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Marketing Automation: The What’s, The How’s, and The Why’s

It goes without saying that technology has made ultrapersonal, individually tailored content possible. Gathering this type of individualized, personalized information better enables businesses to nurture leads and convert them into customers.

Imagine receiving an email or social media message from a salesperson who works at a company where you’re considering doing business. Unlike an email blast or public social media post that has likely been sent to hundreds — if not thousands — of people, the message you’ve just received is relevant to the information you’re seeking and focused on your needs.

Almost 70 percent of businesses say converting leads is their No.1 priority. According to HubSpot, businesses that have integrated automation software into their marketing strategy generate two times the number of leads than those using blast email software.

The ultimate mission of marketing automation is two-fold:

  • Drive more and better leads and convert them to sales.
  • Encourage repeat business and turn existing customers into loyal, raving advocates.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation refers to software platforms, technologies and tactics that nurture prospects with ultra-personalized, tailored content that turns them into customers — and turns customers into happy customers. Marketing automation software, specifically, automates aspects of a business’ marketing process — repetitive tasks, for example, such as emails and social media posts.

Eighty-nine percent of businesses say that email is their primary channel of lead generation, according to HubSpot. With marketing automation, email flow takes on an entirely new meaning. “After the click” behavior tracking — a principal capability of marketing automation software — allows businesses to discover a lead’s interests based on webpage clicks. Understanding a customer’s interests allows businesses to communicate with prospects one-on-one based on those interests.

How does a business succeed?

Integrating a new component into your marketing strategy can be nerve-wracking. Mind these helpful tips to ensure your marketing automation is successful:

  • Clearly define a strategy. Know the direction you want your marketing automation to take from the get-go.
  • Gain an in-depth knowledge of your audience to help turn prospects into leads into customers.
  • Ensure the content you are pushing out is smart and informative at every stage of the conversion process.

Why does it matter?

For any business, understanding the wants and needs of their audience is the straightest path to success — this has rung true long before technology made ultrapersonal content possible. Marketing automation takes it a step further, though, by allowing marketers to nurture leads throughout the entire buying process — from the first click and beyond.

Consider this: Most people are 60 to 70 percent of the way through the buying journey before even speaking with a salesperson. Imagine having the opportunity to intercept a prospect immediately after their initial interaction with your business’ content. Then, it’s easier to customize content on their behalf. Marketing automation makes this a reality, leaving you the time to focus on other things.

When properly executed and managed, a marketing automation strategy will help you turn prospects into customers.


Four Social Media Trends to Master in 2018

As technology continues to change, the ways in which we communicate and engage with customers on social media do, too. Take a look at four social media trends that GREENCREST predicts will take center stage in 2018.


Social video and video advertising will continue to explode in 2018. In 2017, it significantly outperformed all other forms of content on every test, and as Generation Z continues to make itself known on social media, video should remain a primary focus of most companies’ marketing strategies. According to data collected by AdWeek, 50 percent of Gen Z-ers “can’t live without YouTube.” In 2017, nearly half of all businesses implemented video advertising, according to Hootsuite, which expects that number to grow by 29 percent in 2018.

“Brand Fatigue” and How to Avoid it

As the number of businesses on social media continues to increase, original, creative content is becoming harder and harder to come by, resulting in “brand fatigue,” or a phenomenon in which consumers become less likely to engage with sponsored or branded content. In 2018, businesses can expect to feel pressure to create better, more engaging content in order to establish themselves as independently verifiable sources. Focus on communication with individuals in your own community. Connect with them directly through messenger platforms, for example. Your customers value local and personal experiences. Engaging with them on a personal level will help grow your business into an industry leader as their trust in you grows.

Live Streaming

Originally thought to be applicable to only video gaming, live streaming is quickly creeping into social media. In the last 1 ½ years, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat all introduced live-streaming capabilities for their mobile apps. Companies have incorporated the technology to live stream events, Q&A’s, reviews, interviews, webinars, and more. Live streaming is so popular among brands because through it they can genuinely connect with their audience, and Internet users agree. According to Statista, people of all ages viewed live streams in 2017, and — in 2018 — live streaming will continue to grow in popularity and user base.

