A Look Into the Future – Possible Social Trends for 2023

It is hard to believe that 2022 is almost over. Not that we are rushing it away, but this last business quarter is a great time to reflect on what has been working on social media for your business and what ideas you may want to consider tackling in 2023. Take a look into our crystal ball with us to try to predict some social trends for the future. It may be worth paying attention to these so your next year is amazing!

Word of Mouth Influencer Marketing

You head to the grocery store and see a new product on the shelf. You look at the package, read whatever it says, but put it back on the shelf because you just aren’t sure if you are going to like it or not and don’t want to spend the money if it is going straight to the trash.

You go to a birthday party and see that same product in their pantry. So, you start asking around, “Hey, are those chips good?” and the feedback is positive. They all like the chips! So, the next time you head to the grocery store, you purchase a bag, simply because when you asked, people liked them so you thought you would too!

Influencing an audience with trustworthy people isn’t anything new, but it is in our faces more than ever. Obviously, we can’t predict who is going to talk to who about a certain product, but we can push the product and information about it to our audiences with positive influencers. Celebrities, athletes, performers, etc., are all over social media pushing whatever product to their target audience because they are a trustworthy influencer. 

As a business, pay attention to influencers in your industry. Take the time to get to know them, their brand, their audience and see if it would be a good fit for your product too. Turning an influencer into a brand ambassador for your business can have a huge impact with long-term results.

999- Blog header - A Look Into the Future - Possible Social Trends for 2023Short Videos Will Be Huge

Tik-Tok length videos are huge. They are now all over Instagram and Facebook too! Unfortunately, a lot of us have the attention span of a snail. No one has the time to watch 5-minute-long videos. But we can scroll through 15 second videos for 5 minutes. How does that work!? It is because each video is different, offers something new, and connects with the audience on several different levels. 

Traditional photo and caption posts are slowly dying. More attention is being given to video, which isn’t new, but audiences continue to crave information this way. 

So, for next year, plan to record whatever is going on. Own a restaurant? Record your chef making something. Edit it into several different 15 second videos and post it. Own a retail store? Record your merchandise and edit it into fun and engaging short videos. Don’t know how to edit or don’t have the time? We can help!

Live Videos Will Transform Social Media

If it isn’t a 15 second short video, then it is going to be lives dominating our social feeds. Lives allow for viewers to have the ultimate experience with whoever at a business, or maybe even an influencer like we mentioned earlier, with potential for conversation right then and there. 

Surprisingly, long live videos are fine as compared to uploaded longer video content. Seems like apples to apples but it is the live feature that makes the video unique. And if users are jumping on to watch a live, then whatever network it is being shared on will see the uptick in viewers, thus realizing it is good content, pushing it out even more.

Grab your target audience’s attention with a live video when you are at an event, when your store is running a special and you want to show the special off, go live when you want to make a special announcement or just go live and say ask me whatever you want! People love to go behind the scenes and see how something is made or work in progress. Lives can allow for that to become a reality!

The Bottom Line

Nothing is ever set in stone. If something works for you on social media, you can keep on doing it. Don’t be afraid to give something new a try. Your target audience will need to be trained to look for these new things, so don’t get frustrated if a live video doesn’t have a lot of viewers right away. It is new to them just like it is new to you! Leverage the resources and knowledge you have on your team, but reach out to us should you need new ideas.

Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?

Google My Business (GMB) is a bit of a gem in the business world. Google, a giant in the tech game, has their fingers in all aspects of the universe (or at least it seems). With a Google account, you have access to all of the Google products: Gmail, Ads, YouTube, access to log into sites with autofill and so on. However, if you don’t have a Google Account, no big deal, except you once were missing out on the ability to leave a review with Google My Business. Not now! While it is much easier to leave a review with a Google account, there is a work around to leave a review for your favorite (or not so favorite) business. Here’s how!

Step 1 & 2: Click The Review Link

Hop on over to Google, search for the Google Business Profile that you’d like to leave a review for and find the area that has some reviews already posted. Click there, then click Write A Review. 

Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?

Step 3: Create An Account

If you do not have a Google account, click on create account, then select “For my personal use”.

Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?

Step 4 & 5: Use Your Current Email Address

Make sure to select “Use my current email address instead”, then fill in your information. As always, use a secure password when creating your account. 

Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?

Step 6 & 7: Verify It and Agree

Google will send you a verification email. Verify that, then continue to fill in the required information. Read through and accept Google Privacy and Terms, then…

Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?

Step 8: Leave A Review

Now you can leave your review without a Google account! Adding photos if you have them is always great, whether it is a positive or negative review. 

Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?

The Bottom Line

We understand that not everyone has a Google account. Hopefully this work around will help those who do not and allow for more reviews to be left for businesses. It is helpful for others to read about your experiences so they can continue to research and make an informed choice. It is also great for a business to hear about your experience – whether it is good or bad!

Advertising 101 – Where and How Much to Spend on Advertising

In today’s world, there are so many different places a business can advertise. It isn’t just the newspaper and television commercials anymore. It is social media, streaming services, at the movie theater before the show begins, electronic billboards, apps and so much more. So how can a business even start to determine where they should advertise and how much money they should be spending? Let’s discuss traditional advertising and marketing spend to get the most out of your budget.

Have a Marketing Plan that Includes Advertising

Word of mouth advertising is great, but it only gets a business so far. Creating a marketing plan that incorporates advertising through different mediums can be far more effective. Within your marketing plan, a target audience should be determined. Their age, likes, trends, etc. can help to navigate where they gather most of their information. And once you take a deeper look at those items, you can then determine which medium will work best for your business. 

A marketing plan without an advertising budget is like fishing without a worm. You might get lucky and catch something, but it isn’t going to happen as fast as you’d like, and it might not be your target customer. With an advertising budget, that is your worm that you are putting on the hook to lure in the right customers. 

How Much Should A Business Spend on Advertising?

There isn’t a magic number when it comes to advertising budget. Your marketing team or advertising agency can help determine what the best budget is specifically for your business and where they feel you will get the most bang for your buck. The business owner, manager, whoever is making the call on spending, needs to be comfortable and feel confident in the budget and return on investment.

That is not to say there isn’t a general rule of thumb. Within the business world, the general consensus is to aim at spending between 2-5% of your sales revenue on marketing. Small Business Trends reports a lower number at 1.08% of revenue for advertising, but of course it will vary from industry to industry. Some industries spend more, like retailers at about 4% while restaurants spend 1.93%. Business to Consumer (B2C) companies typically spent slightly more on average, with product companies spending 9.6% and B2C services companies spending 11.8%. Those percentages might scare someone but let’s put it into perspective. If your revenue were $1 million per year, your marketing and advertising budget should be $50,000 annually based on the 5% of sales revenue rule. From that $50k, you can drop different amounts into different marketing and advertising buckets. 

Advertising 101 - Where and How Much to Spend on AdvertisingTrack Your Return On Investment

When you are just starting out, it might seem like a hard decision to do a lot of advertising, but once you get rolling, it is a good idea to be reinvesting revenue back into the business through more advertising. You need to keep that momentum going, keep on pulling in more customers. But it is always best to track your return on investment in every medium.

Measuring your spending and the effectiveness of the advertising should happen quarterly. It does take some time to garner effective data, so if you are just starting out, give the advertising some time to get out there. Become a detective and find out which advertising works best for your target audience and which medium brings in the most business.

What are My Advertising Opportunities?

Working with an advertising agency like Triple-Nine Digital can help your business research which targeting tactics will work best for you. While we are always open to exploring new and different ways of advertising, here are the tactics that we pride ourselves on:

Targeted Display

This displays your ad on websites and mobile apps, frequented by users matching your target audience.

Search Engine Marketing (Google Search/Ads)

The average web user won’t go past the first five listings on a search engine results page. In fact, more than 67% of all clicks go to the top five listings.

Increase online traffic and visibility of your business with Google Search and be on top of search results at the moment customers are searching for your products and services.

Social Media Advertising

Displays your ad on social platforms frequented by users matching your target audience.

Video Pre Roll, OTT and CTV

Target your customers with your existing video on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and OTT/CTV platforms and channels such as Roku, Sling, AppleTV, CNN, Fox, CBS and more.

Google Discover and Direct Email Marketing

Powerful, cost effective programs to promote products, services and events by delivering ads to Gmail accounts and targeted email lists.

Waze GPS App

Your ad appears in targeted search results or when a driver is near your location.

