Why Your Brand Matters When it Comes to Marketing

A good business brand tells consumers who you are and what you stand for as well as what you sell. Companies like McDonald’s, Kleenex, and Nike are synonymous with their products. If you think of social media, Facebook and Instagram probably come to mind. These companies have built their brand to not only exemplify their products but also their corporate philosophy. Take Nike, for example, their brand includes much more than just well-made sports gear and apparel. Nike is now recognized worldwide for its “just do it” mantra and its encouragement for customers and athletes to be all they can be. So what does a brand mean for your company?

What is a Brand?

Your brand is your corporate personality. Done well, it crosses all marketing channels, from print advertising to product packaging to digital marketing. It includes your logo, your packaging colors, the font on your name, and your slogan. Branding has been around since the days of the Egyptian pharaohs, but it has never been more relevant than it is today.

two colleagues interior designer discussing data and digital tablet and computer laptop with sample material on wooden desk as concept

Why Branding is Important?

Branding sets your company apart from other companies selling the same or similar products. It also lets consumers and potential customers know what your company stands for. For instance, do you appeal to a young and active clientele or is your corporate persona more elegant and formal? Branding can help you define your marketing niche and, when done well, it becomes a reflection of your products, like Nike and Kleenex.

Tips for Creating that Dynamic and Memorable Brand

So, how do you create this memorable brand? Below are a few things to consider:

1. Keep it simple.

The best brands are almost always those that are easy to read and comprehend. Whether your customers are scrolling through web pages or driving by billboards on the highway, you want them to understand you with a quick glance. Keeping your brand message short and sweet increases the odds that consumers will identify your company with that branding the next time they see it.

2. Avoid being trendy.

You want your brand to be memorable for decades, not just for today’s trendy moment. To do that, avoid getting caught up in the latest graphics or colors and, instead, make sure that your branding is truly representative of your corporate philosophy.

3. Be consistent.

Another key aspect of good branding is consistency. A good brand is consistent across all your marketing channels, including print, email marketing, social network, communications, and point of purchase.

Photo of light bulbs on wires with shining fibers in a shape of CREATIVITY concept related words isolated on black background

Creating a dynamic and memorable brand doesn’t have to be an impossible task, especially when you work with StratGrow! For the best–and most memorable–results, we can help you make sure that your branding accurately represents your company philosophy. To learn more about branding or our other digital marketing services, give us a call at 800-721-4953.

How Long Does it Take to Create Quality Social Media Content?

When it comes to digital marketing, social media content and social ads are no longer optional or a nice finishing touch. Today good social media content is essential. Taking a few minutes to haphazardly post or share without following a solid strategy just won’t pay off. With an ever-changing, increasingly targeted set of algorithms to deal with, the time spent on social media crafting posts, engaging followers, and targeting ad campaigns continues to grow every quarter. Learning the time and effort it takes to create social media content gives you a better idea of what to expect so you can strategically and effectively plan and execute campaigns.

What Goes into Quality Social Media Content?

First, you need to have a clearly defined strategy that speaks directly to your target prospects. Once you know who you are writing or creating for, you need to spend time crafting a mix of posts that are appealing and sharable. Both your posting frequency and your mix of promotional, educational, and entertaining content need to be considered as well. Curating sharable content, finding quality images that are legal to use, and tracking performance to gauge your audience’s reaction are all part of a sound social media strategy. Ideally, you’ll spend time each day analyzing, tweaking your content and strategy, and creating solid content that appeals to your core audience.

Short and Shareable Takes Time

Every social platform your brand uses has a different length requirement, but all need attention-grabbing, shareable content that gets results. It can take longer to craft short, intriguing, and interesting posts because every word and character has to perform. You need to be able to engage, connect, inform, and entertain your followers with quality content, and you only have so many words or characters with which to do so. Even platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, which offer a higher word count, only display the first few sentences, so your social media posts must make use of every single visible word. The more time you spend creating, editing, and testing content, the better your posts will perform.

 

A person uses social media on the phone and computer

Strategy Matters

Every post you make must follow a strategy designed to appeal to your specific targets and the platform it appears on. This approach ensures that you are truly making the most of your time and that you are reaching the people that matter most to your brand. Every post you make must move you closer to your goals and increase the likelihood that a prospect will take the next step into your sales funnel. Take the following steps to ensure your posts align with your brand and they bring the attention you want:

  • Research brand goals for the month and determine which products or services to feature
  • Research monthly news, holidays, and events so your posts align with holidays without competing
  • Review recent news posts from other, non-competing entities, like authority sites or recognizable professionals in your field
  • Research trending events, hashtags, and more to ensure you are part of trending conversations
  • Source high quality, relatable images that are legal to use; create branded images, pins and posts as needed
  • Review ad performance and tweak as needed; A/B testing may be used to refine ads and save money
  • Write copy for posts, making sure that each word counts and that the final post and image align with the branding
  • Schedule for optimal timing and optimal audience, with hashtags as needed

Make the Most of Your Time

While you do have to have high-quality social media content, the average person might find it intimidating. Luckily you do not have to do it alone! Work with a social media ads and strategy expert to consistently post good social media content that gets results without taking away from your precious minutes per day. Get it touch with the StratGrow team today to learn more about your options and to cut your time spent on social media while increasing your effectiveness.

Millennials sit on a wall and use their phones

The Importance of Using Landing Pages in your Digital Marketing Strategy

Landing pages can significantly increase your conversion rate, making them one of the most important parts of any digital marketing campaign. Understanding the role landing pages play in your sales funnel and how they work is essential if you want to make the most of this high-converting tool.

What is a Landing Page?

A landing page is a single web page that has a sole purpose—to get visitors to take an action and click a link. You may have one or more of these converting sales tools out there at a time, picking up leads for you. Most brands find that one page for each form of traffic provides the best results. Each of your traffic sources, including PPC, email campaigns, social pages and organic content should lead to a dedicated landing page tailored to match the offer the prospect responded to. Landing pages help give visitors a reason to buy and result in higher conversion rates than traffic sources alone.

How Can Landing Pages Help My Brand?the word "Branding" cut out of yellow paper

Creating a landing page that meets the expectations of the visitor who just clicked through helps to build both authority and trust for your brand (provided the page delivers as promised). An optimized landing page will be easy for the viewer to navigate and have a single option to choose from. With an optimized page that delivers as promised, you’ll find a significant improvement in conversions over your core, standard website.

Landing Pages Boost Email Marketing Conversions

If you are already maintaining a healthy subscriber list and seeing prospective customers open your emails, creating a dedicated landing page for each offer or promotion ensures that those “opens” turn into purchases. Leading a prospective customer who responded to a specific offer to your regular website can be confusing for the potential customer, not to mention overwhelming. Offering too many choices may actually decrease your conversions. People may become distracted by other details or items and could easily forget why they clicked your link in the first place—or worse, they may navigate away from your site entirely. Landing pages for specific campaigns keep prospects focused and ensure they see the offer they responded to when they arrive on a website.

Social Networks and Landing Pages

Creating landing pages for the products or services you’re advertising or showcasing on your social networks makes it easy for visitors to become buyers. They’ll find an optimized, detailed page for the offer they responded to when you use a sound landing page strategy for your digital marketing.

Landing Pages Increase Conversions

Man drawing exponential curve with the words Conversion Rate on top

Providing your prospects with more detailed information about the item or offer they responded to creates an easy way to move forward and will increase your conversion rate, which will increase your revenue. The easiest way to measure the effectiveness of a landing page for your brand is to test one out for yourself. Create a landing page specifically for traffic coming from search engines—then use the same ad to lead that traffic to your home page and compare the results. If your business is like most, you will see a significant difference in the conversion data between the two methods.

Get Help with Landing Pages and Other Digital Marketing Campaigns

Landing pages are an essential part of your digital marketing strategy, but they only perform well if they are easy to read, well-optimized and designed with conversions in mind. Let our team help you set up a high-converting page that gets results! Our expert team will help you quickly see what this powerful tool can do for your brand.

Marketing Online: Reaching Both Millennials and Baby Boomers 

They’re the two biggest generations in our lifetime — in fact, millennials just passed baby boomers as the largest living generation, according to The Washington Post. These groups are too big to ignore when it comes to your digital marketing strategy. Generational marketing is one way to reach specific prospects and buyers — but can you market to both at the same time? While the same ads and social media platforms won’t work for both groups, you can take steps to consolidate your efforts and make parts of your strategy work twice as hard to reach both millennials and baby boomers.

Optimize your Website for Everyone

Your online marketing strategy has one primary goal, which is getting prospects to your site and into your sales funnel. A great website will convert your visitors into buyers, no matter where they came from. Create a site for lead generation that features your branding, is fully optimized for mobile and has a high level of readability — and both generations will be happy to engage and interact with your brand.

Use Separate Landing Pages 

landing page on laptop computer

You can have multiple landing pages designed to appeal to different customers, so try creating one that reaches baby boomers and another that resonates with millennials. This is simply a matter of making some adjustments to copy and images that will appeal to each targeted group. Direct your prospects to the right landing page based on the social media ad or other digital marketing channel they have come from.

Find Common Ground for Both Targeted Groups

It’s no secret that millennials love video content, but baby boomers respond to video and images, too. Use this popular medium to capture the attention of both groups and your content will work harder for you. Use a single video for both groups or tweak the script and images slightly to appeal to each generation in separate content.

Segment your Email List

When it comes to email marketing, you can filter and segment your email list by location, past purchases, open rates and more. Try designating email lists by generation to help ensure you get the right offers in front of the right group of prospective customers or clients. This way, you’ll be able to target your best audience for your products or services.

Focus on Connections

Group of young people connecting and networking on cell phones

Studies reveal that a whopping 84% of tech savvy millennials don’t trust advertisements. It’s just a matter of time before prospective customers and clients from the baby boomer older generation grow weary of ads, as well. Focus your efforts on forging relationships online, engaging on preferred social media platforms, and making a personal connection with folks. Don’t focus on running easily ignored ads and avoiding the comments and interactions.

Social Media isn’t One-Size-Fits-All

These distinctly different target groups have opposing preferences when it comes to social media. Millennials tend to use Snapchat, Instagram and other visual channels on mobile devices the most — while older generations and baby boomers prefer Facebook and LinkedIn. Make sure to stay up-to-date with which platforms are most popular with each generation as you design content for your digital media.

Generating Targeted Marketing Content

Generational marketing can have a significant impact on your success and your conversion rates, whether you are targeting millennials, baby boomers or both. Taking the time to design a plan that reaches both of these huge groups will allow you to scale your online marketing efforts in the right direction for success. Not sure how to reach one group or the other? We can help! Be sure to reach out to our StratGrow team to see true results with our help.

5 Ways to Use Social Media Marketing to Increase Your Business Profits

Your business must have a social media marketing presence to be effective, but you can use your social media accounts for far more than just engagement. Used correctly, your social media channels can help increase sales, drive revenues, and improve the organic reach of your business. Here are our top methods of leveraging social media marketing for sales and revenue:

Drive Social Media Traffic to your Main Site 

While entertainment, engagement and relationships are the focal point of your social media strategy, you should also be using your social media channels to drive traffic to your main website. Your site is your primary selling tool—sending traffic from social media to a specific landing page designed with conversions in mind can help move prospects into and through your sales funnel. Tracking the posts that drive the most traffic to your websites also allows you to see which pieces resonate best with your target audience. Set these posts (or ones like them) to automatically enter your social feeds, even if you are not available to post.

