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storytelling in digital marketing strategy

Why to Focus on Storytelling in Digital Marketing Strategy

By | Marketing Strategy

Once upon a time, a Midwest girl had a dream to up-end the marketing world by cultivating the kinds of meaningful conversations we have in real life, but on digital platforms.

She wanted people to feel seen and heard. And through her work, she began to see the benefits of approaching digital marketing with a different lens. She saw that it was truly possible for personable, human-centered digital marketing to support thriving, sustainable small businesses.

Even her own.

Today, Wayward Kind is its own thriving small business with a team of 5 amazing people, serving a diverse client base. And it all started with that spark of connection.

It may be just a snippet of our story, but understanding where we came from and where we want to go is a valuable part of our digital marketing strategy. And it’s a valuable part of your strategy, too.

We may sound like a broken record over here, but we really do love a good story. Especially good storytelling in digital marketing strategy.

But we don’t just love stories because they’re awesome. The effectiveness of storytelling is scientific. Stories make you feel connected, seen, and heard. They help us remember things. And it’s all because of the sweet release of oxytocin that accompanies hearing a good story.

If you’ve been crunching the numbers and presenting a lot of data, waiting for the connections to happen, this is the post for you. Let’s learn more about why you need to start telling the story of your small business!

Be Relatable

One of the keys to telling a good story is making yourself, or your business, relatable to your audience. Consider our brief story above—have you ever felt a spark of inspiration and wanted to run with it? Or felt the challenge of growing a business? Then you can relate to Wayward Kind’s story.

It’s a core part of our belief that people buy from people, not brands. So, being human in your storytelling can help to cultivate that relatability.

That’s not to mean that you don’t have to develop elements of your brand voice and style. But your story should be an integral part of that, not an afterthought.

So, how do you bring relatability to storytelling in your digital marketing strategy?

Know Who You Are

You can’t expect to tell a good story about your business if you know your own narrative. And that’s not just what you sell. Consider some of these questions:

  • What are your values and why?
  • Why did you start your business?
  • What are you passionate about and why?
  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • Why do you love what you do?
  • What obstacles have you overcome to get to where you are?

Knowing these answers, and even taking the time to write them down and ponder them, can really help you communicate clearly about your business. And these are the things people want to know—they want to see the struggle, and the triumph. They want to know the why behind what you do.

Know Your Audience

There’s tons of details and segmentation that can happen on the strategy side of this. But, for simplicity, who are you talking to? Who do you want to attract to your business? What do they need?

Consider what they’re feeling when they’re starting a search query. Are they hopeful, desperate, anxious, excited? Remember, it’s not just about their demographics, but about getting inside the minds of your potential clients.

Be Honest

You won’t be relatable if you’re not authentic. Storytelling in digital marketing strategy will only work if the story is real. Jules really is from the midwest. She really does value connection. That doesn’t mean that you don’t use great copy and content to enhance your story. But, whatever your story is, make sure it’s yours.

Slow Your Roll on the Data

One of the challenges for storytelling in digital marketing strategy is how to balance numbers and figures with the emotional appeals. You need both, but too much at the wrong time, or you could alienate your audience.

It’s possible to tell some kind of story in numbers, but it can be pretty complicated and dry. Unless you’re speaking to a highly-educated group of scientists doing research, you can probably air on the side of less data. And even then, make it interesting.

That doesn’t mean you never use data. Those figures are important logical evidence of what you do. They build credibility. But, tell a story with that data. Spice it up with how your company’s values contributed to those numbers, or how you helped your client achieve a big goal, or discuss the pain points in your industry. Give your audience something they can relate to in the numbers.

If you’re not sure about how much data to include, ask yourself: “Would I want to read this or listen to this?” If your answer is no, then that’s probably your audience’s answer, too. You are a pretty good bellwether for what your audience wants to hear—trust that inner voice.

All of this boils down to some pretty simple principles: be in touch with the heart of your business and the heart of your audience. The more you know, and the more connected you feel, the more likely it is for the inner storyteller to emerge as a digital marketing force!

One of our favorite things to do is tell the story of businesses. We’re passionate about getting to know everyone of our clients so that they can have all the digital marketing tools they need to tell their story. If you need a little help defining your own story, contact Wayward Kind. Let’s get the next chapter of your story written!

how to use images in content marketing strategy

Looks Matter: Using Images in Content Marketing Strategy

By | Marketing Strategy

Before we wade into the pool of using images in content marketing strategy, let’s first chat about what content is. Basically, content is everything that shows up on your digital platforms. That includes images, copy, reviews, comments, testimonials videos and more. It’s the stuff that fills your pages and feeds—and it’s super important.

Now that we have that brief, and oh so scientific definition out of the way, we’ll get to the good stuff: Images.

The way things look on your website, social, and elsewhere matters. They are a visual representation of your brand, just as copy is the written representation of your brand.

So, why should you care so much about how things look? We’ll tell you why…

People are Visual

There’s no way around it—we humans are visual. Even the writerly types. The success of Instagram is a testament to the power of images and creating user engagement. And these days, video is leading the charge of visual branding.

