Why You Need to be Posting on LinkedIn

LInkedIn Post Thumbnail

As we continue to explore the many different ways you can get to know your audience with our ongoing series “Getting to Know Your Audience,” (clever, we know) let’s take this opportunity to tackle an often underused social media outlet: LinkedIn. A lot of businesses still aren’t engaging on the often ignored platform, meaning they could be missing out on potential customers. So, let’s talk about why your business needs to be posting on LinkedIn.

If all you know of the platform are the frequent emails clogging your inbox from colleagues (and strangers), then it’s high time you give it another look. While posting on behalf of your company on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram are great practices, you might be surprised to know that your largest target audience just might be those constantly requesting to add you to their professional network.

LinkedIn has long been thought of as a place for individuals to connect to other industry professionals and, hopefully, establish themselves as such in an attempt to gain an edge when seeking out employment.

Now, fifteen years after its launch, LinkedIn has become just as powerful as a source for content as it is for employers looking for qualified talent, and vice-versa.

Social Media Examiner’s study published in 2016 gives us a lot of insight into the usefulness of LinkedIn in marketing.   We outline the key points you need to know.    
 
LinkedIn ranked as the third most used social media platform for marketers. Ranking behind Facebook and Twitter, companies are using, and subsequently reading, LinkedIn content more than YouTube, Google+, and Instagram.

Commonly Used Platforms
Source: Social Media Examiner

What makes LinkedIn such a desirable platform for businesses, you ask? One reason could be the audience. Once you break down how marketers use social media by the type of business they are, the picture gets a little clearer. If you break those numbers up into B2B businesses and B2C businesses, B2B marketers post to LinkedIn almost as much as they do to Facebook.
Even more telling, when asked to rank the importance of social media platform presence, B2C marketers overwhelming chose Facebook as the most important platform, with Twitter at a VERY distant second.

However, when B2B marketers were polled, the majority said LinkedIn was the MOST important platform to have a presence, with Facebook not too far behind. More than three-quarters of that same B2B marketing group plan to increase their usage of LinkedIn this year.

B2B vs B2C
Source: Social Media Examiner
Platforms used by B2B vs B2C
Source: Social Media Examiner

Sure, LinkedIn does have its issues. There is a tedious character limit for business posts, you can’t upload/embed video, and to take full advantage of the platform, you need a paid membership. However, the pros definitely outweigh the cons in this exercise based on audience alone.

So, if your goals include:

-reach other industry professionals

-recruit talent

-obtain leads

Then you are far more likely to reach your target audience on LinkedIn than you are on Facebook.
If you’ve been putting off joining or even just engaging on LinkedIn, then let this be the statistic that lights the fire beneath you: currently, LinkedIn has more than 500,000,000 registered members that you are currently ignoring. So if you are looking to get your company’s name out there, you might consider adding LinkedIn to your professional network.

Who is Your Audience? Let’s Brainstorm

who are you blog

Fundamental Marketing Question:  Who is your audience?

You probably have a general idea of who your audience is, or at least who you think  your audience is. But, when was the last time you really sat down to define it?

This isn’t something you can do quickly or even in an afternoon. It takes some serious research.  But, you can get the ball rolling and at least start to build a basic understanding of who you are trying to reach for your business.

Why?  

So, why do you need to know who your audience really is?  Let’s look at this analogy:

Think about how you talk to people throughout the day. Do you talk to your children the same way you talk to your spouse? What about your boss and coworkers? You use the same language, inflection and urgency in all of those conversations right?

Of course not!

You may not vary your voice much, but you do talk differently to different people.  It’s not that you want to treat people differently, it’s just that you know all of these different people really well, and you know HOW to talk to them. Everyone receives and understands information differently, that’s why we vary our communication styles when talking with the different people in our lives.

With marketing, it’s no different!

Once you know your audience, then you can start building the right message. You can talk directly to them in a way they understand and can relate. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We need to start with your audience.  

Easy mistake!

Don’t be like “most businesses.” A common mistake is that they assume their customer feels and experiences things the same way they do. That may not be true.  So, be the oddball out and start making decisions based on your audience and NOT on your own emotions.  
brainstorm with your team on who your audience is

Task:

Over the next few months we’ll be exploring practical ways you can determine who your audience is. But first, get with your team and have a brainstorming session.  You may not know the exact answers, but start to think like your customer.

Start with these three questions:  

-Where does your audience go? (physically and online too)

-What do they see everyday?

-What problems are they facing?

Next month we’ll continue exploring ways to understand who your audience is and how to answer some of these questions. 

