Get the most out of Instagram – How?

Get the most out of Instagram - How?

Instagram can be a confusing and overwhelming beast. It has its own constantly changing algorithm and culture that separates it from any other social media. Getting Instagram to work for you takes time, effort, insight, and unfortunately: intuition. What do you need to get the most out of Instagram?

Being an Instagram pro requires knowledge of 3 things: its culture, its algorithm, and your own analytics of those 2 things. Understanding the culture and the algorithm don’t do you much good if that knowledge is disconnected from your own follower and user data.

Instagram Culture

The biggest thing to remember is that Instagram is not Facebook. Facebook is for information, Instagram is for connections. And Instagram’s user base is generally younger than its big brother Facebook. More than 50% of Instagram users are between 18-35, while more than 60% of Facebook’s user are over 35. Therefore, these users have grown up with social media, including Instagram, and have shaped its function and culture. (For example, by the time my friends and I were old enough to have social media, Facebook was already too big and felt like something elusively for our parents. For a long time, Instagram was the only social media any of us had.)

Although Instagram is great for showing off products, the thing it is best at is highlighting your brand’s culture and personality. It is not enough anymore to have a good product available anymore, your consumers need to feel connected to your brand. 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.

$ things to remember about Instagram's Culture

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.

The Algorithm

According to Instagram, they decide to show your content based on 6 factors:

#1: Interest

#2: Relationship 

#3: Timeliness

#4: Frequency

#5: Following

#6: Usage

The first three are somewhat self-explanatory. Instagram shows you things based on what you’ve liked in the past. They highlight posts from people they’ve decided are close to you: people whose content you most engage with, the people who tag you, the people you DM etc. Instagram also cares about when you post. Keeping track of your analytics can give you a good idea about when the best times to post for you are.

#4 Frequency
Instagram Algorithm - Cat scrolling through Instagram

Frequency isn’t about how often you post but instead about how often interact with the app. The more often you check your Instagram feed the more likely your feed will be chronological because they are always trying to show you the newest content available. This is helpful to understand what type of Instagram users your followers are. If they don’t check the app that often, then it will be harder to have your posts seen. Building up the other 5 components to the algorithm will be all the more important.

#5 Following

Instagram assigns value to follower counts in a couple different ways. First, is simple: the more followers you have the more likely your posts will be highlighted in your follower’s feeds. However, they also look at your follower’s engagement levels. If you have a lot of ghost followers that don’t interact with you, then they could actually be hurting you. Another thing to consider, the more people your followers follow the more competition for space in their feed. Do your followers follow a lot of people? Understanding that can help you decide if you need to adjust where you focus your efforts.

#6 Usage

This is how Instagram qualifies the amount of time spent on the app. The more time spent on the app, the deeper into its catalogs they have to pull from to show content. You can use this to your advantage by using hashtags or developing content that matches with the interests of Instagram’s heavy users.

How do you get the most out of Instagram?

 
 

What Can Your Team Do Stay Productive?

What can you as an individual and you as a team do to maintain your efficiency and productivity?

When working as part of a team, how we work alone as well as how we work together contributes to productivity and efficiency. When employees are stressed or exhausted, engagement and productivity dip and the whole company can feel the effects. It can be hard to stay productive.

Managing stress has been a challenge for a lot of people this year. In Asana’s Anatomy of Work 2021 study, 71% of workers said that they felt burnt out at least once in the last year. Also, 42% rated their stress levels as high or very high. 😳

So, what can you as an individual and you as a team do to maintain your efficiency and productivity?

What Can You Do as A Team to Stay Productive?

Unfortunately, work related stress often has to do with environment. When one person is feeling burnt out on your team, it can bring the whole team down. What can you do to create a less stress inducing work environment?

Talk It Out

Ewww, right? However, it’s impossible to know what is wrong or how you can help a situation if you don’t know at the problem is. Take in interest in people you work with. Is there anything going on in their life that might be adding stress? Is a process or workflow just not working for and its making things difficult?

Think about what areas of your job are stressing you and then figure out what you can do to help the situation.

Once you understand how your team is feeling, don’t disregard it! See what you can do to make things run smoother.

Take Control Over Your Situation

We are all responsible for ourselves. If you are lucky enough to have anatomy in your job, use it! Think about what areas of your job are stressing you and then figure out what you can do to help the situation. For example, do you struggle with being productive in the afternoons because you hit a massive exhaustion wall? Could you be hitting that dip because you constantly don’t get enough sleep? Or does coffee make you crash? Those are things that you have control over and can change.

And after this year, more and more companies are realizing that giving their employees flexibility over schedule and in some cases, whether they want to work from home, actually increases productivity!

Minimize Distractions

The Asana study mentioned early found that “work about work” took up 60% of most employee’s days. That “work about work” is things like, meetings about processes, communicating about specific tasks, switching between tools, waiting for apps to load, searching for information, following up with team members about a project’s status, and managing shifted task priorities. A lot of those things are things that you don’t have control over. However, dealing with tasks like that can quickly give you the feeling of being on a work sized hamster wheel. That’s partly because “work about work” doesn’t feel like you are accomplishing anything.

What can help you feel in control? Figure out the right processes and find the right tools. If you can work with your team to put an effective process in place for dealing with collaborative projects. Part of that involves finding the right tools. There are so many workflow and team management tools available now that it shouldn’t be difficult to find one that works for you and your budget. (We are big fans of Teams/Planner and good old fashioned white boards.)

Time Management

Time management single handedly has the biggest impact on work stressor and burn out. Good time management can drastically increase your productivity and give you more time to focus on other aspects of your life. A healthy work-life balance will help aspects of your life, including reducing stress!