This is why just writing a bunch of copy won’t do the job. Yes, information is good, but you have to get people hooked first.

Images in a content marketing strategy are the hook.

They not only give people something to look at, they’re like signposts that help direct users where they need to go. Whether it’s a transition in a blog, or a scroll of images on social media—images give direction.

They also induce action.

Consider a business, or nonprofit, like ASPCA. Of course, we’re all familiar with the infamous commercial where Sarah McLachlin sings her heart wrenching song, “Angel.” But, do you know why that commercial was so impactful? Those images.

The dogs, the cats, the big eyes, the cages. Ack. Gonna tear up just thinking about it. But, the images work. They appeal to our emotions and we can’t look away. We must do something for the animals, right?

Furthermore, images induce memory. We associate those puppy-dog eyes with ASPCA. When we think of donating to a because or adopting a pet, we remember that ad. And maybe even head on over to the ASPCA website to take a look. Because we are visual.

Consistency = Credibility

When it comes to building your brand and marketing, consistency is key. The more consistent you are with images in your content marketing strategy, the more credible you seem. Those images also help to establish a tone for your brand, which helps your audience feel like they know you better.

They want that connection—they want to identify with something that seems cool, or important, or fun, depending on your brand’s vibe.

Here a few ways to establish consistency:

  • Decide what emotions you want to evoke: excited, playful, joyous, serious, professional?
  • What makes you different than competitors? Highlight that in the visuals.
  • Use the same font. Whether on social, website, or email, what font do you want associated with your business?
  • Choose a color palette/filter. Once you know your brand colors/filters, you can apply them across all digital platforms to make your brand more cohesive. Basically, it looks like you care.

how to use images in content marketing

(Image courtesy of Canva)

One way to gather all this important information for images in your content marketing strategy is to create a brand style guide. A style guide will tell anyone working on your marketing how to use your brand elements, from wording to images. That way, consistency remains and your brand is identified the way you want it to be. Here’s a great example of branded imagery from our friends at Four Fin Creative:

Tell a Story

Ultimately, your images should tell the story of your brand. That doesn’t mean that every photo has to have the exact same color or content. But they should contain elements that point back to your brand’s core values and services.

If you own an accounting business, money will obviously be a topic of conversation, and probably show up in images in your content marketing strategy. But you don’t need every photo to have dollar signs and papers in it.

Consider what you love about your business, what makes you different, what your brand voice is, and what your value. If you’re marketing to other small businesses, perhaps include images that somehow represent that. Or, if integrity is a core value, use images that communicate honesty and trust.

Remember, this is just as much about connecting with your audience as it is about developing and nurturing leads. Try shifting your perspective from just selling, to telling. People are far more interested in hearing and seeing who you are before they commit to your service or product.

Your brand deserves a good visual story. And we’d love to tell it. If you need a little help getting your brand image in line with your voice, contact Wayward Kind and we’ll get you on track!

Hashtags for Small Business

Hashtags for Small Business: Why You Should Be Using Them

By | Marketing Strategy

We’re gonna be real here: when we think of the word hashtag, we sometimes think of a hash brown—or our phone number from 1985.

But who would’ve guessed twenty years ago that so much of our information would be communicated by the pound sign?!

Small business digital marketing strategy can take a lot of forms. But something we’ve found is that many of our clients haven’t tapped into the amazing resource that is the hashtag for small business. You can use it to search for specific discussion topics, draw people to your business, and even brand yourself with a few simple characters. Ready to get started?!

#Goals

We’re pretty sure that most of our audience is familiar with what a hashtag is. But in case you’re still wondering, it’s simply a symbol (the pound sign) added in front of a word or phrase that makes searching for content easier. Whether you’re trying to get your business found, or you’re searching for something super specific, hashtags for small business just “tag” the things that are of interest to audience groups.

So many people are searching for products and services on social media these days that it seems almost criminal for small businesses not to use hashtags. But like any digital marketing strategy, there’s more to it than just adding a symbol to a word.

When deciding how to tag your posts, you need clearly defined goals. Let’s whittle it down with a few questions:

  • Are you trying to start or participate in ongoing digital conversations?
  • Do you want your content to be more discoverable?
  • Do you want to “brand” a hashtag (make one synonmous with your business, like #teamwaywardkind)?
  • Are you creating a promotion or contest with your hashtag?

Of course, there are tons of other questions, but answering these essentials can help you decide how to strategize hashtags for small business.

If you’re creating a branded hashtag, you know that you need a phrase unique to your business, or just use your business name. If you want to get found, you’ll need to do some digital digging for what hashtags are associated with your offerings. Whatever the case, it’s important to know why you’re dropping hashtags.

Now that you’re all intentional about it, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of how to use them.

Research Matters

If you’re trying to get in the conversation and increase audience engagement using hashtags for small business, the first thing you need to do is research. Hootsuite says to start by looking at what hashtags influencers use. Influencers are people that already have a strong presence in your brand’s niche. Check out what hashtags they use and for what posts to get an idea of what your target audience is searching for and talking about.

