https://viralsolutions.net Helping overwhelmed Small Business Owners Have Fun Again Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:28:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.4 Marketing Trends Series: Influencers a Crucial Component of Many Companies’ Marketing Strategies in 2017 https://viralsolutions.net/marketing-trends-series-influencers-crucial-component-many-companies-marketing-strategies-2017/ https://viralsolutions.net/marketing-trends-series-influencers-crucial-component-many-companies-marketing-strategies-2017/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:28:22 +0000 https://viralsolutions.net/?p=8301 In the digital-first era, marketing has evolved into a considerably different beast than it was even just four to six years ago. Trends change rapidly, and entrepreneurs and CMOs must be prepared to change with them. Today we kick off a new article series about current marketing trends dominating the industry in 2017, focusing on one... Continue Reading

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In the digital-first era, marketing has evolved into a considerably different beast than it was even just four to six years ago. Trends change rapidly, and entrepreneurs and CMOs must be prepared to change with them.

Today we kick off a new article series about current marketing trends dominating the industry in 2017, focusing on one trend per week.

This week we focus on the importance and use of influencers in a company’s marketing strategies.

influencer marketing

What exactly is influencer marketing?

On the most basic level, influencer marketing refers to a more non promotional approach to marketing, in which companies seek to get “thought leaders” outside of their company to become advocates for their brand, rather than directly marketing to their target audience. The hope is that by marketing through influential people, companies will not only be able to reach more people, but reach them in a more organic-feeling manner.

One could break influencer marketing down into two categories: earned and paid. Earned influencer marketing comes from either preexisting or naturally built relationships with influencers, who become advocates for your brand because you have earned it in some way. Paid influencer marketing, meanwhile, involves paying known influencers to advocate for a product. Celebrity endorsements are the most common example here.

How do I build an influencer marketing campaign?

Here are a few of the most effective steps to help you develop an influencer marketing campaign for your business:

  • Identify influencers you want to reach: First and foremost, you need to determine who has influence with your target audience. These don’t have to be celebrities. Scour social media (especially Facebook and Twitter) to see who often partakes in conversations related to your industry, and who gets a lot of followers, shares, retweets or likes. There will be plenty of options available to you, as long as you are not focusing on too small of a niche.
  • Build up your influence: It’s going to be difficult to build any sort of relationship with other influencers if you do not have a certain level of influence yourself. If you already have established some level of familiarity, it will feel far more natural when influencers advocate for your brand, whether it’s through social media, talks or other environments.
  • Make contact: In some situations, you might be lucky enough where the influencers you want to target begin mentioning your brand or participating in your discussions of their own accord. However, most of the time, you are going to need to be the first one to make contact. For an earned, unpaid influencer relationship, you should build the relationship as organically as possible. Start by simply being a regular participant in the discussions they begin on social media and on their blogs. This will make you a familiar face to their regular followers. From there, you can actually make direct contact with the influencer to introduce yourself.
  • Offer guest spots in your blog: One great way to connect with influencers is to offer them a chance to write a guest blog or article for your website. If you have already successfully built up some influence of your own, they will be much more likely to take you up on this offer. They may even offer to return the favor and give you a guest spot on their site. But by having someone who is influential in your field appear on your site, it both lends you some extra authority and also acts as a sort of tacit endorsement of your brand on the part of the influencer.
  • Maintain the relationship: Whenever you have made connections with influencers, you should make it a priority to maintain those relationships through regular social media and blog contact. That will help you each to continue benefitting from the relationship you have formed.

 

Influencer marketing in the digital age has become a crucial way for brands to get ahead of their competition. Contact Viral Solutions for more information about how to proceed.

 

Content and Commentary: Copyright Viral Solutions 2017
Thomas von Ahn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas von Ahn

Chief Elephant Slayer for Viral Solutions LLC

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“Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful

men and women keep moving. They make mistakes but they

don’t quit.” — Conrad Hilton

Let’s Chat! Set up an appointment with me HERE.