Influencer Marketing

In 2017, 75 percent of brands incorporated influencer marketing into their marketing strategies, according to AdWeek. Hallmark, for example, created the hashtag #Keepsakeit to encourage family-friendly Instagram users to promote Hallmark’s keepsake ornaments during the holidays. Earlier this month, social media influencer Hannah Bronfman signed on as a brand ambassador for a new Proctor & Gamble feminine hygiene product. In 2018, the investment in influencer marketing will grow. As internet users continue to search for “authentic” content, and the use of AdBlock grows, influencer marketing will continue to grow as an extremely effective way for marketers to reach their audiences on social media.

The experts at GREENCREST know a thing or two about how to create an engaging, successful social media strategy. Contact us today to get a head start on mastering these 2018 trends.


Why Businesses Should Make Video a Marketing Priority in 2018

Wherever we go these days, it seems we are bombarded with video: on our computers, tablets, phones, not to mention what we see on TV. Just open any of your social media accounts, and you’re likely to see video as you scroll through your feed. More and more websites also now have embedded videos on landing pages, which can increase conversion rates.

According to the American Marketing Association, video content will be the driving factor behind 85 percent of all search traffic in the U.S. by 2019. In addressing marketing priorities for 2018, companies should make video a top priority — whether it’s for a website, Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook. Video content will be imperative in 2018, even for companies that are focused on marketing to businesses.

Relating to Millennials

One reason for this great change is that there are a growing number of millennials populating the workforce. According to the latest figures from the Pew Research Center, there were an estimated 79.8 million millennials living in the U.S. in 2016, compared to 74.1 million baby boomers — more than half the population! And, according to Catalyst, one-third of all working-age people in the U.S. in 2015 were millennials, a percentage that’s expected to grow to 75 percent by 2025.

And what do we know about millennials? They are comfortable with video. They grew up playing video games, livestreaming movies and creating their own videos on their smart phones. And, more important, they like to share videos. To engage with them in the workplace — to get their attention if you’re trying to sell them a product or a service for their business — video is a must.

The Power of Videos

Sprint took to video to promote its Workplace-as-a-Service from Sprint Business. Sprint’s brilliant video from 2015 outlines the hassles of opening a new office — finding the best phone system and integrating that with the network, Wi-Fi, email, phone conferencing and other collaboration tools. The video sells the idea that Sprint can handle that all for you, freeing you to spend time on what matters most to your business — hiring employees for the new office, furnishing the office, courting business prospects in the new city. The video ends with the simple message, “You’ve got better things to do, and we kind of don’t.”

Sprint’s video sells the idea that they understand their business customers’ pain points, and they know how to solve them.

Millennials in leadership positions within companies recognize the power of such videos to communicate a message and to build relationships with customers. According to Google, 50 percent of all internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store.

Still not sure? Consider these statistics gathered by HubSpot Research:

  • 59 percent of the decision-makers in companies (which will increasingly be millennials) prefer watching a video over reading a blog post.
  • 54 percent of consumers want to see videos from brands they support.
  • 43 percent of respondents said that branded video content was the most memorable to them and they wanted to see more video content from marketers.
  • 55 percent of people consume video content thoroughly.

In developing video, companies must remember that a good video still must tell a story, be professional and have a relevant, engaging message for the audience before closing with a meaningful call to action.

In addition, the key to using video content to propel your brand will be understanding how best to use the video you’ve just created to your advantage on your website and in each social media channel. After all, the entire purpose of the video — as with any marketing message — is to engage your customers and your prospects.

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Tips for Writing Clear and Concise Marketing Content

Effective communication is the key to the success of any company in industries across the board. But what exactly does effective marketing content entail? Whether it be social media content, postcards or press releases, here are some tips to follow to guarantee that your marketing content hits the mark.

Know Your Purpose

Is the purpose of your content to inform the public? Invite? Engage? Fully understanding what you hope to accomplish will help guide the tone, style and structure of your communication. “Informal” marketing content, such as holiday greetings and birthday wishes, should be structured differently than a press release, for example.

Be Thorough

Strive to leave your audience with as few unanswered questions as possible. Whenever applicable, your marketing content should address the “Five W’s” — who, what, where, when and why. In other words, include the most important details — time and place, for example — in your communication. On social media, for example, include links back to relevant information or a call to action on your website. In addition, make sure to include appropriate contact information so your audience knows where to go for more information.

Know Your Audience

Depending upon your industry, your audience will have specific needs, interests and expectations that your marketing content should address. Ask yourself these questions before beginning:

  • What am I trying to say to this person?
  • What is the best and most effective way to say it?
  • Does the communication need to be altered for different audiences?

Think about it — do you speak to a co-worker and a client in the same tone? Do you use the same vocabulary? Of course not! Consider each of your audiences individually in order to make a significant impact.

