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Why Video Marketing Should Play a Lead Role in Your Marketing Strategy

Add video marketing to your marketing strategy.

By now, the increased use of video marketing doesn’t come as a surprise. Like social media, digital, and content marketing, video marketing is an important element that you don’t want to leave out of your marketing strategy. This trend has specifically been growing in business-to-business (B2B) marketing, with a study from the Content Marketing Institute finding that almost 80 percent of B2B marketers are using video as part of their strategies.

While the rise of video marketing content is clear, what’s not is the growing importance and potential it brings to marketers and their clients. Some people assume you can only use video on social media or that it only matters if you want people to follow a link from the video to your site, but that is no longer the case.

How to incorporate video into your content

While video is most commonly seen on YouTube and other social media sites, it’s been becoming increasingly popular on websites, blogs and more. Adding a video to the homepage of your website or including video testimonials within company blogs can almost automatically help increase your overall SEO and online engagement. Viewers are more inclined to watch a video from a company leader talking about the history of the brand than they are in reading long paragraphs of text.

Videos help attract and maintain the attention of your visitors and allow them to engage on a more personal level with your company and brand. However, you want to make sure you’re using videos appropriately and timely. Rather than having a video on every page, think of where video content would make the most sense to engage your audience. Again, having the company’s CEO discuss why he started this business in a video on the About Us page makes a lot more sense than having a video of someone explaining travel directions on the Contact Us page.

What you can learn from video content

Most people assume video marketing isn’t as beneficial because you can only track people that click a link from the video, but this is false. There is a lot that marketers can learn about users from video content including how long they watched the video, if they interacted with it at all through likes or comments, and even who was watching. Of course, being able to track if your videos are bringing people to your site is very important, but it’s not the only way to gauge their effectiveness.

Considering additional metrics and tracking a variety of measurements can be helpful if your company’s goals reach past website visits or conversions. For example, seeing how long your videos are being viewed or if they’re being played through from start to finish will give you more insight into whether they’re helping increase your brand awareness. Seeing who is viewing your videos will help you realize potential or returning customers that you can build into your database and work on strengthening the relationship.

“Real-time” or relatable content is starting to take over the marketing and advertising world, and for a good reason. People want to feel connected to a company or brand and get the real-life messages that they may not get from just reading through your website. Video marketing improves overall engagement and user experience because it allows users to see the faces, stories and meaning behind the products or brands.

Contact the team at GREENCREST if you are interested in adding video content into your marketing, advertising and social media strategies. We’re happy to help!

 

3 Tips for Mastering Content Marketing

Enhance your content marketing strategy.

Content marketing is an effective way to provide valuable, relevant content to your audience and should be top-of-mind when creating your marketing plan. When done correctly, it can help you retain an audience, generate leads and drive profitable customer action.

Use the tips below to help you master your content marketing strategy this year.

Tell a Story

Storytelling is the best way to help others connect with your brand. Empathize with your audience and make them part of the story. No matter what type of content you decide to use (blog, infographic, e-book, video — the list goes on!), use your content to incite emotion and engage your audience.

Promote Your Content

You’ve written a beautiful piece of content for your audience — now what? Now, you have to make sure your audience will see that content. Take the time to create a well thought out promotion strategy using a mix of organic (social media, email marketing, SEO) and paid (Google AdWords, Facebook and LinkedIn advertising) promotion.

Analyze and Adjust

You’ve invested a lot of time in the creation and promotion of your content, so make sure it’s working effectively. Analyze your content on a short-term basis and look for trends in the successful versus unsuccessful content you’ve created. Then, adjust your content marketing plan to optimize what’s working. It’s not enough to just analyze your content marketing efforts — make sure you actually DO something with the data you’ve collected.

Need help developing and executing your content marketing? Let us help you create the right plan and content for your business! Contact the GREENCREST experts today!

 

Taking Control of the Customer Experience

 

taking control of the customer experience

Did you know that 80 percent of companies say they deliver great service, but only 8 percent of their customers agree? Whoa! That is a big gap. Customer service and customer experience should be the No. 1 thing on CEOs’ minds. Eighty-nine percent of marketers believe that they will be competing on customer experience by the end of 2017.

Here is the reality… Customer satisfaction is not driven by the customer service that companies say they deliver. How customers feel about their interaction with a company reveals the authenticity of great service.

The truth is, it is easier to be average today and harder to be exceptional. How is your company creating memorable moments that customers share openly within their circles of influence? What drives your customers’ experience? The journey begins by understanding your company’s aspirational anchor. This is followed by knowing what is valuable to the markets you serve. Understanding that value begins with having an intimate understanding of your customers’ world and what is important to them.

