Author: poolecomm.

There’s no denying it, marketers are diving into digital advertising – the deep end of digital advertising.

Recent surveys of business owners and ad buyers spanning multiple industries show that everyone is swimming away from traditional media like print, radio, and TV into the streaming current of digital channels.

First Time for Everything

According to eMarketer.com, digital advertising accounts for 54% of ad budgets. That’s nearly $130 billion in the United States alone. That figure is expected to grow to 67% by 2023.

Notably, this marks the first time marketers are spending more on digital advertising than traditional options. Take a look at the figures:

digital ad spend

Search and Social Sharks

While print and radio were the first to feel the drowning effects of digital, television is also getting swept up by the growing digital tide. Even Google and Facebook are watching their backs as reports indicate Amazon is swimming into their territory with rapid speed.

Clikz Marketing Technology Transformation and Marin Software took a deeper dive into the specific digital advertising channels used; which shows paid search and paid social accounting for nearly 60% of advertising spending.

Paid digital media

Source: Marin Software

Catch and Ride the Wave with Video

As marketers dive into digital advertising and ride digital tidal wave, video will be their best surfboard.

Emarketer.com shares that video will continue to drive the growth of digital advertising spending, particularly in social media and through the use of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms like Hulu and Roku.

A Forbes.com article shared a report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau indicated that 41% of United States consumers over the age of 13 watch online and streaming videos daily.

The report also shared that 75% of digital video viewers are willing to watch advertising in exchange for content. Not only will they watch the ad, online viewers pay more attention to video messages and prefer to learn about new products through video.

Impact Learning Center and Wyzowl also provide compelling digital video statistics:

  • 70% of consumers say that they have shared a brand’s video
  • 72% of businesses say video has improved their conversion rate
  • 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions

The Sea Still Needs Stories

As marketers are swimming in the deep end of digital advertising ocean, it may be comforting to know they all have a familiar lifeboat.

Good storytelling remains at the heart of any campaign. Without it, consumers won’t get on board with a product or brand, no matter how often they see it on their channel of choice.

Finally, if marketers stick with good stories and surf all channels with video, they can ride the wave of digital marketing to success.

Thinking of diving into digital advertising? Need help with your story or social media? Give Poole Communications a call. We can help provide strategies and tips to get the most from your digital advertising. 800-900-3635

© 2019 Poole Communications

The Current Social Media Scene

Just when you think you have the current social media scene figured out, a new platform, updated feature and enhanced algorithm makes you feel like you are in the dark again. Instead of searching around the social world with two hands and a flashlight, try using five W’s and an H.  Find out the WhoWhatWhyWhen and Where of each of the six significant social channels’ key audiences and How you can create content to make an impact with them.  Search no more.  Here’s the current social media scene. 

Facebook  

Who: Two billion users are active on the platform each month, with Generation X and Millennials leading the way according to the Spredfast Social Media Audience Guide 

What: According to the same research, Facebook is the best platform to grow a small business and is most useful to retail, media, financial services, and healthcare industries.   

Why: The audiences on Facebook go there to discover new products.  In fact, 30% of retail shoppers who recently made a purchase discovered a new product on Facebook. 

When: On average, the Spredfast guide says that users hang out on Facebook 35 minutes per day and Sprout Social shared that by far Wednesday is the best day to post on the platform. Specifically, businesses should make their move at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on hump day.   

Where: More Facebook users view content on mobile devices than they do a desktop.  

How: Based on Spredfast and Sprout Social research on the 5 W’s covered above, businesses can reach Facebook’s key audience base by launching new products on the site through images, videos, concise descriptions and links to buy within the same post.

Instagram  

Who: Of the 800 million monthly active users on the platform, ladies and teens comprise the majority of the Instagram crowd according to Spredfast’s research. Females between the ages of 18 to 29 make up the largest demographic and 53 percent of teens use the platform to learn about new products.   

What: Retail, sports and automotive businesses can find their niche with Instagram.  

