How Creative Fatigue Impacts Your Marketing

Marketing is a creative endeavor. No matter what you're promoting, you need to consider your customer's needs and figure out the best way to communicate with them. There's no such thing as a perfect marketing campaign. Even when you're successful you need to constantly revise your message and keep it fresh. This is where creative fatigue often sets in. You find yourself in a rut, unable to think of new and exciting approaches. Let's look at why this happens and what you can do to overcome it.

Topics: Marketing Strategy marketing strategies

6 Ways Social Media Helps with More Than Just Marketing

Social media marketing helps strengthen your business. You can tap into new markets and remind consumers about what you have to offer. You can also use social media to set the tone of your business, and that matters with every demographic. 

But it can be hard to see those benefits, especially if you aren't getting a lot of conversions from your social media campaigns. You might also feel like your target market is heavily on or influenced by social media. Chances are that social media is more impactful than it first appears, but that can be a hard sell if you're setting your marketing budget.

Instead of focusing on how social media interactions can grow your business directly, here are six ways they're a vital way of strengthening your company:

1. More activity means your social media channels show up in search results.

Search engines care about social media. If any part of your business relies on organic search results, that means you have to care about social media, too. If you consistently have a lot of engagement and interactions on your social media channels, that makes them more likely to show up on the first page when someone is searching for your company. 

A search result that you control the content of is much better than a forum or a third-party review site. While all positive exposure is a good thing, your social media profiles are more customizable. You control the information. On a third-party site, viewers can be pulled away by reviews, competing advertisements, and alternative suggestions.

2. Active followers will let you know if something goes wrong.

If your followers feel like they can reach out to you, they will. This means they'll let you know when a page is down, when your shopping cart isn't working right, or if something else is going wrong. The holiday shopping season is right around the corner, and the faster your response time is the better.

While you might not want to remove even negative Facebook and Twitter comments, they're less set in stone than other review avenues. You can respond positively and thank your followers for feedback on social media. Eventually, comments will fade in the feed. But on Yelp or other local business directories, negative reviews can stay above the fold for a very long time. You also might not see them quickly enough to provide good solvency.

3. Don't let fake channels steal your spot.

The Internet likes nothing more than a good joke. But it likes a bad joke almost as much. Prominent political figures, major corporations, and celebrities almost always have spoof social media accounts following them. The last thing your company needs is a joke spokesperson controlling your online presence. If nothing else you need those likes and shares to keep your authentic channels on top.

If you claim the closest available derivatives of your company name, you also stop competitors from taking them. This prevents confusion if a similar company to yours that's halfway across the country starts posting coupon codes or harmful gaffes.

4. Measure which posts spread the farthest.

Likes and shares aren't cold, hard cash, but they tell you when your campaigns are working. Social media interactions are the some of the first steps in converting consumers to customers, and they give you a lot of data along the way. 

Social media campaigns should ultimately drive traffic to your site, especially traffic that will subscribe and make purchases. But individual posts within your campaigns may have a different goal, such as spreading awareness of your brand.

Likes and shares are what push your content forward outside of the small circle of your followers. Analyze the data to see which posts get shared to secondary and tertiary connections. For example, if a direct follower of your channel shares you post, it reaches a secondary audience (that follower's primary audience). If someone in that group shares your post, it reaches a tertiary audience. Measuring this lets you know if your campaigns work for a wider audience rather than your committed followers.

5. Compare your likes and shares to conversions.

You need to have a process for converting viewers to customers, and one of the best ways to support it is with ratios. For example, it may take 10,000 views to gain one new customer. Part of this may be that your post doesn't have traction, but it may also be that a split-second glance while someone scrolls down their feed counts as a view. Ultimately, you can't tell which views are deliberate.

Instead, make a ratio of likes or shares to customers. This helps you set better goals because the sharing and liking are deliberate actions. If you know a certain type of post needs 50 likes or shares to generate one new customer, you have a more defined goal.

6. Give customers easy ways to contact you.

A website is a 24/7 marketing and customer service engine. But not all of your customers will start searching for you on an Internet browser. The majority of browsing and online activity happens on mobile devices, and that means some customers will start their search in the social media app they have open. According to Forbes, social media is a great platform for offering customer service. 

Make sure you're easy to find on the first search, no matter what tool a customer is using. If they need to contact you to solve a problem, they're already going to be frustrated. Introducing even mild inconvenience is likely to make them leave negative reviews and comments. It will also make their call or email harder to resolve.