The Bottom Line

Every business is different. Every budget is different. What works for one business may not work for another and that is fine! Let’s talk through your thoughts and ideas on what advertising means to you and how we can help drive more traffic for your business. Once we create a plan and put it into action, we will adjust as necessary, reminding you and our team of the goals and evaluating performances so we are all on the right track to success.

Top 5 Reasons to Hire A Professional Photographer and Videographer

Think back to the most recent purchase you made. Why did you make that purchase? Was it because it was something you needed or wanted to help solve a problem in your life, or was it a whim of a purchase because the product or service just appealed to you? Was it a video that you watched that told you about the business and what this product or service was? Or how about pictures that accompanied the video to physically show the product being used or how the service is done? 

These are a lot of questions to ask yourself right now, but the next time you are interested in a product or service, ask yourself what is making this so appealing to me? We can bet that professional photography and videography are helping to amplify your decision to make a purchase.

But as a business owner, you are probably thinking, I have this high-tech smartphone that says it takes the best photos and it has some video editing capabilities. I will just do it on my own! Not so fast. This is a decision that needs to be rethunk! Here are 5 of the top reasons any business owner should hire a professional photographer and videographer for their next big project.

  1. 1. Creative Decisions

As the business owner, we sometimes want to cram as much information into thirty seconds as we can to try to make sure the prospective buyer knows as much information as they can. You might end up sounding like an auctioneer if you do that. With a professional photo and video team, you can express your wants, needs and desires to them and allow this team to come up with the best creative ideas and decisions for the project. They will figure out the important keywords and best angles to show to ensure the whole message is getting told. This team knows how to make a video and photo shoot fun instead of stressful and the end product will surely show this.

  1. 2. Saves Time

After meeting with the photo and video team to work out what you want from them, it is up to that team to then get creative and figure out what they want to shoot. Depending on the project, they may come back to you and ask a couple of questions, but after the plan has been put into place, the only thing you will be needed for is filming or photography if you are actually in the pictures or videos. If you are, there is usually a script written for video purposes so you will know exactly what to say. And as far as photography goes, you will know the look and feel of how you want to present yourself to your audience. 

Once the camera crews come in and do their stuff, you can wipe your hands of it until the team shows you a first draft of their work. Imagine not having to stress over anything after that and being able to focus on other parts of your business! 

  1. 3. Saves Money

Do you have all kinds of fancy camera and video equipment? How about editing software? Those things are crazy expensive and if you aren’t going to be using them very often, it will just save you money in the long run to just hire professionals to get the job done right. Hire experts who have a keen eye for detail, understands your business and your audience, and knows your goals. Let them create video and photo magic for you.

  1. 4. Professional Results

Which leads us to the end product. Professional photographers and videographers will provide professional results. If they don’t, they aren’t professionals. Professional results can be checked off as the end product, but also being able to share a high quality project on your website, across your social media channels and wherever else you may want to show them. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to share a video on social media and the size or shape is giving you an error. Let your professional team provide you with everything you need to make showing your end products to your audience as easy as can be. 

  1. 5. Drives Sales

Professional videographers and photographers can help a business develop and achieve its business objectives through sights and sounds. Well-produced videos can attract, engage, and promote one’s brand and company on their own. That is why it is important to work with a professional team so your business doesn’t look low budget or low end. High end, high quality promote and give the same feel about your products or services, no matter the price point. With a professionally done video or photography session of your products or services, you will be able to draw in more potential customers, and grow your business! That is always the goal, right? Grow the business! 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that a professional photographer and videographer will help to make your business be more successful through their services. Reach out to us to learn more about the services we offer and how we can help your business grow.

Do These Things Now to Prep For the Holiday Marketing Season

It seems every year, the holiday shopping season starts earlier and earlier. It may actually be true this year since product shortages and delivery delays are still a lingering issue. 31% of U.S. consumers say they’ll begin shopping for the holidays before the end of October — well before Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals launch. So that means business owners need to step up their marketing efforts sooner rather than later. If you work with a marketing agency, now is a great time to share this blog with them and plan a meeting to go over your holiday plans. If you don’t work with an agency, here are some things you can do now and consider doing to prepare for the holiday season.

