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Pinterest Tips to increase SEO and Sales

Pinterest is a very important social network that can no longer be overlooked. Many businesses are using this platform to get more exposure and sales. This week I thought I would add some tips for marketers looking to improve SEO and get more business through Pinterest.

Why Pinterest?

How can you use it to increase sales? How can it lead to more blog traffic? Effective marketing and knowledge of Pinterest can boost your visibility and use rich media ads to capture a whole new audience. It’s said that Pinterest is the Google Search of the Display Network with over 100 million subscribers and hundreds of millions of boards. Each board is categorized by interest so there is an audience for every type of business. “People are planning out really core and important parts of their lives on Pinterest,” Ben Silbermann, Pinterest’s chief executive and co-found, told the New York Times. If you want to get started or increase your effectiveness in using Pinterest, consider these five marketing tips:

  1. Longer, Optimized Descriptions

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Unlike many social media platforms, Pinterest allows 500 characters in your description. Users don’t really like reading lengthy descriptions so it’s a good idea to limit yourself to 200-250 characters for best results. To optimize the description it’s best to include keywords, 1-2 hashtags, and a call-to-action. Hashtags makes it easier for users to find your content through their search query and allows your pin to show more often.

  1. Continually Adjust your Campaigns

Because Pinterest is a visually driven site, it’s important to try split testing with a variety of different imagery to optimize click through rates. You can experiment using photos with or without text, new keywords, lower bids, and new audiences. Eventually you’ll find what works for your business and can get the return you’re looking for.

  1. Use Targeted Audiences

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Pinterest is not as advanced as other social platforms when it comes to targeting but taking advantage of the features offered is a great way to increase your click through rate. You can show pins based on location, device, gender, and language.

  1. Find Friends

The quickest way to get followers on Pinterest is by finding and inviting people you already know.  It’s easy to find friends through facebook, Twitter, Google, and Yahoo accounts.

  1. Promote your pins.

(Note that unfortunately promoted pins are currently only available in the US at this time. Canadian businesses are unable to utilize this feature).  Promoting pins allows you to pay and get pins seen by your desired audiences in relevant search results, category feeds and home feed. This is a great way to reach the right customer at the right time.

 

Here are some other important growth and usage stats released by Pinterest:

  • The number of Pinners doubled in the past 18 months.
  • International users have doubled in the last year and make up about 45 percent of the total.
  • People have created more than 130 million boards categorized as Home Decor that represent rooms people have or want to someday redecorate.
  • People have created more than 180 million boards related to Food/Drink. Some of these are dinners that people will cook next week. Some are next year’s holiday dinner.
  • There are nearly 300 million boards about fashion, created by Pinners looking to discover their sense of style.
  • There are more than 30 million education boards created by teachers and parents helping kids learn in a more creative way.
  • There are more than 296 million fashion boards.
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The Importance of Customer Advocacy

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Customer advocacy can make or break a business. After all, you can say so many nice things about yourself, but when your customers endorse your company, product or performance, it takes credibility to a whole new level. Case studies, video testimonials, customer quotes and other public endorsement provide the sales organisation with the much needed collateral to get the deals over the line. And surely, journalists are just as keen to get their hands on exclusive customer stories, making reference activity the backbone of most public relations program.

With the stakes so high, it is unsurprising that organisations spend considerable time and resources building and maintaining their reference program. But as many marketing managers will attest, these coveted references are not always easy to come by. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind to boost the number of customer advocacy:

Invest in relationships

A commitment to reference activity in the contract is a good starting point. But from experience it comes down to relationships to get these stories off the ground. This starts with sales, as the account manager is typically the person that owns the customer relationship and acts as a conduit for all interactions. Understanding the manager’s expectations, schedule and red flags can make them powerful allies. On other occasions, the sales representatives will happily hand over the liaison with the customer contact to the marketing department, to manage the process from start to finish. Whichever approach works best (or you might have a mix of both), meeting and mingling with customers, for example at trade shows, customer conferences or training days, is always a great relationship building exercise for the marketing arm of the organisation. Once rapport is established, it is a lot easier to approach the relevant people for reference activity and get them to follow through internally on approvals.

 Have a healthy pipeline

The road to customer advocacy is littered with obstacles. Even when things have progressed to the drafting stage, things can still derail along the way. The customer spokesperson might leave, reference activity gets pushed back due to other priorities, the customer’s legal or marketing department are slow to approve the collateral, and the list goes on. In many ways it is not dissimilar from the daily throwbacks of the sales division. And just like sales, the customer reference manager cannot put all the eggs in one basket. It pays to have a healthy pipeline and review stalled opportunities periodically ensure a steady release of press releases, case studies and other references, even when things go painfully slow behind the scenes.

