Tag Archives: 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.

 

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!

 

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!

 

How to Choose the Right PR Agency for your Company

Choosing the right PR agency

Regardless of your business or brand, having the right Public Relations (PR) agency is the only way to make sure your successes are being shared throughout your industry.

You work hard to make your business successful — putting in long hours, taking on more work and making tough decisions. When the hard work pays off and your company achieves a new goal or level of success, it only makes sense that you want to share that excitement. However, to get your story told to the right audience, you have to find the right PR agency that knows how to do so.

Here are the most important things to look for in a PR agency to make sure you’re making the best decision for your company:

Agency Size

Whether you’re a small, family-owned business that is just starting out or a multi-departmental corporation, it’s best to find the right agency for your needs. Whether the agency is small or large, if they have a dedicated PR team with enough staff to handle your needs, you’ll be set. In the end, it all comes down to what your goal is and how intricate of a plan – and team – it will take to get you there.

Agency Approach

When looking for the right PR agency, you should consider the approach that the agency tends to take with its clients and its work. A good agency will approach each unique client with custom solutions that will help cut through the clutter of everyday news releases and pitches, to help get the company’s story heard. This will help you get a better understanding of the agency’s overall approach and help you determine if it will work for you and your business’ goals.

Agency Connections

In order to have your story heard by the right audience, it’s important that you choose an agency with a variety of media connections. This will ensure that no matter what your company’s area of expertise, the PR agency will have a reporter or contact that specializes in the same thing. If you are a B2B company trying to reach a market about a new industrial product you’re releasing, you want to work with an agency that is familiar with your trade and will be able to find media connections in your industry and geo-target.

Agency Price

While having the best representation is very important, so is your budget. Discuss all of your needs with the agency to determine if it can do everything you want within your budget. However, if the price doesn’t match immediately, don’t fret — most agencies are willing to work with their clients to create a plan that is both effective and budget-conscious. After all, a good agency will want what’s best for its clients and will do whatever it takes to achieve that for them.

The better the understanding and relationship you have with your agency, the more likely the agency will be able to fulfill your expectations. Consider these four points when seeking out an agency, and you’re bound to find the perfect fit.

Interested in seeing if the GREENCREST public relations team could be right for you? Contact us today with questions or to set up a meeting.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Get Found Online with YouTube SEO

online marketing

Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine, after Google? And it is becoming more popular year over year. Video marketing in particular is becoming a mainstay as social media and search engines give it special emphasis in search results and newsfeeds.

According to YouTube, more than 300 hours of video were uploaded to the site in 2015. With so much clutter, businesses can’t expect prospects to find and watch their videos nevertheless have a video go viral.

Therefore, instead of going into all the reasons why your company should be on YouTube or partake in video marketing, I will explain the basics of how to get your video found with YouTube SEO.

Think in keywords

You most likely know the importance of using search engine optimization (SEO) for your website, but have you thought about the importance of optimizing your videos with relevant keywords as well?

As with any Web page or blog article, it’s best to select a focus keyword that relates to the video topic. Make sure the keyword is in the video title, description and tags. Research to see if there are currently any videos showing up in search results for a particular keyword. If so, it’s likely a good keyword to use for your video.

Utilize video descriptions 

You have a 5,000-character limit in the description area of the video. This is the perfect opportunity to include engaging, keyword-rich written content on your video’s page. Include important keywords that relate to your video. Include external links to other videos or landing pages that discuss the same topic.

YouTube and Google use your video’s title, description and tags to rank your video. Take advantage of the high character count and include long video descriptions.

Attract views and likes immediately

Views and engagement are the most important factors in achieving a high-ranking video on YouTube and Google. The No. 1 way to attract an audience is to provide quality content with an engaging title.

By “quality,” I don’t mean it has to be professionally developed. It simply needs to address a common need of your viewers and provide a solution.

“How to” videos, for example, are becoming increasingly popular as many people prefer to watch how something is done rather than read about it. To put it simply, provide value to your viewers.

Also, share your video on social media and other online communities that can relate to or are interested in your video’s topic.

Increase your channel subscriptions

On YouTube, subscribers are essentially people who follow your YouTube channel to ensure they see your latest videos. To increase the number of subscribers, it is best to include a call to action within every video that encourages the viewer to subscribe to your channel. This can be done by verbally saying it within the video and/or by using annotations (graphics or buttons that have a call to action).

Adding a YouTube “subscribe” widget to your website and blog can also help increase your subscriber base.

 

In summary, if you want to optimize YouTube videos, it is important that you provide valuable content, create engaging titles, include important keywords in a long video description, share it on social media and increase the number of subscribers.

The more keywords and engagement you have associated with the video, the more clout you will receive from YouTube and the search engines.

 

If your company needs help with its video marketing strategies and SEO efforts, don’t hesitate to contact the GREENCREST team!

 

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.

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.