Tag Archives: advertising

New SMART Goals to Help Generate Creativity

 

Use SMART goals to help with creativity

You’ve heard of the age-old SMART goals acronym — smart, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely — but sticking to such rigid guidelines can sometimes stifle creative thinking and idea development.

We’ve created a new set of SMART goals to help you improve your creative output.

S: Stretch

Stretch your mind. Don’t go back to your usual way of generating ideas. Instead, do something different or unique. Think outside the box — way outside the box! Even your craziest ideas could have some great, realistic components that you can use.

M: Meditate

Our minds are constantly muddled with hundreds of thoughts each day. Take some time to focus on the present moment and pause the other thoughts in your head. The inner peace that comes with meditation doesn’t just help your health, it can help you be more creative and generate better ideas.

A: Ask for Help

Feeling stuck? Reach out to a colleague, friend, family member or even a stranger, and ask for their opinion. The feedback you receive could trigger a whole new series of ideas you hadn’t previous considered.

R: Relax

Have you ever noticed that some of your best ideas seem to pop up in the middle of the night or while you’re taking a shower? The best ideas aren’t usually created when you’re under stress, so take a step back, relax, and let all the information sink in. You may be surprised with what other ideas may come up.

T: Transform

You’ve used the first four parts of our new SMART goals to help generate a list full of information and ideas — now it’s time to take that information and transform it into your final, creative product.

Need help developing creative marketing solutions? We can help! Contact the GREENCREST team with all of your marketing and advertising needs.

 

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!

 

Boost Online Conversions with Ad and Landing Page Updates

Tablet computer and financial charts

Receiving online conversions through paid search campaigns requires efforts in more than just ad copy and creativity. Just as important is how those ads appear and where they’re sending users. When you’re focusing on gaining online conversions, your search campaigns should include features like images, sitelink extensions, reviews, testimonials and more.

We’ll explore some essential ad features and landing page updates that we guarantee will help increase your online conversions.

Ad Extensions

These helpful little tools are a simple, yet effective way to get a little more specific with your ads. Sitelink extensions allow your ad to present additional details below the ads like the brands and products you carry, services you provide, etc. and link each individual topic to its own landing page. When using sitelink extensions, it is important to make sure your landing pages are relevant and show correlating content in order to increase user experience and conversions.

Images

Including images with your ads immediately helps them stand out from the clutter of basic text ads. Google has been continuing to increase the number of images allowed to show on search engine results pages because they know people respond better when they can visually see what is being advertised. If a customer sees the product they’re looking for and follows the ad to a landing page with the same product, they’re more likely to make the online conversion because they easily found what they were originally looking for.

Helpful tip: design a campaign using shopping ads to be able to show even more images, along with product pricing, availability and more!

Reviews

Giving people the option to review your products and services provides even more opportunity for conversions because you:

  • Show users that you’re confident in your excellent customer service and deliver exceptional products.
  • Give users a chance to learn a bit more about the products from a third-party perspective rather than strictly selling the benefits and features in the ad.

Incorporating reviews in the ads and on the related landing pages helps keep everything consistent and makes navigating your site easier and more clear for users, because they’re seeing the same things from the ad represented on the landing pages.

Make sure your reviews are current and up-to-date. In order to keep your reviews showing on the ads, ask customers to review products, rate their experience and more. Reviews that are older than 12 months do not appear on the Google Search Network.

So, while the copy of your ad is extremely important in presenting users with specific information, it is even more beneficial to enhance ads with additional features to help boost online conversions.

Contact the team at GREENCREST and let us help you set up your paid search campaigns, enhance your ads, or increase your online conversions with these search engine marketing updates.

Storytelling, with Science, Can Strike a Chord in Advertising

 

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

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

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

Smell-a-vision

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

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

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

Emotional connections

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

7 Ways to Succeed at Project Management

team-meeting

At GREENCREST, we’re a little biased when we say we have the best project-management team in the region. Our project managers love what they do, and they enjoy working with our clients and the various industries our clients serve. And, they’re really good at their jobs.

When it comes to project-management, it may surprise many people to know that success sometimes depends more on people-management skills than tactical and organization skills.

Yes, successful project managers need to be very organized. After all, their job is to bring a project into completion, on time and on budget. They need to determine and manage a detailed project scope, create timelines and deliver a quality product to the client. They need to be the ones who keep meetings organized and focused, and they need to create and assign actionable tasks. However, in order to implement this flawlessly, they first and foremost need to be excellent communicators.

Project managers can have a vast amount of knowledge and time-tested methods, but they need the soft skills necessary to motivate their team to perform with excellence. Their team members are their most valuable resource – the true difference between success or failure. Therefore, project managers need to embrace their role as a leader in order to provide the best for their clients.

 

Choose the right team members

When hiring or choosing people for a project team, it is important that team members have the right skill set and attitude to create high-quality, creative and strategic solutions. They should thoroughly enjoy what they do and desire to stay current with industry trends and changes. They should be experts in whom the project manager can trust to provide the best solutions possible for the project.

Define roles and responsibilities  

It is critical for the project manager to define and communicate every team member’s role and responsibility in order to follow the proper processes and procedures. Who is responsible for each stage of the project? Who makes the final decisions? Who needs to be consulted before decisions or actions are made? Who needs to be informed of certain changes?

Motivate your team and celebrate success

As leaders, it is important for project managers to understand what motivates individual team members. Not every team member is going to be enthused about every project. Project managers need to find and use an aspect that will get a specific team member excited and eager to take ownership of his or her role in the project. Equally important is the celebration of success and accomplishments. There is nothing more motivating then being recognized and thanked for quality, hard work and creative ideas.

Listen before making decisions

No matter how much technical knowledge a project manager may have, it is important for him or her to rely on the expertise of the team, their boss and the client. Project managers must listen to what the client has to say about the problem, the situations surrounding it, the business goals, objectives and the industry. They must listen to different team members’ ideas and solutions, and they must respect and value everyone’s opinions. The project manager must also take detailed notes and ask the right questions to challenge and make team members think through their solutions and answers. This will help create empathy and build rapport with your team and clients, and challenging them will help procure the best results for the project and for the team members’ professional growth.

Know your strengths and limitations

Project managers should know their own strengths and limitations, as well as those of everyone on their team. This will help determine who is best fit to implement certain tasks, and it will help the project manager to create reasonable expectations. For example, when developing a project timeline, the project manager should consider the different pace at which each team member works and leave room for revisions in the timeline and budget.

Delegate wisely

Knowing everyone’s strengths and limitations also helps project managers delegate wisely. Good project managers know what they can and should delegate, as well as to whom they can delegate certain tasks. Delegation also enables team members to take ownership of the project and develop leadership skills.

Stay calm and strong when problems arise  

When issues occur, a project manager’s job becomes increasingly difficult. As leaders, it is critical they keep a calm demeanor and focus on working with the team to find a solution. When a project manager becomes visibly stressed or frustrated, it can affect the entire team and weaken morale. When they stay cool, calm and collected, it helps the team stay focused on the goal rather than the problem. It also mitigates the risk of ruining relationships, trust and respect.

 

Overall, project managers need to have excellent communication and people-management skills in order to flourish at their jobs and deliver a quality project. They must stay flexible, listen and constantly communicate details and updates. Building trust and respect with clients and team members will lead to successful, quality results.

Have you had a chance to work with the GREENCREST project-management team? If not, contact GREENCREST today to learn how we can help you with your marketing, advertising, public relations, website and social media needs!