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Kevin Urrutia

Why Small Business Owners Should Engage in PR?

By | Marketing | One Comment

If you are running a small business, you are probably very well aware of all the challenges and obstacles you have face every day, be it the lack of finances, resources, or skilled staff. However, all of those can be made up for with a good marketing plan, and one of the best things you can do for your small business on a budget is to focus your efforts on PR. For instance, millennials are 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs and social media, which means that utilizing PR should be at the top of your list. On top of that, PR is usually free, and if done right, it can create a bigger impact than paid ads.

For instance, having other people talk about your small business sounds more credible that tooting your own horn. What you can do is reach out to local journalists who are looking for their next story, or even your local TV station and convince them to do a piece on your business. You can even round up all of your latest news and provide them with content that is already created for them. Finally, there are always industry bloggers and influencers which can give you a push if you can manage to get on their good side.

If all of this hasn’t convinced you yet, let’s take a look at five reasons why your small business needs PR.

  1. Your Marketing Dollars Will Last Longer

According to Mark Kinsley, who works as a marketing manager for essayontime.co.uk, PR allows you to make up for your lack of marketing dollars by simply putting in more effort in building credibility and authority of your business and brand, as well as by developing relationships with influencers. This organic, word-of-mouth approach might take longer, but all that positive buzz will make your marketing more organic, and your customers will be more likely to trust you because you don’t rely on pushy sales tactics like everyone else.

  1. It Beats Advertising

Speaking of trust and organic buzz, Nielsen research also shows that PR is 90% more effective than advertising when it comes to influencing the customers. These days, an average person is exposed to as many as 5,000 ads per day! However, they are more likely to purchase a product if it has been endorsed by an influencer or someone like them, which explains why so many companies sponsor YouTube vloggers nowadays. As opposed to trusting corporations, customers are more inclined to trust people, and with PR, you get exactly that, a human voice for your small business.

  1. PR Is Ideal for Damage Control

While it’s not that easy to get people to say nice things about your small business, it is very easy for them to do the opposite. Negative reviews and disgruntled customers can deal a huge blow to your brand unless you can get on the ball quickly. With PR, you can resolve disputes, conflicts, and mitigate the effects of negative feedback and faulty products. Ultimately, it is not just about turning the negative into a positive, but also about making sure that the information being spread about you and your business is accurate.

  1. It Boosts Your Brand’s Visibility

The great thing about the Internet is that online media can remain relevant for a really long time, which isn’t the case with traditional media. Your video or blog posts will stay online forever, and they can even become more valuable over time. If you can make sure that your stories are relevant and valuable for users and share them on earned, social, and owned channels, your business will climb up in terms of ranking, not to mention that you will get an influx on new customers.

  1. It Complements Your Marketing

Another thing that’s great about PR is that it’s not a substitute for your marketing efforts, nor does it compete against them. In fact, you can use PR to bolster your marketing efforts even further. Focus on providing something of real value to your target audience through PR. Think about what their problems and pain points are, and create something that will help, inspire, or educate them. If you can empathize with them on any level, rest assured that you will win their attention and trust.

Summary

Regardless of what you may have read online, getting free PR is possible, and it only takes some time and effort to develop a good relationship with reputable people, such as influencers and journalists. If you can set aside an hour each week to work on your PR, in half a year you will be able to generate enough buzz so that your brand gets positive mentions in the media, Good luck!

 

Terence Murray has been working as a professional editor in London publishing agency for 4 years. Now he is journalist-freelancer and wide ranged professional content developer

Your Guide To Creating Marketing Videos That Work

By | Marketing | No Comments

Anyone paying close attention to digital marketing trends understands the immense promotional power of video. Smartphones increasingly dominate online activity, and with the intensity of social media feeds making most content blend together, video has the inherent advantage of being relatively eye-catching — and once it has grabbed that attention, it can maintain it far better than written content.

Video content isn’t a magic bullet, though. If you produce low-quality videos, they won’t achieve anything more than low-quality articles would. They might even prove counterproductive by making your company look bad. In this guide, we’re going to cover how you can create marketing videos that actually work, boosting brand recognition and driving conversions.

Review the digital landscape

Research is always a good preliminary move when you’re planning a marketing campaign of any kind, and it’s important here because video has a high creative ceiling. That means you can achieve some really interesting things with it, but it also means you can get it massively wrong — and if you want to avoid the latter, you must see what other companies in your industry are doing. This will also give you an idea of which topics haven’t been covered well (or at all).

Go to relevant pages on Facebook, channels on YouTube, and accounts on Twitter, and see what video ads show up (if any). Visit your competitors’ websites and look for their YouTube channels. Are any of your rivals doing TV marketing? It’s getting less common, but it’s possible, depending on your industry.

What titles are being used? What’s the typical presentation like? Is it slick or gritty? Are the videos based on narratives or presented as purely informational? Think about what your target audience will like, and what will fit your brand. Take all the inspiration you can and use it to come up with some ideas that will work for you.

Define your desired outcome

What action do you want someone to take when they’ve watched your marketing video? Order your product, sign up to your newsletter, follow you on social media? There are various ways in which you can add a CTA to a video: you can provide a clickable overlay on YouTube, or add a QR code with a link, or just make the video itself a link (as is common in PPC ads).

Whatever that action may be, your video must be built around it. Don’t get distracted by the creative possibilities and spend so much time playing around with the edits that you forget about the goal. Think about how a long-time YouTuber will address the same points in each video (“like this video, leave a comment, subscribe to the channel, follow me on Twitter”, etc.) and make sure your video is similarly actionable.

Remember that your video is providing value to the viewer for free, entertaining and/or informing them for nothing — don’t be demanding, but don’t be afraid to ask for what you’d like in return.

Choose the most relevant video type (or types)

There are numerous types of video that can be used for marketing. There’s the product review, the testimonial, the feature highlight, the abstract promo, the guide (informing customers is huge for branding), the behind-the-scenes exploration — if you’re just trying to get more attention for your company, then almost any kind of video can function well for marketing.