Aspirational Anchor

What is the commitment the company aspires to fulfill? For example: Does your company strive for there-for-you service, 24/7/365 accessibility, 100 percent system reliability, on time—every time performance, reduction of energy costs by 50 percent, 25 percent greater production efficiency, etc? This aspiration must be embraced companywide and supported by the board, owners and other influencers who will earmark investments to drive the customer experience. When you start with a solid commitment, you can stop reacting to the market and start shaping it.

Customer Personas

Most companies have a mix of customers. Some may be defined by industry segment, some by size, some by geographic location, others by direct, end-user and distributors.  Whatever the case, creating personas of these various customer segments gets you closer to understanding the environments, needs, obstacles, decision-making drivers and desires of each one. Create a visual understanding or humanize each customer-type to immerse yourself in your customers’ world and allow your team to get a clear picture in their minds to better understand how the company can make a positive impact and experience.

 Customer Journey Mapping

Once you intimately understand your customers and their environments, you can begin to map out the customers’ buying journey — and it will be remarkably different for some of your customer segments. What is important to them? What are they concerned about? How do they discover new solutions? What information do they seek? Who else do they involve in the decision-making process? You need to figure out how you can be with them throughout the journey. Pre-existing problem, during the discovery phase, as they research solutions, as they narrow down potential offerings, as they present options to others involved in decision-making, during the close, post purchase and so on.

It takes work to rally true believers. By addressing the core needs of your customers who are likely being overlooked by everyone else, you can create raving fans. The first step is yours to take.  Make sure your company can compete on customer experience.

 

When Opportunity Knocks, Be Sure Your Brand Value is Ready

Brand Value

As a business owner, you want to be as prepared as possible should someone come courting to buy your business or for when you are ready to sell it. There is a lot of preparation involved and much of that advice comes from attorneys, lenders, financial planners and brokers on how to position your company to achieve the best multiple.

But don’t forget the marketing side of that equation: How well you are known in the marketplace, your company reputation, proprietary trade names or processes all adds value at the end of the day.  It factors into how well you played the game of business while it was under your leadership. This equates to brand value. For companies such as Coca-Cola, Apple, Google and Starbucks, brand value trumps book value by leaps and bounds.

So how do you get your business value to increase based on your brand value? Great question. It starts with winning in mind. Every industry has a multiple average. Brand value represents the multiple that can be attributed to future sales generated from brand loyalty. Your company can fall on either side of that industry average. Your goal from a marketing perspective should be focused on scoring an above average rating and to be considered best in class in order to increase your potential multiple. It is easier to be average today and harder to be exceptional at what you do. How can you be exceptional?

Know What It Takes to Be in the Lead

Be proactive rather than reactive. When you rethink best practices, you stop reacting to the market and start shaping it. Have a keen understanding of what makes your company different. Understand how your product or service offering is different from what is available in the market. Understand why what you are offering is important to potential customers. Ask them. Why should they choose your company? Address core needs that are overlooked by everyone else in your market space. Lead somewhere exceptional. Own the mind share.

 Look Like the Leader

Start by investing in your business. Do an inventory of your marketing and how you measure up to others in the industry. Do you look like the leader? Your online marketing should be solid, including an up-to-date website that is competitive and well-optimized to compete online. You should have a strategy for generating and tracking online leads, and, if possible, know what share of online opportunities you receive.

How do you present your products or services? Do you create a memorable experience or just appear like a “me, too?” Are your trade publications regularly including your company in editorial coverage? Build brand assets by naming and trademarking your processes. This allows you to be the only one in your industry that can offer the iPhone® or iPad®, or proprietary ingredients, or own the search algorithms, or loyalty club that has millions of members.

Act Like a Leader

Operationalize your unique brand position. Build an internal and external culture that breeds brand ambassadors. Create processes around what it takes to deliver first-in-class service. Communicate with passion and ad nauseam what the company brand stands for and why it is important to assure brand clarity, educate and inspire all employees to live the brand. Also, keep customers and their needs a top priority. Figure out what it will take to earn a customer’s trust and business for life. Then hang on to those customers for dear life.

At the time of sale on the balance sheet, these are all considered intangible assets. These intangible assets have been known to push the value of your company 30 to 70 percent beyond book value. So, while it does take some initial investment, the return can be greater than investments in tangible assets such as real estate, inventory, equipment and the like. Focusing on the intangible assets may make more sense, both practically and economically. Investing in building brand value can produce nice rewards when your time comes to cash in on your business investment.