When:  According to Sprout Social, the best times to post on Instagram are Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday between 10 and 11 a.m.  

Where: Most users view Instagram on mobile devices. 

Why: This highly visual platform is the place audiences look to learn about new products, follow brands, and check in with influencers to see what they are saying, learning, doing, wearing and buying. 

How: Announce new products, show influential people in your industry and community using and talking about those products.  Better yet, become an influencer in your industry by sharing how your products and services make their lives better.

Twitter 

Who: There are 317 million active users tweeting, and the majority of them are men.  

What: Best platform for sports, media, financial services and healthcare industries, but not the place for retail.  

When: Businesses will have the best results by tweeting on Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m. according to Sprout Social. 

Where: Contrasting with its social cousins Facebook and Instagram, Twitter faithful tend to check the site on desktop devices more than they do on mobile screens.  

Why: Audiences head to the platform to get scores, news, reviews, deals and ideas.  

How: Post coupons and news about your business and link to your website.  When they have more time, they may switch to your Instagram and Facebook feeds to buy your products

Linked In  

Who: LinkedIn is the place to reach other businesses, business owners and professionals.  The largest demographic on the platform is between the ages of 25 to 34. 

What: A key industry served well by this professional platform is financial services.  It’s also the place for business to business marketing and not so much for retail traffic.  

When:  According to Sprout Socialthe best times to post are Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to10 a.m. and at 12 p.m.  

Where: Given its professional niche, more users check the platform at home or work, which means their use is on desktop rather than a mobile device. 

Why: The audience links in to make job searches, research companies and network.  

How:  Connect with this platform’s users by posting open positions and sharing research on your product or service.  While you are at it, link up with like-minded businesses or research your competition.

YouTube  

Who: This is the space to connect with the guys.  Males between the ages of 35 to 44 are the largest user group. Another fun fact Spredfast found is that YouTube’s channels reach more 18-49 year olds than any cable network in the United States.  YouTube is second only to Facebook in monthly active users boasting a healthy 1 billion each month.   

What: Industries related to media, sports and automotive sectors are served well by this platform.  

When: YouTube’s myriad channels draw in users an average of 40 minutes a day.  

Where: People are tuning into watch on mobile devices more than desktop computers.   

Why: Tubers hang out on the site to interact with brands and follow content creators. 

How:  Businesses can publish video content showing the benefits and uses of products and services to directly engage with audiences and push them to a website to convert into sales.

Snapchat  

Who: The ladies love Snapchat. 

What: Retail, media, and sports sectors should snap away with this platform’s audiences. 

When: The ladies (and others) open the app 25 times each day.   

Where: Snapchat only lives on mobile devices. 

Why: Snappers use the platform for its privacy – they control how long and who sees their posts – and of course for the pretty filters and lenses.  

How:  Use filters for your business and create quick and fun content that is lighthearted and hip. If you want more tips, follow Snoop Dog and Spencer Pratt, they seem to have it all figured out and have the largest following. 

Need more help with the current social media scene? Need a strategy or ideas for posts? Give Poole Communications a call. We can help. 800-900-3635.

© 2019 Poole Communications

Sources:  

https://assets.khoros.com/content/tipsheets/2018-Social-Media-Demographics-Spredfast.pdf  

https://sproutsocial.com/insights/best-times-to-post-on-social-media/#times-fb  

Lots of social media buzz but still no business?  Everyone’s talking about your latest ad campaign. They’d better, you spent a lot of time, money, and energy creating it. You agonized over every word. Sorted through dozens of visuals. Finally, it all came together perfectly and now your biz has the buzz of your dreams.

 But now the buzz is fizzling out and all the hype didn’t translate into actual biz.

Instead of asking WTF (Why the Fizzle?), you should be thinking CTA (Call-To-Action).

Unless you are content with the warm and fizzles, insert a specific call-to-action on every ad within a campaign regardless of marketing channel.

