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10 Tips for an Effective Marketing Booth

You signed up to have a marketing booth at a trade show, networking event or festival. Now what? What can you do to generate new business leads or meet potential new talent? You have to be strategic, plan ahead and bring your marketing A-game!

Successful Marketing Booth Ideas

Here are ten tips that will help you draw more traffic to your marketing booth, engage with more event attendees, and generate sales leads.

  1. Before the event, send an email and/or direct mail piece to prospects that may attend the event. Let them know where your booth will be located and what benefits they will receive from visiting you.
  2. Design a professional, attractive booth that catches the attention of passersby.
  3. Make information easy to find and digest. Add professional banners, posters or an informational wall structure to help people understand who you are and what you do — even if they don’t talk to you. Engaging or interactive technology elements such as a video are a bonus!
  4. Be helpful or entertaining. A fun game, massage chairs, interactive technology and raffles for big-ticket items will help draw traffic to your booth and increase awareness of your presence.
  5. Don’t give too much away for free. Instead, collect visitor information in exchange for your big attraction. Have an information card or a form on an iPad that they can complete. Use this information to follow up with visitors after the event.
  6. Be sure you have company literature and information available that you can pass out to visitors who are interested in your product or service.
  7. Make sure your employees aren’t standing behind your booth the whole time. They should be out in front, engaging with visitors and passersby. Also, make sure each worker has their business cards handy.
  8. Give away promotional items that people can use on a daily basis, such as pens, sticky notes or calendars. This will serve as a constant reminder and keep your company top-of-mind.
  9. Have at least two people run the booth in case one person needs to step away periodically. A third person can stop by the other booths for additional networking.
  10. To further increase company awareness at the event, be an event sponsor. Depending on your sponsorship level, you can have your company logo included in ads for the event, on event banners, in the event program, mentioned in promotional emails and/or mentioned on stage.

Need professional assistance with your trade show or marketing booth? Contact the GREENCREST experts!

 

Why Digital Marketing Is Changing the Landscape

Why digital marketing is changing how companies compete

In every industry, traditional business models are being challenged. Uber and car-sharing services have upended the traditional taxi model. Airbnb is eroding a travel industry long dominated by hotels. And the home services market is no different. Learn why digital marketing is changing how companies compete.

Recently GREENCREST hosted a Google Partners event to reveal consumer trends and how businesses in the home services industry need to adapt to serve changing consumer behavior.

Here are a few consumer trends affecting the home services industry you should know:

Decline in Repeat and Referral Business

Across the country, fewer consumers are returning to service providers they have used in the past.

Wondering why you’re seeing that decline? We are seeing an unprecedented shift in consumer trends.

Rather than calling friends and family for referrals, consumers are searching online. And almost half of searchers are using a mobile phone between other daily activities. Your prospective clients may be standing in line at the grocery store, waiting for a coffee order or cooking tonight’s dinner when inspiration strikes for a kitchen remodel.

Growth of Search Relevance

When inspiration strikes and the searching begins, consumers look to search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant results. Companies ranking higher in search results are faring better because consumers associate placement on Google search results with quality. The logic is this: the higher a company is on search results, the better the company must be.

Contrary to what you might have thought, only 15 percent of consumers begin their search using ratings and review sites. But that doesn’t mean that reviews aren’t important: 82 percent of consumers say reviews are important when choosing a home service business.

Rise in Expectations

Consumers are demanding faster service: 50 percent of individuals searching for home services companies from their mobile phone called within one hour. Many are looking for same-day and next-day appointments — scheduling weeks out just doesn’t cut it with today’s consumer.

Shift in Demographics

What’s driving changing consumer behavior? Some will say that the answer lies in the surging impact of mobile phones. Now, more searches occur on mobile phones than on desktops. With increased access to technology, consumers can now access more information about your business in less time than ever before.

But, that’s not the whole story. The age and composition of households is changing, too. Millennials now head more households than Generation X. By 2018, millennials will head 21.6 million households, an increase from 13.3 million households in 2013.

