Marketing

384 posts categorized

August 18, 2015

Here’s What Your Digital Marketing Campaign Should Look Like

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SMBs are constantly looking out for convenient, affordable and effective marketing methods. But in order to make digital marketing work, you need to understand how each  marketing strategy operates. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the main strands of an effective digital marketing campaign:

 

SEO

The digital marketplace is crowded, so visibility is one of the first - and toughest - challenges a business faces. Creating a strong SEO strategy requires detailed research of your industry and target market, and a thorough knowledge not just of your products, but how the majority of people will search for them. Establishing which keywords you will target is the first step. Next, your onsite strategy (that is, for your own website) should incorporate enough keywords that the search-engine bots know what you’re all about, but not so many that it affects the fluency and style of your content. Your offsite strategy pertains to how external web spaces refer to your site. That means accruing inbound links and promoting your brand via guest posts on other industry websites. A diverse SEO strategy is the most effective in terms of boosting your rankings in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS).

 

Mobile

Mobile marketing is the process of reaching an audience through smartphones and tablets. It could be in the form of native technologies like SMS messaging and voicemail, or amending existing web content to make it more ‘mobile friendly’, or, if you have the budget, via apps and other types of software. There are many ways to reach people using mobile marketing. A solid mobile marketing campaign encourages users to visit your site and social media pages.

 

Social Media

Social Media has been a huge boon for SMBs. Even on a very tight or non-existing marketing budget, entrepreneurs can use social media to good effect. Most of the big social media players - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn - are free and easy to use. 

 

Blogging

Regular blogging is a good way to establish authority in your industry. It constantly increases the size of your website by adding fresh, relevant content, adding value even if you don’t command a huge readership. But a truly compelling, well-written blog containing original expert opinion will give your brand credibility with competitors and customers.

 

Email

It’s not the first port of call for marketers any longer, but email should still form part of a multi-channel marketing strategy. For getting rich content out to large numbers of people, it’s hard to beat. Be sure to use it to full effect, offering something of value with every email. As with SMS marketing, email marketing demands a lightness of touch, so avoid sending emails much more than once a month.

 

August 15, 2015

Do “Dumbphones” Still Have a Place?

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Wondering if “dumbphones” still play a role in today’s tech-savvy universe? The answer, which may surprise you, is a resounding yes. Such phones offer a variety of helpful features and perks, and an increasing number of people are opting for them over smartphones. In fact, Microsoft recently released a phone under the Nokia brand that’s free of apps, Wi-Fi, 3G, LTE, and a touchscreen and costs just $20 before tax. The only accessory is an extra battery, and yet experts predict huge success.  

So who wants to purchase “dumbphones”? Plenty of people—about 590 million this year, actually. Such people include children obtaining their first phones, consumers who require a second phone, and those who are simply uninterested in using smartphones. 

Let’s look at some of the benefits of using not-smart phones, as well as some of the highest-quality options currently on the market: 

 

Durable

Smartphones feature glass screens, and once they crack…well, either replacement or a lot of tape is in order. Phone cases are therefore imperative to preserving the safety of a smartphone, whereas regular phones are virtually indestructible. 

 

Easy Texting 

Texting using standard cell phones is quite simple compared to smartphones, as it doesn’t take long to memorize the keypad and text with your eyes shut. And as we know, SMS messaging remains the central component of any successful mobile marketing campaign - precisely because it reaches the parts other messaging services cannot.

 

Fantastic Battery Life 

Forgetting your smartphone charger means scrambling to ask friends and co-workers if they have theirs—otherwise you’ll be looking at 19 percent battery life before the day is over. Leaving your regular phone charger at home? Not a big deal. 

 

Inexpensive 

Highly affordable and easy to replace, “dumbphones” don’t set you back by the $800+ price tag associated with smartphones.

