All Posts by Keith Price

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Jul 11

Shoot by the Numbers: Video Marketing in 2017

By Keith Price | Uncategorized

By now you might be sick of reading articles about video marketing and why it’s a must for your business. That doesn’t matter, though, because it’s time for another one.

If you’re not using video marketing, you need to ask yourself why. It’s not just a question of videos being popular – although they are. The facts support the urgency. There’s really no excuse not to be using video to market your business.

Key Video Statistics for 2017

If you’re not convinced that video marketing is a must for your business, here are some statistics from WyzOwl that might help change your mind. Let’s start with how many people use video as a marketing strategy:

  • 63% of all business say that they make marketing videos, up from 61% last year
  • Of the 37% of businesses that have not used video in the past, 34% say they intend to start in 2017

While those numbers are significant, what’s impressive is the return these companies get from their investment in video. For example, 83% of companies who use video marketing say it earns them a good ROI.

The positive results of video marketing are clear when we look at the way consumers react to explainer videos that teach them about a product or service. For example:

  • Most consumers (91%) say they have watched at least one explainer video to learn about a product or service.
  • 79% of consumers say they would rather watch a video to learn about a product than read about it.
  • Even more impressive is the fact that 84% of consumers have decided to buy a product after watching an explainer video.

The popularity of explainer videos translates into increased sales. In fact, 82% of businesses who have an explainer video on their website say that the video has helped them increase sales.

The takeaway here is that video marketing works. Having an explainer video isn’t going to convert 100% of your visitors – nothing can do that – but it can certainly help people understand your product and convince them to buy it.

Elements of a Successful Explainer Video

All explainer videos are not created equal. If you want to kick off your video marketing efforts with an explainer video, the research reveals certain things that can help you get the ROI you need.

Video Length

First, consider the overall length of your video. The study cited above shows that 50% of consumers said that the best length for an explainer video is one minute. 33% said they preferred videos between one and two minutes long, while a minority of 17% preferred videos under one minute in length.

Of course, some products and services might require longer than a minute to explain. It is perfectly acceptable to go over a minute, but avoid going over two minutes unless you want to lose a significant percentage of your audience.

Voiceover

Another element of your explainer video to consider is the voiceover. Some companies opt for a very formal voiceover style, but there is evidence to suggest that consumers prefer something more approachable than that.

When asked, 83% of all consumers said they preferred in informal voiceover style where the speaker talked as if addressing a friend or family member. Almost as many, 75%, said that a speaker who irritated or alienated them might ultimately dissuade them from buying the product discussed.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the research also reveals a gender divide when it comes to a product’s intended audience. 69% of the respondents said they believed that a female speaker would be more persuasive to a female audience. By contrast, only 53% of consumers thought a male voice would help sell a product aimed at a male audience.

The takeaway here is that an informal voiceover is far more likely to be successful than a formal one. While the survey didn’t ask this question, it seems likely that this preference might tie in to the general public’s desire for social proof. A casual voiceover might seem as if it comes from a peer rather than a marketer.

Format

There’s no single correct format for an explainer video, but here are a few to consider:

  • Whiteboard or doodle videos are easy to make and provide a way to visually explain your product that’s more interesting than having someone talk directly to the camera.
  • Similarly, animation can be an effective and entertaining to illustrate what your product can do for your target audience.
  • Live action product demos may also be a good choice for some products.
  • Slide shows with a voiceover may work in some instances, but it’s best to use original drawings or photos rather than stock images.

As long as your explainer video is short, to the point, and uses a persuasive voice and images, it can do a great deal to increase conversions and drive sales.

Video Marketing Options

The final statistics to consider are those having to do with new and innovative types of video marketing. In the past, most companies hosted videos on their websites or on YouTube. You can still do that, of course, but there are other options that have increased in popularity in the past year.

  • In 2016, 19% of businesses used Facebook Live as part of their video marketing strategy, but that number is expected to increase to 49% in 2017.
  • Snapchat and Instagram videos for marketing purposes are on the rise too. Snapchat is expected to increase from 8% to 27% this year, while Instagram videos are projected to rise from 26% to 42%.
  • Other video options to consider include webinars, interactive video, 360 video, and virtual reality, all of which are expected to grow in the coming year.

The bottom line is that using video as part of your marketing strategy in 2017 is a must. Consumers prefer video content to written content – and as you know, the customer is always right. With so many options available, there’s no excuse to hold off on making video marketing your go-to option for explaining your product and increasing your sales.