That said, keep the following things in mind: firstly, some video types are much harder to produce than others, and secondly, you need to aim for a stylistic match. Making an existential short film might get you some attention in the world of cinema, but unless that also happens to be your target audience, it will prove a waste of time.

Particularly while you’re starting out with video content, it’s best to focus on quality and forget about quantity. If you get somewhere with your videos, you can always scale up production at a later date. Accordingly, stick to maybe one or two types at first, and make them exceptional.

Script your content

Don’t just start recording and improvise your content. It looks incredibly amateurish, and though there are rare occasions on which it’s good to come across that way, it’s usually a bad idea. You want to seem professional, competent, and skilled — plus the more tightly you script your content, the less time you’ll waste in the footage. If you can fit your points into a 20-second video, the viewers will appreciate it.

This doesn’t mean you have to write your script before you do any recording, though. It can be useful to play around with the recording, improvising different things and seeing what works, before using that experimentation to finish the script. That way, you’ll get wording that feels natural without wasting any time.

Use solid recording equipment

I’ve said “solid” here, but not “expensive”, because it doesn’t need to cost a lot to record decent video footage. The average smartphone today can handle smooth HD footage, after all — set up a tripod in an environment with good lighting and you should achieve a level of quality that’s perfectly sufficient for general online marketing.

Something you might want to spend more on, though, is the microphone. Sound quality is really important, particularly for guides and anything with speech. Look up podcasting microphones and find something that fits your budget — spend as much as you can within that restriction, because a good mic will last you for years and more than return its value.

As for the editing, you don’t need to invest in high-end software at this stage. Tech advancement hasn’t just improved hardware accessibility — software is now easier and cheaper to use than ever before. As a result, you can edit audio without spending anything at all. If you start making a lot of money through your video marketing, you can think about buying an industry-leading video suite.

Get the distribution right

Let’s say that you’ve created a video on a topic you think is relevant and valuable for your audience, complete with a solid CTA that returns value to you. We’ll call it “4 Reasons You’re Paying Too Much in Taxes”, a slick listicle video that leads up to a CTA guiding viewers to try your simple tax-handling software because it will save them money. What do you do with it?

Well, you don’t want to just upload it to some sites and leave it there. In fact, that’s going to prove disastrous for YouTube, because upload timing is critical on that platform. Get the timing right and you go viral — get it wrong and you’re never noticed. And once you’ve added it, get maximum value from it through embedding the link elsewhere. If you’ve created a product guide, for instance, you should place it front and centre on the corresponding product page: if you’ve used a code-free store creator like Shopify, adding video content to will be as simple as taking the YouTube embed code and inserting it via the text editor.

And when you’re using your video for PPC through a platform such as Facebook, you need to think not only about the timing of your ads but also about your targeting. Facebook allows you to target so many niche parameters that you can get incredibly in-depth about your target audience. If you’re selling simple tax software, for instance, then there’s no point in targeting people who work in accountancy — they’ll already have much more sophisticated systems.

Tie in other marketing tactics

Video is incredibly effective when used well, but the best marketing strategies today are broad, bringing numerous channels together to pursue specific goals. That means not stopping with video — if you’re providing a guide, for instance, transcribe it and offer it as a script as well, and strip the video to make it a podcast you can let people download.

People have so many media options now that you need a flexible campaign capable of reaching them anywhere they go: websites, social media networks, messaging channels, video platforms, even streaming services such as Twitch. Spread your marketing videos wherever your audience is likely to see them, and complement them with other forms of marketing (text ads, infographics, templates, etc.).

Follow each of these steps, then keep a close eye on feedback from commenters and followers. How are people responding to your video content? Don’t make knee-jerk alterations to your strategy based on the occasional negative comment, but also don’t persist with a video strategy if it clearly isn’t working. Use the metrics at your disposal to make sensible choices, and keep experimenting until you gain some traction.

The Perfect Name For Your Business Is Out There—Here’s How You Can Discover It

By | Marketing | One Comment

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur then you are probably well aware of how important it is to choose the perfect name for your business when launching your brand. The name is the very first thing a customer will learn about your company so it’s important that it fits your brand well. A good name should draw customers in and summarize the brand’s true identity. If you’re creating a company for the first time, don’t worry, choosing a brand name is easy and a great way to set your business up for success!

 

Although coming up with a name can be challenge for some business owners, it can be a really fun experience! Selecting a name is not like stepping off the edge of a cliff blindfolded, it should be a well-thought out experience. If you follow these three simple steps you will be able to organize your ideas and get the most out of your perfect brand name.

Step One: Mission and Vision

Decide on your brand

When selecting a name for your new business, it is useful to gather all of your ideas in one place. It’s a smart idea to save your idea to a place that you can look back on throughout the naming process. Make sure you start by writing down any key aspects of what you want your brand to be. Be sure to include what your business does, the values and why what you’re doing is important. If your customers can sense that you’re passionate about your brand, they will also start to care about your brand.

 

Once you’ve written about your brand ideals, then you can compile a list of eight to ten of your current favorite business names. After that, then you should begin to analyze them and choose your favorites. It’s important to do some research on your top business name ideas. Then, you should write down a few of notes about why you like about the specific business names and why you think it works for that specific corporation. This will help give you some direction for your own naming process.

Decide on your target audience

It’s important to ensure that your brand reflects your target audience of your new company. For example, a fashion brand for successful middle-aged professional women will sound nothing like a hip clothing line for students. There’s a good reason two different brands like that wouldn’t sound alike even despite being in the same industry. The best brand names specifically target your audience, and draw them in with values and emotions that your audience relates to.

Look ahead to the future

Think about where you want to see your brand at in five years. Now, where would you like to see your business in ten years? Thinking about the future can prevent you from choose a name that pigeonholes your brand into a specific service. At the beginning, you may be launch a brand of socks, and you think the name CrazySocks could be a great fit, but if you plan to expand into producing hats and scarves, CrazySocks would no longer an appropriate name. If you plan ahead with your brand name, you can avoid an expensive rebranding process down the line.