Connect Your Targets to Big Goals

Time management is about getting the work done, it about getting the right things done at the time. A big part of understanding and prioritizing what’s most important is know what are your goals. And if you work for a company, what its goals are. A recent study found that only 26% of employees understand how their work relates to the overall company goals. How can you know what daily targets to set if you don’t understand where you are trying to go?

Only 26% of employees understand how their work relates to the overall company goals

This goes back to talk it out. If you have questions, ask! And if you are in a management position, work with your employees so everyone understands what they are doing to help the company reach its goals!

Prioritize and Organize

Its critical to understand what tasks are most important. Inevitably things change throughout the day; deadlines move and priorities shift. If you understand what’s most important in the grand scheme, however, it can make adapting to those changes easier. In the Asana study, they found that 29% of employees cited confusion on task priorities as a contributing factor to their burnout.

Eat the Frog

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 actually getting the stuff done.

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.

Say “No” or Delegate

This is a struggle, we know. But one advantage of having clear, prioritized tasks, is that you can see when a task is not a priority or not one you have time for. It’s easier to explain why you are saying no if everyone knows what your current priorities are. Sharing your clearly defined priorities with your team gives everyone more clearly. This is something that we have found to be successful. In our morning meeting we often go through what everyone’s priority tasks for the day are. By doing this, we know what each of us needs to be focusing on and how much a priority it is to reach our company goals. It also makes it easier to see where we could help.

Knowing what your team’s priorities are, can also make it easier to delegate tasks. Just because something is a priority task for you doesn’t mean it’s not important! Help it get to the right person and that benefits everyone.

Audit Your Tasks

Is there anything on your plate right now that doesn’t align with your goals? Ask yourself, is this task not a priority for today anymore? Or is it not a priority at all? If the task is still important but keeps getting moved to the bottom of your priorities, ask yourself if you are the right person to be handling it?

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 have you found successful in dealing with work stress? Any time management tricks you swear by?

How do these marketing channels stack up?

There are A LOT of different marketing channels out there. What are the pros and cons of some of the common ones?

There are A LOT of different marketing channels out there. What are the pros and cons of some of the common ones?

Social Media

Pro

There are over 3.8 billion people on social media around the world. Social media is a fantastic way to connect with customers, build brand loyalty, and generate sales.

People don’t just want to buy from companies because they have good products and services. They want to know what your brand stands for in addition to what it sells. Social media can help potential customers get to you. Social media feel like a 1-on-1 conversation between the brand and consumer, which helps build loyalty.

Con

A lot of the value from social doesn’t show up immediately. It’s rarely simple to track social media’s ROI. Often the goal of social media is not just to generate sales but instead to build connections. Without measurable results, using social media can be discouraging.

Email

Email Channel

Pro

Often it a brand’s only way to communicate with customers and can feel very one on one. A lot of millennial and gen z’ers expect to communicate with brands through email. Also, pretty much everyone has email so you know you will be able to communicate with people through email.

Con

We all get so. many. emails. Most office workers receive 127 every day. It can be hard to stand out from the crowd. People don’t have time to read emails that don’t actually provide them value. 

Email marketing also has a lot of laws and rules connected to it that can hurt you if your aren’t careful!

Content/SEO

Content/SEO Channels

Pro

Customers often rely on a business’s website for information. Especially for local businesses, it can be the only way to know a shop hours or address. Putting the information on a website instead of a social media or directly in a browser legitimizes the information.

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.  

Con

Bad SEO can hurt you. Most searchers never go past the first or second page of Google, though, which is why those top spots in the search results are so coveted. Having the proper SEO can prevent your website form getting 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.  

Google Ads

Google Ads Channel

Pro

Where are people? On their phones. So, google ads is an extremely effective way to find people where they are. Google ads is great for brand awarness as well as retargeting. It is great if you want measurable results and analytics.

Con

Billboards, signs, posters, newspapers, and magazines all exist with in different physical spaces. With digital advertising however, we are all competing for the same ad space. That ad space is worth more now has less guarantees attached to it.  

Trying to figure Google ads can feel like rocket science. There’s a large learning curve and it can a while to feel confident in the set up.

Print and Mail

Print and Mail Channel

Pro

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!

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 💰.

Con

Since Direct mail requires use of the postal system it has fixed costs. The graphic design of the mail piece may also have an additional cost. Using direct always requires a bit of math and if done wrong can hurt your ROI.

It’s not always posable to see direct, measurable results, from Direct mail campaigns. And if you can measure results, it may take a while to get the full picture.

Another thing that can be a disadvantage to direct mail is that you need a really good foundation of address data. The problem us that a lot of data providers don’t make sure that their data is accurate and that hurts the effectiveness of your campaign.   

Connected TV

Connected TV Channel

Pro

TV is a time-tested advertising channel. Although it’s a lot less common than it used to be, it can still be very effective. Many marketers are using CTV (connected TV) or OTT (over-the-top) channels to target consumers using streaming services and connected TV devices such as Hulu and Roku. Advertises are embracing these platforms as more and more ad space becomes available. Spending for CTV advertising is expected to grow from $6.94 billion in 2019 to $8.88 billion in 2020, a 28% increase.

Con

With customer attention spread so thin and cable tv subscriptions consistently falling, (over 16 million in the last five years) there’s a lot less advertising space available. Content consumption is at an all-time high and therefore, competition for viewer’s attention is as well. 84% of marketers say that it is getting harder to grab a consumer’s attention with television advertising alone. 

Audiences today expect personalized and relevant targeted ads. Linear TV (cable and network television) often fall far behind in targeting capabilities. Therefore, it can be a challenge for advertisers to figure out how to integrate linear TV into their campaigns. 


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?  


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?


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?


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?  


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! 😜