 

Life Imitates Art, Imitating Life

Mad Men Heinz Blog Thumb

Where the line between what is and isn’t real on TV, the internet, and especially in advertising, has been blurred beyond recognition, we’ve finally come full circle. It’s hard to believe that it took this long for such an occurrence to take place. But low and behold, it finally has. And in the most glorious of ways.

Last week, the advertising world took an interesting turn when Heinz, the classic condiment connoisseurs, chose to run an ad campaign echoed practically verbatim from a fake ad campaign created for a TV drama. In what seems to be a half marketing/half PR stunt, Heinz proposed their latest marketing effort: a series of ads originally pitched on an episode of the show Mad Men.

While we (of course) have to admit it isn’t really at all that far-fetched, it is indeed, a fantastic example of life imitating art, imitating life. In 2007, AMC introduced us to the world of advertising as it was perceived in the 1960’s. It wasn’t just a drama, it was an in-depth look into what was the burgeoning world of Madison Avenue in its heyday. Though while the companies were real, the ad pitches were merely script.

For those who watched the show, they’re sure to remember the infamous pitch presented by Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce darling Don Draper. He and artist Stan Rizzo boldly suggested a campaign in which the product they’re selling is never shown.

Pass the Heinz Ad
Heinz/David Agency

The spots featured close-ups of french fries, a cheeseburger, and a cut of steak against a simple white background adorned with the phrase “Pass the Heinz.” It was one of many very good ad campaigns the show presented not from the actual history of advertising, but rather from the minds of the show’s writers.

While the fictional Heinz execs from the days of yore initially passed on the campaign, the more open minded real execs of today are finally running with it nearly 50 years after Draper’s initial presentation would’ve taken place.

David Miami, who currently represents Heinz, pitched the idea with a clever marketing ploy – accrediting the original founders of the SCDP advertising firm, as well as Mad Men writers Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy. They can be seen in the campaign credits provided to Adweek (who originally reported the story), cleverly presented in vintage typewritten copy as they might have been in 1968.

The campaign is sure to be a hit with Mad Men fans, who’s premiere will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this summer.

The ads can currently be seen on billboards in Times Square, Vanity Fair, The New York Post, and, much to the chagrin of Mad Men purists, social media. Your move, art.

Pass the Heinz Cheeseburger
Heinz/David Agency
Pass the Heinz Steak
Heinz/David Agency

Two ROI Definitions in Marketing

ROI


In business ROI usually means Return on Investment.  As a business owner, each decision and investment you make for your future, you hope will bring a high return.

In B2B marketing and B2C marketing we look at ROI in a couple of different ways.  

1. Return on Investment:

This is also used in the context of advertising and marketing tactics.  As online and social media tactics change, our methods for measuring ROI also have to change.

This includes looking at clicks to a website, email opens, Facebook engagement statistics, etc.

We are constantly looking at the numbers to help guide us into what we do next for our clients.  This helps us define our target more clearly and the types of tactics we use to reach them.

 

2. Return on Impression: 

Our Branded Products Specialist defines ROI a little differently. ROI is also Return on Impression, which means how many people will see your logo on your branded product.

Robyn talks with the client and uses research to determine which products will maximize impressions for a brand.

Items such as tote bags or tumblers will be used often, which also means they’ll be seen often.  And, though it’s affordable and simple, a pen still has a high ROI for brands.

 

ROI, in either sense, is a metric term to help explain the impact marketing tactics have on a brand’s image, exposure and lead generation.

Marketing strategies should always strive for a high return for the brand, whether that be monetarily or through exposure.

Want to learn more about our new Branded Products Specialist? Robyn would love to help you find the right branded products for your next marketing campaign or event! 

Two Most Important Marketing Questions [VIDEO]

Insights


So, as the new year begins, here’s some quick marketing tips from Innovations Branding House to you!

There are two main questions you should ask as the new year begins.

Are you ready?

Here they are:

  1. Have you built a marketing foundation?

  2. What’s next?

These two questions are simple to ask, but not always simple to answer. Let’s dive into what we mean.  

Have you built your marketing foundation?

Your marketing foundation includes all the pieces that collectively establish your brand.  

Those pieces include things like the following:

-logo
-brand slogan
-website
-brochures
-business cards

Branding Tools

Yes, creating these items is marketing. But, the purpose of them is to establish your brand in the mind of your customers or potential customers.

Why is this important? Here’s a few scenarios to consider:

-Logo inconsistency

If your logo isn’t the same everywhere, your loyal customers may become confused as to the business they’re buying from.  If the variation is vast enough they may actually think you’re a different company altogether.  

 Not good!