Post to Social Media Consistently 
social media likes and comments increasing on desktop

Both your posting frequency and variety can contribute to your growth and sales success. If your accounts aren’t current, you post outdated information, or are just languishing, you can’t rely on that content to refer users to your site. No referrals means no leads for your sales team—and no sales for you. Make sure your social sites are optimized and updated with new content regularly to leverage them for sales.

Run Social Media Only Campaigns

Make select sales open to your followers only or try offering select social followers the first chance to buy your latest items. This is an effective strategy if you sell to consumers and have one strong social media platform and hope to develop another. Letting your Facebook followers know there’s a special deal available only on your Instagram page will drive traffic to your page and some of them will certainly take advantage of the social media campaign as an active user.

Promote your Opt-In

If you have a tempting opt-in for your email newsletter, make sure you promote it regularly on your social channels. Every person that opts in will enter your sales funnel and move one step closer to actually making a purchase. Change your opt-in reward regularly to offer new content and fresh opportunities for your followers, which will increase brand awareness.

Use Social Media as a Customer Service Opportunity 

social media brainstorm map, tweet, search, news, and more

Social media can boost your profits in more ways than one. If you’re accessible, customers can easily reach out to you with concerns. Handle these well and you’ll not only prevent the loss of a valuable account, you’ll show other followers how well you handle complaints and requests. Losing a customer or prospect can chip away at your profits, but savvy use of social media for your Tucson business can prevent losses and safeguard your revenues.

Your social media sites serve you best when they are part of a digital marketing strategy that incorporates all of your marketing efforts and is tailored to match your chosen audience. Contact us to learn more about creating a social media marketing strategy that will appeal to your target prospects, assist you in making the most of your existing social channels, and increase your profits.

 

Digital Marketing in Arizona and Beyond: The StratGrow Way

Your brand needs a robust and active online presence if you want to succeed in the current market. These days, it’s no longer enough to just have a website. While a content-rich, engaging, and up-to-date presence will help power your brand to the top of your field, implementing all these components and strategically positioning your business takes time, energy, and know-how. When you partner with an expert digital marketing brand, you can meet your marketing goals, generate leads, and boost revenues without taking time away from running your actual business.

Expert Digital Marketing in Arizona

Our StratGrow team is made up of industry experts who are waiting to help you solve your marketing challenges, generate as many leads as you can handle, and meet your marketing goals. Whether you need help with a specific area like social media marketing or assistance forming a competitive and effective marketing strategy, we can help.

Website Design

website design displayed on desktop computer, mobile phone, and tablet

The heart of your marketing plan is your website. If your site isn’t fully optimized, easy to use, and accessible on mobile devices, you are missing out on potential business. Since all of your marketing leads to your website, we can help you focus on creating an engaging and appealing site your visitors can’t resist.

Search Engine Mastery 

Your business needs to shine online — and even the best website in the world won’t help you if no one can find your site. We use a unique, data-driven process to ensure that your site and brand are easy to find. By implementing the latest SEO tactics and strategies, we help our clients reach those coveted front page rankings in Google. Without a sound SEO strategy and regular updates, your brand is missing out on prospective business and customers.

Social Media Marketing

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linked In, and other social media platforms are the newest way to get your business noticed and engage with customers. You know you need an engaging and involved presence, but do you have the time and interest to strategically grow your accounts? Our skilled social media experts offer the help you need to boost your brand’s visibility and make a real impression on potential customers. Whether you want to grow your existing presence or launch a new one, we can help.

Marketing Strategy

team working on outsourcing marketing

No in-house marketing team? No problem. Many of the brands that turn to us for help are large enough to need a marketing team but aren’t quite ready to hire one, in-house. When you work with our marketing consultants, you’ll get all the power of an experienced marketing team without the high price tag. If you aren’t sure where to begin, have tried several different methods without success, or simply lack the time to direct your marketing efforts, we can help.

Boost Revenues and Generate Leads for Your Arizona Business

It has never been easier to get your brand the attention it deserves. Partnering with the StratGrow team ensures that you’re perfectly positioned for success and that your efforts will be directed to the right place. By taking a data-driven, strategic approach, we ensure that you get the best possible ROI on your digital marketing investment. For help with your digital marketing in Arizona and beyond, get in touch with us today.

Our StratGrow Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy, Strategic Growth Advisors

Last updated: March 22, 2019

Strategic Growth Advisors (“we”) operates https://www.stratgrow.com/ (the “Site”). This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use and disclosure of Personal Information we receive from users of the Site.

We use your Personal Information only for providing and improving the Site. By using the Site, you agree to the collection and use of information in accordance with this policy.

Information Collection and Use

While using our Site, we may ask you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you. Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to your name, email address, and/or phone number (“Personal Information”).

Log Data

Like many site operators, we collect information that your browser sends whenever you visit our Site (“Log Data”).

This Log Data may include information such as your computer’s Internet Protocol (“IP”) address, browser type, browser version, the pages of our Site that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages and other statistics.

In addition, we may use third party services such as Google Analytics and Facebook that collect, monitor and analyze this information. Please see their individual privacy policies for more details about the data they may collect.

Communications

We may use your Personal Information to contact you with newsletters, marketing or promotional materials and other information that may help you improve your business.

Cookies

Cookies are files with small amounts of data, which may include an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a web site and stored on your computer’s hard drive.

Like many sites, we may use “cookies” to collect information. You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our Site.

Security

The security of your Personal Information is important to us. Please remember that no method of transmission over the Internet or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. While we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your Personal Information, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

Changes to This Privacy Policy

This Privacy Policy is effective as of March 22, 2019 and will remain in effect except with respect to any changes in its provisions in the future, which will be in effect immediately after being posted to this page.

We reserve the right to update or change our Privacy Policy at any time and recommend checking this Privacy Policy periodically for updates or changes. Your continued use of the Service after we post any modifications to the Privacy Policy on this page will constitute your acknowledgment of the modifications and your consent to abide and be bound by the modified Privacy Policy.

If we make any material changes to this Privacy Policy, we will notify you either through the email address you have provided us, or by placing a prominent notice on our website.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, please contact us.

 

 

The Best Social Media Practices for Your Business

Is it time to stop winging your social media? Time to see some real results? Your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets can serve as a very effective part of your digital marketing strategy. One which saves you time and money and focuses your efforts on a targeted audience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In a recent survey of digital businesses, 64% of respondents said that the decline in organic reach online was a huge challenge for their business, moving forward. In order to keep up, many of these companies have had to increase their online ad budgets in order to reach the same number of people online.

This method, however, isn’t necessarily the way to go. Paid advertisements on websites can definitely help increase reach and brand awareness as the number of posts and content increase on the web, but it’s more important to stay up-to-date. To learn current social media algorithms, how to best target your content, and get it in front of your ideal audience. Here are a few best practices to consider when doing social media for business in 2019:

Use Social Media for Real-Time Responses

man looking at social media data analysis

When someone comments on your content, these prospective customers expect quick responses to queries. A Millward Brown study commissioned by Lithium states that 53 percent of Twitter clients expect that a response will arrive in less than 60 minutes. If a client has a complaint, the number goes up to 72 percent!

StratGrow Pro Tip: Have someone monitoring your social media platforms for messages, comments, reviews, and more. With the right help and automation, you can drastically cut down your average response time on social media and create a personal connection.

Get Complete Buy-in From Your Organization

In order to really create a viable social media presence and digital marketing plan, it’s important to have buy-in from all of your decision-makers in the business. If your CFO believes in paid ads, but your CEO believes in organic traffic and real-time responses, much of your team won’t have the patience for an organic marketing strategy if they believe funds will do the trick rather than content and management. Organic marketing strategies tend to take longer but cost less overall.

StratGrow Pro Tip: Ensure that your entire marketing team is on the same page. Share recent articles regarding best practices for social media from entrepreneurial publications such as Forbes Magazine.

Dive Deeper into the Analytics and Data

social media marketing data analysis

Gartner finds that only 1% of companies who use Instagram Stories and similar social media tools do a deep dive into the insights, analytics and data! What a waste of precious marketing results! As it turns out, the further you go into that data, the more you’ll know about what works. This also makes social media marketing more fun overall!

By digging a little deeper, no longer will you have to guess what the next marketing campaign should be – oftentimes you’ll get the best ideas from a Facebook conversation or an Instagram comment thread.

StratGrow Pro Tip: Take the time to look through analytics and data on all social media platforms to recognize trends and discover what works. Use that information to help you plan future campaigns.

Understand Different Social Platforms and How they Work

Facebook is meant for a different audience than Instagram, which is meant for a different audience than LinkedIn, and so on. If you want to know who is using which platforms, start with Pew Research statistics. Using those stats, you’ll be able to see who visits each website. Instagram, for example, attracts a much younger audience than Facebook. LinkedIn attracts business to business specialists, as well as small business owners looking to network and make a name for themselves.

StratGrow Pro Tip:

Have Fun with Your Social Media Marketing

Try a few of our social media tips and you’ll soon find an entirely new audience at your fingertips. Social media for businesses is relatively new but the key is to be creative, patient, and do lots of planning ahead. If you need help with your social media marketing, website, SEO, or digital marketing campaigns, be sure to get ahold of our expert team here at Strategic Growth Advisors. We’re here when you need us!

Why is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so Important for Business?

How do you improve your SEO (search engine optimization), and why is it so important for your company? Getting your website and web content in front of as many eyes as possible is the first step to improving your website’s online traffic. People aren’t going to consider the content they never see. An estimated 67 thousand searches are done on Google every second—wow! This is a lot of searches, making it a huge opportunity for you and your business! It’s important to have your content come up in front of the right people at the right time—those folks who are trying to find the things you offer. Here are just a few reasons SEO is so important:

SEO Helps People Find You

magnifying glass scanning and finding

When you are driving down a busy road, what makes you decide which restaurant or business you will stop and visit? Is it the one with the great signs and marketing that direct the way, or the one hidden off the highway that you don’t know about?

In the virtual world, your online marketing content will act as your storefront, signage, and billboards. Your individual web pages will sit along the “digital highway” and catch the attention of people as they browse by. The more content you have out there across the expanse of the internet, the more opportunities you’ll have to get your “sign” in front of someone who’s actually looking for you and your services.

SEO Equals Higher Search Engine Rankings

Search engine optimization is created by building your website and content to improve your rankings in search results. When someone searches for something similar to one of your content pieces, the ultimate goal is to come up first in online search results. This makes SEO important, as the higher on the search list you are, the more likely your content will be clicked on by users since they’ll see your website before so many others.

The important thing to remember about SEO is that search engines really want to provide their users with value. Search engines’ algorithms are set to find sites that offer value, relevant content, and information from experts that match the search query. A search engine sends out “bots” to crawl through a website’s code and determine the authority. The goal is to avoid pages with old, repetitive, or low-quality content and to find the best of the best. The algorithms of SEO change frequently and aren’t something to figure out easily, especially because they’re always changing.