Plan The Schedule

Take a look at the calendar and decide what your holiday hours are going to be. Come fall, there are multiple holidays to consider, so plan in advance with what your business hours will be and share them with your marketing team. Hours should be shared on socials and posted to your website to give shoppers a heads up. Even if you are an e-commerce business, letting your customer base know when to expect slower than usual service because you are out for a holiday is best. 

Additionally, taking a look at the calendar allows you to plan for when specific posts should be shared. Knowing what day the holiday falls on and figuring out when specials should run should be a part of your plan.  

Lessons Learned from Previous Holiday Seasons

If you were in business last year, it may have thrown you for a big loop because of Covid. It was an interesting holiday for business owners and marketers for sure. So take whatever lessons you learned from last year, plus the previous holiday season and consider what worked and what didn’t work. 

This is also a great time to put feelers out for what your customer base is looking for and making sure you are trying your best to have it in stock. When everyone else is having delay or supply issues, you could be the one with super fast shipping and delivery because you planned ahead. Send out an email and ask what is going to be hot this holiday season when it comes to gift giving. What is really going to be on that list for Santa?

Don’t Miss Out

People mostly get their ideas for holiday gifts from the internet! So be sure to have your products front and center for people to research, share, and purchase. Given that 60% of early holiday shoppers say they consider purchasing items recommended to them while shopping online, much of this year’s holiday purchasing could be impacted by brands’ and influencers’ holiday content on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

Social media is a great way to share your products and services so think of creative ways to let people know about your business so they are interested in it early on. Don’t miss out on those early shoppers because you can really get ahead with your own goals early on because of them. 

Check Your Online Presents – We Mean Presence

Now is a good time to be sure everything is still the way you want it to be on social media and the internet. What ads do you have running? Do they need to be changed up to meet your holiday plan and goals? How about your social media information – is it all correct still? Hours are right, contact information still goes to the correct person, and your posts are still relevant? 

This is also an opportune time to tune up your website. Take a walk through it to make sure all of the links work, the information on there is up-to-date, and get all of your products situated to your liking. There is nothing worse than a potential customer visiting your website only to find a broken link or a dead end.

Be The Human Part of Your Business

We can’t stress this enough. Behind every business is a human. Customers want to know that human, so let them. Re-introduce yourself if you haven’t in a while. Give your background story, why you created this business, and what it means to you when someone makes a purchase. We all know the objective is to make money, but where does that money go? Does it go back into the community? Share how! Does it go toward something for your family? Share where you went on vacation or what activities you do. Expand your brand and make your business more than just about the product or service. Make it about the people that make it go ‘round. Do you have employees? Share about them! Show your appreciation for their work and loyalty because it is sometimes hard to come by. When you make your business human, it makes it more than just an Amazon or Walmart. People will want to buy from you over them because they know where their dollars are going.

As always, if you ever need our assistance, we will be here to help you when you need it. Good luck this holiday season!

Social Media – Then and Now

It is hard to imagine that social media is roughly 25 years old. It has become such an everyday aspect of our lives that it is hard to believe that there was a time before social media, meaning there was a time before the Internet. The Internet came to a lot of our lives in the early 1990s, but it took some time before it hit the fingertips of users in homes. This is the same with social media. From 1997 to now, social media has changed drastically. From simple reasons to everyone having smartphones with social media networks right there, to businesses utilizing the networks to make money, social media has changed the way we communicate, live our lives and do work. Let’s take a look at how social media started and look at how it has changed over time.

A Time Before Mark Zuckerberg

If you ask the average person what the first social media network was, we can bet most would say Facebook. Some would say MySpace, and a couple would say Friendster. Take it a step back even further and you’ll find a website called Six Degrees. This was the first social media network that, you guessed it, aimed to connect people from six degrees of separation. A cool concept, but it didn’t last very long. After a short four years, the website was shut down (although still accessible when we checked it out!). 

This concept proved to be something users enjoyed and wanted more of. A couple months after Six Degrees “shut down”, Friendster and LinkedIn appeared on the scene. And not long after those came MySpace – the network that really upped the social media game.

MySpace had everything a social network user desired – a way to share photos, videos, flies and connect with friends. Who remembers Tom? Everyone was friends with Tom! Timing was also perfect for MySpace since their target audience was either just entering high school or college, thus creating a niche for finding new friends, dating and networking.

