marketing agency

Why Hiring a Marketing Agency Would Benefit your Company

Marketing your business is critical to not just achieving growth, but to simply surviving. If you’re a small to mid-sized company, then marketing is absolutely essential to generating awareness of your business. However, effective marketing can be very challenging without experience, not to mention that it can be very time consuming as well. Businesses that attempt to develop marketing strategies on their own often find themselves stretched thin. As a result, they have little time to focus on their core business. Because of this, you should strongly consider hiring a marketing agency.

Reasons To Hire A Marketing Agency

For many, hiring a marketing agency requires some convincing. After all, some businesses believe that paying for marketing services is an unnecessary expenditure. However, working with a marketing agency can be incredibly beneficial. The following are a few key reasons that a reputable marketing agency is worth the cost:

  • Cheaper than an in-house team

Marketing a business not only takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of specializedwork. Marketing teams typically consist of a marketing coordinator, a marketing director, a social media manager, a content strategist, a marketing manager, and more. The cost of hiring these positions full-time is rarely something that smaller businesses can afford. When you hire a marketing agency, you pay a set fee. This set fee provides you with access to all of the marketing specialists you need.

  • Scale as your company grows

As your company grows, it will become increasingly difficult to scale your marketing efforts. The bigger your company gets, the more time and effort you will need to dedicate to your marketing. A marketing agency will be able to keep up with your growing marketing needs.

  • Take advantage of marketing expertise

When you work with a marketing agency, you’ll have access to a team of experts with vast experience. They will know what works and what doesn’t. They will also work closely with you to tailor a marketing strategy that suits your needs. Inexperienced companies that don’t use an agency often end up developing a marketing strategy through trial and error. Relying on trial and error to improve your marketing efforts is not cost-effective.

  • Have access to the latest marketing tools

Marketing agencies invest in all of the latest marketing tools and technology. Smaller companies can rarely afford these tools on their own. Fortunately, marketing agencies will use all of their high-end marketing tools when working with you.

How To Choose The Right Marketing Agency

Not all marketing agencies are of the same quality. Nor do they all offer the same services or charge the same fees. As such, hiring the right marketing agency can be difficult. The following are some tips to help you choose a marketing agency that will fit your unique needs:

  • Have a goal

You’re not going to know if the agency can offer what you need if you don’t have a marketing goal in mind. You need to figure out exactly what you’re trying to achieve. For example, maybe you want to build a successful website or you’re trying to increase your leads. Ask the agency how they’ll go about helping you achieve your specific goal.

  • Find out about their services

Some marketing agencies specialize in specific services, such as SEO. Others offer more broad services, such as digital marketing. Find out what services they offer to determine if they are a good fit for your company’s needs.

  • Ask for references

Speak with the agency’s current clients. A reputable marketing agency should have no trouble providing you with references. You should also ask how many existing clients they currently have and for how long they’ve had them. The longer the clients have been with them, the more you can assume that they must be doing a good job. High client turnover is usually a bad sign.

  • Look at previous work

Good references don’t always indicate good work. Take a look at the marketing strategies that were implemented for previous clients. Look at their websites, their social presence, their content, and more. If you don’t think they’re of high quality, then that’s a big red flag.

  • Look for a good cultural fit

You need a marketing agency that’s willing to work with you to tailor a strategy to meet your needs. To achieve this, your team has to get along with their team. A good cultural fit is essential. When speaking with an agency, pay attention to how well they communicate with you. You should also get along well with them. Finally, try to find an agency that shares the same values as your company.

6 Reasons to Hire a Digital Marketing Agency

Begin Working With A Marketing Agency Today

At first glance, handling your own marketing efforts might seem more cost-effective. However, that’s simply not the case. Not only are you likely to save money long-term, but your marketing strategy is more likely to succeed if you work with a reputable marketing agency. With that in mind, you should strongly consider hiring a marketing agency to oversee your company’s marketing strategy.

 

Free Marketing Consultation

Bob Ward Homes Employs Steven & Tate To Increase Brand Awareness and Develop Stronger Social Media Presence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lombard, Ill.–Bob Ward Companies hired Stevens & Tate to help increase awareness of its company in the Baltimore area and drive on-site traffic. 

