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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 sales@company.com — 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!

 

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!

 

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.

 

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