Friday, March 29, 2013
Insights and Boston.com are hosting the Blog Better Boston: Style Summit on April 27th. Insights will have a booth at the event and we're in the planning phases of deciding what our booth layout will look like, what colors our signs will be and what, maybe most importantly, we will provide as takeaways to the bloggers who visit our booth. In this planning phase, we've been talking a lot about what will make our booth and product memorable to the bloggers who visit us, so I decided to blog about the things we're keeping in mind as we plan. Here's how to stand out at an event:
1. Know your audience: It always comes back to this. Your event planning should focus around your audience because that's the most effective way to engage the attendees, and have them pay attention to what you're saying about your product and/or service. In this case, we know our audience will be mostly made up of female fashion bloggers. We've designed our booth layout and signage, and created takeaways around the audience in attendance. I'm not going to give away all of the specifics about our plans and giveaways, but let me say that all of the above are focused on what this type of audience will relate to, respond to, engage with and most importantly make them remember us in the future. Our goal is to resonate with the audience, so they know and remember that we can help them better their blogs, by using Insights.
The next time you have a booth, or are presenting at an event, remember your audience before you start planning what you'll say, give or how you'll act. You want to connect with your audience on their level, so they'll be more likely to engage and ultimately turn into customers.
2. Make sure your giveaway/takeaway is relevant to your product: So, of course, the audience is the most important element to remember when planning your presence at an event, but you also want to make sure you keep whatever it is your selling top of mind as well. You want your audience to relate and engage with your speech, booth, giveaway, etc., but whatever you may be offering must tie into your product or service. If the audience cannot make the connection between what you're offering, and your product or service, they'll likely forget about your business and you'll lose potential customers. Make clear the connection between what you're offering at a specific event to your business's products or services. and you'll more likely to be remembered by your audience after they leave the event. This is important because often times the sales cycle doesn't start and end in a two hour window at an event. You want audience members to be able to look at your giveaway or takeaway and remember after they've left the event that you can help them with their business issues.
3. Be armed with a good story: Keeping both of the above in mind, remember to be armed with a good story about your products or services that will show/tell how your products or services can help the audience in attendance. Bring relevant case studies, success stories, tips and tricks that will help your audience accomplish their goals and position your business as the answer to their problems. Remember whatever you bring along to tell your story should be relatable by your audience and speak to the success of your products and/or services.
*Offer expires 3/1/13
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
We hear a lot about these buzzwords, 'retargeting' and 'remarketing,' but a lot of people are wondering what they actually mean. Here our co-op, Kristin Chou, breaks down "retargeting vs. remarketing: what's the difference?"
Have you ever online shopped only to realize that the item you selected to view is now following you all over the internet as an advertisement? Well this is known as ‘retargeting," which is when online advertising targets consumers based on their previous Internet actions, only when the actions did not result in a sale or conversion. This can often be done by Google, therefore allowing visitors to reach millions of other websites. Sometimes retargeting can be rather sneaky as some people may believe that it is coincidental that they are seeing ads from a site they just visited, but in fact there is a cookie being set up when a user visits a website to enable the placement of certain ads during future Internet visits.
Retargeting is a great way to get your company and brand in front of your audience’s eyes to gain interest in what you have to offer. These retargeting banner ads work as a reminder for users because people tend to be busy; therefore, they get what they need from a site and leave. It has been discussed that this method could be perceived as a little creepy. Some say it is an invasion of privacy because essentially it appears that you are following users online. Your target audience may not always appreciate seeing your ad while surfing the net conducting other searches. Nonetheless, retargeting is a clever way to bring someone back to their abandoned shopping bag, or products and services page in some cases.
Retargeting is part of what is called ‘remarketing’, which is mainly established through e-mails, such as ‘reminder’ e-mails that are received occasionally. Amazon does this all the time. Have you ever bought something from Amazon and remember receiving an e-mail after you bought your item, informing you of another line of products that are available, so that they can suck you back in again? Remarketing is a strategic advertising campaign customized to target those who have already visited your website.
Another method of retargeting is when you are exiting a site, and a window pops up telling you about a previously visited site, which surprisingly many people click back through to the site. Since for a great number of online businesses the majority of views who visit your site for the first time leave without making a purchase, that ends up being an enormous portion of your sales lost. Your goal is to keep the focus of your brand and products in the back of your viewers mind after they leave your site.
