The Value of the Social Proof Phenomenon

The Value of the Social Proof Phenomenon -  Main Image. An Influencer holds up a shirt to her phone

The Social Proof Phenomenon is a foundation piece of how our culture buys now. Between Instagram Influencers, Yelp reviews, and 5 star Amazon products, most of us make purchase decisions on the value others see in the product. How can Social Proof and online reviews work for you?

The Social Proof Phenomenon

What do online reviews have to do with “Social Proof?” “Social Proof” is the phenomenon based on the fact that it’s easier to buy things or trust companies if we know that other people already have. Our peers provide the proof of something’s value. None of us would buy something on Amazon with 10,000 1 star reviews. We trust those 10,000 strangers because that product connects us as a community.

“Social proof” is also part of the transparency that builds brand trust. Most consumers (almost 88%) research a business before buying from them. A lot of that research comes from reviews and reading what other people have said about their experiences.

What Can Social Proof Do For You?

Reviews can help educate consumers on your products and services. Reviewers usually talk about their specific experiences in their reviews. It can be an easier way for potential customers to learn more about what you offer.

Reviews Boost SEO. Specifically, Google Reviews. Google indexes reviews connected to your listing to help filter results. Especially for local traffic. “Best __ Near Me” is decided by reviews and stars. Customers will often use your keywords in reviews without even realizing it. This helps Google learn about you.

What Can You Do To Collect Reviews?

People are inclined to leave reviews if they a specifically positive or negative experience. Therefore, work hard to provide an overwhelmingly positive expertise for your customers! (You should be doing this anyway; the review is just a byproduct. 😉 )

Google My Business Reviews help prove your company's value to potential customers
Google My Business Reviews

People like to do things for other people so a great way to collect reviews is to just ask for them! A follow up survey email after they buy from you is an easy way to this. Ask them specific, easy to answer questions about things such as: service response times, shipping times, product or service quality etc.  

Make it easy to review you. No one has time to take 10 minuets following a complicated review survey with long required written answers. People are doing you a favor by reviewing you, show that you appreciate it by being respectful of their time and effort. Take out pain points of the review process: go through and make sure there aren’t any unnecessary steps or questions. Double check the user interface, id it easy to figure out?

Incentivizing your reviews (specifically ecommerce) is a big no-no! As temping as it is to show your appreciation for the review with a coupon or free shipping, or something: don’t. Both Google and Yelp have policies in place banning incentivized reviews. They will take the reviews down and give you a slap on the wrist.

What To Do With Reviews Once You Have Them

You have the reviews – now what? Here’s 2 ways to leverage them!

  1. Show them off
    Let your reviews sell your product for you. Happy previous customers can be a great way to convince your potentials to buy from you! Show off your reviews on your home page with Google review widget or prominently feature some reviews as part of the design. Don’t forget to ask for permission first if you are going to highlight a specific review, especially if you are going to use their picture.
  2. Engage with reviewers
    let them know you appreciate them! It doesn’t have to be a big deal, simply liking the review or just saying thanks goes a long way. That little bit of effort can turn a happy customer into a loyal one. And a lot of marketing automation software makes replying to reviews across multiple platforms easy.

Do you have a favorite customer review?

While we are on the subject… leave us a review! 😜

 
 

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?


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?


The Apple Update and Data Privacy

The Apple Update and Data Privacy

Apple is rolling out an update this week that finally does what they’ve been threatening to do for a lonnnggggg time. Control over the ADFA (Apple’s Device Identifier for Advertisers) and other app tracking tools designed for marketing are being given directly to the users. What Apple decides to do when it comes to privacy and marketing tools greatly impacts the entire industry. Why? For one thing, 45.2% of smartphones users in the United States have an iPhone. Another reason is that they have marketed themselves as the company that is going to stand up for its user’s privacy and control, even if that means going against Facebook. Or the Government.