 

Step Two: Get Creative

Think of some names

This is the best part of the naming process for aspiring entrepreneurs! All you have to do is write down every name you can think of that could fit the brand you’re creating. Don’t worry or put pressure on yourself. Instead, feel free to think out of the box and get creative. Also, don’t be afraid of writing down names you don’t like. The more names you have on your list, the more you can cross off which will make it easier to narrow down the list to your favorites.

 

Make sure to start broad when brainstorming names. Some names can be obvious, abstract, expressive, or classic. You can even combine two or more words to form a new name, or you can use two separate words to represent your brand. Try writing down a brand name for every business name type. This exercise will help you see what names work best for your company.

Cut your list down

It’s time to start cutting down your long list of names. You can begin crossing off names that don’t work for your brand. Continue crossing off names until you have five or six favorites. This is a great change for you to get second opinions on names from friends, family, and members of your brand’s target market.

 

When you ask your family and friends about the potential names, don’t ask “Which of these names is your personal favorite?” You should avoid potential bias by asking something more vague like, “Which brand intrigues you?”

Step Three: Check your Boxes

Secure your domain name and assess your risk

 

Trademark validation for your business name is last step in securing your name for your business. Don’t worry if you’ve never created a business before, it’s quick and easy to run a trademark risk test to make sure that your name isn’t already taken by a similar business. If you discover your brand name is too similar to another name for a business that offers comparable services, you could run into trouble with trademark law later down the line. This is why it’s important to be proactive about trademark risk because it can help you avoid messy legal issues in the future.

Conclusion

While searching for the perfect name for your brand is a daunting task for some aspiring entrepreneurs, you now know how to break it up into three easy steps. Your name should be the sum of your brand’s identity, because it is the first point of connection between your business and the customer. If you’re stressed that all the good brand names are taken, take a deep breath. Don’t worry, the perfect brand name for your new business is out there, it just takes a bit of prospecting and brainstorming to find it.

 

Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Inc 500 company Squadhelp.com, the worlds #1 naming platform, with nearly 20,000 customers from the smallest startups across the globe to the largest corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi, and AutoNation. Get inspired by exploring these winning brand name ideas.

How Can You Build A Video Sharing Website of your own?

By | Marketing | One Comment

Currently, it is a notable fact that internet users are spending a vital portion of their online time on video sharing websites like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. In fact, studies have proven that almost 80% of internet traffic in 2019 will be video traffic (Source: SmallBizTrends). Video sharing platforms, by offering a central location for entertainment, learning, and marketing, are becoming everyone’s favorite. A video sharing website boasts of a remarkable business model that lets-

  • Platform owners to earn through Ads, and content publication.
  • Content creators to earn through brand promotion, copyrighting, and sponsorships.

What’s big in creating a video sharing website of your own?

Video sharing websites in 2018 remain not just a platform to upload videos, but sites like YouTube are inspiring and building a community of content creators. A single platform is acting as a prominent medium to connect content creators, viewers and brands together.

Of course, it takes a plentiful time to come up with a site like YouTube or Netflix, and much more than that to start earning with the business. However, it is also safe to state that video streaming as a business has just started and is not going to fade any sooner. Until that time, entrepreneurs have enough frames to create a video sharing website like YouTube and earn with it.

You just require an ideal business model and a highly targeted niche to squeeze out the maximum from this high grossing market. Consider YouTube and Netflix; both are video sharing platforms but operate with unique business models. YouTube, on one hand, utilizes Ad-based revenue model (A-VOD), while Netflix employs Subscription-based revenue model(S-VOD). YouTube in one hand chiefly relies on user-generated content; Netflix leverages both third-party content and Netflix Originals.

Can you build a Video sharing business without coding?

 

Conceivably, an Affirmative!

A few years ago, the answer would have been “NO” for sure. However, this is almost 2019, and web technology has made practically everything reachable to the mainstream people, indeed launching a video sharing website is no more a tough nut to crack. Readymade video sharing scripts have been working like a charm and have encouraged numerous entrepreneurs to venture in the market of VOD and Live-video streaming. There are YouTube Clone scripts offering the same capabilities as of YouTube, and Netflix clone with UI and monetization models identical to Netflix. If you are aiming for a business-grade video sharing website, you can invariably select a video CMS or a ready-made clone script to launch your business in no time.

How to choose a video sharing script or video CMS?

There is a catch, not all video CMS in the market are competent to fulfill all your goals. Some might offer VOD features, but miss out Live-streaming capabilities. While some might offer both, but not as a white-label solution.

In this case, a white label video sharing script is your safest bet. Such scripts are fully customizable, and one can revamp their UI completely to match their expectations and brand identity. Streaming engines and streaming servers generally power these scripts. As a result, one can also choose to utilize any third party streaming engine in spite of using one provided by the clone script vendor. Hence, always make sure to confirm if your clone script is hardcoded for a dedicated streaming server or they can also customize it to accommodate any third party server you wish for your business development.

In addition to the above affirmations, take an assurance on the flowing aspects from your video CMS or clone script vendor. These features and measures are of utmost importance for running a professional grade video streaming platform-

1.    Stream Type support-

The platform must offer support for at least two major formats of video streaming platforms – VOD and Live Streaming. Do not hesitate to invest a little extra amount if they are willing to include both the features on a single platform with some customization cost. Retaining both the options will eventually pay-off.

2.    Payment gateways-

The platform must offer integrated payment systems for on-site transactions. Based on your monetization method, users will be paying per-video or for the membership plans. Revenue generation is hard to achieve without a safer payment security on your platform. For example, PayPal or Stripe payment gateways.

3.    HD content streaming-

Now that content consumers are getting used to 4K video streaming from Netflix, it has become even more crucial to offer something like that with your own streaming platform too. Let users stream in the highest quality possible. To make that sure, inquire a little deeper about the Streaming server, which has been incorporated in the particular video sharing script. For example, if Wowza or Nginx servers power the platform, it can definitely support HD quality streaming.