So turn on the alerts on all of your social media profiles and make sure each page has your company email, URL, and phone number.

Social media is primarily a marketing tool when you're using it for business. But it's also an integral customer service and IT tool, especially if you invest some time in setting up basic profile information. Go to BOLD Worldwide for more ways to multi-task your marketing and business goals.

2019 Marketing Assessment Tool

Topics: social media Marketing Strategy social media marketing

Three Ways to Make Better Content Faster

'Better' is a tricky idea. When you're creating content, of course, you want high-quality productions that establish your expertise and persuade leads to become customers. But your audience has a clear-cut view of better: immediate answers, entertaining or easy to absorb information, and topical articles. Here's how to make them:

Topics: Marketing Strategy Writing succesful content content engagement marketing strategies

Repackage Your Material: Multiple Formats Increase Your Content's Marketable Reach

It's hard to get the attention of new customers. Even after you collect a lot of positive reviews, have customers that love your services, and optimize your offers to match your core target market, there's just too much competition to be seen.

That's why more and more companies are switching to inbound marketing strategies. Instead of sending interruptive ads to Internet users who match their target markets and might be interested in their services, these companies are creating high-quality content that customers will find once they have a problem or a need.

At first, that seems a bit counter to every marketing practice used offline. Waiting for customers to find you has always been a bad thing; name recognition and catchy ads are everything. But on the Internet, that strategy just doesn't work. Consumers have too much that can catch their attention at any given time, and they won't remember your message if it's not relevant. The medium itself is also different from traditional advertising platforms. New consumers can search online for the answers to the precise problem they have at a precise moment. They don't have to wait for an ad.

How can you be ready and waiting for consumers that you can convert into leads and customers?

In a word, content. Business blogs, white papers, and short ebooks all have the answers that different customer personas are likely to be looking for. The more answers you have, whether it's generalized overviews, technical answers to technical questions, or (even better) a combination of both, the more appealing your brand is to your preferred audience. 

Give away answers on a business blog.

There are a lot of different strategies for creating the right content that can draw in the most valuable prospective leads for your business, and all of them are valid. Many times, a business blog is a good fit for your business. You can post helpful how-to guides and tips for DIY solutions; this content establishes your company's helpfulness and reliability. You can also publish posts about industry updates and complex problems in your target market's world; this demonstrates your company's subject matter expertise. That's why a business blog is so useful for inbound marketing. You can fill up your posting schedule with any content you think prospective leads will be looking for, all in a centralized, interconnected hub of embedded links and recommended further reading. And there are a lot of different blog post styles you can use.

Once web visitors trust your brand, offer more content through a mailing list.

But a business blog isn't the only option. You can also create gated content, such as ebooks, checklists, or templates that help consumers solve more complex problems. Because you're offering more valuable and interactive content, you can use these pieces to build your subscriber list. This is a common trade that many consumers expect. They'll give you their email information and a certain amount of real estate in their inbox, but only if you provide helpful content now and seem likely to continue giving them valuable content in the future. As long as you keep up your end of the agreement, you can nurture your leads and start converting them to paying customers by continuing to build trust and offering high-quality products.

 

But that's a lot of content creation.

How can you create wide-reaching content without using up all of your marketing department's time and budget?

As you diversify your content from blog posts to subscription offers and paid packages, you're not starting from scratch every time. Most articles only scratch the surface of the information you know. That means you can easily turn a basic article into a more detailed step-by-step guide with tips and a few do's and don'ts. With a bit of organization, you can readily identify gaps in your content library and make a list of future topics. Many times, thinking about what to write next is the hardest part of content creation.

But even after that, creating content that reaches all of your prospective leads is challenging. There is a huge time investment into every article and video, especially if you want to make sure the wording is just right and your audience can enjoy the experience. So instead of spending all of your time creating new content, bulk up your library by repackaging your content.

Repackage it into list videos.

Videos are a lot of hard work. If you can make the process easier by using high-quality content you've already created, you're removing a major roadblock to the finished product. 

Your articles can form the basis of a script, or you can use the hours of research to more easily outline an entirely new product. If you have a long piece of content that is either a list or a detailed how-to, that can easily translate into an entertaining video that's easy for audiences to follow

Videos are the perfect content for your social media channels and your YouTube channel. YouTube is a relatively neglected search engine as far as business is concerned. Consumers know to go to YouTube for answers and tutorials, but it's one of the biggest blind spots on most company's digital marketing strategies. Building a library of informational videos means consumers have another engaging way to reach you.