Avoid Jargon or “Fancy” Words

At times, using jargon in your marketing content may be unavoidable. But still aim to be creative. Overusing business buzzwords or phrases indicate laziness — or worse — you don’t understand the topic you’re writing about. Avoid “fancy” words in your communication, as well. Choose “use” instead of “utilize,” for example. Many people believe using complex words makes them appear more intelligent, but readers are not impressed. They’re frustrated. Cut to the chase in your marketing content.

Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!

While it might be easy to wash your hands of a piece of marketing content after you’ve dotted the last “I” and crossed the final “T,” you’re not done proofreading yet. Read your document over two or three times or ask a co-worker to review the final product — for misspellings, unnecessary or misplaced punctuation or lack of clarity. To put it bluntly, grammatical errors can be a surefire way to kill your credibility. Mistakes can happen, but you have to be careful to keep them to a minimum.

Putting together professional content — that clearly shares your message and intrigues potential customers — can be daunting. Contact the experts at GREENCREST to help with your content marketing.


Helpful Tips for Successful Holiday Marketing Campaigns

holiday marketingYear after year, consumers are bombarded with hundreds of holiday marketing messages. So, how can your company stand out and create a successful holiday marketing campaign?

We discuss some of the best tips to follow that will help your holiday marketing message stand out and make an impact with your target consumers.

Get the Timing Right

Consumers look forward to the cheer of the holiday season all year long, but blasting them with holiday marketing messages about sales or new products too far in advance will take all of the excitement out of the end of the year and only add annoyance. However, companies still want to get their message out with enough time to make an impression on consumers and give them enough time to make purchasing decisions.

A great option is to begin promoting your campaign about one-to-two months before the actual event, and continue to mix up the messaging to make sure it doesn’t get tired. Adding words like “coming up,” “happening now” and “last chance” are all ways to express the same excitement and importance at different stages of the campaign.

Incorporate Meaningful Messages

For most companies, the goal of a holiday marketing campaign is to increase sales, brand awareness or company engagement. However, consumers are commonly less receptive to messaging that is all about the deal. People react well to “realness,” so a message from a heating and cooling company encouraging consumers to update their furnace to ensure they can stay warm and cozy with the family this holiday is much more enticing than simply announcing furnace price reductions. It’s important to communicate the emotional benefits as well as the rational.

Holiday marketing messages not meant to drive sales can still succeed in creating customer loyalty and brand recognition. Find ways to be creative and personal when wishing your customers a happy holiday. Depending on the nature of your business, something as simple as an email with a warm holiday message can be just as effective as sending out a personalized gift. Think about what approach best fits your business and brand and go from there.

Don’t Forget About Digital

Whether much of your sales come from e-commerce or not, it is important to have your online marketing efforts match flawlessly with your direct marketing strategies. Consumers tend to conduct online research about companies, products, sales and more before taking action or making a purchase. If your company website doesn’t reflect what your holiday marketing messaging is saying – or if the website is of poor quality – your marketing efforts might go to waste. Keep your website up-to-date and optimized to ensure a seamless transition from marketing message to website for your users.

Use Social Media to Engage Customers

Sharing all of your holiday marketing messaging on social media is one of the best ways to engage and expose your customers to your message. If you send your customers or clients holiday gifts, encourage them to post and share photos online and tag the company. If you’re featuring a holiday sale, create an incentive around someone getting the most likes or shares on a post to receive extra discounts. There are many ways social media strategies can be incorporated into your messaging to enhance customer engagement and satisfaction and help boost your sales.

Whether your strategy is to increase product sales, promote a specific sale, or simply thank your customers and wish them a happy holiday, it’s best to create the best holiday marketing campaign possible. Sending out meaningful messaging at the appropriate time in the appropriate fashion is key in making sure your campaign, and your company in general, resonates in the minds of your consumers.

The season is upon us, so be sure to contact the team at GREENCREST with any questions you may have about your holiday marketing messaging!


Direct Mail Marketing: Best Practices for a Digital World

direct mail marketingDespite contrary belief, direct mail marketing is not dead. In fact, with companies focusing on digital marketing efforts, now is the best time to make sure you have a solid print marketing strategy.

Direct mail marketing is still as effective as digital when strategically implemented. Keep in mind the following best practices when developing your next marketing strategy:

Cut through the clutter

Develop an eye-catching direct mail piece that will make prospects stop and ask, “What’s this?” Test out various sizes and types of mailers to determine what works best. Make sure all of your pieces are consistent in branding so recipients know the mailers all came from the same company.

