Category: Marketing.

It’s the wild west out there.  Semi-closed to the public, small businesspeople everywhere find themselves in a new frontier.  Today, we’re marketing in COVID territory.  Saddled up in their horse and wagon, otherwise known as the internet and delivery, options seem slim and consistent revenue streams a distant mirage.

The challenges are there, but so are the opportunities.

Here are some ways for marketing trail blazers to land the loyalty of current customers and stake claim on new ones in COVID territory.

Care
Contact customers and show you care.  Ask how they are coping and how your business might help. Use phone calls, hand-written notes, chats, and emails.  You’ll learn about their worries, needs, and support each other in the process.  Create a weekly live social media check-in to show the inside of your business, new items and ideas.

Outreach
Access your community’s resources to find ways to connect your product or service with those in need. Think about how your offerings could be modified to meet a whole new audience you might not have envisioned previously. Create content that presents the benefits of your company on a personal level.  Consider reaching out to your local television stations and share your story.

Visualize
Look ahead and visualize what your customers’ needs will be in our new normal.  As your community phases in businesses, where will yours fit?  How can you merge and maximize your current COVID tactics of internet sales and delivery with limited in-person service?

Identify
Adapt your current operations and identify ways to expand future revenue streams.  Take the “slow-down” and turn it into an efficiency injection. Deluxe Small Business Revolution offers 10 ways to maximize downtime.  They advise to refresh your website, seek different ways to share your message, and look for partnerships to leverage resources.

Dare
Reimagine your business.  Use the time to plan and develop a new product or service.  Consider rebranding and developing new messaging for the new world ahead.  Check out Wordstream’ s advice on how consumer behavior has and will change and ways to adapt your online marketing and advertising strategies.

By showing you care and thinking ahead, your business will be ready to claim success when we make this virus wave the white flag of surrender. Do it right when marketing in COVID territory!

The 3 Levels of GOOD Employees:

Level 1 — You do what you are asked to do.
Level 2 — Level 1 + You think ahead and solve problems before they happen.
Level 3 — Level 2 + You proactively look for areas of opportunity and growth in the business, and figure out how to tap into them.

Here are the the 3 Levels of GOOD Employees. Let’s see all of us thinking and purposely working at Level 3.

Source: James Clear

The fastest growing generation of consumers – Generation Z – is defined by those born after 1995. This demographic is known for its constant use of smartphones and social media. Here are the keys to Generation Z.

Based on research from the State of Gen Z 2018 by the Center for Generational Kinetics. Almost all of Gen Z – 95% of the group – has a smartphone. Over half of the age bracket uses a smartphone more than 5 hours each day and 65% of the squad grabs their smartphone after midnight.

The same research shows that the majority of smartphone use is for tailored social media tasks. Instagram is used to follow brands and influencers. Snapchat is the place for posting selfies and videos and Facebook is where Gen Z goes to create and check out events.

The doorway to Z’s kingdom is obvious, but making connections inside their mobile land of mega information takes a strategic approach and a dash of their unique lingo.

Here are a five keys and some slang to open the door to Generation Z’s purchasing power.

First Make it quick and sick.
Vision Critical’s Generation Z Characteristics found that Gen Z has an attention span of 8 seconds and prefers creative “sick” visual storytelling to learn about and connect with products and services.

Then Help them build their own biz, bruh.
After graduating college, 61% of Gen Z would prefer to be an entrepreneur rather than an employee based on State of Gen Z 2018 by the Center for Generational Kinetics. The report also shared that 75% of teens want to turn hobbies into a business and 71% of high school students want to start their own business in the future.

Next, Get some clout. 
Reviews are king with Gen Z’s pocketbook. The State of Gen Z found that 68% of the group read at least three reviews before making a purchase.

Don’t be basic.
Based on Vision Critical’s Generation Z Characteristics research, Gen Z wants functional, unique, quality products that look expensive for less money. If those products reflect their personality and their friends don’t have them, you’ve struck gold.

Finally, YouTube is dope.
Both Vision Critical and the State of Gen Z reports share that YouTube ads are trusted by this youthful clan more than any other media channel in existence.

Use these five keys in your business marketing and you’ll slay in Generation Z’s kingdom.

© 2020 Poole Communications

Here is an example of my video conferencing set up at my office.

Below are some video conferencing best practices to help you look good on camera:

  • We recommend using ZOOM.us – it’s easy to set up and works great.
  • Sit close to the screen. You want your face to fill a good part of it.
  • Put your monitor at eye level. Your face will not be distorted in this way and you’ll look better. Put it on a stack of books if needed.
  • IF you have 2 monitors focus on the one with the camera. You don’t want to be looking somewhere else.
  • Turn off your phone, email, message applications and everything that makes a noise. You don’t want to be distracted or distracting.
  • Stay focused! Don’t check email, browse online or type. We can see what you are doing and we are watching.
  • Look sharp! Be engaged and smile slightly. You don’t want to appear bored or preoccupied at all.
  • Use an external microphone or headset whenever possible. The sound is really that much better.
  • Mute yourself when you are not talking. That eliminates all background noise. Remember to unmute before talking!
  • For heaven’s sake, don’t eat during the meeting.
  • Don’t sit with a window behind you, so that you are in shadows. Make sure your face is well illuminated.
  • Use a lamp to side light and illuminate your face.
  • This is not an audio call. When you are on an audio call and muted you can do whatever you like. On a video call, you must be engaged and reasonably happy to be at the meeting. Nod your head, focus on your camera or on the screen.
  • Talk in shorthand. Get to the main point quickly. Fill in details later – or when questions are asked. Be concise.
  • Pay attention to your background: keep it simple, you don’t want a plant or wall hanging coming out of your head. You also don’t want a cluttered desk or confidential information showing.
  • Be prepared! Have your talking points on screen in front of you.
  • If something distracting does happen, handle it quickly and get right back into place.

SHINE, and be concise!

Download a printable copy here: PCZoomWhitePaper

Consumers are looking for an experience and they want it to not only be good, but to be outstanding. How can you make your customers’ experience outstanding? From the bank that provides fresh baked chocolate chip cookies to the custom coffee at your local Starbucks, it’s all about you and your customers’ experience in your business. You control this.

How can you offer more? In what ways can you make it better? Figure out how you can you wow your customers.

As I am constantly saying to my staff, “Under promise and over deliver.”

“Experiential and event marketing are seeing a big resurgence, and brands will lean in even more to those types of marketing activations. I think that music tour sponsorships will have new life because of this — brands can do even cooler venue activations that audiences interact with, and they’ll get broadcast out to a much larger digital audience.”
– Sherry JhawarBlended Strategy Group

What can you do?

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Walk into your office like you’ve never been there before. What needs to be changed? The unsmiling receptionist? Maybe she’s a better fit in bookkeeping. The smudged windows and leaf strewn sidewalk? Tackle them now. These are the simple things. They can be easily changed.

What else?

What is more difficult is to hire people who really think of others and try to do what is best for each one. I like people who think ahead to the next step, people who own their projects and feel gratitude toward the person bringing the work into the office.

Summary

Finally, what is the experience at your office? Now is the perfect time to clean house, clean up your staff and make your office run light a tightly run ship. Take the helm, be the captain and steer that ship in the direction you want. Make your customers’ experience outstanding.

©2020 Poole Communications

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

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.

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.