Videos don't have to be flashy, well-directed films, either. You can have interviews, animations, or just someone speaking into the camera. The format of the graphical content doesn't matter so long as it's engaging and easy to follow.

Content creation is a process that involves a lot of steps. But once you get started, very little of your content creation starts from scratch. You'll build a long to-do list of good post ideas, and you'll know which topics to build on. Even better, you can reach new audiences and convert more leads with the exact same content and a bit of repackaging. If you want to get your content creation strategies off to an easy, organized start, BOLD Worldwide. We can help you get your brand noticed when your target market is ready to find you.

Growing BOLD – Docu-Series

Topics: Inbound Marketing Marketing Strategy inbound marketing strategy Digital Marketing Strategy

How to Build Your Email List to Support a Consulting Business

Every business needs an email list. Even though email is one of the oldest forms of online communication, the tool is still going strong for every possible type of personal and business communication. With the right tools, like automated email marketing tracks and customized templates, it can be an even stronger way to reach your market.

But every business also needs a slightly different email list, so measure your lead nurturing stats to see where you need to focus. If you sell products, then you need to build up a list of people who need a specific product and subsequent, related products. If you sell a subscription service, you want a large group of recipients who will continue to have the same problem over a long period of time. Even these two categories aren't enough to specify the specific audience you need based on the types of products and services you sell. 

If you have a consulting business, your target market is a very particular set of individuals, and that means you need to craft a specific strategy to reach consumers and business owners. Luckily, the type of consulting work you offer won't change the general outline of the steps you need to take. Whether you offer professional advice on how to become an optician, how to set up self-employment retirement accounts, or how to grow an appliance repair business, there's a process to build your email subscribers. Here's what you need to do:

1. Create a free course.

Content marketing is the best way to increase traffic to your site. Through blog posts, content giveaways, and white papers, you can build up SEO credit and convince human visitors that you're an industry expert. 

But that type of content marketing isn't the only way to reach new audiences with content. Instead, showcase your knowledge on a third-party course site like SkillShare or Udemy. Audiovisual content is often more attractive to audiences than wordy, long-form articles, and it also puts you in the place of being an authority. Even better, the people who find your course are already in the mindset of wanting to learn a skill or solve a problem. They're halfway down their buyer's journey and you can step in easily.

Your first free course shouldn't be a gold mine of everything you know. Instead, it should be a basic overview showing your target market how to solve a problem at the very beginning of their journey. For example, if your business offers consulting services to independent opticians and medical offices, give a basic overview of how to become an optician or the X number of crucial elements to running a medical office. This is simple, basic information that you don't have to invest a lot of time in but which can be invaluable to someone just getting started.

When users on most platforms join your course, you build an 'email list' of sorts through the site. It won't be a downloadable list of names and emails because the third-party site needs to protect that information. They also have an incentive to have you communicate to subscribers through their system only. However, this is still a list of interested consumers who you know are already invested in your subject matter.

 

2. Grow your student base with more courses.

One free course isn't enough to get traction. Build up your expertise and your audience by adding new courses that dive deeper and deeper into the subject matter. At this point, not all of your courses have to be free. In fact, many of the most successful course-makers start their courses as being available for free before establishing a price once they have high ratings. 

Every course you add makes all of your other courses stronger. Depending on the specificity and competition in your niche, you can quickly dominate the knowledge field. Once your profile is on top for delivering the content your target market needs, it will be very hard for a new competitor to dislodge you. 

At the point where you're charging students for your courses, congratulations! You are a consultant, even if it wasn't on the platform you originally imagined. Many course-makers interact with their students in the comments and can come to additional arrangements for direct consulting hours. The more you stay active on your course platform, the more opportunities you have.

3. Offer email courses for more technical depths into your courses.

Once people trust you as a knowledge resource, courses aren't going to be enough of a workable format. You can garner more interest in different types of subjects by opening up email courses, too. If you want to help your subscribers develop technical skills and procedures, the best way to do it isn't by giving them the information all at once.

Instead, break it down into bite-size chunks of daily tasks and tips. Some things, like reorganizing a database system or setting up a website, involve too many steps all at once. That can overwhelm your customers and make them stop listening. But email courses provide structure and simple advice.