 

Fewer Distractions

Facebook, Instagram, assorted app games—all the features make smartphones seriously distracting. “Dumbphones,” on the other hand, make calls and texts, and that’s it. This meant you’d actually engage in the moment and remain aware of your surroundings as opposed to looking down at your phone incessantly. It also means you won’t be looking up anything and everything on your phone and taking pictures of your food. Or taking selfies. 

 

It Always Worked 

With “dumbphones,” it usually didn’t matter where in the world you were—they always worked. There was no freezing or rebooting involved. The simplicity of the technology is key to its endurance in the age of increasingly high-powered smartphones.

 

“Dumbphone” Options

Some of today’s most coveted “dumbphones” include: 

 

  • Kyocera Rally ($29.99): The Kyocera Rally is a simple, sleek phone from T-Mobile that includes Bluetooth connectivity, a VGA camera capable of recording video, and a speakerphone.
  • Nokia 106 ($24): The aforementioned Nokia 106 is a basic phone that lasts up to 35 days on standby mode with only a single charge. 
  • Pantech Vybe ($29.99 with two-year contract): Pantech’s new phone is available to AT&T customers and features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It also includes a camera and the ability to connect with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.
  • Samsung Jitterbug5 ($99): This phone is an uncomplicated flip option designed for seniors. It comes with sizable backlit keys, an emergency response button, a simple interface, and a powerful speaker for those who have trouble hearing. 

 

The “dumbphone”...there’s definitely still a market for it.

August 10, 2015

How to Create a 'Joined Up' Marketing Campaign

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According to a report released by Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) online retail purchases accounted for 24% of all retail sales in 2014. This number is up 14% from 2013, as well as the average basket value, which increased by 4%. 

Consumers are making more purchases online than ever before, and retailers are looking for ways to capitalize on this growing trend—in particular, how to link digital marketing with a customer’s physical experience in retail locations around the world.

Also noted in the report, customer experience ranks highest among retailers looking for positive growth in 2015. By focusing on improving a customer’s experience both online and off, retailers expect to see continued growth in online purchases—uniting digital efforts with the real retail world.  

One way retailers are able to this is with beacon technology, a Bluetooth device that connects with a customer’s smartphone based on proximity. Retailers can place these beacons in store entryways, on shelves or near checkout to offer instant rewards, promote special campaigns, or favorable discounts to loyal customers.  

Another example, and perhaps one of the easiest to implement, is the use of marketing hashtags to push consumers into a digital conversation. This is particularly effective with physical advertisements (billboards, TV commercial or radio ads). A hashtag used in the right place at the right time can be tremendously effective at provoking curious consumers to venture online, particularly on mobile where most social interaction takes place.  

SMS messaging or texting is another positive rout many retailers are taking to engage more intimately with their consumers. The upside to texting is that it’s immediate, highly effective at gaining responses and allows consumers to feel more directly connected with a retail company. 

Most importantly, proponents seeking a unification of the digital gap believe respect for the end user (thoughtful and relevant communications) will be significant in the process of developing a lucrative online sales funnel. Some marketing companies strictly focus on the mobile devices; its capacities and limits, which doesn’t align with improving a customer’s experience. 

Finally, 61% of retails agree that cross-channel marketing will be a focus in 2015. This means managing an integrated and thoughtful campaign that carries across several marketing mediums. By developing a cohesive message that points in a singular direction (towards more sales) the link between digital and reality will likely grow smaller.

August 09, 2015

10 Mobile Marketing Case Studies to Pay Attention To

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Whether you’re looking for hard facts on mobile marketing or creative inspiration to help launch your next campaign, these ten businesses showcase the very best mobile marketing has to offer. 

 

TAO Nightclub

This Las Vegas dance club seized the night with a VIP text message that went out to 2,000 subscribers on a slow evening. That same night, the club had 220 more attendees who, in addition to the cover charge, each spent $20 on drinks. The club made a cool $6,170 extra dollars that night, proving that impromptu campaigns can be incredibly effective.