CTAs compel the customer to do something that indicates their interest or need. Ask them to click, download, subscribe, like, take the quiz, share, learn more, get started, and then provide meaningful content when they answer the call to take action.

Calls-to-action:

Connect the value of your product with customer needs.

Learn the Top 3 Products Used by Millennial Moms

Communicate useful information.

Download 5 Tips to Save on your Energy Bill

Convert prospects into leads.

Subscribe to Earn 15% Off Your Next Purchase

Confirm the effectiveness of your creative and return on investment. CTAs help track how many clicks, downloads or forms you receive based on your message and campaign timeframe.

And, most importantly CTAs are EXPECTED. Consumers are barraged by hundreds of ads a day. Everyone loves a good cat video, but at the end of the day people have less time and more choices.

Educate them on how to make the best choice by offering ideas, tips, discounts, solutions, and ways to make life easier.

The CTA game takes thought, trial and error, and a healthy dose of patience. It is not enough to add an arrow and “click here” to visit your website. (P.S. They need to know what to do when they get there!)

Think about the buyer’s journey and create links to content for each stage of the process – from awareness and research to prioritizing and purchasing.

Finally, businesses who develop CTAs that connect and communicate value will convert customers and confirm that all the buzz will translate into real biz.

Lots of social media buzz but still no business? Need some help, give us a call at 800-900-3635 and we’ll turn your fizz into biz.

© 2019 Poole Communications

When fishermen find a honey hole, their smiles are big and their mouths are shut. But when they catch the big one, it’s all about the show and tell. Social media is the new word-of-mouth honey hole; so let’s use it to your best advantage.

In business, everyone has access to the honey hole of social media, and the fish swimming in it are free for the taking if you have the right bait.  Reel in your own word-of-mouth marketers ready to show and tell tales from your business with the following lures:

Show Others With Their Trophy Fish

Everyone has happy customers, but if you don’t show them off, you might lose the next big one. How can you catch more fish if they can’t see what they are missing?

Lure: Post a smiling customer holding one of the last products on the shelf along with a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out ) message like, “Sam got one of the last She-Shed lock openers! Stop by today to get yours and find out what the wife has inside that place.”

Give Them a Secret to Share

Your social channels should be chock full of exclusive visuals and crave-able content. Everyone is searching for a new honey hole, so make your channel the next secret to share.

Lure: Post behind-the-scenes pictures of new product being delivered, share a new trend from one of the “coasts,” or snap a shot of your team prepping a new service to save customers’ time and money.

Find Your Big Mouths

Pay attention to your followers. It’s likely you have loyalists who like your posts, comment, and share information. They can influence hundreds more, so lure them in with your best bait.

Lure: Give them a free sample or service and ask them to take a picture or share the experience on social media. Follow up by inviting them to a VIP referral club that offers a big discount if they bring fresh fish to your pond.

Open Your Mouth

If you don’t open your own mouth to engage with your following, they might get away. Worse yet, if your fish flip and spew bad information, you need to dive in to rescue your reputation.

Lure: Comment on a recent customer’s post and include a specific detail about your encounter with them. Follow up offline to see how the product is working. Also, be sure to engage immediately with bad reviews and negative comments. Thank customers for bringing the issue to your attention and ask if you can connect privately to find a solution.

Release the power of your customers’ word-of-mouth on social media and watch the flow of free marketing and new fish swim your way.

Need help with your social media posts or planning, give us a call at 800-900-3635 or email us at: info@poolecommunications.com

© 2019 Poole Communications

Tuning up your marketing should be like maintenance on your vehicle. Marketing is the fuel that keeps the customer engine running. The good news is that unlike vehicles, marketing inspections don’t have to come with a hefty price tag. Here are 5 tips to tune up your marketing:

Take a Test Drive

When was the last time you viewed your messaging, processes, discounts, service and overall company experience from a customer’s point of view? Click on your ads, sign up for offers, send a family member into your business, email a staff member and review the results. You may find some small tweaks to help you pick up more miles per gallon.

