case study questions

The Benefits of Using Case Studies

Consumers are a lot less susceptible to fancy sales pitches in this day and age, which is why the use of case studies can be very effective in building brand trust. Many consumers will ask friends and family for recommendations or look up online reviews before doing business with a particular brand. They do this because they simply trust other consumers more than they are willing to trust a brand. It’s due to these reasons that you should consider using case studies. We’ve gone over the case study questions you should ask, but the following is some information on what they actually are and how they can benefit your marketing efforts:

What are Case Studies?

Case studies are similar to testimonials in that they provide audiences with an account of previous customer experiences with the brand. However, testimonials are typically basic interviews that function as little more than positive reviews. Case studies are more in-depth and concern the entire process that the customer went through. Basically, it’s a depiction of their buyer journey and how your business helped to fulfill their needs from beginning to end. This allows for an element of storytelling that’s much more engaging

What are the Benefits of Using Case Studies?

Although case studies require a lot more effort to put together than the typical testimonial, it’s well worth the time and resources required. Many businesses will even produce their case studies as video content that their audiences can watch. The following are just a few of the benefits of creating case studies:

Build brand trust

Case studies are extremely effective in building trust because of the very fact that they represent the viewpoint of your previous customers. Instead of you telling your audience how great your brand is and how effective your products or services are, you’re having your customers do it for you. Not only do audiences trust other consumers more than they trust companies, but by allowing your previous customers to tell their stories, they are basically endorsing your brand, which gives your business more credibility.

Engage through storytelling

Simply having customers tell the audience that your product is great is just a basic customer testimonial. It’s not that interesting, nor is it very engaging. Case studies are more concerned with telling the story of the customer. The customer is the hero, their problem is the conflict and your brand’s solution is the resolution. The use of storytelling helps to make a brand much more relatable and will allow your audience to see how you fulfilled that customer’s need at every stage of the buyer journey.

Click here to learn about the differences between storytelling and storybranding.

Identify brand evangelists

To find the subjects of your case studies, you’ll need to speak to several clients or customers and request that they participate. Those that are willing are your brand evangelists. They are offering to tell their story because they believe in your brand. Knowing who your brand evangelists are is helpful because they can help improve your brand reputation through word-of-mouth marketing.

Assist your sales team

Having an assortment of case studies available on your site can be hugely beneficial to your sales team. This is because they can recommend prospects to watch specific case studies of previous customers who may have had similar problems. This, in turn, can help them close deals.

As you can see, case studies can be very beneficial to your marketing efforts. Don’t forget to read up on the important case study questions you should ask, and be sure to take a look at some of the marketing tools that we offer for download at Stevens & Tate.

business story

Website Redesign Tips

Once you’ve decided to redesign your website so that your business can remain competitive, you’ll want professional website redesign tips to help ensure that your new website design will be effective. Without one, your site is likely going to continue having some of the same problems it currently has. Redesigning your website without a plan is basically like doing temporary repairs and hoping that they will hold up.

Questions to ask when planning your website redesign

If you’re in search of website redesign tips to figure out what you need to change, then you’ll want to start by asking yourself key questions about your current website design. The following questions will help you understand where your current website’s issues lie and how your website can be improved.

What do you think needs work on your website?

If you’ve identified the need for a website redesign, then you should have some idea of what areas of your current website need work. However, you should still go through your entire site to see if you can pick up on anything that you think needs to be addressed. Pay attention to:

  • How long pages take to load
  • How easy it is to navigate
  • Whether your links are working
  • Whether visitors are engaging with your content
  • Whether your content is outdated
  • What kind of impression you have of the site’s look

What do visitors think about your website?

Your visitors often have a better perspective on how functional your site is to use than you do. In fact, some of the best website redesign tips you can get are from your visitors. Pay attention to some of the common questions that your visitors are asking concerning your website. You can also look at what your visitors are searching for most in your search bar. For example, if they are searching for your contact information, then your contact page may not be as easy to find as it should be.

Why Your Website Redesign Would Benefit From An Inbound Marketing Strategy

What is your website’s main goal?

You should have one main goal, whether it’s generating sales, increasing brand authority, converting leads or spreading brand awareness. This goal will help guide you when it comes to making your website design choices and will give you something to benchmark your site’s results against.