 

RedBox

Using multiple forms of marketing including kiosk advertising, email, and social media, RedBox was able to increase its pool of mobile subscribers in just ten days. The campaign was called “10 Days of Deal” and encouraged customers to opt in via text for a chance to win a discount on their next rental. The customers saved some money and RedBox generated more than 1.5 million text messages to users in ten days. 

 

PETA2

PETA2 is a youth-based subgroup of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). During Warped Tour, PETA2 solicited concertgoers to text “BUTT” to a short code that subscribed users to PETA2’s “Animals Don’t Smoke” initiative, which is aimed to stop cigarette testing on animals. Participants were rewarded with shirts and hats for opting in. Once subscribed, new users were texted information urging them to send their support for a ban on cigarette testing to the FDA. More than 25,000 people joined this mobile initiative. 

 

Texas Roadhouse 

This popular western restaurant began a six-month mobile marketing pilot at 20 locations in an effort to boost their mobile subscriptions. The “TextUs Loyalty Club” offered patrons a free appetizer in exchange for the opt-in. Forty-four percent of customers were willing to provide personal information in exchange for the reward. Roadhouse’s campaign was largely successful, generating an average 17% redemption rate during the test period. 

 

Dunkin’ Donuts 

Dunkin’ Donuts is popular throughout the U.S., but a regional campaign in Boston proved successful for this quick-service restaurant. Using radio and Internet advertising, the company was able to capture 7,500 new mobile subscribers—17% of those new subscribers forwarded the messages and promotions to a friend, increasing the Boston area’s store traffic by 21%.  

 

Papa John’s Pizza 

A U.K. branch of the widely popular pizza chain Papa John’s pushed a campaign to its current mobile subscribers offering discounts on pizza. In the three weeks the franchise ran the campaign, overall sales increased by 33%.

 

Red Cross

Even nonprofits are getting in on the mobile marketing action these days. The Red Cross, collected donations after Hurricane Sandy, which was reported to have caused an upwards of $50 billion dollars in damage. By linking the donations directly to a user’s phone bill, the donation process was streamlined and easier for the average person to complete. Twenty percent of all the donations raised by the Red Cross’ effort were from text messages. 

 

Pizza Hut 

Geofenceing is a digital perimeter that sends text messages to subscribers based on a user’s proximity to the geofence. Pizza Hut in the U.K. set up geofences within a half-mile of each of its 340 store locations. On average, these stores were 142% more efficient at increasing incremental sales, 4.4 times more effective than TV ads, and 2.6 times more effective than online ads. 

 

Blumish Irish Cider

Blumish Irish Cider also elected to use a geofence to target males between the ages of 18 and 34. The campaign shot out a text message when a target was within a half mile of a pub that served the company’s cider. More than 1,000 pubs were used in this geofence project. When activated, the text message would text a map with the location of the pub and point the user in the right direction. During a month-long period, 77,00 text messages were sent out, and the user engaged these messages nearly 50% of the time. What’s more, 25% of those who received the text message actually went out and bought a cider from one of the locations. 

 

Six Flags

In Maryland, Six Flags used text-to-win contests and mobile alerts among its target demographic of teens to boost attendance. They advertised the contests with social media, in park advertisements and radio promotions and received 5,000 new mobile subscribers. These subscribers were sent VIP ticket sales info, park information, and weather updates. The park saw a direct increase in attendance from teens as a result of this campaign. 

August 08, 2015

Social Media Advertising Is More Effective Than It Appears

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Social media channels are excellent avenues to reach out to a variety of consumers, start relevant conversations, raise awareness of your brand, and of course, seek out new leads. The latest studies reveal that 70% of businesses generate leads on social media, and 58% of marketers claim that social media channels have helped them boost sales over the years. Here are some ways in which social media marketing can be a dynamic method of advertising for your business – it’s easier than you think!

  • Social media advertising can play a key role in a content marketing campaign.

