Thanksgiving: the one time of year it's socially acceptable to stuff ourselves into gluttony. We just can't get enough pumpkin pie, turkey, dressing, and anything else that fits onto our plates. We're already in Thanksgiving mode, and that led us to thinking, "what else can't we get enough of?" There are some things, no matter the time of year, that will always love shamelessly.
Compelling content, or story telling, in both web copy and social media, is one of the most important factors in marketing. Reading an interesting or moving story is far more intriguing than reading yet another blanket sales pitch. It shows WHY someone should buy your product or use your service. This is the time to pull at heartstrings, throw out a surprising stat, share new or relatively unknown information. The marketing world is moving away from B2B and B2C, and into P2P (Person to Person). Talk to your customers, as a person, like they're actually a person. Not like a marketer talking to a sales prospect.
To name just a few of our clients nailing this on Facebook:
CP Centers shares pictures and stories of their client activities and group outings, which shows families of clients and potential new clients the work the organization does, without outright sharing a list of services. They also recently shared a video for Giving Tuesday, showing what the impact of a donation is for the Center and its clients. CP knows they need to show their "why" for people to be willing to donate.
Happily Ever After shares pictures and stories of the Santuary's animals, both pre and post adoption. They share each dog or cat's picture and background story, making it much easier for them to be adopted. Because who doesn't love cat and dog pictures flooding their newsfeed? They also frequently share adoption successes when the animals find their forever homes. This has led to families sharing their own stories of how happy they are with their new pet.
Renewable Energies understands that outdoor wood furnaces aren't exactly the sexiest product to tout on social media. But they do understand that their customers are the backbone of their business. They share pictures and stories of their customers with their new furnace, and what kind of impact their purchase will have on their daily life, along with customer testimonials. These are great ways, beyond a list of benefit statements, to show why someone should buy their product.
We also have a few national brands favorite story tellers.
Taco Bell is a company that understands something extra has to be brought to the table (pun intended) if they want to make fast food exciting. Through humor and wit, contests, and pop culture references, they keep their accounts engaging enough for their customers to stay excited about their products.
By encouraging customers to share pictures of their families in their pajamas, Pajamagram tells their story through their customers' stories. Their clothing is also memorable because of the messaging: their products should be part of your family's traditions. This is their why; they are so much more than pajamas, they are memories.
Behind the scenes looks
Like we mentioned earlier, P2P interaction is at the core of marketing campaigns. We love when we see brands share inside looks into their company. It shows that the company is full of interesting people and is more than just data on a screen, or sales getting shouted from the rooftops. Social media should be just that - social. When users see this more interesting side of the company, and the people behind it, it makes your brand stand out. They won't remember a boring page, but they will remember a company that looks fun. And they are more likely to engage with you if you're entertaining.
Which of our clients and what national brands excel at this on social media?
Lamers does a great job of sharing employee spotlights, which gives their followers insight into not only their bus drivers, but also their office staff. Their coach bus drivers often share on the road pictures, giving customers an idea of the different places they can travel through their company. During the Pokemon Go craze they even shared pictures of the Pokemon hanging around their corporate office. People and experiences are far more interesting than busses, and Lamers gets that.
Hootsuite (national) on Snapchat & Instagram:
Hootsuite's Snapchat is not run by just one person. They often have takeovers from various employees and teams to give their followers different perspectives of their company. Their Instagram shows the employees engaging in team building activities, running their Twitter chats, and general office fun, which not only gives insight into the people at the company, but also shows off their unique culture.
If a picture says a thousand words, what does your website say? Let's face it, imagery is dominating the web right now. If you aren't taking advantage of that, you're already behind the times. Whether it's part of a web design or social media, we love attention-grabbing visuals. Catch your user's attention with an impressive image, and then keep their attention with compelling content. Websites that are image-heavy, especially when those images are sharp, look really polished and contemporary. We also love when sites utilize their space with blocks of images, and use content to fill the gaps.
Recent websites we've created using these concepts:
Long form websites
Long form websites that require a lot of scrolling are no longer considered a "no no" in web design. Since most browsing occurs on mobile devices, scrolling is not only accepted, but expected. This design also makes navigation easier since it eliminates the extra clicks that are necessary to reveal content. (http://bit.ly/2fhujS5)
In fact, we love this design so much, we centered our Runwaysite program around it. Runwaysite
websites are one page, long-formatted sites catering to small businesses. Some examples include:
So there you have it: four things we just can't get enough of in marketing. We'd love to hear: what can't you get enough of in your industry?
If you need help moving forward with content or graphics in your social media strategy, or if your website needs a fresh design, we would love to talk. -
You're a localized small business and you've got a great website. Now what? Your next step is marketing. There are a number of tools at your disposal to help your audience find you online.
LOCAL DIRECTORY LISTING
A great first-step is to ensure your website is listed in local directories. While your website will have your business name, hours of operation, phone number and address, it is important that online directories have the very same information as well. That way, search engines know to connect the information they have with your website, ensuring customers will find your business when they search for you.
It can be especially problematic if your business has done any of the following:
- Changed Names
- Moved Locations
- is Located at a Spot with Multiple Businesses
If any of the above has occurred with your business, submitting to a local directory is imperative so you can set the search engines straight, so to speak.
UNIQUE WELCOME PAGES
Everybody expects your business card to have your web address on it. While we certainly recommend that you include the URL, why not include something unique? Maybe www.mywebsite.com/welcome with a nice welcome message to those who type in the address?
Differentiating your business is important. Helping your audience to Know, Like and Trust you (something we've preached a lot of) is the goal. A unique welcome page with a special offer, a special message or any other unique idea will help your potential customers remember you!
Simply put, submitting your website to the Search Engines will help with where you come up in search results. Submission will also ensure the search engines will regularly search your website for recent updates. This step should not be skipped.
AROUND TOWN MARKETING
Your small business may serve a tiny geographic area, but that doesn't mean you can't have a little fun with your marketing. Window clings are a popular way to remind customers of your website and/or logo. A simple car wrap (they even wrap just parts and pieces of a car) can make a huge visual-imact marketing wise. Remember: any sign, flyer or handout given to your customers and potential customers is a representation of your business. In your off-line marketing, don't do the following:
- Change your logo around (we know it's tempting)
- Use a huge variety of colors in each venue
- Print documents in an unprofessional manner (crooked copies, wrinkled flyers, etc)
- Change your marketing message frequently
With Desktop Publishing, there is an allure to creating and printing documents yourself. Just be sure you're not in over your head. If you end up with shoddy documents, your public won't appreciate it. Customers like to be wowed. Begin with your marketing
Happy Marketing! -