Think integrated marketing

An integrated approach helps to maximise the return on investment in reference activity. A campaign could for instance commence with the press release to generate market awareness through traditional PR, follow up with a lead generation mailer based on the full text version of the case study and push the content also on social media, the company website and other digital channels. To minimise the downtime and inconvenience for the customer, it also makes sense to look at multimedia options from the get go, starting with written collateral to quality video testimonials and animated slide decks.

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Inbound Marketing TIps

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Inbound marketing has changed the way businesses reach new customers. It’s all about attracting the right people, educating them with the right content, and converting them into leads at the right time. For the consumer, inbound marketing is different than traditional outbound marketing in that it’s helpful, non-interruptive, non-intrusive and even sought after. Here are some tips to keep in mind that will help you evaluate your inbound strategies and stay the course:

  1. Know who you’re talking to.

The essence of inbound marketing is attracting the right people. So before writing content, creating offers and blasting out messages, consider who the targeted audience is going to be. Identify the specific problems that relate to their role and how your product or service could help solve those problems. Once you know the persona you’re talking to, you can deliver a personalized message that resonates with them specifically.

  1. Understand the journey.

One email click a lead does not make. Even when delivering a message that resonates, understand that there is a process for every buying decision. Before handing a prospect off to sales, it helps to understand what stage of the buyer’s journey they are in. They may still be trying to identify their problems and prefer to do research on their own. If that’s the case, they probably wouldn’t be very responsive to a sales call. Inbound marketing is about delivering helpful content and messaging specific to personas based on their current needs – which can be different in each stage of the buyer’s journey. By delivering the right amount of education in your content, you can ensure that you are providing value that prospects want and you can nurture them by showing them the next step in solving their problems and identifying solutions.

  1. Provide value instead of a simply selling.

After identifying the targeted persona’s needs and understanding their buyer journey, inbound marketers then have the opportunity to help them. This is not always done by starting the conversation about products and services, but instead by delivering helpful advice and industry insights over time through lead nurturing. Research from Roper’s Public Affairs shows that 80% percent of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. A lead nurturing path should include educational blog articles, tip sheets, whitepapers, case studies etc. that provide value to your personas while moving them along to the next stage of the buyer’s journey.

  1. Promote it, and they will come.

Having the right educational content that’s geared toward different personas and stages of the buyer’s journey doesn’t do a whole of good if you can’t deliver it to those personas. When your targeted personas are doing research on problems they have and solutions they need, they’re turning to search engines, reading blogs and interacting on social media sites for answers. The keywords and phrases they search for are the bridge between your content and their attention. Identify and utilize the keywords that your targeted personas are searching for – keeping their pain points in mind – while developing your content. Promote your content through blogs, site pages, webinars, videos and social media and you’ll begin to build an audience of new prospects.

  1. Build a following and a sales pipeline.

By truly understanding your audience, creating educational content that helps them in their stage of the buyer’s journey, and delivering that content to them at the right time, you build a following of prospects that know and trust you. When it comes time for them to evaluate solutions and make a purchase decision, prospects that find your content relevant, informational and helpful will already be engaged with your brand and somewhat familiar with your products and/or services – turning into valuable leads for your sales team.

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Fall Marketing Tips

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Fall is almost here and it’s time to start thinking about a whole new season for marketing. Staying in sync with your audience’s day-to-day – whether that’s seasonal themes or holidays or major cultural events – lets you have authentic conversations with them. Here are four ways to help you reach your audience in a meaningful way:

1. Share and post authentic content

For any company, B2B or B2C, tapping into a holiday is all about relevance. Is there a meaningful reason for your brand to enter the conversation?

Here are some good reasons:

  • Your brand has a direct connection to the holiday – this is like BC Hydro marketing around Earth Day. It’s a natural link to think about how we use energy to how we take care of the environment.
  • Your brand has an indirect connection to the holiday – this is a way for brands to connect with ideas and aspects of their brand personality they want to showcase. An example would be a tech company getting involved in take your dog to work day.
  • Your audience has a connection to the holiday – this is where knowing your audience comes in handy.  Any holiday that your audience can relate to will resonate with them.

If you don’t meet any of those three criteria, plan for a more relevant holiday.

2. Give yourself just enough lead time

Marketing campaigns take time to organize and prepare. It is vital to give yourself enough time to find the right holiday and plan for promotion before, during, and after the date. Plan ahead but don’t get too ambitious.