Invasion of Digital

Not sure how to respond to these turbulent consumer trends and the invasion of digital channels? We’re here to help! Whether you need to launch a brand new digital marketing campaign or just need to enhance an existing Google AdWords account, we have the talent and resources to get your campaigns humming. As a Google Partner certified in multiple Google disciplines, we understand the best practices that will improve your website and online advertising — ultimately increasing your website traffic and your bottom line.

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

 

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!

 

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!

 

Top Marketing Trends to Look for – and Master – in 2017

Business People Working with Technology

In 2016, the trends in content and digital marketing made great advancements. Changes in technology, social media platforms and content promotion styles were just a few of the things at the top of marketers’ minds. Moving into 2017, those trends will continue to grow and gain importance, but the new year will bring its own important trends. As millennials infiltrate the workforce and technology is ever changing, so are the marketing trends that are meant to keep up with it.

Here are some notable trends coming to the forefront in 2017 and why you’ll want to master them:

1.      Digital Content

Today, digital is everything. People go to the Internet to seek information they need on products, brands, companies and more. As marketers, we can put this information in the palm of our audience’s hands with exciting and informational content such as white papers, technical bulletins, newsletters, e-books, videos, case studies, infographics and so much more. In 2017, mastering the use of highly engaging and relevant online content is bound to increase your website visits, ROI and more. Continuing to develop these skills will pay off in the coming year.

2.      Cross-Device Marketing

The average consumer is connected through up to five devices – smartphones, tablets and desktop computers to name a few. Marketing across several devices is necessary, but it can be challenging. You need to enable data alignment and tracking capabilities, such as Google AdWords and Analytics, to make sure you’re recognizing your repeat consumers, tracking their actions across different devices, and developing personalized ways to reach them.

3.      Native Advertising

Users don’t want their sessions interrupted online, so native advertising gives marketers the chance to offer information in a format similar to the content on the site the consumer is using. Users are more likely to engage with this type of advertisement than they would with a banner ad that may come across as overbearing or out of place. These ads will help brands connect with their audience in an authentic manner, while continuing to boost their ad revenue.

4.      Live Video Streaming

It is essential for companies to present authentic, engaging content online 24-7. Marketers need to find new ways to engage their audience and keep their attention. Video marketing has taken many successful forms in the past – testimonials, webinars and Instagram videos. Now live streaming is starting to take over. Platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Periscope are making live videos the standard in their offerings, and brands need to take advantage of it. According to a survey from the Web Video Marketing Council, 73 percent of marketing professionals said video has positively influenced their marketing results, and we can only imagine this increasing with developments in live streaming. People are becoming increasingly attracted to live stream videos because they give them the chance to get an inside, unedited look into a brand or company that they may not have gotten on traditional platforms elsewhere.

Times and trends are always changing, but we all need to keep up with the changes to keep moving forward. Follow these helpful tips and you’ll be on your way to a successful marketing year in 2017.

Need help planning for the 2017 year? Contact the team at GREENCREST for all of your marketing, public relations, web design and social media needs.

 

The Secret to Creating Direct Mail Content That Works

newspaper-reading

Direct mail is meant to capture the reader’s attention, quickly get to the point and share important information. As a marketer, you don’t want to take too long to get to the “meat” of your content, otherwise you will lose the readers’ interest. A good direct mail piece creates excitement, interest, questions and pictures in your readers’ minds.

Follow these steps to learn how to create the most effective direct mail content that’s sure to spark the interest of your readers:

Readability

Making the content clear and easy to follow is the No. 1 rule when creating direct mail. Make sure your focus point is obvious and up front. People generally tend to “glance over” sales and marketing pieces, so if your message is clear, concise, and upfront, you’re more likely to keep the reader’s attention.

