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Building your badass digital marketing strategy

(BUSINESS NEWS) Email, blogging, social media, PPC, SEO — where to start? What’s really important when it comes to digital marketing?

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digital marketing

We are living in a digital world

Marketing is so many things but few are more important right now than digital marketing. Email, blogging, social media, PPC, SEO — and the list goes on. Where to start? What’s really important?

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Digital marketing is important for the obvious reasons – everyone has their phone on them literally all. the. time. According to a 2015 Verizon survey, nearly 90% of people admit to using their phones in the bathroom. Talk about opportunity.

But the real question isn’t how to reach your audience, but instead, how do you reach your audience effectively? Clearly, digital isn’t a new landscape – so how can you become something that resonates, is relatable… without becoming ‘noise’?

Step one – bring on the right people. Is it important to know everything about marketing? No – because marketing, particularly digital marketing, changes almost hourly.

Instead, bring on people who are hungry. People who are motivated. People who love what they do.

The rest is smooth sailing…at least, in theory.

Know your audience, find your voice

Hello, obvious.

Yeah, it’s like Marketing 101. But after recently attending a digital marketing conference, it was surprising how often the speakers mentioned this point. Do you really know who you’re trying to reach? Have you spent real time putting yourself in the shoes of your customers?

Stop trying generic marketing tactics, and instead spend time talking to and researching your customer’s pain points and evaluating what they actually need. It’s OK to be specialized.

Let me say that again.

It’s OK to be specialized.

Your product isn’t for everyone. Focus, instead, on who it is for and market the hell out of those people.

Once you identify who those people are, who those people really are and what they really need, determine your company’s voice. Who are you? Are you funny? Informative? Tactical? Find your voice and own it.

Content is king

There’s no getting around it. People want stuff.

If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes on Facebook, you’ll notice the crazy amount of sharing and liking of posted content. Viral videos are gold, and if you’ve managed to successfully infiltrate a ‘trending topic”, then you deserve that after work beer.

The thing we all need to understand (because I’m still guilty of it — even when I’m aware of the issue) is that no one – no one – wants to be sold to. We’re absolutely railroaded with sales pitches. On TV, on the radio, on every site or social media platform I go to, in my inbox. I’m surrounded.

Stop it.

Start, instead, by giving your audience something they can use. Something they value. Something for free.

*Insert screeching brakes sound here*

Yeah, free.

You cannot ask your customer for their hand in marriage when you’ve never even bought them a drink.

Give them a little, prove you’re “the one”. Become the resource in your industry. You know your audience, and you know their pain points – help them with those…even if it’s not what you sell.

Believe it or not, becoming a resource helps your brand and your business, even when you’re giving things away.

Use technology to your advantage

You HAVE to be on top of the trends. You just have to. There’s no getting around it. Which brings me back to the whole hungry thing. If your team truly loves what they do and are looking for new resources and ways to improve, then you’ve chosen the right people.

Back to the buzzword game – SEO, PPC, analytics, boosted posts, sponsored ads, influencer campaigns, viral videos. There’s something new everyday, you have to be on top of it.

By constantly using the tools at your fingertips to evaluate then reevaluate what works and what doesn’t can help fine tune your marketing plan. Be advised that this isn’t a one time effort, but instead something that will need continuous assessment and modification.

Tools like Facebook Insights and Google Analytics can paint a good picture of the success of a campaign. Open and click rates combined with unsubscribes on email campaigns can also give valuable date regarding the effectiveness of your marketing.

You can’t afford not to

Marketing is both incredibly simple and incredibly complicated at the same time. Aligning your offerings with the needs of your audience, while marketing to their heads AND their hearts will build a sense of resourcefulness while expanding your reach to new markets.

#DigitalMarketing

Megan Noel, a veteran ex-educator with a PhD in Early Childhood Education, enjoys researching life through the eyes of her two young children, while writing about her family’s adventures on IndywithKids.com. With a nearly a decade in small business and marketing, this freelance writer spends most evenings pouring over new ideas and writing articles, while indulging in good food and better wine.

Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible; if your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

7 ways Instagram Stories get people pumped about your brand

(MARKETING) Instagram stories are widely used, so why shouldn’t marketers get in on the Insta-story action?