 

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Common eCommerce Mistakes | Not using a multichannel marketing approach – Part #9 https://viralsolutions.net/common-ecommerce-mistakes-not-using-multichannel-marketing-approach-part-9/ https://viralsolutions.net/common-ecommerce-mistakes-not-using-multichannel-marketing-approach-part-9/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 11:13:03 +0000 https://viralsolutions.net/?p=8412 Businesses with an ecommerce focus often downplay the effectiveness of multichannel marketing by only using digital marketing channels. MultiChannel marketing allows the ecommerce business to reach its prospective or current customer in a channel of their liking. This supports the brand by showing the prospective customer that the brand is everywhere which in turn shows the company as... Continue Reading

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Businesses with an ecommerce focus often downplay the effectiveness of multichannel marketing by only using digital marketing channels. MultiChannel marketing allows the ecommerce business to reach its prospective or current customer in a channel of their liking. This supports the brand by showing the prospective customer that the brand is everywhere which in turn shows the company as being trustworthy, broad in scope and loaded with people they can relate to.

Multichannel marketing enables the customer to choose the method of engagement rather than the marketer. Consumer choice is a beautiful thing!

Companies that sell branded products and services through local businesses, utilize both online and offline marketing channels. Online tactics are things like on page SEO, social media and digital broadcasts. Offline marketing channels consist of things like outbound calls, direct mail, live events, printed media and more. A proportion of companies use their online marketing efforts to inform their offline advertising (i.e. they test keywords online to understand if they fit with customer intent before printing them in offline ads).

In order to realize the full value of multichannel marketing strategy, ecommerce businesses must use and understand several variables.

 

  • Optimization of channel pricing and differentiation. Each marketing channel has its cost. Each marketing channel has a unique reach and methodology. Example, email and SMS (text messaging) has a nearly free or very low cost of delivery. However, they tend to show themselves to an audience and poof they are out of sight and out of mind. Digital retargeting can be expensive but continually follows your prospective customer from one site partner to another. Understanding how to optimize the cost and track the overall effectiveness of each channel in the funnel is critical.
  • Value of consolidated data. It’s both difficult and expensive to consolidate data from different media channels and platforms.  Thankfully, many platforms exist that enable the ecommerce business platform to manage and measure both offline and online marketing channels. Having the data and knowing what the data says and does not say is an art and once understood can and will support optimization efforts.
  • Delivering targeted media based upon user behavior. Your data should show you which contacts are using a mobile device. Your sales data should track who purchases via bulk mail. Your customer service department should know which customers prefer personal service over the phone. All of this data can feed a multichannel marketing process so that your business knows who to reach when and where. All of which can be used to drive traffic to your ecommerce platform or support the need for tablets at a live event that enable purchases when in-person.

 

This chart from SmartInsights supports the theory that the customer lifecycle has many touch points and the importance of the types of online and offline touch points along the customer journey.

Lifecycle Marketing Model

Ecommerce businesses will benefit from multichannel customer marketing by understanding that certain channels are used for different reasons. SMS text messages work best for short messages that have a sense of urgency. While email works best for nurturing with longer text. And Facebook works best when a social community is desired as a rally cry or social proof. Determining which avatar prefers which method is very powerful!

What businesses quickly learn from multichannel marketing is that the combination of methods is what optimizes and maximizes results. The whole is definitely more valuable that any one part. However, attributing the marketing touch point that closed the deal is increasingly difficult. What may appear as a Facebook lead may have actually been a customer word-of-mouth referral.

In this age of modern devices, which one customer may use several of, multichannel marketing is a fact of life. Tailoring the message to both the device and the buyer persona is a fundamental marketing strategy for any business with an ecommerce presence.

Copyright 2017 Viral Solutions LLC

by Jordan Thomas | Chief of Doubling your Small Business

 

We help overwhelmed small business owners duplicate themselves – so business can be fun again.
Viral Solutions LLC is a Digital Marketer Certified Partner, an Infusionsoft Certified Consultant and a Google Partner – Certified in AdWords.

 

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7 Email Marketing Metrics that Matter https://viralsolutions.net/7-email-marketing-metrics-matter/ https://viralsolutions.net/7-email-marketing-metrics-matter/#respond Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:55:04 +0000 https://viralsolutions.net/?p=8253 Gone are the days where being a “safe” sender was enough to save your message from landing in the spam folder. Now mailbox providers rate each sender on a number of criteria to determine whether your message lands in a potential customer’s inbox — or in the spam folder. They have increasingly sophisticated ways to... Continue Reading

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Gone are the days where being a “safe” sender was enough to save your message from landing in the spam folder. Now mailbox providers rate each sender on a number of criteria to determine whether your message lands in a potential customer’s inbox — or in the spam folder. They have increasingly sophisticated ways to limit marketing messages from landing in inboxes.