 

Tips for enhanced readability:

  • Use bullet points
  • Keep paragraphs and sentences short
  • Use intriguing headings and subheadings to help guide readers
  • Repeat the main point in different ways to help the message sink in

 

Strategic Angle

Find a clever way to present the information to help your piece stand out from others. Simply stating that you could save money with new software isn’t enough. Give exact figures or successes letting the reader know just how much they could save. Find a “hook” that will grab their attention and keep them reading to learn more about it.

 

Tell a Story

Storytelling can be a sure-fire way to capture (and keep) the interest of people that are reading your direct mail piece. You want to lead them through the piece so they can easily and clearly follow your message, pick out the main points, and find a way to relate to the end result. Include content that sets your product or service apart from others and why — whether it’s all of the amazing benefits, its point of distinction, or how it will solve the readers’ problems. The goal is to instill a need or desire and to have readers apply it as the solution in their own situations.

 

After creating your direct mail content, ask yourself:

  • Is it interesting?
  • Is it easy to read?
  • Is there a story or angle that your readers can relate to?

If so, you are on your way to presenting content that is sure to drive interest and help generate leads or sales!

Not sure if your direct mail content is up to par? Contact the experienced team at GREENCREST, and we can help create content that actually works.

 

Storytelling, with Science, Can Strike a Chord in Advertising

 

health, technology, internet, food and home concept - close up of woman reading morning news from tablet pc computer

Science has proven that words have the power to move people to tears, to action and — yes — to purchase. John P. Kotter, a professor of leadership at the Harvard Business School, once said, “Never underestimate the power of a good story.” Kotter believes in the power of a story to strike a chord in people and, perhaps, to motivate them to change.

 
Researchers at Emory University in 2012 found that certain metaphors — “the singer had a velvet voice” or “he had leathery hands” — activated the sensory cortex of the brain. Similar phrases — “the singer had a pleasing voice” or “he had strong hands” — didn’t cause the same reaction.

Smell-a-vision

A 2006 study in Spain that was published in NeuroImage showed that when people read words with strong odor associations — coffee, perfume or cinnamon — the primary olfactory cortex of the research subjects’ brains lighted up.

 
A recent series of Post Cereals commercials uses such key words to play to the viewer’s sense of smell. One of the commercials shows Diana Hunter, a Post Cereals employee, talking about her job as a cereal packager. The happy employee tells a story about how she went grocery shopping after work one day, smelling of cereal. At the store, people were sniffng around her saying, “Mmmm, I smell cookies.” Diana says she told the people, “Aw, you just smell me! I just got out of work. That’s Honey Bunches of Oats. Don’t eat me now!”

 
Since we don’t have smell-a-vision, the words play to the viewers’ olfactory senses. The commercial also does a good job of letting a happy employee tell a story about her job at the cereal plant.

Emotional connections

Research has also shown that we all spend about one-third of our time daydreaming. Yet a really good story will make us sit up and pay attention.

 
By now, for example, we all know which of the commercials that ran during the 2016 Summer Olympics caught our attention and touched people. Those same ads are probably the ones you’ve been seeing in your news feed because the ads take the power of words and move a person to action, even if it’s just sharing it on Facebook.

 
The Procter & Gamble “Thank You, Mom” spot is one such ad. It shows athletes in dangerous, dark, demoralizing situations — a tornado headed toward their home, some men whistling catcalls at a young girl and a coach yelling at a young athlete. Through it all, the athletes’ mothers are always there, encouraging them to move on until we see the athletes’ victorious moments on the Olympic stage.

 
The commercial concludes with a simple statement: “It takes someone strong to make someone strong. Thank you, Mom. … P&G – proud sponsor of Moms.” That spot is meant to tug at the heartstrings — make you cry, even — and make you remember that P&G cares about all moms, the same moms, consequently, who do the household shopping.

 
The sounds — from the scary scream of a tornado at the end to the cheering adulation of the Olympics crowd at the end — help pull viewers into the emotion of the story. The bond between the child and mother plays to the connection that many viewers have had or want to have in their lives.