Get personal

A carefully written personal letter to your prospects can go a long way. Personalize the letter as much as possible using names, locations, interests or information from previous discussions with a prospect. Write the letter with the mindset that you want the recipient to feel as though it was written specifically for him/her. As always, include a call-to-action to entice the prospect to reach out.

Use print to augment other efforts

With a thoughtful marketing strategy, you can use print to augment other marketing efforts. It’s always good for a prospect to receive information about your company from a variety of channels. Just make sure your strategy and branding is consistent across all channels.

Develop a strategic mailing list

Your direct mailing list can make or break a campaign. Take the time to understand your ideal customer and make sure your mailing list targets your most valuable prospect. If you’re purchasing a mailing list, consider the different categories of lists available:

  • Specialty list: Reach niche markets based on key behaviors.
  • Custom list: Target your list based on specific demographics.
  • Cloned list: Find customers like your best existing customers.

Track your efforts

Though it takes a little more effort than with digital marketing, it’s still possible to track your direct mail marketing efforts. Consider creating print-specific landing pages on your website and track how many individuals visit that page. You can also include promo codes on your direct mail pieces and ask that prospects mention the code when calling or filling out a form online.

How can your company use direct mail marketing to enhance its marketing strategy? Contact us today — we’d love to hear about your challenges and successes with direct mail marketing.


PowerPoint Best Practices for a Stronger Presentation

We’ve all experience it: Sitting at a seminar, and the presenter pulls up a text-heavy slideshow and begins reading it word for word, slide by slide. There may be valuable information on the screen but the second a PowerPoint is read like a script the audience’s mind is wondering off elsewhere.

We all are probably also guilty of overlooking PowerPoint best practices. A PowerPoint should enhance your presentation, not take away from it. Give a stronger, more memorable presentation with these simple tips.

Keep it simple

A PowerPoint packed with paragraphs of text will tend to distract or bore your audience, taking the focus away from you. Avoid blocks of text by breaking up bullet points into multiple slides.

Use appropriate type sizes

If you’ve ever sat in the back of a room during a presentation, you know it can be difficult to see what’s on the screen. As a general rule, your font should never be smaller than a 24-point size. Think of your PowerPoint as a billboard — fewer words and big, bold text grabs attention.

Don’t get too animated

Your PowerPoint shouldn’t be overly complicated with dozens of lively transitions. In fact, too many different animations can become distracting and take the attention away from you. The presentation should be about what you’re saying, not what’s happening on the slides.

Use your PowerPoint as an aide, not a focal point

The goal of any presentation should always be to capture your audience’s attention and keep it on you. Your audience should be engaging with you, not staring at your PowerPoint. One way to get creative is to pose a question on your PowerPoint but encourage audience participation and engagement. Your audience is more likely to absorb your message if they feel like they’re having a conversation rather than being given a lecture.

Be visual

Instead of text slides, consider using visuals such as images, graphs, videos and diagrams. This is where you can really get creative. Try different types of imagery to engage your audience — use infographics to present information or display a single, powerful image that grabs their attention. Remember: You don’t always need to use text. Find unique, high-quality images to illustrate your main points.

As a presenter, there’s nothing worse than feeling like your audience’s eyes have glazed over and they’ve completely disengaged. Remember those PowerPoint best practices, or contact us at GREENCREST, to ensure that your next presentation is a memorable experience.


Seven Tips for a Successful Email Marketing Strategy

successful email marketing strategyEmail marketing, which has become one of the most efficient marketing tactics, makes it easy to engage prospects and maintain relationships with your existing customers. You can even develop a series of emails to help guide a prospect through the buyer’s journey.

With so many companies focusing efforts on email marketing, how do you make sure your message rises to the top and isn’t immediately sent to the trash — or worse, spam — with the rest of them? Consider the following tips for a successful email marketing strategy:

  1. Develop your list

Your top priority for a successful email marketing strategy should be the development of a high-performing email list. There are several different tactics you can use:

  • Gather emails as part of a giveaway or raffle sign-up at trade shows and events
  • Add a sign-up form on your website
  • Continually promote your company’s sign-up link on social media
  • Include a sign-up link in your company’s email signature

Whichever method you choose, always make sure your list targets the right audience. It’s better to have a small, fine-tuned list than a large, generic one.

