Content remains king

shutterstock_248890441Content. The little seven letter word that everyone is talking about. And you should be, too. In this age of marketing, content is paramount. What is content? Content is anything you put out that people engage with. Articles, blogs, social posts, radio, TV, online advertising, anything and everything.

When you begin to think about a new campaign, you have to think about the new campaign as an ecosystem. This ecosystem contains all the ways you plan to reach potential customers or clients. As the marketer, you must have a strong content ecosystem.

Today’s content ecosystems look vastly different than content ecosystems even just a few years ago. Today’s content ecosystems are filled with social media, blogs, sponsored posts, advertorials, print, broadcast and pretty much any other way you can put your advertising in front of people.

While content is important, it’s imperative to produce content that connects to your audience. This is how you secure your customers. It’s not always about creating content yourself, but curating the best content available.

With traditional advertising mediums like broadcast, print, etc., once you distribute the content, there’s nothing left to do but count impressions. With digital, there is a constant flow of content. If there is an article or blog written about your industry, leverage that and share it with your followers. If someone produced a fancy video of your product, leverage it. If someone wrote a great review, share it. Content curation will save you many hours of producing your own content and help you keep the cycle moving forward.

In this day, content is critical to driving brand awareness and giving your customers a reason for sticking with you. And at AcrobatAnt, we believe in great content. We are here to help your marketing department create and curate the best content that delivers results you can take to the CEO.

Mobile is key.

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You’ve probably heard it before time and time again, mobile advertising is the hot trend right now. But mobile is more than a trend, it is here to stay. This year looks to be a breakout year for mobile advertising and for a good reason. “Consumers today are addicted to instant gratification and ads need to serve up not only what they’re trying to sell, but the benefits as well,” said Tamara Green, AcrobatAnt Media Director. As mobile advertising has matured, so have the data companies. From precise geo-location data to more refined demographics, consumer data collected through mobile advertising is robust.

In order to be successful with mobile advertising, you have to deliver memorable content. “You have little time on mobile and an even greater challenge to gain the consumer’s attention because consumers are easily distracted as they swipe across to the next image/page/comment/post/status/etc.,” Tamara said. In mobile advertising, you have less than five seconds to capture the consumer’s attention. Meaning that creativity in message delivery is more important than ever. A simple banner ad will no longer sustain the results they used to. Advertising content needs to be dynamic, personal, engaging and customized for the target audience. It needs to look like it was made just for that single consumer.

With Facebook video now dominating the newsfeed, it’s time to really consider spending the money to integrate video content into a campaign. Integrating video is also one of the keys with mobile. There isn’t just one media type to satisfy the needs of a brand. It needs to be a well planned mix of all mobile has to offer based on data that has been collected. Paying more attention to data will guide and help a campaign improve over time. Tamara added, “Consumers are more and more demanding that the click takes them somewhere, tells them something, provides some benefit. A click with no benefit, just content will result in the consumer dropping off and possibly passing you by.”

To learn more about how we can help you, or if you have any questions regarding mobile advertising, send us an email or give us a call.

User Experience: What is it good for?

shutterstock_177174377Since the advent of the Internet, people have always put their personal style into the websites they build. Now more than ever, user experience and how a user will interact with a website is in the forefront of designers’ minds. And recently, that also means taking into consideration how a website performs. Specifically how long it takes to load a page. In a recent study, data showed that if a page takes longer than three seconds to load, nearly 40 percent of users will leave the site. Let that sink in a minute. Your website has less than three seconds to grab the customer. If not, they’re on to your competitor. But if you have your site optimized and ready to handle a user’s request, they’ll proceed.

We asked our resident web developer and designer, Mattie McClain, what she had to say about user experience. “I have always believed user experience is the most important element of a design, and right now user experience is everything in the web space. Users want to find what they need, quickly. When we started seeing mobile devices of all shapes and sizes, suddenly a website that looked and functioned great on a large screen was no longer relevant — or even useful!”

