How to get past creative blocks

How to get past creative blocks

Whether or not you think of yourself as creative person, all jobs required creative thinking. And especially as marketers we produce a lot of content, for ourselves and our clients.  However, it can be difficult to continue to produce high-quality content when we don’t feel creative or inspired. 

Fortunately, there are things we can do to get over (or prevent) creative blocks. 

Take a break

Remember your brain is a muscle and needs rest time. During our break time out brains continue to process ideas. Therefore, breaks can boost our creativity and give us new ideas.  

One of the most effective ways to get over a creative break is to take a break outside. The University of Michigan found that walking outside (preferably in nature) improved attention spans and memory performance over 20%! They found that walking outside, no matter the temperature, had the same mental effects as meditation.

Don’t force it

Our brains don’t have an endless well of content ideas. And we can’t force ourselves to be creative. It’s okay to just walk away. One way to keep to refilling the well is to just do something else. Change your scenery, have conversations, read books or articles, watch a movie or show. Diversity of other creative inputs will refill your own creativity.  

Inspiration can be found anywhere but it’s easier to find it when you are being active. Take opportunities to use other parts of your brain and senses! It could even be a monotonous task that you normally don’t enjoy, but the switch up will help get the juices flowing.

Focus on the process, not on the results.

Making content isn’t just about the result. There are many steps along the way. Finding joy in all the steps can make it easier to stay motivated.  

Befriend your inner critic

There will be bumps in the road. It impossible to make perfect content, the first time, every time. Taking risks will help sharpen your skills and build your confidence. Don’t afraid to befriend your inner critic. Not letting yourself fail or telling yourself that you aren’t able to succeed both result in failure. It ok! Your inner critic and any failure is how you learn and grow. The fast you acknowledge your critic and failure, the faster you’ll be able to get past the block and make something you are proud of.  It’s all part of the process! 

“It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.”

Paula Scher

Listen to yourself

Creative block crusher check list

Although it may feel like it, creative blocks don’t just appear out of nowhere. Often, a lack of creativity comes from not taking care of your physical or mental health. It’s difficult to feel motivated and inspired if you’re exhausted.

So, check in on yourself. Are you getting enough sleep? When was the last time you drank water? It’s easy to want to power through and get things done but that mentality will come back to bite you later.

Audit your task list

Sometimes a task can seem so big and overwhelming that it’s hard to know where to start and we just don’t. It can paralyze your creativity. The easiest solution is to organize and prioritize your tasks. Cut the task into smaller chunks if you need to.

Ways to divide tasks

There are many different methods to prioritizing and organizing your daily tasks. The “Eat the Frog” method (named after the famous Mark Twain quote) encourages you to take care of the big or complex tasks first thing in the morning. This way you are productive right out the gate and don’t have a big task hanging over your head all day. Once you’ve eaten the frog you can move to other things.

Another popular method is David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” method. The first step in this method is write everything you need to get done down. Once you have an overview it’s easy to see what tasks are important. Writing it all down and putting it one place frees up brain power and lets you focus on getting the stuff done.

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”

Van Gogh

Plan ahead

Writing down your targets for the next day before you finish for the night or as you think of it, helps you feel on top of the day as soon as it starts. Spending a few minutes to plan out tomorrow’s tasks is way easier than spending the first part of your day scrambling to remember what was a priority to get done that day. This will also help your work life balance because you don’t have to keep thinking about all you have tomorrow.

Another aspect of auditing task is looking at how you view the task. Are you procrastinating the task because you don’t really want to do it? It’s easy to add time to situations if want to avoid the task. However, tasks don’t usually take care of themselves. (wouldn’t that be nice?) procrastinating the task will just make it worse. And often, when we finally do something, we’ve been procrastinating, we find it wasn’t that difficult in the first place!

What is your go-to way to get past creative blocks?  

 
 

Is the current office model outdated?

office

Remember like, a year ago when lots of big businesses were saying they weren’t going to require their employees to go back to the office? And then, inevitability they did. A lot of big companies and whole industries (like, banking and wall street,) have gone back to the office. What did we learn from corporate’s ‘year-at-home’? Are industries and office culture really going to adapt to modern WFH life? Or is the 9-5, 5-day-workweek here to stay?

Advantages of WFH

At the start of the pandemic, many companies feared that working remotely would cut done on productivity. After a year, that has proven not to be the case. Many employees feel more productive working remotely. 82% of senior executives surveyed reported seeing productivity levels either stay the same or increase because of working from home. WFH has cut down on something surprising: innovation.

