mobile market

Improve Your Marketing Strategy By Asking These 4 Questions

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu – The Art of War

Often in business, we feel like we’re on a good marketing strategy. But, as we move further away from when that strategy was defined, we’re really just going through the motions. Activities are being completed, but we lose sight of why we are doing them and what they are supposed to accomplish. In addition, there can be changes in the marketplace, competitor’s messaging, consumer concerns, and even the methods of communication.

8 Tips on Social Media Best Practices For Your Business

Most companies review their strategies at year-end, but the best businesses are updating and improving their strategy more often than annually. By more frequently updating your marketing strategies and refocusing your activities, you will stay on track, get through all of the noise and reach your audience.

How about a summer strategy tune up?

Make sure that you’re staying on track to achieve your goals. Ask yourself these four questions:

  1. Does your media mix properly address the ever-changing ways your target audience consumes information?
  2. Is your messaging strategy corresponding with your current competitive advantages?
  3. Does your social media have a strong strategy that echoes your brand yet reaches beyond?
  4. Are there measurements to track whether or not your tactics are executing your strategy?

Stevens & Tate is a full-service advertising agency specializing in strategic creative thinking. Contact our team to discuss your marketing strategy today.

social media marketing

mobile market

How To Develop A Solid Inbound Marketing Strategy

Do you have a favorite sport? Maybe it’s something popular like football or hockey. Perhaps a more dignified pastime such as golf or horse racing better suits your style. Whatever your preference may be, do you ever wonder how your favorite athletes (hopefully!) win more than they lose? Most likely they are playing with a strategy. It may seem obvious, but strategy – even in a sport like racing – is essential to victory.

The same is true for your business website. Without a strategy, your website will fall behind the competition. Don’t let this happen! Many companies fall into the trap of creating a website for nothing more than an “online presence.” With inbound marketing, websites can do so much more than they could 20 years ago. With inbound marketing, businesses are seeing more online traffic that results in more customers and sales. But without a strategy, even inbound marketing has its limits.

Read More About The Benefits Of Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing benefits from a well-developed strategy. There are three aspects to creating a well-developed inbound marketing strategy.

1. Create website goals

What do you want your website to do for your customer? That’s the main question that should be asked before a website is developed. Without a clear goal, a website could be published without having any significant benefit to the owner or the visitor. If a website generates most of its sales after visitors view a product information page, the goal of the website should be to create more product information pages, increase traffic to these pages, and streamline the ability to go from product information to product purchase. Inbound marketing benefits from having a website with clearly defined goals. If you are wondering about your website, try having a friend or colleague take a look at it. Ask them if they felt your website had clearly defined goals. Once you’ve determined you have the right goals in mind, it’s time you ask yourself if you have the right person in mind.

2. Create a Persona

Creating a persona is a powerful way for a business to better understand its customers. Without a persona, businesses have an incomplete idea of who to market to. So what is a persona? A Persona is the ‘ideal’ customer that a business wants to reach out to. Personas are defined by many things – ethnicity, location, motivation – but what they all have in common is that they help shape the strategy used by a company to achieve its goal.

Read more on Why Buyer Personas Are So Important

By creating a strategy with a specific end-user in mind, we are better able to understand what their problems are and how we can help make their lives easier. Don’t get too attached to your persona though! You will likely find that you may need to update them as you gain more insights on your customers. You may even considering adding an additional persona. Once you have your persona or personas created, you can move on to the next step.

 3. Get to know your persona

Now that you have a persona, ask yourself, how well do you know him or her? It may seem like knowing a pretend person’s upbringing and background is a little silly, but it can go a long way with customer satisfaction. By constructing your persona’s life story, you are better able to understand their motivation, needs, and desired outcome in life. If your persona is looking for a product that satisfies a long-term need but your business only sells products for immediate use, you’ve just gained valuable insight. You’ve recognized a need your typical customer has as well as an opportunity for your company to grow. By using information gathered from our personas, we can update and adapt our company strategy to best fit our customer needs.

Download A Free Template For Developing Personas

Just like in all sports, strategies continue to adapt as they encounter new problems and opportunities. You will likely find that a strategy created today might not work for you a year from now. That’s okay! Revisiting your goals, updating your persona’s attributes, changing their background and desired outcomes; these are all essential to a successful business. Just remember, inbound marketing benefits strongly from a well thought out strategy. How do you think your company’s online strategy is? If you’d like a free consultation, please check out the link below.

