GREENCREST blog

brand pro blog

Category Archives: marketing

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.

 

Use content to generate leads in the sales cycle

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

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

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

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

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

Recognize the content’s importance

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

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

Target your content to the right people

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

Choose the right content

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

Marketing to Millennials – Everything You Need to Know

14833

Millennials are the generation of the future, and therefore tend to be some of today’s biggest decision makers. In marketing, whether you’re trying to promote a new brand or product, bring awareness to your newest startup or influence consumers’ purchase decisions, it’s important to do so in a way that is best received by your desired audience. If your audience happens to be the millennial generation, however, this can be a little tricky. You’re likely going to have to do more than just inform them about product benefits or store discounts; you need to get them excited.

Traditional marketing methods are a thing of the past to this generation. Millennials desire fun, new, exciting technologies and marketing platforms (it makes them feel “ahead of the curve”), so marketers like yourself have to work harder and smarter to make authentic connections through these platforms.

Below is a list of some of the newest, interactive platforms you should master to best reach millennials:

Snapchat

Snapchat allows individuals to take photos, customize them with text or filters and share them with the world – or whichever part of the world they want. The photos or videos have a lifespan of just a few seconds, and then they are gone forever. “Stories” is a newer feature that allows users to keep up with the rest of the world, but it’s also an opportunity for advertisers to reach specific markets.

Whether you’re hosting an event to launch your startup, or you want to promote your new product line, Snapchat stories give you the chance to give users an inside look into your brand that they may not have known of or seen from traditional advertising. It’s much more exciting to see other millennials out at an event supporting a new company or product launch in real time than it is to read a newspaper article that recaps what went on three days earlier.

Periscope

Similar to Snapchat, Periscope is another rising social media platform that gives people the chance to look directly into the lives of others in real time. The app gives users an up-close and personal look into your brand by providing them with live streaming of events, broadcasts, Q&As and more.

Millennials love having what feels like unlimited access to everything and anything happening in the world, and Periscope promotes this notion with its easy access to thousands of people, companies and locations. If you want your brand to stand out in the crowd, hosting frequent talks and events on Periscope is sure to help!

YouTube

Increasingly, YouTubers are becoming the new A-list celebrities to teen and millennial generations. To this generation, YouTube stars seem more relatable; they aren’t movie stars being paid to endorse companies and brands. The “human” factor makes these individuals and their posts much more relatable to the everyday person. However, while the individual may not be the one endorsing a brand or product, their YouTube channel can be. For advertisers, posting your content on related YouTube channels is a great way to catch the attention of these young viewers.

For example, if you work for a hardware company and have a new brand of tools that you’ll be carrying, you can advertise on a YouTube channel of an individual who posts do-it-yourself home repairs. His/her viewers will click one of the videos to see how to hang Halloween decorations, but see your ad for the new tool kits you have before the video starts. While this isn’t as interactive as Snapchat or Periscope would be, you’re still reaching millennials in their environment, which means you’re more likely to make a lasting impression than if you just threw your ad in the next publication of Better Homes & Garden Magazine.

Of course, technology and social media are bound to endlessly change and advance, which means marketing strategies will too. Make it your goal to keep up on the latest social media and technology trends, and you’re bound to come up with some great ways to reach the millennial generation. Just remember to be unique, be creative and – most importantly – be human.

If you want to learn more about reaching your audience through these platforms, contact the social media and marketing experts at GREENCREST to get the answers!

  • contact us

  • The Only Business Book You’ll Ever Need

    cover of The Only Business Book You'll Ever Need

    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.

  • recent thoughts

    4 tips for creating compelling video on a budget

      If you’re sitting on the fence, wondering if your business should invest in video as part of its marketing strategy, consider this statistic: According to Cisco, by 2019 — just eight months away — more than 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic will be video content. The effectiveness of video marketing has dominated […]