In a recent study of B2C holiday email campaigns, YesMail found that marketers that sent back-to-school emails in the month of July saw less engagement than average; but marketers that sent those emails in the month of August and into the first week of September saw a significant increase in engagement.

3. Create content your audience cares about

Marketing around a holiday or season is a great opportunity to try out some new, different and a little bit unique. It might not be worth the time investment to write a Valentine-themed blog post, and maybe a relationship-themed quiz would be better fit for your audience.

Part of why this content works is that it’s bite-sized. Sometimes your audience isn’t looking for a full content meal: they just want a snack.

To decide what type of content to create, ask yourself what information you want to gather or share. Are you offering industry best-practices or assessing a user’s knowledge?

Here are a few ideas for fall:

  • “Back-to-school” industry best practices quiz
  • Halloween trivia quiz
  • Best industry Halloween costume contest
  • Scariest workplace scenario bracket
  • Favourite Thanksgiving foods poll

You don’t need to create a pile of new content to run a holiday campaign. Small touches with a little bit of fun holiday flair go a long way, and can be quick to create.

Fall is coming up quick, and your marketing campaigns need to keep up! Use seasonal themes to build a stronger relationship with your audience, tying in your longer form assets and having a little bit of fun.

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Facebook Advertising

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If you have a Facebook page for your business, you may be aware of how great a tool it can be. But if you have been on the platform for a few years, you will probably have realised there has been a dramatic drop in post reach.  This is unfortunate news for small businesses who already struggle to find the time or resource to commit to social media. But the fact is, when you do invest, Facebook is fantastic.

Here are five great reasons why businesses should allocate some of their marketing budget to Facebook Ads or boosted posts.

It is not a huge investment

While you can invest hundreds of dollars into promoting your posts, you definitely don’t have to. Even a small amount of budget allocation can go a long way. A small budget of something like $25 a week can reach hundreds of followers, which is all you need if you are a small but growing business.

The reach will translate to website traffic

This is an obvious reason but often overlooked. If you are putting effort into getting people to see your posts, it is likely that these people will visit your website.

People can often forget that with Facebook ads, you’re not only investing in reach, you are also investing in web traffic, customer engagement and brand loyalty, amongst other things.

Create strong brand engagement

Similarly to the above point, investing in boosted posts can get more people interested in your brand because they are actually able to read your messages. With thoughtfully crafted social media posts and the right Facebook investment, you can increase your brand engagement.

Find and convert new audiences

If you do not promote your posts, you are limiting your reach to new audiences. Facebook allows business owners to not only invest in their posts so that all of their followers get to chance to see them, but they also allow you to push posts into people’s timelines who are not yet following you.

This is a great opportunity to get your brand out to people who have not yet encountered you. New people means new followers which means new sales.

Use specific targeting to reach the right audience

One of the best tools that Facebook has to offer is that you can set up your post so that it reaches the type of audience you want to attract.

Casting a net and reaching a wide range of audiences is good, but it can be more valuable to reach a smaller amount of people who are most likely to buy from you in the future.

Who is your target demographic? You can use the tool to reach that demographic.

You can reach people specific to a location – which is handy for small businesses who may be fixed to a specific area or city. You can also reach people of a specific gender or age if it is relevant to your target demographic. More options are reaching people by likes, interests, relationship status, workplace or education. Plenty of targeting options to help your business!

If you have any questions regarding Facebook ads, feel free to reach out to one of our marketing professionals at Growth Media!

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Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

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Potential customers are looking at your website and reading the content on it to determine if your business is a fit for their needs. To earn their trust and win their purchases, you need to provide a great on-site experience, complete with answers to their biggest questions. Just like any other sales and marketing efforts, Content marketing can be a valuable tool if used properly, but can also turn into missed opportunities if poorly managed.

Here are some mistakes to avoid when developing content for your business:

It is low-quality

At the bare minimum, content needs to be readable. That means proofreading for grammatical errors, typos and clarity. However, the bar has been raised on what’s considered ‘quality content.’ For brands to stand out from the pack with their articles, they need to publish content that’s better and more useful than what already exists.

It seems more like a sales pitch than useful information

No one wants to realize halfway through an article that what they’re reading is really just a product promo. If your content promises something educational or entertaining, it needs to deliver on those expectations. The bait and switch has no place in your content strategy. It will turn readers off and leave them with a bad impression of your brand.

It is uninteresting for the most part

Content needs to contain notable information to be effective. Readers won’t be impressed if they spend their time on an article that doesn’t provide any takeaways or tell them something unexpected. It’s a no-brainer that content needs to be interesting to influence readers’ impressions and decisions.

It did not provide any takeaways (It wasted time.)

