Web Design Branding Marketing

How Web Design Affects Your Branding & Marketing Efforts

A good, thought out website design is more important for your company than you may realize. But it's not all about aesthetics! Most business owners agree that high-quality web design is essential for their business. But when asked exactly why it’s important, only a few could provide a good answer. There’s point in adding all the latest and greatest trends and technology to your site if it fails to work toward your (what should be) end goal of attracting customers and growing sales. One of the main problems is that many businesses decide to split up the process, hiring an agency for web design and another one for digital marketing efforts, which can cause a lot of miscommunication and unnecessary work.

Take a Comprehensive Approach!

The long-held approach of hiring different agencies for various aspects of your company's website is no longer effective. Instead, it’s better to take a more comprehensive approach. Web design must now be deeply incorporated into your inbound marketing and branding strategy. If you employ three agencies for web design, SEO, and branding, it’s nearly impossible to have them work in cohesion and help you inch closer toward your goals.

Improve Your Branding Strategy.

Every year, Google seems to add more weight to branding in the search algorithm. You need to keep in mind that your website should serve as an extension of your brand! If you have a physical store, make sure that the characteristic branding elements remain consistent including the logo, colors, and font. Even your style of communicating with customers should be the same across all online marketing platforms you use! This gives your business more credibility, which has a huge impact on increasing sales and how consumers and customers perceive you're company.

Your Design Matters, and so Does Your Content.

As a business owner, do yourself a favor by having a website built that resonates with your target audience. Many studies suggest that online users cite web design elements as among the top factors they consider when deciding whether to trust a website or not. BE TRUSTWORTHY! Most of these folks share the same red flags to watch out for including busy layouts, pop-up ads, boring (and old-fashioned) web design, slow loading times, and small print that is hard to read.

However, along with design elements, content is the other big factor considered by your site's visitors. You’ve probably heard over and over again that content is king. However, It's equally important to deliver that content in an engaging way to help keep people's attention. Doing this through traditional text alone is simply not enough. Adding certain design elements to your site can give them more reason to stay and consume your content!

In Conclusion...

Just remember - while having a spiffy, up-to-date website is great, and can only be a positive for your business, that alone is not enough. A variety of factors go into how consumers perceive your brand online and how you can show your credibility and build trustworthiness as a business. When looking to re-do or refresh your current site, keep in mind that using a creative agency that has the full capability to provide design, branding, and digital marketing services is your best bet for keeping everything consistent and cohesive. With these tips in mind, you'll be on your way to attracting more customers and increasing your sales in no time at all!

(originally written by Aaron Lee and published on 11/15/2017 at www.blueridgecreativemarketing.com)

 


Three Web Design Tips

3 Web Design Mistakes That Could Lead to Millions in Lost Revenue

So, you’ve started your own business. Congrats! You've put all your ideas out into the world and now you’re just waiting to hit the big time! But, are you seeing the results you were hoping for or has business been slower than expected? Well, if it’s the latter then maybe you’ve missed something crucial in terms of marketing your business properly in the digital spectrum (specifically when it comes to your web design for your businesses). 

To help you stay focused on fully developing your businesses website and helping it reach its full potential in terms of web design, in this post, we’re laying out three common mistakes small businesses make quite often and showing you how to optimize your online strategy in order to reach your full potential.

#1. -- BE RESPONSIVE!

Simply having a 'functioning' website doesn’t cut it in today’s world; It's simply the bare minimum your business will need to survive. You want to do more than survive, you want to thrive right? In order for this to happen, you’ll need to develop a website that’s responsive – meaning that whether individuals are viewing your site from their desktop, smartphone, or tablet, their experience will be an enjoyable one and the site will translate well on any screen size. How about some stats? Around 94% of users cited that unattractive web designs are the main reason they’ll reject a site altogether and 48% consider it to be the number one factor of determining a business’s credibility. Those are some pretty eye-opening stats, for sure.

#2. -- READILY AVAILABLE CTA (calls to action)

When it comes to this, you need to start asking "why". Why are you developing a website for your small business? Do you want visitors to book an appointment, request a quote or sign up for your newsletter? Then lead them to this desired action! Depending on your main conversion goal, there should be appropriate calls-to-action throughout your website.

Your website should be able to direct users to the next step that should be taken once they have arrived. This allows for users to immediately be able to get further information on the business without any hassle of browsing the website any more than they need to.

#3. -- GOOD READABILITY AND EASY TO READ/CLICK CONTACT INFO

The main reason businesses develop websites is to further their reach and gain additional clients and/or customers. For this reason, it's imperative that you make it easy for visitors to contact you; they shouldn’t have to sift through 6 tabs of your website to find your phone number. Consider the use of big, bold buttons that lead to a contact page, and, it's usually a good idea to include at least some primary (or main) contact info in the footer of your site. This ensures that it is visible on all pages. 

To sum it all up...

These days, consumers have very high expectations when visiting a website, so, you need to make sure you deliver a seamless UX (user experience), accessible and clearly defined contact information, and attention-grabbing calls-to-action (when appropriate) throughout your company's site. Ensuring these three crucial features will lead to increased conversions, happier customers/clients, and overall better brand loyalty for your business. At Queue, we have the training, skills, education, and know-how to help get these things done and improve your web design and website experience in ways you might never have thought possible. Contact us today for more!

(This blog post was written by Aaron Lee and also appeared on www.weareblueridge.com on 10/15/2017.)

rebrnding pepsi

The Pros & Cons of Rebranding: What You Should Know

Rebranding a company is no longer as simple as tweaking your logo and slapping the new version onto your website. With so many online marketing channels available today, the process of rebranding your company image has become much more complex.

In addition to updating your logo on your website, you will likely have to update it on several different online applications, and that is only the beginning. There is a long list of additional and tedious updates that must be completed across all of your online facing applications. These updates must also be completed in a timely manner, and must be communicated clearly to existing and potential customers so as to avoid any confusion or inconsistency.

TIME FOR A REBRAND?

