Category Archives for "Marketing"

Dec 16

HOW-TO Grow Your Following and Increase the Buzz Around Your Brand

Marketing

HOW-TO Grow Your Following and Increase the Buzz Around Your Brand

First things first, you will need to amp up your personal LinkedIn page or create an account. It isn't as daunting as it seems, simply fill out the basics-your current and past companies, education, a photo, and your location.

Reporting this data will allow the platform to suggest other LinkedIn users similar to you, old coworkers, college alum, etc to send a connection* request to. Along with these suggestions, you should search for friends and family to grow your own personal network**. This may seem counterintuitive- why bother to build a following on your own page, this is about your company, right? Yes, however by doing this first, you conquer an inevitable hurdle- that users must first accept you (your personal page) as a 'connection' in order for you to invite them to follow your company page.

         Next Steps...

  • Make sure you are an admin of your existing company page, or if one does not exist, create yours through clicking 'Work' on the top menu bar, and then select '+ Create a Company Page'
  • You navigate to your company page by clicking the 'Me' section arrow (found in the menu below your personal LinkedIn icon) and selecting the correct page at the bottom of this pop up menu.
  • *Connection- Friend

    **Network- Friends List

Regardless if your company page is new or pre existing-take this time to make sure the information and images are up to date, the industry is correctly categorized, and your website is linked and functioning. You do not want to lead users to a company page that is incomplete or misleading. 

Once on your Company Page...

You may see a column appear if in admin mode, that is titled 'Invite Connections' with 3 suggestions LinkedIn has made on your behalf. Or follow the steps below to send invitations to your network.

  1. Select 'Admin Tools'
  2. Under Extend your Reach- click the new button: 'Invite Connections'
  3. A pop up will appear, here you can search for connections NOT already following your page
  4. Make a goal to invite 50 LinkedIn users each day to follow your Company page

How have you utilized LinkedIn? Did you already know how to invite people to like your company page? Leave a comment if we missed anything!

Nov 18

3 Email Subject Lines That Will Kill Your Chances of Winning a New Client

Marketing

3 Email Subject Lines That Will Kill Your Chances of Winning a New Client

How many times have you gotten an email with one of these three subject lines?

I’ve received dozens of emails like this and am guilty of sending a whole bunch of them too. They are:


  • “Checking In”
  • “Touching Base”
  • “Following Up”
Think about it: Aren’t these just euphemisms for, “Wanna buy my stuff?”

What to Say Instead

“What else am I supposed to say?” you might be wondering. The last thing you want is to be forgotten by your prospect.

Instead of emailing someone to remind them you would like to sell them something, take advantage of the opportunity to provide targeted education by assigning that prospective client to a simple workflow based on their interests. These Digital Assets – which can be articles, blog posts, or other educational material you already have – will allow you to maintain time-of-mind awareness with your prospective clients by sending them relevant educational messages from this asset repository on a regular basis. That’s when your role evolves from one who is pitching a product that helps you to offering a commodity to a valued partner that helps them.

How to Start

To get started, consider this: What questions are your prospective clients asking you every single day that you’re manually answering via email or phone calls? Distill these frequently asked questions into concise and actionable articles, blog posts or videos.

By offering specific information assets geared at fixing specific problems, you can gauge your prospects’ interests immediately, and not be left guessing what issues they’re facing. Which asset do you create first? Don’t overthink it – what question do you hear more than any other? Create that one first – now.

Have you produced education-based material for follow-up purposes? Can you see this working in your business development activities?

Sep 09

Do-It-Once Method: The Easiest Way to Streamline Your Digital Communications

Marketing

Do you ever feel like you’ve written the same email response twice? Three times? Maybe even several times in one day?

If you’re interacting with either customers or prospects, a few themes permeate your email inquires (whether the questions are explicit or implicit):

  • What does X (your product or service) cost (initially and ongoing)?
  • What problems are you solving?
  • How does it compare with your competitor’s products?