After seeing what the cool kids are doing, you can get a bit more analytical. Like keyword research tools, there are hashtag research tools. They make it easier to plan your posts, narrow down the most relevant hashtags, receive suggestions for hashtags, and get all the juicy analytics. Yes, this whole hashtag thing can get as detailed and scientific as you want.

Remember, this isn’t about becoming #instafamous—it’s about getting found and having meaningful conversations. It’s about discovering what matters to your audience. And you don’t need to have a million followers to do that—you just need to be curious and diligent.

From a Hashtag to a Conversation

Obviously, we’re big fans of good digital conversations. So we’re all about finding creative ways to start those conversations. If you want to increase audience engagement on your social media platforms, look no further than the humble hashtag for small business.

Get Specific

Let’s say you’re a realtor and you want to start using hashtags on Instagram. Great! But, it’s not as simple as just putting #realtor #realestate #realestateagent. Just like using long-tail keywords for SEO, you need to be specific with your hashtags. Of course, there’s a balance—you still want it to be a hashtag that someone would search. So, maybe don’t use #mostawesomehouseeverforsaleincalifornia. Probably not going to get that one found.

For example, if you’re a realtor in La Jolla, CA, who wants to increase engagement, use #lajollarealtor instead of just #realtor. With this small change, someone searching will get 2,423 results instead of 10,126,099. The chances of someone finding your business among 10 million hashtags is almost zero.

What’s Trending

One way to really get the most bang for your hashtag-for-small-business buck is to stay on top of what’s trending. That could be a brand similar to yours, or it could be an event (think weather event, conference, concert, etc.).

If you find that a similar brand is using a hashtag a lot, get in the conversation and start adding it to your posts. Or, consider what’s going on in your neighborhood or region. In 2018, Dunkin’ Donuts tapped into hashtags being used to reference blizzards happening in the Northeast. They saw what was trending and then invited customers to tag Dunkin’ Donuts in their blizzard posts. All from simply noticing what was going on around social media.

By doing this, you show your audience that you’re listening and that you want to engage with them. This makes them feel seen and valued and like they’re a part of your brand—not just on the outside of it.

Get Branded

Not exactly like the letters on the butt of a cow, but similar. You want to tag what’s yours.

These days, many brands are getting the word out by creating their own branded hashtag. Branded hashtags for small business are something like our #letsgetwayward. While it could simply be your brand or business name, you can also make it more actionable while including a branded element (like “Wayward”). You may even have a few branded hashtags that can be used on any social media post.

Once you create your own branded hashtag, you can start adding it to comments, or invite your audience to tag your brand in their posts. Start the trend going, get your name out there, and get people talking about your business.

Not All Hashtags Are Created Equal

Hashtags for small business are useful on all social media platforms, but their efficacy changes from one platform to another.

For example, hashtags are most effective on Twitter and Facebook when limited to 1 or 2 hashtags. But on Instagram, it’s better to use around 10. This all comes down to engagement. Instagram engagement is better with more hashtags, and Twitter is better with fewer.

These are important factors to consider in strategizing hashtag use. On Instagram, you have more opportunities to include relevant hashtags. On Twitter and Facebook, you need to be more discerning and really hone in on the most important hashtags.

And don’t forget about LinkedIn! Hashtags are newer to LinkedIn, but their function is the same—users can search based on keywords and hashtags. But, since LinkedIn caters to a more professional market, you’ll want to create and use hashtags that are more straightforward. That means leaving behind silly nicknames and memes and opting for something a bit more buttoned up.

Not sure about you, but we somehow feel way cooler when we’ve got some hashtags to back up our digital marketing game. But as cool as they are, they also serve an important purpose in personalizing your digital marketing strategy and getting the right eyes on your business.

Setting out to find the proverbial hashtag needle in the haystack does take work, which is why it may be helpful to tap into some expert help, like our team at Wayward Kind. We specialize in the analyzing and strategizing so that you don’t have to. Want to get in the hashtag for small business game? Contact us today!

Integrate CRM tools

Beyond the Screen: Adding a Personal Touch with CRM Tools

By | Marketing Strategy

You see it everywhere. You hear everyone talking about it—but what exactly do CRM tools do for you?

CRM tools, aka Customer Relationship Management tools, enable you to manage and understand your customer’s online behavior so that you can better tailor your conversations with customers. Think of CRM like a digital crystal ball—an essential part of your digital marketing toolbox.

Are you ready to become a CRM master? Cool, ‘cause today, we’re going to give you a few ways to put this valuable tool to use.

CRM Helps You Get Personal

One of the best ways to connect with your audience is to understand them. When people feel understood, they’re more likely to listen and engage with your business. That’s huge.

Integrating CRM tools into your digital marketing strategy makes it easier to know who your customers are, and aren’t. You probably even have a couple of different types of customers, and knowing that allows you to market to those specific groups.

Here are a few smart ways to utilize CRM and personalize user experience.