The big question is though… what does it mean for you? As a user and as an advertiser?

What are they actually doing?

With the new update scheduled to go out this week, Apple is introducing a feature called “App Tracking Transparency.” What does it do? Well… it makes advertiser tracking between apps more transparent to users. Apple has made the ability to see (and change) what apps are tracking what for years, the difference now is that instead it being buried deep in settings, a pop-up window will show up on every app that tracks something or collects any data. This pop up (like the one for sharing location) will allow users to control what personal data each app has access to as well what other apps it can connect to.

Apple Data Privacy
Apple’s Announcement of what the AppTrackingTransparency Popup will look like

What information are apps collecting/what are they collecting? Apps (and websites) can collect a surprising amount of information that users haven’t directly given them. Some apps track your physical location. They can use this information to serve you targeted ads based on where you are in the physical world. Knowing your physical location can also give you better recommendations on things “near you,” whether that be pizza for lunch or the weather forecast.  

Apps also can have tracking pixels built in. These pixels can track your movement form one app or website to another. This is how you can get an ad for something you just looked at on Amazon. Amazon has a tracking pixel built into their website, they in turn take the information the pixel has collected about visitors to target them on other websites and apps.

What choice do users have now?

In the popup window, users will now be given the choice: “Allow” and “Ask app not to track.” In the past Apple has let you decide which specific elements you would allow, like only location sharing or only ADFA tracking. However, this feature appears to be all or nothing. If you “Allow” then you are giving complete access.

What happens when you say no to tracking? Apple stops giving the app access to your ADFA, stopping it from learning about you from other apps. It also tells apps that you really would rather they didn’t track or share your information in any other ways.

Why should you allow tracking?

Personalized ads are one part of the puzzle when it comes to be tracked online. As we’ve talked about in the past, personalized ads are very effective. Younger generation that have grown up online don’t tolerate non-personalized ads very well. We are constantly inundated with content and advertising, so it is easy to completely zone out advertising (in any form) that is something you are not directly interested in. Also, many consumers now have in innate understanding of how their personal data is used to create targeted ads. Being targeted (or retargeted) based on their interests and past activities are expected. Recently surveyed consumers between the ages of 18-34, 58% said that a personalized ad helped them make a purchase decision. 42% also said that they had clicked on a sponsored ad in the last 6 months!

For a lot of us, the privacy concerns pale in comparison to function and usability of an app. A TapResearch poll conducted in August 2020 shows that 23% of iOS users are likely to opt in to sharing data with apps that request it. Another 21% of consumers are neutral on the subject, suggesting they will not opt out. Recent eMarketer research shows that 75% of consumers are willing to share their location if it enables a mobile service or saves them money. Which highlights how many users feel about personalized advertising: getting a coupon or an ad for something you were probably going to buy anyway is not a bad thing.

The Facebook Controversy

Facebook has been by far the most outspoken opponent of AppTrackingTransparency, going so far as to take-out full-page ads in newspapers and other print publications. Facebook says that AppTrackingTransparency will hurt small businesses’ ability to advertise to those in their community and Apple shouldn’t be able to make “unilateral decisions without consulting the industry about a policy that will have far-reaching harm on businesses of all sizes.”

Apple shouldn’t make “unilateral decisions without consulting the industry about a policy that will have far-reaching harm on businesses of all sizes.”

Facebook

In general, the consensus seems to be that Facebook is upset because of their ongoing rivalry with Apple and more importantly, this decision’s impact on their own revenue. In the months since its announcement Facebook has changed its tune a bit. Zuckerberg said in an interview in March on Clubhouse that Apple’s new privacy policy may actually help Facebook; if advertisers can’t find space across iOS apps they may turn to Facebook.