What are your competitors’ websites like?

One way to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t is by taking a look at the competition. Spend some time going through one of your competitor’s websites. It’s often easier to judge another website objectively than it is to do so your own. You’re likely to notice that your more successful competitors have the more effective website designs. Take note of some of the things you like about their site as well, such as the layout, features or some of the pages they have that you might not.

How often do you update your website?

You should be updating your website regularly, even if it’s just to post weekly blog content. If you’re not, it could be because your current website is just too difficult to update. Fortunately, there are content management systems (CMS) available that makes it easy for anyone to update a website, whether they are technically proficient or not.

website redesign inbound marketing strategy

brand story

Your Company’s Core Values Play a Role in Developing Your Brand Story

When vetting brands, consumers often look far deeper than the simple surface messages that portray a company. In today’s age, more than ever, customers are choosing brands based on their set of core values–a major player in a brand story–in an effort to better understand the people behind the logo.

Your brand story and your company’s core values dictate exactly who you are and can give you a significant competitive advantage by outlining the age old question, “Who are we, what do we do?” In other words, you put your “why’s” and “how’s” on your proverbial sleeve. This level of transparency makes brands more human, more approachable, and more connected with their target market.

Core Values in a Nut Shell

In short, your core values tell your target buyers why you do what you do and must be at the epicenter of your brand story as well as the focus of your day-to-day business functions. Another way of looking at core values is character: who you are, how you go about your business, and the name you carry into your daily tasks, but these values must come from the heart and should stand out in the marketplace.

These core values are what connects your brand to your customers on a “human” level. Evaluating your core values can be a little more in depth as it truly resonates through the drive within your business. That evaluation begins by asking why your business exists, what your purpose is, and what obstacles you face to deliver on that purpose. All of these “outer layer” questions should point back to your “why” and should be able to justify what lies at the center.

Be a Storybrander, Not a Storyteller

The most iconic and memorable brands imbed their beliefs, core values, and emotions into your psyche. Storybranding is how memorable brands generate an enduring, lifelong value or belief system that stays with their customers and engages their buyer personas. In other words, companies are characterized by their ideals and personified through them. Storybranding is an attraction marketing tactic that marries your company, its belief system, and the beliefs of your customers.

There are some important differences between storybranding and storytelling, though. Storytelling allows your brand to make a connection with your customers through current events or marketing therefore allowing consumers to better identify with what’s happening in your business. Storybranding, however, seeks to put your brand’s beliefs and deeper meaning before your customers in order to evoke stronger emotions therefore generating stronger bonds.

How do you build a brand story? Learn the process here.

Be Your Story’s Hero

super hero

The key to your brand story is to highlight the hero within it. Of course, with every hero in every story, there is something relatable, pure, and honest about that character. In the case of storybranding, that hero is you–is there a more perfect script for your brand?

With our protagonist identified, it’s super important to tell those why’s and how’s of the story. This is where your core values come in.

Speak to those core values and instill them in your customer’s mind. Make sure they know the heart of their hero and can relate to exactly what your brand stands for. Once you’ve made that emotional attachment, begin to outline the how’s of your brand story by outlining the competitive advantages you have over others in the market. This is what truly seals the deal, but without a reason, your brand simply can’t speak as loudly as it could. In other words, keep your core values close to home.

Furthering Your Brand Story

Your brand story is completely unique. No one else can say it the way you do and no one else can replicate the pillars you stand on as a company. If you need a little help, consider a free marketing consultation where a marketing professional can help you develop and say your brand story the way no one else can!

business story

website redesign process

Do You Need to Redesign Your Website?

If your website has sat untouched for more than a few years, then there’s a good chance that it might be in need of an overhaul. Your website should be continually bringing in new leads, increasing your brand awareness and establishing your brand authority. If your website isn’t currently doing these things, then you’re not only limiting your ability to grow; you’re also helping your competitors as a direct result.