SEO Will Help Draw in Qualified Traffic

agent answering couple's questions

The best way to get people to click on your content is to provide answers to their questions. Think about the frequently asked questions you get from customers and clients. Answering these in-depth on your website is a great place to start, as it shows off your expertise. Include images to increase visual engagement and keep users on the webpage longer. It’s also helpful to include links that allow visitors to go to industry authorities and view other content related to your business on your site. This way, you’ll increase qualified traffic with content your target audience is actively searching for.

SEO Gets People to the Right Place in the Sales Funnel

The average modern search engine visitor is searching for answers to their questions. Business SEO will help your website content act as a sales funnel, moving these people toward a sale with you, no matter where they began their process. With high-quality, SEO-friendly, and user-driven content, you will prove to be an authority in your industry and keep potential customers coming back for more.

Need more help? Contact us today! At Strategic Growth Advisors, we’ll help you find and improve the parts of your website that may need some SEO assistance and digital marketing strategy. We look forward to chatting with you soon!

Why Consistent Content is Your Website’s Best Friend

You’ve worked hard on your website. After countless decisions regarding tabs, pictures, and overall layout, you breathe a sigh of relief when the site launches because you think your work is done.

Unfortunately, it isn’t. If you want to make the most out of your website and ensure that Google looks upon it favorably, you must write consistent and engaging content.

Say Hello, SEO

girl on cell phone at cafe looking at high SEO content

The Google elves are constantly crawling your website to see if it provides a user-friendly experience. If the site doesn’t please the elves, they will not let anyone pass. In other words, your site won’t rank well in search engine results and people will have a much harder time finding it. You did put a lot of time and effort into creating your website, which is why you want to be sure that people will see it! One of the best ways to keep the Google elves happy and to get good placement on search engine results pages (SERPs) is to continuously create interesting and engaging content for readers to enjoy. Keep your tone informative but conversational. When there’s a lot of alluring content on your website, it gives people a reason to keep visiting your page.

Let Your Expertise Shine

Another benefit of creating consistent content for your website is that it gives you a chance to show off your skillset and become a thought leader in your field. Whether you own a plumbing company or a medical office, creating content provides you with an opportunity to show clients and peers just how much you know your stuff.  If you’re having trouble thinking of topics to write about, try to come up with a list of some of the most frequently asked questions you hear. These can be used to create a helpful blog to answer questions for the masses. The more consistently you generate content, the more resources your audience will be able to access. In turn, this will create a relationship where followers will trust you as an expert in your field.

Build Meaningful Relationships

friends looking at at content on computer, amazed faces

Content curation is an effective way to open lines of communication between you and your audience. Whether someone is passively reading your writing or actively engaging by commenting, when you create blogs, posts, and videos, it makes them feel like you’re conversing with them directly. This allows you to build meaningful relationships that lead to new and repeat customers for your business.

Jump In, the Content is Fine

If you don’t have much experience writing, it can seem scary to jump headfirst into the pool of content creation. Have no fear, your friends at Strategic Growth Advisors are here to give you some tips that will make the creation process simple and effective:

  • Don’t Overcomplicate It: Blogs and other forms of content aren’t meant to be in-depth scholarly articles. If you need to create an outline before you write, make a simple document with a few key points and then use each paragraph to fill in the details about the point. Take whatever steps you need to simplify the process for yourself.
  • Get Help Editing: Even if you are a professional writer, it’s always a good idea to ask someone you trust to look over your work. They can help you find grammar mistakes and awkward wording you may have missed. If you can’t find anyone to edit for you, read the piece aloud. Hearing it is always a great way to find issues you didn’t see when reading through it.

 

woman editing on computer

 

  • Use Some Tutorials: If you’re really struggling with getting started, check out some how-to articles for help. Resources like Forbes, Moz.com, and Sproutsocial.com have plenty of articles with blog writing tips.
  • Hire Someone to Do It for You: If the thought of content creation stresses you out so much you can’t sleep at night, maybe it’s something you should outsource to someone else. Finding the right company to create your content allows you to reap all the benefits of website content without the stress.

Strategic Growth Advisors is here to help you with all your content and digital marketing needs. We know what it takes to grow your website and your business and would love to chat with you about all we have to offer.

Why Does the Quality of Digital Content Matter?

If you’ve ever done research regarding digital marketing, you’ve no doubt seen the phrase “high-quality content.” This term is used so often that it’s become a commonly used term in the industry and much more than just a buzzword. It’s important to digital content and business marketing, as it has quickly become the core of digital marketing strategy and internet content.

The quality of digital content is not only assessed by people browsing your website, it’s also rated by online companies, search engines, and apps such as Google and Facebook. Their fancy algorithms determine how often your company’s content is seen, where it ranks in searches, and more—which impacts your business, income, and overall success in the digital market.

But what is quality content and why does it matter? Let’s take a look:

What Is High-Quality Content?

The quality of website content, social media content, and other digital content is measured by different standards depending on the platform. Each software program uses a different mathematical equation which can include length, keywords, website links, niche, industry, type of content, target audience, and so much more! Since potential customers and clients measure content differently than algorithms, it’s important to create content for both Google and your average person. It’s a balancing act, to be sure.

Why High-Quality Content Matters

At its core, high-quality content matters for two reasons: the impression you give readers about your company and the way Google ranks your pages and posts. You want your audience to see you as an authority in your field because it makes them more likely to trust and use your company. You want Google to give you a high ranking because you don’t want it to be a to struggle to find your online presence.

Without high-quality digital content, your bottom line may suffer, even if you can’t see the process. It will also impact your brand image and your influence in your industry. While creating this content isn’t easy, it isn’t something you can afford to ignore.

The Perfect Length for Digital Content

lady reading tablet

The perfect length for internet content is a bit of a Goldilocks situation—have content that’s too long, and you’ll lose the attention of your readers. Too short, and Google will punish you in search engine rankings. A good range to target is 500-1,000 words for web pages, blog posts, and other long-form content. For social media, you’ll need to follow the best practices for the platform you’re on. Always cut unnecessary fillers and flowery language, as quality content is engaging and meaningful. Use long-tail keywords and links to mobile-friendly content for the best in digital content.

Use the Right Format

Too often, when people go DIY with their digital marketing strategy they treat their content like they did their essays in school: a title followed by five paragraphs. We’re sorry to say that this is not high-quality content, nor is it engaging. Digital content can’t be a wall of text, it must be broken up by headings, subheadings, and sometimes even bullet points. This is something both Google and readers look for when assessing how good online content is. It must be easy to scan, read, and get the information you’re looking for.

Visual Content is Everyone’s Favorite

While you can’t forgo written content entirely, words alone aren’t enough. More and more, internet users are visual consumers. They assess the quality of digital content by how easy it is for them to take in. Images, infographics, and videos are all ways that make it easier for people to consume your content without having to read a lot of text. In fact, this can be the key to finding a balance between the lengthy content Google prefers and the shorter content mobile users want—to write longer content but break it up with visual imagery and information. Studies have shown that content with engaging visuals consistently outperforms text-only digital content.

Not all visuals are quality visuals, so it’s important to keep a few details in mind as you find and use visual imagery. Before you include any in your content, make sure it’s:

  • Related to your content and text
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Shareable
  • Engaging/Interesting
  • Unique content (not copied/repeated)
  • Technically correct and up-to-date
  • Shareable

Good Writing Always Wins

While a lot has changed when it comes to communication in the digital age, the markers of good writing remain the same. All quality content should feature proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and be coherent. This is still true today. If your writing contains numerous errors or is difficult to follow, readers will be turned off and Google will punish your content by putting it at the end of search lists.

Internal and External Links on Websites

website links button on computer

Google is how your average reader finds your site, and it needs multiple website links in a page’s text to rank content highly. Digital content needs to have both links to internal webpages—on your business’s website, and external links—to outside sources. Much like research papers in school, the idea is that linking to content from multiple, reputable sources creates the most reliable and best content. Not just any links will do, as they also must be high-quality content. Write what you know and link to reputable sources. This proves to Google that you know what you’re talking about.

Share Your Expertise

Both Google and readers prefer content that’s written by someone who is clearly an expert on the topic at hand. Credentials, confidence, and clarity are super important when it comes to digital content. People don’t trust “experts” who seem unsure or doubt their own abilities. Clear and concise language that gets to the point is always best when it comes to digital content, otherwise, it’s less likely to be seen.

Moderated Comments

It can be tempting to turn comments off on your blog, but this isn’t always the best choice. Readers want to be able to comment and interact with you and your content. When Google looks at content, the algorithms specifically look for sites with the commenting feature enabled. The catch here is that it’s also important to monitor and moderate the comments in order for this to work. Both Google and readers recognize spam comments, which can appear unprofessional. Show you care about your site and content by setting comments to require approval and filter out the spam. This will require regular maintenance of your notification emails and the content itself.

Offer Something of Value in Your Content

College students using laptop while sitting at table.

Readers specifically seek out content that provides them with value—that benefits them in some way. If they feel like they haven’t learned or gained something after reading a blog post or web page, they may feel disappointed. Those feelings can become attached to your brand in their minds. Offer clear value to your readers in one of the following ways:

  • Solve a problem your readers are likely to have
  • Answer a question they might be seeking an answer to
  • Bring some entertainment to their day
  • Give a unique or expert perspective on an issue

Create Your own Content

Unless your readers are doing heavy research on the topic you’re writing about, they probably won’t notice if you’re copying another site’s content—but the internet will. Google’s algorithms specifically look for similarities between pages and posts and will penalize the newer content. Feel free to research online, use links, site sources, and share ideas, but write your own text to make sure that you’re creating high-quality digital content. What you produce must be unique.

What High-Quality Content is NOT:

High-quality digital content is tricky to create. Here are some items to note, which are red flags for NOT being high-quality content:

Length for Google Alone

Google loves long-form content and it would seem that the longer, the better would apply here but mobile devices, on the other hand, aren’t big fans of long content. They require too much scrolling and display space. Given that the majority of readers are using mobile devices, it’s best not to design content for Google alone. While it might seem right to make Google happy, you can’t sacrifice a good experience for readers left to scroll through long posts—just to find an answer to their question.

Visuals for the Sake of Visuals

The days of the pointless stock images are over. If you’re going to include visuals—which you should—they must be meaningful. Stock images that have been used by thousands—if not more—can be too generic to add value to your content.

Content for the Sake of Content

Keep your website content and blog updated. No one will trust you as an authority figure in your field if your last blog post was months ago. While you don’t want to create content just for the sake of having it, remember that everything you create must give value to your reader. If your only concern is having a post up, it’s okay to skip a week until you can create something of value for your readers.

Too Many Visuals, Links, Etc.

lady on laptop with unhappy face

Finally, there can be too much of a good thing. You know you need visuals, links, subheadings, and other items for your content to be considered quality content. All things in moderation—don’t overload your readers.

Signs You Should Be Concerned About Your Content

If you’re still uncertain about the quality of your content, look for the following signs that it may need improvement:

  • When you go over your content, you sit back and think it’s “good enough” rather than “great!”
  • Your content feels like a diary entry rather than informative content.
  • Nobody is commenting on your posts or engaging on social media.
  • You feel as though you don’t understand your audience.
  • Data shows that visitors leave your site in two minutes or less.
  • Creating each post takes very little time, indicating a lack of care and research.
  • SEO is a bigger focus for you than good writing.
  • There is no core theme to your posts—nothing that unites them.
  • You can’t articulate how your content benefits people.

