis?

Just answering these 10 questions will make sure your new website is poised to hit the ground running rather than waiting for people to happen upon it.

Taking a proactive approach to creating your new website (or any marketing material) will help your customers find the information that they need and ultimately select you as their vendor.

How you doing? Whatcha doing?

“How you do anything is how you do everything.” – T. Harv Eker

Business owners and entrepreneurs will take this quote to heart and will either read it as an affirmation of their dedication or a condemnation of their failures.

If you’re not feeling good about this, now is a fine time to examine your habits and begin making positive change. Many of our customers have confessed that, as business owners, they are being forced to wear too many hats and don’t feel like they are doing anything to the best of their ability. They live a reactive life- constantly changing focus and putting out fires. Inevitably there are unproductive days and sleepless nights.

It’s time to lose that overwhelmed feeling. It just takes a pad of paper and a pen. The number one thing you can do to help reduce stress is to create a list. Write down (on paper) everything you need to do. This is critical, because a big part of being overwhelmed is the mental energy of constantly thinking of all the things you need to do. Once you’ve written it all down, it will release the need to remember, and the fear of forgetting, and a huge chunk of your stress will go away. For some people, a simple “to do” list is enough. Other people may need additional organization.

Tools we like and have used are:

1. Brendan Bouchard’s 1 Page Productivity Planner – Download Here: http://www.highperformanceacademy.com/vid3top

2. Tools 4 Wisdom Daily Planner – Buy on Amazon: http://goo.gl/aLmKEl

3. Custom created notepads/stationary with your name and motivational mantras printed right on them (ask us about these!)

4. Inspirational signs with motivational sayings. We can design and produce these for you. Take a look at our recent renovation in our front office.

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We recommend taking 15 – 20 minutes to plan out your day the night before. Going to bed knowing that you have a plan of attack for the next day will help alleviate some stress as well. Revisit your list as the day goes on and relish the act of crossing out completed items. This will help you see exactly what you accomplished during the day. It will also keep you moving forward with what must be accomplished next.

If you end the day with items still on your to-do list, you can get started on your highest priority right away the next day. For years I would get to the end of my day and wonder what in the world I had accomplished. I knew I had been very busy, but when I sat down to talk with Rhonda at the end of the day, I had a hard time retelling what I had done. Next time you are feeling stressed or aren’t sure what to do, remember “priorities are what we do; everything else is just talk.”

What are you doing? What you’re doing indicates what your true priorities are.

Get personal with emotionally charged email

Successful email campaigns depend on whether they feel personally relevant to the recipient.

A 2013 Experian study indicates personalized emails have a 29 percent higher open rate and a 41 percent higher click-through rate than emails without any personalization. Personalization can be as simple as incorporating the names and locations of your customers. That can make an email feel like you’re addressing an individual and only delivering the information that matters most to them, such as events in the city where they live.

You can also customize your messages based on individual behavior and history. Just follow the simple rule to be helpful above all else, and be mindful of overstepping your boundaries. That could mean reminding someone about an abandoned shopping cart item, checking in to see whether someone’s happy about an order or experience, or providing useful information about how to get more out of a product or service.

Is your website scintillating and captivating?

Reaching new customers should be one of the top goals of your website, but getting them to stay and engage with the website is even more important.

Communicate trust by showcasing your company as an expert in a particular, specific field. Show off your awards, professional accolades and certifications. This is a great way to engage new customers.

Show and Tell (your awards) is a clear indicator to visitors that they are in the right place and in good hands. What do new customers see when they first visit your site? If your expertise isn’t clearly on display, it might be time to reevaluate your homepage.

Contact us for more information on revamping your website today!