Have you ever wondered if spending your marketing time and energy on Local SEO is worth it? You’re not alone. Our clients have asked us the same question and, more often than not, the answer is the same. The data doesn’t lie. Local SEO is possibly the best ROI for your marketing spend in terms of leads and conversions. Not buying it? Take a look at this handy infographic breaking down the reasons to invest in Local SEO by the numbers. We’re sure you’ll see it our way.

One of the most persistent challenges marketers face every day is breaking through the clutter that pervades the digital landscape. Practically every brand with a digital presence uses e-blasts and email campaigns in their marketing strategy. Altogether, it causes a whole lot of clutter that needs cutting through.

Shift Your Perceptions

In forming an impactful email strategy, it’s good to understand the difference between e-blasts and targeted emails. While mass emails certainly cast a wide net, they fall short of making a valuable connection with your subscribers. If you have a very specific, large target audience who responds to a particular message, broad e-blasts can be effective. Generally speaking, however, your target audience has subsegments who respond to your message differently. They have different needs, different ideals, and prefer different means of communication.

Think of e-blasts as shouting your message to a large crowd and targeted emails as holding a smaller seminar with interested parties. Each has its place in email marketing strategies.

Rather than shouting your message through e-blasts, focus on engaging your targeted subsegments with content that is valuable to them. Speak to them as if you’re trying to solve their problems instead of selling them a benefit – a methodology that should be used throughout all of your marketing strategies.

Segment Your Subscribers

Once the difference between e-blasts and targeted emails is clear, you can focus efforts on segmenting your audience and delivering targeted messages to them. Segmenting is filtering your email subscribers into groups based on common factors. There are a number of ways to segment your audience based on factors, such as location, interests, education, and experience. The purpose of segmenting is to deliver content that is directly relevant to an individual, creating a personal interest, and driving qualified leads.

As far as content is concerned, the more personalized the better. Call out specific things you know about your subscriber to peak their interest. This is especially important in subject lines and call-to-actions (CTAs).

Above all, delivering detailed messages to specific segments allows you to create actionable content. Actionable content is content that your subscriber can see immediate value in and want to know more about, drastically increasing their inclination to engage your CTA.

Automation is Your Friend

Engaging your subscribers doesn’t end after your first email is sent. Follow-up emails should be an important part of your strategy, along with “welcome” emails and even additional offerings. It’s all about forming a valuable relationship with the subscriber. This can take a lot of coordinating, but thankfully email automation makes it easier. Through email services, such as HubSpot and MailChimp, you can schedule email sends or create workflows that automatically send follow-up, thank you, additional offerings, and welcome emails. As long as your content is solid, you can set it and forget it (kind of).

Another method similar to HubSpot’s workflows is creating drip email campaigns in which only subscribers that have performed an action receive additional emails or offerings. These campaigns literally “drip” information to your engaged subscribers. Drip campaigns are an excellent way to weed out uninterested subscribers and focus on qualified leads.

Strategy is Your Best Friend

 While we’ve been discussing the specifics of email marketing, it’s worthwhile to take a birds-eye-view of the topic. Your email campaign strategy should start with goal setting. Identify what problems you aim to solve for the consumer New subscribers? Remarketing to previous customers? Promoting a special sale? Outline your goals and expand from there.

Then, determine what campaign methods or tactics you plan to use to achieve your goals. Drip, blasts, etc. In each subject line, graphic, and email body you must ensure your campaign aligns with your brand. In look, messaging, voice – everything.

A tool to help provide clarity to your strategy is mind-mapping. Mind-maps are a type of flow chart clearly defining your email strategy from the first send to conversion. This template from Aweber is a good place to start:

Collect and Analyze

 No email strategy is complete without analytics and key performance indicators (KPI) in place. Open rate, click-through-rate (CTR), responses, and unsubscribes are your main key performance indicators. Keep detailed records of these metrics, so you can compare different email performance. For instance, different subject lines can affect your open rate, so you should constantly compare and contrast every aspect of various emails. This is where A/B testing comes in handy. A/B testing allows you to better figure out what is working and what isn’t with different pieces of your email.