Many of the metrics we will discuss here are not reportable to most marketing automation systems. However, it is is important to understand how your sending domain is ranked and analyzed by the recipient and that is the point of this information.

Here are 7 email marketing metrics you need to pay attention to according to a report from RP Metrics.

Email Marketing Metrics

  1. Deleted before reading rate: This is the rate at which receivers trash your message without opening it. These people are not interested in your message for whatever reason. Using interesting subject lines and reaching a demographic that lines up well with your business is key to keeping this rate low. Social and dating sites tend to do poorly in this category, whereas office supplies and flowers/gifts do well.
  1. Read rate: This simply measures the rate at which people read the messages you send. It’s the easiest way to measure how engaged recipients are. If they’re not reading your messages, you may need to tinker with the timing or how the subject line is phrased. Industries with customer accounts such as banking typically have a high rate over 30 percent whereas other sectors like media marketing and nonprofits have rates below 20 percent.
  1. Reply rate: When recipients reply to a message, that’s a good sign that the sender is another person and not a spam bot. However, for businesses, a high reply rate might mean more people are unsubscribing from your list. There’s no goal to hit for this, but having an inbox that isn’t called “noreply” is a good start.
  1. Spam replacement rate: This is the number of emails sent that end up in spam folders as a percentage of all emails sent. Certain content triggers (like having too many images) could mean your message lands in a spam folder.  Banking and finance have excellent replacement rates compared to automotive, education, nonprofit, and government, which have some of the lowest rates.
  1. Complaint rate: Even if your message reaches a recipient, they still may mark it as spam. Although these rates are typically under 0.5%, it’s still important to notice how often people are actively marking your messages as spam.
  1. Forward rate: This is how often recipients pass your message on to other users. Having a high forward rate is a good thing, but is difficult to obtain. Utilities and telecommunications—businesses that issue invoices that need to be shared with others—had the highest rates in this category.
  1. Not marked as spam rate: This counts the number of times a recipient specifically marks your message as “not spam.” For that to happen, the message has to initially land in the spam folder. Therefore, a low rate may not be a bad thing—your messages may just initially be going to inboxes. However, some industries—like education and health & beauty—saw a positive change in this category over the last year.

 

The bottom line is that email marketing is becoming more sophisticated. Companies need to develop flexible strategies and respond to customer feedback faster than ever before. By keeping track of critical metrics and adjusting their messages, digital marketers can better engage customers and keep out of the dreaded spam folder. Especially if you regularly clean your data, only use an opt-in list and most importantly only send content that nurtures, educates and is expected by the recipient.

Article source: RP Metrics

Copyright 2017 Viral Solutions

Lindsey Perron


 

 

 

Lindsey Perron

Queen of the Machine for Viral Solutions LLC

 

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“If a brand genuinely wants to make a social contribution, it should start with who they are, not what they do. For only when a brand has defined itself and its core values can it identify causes or social responsibility initiatives that are in alignment with its authentic brand story”. ~ Simon Mainwaring

 

customer value optimization specialist

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Branding Series: Building Your Own Personal Brand https://viralsolutions.net/branding-series-building-personal-brand/ Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:38:53 +0000 https://viralsolutions.net/?p=8212 Throughout our branding series so far, we have spent the bulk of our time focusing on how small businesses can build up a brand on a company-wide level. But what happens if you are an independent contractor, a sole proprietor or an individual entrepreneur? You still need to develop your brand, but there are a... Continue Reading

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Throughout our branding series so far, we have spent the bulk of our time focusing on how small businesses can build up a brand on a company-wide level. But what happens if you are an independent contractor, a sole proprietor or an individual entrepreneur?

You still need to develop your brand, but there are a few differences between personal branding and branding a company.

Personal Brand

Here are some tips to help you create and develop your own personal brand:

  • Be as genuine as possible: This is important in all of the interactions you have with other people, whether they’re online, over the phone or in person. On your social media platforms, for example, you should focus on showing people the real you, and your real personality. People who seem unauthentic or overly self-promotional will only drive other people away. Because you are your own brand, and you are not representing a larger company, you have more leeway to let people into your personal life. Your followers want to see what makes you human, so show them that, and occasionally promote your business.
  • Be a trusted source of information: You should know your industry as good as or better than anyone, and display your knowledge when you get the chance. In addition to creating your own blogs and articles, take part in conversations online, write guest blogs for other sites, and become the person media outlets want to contact when news breaks. Interact with other influencers in your industry—the more they share or respond to what you have to say, the more legitimacy it gives you in the eyes of your followers.
  • Keep a strong list of contacts: The more you build up your brand, the larger your contacts list will get. You should keep track of who each person on your list is, how you met or connected, potential opportunities they could provide and ways in which you can help them should they need assistance with anything. You should capitalize on every opportunity you get to strengthen every relationship you have.
  • Develop a clear, strong value proposition: Every company needs a value proposition to help customers understand why they should do business with them. The same is true of individuals building a personal brand. What makes you particularly attractive to potential customers or clients? What are your individual strengths, skills and values? Why should someone choose to work with you? This is extremely important to spend some time thinking about. Once you have determined your value proposition, it is important your potential customers know what it is.
  • Get out and be seen: In today’s business environment, it’s easy for entrepreneurs to focus so much on their digital marketing that they let other areas of their branding slip. But when you are your own brand, you must make even greater efforts to get out and be as visible and accessible as possible to other people. Staying behind your computer screen will only help you so much when it comes to building a personal brand. You have to get out and network, attend industry conferences, hold Q&A sessions and just interact with as many people as possible.
  • Be persistent: Building your personal brand takes a lot of time and effort, but it is well worth it. No one can take your personal brand away from you. It will affect you throughout the rest of your career. It’s worth spending time on to make sure you do it well.

 

There are many elements of personal branding that are the same as branding for a company. The difference is, you are constantly living the brand yourself. Take the time you need to think through your personal branding strategy so you can position yourself as an influencer in your industry.

Copyright 2017 Viral Solutions LLC

christine kelly
Prior to joining Viral Solutions, Christine held executive leadership roles at some of the largest small business consulting firms in the USA. Her experience includes leading direct reports of over 130 remote sales agents who generated $38mm in annual revenue. She obtained her Marketing degree from British Columbia Institute of Technology. Bring her C-Suite experience to your small business. Although our company is virtual, and we can work with you wherever you are located, she is located in Denver, Colorado and owns a second home in Vancouver, BC Canada.

Viral Solutions LLC is a Digital Marketer Certified Partner and an Infusionsoft Certified Consultant.

We help overwhelmed small business owners duplicate themselves, so business can be fun again.

 

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Email Marketing Benchmarks Your Company Has to Meet https://viralsolutions.net/email-marketing-benchmarks-company-meet/ Thu, 20 Apr 2017 10:57:06 +0000 https://viralsolutions.vcqxyn4-liquidwebsites.com/?p=8166 Typically, you’re only competing against yourself. But not when it comes to email marketing. Then it’s crucial to meet specific Email Marketing Benchmarks. It’s the only way you’ll know if the tactics you’re currently using are reaching your customers effectively. If they’re not, then it might be time to mix things up and find new... Continue Reading

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Typically, you’re only competing against yourself. But not when it comes to email marketing. Then it’s crucial to meet specific Email Marketing Benchmarks. It’s the only way you’ll know if the tactics you’re currently using are reaching your customers effectively. If they’re not, then it might be time to mix things up and find new ways to reach potential clients.

MailChimp has analyzed its 15 million users and found click rates and conversion rates for a variety of industry types and sizes. Typically, B2B companies have a slightly higher click rate and conversion rate than B2Cs. If you’re seeing substantially lower numbers compared to your competitors, it’s time to change tactics. Here are some ideas for how to better approach email marketing and hit those benchmarks.

Email Marketing Benchmarks

Avoid the spam filter

This one’s obvious but critical. Spam filters are better than ever at spotting ads. However, there are a number of things that tip off the spam filter that your message is advertising. Avoid salesy language and personalize the message. Don’t include too many images. In other words, make your promotion mimic a normal email as much as possible to skip the spam filter.

Track your customer reach

It’s important to keep track of hard and soft bounces. Hard bounces are when an email address simply doesn’t exist anymore. This is obviously not a good use of your marketing resources. Soft bounces are when an email box exists but cannot receive your message — for example, if the message box is full or the user is on vacation. Limiting both of these is crucial to maintain strong click and conversion rates.

Make the subject line direct

In 2017, people are used to scams. They’re expecting that you’re hounding them with something they’re not interested in. They’re exhausted with the constant stream of clickbait nonsense cluttering up their Facebook feed and manipulating them with silly promises. So don’t sell what’s inside — simply tell them what’s inside. If you’ve got a great sale coming up or an exciting new product, get right to it in the subject line. You don’t have any room to “tease” customers when it comes to email marketing.

