Marketing In a Post-Covid World

 

Many things have changed since Covid-19, but what have remained constant are the fundamentals of marketing. While marketing strategies might have evolved, the goal has not. The purpose of marketing is to educate and convince your audience to purchase or utilize your products and services. You still need to find and examine how your target audience is interacting with the various online platforms available to them and then invest in the channels that are right for your company. And….you still need to show value and offer your customers a solution.

How to Market Taking A Stand

Sometimes the solution is taking a stand for causes that are important to your customers. The idea of brands supporting different causes certainly wasn’t a new concept pre Covid-19, but that strategy hasn’t drawn as much attention in the past as it is now. Last year we saw hundreds of companies and brands take a stand for racial equality, diversity, and inclusion, along with implementing new green practices and sustainability. Nowadays, consumers expect their favorite brands to become more socially responsible, and it will become even more common, as time goes on.

So, what does taking a stand look like in terms of marketing? Take LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton for example. Early on in the pandemic, this company switched from making perfumes and cosmetics to focus on producing hand sanitizer for Parisian hospitals. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton also donated 40 million masks to frontline health workers. This switch not only incited love from their current customers, but they also gained an entirely new set of customers, who had reexamined their opinion about the luxury company.

“Helping Hands” for E-commerce Marketing

E-commerce’s popularity has significantly increased with consumers ever since quarantine, and it make sense. People are still being cautious due to Covid concerns, and even when they begin to feel safe shopping in stores again, the e-commerce trend isn’t going to slow down. According to the 13 countries that were surveyed by McKinsey, 65% of people stated they have tried and will continue to shop online.

Marketing for e-commerce requires specific digital marketing tactics and strategies in order for you to achieve the best possible results. Some of these tactics have been around for a while like SEO, product reviews, content and social media marketing, and other digital marketing strategies.

However, with consumers shopping e-commerce now more than ever, these original marketing tactics may need a “helping hand”. These could be anything from adding a “buy” button to your social media posts, more detail to your Google shopping information, a more streamlined landing page experience and more.

How to Stay Customer-Centric

During the world-wide pandemic, consumers have been looking for comfort and understanding from the brands that they are loyal to. In order for brands to earn and keep consumers’ loyalty, they will need to walk the talk, not just talk the talk.

What does this mean? For some brands it means stepping up their personalized marketing strategies, offering AI programs that solve consumer problems quickly and effectively, or offering personal shopping sessions online or in store. For others it means offering timely blogs and vlogs speaking to consumers’ pressing needs, or having an educational landing page that is about specific topics they want to know more about.

Another strategy that could help to keep your audience loyal is to provide them with case studies or whitepapers. These allow them to see your success and help make a compelling case for why they should choose your product or service.

Now is the time to reacquaint yourself with your audiences’ needs, goals, and interests as well as explore new marketing opportunities. 360 Direct can assist you with developing a strategy to fit your audiences’ needs, and your business goals. Contact a team member today!


Online Reviews Do What?

 

Online reviews have become an important way of communication between the clients and the business. These ratings help show store owners the areas of their business where they are providing great service, or where they may need some improvement. Online ratings are also a way for buyers to promote products and services to fellow shoppers — as long as brands take the time to manage customer concerns and feedback.  

The Pros and Cons of Online Reviews  

Customers are always online searching for the best deals before deciding to click “add to cart”, and with all of the latest technology at their fingertips, it’s easy for them to find that information. 90% of customers say that they read online reviews before deciding where they will take their business 

The top platforms used by consumers today for product/service research are Google, Yelp, Glassdoor, and Facebook. Online reviews can have a great impact on your business, both positive and negative. When your company receives positive reviews, they indicate that your organization is reputable and these can help influence the consumer to purchase your products or services. Conversely, 94% of online customers have stated that a negative review will influence them to take their business elsewhere. 

How to Handle Negative Online Reviews 

Unfortunately, negative reviews are a part of life. Regardless of whether it’s a major company or a local establishment, some people are not going to be satisfied with the products or services they receive. However, the way you handle negative feedback is of the utmost importance.  