When you have a moment, open your email and take a look. Look for those emails you’re sending over and over that have very little (if any) variety. Think about it: when something is typed, recorded via digital audio or video, etc., it lives forever. This is the first step in the Do-It-Once (DIO) methodology. When your company implements this, it will completely change the way you deal with prospects and customers.

The same emails = a Do-It-Once template

Maybe after digging into your Sent Items, you realize that there are, in fact, many similar themes to your email interactions. You’ve gone a step further and created some email templates you use to answer questions you’ve gotten before and don’t want to simply type over again. Saved you some time, right? You didn’t have to type the email itself and you didn’t have to proofread it for grammar or typos. You simply sent the well-crafted template instead.

If you don’t have email response templates yet, you might think you should stop here and create some right now. You could take an hour or so to go through your email, find the recurring themes that would benefit from a prepared response, and type the templates.

Hold on a second, though.

If you’re taking the time to develop the template system, let’s go one step further and make a mechanism by which all of your staff will communicate with prospects and customers the exact same way. Instead of different email accounts containing different email templates (and some having none at all), what if you had a repository of responses — a library of sorts — that everyone could utilize when interacting with prospects and customers? Better yet, what if you could gauge the efficacy of this system by way of data supporting your efforts? We could create a consistent customer experience system.

Whether a prospect or customer or yours is interacting with your most seasoned employee, or someone who just finished their initial training, the written content will be unambiguously consistent throughout. If prospect A asks typical question No. 4, then the corresponding answer will be sent as a response via an email link. Regardless if the answer is sent by the external salesperson, internal salesperson, support staff, etc., everyone involved in the sales process will know what’s already been communicated, and what hasn’t.

You might be asking yourself, “How is this any different than an automated email marketing system? You know, one of those services that sends emails automatically to your mailing list.” Here’s how it’s different: When you and your staff are responding to individual requests — in other words, something that requires you to push the Send button from your computer/phone/tablet — those ad hoc emails are oftentimes unedited and only between two parties. Everyone else involved in the sales process — unless we’re getting involved in the Cc: and Reply All merry-go-round — is unaware of what’s happening.

What if you (or whomever) could respond to an ad hoc request like this:

Sam — Thanks so much for your email! This is a very common question, and we actually wrote an article that we published on our website addressing what you asked, as well as some related concerns. Here’s a link to it …

If you have any other thoughts, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Thanks,
You

Then, you — or whomever wrote the email — updates your CRM system to reflect that you responded to typical question No. 4 with the link to the article on your website. When you’re doing your weekly review of open loops and proposals, you can check the website link to see if Sam clicked on it, as well as what happened after that. Did she read more articles, read customer testimonials, or take a look at pictures or videos detailing your company’s offerings?

Do-It-Once — A Living Repository

This repository is also purposely designed to be dynamic. Let’s say you write an article intending to educate your target customer on gluten-free recipes (you’re running a bakery) as of 2013. Then, you find a 2014 update and the statistics support your content to an even greater extent. How do you ensure that everyone starts using the more relevant up-to-date data? Send an email that says, “Now hear this. Everyone start using this data instead of the older stuff”? How do you ensure that the message was received? Ask to be Cc:’d on all emails relating to this data? If you’re not using an article library — a one-stop source for the accurate message you’d like to convey — the 2014 data may or may not be disseminated. By using an article library to ensure a consistent customer experience, you or whomever wrote the article edits it once on your company website, pushes the Update button, and it’s done. Everyone at your company continues using the same email response and link with no stoppage in the workday.

A consistent customer experience program is simple, but not easy. The concept may seem commonsensical, but implementing a Do-It-Once methodology requires concerted effort to ensure your messages are clear and educational — as opposed to sales-related — in tone.