Signs you need a website redesign

If you’re wondering if you need a website redesign, then you’ll want to look for specific signs that show your website is in need of improvements. The following are some major signs that your website could benefit from being redesigned:

Your brand has undergone change

It’s not uncommon for a company to undergo a change in branding. This can happen if the company changes ownership or has changed direction; for example, to concentrate on a more niche market or to target a different audience. If your brand has changed, your website needs to reflect this. Keep in mind that your brand identity consists of much more than just your offerings or your logo. It’s your company’s narrative. Brand storytelling is how you get your audience to connect with you and to relate to you. Because of this, it needs to be prevalent throughout your site.

Your website ranks poorly

Every website receives rankings from Google. These rankings determine your site’s exposure on Google’s search engine results pages (SERP). Google uses its rankings to ensure that its users are provided with search results that are relevant and of high quality. The higher your ranking is, the more exposure you’ll have to people searching for topics relevant to your site. If your site ranks poorly, it means that you’re getting little exposure. This will also limit how much traffic your website will receive. Your redesign needs to implement the best practices of search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure a strong ranking.

Here are ten ways to use Google Trends to increase your SEO

Your website user-experience needs improvement 

Some of the factors that influence your website’s user-experience include how long it takes your webpages to load and how easy your site is to navigate. If your pages take too long to load or your visitors don’t know how to find what they are looking for, they’re likely to leave. Additionally, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s going to affect the way that your site is displayed on mobile devices. A lack of mobile optimization makes it difficult for mobile users to browse through your site.

Your website could improve its conversion rate 

If the ratio of purchases and opt-ins to your number of visitors is lower than you would like it to be, then there’s likely an issue with how your site is addressing each stage of the sales funnel. Your website should nurture visitors at every stage, whether they are looking for information about your company or product or whether they are ready to make a purchase. You should also have calls-to-action that are relevant to each page and that help drive your leads to convert.

Your website could use an updated look 

Aesthetics matter. The look of your website is going to leave a big first impression on your visitors. Consider the look of some of the websites you use on a regular basis. Today’s websites have generally moved to a cleaner and more elegant look.

You don’t regularly update your website

Your website generates all kinds of useful data you can leverage to improve your website’s design and adjust your marketing strategies. By implementing a growth driven design model, you can continually update your website based on your website data, which you can gather using analytics. This will also allow you to focus your resources on areas where it will benefit your brand the most and to adjust strategies that aren’t working.

25 Must Haves To Drive Lead Conversion Rate

digital marketing tactics

5 Digital Marketing Tactics For Senior Living Communities

More and more seniors are becoming tech savvy, using smart phones and tablets to communicate with family and friends. They also use their smart devices to do their own research on where they want to live and how they want to do it. This is one reason why digital marketing tactics are critical for senior living marketing.

Digital Marketing Tactics for Senior Living Communities

Your website is one of your most important assets. It’s where consumers are going to find out more about your company. The place where you build trust. Where you show your leadership in the senior living industry. It’s where they can get more information about your community.

With your website in place, what digital marketing tactics should you employ?

  1. Blogging

Blogging offers you the opportunity to provide your audience with useful information while positioning you as a trusted expert. You can use your blog to provide useful information like how to downsize, how to stay healthy as you age, how to find the right senior community and how to find work as a senior. High-quality content keeps people coming back.

Check out these tips on How to Have a Successful Blog

  1. SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) works to get your community’s website found by the search engines. It is done with keyword placement, quality content, and a dynamic website. The more you have of all three, the better your SEO results will be.

  1. Social Media

Social media allows you to engage your audience. You can share tips, post links to new content, or share testimonials. Facebook offers a place to share as well as a place where potential residents can make queries or learn more about your community.

  1. Email

Email lead nurturing allows you to make your community more attractive to people who have expressed interest. You can share community events, resident highlights and interesting tidbits to show how involved and engaged the residents of your community are. That makes it more attractive to those considering moving in.

  1. Online Advertising

Online advertising positions your brand in front of anyone seeking information on senior living communities. In fact, as they search for that kind of information, your name pops up. It can give you highly qualified leads almost instantaneously.

These tactics will help you position your senior living community. You can grab the attention of seniors as well as their loved ones and care providers.