Does your content say something new, or does it regurgitate facts and ideas that are already floating around the web? Anyone can say “Buying a home is challenging” or “Your business needs to harness the power of data to become more successful.” You may not want to give away your business’ secret sauce, but you do need to offer readers something they didn’t know before and can’t find somewhere else.

It was difficult to understand

It’s understandable that you want to impress the people reading your blog, but most people have a jargon threshold. A problem we see too often is that marketers want their blogs to sound smart and use overly technical language to target a high-level audience. What happens as a result is that the blog comes across as stiff and complex – not enjoyable to read.

It was boring

The substance of your content needs to be good, but so does the delivery. Content must be technically correct, but also engaging. If the format is too vanilla – a block of small text on a page – your target audience won’t read it, no matter how interesting it is.

A written document detailing technical processes might be boring. But a dynamic presenter providing the same information in a video is much more engaging. It’s all about the presentation.

It was not trustworthy

Anyone can publish information online, and that’s made readers understandably skeptical. Readers don’t just want to take your word for it. They can’t afford to. Execs looking to make business decisions need research that supports claims and data to prove that ideas are credible.

 

Your website’s content is shaping buyer’s decisions even before you get a chance to speak to them. The way to impress your target audience is through thoughtful articles that answer their questions, teach them something new and do it in an engaging way.

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Back to the Social Media Basics

Kiev, Ukraine - August 26, 2013 - A collection of well-known social media brands printed on paper and placed on plastic signs. Include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram and Tumblr logos.

It is the job of a marketer in this day and age to make the most of your social media marketing. It is imperative to be constantly in tune with trends and advancements made on the different social platforms. You also need to return to the basics for a refresher from time to time.

Here are 3 social media marketing basics, which you should return to regularly as a way to ensure a successful approach to your social strategy and implementation:

Etiquette and Ethics

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This is something that may seem basic, but is a great challenge for some social users. Sometimes, businesses aren’t aware or have forgotten the ethics and etiquette of social media activity.

Here are a few of the rules and guidelines you should keep in mind when you act on social media:

  • Don’t just broadcast your own materials and promotion. Instead, share relevant content from other sources along with your own.
  • Consistently interact with those who communicate with you. Social media automation can be a blessing and a curse, so don’t rely on it exclusively.
  • Never link multiple social accounts together to share the same content on all platforms. Instead, create content that fits with the different platform designs.

Custom Platform Preferences

All social media platforms are not created equal. As a result, you should create custom content for each of them to fit the specific style.

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For example:

  • Twitter limits the length of your content to 140 characters, and hashtags are very popular.
  • Facebook allows for longer post content, and although it has hashtags available, they are not as widely used as Twitter.

What works for one platform may not work for another. Keep in mind that the platform you’re using has features available for you that can help you reach your target audience, but confusing the different social media can not only limit your reach. It can potentially push your audience away.

Target Audience Preferences

Reaching a desired audience and curating content that can catch their attention is especially important for your business. If you don’t research your target audience and their preferences, you won’t be able to reach them with your social media marketing activity.

Some of the things you should understand are:

  • Who are your ideal customers based on the products or services you offer?
  • Where are they most active on social media?
  • What are their needs and interests, which you can address?

To effectively reach your target audience, you need to create social media personas for them. When you have these personas set up, you’ll have a better chance at developing a higher success rate and ROI from your social media activity.


 

These are 3 social media marketing basics you need to review frequently and update accordingly. When you do, you increase your chances of an increased success rate or ROI on social media.

Are you having trouble seeing the benefits of social media marketing? Try improving upon these basics and feel free to contact Growth Media’s marketing team for information on how to improve your social media strategy.

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Utilizing Creative Marketing Ideas

fedex1Making use of creative marketing ideas can make all the difference in your business success. Utilizing any non-traditional approach to promoting your business can give you an edge that will put you ahead of businesses that only use conventional tactics. The more creative and unorthodox, the better. Consumers today are so bombarded by advertising that they grow numb to the typical stuff.

The best part of using out-of-the-box ideas is that you don’t need a huge budget. Your guerrilla marketing tactics can be very simple or extremely complex. It all depends on what you want.

  1. Creative Business Cards

In all industries, business cards are a necessity for the purposes of networking and extending your reach and reeling in potential customers. But the format of business cards themselves are often boring.

Business cards provide an excellent opportunity for creative marketing. IT is harder to stand out if you have normal business cards, but people will definitely notice if you do something different.

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Give your business cards a different shape, relate them to your field, bright colours, interesting information, anything to set them apart.

