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Creative Marketing Blog

By Monique Morrison 09 Sep, 2016
Google Data Studio has been creating quite the buzz around the digital marketing community and for good reason, it's pretty darn awesome! So, awesome I put together this lil' inforgraphic on the top 5 reasons why you should login and start creating reports today.
By Monique Morrison 06 Sep, 2016

With your video edited, the final stage of making a marketing video is deciding how to distribute it. No one platform is best for all videos; instead, you should choose the distribution method that best suits your target audience. Because of the abundance of websites for uploading videos, the selection may seem daunting, but fret not; here is a guide to the primary choices available right now:

1. YouTube

The web titan is obviously the first thing that comes to mind. It boasts the highest number of viewers, as well as videos uploaded, and is undoubtedly the most popular video destination in the world. Uploading videos on YouTube is free and very simple, so it’s certainly a cost effective way to go. What's more, YouTube is owned by Google, so you are assured of its quality and features and perhaps even an influence in their search engine. YouTube channels also enable users to generate a fan-base and provide useful statistics. Lastly, YouTube allows ads and links to be placed on your videos. On the other hand, because of YouTube's large domain, your video might get lost amidst the millions of videos uploaded regularly. This means that your chances of standing out on this venue are not very high. YouTube is also infamous for the notorious comments left by viewers, and some businesses do not want to associate themselves with this. Nevertheless, because of its dominant standing, posting marketing videos on YouTube is almost obligatory. To expand your horizon though, you may cross-post in another portal and your website.

2. Vimeo

Vimeo is more selective with the videos they allow to be posted. The website shies away from television clips, video game footage, and music videos, and focuses on art and quality videos. This narrowed content aids in building a community that shares common interests and paves the way to creating long-term relationships with a common audience. The guidelines of Vimeo also strictly prohibit personal attacks and insults, so unlike with YouTube, there is almost no possibility of receiving crass comments. On the flip side, the focused content and numerous restrictions, including not allowing commercial content, might prevent your video from even being posted here. Also, because of their smaller audience, your video might not easily find viewership. Lastly, only the basic account, which allows 500MB of upload, is free; beyond that, you have to pay.

3. Metacafe

Metacafe promotes original, short-form video content, but they do get 40 million visitors monthly. Because of the short content (a Metacafe video averages only 90 seconds), full-length movies, television episodes, and news stories are not allowed. They're not as strict as Vimeo though; any kind of user is allowed to sign up, and the community of users can pretty much use the site how they want. The highest rated videos also get a cash reward, and they have a zero tolerance policy for defamatory material and comments. The downside of this site is its content limitation, both in length and genre. They also seem to focus more on video game content. Plus, compared to YouTube, their audience size is still relatively small.

These are just a few of the video platforms you can use. Remember, don’t limit your video’s audience by posting it in only one place. Make sure you also include your video on your website, as well as spread the word about your video through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

That’s it for the How to Make a Video blog series. We hope you found the tips useful and go on to make a viral video featuring your brand. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. And, of course, if you’d like to meet with us, contact us and we’d be happy to work with you to create a video that makes sense for your brand and audience.

By Christine Campana 06 Sep, 2016

Even though the filming is done, the project is not yet over. Post-production in video marketing is all about putting everything together and coming up with an end product that demonstrates your message and meets your business goals.

Editing the Picture

Editing the video should be done in an organized manner, since it is a time consuming and quite laborious process. The first step of editing is importing raw footage from the camera and converting it to appropriate files for the computer. Always make sure that you create a back-up file of such footage for safety purposes. Then arrange the takes roughly into place. There are layers and layers of videos that should be gathered and brought together, not to mention trimmed and properly paced. These will include stock footage, retakes, talking heads, and even B-rolls (shots that do not focus on your primary subject). The painstaking task of frame-by-frame editing requires more than creativity and skill; the editing professional should have the utmost patience.

Incorporating Music and/or Voice over

To improve the overall viewer experience of your video, you should incorporate the appropriate music. Adding music to the video will make it more interesting, but you should make sure to pick the tune  meticulously. If the budget permits, you can use an original track custom-made for your video. Of course, the alternative is to choose stock music. If this is what you decide to do, make sure that copyrights have been secured to avoid infringement issues. Not all videos require a soundtrack; if you do use one though, just make sure it highlights the theme of your video. If the video content calls for a voiceover or dubbing, getting professional talent is a great choice. The voiceover could set the tone for the rest of the video, so, if you can, hire professional voiceover talents to do the job. Lastly, the use of sound effects is optional, but adding them astutely could make the audience more engaged in the video's message.

Extra Steps

Aside from editing and the addition of music, finalizing the video also entails adding titles and credits, color correction, and the use of graphics and/or special effects. Try to keep the video no longer than a minute to keep in step with the maximum attention span of viewers. It is also advisable to introduce the company name within the first 30 seconds of the video. The video footage should be edited into a draft and reviewed before finalizing.

Make sure that the person in charge of editing is familiar, or better yet, an expert in using the editing software. Stitching together raw footage into not only a comprehensible story, but a perfectly executed marketing strategy, is a significant step. If executed correctly, you’ll produce an attention-grabbing and crowd-pleasing video that delivers the intended value or call to action.

Once you've created a video you're proud of, it's time to share it with the world. Learn more. 

By Christine Campana 06 Sep, 2016

All that planning and preparation will take you to this: the actual production. The day of the shoot is when everything you've conceptualized will finally materialize. First and foremost, production entails filming. With your storyboard, shot, and production schedule on hand, you have a multitude of guides on how the filming should go. 

Here are some tips to guide you in the video production stage:

1. Safety First

Upon arriving on the video location, make sure that all safety concerns are addressed. The necessary contacts, scripts, and equipment should be handed to the crew, and everyone on set should know the location of the first aid kit.  To keep the cast and crew safe, also make sure everyone knows the do's and don'ts of handling equipment. Beat Murphy's Law (Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.) by ensuring that everyone knows what to do in case of emergency.

2. Final Cast Call

The video's success is reliant on the talent you have, so get the actors to relax before the actual shoot. Make sure that they are well-rehearsed and take time to ask them about any last minute questions and concerns they may have so they can be addressed before production.

3. Audio Tests are Crucial

Testing your audio equipment before shooting is a smart move. You should have an audio technician check prior to filming and cover all the bases: microphones, recorders, camera feed, batteries, playback, volume levels, and even background noise. This will help you avoid a great amount of delay.

4. Lights and Setup

Lighting is highly determined by your setup, especially whether you're filming inside a studio or outside in open daylight. Outside and inside filming will have their own set of challenges, so knowledge on lighting is quite essential. If you're shooting outside, consider doing it during the golden hour, which is in an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset. Weather changes will greatly affect your shoot, so check the weather forecasts ahead of time. Indoor videos, on the other hand, necessitate the use of artificial lighting.

5. Camera Setup

The quality of your video will depend heavily on the images and action captured by the camera. Cameras should of course be fully charged and working well, and tripods should be solid and leveled, as they will be used heavily during production. The director will determine the settings of the camera by adjusting elements like white balance, exposure, grain and video quality, and frame rate. You might also want to use the Rule of Thirds, wherein the camera relies on reference points for good framing.

6. Lights, Camera... Action!

Finally, it is time to shoot. The first couple takes might not always go well, but, gradually, you’ll get the flow of things. As long as you have the script, storyboard, shot list and production timeline, you have all the guide you need to keep track of the filming and determine if it is going according to plan. Take note that shooting multiple takes may come in handy in case anything wrong goes with the original takes.

Once you got all those shots in, you're ready to create your video. Read all about editing.  

By Christine Campana 06 Sep, 2016

Once you know your objective, audience, budget, and timeline, it’s time to get creative and organized. In the second phase of video marketing, you’ll be preparing to start filming. This will involve organizing the logistics of video production, including script writing, creating storyboards, production scheduling, determining your equipment needs, finding locations, lining up your talent (including the cast and crew), getting supplies and props, as well as selecting wardrobe. As you enter this phase, remember, the best defense against unforeseen problems and delays is planning.

