Inbound & Down: Certified to Help Clients Achieve Success

What a week! Between working the polls and planning a conference, we managed to renew our Inbound marketing certification for another year. As an Inbound Certified company, we’re positioned to help you navigate the ins and outs of the Buyer’s Journey.

Inbound Certified_CCC_Jaime Shine

What’s Inbound marketing? We’re glad you asked. Check out the blog post we wrote last year showcasing this new way of thinking in action, how it works and how it can help your brand. The basics are the same, but new ideas and research continue to come along. That’s why we wanted to make sure we’re up-to-date and can offer your business the best ways to succeed in our crowded, fast-paced world.

If you’re struggling to reach your target audience, let’s talk about your buyer personas. Who are they? Do you know their pain points and biggest challenges? What stage are they at in the Buyer’s Journey?

We would love to help you attract visitors, convert them into leads, close sales with customers and delight them into promoters. Learn more about how inbound marketing works, and then contact us so we can help you achieve success.

Cheers!

p.s. Interested in becoming Inbound Certified? Learn more about the course, certification and who it can help.

Still officially certified,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about Inbound, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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2016 Olympic Marketing Game Winners

So many athletes won big at this year’s Olympics, delivering their best performances on the world’s biggest stage. Who won the 2016 Olympic Marketing Games?

Gold

Under Armour, Rule Yourself 

This popular brand has done the best job of taking advantage of changes to Rule 40. It submitted a marketing plan in accordance with the (slightly) relaxed restrictions and advertised its sponsorship of Michael Phelps and other athletes without ever using Olympic intellectual property (IP), which isn’t allowed by non-sponsors. This video alone is nearing 11,000,000 views, has been shared over 68,000 times and has an average watch duration of 1:21 (for a 1:31 video). The best part? Under Armour’s Olympic marketing efforts are part of a larger overall campaign, so the brand receives an A+ for cohesiveness.

Olympic Marketing: A Balancing Act for Brands

Silver

Visa, The Swim

While The Carpool to Rio was an impressive spot, Visa grabbed our attention with its nod to refugee Yusra Mardini’s incredible journey to becoming an Olympian. As an official sponsor, the company has a heavy presence leading up to and during the Games, and this year was no different. This video alone racked up nearly 5,000,000 views, 715 shares and an average view duration of 29 seconds for a 30-second spot.

Super Bowl 50: Winners & Losers on the Big Stage

Bronze

Mini USA, Defy Labels

This spot initially caught our eye on TV, and we love the message behind it. We’ve all been labeled in our lives, oftentimes unfairly or based on stereotypes. It also fits in with the company’s product line, which defies expectations based on its size. Mini USA is an official Olympic sponsor, so the company can use Olympic IP throughout its campaign. The TV spot had a 98.12% average view rate (top 5 overall), and this video (one of a series) has captured nearly 18,500 views and 847 shares.

Now that we’ve handed out our medals, let us know your Olympic Marketing Champions. Which ads or overall campaigns caught your attention?

An Olympics (& marketing) fan,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about the Olympics, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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4 Retro Ways to Connect with Modern Audiences

Everywhere we look lately, from entertainment to business, what’s old is new again. Well established franchises are selling out movie theaters, the toy aisle is straight out of the eighties and businesses everywhere are turning back the clock to stand out in this fast-paced, digital world.

Clearly Conveyed Communications -- We give you a voice.

How can you go retro to connect with customers and grow your business today?

Make it personal with a handwritten note. When you receive a handwritten note, card or letter, it feels more personal. The recipient will appreciate that you took the time to put your thoughts on paper. The next time you want to thank a loyal customer or employee, don’t send an email. Jot down why you appreciate the recipient and how much you value the relationship, job he’s doing, etc. A little writing will go a long way!