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Instagram Stories long ago surpassed Snapchat at it’s photo-sharing joy, and has found to be a great place to build brand awareness and build your customer base.

Here are a few ways that you can use stories to get people excited about your brand, products, and service.

1. Share the story of your business

Showcase the creation of a product or service, or share something (legal and fun) that your team is working on. These behind the scenes productions humanize your brand and can really get people excited about it. Check out what Union Fare does!

2. Preview live broadcasts

Are you doing a Facebook Live or WebEx demonstration? Use Instagram Stories to tease and generate some excitement or pull attendees from one social media platform to the other.

3. Showcase your stuff in action

Whether it’s demonstrating an application, showing off a recipe, or showcasing an outfit, you can use stories to show what the end result of a product is and help them generate ideas on how to use that stuff! Because Instagram Live can be done spontaneously, you can show authentic, non-scripted demonstrations easily.

4. Brag time

When you support a brand, you get excited that you are a part of their wins. Share relevant milestones (subscriber counts, new products, new revenue, new contracts, new products, etc.) with your base. This helps build connection with your base.

5. Countdowns and giveaways

You can use stories to facilitate ways to get people excited about upcoming giveaways or new launches. Unlike static marketing, the use of countdowns can really get people emotionally excited and build anticipation for new products or services. You could also use stories to give special sales or unique giveaways that give a more “exclusive” feeling.

6. “Takeovers” from influencers or partnerships

If you are working with a promoter or influencer, you can have them generate content to send them over to you to use their voice to target your audience. The influencer can send you pictures and videos that you upload yourself, rather than handing over your account username or password (like with Snapchat). This is a great way to work with someone who already has a following that can help you expand your service or product reach.

7. Create unique content

Odds are, especially for smaller businesses and new entrepreneurs, you don’t have a lot of time to invest in production value for other advertising. Instagram Stories with the use of stickers, paintbrush, and text can be a great place for raw, but still polished content that has a one of a kind feel. Familiarize yourself with the tools, and don’t be afraid to get artsy.

Make Instagram work for you

Instagram is constantly adding new features, so make sure you stay tuned for updates and play around with those features often. For example – Instagram stories can rewind or being hashtagged. Or use the eraser brush to do slow teases or product reveals.

Given that users can now bookmark content as well, you can create demonstrations or examples and give your audience a quick reference to your content. Get learning, check out stories, and start building those unique, intimate, and creative engagements with your consumers.

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Business Marketing

Half of all Instagram users buy immediately after seeing an ad

(MARKETING) If you’re advertising on Instagram and yielding no results, read on – it’s a gold mine for *some* types of brands.

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If you’ve been on Instagram you’ve likely fallen victim to the algorithm’s knack for showing you advertisements for something that seems exactly suited to your tastes. Or, someone you follow on the app tags their post with the name of the brands that make up their cute outfit and you decide to see what else they might offer. I’ve ended up with more than one pair of sneakers this way.

Instagram’s popularity and effectiveness have made it a marketing powerhouse. Over 130 million people look at product tags on the app each month.

Recently, Facebook commissioned a study asking users to explain what their interaction with companies and brands on Instagram was like. A whopping 66% of people said that the used Instagram to interact directly with brands — and 54% of users said they purchased something immediately after seeing an ad in their Instagram feed. Ads that are in the “stories” feature, independent of users’ feeds are especially effective.

After it was acquired by Facebook, Instagram has grown to account for over 19% of the tech-giant’s advertising spending — nearly double what it was in 2018.

Facebook is planning on continuing to capitalize on Instagram. They announced that soon users won’t need to navigate out of their feed to the retailer’s website purchase items, but rather have the ability to buy things in-app.

Instagram will take a cut of these in-app purchases and partner with PayPal to process payments, adding a new revenue stream to the growing platform.

As part of expanding its foray into shopping, Instagram is also partnering with its most popular influencers.

These people will be able to directly sell the products that their sponsors are offering through their accounts, rather than direct them to their sponsor’s account. At the beginning, only major accounts belonging to celebs like Kylie Jenner or Gigi Hadid will have this option, but it seems like after its initial launch more sellers will be to take advantage of the feature.

So, be prepared to have even more sneakers in your future, friends. It looks like those Instagram ads are going to get even more powerful.

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