Remarketing can help increase your profit and business, by reaching 98% of users on the internet. These two concepts are great to help increase traffic to your website and to create a larger number of followers. However, like any marketing strategy it is essential to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of retargeting or remarketing before launching your campaign. If some hesitancy still remains, then conduct a test run and observe your audience’s reaction.
*Offer expires 3/31/13
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Yesterday, Youtube announced that it now has one billion monthly users, joining the likes of Facebook, which achieved the milestone back in October of 2012. It took both sites roughly eight years to accomplish this feat. So what does YouTube hitting one billion monthly users mean for SMBs? It means we should be taking advantage of it!
Most all small businesses have a Facebook and Twitter strategy as it's free and easy to use, but not all SMBs are using YouTube, but they should be. YouTube reminded us yesterday that "Nearly one out of every two people on the Internet visits YouTube. Our monthly viewership is the equivalent of roughly ten Super Bowl audiences." Some of us dream about advertising during the Super Bowl, so why wouldn't we advertise on YouTube, if we'd potentially be reaching ten times the amount of audience for free?!
YouTube is a great tool for content marketing. Advertisers' and business's videos are seen by a large potential audience in a format that isn't invasive to the end user's life. The user is choosing to watch and consume your content, which leads to more engagement, trust and ultimately, sales. SMBs should be using YouTube as part of their content marketing strategies as well as for advertising. It may seem difficult to produce a video, but it doesn't need to be. All you need is a webcam, which most laptops and computers have built in nowadays, and a piece of content or product explanation you want consumers to know about. Strategize on what topics and/or products and services your business offers that you think will be well received on YouTube and deliver on it, by creating compelling and engaging content in video format.
If YouTube, or video content marketing isn't part of your strategy yet, you should audit your internal resources and find time to make it a part of your strategy. Executing on this video strategy will prove effective in retaining and gaining an entirely new audience for your business.
*Offer expires 3/31/13
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Here at Insights HQ at Boston.com, we're often talking to clients about how to better their click-through rates and engagement rates when it comes to their blogs. We talk a lot about improving blog post titles, using strategic keywords, targeting prospective audience with appropriate content, and developing content that will engage readers. All of these tips stem from our golden rule (based on data, of course): it's all about quality over quantity when it comes to content marketing.
Through much analysis of the components of the Insights program, we've found that success with content marketing, or native advertising, is dependent on the quality of the content produced as opposed to the frequency of posts created. Like any of your marketing efforts, you must put the time and effort into content to see the ROI you strive for. If you're posting content every hour, or even every day, that lacks purpose, direction, or a goal, you won't see the results you're hoping for and content marketing won't be the powerful tool it could be for your business.
Before you post, ask yourself these questions:
1. What is my goal with this post?
2. Will this content help me to accomplish that goal?
3. Is this content going to resonate well with my established audience and prospective audience alike?
4. Am I just posting something meaningless because I fell behind on my blog schedule? If so, can I delay posting as is and put more time into this post to make it worth my while?
5. Is the content I'm producing in line with my content marketing strategy? Do I need to make some adjustments to meet my goals as well as retain and secure new customers?
So what's the takeaway here? Put the time and effort into content creation and you'll see the ROI you want. If you're just posting careless content frequently, you won't get anything out of a content marketing strategy. Be productive with content marketing, by investing the time and resources needed to create thoughtful and engaging content, and you'll retain your established audience and gain new audience!
Friday, March 15, 2013
At this point we've all heard about South by Southwest Interactive festival (SXSW), and if you're like me, you wish you were there for not only the amazing content, technology trends, and marketing stunts, but also for the celebrity sightings. This blog is all about marketing though, so let's look at what we can learn from the marketing at SXSW 2013.
According to some research I've done some of the most popular marketing memories include grumpy cat and Google's talking shoes. Here's what we can learn from these epic marketing tactics.
Grumpy Cat: The Grumpy Cat is the star of many Internet memes. The cat itself was on display at the Mashable House and resulted in long lines of conference-goers waiting to see the famous feline. According to Mashable, the Grumpy Cat was the social champ of the conference racking up 3,000 tweets per day for three days! The Mashable House did a great job capitalizing on the popular meme and trend, by bringing in the star itself knowing it would attract conference attendees and make the Mashable brand even more popular.
Although us small business owners/managers might not have the same budget as Mashable, we can take this marketing tactic and use it in our own ways. We should be capitalizing on popular trends to market our brand as leaders in our industries. We should look at what's trending on Twitter, or what the most popular videos, or other content are in our industry, or locations. When we can, we should contribute to the hashtags or post about the videos and content, adding our own analyses and expertise. Get in on the action that is making headlines and people will trust that you're in the know of your particular industry and/or locations where you service.