Ideally, you’ve already got a website with a landing page, resources, and a high-quality, content-driven blog. To maximize the effectiveness of this content, you must create active profiles on the appropriate social media websites. Your online campaign will not function properly without both components, and they must constantly refer back to one another. For example, a Facebook post should lead a prospect to your content-driven blog; similarly, the resources page of your website should lead to the Pinterest board for your company. 

  • The three E’s of social media advertising: Engagement, Expertise, and Entertainment.

Consumers visit social media sites to socialize, so your advertising efforts must work in tandem with a “cocktail party” mentality. Be personal and human in your posts, comments, and replies. People are looking for expertise; show them that you can deliver on the services they require, and consumers are much more likely to return in the future. (As a caveat, don’t be too technical or complex in your level of expertise. Content should be simple enough for a beginner to understand.) Make your business the go-to company for these types of services and watch your customer base grow. Finally, you have to entertain clients. The info you provide should be relevant, informative, and interesting. And remember: content marketing is not about pitching or direct sales—you want to increase engagement and brand awareness in this process.

  • Swim through social media channels that suit your business.

Obviously, the most popular social media channels are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, and SlideShare. Consider the types of people who visit these sites, and whether or not you should advertise your product there. For example, if you have a terrific article for people in your industry, join a few groups on LinkedIn and share your article with them. If your business has a lot of products best showcased through images, then post photos on Instagram or pins on Pinterest to provide more engagement with your brand. All in all, it’s about getting to know your audience and meeting them in the social media environment of their choosing.

  • Join the conversation to amplify your social media advertising efforts.

Eliminate pitches from any post you decide to share on social media for your business. Provide value with expertise in the content you post, driving the conversation with ways you can help (rather than just what you can sell). Answering questions in online forums is a good start. If you don’t know the answer, be honest, as this will help to establish your credibility. Continue to help the people you meet on these social platforms and, before you know it, you will be converting leads. 

Finally, it is important to highlight how necessary it is to respond to comments on social media channels. If you find negative comments, nip them in the bud; respond carefully and inoffensively, and offer help to these individuals. Others will see how helpful you are in handling these negative comments, and they will appreciate your attitude. 

Yes, the comments section is truly where the online conversation takes place, and if you are taking the time to respond to every tweet and reply to every comment, customers will definitely appreciate it.

July 29, 2015

Marketing Has Gone Hyper Local

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When geo-targeting technology first began to emerge a few years ago, small regional businesses of all kinds were given the opportunity to market themselves to larger numbers of potential customers than ever before.

As a mobile marketing tool, geo-location was a gift to retailers looking to attract more walk-in business. It enabled businesses to target users to within a square foot, sending time limited discounts and special offers only to those people most likely to take advantage.

As region-specific mobile marketing tactics become more sophisticated, SMB owners have a dizzying array of options: beacons, GPS, location information garnered from previous interactions - they’ve all ushered in a new era of hyper-localized marketing. 

Such accurate technology is helping local businesses maximize efficiency on tight budgets. Even without geo-location, mobile marketing tactics are already the most cost-effective way to reach more people. With it, that cost-efficiency improves further still, granting small companies a way to reach the widest customer base they can realistically serve. 

It looks like an exciting future for targeted mobile marketing. The technology has already reached lofty levels of sophistication, but there are a few places it can go. Some mobile marketing analysts are looking towards pitching discounts according to what the weather’s doing. It’s certainly not relevant for every type of business, but bars serving cold drinks on an outside patio would love to know if it’s about to rain just before they’ve sent half-off mobile coupons. Other local data like traffic conditions could begin to play a role in geo-targeted advertising. 

One thing’s for sure: these tools are allowing creative, imaginative marketers to realize their wildest dreams without being thwarted by technological limitations. If the rapid rate of development continues at the same pace, mobile marketing tactics will look very different in a decade - exactly how different is anybody’s guess.

July 28, 2015

SMS Messaging: Conversation Before Apps

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Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? For a GUI (Graphic User Interface) designer, that question is becoming more relevant as the nature of the mobile user influences app development—perhaps towards a post app world? 