4.    Multi bit-rate streaming-

If streaming in 4K or HD quality is crucial, streaming in multi-bit rate is even more crucial. Not all users have access to high-end devices or high-speed internet. By sticking only to the HD quality stream, you would be losing a considerable number of users who do not have access to high-speed internet or high-end mobile phones. Hence, make sure, if your streaming server is capable of offering dynamic switching of stream quality according to corresponding bandwidth or streaming device.

5.    Multi-platform streaming-

Users these days consume video content across numerous platforms. Be it a mobile phone, computer, tablet, or smart TV video streaming platforms are offering applications and solutions on each of the popular platforms. A competent clone script will always offer cross-platform support for video streaming capabilities. Take Netflix for example, they have a web version in addition to their mobile apps and Smart TV apps.

6.    Monetization methods-

Video streaming businesses are built on multiple revenue generation models. Some of the crucial monetization methods are Subscription (SVOD-Like Netflix), Advertisement (AVOD- like YouTube), and Transactional (TVOD- like YouTube’s Premium content). A competent streaming business in 2018 must necessarily support all the monetization methods to leverage every business opportunity in the market. YouTube sets an excellent example of a Hybrid revenue model by utilizing SVOD, TVOD, as well as the AVOD model.

7.    Security features-

The business of multimedia or video content streaming is always prone to piracy. Despite all critical efforts, pirates do find ways to distribute content without authorization. There are ways to put a tab piracy through Advanced IP access control, Video encryption and Digital Rights Management. Always go for a solution that offers at least the above three measures to prevent piracy and unauthorized distribution of your content.

8.    Social media login support-

The platform must allow social media integrations employing which users can be allowed to sign up quickly without manually filling the account registration forms. The features will additionally allow the platform to let users share and promote the service to maximize the user base.

9.    Video performance analytics-

It is important to comprehend the performance level of each content being posted on the platform. The numbers must offer an insight into the reachability and revenue generated through a particular content on the platform. Moreover, the platform must also offer a seamless integration with Google Analytics and other platforms to evaluate the content performance with deeper insights like Gender, Age group, Geo-location etc.

10. Platform Customizability-

Above all, the platform must offer a sleek design and back-end architecture in addition to customizability for further enhancements in all the features. Looking out on these aspects will ensure your business does not run out of options for extending the technical feasibilities and other requirements in long run. Hence, invariably choose a platform backed by a futuristic technology. As of now, a script based on Node.JS is a safer bet. In fact, the biggest video streaming services of the century run on Node.Js: Netflix and YouTube.

What is the cost of building your own video sharing website?

It depends!

It depends on various factors. There are many Video Sharing script providers in the market. All of them have their own set of features and functionalities to offer in a particular price range. Moreover, before looking out for a competent YouTube clone or any video sharing clone script, you have to decide one more thing-SaaS or Open Source code?

Recurring cost– SaaS providers generally do not share the code with the clients and charge on a per-month or annual basis. However, the popular companies in this niche are well known for their high-end features and dedicated customer support in a 24×7 environment. Your platform will remain updated with the latest features as they regularly roll out security and feature upgrades.

One-time cost– The other option is Open-source-code scripts where you can purchase and own the script for good. These scripts are generally white-labeled and possess maximum customizability, as codes are constantly available with you. Moreover, you will not be paying monthly or annual subscription charges. You can always consult any third party or the same developer to add or customize a feature. You are also liberated to choose Hosting Server Provider (e.g. Bluehost and HostGator) and Streaming Server Provider (e.g. Wowza and Nginx) of your choice.

Make a wise decision

Now that you are aware of all the options you possess, you can evaluate your platform requirements and business goals to select the most reliable option that suits the most. The final cost of building your Netflix or YouTube-like video streaming website depends on the features and customization you demand on the base scripts. It is always wise to select a clone that offers maximum features in the base script alone.

Author:

Amanda Smith:

A marketing professional with expertise in strategies to engage customers and improve business opportunities. Interested in marketing communications and like to keep abreast of new trends and developments.

Why is Black Friday footfall in decline?

By | Marketing | One Comment

Black Friday may have grown in recognition over the last decade, however, recent trends show that footfall in Britain during Black Friday has fallen year-on-year. Early data from indicated that Black Friday footfall was down 8% over the Black Friday weekend.

According to Barclaycard, online transactions were up. Despite , the amount spent per transaction online failing, Black Friday is clearly no longer an event that necessarily helps bricks and mortar stores. According to marketing and insights director at Springboard, Diane Wehrle, “while online transactions are up, the vast majority of spending is still in shops, so this indicates there was a fall in spending”.

It seems that Black Friday campaigns have managed to engage customers and that trends are moving away from stores, with customers preferring to shop online and avoid the shopping centre mayhem. In the past, customers have been known to queue from early hours of the morning in order to grab the best deals. However, due to the large criticism received it seems as though the UK has distanced itself from the US version …

The growth of online

The largest contributing factor to this year’s footfall was online sales. Many consumers opted to shop online, rather than queue in stores to snap up a bargain. Trust in online shopping continues to grow, making online shopping a more convenient method for customers. In addition, many online retailers began their Black Friday sales earlier, with some sales lasting till the end of the month, making customer less inclined to visit in store.

With the use of mobile phone on the rise, a large number of customers snapped up deals using their mobile phone.  According to Argos, half of its orders on Friday morning had been made on a handset, up from 40% last year.

Black Friday no longer the main sale event

Furthermore, there are also indications that shoppers are growing accustomed to continuous sales and discounts throughout the year. This, paired with the ubiquitous argument around whether Black Friday discounts are better than the rest of the sales throughout the year. According to studies, 9 out of 10 Black Friday products are cheaper at other times of the year. The study showed that out of 21,047 products, in a course of 12 months, only laptops were offered at a favourable bargain price.