Getting Help with Digital Content

As a business owner, you’re already an expert in your industry—it’s impossible to also be a digital marketing expert! Rather than going it alone, turn to digital marketing experts like our team here at StratGrow. We can help to craft complete campaigns that include websites, blog posts, social media, ads, and more. You’ll get the benefit of expert guidance as well as more free time to work on what matters most to you—your business.

For assistance with your digital marketing strategy, contact us at StratGrow. We know the ins and outs of both the Tucson area and digital marketing, making us the ideal team to help you in this digital age.

Upcoming Digital Marketing Trends for 2019

The world of digital marketing is constantly in flux. New technologies emerge, customer habits change, and businesses that don’t stay up-to-date are left in the dust. Embracing digital marketing trends is vital to survival in the modern age. With 2018 quickly coming to a close, now is the ideal time to take a look at what’s going to be hot in digital marketing in 2019.

phone and forms of social media listed

Brand Authenticity

Social media got its start as a way for people around the globe to connect to each other in authentic ways. Now, it’s also saturated with brands and their marketing efforts. While the focus of social media has evolved for businesses, the desire for authenticity has not. If you’re using social media marketing in 2019—and you certainly should be—make certain you’re using it in an authentic manner to share your brand. Modern consumers hate sales pitches and want to know what sets your brand apart.

Voice Search Results

When cell phones rose to prominence, people complained about the decrease of talking on the phone and the increase of texting. Now talking has become popular again—with smart devices. According to statistics released by Google, about one third of all searches it performs each day are generated by voice commands, which is expected to rise to 50 percent by 2020.

Voice search results are far more limited than those from traditional searches. Rather than having pages to choose from, you get an average of one to three options. This means that a major trend for digital marketing in 2019 will be stepping up your SEO game so your business will appear in this limited search.

Artificial Intelligence

businessman on tablet

In 2019, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to rise. The most common use for artificial intelligence is chatbots, which allows brands to improve their response time and overall customer service without the increased overhead of hiring lots of customer service representatives. Compared to earlier versions, current chatbots are much more responsive and lifelike. They can maintain your branding and values and even inject humor into their interactions with customers and clients. Chatbots have moved past the limitations of websites and can now be integrated into apps and social media. If you’ve been wanting to improve your response time to online messages or requests, chatbots are key.

AI is more than just chatbots—it’s also a data collector. Look to the future for AI to really drive marketing decisions such as advertisement content, placement, and timing. In 2019, data gathering tools are expected to greatly improve.

Augmented/Virtual Reality

In the past, consumers were happy to passively consume marketing. All of the content went in one direction—from the marketer to them. Nowadays, consumers want to be involved. If a brand isn’t engaging them and making them an active participant, they don’t just get bored—they feel undervalued. That’s why some of the biggest digital marketing trends in 2019 are augmented reality and virtual reality.

Unlike most of the other trends on this list, this is one that’s dominated by larger businesses. This means using it as a smaller or local business can have a massive impact. It elevates your brand image and puts ahead of the trend. Augmented and virtual reality aren’t as easy to implement on your own as other digital marketing options, so you’ll want to partner with a digital and social media marketing specialist for this task.

Social Media Saturation

This social media marketing trend for 2019 will be as strong as ever, which means it will be important to pay attention and stay updated with changes through the year. When a business lacks social media presence, a large majority of customers seem to think it lacks legitimacy and that percentage grows with every passing year. Upwards of 95 percent of U.S. adults are active on at least one social media platform.

These days, it’s no longer enough to just have a Facebook page. Customers are looking for brand presence on multiple platforms, especially as other social media platforms grow and expand. 2019 is the year to master your best practices for multiple social media platforms. It’s the perfect time to make the most of social media marketing trends, which may require hiring an expert to manage your social media marketing.

Personalized Touches

customization

For digital marketing and social media in 2019, personalized touches are central to getting better results. In the past, this meant things like using subscribers’ names in email subject lines, but—as is the case with most things in digital marketing—personalization has evolved. Those personal addresses in subject lines just don’t cut it anymore.

Now, personalization is driven by data surrounding customer behavior. If you aren’t sure what this looks like, just log into your Netflix or Amazon account and you’ll see it—recommendations based on past viewing or past purchases. That isn’t all—even the banners, selection order, images, and text are customized based on your past behavior. If you can harness this personalization as a smaller brand, you are bound to see some amazing results!

Video Marketing and Streaming

Marketing has always been visually driven, but static images aren’t as powerful as they once were—due to the popularity of video content. Over half of all U.S. adults watch video content on a daily basis and it’s estimated that videos will account for 85 percent of all internet traffic in the United States by 2020. While a lot of that video watching occurs on YouTube, it isn’t the only place consumers are watching brand content. Just take a look at any social media platform that supports video uploads and streaming, and you’ll see how much video content is floating through everyone’s feeds.

Streaming is a growing social media marketing trend for 2019, as well. Facebook Live, YouTube streams, and other forms of live broadcasts have gained significant popularity over the course of 2018—a trend that will definitely continue through 2019. It can be used for interviews, question and answer sessions, product demonstrations, and more.

Influencer Marketing

coworkers in office at computer

Here’s another ongoing trend that won’t be going away anytime soon. Influencer marketing has been the king of social media marketing for several years now. The idea of influencer marketing can be intimidating, but brands should keep in mind that not all influencers are celebrities. In fact, the most effective influencers aren’t.

Driven by the desire for authenticity, consumers look for influencers who feel real and accessible. Micro-influencers often deliver a better return on investment than mega influencers because they’re able to have a direct relationship with their followers, which ensures engagement. If you’re targeting a specific market, look for local influencers to give your business that extra feeling of authentic connection.

Social Stories

Social media stories are practically tailor-made for digital marketing. Fear of missing out—or FOMO—is a powerful motivator for consumers, and since social media stories disappear after a short while—usually in 24 hours—people must view them before it’s gone. This concept originated on Snapchat but has expanded to other platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Stories can feature both photos and videos and present brands with the opportunity to showcase authenticity, promote limited-time deals, introduce new products, and more. Since they’re temporary, more risks can be taken than with regular content. If you’re looking to experiment a bit with your marketing efforts, this is a great way to do so.

Interactive Ads

Interactive ads call for direct customer interaction, and they’re irresistible! For the folks that can’t pass up a BuzzFeed quiz to find out what kind of coffee drink they are, being given the chance to virtually “try on” a lipstick or hair color—or choose their own adventure is a treat. In addition to getting consumers to interact with your brand, these ads can help you gather metrics and data you can use to tailor your overall marketing approach.

Unlike most digital marketing techniques, this is one you can easily carry over into your storefront if you have smart displays, tablets, or other devices that customers can use. As such, it’s extremely flexible and an ideal way to get in on a 2019 digital marketing trend.

Digital media marketing is a complex and ever-changing business. Rather than going it alone, allow our expert digital marketing team to help you.

What Makes a Website Mobile-Friendly?

When you watch science fiction of yesteryear, it’s easy to laugh at what people imagined the future would be like, or to feel a bit indignant about what we wish we had—hoverboards, anyone? While we may not have flying cars or cities in the sky, we do have something pretty incredible: supercomputers that we carry around in our pockets.

Smartphones have changed a lot over the last decade—from the way we keep in touch with friends and family to the way we share information. For businesses, things have radically transformed when it comes to the way we browse the web. Nowadays, having a mobile-friendly website design is key to business success. Now is definitely the time to get started if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site.

Why Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly

In many countries, the number of smartphones in use has surpassed the number of personal computers. Even in countries where desktops still outnumber mobile smart devices, mobile devices have much higher amounts of usage. In the United States, for example, 63 percent of all web traffic in 2017 came from mobile devices. When people want to do a quick search, no matter their location, they are more likely to use their phone or tablet than to head to their desk to use their laptop or desktop.

The question is—what does this mean for your business? In essence, when someone has a need for the products or services you offer, chances are they’re going to pull their phone out of their pocket and Google some keywords related to your business. Next, they’ll click on the links their search returns, hoping to find the best option for them. The first thing they’ll notice when they click on your link is your website and the design of the page.

You might be thinking that your website design is great and doesn’t need improvement. You or your web designer may have spent hours at the computer agonizing over every little detail, making certain that the layout was intuitive, the graphics gripping, and the content stellar. This is amazing but skips over a very important fact: mobile devices display pages differently than laptops and desktops.

Viewing a non-mobile-friendly version of a website on a smart device is frustrating at best. Most times you have to zoom in to be able to read the words and scroll from side to side to finish reading a sentence. Images, videos, and graphics look terrible and things tend to get buggy. The experience is so terrible that there’s only one likely outcome: the reader will leave the site and go on to find another option they can easily browse on their device.

As a business, this is devastating. Every reader who clicks on your website is a potential customer. If they click away from your website, that’s business lost. Should they then go to a competitor, that’s potential business you just handed over.

Part of any good digital marketing strategy is having the best website—no matter how it’s being viewed and on what device. If yours isn’t yet a mobile-friendly site, now is the time to make that happen.

Determining if Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly

If you’ve ever viewed your site on a phone or tablet, you most likely already know if you have a mobile-friendly website or not. Assuming you only view your site on a personal computer, you have two options to find out if your website already offers a mobile-friendly version: get on a smart device and check or use Google’s Webmaster Tool. To use Google’s tool, simply insert your URL into the text field and let it analyze your site. Within a few seconds, you’ll have your answer. If the results show that you don’t have the best website for mobile viewing, you’ll need to correct this issue as soon as possible.

What Makes a Website Mobile-Friendly

In theory, making a mobile-friendly version of a website should be easy. You squish it all down, then adjust the size of things so it all displays correctly and beautifully—right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case when it comes to website design. When you move from theory to practice, things are much more complicated. There’s a lot that goes into designing a mobile-friendly site. Below are just a few of the factors that must be considered.

Speed

The average internet user has changed a lot since we first started browsing the World Wide Web. In the ‘90s, we were fine with waiting minutes for our computers to connect to the internet. Websites could take minutes to load, and we didn’t question taking hours just to download some music.
In 2018, our patience is no longer so endless. Rather than expecting slow loading times and happily waiting for a given page to slowly fill the screen, modern users will wait two seconds or less for a site to load. If it isn’t ready within that timeframe, they’re likely to click away and find a more responsive site.

Security

Modern internet users are savvy individuals who are aware of the various scams and risks they can get caught up in online. With any website, they’re always looking for important security features. If they fail to find them—or Google points out that these security features are missing—they’ll leave. This is even more true when it comes to eCommerce websites.

No matter how secure your payment methods are if your website isn’t properly secured through HTTPS with an SSL certificate, customers will be hesitant about spending money on your site. Keep in mind that even if you don’t accept payment through your site, without these security measures, many mobile users will not be able to view your site. Google Chrome is the most commonly used mobile browser and its security alerts make it difficult to access non-secure sites.

Mobile-First

When researching mobile website design, there are two terms you’re likely to come across: mobile-responsive and mobile-friendly. Oftentimes, they are used interchangeably, but in reality, they refer to two different things. What’s the difference?

Mobile-Responsive Website Design: Code in the website script automatically resizes the desktop version of the website when viewed on a mobile device, squishing things down and often requiring zooming to read the text.

