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Category Archives: social media

How to Build an Online Marketing Fire

Knowing how to build a fire is just as essential for survival in the online marketing world as it is in the wilderness. A blazing campfire provides warmth, light and a way to cook food. The fire you want to build online increases awareness and generates online leads.

Fire-Starting Tools

To start a fire in the great outdoors, you typically need a match and strike board, a piece of flint and steel or a magnifying glass and the sun. In marketing, we consider having a well-defined brand and a strategic plan as the bare necessities to ignite the flame for your business.

Your audience needs to understand who you are as a company, what you stand for and why you’re in business. Without a well-thought-out brand, you run the risk of looking like and sounding like your competitors, and you will be stuck in a continuous lowest-price-wins battle. Without a strategic plan, you’re wandering through the wilderness battling the unexpected and rather than focusing on what you need to do to reach your goals.

Tinder

No matter where you are, creating a flame can be a lot of hard work — and it’s all for naught if there is no tinder to catch the flame.

In digital marketing, your “tinder” would be your website. Your website is the hub, or the core of all your online marketing efforts. For your website to attract and retain traffic — or “catch fire” — it must be optimized for search engines, easy-to-use and appealing. Without a well-optimized and user-friendly website, you will end up rubbing two sticks together all night long with no results.

However, while tinder catches fire easily, the fire quickly dies out without added support.

Kindling

When building a fire, you need materials that provide more substance than tinder provides to keep the flame burning long enough for your fuel wood to catch. This is where kindling comes in.

In marketing, you can use search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising. When following best practices, SEO and online advertising can quickly and easily increase awareness and direct traffic to your website. Just as kindling must be dry to work, your website and online ads must be optimized with keywords to work.

Fuel Wood

The fuel wood might take a little longer to catch fire, but it is what ultimately keeps your fire hot and burning. And if you notice your fire is starting to die down, you can throw more fuel wood on top to keep it going. In marketing, fuel wood is a mix of owned and earned channels.

Content marketing is one owned channel that can help “fuel the flame,” and it includes pieces such as white papers, case studies, e-books or webinars. Advertising such as print, TV or radio also add to the discussion, increase awareness and even drive website traffic. Additionally, email marketing can help nurture the fire and keep it going.

Public relations is one example of an earned “fuel” or channel. When your company receives media coverage from third-party sources, it helps boost your credibility and increase “buzz”. Word of mouth — whether it’s in person or online via social media — is also earned, and it can be a very powerful tool to build a blazing fire.

Building a fire is not as easy as it first appears. It involves a lot of knowledge, preparation, tools and hard work—similar to effective online marketing campaigns. Luckily, the GREENCREST team is ready to support you! Contact us today to get started.

 

Tips for Increasing Social Media Post Engagement

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

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

Contests

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

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

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

Video Contests

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

Polls

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

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

Tag a Friend

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

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

 

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

 

Steps to Creating the Perfect Social Media Post

HILVERSUM, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 06, 2014: Social media are trending and both business as consumer are using it for information sharing and networking.

Getting your social media post noticed today takes a lot more than just posting a link or sharing a picture. With so many different social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn — it’s essential that you not only create engaging, clever content that entices your viewers to click, but that you also tailor the content to each individual platform. Social media platforms are constantly overwhelmed with content, both good and bad, and it takes mastering the perfect post to help your brand break free from the clutter.

Think of a social media post as a TV commercial or a new podcast. You want the content to be informational, but you have to present it in a creative, engaging way to make sure people watch. The same goes for social media posts. It is important to find entertaining ways to get your point across so people are willing to engage with your post, read your story, or visit your website.

Follow the steps below to learn how to create the perfect social media post for some of the biggest networks.

Facebook

Facebook is one of the largest and most popular social media platforms of our generation, and it’s often used for personal and work life. Businesses share a wide variety of content, including photos, videos, advertisements and promotions. With an assortment of content being posted every day, it is essential that your brand comes across in a way that stands out. Some guidelines to follow when making a Facebook post include:

  • Post frequently to ensure your brand is being constantly received by your followers. Posting frequency varies by company and industry, but a good rule of thumb is to post at least once a day.
  • Add variety to your content by rotating videos, links, photos, articles and more into your posting strategy. Find which types of content your audience responds well to (and which types it doesn’t) and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  • Create content that is relatable and “real” — have fun and be personable and conversational with your tone.
  • Don’t be too salesy — this is a personal network, so you want to be personable. Follow the 80-20 rule, and only push your products or services in 20% of your posts. The rest of your posts should be helpful, informational or entertaining to your audience. No matter what, ensure all of your content is relevant to your business and industry.