Stevens & Tate has helped with assembling Bob Ward Companies’ brand by creating its agency of record, developing relationships through lead nurturing, advertising to targeted audiences with media planning and buying, and improving its creative strategy. Bob Ward Homes employed Stevens & Tate to help establish a look for its brand by designing and further developing its website. Stevens & Tate is proud to contribute to the establishing of Bob Ward Companies and continue to help increase awareness about its company.

Bob Ward Companies is one of the largest homebuilding companies in metropolitan Baltimore. Bob Ward is known for its impressive fit, finishes, and design and has received many awards from local and national homebuilding industries for their standards of excellence. In Baltimore, Bob Ward Companies maintains a high reputation.

Stevens & Tate is happy to do business with Bob Ward Companies and help further establish its brand by creating its agency of record, media planning and buying, and website design and development. Stevens & Tate is an award-winning company that has been recognized for its on-strategy creative; integrated message and brand development; Internet and digital advertising’ and cost-effective media planning. Learn more about Stevens & Tate at www.stevens-tate.com or call (630) 627-5200.

inbound marketing strategy

Developing Inbound Marketing Strategies For Your Business

Everyone is familiar with traditional marketing. Traditional marketing includes TV commercials, radio ads, magazine ads, billboards, and more. While such marketing can still be very useful, it’s not always a cost-effective option for smaller businesses. It’s one of the reasons why most businesses have set up websites and social media pages (such as on Facebook). What you may not realize is that marketing your company online in such a way is known as “inbound marketing.” You should also know that a lot more goes into inbound marketing strategies than just setting up a website.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

People often think of inbound marketing as being the same as online marketing. However, while online marketing is often a form of inbound, they are not the same. Inbound marketing refers to any marketing strategy with a focus on attracting an audience. Most traditional marketing strategies, such as TV commercials, directly engage an audience. This type of marketing is known as “outbound marketing.”

How Is Inbound Different Than Outbound Marketing

Instead of directly engaging an audience, inbound marketing involves letting your audience come to you. To achieve this, you need to put yourself in a position to be found. For example, when someone does a Google search and finds your website on Google’s SERP (search engine results page) and they visit your site as a result. This is a form of inbound marketing.

The Benefits Of Inbound Marketing Strategies

First of all, inbound marketing is the most affordable option for companies with a smaller budget. What’s particularly beneficial about inbound marketing is that you can scale your efforts as you grow. It’s also a more effective way to build your brand authority, thereby helping to increase your reputation while building a larger audience.

Inbound Marketing Is A Long-Term Strategy

In addition to being cost-effective and easier to scale, inbound marketing is also a long-term strategy. You’ll rarely see significant results from your inbound marketing efforts the moment you implement them. But if you keep at it, you’re much more likely to achieve long-term success. This differs from outbound marketing, which tends to be more short-term in its results.

5 Essential Inbound Marketing Tips

Hopefully, your business has a website or a social media page. Most small businesses, including mom and pop shops, at least have a Facebook page. This is a good start; however, you’ll want to expand your inbound marketing efforts to increase your chances of success. The following are five essential inbound marketing strategies that you should adopt:

1. Create Attention-Grabbing Content

To attract people to your business, you need to have something of value to offer.  Because of this, you need to create content. Content is the reason people use the Internet, whether they are doing research, looking for help, or seeking entertainment. By creating website content, you put yourself in a position to be found. The content you create can continue to attract new leads over the long run. However, not just any content will do. You need to develop content that’s relevant to your business and that provides value to your target audience.

2. Promote Content On Social Media

Creating high-quality content is the first step. However, you need to promote it to attract as many potential customers as possible. Social channels are arguably the best way to promote new content since billions of people use social media. By posting content on social media, you will generate awareness of that content to your followers. Additionally, you will have a chance of attracting more leads if your followers share your content.

3. Set Up A Blog

The blog is one of the most effective ways to generate and organize content. By setting up a blog, you create a dedicated section on your site where you can publish new content. Your audience will know that they can continue to visit your blog to view new content in the future. As such, a blog also makes it easier to nurture your leads and maintain your audience.

4. Monitor Social Media And Website Analytics

You’re going to have a difficult time determining the success of your inbound marketing efforts if you can’t judge their performance. Fortunately, there are tons of website and social media analytics tools that you can use. By tracking various KPIs, you can identify what inbound efforts are performing well and which ones are doing poorly. This data can help guide your future marketing efforts.