Email Marketing

Creating segmented lists, using a customer’s name, and targeting offers to specific groups shows that you know who you’re talking to.

To do that, CRM tools will collect data and organize it an easily digestible way. You get insights on their needs, interests, and habits all from the way they interact with an email. Once you know your customer, you can engage with them more effectively and show them they truly matter. We’re all about that.

All of this data can be segmented into demographic and geographic information, but more importantly, into psychographic information. Susan Baier of Audience Axis says that “demographic and behavioral information only give marketers part of the story they need to effectively segment a customer base.” But psychographic information gets to the root of why customers do what they do.

Once you have solid data, you can start personalizing emails, which can help you increase conversion rates and nurture prospective clients with content they care about.

Customized Buying Experience

During the sales journey, your customers may want more information. This is where CRM tools become your best friend. Just like a fortune teller sees into the future, CRM tools track patterns in customer behavior to offer more of what they want, or what they didn’t even know they needed.

What does this mean for your digital marketing strategy? It’s one more way to connect with your clients. Whether it’s a sales team member reaching out, email responses, or suggestions, CRM helps you demonstrate to your customers that you’re willing to go the extra mile for them.

It’s All About Timing

When you have a business that provides repeat services, or is looking to enhance their digital marketing strategy, CRM is a great way to go.

Let’s say you’re an accountant and you have a new client. Surely you’ll need to collect a bunch of information pertaining to their lives. But instead of just stuffing that information into a file cabinet, you can input that information into their CRM profile. With that information, you’re able to improve customer experience by sending them timely reminders, special offers, or exciting news about your business.

Most importantly, timely information builds loyalty with your customers. It shows that you value and recognize their business and who they are, beyond just a number on a screen. And we could all use a bit more recognition.

Get Your Online Reviews on Track With CRM

If you’re a small business, online review sites like Google My Business can be crucial to your business. Receiving positive reviews can help with reducing customer hesitation. On the flip side, negative reviews can be a real thorn in your side—and your sales.

But using CRM tools in your digital marketing strategy goes beyond a good or bad review.

By integrating CRM software with online review platforms you can get a wealth of unbiased information. You can see trending conversations, how customers feel about your product quality, service, and value, and compare reviews across platforms.

Using this valuable data gives you insights necessary to make changes to your advertising, products, service, or digital marketing strategy. Or, continue with the strategies that are already working.

This all comes down to one huge factor: ROI. Accessing data from review sites gives you the most honest information you can get—and once you have that, you can make sure your marketing dollars are going to the right place.

CRM Goes Social

No matter what your business does, social media is one way to elevate your digital marketing strategy. CRM tools are easy to integrate with social media platforms to give you an abundance of information about your followers.

Using CRM tools on social media can help you:

  • Create ads for very specific sub-segments of your target market
  • Respond to comments and questions in a timely manner
  • Analyze hashtags to identify potential connections and relevant conversations
  • Build relationships with your audience

Remember, even though social media is digital, people still want to feel connected across the screen. CRM tools are a great way to discover who your followers are so that you can tailor your digital marketing strategy to reach them.

We know that it can be easy for marketing to feel robotic, but we’re all about adding that bit of human touch. If you want to know more about how to get your digital marketing strategy on track and connect with your customers using CRM tools, contact Wayward Kind. Relationships matter, even in the digital world.

Humor in digital marketing

April Fool’s! Give Your Digital Marketing Strategy a Chuckle

By | Lead Generation, Marketing Strategy

How do SEO experts celebrate improved search rankings? SERP-rise parties.

OK, OK—so maybe we’re not going to appear in a Netflix comedy special anytime soon. But as the great Tina Fey once said, “You can tell how smart people are by what they laugh at.”

And we’re betting that your audience is pretty smart. That’s why we’re celebrating this April Fool’s day by honing in to humor as a useful digital marketing tool.

Using industry-friendly humor can be a great way to spark interest, nurture your leads, and inject a humanized approach to your digital marketing strategy. And we’re all about being human.

Captivate with Witty, Digital Marketing Banter

Sometimes the hardest part of marketing is directing more eyeballs to your business content-?. You want people to see your business, the services you provide, and why you’re the best. Then, convert them (we’ll get to how in a bit). Humor can be a strong way to generate that attention.

Whether it’s a catchy email subject, a one-liner to lead off a blog post, or a social media wisecrack, audiences often love to see a brand’s sense of humor.

To amplify the effect, target your digital marketing humor to a specific audience. Show them that you understand who they are by cracking jokes only they can understand. You can use specific keywords or phrases, or maybe even a funny story.

Besides getting a good laugh, humor can aid in recall. So, when you have a casual user who is looking for, let’s say, a new accountant, they’re more likely to remember your post or ad because it was funny. They’re also more likely to share it—and in these days of lightning-fast information sharing, that can warrant a huge response beyond your initial joke.

Digital Marketing Humor, Beyond the Punchline

You got them hooked, but how now you’ve got to keep them interested. Especially if your service is, well, a little on the dry side, your continued playfulness can make your message stand out.