Jul 11

Ways to Get More Positive Online Reviews of Your Business

By Keith Price | Uncategorized

At this point, you probably know all of the statistics about online reviews. More than 80% of all consumers say that they read online reviews before making a purchase or visiting a business.

In fact, as a savvy business owner, you’ve undoubtedly heeded the advice about claiming your listings, optimizing your profiles on review sites, and using negative reviews to your advantage. That’s good – but is it enough?

Claiming your profiles is only a small part of the game when it comes to using online reviews to grow your business. If you rest on your laurels and don’t take action to attract new and positive reviews, you risk having people view your business as outdated or unpopular.

With that in mind, here are some ways that you can get more positive online reviews of your business to increase your visibility and attract customers.

Add Review Options to Your Website

When was the last time you made a purchase from Amazon? Every product they list on their site has a review option so you can enter a review. They distinguish between verified purchases and stand-alone reviews. There’s no question that the accessibility of reviews helps Amazon’s customers to make informed buying decisions.

Consider adding review forms to your website. You can encourage customers who have tried your products to rate them using a star system (or whatever symbol you like) and leave a written review as well. It’s an easy and relatively low-key way to accumulate reviews.

Email Customers Who Make a Purchase

Another way to encourage reviews is to send an automated email to customers after they make a purchase from you. The email can include a link to a review form on your website.

If you decide to use this option, make sure not to send the email until after the customer has the product. That means if you’re emailing people who made an online purchase, you’ll need to wait until several days have passed to send the email.

You have two options. One is to embed the review form in the email itself, and the other is to link back to the review form on your website. Whichever option you choose, make sure that the review is just as easy to complete on a mobile device as it is on a computer.

Promote Products That You Want to Be Reviewed

Every company has products that get reviewed all the time as well as products that get little attention. As a general rule, more expensive products tend to get the most reviews while basic or inexpensive products get ignored.

There are some things you can try to encourage more reviews of particular products. For example:

  • Use follow-up emails to promote those products and then, when you make a sale, ask for a review as you would with any other product.
  • Create special packages that pair a frequently-reviewed product with one that doesn’t get many reviews, and then ask for a review for the package.
  • Instead of requesting individual reviews, create a survey about a particular product and post it on social media. You can tally the results and post them as part of your review page.

These techniques can help you build up some positive reviews for products that typically don’t get many – while increasing your sales at the same time.

Incentivize Reviews

It’s not a good idea to pay for reviews (or to order reviews from people who have never tried your products), but you can find subtle ways to incentivize customers to write reviews.

One thing that a lot of companies do is offer a points system. You might have a points program that rewards points for purchases made. Then, you can award bonus points each time a customer reviews a product that they bought.

Another option is to offer additional points for customers who review a product and then share their review on social media. This technique provides you with a way to amplify the effectiveness of each review you get by introducing it to new people.

If a points system doesn’t appeal to you, then you could try offering a free download to people who review a product on your site. The freebie could be a template, an image, a short eBook, or even just a list of resources. For example, a clothing boutique might offer a downloadable infographic that shows ways to tie a scarf, or how to accessorize a plain white blouse.

Whichever option you choose, the goal is to provide some customer appreciation for the people who take the time to leave reviews of your products.

Use Offline Techniques to Get Reviews

How can you get customers to leave reviews if you don’t have an online store? It might not be as easy as emailing them a link, but here are some things you can try to get more reviews:

  • Include a link to your product review page on your printed receipts.
  • Print excerpts from some of your reviews on your menu or display them in your store.
  • Ask customers to review you on Yelp or other review sites by printing the request on a menu or on your comment cards.

These ideas won’t work with everybody, but they can help you increase the percentage of customers who take the time to write a review.

Leverage Your Reviews

The final thing you can do is to take your existing reviews and leverage them into more reviews. When a customer completes a review on your site, send them a thank you email. In the email, you may want to:

  • Upsell them on additional products (which you can then ask them to review); or
  • Ask them to review other purchases they have made

Customers want to feel that you appreciate them. Even the act of sending a thank you email can be enough to incentivize them to review additional products.

Conclusion

It’s not difficult to get customers to review your products, but you can’t expect them to do it without a bit of encouragement from you. The techniques outlined here can help you get positive reviews for your website or review pages – and attract new customers as a result.

Jul 11

Killer Marketing Trends to Grow Your Small Business in 2017

By Keith Price | Uncategorized

The New Year is fast approaching and it’s a good time to look ahead to 2017 and think about what your marketing strategy will be. Digital marketing is running neck and neck with traditional advertising in terms of spending, and for many small business owners, it makes sense to allocate the lion’s share of their marketing budget to online strategies.