However, here comes Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook in 2004 and it really blew every other social network out of the water. It started as something only for Harvard students, but quickly expanded to other colleges and universities. And then, something that was only for young adults with a college email address, opened its virtual doors to anyone 13+. And now we all know how the story of Facebook went. But why did it succeed when others didn’t?

Advertising and Monetization

Besides being desired by everyone who didn’t have a .edu email address, Facebook’s success can be linked to its ability to profit from users. They really did think out a solid business model when it came to advertising and monetization of Facebook. By giving businesses a way to directly market to their target audience, Facebook started to really rake in the money. Other networks then started to copy.

Big players in the social media game like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube followed with similar advertising and monetization success stories. It seemed like everyone would be a winner from the business to the social network to the user. But is the market too saturated now?

Social Media - Then and Now

Being Different in Social Media

From a business perspective, it is important to look closely at your target audience, their likes, dislikes, desires, wants, needs, etc., and find out which social media networks they use on the reg. Even though new social media networks still tend to pop up, they don’t ever really seem to catch on like Facebook did because they are just duplicating the efforts and not doing anything extraordinarily new. 

This is how a business should also approach social media when using it. Social media is all about breaking the mold and doing something outside the box. Social media can be a place where something new is tested on a market, where users connect and grow with a brand and where business comes full circle with stories from A to Z of how it has helped someone. 

Social Media is Here to Stay

Love it or hate it, social media will be here to stay for the long haul. From just the United States to now the whole world, people can connect with each other and see, hear and literally do things together on the Internet, though miles apart. Of course social media will change and veer off onto different paths as all businesses do, but for the most part, the concepts will remain unchanged.

As a digital marketing agency, we highly recommend checking out all of the social media channels available to you and decide which one or two you’d like to focus on the most. We can also talk about advertising budgets and which options might work best for you and your target audience. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, plus find us on Google My Business, and let’s talk social! 

Why Outsourcing Creative and Design Services is a Great Idea

Creative and design services literally are the look of your business. From your website to your social media, to your flier, mailers, and even business cards, creative and design services help to bring these business and marketing pieces to life. 

Your graphics should be a reflection of your brand, and they should be as sharp as possible. Your business’s professional image is likely the first thing a customer sees when going to your website or noticing an ad in a magazine. Wherever your business is, your image should be recognizable. As such, creative and design services are available to help establish your look, your feel, the story you want to tell about your business, all while pushing whatever the end goal is.

Good creative and design services tend to go hand in hand with good business. But not everyone is a designer or artist, nor do they have the time to meticulously work on each design they want to put out. That’s where hiring a graphic designer and creative team comes in. But is it worth it or even a good idea?

Creative and design services literally are the look of your business

A Business Needs Professional Design Services

So often we hear that anyone can create a Canva or PicMonkey account and piece together a nice looking flier. But there is just something to be said for a tried and true graphic designer’s work. Professional graphic designers are artists that bring a unique personal touch to any idea that is different from the already existing templates on design sites. 

Graphic designers make sure your designs are integrated into every aspect of your business branding. Designers have a keen eye for color and imagery as they are truly artists in the business world. As professionals, graphic designers know ways to make a business aesthetically pleasing to the eye, yet memorable to the mind. And it must be memorable as customers typically only give businesses mere seconds to make a mark in their memories.

Additionally, consistency is key as it helps to build trust amongst your current and future customers. There’s something to be said for businesses that are recognized just by certain shapes or color schemes. Sometimes it is as simple as a yellow M or a black check mark. We all likely know the businesses that are associated with those graphic designs.

Graphic Designers Actually Save You Time and Money

Business owners likely don’t have the skills a graphic designer would (and if you do, you are one in a million!) That is not to say ideas can’t become a reality, but it can become a reality much faster, and cheaper, with a professional graphic designer.

Graphic designers save businesses time and money in the long run. While the DIY attitude can be great, it isn’t always true in the design world. Spending hours learning design software, designing a marketing piece, then trying to figure out how to print it on the best quality paper could result in frustration and something that doesn’t look professional at all. Design experts are masters of the trade. They can design a concept in a fraction of the time with a much better result. They also should already work with printers who can bring digital designs to life. Not a piece that needs printed? Digital design is also something that can be hard to understand. Allow for a professional to design something right the first time around so it will perfectly fit onto your website, app or social media.