First, do not let negative reviews go unanswered. Acknowledge the issue a customer has and apologize for any inconvenience. This response shows that you genuinely care about your customers’ experiences and want to make it right. You might even be able to change that negative review into a positive one!  

Another tip? Don’t get defensive. Instead, promote your business in a tactful way without sounding condescending to the customer. By responding positively, you are allowing the customer to feel that their grievances have been heard. When you reply to a negative review, be authentic and personal. This will show how sincere you are. Also, provide your name and a way to contact you directly, so the customer doesn’t feel their complaint isn’t being generally dismissed 

Finally, don’t let them draw you into an online battle. The best thing you can do with a negative review is to learn from it. Use it to look into your products or services to see if there are any improvements that can be made or if the review was detailing an isolated experience.  

How Online Reviews Impact SEO 

Many times reputation management is overlooked or it’s the last thing to be reviewed when trying to increase SEO. However, Google uses online reviews to validate your business to consumers. Ratings send Google a signal showing positive interactions customers have had with your company. Even negative ratings help by showing how problems were resolved.  

Online reviews can even help boost your conversions. Positive ratings let potential customers see that your business promotes customer loyalty and trust, which often sways them into purchasing products and services. While helping to increase conversions, ratings can also help search engines understand your brand better, which can allow you to achieve greater website visibility. When a potential customer searches for products or services you offer, Google may show them your ads, increasing brand awareness.  

While it can be scary to ask for reviews, they can help funnel consumers to your website without having to spend extra time and money.  

Need a hand setting up a place for reviews? 360 Direct can help! Contact one of our team members today. 


Marketing Through Growing Pains

Using Marketing to Manage Business Growing Pains

Marketing Through Growing Pains

 

Marketing is an investment in the long-term success of your business — but like any investment, how and when we engage in it heavily impacts ROI. One of the reasons continuous year-round marketing is worth the money, especially during busy or difficult times, is because it helps us transition more smoothly through business growing pains. With a consistent marketing strategy, companies can better manage lead flow, employee turnover, and expansion when it matters most.

 

Manage Lead Flow With Marketing Strategy

Continuous marketing, even during busy times, prevents “feast or famine” business cycles and the stress that comes with it. When lead flow is more predictable, it’s easier to make additional investments in new facilities, equipment, and talent with less risk and worry. For businesses contending with the challenges associated with new growth, this particular benefit is key to making that growth sustainable and retaining loyal customers through difficult transitions.

A well thought-out marketing strategy also gives businesses the opportunity to plan ahead instead of trying to market from a place of panic, which is typically when you have the least amount of time and resources to allocate to marketing. Better planning results in better execution — making it possible to increase the return on your marketing investment simply by making it a part of regular business operations.

Another way that continuous marketing eases business growing pains is by streamlining the sales process and increasing the confidence of sales staff. Updated, well-targeted marketing materials can save your sales team time, and helps them take advantage of unique opportunities in the moment. It also enhances their communication with individuals who are more visual than auditory in the way they learn new information. By better accommodating the way potential prospects want to communicate with your sales staff, we can shorten sales cycles and improve the morale of your sales team.

 

Manage Recruitment With Marketing Strategy

Marketing for recruitment is very different from marketing for lead generation, and both are necessary to adequately manage business growing pains. This means that even if your business already has a handle on your lead generation marketing, it’s not time to get complacent. You will also need to put together a solid strategy for recruitment in order to manage the increase in workflow that will likely result from successful lead generation marketing.

Hammering out a marketing strategy for recruitment before crunch time hits is key to funneling qualified team members to your business as needed, without suffering through periods of being under or overstaffed. Just like lead generation marketing, giving yourself time to develop a recruitment strategy improves the ROI of your investment in talent acquisition, streamlines overhead, and avoids sinking resources into failed campaigns.

Continuous recruitment marketing during busy times also helps increase your capacity to take on new customers — but finding the right talent is often easier said than done. When competition in the labor market is high, businesses need to work that much harder to reach the talent they desperately need. The smarter and more calculated you are in creating and executing a recruitment marketing strategy, the more sustainably you can grow even when economic barriers and labor market conditions create roadblocks.

Business growing pains are a natural part of building a successful company, but that doesn’t mean we have to completely surrender to them. To learn more about using marketing to manage growth, connect with a 360 Direct team member via our Contact page.