-Poor website design

Did you know that around 65% of all media time is now spent on mobile?  That means people are on their phones or tablets searching for products, watching videos and engaging with friends.

What if your site isn’t mobile friendly, but you have the information they’re looking for.

Do you think they’ll go find you on their desktop or go to the next Google search option?  

I think you know the answer.

There’s many more scenarios that we could go over, but the key point is that you need to have a marketing foundation for your business before you can begin building your marketing campaigns.

That brings us to the second question you should ask in the new year.  


What’s Next?

This is actually the question you should NEVER stop asking. This question will drive your marketing plans for the next month, the next three months, even the next year.

You want to build short and long term marketing goals. Think of it this way, if you’d only built the concrete foundation to your business’s building, you wouldn’t have a business right?

Same with marketing.  The foundation establishes your brand, but now it’s time to let people know you’re ready for business.

How do you do that? By creatively answering these questions and building a strategic plan around it.

-How will you drive traffic to your business?

-How will you nurture current customer relationships?

-How will you invite new customers to work with you?

So, as you build your marketing plans for 2017, remember these key points:

-Marketing never stops.

If you want to continue driving traffic to your business, then you need to continue telling your customers who you are and the benefits you bring to them.  

-Marketing is different for every business

The business next door has a different target market than you, so he may have different tactics to use than you will.  Remember, you want your business to stand out, so get creative!

-With creativity comes a little risk

When you try something that’s never been done before, remember there is a little bit of risk involved. But, there could also be exponential reward for trying something new!

So, whether you need to build your marketing foundation or begin asking “what’s next?”, the new year is a great place to start!

To learn more about marketing like a brand, download our free guide below.  Or check out these other resources! 

 

Create A Sales & Marketing Relationship That Works

Sales

When you’re passionate about the work you do, it can be easy to isolate yourself and your focus to solely your tasks. But, let us present the possibility that your work is fruitless without communicating inside your organization.

How can this be possible? Let’s talk specifically about the sales and marketing relationship within an organization.


The purpose of sales is to create new sales, upsell and nurture current clients. Marketing is focused on supporting the brand image with the right advertising and messaging.

But, these two departments shouldn’t feel like they are competing. They should instead see one as the driving support of the other.

What do sales and marketing teams have in common?

  • Work within a system

Again, sales and marketing are very different in purpose even though they’re both reaching for the goal of increasing awareness and sales for their company. Because their purpose is different, so are the systems they work within. Sales will work within Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. There are many to choose from, but the main purpose is to assist the sales team in tracking potential and current customers. It allows them to easily document who is being contacted and where they are in the sales cycle.

In marketing, we will also work with a system. This is generally linked to the CRM so potential leads made from marketing efforts are funneled straight to the sales team.

The marketing system will track mass engagement from different platforms targeting different customer personas. For example, their system will track how many opened an email and what content they clicked on most.

  • Create plans

Each department creates a plan and then works within that plan to reach their goal. Here’s an example: Sales: As a team, make 50 calls a day, have three conversations which will lead to 1 promising meeting. Marketing: Create messaging that generates leads for sales team to help them fulfill their plan. Marketing plans should always merge with the current sales plan.

  • See communication as key

There has to be communication not just with potential customers, but between both of these departments. Many times sales and marketing teams do not communicate, which can sometimes lead to pointless efforts made by both parties.

So what indicators display a healthy relationship between sales and marketing teams?

  1. They are aware of each other’s efforts.This goes back to that important communication piece! Have you ever heard your sales team say, “I really wish we had a brochure or pamphlet to hand out!”…only to find out one was made but never given to the sales team to use?If you have, you’re not the only one! One of the first things we work on with our clients is helping them understand the need for efforts to match. Communication is key for this to happen! The sales campaigns should always align with the campaigns the marketing team is creating.
  2. They have regular meetings together.The easiest way to keep everyone aware of the efforts being made, is to have regular meetings. This allows for a couple of things:

    -the sales team can communicate their needs (ex. tradeshow materials)

    -the sales team can bring light to the attitudes they’re facing  from potential customers.

    -both teams can talk about results and analytics

    -both teams can work on using all of this information to tweak current campaigns or build new ones.

  3. They regularly analyze results and ask “what worked?”Analysis is a huge component to creating future campaigns that will work for the organization. For sales, they can see which tactics work to close more sales. For marketing, they can see what tactics are driving more qualified leads. Together, they can increase leads and sales with the most effective efforts.

So, are your sales and marketing teams talking to one another? Do you think your marketing needs a little boost? Try evaluating your organization with this information.