How House of Cards is Winning the Marketing Game

Develop long-term relationships. Relationship marketing is a buzzword today, but the concept is straight out of a bygone era. Take the time to get to know your clients and employees, business partners and vendors. Let them know you’re in it for the long haul, not just a short-term sale. People want to do business with people they trust and that takes time to develop.

Give your audience your undivided attention. Viewers loved the alcohol carts in offices on Mad Men, but many of them missed the point. The ad men (and few women) would sit down and spend time with their clients when they stopped in. They weren’t too busy running from meeting to meeting to listen to their clients’ challenges and concerns. Many creative solutions were born over Old Fashioneds with no outside interruptions.

Mad Men: Master Storytelling In Any Era

Embrace paper in the digital age. In an age of email and the cloud, using paper is one way to grab recipients’ waning attention. Feature direct mail in your next marketing campaign, and reorder your physical business cards. In fact, go old school — embossing, engraving, bold lettering and colors set off with white space — to stand out from your competition. Going all digital removes your audience’s sense of touch, which limits their sensory experience while interacting with your brand.

In Summary

Handwritten notes, developing long-term relationships, giving your undivided attention and embracing paper will help you connect with today’s audiences. Don’t be afraid to be different, even if that means being inspired by a bygone era.

We’re grabbing our fedoras to head out for Old Fashioneds and Vodka Martinis with clients. Care to join us?

Embracing the future with help from the past,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about building relationships, your communications needs or otherwise):
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4 Tips to Communicate Clearly With Emojis

When emojis burst onto the scene, people rejoiced. These colorful characters were fun and broke through language and cultural barriers. In 2015, the Oxford Dictionaries cemented their place in our language by selecting an emoji — the Face with Tears of Joy — as the Word of the Year. Predictions of a future with little to no text were widespread, and businesses (who hadn’t already) started using this popular form of communication. Sounds perfect, right?

Are you communicating clearly with emoji or being misunderstood?

Over Coffee by Drew Herron via CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 // text & graphics added by author

Not quite. As a recent study discovered, emojis can be misinterpreted just like other form of communication. The first problem is that the same emoji can display differently on different platforms (Apple, Samsung, Google, etc.). In addition, two people can look at the exact same emoji displayed identically and interpret it differently.

Should your brand stay away from all things emoji? No, but you need to exercise caution like you do with any form of communication.

These four tips can leave you smiling with tears of joy instead of face-palming:

  • Plan Ahead: Are you thinking of utilizing emojis in an upcoming campaign? Do some research. View how your selected emojis display on different platforms and look into any popular alternative interpretations to the meaning you’re intending. It’s a lot easier to change your campaign than deal with a PR gaffe.
  • Be Careful Using Emoji that Display Differently: Maybe you have a dire need to use the grinning face with smiling eyes emoji, but be careful. This is one of the emojis that displays differently across platforms and can cause confusion and unintended responses. Try to stick with more universally displaying and understood emojis if possible. 👍
Same Emoji + Different Smartphone Platform = Different Emotion

Graphic courtesy of grouplens

  • Remember Your Brand Voice: Emojis are a part of your brand’s voice, so be consistent when you’re using them. The face with tears of joy emoji wouldn’t work well for a conservative brand or industry. Take your audience into consideration too; they may not use emojis or have any interest in them.
  • Don’t Forget About Hashtags: Trending and popular emoji hashtags, such as #WorldEmojiDay or #emoji can boost your posts and tweets. Remember to check out any hashtags first before jumping in. They could be about something completely unrelated to what you’re thinking, making it inappropriate to participate. Emojis are available as hashtags on Instagram, so use them accordingly to increase your reach.

Warning: Appropriate Hashtag Usage on Instagram Will Result in Major Traffic Increase

 

Emojis can help you break through the information overload and connect with your target audiences — if they use and understand the colorful characters. As with any communication, a little foresight, planning and common sense will help you communicate your message clearly and not get lost in translation.

Does Your Brand Speak Emoji?

What are your favorite emojis? What emojis would you like to see introduced?