NLS Apple Stat

Time will tell if these changes pull advertisers more into Facebook marketing, but one thing is for sure, they have already impacted Facebooks. We were sent this by Facebook this week: “Apple released changes with iOS 14 that impacts how we receive and process events from tools like the Facebook SDK and the Facebook pixel. See updates on how these changes affect your ad account and see tasks that can help you reach your audience.” So far, the only thing we’ve seen impacted on Facebook is size audiences available. That is expected to level out though, in coming months as people re-opt-in to app tracking.

What are advertisers doing about it?

Many apps already have another type of pixel technology built into them called “Fingerprinting.” Fingerprinting has been developed recently to combat this end of cookie era. Fingerprinting works by collecting seemingly unimportant data from your device such as screen resolution, phone model, and current operating system, and combining it into a way of recognizing your unique device. Much like actual finger printing, fingerprints match to fingerprint, not a name, address, phone number etc. This allows advertisers to target you with ads without knowing who you actually are, thus getting around any data privacy issues.

There are many tools becoming available that do similar things. Tools like Household Level Identifiers that don’t target specific people. Apple hasgiven advertisers time to come up with solutions, many of which probably haven’t been released yet!

So, what do you think? Do the advantages of AppTracking outweigh the privacy costs? Are you going to allow AppTracking?


The Data You Need to Market To Those Under 25

Do you ever read a statistic that just messes with your head? For example, I recently read that by 2022, 41% of the world’s population will be under 25. Which is crazy!! And creates an interesting marketing challenge. How can you effectively market to a generation who has grown up online and is constantly inundated with content and advertising?

Under 25 Stat 1

People under 25 not only take up a large share of the world’s population but they also make up a disproportionate amount of online and social media users. However, those of us in this age group statistically have shorter attention spans and tend to make decisive decisions about whether or not to consumer content or ads. A study in 2019 found that 64% of 18-24 tune out content from cluttered environments. Leading to 46% of advertisers saying that they have issues getting their content to stand out! Also, a third of advertisers say that it’s a challenge to find effective ad placement sin all the online clutter. What can you do to cut through all the online noise and reach this massive market?

#1 – 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, Gen Z’ers 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.

Under 25 stat 2
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.

#2 – Choose Quality Locations

Younger generations are big on authenticity, brand trust, and quality. 74% of 18–24-year-olds believe that brands are responsible for where their ads are shown. Which is true! There’s very little excuse for having your ad show up on a website that doesn’t believe in the same things as you. Programmatic advertising and digital display ads give you a lot of control over your ad placement. Nearly 40% of advertisers have faced some backlash for having ads appear near low quality content. 54% of younger consumers say that ads placed near premium content inspires more trust in the ad itself!

#3 – Use Innovative Technology

From AI and AR driven content to native and contextual ads, technologically advanced are advertisements are becoming more accessible. The stats on their effectiveness across the entire marketing journey speak for themselves!

Of the 18–34-year-old’s interviewed:

63% pay more attention to advertisements with innovative formats

70% will consider a brand more if they associate them with innovative and immersive formats

71% say innovate ad formats are more engaging

62% feel like innovative ads formats tell them more about the product or service

63% are more inclined to purchase from brands that create content with innovative tech

#4 – Personalization

Personalized ads are effective for every age group. Gen Z’ers and Millennials are less tolerant of ads that aren’t personalized. Most younger consumers have in innate understanding of how their personal data is used to create targeted ads. Being targeted (or retargeted) based on their interests and past activities are expected. Thankfully creating effective personalized ads are easier than ever to make.

  • What can you do to create effective personalized ads? Start with the information you have about your customers. It’s difficult to know what your customers want if you don’t know who they are. Look at your 1st party data. What are your most common demographics? What are their interests? How would they most like to be communicated with?
  • Use the tools available. Marketing automation platforms and CRMs can do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to segmenting data. Many of them are designed to help create simple, personalized messages.
  • Have a well thought out plan. Do you have a mapped-out customer journey? Knowing where in their journey your customers are makes a big difference in the types of personalization that will work for them. Think about nurturing. Pay attention to the details. Make sure that there aren’t little annoying things such as, getting an abandoned cart email even though you’ve already come back to purchase it. Get rid of triggers that are connected to repurchasing products commonly only purchased once.
  • Know when to walk away. Keep your data clean. If someone has never opened an email it might be a good idea to take them off your list. Their data could skew your demographics and could make understanding what personalization your active customers need difficult.