  1. Get recipients to open your email

The best way to ensure that a recipient opens your email is for it to come from someone they know and trust. Avoid using generic email addresses — like — and instead have it come from an actual person.

Stay away from salesy language in your subject line. Words like free, limited-time, offer and sale increase the likelihood that your message goes straight to spam. Another way to avoid the spam filter is to make sure your subject line is less than 50 characters (32 characters is preferred). If 50 characters isn’t enough for everything you want to say, continue your statement in the preheader text.

  1. Write your content with a purpose

Write your emails with clarity and purpose. When someone opens your email, it should be clear why they received it. If it’s appropriate, personalize your emails with specific information, like a recipient’s name, location and interests, to make your email feel more like a conversation than a marketing message. Also, remember that big blocks of text are off-putting — write so that people can skim through your email.

  1. Design for responsiveness

As more and more people reach for their phones and tablets to check email, it’s important to make sure your emails are responsive. Increase your mobile open rates by making sure your emails adapt based on the reader’s device.

  1. Create a captivating call-to-action (CTA)

Your email should have one goal: To get the consumer to take some sort of action. Whether it’s to register for an event, sign-up for something, contact your organization or purchase a product, your CTA should have a single purpose. Including multiple CTAs gets confusing — make sure all links point to the same end goal.

  1. Know the CAN-SPAM Act

Make sure you take the time to know and understand the CAN-SPAM Act. The last thing you want is to receive a fine (up to $40,654!) for not being compliant. As a general rule, make sure your emails:

  • Don’t use false or misleading “From” and “Reply-To” information
  • Don’t use deceptive subject lines
  • Identify the message as an ad (if applicable)
  • List your physical address
  • Give recipients the choice to opt-out
  1. Test, test and test again

There’s no better way to determine what is or isn’t working in your email strategy than to perform A/B testing. Performing A/B testing can allow you to gauge the impact a design, copy, subject line or scheduling change can have on the success of your email campaigns.

Email marketing can be an effective and cost-efficient marketing method when done correctly. Need help with your email marketing? Contact the GREENCREST experts for a smart email marketing strategy with creative execution.


Benefits of Working with a Google Partner Agency

Google Partner. You’ve probably seen that name and badge floating around the internet — but what exactly is a Google Partner?

A Google Partner is a company that has demonstrated AdWords skill and expertise and has helped clients grow their customer base and revenue through AdWords campaigns. Agencies that achieve Google Partner status are dedicated to search advertising and continuously exceed Google’s standards to maintain Google Partner status.

If you’re looking for an agency to help with your digital marketing efforts, it’s important to make sure they’re certified by Google. Here are some of the benefits of working with a Google Partner:

Work with a Certified Staff

Working with a Google Partner agency assures that their staff members are experts in creating and managing strong, successful AdWords campaigns. With access to the most up-to-date practices and training, a Google Partner agency will have the skills needed to optimize your campaigns and ensure continuous growth.

Receive the Full Advantage of AdWords Features

Google Partners have extensive knowledge in all of the features of Google AdWords. This level of mastery provides them with the capability to help their clients become more profitable with the use of:

  • Expanded text ads
  • Progressive demographic targeting
  • Integration with physical locations
  • Ad extensions
  • Sitelink extensions
  • Call tracking
  • Conversion tracking
  • Negative keywords to eliminate wasted spend

Get Help from a Dedicated Google Representative

Getting in touch with someone at Google isn’t always the easiest task. Every Google Partner agency has access to its own Google representative. This means that Google Partner agencies can address and resolve any AdWords-related client issues much faster than non-Google Partner agencies, saving time and money.

Stay Ahead of Competition with Beta Features

Agencies that have earned a Google Partner badge are among the first to have access to Google’s beta features. When Google develops a new feature or application, its partners have access to test these features before it becomes available to the general public, giving you an edge up on any competitors not working with a Google Partner.

Are you ready to make sure your prospective customers will be able to find you as they begin searching online for solutions to their needs?

As a Google Partner agency, GREENCREST thoroughly understands search engine marketing best practices to help its clients increase traffic to their website. Contact us today to see how online marketing can help your bottom line.


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!


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    Marketing Automation: The What’s, The How’s, and The Why’s

    It goes without saying that technology has made ultrapersonal, individually tailored content possible. Gathering this type of individualized, personalized information better enables businesses to nurture leads and convert them into customers. Imagine receiving an email or social media message from a salesperson who works at a company where you’re considering doing business. Unlike an email […]