With that in mind, here are 10 killer marketing trends to embrace in 2017.

#1: Live Video

Live video had a big year in 2016, and that trend is expected to continue in 2017. Facebook Live attracted celebrities, advertisers, and even individuals with its immediacy.

The key to using live video effectively is to plan ahead and have a strategy for using it. Not every topic or situation lends itself to live video, but some that due include:

  • Live Q & A sessions where you answer questions from the comment section
  • Demonstrations of new products (or unboxing new products)
  • Behind-the-scenes tours of your business or production facility
  • Coverage of live events

If you want to use live video, come up with a schedule and budget (it doesn’t have to be expensive) and then make sure your followers know when to expect you.

#2: Mobile Everything

2015 was the first year that mobile searches outstripped desktop searches, and research shows that 65% of all online user engagement in 2016 was on mobile devices.

What does that mean in terms of marketing? It means that your website and all of the content on it should be optimized for mobile users. You should also consider implementing mobile buying buttons, mobile payments, and creating a mobile app to engage your customers. Even small things, such as using Facebook’s “Call Now” button for your mobile ads, can make a significant difference when it comes to the ROI on your mobile ads.

#3: Influencer Marketing

One of the most frustrating things for content marketers who use social media is the increasingly-sophisticated algorithms that prevent many of their followers from seeing their content – unless they pay to boost it.

If you’re looking for a way to get around that issue without paying Facebook or Twitter – the people who are, after all, causing the problem in the first place – you might want to consider influencer marketing. Regardless of what niche you’re in, you can contract with authorities, celebrities, and people with large social followings that overlap your target audience. Get them to mention your company or products to their followers, and reach hundreds or even thousands of new users for (potentially) only a fraction of what you might pay to run an ad or boost a post.

#4: Data-Driven Marketing

As marketing grows increasingly sophisticated, it’s not surprising that marketers at every level are digging deep into customer research to obtain information to help them fine-tune their marketing campaigns.

Some of the things you can do to mine data include reviewing traditional analytics and conducting customer surveys. The information you gather can help you to personalize your marketing and increase your engagement.

#5: Geo-targeting

Local marketing has always been important, but mobile technology makes it easier than ever to reach your customers where they are – and when they are most likely to need your products or services.

If you want to engage in hyper-local marketing, you should:

  • Verify your NAP listings
  • Make yourself known by appearing at local events
  • Use social media targeting to reach people in your immediate area
  • Consider using geofencing to reach mobile customers when they’re near your store

These tactics can help you increase foot traffic and build a loyal following.

#6: Permission Marketing

Research shows that millions of internet users – perhaps as many as 26% — use ad blocking software when they surf the internet. That means that marketers have a potential problem unless they can find a way to reach those people.

Content marketing is a big part of the solution since it’s not likely to be blocked. However, organic reach is down too. One solution may be to target consumers with advertising that they have agreed in advance to receive. For example, podcasts, webcasts, live video, and newsletters are all ways that you can reach out to customers who are willing to look at ads in return for valuable and relevant content.

#7: Email Marketing

It might surprise you to see email marketing on this list since this type of marketing is hardly new. However, it is still one of the best and most reliable ways to reach out to your target audience and engage them.

The key to using email marketing effectively is not to send a series of sales pitches. Nobody who subscribes to your list will stay subscribed for long if all you do is try to sell them something. Instead, focus on delivering interesting, relevant, and actionable content. If you do that, people will look forward to receiving your emails – and they’ll be receptive when you do make a sales pitch.

#8: Beacon Technology

This last trend relates to mobile users and local marketing, but it deserve its own place on this list because it has the potential to revolutionize marketing going forward.

Beacon technology is software that use Bluetooth technology to home in on mobile devices in stores and then use that connection to analyze shopper behavior. Eventually, proponents of the technology imagine that it can be used to send hyper-personalized content to mobile users while they are shopping. It may also be able to help business owners optimize the layout of their stores and the customer experience to increase sales and build loyalty.

Of course, you can also expect that social media marketing will continue to be important in 2017. The key to maximizing the ROI on your marketing campaigns is to analyze the performance of your current marketing, continue with what works, and incorporate new trends as they make sense for your business. If you do that, 2017 can be your best year yet.

 

Jul 11

7 Ways to Stand Out from Your Competitors in 2017

By Keith Price | Uncategorized

There’s no denying that the competition is fierce in the world of online marketing. There are millions of websites and advertisers vying for the attention of consumers, and at times, it can feel impossible. How do you make yourself heard when you’re just one voice in a crowd that covers the whole planet?