Successful Marketing Campaign

How To Make Your Next Marketing Campaign Succeed

Successful Marketing Campaign

Launching a marketing campaign doesn’t have to be a nail-biter. Set yourself up for success by covering fundamental campaign bases using a little preliminary market research, tactical coordination, and strategy.

Employ Multiple Tactics To Achieve Your Goal

Every campaign needs to start with a focused goal. Not all of your marketing campaigns will necessarily have the goal of immediately resulting in new sales. Many are designed to help prospects a little further down the sales funnel, making them easier to convert. Motivate your prospects to move down that funnel by providing value to them at each touchpoint using a clear call to action. For instance, if your goal is growing your email newsletter, offer coupons or free downloads when they provide their email address. Or, if you’re trying to get their emails in store, offer them a free Custom Water bottle and the coupon, as well as your brand logo, can be on the water bottle’s label. Nearly all customers love freebies so using them is a great way to attract attention.

Whatever your goal is, you aren’t likely to reach it without taking a multi-tactical approach to a marketing campaign. It can take up to seven touchpoints for a lead to convert, meaning a one-off radio ad or single sponsored social media post will not generate overwhelming results on their own. Instead, stay in front of your audience with a series of corresponding tactics for better total ROI.

Know The Audience Of Your Marketing Campaign

The success of a marketing campaign can be dictated by how well you know your target audience. Narrow down your demographic and craft language, imagery, and offers that speak to their needs and values. The preliminary research is worth the effort, because dollars spent on anything ineffective is still wasted resources, even if the marketing tactic is low cost. To ensure your marketing efforts aren’t going to waste you’ll want to deeply understand your audience insights and play to the requirements and behavior of your existing customers.

In that same vein, choosing ad platforms and mediums that your audience frequents or will respond positively to is essential to the success of a marketing campaign. The tactics you choose depend entirely on how your target market wants to be approached, which may require mixing both traditional and digital marketing tactics in the same campaign.

Follow Through On Your Marketing Campaign Tactics

It isn’t enough to simply execute your tactics and expect your leads to convert. Following through with your marketing tactics requires coordinating each one in a timely way, tracking them, and touching base with new leads at the end of the campaign.

Following through also means staying the course. Don’t change tactics mid campaign, even if results are slow to trickle in. Remember that it takes several marketing touchpoints for a lead to convert, so don’t get discouraged by low response rates early on. Wrapping up before your marketing campaign has run its course only deprives you of useful data.

Whenever possible, measure the efficacy of your tactics by checking analytics, recording the number of inquiries received, or emails collected. This valuable insight can be used for a retargeting campaign, or an entirely new campaign down the line. The more data we have, the greater our chances for success.

For more information on how to craft a successful marketing campaign, connect with an expert here.


Shareable Evergreen Content

What Makes Content Shareable?

Shareable Evergreen Content

How can we be sure that the blogs, newsletters, videos, and case studies we produce will get any traffic? In marketing, ROI is everything, and time and talent spent on ineffective content creation is money down the drain. The good news is, valuable, shareable content doesn’t have to go viral, it just has to connect with the target audience, and be both immediately and continuously useful to them.

Shareable Content Is Evergreen Or Topical

What is “evergreen” content? It’s digital marketing in the form of blogs, case studies, white papers, ebooks, infographics, podcasts, videos, or Q&As that is perpetually relevant long past its publication date. Evergreen content is indefinitely reusable and recyclable, increasing its total ROI over time. Evergreen content can also be indefinitely linked to or referenced in new content, providing additional context and educational information for the audience.

Beyond its recyclability, shareable evergreen content with smart SEO strategy deployed throughout will continue to build your digital footprint with Google over time as more visitors accumulate.

Topical content, though not evergreen, is also powerful when deployed in a timely way. Marketers can take advantage of current events or new technology featured by mainstream media to increase their own visibility for a finite amount of time. As long as your contribution to the conversation is relevant to your business and your target market, providing your business’ take on a hot topic can pull in a wider audience for a finite amount of time.