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

Baby Boomers Represent A Wealth Of Opportunities For Homebuying

Marketing Real Estate to Baby Boomers

Gen Y may have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest share of the homebuying population, but Boomers age 51 to 69 still have significant influence and buying power. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, these “older” buyers have built up equity and are twice as likely to purchase a $500,000-plus home than a Millennial. This is why you should be marketing real estate to Baby Boomers.

Boomers fall into two categories—younger who were born between 1955 and 1964, and older who were born between 1946 and 1954. Combined, they make up the largest segment of home sellers and account for 31% percent of the nation’s homebuyers. Most are married but few have children living at home. They are suburbanites—half live in the ‘burbs while less than 12% choose the city. They purchased now because it was “the right time”—affordability, financing and home availability all ranked low on their reasons to buy. Read more

Factors That Influence Consumer Purchasing Decisions

What Are Marketing Qualified Leads And Why Do They Matter?

How are you handling your marketing qualified leads? Once you have a lead at the top of the sales funnel, you can’t just stop marketing and hope that initial lead turns into a sales-qualified lead (SQL). You need to keep your eye on your marketing qualified leads (MQLs) as well.

Don’t Forget the Lead in the Middle

Prospects, also known as contacts and leads, are the consumers at the top of your sales funnel. They have an initial interest in your product or service and might provide an email address or first name, in exchange for a report or other premium offer. However, they are only at the browsing stage and are definitely not ready to make a purchase yet.

At the bottom of your sales funnel are your sales qualified leads, also known as SQLs. These leads are ready to make a purchase. This is when your sales people need to be in contact, ready to provide additional information and incentives to finalize the sale.

Now there is plenty of room between the prospect and the SQL. This is where the marketing qualified lead (MQL) sits.

An MQL has moved beyond the browsing stage and is seriously evaluating whether your product or service meets certain criteria. They are looking at your competition as well. This is when your marketing needs to shift. An MQL needs more detailed information on your products and services, and needs to know how you differ from the competition. This information will help the MQL move towards the decision-making point.

Read here to find out how to nurture leads with email marketing

How Can You Tell if a Lead is Marketing Qualified?

To tell when a lead is moving towards the MQL stage, you need to gather pertinent data from the lead and monitor his/her activity on your website. Then, compare this information to past sales opportunities to determine what direction the prospect is moving towards.

  • Demographic data from the lead, like location, industry, and business size makes a difference. Also, how much do they want to spend? Is your product within their budget needs?
  • What types of actions are they taking on your website? Frequent visits added with downloading whitepapers or other detailed information is a good sign they are in this stage.
  • How similar are they to your past sales opportunities? If your typical customers are established companies with a large budget, a start-up with a limited budget may not be a good fit. That doesn’t mean that start-up won’t make a purchase, it is just less likely to happen.

The exact definition of what an MQL means to your company is something only you can define. But, no matter how you define MQLs, you cannot forget them in your marketing process. Forgetting them means less SQLs which means less final sales. And that defeats the purpose of marketing in the first place. The next step is learning how to engage marketing qualified leads until they move to being an SQL.

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

marketing automation strategies

What Is The Difference? – CRM vs. Marketing Automation Strategy

Building a relationship with each customer is essential in today’s business world. Without that relationship, you simply aren’t going to have the sales needed to remain profitable. That is why both CRM (customer relationship marketing) and marketing automation strategies focus on building that relationship.

Understanding how these strategies and systems complement one another helps businesses market and sell to their target audiences effectively.

The Critical Customer Relationship

Even with so much being done online these days, customers still want a relationship with the companies they do business with. They want to feel that a company understands their needs and that the company will address them.

How a business addresses the critical customer relationship will mark its success or its failure. Companies need to build and nurture this relationship. They do this by collecting critical data that helps them address their customers’ needs and challenges.

Learn More: How to Create Content for Each Sale Funnel Stage

The Top of the Sales Funnel

The strategies you use at the top of the sales funnel are going to be different from the strategies you use at the bottom. And these strategy approaches define the differences between CRM and marketing automation strategies.

At the top of the sales funnel, you are capturing leads wherever they come from. They can be people with a casual interest in your product or they can be seriously in the market and just starting the research process. The problem is, there is no real way to know which category the lead falls into. This is where marketing automation and nurturing comes into play.