Does your brand utilize emojis in its communications? Have you ever had an emoji miscommunication?

Speaking emoji (when appropriate),
Jaime

Let’s chat (about emojis, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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The Dark Side of Social: How to Respond When Things Go Wrong

At CCC, we’re big believers in the power of social media and the value that it can provide to your brand. However, you need to understand the darker side of social so you’re prepared for anything that could go wrong or reflect your brand in a negative light.

Velvet Heart Promoted Tweet

Velvet Heart was trying to promote its new arrivals for spring, not trend with a mass shooting.

Recently I was on Twitter and noticed the name of a nearby town trending (regionally). I clicked on the link to see why it was trending and discovered a mass shooting had occurred at a retirement village. (My thoughts and prayers are with this community during this difficult time.)

While scrolling through the feed, I saw a promoted tweet advertising a retailer’s new spring arrivals. I was included in the audience targeted in this campaign, so the tweet showed up in my feed — no matter what I was viewing at the time. The advertiser had no say where its targeted audience members saw its tweet. (For more on Promoted Tweets, click here.)

Last week, I saw a news story about a guy who blew his lower leg off while shooting a lawn mower packed with explosives. As usual, an ad played prior to the video on the news site where I watched it. AT&T didn’t ask for its ad to play prior to a graphic video, but that’s when I saw the ad and its brand.

“A brand can’t control the message in the way it once did but it can still have influence.” –Jeff Barrett, CEO, Status Creative

These examples both point to why some brands and companies are so afraid of getting social — loss of control. On social media, it’s impossible to control every aspect of the message about your brand.

I’m not trying to discourage you from joining the conversation — just the opposite, in fact. If you’re a part of the conversation, you can help guide its direction and speak directly to your online community.

What if I hadn’t known that advertisers don’t control where Promoted Tweets show up? A user may have tweeted the advertiser expressing her dissatisfaction that the company would try to profit off a tragedy. That’s why you need to be aware of all the possibilities before jumping into something like Promoted Tweets. You can respond to say that you only chose to promote a tweet to a targeted audience, and did not use a trending hashtag or phrase inappropriately. If you’re not active on a social platform where a discussion breaks out about your brand, you can’t help set the record straight.

“While you can’t control the conversation,  you can participate and give fans a firsthand account of what’s going on at your company.”

Don’t worry about controlling every aspect of the conversation about your brand. Be prepared and know what you’re doing before jumping into social media in general, or a specific area, such as Facebook advertising or Promoted Tweets. Have a plan, but be prepared to adjust it as necessary.

Social media may not be easy for brands, but it’s worth it. Getting social can start a conversation that takes your business to new heights!

Are you struggling with your social media strategy, goals or execution? Let’s talk. We’d love to help you join the conversation and shine the spotlight on your brand.

Getting social (day or night),
Jaime

Let’s chat (about social media, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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How to Incorporate Reactions into Your Facebook Strategy

Facebook Reactions are here. Now that people are getting used to them, how can you incorporate them into your strategy?

How to incorporate Facebook Reactions into your strategy

Feel the love by incorporating Reactions into your Facebook strategy! Photo courtesy of Facebook

 

Here’s how to feel the love from your Facebook community with the new Reactions:

  • Share controversial or complex issues that are in the news and relevant to your page. Ask community members how they feel about the subject, now that they can respond with a greater arrange of emotion. This is also a good way to encourage thoughtful comments and discussion. (Just remind everyone to stay civil!)
  • Take the This or That? post in a new direction. Post two pictures — salted caramel brownie or chocolate chunk cookie, for instance — and ask fans which one they love. (They may like both, but they can only love one!) Add another element by sending samples to random people who voted.
  • Ask questions about people’s experience with Reactions so far or their thoughts on how they’ll use them in the future. Have you used the Angry button to direct anger at a person/brand or at content only? Should a brand block fans who use inappropriate emotions (i.e. Haha or Love on a post about someone dying)? Have you ever scrolled past a post because you couldn’t decide which Reaction button to use? Which Reaction button do you use most often?
  • Encourage fans to use the full range of Reactions on your posts, so you can use their feedback to drive future content. For example, if a topic elicits more love or wow Reactions, you may want to publish more content on that subject than one that draws only likes. It never hurts to reward community members who consistently make the effort to engage with your posts by utilizing appropriate Reactions and leaving thoughtful comments with prizes, samples or spotlights.