Free Marketing Consultation

What’s New With Google: How Your Web Page Speed Effects Your SEO and Adwords Performance

Speed has always been a factor in defining both organic rankings and AdWords Quality Score. However, Google’s most recent change, which comes into effect in July, shifts this focus somewhat; speed will now be a key ranking factor in mobile searches.

For companies that already advertise to prospective customers on mobile devices, or who have organic search presence, there are numerous elements of their online presence that need to be checked, tested, and, where appropriate, changed. Knowing how to optimize your mobile site for speed will make all the difference to your search engine rankings.

The Importance of Testing Site Speed

The changes are going to make knowing the speed of a mobile site essential. Many tools permit site owners to determine their page speed to see whether enhancements are needed. Most of the tools that are available to test speeds are free and do not require administrator access to the website in question. That means that companies can check their competitors’ sites as well as their own.

Adjusting Mobile SEO Strategy for Google’s Speed Update

The benefit of Google announcing the change six-months before it comes into effect is that it gives companies time to undertake the necessary checks and make appropriate changes.

One such change that companies should consider is switching to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). An AMP works by altering the source code of the website, thus directing the standard HTML page to a minimalist version of itself, the hosted AMP page. As AMPs are still so rare, they load exceptionally quickly. In initial Google testing, AMPs reduced load time up to 85%.

Click here to find out how to measure your audience with Google Analytics

Local search should not be ignored, either. A Google Mobile Moments Study revealed that 40% of mobile searches have local intent. Companies also need to be aware that mobile search engine users enter queries differently than desktop search engine users; mobile queries tend to be much shorter.

Leveraging Search Console is a fantastic way to check in on a site’s usability. Using the following options under “Crawl Errors” can make a significant difference to usability:

  • Smartphone tab – permits users to recognize any crawl errors that might be burdening their mobile pages
  • Fetch on Google – allows users to see how crawlers view the site and adjust accordingly
  • Mobile Usability report – tells users precisely which pages have mobile usability issues, as well as the nature of the issues.

How Will Google’s Speed Update Impact Your AdWords Account?

The Quality Score algorithm, the algorithm that determines how much users pay per click to serve an ad on the Search Network, is heavily influenced by landing page experience. If a company’s site does not load quickly and does not convey beneficial information, the company will either end up paying a premium or realize that they are unable to serve an ad at all.

The AdWords documentation recommends five ways to affect positive change regarding a site’s landing page experience:

  • Include relevant, compelling content
  • Be recognized as trustworthy
  • Make navigation simple and effective
  • Reduce load time
  • Make the website faster

In Conclusion

Failing to consider the new speed update will negatively affect a website’s ranking and, in turn, adversely impact the ROI of the business it showcases. AdWords users need to ensure they optimize for load time and landing page speed, and not just in terms of relevance. Companies should also contemplate making a move to AMP, ensure that their intent is on point, and make the most of the power of Search Console and page speed insights.

 

17 SEO MYTHS YOU SHOULD LEAVE BEHIND

 

telling your brand story

Telling Your Brand Story To Baby Boomers

The only thing in the world that is constant is change, and not many changes in recent history can compare to the way baby boomers have redefined how we approach everything in life, marketing and spending included. The baby boomer generation controls 70% of disposable income in the United States, and represent 44% of the US population. That is a considerable market share and one that you can tap into by telling your brand story in a way that appeals specifically to this generation.

The Importance of Experience

How your customers think is influenced by their unique life story, current circumstances, environment, and worldview. It is also influenced by their experience and the wisdom they have gained as they have progressed through life. Your brand story needs to take these elements into account and reflect the knowledge, experience, and interests of this age group. Your brand story needs to use language in a way that celebrates this wealth of life experience.

However, just as importantly, your brand storytelling must reflect on the role that this wealth of experience plays in the changing buying habits of the Baby Boomer generation. Worldviews change as you age and gain new information and perspectives. These changing views reflect in how this customer segment process information, and how they make decisions about products and services.

Life becomes more about relationships, developing positive relationships in particular, rather than categories. Family, friends, and nostalgia, play a significant role in the decision-making process. Choices are not black and white and are more likely to be emotionally led.