That’s a scary thought for a GUI designer, or a developer who unintentionally overlooked the simple truth that text messaging is far and away the most commonly used feature on a smartphone. Almost 97% of all smartphones users engage in text messaging; this familiarity creates incredible potential for a new generation of text-based application that can solve any problem an app can solve, through a more convenient interface: the text screen. 

 

Text-Based Apps Are Nothing New

The above, however, is not a new revelation. In fact, some apps controlled exclusively via text or SMS messaging already exist. Magic, for example, can help you reserve a table, check a bank account, or buy a car, all via text between a user and a concierge (an actual human being) who assists with these requests. WeChat is another app that uses text to bypass traditional apps altogether—effectively creating a universal portal to all things mobile.

According to a recent study by Pew Research Center, across all age groups in the US, text messaging is the most popular feature used on a smartphone. In this way, life is beginning to challenge the artist; while app designers may have intended to make our lives easier by developing apps to meet out every need, at the end of the day, people are universally more comfortable texting—having a virtual conversation to get at what they want. 

There are some people, like Matt Galligan, co-founder of the news aggregation app Circa, that believe we’re headed towards an overhaul of basic software and design. Galligan feels that something called “MessageKit” will be Apple’s catchall for apps located in iMessage. Instead of opening different apps with different design characteristics and UI controls, all the apps would perform their same functions but via text command or queries inside a fluid conversation.  

Apple’s new iOS 9 has already made some considerable shifts in its latest version, one of which is prioritizing app content for Internet search queries made via mobile. While there’s nothing like “MessageKit” available quite yet, it’s an interesting theory that attempts to recognize the user’s reality in a predominantly designer-shaped mobile world. 

One foreseeable drawback is that our familiarity with texting may causes people to use these services at inappropriate times. For example, texting while driving is already a major concern in densely populated areas. Additional text-based services may further encourage our desire for instant access, even behind the wheel.  

It’s ironic that an entire generation gets labeled as ‘less socially communicative’ because it’s always on smartphones, and yet, somehow, that same generation may bring society back full circle, where the digital dialect of texting is used to reinsert what was missing from our mobile lives: conversation. 

 

 

July 23, 2015

How to Design a Mobile-Friendly Website

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Creating a mobile-friendly website boils down to simplicity and elegance. You may already have a terrific website that you love, but you’re going to have to overhaul it if it doesn’t play nicely with mobile users. Essentially, a frustrated mobile website visitor is a soon-to-be former customer. Here at EzTexting, we want to help you take the guesswork out of mobile design. With that in mind, we’ve outlined several key design concepts for your new mobile website:

  • Simplicity is Key. Don’t bury your mobile website visitor in banner ads, images, and other content. On a desktop monitor, there is room to spare for descriptions and bios, but on a mobile device, you have to streamline your content. Keep your info in the form of short and easy-to-read blurbs. Additionally, you should make all calls to action more available with finger-sized buttons, and limit the number of fields that a mobile user might have to fill out.
  • Concision Within Context. Keeping your mobile website tight requires a foreknowledge of how your customers intend to use your site. Pay attention to mobile users’ needs, which are often quite different from the needs of desktop users. Take the time to determine why they are visiting: Are they booking reservations? Looking for a phone number to click-to-call? Or are they gathering information about your company? Whatever the case, make the options your customers desire easily available, and eliminate images (or even entire pages) that are extraneous to your mobile website.
  • Responsive Design. Likely a familiar concept, responsive design allows a programmer to adjust style sheets to behave differently when a mobile user accesses your site. This is the perfect solution for businesses that want to tweak their existing design for mobile usage.
  • Design for Screen Size, and Beta Test. To ensure a seamless mobile experience, design your website with the typical mobile screen size in mind. Buttons (and spaces between buttons) must be large enough for the average user to tap effectively. Create copy that is clear for each blurb, and again, don’t overcrowd pages with content or images. Finally, test and test and test again. Beta test your mobile website across all types of devices: Androids, iPhones, and tablets of all sorts. Each kind of phone will have a different filter with which to view your website; be sure to troubleshoot all of those bugs that pop up before unveiling your new site. 
  • Don’t Forget Your Brand! Sometimes mobile website designers are altogether too concise, forgetting to include branding images, slogans, and other elements of your company’s identity. If your page is getting a little overcrowded, don’t fret; with a little creativity, you can incorporate your logos and style concepts into your design without negatively affecting the mobile user’s experience.