Below are some tips on how to make the most of your preparation:

1. Get your script and storyboard prepared before anything else.

Since in the strategic planning phase you’ve already determined the purpose of your video, the next step is to conceptualize how you’re going to convey your message. Now’s your chance to get creative and think about how you’ll tell your story and demonstrate why your brand is best. You’ll be thinking about the type of video you’re creating (for example, product or how-to), the speaker(s), and the best way you can share your message and engage your viewers. After drafting a few versions of your script, if you are not confident with what you’ve put down on paper, you may want to get professional input. This will likely come with an extra cost, but it may be worth it since your script will be a major part of your production. Next, you’ll be creating your storyboard, which, despite what you may think, doesn't require you to be a talented artist. You can either use drawings or picture clippings to create the scenes in your script. A storyboard is crucial because it makes you visualize the scene by scene breakdown of the video; hence, you will have an invaluable guide on how the shoot will go and can make the necessary adjustments beforehand.

2. Construct a shot list.

A shot list is simply a detailed shot-by-shot breakdown of each scene. It is usually done using Microsoft Excel and creating a table composed of three columns: scene number, location, and detailed description. Unlike the storyboard which only presents visuals, the shot list points out the specifics of each scene, including what props should be used, how the camera lights should be placed, and the amount of crew members that need to be present.

3. Come up with a production schedule.

Creating a production schedule (or a shooting schedule, as it is sometimes called) will determine the overall production workflow and steer the process in the right direction. The schedule should list: location, scene or shot, equipment needed, people in shot, contact information, and the date and time of the shoot. Having all of these important details written down will help you track the flow of the production, manage expectations, target concerns, and coordinate with all of the people crucial to the success of your video.

Planning ahead of time and getting everything you need before the actual production will help you handle unforeseen elements like scheduling conflicts, scene confusion, location unavailability, or equipment shortage. Therefore, spending the necessary time on the pre-production stage can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

In the next blog, you'll learn about seeing the results of your careful planning. Read Part III.

By Monique Morrison 06 Sep, 2016

Nowadays, marketers rely heavily on videos to create a buzz about their products, services, and brands. And why not? Video marketing is a highly effective and efficient method of delivering your message to the world. Most people would rather watch a video than read text. In fact, all over the globe, people spend more than 6 billion hours watching online videos every month. That's equivalent to almost an hour for each person on the planet. Another fun fact: video-sharing website YouTube is the second most used search engine, right after Google.

In this digital age, many companies use video marketing because it can be time efficient and cost effective. (Uploading a promotional video onto websites doesn't take much time and is often free of charge.) Although a video might be easy to upload, creating videos that engage consumers can sometimes be a challenge. There are 5 aspects of video marketing and they all require substantial amount of work. They are strategic planning, pre-production, production, post-production, and distribution.

This blog will outline what is required in the Strategic Planning stage:

Decide on Your Purpose

As Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.” Every video can’t do everything, and before you start writing your script, it’s important to decide what you want your video to do for your company. Ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve?” You can then pick one primary goal and generate a strategy from there. Examples of goals might include generating awareness for your brand or increasing sales of a specific product. Choosing your overall goal will also help you decide on what your message is. You can then tailor the video to communicate a clear and specific message to your viewers.

Define Your Audience

Not all video content is appropriate for all audiences, so you need to decide who your target audience is. Marketing campaigns often fail because they did not focus on their target viewers; hence their content seemed either irrelevant or too broad. Make sure that your goal of your video is aligned with the most important people in your business -- your prospective customers.

Building a buyer persona will simplify the process. To do this, determine the imaginary profiles of your customers by establishing their age, gender, income, and preferences. This will help you narrow down their wants and needs and anticipate what kind of content will be suitable for them. Moreover, once you’ve figured out who your audience is, you can decide on what kind of platform you will use to deliver your video to them, for example, YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, blogs, or your own website.

Organize Your Budget, Timeline, and Marketing

Planning also involves budgeting for your video. It is important to decide on the amount of money you want to invest on this endeavor, because this budget will guide you it determining your limitations. Make sure that you also set a timeline. At this stage, you’ll mainly decide when you must shoot, edit, and distribute the video, and you’ll organize your production schedule at a later stage. Make sure you provide allowances to compensate for unforeseen events, though. You may also want to  pre-determine your distribution and marketing strategy, which primarily involves how you are going to share and promote your video.

Ready to learn about planning your script and the logistics of your video? Click for Part II. 

By Christine Campana 06 Sep, 2016

Content marketing can be a fantastic way of earning new customers, and videos are a great addition to your content marketing mix. If you haven’t heard of content marketing or don’t yet use videos, read on to learn more about how content marketing and videos can assist you with your marketing goals:

What is content marketing?

What makes content marketing different from other forms of marketing is that it provides the customer added value. Content marketers believe that delivering consistent and valuable information to customers will lead them to support and trust the company who provided them useful content. Content marketing is not selling to consumers; rather, it is informing, educating, or entertaining them in the hope that they will buy a company’s products. What is important in this type of marketing is to give customers quality content – content that they are willing to seek out, pay for, and share.

What are some examples of content marketing?

Content marketing has gained popularity and traction among marketers and companies. Marketing leaders and experts agree that it is not only the present of marketing, but also its future. You will often see content marketing online on websites and social media. Examples of content marketing methods include infographics, articles, blogs, and podcasts. Content marketing does not stop there, though.

How can videos be used as content marketing pieces?

Most people would not think of the “The Lego Movie” as a content marketing “masterpiece,” but this box office hit effectively captures and promotes the Lego brand and weaves it into a story told in a fun, awesome, and enjoyable way. It tells, but does not sell, which is what content marketing is about.

Video marketing is basically using a video to promote a product, service, or brand. When used for content marketing purposes, videos often take the form of how-to videos, training videos, online tutorials, or promotional trailers. Video marketing is steadily gaining popularity among companies and brands for a number of reasons.

Why should videos be a part of your content marketing mix?

1)   Videos are an effective way of communicating to consumers. They make use of the visual and auditory senses to present or explain concepts and ideas. This is why viewers who watch a video are more likely to retain information than those exposed to written or spoken media alone.  

2)   Videos appeal to consumers’ emotions. They make use of elements such as body language, facial expression, and music to connect and relate to viewers. Since people make decisions using their emotions, videos are a great way to access viewers’ psyches and influence them to buy a product.

3)   Videos increase sales and conversions. Studies show that online consumers are more likely to purchase a product after watching a video. The company Stacks and Stacks reports that shoppers are 144% more likely to add a product into the cart after they see its video on the product page.

4)   Videos are highly accessible. Companies can post their videos on the company website or on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. That way, videos are not only limited to desktop and laptop users, but also on-the-go consumers who access the internet through their mobile phones.

With these advantages and many more, it makes sense to add videos into your company’s content marketing mix. Volvo Truck’s “ Epic Split ” video featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme, for instance, garnered 70+ million YouTube views and 8 million shares online. This epic video boosted awareness for the brand and increased its customer engagement. It is great content videos like these that show achievable success through video marketing and encourage other companies and brands to start making quality videos to promote their products.

If you have any other examples of great video marketing success stories, please share in the comments below. 

By Monique Morrison 02 Sep, 2016

This is the first blog post in our Video Marketing training series. 


With so many companies using online videos to market their products, businesses now have to contend with lots of competitors to vie for the attention of prospective audiences and customers. This is why just having a video for the sake of having one simply won’t cut it anymore. A video needs to stand out and offer value to its audience. With this in mind, here are some tips from video marketing experts that you can use to create your next great marketing video:   

1)   Have a clear purpose: Jennifer Jager, a Creative Director at Plum Productions and a Contributor at Entrepreneur.com , shares that most clients and companies consult her without knowing what to do with a web video. She explains that often companies want a new video for a website or a campaign but either have too many ideas for a 60-second video or they have none at all. They need to be guided to discover what they want to achieve with their video. Before you start throwing together a script or selecting the speaker, you need to understand the purpose of the video you’re creating. A rule to keep in mind is to be clear. Be clear with your goal. Be clear about who your audience is. Be clear with your message.  