LinkedIn

Business professionals worldwide have given success to LinkedIn because it has given them a way to interact on a professional level with peers, colleagues and business partners. Therefore, you want your LinkedIn posts to reflect the network’s business-oriented nature.

  • As with any social network, it is important to determine your goal and purpose for using the platform. Is your company using LinkedIn to recruit employees? Customers? Both? Your content should serve your LinkedIn goals and objectives.
  • For many B2B companies, posts that include new business developments, media mentions, interviews with CEOs, or your company’s news can attract prospects.
  • For the job-seeker audience, posts about job openings and company culture perform well.
  • No matter your audience, share relevant information that would help and engage professionals in your industry. Save the cute pictures for Twitter or Pinterest.

Twitter

Twitter is essentially a micro-blog and is known as the “skimming” headquarters of social media. When users scroll through their Twitter feeds, they see hundreds of thousands of short and simple updates that they can read quickly. In order to make an impact and grab a user’s attention as viewers pass your post, make sure to:

  • Present a clear call-to-action in the first sentence of your post and provide a link.
  • Keep things simple — don’t summarize the article you’ve attached or give every detail of the new product you’re launching.
  • Use photos, video clips and shortened links to stand out from the majority of 140-character text-filled posts.
  • Stay grammatically correct — even though your character limit is slim, don’t sacrifice grammar by using abbreviations or all caps; stay professional.
  • Try not to use the full 140-character count. The shorter, the better.
  • Use relevant industry hashtags in order to show up in hashtag searches.

With attention spans shortening and social media engagement increasing, it’s important for companies to be creative and stand out in the clutter. Being personal, professional and engaging are key factors to creating the perfect social media post that is guaranteed to capture the attention of your audience. Tweak your posts to better fit the feel of specific networks, and you’re on your way to creating some awesome content!

Need help creating and distributing your company’s social media content? Contact the experts at GREENCREST with all of your social media and marketing needs.

 

Marketing to Millennials – Everything You Need to Know

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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!

How Facebook’s News Feed Updates Will Affect Your Business

 

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Facebook recently changed its News Feed algorithm so that posts from family and friends appear before posts from company pages and brands. This can have tremendous impact on your company’s Facebook metrics.

In its announcement, Facebook said the new algorithm update “may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some pages.” However, it was also quick to point out that not all pages may be affected similarly.

 

The impact depends on your content

Facebook Engineering Director Lars Backstrom explains, “If a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through page posts.”

This basically means that if you publish content that is engaging, and your audience is sharing it with their friends, you will not be affected as much. But if your Facebook engagement relies solely on likes and comments straight from your company page and original posts, then you will see a decline in reach and Facebook referrals.

 

How to produce engaging Facebook content

In order to maintain or increase your Facebook reach and referrals, your company posts will need to be so engaging that your audience will want to share it with their Facebook friends. That’s the whole point of marketing on Facebook anyway, right?

Here are some best practices you should follow when posting branded content for your business:

 

Be active and post frequently

Don’t expect big results when you’re only posting once or twice a week. Study after study has shown that an increase in frequency delivers an increase in engagement. In a study conducted by Facebook, it discovered that “increasing post volume by an average of 45% over a week resulted in a 76% increase in outbound clicks, 10% increase in likes per post and 47% increase in page likes.”

Post photos and videos

Photos and videos get the most engagement on Facebook. Videos in particular show up more frequently in the Facebook News Feed because of their high engagement rates. Amplify your video’s engagement by adding a call to action within the video. Photos of people, custom infographics, and behind-the-scenes photos at your company will perform better than stock photos and generic graphics.

Use hashtags

Using popular hashtags that are relevant to your business will automatically add you to the conversation and story surrounding that hashtag. When users click on a hashtag, they can see all posts that have used that hashtag, which will increase your reach and visibility.

Engage your key business figures

With the new algorithm update, post shares will generate a higher reach than an original company post. Encourage key figures within your business to share, like and comment on your posts. Chances are, they demand attention and have a large network, so they are able to increase your company’s reach and influence from their personal page.

Be a part of the conversation

When it comes to social networks, you can’t simply start a conversation, you have to be a part of it. Respond to comments with thoughtful answers and thank your audience when you reach Facebook milestones, such as 1,000 followers. Facebook is all about developing a two-way relationship with your audience.