Cultivate Relationship, See Success

 Intention is important in email marketing. As long as your focus is on building relationships that add real, actionable value to your customers, your email strategy is off to a great start. As your strategy comes together, do your best to implement targeted segments, a solid automation plan, and informative KPIs – all wrapped up in a clear, consistent mind-map.

Take a look at one of Gragg’s own branded emails that was a part of a larger campaign to entice our subscribers into engaging with us. Our headline is interesting, our message is succinct, and our content delivers immediate value to the subscriber in a visually interesting way:

Throughout all forms of digital media, the disruptive power of video is changing the face of marketing and advertising most fundamentally. Video, not surprisingly, continues to dominate the content world. Consumer reports have shown that videos can have greater impact than what written blog posts, specialized imagery, testimonials, and infographics can traditionally achieve. The disruptive power of video content is unquestionable – direct consumption straight to your system. Now, video marketing usage is taking over branding and channel-specific marketing strategies at a rapid rate. If you’ve been sleeping on video, it’s time to wake up.

Let’s look at the overwhelming statics:

81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool (up from 63% in 2017.)

85% of businesses regard video as an important part of their marketing strategy (up from 82% in 2017.)

82% of businesses plan to spend more on video marketing in 2018 (the same percentage as last year.)

65% of businesses who don’t currently use video say they intend to start using it in 2018 (up from 34% in 2017.)

Obviously, businesses are using video as a key part of their marketing strategies. However, marketers who report solid ROI production from video usage is down from 83% in 2017 to 78% in 2018. While not always fiscally profitable, this exemplifies the persuasive power of video:

97% of marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service.

95% of people have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service.

81% of people have been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.

69% of people have been convinced to buy a piece of software or application by watching a video.

Consumers clearly prefer video over other content formats when seeking information and education. They are hungry to learn more about products and services IF they can see it provides a direct value to them. They rely more and more on video as a key influencer in their buyer journey. When was the last time you had the time or inclination to read a publication beginning to end?  We all know the number of people willing to read through a written article is trending steeply downward. Video gives businesses and marketers opportunities to teach their consumers about their brand, provide direct value to the consumers, and relate to them in more engaging ways. Combined with integrated strategies and specific market targeting, video provides a direct line into the hearts and minds of any given group of consumers.  Here’s how:

Where both video and text are available on the same page, 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service.

76% of marketers say using video helped them increase sales.

47% of marketers say video helped them reduce support queries.

76% of marketers say using video on their site helped them increase traffic.

Video not only influences purchase decisions, it plays a huge role in modern branding. Companies with heavy video usage as a part of their brand personality have significantly higher engagement with their customer base.  For example:

Having watched a branded video that they enjoyed, 83% of consumers would consider sharing it with their friends.

Today’s consumer needs convincing that your brand is worth engaging. Your products might align with their wants and needs, but if you aren’t able to clearly define how, you may lose the customer before they’ve started the purchase journey. Video gives brands and marketers the opportunity to not only explain their products and services – it gives consumers the chance to experience the brand in a uniquely interactive way. 

If you want to give your business and your audience a valuable and engaging resource, look no further than video utilization.  If you want a team of expert, experienced video producers and digital marketers, look no further than Gragg Advertising.

SOURCE:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2018/09/06/can-your-business-live-without-video/#2c202042aca4

An integral part of Gragg Advertising’s Marketing (R)Evolution is something we, and almost everyone working in this Digital Age, have talked about before, but is worth revisiting:  Social Media Marketing.

Social Media is clearly an ingrained part of our lives, permeating both our personal and professional cultures. But that doesn’t mean it’s some omnipotent force overshadowing all other marketing strategies.  Today, we’ll talk about how blogging can complement your Social Media (or Social) program and become yet another critical part of your marketing strategy.