 

Embrace the negative… keywords, that is

By: Kelly Borth

As the owner of a Google Partner marketing agency, my digital team has taught me to love and embrace the negative … keywords, that is.

By now, many smart business leaders are familiar with keywords and search engine optimization or SEO. But not many are aware of negative keywords. What are they, and why do they matter?

Keywords vs. negative keywords

Keywords are words or phrases that are relevant to your business. They are words that people use when searching for your product and/or service on the Internet. When marketers identify the relevant keywords that are used most often in online searches, they strategically add them to your website and online advertising campaign. That way your website will show up in search results.

Negative keywords are words or phrases that get added to your campaign to prevent your online ads from showing up on the search results page when a search is not relevant to you. Negative keywords are like bouncers: They help filter out who will see your ads and who won’t, depending on what people are searching.

The benefits of being negative

There are many ways you can use negative keywords to help improve your campaign performance.

  1. Add names of products or services you do not offer.
  2. Add terms or adjectives that don’t describe your product well. For example, if your company focuses on quality more than competitive pricing, you might include “cheap” or “discount” as a negative keyword. Therefore, if someone searches for “cheap” your ads will not display.
  3. Add negative keywords that don’t apply directly to the goal of your advertising campaign. By adding terms such as “job,” you prevent your ads from displaying when someone searches for a job in your industry.
  4. Use negative keywords to help ensure your most relevant ads display for the right search terms. For example, you might have multiple ad groups promoting different products. When people click an ad, they go to that specific web page on your website. Therefore, it would be a good precaution to add negative keywords that would describe alternative products you offer to lead people to the right part of your website.
  5. Use negative keywords to filter out pop-culture references. Sometimes, you might have a keyword that is the title of a popular movie or song. It’s important to add negative keywords that prevent your ad from displaying for popular, but irrelevant, searches.

The more negative, the better

It is a good practice to add more negative keywords to better optimize your campaign over time. Many search advertising platforms such as Google AdWords have a report where you can see the actual search terms people are using to find your ads. When viewing this report, you may find that some search terms people have used are not at all relevant. It would be a good idea to add those terms as negative keywords.

Are you looking to add digital marketing to your marketing strategy, or enhance an existing AdWords campaign? GREENCREST can help! Contact the experts at GREENCREST today.

 

Use content to generate leads in the sales cycle

After understanding consumer behavior in different phases of the sales cycle, smart businesses hopped onto the content marketing bandwagon to create valuable information to connect consumers to the answers and solutions they need — when they need it.

Marketing teams around the world have realized that to make the best impact, different types of content should be used for different stages of the sales cycle.

An important stage of the sales cycle is lead generation. In this first stage, your primary goal is to attract the attention of prospects and get them interested in your product or service.

In this early phase, prospects are researching their problems and possible solutions for them. For this audience, your goal is to increase brand awareness, appeal to their main pain points and provide them with more information to bring them closer to finding a possible solution based on what you offer. Be a good Samaritan.

Here are some helpful tips to follow when creating content to increase lead generation:

Recognize the content’s importance

Great content creates excitement and awareness among prospects and will build a compelling business case to potential customers.

The type of content you create is one of the most important steps — it should be helpful, informative, relevant, and easy to consume. It should focus on what your target audience needs to solve its problems, not the detailed features of your specific product or service.

Target your content to the right people

Regardless of what your business sells, it is important to identify the right audience and then tailor your content to their wants and needs. Your content should be authentic and offer the same message in a variety of ways to appeal to every prospect.

Choose the right content

Create content that will help build awareness about what you’re selling. In the lead generation stage, you want people to learn about what your business can offer and why it might be a good choice for them.

Blogs and white papers can help address problems and solutions. Using ads from search engine platforms that lead prospects to download your content pieces allows you to leverage marketing automation tools to send informative and helpful emails about your business or product to your lead prospects.

While mastering all stages of the sales cycle is important, it all starts with the attraction stage. It’s simple — if you want to gain business, you first need to attract it! Therefore, create a content strategy.

People want to learn about a business or product to see if it’s beneficial to their needs before they commit to the (sometimes long) sales cycle that we commonly see in business to business sales. Make sure you’re using content marketing efforts to your advantage and enjoy the results.

Need help with your marketing efforts? GREENCREST is your team! Contact us to learn more about content marketing and how GREENCREST can help with your lead generation.

Google AdWords for B2B Companies: Yes or No?