Even better, this format gets you direct subscribers that want to open emails from open. Most email list growth occurs on a tit-for-tat system. You'll offer a PDF or a coupon of sufficient value to make your audience give you their email, but that's no guarantee they'll want continual communication with you. With an email course, you know those subscribers want to hear from you.

 

Why are courses a great way to reach your consulting business's target market?

People who are likely to pay for consulting services know they have a dream but are missing some of the technical knowledge to make it happen. That means courses — free, paid, and over email — are precisely what they need to get started. If you can give burgeoning business owners the information they need without hassle or gimmicks, they will trust you and keep coming back.

Even better, this is a target market that will actively find you. One of the biggest drags in growing a business is finding a steady supply of leads. Content marketing means you're available when potential customers are ready to find you, especially if you couldn't otherwise find them.

People who need your services the most aren't leads that you can search for. They won't have a social media presence or profiles in local business directories. If they have such an established presence that you can find them, their customers can find them. While that doesn't mean your services won't apply to their situation, it means you have less to offer and they might already have a consultant.

Building your email list is just the beginning of your digital marketing strategy. Go to BOLD Worldwide for more tips on how to build every part of your content and inbound marketing strategies.

Topics: Marketing Strategy marketing strategies email strategies

How to Avoid Marketing Strategy Inconsistencies

Marketing Strategies Need a Roadmap for Consistency

Whether you're a business owner, a director of a non-profit organization, a middle or a senior manager, or simply new to the world of entrepreneurship, you need the clear and concise direction that a marketing roadmap delivers.

Topics: Marketing Strategy marketing strategies

The Social Media Marketing Fundamentals Every Entrepreneur Should Know

Many entrepreneurs and businesses are simply doing social media wrong. While virtually every marketing expert is standing on their soapbox screaming that you need a significant social media footprint, how to actually achieve that is often not presented in a straightforward manner. Nevertheless, when executed correctly, social media marketing is both effective and cost-efficient. It is a marketing method that works for businesses of all sizes and creates an even playing field when competing with even large corporations.

Topics: Marketing Strategy social media marketing Digital Marketing Strategy

8 Ways Mini-Games Can Enhance Your Website and App Design

Gamification is a word that has been bouncing around the business web and software development circles for a decade or more, but only recently has it begun to pick up real popularity among decision-makers and lead business website designers. It is, essentially, the art of adding game-like elements to your web pages, mobile apps, and business software that increase engagement by activating the same motivation centers in the brain that games do. The desire to earn points, to get a high score, to earn badges and a little friendly competition are incredibly energizing and have been found time and time again to enhance the experience of both customers and employees who are offered gamification features in their otherwise serious software.

Gamification and Mini-Games

But gamification doesn't have to stop at simply spicing up your UI or rewarding users for taking actions on your website. Modern businesses with the freedom of custom web design have every reason to go all-out and provide actual mini-games on their websites to delight, entertain, and occupy customers in times when they might otherwise become frustrated or dissatisfied. Mini-games can be used to kill time ranging from a few seconds to several minutes, take a customer's mind off their troubles, and subtly show that you value customer time by making sure they always have something to do.

Here are the top eight ways that mini-games built into your website can be used to enhance customer experience using your website and mobile app.

1) Waiting for a Customer Service Rep

While the digital world is moving us closer and closer to fully-automated customer experiences, customer service is far from over. Today, almost every business website has a live chat box and a 'contact us' page at a minimum, but that doesn't actually mean that you have enough service reps to help every customer exactly when they want to start the conversation. While asking customers to wait patiently for their turn is the traditional route, it's also boring, frustrating, and often taken as a sign that you don't value or can't handle their patronage.

Instead of leaving your customers hanging or hiring additional customer service reps, a simple mini-game can make a huge difference. Let's say a customer has opened the live-chat window during a very busy day and is greeted by your customer service chatbot. The bot qualifies their need and determines that a real rep is required to solve the customer's problem or question. Rather than trying to maintain robotic chit-chat or asking the customer to wait 5 minutes (which you know they won't), the bot instead offers to play a game of memory-match or checkers with the guest. By the time a rep is available, your customer will be in a good mood and may have completely forgotten that they were waiting at all.

2) Updating the App

Sometimes your mobile app will need to update or download new resources for itself. While many app updates can happen in the background with no trouble caused to the user, there are also many situations where a user's choices will cause the mobile app to need to access new data, download a new theme, or process a request. When this happens, you can show a spinning waiting icon but no matter how clever the icon, customers are going to get frustrated waiting any longer than about 3 seconds for anything.