82% of senior executives surveyed reported seeing productivity levels either stay the same or increase because of working from home.

WFH lowers office costs and shortens commutes. Employees like the freedom. 69% of respondents to Microsoft’s WFH survey said that the main reasons liked working remotely were: dressing more casually, being able to personalize their workspace, and having their pet by their side. Working from home also cuts down on casual workplace interruptions. That same Microsoft study found that before WFH, workers felt like 52% of their workday was wasted due to unnecessary disturbances. That number has fallen to 41% since the beginning of the pandemic.

Michael Parke, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who worked on the Microsoft study, said: “It seems that employees are able to hunker down and get less distracted while working remotely… However, the cost seems to be a loss of sense of purpose, which at work, is largely driven through strong and cohesive relationships and seeing how your tasks have impact on others.”

IN Office-Hybrid-WFH advantages and disadvantages

“However, the cost seems to be a loss of sense of purpose, which at work, is largely driven through strong and cohesive relationships and seeing how your tasks have impact on others.”

Michael Parke

Disadvantages of WFH

Working remotely means it’s hard to connect with coworkers, both for formal communication as well as for personal connections. This has had a direct impact on companies’ ability to innovate. The Microsoft study reported that the percentage of leaders who felt that their companies were innovative dropped 16% in 2020. Without sharing a physical space brainstorming and collaboration is more difficult. It’s harder to come up with new ideas as well as enact them.

The overnight and “temporary” switch to working remotely has created many challenges for employers and employees alike. WFH on this scale is such a new thing that solutions to challenges and long-term repercussions are still very much unknown. Being aware of challenges as they come up is the only way for companies to work on effective solutions.

What About A Hybrid Office?

As companies transition back to the office, many bigger companies aren’t seeing it as all or nothing: office vs. WFH. Many companies are trying a hybrid workplace. For example, the London based bank, StandardCharter is pushing and incentivizing a hybrid office model across its global offices. They plan to create smaller office hubs and give employees the choice to work at the office or at home. They are suggesting that employees meet at the office regularly to check in and collaborate. Building We-Work style office spaces will help solve technology deficiencies in their branches in developing countries and will lower costs across the board. 

Facebook is also moving to a more hybrid work model. However, they are allowing it more than promoting it. Their current policy is that any full-time employee can request to WFH. Some jobs such as data center maintenance and hardware development will not be allowed to work remotely. They are also planning to adjust salary based on where you decide to work. It is a lot cheaper for the employee to work remotely from a city in the Midwest. (For example, the cost of living in San Francisco, CA is 199.8% higher than it is here in Omaha, NE.) Facebook is going to open all their US offices up to 50% capacity in the fall. Meaning, that almost 30,000 employees will continue to work remotely.

How has the last year of WFH impacted entrepreneurs?

Many people took the opportunity of disrupted work to start new businesses. Many people liked the freedom and flexibility that working from home offered and decided to leave their corporate jobs and pursue entrepreneurship.

“Americans submitted an average of 111,000 applications for new businesses per week between the end of June 2020 and the beginning of September 2020, the most applications submitted per week since 2007.”

U.S. Census Bureau

How do many people feel about going back to the office?

A lot of banks and tech companies went back to the office last week. How do their employees feel about it after working from home for a year and a half? Of the over 1,200 employees and 133 executives surveyed at the end of last year, 55% said they would prefer to still work remotely at least 3 days a week. Along with the loss of flexibility and other perks WFH offers, going back to working surrounded by people can be daunting. A scary as it may be, it will show your employer and teammates your commitment to your job and flexibility in dealing with transitions. Which will be really appreciated! If you are feeling anxious about the return, talk to your boss. Your company may be more open to a hybrid office than you think.

There is never going to be a complete consensus to the question: is WFH better? Every business, every office, and every employee will have a different opinion and method that works best for them. It doesn’t really matter what your company decides to do, as long as it’s the right fit for you.

Do you think a hybrid office is effective?


7 Ways To Make More Engaging Content

Content creation is an integral part of marketing or running a business in general now. However, a lot of companies struggle with creating content that generates engagement. Part of the value of content creation is that engagement and the conversation between brand and consumer. What can you do to create engaging content for your brand?

Here’s 7 things we have found to be essential in making quality content!

Know Your Audience

The content you create for one audience can be very different from another. Understanding the WHO is helpful first step.

It can also be helpful if you think of your audience as a single composite person. Instead of trying to talk to all of them, you are instead making content for one person. A lot of companies do this by making a buyer persona. That way you can think, “Would my buyer persona like this?” vs. “Would all my followers enjoy this content?”