 Six Steps to Better Use of Marketing Analytics & Dashboard 

5. Use SEO For Your Headlines

Search engine optimization makes it easier for Google to identify what your content is about and how engaging it is. It factors these things into ranking content. The better your content ranks, the more organic traffic you’re likely to receive through Google’s search engine. As such, make sure that you optimize your content’s headlines using strong, relevant keywords.

Develop an Inbound Marketing Strategy Today

As beneficial and cost-effective as inbound marketing can be, it’s important to understand that it’s not superior to outbound marketing. Inbound marketing is just a different type of marketing strategy than outbound. The best approach is to use both inbound and outbound marketing strategies that work with each other. Either way, you’ll want to make sure that you use the right inbound marketing strategies to get the most out of your inbound marketing efforts.

 

Inbound marketing will help you grow your business by attracting website visitors, converting them into leads and closing leads into customers
b2b marketing

5 Ways to Improve Your B2B Marketing Strategies

B2B marketing can be a challenging endeavor, especially if you don’t have a clear cut marketing strategy in place. To have any hope of running a successful B2B marketing campaign, you’ll need to establish what your goals are. Once you’ve done so, you should implement marketing strategies that will support those goals and help you achieve them. The following are five B2B marketing tips that you should use to help improve your marketing efforts:

email marketing metrics 31. Streamline Your Email Marketing

Effective email marketing is vital to your ability to convert subscribers into leads and leads into customers. It’s estimated that 83 percent of B2B businesses have an email newsletter strategy. In addition, 40 percent of businesses believe newsletters are the most important component of their content marketing efforts. To get the most out of your email marketing strategy, you need to streamline it. This means that you should segment your email list so that you can personalize your messaging and target subscribers more effectively. Doing so will help ensure that your email campaigns are relevant to your email list, making it easier to nurture your leads.

2. Enhance Your Online B2B Marketing Presence With SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) is essential to putting your business in a position to be found by potential B2B clients. Many businesses will begin searching for information or solutions through Google. If you have a strong SEO strategy in place, your website will receive more exposure on Google’s SERP (search engine results page). This will bring in more organic traffic from Google. To receive the most exposure on Google’s SERP, you will need to rank high on their page. Most people will click on one of the top three results and rarely ever go past the first page. By optimizing your website for SEO, you will boost your page rankings. The following are a few SEO factors that contribute to Google’s page rankings:

  • Keyword use

Keywords help provide Google with information about what your website content is about. You need to use keywords that are relevant to your content and that are competitive, meaning that you have a chance to rank well compared to other websites ranking for the same keywords. Your keywords also need to match your user intent to ensure that they are actually being used by people who are in your target audience. Finally, you’ll need to properly optimize your site using these keywords, such as by using them in your titles, headers, body content, anchor text, alt image tags, meta titles, and more.

  • User engagement

High user engagement indicates that the content is of high quality, which is why Google pays attention to certain factors that indicate high user engagement, such as social signals (shares and likes), comments, and backlinks.

  • User experience

User experience is another element that indicates quality. Technical issues, such as slow-loading pages, hinder the user experience. As such, you need to make sure your website is technically sound.

8 Ways That You Can Improve Your SEO

3. Know Your Audience

One of the ways in which B2B marketing differs from B2C marketing is that B2B clients are much more specific. B2C companies tend to have more general audiences that they can market to. Because B2B companies have to target a more specific type of client, you will need to figure out who exactly your audience is. To do this, you should develop your buyer personas. Buyer personas are representations of your ideal clients. They help you define the different types of clients that make up your target audience. You can then use your buyer personas to guide all of your marketing efforts. For example, when creating content, you can make sure that the content you’re creating is relevant to at least one of your buyer personas. Additionally, you’ll be able to make sure that you address your entire audience by making sure to create content that’s relevant to all of your buyer personas.

4. Measure Your B2B Marketing Online Performance

Not all of your marketing efforts may achieve the success you were hoping for. However, the only way to judge your marketing performance is through various analytics tools to monitor key metrics. By doing so, you’ll be able to determine what is working and adapt accordingly. The ability to adjust your strategy mid-campaign can help ensure that you’re not wasting resources on tactics that aren’t effective. In the end, measuring your online performance is critical to achieving a high ROI on your B2B marketing.