Check out this similar article about Brand Storytelling

Changes in Storytelling Style

When considering how to tell your brand story to Baby Boomers, you also need to recognize that the changes are not just emotional, but also physical. As the brain ages and its functions change, you must adapt your storytelling to communicate efficiently with this generation. While the younger brain wants unambiguous, precise details and facts, the brain of this generation is more intuitive and emotionally led. It is also more attuned to sensory images, meaning that your storytelling needs to use words in a multi-sensory manner to create these pictures.

Metaphors are an essential part of this creative process. They aid in the brain’s comprehension of a subject and help to make it more vivid. If you cannot paint pictures with words and metaphors, you risk losing the customer’s focus and interest in your story.

Luckily for you as the storyteller, the Baby Boomer generation as a whole loves stories. So, the stronger the story, the more likely you are to attract Baby Boomers to your brand. However, your stories need to be emotionally charged. If it just contains line after line of facts and statistics, it will quickly lose its appeal. As with any customer segment, good writing, detailed characters, and engaging content also remain essential to reaching the Baby Boomer generation.

 

crazy marketing ideas

 

 

How to Tell Your Brand Story and What It Means To Generation Z

When deciding on how to tell your brand story, your intended audiences are a key component in any decisions you make. A great deal of time and effort goes into developing your brand story, especially in relation to making it appealing to your core market segment. While many companies focus their efforts on attracting the buying power of millennials, there is another sector who have money to spend, but who expect very different things from the brands they choose.

This sector is, of course, Generation Z. This generation encompasses all those born from 1995 onwards. Generation Z accounts for 25.9% of the population of the United States; by far the largest percentage of any age group. Currently, analysts believe this generation has in the region of $44 billion in purchasing power, and by 2020 they will account for a third of the U. S. population, so they are undoubtedly worth paying attention to.

Appealing to Generation Z

This generation lives in a world where everyone can have their voice heard, thanks to social media, and particularly channels such as YouTube, with its vloggers, product testers, and social stories. Generation Z is firmly based online, with recent research suggesting that 28% of this generation wants to be reached via online ads, compared to just 16% of millennials.

Their continual connection to the online world also means that they are more likely to be moved to action by real people than they are by celebrities. They are, as most people were at that age, looking for products over experiences. However, the challenge your brand story faces is how to make the products you sell feel current and therefore appealing to this younger age group.

Just a Click Away

As well as changing perspectives to appeal to this generation, you need to change how your story is delivered. Generation Z is very much a one-click generation. If it takes more than that to access or share the story, they are not going to read it or pass it on to others. Your story needs to be shareable through channels such as YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

Moreover, it is not just about accessing the content; researchers believe you have an average of 8 seconds to capture the interest of this generation, once the content has been accessed. This is one of the reasons why audio / visual approaches to your story are essential.

Four social media platforms. Four different ways to advertise. Click here to learn more. 

Personal Products for Personal Experiences

While Generation Z is about the product rather than the experience that you are offering, they do want the product to provide a personal experience. This is where the more traditional approach to storytelling comes in, but using personas that they recognize – real people, in real situations, which they can imagine themselves in by buying your product.

While one could still use actors and showcase their lifestyles, using the YouTuber who Vlogs from his or her bedroom two streets over, could work even better with this generation because they seem more relatable to this younger audience.

Some Rules Still Apply

The differences between Generation Z and previous generations does not mean that you should throw all the rules out the window. High quality, consistent content is still a must when determining how to tell your brand story. Stories still need to have believable characters and situations. Your values, aims, and mission statement must again shine through; younger members of the Generation Z are also still under parental input, so, you need to bridge two or more generations with your approach.

However, you must tie all this together with a tech-savvy approach. Your brand story needs to encompass the online world in all its various forms. This generation uses different platforms for different activities, and you need to be able to tap into most of those if not all. Content that you provide for this generation needs to be in the form of micro-interactions; short snippets of mainly visual information, provided by someone that this generation recognizes and can relate to. Simple really, isn’t it?

 

mobile marketing techniques

 

 

creative marketing solutions

How to Tell Your Brand Story: Building a Brand Story

Storytelling is an ancient art form, which has scientifically been proven to aid memory, making it the ideal vehicle for promoting products and creating successful branding. Learning how to tell your brand story begins with understanding the role of characters.