Know where your customers are

Everyone knows that being mobile-friendly is crucial in digital marketing now. Apple iPhone was the number one way users opened email in 2016 with Gmail in a distant second. Apple iPad and Google Android followed third and fourth, respectively. Ensure your email marketing message looks sharp no matter what device it’s viewed on.

Constantly tweaking your email marketing strategy to better reach customers is critical to maintaining a strong online presence. Monitoring stats on the success of your campaigns is the first step.

Copyright 2017 Viral Solutions

Lindsey Perron

 

 

 

 

Lindsey Perron

Queen of the Machine for Viral Solutions LLC

 

vs logo long clear revised

 

 

“If a brand genuinely wants to make a social contribution, it should start with who they are, not what they do. For only when a brand has defined itself and its core values can it identify causes or social responsibility initiatives that are in alignment with its authentic brand story”. ~ Simon Mainwaring

 

customer value optimization specialist

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Branding Series: 4 Signs You’re Getting Bad Branding Advice https://viralsolutions.net/branding-series-4-signs-youre-getting-bad-branding-advice/ Tue, 18 Apr 2017 11:16:40 +0000 https://viralsolutions.net/?p=8202 Welcome back to our ongoing branding series. Today we are going to diverge a bit from the practical advice we have been providing to discuss how you can tell if the branding advice you are receiving is not helpful for your company. Many small businesses like to hire branding consultants to help them develop a... Continue Reading

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Welcome back to our ongoing branding series. Today we are going to diverge a bit from the practical advice we have been providing to discuss how you can tell if the branding advice you are receiving is not helpful for your company.

Many small businesses like to hire branding consultants to help them develop a brand image and strategy. This can be an especially great idea for entrepreneurs working on their first startup, or who do not have much experience or knowledge in the areas of branding or marketing.

When you bring in a consultant to work with your company, you need to be sure you are actually getting advice that benefits you and your business.

Here are some signs that the consultant you are working with is not giving you worthwhile advice:

bad branding advice

Overgeneralization of demographics

Whenever you work on establishing a brand image, you want to get rather specific with the characteristics your brand should embody and the profiles of your ideal customers. To that end, extremely broad generalizations of customer demographics will only get you so far.

A common red flag in today’s branding world is when consultants focus on helping business owners reach “millennials.” Let’s just get this out of the way now: there is no single foolproof way to market to millennials. That demographic is so large and varied, with so many factors to take into account other than their age. The clichés used by people to describe millennials as a whole segment are unreliable and fail segmentation tests. But business owners often do not second-guess the “millennial-friendly brand” approach, because they’ve likely been told over and over again that they need to cater to that generation.

Lack of data usage

You should always beware of consultants who either do not ask for a significant amount of data, or who do not seem to use the data you provide them. In today’s world, a great deal of data analysis is necessary to perform market research and create accurate customer profiles. This data will help you develop advertising campaigns, design your packaging, determine your pricing and set your store layout. A good consultant will avoid making any major decisions without first doing some in-depth data analysis.

Overly complex branding concepts

The actual implementation of a branding strategy may be complex, but the concepts you use should actually be quite simple. Beware of brand consultants that fail to keep it simple and try to get you to put your focus into a larger number of branding concepts.

Use of certain worrying buzzwords

Pay attention to the language a branding consultant wants to use to define your brand. Certain buzzwords are bound to set off red flags. The word “innovative,” for example, is used by just about every wannabe branding guru you’ll find in a google search. Today, being “innovative” is no longer a way to differentiate your brand from the thousands of other companies that have chosen that as their buzzword.

The list of clichéd buzzwords is extremely long. If you regularly find yourself thinking, “this doesn’t sound like us,” or “this sounds like it could describe anybody,” then you’re probably getting bad advice and your consultant is probably relying too much on these types of buzzwords.

Bad brand consultants are a dime a dozen in today’s business world, but fortunately there are plenty of success stories out there as well. As long as you know the signs that indicate you’re getting bad advice, the good advice shouldn’t be difficult to find.

Copyright 2017 Viral Solutions LLC

christine kelly
Prior to joining Viral Solutions, Christine held executive leadership roles at some of the largest small business consulting firms in the USA. Her experience includes leading direct reports of over 130 remote sales agents who generated $38mm in annual revenue. She obtained her Marketing degree from British Columbia Institute of Technology. Bring her C-Suite experience to your small business. Although our company is virtual, and we can work with you wherever you are located, she is located in Denver, Colorado and owns a second home in Vancouver, BC Canada.