Is it effective?

Is it effective? Yes! From that survey of consumer between the ages of 18-34, 58% said that a personalized ad helped them make a purchase decision. 42% also said that they had clicked on a sponsored ad in the last 6 months!

In my experience, a lot of companies panic when thinking about marketing to young consumers. They feel like they need to be relatable or “cool.” That often comes off as disingenuous and is easy to see right through. It’s far more effective to instead focus on building a relationship with them. Make it easier for them to see who you are and what you stand for. Chances are they care about the same things you do!


Why do you need online reviews?

Online Reviews Featured

Online reviews are a staple of our lives now. Why should you care about the reviews that your company or products are getting online? Here’s what we have found!

The Social Proof Phenomenon

What do online reviews have to do with “social proof?” “Social Proof” is the phenomenon based on the fact that it’s easier to buy things or trust companies if we know that other people already have. Our peers provide the proof of somethings value.

“Social proof” is part of the transparency that builds brand trust. Most consumers (almost 88%) research a business before buying from them. A lot of that research comes from reviews and reading what other people have said about their experiences.

What else can Reviews Do for you?

Reviews can help educate consumers on your products and services. Reviewers usually talk about their specific experiences in their reviews. It can be an easier way for potential customers to learn more about what you offer.

Reviews Boost SEO. Specifically, Google Reviews. Google indexes reviews connected to your listing to help filter results. Especially for local traffic. “Best __ Near Me” is decided by reviews and stars. Customers will often use your keywords in reviews without even realizing it. This helps Google learn about you.

What can you do to collect reviews?

People are inclined to leave reviews if they a specifically positive or negative experience. Therefore, work hard to provide an overwhelmingly positive expertise for your customers! (You should be doing this anyway; the review is just a byproduct. 😉 )

Google Reviews
Google My Business Reviews

People like to do things for other people so a great way to collect reviews is to just ask for them! A follow up survey email after they buy from you is an easy way to this. Ask them specific, easy to answer questions about things such as: service response times, shipping times, product or service quality etc.  

Make it easy to review you. No one has time to take 10 minuets following a complicated review survey with long required written answers. People are doing you a favor by reviewing you, show that you apricate it by being respectful of their time and effort. Take out pain points of the review process: go through and make sure there aren’t any unnecessary steps or questions. Double check the user interface, id it easy to figure out?

Incentivizing your reviews (specifically ecommerce) is a big no-no! As temping as it is to show your appreciation for the review with a coupon or free shipping, or something: don’t. Both Google and Yelp have policies in place banning incentivized reviews. They will take the reviews down and give you a slap on the wrist.

What to do with reviews once you have them

You have the reviews – now what? Here’s 2 ways to leverage them!

  1. Show them off
    Let your reviews sell your product for you. Happy previous customers can be a great way to convince your potentials to buy from you! Show off your reviews on your home page with Google review widget or prominently feature some reviews as part of the design. Don’t forget to ask for permission first if you are going to highlight a specific review, especially if you are going to use their picture.
  2. Engage with reviewers
    let them know you appreciate them! It doesn’t have to be a big deal, simply liking the review or just saying thanks goes a long way. That little bit of effort can turn a happy customer into a loyal one. And a lot of marketing automation software makes replying to reviews across multiple platforms easy.

Do you have a favorite customer review?

While we are on the subject… leave us a review! 😜


All The Things You Need To Boost SEO

NLS boost SEO

SEO has proven over and over again that it is essential to growing (and maintaining) your business. However, it doesn’t often get the spotlight it deserves! So, here’s some things you need to know to boost SEO.