5. Take Advantage Of Referral Marketing

Capturing leads and converting customers requires you to build trust. One of the best ways to build trust is through another customer’s referral. Implementing a referral marketing strategy can help you attract new leads through word of mouth of existing and past customers. To do so, you should give existing customers an incentive to provide referrals, such as a discount on a product or service.

These are five B2B marketing tips that can enhance your marketing campaign. Keep in mind that you should continuously monitor and adjust your B2B marketing strategies as needed. Doing so will help ensure that you’re not pouring resources into tactics that aren’t working out for you and will help you achieve a higher ROI in the long run.

Download Our White Paper Guide To Learn How To Perfect Buyer Personas For Your Business

30 Ways to Boost Instagram Engagement & Following

Looking for ways to boost your social media brand presence? Knowing how to increase brand engagement on Instagram, the latest and hippest social media platform app, is a great start. People are online all day due to working from home. Virtual shopping has risen due to restrictions and pandemic fears. As we have geared toward a more online world, your brand’s presence on the web is more important now than ever.

Why Instagram?

According to Forbes, 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business or brand, and 200 million users on Instagram visit business profiles daily. 70% of users turn to Instagram to look up a brand, and 60% learn about new products using Instagram. Now is the time to catch up with the competition that is already using these trends to their advantage.

Here is a compilation of our 30 best marketing tips for businesses to grow Instagram engagement and following in 2020:

Instagram Profile and Posting Habits

  1. Get to know the Instagram app and master how to use its basic features such as uploading posts and stories.
  2. Write a compelling Instagram bio and integrate it into your brand personality.
  3. Keep posts visually consistent to meet your brand’s style guide and tone.
  4. Incorporate categorized pinned stories on your Instagram page so it is easily navigable and can be used as a resource for sharing your brand identity to consumers.
  5. Optimize captions using brand hashtags and relevant hashtags with high popularity. (Determine if a hashtag is trending by typing the hashtag in the instagram search bar to see how many posts come up with the hashtag.)
  6. Use tools such as Hashtagsforlikes to optimize hashtags to use for your business sector.
  7. Create and promote a specific branded hashtag for a campaign. Encourage others to share the hashtag with it theming around a relevant, trending topic that consumers are passionate about.
  8. Use local hashtags and geotags on posts in order to attract local users on Instagram in a similar way SEO works for the web.
  9. Post consistently with both posts and stories, including videos, polls, and other interactive elements to keep followers engaged and entertained with your content. 
  10. Start conversations using Instagram stories stickers and polls.
  11. Schedule Instagram stories to generate more views.
  12. Keep in mind that 40% of Instagram videos do not have sound on, so ensure you caption relevant verbal content.
  13. Convert instagram followers into email subscribers by making your Instagram a business account and promoting your email subscriptions in your Instagram posts and stories.
  14. Monitor your tagged photos to ensure a good reputation, and un-tag your account on posts that are irrelevant or spam, so they do not appear on your profile.
  15. Add a link to instagram stories in order to generate website traffic.
  16. Use humor through gif’s and memes to execute your brand message through a creative angle.

Increasing your Instagram following

  1. Optimize SEO on instagram by paying vital attention to your Instagram handle and name. It is very important that your handle (@…) reflects your business industry. Try to make it short, sweet, and with relevant words. The account name should reflect the account handle and industry because it is what Instagram checks its searches against when users type a word or emoji in the search bar.
  2. Partner with micro influencers.
  3. Run a contest, giveaway, or raffle entry through your account page.
  4. Invest in Instagram ads, which targets customers with personalization and buyer persona techniques.
  5. Create “savable” content, or posts that are aesthetically pleasing, informationally useful or relevant. This will entice followers to save the content to their library and increases the chances of further brand awareness. Simultaneously, creating desirable content provides people a reason to continue following your page and share your content.
  6. Participate in popular conversations on accounts with high following and public relevance in order to get your instagram handle out there and quickly generate new followers.
  7. Encourage followers to re-share your Instagram stories through incentives of discount promotion codes and/or contests.
  8. Open up about your business with a weekly featured vlog of the day in the life of an employee, an interesting biographical picture and captioned story of the founders, or inspirational quote from the CEO.
  9. Follow relevant accounts and users following competition in your industry to gain followers back.
  10. Promote your Instagram on other social media accounts. Feature your Instagram account in your Twitter and Facebook bios, and make a post promoting your Instagram page with a link.
  11. If your Facebook has many likes or followers already, consider linking your Facebook and Instagram together to boost your Instagram following.