Along with time, a professional graphic designer can save you money as well. While time is money in the business world, you might not even realize how much money you can save with a graphic designer. If you don’t get your idea designed right the first time around, it can be a costly mistake and potentially have a negative impact on your business. We are sure that everyone can think of a brand that once had a costly design mistake. Nowadays those mistakes may go viral or completely unnoticed. Hopefully it is the latter if it is really bad. Plus, behind our graphic design team is an editing team that will give each design a look over to make sure it is perfect. There’s nothing worse than printing a billboard only to have a word misspelled. 

Frustration equals time and money that could’ve been better spent on a part of your business that you are skilled at and enjoy. Do what you do best and delegate the rest.

Finding the Right Creative and Design Team

Like we said before, just because someone knows how to “design” something on a design website, doesn’t mean they are a graphic designer. We all can make dinner, but that doesn’t make us all chefs! 

Work with a team like ours who doesn’t just scratch the service of your business. Find a team that meets with you to learn more about you, why you started your business, and what your business is all about (and we don’t just mean your mission statement.) Look for people who want to dive deep into the workings of your business and you. So many creative ideas, like potential slogans, for example, could be missed if people outside of your business don’t take the time to learn about you and your business world.

The reason you should find a team that goes so in depth into strategy for design is because their work is your work. It should have meaning and represent your business in the right way. Don’t just work with someone who is going to throw something together, and say done. Work with a team that wants to know what we are trying to accomplish with each project. Are you looking to get more members, promoting a sale, or just trying to get your message out there?

We all can’t be the best at everything. That is why it is important to be the best at what you want to be the best at and outsource other duties to other professionals. Graphic and creative design services is a great service to allow someone outside of your business world to take on. There are truly great people who take the time to learn your business, your industry, research the competition and see what others in your field are doing in terms of creative and design. We promise that together, you should be able to create the perfect marketing materials for you and your business needs.

Decreasing Marketing Revenues is Dangerous During Current Inflation Trends

The increase of the cost of living is no secret. From the gas prices, to milk and bread, and even simple Dollar Stores now being $1.25 stores, the inflation rate is increasing everywhere. But even as prices soar, that doesn’t mean wages increase, which in turn means consumers are paying closer attention to where their money is spent and at what cost. 

When Covid started, we told our clients to keep going full steam ahead. Don’t cut back as you will come out ahead when things turn back around. Now that we are slowly but surely coming out of the other end of the Covid tunnel, our clients are still on top of their marketing and advertising. Now we are being asked about the current times. It is hard for a business to make decisions on where budgets need to be cut. But we are here to tell you that marketing should not be one of those cutbacks.

Trust In The Brand

Your customers purchase your products/services/goods, whatever it is because they have a trust in the brand. We know that it is hard to increase prices on a customer base, but as long as the brand trust is there, your clientele will find a way to pay for it. And to have brand trust means you need a strong brand presence to nurture the trust. That is why marketing should remain an essential part of your business and shouldn’t be decreased. Once a marketing budget gets decreased, it is inevitable that it will ever be increased. By marketing to your customer base the reasons why they should continue to trust you in times like these may help to ease the pain of a price increase. And along the way you will still be able to gain new customers since other brands may just fall into the pits of zero marketing, while others will just glide along by the seat of their pants, hoping their customers will stick with them for the ride. 

Decreasing Marketing Revenues is Dangerous During Current Inflation TrendsPay Attention to the Data

Paying closer attention to your marketing metrics will help when it comes to reusing your marketing dollars. When data shows increased sales from a particular location, double down your efforts and move around some marketing budget to that sales stream. If something isn’t working, now really isn’t the time to do trial and error. Take the loss and move on to where you’re seeing success. And let’s not forget that success in marketing can be a myriad of different things. Talk with your marketing team to discuss what success is and then trickle down to how you get to that success. Doing this will help weed out anything underperforming and could even save you some money in the long run.

Know What Your Customers Want

It is sad to think that some consumers are buying just the bare minimum to get by in times like these. Now is a good time to reaffirm to your customer base that you value them and that your product or service makes their life better. And it is an opportune moment to really relate to how your customers may be feeling and show them that you care either way. The relationship of a customer is a two-way street. You need them and they need you. Don’t shy away from content that sparks an emotional connection.