For now, Facebook is viewing all Reactions as positive engagement, a sign that someone wants to see more of your content. We’re hoping that more options increase engagement, especially with mobile users, by giving people quick ways to respond to posts and join a discussion (even if only in emoji). So encourage fans to utilize the newly available range of Reactions to help strengthen your relationships with your online community.

Your Reaction to Reactions

Have you seen a change in your engagement since Reactions were rolled out?

Do you use other Reactions regularly or is the like button still your go-to?

Have you not engaged with a post due to confusion over which Reaction to use?

Leave your thoughts or questions on Facebook Reactions in the comments!

Loving the new Reactions,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about Reactions, marketing on Facebook or otherwise):
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Movin’ on Up: Small Businesses Go to the Big Game

It all started with a groundbreaking company that just wanted to encourage more interest amongst girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Who could predict that Goldieblox would become the first small business to advertise during the Super Bowl?

GoldieBlox has changed the game.

GoldieBlox became the first small business to advertise in the Super Bowl in 2014.
Screenshot courtesy of Goldieblox.com.

In 2014, Intuit ran a contest to award one small business the opportunity of a lifetime — the chance to advertise during the big game. GoldieBlox won the contest, won the Super Bowl audience over with a great ad and has been growing rapidly ever since.

Breaking Through Gender Stereotypes: Are We Making Progress?

This year, it’s Death Wish Coffee Company‘s turn. The self-proclaimed Home of the World’s Strongest Coffee has an incredible opportunity to reach millions around the world in 30 seconds. As big fans of good coffee and fellow small businesses, we hope Death Wish Coffee Company becomes a household name after OWN IT airs during Super Bowl 50.

Death Wish Coffee Co is the 2016 winner of Intuit's Small Business, Big Game contest!

Death Wish Coffee Company is hoping to make a big splash in the big game with OWN IT.
Screenshot courtesy of Intuit’s SmallBusinessBigGame.com.

With small businesses starting to make appearances during the big game, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that one is making the trip on its own. Alternative lender Social Finance, also known as SoFi, is dropping some serious cash — 20% of its annual budget — to introduce itself to the world.

Here’s the catch: like most startups, SoFi’s ideal customer is a specific niche market —  qualified millennials who want to refinance student loans as personal loans. The company began to expand its offerings to mortgages and some consumer loans last year and expected these areas to overtake refinanced student loans as its largest areas of business by the end of 2015.

Still, is it worth it? Will SoFi’s 30-second spot reach enough members of its target audience (either directly or indirectly) to achieve its goals? While SoFi has a much larger budget than most startups and small businesses, the company is still taking a huge gamble to introduce itself to the world. Plus, the financial sector hasn’t been a major player in Super Bowl advertising of late. Will SoFi win big or lose it all to one ad?

If you had the budget to advertise in the Super Bowl, would you? Would it be the best use of $5+ million dollars for your company? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please let me know your decision in the comments below!

p.s. What are your Super Bowl 50 predictions — winning team and advertiser?

Super Bowl dreamin’,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about ads, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Mobile Marketing Customization 101: A Guide

All mobile marketing strategies are different—and some are better than others. Starting out on the right foot requires planning, but a slew of utilities capable of generating potent mobile strategies exist. The modern smartphone user is constantly connected, and approximately 60 percent of global mobile consumers utilize their mobile devices as exclusive Internet sources.