6 Social Media Trends to Follow in 2020

Keeping Track of your Instagram Performance

  1. Ensure your account is in business mode to automatically receive valuable insights and analytics on how your posts are doing.
  2. Regularly test and analyze new content to post to your Instagram.
  3. Use a free follower tracking app to regularly unfollow accounts that do not follow yours back in order to maintain a good follower/following ratio while continuously following new accounts.

We hope these 30 tips with various resources serve you well on your journey to becoming an Instagram lead-generation powerhouse. Happy “gram-ing”!

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july 2020 marketing trends

What’s Trending in Marketing for July 2020

During this Covid-19 summer, staying current on marketing trends is especially important to assess whether your marketing efforts are harmonious with today’s evolving world. We know the difficulty of keeping up with these trends given the abundance of information thrown at us every day. The following articles highlight current marketing trends that we think are worth paying attention to:

Noteworthy Marketing News

Zuckerberg: Advertisers will be back to Facebook ‘soon enough’

Over 600 brands are a part of the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign boycotting Facebook advertising due to their accusation that Facebook policies are too slow at removing hateful content. A recent BBC article reports that CEO Mark Zuckerberg does not plan to acknowledge the boycott, believing these companies will return to Facebook Ads soon enough. Read more on BBC. 

Google Adds Auto-Generated ‘Smart Replies’ to YouTube Studio

Google added automatic “smart replies” to YouTube studio to ease communication and engagement for creators. According to Google, the system is the first of its kind to have cross-lingual and character-byte based features. This new feature is currently available for English and Spanish only. The system scans comments on YouTube videos and provides suggested quick replies to each for the account owner to select. Over time, it adapts response suggestions to the user’s conversational tone and style. This new feature can allow youtube users to enhance their public relations image with fans and subscribers. Get the full story on Social Media Today. 

Enjoy this Article: Marketing Trends in April 2020

Improving Your Marketing Program

Free Digital Marketing Tools to Cope With COVID-19

During these trying times, we are seeing free and discounted digital marketing tools, being used to support sales and service professionals. This generosity has helped keep marketing teams engaged, support demand generation initiatives, and enable sales and service professionals to better meet the needs of their customers. While this list may not be comprehensive, here are some recommendations for the most valuable digital marketing tools available to sales, marketing, and customer success professionals today.

Marketing Strategies In Times of Fear and Uncertainty

Your marketing strategies must play a role in reassuring customers. Unfortunately, there is much uncertainty in the world, and that’s truer now than ever before. It’s no secret that the coronavirus has left many people in a state of fear, anxiety and grief. We know this is a great time to be marketing- but perhaps are unsure what is best for every customer during these times. While these concerns are logical, it’s important to keep a positive attitude. Your marketing strategies should be about helping your customers keep that positive attitude. Here are a few ways to help them do just that.

Blog vs. Vlog: Why Your Business Should Begin Vlogging

The blog has long been one of the preferred tactics for content marketing strategies. Using a blog, you can easily publish a variety of different content, from written articles to infographics and more. However, blogging isn’t the only content marketing tactic that works. More and more businesses are beginning to vlog as well. The concept of a vlog is simple — it’s a blog in video form. The question is how do you decide which to choose between blog vs. vlog for which type of content?

 

Recent Marketing Reports, Updates, and Trendsjuly marketing trends

Coronavirus Forces Dramatic Change in Marketing, But More Can Be Done to Adapt

The current state of uncertainty is impacting 82% of marketer’s day-to-day life. There is room for improvement in marketer’s internal communication with employees, as 60% provide regular updates to everyone on organization impact and 54% provide regular internal updates on the customer’s feelings and behavior. 72% of marketers have communicated with customers about their organization’s next steps. However, 58% of marketers report difficulty due to their organization’s reaction to the pandemic. For instance, 48% have frozen hiring, 56% have reduced marketing budgets, with the average budget reduction over 30%, mainly in creative and media spend categories. The largest cuts are in the digital channel. These drastic cuts in marketing spending are expected to hurt brand equity long-term. 40% of marketers have developed coronavirus-specific creative, 16% have increased corporate social responsibility and 34% have begun offering promotions to engage customers during the situation. More about the study is available on AMA. 