Mobile-Friendly Website Design: A mobile-friendly version of the desktop website that’s fully designed for viewing on smart devices. Rather than shrinking down the desktop website to fit smaller screens, each element of the site is selected specifically for optimal viewing and function when using a smart device.

If your goal is to engage viewers and get them to select your business—and that certainly is the goal—you’ll need a mobile-friendly design, not just one that’s mobile-responsive.

Flexibility

Not every smart device is the same. If you’ve ever struggled to shop for a smartphone or tablet, you know this well. If your website is truly optimized for mobile viewing, it must be flexible enough to run optimally on many different devices. In order for this to happen, the site must be able to determine specific characteristics of the device it’s being viewed on.

Mobile devices, for example, come in many different sizes. Something that displays well on a large iPad may not look so nice on a small smart phone. Mobile-friendly websites can automatically adjust to the size of the device viewing it—if the right protocols are put in place. In this case, this means it will “ask” the device how large it is, then adjust the display settings to suit the screen. A mobile-friendly website will also configure images to display correctly, which is essential when your products and services are being shown.

Simplicity

Not all that long ago, good website design meant complex layouts with multiple dropdown sections lining the top of the screen. For a desktop viewing experience, that’s fine—though a bit outdated. When viewing a website on a mobile device, things are much different nowadays.

The main thing mobile viewers want is simplicity. Simple designs load faster, are easier to read, and are easier to navigate. They facilitate ease of use and place the bars and tabs discreetly to the side, often hidden away unless clicked on. Colors are likewise unassuming, preventing things from becoming too busy or having contrasting colors that impact readability.

In essence, you want your mobile site to be described as simple, chic, readable, and intuitive. Fun, fancy, and flashy are no longer desirable adjectives when it comes to your website.

Fonts

It’s always tempting to play around with fonts. We understand the temptation; there are so many options out there and using a unique option is sure to make you stand out from your competitors. Unfortunately, unique and custom fonts—except for perhaps in a banner—don’t help you stand out in a good way.

The internet generation is very particular about its fonts. Comic Sans is pretty much universally detested and Papyrus isn’t acceptable outside of Avatar posters. Rather than opting for a more unusual choice, stick to the classics as they read best on mobile devices. Should you be unsure when it comes to some classic options, choose a font that’s Sans Serif—these fonts are easiest to read, especially for programs and apps that assist people with disabilities.

Ultimately, mobile-friendly website design is central to any digital marketing strategy but isn’t always easy to execute. If you’re struggling with creating a mobile version of your website, be sure to contact our team at Strategic Growth Advisors. We’re experienced marketing consultants who are experts in marketing and technology and can help you make the most of your digital marketing strategy.

8 Tips for Running an Effective Digital Holiday Marketing Campaign

At a personal level, the holidays are the time of year to slow down, spend more time with family, and appreciate the little things. Professionally, the holidays are the time of year to up your game and get your share of the November-to-December nationwide shopping spree. One way to do this is to run an effective holiday digital marketing campaign.

It’s the Most Lucrative Time of the Year

Just how lucrative is it? In a matter of weeks, the American economy sees $3.19 trillion in revenue thanks to everyone purchasing holiday gifts, as well as little “holiday” purchases for themselves while on the hunt. That’s a lot of zeros! Nowadays it’s easier than ever for smaller brands and local businesses to see the impact of their holiday marketing. Holiday marketing campaigns can take place completely online while reaching thousands—even millions of people—yet staying within a small business budget. Getting the results you want means executing the campaign for maximum benefit. How can this be done? With just a few tips for running an effective holiday social media campaign.

Tip One: Start Early

How early should you start? It’s best to start planning as far back as September, or even earlier. If this means you’re already a few months behind the ideal timeline, you’ll want to dig into your holiday digital marketing planning as soon as possible. While more time is better, it isn’t too late to pull together something great. Focus on the holidays and special days that are still ahead—maybe that’s Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the 12 Days of Christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Next year you can start planning earlier in the year and include other days if you wish, such as Halloween and Day of the Dead.

Tip Two: Make a Holiday Hashtag

Or several hashtags, in fact. Different types of hashtags tend to perform well on different social media platforms, and some platforms see more success when multiple hashtags are used in one post. Creating a branded holiday hashtag or two can double your holiday social media campaign engagement, giving you better engagement and profits throughout the holiday season.

Keep in mind that the word “branded” is key to making this campaign a success. While you can use generic hashtags such as #happyholidays, #gobblegobble, and #2019 on platforms like Instagram, these aren’t the hashtags that will generate significant results for you. You’ll need special hashtags that incorporate your brand, relate to your brand, and are used consistently across social media platforms.

Tip Three: Run a Contest

People love to enter contests, especially festive ones. They’re hoping for the thrill of winning. The beauty of an online contest is that the prize doesn’t need to be anything too extravagant. Sure, people get more excited by a free vacation than a few product samples, but you can easily find the middle ground and still get incredible holiday marketing results.

Our suggestion? Frame the contest around the idea of gifts. Whether the prize is a product or service from your company that can be given as a gift or as a gift for the winner, this is the season of giving. This makes the contest festive and exciting to take part in.

Tip Four: Toss in a Free Gift with Purchase

This is a classic holiday marketing campaign strategy. Head to the nearest department store and you’ll see numerous signs encouraging customers to purchase a specific product by offering a second, smaller product as a “free gift” with purchase. This tactic can be risky, however—by giving away something for free, you won’t be making any profit on that “free” item. You must be very calculated in what the free gift is in order for this method to be a success. Some ways to make this work for you include:

  •  Making the free item a gift card or certificate, which encourages buyers to purchase from you again in the future
  •  Giving multiple samples as the gift rather than something full size
  • Setting a specific dollar amount that must be spent in order to receive the gift
  • Offering a small service for free, one that takes minimal time but encourages further spending

By doing the needed math ahead of time, you’ll find an option that encourages customers to spend more in order to get that little something extra.

Tip Five: Go Interactive

Chances are the majority of the content you create is static in nature: your audience interacts by reading, liking, and sharing your content. Making content interactive can be difficult but guarantees that the novelty factor won’t wear off as quickly. To get the best results from your holiday social media campaign, be certain to work several interactive elements into your plan.

Interactive content has been found to generate twice the conversations of static content and up to five times the page views, but it also takes more effort to create and manage on your part. Here are some inspiring ways to incorporate interactive elements into your holiday digital marketing:

  •  Make a holiday-themed quiz
  • Ask your audience to vote on which product or service they would most like to receive as a gift
  • Post holiday-themed questions and ask your audience to respond to them
  • Prompt your followers to describe their typical holiday experience using a GIF

While there are many more options you can employ, don’t be afraid to get creative. Just make certain that whatever option you select, you’ll be able to tie it into your business.

Tip Six: Look to the Legends

When crafting your marketing campaign, take time to study the masters of the craft. Look at past holiday campaigns from traditional media as well as digital campaigns—both will give you vital insights that you can apply to your own holiday marketing. Keep in mind that these should simply serve as inspiration—directly copying a successful campaign won’t get you the results you want to achieve (since each business is different) and—in fact—could get you into legal trouble. Some holiday marketing campaigns to glance at are:

  •  John Lewis Holiday Adverts: This one is a yearly holiday tradition in the UK. John Lewis releases one memorable holiday-themed advertisement every year and entire nations wait with bated breath for it. They’re masters of storytelling, something which you may be able to harness in your own campaign.
  • Tide’s #scaredstainless: This Halloween campaign from 2013 is one of the earliest successes in social media marketing by a major brand. Launched on the now-defunct Vine, the company created six-second clips based on famous horror films, spotlighting their products in each one. It was fun, relevant, and perfect for the platform they used.
  • Walmart #wellwishes: With this holiday campaign, Walmart took advantage of the giving spirit and turned it into both profit and charity. Every time someone purchased a Kraft product, a dollar was donated to the Children’s Miracle Network. Customers were compelled to spend because they could also feel good about their dollars adding to donations.
  • HotelTonight #visitdontstay: Not everyone loves spending extensive time with their family members over the holidays and acknowledging this politely can be difficult. HotelTonight managed to pull it off with a funny campaign that spotlighted holiday awkwardness while offering their service as the solution.

Don’t limit yourself to these ideas and be sure to use them as examples of ways to implement your own marketing plan. Think about the holiday campaigns you’ve loved throughout your life—from the Coca-Cola polar bears to Starbucks holiday cups. If you can draw inspiration from something you love, chances are you’ll be able to create something incredible.

Tip Seven: Keep Marketing Best Practices in Mind

Just because your campaign is holiday-themed doesn’t mean the rules for marketing change. Your campaign still needs to abide by marketing best practices. These include:

  • Selling your brand just as much as you sell your products and services
  • Utilizing data-backed tactics
  • Keeping an eye on your metrics and adjusting as needed
  • Selecting the social media platforms best suited to your brand
  •  Not neglecting your website or email lists
  • Incorporating mobile marketing
  •  Focusing on search engine optimization
  •  Considering partnering with influencers and networking online

Ultimately, a lot goes into a successful marketing campaign, whether it’s digital or otherwise.


Tip Eight: Get Help if You Need It

Are you feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone. There’s a reason larger businesses and multi-national corporations have marketing teams—because successfully gaining new customers can be hard work. Whether you need someone to take over the entire process or just a little guidance along the way, there are marketing consultants ready to assist you with your digital marketing strategy. For the best results in Arizona, for example, select those who specialize in Arizona marketing as they’ll understand locals the best.

In need of some assistance with your social media strategy this holiday season? Turn to the experts at StratGrow for comprehensive marketing assistance.

The Pros & Cons of Creating Your Own Website

In this digital age, businesses need to have an online presence. Customers seek out websites, social media profiles, and more in order to determine if a company meets their needs. Not having these elements can make a business appear less legitimate and turn protentional customers and clients away.

Hiring a website designer, however, does mean spending money. You may not be so keen on doing that. After all, small businesses work with small budgets. You might be wondering: should I create my own website, or consider other options?

With all the website design tools available on the internet, you might believe website creation is fairly simple. It’s true that with a few clicks and drags, you can create a good-looking website for free. But given the fact that your website is central to your digital marketing strategy, and an important part of your success, your website needs to be a lot more than pretty.

So, let’s answer the question: should I create my website on my own?

What Goes into Creating an Outstanding Website?

Entire professions aren’t created without reason. Given that website design is a thriving field, it’s clear that these professionals are in high demand. Relying on professionals rather than opting for DIY in any area of expertise produces better results. With so many free tools available, why do professional web designers deliver better results than people making websites for themselves? Because they truly understand what goes into creating an outstanding website. Here are some aspects of website creation that can be tricky:

  • Mobile Compatibility: Many people searching for your business will be doing so via tablet or their mobile phone. Many websites, however, display differently on these devices than they do on laptops and desktops. This means businesses must essentially create a website with two designs in mind: the one optimized for mobile devices and the one viewed on other devices, such as computers.
  • Accessibility: If you have a physical store, you’ll likely already know a bit about making things handicap accessible since it’s part of local and federal law. You might not have considered, however, making your online presence equally approachable. If you truly welcome all customers, your website should be accessible to the blind and deaf, as well, which requires special design aspects.
  • Logical Layout: To a degree, this is intuitive. As a consumer, you visit websites and know which layouts work for you and which ones don’t, but your preferences aren’t always going to line up with those of the average user. Professional website designers, however, know the research and results that inform where items should go, how they should be grouped, and more.
  • Winning Content: Website design is about more than the technical elements; it also involves content creation. A designer isn’t likely doing this on their own, but most web designers have professional writers and graphic artists they work with. The end result is winning content targeted to the desires of your customers.
  • Quick Website Loading: Have you ever clicked on a website, only for it to take ages to load? It’s something we all loathe, which is why you don’t want your website to be sluggish. Most people will wait six seconds or less for a page to load before they close the window and are done with your business. Website designers know how to minimize load times for a frustration-free browsing experience.
  • Secure: When a professional designer creates a website, they make certain it’s secure for you and your customers. Not only does this encourage greater trust in your company, but it also helps your site rank better in searches—which is vital to success.