2)   Know how to use videos online: Brenton Williamson, a Video Producer at Bamboo HR – the No. 1 online HR software for small and medium businesses, shares that companies can maximize a video by knowing how to use it online. He shares four purposes for online videos. First, videos are great for brand awareness, as they easily reach people who have not heard of your product or brand. Second, videos build brand validation. The videos that are embedded on the Bamboo HR website act as “the windows into their company.” Videos can give clients and prospects an idea of what your company is about and what you stand for. Third, videos educate prospects. Bamboo HR’s videos highlight their software’s features and advantages. Therefore, videos not only inform clients and prospects, but they also give them confidence in Bamboo HR’s products. Fourth, videos help retain and educate existing customers. Bamboo HR has hints and tips videos that help customers use their products. When you make videos to share online, follow Bamboo HR's lead and know how you will use them. 

3)   Provide compelling content: Instead of having a company CEO or VP talk about a product in front of a camera, companies can get more creative and tell a story. This need not be a company or brand story, but the characters should be relatable and go on a journey that viewers want to follow. Aside from storytelling, companies can also help customers or viewers by giving tips or hints, or show how to use, clean, or fix a product. They can also share new information related to your products or industry. When creating your video, remember that the more interesting, creative, and  informative the content, the more it’s going to intrigue and help your potential customers. This means more shares and more conversions.

4)   Invest in production: Have you seen a TED Talk lately? Although most lecture-type videos are boring, TED videos are compelling and fascinating. Although they last longer than music videos, TED videos have millions of views and are widely shared. What makes them successful is that TED invests in quality and production value. Chris Anderson, TED’s Founder and Curator, shares that they put a lot of thought into each lecture. They make it like a music video and play with lighting, camera angles, graphics, and audio mixing. This is all to say, when creating your marketing video, don’t skimp on production. Making a quality video may require the help of professionals who can add creative insights and solve production issues that come up along the way, but this will leave you more time to focus on what’s important – your strategy and message.

If you have video advice, feel free to leave us your thoughts in the comments below. And remember, if you need any help or advice with creating videos that are right for your company, feel free to contact us.

 

By Monique Morrison 08 Jun, 2016

So, if I had to guess you are like me…

You own a business.  And as a business owner you would like to;

  • increase your revenues

  • retain more customers

  • and in the most cost effective way possible


Sound about right?

Maybe you are a startup or a local business that's been around for a while but haven't really marketed that much or you are starting to see a decline in the effectiveness of your traditional advertising campaigns. Or maybe it’s still working for you but it's just TOO DARN EXPENSIVE!

Well, if you fall into that category, don’t worry. You are not alone. We speak to many local businesses owners daily that are in the same predicament. Many know that they need to start shifting towards a digital strategy but are not sure where to start and there are so many options available it seems confusing.

Well have no fear, Monique is here! (I know that’s incredibly cheesy but I’ve always wanted an excuse to say it.) Really though, if you are wondering how to really make digital marketing work for you local business than you’ve come to the right place.

So you may be wondering what exactly is digital marketing?

Well, traditionally digital marketing is defined as the promotion of our products and services through digital technologies, mainly the internet but can include many different other types of digital mediums.

And essentially that is what we do. We just do it in a very specific way with a very specific process.

What we do is combine digital marketing with relationship marketing (sometimes called inbound marketing). We use digital marketing to tell stories and to build relationships and we've been doing it with great success for many years.

Digital marketing allows you as a business owner to:

  1. Tell current and potential customers you understand their pain points and that you have a solution.
  2. Use different types of content like social posts, a blog or videos to tell your audience that you not only understand and empathize with their needs but that you’ve built a business behind solving those needs.
  3. Get your message in front of a targeted audience that is most likely to buy.
Now don’t run off thinking, I’ve got it! I’ve got all the answers! Because there’s a lot more to it than that. Keep reading to see how we use smart marketing tactics and relationship marketing to build a larger customer base.

So here’s the truth...

There are only three ways to grow a business,

  • Increase the number of customers

  • Increase the average transaction value per customer

  • Increase the number of transactions per customer

So it’s important when planning a digital marketing campaign that your main focus is to set goals that align with one or all three metrics.

What Is a Sales Funnel and How Can a Local Business Implement One?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we need to  stop trying to attain “one hit wonder” ad campaigns. Businesses don’t become successful because they were able to pull off one “viral post”.

“Did you hear? I ran a Facebook ad that went viral and now I’m set for life.”
- Said no one ever


Businesses become successful online when they implement a system.  

This system is not new. It’s been used for decades and is just as effective now as it was then you just need to know how to implement it properly.

So what’s the system?

It’s a sales funnel!

Essentially, there are three stages of a sales funnel (also known as the customer journey):

(There are additional stages but I'm going to keep this high level.)

  • Awareness- People are learning that your company exists and what you are about.
  • Evaluation- They like what they’ve seen so far and are deciding if they should become your customer
  • Conversion- They are at the point where, yes they know you, they like you and now they are willing to buy from you.

So if you are on social media trying to make sales right out the gate and you don’t have a relationship built with your audience PLEASE STOP.

It’s important to be empathetic here. How would you feel in this situation?

Imagine this scenario:

You’re hanging out with your friends getting caught up on each other’s lives and out of nowhere someone you don’t even know joins the circle and says, “Hey buy my product! It has this feature and that feature and is so so cool.”

What would you do? Most likely be like, “Why you be breaking up my flow. Can’t you see I’m chillin’ wit my homies?” Okay, maybe not in those exact words but that may be how you’d feel.

Well... That’s exactly what push sales methods seem like on social media. People are on social media to...wait for it….be social! So if they are in that mindset then coming at them with a hard sales pitch of, “Today only! Buy for 50% off” most likely won’t give you the results you are looking for. Yes, eventually you might make a sale but really you most likely won’t reach the sales numbers you need.

So how do you use social media as a sales too? Well, let me tell you...

How to Sell Without Selling

It’s important to know that  people don’t actually buy products or services they buy what your products and services can do for them . They want to buy from you because you offer a solution to their problem.

And this is where so many businesses go wrong. They focus too much on the product or service and not enough time talking about the potential customer’s before and after state.

Radio commercials do a great job of properly depicting the before and after (but considering that one 30 second radio commercial is the price you could pay for two days of Facebook advertising it’s often out of reach for most business owners considering the amount you need to spend in order to reach the frequency you need for it to be effective).

So how do you tell your story?

Through digital content! This can include blog posts, case studies, white papers, videos, social media posts, ect. There are plenty of options and you need to decide which medium works best for you, your company and your budget.

By providing this content first, you are nurturing your relationship with your audience. They are learning you care and that you are an expert in your field. It drives them from the Awareness stage of the sales funnel down to the Evaluation stage. It gives the information they need to make an educated decision as to whether or not they want to give you their money.

Providing Value First

I cannot stress this enough. In order to truly be successful online (and even in face to face business transactions)  you need to PROVIDE VALUE FIRST. Think of it this way: below are two types of people. Read both descriptions and decide who you would most likely be friends with. (Because business relationships are just the same as personal relationships. You need to give as much as you take.)

John Doe #1: He seems nice enough but every time you talk to him he’s always asking for something. He wants to borrow your stuff, he want to borrow your money, he wants to borrow your partner (that was last one was a joke).

Now onto John Doe #2...

John Doe #2: He seems nice and the very first time you met he told you how to do something  you’ve been wondering about for a while. Every time you have a question he is there to answer as best he can and to date has not asked you for a single thing.

Now, if both of them came to you and wanted something, who would you be more likely to help? If you’re like me, you said John Doe #2 (because we've all had friends like John Doe #1).

So, to correlate that to a business scenario it’s kind of like asking for a sale on every transaction.

“Hey buy my stuff. Hey buy my stuff. Hey buy my stuff!”

“Gosh, why does [insert business name here] seem so needy?”

Get it now? Perfect! Now let move on to the next step.

Making a FREE Irresistible Offer

Did you know that of all of your website visitors only 2% will take the action you want them to on their first visit? I know. It’s crazy (crazy low) but it’s true.

That’s why it’s important when providing them content you wrap that content with an offer for a lead magnet. So what is a lead magnet?

Well it’s a very specific item that provides value that you give for free in exchange for their contact information (i.e. email address). This can be an ebook, a case study, a free quote, ect.

Just keep in mind that this should offer value to your customers and actually be something that they want and are willing to give you their email address for. This is a micro-commitment. This is them moving from the awareness stage to the evaluation stage. They know who you are and like you enough to say, yes you may contact you again.

There is a whole other set of processes on what to do with the contact info once you have it but as this post is already pretty long I will do a secondary post on that.