With all of that being said; there are definitely times when rebranding is needed. With a comprehensive rebranding strategy and the help of experienced brand strategists, the rebranding process can be quite smooth and efficient. However, it’s important to understand the many pros and cons of rebranding. It’s also important to recognize the importance of having a carefully developed rebranding strategy, in addition to having a well-organized timeline for implanting the rebranding process. In this article, we will look specifically on the Cons of rebranding and how you can try t minimize the downsides of the process.

REBRANDING CONS

One of the most difficult parts about rebranding your company is that it involves a lot of change all at once. That is never easy for a company, its employees, or its customers. When things don’t exactly go as planned, there are a few possible issues that could result:

1. CONFUSION CAN BRING CHAOS.

Change is scary, mainly because no one knows for sure what the end result will be. People can become easily confused and/or frustrated whenever change occurs. By publishing press releases, posting announcements to social media, sending email newsletters, etc., you can keep everyone aware of what’s going on, and what’s coming down the pike. Communication is crucial!

2. YOU MAY LOSE A FEW CUSTOMERS.

If a proper rebranding strategy is not built and implemented the right way, you risk losing some of your existing customers. Unfortunately, even if you do everything right, there is still a possibility that you could lose customers. Why? People don’t like change.

3. BE PREPARED TO SPEND SOME MONEY.

Going through a complete rebrand is NOT cheap. Be prepared to spend money on developing a creative rebranding strategy, new content, graphic design, as well as marketing and advertising campaigns to support your project. While there are ways to save money during a rebrand, it is definitely worth investing some money to ensure that it is done effectively!

 

Let's take a look at a recent example, from my alma mater, Virginia Tech, that had sparked mixed reviews and a lot of negative input:

Rebranding - Virginia Tech

 

Many alumni and students at the university were/are pretty angry about this. "Why fix something that's not broken?", "why did we waste $1 million on rebranding? Couldn't that money have been used for better purposes?!" and things of that nature have been communicated throughout social media. But, The university had a specific reason in mind. Again, as we said earlier in this article, people do not like change. I have to admit, I did not like this at all when I first saw it a few days ago, but, I'm coming around.

Although I am sure that Virginia Tech did not get all of the glowing reviews and 100% positive input on the new rebranding effort they were looking for, it may take time, but, folk will eventually come along to the new brand identity. When looking at the three listed possible cons of a rebranding effort, the only one that seems to stick out is the money issue. Other than that, people just are not very receptive to change, and it takes time for them to warm up to a major change. This is perhaps one of the biggest pitfalls of rebranding, but, it is one that usually dies down over a short time-frame and doesn't necessarily lead to and significant lingering negative effects to a brand or company.

IN SUMMARY:

When done right, rebranding a company is absolutely worth it. However, it’s important to be clear about what you hope to accomplish before you begin, and to be as transparent as possible throughout the transition. Your customers will want to hear how it’s going, so be sure to keep them in the loop. This will ensure communication remains a priority and people are not "shocked" by a sudden, complete change. Especially if your rebrand will include more than just a couple simple tweaks.


digital marketing mistakes

Five Digital Marketing Mistakes Your Brand Should Avoid

digital marketing mistakes

Digital marketing mistakes are easy to make. We all know that digital marketing moves fast, and because of that, there’s a tendency to always look towards the next best thing and focus less on the lessons of the past. But developing an awareness and understanding of past mistakes is one of the best ways to pave a path to future success.

When we look at how brands have run their digital marketing campaigns in the past, we’ve noticed many of the same issues coming up time and time again. Being aware of the most common digital marketing mistakes can help ensure your brand avoids them in the future, so with that in mind, here are some of the biggest missteps brands routinely make.

1 - Failing to set goals

Before you jump into executing your digital marketing campaigns, you need to establish what your objectives are and outline a set of measurable goals that support each objective. Without goals, you’ll never be able to measure your success or identify areas where your campaigns need additional support or require a shift in strategy. It will also be difficult to justify future digital marketing investment if you can’t demonstrate progress against a set of goals.

2 - Not paying attention to your analytics

When it comes to digital marketing, there’s no such thing as “set it and forget it”. Campaigns require constant maintenance and oversight, and that means checking in regularly to measure performance. That’s not to say you need to sweat every single day-to-day change in your website visitor metrics, but you should be paying attention to macro trends. It’s important to focus on the whole picture when it comes to campaign and channel performance. For example, the channel that provides the highest volume of traffic may provide the lowest quality of leads, so looking just at referring traffic won’t give you a holistic understanding of performance.

3 - Failing to test

Many of us leap to conclusions about why something is or isn’t performing without doing the proper legwork to find out for sure. Leaping to conclusions about what works and what doesn’t is a  mistake that can have serious ramifications for the success of campaigns. Making testing a priority is the best way to ensure marketing spends are put to good use and campaigns are given the best chance to thrive.

4 - Jumping on every hot new trend

In digital marketing, there’s always a delicate balance between staying current and jumping on the bandwagon. Staying on top of the trends and changes in the industry is an absolute necessity if you want to be successful in digital marketing.

That said, one mistake many brands make is to assume that just because a certain platform or technology is trendy, they should automatically add it to their marketing mix. The truth is that it’s a bad idea to blindly follow the latest trends without first gaining an understanding of how implementing a new idea or technology will benefit your brand. Be aware of the latest news in digital marketing, but don’t jump on a trend before you get a sense of how it will impact your strategy.

5 - Targeting the wrong audience

You have to spend time getting to know the audience you’re speaking to. What are their pain points? What types of language appeals to them? What words do they use to describe what they’re looking for? Knowing the answers to these questions is key to designing campaigns that will appeal to the people you’re trying to reach.

 

Click here to view the full article via Forbes.com! -- Article originally published on Forbes.com by Gabriel Shaoolian


Know Your Brand

What is Brand Identity? And How to Develop a Great One.

Just like your personal identity makes you uniquely you, your brand identity is what sets you apart from every other company or organization on the block. Your brand identity design is what shapes your company!