How would implementation of a Do-It-Once methodology improve your business? Could you rest assured knowing communication with your prospects and customers would remain consistent? How would efficiencies improve? Alternatively, what shortcomings do you see in this methodology?

Sep 02

How to Maximize the Results of Your Pitch Competition

Business Development , Marketing , Social Media

how to maximize the RESULTS of your Pitch Competition

A founder of a startup company came to me with a compelling question: “How can we use social media as a strategy before, during and after aevent?” The specific event he was referring to is a popular pitch competition that he is attending with his team. In fact, it is so sought after, only 15 groups can attend this event from all over the world. Preparing a social media strategy is not only a great way to introduce other companies to your followers, but to gain recognition for both you and your brand. Here's what to do before, during, and after your pitch opportunity.

What to do before your pitch competition

  1. Do research on the companies that are going to be attending the event. In this specific case, the Founder and his team will study the other 14 companies presenting at the pitch competition FoodBytes, follow them on social media, and begin their outreach plan.
  1. Come up with an eye-catching message that will make yourself stand out. You can enhance this message by including a graphic (our design team utilizes Canva). When you begin the outreach process, tag the CEO/Founder of the company and FoodBytes (or the host of other events). Here is a sample message: 

“We're looking forward to meeting you at #FoodBytes and learning more about you and your company <use company social media handle> there!” 

  1. Continue to make new connections by following or connecting with CEOs or Founders of the other companies. A great platform for doing this is LinkedIn. Ensure that your LinkedIn profile says a little about you and what you do, and then before try to connect with others.
  1. Create  team pictures with branded designs and add them to your Instagram Page. 
  1. When you begin to use your social media platforms to highlight the other people at a pitch competition, a question that founders and their teams will ask you is, “Why are you doing this for us?” Your answer should be as simple as, “Why would I not do this for you?” Consider this equation: 

 Social media (free) + Research (a little time) + Publicizing other people = GOOD BUSINESS 

Spencer X Smith and Alan Webber from Fast Company

AmpliPhi Founder Spencer X Smith with Fast Company Founder Alan Webber

What to do during your pitch competition

  1. Walk into the event with confidence because people are going to know who you are. You have done your research and reached out to those who are attending the event. Think of your engagement as though old friends are catching up, not introducing themselves for the first time.  
  1. Using Twitter, engage in real-time with other pitches and the event itself. Remember, it's your job to help THEM look good.
  1. Ensure you take lots of photos with the other Founders and their teams to share on social media platforms. Prove that you are who you say you are and celebrate each other’s successes.   
  1. Utilize event hashtags (and company hashtags if you have one) in your posts. It's likely the use of these hashtags will have an explosive amount of activity during the conference, but not so much following the event. Capitalize on where people are paying attention.

What to do for follow up after your pitch competition

  1. Post, post, post!! Use platforms such as LinkedIn and Instagram to showcase what you did at the event. Share the photos you took with other Founders and their teams and tag them to increase engagement. Again, help highlight them and what they do.
  1. Follow-up with the people you met using video messages. Soapbox from Wistia is a great resource for creating video messages. This is a much, much more personal way to share your message and help people recall who you are. Remember, they are going to meeting a lot of new people; you want to be the one who stands out! Don't relegate yourself to simply using email. Use personalized videos through Soapbox to solidify who you are in your prospects' minds.

How do you use social media strategies before, during and after an event? Did I miss anything? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Aug 01

Feeling like business is slow in August? Here are 5 ways to maximize your results.

Marketing

Feeling like business is slow in August? Here are 5 ways to maximize your results.

In many of our businesses, August is a slow month. People take their final opportunities to goof off while the weather is warm and our kids are yet to start school.

Before the post-Labor Day rush back to work, pick one (or more if you’re especially ambitious) of these strategies to implement to before things pick back up in September.

1.) Adopt a modern marketing strategy.