Viral Solutions LLC is a Digital Marketer Certified Partner and an Infusionsoft Certified Consultant.

We help overwhelmed small business owners duplicate themselves, so business can be fun again.

 

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Big Changes at AdWords Will Affect Digital Marketers https://viralsolutions.net/big-changes-adwords-will-affect-digital-marketers/ Mon, 17 Apr 2017 11:02:57 +0000 https://viralsolutions.vcqxyn4-liquidwebsites.com/?p=8162 Google is responding to critics who have said the search engine giant has inadvertently promoted terrorist organizations and pornographic websites. In an effort to make their metrics more transparent and accurate, Google has announced major changes to its AdWords program. Though not directly related to digital marketing, you can bet these changes will alter how... Continue Reading

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Google is responding to critics who have said the search engine giant has inadvertently promoted terrorist organizations and pornographic websites. In an effort to make their metrics more transparent and accurate, Google has announced major changes to its AdWords program.

Though not directly related to digital marketing, you can bet these changes will alter how companies craft their Google strategy. Google says these changes are intended to help users — and advertisers — have better data within reach.

AdWords

Watch time metric

This is specifically for measuring the success of video ads. Knowing the number of people viewing the ad is nice, but it doesn’t tell you that much about how effective the ad is. For example, you want to know how long they watched the video for. This is the kind of more advanced metric Google is now offering advertisers.

Changing exact phrase searches

Google is shifting how it approaches exact phrase searches—or those in double quotes. From now on, they’ll include close variants to that phrase and trigger related ads regardless of word order or usage. Here’s Google’s reasoning for why this change makes sense:

“People aren’t perfect spellers or typists. In fact, at least seven percent of Google searches contain a misspelling. And the longer the query, the greater the likelihood of a typo. But even if what they’ve typed isn’t perfect, people still want to connect with the businesses, products, and services they’re trying to find.”

Google has said that it is trying to reduce complexity and help advertisers better reach customers. This way, advertisers don’t need to include common misspellings of search terms in order to find people looking for their products.

Unique reach metric

In Google’s own words: “By analyzing reach and frequency data for display and video campaigns, you can better understand how many people were shown your ads and how frequently the same people were shown them over a certain period of time.”

Basically, Google is attempting to offer advertisers a crystal clear picture of exactly how many people viewed their ad in a certain timeframe. This way advertisers can see the number of unique users and average impressions-per-user regardless of what device the user is on. Many thought that this change was a long time coming.

Tailoring your Google ads strategy is critical to raising your company’s profile and engaging a wide variety of potential customers. We’ll keep you up to date as Google changes how its AdWords program works.
Copyright 2017 Viral Solutions LLC

by Jordan Thomas | Chief of Doubling your Small Business

 

We help overwhelmed small business owners duplicate themselves – so business can be fun again.
Viral Solutions LLC is a Digital Marketer Certified Partner, an Infusionsoft Certified Consultant and a Google Partner – Certified in AdWords.

 

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Branding Series: Elements of a Strong Branding Strategy https://viralsolutions.net/branding-series-elements-strong-branding-strategy/ Thu, 13 Apr 2017 11:35:23 +0000 https://viralsolutions.vcqxyn4-liquidwebsites.com/?p=8159 Last week in our Viral Solutions branding series we discussed how you can research your target audience to get a better idea of the kind of brand image that will resonate with them. Now it’s time to talk about the strategy itself. How can you be sure the branding strategy you have developed will actually... Continue Reading

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Last week in our Viral Solutions branding series we discussed how you can research your target audience to get a better idea of the kind of brand image that will resonate with them. Now it’s time to talk about the strategy itself.

How can you be sure the branding strategy you have developed will actually help your business achieve its goals?

Here are a few elements that are characteristic of a strong branding strategy.

Elements of a Strong Branding Strategy

A sense of purpose

It’s not enough to have certain promises that your business makes to its customers — there must be a reason why you make these promises, and why you are focused on delivering a high level of service. This will help to differentiate you from other similar companies in your market.

Businesses tend to have a purpose that falls into one of two categories. A functional purpose focuses more on the evaluations of your success, such as the amount of money you are able to make. An intentional purpose is one that defines success as the ability to do good while making money.

Clearly, an intentional purpose is going to resonate better with your customers. People want to spend money at businesses that seem to have a purpose outside of making money. Without an intentional purpose, it is easier for people to view or portray your company as greedy or cold.