Make a Plan

There is nothing more overwhelming than trying to maintain consistent content posting across multiple channels without a plan. It can feel like juggling snakes. 🐍 Making a plan can be as simple as figuring out what types of content you want to post and when it would be best to time to post it. The more specific your plan is the more you time you take out of the equation.

Part of making a plan is planning out your message and/or your angle. Now that you know who your audience is, think about what type of content would work best for them. Knowing what you want to talk about can make it easier to figure out what types of content would be best. Would your audience benefit from long form blog articles or would a TikTok series be more helpful? Both of those types of content take a lot of effort, so planning it out ahead of time is valuable!

Find Shared Passions

The sheer amount of product, companies, and information available is staggering. It is not enough anymore to have a good product available anymore, your brand ideals and personality need to match with the personality of your consumers. 56% of Gen Z consumers say that having shared passions and perspectives is a major factor when it comes to their engagement with a brand. However, most consumers are fantastic at sniffing out inauthenticity. Your brand personality and ideals need to actually be what you say they are. Actions speak louder than words!

What are the advantages of having a well-defined brand personality and ideals? Giving your company a personality makes things like content creation a lot easier. Knowing who you are also can help you make decisions about the direction you want to go in the future.

And 49% of young consumers say they will evangelize a brand they feel represents their values, likes, and personality.

Don’t be afraid of incorporating causes you care about into your brands personality! 72% of consumers want the brands they care about to be positive contributors to society. We’ve seen in recent years that many brands (especially smaller companies) connect their core brand to a charity or cause they care about. Younger consumers are 69% more likely to buy from a brand that contributes to a cause.

Content

Keep It Simple

Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. No matter who your audience is, needlessly complicated language or content structure isn’t appreciated. Simple and honest is always good. Remember, why you are making the content. Is it to promote you or your brand? Then tone of the content should match your voice. People can see right through any inauthenticity if you are trying to make something that isn’t you.

It’s easier to connect with a brand online if you feel like you are talking to a real person. Does the content you are making sound personal?

Remember the Big Picture

Why do you want to make this content? Keep the big picture of your content in mind as well as each individual piece. Are you trying to promote a specific product or service? Don’t be afraid to include a call to action in your content! A call to action is how to accomplish the goal of your content. It’s the follow through.

A good call to action is simple and concise. It uses strong verbiage. Give your audience a good reason to take the desired action. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Take a Step Back

When it comes to content, it’s often valuable to take a step back and from your project and let it rest for a bit. The longer you work on a piece of content the easier it is to be become blind to mistakes, errors, and typos. You may be surprised by the power of fresh eyes!

An old copy writer trick is to proofread backwards. Instead of starting at the beginning of your content: start at the end. Because your brain is following a different path through the information, it sees things in a different way. Starting at the end allows you to look at it sentence by sentence instead of word by word or thought by thought. Knowing your content is edited well will help you feel more confident in posting it.

Another aspect of taking a step back from your content is revisiting old content. Repurposing or adapting finished content is an excellent way to stay inspired and make more content. There are always new things that can be added. Adding information keeps your messages up to date. Up-to-date content is more accurate and provides for value to your followers. Another reason to recycle content is that it gives more people an opportunity to see it. And even if someone has been following you for a long time there’s a good chance that they didn’t see the content the first time around.

Keep Consuming Content

This is my favorite part. 😜 One of the best ways to keep your own content sharp is to consume other content. It can inspire you, help you stay up to date with current trends, and keep your skill sharp. Most ideas don’t start in our heads, the spark is external. All of the creative juices it takes to create content can easily be burnt out if you don’t feed it with creative thing that you care about. Change your scenery, have conversations, read books or articles, watch a movie or show. Diversity of other creative inputs will refill your own creativity!

What type of Content have you found to be the most engaging with your audience?


Are these Channels “DEAD?”

Are these Channels "DEAD?"

It seems like soooooo many articles/emails/ebooks/Facebook videos are titled something along the lines of: “blank” is dead. Or “Why the new ios update is going to kill email marketing.” Or “3 stats that prove print and mail is dead.” But it is? For the most part those titles are just clickbait, and the content just proves how it is very much not dead.

So, let’s take the three most common “dead” or “dying” marketing channels and see how effective they really are.

Email Marketing

I probably get an email once a week proclaiming the end of email marketing.  How can email marketing be “dead?” Statista estimates that close to 320 BILLON emails will be sent every day in 2021. On average, office workers receive 127 every day. And a Forbes article from last year suggested that “every person needs at least four email accounts” for security reasons. However, quantity of emails is one reason some say that email marketing is losing its effectiveness as a marketing channel. Is that true?