Distill your customer/prospect interactions into digital form as often as possible. Whether it’s video, audio, written, or a combination of all three, modern digital marketing allows us to create a repository of content that will benefit your target customers WITHOUT you having to be present. This opportunity for leveraging your knowledge is the most significant shift in marketing that there has ever been.

2.) Create checklists to “know what success looks like.”

Why? You and I can work 24/7 since there’s no longer a definition of a proper work day. Without checklists, small business owners have a very, very hard time of knowing when they’re on-the-clock and when they’re not. Create a realistic daily checklist, and once you’re done, you can allow yourself to leave work feeling great.

3.) Create a “not doing” list.

In addition to the must-do checklist in #2, create a list of things you could be doing but chose not to do right now. Why? 2 reasons -

a.) It forces you to reconcile the best use of your time right now. By knowing what you’re not doing, you’re telling yourself that the things you ARE doing are the most important and high-value items.

b.) A “not doing” list helps assuage that gnawing feeling of “what am I forgetting?” Until you empty your head — so to speak — on a list, you’ll miss things.

4.) Use the checklists from #2 to create a series of systems for others to follow.

Think to yourself, “If I was a brand-new person working in my business, what would I need to do step-by-step to complete this task/project?” Why is this important? All of us are subject to the Curse of Knowledge; we know our businesses so well that we think to ourselves, “Doesn’t everyone know this?” Nope, they don’t. These step-by-step systems will prevent employee/contractor issues in the future since they’ll know what’s expected of them.

5.) Create a company organizational chart, but create the chart based on roles, and not on people.

Spell out each respective function in your business and — even if it’s currently just you — put the name of each person responsible for that function. For example, if one of your company’s roles is Accounts Payable, designate that role as a position on your organizational chart and write the person’s name. Why is this important? Most people don’t realize how many hats they’re wearing until it’s spelled out visually. When it’s time to grow, confidently hand the least-important roles to staff/contractors using the systems from #4 and checklists from #2.

What other ways have you created systems to help your business development efforts? What did I leave off of this list?

Jul 09

Top 5 Drone Tips for Safe Content Creation

Marketing

Top 5 Drone Tips for Safe Content Creation

Utilizing a drone can help businesses to create professional content at their own fingertips.

Here are the top 5 tips you should use to avoid unsafe conditions.

1.) Know the Surrounding Airspace 

Understanding a VFR Sectional chart should be the first step when preparing to fly your drone in unfamiliar airspace.  Sectional charts can be used to identify regulated airspace, nearby airports, and hazards. 

2.) Respect the Privacy of Others

Always be aware of who and what will be in the vicinity of your flight path.

While the FAA and federal courts have not decided who owns the airspace above private land, it still can be illegal to fly above private property depending on where you live. The last thing you want to get caught up in is an angry homeowner with a shotgun and good aim.   

3.) Understand Your In-Flight User Interface 

This is the basic the interface for a DJI drone, other brands will have similar information.

Always be checking your in-flight interface. This is a window into everything that is going on with your drone. It can show you your speed, altitude, battery, GPS, and much more. This is a great tool to monitor to prevent any fly always or crashes. 

4.) Know the wind 

Strong wind can lead to a decrease in performance and battery life. Be aware of how strong the wind is and which direction it is blowing. If you are flying to your planned position, with the wind. Don’t assume it will take the same amount of battery to return.  

If you are flying without GPS assistance strong winds will cause your drone to drift. This can position the drone into unplanned areas such as power lines, tall buildings, or out of the signal range.  

Keep in mind the wind speed can double, or even triple from where you are to the altitude of your aircraft.  

5.) Check the Propellers

The propellers create the ability for the drone to fly. Ensure that they are free from any damage such as dents, cracks, or breakage. Dirt, sand, and other elements can also effect the propellers performance.

Which of these tips was most helpful? Are there any tips you would like to share? Comment them below. 