Payday far away

Another contributing factor is that customers have less disposable income. Despite the already doubtful nature of Black Friday discounts, Black Friday took place a week earlier this year and most shoppers only get paid the week after. Therefore, we’ve seen many ‘low value’ sales this Black Friday, with many shoppers opting to ‘treat’ themselves instead.

Avoiding the mayhem

Another contributing reason is the controversial nature of Black Friday. Previously there have been known reports of shoplifting, fighting, and even deaths (such as the two men who shot each other after a fight broke out in a Texas Toys-R-Us). Whilst most of these stories originate from the US, in the UK, consumers have had no problem adopting the US attitude to Black Friday. A clip-on YouTube from 2008 shows people trampling over other customers in Asda (a subsidiary of Walmart) as security open the shop doors and were overwhelmed by the sudden rush of people pouring in. There have been efforts to deal with this problem, with stores increasing their opening times and even stretching the sales over several days, weeks and sometimes a month in efforts to deal with the chaos. However, it seems as though shoppers remain reluctant to shop in stores, preferring to avoid the madness and shop from the comfort of their homes

 

To give you a better idea of some of the insane Black Friday incidents, we’ve created a list of the top 5 Black Friday disasters, ranging from controversial marketing campaigns to shopping mayhem.

  1. Super-Flop – Online store “SuperGurl” in Singapore created a particularly distasteful ad campaign showing a young woman in a suggestive pose with the phrase “rape us now”. The advert was heavily criticized on social media with many stating that rape should never be used as a synonym for ‘shop now’, especially when their audience is young women and teens.

 

  1. Asda shambolic PR disaster – In Northern Ireland Asda (a subsidiary of Walmart) attempted to replicate the US Black Friday shopping spree frenzy. The campaign was highly advertised and even backed by a PR push on BBC radio, advertising heavily discounted goods that would be on sale at their stores. The campaign proved successful with queues gathering outside stores across the country, in the early hours of Friday morning. However when stores opened it became clear that there were limited numbers of goods on offer, and in some stores, at least some goods advertised were not available at all. In frustration, the large crowds turned into chaos with one woman reportedly suffering a broken arm in the mayhem.

 

  1. Pepper Spray Tactic – In 2011 at Porter Ranch Walmart in California, an unknown woman used pepper spray to prevent other customers from shopping. Reports say that there were over 100 people waiting in line, pushing and shoving before they realised they were attacked with pepper spray. Customers coughed and itched as the woman continued with what was dubbed as ‘competitive shopping’.

 

  1. Shopping Stampede – In 2008 at a Walmart in Long Island was overwhelmed with 2,000 customers storming in at 5 am, 5 minutes before the store was due to open. The store never in fact opened. It was said, that customers stormed into the store, knocking the doors off their hinges and literally blasted their way in. In the midst of the chaos, a 34-year-old temporary worker fell and was trampled to death!

 

  1. Black Friday Crash! – In 2017, both GAME and Debenhams, some of the two biggest UK high street retailers experienced website crashes due to the large traffic of people who were looking to grab a bargain, in the Black Friday sales. Whilst Debenhams acted promptly placing customers in a 30-second queue in order to deal with the traffic, customers who visited GAME were greeted with a

 

 

How to Manage a Distributed Marketing Team

By | Marketing | One Comment

The modern office has changed dramatically over the past decade or so. One of the most important aspects of this change is the fact that more and more people are working remotely, especially in companies that mainly sell their products or services online.

This also means that a growing number of marketing teams are distributed, which can become a problem if the challenges are not recognized and addressed properly.

So, how do you do that? How do you manage a distributed marketing team so that it is as successful (perhaps even more) as a collocated one?

Set up structured processes

The processes that we are talking about here do not entail setting up a step-by-step procedure for every little thing that a member of a distributed marketing team will be doing. However, a distributed marketing team does need to employ certain templates, checklists and guidelines to establish a certain way of doing things.

This is not because marketers on distributed teams are bad at their jobs. This is because it can be tiresome to chase around for a certain piece of information on Slack, waiting until someone finally answers to your email, or having to spend hours scouring the team’s Google Drive.

Setting up structured processes saves time and prevents miscommunication that is more likely in distributed teams.

Be smart about technology

One of the factors that contributed to the widespread practice of remote work is the availability of affordable and truly useful technology that makes it possible to even try to manage a team distributed around the world.

Unfortunately, this has opened up a whole other can of worms as badly managed distributed teams are told to use a dozen tools just for their day-to-day work.

If you want to manage your distributed marketing team the right way, you will make sure to do your research into different kinds of tools your team might need, keeping the number to a minimum and getting feedback from your team.

In case you are managing an agile marketing team, you will have to take this into consideration and review agile tools that will support your team in its efforts.

In addition to software, you might want to think about investing in some hardware, or more precisely quality cameras, headphones and microphones which brings us to our next piece of advice.

Communication. Communication. Communication

Sure, email is great for getting a piece of information across to another member of them and okay, Slack is a nifty piece of software. However, no matter how well you use chat and other forms of text communication, something will be lacking. Nothing can come close to audio and especially video, which is why you should seriously consider these options.

For example, you should at least do a quick daily video meeting at a time that suits everyone. People can call in and share what they have been doing and what they are planning to do in the period until the next meeting. This is an Agile practice that can do wonders for coordinating the team and keeping things transparent.

Some remote teams also practice pairing up two random people via audio for the day, as if they were sitting at the same desk. This can go a long way toward building a team that is more than just employees who work on the same projects.

Regardless of the way in which your distributed marketing team communicates, it is essential that you do not curb casual talk, personal stories, jokes and everything else that is a part of a traditional office.

Simply put, you have to encourage constant feedback from your team and consult them for ways in which you can promote communication even more. You have to be proactive about this and do not count on this just happening.

Meet in person

Depending on how dispersed your remote marketing team is and how big your budget is, you will be able to organize meetups where the entire team will get together in person and get to know each other better. Some teams may afford to meet every month or two, while others might only afford a single, yearly meetup.


The important thing is that you do it.