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to differentiate yourself from the competition and make sure that your voice is the one that stands out.

Find Your Voice

One of the reasons that content can fade into the background is that it sounds the same as everything else. If your content mimics other influencers in your industry, then it might be impossible for your followers to distinguish you from your competitors.

Instead of being bland, try being different. What kind of tone can you use that will engage your followers and set you apart from the other people in your niche? If your customers are mostly Millennials, consider adopting a casual tone that uses slang and conversational language.

Even if you’re in a conservative industry, you can find a way to be different. Think about who your customers are and what tone they are most likely to respond to, and then use it consistently in all of your communication and advertising.

Be Controversial

It can be difficult to take a chance and say something that people might disagree with – but it can also be an opportunity to draw attention to yourself.

Is there a big trend in your industry that you disagree with? Do you like challenging conventional wisdom? Look for some things that are relevant to your audience and then try to shake their perceptions by offering an opposing or surprising view on it. You might even consider playing devil’s advocate to get attention.

If all you ever do is follow along with the crowd, the chances are good that you’ll fade into it. On the other hand, the person who dares to be different is likely to be the one who gets noticed.

Do What Your Competitors Don’t Do

Are you following your competitors on social media and checking out their websites and blogs on a regular basis? If you’re not, you should be.

It doesn’t matter how many competitors you have. The chances are excellent that they are all missing something – something that you can provide to your customers as a way of differentiating yourself. The only way to know what they’re missing is to examine what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Then identify the holes in what they’re offering and step in to fill them.

This doesn’t mean that you have to offer a product that nobody else offers. What it does mean, though, is that you have to understand your customers and what they need. If the majority of your competitors offer content with a formal tone, you might be able to offer your followers a friendlier alternative.

Have a Social Mission

When it comes to engaging Millennials, having a social mission can really help set you apart from your competitors. Young people want the brands they follow to care about the world and make a difference.

There are a few ways you can incorporate this suggestion into your marketing. For example, you might:

  • Pair up with a local charity to host an event, then create an event page on Facebook and share information about it with your followers.
  • Create a product that ties into a particular charity or cause, such as the breast cancer awareness pink ribbons that flood the marketplace every October.
  • Donate a percentage of your profits to a cause that resonates with your customers. For example, if you sell clothing you might decide to donate money (or clothing for that matter) to a local homeless shelter.

This type of outreach can cement customers’ view of you as a company that cares about something beyond profit – and that can help you turn people into brand ambassadors.

Use Micro-Influencers

As social media algorithms systematically destroy organic reach, companies are looking for ways to make sure that their content gets seen by their target audience. One effective way to do that is to connect with micro-influencers and get them to share your content.

A micro-influencer is anybody who has authority or reach with your customers. They don’t have to be in your industry to be an effective influencer. For example, if you know that the majority of your customers are interested in a particular athlete, you might be able to get that person to share your content for a price.

Attracting big-time celebrity influencers can be costly, so instead, focus on people who have a following but aren’t likely to charge an arm and a leg to share your content. If the things you share also happen to be relevant to their fans, then they’re probably a good match for you and you can leverage their popularity into increased reach for your content.

Use Humor to Connect with Your Followers

We all love to have a good laugh, and your customers are just as likely to be influenced by humor as anybody else. The mistake that a lot of marketers make is treating their content with kid gloves, assuming that it has to be serious to have an impact.

If you loosen up a bit, you can surprise your followers and get them to think about you in a new way. You can even be a little irreverent if it fits your brand. One good example of the use of humor in marketing comes from the company Hello Flo. They sell female hygiene products, and they made a huge splash a couple of years ago with two humorous videos highlighting their products: Camp Gyno and First Moon Party. The latter got over 38 million views on YouTube because it made people laugh.

Embrace New Technology

In some industries, marketers can be slow to use new technology as it is released. Companies who were quick to embrace mobile marketing, for example, have a leg up on companies who are just catching up now.

It can be tricky to catch trends before they become popular, but don’t be afraid to experiment. If you’re not using things like live video or geofencing, now is the time to try something new – particularly if your competitors aren’t doing so.

You don’t have to jump on every new marketing tool that comes out, but it’s a good idea to add new things to your marketing mix and find ways to shake things up. If something doesn’t work, you can ditch it and move on to the next thing – but at least you’ll have tried. And if what you try ends up catching on, you’ll be one step ahead of your competitors.

The key with all of these techniques is to remember that you have things to offer that your competitors don’t. Use these methods to make sure that your target audience sees how special you are—and the results (and profits) will follow.

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