Making an Irresistible Low Dollar Offer

If we assume that your potential customer has access to your irresistible free offer and it did provide them value the next stage in the relationship is to convert them into a customer. Now, you could go all out and ask them to buy your core offer OR you can make the decision much easier by offering them a smaller, less expensive offer. This offer should compliment your core offer but be a low enough dollar amount that it can be purchased on impulse or without the need for much contemplation.

For example:

Say you own a roofing company. You core offer is shingling roofs. Here's an example of a potential sales funnel:

Content: Blog Post- How To Know How Many Years Your Roof Has Yet

Lead Magnet: Ebook- Your Roof & The Role It Plays On Your Home's Value

Low Dollar Offer: Gutter Cleaning! Have your gutters cleaned for $20

The three benefits of this system are

  • You can now attain and build relationships with more customers (who own a home that has a roof).
  • When you’re doing the gutter cleaning you can quote the roof or at least make a personal connection with them.
  • Use the money from the gutter cleaning to cover costs of running the ads to acquire them as a customer.

PLUS everyone that moves on to the core offer of getting their roof done is converting at little to no additional cost. (Remember, you covered the cost to acquire them through the low dollar offer and you have their contact information so you can remarket to them on the backend?)

So that folks, at a very high level, is essentially what digital relationship marketing is and how it works. There are many other facets to it like email marketing, increasing buyer frequency, psychology based ad design and how to choose the right channels but you can now see big picture what it is and why it makes sense.

Still have questions? Or want to see how this can work for your business? Click the button in the sidebar to book a FREE one on one 30 minute phone consultation. I promise you won’t regret it. You never know, it just might be the change your business has been looking for.

By Monique Morrison 14 May, 2016

Social media marketing, which is any initiative done through social media to gain customer attention and website traffic, has a myriad of benefits for businesses. Social media is a great avenue for companies to reach more customers, and can also be used to make products more accessible and visible. According to HubSpot, 92% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media was important to their business, and 80% of these said that their social media efforts improved traffic to their websites. Therefore, many companies have had great success with using social media channels to bring customers to their websites and make sales.  Various forms of social media content, including posts, photos, and infographics all have their uses, but one of the best forms social media content is videos.

Social media platforms are quickly becoming more compatible with video marketing. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Co-founder and CEO, announced that Facebook was focusing on video marketing as of 2015, and in 2014, Twitter introduced Promoted Video. This system helps marketers upload and distribute native videos on Twitter; therefore, instead of sharing video links, people are now able to embed and view videos on Twitter. The ease of sharing videos on social media is great news for marketers, because it means they can better use this awesome strategy.

Numerous articles and studies have shown the benefits of using videos to market products. Listed below are a few of the many reasons you should consider putting videos up on your social media accounts.

Increased Brand Awareness : Social media has allowed companies and products to become more visible and accessible to customers due to people's ability to share, re-post, and re-tweet interesting content. Recent studies show that 41% of internet users are more likely to share and repost videos. When companies post videos, customers are thus more likely to connect to the content and share it, allowing companies many more opportunities to build awareness with a wider audience.

Improved Customer Interaction : Social media enables companies to connect to people. When companies build a “following” on social media, they interact with potential new and existing customers. The added reach social media allows for means more individuals can engage with your business, so there are more chances to convert them and create sales. Videos enhance this interaction by providing a more complete picture of what your company is like. Since people are more likely to interact with videos, this leads to increased engagement and greater likelihood of more of these connections leading to new customers.

Better Brand or Company Image : Social media humanizes companies and brands. It is “a place where brands act like people do.” When customers see this human side of companies, they are more likely to trust the business and start buying from them. Videos can easily show this human dimension by making use of facial expressions, body language, and music to connect to the video’s audience. Videos can be used to show a typical day at work or a company’s commitment to a cause. Or, if you want your smile and personality to be what people remember when they think of your brand, in the online world, a video is the best way to accomplish this.

If you’re ready to get more shares, convert more followers, and add more personality to your brand, consider sharing videos on your social media accounts. If you’d like to discuss how to create the optimal videos for your brand, contact us. 

By Monique Morrison 14 May, 2016

There are a many reasons to add videos to your marketing strategy, and one of the most significant is to boost your SEO. If you haven’t heard this term before, SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is about getting ranked as high as possible by search engines like Google and Yahoo. Companies often pay SEO experts to ensure their websites land on the first page of search results. The idea is that if your company is one of the first ones listed, customers will find you instead of your competitors.

SEO involves looking at what people search for on the internet, including keywords and terms they type into search engines. For Google, the top search engine in the world, to display a website’s link in the search results, the website must be relevant to users. This includes having the keywords that were typed into the search engine, as well as content that people share, use, and link to in other websites, blogs, and social media platforms. It basically boils down to having quality content. Quality content that improves SEO, however, is not limited to text; it also includes  videos.

So, how can having videos on your website impact SEO results?

Videos Improve SERP: SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. This is the page that lists all the websites and links related to the keywords you typed into the search engine. With so many websites and links out there, you need to get your company listed and make sure it shows up as soon as possible on the search engine results page. Videos greatly help with this. A study done by Forrester in 2009 says that “pages with video are 53 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google search results.” While this study was conducted 6 years ago, it demonstrates what videos can do for your business; they help your business stand out by providing relevant information and answering the questions your customers’ ask search engines more quickly and comprehensively than text can.

Videos Have Higher CTR: CTR is short for click through rate, which basically means the number of people who click where you want them to on your site. An aimClear study shows that search results with video have a “41% higher click-through rate than plain text.” This shows that people are more likely to click and watch videos than read text. To gain better click through rates with videos, placing the videos on the right platform is also important. Although it’s the most popular, YouTube may not necessarily be the best choice to increase your SEO. Instead of putting your video on YouTube, just embed it in your own website to improve click through rate, which leads to better SEO and a bigger potential to convert viewers into customers.

Videos Entice Visitors to Stay Longer: Since people have short attention spans, they often leave after briefly viewing a web page. When viewers leave a web page after only looking at it for a few seconds, the page will have a high bounce rate, which lowers the page’s SERP ranking. Having videos on a website can prevent high bounce rates since compelling videos can pull in viewers and make them stay longer, leading to a better SEO. 

If you’re interested in search engines finding your business more easily, videos are a great asset. Impact on SEO is only one of the many reasons to make some videos. Click here to learn about  more, or contact us to have a brainstorming session about your new quality business video.

By Monique Morrison 14 May, 2016

The Pro Social Poster has always been an awesome time saving tool – it allows you to schedule content across all your social media platforms, analyze what content works best, make and post images, and even respond to your audience, all in one easy-to-use platform. Believe it or not, though, the Pro Social Poster just got even better, because it now includes a new social media platform, a hashtag analysis tool, quicklinks, and much more. And, it all costs even less than it did before.

Before, the Pro Social Poster was $17 per month, and now it’s only $14 per month. You can use it for everything you could before – researching and scheduling your posts, designing images using templates, analyzing your posts, plus a lot more – and it costs less than $4 per week. Plus, if you get an annual plan, you get 2 months free.

Alright, so now that we’ve told you how cheap the Pro Social Poster is, let’s get to the part that we’re really excited 

about -- all the fantastic new features the Pro Social Poster just got and all the time they can save you:

Hashtag Research

Like us, you’ve probably puzzled about what hashtags are best to use for your posts. The Pro Social Poster now makes hashtag research simple, because right from the scheduler page, you can research what hashtags are trending. You just enter any hashtag you think might be popular (ex. #DIET, #SALES, #TEASHOP, whatever you want) and the Pro Social Poster will come up with a list of relevant hashtags that are popular. It even suggests which ones will be best at driving visitors to your social posts. Believe it or not, this new feature actually makes hashtag research #fun.  

Post on Pinterest

If your business requires a Pinterest presence, you’re in luck, because you can now post right to Pinterest from the Pro Social Poster. The “Compose Content” page is updated to allow you to pin, so you can add an image of your product, infographic, or anything you want right to Pinterest, making posting across platforms even easier.

Quicklinks Included

Since you’re using social media to drive followers to your website and turn them into paying customers, you probably add your website link manually to your posts quite often. (What an annoying time waster!) Now, with the Pro Social Poster, you can add a link to your website with the click of a button. It’s that simple.