Jul 03

Three Ways to Achieve Success as a Business on the 4th of July Holiday

Marketing , Social Media

THREE WAYS TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS AS A BUSINESS ON THE 4TH OF JULY HOLIDAY​

This may sound very obvious, but it’s something I see year after year - small businesses not availing themselves of the hashtag

#HappyFourth.

​Why is posting on social media about Holidays important?


1.) Use the #HappyFourth hashtag on relevant posts on all the social media platforms. This is the most obvious of the tips, but if a small business owner doesn’t use the hashtag in their posts, it doesn’t exist. The social platforms rely on hashtags (even LinkedIn) to ascertain the overarching theme of a post, and the omission of #HappyFourth is a big mistake.



2.) Search the #HappyFourth hashtag on the social media platforms where your customers are most likely to have conversations. Twitter search is outstanding for this, as is Instagram. Business owners can simply join conversations already given the appropriate #HappyFourth context.


3.) Ask those patronizing your business to share their experience with you in a #HappyFourth related post to their personal social media platforms. Businesses can incent these customers through a bonus, promotional item, etc. to help these customers provide social proof to their network of friends.

Jun 04

7 Best Places to Find Background Music for Your Next Video

Marketing

7 Best Places to Find Background Music for Your Next Video​

Finding the right soundtrack for your video can be challenging with legalities surrounding copyright, royalties, and other rights infringement matters. It’s essential to use appropriately credited and/or purchased music so that your video does not get banned from YouTube or your chosen social media platform. In this blog post, we’ll cover some of the most popular websites for soundtracks to use in your next video.

First of all, what is royalty-free music? This article from Hooksounds explains the topic in further detail, but a common misconception with royalty-free music is that it’s automatically free to use in your project. In most instances, royalty-free refers to a one-time license that lets the music be used over a set period. Essentially, you are not required to pay subsequent royalty payments after the one-time fee. Royalty fees can range in cost from less than $100 to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the song. No matter which music licensing option you choose, you’ll want to read through the website’s terms and conditions to ensure you’re within rights to use their song in your project.

If you edit your videos in iMovie, there are several jingles and sound effects within the program, free for use in your project.

Created by composer and musician Benjamin Tissot, Bensound offers hundreds of tracks for use in your multimedia project (online videos, websites, animations, etc.) for free as long as you credit Bensound.com. Available genres include acoustic/folk, cinematic, corporate/pop, jazz, rock, and more. In addition to the free music offered, there are several selections to purchase as well.

Within the audio library of the YouTube creator studio, there are many options for free music and sound effects. Sort by genre, mood, and even instrument to find the perfect vibe for your video. To access the library from your YouTube account, go to Creator Studio > Create > Audio Library. 

Did you know that Amazon offers a selection of royalty-free music? For personal, non-commercial purposes, you can find many free or premium tracks starting at just $0.99. The search function within Amazon is somewhat limited, though, so finding a decent soundtrack to use is slightly more complicated.

Designed specifically for YouTube creators, Thematic is a worry-free platform featuring songs that are pre-cleared for monetization without having to worry about licenses, claims, or disputes. The search capabilities at the time of posting are somewhat limited, but if you have the time to sift through and listen to the different songs, there could be some decent options.

Audio Jungle by Envato Market is an excellent option for one-off purchases of music and audio tracks without having to spend a lot of money up front. Averaging between $20-25 per track (up to $1,600 per track), Audio Jungle features more than 120,000 songs for use in your project.

By far, our favorite service to use when finding background music for video is Artlist. It’s a subscription service that offers access to an entire catalog of music along with unlimited downloads for a full year. At only $16.60/month (billed annually) this is one of the most affordable options considering the price of purchasing songs on an individual basis. We’ve been impressed with the quality and quantity of music available on this website.

Jun 03

Our Top 4 Design Apps for Social Media Content

Marketing , Social Media

Our Top 4 Design Apps for Social Media Content

Do you need to create social media posts for your company, but don’t have enough time to spend learning Photoshop?