We know times are different now than they were when high inflation struck in the 1970s and 1980s because of the Internet and digital media, but those times were a goldmine for businesses, especially the ones that kept marketing. So many new businesses launched those years as audiences were ready for something that might be a little cheaper (since it was new) but were also open to trying new things. This is why brand trust is vital so that consumers don’t just switch in an instant to something else. Now in 2022, we have e-commerce at our fingertips, and this could be a great opportunity for new businesses to jump in and steal some thunder from other businesses. That is why we suggest staying on course and keep on going with your marketing efforts. You aren’t starting from scratch like new businesses and you already have a key customer base. Don’t decrease marketing budget now or you will be on a dangerous trend of always trying to build back up to where you once were.

SEO 101 – What Is It and Why Should I Know About It?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which, according to Moz, is a “set of practices designed to improve the appearance and positioning of web pages in organic search results. Because organic search is the most prominent way for people to discover and access online content, a good SEO strategy is essential for improving the quality and quantity of traffic to your website.”

Part of a marketing strategy is SEO services. These services consist of a combination of things. There is not a magic button that someone can push that says optimize my keywords, make my website rank higher than my competitors, or show my images on page one. Rather, SEO is a combination of a variety of services. There is no one-sized-fits-all approach to this. It’s important to address SEO services with your marketing team or agency, but as a leader, it is also important to be aware of what SEO is, how it can help your business, and then make sure you are paying for only services that are addressing your SEO needs and not for a “bundle” of services you don’t need.

Let’s just skim the top of SEO so that you can have a basic understanding of what it is. If there’s more you’d like to learn, contact our team and we can dive deeper into it with you.

What is a Search Engine?

Search engines are sites like Google, Bing, Yahoo. DuckDuckGo, etc. There are so many different search engines that can be used, but according to Joe Barker, all search engines consist of three parts:

  1. A database of web documents
  2. A search engine operating on that database
  3. A series of programs that determine how search results are displayed

Professionals argue over which is the best search engine and why. It is a major science that goes into creating a search engine. And it is even a science of figuring out how to manage SEO for clients. We’ll get to that. 

Google is typically the dominant search engine in the world, but there are reasons why some users won’t search through Google, including the theory of information being withheld. Sites like DuckDuckGo are said to be best for users who have privacy concerns and want to keep their browsing information personal. This list could go on and on as to what search engine is best and why, but it typically boils down to personal preference and where the information wanted can be found fastest.

What is Organic Search?

There are two kinds of search results: 

  1. Paid results
  2. Organic results

It is easier to understand paid results – basically it is results that populate because money is behind that result. Organic search results happen because of strategy! These results then lead to organic traffic, which then hopefully leads to whatever the conversion goal is. 

Here’s where it can get confusing and tricky. Organic search results differ from search engine to search engine. It just depends on that search engine’s algorithm. Figuring out that algorithm is a lot of work, research and patience because it is ever changing! There’s never a guarantee that anything will rank in a particular position. The good news is that Google Analytics expert Avinash Kaushik once determined that around 86% of search engine users prefer organic search results. We have been accustomed to scrolling past the ad to get to the first section of results. 

How Do I Ensure I Am Optimizing Search Results?

The best advice when it comes to SEO is to write for what humans want to read first – SEO second. Like previously mentioned, the “rules” for SEO are constantly changing. So whether you are writing website copy, a blog, social media posts or whatever, write to your audience, post what they want to see, and then think about SEO. After you have your content written, think about keywords. Go back through your text and see if

 your keywords are there. If not, add them! Not sure about keywords? There are SEO tools to help with that!

If you are building a website, build it for the user, not the search engine. There is nothing worse than a website that is hard to navigate. User experience ranks higher in our book than SEO factors. SEO can be a second thought in this situation as well. Build your website to you and your target audience’s liking, then address headings, sub folders, mobile friendliness, links, and so on. Test the website to make sure it loads quickly. If not, take care of whatever is slowing it down because that will hurt your SEO. If users are jumping on and then off of your website because it loads too slow, that will hurt your rankings.