Streams Grew

The “Streams” page is where you can see all your social media feeds, respond to comments and share relevant posts, and you can now do all this even more easily by clicking the “Fullscreen” button. With the streams taking up the full size of the browser window, it’s even easier to interact with your audience and keep them interested.

Google Alerts Integrated

If you want to keep track of a topic you’re interested in, this is now super easy to do. Google Alerts is now integrated with the Pro Social Poster, so you can choose keywords you think you should stay informed about, and articles with those keywords will show up on the “Research” page. From here, you can schedule whatever articles you want to. With this tool, no great content will get past you or your Pro Social Poster.

Manage your Facebook Group

If you’re the admin of a Facebook group, you can now also schedule content to it right from your Pro Social Poster account. By connecting the group to your streams, you can even manage comments. You really can do everything right here.

Free Trial

If you’re not sure you want to start paying for the Pro Social Poster before you’ve actually seen what it can do for you, we get it. That’s why you also get a 14 Day Free Trial when you sign up for your Pro account. Feel free to test it out and try all these great original and new features for yourself before you pay a thing.

The Pro Social Poster really does make keeping up with your social media simple. With this tool, everything you need is all in one place, and we’re pretty excited about all the new features it has. (We’ve been testing them out and find them super useful.)

If you’re ready to try the free version of the social poster (it stays free; you never have to pay anything), sign up for your free account:  http://social.jeronamo.ca/s ignup

If you like it, you can get your two week trial of the Pro Social Poster and experience all the features we’ve talked about and more!


By Monique Morrison 14 May, 2016

Often times, CRMs are associated only with sales, but CRM actually stands for Customer Relationship Management, and understanding and connecting to your customers should be a big part of marketing. So, how can a CRM help you with marketing? Using a CRM software, you can instantly learn everything you need to know about your customers, and that information is very useful because it means that, with an email marketing tool,  you can create campaigns that are sent at specific times to a very targeted group of customers. Once you have your campaigns automated and targeted, instead of spending time simply running your campaigns, you can use it to learn what’s working and what’s not.

So, what’s the process for creating a campaign with an integrated CRM and marketing automation? Let’s take a look:

Step # 1: Plan

Before you can see how a CRM benefits you, you need to plan your project.  At this stage, you will analyze who your target group is and what content you are providing them with. For example, you could send out a monthly newsletter with helpful hints, or you could put together a short-term campaign for a promotional item or a big sale. CRMs will be useful in most campaigns and marketing efforts, but if you don’t know the end result you’re looking for, it’s hard to put it in place.

Step # 2: Production

Once you’ve figured out your goals, you can target your audience and design your mailing and marketing materials. You can add text, images, and links to landing pages. You’ll design mailings and landing pages so links on the mailings will lead customers to landing pages, which will help you make sales. Remember, once you’ve automated your processes and put in some great links, even newsletters are sales opportunities. Using a CRM, you’ll then be sending out these mailings to specific targeted customers who are likely to respond to your information and click on your links.

Step # 3: Follow Up

A huge benefit of CRM softwares integrated with eMarketing is the ability you’ll have to easily evaluate your campaign and automate functions based on what you learned, yet often times marketers fail to complete this last step. Instead of just sending out campaigns and hoping they perform well, you can look at your mailing report and figure out what’s working and what’s not. Here, you will be able to see what your readers are clicking and what content they prefer. When you have a picture of what your readers are interested in, you can modify content accordingly. You can also keep track of people who click specific links and tag them for later action or send specific content to people who have identified certain interests. When you use a CRM and automate your marketing process, you’ll have more time for the evaluation stage, so make sure you use it to keep refining your processes.   

It’s clear that with automation and evaluation completed through a CRM your campaigns can run much more smoothly and you can produce some great targeted results. If you have any questions about how to get started implementing a CRM into your workflow get in touch and we can chat about how marketing automation could be best used to grow your business.

By Monique Morrison 14 May, 2016

Creating ebooks is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge of your industry and establish your credibility. You can create an ebook about any subject you know about, and they can be just a few pages long or quite lengthy (if you’re using your ebook for marketing purposes, shorter is probably better, though). Plus, they’re cheap to produce and share with your target market. You may think you need a lot of software to write and design your ebook, but, in fact, many programs you probably already have (or can easily sign up for for free) are all you need for the research, writing, and design stages.

Below are 4 free tools that will help you with producing your next quality ebook:

1.     Amazon Best Sellers

If you’re not sure where to start, you may want to check out some popular books. The Amazon Best Seller List shows you what topics readers are interested in, and you can easily click on the books to view some of their pages. When you read parts (or all) of a few bestselling books, you can get an idea of how to write in a conversational tone, as well as how to add some design elements to your ebook. For example, you will likely find some examples of how some graphic designers have added text boxes, enlarged quotes, and pictures to enhance their messaging.

2.    Evernote

Traditionally when working on a book, you would likely have piles of notebooks and sticky notes covered in ideas, thoughts, quotes, or anything you thought might be useful to you. Rather than spending time looking for lost notes or trying to remember that idea you couldn’t write down because you didn’t have your notebook when you thought of it, Evernote lets you keep it all organized virtually with a system of notebooks and notes categorized however you want. One of the best things about Evernote is that it works across platforms, as well as both online and off, so you can make a note using the app on your smartphone, then have access to it on your computer. You can also include websites, images, and PDF files in your notes, and even snap a picture of a handwritten note, and Evernote will find your written words when you search for them. Plus, you can share notes and notebooks, so others that are helping out can check out your research and ideas.

3.    Google Docs

After the research and planning phase, you’ll be writing your content. For the writing phase, you may think that Microsoft Word is your best choice, but there are some handy benefits of using Google Docs instead. Google Docs automatically saves your work, and you can add links from one document to another (ex. Table of Contents to chapters on separate documents), but the most useful feature is that you can share your work with others. Google Docs is great for collaboration because, if you’re working with other writers, editors, or researchers, you can share files in real-time and give other writers permission to edit the documents. When you can all add your notes, ideas, and edits to the same document, this is a great time saver because there’s no need to email new versions around; someone makes a change and everyone on the team can see it.

4.     PowerPoint

After you’ve organized your notes and written the chapters of your ebook, it’s time to put it all together. PowerPoint is excellent for this because quite a few people already have access to it, plus, it’s very easy to use. With PowerPoint you can easily create custom designs using various colours, fonts, and images, or you can choose one of the program’s templates to plan your ebook. (If you'd like to add some  images for your ebook, Pixabay  provides free images.) You can create as many pages as you want, which can all have similar themes, or you can make each page look a little different (although we would recommend at least sticking to the same colour scheme to keep your ebook cohesive). Once you have a rough idea of some of the images you’re using, you can add some text to each page using textboxes to create a professional and creative ebook your readers will find as attractive as it is informative.


We hope you find these tools useful when producing your next ebook. If you have any questions about ebook creation, or any comments about your experiences with making ebooks, please leave a comment or contact us.

By Monique Morrison 02 May, 2016

There are a lot of ways to engage potential customers online, and two of the most effective ones are social media and content marketing:

Social media marketing involves engaging with your audience and promoting your website through social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many more. The goal of social media marketing is to gain fans, interact with your visitors and, ultimately, get visitors to your site and convert them into customers.

Content marketing , on the other hand, is about adding useful content, such as blog posts and articles, to your website to demonstrate your knowledge in your area, entertain your audience, build credibility, gain subscribers who will visit your site regularly, give Google more ways to find your site, and build trust with your audience so they are eager to become customers.

If you’re not gaining much attention through either of these approaches, one of the issues may be that you’re looking at them as separate, when these two strategies should really be undertaken in conjunction. Content marketing and social media should not be thought of as individual methods of marketing; instead, they should be seen as part of one overarching project to drive customers to your website and keep them coming back. When you understand the synergy between these strategies, you can massively grow your website traffic.

Share Your Blog Posts 

The first and most obvious way to get the most out of your content and drive more traffic to your website is to share your content on your social media accounts. Sharing your content across your accounts gives your audience more interesting articles to read and encourages them to visit your site to see more. Once you get your followers to your site, you can continue to build their interest in your brand, so they take the required actions to become your customers.

To show off and share your content, you can choose to manually post your content on the accounts of your choosing. However, this can be time consuming and frustrating, as you probably don’t want to post your content on social media as soon as you create it, but instead share it when it’s most likely to generate interest. To do this more easily, there are a number of plugins and programs you can use.