 

After learning about the Facebook News Feed update, many marketers may to bite their nails and pull out their hair. Instead, take this time to analyze your content and determine how you can make it better. Facebook is simply trying to get back to its roots and facilitate connections between people. Incorporate Facebook best practices so that you’re creating content that people want to share with other people, and you can be successful on the platform.

 

Need help creating engaging social media content? Contact the GREENCREST experts!

 

5 Ways to Boost Facebook Advertising Performance

HILVERSUM, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 06, 2014: Social media are trending and both business as consumer are using it for information sharing and networking.

There are 1.65 billion active users on Facebook today, and Facebook advertising provides a strategic way for brands to reach their target markets on the social platform. However, companies may not be getting their best bang for the buck if they are not following best practices.

 

Here are some essential tips to follow to boost your Facebook ad performance:

 

  1. Use tracking URLs and Facebook Insights to analyze ad performance

You can link your ads to Google Analytics to track the ads’ performance and view them through Facebook Insights and ad performance reports. This will allow you to determine which ads “work” and which don’t, thus allowing you to run the best performing ads, rather than spend time and money on those that are not performing as well.

 

  1. Send ads to appropriate, engaging landing pages

Make sure your ads are being sent to appropriate, engaging landing pages on your website. If you are advertising a new product, you will want that ad to send visitors to that product’s page. That way, visitors won’t have to deal with trying to navigate through your site to find the product in which they are interested. This could help increase your on-site engagement, time on site and help lead to possible conversions.

 

  1. Create and test multiple target audiences

Test multiple targeting options for your ads to ensure you’re reaching the right audiences with the right content. Facebook allows advertisers to get fairly specific in their target audiences, which is very helpful when you’re trying to focus your ads towards a specific age group, demographic or audience type. However, remember to check your ads’ relevancy scores once you’ve found “the best audience” to make sure the same ads are not constantly being shown to the same few audience members.

 

  1. Use catchy and creative ad copy and images

You want to attract people to your ad and break through the clutter of their social media feeds. Encourage them to click on your ad and visit your website with unique and engaging content!

 

  1. Bonus! Facebook Carousel Ads

Look into utilizing Facebook’s Carousel Ads. If your business provides a number of different products or services, and you intend to advertise these to your viewers, Carousel Ads give you the opportunity to put all of your content in one place. The ads include three to five images and are much more engaging for viewers to scroll through versus the original single-product ads.

 

No matter which ads you decide are best for your business, make sure you are developing them correctly and creatively!

With the popularity of social media and Facebook, it only makes sense that businesses take advantage of the platform’s success, and do so with the best practices possible!

Learn more about how GREENCREST can assist you in your social media marketing needs. Contact us today!

 

Social media marketing and health care: Is the reward worth the risk?

social media marketing and the health care industry

Social media has drastically changed the way the public communicates with various organizations. People can easily interact with others and share their opinions across a multitude of platforms.

Big-name brands and agencies have been part of these crucial conversations for years, but numerous health care provider agencies have held off. Why?

 

A Big Risk: Violating privacy

 

Although there are myriad of benefits for companies that actively participate in social media, most of them do not need to worry about violating patient confidentiality. Health care providers, on the other hand, are governed by The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects patients and their health information.

For example, if someone posts on a health care provider’s Facebook that a friend has a mental illness and discloses their name and condition, that friend’s confidentiality has been violated. To address these issues, it is crucial for providers to have a social media policy that clearly states the organization’s response to posts that violate HIPAA.

Even though health care organizations need to be very careful about HIPAA and privacy, social media is definitely a necessary tool for any marketing plan.

 

Say ‘Yes!’ to Social Media: Working with HIPAA

 

Due to HIPAA, many health care organizations are not sure how to start building their social presence. To address all risk, it is important to create a marketing plan and policy that address how your organization will conform with HIPAA law. These policies must be reviewed by a lawyer to protect both the organization and any patients.

 

OK, now what?

 

After you review and establish policies, it is time to discuss strategy! What are your goals? How many social media sites should you be active on? Which social media sites are best for your organization? What organizations should you follow?

These can be tough questions to answer.

We can help!

 

GREENCREST specializes in marketing strategies and social media marketing, as well as content marketing. We can help your organization navigate social media and create a solid strategy. Speak with a social media marketing expert today!

 

 

B2B Social Media Marketing: Is It Worth It?

B2B Social Media

Social media has changed everything. Creating and sharing our experiences online has become irrevocably ingrained into our culture. It didn’t take long for marketers to join the game. Since the beginning, social media has played an ever-increasing role in marketing strategies for businesses. Yet some companies still aren’t convinced social media will boost their revenue, and most of these companies are business-to-business (B2B).