In addition, a website designer will also work on graphics and color schemes, visuals, text, and more. Creating your website may not be a task you’d like to take on yourself, especially given the stakes for your business and digital marketing strategy, but only you know what’s best for your investment.

Creating My Own Website: The Cons

  •  Free templates are used all the time—because they’re free. If you use them too, your website is going to look identical, or at least very similar, to thousands of other websites.
  • Your time could be better used elsewhere. Even when using drag and drop programs to design a website, you can expect to put in several days of work before you have a page that’s live and ready to share.
  •  People know professionalism when they see it. Even the best free templates tend to read like canned products to customers. A unique website is something people are drawn to.
  •  Designers understand search engine optimization. While you might grasp the basics, this isn’t something to leave up to chance, especially given the importance of search engine rank and your business.
  • DIY site builders tend to have inaccurate site analytics. Because analytics drive your digital marketing strategy, you’ll need them to be as accurate as possible.
  •  If you choose to go the free route, invasive ads can take over your site and lower your customer experience, even after all that hard design work. Professional designers will know where to host the site and how to control the advertising content.
  • DIY websites don’t come with support. Websites run into bugs and have to be updated often. If you create your own design, you go solos for fixes and updates too, which can take hours of work.
  • Nothing on the web stays the same for long. There are security updates, new search engine guidelines, and design trends you will need to stay on top of in order to adjust your website accordingly.
  • Websites and servers can crash and when they do, they’re gone for good—unless there’s a backup. Most DIY platforms don’t offer this service.

Creating My Own Website: The Pros

  •  You’ll save money, at least in theory (keep in mind that if your website isn’t keeping up or needs changes, however, it may cost you more money in the long run).
  • You can make it happen on your own time. Quality website designers are busy, so they may need to finish a few projects before they’re able to get to yours. Going DIY means you can start right now.
  • You’ll know what you’re getting. Sometimes people who claim to be professional website designers, such as freelancers without much of a portfolio—can turn out to be amateurs.
  • Use feedback from people who matter. As you work, you’ll be able to ask some of your loyal customers to take a look and give you feedback on your site.
  • You know your business best and can put that knowledge to work in your website design. Yes, a designer will know your niche if you select the right one, but the designer doesn’t work for your business.
  •  You’ll learn something new. As grown-ups, we rarely learn new skills or study new fields. If you have time and take the design process seriously, there’s a lot to learn.
  • You can take pride in your accomplishment if it turns out well. This is something you can’t get from having someone else create the site for you.

Weighing Your Options

Looking at the pros, you might think: “Create a website on my own? Don’t mind if I do!” However, the list of cons is pretty heavy. In order to make the right decision for you, you’ll have to look at these options in greater depth.

While there certainly are benefits of creating your own website—each pro starts with you. Time and effort are needed for digital tasks rather than running your business. New skills and a sense of accomplishment may leave you feeling great, but they don’t convert to income. The end goal is to convert website visitors into customers. Can a DIY website do that? It can if you have the time and effort for design, upkeep, and updates to the website.


Hidden Website Costs

Creating your own website can seem like a super money saver, especially if you have the time to do it yourself. But here are just some of the hidden costs of DIY website creation:

  •  Branding is key to any marketing plan. Even with a prefabricated template, you’ll need to have graphics designed. When you hire a designer, these costs are typically included, but on your own, you’ll have to hire a graphic designer for quality results. Expect to pay $100 an hour or more for this work.
  •  Assuming the service you use doesn’t automatically backup your website, you’re going to need to pay a secondary service to keep your website saved and safe. This could cost upwards of $10 a month.
  •  Many website builders don’t include security features, but a safe and secure website is a must-have. Professional designers include security in their products but if you go it alone, you’ll need to hire someone to secure your website for you. Anticipate spending at least $15 a month for an automated security program and much more for human assistance.
  •  Search engine optimization is one of those areas that doesn’t go far on instinct alone. Web designers have the tools needed to determine which keywords to use, how often to use them, and when to change them up to keep your ranking high. Alone, you’ll need to purchase these tools yourself, hire an SEO expert, or wing it. For an expert, be ready to spend upwards of $300 for initial assistance and additional charges each time your SEO needs to be updated.
  •  Analytics and data drive online marketing decisions, and you can get plenty from your website—if you have the right tools. Just as with SEO, a web designer can include analytics in your design and maintenance package, but you’ll spend a lot of money buying them on your own. Assuming you use several subscription services to get the full picture, you could spend $50 a month or more.

Grouping Services to Save Money

One way to make hiring a professional web designer more affordable is to look for a marketing company that handles website design in addition to other aspects of marketing. For one price you could receive assistance with strategy, branding, search engine optimization, social media, web design, content, and more. Because these are elements you’ll need to outsource, even if you choose to make your own site, you could easily end up saving money by grouping services—especially when you consider the potential loss in profits due to a badly designed website.

Finding a Website Designer

There are many places to find professional website designers online, but we suggest looking for a comprehensive service that goes beyond mere website creation. Turn to a marketing consultant who handles all elements of digital marketing strategy, including social media strategy.

Ready to hand over the reins? Contact Strategic Growth Advisors. We’re Tucson marketing specialists who offer comprehensive solutions for growing your business.

Cyber Security Awareness Month: Keeping your Site Safe and Secure

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month and if you own a small business that utilizes a digital marketing strategy, the safety and security of your website, files, and information should be a top priority. Unfortunately, many small business owners assume that because they’re not a massive corporation, hackers won’t find them interesting. In truth, hackers often prefer small business targets because they’re easier to attack. This is due to lower cyber security awareness and less resources used to track down hackers. Here’s what we want you to know about small businesses, website safety, and cyber security this month and every month.

Common Cyber Security Threats to Small Businesses

Cyber threats are constantly changing as technology evolves, which means that no matter how up-to-date you try to be, you’re unlikely to remain ahead of the curve. Website security should always be a top concern, as it’s often the easiest door for hackers to open in order to exploit you. Some of the most common cyber security threats you may be aware of, while others are likely to be surprising. Here are the three biggest cyber security threats that small businesses are likely to face.

  • Phishing Attacks: This is one scam that hasn’t evolved much since it first appeared during the infancy of the internet. A phishing attack is when someone seeks to get information such as usernames and passwords—not by hacking into your system, but by tricking you into willingly handing them over. One way they may do this is via email and phone call scams, where they pretend to be someone they’re not in order to get your confidential information.
  • Ransomware: Ransomware attacks are relatively new and have hit companies large and small. In these attacks, the hacker holds something hostage—files on your computer or even access to your website—until you send them money. After they receive the money, they return the access to you.
  • Various Website Attacks: While both phishing and ransomware can exploit your website in order to target you, they’re not the only ways website security (or the lack thereof) can hurt you. If your website doesn’t have multiple layers of security in place, it can also be erased by hackers or altered in a way that harms your brand. Customer information may also be compromised and your online presence penalized.

How Poor Website Security Can Damage Your Business

Small businesses must work hard to succeed. In fact, it’s estimated that only about half of all small businesses make it five years. This means everything you do needs to be well planned and thought through. Cyber security threats even have the ability to take out large corporations when scandal is associated with them. For a small business, this means a small leak could be enough to end your company.

Just because you aren’t focusing on website safety, however, doesn’t mean hackers will attack your business. It just means that the chances are much higher. Even if they don’t attack your website, your bottom line will most likely suffer if your website security isn’t top-notch, especially since 2017.

Why 2017? That’s when Google and its Chrome browser began flagging websites that lack certain security features—namely, SSL. Standing for Secure Sockets Layer, this widespread technology is designed to protect data as it travels between web browsers—Chrome, Firefox, Edge—and web servers—the machines that “host” the internet.

If your website lacks this basic security feature, customers are warned not to visit your website and are told it isn’t safe. According to HubSpot research, over 80 percent of customers surveyed said they would leave a site if told it wasn’t secure. In other words, if your website is lacking SSL, 8 out of every 10 potential customers may be leaving your website instead of browsing it, due to a security flag.

Google’s search engine algorithm and SSL will also affect your SEO and search results. Google automatically ranks websites lower if they don’t have SSL, much lower than those who do have it—which means that website security should also be part of your digital marketing strategy.

Is Your Website Secure?

If you aren’t the most technologically savvy person, you may be uncertain about your website’s security. Many small business owners design their own websites using free design programs and affordable hosts, most of which don’t secure these low-cost websites. While security isn’t the only problem with DIY website creation, it is a major reason to turn to professionals for assistance.

Before you contact a designer or sign up with a marketing consultant to handle that for you, you should know if your website is secure or not. Investigating this is a pretty simple task.

  1. If you use Google Chrome, simply type your website address into the address bar. If there’s no SSL certificate, you should receive a warning from Chrome telling you the site isn’t safe and cautioning you against visiting it. If you possibly told Chrome to hide this warning for your website in the past, however, you will need to look a little further.
  2. In case you use a different internet browser or possibly approved Chrome to visit your site, look up at the URL bar. Before your website address, you should see some letters and symbols: either “http://” or “https://.”
  3. The “s” is the difference here, and it indicates that a website is secure. If your website doesn’t have that “s,” this means your website lacks the SSL certificate, which in turn means you’re potentially losing customers and ranking lower in search results.

The Benefits of Securing Your Site With HTTPS

If you’ve discovered that your website is not, in fact, secure, Cyber Security Awareness Month is the perfect time to change that. Your website security can be revamped quickly by a professional as a stand-alone project or as part of your overall digital marketing strategy. Here are a few of the benefits you can expect once you make the change:

  1. Better Search Engine Rankings: The majority of top results in searches on Google and other search engines are HTTPS, not HTTP. To see for yourself, search for something on Google then click on a few of the top results. In nearly every case, you’ll find that these results are SSL secured.
  2. Reduced Risk of Scandal: How often do we hear in the news about large corporations having a data leak with millions of passwords and credit cards being compromised? It seems like there are a few of these stories every month. While international conglomerates may be able to weather this type of cyber security breach, small businesses will most likely be taken down by the scandal.
  3.  More Profits: If your business sells anything through its website, you can expect to make the most sales if you have the SSL certificate. People are cautious about having their information stolen and tend to avoid the risk of making transactions on insecure websites.
  4.  Improved Image: Having a website that’s insecure in this day and age can appear unprofessional. Similar to using an unbranded email address, when customers see a website that lacks security, it can be taken as a sign that owners aren’t taking their business seriously—which can trickle down to customer service. With the right security measures in place, however, your image will quickly improve.