And when talking about how to make a site that not only performs well, but also looks great on a phone, you need to make your site responsive or mobile-friendly. “Zooming in on a screen filled with tiny print and unnecessary links on a smartphone was not anyone’s idea of a great user experience. Responsive design corrected this and has become the key for producing a seamless user experience across all devices. It allows us to give users the effortless experience they now expect: what they need, only when they need it,” Mattie said.

She is right. In this day and age, consumers don’t like to wait. Period. The way we communicate and interact on the Internet has changed drastically. We communicate in less than 140 characters, and your website needs to load in less time than it takes to read a tweet.

As a full service agency, AcrobatAnt is here to help your business get on the right digital track. We pride ourselves on delivering results that work for our clients and their users. So the next time you are standing in line at Starbucks and are browsing the web on your phone, think about the experience a potential consumer would have on your site.

3 Ways to Boost Your Email Open Rates

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If your business is spending time and resources to develop emails for current or prospective clients, take note of these three tips to boost your open rates.

1. Segment Your List. 

  • There are many ways to segment and the benefits of segmenting your list at different stages of the email cycle are endless.
  • If you have demographics or other insights to segment your list from the beginning – do it. It can be as simple as changing the primary photo used to better resonate with the target of the email or vary the content of the email completely based on the email target.
  • Follow up with those who did not open the email a few days after the initial email push. Most email platforms do this second push to non-responders without a lot of extra effort. Try changing your subject line or modifying the email to try to capture their attention with the follow-up, since the initial email didn’t prompt an open.
  • Think beyond personalization with their name and segment your lists so they can be versioned and customized based on geography, where they are in the purchase cycle or other indicators of email preference.

2. Pre-headers. 

Pre-headers are simply snippets of text extracted from the body of the email or new, short content that gets amended to the subject line of the email. The goal is to provide additional information about the content of the email to entice the user to open the email or scroll to content deeper in the email. Most email platforms offer a way to easily add pre-headers to your email. Or, your developer can add some simple code to indicate the pre-header text.

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Example of a pre-header in recipient’s email:

 

 

 

Example of a pre-header with article titles:aahc blog 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more on pre-headers, this is a great article. Or, read more about how to implement pre-headers in your email software FAQs.

3. Test Your Email.

Most importantly, test the email to accounts you have set up in multiple email platforms before you push to the full list. Besides ensuring that the email goes through the spam filters, you can also ensure the email displays as desired across multiple platforms.

Think twice before including ‘free screening’ or similar words to your subject line. Spam filters watch for emails that look like spam, which include subject lines in all caps, words such as “sale,” “free,” or “limited time”. Also, ensure that your email body is conversational and doesn’t include an excessive number of links. Most email software offers a spam test, which will flag text and formatting that, might cause the email to be caught by the user’s spam filter.

Refer to the lists below to ensure you are testing in the most popular email domains and clients. Or, pull your email subscriber list to do your own analysis of the most popular email domains and if they typically open on desktop or mobile.

  Top 10 Email Domains Top 10 Email Clients
1 Yahoo Apple iPhone
2 Gmail Gmail
3 Hotmail Apple iPad
4 AOL Google Android
5 Comcast Outlook
6 MSN Apple Mail
7 SBC Global Outlook.com
8 Verizon Yahoo! Mail
9 RoadRunner Windows Live Mail
10 Optimum AOL Mail

Sources:

http://www.ryansolutions.com/blog/2013/email-domains/

https://emailclientmarketshare.com/

Back to Basics: Pick the right medium.

Marshall McLuhan famously said, “The medium is the message.” But what exactly did he mean? Well, we won’t get into that today; however, the quote lends itself to advertising quite well. Because the medium you end up using dictates your message.

Whether you are using billboards, radio, television, print or online, each one is good for different types of messages. The following is a best-use list of which medium is best for what messaging.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Only Mad Men Like Advertising; Customers Want Content

4934882110_87025eb586_oMarketers who are driving growth and building stronger brand connections with their audiences are doing so by providing value outside of a purchasing need. 

 

As we’ve discussed in our last few blog posts on content marketing, consumers have crept into the driver’s seat and have virtually shut off the world of traditional marketing as we know it. It doesn’t matter whether you sell to businesses or consumers—a buyer is a consumer and vice versa; their behavior is what they’ve acquired in their retail experiences.