And as always, constantly research, improve and update your content, website, whatever it is you are working on. There really is no finish line to this work since it is always evolving. Whatever it is that your competitors are doing, search engines changes, and even your own business/personal changes are always going to happen. A strong online presence gives your business credibility, a professional image, and an improved customer experience. Our team can review your brand through your online listings, SEO scores, social media presence, website speed and more. We can also compare how your business performs online compared to your top competitors. Then we can discuss what the plan should be moving forward if you’d like! Take us up on this opportunity!

The Secret to a Successful Workplace: Communication


Teamwork makes the dream work! But only when communication is effective can the team collaborate better to manage the task at hand. You may be asking yourself why is an advertising agency giving advice on communication? That’s a great question and the answer is because we are communication professionals. Our team has experience partnering with people in a business to execute strategic business plans, because of communication. 

Good communication can boost teamwork and workplace productivity tenfold. Motivation and engagement is born from communication. Truthfully, communication applies to literally every industry and is used daily. From verbal communication to written communication, there are so many ways to maintain effective communication between employees, contractors, vendors, customers and so on. Let’s discuss some good workplace communication tips and skills to have and how everyone in the workplace can communicate more effectively.

Communication Starts at the Top

No matter if your business is a Fortune 500 company or a 2 person show, communication efforts that start at the top and are understood as they trickle down to others is key. Communication is not only verbally speaking to others, but it is the words in which we use to communicate. In a business environment, using words that are understood by everyone is important to get a message across. Company taglines, slogans, themes, etc., should be translated into everyday communication company-wide so everyone is on the same page about your specific business terminology. 

Additionally, leaders should take the time to effectively communicate with their employees. While meetings can be daunting and time consuming, they are necessary to make sure everyone feels comfortable with each other and knows the task(s) they are to take on. Sometimes lines of communication can be crossed, or there are “too many cooks in the kitchen” giving orders of what to do, so the outcome for everyone is very stressful and ineffective. 

Tip: When a new project is created, make a communication flow chart plan so everyone knows who is the leader on the project, who needs to approve processes, who needs to be involved at what stages, and everyone’s job to complete the project on time. When a team knows everyone’s role and responsibilities, communication is smoother and projects get done in a more timely manner.

Communication Tools

Welcome to the current year where Zoom meetings are a norm! The workplace is currently in an evolving period where a lot more people are working from home rather than the office. This doesn’t mean they should miss out on team meetings and important communications. We have more communication tools available to us than ever before, so use them!

Tip: Require anyone who is on a video conference to have their camera on. Allowing everyone to see body language, facial expressions, eye contact and anything else that happens during a usual face-to-face meeting should also be happening during a video conference. Unfortunately, if the person video conferencing doesn’t want to turn their camera on, it can lead to poor communication and issues with the team morale.
Skill: There are just so many ways to communicate with co-workers. By utilizing one main messaging tool company-wide, you can limit the number of ways people can communicate, but also set the expectation of where workplace communication can take place. An employee shouldn’t have to look through 10 different communication avenues to find what they are looking for. A communication skill to work on, or to teach to your employees, is which way is best to communicate with each other. Workplace messaging apps can be used for quick responses to questions, email can be used to communicate with someone when an instant response isn’t needed, the phone is still alive and well, but now we can text message on it too – so use that properly and ONLY if necessary, especially if it is a personal phone number. And if necessary, document all phone calls to recap what was said so there is an understanding between both people.

Don’t Leave People Out

There is a fine line between telling everyone too much or letting them in on too little. Within the workplace, leaders need to be effective communicators. They also need to know who needs to know what. If your business works with outside vendors, make sure they are communicated to, just like they are employees. Make it a habit that when you send out a company wide communication, that is not private, it gets shared with those that help you with your business as well. 

Tip: A great example of making sure everyone knows important information is when there is a change in business hours. Maybe a snow storm is approaching and you decide to close your restaurant early. Not only should the management team tell the employees and hang signage on the door, but they also need to tell whoever runs their social media, website, email systems, etc., to alert customers to the change. There is nothing more frustrating than a potential customer wanting to eat at your restaurant, only to arrive and you are closed. We don’t live in a perfect world, but cross all of those T’s and dot all of those i’s to make sure you are communicating to everyone effectively and efficiently.

Make communication a top priority in the workplace. There is an ever-heightened need for more communication, clearer communication, and continuous communication now more than ever. Good communication can go a long way in empowering employees, driving productivity, innovation, and achievement.