 

How to Stop Using Inferior Photos [VIDEO]

Downtown Nashville

Photography always communicates a message. That’s why social platforms like Instagram and Facebook focus mainly on photos and videos. It’s amazing what 1 image, or a series of images can communicate with a simple glimpse.

But, it’s far beyond social media – think about your every day. How many times a day does your eye glance over pictures?

-Billboards on your drive to work

-As you sit, drink coffee and read your morning news. Whether that’s on paper or on your mobile device, I would argue the pictures are what draw your eye into what you decide to read.

-In emails

-Text messages from your family

-Posters and advertisements as you head to the grocery or your favorite restaurant

-Menu photos at your favorite restaurant (ever ordered something solely because the picture made your mouth water?)

Downtown Nashville

Images bombard us everyday, so now think about the messages your marketing images are conveying.  Many brands settle for sub-par photos which result in two main outcomes: 

1. Image is Ignored: The photo doesn’t grab the attention of the audience and so therefore is ignored.  Think of all the images you scroll past on your phone or drive by everyday, but don’t recall.

2. Image Confuses Audience:  This is just as bad as being ignored. You may actually have a beautiful photo, but if it doesn’t accurately represent your brand, or display the correct message, customers leave confused about the purpose of your photo.

 

So, how do you stop using inferior photos? With these ingredients:

 

The right equipment and knowledge

You may have a professional camera, but do you have everything you need to capture the right images?

Remember to always consider the best lighting options and lenses. Your subject will determine your lens selection.  You’ll use one lens for an extreme close up for texture or product shots. Or, if your subject is far away, you’ll use a different lens to get the greatest detail and light exposure.

As for lighting, you want to maximize your natural light if possible using diffusers and reflectors. Or, with the right lighting placement indoors, you can create a setting that looks natural and makes your subject pop.

 

Creativity

When taking photos, try to change up your angle.  Don’t shoot from your height at all times, try different angled shots to add variety to the images of your subject.

Also, in post production, some editors get a little too creative.  Some edits are fine, but as you edit the image, continually ask yourself, “does this look natural?”  If you answer no, then reverse that edit.

People may not be able to pinpoint what looks off about the photo, but they’ll notice something and it will distract them from the message you’re trying to send.

Card deck

Strategy

A beautifully created photo is your goal, but you only get there if you have strategy from the beginning to the end of the process.  Before you begin your photoshoot, think about the message you want to convey with these photos.

What’s the purpose you have for these images? After you’ve shot for a while, take a look back and re-evaluate, does the subject dictate a change in your message? Do you need to rethink or refocus the purpose?

Marketing cannot succeed without strategy. So anytime you pick up a camera, start typing a blog, or filming a tv commercial, there first needs to be a determined strategy.
Remember to use the right equipment and right strategy, for the right job.  You will not always need a professional camera and crew.  If you’re at your company picnic and want to post a few photos on social media, then use your smartphone.  That’s ok!

But, just because you’re using your smartphone, doesn’t mean you should forget the tips above.  Use strategy and creativity to take creative shots for your own social media. Don’t miss my other tips in the video at the top!

 

 

Pokémon Go and the Hidden Potential for Your Business

Insights

You may have witnessed in the last month, the phenomenon one mobile application sparked around the world: Pokémon Go.

Love Pokémon and own a business? Keep reading!

Don’t care about Pokémon and own a business? Keep reading!

This game is exciting for some generations to play, but it’s also exciting because it’s introducing the potential of augmented reality technology.

It’s the first time that we’ve been able to actually integrate augmented reality into our everyday surroundings. Plus, this application actually got people out of their home to socialize! Facebook and other applications have tried to encourage their fans to do this with some success, but nothing to the extent of Pokémon Go.

 

What real life implications does this new technology have on us? 

  • Think of the training possibilities for virtually any job, especially dangerous jobs such as firefighting.
  • Think of how this could be used in the future for marketing tactics. What could this look like for businesses?

There’s a lot of potential in the things we don’t understand.

As business owners and marketers, what things exist that we might be turning a blind eye to? When new ideas surface, do you immediately shoot them down without exploring them fully?

Your employees and your marketing team may have what seem like crazy ideas, but before you dismiss them, look past the surface and understand why they would or wouldn’t work. Look at research, past endeavors and judge the idea based on your understanding and not the fear of something new.

Challenge: 

  • Download the Pokémon Go App.  You may have no idea what Pokémon even is, but that’s ok. Download the app and simply experience what this new technology can achieve.
  • Write down a list of things you don’t understand right now about marketing or business tools. Send this to Todd Duff, CEO of Innovations Branding House and he’ll get back with you!  Email him at todd@innovationsbrandinghouse.com

Marketing tactics can change as technology changes. This doesn’t mean every new piece of technology fits with your marketing plan, but you should never ignore it. Always strive to understand what you don’t know, because as we have seen here, that’s usually when the best ideas come to fruition.