What is Brand Identity

But what exactly is brand identity? How do you shape a strong brand identity that takes your business to the next level?

The terms “brand,” “branding,” and “brand identity” are sometimes treated as interchangeable, but that’s not always the case.

  • Brand is the perception of the company in the eyes of the world.

  • Branding involves the marketing practice of actively shaping a distinctive brand.

  • Brand identity is the collection of all brand elements that the company creates to portray the right image of itself to the consumer.

Let’s say you are a middle school student. As an awkward pre-adolescent, you want to be perceived as cool and get invited to sit at the best table in the cafeteria. But you can’t just force other people to have that image of you. In order to develop this brand, you need to do some work.

Maybe you start shaping up on your free throw skills, then you start working on a hilarious impression of Mrs. Smith, your history teacher. These actions are the work you’re putting towards developing your desired image; your branding.

Last but not least, you need to make sure you look the part. You save up your money to buy the newest hot basketball shoes everyone wants. You get a new hairstyle. You try out for (and join) the schools hottest sports team. Those tangible elements—the shoes, the hair style, the sports team membership— all of that is your brand identity.

Your brand identity is what makes you instantly recognizable to your customers. Your audience will associate your brand identity with your product or service, and that identity is what forges the connection between you and your customers, builds customer loyalty, and determines how your customers will perceive your brand.

So, how do you develop a strong brand identity?

Know Your Brand

Know who you are.

Before you know what tangible elements you want to make up your brand identity, you need to know who you are as a brand. This made up of a few key elements:

1. Your mission (the "why?")

2. Your values (what beliefs or belief systems drive you?)

3. Your "brand voice" (how would your brand talk if it were an actual, human person)

4. Your brand personality (if your brand was a person, what would their personality be like?)

All of these things combined are what define your brand, and before you start building on your brand identity, it’s important you have a clear understanding of each of them.

Once you’ve locked in who you are as a brand, it’s time to build the identity that will bring your brand to life and show who you are to the people who matter most: your customers. The next step in the process is brand design, and putting together a brand style guide, but that's a blog for another time. Stay tuned! 


marketing strategy 5 pillars

The Five Pillars of a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy That Endures

It's 2017, and the digital marketing world is chaotic. Google powers 3.5 billion searches per day. We live in a multidevice world where more and more Web searches are happening on mobile devices. Digital FOMO is rampant, and so tactics supersede strategy.

Literature about the importance of digital strategy is starting to reach fever pitch as marketers prepare to spend over $100 billion on digital by 2019, according to Forrester.

But, in the chaotic world of digital marketing, it's hard to know how exactly to create and use a digital strategy so that it meets business needs and is manageable.

Though every organization will need to customize its strategy to its own circumstances, the following are the foundations for building an enduring digital marketing strategy that works.

marketing strategy 5 pillars

1. Digital Principles: Your Belief System

Brands need digital principles as much as they need brand attributes. Start by looking at the open source Digital Principles site to understand some of the basics, and then create statements that align your brand to how it should live and breathe in your digital experiences. Doing so will help you explain to your larger organization what role digital plays in building your brand and delivering on your business goals.

2. Digital Ecosystem Map: Your Atlas

Create a visual map that shows which digital channels you are active in, who the primary and secondary users are for each, what those users need from that channel, what your goals are, how you'll measure success, and what the pathways are between channels. Tools such as Lucidchart are great for making these documents come to life. Create your map by conducting research with users, looking at competitors, reviewing any analytics data you have, and marrying all that with your overall business strategy.

3. Data and Insights: Your Pathway to Action

You can gather all the data in the world, but if you don't have a mechanism for turning that data into insights, you might as well collect no data at all.

At a minimum, you should use Google Analytics for websites, but remember that its raw data measures traffic and lacks the contextual information you need to understand what's really going on. Qualitative data inputs are a crucial additional input. Savvy marketers will measure social sentiment using a tool like Sprout or Sysomos—along with the analytics tools that come with business accounts on social platforms. And don't forget email: it remains a powerful weapon in your arsenal if you get it right and measure it well.

***

This may seem like a lot to take in. But, if you lay your foundation right now, your digital marketing strategy will be strong and you'll save time (and money) later!

Read about the other 2 pillars and the full article at www.MarketingProfs.com

 


No Advertising Tax

Advertising is Free Speech, Right? Let's Not Tax It.

Congress is finally serious about working towards comprehensive tax reform. Something that hasn't been done since the Regan years. This is great news! There's just one problem... The current draft being floated contains a proposal to alter the IRS Code to tax advertising for the first time since the income tax was created in 1913.

No Advertising Tax

Currently, businesses are allowed to deduct advertising expenditures just as they do other necessary business expenses, such as wages and rent. The tax reform draft proposes to allow only 50 percent of advertising expenses to be deducted, while the rest would be amortized over 10 years — a move that would complicate tax compliance rather than simplify it. It is estimated that over a decade this proposal would generate $169 billion in additional federal revenue, money drained needlessly from the economy.

Americans for Tax Reform — who are all for tax reform — have come out strongly against this, saying any revenue generated would be overshadowed by its negative effects. The group’s president, Grover Norquist, penned a letter to Congress earlier this year saying that not only should ads not be taxed, but that implementation of full business expensing would grow the GDP 5.4 percent and create a million jobs.

“Implementing full business expensing is a vital step toward creating a pro-growth tax code. At the same time, taking the existing treatment of advertising costs in the other direction by forcing it to be depreciated over multiple years makes no economic sense and undermines both the economic gains and the rationale for moving to full business expensing,” Norquist wrote.

He also pointed out, “In total, advertising directly or indirectly supports almost 22 million jobs and $5.8 trillion in total economic output. Every dollar of advertising spending generates $22 of economic activity. Advertising associated with local radio and television is alone projected to contribute more than $1 trillion in economic output and 1.38 million jobs.”