The numbers are growing, too. As mobile apps achieve dominance, new, creative marketing strategies emerge. Compiled lists of the world’s best mobile games have emerged, shedding light on the sheer magnitude surrounding our mobile culture.

Modern marketers need to create custom mobile strategies to stay afloat, using the best-available resources to reach their goals. If you’re new to mobile marketing, or if you’re redefining your strategy, customization is key. Check out our step-by-step guide below, and take advantage of a comprehensive, consumer-tailored mobile strategy.

Step One: Analyze Your Target Population

 Analyze Your Target Population

Mobile technology has enabled the new age of consumer-specific marketing. Unfortunately, analytical gathering tools are too strong. Too often, mobile marketers overshoot their audience, catering to the masses instead of much-in-need consumer segments.

Use analytics, and use analytics wisely. Target your consumer demographics, and look at the key statistics surrounding them. Consider the following questions, too:

  • What is your consumer’s smartphone of choice?
  • How many in-store visitors were directed via mobile?
  • What pages do your consumers visit?
  • What content are your consumers viewing?

 

Step Two: Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly

Your mobile website needs to be accessible. Customized mobile marketing can’t occur if the consumer is unable to garner feedback, connect to webmail lists, make e-purchases or store online points.

I’m sure you or someone you know has an iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc. If you don’t have each of these devices handy, there are some really cool tools that you can use to see how your website would actually look and behave on just about any mobile device. Fifty seven percent of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site.

Such high numbers warrant a website cleanup. Fortunately, both Safari and Firefox offer innovative tools geared towards the web platform-minded. Streamline your user’s browsing potential to assist their entry to customized channels.

 

Step Three: Let Your Consumer Control Mobile Content

Let Your Consumer Control Mobile Content

Assuming your mobile strategy contains multimedia content—which it should, consumers should be able to navigate it with ease. Consumers love controlling their content, studies revealing that:
  • 86 percent of viewers skip television commercials.
  • 44 percent of direct mail isn’t opened.
  • 46 percent of website viewers state design is a determining factor.

All content on your platform should serve the consumer. Moreover, it should be flexible based upon their evolving needs. Customizable content isn’t customizable if it isn’t skippable, and a consumer dedicated to your mobile platform will reveal valuable information about useful media while exposing loose ends.

Step Four: Customize Via SMS

Customize via SMS

SMS marketing is one of the world’s leading developments. Text-to-vote platforms, in particular, are an emergent trend creating customized platforms able to promote relevancy and effective navigation. Your mobile strategy will jump miles if it includes such services.

Your SMS strategy should, however, offer opt-in options. In the same way consumers prefer mobile content, they heavily prefer SMS control. Make sure all opt-in services follow strict privacy guidelines, and never shove offers through their push notifications. Use analytics, divide your consumer base and show the consumer you, the marketer, know their wants and needs.

Step Five: Consider Wearable Technology

Wearables have made a big splash recently. Fitbits and mobile thermostats have redefined the way consumers engage daily life, and “Internet-enabled” objects will likely persevere in the future. Don’t wait. Hit off a customizable mobile strategy before the market rises.

Customizable marketing strategies tailor offers to the consumer’s wants and needs. They’re buyer-centric, and they generate appeal from astounding offers. Sure, location-based offers, QR codes and SMS coupons are important, but the best customizable platforms are emergent. To be an effective marketer, you need to be ahead of the curve. In-store offers, social media guarantees and email redemption amenities are fantastic tools, but your arsenal should be one of business climate surveillance, prospective reasoning and innovation.

Author Biography

Sophorn Chhay

Sophorn is an inbound marketer specializing in attracting targeted visitors and generating sales qualified leads. Through Trumpia’s mass text messaging automation solution he helps businesses and organizations communicate effectively with their customers or members. Watch Trumpia’s 5-Minute Demo on how to execute an effective mobile marketing strategy.