One way to connect your blog to your social media and post automatically is through IFTTT.com, which has a recipe for connecting your WordPress blog to various social accounts. A YouTube video on how to do this can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yErtDuBoAQY . WordPress plugins are another great way to automatically share your blog posts to social media. This article discusses 10 that are worth looking at: http://wpdean.com/wordpress-plugins-for-social-media-automation/ . Here’s another article that provides some useful thoughts on WordPress plugins as well, with a detailed analysis of Twitterfeed, Jetpack, and SNAP: https://www.jeffalytics.com/best-wordpress-plugin-social-media-auto-posting/ . In case you still can’t find the service that fits your needs, here’s one more discussion of auto posting services available: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/distributing-blog-content-autoposting-services/ .

Alright, so there’s obviously a lot of ways to post your fabulous content automatically. But, there’s more to think about than just posting your content to your own pages on social media. It’s also important to look for specific groups that are most likely to be interested in your content. To keep track of what your fans are interested it and get them to read your awesome content, you might want to join a Facebook group, a Google+ community, or use social bookmarking sites like Reddit.

Write for Your Audience

Instead of making sharing your content with the right audience an afterthought, you can take this one step further and make this the starting point for coming up with content. In other words, when you first set out to write any new article, you should ask yourself who it is for and where you’re going to share it. That way, you’ll only put the work into blog posts that you know there’s a specific audience for, so you can practically guarantee their success.

For example, an article on Bruce Lee will be highly popular if you share it to a Bruce Lee Google+ community. As well as writing content for one specific audience, you can also use your content to reel in entirely new audience members and bring them to your website. Combining different niches, for instance, is a great way to write something new and get lots of hits. If you have a fitness website, for example, you can write about fitness and martial arts and then submit that to martial arts groups, or you can write about fitness for entrepreneurs and share this to entrepreneur groups. Either way, thinking of your angle and where you’re going to share your content before you release it will guarantee ROI for your writing efforts!

If you have any questions or ideas about getting the most out of your content through social media, please let us know in the comments below. If you want to book a free consultation to discuss how using social media and content marketing can earn you more customers, please contact us.

 

By Monique Morrison 30 Mar, 2016
Have you ever thought about video marketing? Maybe you’re not sure if it makes sense for your business. Well, there are plenty of reasons it’s definitely worth a try, no matter what product or service you’re offering. Here are 10 great benefits of incorporating videos into your marketing:

1.       Allow Customers To Better Understand Your Product or Service

If you’re used to capturing the attention of your customers in person, you may think video marketing isn’t necessary. However, with at least 81% of customers doing online research before they make a purchase, an online search needs to easily reveal how your brand can help your customer. Videos will allow you to explain your product or service, and show off that smile, just like you do in person.


2.       Help Your Audience Remember You

With the online world being so full of competing messages and advertising, it’s hard for people to remember specific messages they hear or read. However, research shows that 80% of people remember video ads. So, if you want to get your audience to remember why your brand is better than the rest, show them in a video.


3.       Videos Sell Your Product For You  

Just because with the web we have access to many more prospective customers than ever before doesn’t mean we can easily convert these prospects into paying customers. However, according to data gathered by Video Brewery, about 50% of all people who view an online video go on to make a purchase from the website where they viewed it. Now, that’s a good reason to try a video!


4.       Who Doesn’t Love a Video?  

Usually when planning your online marketing strategy, you have to make sure your methods fit with your target demographic. For example, if you were catering to younger prospects, you’d want to use Instagram and Snapchat, while, if your target was women, you might use Pinterest. Videos, though, reach all demographics. So, even if you want to shift your marketing to reach a new demographic, the video will still help you connect with your new audience.


5.       Connect with Mobile Users

Did you know that mobile users actually have a longer average attention span than desktop users? It’s true. While desktop users only stick to online content, including videos, for two minutes or less, mobile users will stay with content for an average of 2.4 to 5 minutes. This means, mobile users are more likely to watch your whole video than desktop users. So, if a mobile user is actively looking for a nearby business in your industry, you can grab their attention with a video and hold it there.


6.       Earn a Higher Click-Through Rate in Emails

Videos can certainly get you more engagement, including with click-through rates; in fact, Reel SEO data demonstrates that 60% of marketers have stated that video marketing has drastically increased their conversion rates – sometimes even as much as 2 to 3 times! If you want to see a great increase like this in your email click-through rates, you don’t have to prepare something elaborate or expensive; a simple video thanking your audience and customers could do wonders for your engagement levels.


7.       Show Off That Enthusiasm

If you’re passionate about what you do, others will respond to that and want to be around you. They'll probably be more likely to buy from you as well.  However, sometimes the words on a website or pictures on your social media account just don’t reflect the amazingness that is you and your brand. A video gives you the opportunity to really demonstrate your enthusiasm, knowledge about your product, and the uniqueness of your brand. If your customers can see you on video, you don’t have to worry about your infectious passion getting lost in translation somewhere; it will be perfectly evident how much you care.


8.       Get Noticed by Google, With Very Little Effort

Since YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and is owned by the largest search engine in the world, Google, videos can certainly help you with SEO. Your videos can help your website get ranked highly for keywords in a way that you’d never be able to achieve through traditional SEO. Although marketers have known about this powerful perk for years, it’s an avenue that many aren’t yet fully exploring. If you start video marketing now, this means you’ll be ahead of the game. Just incorporate a bit of SEO into each video you create and publish, and you’ll reap some great benefits SEO-wise.


9.       Educate Customers and Earn Their Trust

Videos are a great way to produce quality content that actually interests your audience and teaches them something. Instead of just trying to sell (which, let’s be honest, no one really likes), you can use videos to demonstrate that your company is an industry leader. For example, if you owned surfboards, it would be easy to get stuck in the rut of endless product review videos. But, if you instead create how to videos about surfing, giving your audience the information they crave in a low-pressure environment will put you well on your way to becoming an industry leader, ultimately leading to increased trust and sales.


10.   Use your Face to Help Your Audience Relate

Instead of just seeing your brand as about abstract ideas, videos will help your audience connect your brand to you -- and your face. Seeing a face activates the fusiform facial area of the brain, a section of the brain which controls facial recognition and assesses trust based on recognition. When you show your face to your audience regularly, they become accustomed to it, which builds trust. If your audience trusts you and relates to you because they recognize your face, they’ll be much more likely to buy your products. Why not make your lovely face part of your next marketing campaign with a video featuring you and your smile?


Video marketing is a part of branding – it’s about presenting who you are to the world in an easily digestible and entertaining format. You can, and should, use other methods to build your brand as well, but, once you make the decision to harness the power of video marketing as part of your marketing mix, you’ll be facing a much simpler journey to success.


To see some videos we’ve produced for our clients, click here


I’d love to hear about your company’s experiences with online videos and about why you have, or have not, decided to invest in this form of online marketing. Please provide your feedback below.


Sources:

http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/81-shoppers-conduct-online-research-making-purchase-infographic/208527



By Monique Morrison 17 Mar, 2016
You may not understand the technical aspects that go into your web design, but your designer should be willing to discuss their process in a way that you understand and demonstrate how they’ve gotten real results for previous clients. Here are 10 questions you should ask you web developer that will give you an idea of whether they’re as thorough and reliable as they may claim to be:

1.     Do you get real results for clients?

Although looking at other websites designed by the company you’re considering may give you an idea of their graphic design skills, it won’t necessarily tell you if these websites are working in the way they’re supposed to. If you want to hire a designer that gets results for businesses, instead of just looking through their design portfolio, you can skim their published case studies. If you see something along the lines of, “The site redesign for client XYZ helped them increase their online sales by 24%,” this shows that they’ve actually produced quantifiable results. If you can’t find any case studies, you can ask your potential designer directly about the results of their websites. If they’re legit, they’ll happily provide examples of what their websites have done for businesses.

2.     Will you analyze my current traffic before making design decisions?

If you are looking into a new web design, there is probably a lot that you think needs to be changed on your current website, but there may be parts of it that are actually working well. This is what analyzing your current site’s metrics will tell your web designer. They should be checking, for example, if your blog has great visitor loyalty, or if one of your pages has a lower bounce rate than others (meaning that customers don’t immediately leave your website after viewing that particular page). When your web designer analyzes your site’s metrics, they’ll gain more information about what’s working and what’s not in order to better plan the redesign.