With marketing automation, your strategies are capturing key pieces of information and using them to nurture a lead further into the sales funnel. This could include contact information like name, email address, phone number, company name, and company size; number of visits to the website and which pages are of particular interest, or which premiums they choose.

Each piece of information gathered about a lead brings critical insight into where they are in the sales cycle. Downloading details about a particular product, for example, is a sign of interest in that product or, at least, that product group. This can trigger the marketing automation system to send targeted emails or special offers.

The Bottom of the Sales Funnel

At a designated point in the sales funnel, a lead moves from the marketing side to the sales side. This is when the data gathered indicates the lead is moving towards making a purchase decision. This is where the CRM system comes into play.

That data gathered in a CRM allows your sales force to nurture the lead into closing the sale. It offers a picture of what the customer wants and their history with the company. Your sales team can use it to schedule calls with the lead or to set dates for follow-up.

The good news these days is that there are a growing number of systems which offer both types of functionality. That way, you can leverage both CRM and marketing automation strategies without worry about one system getting out of sync.


best times to post on social media

When Are the Best Times to Post On Social Media?

There are currently more than 3.6 billion people using social media. In 2025, that number is expected to grow to around 4.41 billion. Additionally, those people spend an average of 145 minutes a day using social media. If these numbers tell you anything, it’s that your business has to use social media as a way to reach and expand your target audience. Most businesses have some kind of social media presence at this point; however, to successfully grow that presence, you need to remain active by regularly posting to your social pages. The thing is, to reach as big of an audience as possible, you need to know the best times to post on social media.

The Importance Of Engagement

When you post to social media is important because it directly affects the level of engagement you’ll receive. Although you may have numerous social media marketing goals, increasing engagement is arguably the most crucial. Engaging your followers is what’s going to keep them interested in your brand. Engaged followers will be more likely to share your content, visit your website, and, eventually, convert. If the content you’re posting isn’t relevant, it won’t be engaging. Additionally, if your followers simply miss your posts, you miss your chance of engaging them.

How to Increase Your Social Media Presence in 2021

Knowing When To Post To Social Media

When you post content to your social pages, you’ll want to make sure it’s seen by as many people as possible. If you post content at a time when none of your target audience is online, it won’t do very well. Timing is everything. There are a number of factors to take into consideration when figuring out when to schedule your posts.

First, different social media channels have different user bases. People may be more active at night on one platform than they are on another. Second, you need to know your target audience. Different demographics tend to use social media at different times of the day. With this in mind, the following is a general breakdown of when to post on various social media platforms:

  1. Facebook – Many people will check Facebook towards the end of their workdays as they wind down and get ready to stop working. As such, posting between 3 PM and 4 PM will often result in a lot of exposure. You’ll likely reach that same audience between 1 PM and 4 PM at the end of the workweek as well, on Thursdays and Fridays. However, typically speaking, users are less active before 2 PM.
    best times to post on social media
  2. Twitter – Like Facebook, Twitter gets the most engagement during regular work hours. It’s especially active from 12 PM to 1 PM and during commuting times. Basically, people check Twitter when they have some free time available away from home. Twitter posts see less engagement outside of working hours, especially in the evenings and on weekends.
  3. Instagram – Instagram does have a younger audience than Twitter and Facebook. As such, you’ll get much more engagement in the evenings from 7 PM to 9 PM. Midday (11 AM to 1 PM) is also a good time to post to Twitter. Instagram engagement also tends to spike on Wednesdays. However, like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram posts see less engagement on the weekends.
  4. LinkedIn – Because LinkedIn is a professional social platform, posts tend to do best during work hours. There tends to be a significant drop-off in activity after 5 PM. Posts due best on LinkedIn when published between Tuesday and Friday. People often stay away from LinkedIn on weekends and are too busy on Mondays to engage on LinkedIn substantially.