Email is often one of the main touch points a brand has with a consumer and many younger consumers prefer to communicate with brands with email. Even email that’s clearly from a mailing list still feels like a direct conversation. Which contributes to email’s engagement rates. Across industry’s email average click-through-rate is 3.71 and the average open rate is 22.9. Although that may not seem like a lot, Facebook, Instagram, and twitters combined average engagement is only 0.58.  

Part of the reason email gets better engagement rates is because with email, the message is directly reaching who it’s intended for.

Print and Mail

The death of print and mail has been predicted since the beginning of email. Probably even before then. One of the very first articles in our Weekly Vibe newsletter was called “Print’s Not Dead, Right?” It wasn’t in March 2020, and it defiantly isn’t now.

Direct mail average open rate is somewhere between 68 and 90%, which is double, triple, or quadruple the average open rates of other marketing channels. Do people who open direct mail actually purchase? Yes! On average people who receive direct mail purchase 28% more items and spend 28% more money!

quotes and headlines asking is Email Marketing, Print and Mail, or Cold Calling is dead
All these quotes and headlines are from articles I’ve seen the last 24 hours!

Why is direct mail so effective? It comes down to fact that we (humans) like getting mail. 41% of Americans of all ages look forward to getting their mail every day. We still want very real things in our hands, which is something totally lost in email inboxes or on social media. That tactile connection translates into 💰.

Cold Calling

Cold calling is another one of those things that’s been “on its way out” for years! Why is sticking around? At this point, an actual person to person conversation is a novelty and stands out against digital interactions. And sales, more than anything, based on connections and communications. It’s a lot easier to ignore an email than a ringing phone. It can also be harder to say no to a real person who you can actually hear.

If you add cold calling as part of your omnichannel marketing, work on your pitch, and be prepared to fail, you may be surprised at how effective it is!

What is your favorite marketing channel or tactic that’s been “dead” for years?


4 Internet Marketing Terms You Are Probably Using Wrong

4 Internet Marketing Terms You Are Probably Using Wrong

The internet and the marketing industry have something in common: They are full of terms and acronyms that can feel like an entirely different language. It can be super easy to misunderstand and/or misuse those terms. Here’s 4 “marketing/internet jargon” terms you are probably using wrong!

  1. Viral ≠ more views than you normally get
  2. Meme ≠ a picture with words on it. Please stop doing this
  3. Clickbait ≠ a catchy title
  4. Landing page ≠ a web page you’ve landed on

What do these words actually mean and how can you use them to communicate more effectively what you actually mean?

#1 Viral

What does it mean when you go viral? What makes something viral can be hard to quantify. There’s no magic number that means something is quote-on-quote viral. (Although MANY people try to make one.) Instead of defining viral by the numbers, it’s easier to quantify it by 2 things: reach and speed. The Wikipedia article on viral internet content makes the analogy that viral content is very similar to a virus. Viral internet content self-replicates and quickly spreads far from its original source. And often when content goes viral, it takes on its own life separate from what it was originally intended to be.

Let’s say one of your posts gets double or trip the amount of reach it normally gets. Is that viral? That’s very exciting, but no. Sorry! Although it’s possible to have something go viral with a specific community, viral implies exposure far outside it’s intended audience’s reach. With the number of platforms, and the cross-contaminating reach of those platforms, the general rule of thumb is over 2 million views in less than a few days to call something “viral.” This doesn’t mean that the content has to be a week old, it has to do with rate of expansion.

#2 Meme

"for the better, right?"
Original Meme

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. It can be easy to look at a meme and think that any picture with words on it can be called a meme. It can be, but that doesn’t mean that it is. Meme was coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins in his book on Darwinian evolution as an attempt to explain memetics; or, how ideas replicate, mutate, and evolve. What makes something a meme is not what it is, but instead the way that it replicates.

For example, the Star Wars “For the better, right?” meme has been a common format to use this month. What has made it a meme isn’t the original movie quote, or the format itself. It is a meme because many people are using or repurposing the format to convey information. Memes are only effective if the format conveys emotion or a message without it being explicitly stated and in a variety of different situations.

"For the better, right?" png meme

Although the types of memes we think of are usually in a concise image-based format, things like folk tales, urban legends, and chain letters are all versions’ memes. They are structured format in which information is shared and evolves.