Social is a key element in your integrated strategy, but did you know that adding Blogging to your Social program can make it that much stronger?  Yes, Social is phenomenal for brand awareness, engagement, and acting as a news outlet, but Social + Blogging gives you the ability to also communicate long-form messages in a reliable way.

Blogging picks up where Social leaves off:

  • Builds trust, authority and credibility
  • Blog content has a longer life span, which only helps viewing rates
  • Blogs have opportunities to drive traffic to your website
  • Blogs allow control of your message and information

So, let’s talk about these points.

Blogs Build Trust

The fact is Blogs are considered more trusted by consumers, provided they are written by a credible source, such as an academic or expert. In the most recent Edelman Trust Barometer Report, 63 percent of respondents say a credible author influenced their decision to trust content. Additionally, up to 65 percent of respondents are more likely to trust content if they receive it from multiple sources and forms of media. They are also significantly more likely to be shared on Social.  An estimated 94 percent of users share blogs on Social because they think it will be helpful to others. Overall, people don’t typically share content over Social channels they don’t trust. Paid Social ads and promoted posts top the list of untrusted marketing tactics, now more than ever. This is especially true of B2B interactions. B2B marketers (75 percent) are more likely to use blogs in their social media content than B2C (61 percent). In a digital world where thousands of different messages are trying to communicate at once, blogging can act as an extra resource to build trust between you and your audience.

Longer Lifespans

The real-time benefit of Social can be a powerful thing – if used correctly.  The negative side effect, however, is the lifespan of Social posts are typically one, maybe two days.  As more posts are published – every second, hour and minute of the day – and as new content replaces the old, it’s incredibly easy to get lost in the sauce. Blogs, on the other hand, can be updated to fit trends, are easily re-shared, and can be archived for easy, future access.  While Social posts might be good marketing tools for the moment, the power of a long-form Blog can have lasting impacts.

Blogs Drive Traffic

More likely than not, the people viewing your Blog posts are part of your target market. This is where Blogging is a huge advantage. Blogging drives your audience right to your website, which gives them a direct path to the next step of your digital sales funnel. Not to mention the SEO benefits. Blogs are never-ending streams of SEO boosting content. From meta titles and keywords to image alts and backlinking, there are several ways your Blog helps your site’s search engine rankings. Knowing this, it makes perfect sense to frequently feature your blogs in your Social strategy to further drive users to your website and not just your Social pages.

Control Your Message

On the flip side of Social’s ability to positively promote and perpetuate a company’s message to consumers is the possibility that a message could get hijacked and distorted. We have all witnessed unfortunate instances where a company’s messaging slipped through their digital fingers thanks to the influence of Social algorithms. This is where Blogs come in. Where Social is influenced by algorithms, Blogs are owned media and can be updated, removed, or shared at will. Regularly adding Blogs into your Social Strategy can effectively give your brand the opportunity to fully explain an idea, product, or service targeted directly at the intended audience. Plus, blogs are easily editable, shareable, and in times of crisis, they’re easily removable.

Work Together

The moral of this story is that Social and Blogging must work in tandem if either is to be a successful part of your integrated marketing strategy. Both need to be consistently tended in order to thrive. Likewise, consistently analyzing your Social strategy and your blog’s performance is critical to their cooperation. Social should promote your Blogs, and Blogs should elaborate on Social posts.

The overarching theme of utilizing Blogs in Social strategies is integrating all forms of media into one seamless marketing mix. It’s about how every marketing piece works together to create a successful strategy. Traditional, Digital, and Social strategies must integrate to evolve your marketing. Learn more about how Blogging can and should play a larger role in your strategy and about how we at Gragg Advertising approach integrated strategies by clicking here.