 
Top brands know the power of the brain to make that emotional connection, and they capitalize on that neuroscience by using storytelling to capture an audience.

 

Let the GREENCREST team help you tell your customers the perfect story! Contact us for all of your marketing and advertising needs.

 

Get in the Online Marketing Game

online marketing

Redefining Market Success

Over the past decade, three significant things have redefined what CEOs need to achieve marketing success. Online and smartphone technology has evolved, and the millennial generation has moved into influential roles within business. This has caused a shift from traditional marketing (print, outdoor, broadcast, cable, direct mail) to online marketing (website, search engine optimization, paid search, online advertising, email campaigns, marketing automation, sales automation, mobile marketing, social media).

Here is what you need to do to be part of the online marketing game. Don’t, however, toss traditional media aside—marketing success will come to companies that balance both.

Website

You don’t need to start over, but your site needs to be up to date with Web standards from a usability, search optimization and mobile responsive perspective. Since the objective of online marketing is to drive all traffic to the website and engage users once they are there, investing in a top-notch website is foundational for businesses to compete.

Organic Search and Paid Search

A link to your company website needs to display on page one or two when someone searches for products and services you offer. Otherwise, your website is not being found. Organic search engine optimization is complex and driven by keywords and phrases placed within the code of your website and optimized content marketing.

Paid search is Google AdWords or Bing/Yahoo Ads  campaigns that can put your company website on page one of a search, based on keywords typed into the search bar and a bidding strategy that displays your ad based on criteria you determine when setting up a campaign.

A best practice is to do both organic and paid search.

Online Advertising

If you have not considered digital display or social media advertising, you need to. The fact that 57% of the time a buyer has already conducted online research and short-listed potential vendors, means your company needs to be visible online.

Email Campaigns

Email campaigns are used to nurture relationships your company already has with prospective buyers and current customers. Email marketing rules require opt-in email relationships with your company.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a lead nurturing process that keeps an interested buyer engaged with your company. It is a strategic campaign that combines email, content and website marketing to provide the best opportunity to generate a marketing lead.

Sales Automation

Sales automation is an online version of telemarketing that is similar but not the same as marketing automation. It automates the prospect qualification process and necessary follow-up to engage a prospect.

Mobile Marketing

Website analytics are proving that there are more people getting to company websites via their mobile device. The use of smart phones and tablets has reached market saturation.

Social Media

It you have a social media strategy, it can make a huge difference to the success you can have driving traffic to your website from your social media posts. So do it with purpose.

From Smart Business

 

 

Is Your Business Really Using Integrated Marketing?

 

integrated marketing communications

Marketers are always some of the first adopters to capitalize on new communication channels to promote organizations. Businesses benefit from constantly seeking new and improved ways to reach their target audiences. If you look at the history of communication and technology, you will also see the history and evolution of marketing.

Marketing has grown to include many types of communication.

  • The printing press led to print advertising.
  • Postal mail inspired direct mail.
  • The invention of the telephone made way for telemarketing.
  • Radio and television became new channels for advertising.
  • Email turned out to be a cost-effective way to promote business.
  • Blogs and websites turned into a great source for sponsored posts and online ads.
  • Mobile phones and text enabled marketers to reach people on-the-go.
  • Social media was a new frontier for marketers to connect with a new audience in a personal manner.

As technology and communication channels continue to evolve, marketing will always evolve with those changes.

An Integrated Approach

With so many communication channels available, it’s easy for businesses to start sending inconsistent, mixed messages across a variety of mediums. Integrated marketing, therefore, is critical to an organization’s success.

With an integrated marketing communication plan, a business is able to have a consistent brand message and corporate identity across all of its traditional and non-traditional marketing channels. Successful integrated marketers consciously use each medium to reinforce the other. For example, you may see a company website promotion on a magazine advertisement, and you can find a TV ad or news coverage on social media. Everything is consistent and interconnected.