#3 Clickbait

Are all catchy titles or hooks clickbait? No. The technical definition of clickbait is any text that is designed to entice a user to click or read on. However, the expression has a more specific connotation than that. It implies that the title isn’t accurate and is somehow disconnected from what you will see if you click. It’s similar to old school bait-and-switch marketing. Using bait or a hook isn’t wrong if you are looking to attract people, HOWEVER, the switch is wrong.

Clickbait is sensationalized content. An article titled “5 money making secrets you need to hear,” isn’t click bait if the article is actually about 5 money making tips. Which is part of what makes cracking down on malicious clickbait tricky. A lot of platforms like Facebook and YouTube measures in place to mark clickbait as spam. But how can AI decide if those 5 money making secrets are tips and tricks you actually need to hear? How does the platform know if those “secrets” can actually make you money? Clickbait is connected to consumer perception.

#4 Landing Page

Here’s 4 “marketing/internet jargon” terms you are probably using wrong!

If you land on a webpage does that make it a landing page? No, because a landing page is a webpage you land on that is designed with a specific purpose in mind. One person illustrated it this way: You could use a baseball glove to retrieve a hot dish from the oven, but that doesn’t make your baseball glove an oven mitt. So just because someone lands somewhere doesn’t mean that it is a post-click landing page. The landing page could be designed get the user to make a purchase or fill out a form or watch a video. It doesn’t matter what the purpose is, it matters that it has one.

What is the advantage of separating your landing pages out to specify a single action? Research has shown that companies using 40 or more single action post-click landing pages generate 120% more leads than those using less than 5!

Do you have any marketing/internet terms misuse pet peeves?  


5 Ways to Help Emails Reach People

5 ways to help emails reach people

There are so many things that impact an email’s effectiveness. Often, what matters to the consumer and what matters to the email service are very different things. It’s important to strike the right balance in making the consumer and email service happy, as well as reaching your goal in sending the email. So, how can you make sure your emails reach people?

The Email Services

What do email services care about? They care about the backend/behind the scenes stuff. Things like how heavy images are and the amount of content and the types of links. This is where general best email practices come into play.

It’s important to give consumers an opportunity to opt in (and out if they want) of your email campaigns. If you don’t give people a way to opt out, you are breaking federal email laws and get blacklisted or penalized. Give people the option of choosing what types and how much email content they want from you. Follow through on their requests promptly. Legally, you are required to honor their request within 10 business days. Honoring that request promptly will build on their opinion of your brand.

What other email practices are required by law? Don’t use misleading or inaccurate header information such as your “To,” “From,” and “Reply-To” information. You want people to know where the email is coming from and so does the email service provider. Consumers don’t want to get an email from someone they don’t trust, and the email service provider doesn’t want to deliver email like that.

Don’t mislabel the email. The CAN-SPAM act requires that email subject lines accurate reflect the content of the email. That includes ad information. Like most social medias, email is required to tell the consumer if it an #ad. However, there is a lot of leeway on this and how you choose to disclose this information is up to you.

Consumer’s Opinions

Now that you have followed all the email laws and best practices to get your email in your consumer’s mailbox, what else should you do? Well, consumers care about catchy subject lines, engaging and interactive content. Here’s 4 things that will impact your emails effectiveness from the consumer’s point of view:

Choice of Words

Email marketing provides freedom for trying out different types of copy until you find works best for your audience. Every audience is different so what content will be the most effective is also different. It is important to understand your demographics and who your audience is.

Personalized Content

Email is more than just delivered information. It’s a conversation between brand and consumer. Often it a brand’s only way to communicate with customers and can feel very one on one. The consumer feels like they know the brand like a person, so it makes sense if the brand communicates with the consumer as if the know them as well. They are simple things that make that conversation more memorable, for example, many brands use the customer’s name in emails.

Beyond that you can use audience segmentation to separate your audience into groups that share common characteristics like demographics and behavioral information. Using your audience segments to target your message to things that each group are actually invested in can greatly increase how personal your marketing will feel to the customer.

Brand Consistency

Most office workers receive 127 every day.

Since email is often one of main touch points brands have with consumers, it’s really important to maintain brand consistency. The consumer needs to know that the message is from you. Keeping that brand consistency helps your brand’s personality shine and helps people get to know you. Brand consistency builds loyalty and trust. It helps the consumer maintain the connection to your brand.

What brand elements should you include in your emails? Your logo, brand colors, and fonts are good places to start. Due to the nature of email, you don’t want to over crowd it with branding. Instead, think about how tone and feeling. Does the way this email is set up feel like how my brand feels?