There is absolutely nothing that can replace face-to-face interaction and a single day that your team spends together at the same location will be more conducive to team building than spending a month together on Slack.

You can decide how formal to keep things, whether you want to have a structured team building meetup or whether you want to keep things casual. Both options will work and you will want to feel out your team what they would prefer.

One very important thing to remember here – either everyone meets or no one meets.

Trust your team

Some managers find it difficult to trust remote team members and they adopt an overbearing approach. They demand that everyone is at their computers not a second too late and they track every second of their time. These managers also often demand constant updates about every little thing their team members do.

This is not the way to manage a remote marketing team. You are working with adults who take pride in what they do and who want to do their best. You are working with people who want their team and their company to benefit from their work. As long as the team collaborates on planning the projects and pulls in the same direction, you can let go of the micromanagement.


Not only are you disrespecting them by demanding constant updates, but you are also wasting their time which can be spent on doing actual work instead of reporting.

Trust your team. Of course, you will want to track the progress of your projects and communicate on what can be improved. But, please, do not treat them like you would a remote team of five-year-olds.

Hire and onboard smartly

It can be quite difficult to do proper hiring and onboarding for a distributed marketing team. Adding new people to any kind of a marketing team can be challenging, let alone one that is distributed and faces additional obstacles.

For example, you will have to put more emphasis on certain skills and characteristics, such as:

  • Assertiveness and directness in communication
  • Ability to autonomously solve problems
  • High level of self-organization and self-discipline
  • Openness to giving and receiving feedback

Onboarding is also extremely important when adding new people to remote marketing teams since there is very little of that organic onboarding that happens in a traditional office. You will want to have a structured onboarding process in place to ensure that the bureaucratic stuff is handled with ease. This will enable the team to provide a personal, informal welcome to the new member, giving them an insight into the culture of the team.

If it can be done logistically, it would also be a good idea to hire new people shortly before meetups in person so that they can meet their new colleagues face-to-face.

Closing Word

Managing a distributed marketing team is not easy. It requires a lot of trust, even more communication and the ability to be realistic about how the team will grow organically and what has to be actively supported.

The good news is that it can be done and done well.

AUTHOR: Jug Babic works at VivifyScrum. He is a member of an agile marketing team with remote members. You can find him on Twitter.

Ultimate Guide to Creating a Successful Instagram Video Marketing Strategy

By | Marketing | One Comment

We get it. You’ve heard that Instagram has surpassed one billion users.

You’ve also read that 25% of all Instagram ads are video.  

And you’ve been told that video is an awesome way to connect with your audience, and boost conversions and sales.

And now you want in on it.

The remarkable thing? We’ve just dropped an ultimate guide to creating a successful Instagram video marketing strategy.

Perfect. Timing.

Ready to take a look and improve your Instagram game? Let’s go!

Decide on a Goal

Video marketing on Instagram is the same as all your other marketing campaigns in that it needs to start with a goal.

Now, your goal doesn’t have to be earth-shatteringly amazing. It could be that you’ve got a new product, or it could be that you want to make an announcement.

However, these goals — as worthy as they are — are a bit vague. It’s important that you understand why you want to create your goal. You want more engagement, but why?

Once you’re super clear about the reason for your goal, you’ll be in a better place to measure the results.

Either way, it’s important that you have a clear goal in mind before you create your video.

Make Us Emotional

Why do people go to the movies? Because they want to feel something.

Whether they want to feel happy, sad, amused, nostalgic, scared, or even angry, people go to the movies to be moved.

Your video might not be Hollywood-level stuff, but it still needs to push emotional buttons.

So pick the right emotion that you want to tie into. This emotion needs to tie into your goal (see above). Let’s say I want to grow awareness of my brand using Instagram videos. As such, I won’t go for the jugular with product videos right now. Instead, I might focus on eliciting happy emotions.

Think of your favourite video ads. How about The Dollar Shave Club’s explainer video? It was so hilarious that it went viral and helped turn the company into a $1,000,000,000 acquisition. People found it funny, and funny is a good emotion to tap into when it comes to marketing, with 56% of consumers saying they’d tell their friends about a funny ad they’ve just seen.

Don’t confuse people by trying to tap into too many emotions. Focus on one main emotion that you want to key into and always have your target audience in mind.

For example, if you’re targeting young adults, are they the kind of people who should be made to feel nostalgic or happy about your product and ad?

To help you zone in on your emotional pull, the colours you use will play an important role, as will the font, the music and any voice over you use.

Emotions are what make videos engaging, and they help to keep us watching until the end.

Add a Compelling Call to Action

If there’s no CTA, your whole video marketing campaign will fall apart. People will watch your video but they won’t know what to do next.

Some bright sparks will take some sort of action — perhaps they’ll click on the link in your bio — but most will move on without doing anything.

You need to tell your audience exactly what you want them to do after they’ve watched your video.

The CTA you go with will be dependent on your overall goal (see above). If your aim is to increase conversions, you’ll want people to head over to your website. If you just want to raise brand awareness at the moment, perhaps you can use your CTA to tell people to ‘like’ your page.

Moreover, your CTA should feel like the next logical step that a viewer should take. As such, it has to make sense with the rest of your video’s content. It has to be relevant.

As a marketer, you shouldn’t have too many problems when it comes to using the right language. Be creative but be compelling, direct and simple. Brevity always works best with CTAs.

Keep Your Video Brief

Online videos posted to social media are generally not long. Of all the videos posted to Facebook over the last 12 months, 56% lasted less than 2 minutes.

So what’s the optimal length for an Instagram video?

According to research carried out by Hubspot, Instagram videos that received the most engagement lasted — on average — just 26 seconds.

In order to meet user expectations, then, you need to keep your videos short.

Keep them snappy, too. This means condensing info (a small amount of info) into a compact narrative that’s simple and easy to understand.

Your message still needs to be strong, of course, in which case you might want to outsource video script writing to a professional.