IAB U.S. 2020 Digital Video Advertising Spend Report: Putting COVID in Context

Due to connected TV, video campaigns remain stable among the cancelled campaigns due to the pandemic. IAB’s U.S. 2020 Digital Video Advertising Spend Report found that Connected TV was the least impacted by Covid-19. Key findings include that the average Connected TV spend for the year is expected to reach $16 million per advertiser, which is a 8% rise. More than half of these buyers are switching dollars from broadcast and Cable TV towards Connected TV.  The largest buyer categories are retail spending $32.2 million per advertiser, media/entertainment spending $31.9 million per advertiser and telecom spending $20.6 million per advertiser. The hardest hit in 2020 is expected to be video advertising on desktop. Download IAB’s full report here.

Homebuilder Sentiment Posts a Record Jump in June, signaling a Housing-Market Rebound from the Coronavirus Pandemic

The National Association of Homebuilders/ Wells Fargo Housing Market Index’s report of homebuilder sentiment rose to 58 in June, which was a record-high 21-point jump. According to the index, anything above 50 indicates a positive market. As mortgage rates are at all-time lows, 10.9% more people applied to purchase a home this May compared to 2019. Overall, all components of the housing market index gained in June. The positive outlook in this industry points to a notable opportunity for homebuilder marketers. Read more on the Business Insider. 

Manufacturing bounces back stronger than expected in June, ISM reading shows

For the first time since the pandemic lockdown, over half of U.S. manufactures reported better-than-expected expansion in June. According to the Institute for Supply Manufacturing survey, 52.6% of companies reported growth, which was higher than economist expectations. Only 5 out of 18 industries reported negatively. Textile mills, wood products, furniture and related products had the highest expansion. In May, employment went up 10 points, production up 33.2 points, and new orders up 31.8 points. Manufacturing companies have a marketing opportunity as business begins to rise in these industries. CNBC has the full story here.

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buyer persona

Lessons Learned: Buyer Persona Gone Wrong

Before a company can establish a solid marketing plan, it must be aware of the specific target markets or customer profiles it has the best chance to attract to its product or service. Creating a buyer persona is essential to effective attraction marketing.

Market Segmentation

In order to perfect your approach in buyer persona launch, these are some common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Don’t Forget to Focus on the Buyer Decision

The most common mistake marketers make is solely defining a buyer persona by the buyer profile, rather than putting detailed consideration in what is most useful: the buyer decision.

How to fix this:

Aside from using previous data, we recommend using the research questions provided by 5 Rings of Buying Insight™, which incorporates every aspect you need to know about your buyer persona’s decision making process:

  1. Priority initiatives – What causes certain buyers to invest in solutions like yours? What is different about buyers who are satisfied with the status quo?
  2. Success factors – What operational or personal results do your buyers expect to achieve by purchasing this solution?
  3. Perceived barriers – What concerns cause your buyers to believe that your solution or company is not their best option?
  4. Buyer’s journey – Who and what impacts your buyers as they evaluate their options and make a selection?
  5. Decision criteria – Which aspects of competing products, services, solutions, or companies do your buyers perceive as most critical? What do your buyers expect for each?

Ultimate Guide to the Buyer’s Journey- Find out What Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey Entails

  1. Keep Your Research Questions Simple and Sweet

Marketers often stray from insightful target market findings if they use too much detail in their research questions. When conducting research about your buyer persona through surveys or focus groups, avoid questions that are overly personal or technical. This may deviate your campaign away from any productive findings that would help you truly get to know your ideal customer niche.

How to fix this:

When developing questions, it is best to start by establishing what the key problems or questions are that you ultimately want answers for.  You may start with a larger, broader list of questions… however, do not make the mistake of forgetting to shave it down. In the end, all questions should lead to answers that are simple, sweet, and directly related to the problem trying to be solved at hand.

 

  1. Assuming About the Buyer Persona Leads Campaigns Astray

It is important to remember that the most helpful information comes directly from the customers. When researching a potential buyer persona, it is crucial to avoid filling in the blanks, skipping the interview, or assuming anything about the client. A campaign could go in the complete wrong direction if this occurs.