Don’t waste people’s time

Most office workers receive 127 every day. People don’t have time to read lengthy emails that actually provide them value. Email copy writing is about providing value as succinctly and quickly as possible. Be direct and to the point. Don’t word vomit on people. Use infographics, bullet points, and short paragraph too highlight the point of your message.

What makes you open an email?

How A Lookalike Report Helps You Increase Sales

LookALike Main Image

LookALike audiences have been a go-to targeting tool for almost a decade. Even before digital marketing, marketers used current audience demographics to target potential customers. With a growing number of AI tools available, businesses of all sizes have access to LookALike targeting. How can you use a LookALike Report to increase sales?

What is a LookALike Report?

Pioneered by Facebook in 2013, a LookALike report uses common attributes and demographics of your current audience to find more customers who “look like” them. These attributes can be anything from age and location to interests and hobbies. The more commonalities between your audience the more accurate your LookALike report will be.

Although originally only a tool on social media, LookALike reports are now available on many different types of platforms. For example, we often build LookALike reports with raw CRM data.

LookALike Stat - 85% percent increases

How to Maximize Your Report to Increase Sales

As great as it would be to dump all your current audience information into a LookALike report and get back a list of new customers, it usually takes a more finesse than that. Here’s 5 tips and tricks to take out some of the guess work.

#1 Define Your Audience

The goals of LookALike reports can be different so it’s important to start with the right data seeds or source audience. Since LookALike reports are based on the data you input, it really important that the data you start out with is accurate and will accomplish what you want. For example, do you want to find new customers that are like all your customers or like your best current customers?  

The amount of data you can use to start with varies greatly. Facebook recommends anywhere between 1,000 and 50,000 people. Although they do say that starting with “a larger audience increases your potential reach but reduces the level of similarity between the Lookalike Audience and source audience.” Those differences between your source data and LookALike audience could be the difference between a sale or not.

Where can you get source data? Here’s three different source audiences:

LookALike Targeting
  1. CRM Data

Seeds defined by existing CRM data match lookalike audiences with information gathered from existing customers, such as email, physical addresses, and phone numbers. However, this data is usually too broad and needs to be narrowed down to create an accurate base for a LookALike report.

  1. Social Media Engagement Data

Data from social media audience can also be used as a seed that a LookALike report is based on. This data is usually based on characteristics like page views and likes.

  1. Conversion Data

Source data based on conversion data are usually your “best customer” seeds. These are customers who have already competed and action with your business.

#2 Get Used to Segmenting Your Data

Building out your LookALike report will be a lot easier when you have a specific product or audience segment in mind. Knowing what you want to use this new audience data for will help you pick the right demographics to target. This is where audience segmenting comes in. Finding the right demographics will be easier if you already have your audience data organized or tagged by demographics.

LookALike Audiences

#3 Connect Your LookALike Goals to Your Marketing Goals

Targeting using a LookALike audience can give you a higher ROI and help you reach your marketing targets. For example, if your company has found that you get higher engagements on mobile devices, you can build a LookALike report from those people. By targeting those people, you can direct your marketing efforts towards the audience most likely to help you reach your goals.  

#4 Target and Retarget and Retarget

Targeting the right audience is effective, retargeting adds even more. Using a LookALike audience in a retargeting campaign adds to specific information gathered in the initial campaign.  And since retargeting uses a lot of the same principles as building a LookALike audience, they go hand in hand.

#5 Switch Up Your Platforms

Facebook isn’t the only platform that supports LookALike reports. Many online platforms have LookALike audience builders built in. Switch up your platform to test new audiences and ways of reaching them. And as we mentioned earlier, we often use raw CRM data to build a LookALike report within our list system. The data we get from those reports can be used for any type of marketing.

Have you ever used a LookALike Report?


Your Marketing Needs These 9 Videos

Your Marketing Needs These 9 Videos

Did you know that are NINE types of videos your business needs? Gone are the days when the only video advertising was television commercials. Now, video is ever-present in our lives. For example, over 2 BILLION users log into YouTube every month. Just like any other tool available, as a business, your brand is going to need different things from different types of videos. Are you using all the kinds of video?

Since different types of videos are used for different things, it’s important to have a well-rounded video strategy. One that helps attract customers, educate them, converts, as well as creates customer engagement and builds relationships. Some types of videos that do that are webinars, promos, digital display, social content, and personalized videos for customers. Some of those are best when heavily scripted and polished, others are great when they feel quickly thrown together. What you need depends on what need you are trying to fill and where the target viewer is on their customer journey. It also depends on how much time, effort, and/or money to pour into video creation.