Schedule Your Posts Appropriately To Improve Engagement

Use this general breakdown to get an idea of when the best times are to post to social media. Just keep in mind that your specific audience plays a big part in when you should post. For instance, older audiences are less likely to engage on social media late at night, while younger audiences are.

social media marketing
inbound outbound

Newspaper Marketing in 2021 is Still Valid.. Here’s Why

When thinking of a newspaper, you might think of a boy on a bicycle throwing rolled-up papers onto people’s yards. In other words, newspapers tend to conjure up images of the past. However, they are not a thing of the past, despite the fact that many people believe them to be. Not everybody has access to the Internet, which means the newspaper remains an important source of news for many people. As such, newspaper marketing remains an effective way to reach another target audience. If you’re not convinced that newspaper marketing is worth the cost, consider the following benefits:

Benefits of Newspaper Marketing:

  1. Reach A Bigger Audience – Did you know that despite the fact that newspaper readership is declining, the average newspaper reaches a larger audience than the average half-hour long prime time TV show? TV commercials are still considered an effective way to reach a big audience, which means newspapers should be considered as such as well.
  2. Reach A More Attentive Audience – You can reach a lot of people marketing on the Internet. More than you can through newspaper marketing — and by a large margin. However, the people you reach through a newspaper are much more likely to engage with your marketing materials, especially when compared to Internet users, whose average attention span is roughly eight seconds. The consumers who read the ad in a newspaper will be more engaged with the message involved.
  3. Newspaper Ads Live Longer – One of the challenges of marketing online is that you have to get your timing just right. If you post content to social media at the wrong time, your audience will miss it. When you advertise in a newspaper, your readers will get to it eventually. A newspaper audience will read through the newspaper when they have the time — which means they’ll see your ad eventually.newspaper marketing
  4. Fewer Competitors – A newspaper can only hold so many advertisements. Your competition (and direct competition) will not be nearly as strong as it is when you market your business online. This also means that your ads are less likely to be ignored because of ads and clickbait.
  5. Newspaper Advertising Is Affordable – It costs less to reach a thousand newspaper readers than it does to reach that many people through other means. On top of that, newspaper advertising tends to be very flexible, making it easier to customize your ads to meet your budget.

Why Should You Trust Newspaper Marketing?

  1. People Trust Newspapers – There’s a major trust issue in this day and age. People no longer trust what they see on TV or what they read online. And creating brand trust, as you know, is crucial. “Fake News” as it were, has caused significant doubt to be cast over the media landscape. However, people still trust newspapers — far more than any other type of media. This might be due to the transparency of the text with no puns involved. Because people trust newspapers, they’re more likely to take your advertising seriously.
  2. Newspaper Readers Look For Deals – Many people who subscribe to a newspaper actually go through the ads and coupons looking for deals. This means that the newspaper is a great way to advertise a special promotion or discount. Online platforms using this method are considered “spam”.
  3. Newspapers Provide A Tactile Experience – It may not seem like anything worthy of note, but the fact that your audience can touch the newspaper makes a big difference. Studies have shown that the ability to touch the ad increases the response rate. It’s obviously psychological, but it has an impact on the reader’s purchase intent and engagement. That tactile quality is missing from most other forms of marketing, whether it’s TV commercials, billboards, or any kind of digital marketing.

Newspaper advertising continues to be an important medium for marketing. Read more here.

Why Should You Consider Newspaper Marketing?

There are plenty of reasons why newspaper marketing remains an effective way to reach an audience, even in 2021. Although many businesses are focusing a significant amount of their resources on digital marketing, it’s vital that you consider all marketing channels, both online and offline. A balanced marketing strategy is the most successful strategy, after all. As such, be sure to consider newspaper marketing as part of your advertising strategy.

Inbound marketing will help you grow your business by attracting website visitors, converting them into leads and closing leads into customers
4 tips to keep sales & marketing on the same track

4 Tips To Keep Sales & Marketing On The Same Track

Sales and marketing are usually thought of as being separate. However, with inbound marketing both departments or teams need to work together to achieve their common goal: revenue. Inbound marketing is all about helping and informing the consumer throughout the various stages of the buying process, so they ultimately decide to purchase from you. This type of nurturing cannot happen unless sales and marketing work seamlessly. Here are 4 tips to keep your sales and marketing teams on the same page.

Keep constant communication

Read more

homebuilder marketing

Home Builder Marketing Tips To Drive Traffic And Sales

Any ad agency executive doing homebuilder marketing has undoubtedly heard these words from her clients, “we need more traffic.” And while there’s no magic bullet for homebuilder marketing that’s going to drive a specific number of visitors to a sales center in a given week, don’t underestimate the power of partnerships and focused events.

Drive On-Site Traffic With An Event

Recently, we harnessed the weight of one of our media partners to pull off a successful grand re-opening for a homebuilder in Chicagoland. With a property that has been underway for more than 10 years, we were looking for a way to reinvigorate the community and attract new people to the site. The builder was opening new models and we used that as our launch pad.