Shareable Content Is Practical

In a study by the NYT Insight Group, 94% of of content consumers assessed the usefulness of the content before sharing it. Shareable content is such because it provides the target audience with immediate value, prompting the audience to spread it around to others who might also find it helpful. So what makes content useful or practical? Shareable content provides action items, tips, or tools that require little additional research and exploration. Product demos, video tutorials, reports, or step-by-step guides are great examples of this.

Additionally, shareable content needs to be industry-relevant in order for it to draw in an audience with the potential to convert. Instead of producing content you think will go viral amongst general internet users, create content that your specific target audience is most likely to appreciate.

Shareable Content is Easily Digested

If a given article or web page doesn’t immediately provide internet users with information relevant to their search query, they are likely to exit that content without having read or viewed the majority of it, which doesn’t bode well for your marketing ROI or conversion rate.

To create well-organized content, use bullet points, lists, explanatory headings, and bold or otherwise visually isolate important takeaways. Concise, organized content helps your audience to quickly glean more of the information you want them to know about your product, company, or industry.

For larger pieces of content like in-depth blogs, articles, white papers, or case studies, highlight and organize the most valuable nuggets of information with descriptive headings, chapters, or content pages. For the right target audience conducting technical research into a product or service, they will expect to spend more time with your content and appreciate content organization that makes their research less tedious.

Bottom line: the more time a digital content consumer invests in your content, the likelier they are to find it useful, leading to a higher number of shares and exposure for your business.

Creating shareable content doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it should always have a strategy behind it. For more information on maximizing the efficacy and ROI of your digital content, connect with one of our content marketing experts.


SEO and How to Build it Up

SEO: What It Is & How To Build It

SEO and How to Build it Up

We’ll start with the bad news first: there is no silver bullet tactic for getting found on Google. No one can become searchable overnight with a single widget, tool, or paid service. The good news? Leveraging Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the organic process by which a business can increase the number of unique visitors to their website using keywords, can absolutely help the right people find your business over time. Many companies specialize in SEO, for example, someone like Victorious covers SEO for a variety of business types. There are also companies who specialise in SEO for more niche businesses. For example, MarijuanaSEO are the cannabis seo specialists and they focus on marketing for cannabusinesses.

What is SEO Strategy And Why Do We Need Keywords?

SEO strategy is how marketers make Google your friend. For example, when a web user searches for “Milwaukee pet grooming,” all web pages with a keyword strategy for that search term will pop up in their results. Google’s bots use keywords to find and index your digital content, raising the SEO, or search rankings, of the highest quality, keyword-relevant content. What keywords a marketer chooses depends entirely on the business and their target market.

Unfortunately, legitimate SEO building does not provide instant gratification. With a multi-faceted SEO strategy, it can take several weeks to months to see a substantial impact on your web traffic. This is because Google’s bots (known as crawlers) need time to find new web content and index it. SEO building should be a process that marketers engage in continuously, adding new relevant content over time using keywords the target market is most likely to search for. This is why, if this is something that you are unsure about, then it might be a good idea for you to check out something like this seo audit guide.

Tactics For Building Your Website’s SEO Using Keywords

Choose Keywords Wisely. Simply going with the most popular search terms for your industry may or may not be the best strategy for you. Your chosen keywords should depend on the kinds of content your target wants and the words they use to describe it, whether that’s layman’s terms or technical seo vocabulary.

Write Useful Content. Fill your web pages with informative, helpful content, and intersperse your keyword naturally throughout. Google’s algorithms are designed to punish websites that try to game the system, or awkwardly stuff keywords into irrelevant surrounding content.

Strategically Insert Keywords. We can place keywords in more places than just the plain text featured on a web page. When used in web page headings and URLs, those strategically placed keywords help flag Google’s crawlers in finding the keyword-relevant content featured on the page itself.

Label Your Images. Marketers can make images function like SEO building tools by labeling them using alt tags. Search engines won’t otherwise register images as relevant content if we don’t tell them what they depict using alt tags.

Submit A Sitemap. We can tell the search engine which pages you want it to crawl by submitting a sitemap. This ensures that Google is able to find your newly written content more effectively, and properly index everything else on your site.