Explainer Videos

Explainer Video are quick 30-60 videos that explain who you as a company are. It’s basically a pitch video. They great for top of funnel interactions where you need to introduce yourself to potential customers and convince them why they should care about you. They work best when they are made with the audience in mind and feel personal. Don’t forget a strong call-to-action!

You can use Explainer Videos on your website, (think homepage videos) on social media, including YouTube, as well as in ads. 

How-To Videos

How-to videos are great for any point of the funnel, can be just about any length, and be used for anything other than ads. However, they don’t need to be extremely high quality or super polished. A real person-to-person feel is more effective. The point of a how-to video is to explain something in a way that will provide valuable content to your audience. This is not the time for a hard sell.

How-to videos are super engaging online because it can feel like pulling back the curtain and letting your audience in on trade secrets!

Promo Videos

Promo videos are basically the general term for commercials. Think short, polished, story driven, exciting videos with strong call-to-actions. They can be used anywhere you need to promote something!

Talking Head Live Video

Talking Head Videos

Talking head videos could also be categorized as thought leadership videos. These videos are when you put yourself in front of the camera and share your personality and point of view. These are not designed for a hard sell but instead to show viewers your authentic self and brand personality. Talking head videos work best on social media and on YouTube. 

Webinars

I’m going to include podcast videos here as well, (like the video recordings that most podcasts film while recording.) Webinars are inherently educational and therefore the focus needs to be on providing content for your viewers, not selling them. Most webinars are between 15-60 mins. And like in person seminars, they can take many forms: live Q&A’s, lectures, or panels. 

Hosting a webinar takes a bit of IT knowledge so it’s totally ok to use a hosting service! It’s a good idea to have a moderator (and maybe an A/V guy) on hand for any troubleshooting or technical difficulties. After the webinar is finished you can make it available for on-demand viewing, as well as cutting the webinar up into smaller clips.

Case Study Video

A case study tells the story of how a real customer uses your product. It provides validation from a third party. Case study video work best when they are clearly planned out and polished. Include the customer/video star on the planning process, that will make the video more authentic. Focus the video more benefits rather than features and back up the information with data.

Types of video in the funnel

Fun/Culture Videos

These videos are a way to highlight your company’s culture and personality. They help tell your brand story and personality. Often these videos are narrative driven, fun, and humorous. A good example of culture videos is pretty much every company’s TikTok. They are quick and fun and feel personal.

Demo Videos

A demo video is a video that highlights how a product or service actually works. It’s there to educate and inform viewers. Keep the video as concise as possible. They can take a few forms: a broad overview, pre-recorded demo, or live demonstration. For example, we have broad overview demos of National List Services on YouTube, we prerecord demos to onboard clients or answer technical questions, (Loom is great for this) and we often do live demos when showing potential clients how our systems work.

Personalized Videos

Who doesn’t love a personalized video? Sending videos instead of texts or emails to clients is a big part of our follow up. It’s so much more touching to see someone’s face and hear your name than just a written follow up. Because of the nature of our business there are some clients we have never actually met face to face and sending them a personalized video can help bridge that gap.

So, with so many avenues and different types of videos, it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular marketing tool. How do you use video in your marketing?


Need a Refocus Break?

Need a refocus break? main

In this digital world, a lot of us probably spend more time at our desks than we’d like to. Long amounts of time staring at a computer can take a toll! Here’s a few things you can do to give you a physical and mental break.

Take a Stretch Break

Admit it, you’re sitting hunched over your keyboard or phone right now. 😜 Its ok; we all do it. Here’s 3 quick stretches you can do at your desk!

Flex Your Wrist Gif

#1 Give Your Wrists Some Love

Being on the computer all day overuses some muscles and underuses others. New York City based physical therapist, Dr. Abby Bales, suggests stretching your wrist flexors and extenders. The easiest way to do this is to hold your arm straight out and bend your wrist up and down at 90 degree angles. Bales says this “prevents the wrist from getting locked in a smaller range.”

De Hunch

#2 De-Hunch

Your upper back and shoulders can lock from being at a desk too long. Dr. Bales suggests stretching by clasping your hands behind your head and squeezing your shoulder blades. This opens up your chest and shoulders, helping stop the hunch.

#3 Big Shrugs

Shrug your shoulders gif

While on the computer most of us have the habit of scrunching up our shoulders and leaning toward the screen. Doing some 3-5 second shoulders shrugs helps! “By actively shrugging and then letting go, the brain is made aware of the unhealthy height of the shoulders,” Dr. Bales said, and it resets accordingly.