 

 

 

A Better Approach To Your Marketing Strategy

Brainstorm

Within a typical morning, you’re probably exposed to around 300 marketing messages. That’s just in the morning!

But, which of those do you actually remember?

They were most likely creatively crafted. They may have been funny, clever or hit an emotional nerve.  But, most likely the ones you remember, are the ones that were relevant to a problem you are trying to solve.

Quote

Your brain filters out unneeded messages all day, due to the vast number you are exposed to.

In the past, marketing was about flooding the area with messages concerning your brand. But, this floodlight marketing strategy isn’t as effective in the mobile age.

With this approach, you may get some leads, but think about all the messages that fell on deaf ears.

A better approach to your marketing strategy is laser marketing. Stop flooding the area with your message and define who really needs your service.

 

  1. MarketingList all the people who would benefit most from receiving your service.  This can be referred to as audience segmentation.You may be targeting mothers, but what else do you know about these mothers? Would stay at home moms or working moms value your service more? What’s their income like?Ask yourself questions about your target audience until you’ve segmented your audience into a clear and defined group to direct your message. That way, instead of marketing like a floodlight, you are marketing like a laser, shining your message directly at who needs it.
  2. Create content directed at your clearly defined audience. Remember, it’s not just about your message but the channels you use to distribute it. When you build your segmented list, also look at where they are receiving their information.
  3. Track your progress. Set up a scoresheet to see how your marketing efforts are turning into dollars.

The main benefit of laser marketing over traditional floodlight marketing is its cost effectiveness.

Instead of flooding cash into an unclear marketing strategy, this laser marketing approach will allow you to produce stronger results for a lot less money.

You Want A Website. But Do You Know Why?

Website

Goals

Goals.  They aren’t just for sport.

The most common mistake business owners make when engaging in their marketing efforts is putting the cart before the horse. They know they want a website, but often times they skip an important step before building that site. 

They think they need a website because their competitors have one.  

They think they need a video because, “aren’t TV commercials the best way to advertise?”

They think they need to be on Facebook because “everyone is on it”.

They know they need to follow the trends in order to keep up.  The problem is, they never ask themselves, “Why?”

We’re not saying you don’t need a website.

You do!  Everyone does.  If you want to be found, that is.  A recent study showed that nearly 100% of consumers do online research before choosing a product or service.  That’s literally almost everyone.

So, you do need to represent yourself on the internet.  Your first instinct might be a series of “what” questions:

What colors should I use?

What type of layout should I use?

What kind of font should I use?

While these are all important questions, you should be asking yourself:

Why does my business need a website? What is its purpose?

A salesman came to us with a simple request.  

“I want a website.”

Our first response was, “Why do you want website?”  

He replied, “Well, because everyone else has one.”

While it is important to keep up with the competition, it is equally, and probably more important to have a strategy and a set of goals to make sure you are maximizing the full potential of your marketing tools.

 

Before we could offer a solution, we first had to identify the problem.  

So we dug in.  The salesman traveled from customer to customer selling his product.  He had regular customers and a loosely defined routine for his sales schedule.  

In addition to his regular customers, he would also try to obtain new customers in the particular region he was travelling in.

After briefly talking it out, we discovered the goal:  more leads!  He wanted to minimize the down-time, maximize the reach.

We now have the problem (leads & time management) and the solution (website).  The only thing left to do was map out the route to get there!

We set him up with a web calendar, allowing clients to come to him and cut out drive time.  We also added the ability to do video and phone conferences so he could take more meetings and spend even less time in the car.

 

Measuring Success

In the end, the salesman was able to use his time more efficiently, by making his website work for him.  By removing unnecessary drive time and with the ability to schedule his weeks with the click of a button, sales rose dramatically.

It was easy for the salesman to measure his success.  He only had to compare monthly sales with and without his new plan, and the results were obvious.

Without discovering the true purpose of the website, the salesman might have never realized he needed to change his sales approach.  He might’ve gotten a few more leads from the website, but he might not have taken that step back to assess his process as a whole.

Just by simply setting those goals for the website, he realized, and solved, a problem he didn’t even know he had.

Take a step back. Examine your marketing approach and ask yourself:

“Why is this (ie. video, website, social media) needed? What is the purpose? What should it accomplish?”

Answering this will help you define your goals and move your marketing strategy forward.