Employ Digital Diagnostics

Digital advertising campaigns pinpoint the customers most likely to connect with you based on their online behavior. Combined with relevant offers, creative ads and corresponding landing pages, digital advertising is the best way to diagnose if your campaigns are running smoothly or need some tinkering. Check to see if you are getting the impressions, clicks, website visits and leads you deserve.

Marketing is now more science-based, and while it’s still also still an art, you can count on the numbers for truth and finding the best path to success for your company.

Street Race the Competition

Next, review your competition’s website or walk-in to see what gets their sales motors running. Compare price points, review their discount and take an inventory of where, when and what they are marketing. You are sure to find at least one idea to beat them to the finish line.

It’s pretty simple to set up a search that flags you whenever your competitors name in mentioned in the news. Set one up today and start tracking.

Buff the Exterior

Look at your business’s exterior touch points. Do your ads, website and displays have a cohesive shine or are their a few chips in the paint? Maybe a quick run through the branding car wash is all you need, or perhaps you can buff a few images to freshen up your look.

Chips or dings? Address them immediately. Don’t cover them up. Fix the trouble and polish out the finish.

Listen to the Engine

Finally, ask new and old customers some key questions.

  • Why did they choose you?
  • What do they like best about your products?
  • What do they wish you would start, stop, or continue doing?
  • How did they find you?
  • Why are longtime customers loyal?

Finally, listen and respond. Use their responses to inform new offers, events and products so they know you made all the right fixes.

Use this five-point inspection any time you need to tune up your marketing and keep your sales engines humming. Need 5 tips to tune up your marketing? Contact us today or call 800-900-3635.

© 2019 Poole Communications

You thought you turned heads on your last advertising campaign because it was on point. People were clicking your ads like crazy and your website had a spike in visits. But, the activity didn’t turn heads adequately to become a trend. You had a lot of the right pieces, but lacked the coordination to make a real fashion statement. Review the following Do’s and Don’ts so you can turn heads with coordinated marketing and make all the right choices in the future.

Don’t fall flat on the runway.

A discerning, highly influential client – let’s call her a fashionista – deigns to click on your ad. Instead of seeing a lovely coordinated landing page she spots a cluttered website. Like last season’s stilettos, she kicks your product to the curb.

Do accessorize.

The same client clicks on your stylish ad, arrives on a coordinated, trackable landing page and notices a valuable offer. She whips out her swanky wallet and hands over contact information to collect your must-have discount.

Don’t be a one-hit wonder.

Before you can say fabulous, you move on to your next task. Just as you look away another shiny object catches said fashionista’s attention and she never redeems the discount. It’s almost like you left her in the back of the closet with last year’s handbag.

Do shower attention.

A millisecond after receiving her valuable contact information, your prompt auto-reply email lands in the maven’s inbox wrapped in a bow nudging her to use the discount before the product sells out.

Soon she begins to see your retargeting ads with more of photos of your product on other exclusive websites.

A week later – because you have set up an automated email workflow based on her interests and behavior – she receives an exclusive email offer for first-time customers who subscribe to your newsletter.

Not long after that, your next thoughtful and targeted email elegantly appears showing the latest piece in the collection along with a special offer for customers who like your Instagram page.

Do expect to make a statement.

Follow the do’s and avoid the don’ts above you will make an impression that turn will heads with coordinated marketing and transform that fashionista into a brand-devotee ready to influence her stylish circle of friends and their matching disposable incomes.

Engage in more meaningful conversations

The back and forth between a business and customer on social media can sometimes feel like the old school method of passing notes in a classroom. Do you like our new spring clothing line? Check yes or no. If you like it, please share it with Susie in the next row. Of course, it’s important to get likes and shares on social media, but savvy business owners might want to seek something more than a classroom crush.

To build a lasting relationship with a customer you need to engage in more meaningful conversations. In dating terms, you need to put a ring on it. Take the time to engage with your audience on social media. Pay attention to what they need, when they need it, and why.