What is SEO?  

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines look at look at many site elements like structure and design, visitor behavior, content, and other external factors to decide how highly ranked your site should be in the results pages. SEO has become the catch all term for all things you can do to make your site look more appealing to search engines.  

What are the advantages of good SEO?

NLS boost SEO Stat

Good SEO gives your website credibility. It makes it easier for people to find your website when they search for it. And it helps create a smoother user experience.  

The other important reason for making sure your websites SEO is up to snuff is that it helps generate organic traffic. 53% of all trackable website traffic comes from organic search. SEO is the main thing influencing how easy it is to find you online organically. Which is probably why it’s estimated that agencies and brands spent over $79.27 Billion on SEO services last year.  

SEO is also important in driving local searches. When you search for “Best Pizza Place” near me, the results you are shown are based on the pizza place’s SEO keywords.  

Where do you need to pay attention to SEO?  

Everything “online” can be indexed and therefore optimized. Google indexes websites and apps that they own. So, your YouTube video search optimization is connected and combined with your website optimization. However, some companies, like Facebook, categorize videos and posts internally, meaning that it doesn’t help general search engine SEO.  

What can you do to boost SEO?  

Personally, I would split SEO into 2 main categories: Content and Categorization. Both are super important but require different things.  

Content 

SEO post requirements
Do you fill in all the available information?

Content is all the things you put out there. Search engines look at what you are putting out there to determine your search rankings. Google likes blog articles and web pages with a lot of content. Adding pictures, videos, links, and charts shows search engines that what you are creating should be seen. They are going to rank something high in the search results if they don’t think its valuable.  

To go along with that, search engines look at user experience. Is your website/blog easy to read? Do you have paragraphs, subheadings, punctuation, and spacing? Is it super short? (Long form content, over 2,000 words, tends to rank higher.) Do your pictures and video take a long time to load? How about accessibly? Do you have alt text for your images and text readers?  

Search engines want to provide the best possible experience for its user and will rank your website accordingly.   

Categorization 

Categorization is all the “backend” stuff. Keywords, hashtags, blog categories, utm links, exerpts, and featured images all fall into this bucket. The best way to boost this type of SEO is literally just fill in every box provided. If the video you are uploading to YouTube as a field for title, description, keywords, hashtags, ect: give them that information! Search engines need to know what they are ranking, and all the backend information is how they know what it is and where it should go.   

SEO sample fields
Categories our SEO service requires

If you write an article called “How to make good pizza” the search engine will put with other information on pizza. However, if your article also has keywords like, “good pizza,” “how to,” “cooking,” “dinner for two,” “Italian food,” and so on, the search engine has a lot more places it can show the article. 

Another thing you can do to boost SEO is to repurpose content. Search engines like to see a lot of content that revolves around a single topic. It shows a consistent brand message and purpose. A consistent brand message can indicate brand value.  

What ways have you found to be effective in boosting SEO? Do you have a favorite method?    


All The Reasons You Need A Buyer Persona

NLS Buyer Persona

A Buyer Persona or Avatars is one of those confusing marketing things that seems to be really important, but no one ever explains why or how you can make one. Buyer Personas are especially valuable in this digital age where you can’t see your customers. They can help make your digital presence and marketing more personal.

It’s a lot easier to market to one single person than to a crowd. We’ve talked in the past about social media (and email) feels like a personal one-on-one conversation between brand and consumer. Building a buyer persona connects with that thinking. Having a buyer persona helps you to hon in on who you are reaching and who you want to reach.

What are Buyer Personas or Avatars?

In the simplest terms, a buyer persona is exemplification of all of your customers. The most common way to do this is to create a fictional person that has the most common demographics and interests of your customers. What are your customers common denominators? What do they want? What are their pain points? Taking this information and combining it into a person you can picture makes it easier to connect with the crowd. A lot of marketers recommend giving your buyer personas names.