That's a lot of money and a lot of jobs! Fortunately, some in Congress are paying attention to the warnings being offered by those who represent the media and the advertisers who would be hurt by the advertising tax plan. In April, group of 124 bipartisan members of the House signed a letter addressed to Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi warning of the problems the ad tax would create.

“Advertising has been accorded the same treatment as all other regularly occurring business expenses, such as employee wages, rent, utilities and office supplies, throughout the 114-year life of the tax code. Any measure that would tax advertising — and therefore would make it more expensive — cannot be justified as a matter of tax or economic policy.” the letter states.

it can even be argued that this proposal could be considered a violation of the First Amendment. After all, the reason commercial advertising has been fully deductible since the income tax’s beginning in 1913 is because Congress has known that it can't regulate free, commercial speech by making it a dollars and cents game for businesses (not constitutionally anyway).

In fact, you could say the Revolutionary War was in part fueled by this kind of issue (1765 Stamp Act, anyone?). The Stamp Act imposed an across-the-board flat-tax on advertising. It levied a consistent tax per ad no matter what it was or where it was being printed. Mob violence was triggered throughout the colonies. The British government repealed it a year later to help dampen the violence, but the damage had already been done.

Since its beginning, the First Amendment has protected advertising as a form of free speech, which goes hand in hand with our country's rich entrepreneurial spirit. Businesses must advertise to succeed. This is a fact. If this bill is passed, this Congress would go down in history (negatively) as the first regulate our First Amendment right in such a way as to extort more from the already burdened American businesses.


social media marketing desk

6 Things Business Owners Should Understand About Social Marketing

Social Media Marketing has become such an important part of our everyday lives. People of all ages across the globe use Social Media.

It has become a major source of news, local information, business information, consumer research, as well as a place to keep in touch with old friends and new or to stay in contact with family that may not be nearby.

social media marketing desk

However, one of the most important aspects of Social Media has been the opportunity for businesses of any size, in any location, and any industry to reach an audience of consumers. Marketing and Advertising on Social Media has become a necessity for businesses.

Unfortunately, there are still business owners and marketers who either do not understand how it is supposed to work or they are still using it as though it were 2010.

Social Media Marketing has changed drastically over the past several years, and it continues to change. It also requires knowledge and experience to do it correctly and effectively.

Here are 6 things business owners need to know about using Social Media to market:

1. Posting an update whenever you think of it may hurt your business.

Each Social Platform has an algorithm. An algorithm is “a set of rules that precisely defines a sequence of operations.”
In Social Media, this algorithm determines what people see, what information gets out to specific people. If you are only posting sporadically your updates are likely not showing in many News Feeds, if any at all. Thus, your updates are not generating any views or interest and basically are not worth the time you took to post.

In order for your updates to be effective you must post consistently, every day, a few times a day, as well as posting content that is relevant and interesting to your audience.

2. Posting anything, at any time will not work.

Social Media Marketers educate themselves on what to post, when to post it, how many times to post each day, what to share, etc. There is a definite method to the madness, and it involves more than just posting a link to one of your products.

3. Posting only company or sales 

information is not an effective strategy.

People are not using Facebook or Instagram to see sales messages from businesses. Sure, they are using Social Media to research their purchases, but they are doing so on their own terms. They are seeking out the information, they do not want the information coming at them when they don’t want or need it.

Social Media Marketing is about developing your brand and improving your visibility. Sharing information that users want to see, articles related to your business, links to relevant information they can use, posting reviews from current customers are all useful and not annoying or overwhelming.

Unless you are Amazon or another big box retailer or large company, sharing only company-related information is not a good strategy.

 

Read the rest of the 'things' and the full article by Laura Donovan at Business2Community.com!


brands and politics

Brands & Advertisers: Steer Clear of Being Overly Political!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: national brands (that have nothing to do with politics) should NOT insert themselves into the middle of political issues.  To me, this doesn't make sense from a business standpoint. You risk losing and alienating half of consumers.

brands and politics

A consumer should not know a brand 's (again, with the exception of strictly political brands and organizations) political leanings. Unless you want to pigeonhole your brand or company into one side of the political aisle or the other and only go after a certain segment, this is just not a wise idea. I'm certainly not the only one that agrees with this sentiment.

 A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlights this exact issue, saying "experts in Cannes say brands should resist temptation to weigh in on hot-button issues". Due to the current political climate throughout the world (and more specifically in America) and the divisiveness relating to politics, this move is now risker than ever. Speaking at a panel event hosted by The Wall Street Journal, advertising and market research executives said they recognize the temptation for companies to weigh in on political issues in an attempt to connect with consumers. But they warned that it’s almost impossible to strike the right note in an era when the internet backlash against advertisers’ missteps is quicker and more fierce than ever.

Advertisers should be "combative" to get customers' attention without being too overly or intentionally political. There are plenty of recent examples that show that the internet is full of people ready to give backlash over ads perceived as being too political or too "distasteful", including Budweiser's Super Bowl "Immigrant" ad, and Pepsi's failed attempt at social/political commentary with their ill-received Kendal Jenner ads.

 Brands shouldn't try to force themselves into political discussions is some consumers would be surprised to see them doing so. Like I said earlier, most brands want to sell their products to as many people as possible, regardless of which side of the political aisle they lean towards.

We, as consumers, don't necessarily want brands like PepsiBudweiser, Starbucks or McDonalds to get involved in these type of conversations. Brands: stick to what you know. Unless you are a brand or organization that has politics embedded in your DNA, just stay focused on what your brand is about. For Pepsi, that's providing consumers with a delicious, refreshing drink. For Budweiser, it's helping millions of American's relaxant have a good time with an ice cold beer. That's how it should remain. I don't need to know what your views are on certain hot-button political issues, and you shouldn't need to tell me. It's just overall bad for business. Don't ask, don't tell. It works!

This blog was originally written by Aaron Lee and published on his website at www.aaronjlee.co


Social Marketing 2017

2017: The Year in Social Marketing So Far

The social marketing landscape shifts so quickly that a half-year review isn’t so much ridiculous as almost requisite, if only to keep track of what has changed already in 2017.