Thankfully, you no longer need a background in design to start producing engaging content for your audience. With the help of a few iPhone and browser-based apps, generating several variations of a single design can be as easy as a click of a mouse.

Canva Pro has been a favorite among our team. We love taking the pre-designed Canva social media templates and adding our own unique spin. There are hundreds of free graphic elements and photos available for use in your designs. While the basic version is free, you’ll pay $9.95/month (at the time of this posting) for the upgraded perks. We think the upgrade is worth it, and here's why:

  • Resize your design with a single click
  • Upload custom fonts for your brand
  • Set unique color palettes for your brand
  • Save templates for you and your team

Basic: Free
Pro: $12.95/mo. or $119.40/yr. 


Adobe Spark


Adobe Spark is an online tool that allows non-designers to create social graphics, promotional videos, and basic web pages. It’s similar to Canva in that there are templates to use, but the customization options are somewhat limited. The Adobe Spark Starter Plan is free, but you won’t be able to personalize your project with your own logo, colors, and fonts. We feel that this option is best if you already have access to the Adobe Suite and are looking for an easy way to produce consistent branded content.

  • Easy to use for simple image posts or slideshows
  • Best for producing branded content
  • Basic version is Adobe branded

Basic: Free, with Adobe Spark Watermark
Pro: $9.99/month


Word Swag

Like the app’s title suggests, Word Swag turns your words into a beautiful photo-text design. Choose from the library of free photos, or select from your phone’s photo library. Decide which crop to use (there are options within the app for different social platforms), and then add your desired quote or text. Custom fonts are not an option, but they do offer some variations among the different styles, and the font color can also be changed.

  • Less expensive than some of the other options
  • Great for quote/image posts
  • Design choices are limited

Basic: Free
Pro: $4.99/mo.


Over


Like the other programs/apps mentioned, Over is a template-based design app. There are multiple template options for Instagram & Facebook stories, which we love. There are several font options available in the free version, with even more available to download in the pro version. 

  • Best for Instagram/Facebook stories
  • Templates are easy to customize
  • Styling is limited in free version

Basic: Free
Pro: $14.99/mo. or $99.99/yr.


What are your favorite social media design apps? Let us know if you want more in-depth tutorials on any of these (or other!) apps, we’d love to help!

Apr 23

Our Top 3 Websites for Free Stock Photo and Video

Marketing

Our Top 3 Websites for Free Stock Photo and Video

Looking for a quality stock image or video clip to use in your social media post? There are several paid options, such as Shutterstock and iStock, but free sites with high-resolution photos and videos are becoming more readily available. In this post, we’ll take a look at three of our favorites.

1. Pexels

We were surprised by both the quality and quantity of photos available on this website. Need a certain color image? Pexels features a color filter so you can sort based on what colors appear in the image. Video clips can also be downloaded from Pexels, but the options are somewhat limited currently. According to the Pexels website, all photos and videos published are free for personal and commercial purposes. 

  • Excellent quality images
  • Filter by color
  • Limited video options

2. Unsplash

The images curated here seem to have more of a dark, moody vibe in comparison to Pexels brighter-toned aesthetic. Depending on the look your brand is going for, Unsplash offers several high-quality images. You can use the search function or choose from any of the pre-selected categories along the top menu bar. 

  • High quality images
  • Enhanced category and collection search function
  • Aesthetic might not be suitable for your brand

3. Pixabay

Pixabay is laid out similarly to Pexels, but it features more illustrations and vector graphics for use in your projects. The quality of images on this site is varied, and the aesthetic is scattered compared to Pexels and Unsplash. However, the search function and filters appear to be more robust than the other websites so you might be able to find a suitable image more quickly. 

  • Features illustrations and vector images
  • Enhanced search function - easier to find images
  • Varied quality and aesthetic

Ready to take your social media marketing to the next level? Send us a message and let's get in touch.

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