Weaving your witty, playful side throughout digital marketing content can be a great way to nurture your leads. It shows that you’re willing to stay engaged rather than just grab ‘em and then launch into formulaic, business-speak.

Using humor can pique interest and draw attention to the valuable services you offer. It can be a launch pad for sharing the nuts and bolts of what you offer without the important parts getting lost in a sea of words. Think of your humor like little comedic speed bumps, directing your users to exactly what you want them to know.

The Long-Game: Consistent Digital Marketing

Being consistent in your content strategy builds brand credibility. You want your audience to know that you’re approachable all the time, not just in an occasional Facebook post. And when you’re consistent, you’re more likely to convert your giggling followers into serious customers.

Your voice is important, and not just that audible one, but the vibe you’re setting every time you send an email, post a photo or write a blog entry. If you want your audience to know your lighthearted side, make sure to add in a flair for the funny across all digital marketing platforms.

Perhaps you post a hilarious photo every week, send out a witty monthly newsletter. Whatever you decide, let your personality shine through the screen.

Digital marketing doesn’t have to be dry. If you’re looking to liven up your marketing strategy with some humor, contact Wayward Kind for a strategy consultation. You may even get to hear a few of our bad jokes.

lead_nurturing_strategy

Why Content is Your Secret Weapon for a Successful Lead Nurturing Strategy

By | Lead Nurturing, Marketing Strategy

“We spend so much time on content marketing. When is it going to start having an impact on sales?”

I overheard an exasperated business owner having this conversation with a colleague at a networking event and it took everything I had not to pop into the conversation and tell them that maybe it wasn’t content marketing’s fault. Maybe it was their approach.

Now, do I know for sure that their approach needed some work? No. I’d need to ask a few more questions to better understand their lead nurturing strategy. But I do know this––if content marketing isn’t producing results for you (yet), it’s not because it doesn’t work. And it’s not because you need to spend more time and money on it.

Ultimately, content marketing can improve your lead nurturing strategy by building trust with potential clients and providing insights on how people are interacting with your brand. Here’s what we mean:

Using Content to Build Trust with Leads

Trust is important in any relationship. Building trust with potential clients is crucial in order to gain and hold their attention. When potential clients trust your brand, they will feel more confident in buying your services.

Building trust isn’t a one-and-done effort. This is something that is built over time. Use these tips to develop trust through your content.

  • Be consistent in your brand story – Make sure all of your content is aligned. If your services are described as cutting-edge, you should have a great website experience. If you claim to offer competitive prices, make sure you’ve done your research to back that up.
  • Resolve customer complaints – Everyone, including prospects, does the obligatory online scan of a business they’re considering to work with. Online reviews play a big role in how people perceive a company and have a huge impact on their decision to do business with them. Check out our guide from last week that outlines how to develop a rock solid online review strategy.
  • Introduce social proof into your lead nurturing strategySocial proof may seem like one of the easiest marketing tactics, but it’s definitely one of the most important. Show potential clients just how you can solve their problem. Examples of social proof include testimonials, reviews, and case studies from your clients. As a result, this can influence them that it’s finally time to make a change.

Learn How Leads Are Interacting with Your Content

You can leverage digital marketing to better understand how potential clients are interacting with your content and inform your lead nurturing strategy.

First, take a look at your website. Google Analytics can show how prospective clients are interacting with your website. This tool gives insight to user behavior on your website like where users click, how long they spend on each page, and at what point they bounce from your website. Knowing where they hesitate is the first step in determining how to help them step past that.

You can do the same with email marketing. What subject lines are people opening, and which links are they clicking on? People interact with content most when it’s relevant and helpful to them.

Finally, explore your social media analytics. What types of posts are gaining impressions and engagement? This may provide insight into what your prospective clients need from you in order to take a leap of faith and make a change.

Content marketing doesn’t just help promote your business; it can also provide crucial information into how your prospective clients’ minds are working and what you need to do to help them consider your services as a solution.

Do you have clients stuck in the middle of the decision cycle? You might need to adjust your lead nurturing strategy to help them decide it’s time to make a move. Let the Wayward Kind team help.

There’s no time like the present to begin developing an effective video content strategy for your small business. Schedule a free strategy review with our team so we can help you make 2019 the year that your content marketing strategy produces results!

Improve your SEO ranking with a rock solid online review strategy.

Improve Your SEO With a Rock Solid Online Review Strategy

By | Marketing Strategy

Whether you sell products, provide services or have a brick and mortar business your customers visit, online business reviews matter play an important role in a company’s ranking factor in local SEO. A 2018 local consumer survey by BrightLocal found that 86 percent of consumers read reviews for local businesses and consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business.

Having a Rock Solid Online Review Strategy Matters

It’s important to always keep refreshing your digital marketing strategy with new practices and techniques. Having a rock solid online review strategy to gather Yelp reviews, Google Business reviews, Facebook reviews, testimonials for your website and more can improve your online rating scale, increase sales, and establish a healthy cadence of positive reviews posted.