When 2016 ended the social marketing landscape looked like this: Snapchat was a social darling, Facebook videos could be watched uninterrupted, and Instagram’s Stories product was smaller than Snapchat’s original. Then 2017 happened. More specifically, these things happened:

Social Marketing 2017

Snapchat went public

Secrecy had always been part of Snapchat’s allure, but when the app’s parent company Snap filed to go public in February, it lost some of that mystique, in part because it appeared to be losing its war with Instagram. Soon after Instagram cloned Snapchat’s Stories feature, Snapchat’s audience growth slowed. By April 2017, more people were checking out Instagram Stories daily than opening Snapchat. Those stats alone would have made for a rough start to 2017. But in May, Snap said that its Q1 2017 revenue slid from the Q4 2016 mark because of seasonality, a trend that’s normal for a seasoned ad business but unusual for an upstart.

Instagram’s Stories audience overtook Snapchat’s

After closing 2016 by making run at Snapchat’s user base, Instagram opened 2017 by making a run at its rival’s advertiser base when it rolled out Snapchat-style vertical video ads between people’s Stories. Then in April — two months after Snapchat disclosed its daily user count for the first time — Instagram revealed that more people were using Instagram Stories daily than Snapchat. Then in June, a month after Snapchat said that its daily audience growth had rebounded by 5 percent from Q4 2016 to Q1 2017, Instagram announced that Stories’ daily audience had grown by 25 percent from April to June.

Facebook rolled out mid-roll ads

Views are nice, but revenue is nicer. After building itself up as a legitimate alternative to YouTube for creators and publishers to attract audiences for their videos, Facebook finally started testing a way for companies to make money from the videos they post on the social network. Now it’s a question of whether advertisers shaken by YouTube’s “adpocalypse” are comfortable with Facebook’s limited controls over which videos feature their mid-roll ads.

Twitter gained users, lost money

In the movie “National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation,” Chevy Chase tries to plug a leak in the Hoover Dam, only to have another one open. Twitter is Chevy Chase. The company has finally re-accelerated its audience growth, but now its total revenue and advertising revenue are in decline. And while Twitter has added more money-making ad products, like ads in Periscope, it has also lost one of its most marquee sales opportunities after the NFL opted not to renew its regular season live-streaming deal with the company.

Read the full article at MarketingLand.com to see the rest of what's gone down in the world of social marketing so far this year!


Advertising - Country Song

Advertising: Like a Good Country Song, It's All in the Storytelling!

Studies suggest that about 9 out of 10 people who have the option to skip an ad, will do so. This isn't a good thing for the advertising industry, but, we all do it. Admit it!

 So instead of having this happen to your brand or organization, give the consumers what they want! In today's world of advertising, stories are what gets a brand noticed and consumers engaged. Like a good country song, a good advertisement should tell a good story!

Advertising - Country Song

 Some of the best and most celebrated advertisements of our time have one thing in common: they tell a great story. Creatives and advertising professionals know that the way to winning over consumers is to give them a story that is 'worthy' of their time. Everyone loves a great story, and that is what needs to be capitalized on!

 While consumers have pretty much always had the option of skipping ads (changing the TV station when the commercials start, tuning to a different radio station to hear music instead of ads...), the last 20 years or so have really focused on one thing in particular: consumer empowerment. Consumers want options, and, one of those options is the ability to easily skip over an ad or commercial to get the content they want.

Consumers are now able to consume the media they want, when they want it and how they want it. This is a great thing for consumers. Not such a good thing for advertisers or brands.

In order for brands together this 'blockade', storytelling must become a priority. A simple "here's what we have. you should buy it" commercial or ad just won't cut it in this day and age. Big brands like Red Bull, Pepsi, and Coke are now pouring more time and resources into creating original content that is capable of competing with what the web and TV have to offer and are coming up with creative ways to get stories across to an audience. Of corse, not all companies have the money and resources that some of these big brands have, but that shouldn't change the main point: The new wave of advertising is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Brands must be able to be creative and use storytelling techniques to sell themselves to a consumer audience that has become less and less tolerant of advertising as a whole. They can do this by crafting compelling, engaging stories. Country music has been doing this well for decades and decades. Maybe its time we all take a page from their book and try looking at ads as a different media format of a country song than just a simple ad.

This blog post was originally written and published by Aaron Lee on 6/11/2017 at www.aaronjlee.co


Digital & TV Advertising

TV Ads or Digital Ads? The Case for Investing in Both

Digital Ads or TV Ads? That's the question. The answer is another question: Why not both?!

A recent study from the Advertising Research Foundation found that when you increase the number of platforms you advertise on, you increase your ROI by as much as 35 percent. That includes the maligned TV ad spot.

Digital Ads TV Ads

It's easy to find success on one channel and decide to pump most of your budget into it. But, what if things shift? Think about the brands that relied on Myspace for most of their reach. When Myspace disappeared, they had to start from scratch, and many didn't survive. Ultimately, it's not smart to sink all your money into one channel.

Running campaigns across multiple channels is hard. Not even one in 10 brand marketers believes he or she could handle the load successfully. It might seem like a lot to take on, but I promise, it will also be totally worth it.

Here are a few tips to take your marketing across channels:

1. Don't ditch what's already working.

Remember that you're expanding channels, not messages. Don't do something completely different with your TV messaging that you aren't doing on digital ads.

With our spot, we carried our digital messaging over to TV. We knew it got our target audience's attention when we used phrases like "month to month," "? la carte services" and "outsourced CMO." We had already used digital to test our message, so we understood the right punch words.

2. Button up your drip campaign (and the rest of the funnel).

Before launching a commercial, test your site to make sure it's set up to convert, with a strong digital funnel to handle all of the leads it generates. Television dumps a lot of traffic into the top of the funnel, but if the rest of it isn't perfect -- including email drip campaigns and banner retargeting -- your conversions won't justify the effort on the TV side.