Keep in mind that SEO building is a marathon, not a sprint. Results won’t happen overnight, but measurable improvement is possible with the right keywords and the right strategy in place. For more info on SEO and how to build yours, contact us.


Tracking ROI

Tracking ROI With Digital Marketing Tools

Tracking ROI

It’s easy to know whether or not you’re hitting your revenue goals. Equally important, however, is understanding which marketing tactics or strategies are helping you hit those goals, and which ones aren’t. Luckily, there are several ways to measure the ROI of your marketing campaigns.

Using Landing Pages

When you create a website, you don’t know who will find it or by what means. With a landing page, you can dictate both of those variables. Instead of visibly anchoring it to a navigation menu, include the landing page link on marketing pieces connected to a campaign targeting a specific audience, allowing you to determine how well individual campaigns are working. Since you control who has access, it’s also the perfect opportunity to tailor messaging just for that audience. An added benefit of using a landing page is the ability to use Google Analytics to track the behavior flow of that specific audience as they navigate your site.

Of course, web traffic alone isn’t a strong indicator of ROI. Hopefully your landing page has a call to action leading to a contact form, RSVP portal, or a white paper download. In addition to generating a new warm lead, you may be able to track a future sale to that specific marketing campaign. Some marketing campaigns are more hands-on an others, for example, more local businesses may find that using direct marketing materials such as booklets, catalogs, postcards, flyers, pamphlets and other print-based marketing tools provided by printing services similar to Printivity could be helpful to local marketing.

This strategy works for nearly any campaign. When using targeted marketing, you want to direct website visitors to specific content that’s relevant to them. Landing pages are particularly useful for targeted direct mail, radio, and PPC campaigns with a narrow marketing message.

Using Promo Codes

Businesses often use promotions to add urgency to their marketing campaigns. With a little extra planning, promo codes can teach you a lot about your audience! Rather than provide one code across many different tactics, use different codes so that you can measure which tactics or what types of messaging worked.

One thing to remember: make sure that you don’t mix your promo codes. Try to ensure that no single lead ends up with several different promo codes. This requires precise management of your direct mail and email lists, as well as careful consideration if you plan mass marketing tactics like radio or billboards. If you choose to use both mass marketing channels and your existing customer base, ensure that your current customers receive the better deal for being loyal!

You can use this strategy when employing several tactics within a campaign – like some people getting postcards and others getting emails. This would help determine which tactic had the better ROI. You can also divide up your lists and test out different messaging, and use the different promo codes to track which marketing messages connected more with your target market.

Using landing pages and promo codes are just two effective components of an overall marketing strategy geared towards measurable, calculated growth. In pursuing this end goal of calculated growth, businesses make both their marketing and their dreams sustainable. Want to chat more? Visit our Contact Us page and get in touch with one of our experts today!


Lead Generation

Lead Generation Starts in Marketing, Not Sales

Lead Generation

What percent of leads do your salespeople close? That number varies from company to company, but a lot of it depends on the quality of leads your sales people have. Traditionally, companies have bought list, mingled at networking events, and, of course, pounded the pavement to get prospects further into the purchasing funnel. But if you are still doing that, you may not be using their time the most effectively.

The way people consume information has changed drastically, even in just the past few years. As a result, there’s been a dramatic shift towards inbound marketing to complement your sales strategy. After all, who’s more likely to convert — the company who searched for a product you provide, found your website, read your blog, then called you, or the company whose contact information you purchased and then called out of the blue a few times a year?

And what would you rather your salespeople spend their time doing? Having cold conversations with companies who may not know about you or need your product, or following up with prospects that have already expressed interest? Give your sales team a competitive advantage by allowing your marketing department to first warm up their lead bank.

Save Money By Marketing for Lead Generation

Companies that generate leads through their marketing department spend less per lead than those that leverage their sales team as their sole relationship building mechanism. The cost of social media advertising, creating and sustaining a website, producing email newsletters and digital content is less expensive than the cost of time going door to door, making cold calls, networking membership fees, or attending events because it takes a lot more time and energy to educate leads to the point that they are interested in doing business with you without unobtrusive inbound marketing doing all of that work for you. Couple it with some other strategies, such as personalized promotional pricing and other potential deals, and you can have a lot of work done for you very quickly.