A consumer’s brand experience begins online.

Marketing’s dependence on mass promotional campaigns with goals of reach and frequency are being replaced by messaging, information, tools and interactions that target, position and differentiate you from your competitors. This shift in thinking is much different than the promotional marketing efforts you’ve traditionally launched to publicize your product or service or your brand as a whole.

If you remember, we defined content marketing in a recent post, Content Marketing Is Just Old-School MarComm, as:

the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Selling needs to be kept under the radar. What you’re trying to do is build your case and establish trust with prospective buyers. Make it easy for your buyers to buy from you. Make them want to buy from you. People buy from people they know, like and trust. So get to know your customers. Be likable. And by all means, be trustworthy.

Content marketing helps you get found by the people who matter to your business.

Think about the different types of content that contribute to your buyer’s journey. How can you capture attention and inspire them?

Here’s a simple example of the difference between “promotional marketing” and “content marketing.” Let’s use healthcare marketing, which is one of the industries struggling with the move from promotional marketing to content marketing.

Which of the below scenarios is an example of content marketing?

  • Running an ad touting your joint replacement surgery center
  • Creating a video that provides tips on how to treat knee pain after jogging

The print ad is promotional marketing because it will appeal to very few people who need a specific procedure—joint replacement surgery—at the time they see your ad. The content marketing example is the knee pain video because it will connect with a far broader audience who suffer from knee pain.

Understand that content marketing as a philosophy alone will not ensure success. If you take the idea of creating a video on knee pain and run a search for “knee pain video,” it will more than likely result in over a million hits. In order to show up through all of the clutter, you have to create a relevant, compelling program that differentiates you.

How do you begin? By asking the same questions a marketer would normally ask:

  • What are our goals?
  • How do we measure success?
  • Who is our primary audience?
  • What are our differentiators?

Once you determine the answers, you will want to think in terms of providing relevant messaging and content to an audience that may not have an immediate need to buy today. Focus on driving actions unrelated to making a purchase, like signing up for a seminar, requesting information, downloading a case study or white paper, or participating in a webinar. In other words, you are striving for engagement.

 

AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Townsend via flickr

Content Marketing Is Not Social Media Marketing

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Marketers have always needed to find ways of conveying important information in useful and entertaining ways and social media is the communication workhorse that can effectively and efficiently do it.

Social media didn’t create content marketing.
Content marketing has been around as long as people have been selling services. What started as published content on the Web, progressed from text to rich content like videos, infographics, e-books, etc. Now that there is more content out there than anyone can reasonably find and consume, we’re applying personalization technology to filter the barrage of information coming at us from all angles into meaningful, relevant, digestible chunks.

Different animals.
There is plenty of overlap between content marketing and social media marketing, but don’t forget they are two different animals with different focuses and objectives. In social media, the hub of marketing activity lies within the networks themselves, with content being placed inside the networks. In contrast, content marketing’s focal point is your brand’s own content hub, like your website or a product-specific microsite.

 The goals of content marketing are consumption, then behavior. The goals of social media are participation, then behavior. – Jay Baer

 Social media is used by customers and prospects to communicate among themselves and sometimes with companies. Communication in social media is much less structured; it’s conversational and can be reactive. Therefore, its strength lies in brand awareness and customer satisfaction and retention.

 Social media is the new telephone. Content marketing is the new brochure. – Jay Baer

Content marketing is a tool companies use to educate, inform and entertain customers and prospects by creating attention or causing action that moves them down the buying funnel, resulting in leads, sales and advocacy.

A powerful match.
Think of social media channels as the tentacles that can extend the reach of your content and foster authentic conversations with your customers and prospects. Despite the differences between the two, there is a vital interdependence that can make or break a digital marketing strategy. We’ve always needed to find ways of conveying important information in useful and entertaining ways, we’re just using technology as the vehicle to do it.

 

AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Photo credit: Thanks to mkhmarketing via flickr for the wonderful graphic available under the creative commons license.