Here are a few tips to move your social media engagement to the next level:

Create polls to obtain information from customers
Rank their favorite product.
Rank the various ways they use the product.
Vote for the time of day/year they use the product most.
Rank why they use the product – give three options and an open comment box.

Run contests to learn how customers interact with your product

and provide a discount or valuable item to the winner.
Most creative or best photo/video of customers using the product.
The best success story of how a service helped them.
Most loyal or longest-standing customer.

Research your ambassadors

All businesses will have loyal customers who consistently like, share, and comment on your platforms. So, thank them for sharing, give them a head’s up on sales and offer advice on making the most of the product. Then, take a few minutes to look at their personal pages to get more of a feel for their lifestyle, needs, and friends.

Be responsive

If someone sends a message or posts a comment, respond as fast as possible. Because many customers view social media the same as an in-person encounter, treat social interactions in the same way.

Ask questions

Pose open-ended questions about your product or service on social accounts. What do you like best about our business? What do we not offer that you would use?

These tips will have you well on your way to walking down the social aisle with customers. Still, you should be ready for those members of the congregation who just can’t seem to hold their peace. View negative comments as opportunities rather than irritants to be ignored. Everyone sees the negative comments and a lot may ride on how and if you choose to react.

Steps to keep the peace:

1. Thank them for the comment, acknowledge the issue, and apologize.
2. Ask what you can do to make it right.
3. Offer what you can to make it right, plus a little extra.
4. If you cannot make it right, tell them how you will work to make it better in the future.

However, there may be cases when a courteous approach isn’t effective. For those situations, a general statement acknowledging the issue and an offer to resolve it offline with an email or phone call may be a good compromise.

Finally, like any relationship, staying engaged takes time and effort and a willingness to learn from the good and bad comments.

When businesses create a social media page, they may believe the hard part is over. Actually, it is just beginning. Once a social media page is created, the real work of increasing social media engagement begins.

Use Images
One thing we have learned over and over again at Poole Communications is that social media users like images. A post containing a photo or image will be seen by more users than one that does not. Post a video to your Facebook or Twitter page, and you may be surprised to see how many more people respond to your post. We are becoming a visual society. A picture or video is always more likely to catch the eye than just a text. Free picture sharing sites such as Pixabay and Pexels make it easy to find stock photos to make your posts appealing to the eye.

Live Video
Live video is another way to rapidly increase social media engagement. We would strongly caution businesses to be prepared when doing live video though. Once you say something “live” it is out there, and there is no taking it back. Live video definitely has its advantages though; it gives you an instantaneous connection to your social media followers. You can answer their questions and engage with them. Special events, a product unveiling, or a new food item are all reasons to try a live video. The effects may be far reaching and last longer than just the minute or two your video goes live.

Get Personal
Another way of increasing social media engagement is to personalize your business page. Give a virtual tour of your office. Introduce your employees using their pictures a short description of their educational background and job duties. Celebrate work anniversaries with a post. Introduce a new product by having an employee showing its uses in a video. Social media is about being “social.” People do still want to feel connected to other people. Introducing your staff adds a personal touch to your social media pages. We have learned from our own experience it also leads to much higher engagement.

Remember Reviews
Reviews are another way to see your engagement improve on your social media pages. Ask past customers to share their opinions. Invite them to review your business and their experience. This will allow potential customers to learn more about you through the experience of others.

Ask Questions
We have seen an increase of engagement on company pages when a product or gift card is given away. Who doesn’t like free things? If there is information you want to elicit from your social media followers, think about a question that is pertinent to your business when you conduct the giveaway. For example, a restaurant may ask followers what their favorite dish is. This helps them to see what is popular and what new dishes they may want to introduce. While your engagement increases, so will your knowledge base.

Don’t forget there is also power in likes and comments. To see engagement increase, businesses must be involved. Like comments made on your page. Comment back to a potential customer when they ask a question about a product. This is vital to keeping up your engagement and increasing your brand awareness.