Learn How To Tell Your Partner’s Story

Capitalize On A Strong Media Partnership

With a limited budget, we partnered with a multimedia company with a local focus to develop a comprehensive marketing plan. The media mix spanned digital, print, email, and even public relations. For two weeks leading up to the event, we dominated suburban news pages online that covered the geographic area we anticipated buyers would come from. This included high-impact interstials, overlays and page takeovers. Click-thru results were four times that of our standard buy.

Target The Right Audience

Layered on top of the digital program was an email campaign, both to past prospects and a new audience. We targeted based on geography, household income, age, gender, and even propensity to buy a home. And we didn’t forget brokers with our homebuilder marketing. We emailed them, as well, and the sales team did “boots on the ground” networking, too.

Build Credibility Through Public Relations

Publicity also played a role in the success of our grand re-opening. A few weeks prior to the event an article appeared in print and online highlighting all the benefits of the community and promoting the reasons to buy as told from a homeowner’s point of view. Then the weekend of the event, a front-page feature—complete with photos—graced the cover of the homes section of the newspaper. The message, of course, enticed people to stop by and visit the brand-new decorated model homes.

Reap The Rewards

Results were amazing. Traffic during the grand re-opening weekend was nearly 10 times that of the community’s weekly average. And, even more importantly, the builder sold more homes in those two weeks than it had the five months prior.

Of course we can’t guarantee an on-site event supported by a strong media partnership will always garner these results. But in this case, it definitely was the right combination for a successful homebuilder marketing plan.

To learn more about how a strategic marketing program can increase traffic and sales at your communities, call Stevens & Tate Marketing at (630) 627-5200 or visit our website at


types of marketing videos

Types Of Marketing Videos You Should Use

Year after year, video marketing grows in importance. Video has never been easier to consume for Americans, especially when considering the increasing quality of smartphones and tablets. Video is also the easiest way for people to absorb information. Additionally, according to a prediction by Zenith Media, the average person will spend around 100 minutes a day watching videos in 2021. The pandemic certainly had an impact on these numbers as well. People have more time on their hands to watch video content, especially those who have switched to a work-at-home environment. Because of this increase in video consumption, a video marketing strategy is an absolute must. The following are some of the different types of marketing videos that you should consider producing this year.

1. Educational videos

Educational videos should be used to help inform your audience about a particular subject. No video marketing strategy will be successful without them. This is because the more informed your audience is, the more confident they will be in making a purchasing decision down the road. Educational videos provide them with the knowledge they need to understand your business and the solutions you offer. There are several types of educational videos, including:

  • Demo videos – Videos that demonstrate how your product or service is used.
  • Explainer videos – Videos that showcase why your product or service is needed.
  • How-to videos – Videos that provide step-by-step instructions on how to do a specific task.
  • Animated videos – Animated videos are a fantastic way to deliver information in an entertaining way, whether they’re explainer videos or how-to videos.

2. Interview videostype of marketing video

Interviews are an excellent way to provide detailed information about certain subjects to your audience while also providing a personality to engage with. You can film interviews with both employees and upper management as well as experts that are relevant to your industry. What’s great about interview videos is that they are incredibly easy to produce.

3. Event videos

Certain events, like industry tradeshows, conferences, fundraisers, and round table discussions, can reveal a wealth of information. Film these events and edit them into event videos for your audience to enjoy.

Leveraging Video Marketing During COVID-19


4. Case study and testimonial videos

These types of videos focus on customers and their experiences using your product or service. Not only can you use them as social proof that your products or services work, but they make it easier to build trust with your audience. Potential customers are much more likely to relate to and believe what previous customers have said, after all. Using case studies and testimonial videos, you give customers the chance to explain what their challenges were and how your product or service solved those challenges.

5. Behind-the-scenes videos

A big part of creating a successful brand identity is presenting your company as being relatable. You don’t want your audience to think of you as a big faceless corporation, after all. Creating videos that depict your company behind the scenes is a great way to do this. It shows that there’s a human element behind the business. There are tons of ways to go about creating behind-the-scenes videos. A video of the day-in-the-life of the typical employee or a video of the manufacturing process of a product are great examples.

These are five different types of marketing videos you should consider creating in 2021. As you develop your video marketing strategy, remember that the quality of your content matters — and so does the audience that you’re creating it for. Always keep viewers in mind to ensure that your video marketing efforts are relevant.

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