B2B Adwords

As a Google Partner agency, we get asked if it’s worth running a Google AdWords campaign for B2B companies. My answer is always yes but do so with caution.

A B2B search advertising campaign is different than a B2C campaign. One major reason for the difference is the length of the sales cycle. B2B sales cycles tend to be much longer, which makes attaining leads and conversions a little more difficult.

B2B companies are at a higher risk of losing money with a Google AdWords campaign if it is not set up properly or doesn’t use the best strategy. However, with the right strategy and structure, AdWords can be a B2B workhorse and generate sales and leads.

Reasons for Running a B2B Google AdWords Campaign

B2B companies run search advertising campaigns for many reasons. Many choose to run an AdWords campaign alongside a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign in order to maximize results. It may take some time for businesses to show up at the top of the Google search results page after implementing a new SEO strategy or campaign. However, with search advertising, a company can immediately show up at the top of page one.

Businesses that sell popular brands or products to other business often see great results from an AdWords campaign. With this type of campaign, prospects who are searching for these specific products typically already know what they want and are closer to making a decision. This results in more leads and higher conversion rates for the advertiser.

Some companies use search advertising to accelerate their content marketing efforts and target prospects who are still in the research phase of the sales cycle. If a business is investing a lot of time and effort into creating valuable content such as white papers, e-books or educational videos, it may pay off to promote the content in search results. These ads lead to a landing page where the user can download the content in exchange for a name and email, thus generating a lead.

Initial Investment for B2B Search Advertising

B2B companies often expect numerous and immediate leads from their Google AdWords campaigns, but this is not typically the case. Even if the campaign is structured perfectly, it often takes time to optimize the campaign with the best keywords, negative keywords, ad copy and landing pages. This is why testing is critical. Once the campaign is well optimized, it is wise to take another look at the budget to see if it can be cut back or if it needs to be increased.

Finding the Right Strategy

Every business is unique and requires a different strategy. Remarketing ads, for example, work really well for some companies with long sales cycles. Only people who have visited a specific website will see these ads, and it keeps the advertiser top-of-mind.

To answer the titular question, yes! Search engine advertising works really well for B2B companies, as long as they employ the right strategy. Look for a certified partner in Google AdWords and one that has experience running B2B AdWords campaigns, like GREENCREST.

Are you looking to add digital marketing to your marketing strategy, or enhance an existing AdWords campaign? GREENCREST can help! Contact the experts at GREENCREST today.

 

Initiating a Call to Action

As CEOs, we want results from our marketing investments, but sometimes we forget to guide prospects to take action. A call to action, or CTA, instructs prospects to perform a desired action such as “learn more,” “call today,” or “download the e-book.” The most effective CTAs relate to where your audience is in the sales cycle (lead, prospect, new customer, returning customer).

Different Call to Action Types

Companies use call to actions in every medium including websites, emails, print ads, television ads, videos, or direct mail pieces. In the end, the goal is to persuade the consumer to take some sort of action, depending on the company’s objectives with a target audience. There are several different types of CTAs.

Attract Interest

When consumers are at the beginning of the sales cycle, they turn to the Internet to research solutions to their needs and wants. This is often when advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) come into play. Marketing pieces that are meant to grab the audience’s attention and educate will often include CTAs such as “learn more” or “read more.”

Generate Leads

Most online marketing leads are generated through form submissions. Having an engaging call to action button is proven more effective than a simple “submit” button. For example, if you use an online white paper download form to collect prospects’ names and emails, a good CTA on the form would be “Download Our Free White Paper.”

Encourage Decision

Smart businesses use content marketing to help nurture prospects in order to generate more sales. You may offer a free trial to help those who have narrowed down their choices and are close to making a decision. A good CTA for this audience would be “Start Your Free Trial.”

Close the Sale

When your audience is at the bottom of the funnel and ready to make a decision and purchase, it is time to close the sale. Call to actions that are most relevant to this audience include “Request a Quote,” “Contact Sales,” or “Call Today.”

Stay Connected

It is important to maintain a relationship with your current and past customers. This is often done through email marketing and social media marketing. Include social media icons and a CTA such as “Connect With Us.” You may also want to introduce current customers to other products or services. In this case, an appropriate call to action could be, “View The New Features.”

Best Practices

When it comes to choosing a CTA for a particular marketing piece, it’s important to keep some best practices in mind.

  • Use imperative, or command, verbs to instigate action.
  • Make sure the CTA stands out visually within the piece.
  • Keep the CTA clear and concise.
  • If it’s online, make sure users understand what will happen when they click on it. And make sure they are taken to a page with content they were searching for.