Other Measures for Securing Your Website

Other things to consider:

  • Update plugins and apps on your website to the latest versions, as security updates are made regularly for the best protection.
  • Secure access to the dashboard of your website by using strong passwords.
  • Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to prevent denial of service attacks.
  • Research your website host to ensure they haven’t had security issues in the past.
  •  Educate yourself and your employees about cyber security measures and how to remain safe online.

Working with Cyber Security Professionals

If you’re ready to seek website or digital marketing assistance, be sure to contact us at Strategic Growth Advisors. We offer comprehensive solutions for all your digital marketing needs, including search engine optimization and website security. Solutions for your online needs and optimal growth are what we do best.

The 10 Benefits of Updating Your Digital Marketing Strategy

In the world of marketing, things are always changing. From new research to new tools, marketing professionals and businesses are constantly challenged to quickly adapt to adjustments. Nowhere is this more true than in the world of digital marketing.

If it’s been more than a few months since you went over your digital marketing strategy, it may be time to take on the task. You might discover that all is going well, but chances are there will be at least a few items in need of adjustment in order to achieve the best results from your digital marketing and social media efforts.

What Is Digital Marketing Strategy?

Digital marketing strategy is the term applied to the various actions taken when marketing online, from establishing goals to measuring performance. Depending on the nature of your business and your customer profiles, your digital marketing strategy may be nearly the same as your general marketing strategy. In most cases, it’s simply a branch of your overall marketing plan.

Digital marketing strategy tends to contain several key items. The first item is your goals. These could include improving Google search rankings or acquiring a specific number of new social media followers. After assessing your goals, the next step is to create customer profiles to reach your target audience. This is a huge part of digital marketing strategy, as is the case with most forms of marketing and advertising.

In order to get the best results from your digital marketing strategy, these items should be revisited and updated on a regular basis. If you’ve chosen to create your strategy rather than working with a digital marketing consultant, it can be difficult to find time to keep up with all of the updates that would maximize your efforts.

1. Reflect on Your Strategies to Create Better Ones

If marketing isn’t your passion, you may try to push it out of your mind as much as possible. While great for your sanity, this isn’t ideal for your business. When updating any marketing strategy, you’ll have to sit down and really analyze your strategies to discover what worked and what didn’t. This can reveal a lot about your audience, your business, and even your particular talents. As such, it has the potential to make it easier to fine-tune approaches in the future and drive you toward greater success.

2. Incorporate New Technologies and Platforms for Best Results

Technology in digital marketing is constantly evolving. Not all that long ago, apps and add-ons that allowed you to schedule posts were considered revolutionary. Now, there are intelligent Facebook bots that can interact with customers via messenger and even answer some of their most common questions. These bots aren’t even the most revolutionary development on the scene. When it comes down to it, if you aren’t regularly updating your digital marketing strategy, you can’t be taking advantage of everything out there that could be useful to your business and your brand.

Technology isn’t the only digital item that changes rapidly, as there are always new platforms for your business to appear on, as well. While the core social media platforms still reign supreme—Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—there are other options that are seeing incredible success in the marketing realm. Snapchat, for example, is being embraced by more and more businesses every day, as well as LinkedIn and Pinterest.

3. Embrace New Trends and Give Them a Try

Jumping on the trend wagon can be intimidating, especially if you don’t feel very online savvy. There’s often great concern that you might come off as awkward, much like a parent trying to act cool in front of their teenager. But far worse is the risk of not embracing a trend until it becomes standard, at which point your business might appear to be moving with or behind the times, instead of being ahead of the game. Can hopping on the bandwagon go wrong? Occasionally, but with the right approach, you should be able to weed out the trends that aren’t for you and optimize the ones that rock your digital marketing goals.

4. Let Go of More Expensive, Traditional Advertisement Methods

If your business is still relying heavily on traditional advertisement methods and avoiding digital marketing— you could be missing out on the 7 out of 10 Americans with social media accounts.

Updating your digital marketing strategy regularly will allow you to steadily move away from less effective methods for your business and into a stronger marketing strategy overall. This way, not only will you be moving in the direction of most of your customers, but you’ll be saving money in the long run.

5. Increase Your Profits

While profits depend on the approach taken to digital marketing, updating your strategy is all about making constant small changes that deliver better results, every single day. In the end, better results are all about improving your bottom line. If you frequently update your online marketing strategy with professional expertise, chances are you’ll see steady growth over time.

6. Revamp Your Overall Strategy

Now that you know the benefits of updating your digital marketing strategy, the problem is that most business owners don’t know how to get started. To help get the ideas flowing, here are a few digital media marketing aspects you might embrace and alter when revamping your marketing plan.

  • Tweak the objective(s) meant to help you achieve strategic goals
  • Reevaluate the key performance indicators you are watching to measure your success
  • Embrace new tools for measuring your KPI success
  • Add or eliminate marketing channels based on how they are suited to your business and customers
  • Create a custom objective for each marketing channel that’s tailored to how it functions
  • Bring outsiders on board to get a fresh, professional perspective

7. Improve Underperforming Channels and Platforms

Your strategy may be delivering results, but it’s unlikely that everything will be at peak performance across the board. You may review your strategy and find that most items can be left as-is, but there may be a few things in need of extra attention. If any of your marketing channels aren’t performing as well as you would like, that’s a clear sign that an update is needed.

8. Improve Digital Marketing Performance

Unless you’re trained in marketing, looking at the data for your marketing channels may be a struggle to interpret and use to make changes. On the surface they might look positive, but what are you comparing them to? What should you be looking to achieve? If you’re unable to understand exactly how your channels are performing and use that data, you’re probably in need of expert help and some new tools to measure performance.

9. Get More Engagement Overall

Sometimes traffic leads to your website and people see your posts, but nothing happens. There are no likes, no comments, no shares…nothing. If this happens on occasion, it’s no cause for alarm. If you find that the majority of your posts see little to no interaction, however, this means that something isn’t working for your audience, which means it’s definitely time to tweak your strategy.

10. Kick Start A Dead-End Strategy

Sometimes what has been working for a long period of time will just stop delivering the results you want online. Your stellar digital content may appear to no longer be attracting the same attention it once did, or your SEO rankings may be dropping. This usually means that something big has changed in an online process or algorithm, and you’ll need to come up with some new strategies to try. Ultimately, keeping things the same will only result in a decline in performance in time. Once you notice this decline, it’s critical that updates and changes be made.

Getting the Help You Need

Here at StratGrow, we’re here to help you craft a digital marketing strategy that’s tailored to your business and customers, in order to deliver amazing results at a fraction of the cost. To discover how we can assist you, contact us today!

Video Ideas for Your Business

Videos are the up and coming method of marketing and advertisement for small to large business. With videos increasing traffic 157%, it’s worth bringing it into your business marketing strategy. Merging videos in to your social media strategy is a great way to make you more competitive and get your business out there, letting potential clients get to know your company.

1. About You and or Staff
Getting to know a business is important. Customers are looking for trust. It will never hurt you to have an “About Us” video even for your website. You can even expand the idea into different departments or individual employees. This is something you can share on all social media platforms and will help solidify your brand. Be clear, be personable.

2. Explainer Videos
People love explainer videos, whether it’s how to’s or how something works, explainer videos are a great way to engage people into your products and or service. It is one of the highest viewed types of videos, and one of the easiest to make. If you make them into short clips, you can create a series of videos to share.

3. Fun Things Around the Company
We love to see the interaction of co-workers, you can post short videos of people singing happy birthday to a coworker, or even videos about potlucks you have at work. Videos of visits from animals in the office do very well. Keep it fun, keep it light.

4. Events
Also promote events your company takes part in. It is a sure way to get some fun videos, and to show what kind of company you are. Show what is current, have the events live in the now. Live streaming is exciting and people are 82% more likely to watch a live video then a regular post video.

5. Time-lapse/Speed Up Videos
If your business creates/builds something, it’s worth showing the work it takes to create your product. Most people will stop to watch these time-lapse videos because they are interesting, and catch the eye. Everyone loves to see the finished product, but the process is really entertaining.

When you create these videos, don’t forget to place them on all your social media platforms, even create a YouTube channel if you do not have one. If you have a website make a video page and place some videos throughout the site. Videos will go a long way in natural growth for social media so make these videos work for you.

By Leamon Crooms

7 Signs it’s Time to Hire a Social Media Manager

For small business owners, two things are always in short supply: time and money. This often puts entrepreneurs in a position to make some tough decisions. For example, is it worth it to spend money on a social media manager if it frees up your time and results in an excellent social media strategy?

In some cases, that answer might be no. However, the answer is most likely yes. Not only does hiring a social media manager free up your time but is a case where spending money leads to making money. Just in case you’re on the fence, we’ve compiled seven signs it’s time for you to bring a digital marketing consultant on board.

First, What Do Social Media Managers Do

No matter your personal philosophy on social media, it’s a lifeline for small businesses. Compared to traditional advertising mediums, it’s incredibly affordable and effective. It’s also one of the only advertising arenas where smaller businesses can get a leg up on larger corporations via their personal and authentic content.

If you already use social media personally, it’s easy to assume that you can manage your business’ social media content on your own, but this may demonstrate a lack of understanding of what social media marketing demands and what it is that social media managers do.

Marketing businesses online is more complex than most people realize. Compared to the personal use of social media, business use is disciplined, planned, and requires significant knowledge of the best practices and trends. Social media managers are experts at understanding this difference and aligning their marketing efforts with your larger business plan. They gather metrics on page performance, engagement, and followers, set goals, focus on branding and brand awareness, create posting schedules, curate content that is perfectly attuned to the image and tone of your business, optimize content for search engines, design advertising campaigns, select posts to boost, run ads, interact with followers—and a whole lot more.

All of those tasks add up to a lot of time spent and the need for a specialized and focused approach. You may have already decided it’s time to outsource your social media marketing. Here are some additional signs it’s the right time to do so.

1. Social Media Is Central to Your Marketing Strategy

Depending on the type of business you run, traditional advertising mediums may be more effective than social media. However, as demographics shift and older Americans are establishing an online presence, it’s becoming less and less common for this to be the case. Instead, most businesses, both small and large, rely heavily on social media to connect with their target audiences.

The more important social media is to your marketing strategy, the more important it is to have an expert handling related tasks. Because we view social media as something we use for fun, it can be a challenge to take it seriously. The idea of hiring a social media expert might seem strange, but they’re the experts in this area.

2. You Aren’t Exactly Social Media Savvy

Do you ever see things on social media and wonder what they are? Do hashtags confuse you? Do younger members of the family think you’re embarrassing based on your social media use?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you’re probably not the savviest social media user. That’s okay — many people aren’t. But if you are planning to manage your business’ social media, this may prove to be a bigger issue.

Social media marketing should come across in an organic manner. Posts must hit all the right points without coming off as though they’ve been planned to, and embarrassing mistakes must be avoided. Digital marketing consultants know how to accomplish this, whereas casual users can fumble.

3. The Variety of Social Media Platforms Overwhelms You

Do you feel like there are new social media platforms all the time? Well, you aren’t wrong. While Facebook and YouTube remain at the top of the pack, Instagram is giving them a run for their money, and other newer platforms are steadily rising as well. Snapchat, anyone?