3. Don't let your commitment issues derail you.

TV is like any other channel -- it's all about impressions. If you're going to do it, don't rest it for just a week and shut it down. It often takes time to see real impact.

Traditionally, Super Bowl ads were sacred ground, tightly guarded and shown only once. That's why, in 2011, when Volkswagen aired its Super Bowl ad before the big game, no one knew quite what to think. However, the spot had 17 million views before kickoff and became the most shared Super Bowl ad of all time.

 

The moral of the story is that good multichannel marketing will always work better than good single-channel marketing. The takeaway? Build a great funnel, and test your site for optimization (digital ads and others). Then, expand to TV to fill that funnel with leads.

Check out the full article by clicking here. This article was written by Erik Huberman, a guest writer for Entrepreneur.com --


Digital Marketing Trends

Digital Marketing Trends to Watch This Year

Digital marketing has taken the marketing industry by storm. While print marketing still holds power within the industry, it’s the digital marketing trends that are proving to hold precedence. While Web Strategies reported that in 2016 the five digital channels that saw large gains were email marketing, social media, online display advertising, mobile marketing and search, you’re likely wondering what this year will bring. After all, the internet and all of its trends are constantly changing and what was a marketing powerhouse last year could very well be old news this year. To help you strategize a marketing plan that will take your company to the next level, here’s our list of the digital marketing trends anticipated for the rest of 2017.

Digital Marketing Trends

Live Video Streaming

Without a doubt, live video streaming will take off fully this year. Facebook and Instagram have already integrated live video capabilities into their channels, and other platforms are expected to follow suit. From the presidential debates to the Oscars, local news stories and personal experiences have been shared online via a live stream. It’s a trend that has the potential to draw in millions of people who are eager for a look at something that is happening right now.

People are drawn to the idea of seeing someone else’s perspective first hand and now live videos cater to this desire. This can significantly improve the way you build brand awareness and customer loyalty as you form a personal relationship with your customers. You’re offering them an exclusive look inside that not everyone will see. That is unless they’re online at that exact time.

Augmented Reality

The Pokémon Go trend may have died just as quickly as it grew in 2016, but it showed marketers the power of augmented reality. It proved that people are enthusiastic to indulge in AR experiences. The trick is to find out why Pokémon Go wasn’t successful for longer. Once you’ve figured that out and made the tweak, augmented reality could very well be the key to success in 2017.

The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to figure this out yourself. App developers and marketing experts are already working on this. On the other hand, you may want to start thinking of ways to can incorporate AR into your business, whether it’s with an advertisement, game or application.

Virtual Reality

Continuing from the previous theme, virtual reality is expected to be just as popular as AR in 2017. However, there seems to be some confusion over AR and VR, and in order to capitalize on these trends, you need to understand them.

To put it simply, AR is where you use technology in the real world, such as Pokémon Go to distort or add to what they are actually experiencing. People are able to interact with a different world within their own. VR is putting your consumers into a different world, using technology to escape reality.

As such, it’s predicted that companies will start to provide VR experiences to reach a wider range of consumers. Real estate agents can provide various property showings all in one place with VR and consumers can interact with other people from their living room. It’s a marketing trend that is inarguably going to change the industry in 2017. It’s the next step in evolution and because it’s so different from what companies, marketers and consumers are used to, it will be important to capitalize on it before you're left behind.

These are just three of the many trends to look for... Visit Forbes.com to view more of the top digital marketing trends to come in 2017! Full article written by Matthew Goulart of Ignite Digital.


Mcdonalds-Olympics

An Iconic Marketing Relationship Ends Today... McDonalds, Olympics to Part Ways

Today is a sad day. CNN Money reports that the Olympic Committee's long standing relationship with McDonalds is coming to an end, nearly three years earlier than originally expected.

Mcdonalds-OlympicsThe brand partnership of McDonalds and The Olympics seemed like a match made in heaven. The sponsorship between the fast-food giant and the world's premier sporting event had been going strong since 1976! Many alive today can't even remember a time before the two were partnered. They seemed to have grown synonymous with each other during their long run together.
But, I guess, like with all relationships, no matter how good, they eventually come to an end. McDonalds has cited the focus on its core business as well as rising Olympics sponsorship costs and declining TV ratings as the main reasons behind the early divorce. McDonald's deal would have run through the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, and bowing out will likely to save it hundreds of million of dollars if it had continued into the next four-year Olympics cycle and beyond.
"We are reconsidering all aspects of our business and have made this decision in cooperation with the IOC to focus on different priorities," said McDonald's Global Chief Marketing Officer Silvia Lagnado.
McDonald's has been trying to keep costs down as it invests in improving their food quality, service, and expanding online ordering to woo back U.S. diners after experiencing a decline in sales over the past decade. The company's move also reflects a rising view among consumer brands that exclusive Olympics sponsorship deals do not offer the marketing impact they once did due to the rise of social media, online streaming and overall decline in TV ratings for the event. Some companies now find it is much cheaper to work directly with athletes or specific countries rather than the International Olympic Committee as a whole.
This is a sad, sad day. No more special McD's promotions, advertising campaigns, cool marketing initiatives, or commercials during Olympic season. No more featuring the Olympic Rings logo on McD's food bags and cups. It's done. Over. It's going to take a while to get used to this one... Maybe someday soon I will be able to get over it. But, for now, it just plain hurts. We all go through stages In the grieving process. At first I was in denial when I initially heard the news. I didn't want to believe it. After it sunk in a little more, I felt myself just getting angry at the thought. Next came the bargaining. "Maybe they will find a way to work something out! There's gotta be something that can be done to keep them together...". Now, I'm in the depression stage. I don't know how long this will last, but, acceptance is next and I'm ready for it! Hopefully it gets here sooner rather than later...
R.I.P. McDonalds + The Olympic Games. You were a beautiful couple. We will never forget you

This is Sportscenter Ads

Our Top 10 Favorite "This is Sportscenter" Ads

When we think of a great TV ads campaign, the first one that comes to mind is ESPN's. "This is Sportscenter".