Consistently reinforced brand image

Every marketing step you take should either enhance or at least relate to your existing brand. On social media, for example, the photos or statuses you post should never feel irrelevant or inappropriate to your company.

Consistency is absolutely crucial for developing a recognizable brand, which in turn is critical for creating customer loyalty.

One great marketing strategy to use to help your business stay consistent with its branding is to develop an original style guide, which outlines every aspect of your marketing from the tone you take in your content to the color scheme you’ll use in images and web pages.

Emotion-based marketing

A more distant, corporate tone might work with some types of businesses, but in general you want to be able to form an emotional connection with your customers. This sort of connection will reinforce your brand. All people are born with a natural desire to form relationships, and that is not limited to just relationships between people.

Therefore, you should find ways to connect with your customers on a more meaningful and emotional level. The strategies you use for this depend on your target audience and the brand image you have developed, but the ultimate goal is always the same: to foster a sense of community and belonging that appeals to your audience’s emotions.

Outstanding flexibility

If brands are going to stay relevant for the long haul, their campaigns must be flexible.

This is not to say that you throw consistency out the window. You can still be flexible while being consistent. Consistency sets a high standard of quality and style for your brand, while flexibility allows you to remain nimble enough to make adjustments that continually maintain high levels of interest in your brand while separating you from the pack.

Customer loyalty

If you know there are people who are already loyal to your company and your brand, it is important that you regularly take action to reward them for their loyalty. A brand that is able to cultivate and enhance existing loyalty will get more returning customers and will find it easier to make profits.

Loyalty is an extremely important part of any branding strategy. You should always aim to highlight the positive relationships you have with your customers. This helps new customers get a better idea of what they can expect from working with you.

For more elements of a successful branding strategy, contact us today at Viral Solutions.

Copyright 2017 Viral Solutions LLC

christine kelly
Prior to joining Viral Solutions, Christine held executive leadership roles at some of the largest small business consulting firms in the USA. Her experience includes leading direct reports of over 130 remote sales agents who generated $38mm in annual revenue. She obtained her Marketing degree from British Columbia Institute of Technology. Bring her C-Suite experience to your small business. Although our company is virtual, and we can work with you wherever you are located, she is located in Denver, Colorado and owns a second home in Vancouver, BC Canada.

Viral Solutions LLC is a Digital Marketer Certified Partner and an Infusionsoft Certified Consultant.

We help overwhelmed small business owners duplicate themselves, so business can be fun again.

 

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How Dynamic Search Ads Are Changing https://viralsolutions.net/dynamic-search-ads-changing/ Wed, 12 Apr 2017 10:14:44 +0000 https://viralsolutions.net/?p=8220 It’s important for business leaders to keep up with the ever-evolving world of Google’s AdWords. It’s one of the major platforms that any business with a digital marketing plan needs to understand. Changes to Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) are the search engine giant’s latest way for businesses to reach more customers. The idea behind DSAs... Continue Reading

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It’s important for business leaders to keep up with the ever-evolving world of Google’s AdWords. It’s one of the major platforms that any business with a digital marketing plan needs to understand. Changes to Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) are the search engine giant’s latest way for businesses to reach more customers.

The idea behind DSAs  (Dynamic Search Ads) is that they fill in the gaps where your keywords might not have covered.

This can save advertisers time by allowing them not to fill in every keyword possibility. Automatically generated headlines will show how your product closely links to the user’s keyword search. DSAs are also intended to increase traffic by gaining users who are searching using different keywords. For example, maybe the user typed “dog grooming New York” and your “dog grooming NYC” page comes up. Below we discuss three major ways Google is changing its popular program.

Dynamic Search Ads

Page feeds

As always, Google is shifting how it does things. One way it’s doing this is by introducing page feeds for advertisers using DSAs. This allows you to customize exactly which landing pages show up when customers search for a related keyword. If you’re introducing a new product, you can now more easily direct customers in that product’s direction by adding specific URLs to guide searchers to exactly where you want them to go.

Custom label feeds allow you to target customers looking for specific star ratings, availability, and promotions. Essentially, the new DSA system is intended to be more responsive to advertisers looking to attract customers in an evolving business environment.

This could save you a lot of time. By simply uploading screenshots of your web pages, AdWords will link your site to relevant keyword searches through the copy on your site. You may also attract more viewers with this method than by using the traditional method of loading up your site with keywords.