Unless you have a mini-game. Rather than asking your app-users to wait, pop-up a quick mini-game that is easy to play on a small screen with taps. Something like whack-a-mole or a tap-race might be exactly the right speed for your customers. Then, when the wait is over, summon a glowing 'move on' button but give users the opportunity to keep playing if they want to.

3) Downloads and Installations

For businesses that offer software, provide more complex web application services, or require downloads for certain features, these aspects of digital business all come with their own unique delays. Any download tends to also incur a certain amount of waiting while software requires time for both downloading and installation.

For these, consider a mini-game embedded in the web page itself rather than a pop-up. On your download page, a mini-game that helps wait out the download duration is incredibly helpful to some customers, especially because every device and computer downloads things at a different speed. For those whose next step is working with the download but they have a few minutes to kill before that is possible, a fun balloon-shooter or even a puzzle game might be the best way to spend that time enjoyably.

4) When Internet Connection is Lost

Here's an interesting one. Do you know about that little dinosaur jumping game you can play when the Chrome browser loses internet connection? If not, try disabling your wifi, hitting 'refresh' on a page, then pressing the space-bar when you see the no-connection dinosaur and enjoy.

The reason this works is that the game is already loaded in as part of the browser. Believe it or not, you can emulate this fun trick in your own web-page by including the game in your cookie package. Then use your page to detect when the connection is lost, inform your visitors, and offer them a fun game until the connection is back and their website experience can resume.

5) Multi-Factor Authentication

Password security has become a hotly debated topic in IT security circles and many (quite reasonably) argue that passwords are no longer the most practical and secure way to handle individual authentication. Among the leading alternate trends is multi-factor authentication (MFA using a combination of clues, picture selection, and possibly even sounds or voice recognition to identify a person beyond a string of characters.

If you choose to implement multi-factor authentication, rather than making it a tedious process, make it an interactive matching game instead where the 'winning' sequence is different for each person. This is also a way to provide a little fun and enjoyment every time a user logs in.

6) As a UI Tutorial

Many businesses have begun using a small amount of gamification in order to give quick engaging tutorials for new UI layouts, but there's no reason to stop 'playing the UI game' after the tutorial is complete. If you have, say, an adorable company mascot that peeks out from behind UI elements and can be clicked for points in order to introduce your UI, consider keeping this 'mini-game' around for users who want some quick entertainment by making it available again with a friendly button. You might even design a few different levels and activities that can be played this way.

7) In Kid-Mode

Parents are always handing their phones and tablets to young children to need temporary entertainment in order to sit still and quiet for a few minutes. While parents usually have to close all their serious apps and open of a specific game app for the children, your brand might line up well with offering a 'kids mode' for your app instead. A kid's mode might allow parents to open a few semi-educational mini-games while simultaneously locking the rest of the app until the password is entered. This can provide a quick source of child-distraction without putting their account controls at risk.

8) Subtly Gather Survey Data

Finally, don't forget that quizzes and surveys can absolutely function as mini-games if created and written in an amusing and entertaining way. Working with your marketing team, you can include a fun survey in your rotation of mini-games where the answers to the questions are subtly gathering valuable marketing data on customer preferences, style, sense of humor, and personal habits.

Unless your brand is built on being completely serious all the time, you have a lot to gain from considering just a few mini-game features in your customer's web and mobile app experience. Of course, this kind of personalized feature set is only possible through custom design. For more web design tips, trends, and strategies contact us today!

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Topics: Marketing Strategy Integrated Marketing Gamification

5 Social Media Community Management Tips for a Strong Online Community

There are two sides of the social media marketing coin. On one side, there is no entry qualification. Anyone with internet access can make a social media account and begin posting which means that any company, big or small, can start social media marketing. On the other side, the social media sphere is enormous. Not only are there a dozen different active platforms ranging from Facebook to Imgur, there are also quite literally millions of people out there waiting to potentially become part of your online following.

Topics: Marketing Strategy social media marketing Digital Marketing Strategy

6 Ways to Better Engage Consumers in the Digital Age

As we've become more connected, we've drifted further apart. That might sound philosophical, but is a real marketing problem today. In 2018, your audience is more likely than ever to skim through your digital content without actually engaging with it, simply because they have so many digital channels to pay attention to.

Topics: Marketing Strategy content engagement digital marketing