Traditional sales strategies force a company to waste its resources on attempting to build connections that more often than not, just don’t convent into sales. In contrast, an effective inbound marketing strategy automates the relationship building process and allows an already warm-ish lead to learn about your business on their own terms, making them much more receptive to your marketing efforts altogether. As a result, starting with a group of targeted, higher quality leads and allowing them a choice in how they engage with your content helps companies to spend less upfront per lead and allocate less time towards building relationships with leads who won’t end up converting. If you are struggling with generating leads then it might be worth checking out these 50 ways to generate leads. That way you will never run out of ideas!

Boost Sales Team Morale and Customer Relationships

Shifting the burden of lead generation from a sales team to a program like the 360 Direct marketing team doesn’t mean your star sales staff will sit idle. In reality, they will spend more productive hours nurturing warm leads with a faster sales process and higher conversion rate from beginning to end. More efficient sales conversion allows your employees to leverage their unique communications skills for success, rather experiencing discouragement and burn-out that is common with the traditional sales beat.

In addition to better conversion rates and more efficient sales processes, companies that begin their lead generation strategies with their marketing departments also benefit from a better brand image. Unfortunately, traditional sales strategies that require sales persons to engage awkwardly with cold leads often leave the impression of a “manipulative” or “slimy” interaction. No one wants to feel coerced into buying a product or service they don’t want, and saving your elevator speeches for the folks successfully funneled into your lead bank via targeted marketing instead allows your potential customers to view your sales team as helpful and educational on products or services they already have an interest in. The resultant positive customer relationships can increase brand loyalty and the likelihood of repeat purchases.

The total benefits of employing marketing and sales strategies in tandem are many, and as inbound marketers, we are passionate about creating action plans that work smarter, not harder for our customers. For more information on using marketing to retool your overall conversion strategy, connect with one of our experts via our Contact page.


Importance of Video

The Importance of Video in 2016

Importance of Video

Why Video?

2016. It’s a digital age and if you don’t keep up with the times then you risk being left behind by the competition. Marketing has long been an important component of successful businesses and that is not going to change this year, however the focus and strategies may be shifting. You may have heard the term “YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world”, and this is nothing but the truth. It processes more than 3 billion monthly searches, attracts 1 billion unique monthly users, and is bigger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask and AOL combined. Yes, you read that correctly, COMBINED. 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute with 6 billion hours viewed every month. In fact if YouTube was a country it would be the third biggest in the world behind China and India. So what am I getting at? In 2016 video content is essential.

So why the focus on video? What benefits does it offer? Well other than the wider reach offered by being accessible by 1 billion monthly YouTube users, there are significant other benefits.

  1. SEO Enhancement 70% of the top 100 search listings are now some form of video content meaning using video is now more important than ever. Search engines are effectively rewarding video users with an increased level of traffic. Increased level of traffic = increased leads. You do the math.
  2. Become More Memorable Everybody has heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”, well video could be worth even more than that. A well constructed video can leave somebody with a bigger impression than a block of text ever could. By reaching out with video you will become more memorable and as a result more likely to capture a viewers business.
  3. Showcase Your Talents Whilst pictures and text can do a good job of explaining your products and services nothing can demonstrate the true qualities quite like a video does. It gives a different dimension and really lets the customer see the full attributes. It is more interactive and exciting and will no doubt end up engaging more prospective customers.

Application in Manufacturing:

The application for video within the manufacturing industry is massive. If a customer can see your workshop skills and machines in action as well as the quality of your work they are all the more likely to go into business with you. On top of this if you make a particularly good video highlighting your qualities it is likely to get many more views online than any one picture would (think athletes highlight reel). It helps people understand the process more and helps to cultivate a relationship with potential customers. By watching your business at work they feel like they already know you.

If you take one thing away from this article, let it be this: video is the future.


Design Myths

20 Web Design Myths from Lean Labs

Design Myths

There’s a lot of work that goes into a website – and in some cases, too much work. The SlideShare below helps dispel some the most common web design myths and mistakes companies make that unfortunately turn out to be wasted effort.

Thanks to Lean Labs for creating this great SlideShare!

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