Of course, 26 seconds doesn’t give you a lot of time to work with. If you feel that 26 seconds doesn’t really tie into your goal and that you won’t be able to get your message across, you could create a carousel video, or you could create 3 or 4 videos based around the same theme. This allows you to break down your information and message into chunks that are easier to digest.

Make The First 5 Seconds Count

Look, there are many metrics you need to monitor in order to create a successful Instagram video marketing campaign. One of them is views. But views by itself doesn’t tell you anything. Your view count could be high, but what does it matter if 90% of viewers stop watching after 10 seconds?

With so much content flying at people, it’s so easy to skip a video if the first 5 seconds don’t grab us. In fact, many people do just that. Which means that it’s incredibly important that you make your first 5 seconds count.

Naturally, the pressure to hook people within 5 seconds is now enormous for marketers. It requires some reorientation of thinking on your part.

What’s important is that you deliver on your promise as soon as possible — within the first 5 seconds. Once you’ve done this, you’ve captured your viewer’s attention. From here, it’s yours to lose. Capturing peoples’ attention right away is all about knowing who your audience is. What’s going to stop them scrolling through their feed? What are they looking for? What problem do they have that needs solving? Find a way to present your benefit(s) as soon as possible.

Using captions is a hack that will serve you well. Especially on mobile devices, your viewers might be listening without sound. As such, you can use captions to grab their attention.

Another good idea is to add your logo and branding to your video as soon as possible, too. This helps to establish trust and familiarity.

You might also want to use your first 5 seconds to let people know exactly what to expect from this video. What will they get out of it? Why should they stick around?

All in all, when it comes to succeeding with videos on Instagram, understanding your audience, as well as the medium and context is key. These are the 3 core things you need to build your marketing strategy around. Use the tips in this article, keep up with all the latest trends — and make an awesome video that people want to watch.

About the author:
Aljaz Fajmut is a digital marketer, internet entrepreneur, and the founder of Nightwatch a search visibility tool of the next generation. Check out Nightwatch blog for SEO and marketing tips and follow him on Twitter: @aljazfajmut

How to Get Listed on Crypto Exchanges

By | Marketing | One Comment

Any blockchain based business that has cryptocurrency tokens needs to be listed on crypto exchanges for it to trade and conduct business. Today, getting cryptocurrency listing has been made easier thanks to the eradication of some rules which made the process quite unbearable, especially for new players. To get crypto listings, here are some of the things that you need to consider.

  1. Your business plan

Like any other business, you should have a business plan that is good enough to attract  ICOs and win listing proposals for you. A good plan makes it vital for getting crypto exchange listing since it will outline your direction on what you should do, both long term and short term,
with the aim of making more profit for you and your ICOs. A good plan can win you a slot in major crypto exchange because it shows the vision you have hence it has to be the best you can get.

  1. The law

The law is a crucial factor in your cryptocurrency business and determines how far you want to go with it. There is no way you will get any listing if you do not adhere to the cryptocurrency legalities. You need to make sure that you’ve grasped all the legal requirements so that you are not suspicious or portray yourself as a fraud. All your activities and processes should follow the required crypto laws so that you stand a high chance of being listed on a major exchange.

  1. Know your customer

It is easier for exchanges to list you if they realize that they have something to benefit at the end of the day. By knowing your clients and building a community means that an exchange will benefit because you are bringing business with you. The hardest part of building a strong client base is retaining them once they come in. And, the best way to achieve this is by ensuring that you always have good business with both clients and ICOs if you have any.

  1. Reach out to exchanges

Although this might be the hardest job you have especially if you want to target major exchanges, it is one move that you can never regret making. Reaching out to crypto exchanges is some introduction into the cryptocurrency industry. The exchanges you reach out to will acknowledge your existence as long as your application is clear, legal and generally presentable. You never know what luck you can have or who will accept you to their listing.

Gone are the days when one would pay thousands of dollars for their cryptocurrency to get a listing. How to get listed on crypto exchanges has been made simpler, and crypto exchanges opt to consider the long-term benefits of having a new listing.

However, it is vital that the way you present your project speaks a language that revolves around a workable plan and how better you can make profits compared to your competitors. It’s also advisable that you consider getting listed on small exchanges before going for the major ones to build your client base and have something to offer the big players.

Building an SEO-Friendly Rebranding Strategy

By | SEO | No Comments

Branding is the lifeblood of your startup. It gives it a unique identity, setting it apart from its competitors. Still, you need to keep in mind that your brand is changing as your company grows.

So, if you’ve shifted your focus, expanded to an international market, changed your target audience, or simply teamed up with another startup with similar goals, chances are your current branding strategy won’t communicate your business’ core values anymore. Apparently, to maintain your relevancy, you will need to rebrand.

Rebranding is a complex process, entailing a wide spectrum of elements you need to address. And, if not executed properly, it may hurt your online presence on multiple levels. Precisely because of this, you need to have SEO in mind when refreshing your brand.

Don’t change your domain name.

Changing your domain name may affect your rankings. So, if you can keep the same one, it would be great. Of course, for those startups that are changing their focus entirely or participating in a merger, this would not be possible. In this case, your domain name will change parallel with your new brand name.

Here are a few steps you can do to avoid having your rankings drop:

  • Make sure you keep your original content. This is an important step, even for those brands that are moving to a new domain. To preserve your content’s authority, you need to keep its structure, fonts, visuals- anything that might confuse search engines.
  • Redirect every page from your old site to a similar page of your new site. And, your URL structure determines how simple or difficult this process will be for you. Use Google Spreadsheets to make a list of your old URLs in one column and new URLs in another column so you can make this process simpler.
  • Keep your old site up for a while. This is something Matt Cutts addressed back in 2005, emphasizing the importance of preserving the old site for at least 24 hours. Given the fact that it can sometimes take crawlers days to recognize your new IP address, you should consider leaving your old site up for a week or so.