Yes, B2B Social Media Is Worth It!

Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies can reach out directly to their customers using social media. But guess what? So can B2B companies. So, yes, social media marketing needs to be a part of every smart company’s marketing strategy.

But, Where Should I Start?

The three pillars of social media marketing are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. To be a successful marketer online, you must amplify your brand via these three platforms, at least.

LinkedIn is currently the best option for B2B marketing. Being able to find and identify decision-makers in target industries, markets and companies has bridged a sales gap that has existed for decades. Cold calls to companies asking for purchasing managers will soon be a thing of the past.

According to Webbiquity, “84% of CEOs and VPs say they use social media to help make purchasing decisions.”

If you know how to design, implement and run a successful B2B social media marketing campaign, you can increase a brand’s visibility, engage directly with customers and create sales­—all without leaving your office.

How Do I Create a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy?

Strategy is the keyword here. The best way to achieve success for your company is to implement the data-driven strategy created for your company. Not there yet? That’s OK.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Brand Visuals: When creating your social media channels, be sure to use brand visual guides for aesthetics, unified logos and clear information about who you are and what you do.
  • Content: Content is king. Create unique, relevant content that is interesting for you, your industry and your potential customers. This may include blog articles, infographics or even videos.
  • Create a Schedule: If you’ve committed to doing this, do it right and don’t give up. Consistency is the only way you will be able to measure your efforts.
  • Engage: Join the conversation. Follow, like and connect with those in your industry. Join discussions and participate. The more you do, the more your peers will learn your name, your company name and, most importantly, your reputation.
  • Measure Your Results: Each platform provides key insights into your posts’ performance. Are posts with pictures getting more clicks? Do Friday posts seem to always perform poorly? Measure what you are doing, and adjust your strategy.

Looking for More?

Here at GREENCREST, we specialize in marketing strategies, social media marketing, content marketing and much more. Speak with a B2B Social Media Marketing expert today!

 

 

Strategic Choices: Which social media networks should my company use?

Social Media Networks

Social media can be a great tool to help drive traffic to a company website, engage and develop relationships, and offer an online experience that helps communicate a brand.

Many business owners believe they need a presence on every social media network, while others don’t see the value in any. The truth is, not every social media network will benefit every business.

Typically, it’s best to focus on maintaining two to five social networks. The tricky part, however, is knowing which social networks are most beneficial for your business.

What is your social media goal?

Some companies want to engage employees on social media to help foster a culture. Some may wish to engage with customers and potential customers to increase brand recognition and drive website traffic. Defining a social media goal and audience will help determine which social networks to use.

For example, Facebook is typically great for engaging with employees and some vendors. LinkedIn can also be ideal for vendors and possibly potential customers.

Many reporters and journalists are on Twitter, so it is a perfect channel to build rapport with the media.

If you are targeting customers and potential customers, some businesses have had success with Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Google+ is almost necessary for search engine optimization.

What do you sell?

If you sell a product or service that is very visual, focus on a social media network that is also visual such as Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

If your company is more B2B, LinkedIn is typically the most strategic, as many decision-makers are active on LinkedIn. It is also a great tool for sales people to use for networking and HR to use for employee recruitment.

Is your product or service slightly complicated? Host a YouTube channel with videos that show how it works. Share the videos on other social networks and on your website.

What types of content do you already have?

Has your company already developed case studies or white papers? Share them on LinkedIn and receive a large amount of clicks. Do you have a number of photos that capture your employees working or having fun? Behind-the-scenes photos perform well on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Do you have captivating images of your work or products? Share them on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Also, include an engaging caption and use relevant hashtags.

Articles perform well on LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s a best practice to share your blog articles on all of your social networks to help increase blog traffic. Company press releases also perform well on these channels.

Does your industry use niche social platforms?

Many industries have their own dedicated social media channels. If yours is one of them, seriously consider becoming active on it.

There are hundreds of social media networks that can help a business’s online marketing efforts. When choosing which one to use, keep your goal, audience, content and industry in mind. Strategic choices reap the most rewards.

From Smart Business

 

Get in the Online Marketing Game

online marketing

Redefining Market Success

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

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

Website

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

Organic Search and Paid Search

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

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

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

Online Advertising

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

Email Campaigns

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

Marketing Automation

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

Sales Automation

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

Mobile Marketing

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

Social Media

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

From Smart Business

 

 

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