"This is Sportscenter", the brainchild of Oregon based advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy and ESPN is one of the most successful and memorable ad campaigns In recent memory. With brilliant ties into current pop culture, and cameos by some of sports' biggest stars, the commercial spots have become an all-time fan favorite with sports fans and non sports fans alike.

The long-running campaign, which first started in 1994, features a alternate world where sports mascots, athletes, and ESPN anchors and journalists work side by side at ESPN headquarters. The office interactions of athletes, mascots and ESPN anchors and the deadpan, mockumentary comedic style has kept us laughing 30 seconds at a time ever since. Not to mention, it's created tons of buzz for ESPN and it's flagship program, "Sportscenter", which means they accomplished their goal!

Below are 10 of our personal favorite "This is Sportscenter" spots. Not ranked in any particular order:

So, there you have it. 10 of our all-time favorite commercial spots from one of our all-time favorite advertising campaigns. I'm sure we could have compiled a list of at least 15 more. It was hard to narrow it down to just 10. There are just so many good, memorable, and funny ones. So, here's to "This is Sportscenter"! Let's hope this is one ad campaign that never ends. The possibilities are endless - and these spots will never get old. (blog written by Aaron Lee. visit his website to learn more!)


Campaigns Using Snapchat

Snapchat Attracts More Campaign Spending as Candidates Reach out to Young Voters

Snapchat has no proven track record in election advertising. It shares only limited data about its audience, and caters mainly to a demographic that hasn't traditionally turned out in big numbers to vote. That's not stopping political campaigns from devoting more ad dollars to reach the millions of millennials who spend hours every week on the social-media app.

Campaigns Using Snapchat

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her Republican rival Donald Trump have both stepped up their spending on Snapchat in the past month, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Clinton campaign is buying video ads with a targeted number of views by Snapchat's audience, while Trump is running an interactive ad seeking users' e-mail addresses, said the person, who asked not to be named because the details aren't public. Both campaigns have used Snapchat's geographic photo-filter tools in the past at political rallies, but this is their first significant national advertising spend on the platform.
Though it started as an app for sending silly disappearing selfies, Snapchat has evolved into a legitimate news platform, now counting more than 150 million daily users, some three-fourths of whom fall into the coveted 18-31 age-group demographic.

According to Nielsen Ratings, on any given day Snapchat reaches 41% of 18- to 34-year-olds in the U.S. More millennials watched the election's early debates on Snapchat than on TV. And some metrics indicate its users are more engaged. A Public Opinion Strategies study released in November said two-thirds of millennials who use Snapchat are likely to vote in the 2016 election, compared with 61% of the population overall.
"Snapchat has reached a point here in the U.S. where we can't ignore it anymore, and it's definitely earned a line on every campaign budget," said Tim Cameron, digital director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "We're really using demographics to reach a larger audience. It's not as specific as other tools but it works." The NRSC says it now spends more than 30% of its ad budget on digital messages, which include Snapchat.

Snapchat has become the "MTV of Mobile,'' according to Zac Moffatt, who co-founded Targeted Victory, an ad agency that works with Republican candidates. "I would treat it like a cable network channel and say, I want to reach young people." Snapchat is capitalizing on its young and engaged users to be taken seriously as a force in election advertising.

As the election moved past the primaries, both the Clinton and Trump campaigns have paid for geofilters, images or text that appear over pictures captured within a limited geographic area, and Snap Ads, 10-second full-screen videos that play between other content. "There have been a lot of things we've tried that are no longer around," said Ward Baker, an executive director at the NRSC. "We've grown with Snapchat. I think in the next election more people will be using it, more campaign staffers are going to be using it, more college students will have jobs and will be thinking about college debt. And every year people cut the cord. It's only going to grow."

(Click here for full article and more details via Bloomberg News and Adage.com)

 


6 Possibilities for Future of Social Media Marketing

6 Possibilities for the Future of Social Media Marketing

6 Possibilities for Future of Social Media Marketing

Most of us have grown so accustomed to social media being a part of our lives that it seems strange to think about it as a “new” phenomenon — but it is. In less than 10 years, a handful of niche sites catering to small populations have turned into dozens of apps and platforms that connect the majority of the world’s population.

It’s natural to think of these establishments as continuing to exist in their current forms — yeah, Facebook might redesign its layout, or we might see the occasional new platform arise from time to time, but for the most part, the average user envisions the current landscape of social media staying more or less the same. I, on the other hand, feel like social media is just now stepping into its teen or adolescent years and is about to find itself for the first time.

Here's six high-profile possibilities for the future evolution of social media marketing:

--- 1.) Monopolization:

One social network will come to dominate the social media landscape -- much like Google now dominated the search engine landscape (along with some other things..). Right now, the social media front-runner is clearly Facebook, so I’ll use Facebook to illustrate how this could go.

Already, Facebook has purchased a major contender (Instagram), and it’s only a matter of time before it acquires more platforms. Gradually, these individual platforms could morph and blend into a single all-in-one social experience.

--- 2.) Pay-Only Visibility: 

Many social media platforms are starting to cut back on the organic visibility of brands and corporations, instead greatly prioritizing the content that comes from individual users. Eventually, social brands may see their organic visibility cut so drastically that paid advertising becomes the only way to achieve meaningful reach.

--- 3.) Individualization: 

Already, social media platforms are recognizing the demands for customizability and personalization in their user bases. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, for example, are giving their users more control over the types of content that appear in their news feeds, or even giving them the power to change how their news feed operates.

In the future, social media platforms may take this to the next level!

--- 4.) Niche Segmentation:

In stark contrast to the “monopolization” scenario, there could be a greater degree of niche segmentation when it comes to social platforms. Snapchat is a perfect example of this; it enables users to send photos and videos with a handful of customizations, privately and temporarily, catering to a very specific social need (and not much else).