Create Targeted Content

Content creation is the backbone of your rebranding strategy. It helps you create an engaging story about your brand, engage people with it, and give it a unique tone and voice. This is a great opportunity to humanize your brand, build firmer customer relationships and above all, position yourself as a leader in your niche. Of course, to do so you need to do a detailed target audience segmentation that will help you see what your readers expect from you.

Analyze your blog’s performance, set up customer surveys, listen to them on social media or even hire a Hong Kong SEO company to do the hard work for you.  Once you know what your readers expect from you, you will be able to produce highly-personalized and consistent content that reflects your brand’s personality.

Update your contact information.

Accurate and up-to-date contact information is essential for all businesses, especially local ones. Namely, Google bots are constantly analyzing your contact information to determine your rankings. Moreover, it brings a sense of consistency and trustworthiness to your brand. Precisely because of this, your NAP (name, address, phone number) on your social networks, business directories, and other platforms should match your website’s.

Refurbish your social networks.

When changing your brand name, you should refurbish your business social profiles, as well. However, updating your social media IDs varies depending on different networks. Here is what you should keep in mind:

  • Facebook lets you change your page name and URL just once. So, when updating it, first make sure that this is the right decision.
  • Twitter deactivates those IDs that haven’t been used for a certain period of time. But, they do so really slowly. So, if you notice that your desired ID is already taken by a person or a company that doesn’t use it, you could contact them and see whether they’re willing to give it to you.
  • As for rebranding, LinkedIn is one of the simplest sites. Still, if someone is already using your company’s name, you will have to change your brand name on this social network.

It goes without saying that social networks are your most valuable assets when it comes to building a solid brand image and driving quality website traffic. Therefore, build a solid social media marketing strategy and use these channels wisely to spread the word about your new brand. For example, you could share press releases, guest posts, videos or even organize a giveaway to boost brand awareness.  

Mind your authorship.

Even though it lost its relevancy, authorship is still a part of Google’s ranking algorithm and that’s why it needs to be updated. You need to contact your contributors and ask them whether they would like to change your website domain in their contributor links. If there are any bloggers that don’t write for your site anymore, you should contact them as well and ask them to make these changes, too.

Mobile friendliness if your priority.

I’m sure you’ve been reading a lot about Google’s mobile-first indexing. Simply put, when indexing your site, Google is choosing your site’s mobile version as their starting point. So, it is your site’s responsiveness that determines how well you will rank.

This is something you should definitely keep in mind when refreshing your site. To make the most out of your site, you should make it responsive. Here is what it needs to include:

  • Clear, easy-to-tap CTAs
  • User-friendly and logical navigation
  • Bold and simple typography
  • Decluttered spaces, with lots of white space
  • Flexible, easily loadable visuals

Keep monitoring your performance.

When refreshing your brand, chances are you will miss something important. This is why you need to keep track of your traffic, conversions, and rankings in order to identify any problems and irregularities as soon as possible. Only this way will you be able to constantly improve your SEO efforts and, at the same time, build a solid and recognizable brand for your startup.

What steps did you take to ensure your rebranding strategy doesn’t hurt your SEO efforts?

7 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Content Marketing

By | Marketing | One Comment

7 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Content Marketing isn’t easy, no matter what people say. It may seem easy when you’re constantly learning and reading about successful marketing campaigns, but one wrong step can ruin your reputation, or potentially even lose you customers.

There are a few things you should know when it comes to marketing, because it will help you get more customers. Plus, you’ll be able to connect better with your audience.

Here are seven ways to improve your content marketing.

1. Know How to Get Your Content in Front of Your Audience

You’ll need to become familiar with the language of your audience, meaning that you’ll need to know exactly what they want and what they find interesting.

If you have this information, it’s fairly easy to bring them to your blog. As long as you constantly work on improving the relationship between you and your audience, you can be sure that your blog will just keep growing.

2. Articulate Which Metrics You’re Going to Track

It’s important to monitor the effectiveness of certain metrics such as media engagement, page views, traffic, sales, etc.

Don’t underestimate the value of tracking metrics as they give you an insight into what content is working, and what content isn’t. Devise a plan on what to track and how often.

3. Research Trending Topics

Trending topics almost guarantee you an audience. Research trending topics and write about them if they have anything to do with the niche you are targeting.

For example, it wouldn’t be good to write about cars if your blog is about business and marketing.

4. Align Your Business Goals with Your Content

What, exactly, are you trying to achieve with your content marketing program? Are you trying to get more subscribers, sales, or trail members? Are you looking to build trust with your audience and educate them about your product? When you are aware of what you’re trying to achieve, you can prioritize the right actions to get to where you want to go.

Without connecting your business goals to your content, you could easily end up writing on topics that have nothing to do with your blog. People are coming to you for a reason, and if you start publishing on subjects that have nothing to do with your industry or niche, you could end up confusing and repelling potential customers.

5. Take Charge of Your Content Creation & Promotion

Don’t leave the job of creating content and promoting it to someone else. You can have people that monitor and moderate your blog, but you should remain in charge of the content that appears on your blog.

Plus, when you remain in control of creating and promoting your content, you will learn more about your audience, and they will feel more connected to you and your content.

6. Determine Your Content Focus

When you start a blog, make sure you know what your content focus will be. Don’t stray too far away from that, and stick to your original plan.

If your company offers marketing and business services, write about marketing and business. Your audience will appreciate this greatly, and your blog will generate more hits than if you didn’t focus and target your content.

7. Measure Your Content’s Performance

Measure the usual metrics, but also keep an eye out for how good your content is performing. Content that doesn’t generate enough hits is probably not interesting to your audience, so it might be a good idea to change it up a bit. But constantly monitor your content’s performance so you always know how you’re doing.

Conclusion

What are some other ways you can easily improve your content marketing program?

How can you ensure you’re creating the content your audience wants and needs?

Author Bio. :- Priya is a Technical SEO at Hopinfirst.com : SEO Company.  She has 3 years experience in SEO, content marketing, and campaign management. she’s devoured every scrap of knowledge about search marketing, and applies it daily as Technical SEO at Hopinfirst.