Mental Resets

Anytime you disrupt your routine (either by doing little things like pausing to stretch or like, I don’t know, a global pandemic) you have opportunity to reset. What can you do to reset your brain?

#1 Breathe

Pausing and taking a couple deep breathes can help clear your mind, relax, and refocus. It’s as simple as just looking up from your computer or phone and focusing on your breathing for a bit.

#2 Reprioritize

Another thing you can do to mental reset is take a moment to go over your tasks and reprioritize. Ask yourself, “What is my overall goal for the day and what do I need to do next to reach that goal?” It’s critical to understand what tasks are most important. Inevitably things change throughout the day; deadlines move and priorities shift. Reorganizing your task list can help you to stay focused on what really matters and make it easier to adapt to shifting priorities.

#3 Change Up Your Surroundings

Changing something about your surroundings can help you refocus. Can you get up and move? Now that it’s summer, could you work outside? Disrupting your groove gives you the opportunity to reset your focus. Changing where you physically are or even something small like switching up your music is super effective!

What ways have you found to reset your focus and give yourself a physical or mental break?

Scared of Content Creation? Here’s 6 tips

Content Creation

Content creation is an integral part of marketing or running a business in general now. Even if you don’t think that you are a quote-on-quote content creator, you probably do create content. Every time you post on Facebook or update Instagram, that’s content. What are some easy things you can do to up your content game?

Here’s 6 things we have found to be essential in making quality content!

Know Your Audience

The content you create for one audience can be very different from another. Understanding the WHO is helpful first step.

It can also be helpful if you think of your audience as a single composite person. Instead of trying to talk to all of them, you are instead making content for one person. A lot of companies do this by making a buyer persona. That way you can think, “Would my buyer persona like this?” vs. “Would all my followers enjoy this content?”

Make a Plan

Content Creation

There is nothing more overwhelming than trying to maintain consistent content posting across multiple channels without a plan. It can feel like juggling snakes. 🐍 Making a plan can be as simple as figuring out what types of content you want to post and when it would be best to time to post it. The more specific your plan is the more you time you take out of the equation.

Part of making a plan is planning out your message and/or your angle. Now that you know who your audience is, think about what type of content would work best for them. Knowing what you want to talk about can make it easier to figure out what types of content would be best. Would your audience benefit from long form blog articles or would a TikTok series be more helpful? Both of those types of content take a lot of effort, so planning it out ahead of time is valuable!

Keep It Simple and Honest

Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. No matter who your audience is, needlessly complicated language or content structure isn’t appreciated. Simple and honest is always good. Remember, why you are making the content. Is it to promote you or your brand? Then tone of the content should match your voice. People can see right through any inauthenticity if you are trying to make something that isn’t you.

It’s easier to connect with a brand online if you feel like you are talking to a real person. Does the content you are making sound personal?

What is the Purpose of Your Content?

Why do you want to make this content? Keep the big picture of your content in mind as well as each individual piece. Are you trying to promote a specific product or service? Don’t be afraid to include a call to action in your content! A call to action is how to accomplish the goal of your content. It’s the follow through.

A good call to action is simple and concise. It uses strong verbiage. Give your audience a good reason to take the desired action. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Take a Step Back

When it comes to content, it’s often valuable to take a step back and from your project and let it rest for a bit. The longer you work on a piece of content the easier it is to be become blind to mistakes, errors, and typos. You may be surprised by the power of fresh eyes!

An old copy writer trick is to proofread backwards. Instead of starting at the beginning of your content: start at the end. Because your brain is following a different path through the information, it sees things in a different way. Starting at the end allows you to look at it sentence by sentence instead of word by word or thought by thought. Knowing your content is edited well will help you feel more confident in posting it.

Another aspect of taking a step back from your content is revisiting old content. Repurposing or adapting finished content is an excellent way to stay inspired and make more content. There are always new things that can be added. Adding information keeps your messages up to date. Up-to-date content is more accurate and provides for value to your followers. Another reason to recycle content is that it gives more people an opportunity to see it. And even if someone has been following you for a long time there’s a good chance that they didn’t see the content the first time around.

Keep Consuming Content

This is my favorite part. 😜 One of the best ways to keep your own content sharp is to consume other content. It can inspire you, help you stay up to date with current trends, and keep your skill sharp. Most ideas don’t start in our heads, the spark is external. All of the creative juices it takes to create content can easily be burnt out if you don’t feed it with creative thing that you care about. Change your scenery, have conversations, read books or articles, watch a movie or show. Diversity of other creative inputs will refill your own creativity!

What’s your favorite type of content to create? How do you stay motivated in content creation?