How to fix this:

Rather than making an incorrect assumption based on survey results, in-depth conversations with people can provide the answers you need to bring your brand to the next level. Additionally, a small sample size may lead to incorrect assumptions. Since quality > quantity, and many agencies fixate too much into demographic or other obvious information rather than actually helpful insights, in-depth interviews are again a solution to avoiding this mistake. In order to avoid an over-reliance on anecdotes, always ensure they are backed up by data. You know what they say about assuming… it definitely does not make an accurate buyer persona!

 

  1. Less is More: Master One Buyer Persona First!

It is important to focus on mastering one target market rather than taking on too many to handle. Trying to tackle too many buyer personas at once can overwhelm. This results in a lower quality of target profile insights and vague understanding of individual buyer personas.  Before deciding to take on another buyer persona, it is important to know that this new initiative will bring about sufficient revenue and that your company has the resources necessary to execute.

How to fix this:  

Instead of pondering how many buyer personas to generate, it is important to first focus on establishing how many ways your company needs to market its product or service as the solution for a given buyer persona. Once these are established, it is much easier to gauge if another buyer persona should emerge.

 

  1. One Stock Photo Cannot Fit All

Though stock photos incorporate a creative, personable, and emotion-driven touch to a targeted campaign. However, marketers often forget that one stock photo cannot fit all customers within a buyer persona. Do not make the common mistake of overthinking a stock photo to the point it (mis)leads your campaign into the (wrong) direction.

How to fix this:

In order to solidify your campaign, be sure to start the buyer persona creation process with fleshed out, concrete ideas about who exactly your target market is. Only then should you allow yourself to do the fun part of depicting this persona; stock photos should embellish your envisioned buyer persona- not create it.

More on Buyer Personas:

buyer persona guide for business

 

social media trends 1

TikTok Advertising Strategies Are Becoming More Common

Most businesses these days are using at least one or two social media channels to market their brand. However, new social channels emerge every year, many of which are worth your attention. Take TikTok for example. Although initially dismissed by most as another social media platform for teens, more businesses are taking notice. This is because they are beginning to realize that TikTok is attracting more adult users every day. As such, TikTok advertising is well worth considering.

What is TikTok?

TikTok started off as a platform on which users could upload videos of themselves lip-synching to music videos. These videos were no more than 15 seconds long. In a way, they were like a more niche-based version of the now-defunct Vine social platform. As such, it was no surprise that the platform attracted a younger audience. However, older users began taking advantage of TikTok’s audience to showcase themselves in different ways. For example, comedians would upload short videos of stand-up routines. Another example is of skateboarders, who would upload tricks that they landed. Soon, TikTok allowed its users to upload videos up to 60 seconds long.

Who Uses TikTok?

TikTok still has a userbase that leans on the younger side with more than 66 percent of its users under the age of 30. However, if you have a younger target audience, then TikTok is very much worth your time. This is especially true when you consider the fact that more parents are using TikTok on a daily basis (it’s estimated that 41 percent of dads have used TikTok). Not to mention that TikTok currently has over six million users in the U.S. alone.

Video Marketing Ideas: Using Storytelling in Social Media

How Can You Leverage TikTok To Market Your Brand?

If your buyer personas match the target audience of TikTok, then you may be curious as to how you can use the platform to your advantage. The following are just a few effective tactics when it comes to TikTok advertising:

  • User-generated content

TikTok is a great platform for encouraging user-generated content. Instagram is the other social channel where user-generated content is incredibly effective. One of the reasons user-generated content is so successful on both of these channels is because it encourages active audience engagement. Not only will they be engaged with your brand, but they will also generate content that helps promote your brand. In a sense, you’ll be getting free advertising. Users are more likely to participate using TikTok as well due to the platform’s focus on video creation.

  • TikTok challenges

One of the reasons why TikTok’s popularity has exploded over recent years is due to the challenges that users engage in. For example, one type of challenge involves doing a specific dance move or physical challenge (such as taking off your shirt while doing a wall stand). Many of these challenges go viral organically, but businesses have begun creating their own challenges in an effort to engage more users. When creating a challenge, make sure to use a hashtag along with an appropriate title. Doing so ensures that the challenge has a better chance of being found and shared.

  • Influencer marketing

Just like Instagram, TikTok is home to users with enormous followings. As such, you should consider influencer marketing. Influencer marketing involves building a relationship with someone on the platform with a large influence (number of followers). As long as your brand is relevant to them, they will be able to influence their followers’ awareness and feelings about your brand. For example, if you create a challenge, you can get it exposure by having an influencer take part in that challenge. They can also encourage their followers to do the same.