Expanded ads

In this push toward customization, Google will now let advertisers provide more information about their products. This new feature has a higher limit on the length of headlines and descriptions. By providing more information, the user will have a better idea of the ad’s relevance. Of course, this could also annoy users who have to scroll for more time before reaching what they’re looking for.

Better results

Google has also updated its criteria to only show the most relevant SERPs (search engine results pages). For example, AdWords will now take the user’s location into account when creating recommendations. The company’s intention is to increase conversion rates, which would obviously be attractive to advertisers. Time will tell how much this updated criteria will actually help advertisers.

AdWords will continue to be a key part of any digital marketing campaign because it’s tied to the world’s most-popular search engine. But simply setting up an advertising campaign and letting it ride isn’t going to cut it. Successful businesses investigate new ways to reach customers all the time—because they know their competitors will be doing the same.

Copyright 2017 Viral Solutions LLC

by Jordan Thomas | Chief of Doubling your Small Business

 

We help overwhelmed small business owners duplicate themselves – so business can be fun again.
Viral Solutions LLC is a Digital Marketer Certified Partner, an Infusionsoft Certified Consultant and a Google Partner – Certified in AdWords.

 

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2017 Digital Marketing Changes to Watch https://viralsolutions.net/2017-digital-marketing-changes-to-watch/ Tue, 11 Apr 2017 11:00:11 +0000 https://viralsolutions.vcqxyn4-liquidwebsites.com/?p=8155 It’s probably no surprise that major platforms are changing the way they do things in 2017. Evolution is the name of the game for digital marketing. With the flurry of updates and conversions, it’s difficult to know which digital marketing changes are important and which you don’t have to worry about. Here’s what we think... Continue Reading

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It’s probably no surprise that major platforms are changing the way they do things in 2017. Evolution is the name of the game for digital marketing.

With the flurry of updates and conversions, it’s difficult to know which digital marketing changes are important and which you don’t have to worry about.

Here’s what we think are some of the major shifts top players are making.

Digital Marketing Changes

Google

Google is now penalizing mobile sites using what they’ve termed “intrusive interstitials” (or pop-up ads) by pushing these sites lower in the rankings. Google wants an uncluttered experience for mobile users, so you’ll have to weigh whether that pop-up ad is worth it anymore. They’re also responding to Amazon’s Echo (see Voice Search) product with Google Assistant, which will make purchases on behalf of consumers.

Instagram

Content is moving more and more toward the dynamic format of video—and Instagram is getting on board with its live video feature. Instagram’s popular “Stories” feature will now allow advertisements as well.

Facebook

Facebook is responding to LinkedIn by now allowing users to apply for jobs directly from their site. LinkedIn makes about double what Facebook does per client, so the social network is upping its game to challenge the competition. They’re also responding to critics who say that their ad info is misleading. For example, Facebook is adopting more consistent standards for informing advertisers how many users saw their ad.

LinkedIn

The social media site devoted to professionals is doing an overhaul of its website. The goal is to put a greater focus on content while also making LinkedIn more mobile friendly.

AdWords

AdWords is introducing a “crawl budget” feature, which makes obtaining a strong crawl rate on Google a bit more sophisticated. They’ll also be changing how they count cross-device conversion rates to account for the common mobile-to-desktop conversion process many customers follow.

Snapchat

Popular with millennials and generation X, Snapchat is always pushing the envelope to make its experience better for users and became the-most-used app for twice as many users in 2016. This year, Snapchat will roll out components that should be popular among advertisers, including allowing for deep links and auto-fill lead generation forms.

Pinterest

The social media site dedicated to visual media is adding a visual search option in 2017. This means you’ll be able to search using a photo instead of text and immediately see pins related to your photo.

If you want to stay ahead with digital marketing in 2017, it’s crucial to efficiently use all the platforms above. Creating a strong online presence with an optimized experience for mobile users is the goal. Companies that are able to keep pace with the myriad changes in digital marketing will be well-positioned for success moving forward.

Copyright 2017 Viral Solutions

Lindsey Perron

 

 

 

 

Lindsey Perron

Queen of the Machine for Viral Solutions LLC

 

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“If a brand genuinely wants to make a social contribution, it should start with who they are, not what they do. For only when a brand has defined itself and its core values can it identify causes or social responsibility initiatives that are in alignment with its authentic brand story”. ~ Simon Mainwaring

 

customer value optimization specialist

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