Google's Talking Shoe: Forget Google Glass, Google is onto the next best thing - talking shoes. Just kidding, Google Glass is still really cool, but Google's talking shoes were on display at SXSW this year. These shoes, while they are just an experiment, have sensors inside the shoe that can talk to your phone or encourage you to complete certain tasks.
Google does an amazing job staying at the forefront of their industry and making sure that everyone (literally) knows that they're a leader. We may not have the budget or resources or time to commit to talking shoes or glasses that project information over the physical world, but we are experts in our fields. If we can commit to creating new content each week, and regularly improving our products and services, we will stay at the forefront of our industries. With these commitments to our businesses, we'll continuously engage new customers and clients, and retain their business.
Here are some more interesting marketing stunts from SXSW on the ABC News site. Which are your favorites?
*Offer expires 3/31/13
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Written by: Kristin Chou
Ever since the Internet emerged, businesses and brands have been trying to utilize this wondrous tool to make their messages ‘viral.' We have some ideas for how to pick a medium for your marketing plan, quick side-note advice, and some powerful statements to keep in mind while pursuing this arena. Here are some marketing tips for creating buzz in 2013:
Viral Promotions = marketing techniques that use current social networks and other technologies to create increased brand awareness to achieve objectives.
Social Media and Internet Analyst, Brad Hines, said:
“Going viral is like a calculus function mixed with the element of randomness. You need a very specific combo of things, and then luck thrown in. I say calculus, because sometimes it works, and other times it doesn't.”
How to create BUZZ:
1. Video clips. Studies have shown that internet marketing videos have increased sales by approximately 30%. It is very efficient in gaining further exposure for your produce/service. Even if you have not dipped your feet in this pool before, it is worth your time and effort. People enjoy watching videos that is why YouTube ranks No. 3 in most visitors per month. Tracking codes will allow you to monitor your video.
2. Advergames. Mobile games are becoming a huge business. Game developers are discovering that advertising in the mobile game industry is extremely profitable. Although it is still price sensitive, reducing the price will create a higher demand for it.
3. Ebooks. You are no longer limited by shelf space and launch windows. Position your ebook that provides value and desire for your product/service. 70% of your revenue will come from back-end sales after a customer purchases an ebook.
4. Brandable Software. Introduce new ideas to create applications that can be introduced to the world. Take advantage of these resources to create your ideal brand to generate web traffic and increased name recognition.
5. Images. Using high-quality, high-resolution, social media platform, and appropriate text, can launch your image to potentially become viral. Creating infographics are one of the most powerful ways to have popular content.
6. Text Messages. Always include a “share with a friend” prompt; send VIP offers; Offer incentives for sharing your SMS marketing messages; Let your customers give mobile “gifts”; identify your influencers; integrate social media. SMS Marketing and viral push calls for low investment for a high impact.
7. Email Messages. Highlight your ‘friend to forward’ links; provide substantial value; make sure it is easy to subscribe.
8. Web Pages. Social bookmarking; social networking; forum participation; blogging; linking generously; advertising; email marketing; press releases; video; conferences; feature RSS feeds.
Larry Weintraub, CEO of Fanscape stated:
“What works today or in 3 months may not work next year. There is never a guarantee to going viral, only ways to improve your odds.”
Information becomes outdated instantly in this day in age. That is why keeping up with the trends with social media will help keep your brand in check and always relevant. Also a few words of wisdom, never neglect your audience, overdo it or be exclusive with your content. If you keep these three things in mind, while exercising some of the methods of marketing your brand or business, you could potentially become viral one day. Executing a marketing campaign using some of the tactics below could really boost awareness for your business.
1. Content must be COMPELLING. Find out what drives your target audience and triggers emotions.
2. Simple sharing. Include buttons with recognizable icons near your content.
3. Franchise on Facebook. This social network drives enormous traffic.
4. Practice Pintrest. Include Pinterest button on Infographics because it has grown to be the 12th largest traffic referring site.
5. Mobile Optimized? Become mobile friendly now because 1 in 5 visitors are using a mobile device, of which half are iPhones.
6. Control Traffic. Content delivery networks, such as CloudFlare help keep up with popular content.
7. Simple is not Dumb. The more accessible the more relatable your content is.
8. Drop big names. Helps engage associated audiences and provides celebrities another segment to promote themselves.
9. Embed Code for bloggers. That way your content can be quickly posted on their site. Inform your customers and subscribers of this new data and to encourage them to share!