The above suggestions should help you get the ball rolling on improving your mobile user experience. When you are ready to take your business a step further into the mobile universe, give us a call at EzTexting. We’re at the ready to enhance your mobile capabilities, and we’re looking forward to hearing from you!

 

July 22, 2015

How to Drive High Quality Traffic through Mobile Advertising

 

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Advertising is the shape-shifter of the business world. It has gone through more changes and taken on more forms than anyone could count. 50 years ago, advertising consisted of radio, print, and concrete materials. Pens and nail files with business information were the name of the game to gain exposure. Since then, as we all know, the business world has become more interconnected than ever, with your potential consumer only a click away. Customers hold the buying power in their hands and can take that power with them, wherever they go, at any time of day. I’m talking about the power of mobile.

So how do you achieve the high quality traffic, boosting your business, and creating long-term clients through mobile marketing? Well, the truth is, the answer is different for everyone. However there are some key points, a mobile mapping blue-print to follow, that can lay the ground work for gaining the visibility, quality, and conversion rate you desire.

 

Knowing Where Your Consumers Spend Their Time

Mobile marketing should be thought of as an opportunity to target potential customers with quality advertising content that can be personalized and optimized to each consumer base, instead of settling for quantity. However, engaging in quality advertising through mobile starts with knowing where to find that potential consumer base.  

Mass media marketing platforms like public radio, TV commercials, newspaper, or even print magazine ads might sound good, but they are only a nostalgic means to a non-profitable end. Smartphones, tablets, laptops—these platforms are the new launching pads for quality targeting and customer access. In an article by Venturebeat.com, it was revealed that consumer’s time spent on digital is now 46% compared to 36% on TV. The digital age has empowered the individual. It’s time to listen and understand how younger generations are consuming information and making buying decisions in order to even begin crafting quality mobile advertising efforts to successfully market your product or service in today’s world.

 

Get Responsive

First, is your business equipped for mobile platforms? It can be an immediate turn-off for potential consumers to find an outdated, unresponsive website. From design, screen size, and having an interactive, engaging mobile site—there is nothing more important to quality mobile advertising than being able to grab the consumer’s attention within the first few seconds.

 

Use Every Medium 

Part of grabbing and retaining a consumer’s attention means expanding the scope of your mediums in use. Videos, pictures, gifs, memes, blogs, social media campaigns, testimonials, surveys, questions, contests, best of lists—your business’s mobile presence can’t just be about a website and paid advertising (although that’s part of it); it should cover all the current hotspots where people are spending their time.

 

Remain Flexible

In the end, your philosophy on the business’ mobile advertising efforts should always remain open and flexible. Gain as much knowledge as you can on how to maximize your mobile budget, where to utilize paid advertising, why and if developing an app is important to your business (spoiler alert it is), and what programs (Facebook and Google Admob, etc.) are the best when it comes to utilizing paid mobile media advertising. 

The options in mobile advertising are limitless, as are the potential gains. Even though the digital age has empowered consumers, it has allowed businesses of all sizes and shapes to reach and engage consumers like never before. Mobile advertising is no longer the future—it’s the present, and it’s time to take notice.

July 09, 2015

MMS Mythbusters

Billions of rich media messages are sent and received every month, but Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) as a marketing tool remains widely misunderstood. Check out our infographic, MMS Mythbusters, to learn five common myths about MMS and uncover the truth behind these misconceptions. 

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