Call to actions are critical elements in almost every marketing piece, so it’s important to understand your goals, audience, and CTA best practices when finalizing the piece. This will help you generate leads, make a sale and encourage repeat sales.

Contact the GREENCREST team and let us help you create powerful CTAs in your marketing and advertising campaigns!

 

How to Choose the Right PR Agency for your Company

Choosing the right PR agency

Regardless of your business or brand, having the right Public Relations (PR) agency is the only way to make sure your successes are being shared throughout your industry.

You work hard to make your business successful — putting in long hours, taking on more work and making tough decisions. When the hard work pays off and your company achieves a new goal or level of success, it only makes sense that you want to share that excitement. However, to get your story told to the right audience, you have to find the right PR agency that knows how to do so.

Here are the most important things to look for in a PR agency to make sure you’re making the best decision for your company:

Agency Size

Whether you’re a small, family-owned business that is just starting out or a multi-departmental corporation, it’s best to find the right agency for your needs. Whether the agency is small or large, if they have a dedicated PR team with enough staff to handle your needs, you’ll be set. In the end, it all comes down to what your goal is and how intricate of a plan – and team – it will take to get you there.

Agency Approach

When looking for the right PR agency, you should consider the approach that the agency tends to take with its clients and its work. A good agency will approach each unique client with custom solutions that will help cut through the clutter of everyday news releases and pitches, to help get the company’s story heard. This will help you get a better understanding of the agency’s overall approach and help you determine if it will work for you and your business’ goals.

Agency Connections

In order to have your story heard by the right audience, it’s important that you choose an agency with a variety of media connections. This will ensure that no matter what your company’s area of expertise, the PR agency will have a reporter or contact that specializes in the same thing. If you are a B2B company trying to reach a market about a new industrial product you’re releasing, you want to work with an agency that is familiar with your trade and will be able to find media connections in your industry and geo-target.

Agency Price

While having the best representation is very important, so is your budget. Discuss all of your needs with the agency to determine if it can do everything you want within your budget. However, if the price doesn’t match immediately, don’t fret — most agencies are willing to work with their clients to create a plan that is both effective and budget-conscious. After all, a good agency will want what’s best for its clients and will do whatever it takes to achieve that for them.

The better the understanding and relationship you have with your agency, the more likely the agency will be able to fulfill your expectations. Consider these four points when seeking out an agency, and you’re bound to find the perfect fit.

Interested in seeing if the GREENCREST public relations team could be right for you? Contact us today with questions or to set up a meeting.

 

Tips for Increasing Social Media Post Engagement

Noticing a consistent trend in ‘likes’ on your social media posts but not a lot of other engagement? Our digital screens are filled with an overwhelming amount of content clutter — so how do you entice your audience to stop scrolling and interact with your posts?

Sharing relevant content is always important, but consider including new posts into the mix that stray from your normal content and encourage your audience to be part of the conversation.

Contests

Contests are a fun way to get your audience excited about your brand, and there are several different ways you can ask them to enter to win:

  • Like the post
  • Share the post
  • Comment on the post
  • Post a picture in the comments

The ways to enter are endless, and you can even offer an entry for each different action they take. Just make sure you’re complying with regional and national sweepstakes and contest laws.

Video Contests

Are you looking to ramp up your marketing by adding some testimonials to your website? Hold a contest for your customers to interact on social media by submitting a video saying what they love most about your product or service. Not only will you get engagement from your followers, but you’ll have authentic content to use in your marketing collateral.

Polls

Polls are a great way to get feedback from your audience. Whether it’s a question about your product or service, the industry in general, or even just an entertaining survey to kick off the weekend, polls are a fun way to get your audience to participate.

Facebook and Twitter both have polls you can integrate into your posts. Trying to gauge which products your customers are most interested in? Ask them what they’d like more information on. It’s a great way to make them feel included as part of your brand.

Tag a Friend

Encouraging your audience to tag a friend who may enjoy your post is a great way to create buzz around your brand. For example, if you’re a travel agency sharing a blog about the top five places to visit in the U.S., consider adding “tag a friend who could use a vacation” in your post.

Regardless of which tactic you decide to use to engage your audience, make sure you’re engaging back. The more you make them feel like part of your brand, the more likely they’ll be to continue participating in the future.

 

Need help coming up with a great content strategy for your company’s social media marketing? Contact the experts at GREENCREST with all of your social media and marketing needs.