10. Celebrity Tweet endorsement. Key for Youtube video marketing.
11. Time Sensitive. Give users a narrow time frame to actively share your content.
12. Get assistance. Pay to run your content on high profile sites to increase awareness and views for the piece to become organic.
Baltimore-based digital marketing firm EndlessLeadz.com stated:
“The year 2012 was characterized by many marketing professionals as the year of content marketing…challeng[ing] businesses and brands to view each ad as a piece of content is an important mindset to adopt as we head into this New Year.”
A few final thoughts to keep in mind while developing your marketing plan, is your content ____?
If your plan checks all eight of these key points, then you are off to fantastic start. People will discover the power and value of social media campaigns. Start taking advantage of the resources laid out before you and create that buzz about your brand!
*Offer expires 3/31/13
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Since we wrote about content marketing back in December, the term seems to be getting even more buzz! A lot of businesses see content marketing as a way to connect with customers and potential customers in a meaningful way that will allow for engagement, trust and ultimately, more sales. Here's how to succeed in content marketing:
1. Have a sound content marketing strategy: In order to ultimately drive sales and acquire new customers, you need to first start with a sound content marketing strategy. To begin developing a strategy, you need to do some research as well as look at what internal resources are available to you to execute on that strategy.
Research what kinds of content you think your audience would be interested in consuming. For example, if you're an interior decorator, you know your audience would probably be interested in home makeover type content, or home furnishing trends. Next, you'll want to research how your audience consumes information. Using the same example, it would make sense that an interior decorator's audience would want to see before and after pictures, or before and after video, along with explanations for trends perhaps through a blog format. Once you've established what your audience would be interested and how they consume information, begin planning out your strategy for content creation.
Examine what internal resources you have at your disposal as well. If you're an interior decorator working on your own, you might be the only resource you have, but you probably have several before and after pictures stored away, testimonials, videos and more that you can re-purpose for your content marketing, which will make it a lot easier to develop and execute on your 2013 content marketing strategy.
2. Execute on that strategy, by creating a schedule: We talk a lot about creating schedules because it's so important to executing on a strategy. It's easy to fall behind when you're a one man or one woman shop. It's even easy to fall behind when you're working at a huge corporation. Creating a content marketing schedule for yourself and/or your staff is essential to executing on the strategy you put in place as it can be time and resource consuming, It will make creating and sharing unique, original, relevant, and timely content much easier and more rewarding. If you're able to deliver the kinds of content your audience needs and wants on a regular basis, you will retain and acquire many more customers.
3. Analyze your results: Always analyze what content is working best for you. Determine what content is yielding the most engagement from your readers, and what is helping to convert into sales. You may want to look into new approaches to content marketing. For example, if you're solely blogging with text, maybe it's time to integrate video and images to your posts to see if those might increase traffic and engagement. You may also want to explore new ways to promote your blog, white papers, case studies, or whatever content you're spending so much time creating. Whatever you're doing from a content marketing perspective needs to be analyzed to make sure you're using your time and resources in the most efficient manner.
Do you have any more secrets to succeed in content marketing? Anything to avoid? Please add in your thoughts in the comments below!
*Offer expires 3/31/13
Friday, March 1, 2013
Social media is a powerful tool in generating brand awareness and building trust for both small businesses and large, global companies. Whether you're a pro with social media, or just dabbling here and there, this social media checklist to improve brand awareness and trust can help you close sales and improve customer retention!
- Using Twitter and Facebook to answer customer questions honestly and promptly?
- Taking advantage of relevant and timely hashtags to offer your business's products and services?
- Linking your blog to your social media outlets to maximize blog exposure?
- Utilizing social video sites when appropriate?
- Pushing out your content, including white papers, case studies, informational videos and more through your social channels?
- Monitoring your social media analytics to determine what content is being shared or engaged with most often?
- Allowing different experts within your business to post frequently to share their expertise, and offer help to followers and customers?
- Engaging with customers and potential customers who are talking about keywords related to your business offerings?
- Monitoring what competitors are saying and offering on social media?
- Offering special promotions to followers?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, you are doing a fantastic job using social media to improve brand awareness and trust among your existing and potential customers! If you answered yes to a few, you're still doing a great job. Please let us know if you have success when you implement the practices you answered no to; we'd love to hear how they're helping you!
Have anything to add to our checklist? Please add it in the comments below!
*Offer ends 3/31/13