Jim Edwards from Funnel Scripts explains buyer personas as the main character in the story of your company’s customer journey. Although your company already has its own personality, (or brand) in order to success the narrative you’re telling haws to focus on what the customer wants and needs. You are there to help them get to where they want to go. Jim Edwards example buyer persona was for a weight loss company. Their buyer persona is a middle-aged unicorn named Fred who needs to lose weight if he wants to be successful at his quests. Fred is the main character in the story. The weight-loss company is there to help him.

What information do you need to create a buyer persona?

Like any good main character, your buyer persona needs to be well rounded. It needs to have a purpose, interests, goals, and struggles. It’s especially important to know what motivates them so you can help them.

Here’s some common buyer persona attributes.

  1. What are their basic demographics?
    What gender to they identify as? How old are they? Where do they live? What is their relationship status? Are they educated?
  2. What do they do for work?
    What’s their job title and description? But more than that, are they a decision maker? What do they influence at work?
  3. What are their interests?
    Do they have hobbies or interests? What do they do in their free time? Are they part of a community?
  4. What do they want and why can’t they have?
    This a big thing for figuring out what you can do to help them! What are their goals and dreams? What are their pain points? Like, what keeps them up at night?
  5. Why wouldn’t they buy from you?
    What’s stopping them from buying from you? What objections may they have?
  6. What ways would they prefer to interact with you?
    Do they use social media? Do like a particular social media? Is a phone call the best way to reach them?

Once you have that all that information, you will have a very clear image of who your customer is!

A lot of companies create multiple buyer personas. It is a very good way to segment out different sections of your business. It is also helpful to create a buyer persona for your ideal customer as well! You can take the information you’ve learned about your ideal customer and use it to go and get those customers.

Do you have a buyer persona for your business? And more importantly: what did you name them? 😜


Be Your Own Brand Spokesperson – Why?

Brand Spokesperson

While branding your company most people focus on things like logos, colors, message. Which is all super important! However, in this visual digital world we are living, putting a face to the name (or brand, in this case) is very valuable. For example, pictures with faces in them are on average 38% more likely to get likes and 32% more likely to receive comments.

Here’s some specific reasons to use your face in branding and ways to do so!

Why Showing Your Face Helps Your Business

Here are 4 reasons!

Our faces are front and center on our website homepage; we want you to know it’s us!
  1. Using your face helps brand recognition
    There’s a reason why brands use spokespeople. It is often easier for people to remember other people than it is to remember brands or companies.
  2. It humanizes your brand
    People like to work with people, not “soulless corporations.” Connecting your face to your company makes it easier for customers to relate to you and build an emotional connection. This is one reason why it’s helpful to use your face. Chances are that you and your company share the same values and goals. Having that message come from you and the company reinforces those ideals and helps other care about them too!

    Another aspect of humanizing your brand is the trust that comes with it. It’s much easier to trust a person than a company; you know who they are and what they stand for. Linking you to your brand pulls that trust over.
  1. It creates engagement
    Knowing who they are engaging with makes it easier for customer to connect with you on social media. Also, our brains are literally wired to find faces so putting your face front and center will help draw people to your content.
  1. It helps shape your community
    This may sound confusing but linking your face and your brand can help create a more accurate and diverse business community. We all play a part in shaping the communities we are a part of. All of us have a story or journey to share. Highlighting your story along with your company story creates diversity. And you never know who your story will touch!

How to put your face front and center

Brand Spokesperson

Here’s some tips to get started

Show behind the scenes

Pull back the curtain on your day to day. Everyone loves behind the scenes. Showing what you are doing is a good way to ease into using your face for marketing. It’s can be simple to do, just bring your audience along to your tasks! It’s a good way for people to get to know you and all the things you. It also can help your customers appreciate all you do!

Use stories!