Content Marketing Is Just Old-School MarComm

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Content has always been an important part of many marketing plans, but somewhere along the line, something changed old-school marketing into the data-driven digital beast we are all clamoring to master.

That thing is called the internet, and it has transformed marketing communications into a completely new animal.

Your customers don’t care about you, your products, your services…they care about themselves, their wants and their needs. Today’s content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.

If you prefer a more formal definition, let’s use Content Marketing Institute’s version that defines it as the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience–with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

60 percent of business decision makers say that company content helps them make better product decisions.(Source: Roper Public Affairs)

Content drives the Internet. As marketers, we know that consumers are looking for information that helps them solve their problem. In that respect, content marketing isn’t new.

80 percent of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. (Source: Roper Public Affairs)

Whatever the label, the goal has always been the same: to share useful information that helps customers solve their business problems in the hope they do something, like return to your site, subscribe to your newsletter or download your latest white paper.

70 percent of business decision makers say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company. (Source: Roper Public Affairs)

Offer useful, informative, practical content. Create content that makes your readers’ lives easier. Share content that makes them laugh and entertains them. Show them you understand what’s keeping them awake at night and offer solutions. This is the path to building brand recognition, trust, authority, credibility, loyalty and authenticity.

Good content marketing should:

  • Be relevant to your reader
  • Close the gap (inform)
  • Be non-promotional/non-selling
  • Be relevant to your company
  • Provide proof

Organizations that are having the most success use an approach to content marketing that involves a high ratio of valuable content with no sales messaging, mixed with intermittent promotional messages. The types of content keep growing, but here is a brief list:

  • Articles
  • Blog posts
  • E-books
  • Case Studies
  • Demos
  • Events
  • Free trials
  • Information guides
  • Manuals
  • Online tutorials, courses
  • Podcasts
  • Presentations
  • Reference guides
  • Surveys
  • Videos
  • Webinars/Webcasts
  • White papers
  • Widgets

Getting started with content marketing can be as simple as implementing one type of content at a time, such as a blog. Then you can begin to layer new content types into the rest of your marketing plan.

 

AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Photo credit: Catherine Snodgrass via flickr

What are you willing to pay to reach those hard-to-herd millennials?

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Traditional media may not be able to reach the younger generation you’re trying to engage, but online radio (Pandora, Spotify) and smart TV (Roku, AppleTV, Xbox, Hulu, Amazon basic, etc.) are strategic ways to supplement traditional spending with online spending.

These tactics can be highly targeted, effective with high click through rates (CTRs) and you can tie them back to ROI with good reporting.

Is the investment is worth the engagement? That depends on client’s goals. Keep in mind:

  • Cover traditional media first—online, radio and smart TV are designed to supplement local media
  • These elements can provide a direct link to your website/webpage with great CTRs
  • Engagements don’t necessarily equate to increased sales/action
  • Great on-air spots don’t always translate directly to online success

Also, consider the benefits:

  • Geo-target a market to zip codes in many situations
  • Contextual radio targeting using format type, listener, interests, etc.
  • Contextual radio targeting using genres of programming, specific programming, viewer, interests, etc.
  • Detailed reporting capabilities—CTRs, impressions, etc.—to relate back to ROI
  • Can target specific dates and times as they apply to your business.

For more information, you can reach our Media Director, Tamara Green.

TamaraGreen@AcrobatAnt.com

 

AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Raise your site’s SEO power from the inside out, and from the top down.

Evaluating your entire website from a Search engine optimization (SEO) standpoint can be daunting, but it is well worth the effort.  Assigning descriptive names for pages, images and graphics can improve your ranking. And because search engines crawl your site through navigation links, creating good ones helps shorten the path between consumers and your core information and your path to success.

The keys to keywords.

Adding keywords to your web copy is a great idea, but using key phases is an even better way to improve searches. Density of keywords adds power to searches, but arbitrarily repeating them is not good and can potentially get your site banned.

Who’s knocking on your door?

Google webmaster tools show you how search engines interact with your site. And embedding Google analytics in your site will help you find out who’s coming, why, when and how. Learn other ways AcrobatAnt can boost your site’s SEO ranking.

 

AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912