SOURCES:

https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/blogging-statistics-to-boost-your-strategy

https://blog.scrunch.com/seo-for-bloggers

http://www.msi.org/reports/bloggers-as-social-influencers-optimizing-social-media-engagement-via-blog/

https://www.edelman.com/sites/default/files/2018-06/2018_Trust_Barometer_Brands_Social_Media_Special_Full_Report.pdf

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/01/30/social-media-measuring-the-roi/#5ea20f3e6d9f

The ability to track prospects and inquiries across multiple channels is commonly viewed as one of the most important challenges to overcome by marketers and advertisers. In fact, 46% of marketers cited “proving the ROI of our marketing activities” as one of the biggest challenges they face within their company, according to HubSpot’s 2016 State of Inbound report.
 
Advertisers are also under increased pressure to more accurately measure impact on starts/sales — thanks in part to the increasing complexity of options that are available from direct response channels.
 
To help us analyze marketing effectiveness, we need to understand the impact various channels have on lead attribution. Gragg Advertising’s latest research project explored attribution as prospects reach various offline and online marketing touchpoints:  such as TV, Radio, Print, Direct Mail, Pay-Per-Click and Web Forms.
 
The infographic below illustrates a snapshot of our findings.
 

 
Click the submit button below to download the full report and view recommendations for your organization to overcome marketing ROI challenges.

A year ago we posted on our blog about Facebook Canvas, user experience, immersive content, and the imminent reign of video.

Well, video is no longer an “up-and-coming” tactic. It’s here, it’s powerful, and it’s all about the brand. Thanks to social platforms putting video first, brand focus has shifted right before our eyes. Not just brand focus, come to think of it – digital focus. The largest video platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube (and Instagram to a lesser extent with the 60 second video limit). Facebook dominates in the full digital scope of video and plans to become entirely video in the next few years, which is already evidenced by the severe decline in text posts and immense increase of video posts. The platforms of distribution for video content online have also shifted. Facebook gets more daily minutes watched than YouTube, and Snapchat daily views are in the billions. Yeah, billions of 5-10 second videos…talk about consumable content.

But YouTube is “The Grandaddy of Video Content.” And yet YouTube is in a downward trend compared to Facebook’s 4 billion daily video streams. It seems no matter how YouTube upgrades UX, file conversions, and even branding, it struggles to keep up with the loads of content competition, primarily from Facebook.

Facebook is the “smart, shareable, and personal” platform. It’s largely accepted as the best way to reach fans at scale. If you’re creating video content for YouTube, and not putting those videos on Facebook as well, your brand is losing distribution and relevancy. Furthermore, it’s important to house your video content on Facebook natively because it places an enormous amount of weight on videos in its timeline algorithm – you have a much higher chance of your video being seen by your community than when linked out. Some additional benefits Facebook provides are:

  • Greater Exposure – for the obvious reason. There are millions of people around the world on Facebook on a daily basis.
  • Social Connectivity – keep in touch with your audience and build rapport.
  • Potential for Virality – videos on Facebook are easy to share and so exposes your videos to networks you may not currently be reaching.
  • Search Engine Visibility – Facebook videos are easily searchable on Google.
  • Easier Conversions – proven effective in not just increasing traffic to your website, but boosting conversion rate.

Last year it seemed Facebook Canvas was the next big thing. More immersive video content had brands and advertisers drooling at the mouth. Now, within a year, it’s become almost expected.

So we at Gragg are doing you a solid. To keep you ahead of the curve:

  • Use Compelling Visuals that Engage Users Fast
    • Facebook videos play automatically but do not have audio until the user chooses to activate it. This is why it’s important to use compelling visuals that will capture enough interest, even without sound.
  • Create Different Videos for Specific Purposes
    • Easily direct viewers to an action by using a focused video. A single video that tries to tackle multiple purposes feels unfocused and isn’t as convincing.
  • Plan Videos According to the Audience
    • Consider different strategies when marketing to the young or old.
    • Create videos that are relatable and include topics of current interest to your audience.
  • Keep Your Videos Short and Sweet
    • Long videos are often ignored or not finished by viewers.
    • Attention spans are short so you want your message communicated while you have the viewers’ attention – the shorter and more concise the video, the more engaging and more effective it will be.