A Potential Threat to Integrated Marketing

Because there are so many channels to use in promoting a business, many marketers have chosen to become specialists in a specific form of marketing. Furthermore, it’s becoming increasingly common for entire agencies to specialize in one marketing function. From specialized public relations agencies to video production agencies to social media agencies, there are a number of functional marketers from which businesses can choose. However, this trend poses a danger to an integrated marketing approach.

Whether it’s a specialized agency or someone in charge of one type of marketing in an organization, functional marketers often develop tunnel vision, focusing only on how their specialty can help a business. Integrated marketers, on the other hand, wear many hats and think more strategically and holistically. They consider all opportunities and determine which solutions will give the best results for a client’s overall goals and budget.

So whether you’re looking to hire a marketing professional or use an outside agency, make sure they have broad marketing knowledge and your best interests at heart.

If you’re looking to utilize integrated marketing communications for your organization, the experts at GREENCREST can help. Contact us today.

 

 

Promoted Pins Set to Launch on Pinterest

Pinterest Promoted Pins

Pinterest is getting ready to launch its advertising platform, Promoted Pins, which is currently in beta. Businesses will be able to use Promoted Pins to show their best Pins to a targeted audience, gain more Pinterest followers and drive more traffic to their website.

With an estimated reach of 47.1 million U.S. users by the end of 2015 and an estimated 59.3 million U.S. users by 2019, Pinterest is a social media force to consider when planning your social media advertising strategy.

How Promoted Pins Work

Promoted Pins will show up in relevant search results and category feeds on Pinterest based on a company’s selected targeting. Pinterest will offer Promoted Pins on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis, so businesses will only pay for clicks on the Pin, not Likes or Repins. The Pinterest community is very consumer-oriented, so B2C businesses would best benefit from this platform.

Determine Your Goal

In order to have a successful Pinterest advertising campaign, you must first understand why you’re advertising on Pinterest. Do you want to increase your brand recognition? Increase product or service sales? Grow your email marketing list? Improve website traffic? Having a defined goal will help determine which Pin to promote and which audience to target.

Select the Right Pin

The Pin you choose to promote is critical. Pinterest is very visual, and the image needs to appeal to your target audience and engage people to read the text below it. It must also follow Pinterest’s Advertising Rules. The combination of image and text should be engaging and should compel your audience to click on the Pin.

For example, let’s say you own a bakery. Your Pin should consist of a beautiful, professional photo of a delectable baked good. The text should include a captivating name and mouth-watering description. It should also include a call-to-action, such as “Bite into one of these and visit Deb’s Delicatessen today!”

Most importantly, your Pin needs to be relevant to your business. For example, if your Pin featured a photo of a cute kitten with text saying, “Cute little fur ball!” it may receive a number of Repins and Likes, but it would most likely not receive many clicks and will not help achieve your business goals.

It’s also essential to add relevant terms to your Promoted Pin that will help it show up in search results, category feeds or other pertinent places.

Choose the Right Audience

Pinterest allows you to decide who sees your Pin. You can target your audience based on location, language, device and gender. The terms and keywords added to your Pin will also help further target the audience by interest.

Many people believe Pinterest is for crafty moms, fashionistas and aspiring chefs. However, according to a study by Pew Research Center, Pinterest saw a significant increase in male users in 2014. There’s now an estimated 6.6 million male users on Pinterest.  There was also a significant increase in adults over 50.

According to DMR’s “By the Numbers: 90+ Amazing Pinterest Statistics” article, there are about 53 million unique monthly users on Pinterest in the U.S. And 23% of Pinterest users visit it at least once per day.

Let’s Get Started!

Pinterest is currently only allowing select business accounts to use the beta version of Promoted Pins. However, companies can request priority access.

Contact GREENCREST for more information about Promoted Pins or for help on setting up your Pinterest advertising campaign strategy!

 

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    GREENCREST Chief Strategy Officer Kelly Borth brings together today’s great marketing thought leaders in one book that helps business owners identify strategies to transform their business.

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