3.     How much do you charge for web design?

Obviously, price is something you need to consider when looking at a website redesign. However, if you’re just looking for the cheapest option, you may get what you paid for – a website that doesn’t perform. Results-oriented websites take time and expertise to plan and design. So, if you find that your web design is cheap, you may be able to assume that your designer is planning to take shortcuts. When your designer provides you with a price, you can also ask them what that quote includes, for example, does it include written content and a high converting email newsletter subscription box?

4.     How much time do you spend planning and researching?

You may think a designer that just dives in and finishes your website very quickly is ideal; however, designing a website that produces results does require planning and research. This may include a basic analysis of your business, as well as evaluating your competitors and market. Before they start designing, it’s important to make sure your designer schedules in time for this very important step. So, how much time should be spent on this? In my work at Jeronamo, I slot anywhere from 8 to 10 hours of research per project. This may seem like a lot of time, but planning content, structure, delivery and overall website functionality based on a business’ needs and industry takes time.

5.     Do you create wireframes before designing websites?

This may sound very technical, but it is actually pretty simple, and something any good web designer will incorporate into their web designs. Website wireframes are visual representations of where the sections of your site, like content and graphic elements, will be placed. Those elements are not included yet, but are indicated with boxes. So, why does it matter if a web designer uses wireframes? It’s actually very important that web designers plan out where content will be placed, as the organization of your site greatly impacts results. For example, placing your newsletter subscription box high up on the right column, as opposed to at the bottom of your site, has been shown to increase subscription rates quite a bit.

6.     Do you create easy-to-use websites?

When designing a website, it’s important that your designer takes into consideration much more than the site's aesthetic appeal. If your visitors are fleeing in frustration because they can’t find what they’re looking for, it’s pretty obvious that those visitors are not going to be eager to become your customers. A results-oriented designer will understand website usability and how visitors are likely to navigate websites so they can cater to your customers and help you achieve your goals, including gaining subscribers, leads and sales. As well as asking your prospective designer this question, you can also visit their portfolio to see if you find their previous websites easy to navigate. If you don’t, chances are your potential customers aren’t going to have a good experience navigating either.

7.     Do you do market research before creating websites?

You may want a new site for yourself, but if you’re running a business, your website is really for your customers. Your website should give your customers the information they want, right when they’re looking for it. For a web designer to effectively cater your website to your customers, they need to do some research into who your customers are and what they want to know, not just leap into the design assuming that all customers are the same and influenced by the same type of design.


8.     Do you also do competitive research?

As well as researching your customers’ wants and needs, your web designer should also be researching your competitors. Often, good results don’t come directly from optimizing your site, but from doing things better than your competitors. So it’s important for your web designer to know who else is out there and what their websites include.

9.     Do you offer conversion and usability testing?

A good web designer won’t just design your website and cross their fingers that it does what it’s supposed to; they’ll test it for you. Every page should be optimized for results and tested to make sure it’s doing its job, for example, increasing subscription rates to your newsletter or encouraging customers to buy from you. Instead of guessing what version of a page is going to produce the best results, a results-oriented designer will do tests. To test a page, a web designer will create two pages and pit them against each other using A/B or multivariate testing. The page that does the best is the one displayed on your website for now, but it should still be tested regularly to ensure maximum conversion rates. Before you sign on with a web designer, you should ask if they perform this regular follow up to ensure your website is doing its job – getting conversions.

10. How is your design going to help me with my business goals?

Goal setting is important in most successful endeavors from dieting to starting a business. You should look at your web design project with the same focus you approach other tasks with. Before you launch into a web development project, you should figure out what you want your website to do for your business by setting realistic goals. A results-oriented designer will likely help you come up with your goals, but if they don’t, here are some goals that may work for you:

·       We’d like to increase the overall revenue generated from our website by 20%.
·       We’d like to increase the orders from our PPC campaign to our landing page by 20%.
·       We’d like to get 20% more newsletter subscribers within the next 6 months.
·       We’d like to increase our average order value by 20%.
·       We would like to reduce our bounce rate on page X by 20%.

Although setting clear goals along these lines is useful, sometimes your goals might not be as easily measured, for example, increasing awareness of your brand, spreading a message, or increasing authority. However, whether you are looking for a measurable return on investment or intangible results, choosing a designer that understands your goals and how to accomplish them through web design is a wise choice.

We hope this blog has helped you understand what skills and knowledge your web designer should bring to the table and has taken some of the stress out of the research phase of your web design project. Whichever designer you choose, we wish you a pleasant experience, as well as creativity and (most importantly) a high-conversion rate on your new site.

If you have any questions about this blog, or about web design in general, please feel free to contact us .
By Monique Morrison 10 Mar, 2016
If you’re having difficulty understanding and reaching your customers, integrated marketing automation and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software might help you out. This is because marketing automation software allows you to automate tasks in the marketing process, such as emails or social media, while CRM technology allows businesses to communicate better with customers through collecting and analyzing leads. So, together, the two programs can gather info about your potential customers and send them only the most relevant information, ultimately increasing customer satisfaction and sales.

If you’re curious about what this would look like, we can take a couple examples from Contact Plus, the integrated software Jeronamo uses. One example would be, if a customer's history demonstrated their interest in yoga classes, the program would automatically send them yoga poses to try,  not information about services they weren't interested in. Another example of the program's capabilities would be, if a potential customer seemed eager to buy but had forgotten to contact the salesperson, Contact Plus could be set up to automatically email the customer a one-on-one, personalized email to reconnect with their salesperson. There’s no need for the sales team to remember conversations with customers and contact them; the program can do it all!

But the software can do so much more than this. Let’s look in a little bit more detail about what integrated CRM and automated marketing software can do for your business.

 1) It Allows Your Sales Team to Act on the Most Promising Leads First
Manually processing leads to make sure the sales team gets the best information can be difficult and time consuming. Integrated automated marketing and CRM software makes it simple by gathering the data needed to grade leads and automatically passing the most important leads to sales personnel. Contact Plus analyzes their interests and interactions, utilizing data including their social profiles, behaviours on your website and browsing history, to know where they are in the sales process and grade them accurately, making communication and lead evaluation effective and efficient.

      2) You Can Track ROI with Ease
If you find that it’s hard to demonstrate the precise results of your marketing efforts, an integrated CRM and marketing automation system will help immensely. You’ll be able to easily produce information about what leads and revenue were produced by what campaign, track marketing spends and measure projected revenue, giving you a very clear picture of ROI.

    3) Only Give Your Potential Customers Information They Personally Care About
Like most people, you probably often feel bombarded with emails and information you don’t really want to know about. So, you likely don’t want to send info to customers that they’re just going to discard. A recent study demonstrated that most customers feel the same way; in fact, 77% want content targeted specifically to them at every stage of the research/buying process (Pardot’s 2013 State of Demand Generation Study). Contact Plus integrated marketing and CRM software segments your list to provide people with the right message at the right time. The program will analyze potential buyers and send them only the most targeted information related to where they are in the buying cycle and their specific interests, leaving your customers in a much better frame of mind.

We’ve only just scratched the surface on the many ways automated marketing and CRM software can save you time and trouble. If you’d like to learn more, visit http://www.jeronamo.ca/e-mail-marketing or contact us .
By Monique Morrison 29 Feb, 2016

Whether you’ve been too intimidated or confused by the prospect of social media to get started, or you have some accounts set up, but are having trouble engaging your audience, this simple system will help you get organized and see the results you want.

Step 1: Get Focused

Before you jump into the world of social media and create a bunch of profiles for your business, you can save a great deal of time and effort with a little research. You may have heard that the more social media presence you have for your business, the better. However, the problems with creating an account on too many social media platforms are that, first, it may be difficult to engage regularly with customers on every platform (and, if you can’t keep up, this may look lazy to your potential clientele) and, second, you are likely not reaching your target audience through all platforms. Therefore, it’s best to focus on only a few types of social media that will produce the greatest results for your business.