Which platforms do you need business pages for? Which should you be managing, and which are unnecessary? That will depend on many factors, including the demographics you’re targeting. How do you use each of them? Best practices vary by platform, so Facebook marketing and Instagram marketing, for example, are two different beasts.

If you feel overwhelmed just thinking about this or struggle to understand social media platforms, it may be best to hand these tasks off to someone who can swim when you tend to sink.

4. You Don’t Have All the Right Tools for the Job

If you have a computer, phone, or tablet, what else do you need? Believe it or not, there are many more tools you can use to manage social media accounts.

Let’s start with Instagram. To be successful on this platform, you’ll need tools that gather metrics, tell you who’s engaging with you, which posts get the most engagement, and reveal where things are going wrong. You’ll need tools that specifically focus on hashtags since they’re central to this platform, as well as tools that can schedule posts and identify trends. This list doesn’t even mention things like cameras, editing, and design software.

All of the above applies to one single platform. As you can see, being effective in social media marketing requires significant investment. It’s almost always cheaper and more time-efficient to hire someone who already has the tools than to acquire them yourself.

5. Writing Just Isn’t Your Forte

Social media posts may not be the next great American novel, but that doesn’t mean creating them doesn’t require quality writing. In fact, writing social media posts can be challenging. They need to be light and friendly yet authoritative, and the voice used needs to remain consistent across posts and platforms. Also, since you don’t want to post identical content to all platforms, rewriting and revision skills are critical.

If you don’t consider writing to be your major strength, seek out a social media manager who is experienced at crafting written online content.

6. There Is Never Enough Time

Running a business is a time-intensive endeavor. Even if your business is small, it requires numerous tasks every day just to remain up and running. Dividing your time between those vital tasks and social media management may be asking too much of yourself.

When social media marketing is done correctly, it’s essentially a full-time job. Every day starts with looking at metrics and research related to social media trends within your industry. From there, posts are made. On Facebook alone, businesses should share posts almost every day, not including live Facebook ads. Since visual content performs better than text, time is also needed to create and format visuals that accompany each post.

Every platform your business has a profile on increases the social media workload. Instagram’s best practices mention posting up to three times per day, and Twitter mentions the same. On YouTube, it’s suggested to post a video about once a week. This is an intense schedule, especially when placed on top of all the other tasks related to owning a business.

7. Engagement on Your Pages Is Low

Ultimately, results are what matter most. You may be social media savvy, adept at various platforms, own the right tools, excel at writing, and have more time than you know what to do with—but if your pages aren’t seeing the right levels of engagement, you aren’t getting the results you need to be successful at social media marketing.

Engagement levels are considered dangerously low if they slip below 10 percent. At this point, something is wrong, despite your best efforts. Rather than struggling with this and stressing over it, it may be time to hand it over to a social media manager. Using their skills and proven strategies, they can boost engagement levels and achieve the results you’re aiming for.

How to Select a Social Media Manager

Realizing that your business can benefit from outsourcing social media marketing tasks is just the first step. Next, you need to find the right social media manager for your brand. Here are some steps to take as part of the vetting process.

  • Ask to see accounts that they already manage. Read through them to get a good feel for their tone, voice, friendliness, and more. Also keep an eye out for anything that could be a red flag, such as spelling errors, repetitive content, or potentially controversial posts.
  • Get references. If the candidate is experienced, they should be able to provide you either with the contact information of another client or a letter of recommendation. You can also check their LinkedIn for endorsements.
  • Request details on the results of past campaigns they have run. They should be able to outline the key performance indicators they were targeting, what their goals were, and how their results matched up to those goals.
  • Find out how many other clients they are working for. While you cannot expect to be the only client unless you are offering a salaried position, you can expect that they will not take on more than a full-time load, which may only be a handful of clients.
  • Ask them to make a pitch. In this pitch, they can outline which platforms are best suited to your business, which KPIs to target, campaign ideas, expected costs, and more. This will give you a clear picture of what you will get if you choose to work with them.
  • Get the details on how they measure performance. Which tools are they using, and how will they analyze the data? You should also get some examples of how they have put data to work in the past to improve campaigns.
  • Give them a difficult scenario and ask how they would handle it. This could be something like dealing with negative page feedback or how they would handle an important deadline while sick. The goal is to find out how they approach high-pressure situations.

Ready to Add a Social Media Manager to Your Team?

Adding another team member can be daunting but StratGrow is here to help. Our team is ready to step in and take over your digital content tasks while creating and implementing a social media marketing plan that aligns with the values and image of your brand.

Geofencing, Geotargeting, RFID, and Beacon Marketing 101

Technology is radically reshaping our world, and there is perhaps nowhere that is truer than in marketing. While we love to romanticize the creative process in shows like Mad Men, modern marketing relies as much on smart devices and algorithms as it does on psychology and natural talent. And if your business wants to remain relevant, now is the time to adopt these new approaches.

Of course, taking on too many new technologies at once can be overwhelming and result in an ineffective marketing campaign. If you are looking for a starting point, we suggest location-based marketing.

What Is Location-Based Marketing?

In a way, marketing has always been based on location. For example, a restaurant in Chicago would purchase radio ads on stations in the greater Chicago area—not Los Angeles. But that is not what location-based marketing was in 2018.
So, what is it? It is a broad term that refers to multiple digital marketing technologies allowing marketers to target mobile users who are physically present within a certain area. This area can be massive—perhaps an entire tri-state area—or as small as a single store. Through this technology, businesses can market to those individuals most likely to purchase from them based on physical proximity.

Comparing Location-Based Marketing to Other Methods

If you use online advertising, you might figure that you already use location-based marketing. Taking Facebook advertising as an example, when you create an advertisement on the platform, you are asked to define the geographic location of those you are marketing to. However, this isn’t a perfect science. Sometimes users will enter a different city than the one they live in or fail to change it when they move. Facebook may target those who only visited your city, but in reality, they live across the country. Location-based marketing uses the real-time or most recent location of the targeted audience, making it much more exact.

What Are Your Options for Location-Based Marketing?

Location-based marketing is a broad term that includes multiple types of marketing technologies. While there are always new options on the market or in development, four key technologies are currently in play: geofencing, geotargeting, RFID, and beacon.

Geofencing

Geofencing in marketing is a technology that establishes virtual fences, sectioning off a specific geographic location. The company using the technology is given incredible control over the placement of the fence, with the ability to define the area on a block-by-block basis. As such, local businesses can use their knowledge of travel patterns, foot traffic, and more to get the most out of their use of geofencing.

With geofencing, marketers can target people who enter the fence, exit the fence, or restrict it to those who spend a certain amount of time within the fence, showing them ads as they browse the web or use ad-enabled apps, often through Google Adwords. This technology does not rely on the last known location of the user. Instead, it is based on their real-time location, using either GPS or IP address to determine the location of the individual.

Geotargeting

Geotargeting in marketing can be thought of as a more exact type of geofencing. With geofencing, ads target users strictly based on their relation to the virtual fence. Geotargeting goes beyond location and takes demographics, behaviors, interests, and more into consideration. Because it is pickier about who is being targeted, it is often suggested that the fence be made bigger for geotargeting.

As it is more exact, smaller businesses without a marketing department may struggle to use it effectively. The more you know about the customers you want to target, the easier it will be to implement geotargeting. As such, it is best to work with an advertising agency when using geotargeting technology.

Beacon

Beacon marketing technology has perhaps the smallest reach on this list. With this form of marketing, you place small, low-energy devices in your store that use Bluetooth technology—the beacons. These beacons detect the presence of a smart device and then trigger push notifications to the devices they see. This technology is cost-effective and easy to use, but it does rely heavily on proximity, and devices can only be detected if their Bluetooth function is on. Additionally, the push notifications are generally app-dependent, so the user must have a specific app downloaded.

However, its precision is noteworthy. It may not encourage those outside the store to enter it, but it can encourage those already inside to make a purchase. For example, you could have a beacon near a key display, and as shoppers come close, it could inform them of a special discount. Out of all the location-based technologies, this is likely the easiest for most small businesses to implement on their own.

Who Can Benefit From These Marketing Strategies?

Location-based marketing is thought of as something of an equalizer between small businesses and massive conglomerates. While larger companies have long had the ability to reach their audiences through massive and nuanced campaigns, smaller companies have been left behind. Through location-based digital marketing services, small businesses stand on equal footing and might even have an advantage over their larger competitors depending on where they are located. As such

, while any business with a physical location can benefit from these technologies, small and mid-sized businesses have the most to gain.

Are They Right for You?

Just because a technology has been proven effective does not mean it is right for your business. Before deciding to utilize location-based marketing, you need to weigh the benefits against the risks. To help, we will outline the pros and cons of location-based marketing below.

Pros of Location-Based Marketing

  • Your business can communicate with potential customers in real-time
  • Staff can be alerted to customers heading towards the store
  • Sharing information about your business is easier for customers
  • You can receive quick feedback, making it easier to address issues
  • Using these technologies requires the use of various mobile networks, increasing your online presence
  • Customers can enjoy rewards for being loyal to your business
  • It bypasses older technologies, such as email lists, that many users now find annoying
  • Your company can gather significant amounts of data about customers for tailored marketing approaches
  • Advertisements can be made as relevant as possible to the customer, even down to the products they are walking towards
  • Depending on the chosen technology, it can be easy to try out on your own

Cons of Location-Based Marketing

  • Not all of the technologies are easy to master, and even those that are easier require a certain amount of technological know-how
  • It is easy to embrace the technology because it is “cool” without first integrating it into the overall marketing strategy
  • They rely on either having the potential customer browsing things online or in apps to receive ads or having specific apps downloaded to receive push notifications
  • Some customers may find them invasive, especially those who are privacy-minded—though, in theory, those who are will have location sharing disabled and Bluetooth off
  • If most of your business is online rather than in person, it may not deliver significant results
  • Customers might find a way to abuse features, such as accumulating points through check-ins without physically entering the building

Tips for Best Practices

As with any marketing strategy, it is possible to get location-based marketing very, very wrong. When implementing it, you should take care to stick to best practices. But what are these? Let’s take a look at a few.

  • Think about where your customers already are just as much as you would about where you want them to be. You want to keep loyal customers even as you expand your client base.
  • If you are primarily or exclusively an online retailer, target larger areas. You might even want to target multiple large metropolitan areas across the country.
  • Are you able to ship internationally? Location-based marketing is effective in international markets, sometimes even more so than in the United States.
  • Do not just think about the areas you want to include; consider which areas you want to exclude. The tighter your control over your audience, the easier it is to tailor your message.
  • Never rely on location alone. You need to truly understand your customers, which means gathering data, creating profiles, and making a strategy.
  • Use the name of your location in your ads and push notifications. Customers see many ads during the day, which helps them realize right away that yours are relevant.
  • Do not forget to use keywords in your ads and push notifications. Even if this marketing method is less keyword reliant, customers will use them to determine relevance.

So, is location-based marketing something your business should consider? If you are interested in finding out, schedule a consultation with StratGrow, a Tucson digital marketing company. Our strategic marketing experts will be able to determine if location-based marketing would benefit your business, as well as craft a comprehensive marketing plan incorporating it. Allow us to be your Tucson advertising agency.