When people read positive reviews, the next step often taken is a website visit or business location visit. According to Propecta, 81 percent of B2B purchase cycles, and 89 percent of shoppers, start with a web search.  

Two of the most important things search engines look at when weighing reviews are quantity and sentiment. The quantity, or overall number of reviews used to be the most important factor, but as of 2017, sentiment now matters even more.

Lastly, review cadence is also important. Your business needs consistent online review activity over time, rather than a spike and dip in reviews. Keeping this in mind when developing an online review strategy will help you identify the best practices and most feasible tactics to implement for your company.

Understand Why People Leave Reviews To Benefit Your Online Review Strategy

When it comes to leaving reviews, it’s the tale of two extremes. People leave reviews when they love a brand and want to celebrate it, or, when they hate a brand and want to warn others. In other words, people with strong emotions about a brand or company’s products or services will go out of their way to sing their praises or warn other customers about their experience.

When executing your online review strategy, be prepared to take the good with the bad. We know that it takes about 10 positive reviews to nullify one bad review, so keep that in mind when working to gain new reviews for your company.

Focusing Your Online Review Strategy on SEO

For the purpose of SEO, your primary focus should be on increasing the number of Google reviews. Your secondary focus should be on platforms like Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor etc.

We know that it takes about 10 positive reviews to mitigate damage from one negative review. We’ll need to keep that ratio in mind as we set a goal for how many positive reviews we need to earn over the next few months.

With the goal of improving SEO, reviews should go ONLY to the business listing on Google. The question isn’t “what is the best platform,” it’s “what is the best platform for SEO?”

How To Get More Reviews

Ask for them. The old adage “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” rings especially true when it comes to receiving reviews. Increasing the number of reviews you have is a fundamental part of a rock solid online review strategy.

Here are some ideas and best practices to get you started:

  • Before you ask, know when it’s appropriate to ask for a review. First, determine which past and present clients have something positive to say about their experience working with your team.
  • Another route is to identify past and present colleagues and members of your professional network that would welcome the opportunity to leave a few kind words about your working relationship.

It’s all about timing. Consider implementing some sort of timeline rollout in your online review strategy to keep you organized.

  • Know when clients are most likely to respond and actually leave a review. For instance, after a big win, at a major company milestone, on their anniversary date, or after a big project is completed.
  • Everyone’s always going to be busy. Don’t let that deter you from reaching out. Trying to identify a “slower time of year” never works, so just reach out then to ask for their help with learning an online review for your business.
  • If it is a busier time of year, manage your expectations in terms of immediacy for a response. The key is to keep following up.
  • Once you have identified the best time to reach out and which clients to reach out to, make note of this in your Customer Relationship Management system or internal timeline calendar so you don’t forget to reach out and/or follow up.

Lastly, make it easy for customers to post a review. Provide a direct link for your customers and colleagues to easily post an online review about your business.

Here is an easy step-by-step guide to simplifying this process:

Expanding further on this, another idea is to include a CTA in your email signature. Here’s a sample prompt you can simply copy and paste into your existing signature:

“Have feedback for [YOUR COMPANY NAME]? Tell us how we’re doing by leaving a review on Google. [HYPERLINK TO YOUR COMPANY’S GOOGLE REVIEW PAGE].

Responding to Online Reviews

A review, whether it’s good, lukewarm, or bad, means that people are proactively interacting with your brand. Best practices suggest that all reviews are worth a response. The approach should be different depending on the tonality of the review.

If reviews are left on other sites, set up an alert for when they are posted. Then, get in touch with reviewers personally to thank them for leaving a review and ask them to copy/paste it to Google Business reviews with a provided link.

How to respond to a positive review:

  • Be quick with your response
  • Be warm and personal
  • Say thank you
  • Talk about “next time” and “in the future”
  • Make it actionable on your part

How to respond to a bad review:

  • 57 percent of the time, bad ratings relate to customer service
  • In your response, depersonalize the interaction. Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about the business.  
  • Be empathetic and proactive
  • Be actionable. Say what you are going to do to make it right
  • Talk about “next time” and “in the future”

How to respond to a lukewarm review:

  • Consider it like a negative review
  • If you didn’t wow them, the service was disappointing in some way so follow the same methodology in which you would respond to a bad review
  • The upside is that they found it worth their time to leave a review, meaning they’re open to giving you a second chance

There’s no time like the present to begin developing an effective video content strategy for your small business. Schedule a free strategy review with our team so we can help you make 2019 the year that your content marketing strategy produces results!

video_content_strategy

Say Hello to Short-Form Video Content Strategy

By | Marketing Strategy

The question is no longer whether or not video should be a part of your marketing plan. Video is here to stay. The question we have to answer is how much video do you need and how video content strategy will integrate with other aspects of your marketing plan.

Short-form video content is a rising trend in 2019, thanks to enhancements in technology and increased accessibility on all platforms. Social platforms like Facebook and Instagram now favor and enable native video content. The newest social platform, Snapchat, only allows users to post “micro-videos” that disappear after 24 hours. With these content platforms focusing their efforts to make short-form videos more accessible, even more users are creating and consuming video content.