So, how do you know what platforms will work? First, figure out who the target audience of your business is. If you haven’t already done research into this, you can figure out who your target market is by surveying or interviewing current and potential customers and analyzing your products in detail. (For example, if you sell organic food products, you will be analyzing the demographics of the buyers who are most likely to purchase this type of product.)

Through your research, you’re looking to find basic demographic information, like your target audience’s age and gender, but also more detailed information about what motivates them to buy. For example, according to a recent study, millennials are very value-driven and are more likely to buy products from companies that support their principles. So, if your target demographic age is people in their teens to thirties, you should post some content about values (such as environmental sustainability) on social media platforms that millennials frequently visit.

Once you’ve figured out who your most likely customers are and what they care about, you have to get an idea of where they hang out online. You can do some research to find this out, too. For example, Sprout Social, states that, as of 2015, 73% of adults aged 30 to 49 use Facebook, while only 25% of adults in the same demographic use Twitter, so, if this is the demographic you are aiming for, you can probably assume that it’s more important to have a presence on Facebook than Twitter.

When deciding what social media platforms to use, you also may want to consider how your product is best represented visually. For example, if you are selling clothing, you may want to have a Pinterest presence, whereas if you were selling scuba diving lessons, you may want to get an underwater camera and post some great videos or photos of your adventures on YouTube or Instagram.

Step 2: Save Time by Planning Your Posts 

Whether you use one or many types of social media, it can be time consuming and challenging to come up with posts every single day. So, before you start posting, you can save yourself some time down the road by creating a promotional plan now. On the plan, you can outline info that you want to mention on social media, such as sales and promotions you’re having, special occasions, or events held by your business or community organizations. So, if you’re running low on ideas on what to post, you can consult the plan.

To keep your audience engaged, as well as posting regular tips, articles and promotional info, posting images will make your followers feel connected to you and your business. As  Michael Stelzner  from Social Media Examiner explains, “[W]e connect emotionally to images more than video, audio or text. People make decisions and take actions quicker when prompted by images, rather than by reading a lot of text.” It is for this reason that “photos on Facebook generate 53% more likes than the average post.” People can easily and quickly look at and understand an image, and, if it’s designed well, they will respond to in on an emotional level, and thus take action.

This is why posting photos, infographics or visual representations of your message as often as you can is great for your business. If you don’t have design software, or don’t know how to design, there are online image design programs available, such as Youzign and Canva . If you want to post images on a regular basis with as much ease as possible, though, Jeronamo’s Free Social Poster  has a built in image designer with over 40 templates to choose from, so you don’t even have to design the layout of your engaging image. It makes it easy for people who don’t have a lot of time, or an eye for design, to create images that grab the attention of the audience and inspire them to take action.  

The next time saving tip is to use a social media scheduler. A social media scheduler will allow you to create as much content as you want, and then select when to post it. That way, you can save yourself time and effort by dedicating a set period of time to come up with social media posts to keep your audience for the week (as opposed to having to come up with an exciting post every day). There are schedules built in to some platforms, for example, Facebook, but these won’t allow you to post across multiple platforms. This is another reason why we love using the Free Social Poster . It allows you to post on multiple social media platforms at once. So, if you have a great message or you’ve found an article using the built in research tool, you can schedule it to be posted across all of your social media accounts on any date and time in the future, without the hassle of logging into each one separately and recreating a post. If you don’t have too much time to maintain your accounts, this may be just what you’re looking for.

The Social Poster saves you so much time and effort with social media, you’ll wonder how you managed without it. Using this single platform, you can easily research content, create stunning images using over 40 templates, and schedule content across your various social media accounts. The Free Social Poster makes it easy to engage with your current and potential customers without the hassle of the many hours and programs you would normally need to find relevant content that leaves your audience eager to learn more.  

Step 3: Get Setup

Now that you’ve decided what platforms to use and have a basic idea of what you’re going to post, it’s time to set up your profiles. On Facebook, for example, you will enter your contact information, as well as details about your business, and add a cover photo that properly illustrates what your business is about. You’ll also be creating a business timeline to tell friends about your business, as well as making sure to “like” other local businesses and influential people from your industry, so you can find content to share more easily. If you don’t feel like you have enough info to post regularly, the Free Social Poster makes this research easier, as it has a research tool built right in. You can save industry leader or enjoyable websites, see a list of articles they’re posting, and schedule when you’d like to post those articles.

As well as making sure your social media accounts feature interesting and inspiring information about your business, you also want to double check that your website reflects what you want your customers to remember about your company. That way, you can direct your social media followers to check out your website and your website visitors to follow your social media accounts, thus keeping your business fresh in the minds of potential customers. Remember, every social media post should include a call to action, for example, a link to find more information about your product or service on your website; therefore, your website should be updated regularly with new product information and/or blogs.

As you set up your website, also consider using remarketing and/or retargeting. This will allow you to engage with people who have already shown an interest in your business. If they’ve already visited your website, you can stay fresh in their minds through showing them ads or sending them emails in order to convert them into paying customers.  Using remarketing pixels, you can choose specific audiences to connect with and place ads on Facebook and other sites to be shown to a targeted audience who already know about your brand.

Step 4: Post and Engage

Once you’re all set up and have a plan to produce engaging content, the last step is to enjoy building a connection with your audience through social media. Post information related to your product or service, but, more importantly, share inspiring and helpful content that demonstrates how individuals and businesses can grow through your advice, products and services. As you’re creating awesome content, remember that social media should be used to build your brand and public image and be relevant to your target audience, not just focus on selling your product or service.

Also, as part of engaging with your audience, make sure you respond to people who’ve taken the time to make a comment. For example, if someone comments on some material you posted or asks you a question, respond or provide an answer. This will show you care about them. To demonstrate your engagement with and care for your potential customers, you should also respond to poor feedback politely and kindly. Don’t delete the comment or respond with negativity (which includes trying to explain your side of a situation in a long, drawn out post). Instead, keep your response short, making sure to thank the commenter for their feedback and give them a support email they can submit their grievance to.

We hope this post has cleared up some of your concerns about social media and made managing social media a little bit easier.

For more information about our Free Social Media Poster and how it can save you even more time, click here

Sources:

 http://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2014/12/29/5-traits-that-define-the-80-million-millennial-customers-coming-your-way/#198f0f512a81

 http://sproutsocial.com/insights/new-social-media-demographics/

 http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/visual-social-media-with-donna-moritz/

http://blog.rejoiner.com/2012/03/remarketing-vs-retargeting-whats-the-difference/

https://moz.com/blog/retargeting-basics-what-it-is-how-to-use-it


By Monique Morrison 21 Feb, 2016
Anyone can make one:
For better or worse, anyone can write a blog post about anything they want. Everyone has a voice and the best voices will rise to the top.

The writer can show their personality:
In blog posts, the writer has more leeway to add in their voice and personality than with other types of writing.

Blogs are a great form of mass communication:
You can help people, teach them new things, entertain your audience—the possibilities are endless and amazing. Blogging allows you do to all of this and more for a very wide audience. 

You can make money:

Get the right blog going and you can make a lot of money through advertising and sponsored posts.

Blogging allows people to craft better thoughts:
Instead of reading haphazard, uneducated Facebook statuses, it’s much easier to understand people’s thought process when you read their well-written blog posts.

You can establish a community:
Blogging allows you to connect with other individuals who share the same interests. Sharing ideas and opinions within your community helps you establish yourself as a thought leader.

Good for SEO:
Keeping content on your site fresh and relevant is great for SEO. When you posts new blogs on your site regularly, this will therefore boost the search engine ranking of your site and business. 

It brings people back to your site:

If your blog is strong and updated regularly, people will come back looking for more, which means more traffic to your site. 

It’s free:
It costs you a grand total of zero dollars to post a blog, so if you have something to say, there’s really nothing to stop you.

You can establish yourself as a thought leader:

A blog is a great place for your original thoughts, and it can be a wonderful way to show off your individuality. If people like your ideas, you can become a thought leader in your industry!

What else do you love about blogs? Let me know in the comments below!

Inbound Marketing is the core of our business.

Inbound marketing uses many forms of pull marketing to get your business found online by your audience. It utilizes a strategy that includes content marketing, blogs, social, SEO and more and assists your business in adapting to their customers shopping behaviors. It focuses on building brand awareness that attracts the right prospects and turns them into satisfied customers and brand loyalists. Read on down the page to see how you can grow with us.

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