  • TikTok’s advertising platform

Like other social platforms, TikTok does have its own advertising platform that you can use. Some of the TikTok advertising options include in-feed videos, brand takeover ads, branded AR content, and more. TikTok can even help assist with your influencer marketing campaign via its customer influence package. Additionally, you will can customize your targeting options using website traffic, ad engagement, app activity, or customer contact data.

Begin Integrating TikTok Advertising As Part Of Your Social Marketing Strategy

Although TikTok has a younger user-base, it is continuing to grow, attracting more and more older users. As such, it’s worth considering TikTok advertising, especially if any of your buyer personas match with TikTok’s current audience.

 

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6 Tips for Choosing an Advertising Agency

Marketing your company is a must if you have any hope for success. Unfortunately, marketing your company effectively can be very time-consuming and can require a significant amount of resources. It’s why many businesses choose to outsource to an advertising agency. There are many reputable agencies out there to choose from; however, there are also plenty of agencies that can do more harm than good. To make sure that the money you spend on an agency will actually translate to real results, use the following tips to hire the right advertising agency:

1. Find an Advertising Agency That Focuses on Cultureadvertising agency

There are a lot of different factors that you should consider when comparing advertising agencies. However, one of the most important ones is the cultural fit. Make sure that the agency you hire shares the same core values as your business. A good agency that shares your values will be more collaborative and innovative. You should be able to get some sense of their culture by observing their work environment as well. If people seem active and cheerful at the same time, it’s a good sign.

2. Consider The Agency’s Talent

Arguably as important as an agency’s culture is their talent. Without talent, their culture will only take you so far. You want to work with an agency that isn’t conservative. This means that they’re not always looking to play it safe. You want an agency that’s ambitious and that is constantly looking to improve its abilities. You’ll also want to make sure that they are technologically literate. Speak with their HR team to learn about the types of people they tend to look for and hire. You should also look at their turnover rate. A high turnover rate tends to be an issue. It means that they’re either not hiring the right type of talent or that their talent tends to look elsewhere because the agency is a bad fit.

3. Don’t Rule Out Agencies Based On Location

Don’t limit your search for an advertising agency to your location. Location no longer means that much. After all, you don’t need to have in-person meetings with your agency all that often. In today’s connected world, it’s easy to keep in touch using email, online chat, video conferencing, and by phone. Additionally, it can actually benefit your company to look for an agency that’s outside of your area as it could provide you with an outside perspective. Such a perspective can really help freshen up your marketing efforts. By limiting your search to your location, you’ll limit your access to quality agencies and unique perspectives.

4. Don’t Rely Solely on RFPs

RFPs (requests for proposals) can be quite helpful, but you shouldn’t base your decision solely on an RFP. Many agencies excel at RFPs but only because they are opportunistic. When you review an RFP, speak with the agency’s leadership to get a feel for how passionate they are about the work that they do. Ask them about some of their greatest successes as well as some of their failures. The way an agency talks about their past failures can be very enlightening. After all, you’ll want an agency that is willing to reflect on its failures and learn from them.

5. Don’t Make Low Prices Your Main Priority

If you’re working with a limited advertising budget to begin with, you might be tempted to go with the agency that offers the most affordable rates. However, keep in mind that like with most things, you get what you pay for. If you go with the cheapest agency, it may result in lower quality work. They may even cut corners, which is the last thing you want when it comes to implementing a successful long-term advertising strategy.

6. Look Into Their Track Record

Do a little research into an agency’s past and current clients to get an idea of how effective they are as an advertising agency. If the agency has been around for a while, take note of its long-term clients. Clients that have stuck with them for a long time are a good indication of the agency’s quality and commitment. If an agency has a large turnover when it comes to clients, it’s often a bad sign. Be sure to ask the agency for references that you can contact as well.

Interactive Speaking & Marketing Consulting Experiences

Outsourcing your marketing efforts is generally a good way to save money over the long run and to ensure that you have an experienced team that you can rely on. Unfortunately, not all advertising agencies are reliable or even reputable, for that matter. As such, make sure that you use these six tips to find an advertising agency that will work closely with you to help you achieve your specific marketing goals.

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