A recent research report by the Altimeter Group found that short-form video content was the best performing content in terms of engagement across every industry and every geography. It raanks as more engaging than blog posts, whitepapers, and podcasts. Developing a solid video content strategy is a powerful marketing tool that shouldn’t be dismissed.

So, let’s get to it!

What is Short-Form Video Content?

Short-form video content is anything short enough to hold a viewer’s attention span, but long enough to get your point across in an engaging way. Typically, this lands in the 15 seconds to two minute time frame.

Short-form video content is found on YouTube and popular social media platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook, however, brands also leverage this type of content for their websites and blogs. Google, of course, favors YouTube content and even LinkedIn users are embracing video content.

Short-form video performs exceptionally well because it allows a brand to get its point across in a visual and very personal way. Another major advantage is that it forces companies to deliver their brand message in a memorable way. 

Benefits of a Short-Form Video Content Strategy

Human attention spans have rapidly decreased over recent years, thanks in part to the increased popularity and use of social media and smartphones. A study by Microsoft reported the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. And, according to Jampp, our attention span has been rapidly decreasing over the last 15 years and at a rate of 88 percent year-over-year.

Video content strategy offers an opportunity to humanize and personalize your brand identity. Another benefit of using video as part of your digital marketing plan is that it creates more natural opportunities for email marketing. Research shows that adding video to email can boost click-through rates by 200-300 percent and accelerates a company’s sales cycle.

Short-form video also helps with your Google and SEO ranking. YouTube videos tend to rank high in Google search results and the most popular type of videos on YouTube are short-form. Additionally, embedding videos into your website’s landing pages can help increase the time visitors stay on your site, which contributes to search engine rankings.

How to Make a Great Short-Form Video

Don’t overthink it when creating a short-form video. Remember to keep it short, anywhere from 15 seconds to 2 minutes is best. This is great for camera shy executives that a company’s message should be coming from in a video for the brand.

Remember to make it meaningful. Videos that create an emotional response work best, especially on social media platforms. Video content that evokes an emotional response from its viewers also has the best chance to go “viral.”

Here are a few more examples of a short-form video highlighting B2B services from some of our clients, JWB Family Law and HipHire:

Types of Short-Form Content to Include in Your Video Content Strategy

Here are some ideas of different short-form content you can start creating for your video content strategy in 2019:

How-to videos for your company’s products, tools or services.


Videos showing the benefits and features of your products or services.


Behind-the-scenes video of your team in action, such as your company’s manufacturing/production line or featuring a day in the life at your business.


Customer testimonials done interview-style with past or present customers, partners, and clients sharing their positive experience with your company.


Messages from C-level executives expressing gratitude for company milestones and/or wins at the end of a quarter or fiscal year.


Teasers for upcoming events or your company’s new products, tools, and/or services.


Live-streaming from events of your company’s presence at industry conferences, speaking engagements, or tradeshows.

There’s no time like the present to begin developing an effective video content strategy for your small business. Schedule a free strategy review with our team so we can help you make 2019 the year that your content marketing strategy produces results!

Generate more qualified leads through a personalized content marketing strategy.

Personalized Content Marketing Strategy for Greater ROI

By | Content Development, Marketing Strategy

Consumers in the United States spend about as much time sleeping––about 7.8 hours––every day as they do engaging with online content. (Source: Adobe) The time you spend on content marketing strategy is well worth it.

2019 is officially here, bringing opportunities for new beginnings and a fresh start for your content marketing strategy. With email, search, and social continuing to dominate the content landscape, it’s easy to get scattered and try to do a little bit of everything to connect with your clients online. Before you dip a toe in too many digital channels, start with a solid plan.

The bulk of your marketing budget should not be spent on ad campaigns and promotional marketing. Instead, spend that time creating meaningful, customized content that helps your clients solve a challenge. They will thank you for your efforts with their trust.  

The most effective content is tailored for the industry your business is in, as well as with a specific person––and a specific challenge–– in mind. The content should offer your audience a solution to their problem. For instance, a cost analysis tool might help customers understand how you help them save money. A white paper or infographic could explain how your services will help streamline a potential client’s business operations.

Here are a few of the most important steps that should be taken when developing a content marketing strategy for your business.

Personalize your content marketing strategy

Content personalization will continue to be a major content marketing trend in 2019. This not only means that your content needs to be customized for each target audience, but you also need to develop the right strategy for each platform you use to distribute your content.

In a survey of 190 marketing influencers worldwide conducted by Ascend2, 63 percent of respondents said that developing personalized content is a difficult tactic to execute. Instead of thinking of it as if you need to create custom content for each person who interacts with your brand, approach personalization as an opportunity to create relevant and useful information and understanding your clients’ core challenges.

Valuable content is a powerful element to your content marketing strategy. Your clients can tell the difference between meaningful content and content that was developed just to fill space or provide click-bait.