Stories is a great place to show all those behind-the-scenes shots. It’s also a great place to speak to the camera about your company and your mission. Stories get a lot of engagement but disappear after 24 hours so there’s a lot less pressure! To make it easier on yourself, prerecord your videos. Make “eye contact” with the camera, don’t look at your own face. Have a general idea of what you want to say, a bullet point list helps! And don’t worry about any word whiskers. The point of this is to help people get to know you and show authenticity. It doesn’t have to be perfect!

Go Live!

You might be surprised by how much more engagement live videos get!  Unlike prerecorded videos, live streams make viewers feel like they are a part of the conversation. The more authentic interactions create more engagement. For example, on average, live content generates 10x more the comments that prerecorded videos. And people tend to watch live content 10-20x longer.  

We want to see your face! How do you connect your personal brand to your company brand?


Let’s Talk: Digital Display

Digital Display

We’ve talked a lot about specific types of Digital Display Ads but what are the differences them? And how do you what type of Digital Display (Or online ad) is the best fit for your business?

What is Digital Display?

Digital Display Ads can be split into 5 main categories:

  • Digital Audio Ads
  • CTV (Connected TV)
  • Video Ads
  • Static Ads
  • HTML5 Ads

What do Digital Display Ads do?

Digital Display Ads encompasses just about every type of online ad. Each type of Digital Display Ad has its own strengths and weakness. Effective campaigns are often the ones that know how to best utilize each type of ad.

Digital Audio Ads

What is Digital Audio Advertising? It’s all the ads you get that are just sound. For example, any podcast, Spotify or Pandora ad is Digital Audio. It’s expected that Digital Audio Ads from just podcasts will surpass a BILLION dollars in 2021 and that the average American will spend nearly 90 minutes a day listening to streamed music or podcasts by 2022.

Digital audio ads are a great way to connect with consumers through a channel that they enjoy. And it is very cost effective, because the ad only plays if they are listening to music or a podcast.

CTV (Connected TV)

Connected TV advertising refers to ads that are delivered to internet-connected TVs – for instance, via Hulu or Roku. CTV is increasing in popularity for marketers! Consumers are embracing these platforms so more and more ad inventory is becoming available. In fact, CTV advertising spend is expected to grow from $6.94 billion in 2019 to $8.88 billion this year, a 28% increase.

The specifies depend on what you need your funnel to accomplish. Some of the processes used are A/B testing, improving user on-page experiences, usability tests, and optimizing existing content.

Video Ads

Video Advertising fits into 2 categories: The ads that play connected to streamed content, such as Youtube ads, and display ads with video content. Those are the ads that start playing a video when your cursor scrolls over it and native video ads.

Video ads are extremely effective. Video content is more eye catching and engaging than static images or text and they are easier to remember. They are great at story telling and promoting brand messaging. Studies show that almost 75% of consumers prefer Video Ads over Text Ads.

Many Video Ads on social media platforms are re-sharable like native content, which makes it easier for consumers to promote your content for you.

Static Ads

Static Display Ads are probably what you think when you think of online ads. Static Display Ads (or Banners) are the ads that are a solid image of various sizes in designated areas of a webpage or app.

Static Ads are very effective for generating general brand awareness, retargeting, drawing attention to a specific sale, targeting location based traffic, and much more!

HTML5 Ads

HTML5 Ads are attention-grabbing, interactive (or responsive) ads optimized for Google.

HTML5 allows a lot of flexibility and creativity with ads content and formatting. Video, text, imagery, and audio files can all be used. More imaginative ads create more engagement. HTML5 ads tend to have much hight click-through rates than static ads!

HTML5 ads are rendered in code. You are sent to code itself as well as the MP4 video.

What’s the best fit for you?

Every business and situation is different! No one type of ad is best for each business but usually a combination of the 5. Online advertising can be touchy so it’s important to have a strategy.

What’s your favorite type of Digital Display Ads to use for your business?