  1. Flyers/Posters that stand out

The best thing you can do when it comes to guerrilla marketing is take a traditional form that people are used to, and turn it on its head. Posters and flyers are a great example of this.

Get creative. Do something that will stand out. It can be humorous, shocking, or mysterious. Anything that will grab people’s attention.

  1. Stickers

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Make up stickers and put them up everywhere. They can be straightforward and obvious, mentioning your website, or they can be cryptic. If people see a mysterious sticker everywhere they go, eventually they are going to get to wondering and try to find out what’s behind it.

  1. Sponsoring Events

Event sponsorship can be a great way to get your business name out there. And you can bring in guerrilla marketing tactics by getting creative with how you participate, or orchestrate your advertising at the event.

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Talk to organizers and see what they’re willing to do. Remember, attention grabbing guerrilla marketing tactics really do work. If it’s big and exciting, people will pay attention. Events are also an excellent place to give away free promo materials.

  1. Personalized Cards

A subtle, yet effective marketing idea is to send out personalized cards or post cards to your customers.

You can keep track of customer birthdays or send thank you cards after purchases. People appreciate a personal touch. This method is a great way to get repeat customers.

  1. Hold Fun Contests

People love to win things. Rather than having a ton of cheap free swag items, you can have a handful of expensive items that you are giving away in a contest or raffle.

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Make customers want what you have and they will give you contact information, which can be valuable in terms of building a mailing list or customer base. This guerilla marketing tactic can be extremely effective.

 

The beauty of creative marketing is that there is no comprehensive list. What are the specific angles unique to your business that you can take advantage of? What can you do that will be fun for potential customers? How can you make people stand up and take notice? Don’t be afraid to get creative. If you need help with putting some of these ideas into motion or need competitive pricing on marketing collateral, feel free to contact our marketing and print professionals at Growth Media and Kinetica Print.

 

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Social Media for Local Businesses

 

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As social media continues to change the way people communicate, it has become an increasingly important tool for small, local businesses. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn aren’t going away. While many social media platforms began as a way to connect friends and family, it’s become the norm for all types of business to have some sort of social media presence.

In today’s connected world, customers research purchases online and seek recommendations from friends and family. So, it’s in the best interest of small businesses to have a vibrant and interactive social media presence.

Quality beats quantity.

As a general rule of thumb of what and when to post, remember this: Quality always beats quantity.

Remember that customers shop at small businesses for value. Try to be fully transparent. Don’t be afraid to have a personality online and use social media as a way to build relationships.

Focus on community.

Social media marketing can widen your reach, help you engage more audience and create more fans. But social media isn’t like traditional advertising where you put a message out into the world and hope someone responds. It’s more conversational and centered around the idea of a community.

Remember that conversations are two-way street. Make sure you’re replying to people who interact with you on social media. Engage with strong social influencers, such as bloggers that your customers read or individuals with robust followings. Engaging the online community is core to social media and one of the keys to your success.

Repeat what worked.

If you come across trends that work, don’t be afraid to recycle and reuse. If your social media efforts were successful, repeat the steps you took to do it again. It’s that simple! And if something doesn’t work, try something else. Just keep in mind, if you incorporate a Facebook ad that didn’t work, for example, don’t ditch the idea of advertising on social media. Try it again, redefining your audience or the amount of your investment.

Social media is a marketing tool that is becoming more and more important for businesses of all sizes. It’s unique in that it can heighten a company’s visibility, broaden reach and engage current and future customers in a conversational way.

 

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10 Ways to come up with Blog Topics

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Are you stuck in a rut  for your next blog article or are you always looking to find new ideas to write about? You are not the only one that is facing blogger’s block. Many bloggers hit a creativity dry spell when it comes to curating interesting content for their blog on a consistent basis. Tackle the problem head-on by trying some novel ways to get the ideas rolling.

Here are 10 strategies to try when brainstorming your next blog post:
1. Review a product.

2. Read a relevant trade magazine to tap into what everyone is talking about in the industry.

3. Get granular. Take a broad topic you have written about and expand on a smaller aspect of it.

4. Cover the pros and cons of a specific aspect of your industry.

5. Read other blogs for new inspiration.

6. Ask yourself “What is one problem that my readers are facing and how can I fix it?”

7. Think broadly. As we work to touch on every aspect of our business, we often forget the bigger picture. Tap into it for new ideas.

8. Correlate a current event to a topic that is relevant to your readers.

9. Share a personal story that your audience can relate to.

10. Interview another blogger or expert in the industry.

If  you don’t have time to manage a blog and run your business, Growth Media provides a wide range of digital and online marketing services including blog management. Our team of experts are great at curating quality content tailored to our client’s unique industry and customer base.