If you spend the time developing meaningful content, you’re likely to generate more qualified leads. As you build out your content schedule for 2019, identify what your audience wants to learn about, not what you want to sell. That will help to eliminate content ideas that are just space-fillers, or overly self-serving without providing real value.

Distribute content effectively

The way your content reaches your audience is crucial for a small business’s content marketing strategy.

Social media is one way to distribute your personalized, segmented content, but your efforts shouldn’t stop there. A segmented email marketing strategy will also be helpful. When you really know who your audience is and what they’re most interested in, you will be able to create even more valuable content––videos, infographics, webinars, gifs, blog posts, etc.––and know exactly where to share it to get the right message in front of the right audience at the right time.

Once you have a handle on which content should be distributed through email marketing and social media, you can extend this knowledge to your website and personalize content for the traffic you drive from other channels.

Power in numbers

Prospective clients rarely make a purchase decision based on one piece of content. It takes time and repetition to build trust. Rather than putting all of your time and effort into creating one piece of content, plan to develop a series of content that will provide ongoing value over time. This will help your audience understand your expertise and how you can help them solve their challenges.

There’s no time like the present to begin developing an effective content marketing strategy for your small business. Schedule a free strategy review with our team so we can help you make 2019 the year that your content marketing strategy produces results!

Social proof can give your clients the information they need.

What Is Social Proof in Marketing? And Why Does It Matter?

By | Content Development, Lead Nurturing, Marketing Strategy

Social proof—it’s all over the news these days. But what is social proof exactly?

Social proof is when you like things because other people or brands like those things. They influence your opinion.

For example, think about the last novel you bought, it probably had raving reviews from big-name authors on the cover, right? That’s an example of the principle of social proof.

If Stephen King had great things to say about this book, then it must be good and you have to buy it. Otherwise, you’re missing out.

And social proof doesn’t only come from celebrities. Those around us every day are also an important source of social proof.

Have you ever bought something based on the recommendation of a friend? If so, you aren’t alone! About 77 percent of consumers found this to be the most persuasive way to learn about new products and businesses.

So how can you leverage this in your marketing?

Testimonials and other social proof examples may seem like small items, but in the big picture, they play a significant role in moving potential clients toward a sale.

Social proof is the hook that helps sell consumers on a product or service. Including some form of social proof in your marketing strategy will help give your potential clients the right information they need to consider doing business with you.

First Things First: Consumers Are Looking at Your Social Media

Your social media profiles say more about your brand than you might think. Consumers tend to look at your profiles to see the content you’re producing and if it’s worth their time.

Don’t worry about how many followers you have, how many likes you’ve gotten, or how many comments were left on your posts. At the end of the day, that doesn’t matter.

Your clients aren’t looking at that—what does matter is the quality of what you’re posting.

Utilizing social proof on your social media is a great content idea. For example, you can post part of a testimonial that someone left you or a link to case studies you have.

Whether you want to showcase a new client or a stellar testimonial you received, this kind of content is great for your social media.

Think of social media as a place to showcase your social proof and bring out your brand’s voice in a more casual setting.

Testimonials & Reviews Are More Important Than Ever for Social Proof

If your company’s page on different review sites like Yelp and Google looks like a ghost town, this isn’t a good sign for your business. But it doesn’t take a ton of reviews to make a difference.

Having just one review can encourage someone to do business with you. For example, every star increase you have on Yelp can increase revenue by 5 to 9 percent.

Before making a purchase, trying a new restaurant, or seeking a spontaneous haircut, most people today will look at a business’ reviews. Studies have shown that the average consumer checks two to three reviews sites before making a decision. If there are no reviews, they will be less likely to choose your business.

The same goes for testimonials on your website. By simply including attributed quotes from your happy clients in an easily accessible spot on your website, you can increase conversion rates.

This is word-of-mouth marketing in the digital age.

Don’t Forget About Case Studies for Social Proof

Although reviews and testimonials provide solid social proof, case studies prove why the reviews and testimonials can be trusted. Ultimately, clients want to know that you can solve the problem they’re facing.

If a client is interested in your product or service and you have case studies that show you’ve solved a problem similar to the one the person has, this helps build trust in what you’re offering.

Case studies allow you to build this personal connection with potential clients—which can help them move one step closer to becoming your next client.

Social Proof Should Showcase Your Clients

If you work with notable clients, show them off! Somewhere on your website, cite some of the businesses you’re working with.

If you’re working with other businesses, drop their logo onto your site—that alone has been shown as a viable source of social proof that pushes people to buy.

This will make you more credible to potential clients. One of those notable clients might be one they connect with or admire, which only makes them want to connect with you more.

Create a Conversation With Social Proof

So why does social proof matter?

Social proof offers your potential clients a mental shortcut to get from “Should I care about this?” to “tell me more.”

Create a conversation with your clients by giving them the information they need to care and want to learn more about your business and services you offer.

Social proof plays an important role in marketing. Are you using it to your advantage? Schedule a consultation with one of our experts to start putting social proof into action for your business.