At the heart of the story lays the characters. It is through your characters that you connect with your customers. If your story does not have believable characters, then your potential customers will not connect with you, find your branding believable, or create an emotional connection with your story.

Starting with Archetypes

Your brand persona reflects your customers understanding of your brand’s behaviors and values. The persona must appear human and exhibit traits that the customer recognizes, such as courage, persistence, and imagination. They need to be able to create an emotional connection with your persona. Your story’s characters play a vital role in shaping this relationship.

super heroFor your brand story to be compelling, it needs strong, well-drawn, and quickly recognized characters, which your customers can relate to and see themselves in. To achieve this, you need to begin with archetypes. Hero, villain, mentor, caregiver; these are archetypes that are easily recognizable and relatable to. They are found in all stories throughout history, from Ancient Greek classics to modern fantasy tales. However, an archetype on its own is two-dimensional, so it needs to be personalized to make it believable.

Developing a Believable Persona through Relatable Characters

Your characters must grow from these archetypes. Otherwise, they will remain flat and hold no emotional connection with the customer. Achieving this involves creating credible stories for your characters without losing consistency. This enables the customer to see them as multi-dimensional.

Through those character stories, you develop your brand persona’s attributes. The attributes your persona portrays will be the ones your customer associates with your company, so these need to be chosen carefully. You might want to consider qualities such as courage, decisiveness, determination, work ethic, honesty, flexibility, responsibility, and curiosity.

An example of good brand storytelling and excellent character creation is Guinness. Consider the company’s latest campaign with the guys that have turned their backs on the gang culture of Compton, and are instead saving horses. The archetypes are good versus evil, but the characters stories make them relatable and give an overall caring, yet brand persona for Guinness.

How do you bring your brand story to life, even when it’s online? Check out this article to learn more. 

Creating a Relatable Persona

As well as being believable, your brand persona must be relatable. If your target customer group is young women, then having a brand persona that your audience consider to be a middle-aged businessman is not going to make your brand relatable. If your customers cannot relate, then they will not feel connected to your brand and are unlikely to believe your promises, mission statement, or aims. You need to know who it is you want to connect with before you even begin to develop your persona.

The customer may never see any of this directly, but they will instinctively know if you have not considered these elements as it will show in the consistency–or lack thereof–of your brand storytelling. If you are unsure of the importance of characters in how to tell your brand story and create your brand persona, go back to your favorite work of fiction and imagine that work without the attention to detail that has been poured into each character.

business story

 

 

The 5 W’s Of A Thank You Page

Thank you pages are an important part of the inbound methodology. To better understand a thank you page, it is best to look at the 5 W’s: Who, what, when, where, and why.

Who sees a thank you page:

Anyone who chooses to follow a link on your website to obtain an eBook or a white paper of some sort, is going to see a thank you page. These people can be prospects, leads or customers.

What the page should look like:

A thank you page should look similar to your companies website. The thank you page should include the main headers which can be seen on your website as well as the name of the company. Most importantly, the message that states “thank you for ___”. You fill in the blank with signing up or downloading the eBook, etc. Additionally, the time frame in which the person will receive the information they have requested. To the right side of the thank you page, it is good to include information related to the topic. Additionally, including a CTA is a good addition as well. When designing your thank you page, it is important to remember that it should NOT be a blank white screen that says thank you.

When a thank you is important:

Thank you’s are always important. Especially because in today’s time, people are always looking for information. By providing a thank you page, there is a good chance the person could return to the website. These pages are something very positive.

Read more on how a thank you page is not the end but a continuation.

Where to go after this step:

Once someone has seen the thank you page, they will be waiting for the information requested to be sent to them. It is important to get back to that person within 2-3 business days. Something else that can be done is to start sending emails to that person with information similar to what they requested. This way, by keeping your company as a part of their attention, they won’t forget about you.

Why these pages are important:

These pages are important because it shows people that you care. It also shows that you will get back to them with the information they are looking for. Thank you pages are important when converting people in the inbound methodology.

Overall, thank you pages are a great addition to have as a part of your website. Don’t forget that these pages appear after someone has requested information. That means that your website will need to include call to actions.

thank you page