As a business owner, it seems like media love from any platform comes with a price tag. If only you could become the media’s valentine. Wouldn’t it be nice if they pursued you for something other than a monthly advertising invoice? Or maybe you have dreamed of a reporter showing up at your storefront with a bouquet of free air time to spotlight your business.

Be Prepared

That dream date can happen if you are prepared with the right content at the right time. Content is the heart of every story, blog, and social media post. Reporters need quick access to experts, facts, statistics, trends, and testimonials to tell stories that are meaningful to audiences.

Your expertise, industry knowledge and experience could be the perfect match for a reporter on any given day, but you have to get in the dating game to start building the relationship and really become the media’s valentine. Here are a few ways to get your business noticed by the media:

First, Create an expert profile

For example:
Amy Smith, owner, Smith Heating and Air Conditioning (Phone, email, web, social contacts)
Ten year’s experience in residential and industrial HVAC systems
Expert in electrical safety, home energy efficiency and indoor air quality

Connect with local journalists

Next, identify a few journalists in your area who report on topics related to your industry and send them your expert profile through multiple channels. (Social media, email, hand-written note, phone call)

Create content

Use facts and figures about your business and create brief, but meaningful tip sheets or infographics. Focus on ways to help the public save time or money, prepare for the future or avoid a crisis as it relates to your product or service. Periodically share your tips with media contacts. Use social hashtags and tag reporters. Example: 3 Ways to Save Money on Energy Costs #energysavings @nbcreporter

Look for trends and national stories

Find out what is trending on Twitter, look at what others are talking about in your own social media feeds and track stories in the national news. Connect your expertise with those topics and ask the media to consider you for an interview to share how the topic may impact your community, customers or industry.

Be ready and responsive

Journalists have very tight timelines. If a reporter calls for an interview, that interview may need to take place on the spot, or scheduled in one to two hours. If you ask for time to prepare, you may miss your opportunity. By having topics and tips ready you can quickly accept the request. Reporters will remember your responsiveness and likely reach out to you again. This will help build your reputation as a thought-leader in the industry.

It Takes Time

Finally, it takes time and effort to become the media’s valentine, but creating connections and content could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship with no price tags attached.

Today we’re looking at the simplicity of six words. Can you write your company story in six to ten words? This isn’t a new idea. Ernest Hemingway wrote a famous six word story.

“For Sale: New baby shoes. Never worn.”

Too often we make things harder than they need to be. Use the simplicity of six words.

Carefully Define Your Business

First, implement this six word idea with your business: define your company and culture in six words or less.

For example: at Poole Communications, we are client-focused, ethical, creative, self-motivated and passionate. When hiring new employees we look for those same characteristics. Even when interviewing a potential new client, we look for those same qualities. (That’s right, we don’t accept all new clients; we really want a good fit.)

The result is that we have a better fit with ALL the people we work with, that means more enjoyment in our work – and lives – for everyone involved.

Whenever we deviate from this principle there’s trouble: a unhappy client who doesn’t fit, or a disgruntled, unproductive employee. I’ve learned over the years how important it is to let our values lead the way.

Next, Define How You Work

Next, six simple words can help us define our logos, our slogans, how we work – and even who we work with. Those same words help you in planning and creating work or providing service. We don’t want to sell ourselves, our products or services; we want to educate in an ethical way. Let’s make the world a better place. Everyone wants marketing material that are simple and easy to understand. The little amount of time each have makes it mandatory. Word choice and communication is extremely important. It’s critical to be clear about who you are and how you work; and it’s equally important to be quickly understood.

Simplify Your Life

Finally, the world is fast paced, and we all have a lot to do; work to simplify your job and make your company function better. The simplicity of six words is one small tool you can use. Define what your business is, and how your business works. Get your team involved and listen to their input. Empower them to help grow the company and help make it better.

Need help? We can help you with strategy, writing, planning, budgeting and media placement. Give us a call at 800-900-3635.

©2018 Poole Communications