--- 5.) Virtual/Augmented Reality: 

Augmented reality will be able to take social media to a place with even more immediacy and real-world benefits, and virtual reality will give people new ways to experience the world around them. The feedback loops here could completely revolutionize how we communicate with each other.

--- 6.) Streamlining:

Eventually, we could see more social media apps diversifying the features and services they offer, becoming one-stop shops for everything you’d want on the internet. Again, this would take years to develop, but it would be insanely valuable for the platforms themselves.

(Click here to view full article in more detail via Jayson DeMers at Marketing Land)


Viewability - Top Concern in Digital Advertising

Viewability Remains Top Concern for Digital Advertising

Viewability - Top Concern in Digital Advertising

Viewability isn’t just a buzzword. Though it’s thrown around a lot these days in discussions about digital advertising, it’s because agencies have real concerns about whether their ads are being seen.

In fact, it’s the biggest concern about digital buying and planning among media agencies.

Ad blocking garners plenty of headlines, including Facebook’s recent effort to thwart blocking on its desktop version. Yet despite the buzz, ad blocking isn’t the biggest concern among digital ad professionals.

That’s according to a recent survey from Mixpo, an advertising software company. The firm surveyed U.S. digital ad professionals working at publishing companies.

Their most pressing concern? Viewability, with 29 percent saying they’re extremely concerned and 40 percent saying very concerned.

--- Ad blocking the fifth-biggest concern ---
Down the list at No. 5 was ad blocking, with 18 percent extremely concerned and 28 percent very concerned. On the flip side, 7 percent said they weren’t concerned about ad blocking at all, and 14 percent are only slightly concerned.

“Ad blocking is a threat, but not top of mind,” the report reads. “On the long list of publisher concerns, ad blocking isn’t at the top.”

On the bottom end, the least concerning issue among digital advertising pros is the commoditization of inventory.

Also appearing in the bottom three concerns was "device fragmentation" and the lack of quality display inventory.

(Click here for full article via Diego Vasquez at MediaLifeMagazine.com)


Digital Marketing Agency - Expanding Your Business

How a Digital Marketing Agency Can Help Your Business

Digital Marketing Agency - Expanding Your Business

Digital marketing or online marketing is indeed an exciting tool for expanding your business. It has proved invaluable for small to medium business enterprises regardless of the products or services that are on offer. You do not really have to worry if you have shunned this online strategy so far. There is no time like the present, so gear up and get started. No, you do not actually require an entire team or to add an additional department on the lines of a successful digital marketing company. Just outsourcing your needs or taking timely advice from a reputed digital marketing agency or consultant will do.

Being a small business owner does not mean that you should have limited marketing requirements. With online sales comes the potential to beat your competitors fair and square. Simply hire a digital marketing agency and see your traffic rise like never before. You can get a range of services like SEO, ASO, PPC, SEM, SMM, SMO and web marketing under a single umbrella to improve the online presence of your business. You certainly have the capability to compete with giant corporations via internet marketing.

Here's why digital marketing happens to be a cost-effective tool today:

 

--- 1.) 24/7 AUTOMATED MARKETING:

Social media services, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram have millions of active users who interact with others, shop, and follow brands. Using this form of marketing will help you reach out to your clients 24X7 even as you convert the leads into a loyal customer base. Online marketing services include utilising emails and social media for marketing. You can certainly increase your revenue with no cost or at very little cost when you add properly optimised content to your website.

--- 2.) INCREASED BRAND RECOGNITION & CUSTOMER LOYALTY:

Delivering your products and giving your viewers exactly what they want in real time is indispensable for building your business reputation. You will succeed in building your brand reputation, and customer engagement will be satisfactory. You will be rewarded with more conversions, customer loyalty and brand recognition, all of which would have been a pipe dream before employing a digital marketing agency or consultant for your company.

--- 3.) WIDER REACH & USER ENGAGEMENT: 

Once you opt for digital marketing services, you will be pleasantly surprised to expand your reach and remain in touch with your viewers wherever they happen to be physically. Remember that the tech-savvy population is seldom without a mobile phone, and with your website available on mobile devices, you can target and convince people to purchase your products or services.

So go ahead and take advantage of what a digital marketing firm (like Queue!) can offer you in order to expand your business and customer engagement. It's sure to help put YOU in the drivers seat!

(Click here for the full list and complete article via Rajeev Miglani at www.YourStory.com)


4 Ways to Improve Your Facebook Ads

4 Ways to Improve Your Facebook Ad Campaigns

With a few tweaks, you can increase the chances that your Facebook ad campaigns will succeed. In this article, you’ll discover four ways to improve your Facebook ad campaigns.

4 Ways to Improve Your Facebook Ads

--- #1: Monitor Frequency Before Making Changes

Often businesses will create Facebook ads campaigns with beautiful imagery and landing pages, only to pull them down after a few days because of low conversions.

This is understandable, because it’s scary when you put money into something and you’re not sure whether it’s working. The truth, though, is that you’ll rarely see success right away with a Facebook ad campaign.

It’s important to test a lot of ad variations. This means variations in audiences, imagery, ad copy, and more. When you do testing, be sure to give the campaign time for it to return real data about what’s working.

--- #2: Improve Targeting With Audience Insights

One of the biggest and most costly mistakes you can make with Facebook ads is not using Audience Insights.

Audience Insights reveals a huge amount of data about your audience. The tool was originally designed to help advertisers target their ads more effectively, but it’s also commonly used by people who simply want to find out more about their audience. This information can be helpful even if you’re not advertising.

--- #3: Send People to Optimized Landing Pages

The landing page of your Facebook campaign can make or break its success. Consider these two scenarios:

First, you’re scrolling through your news feed and you see an ad that catches your eye. It’s promoting a product that will help you solve a problem. You click on the ad and it takes you to the company’s homepage.

Second, an ad catches your eye, but this time when you click on the ad, you’re taken to a specific landing page that gives you more context for what the ad was about. It tells you everything you need to know and provides you with case studies on people who have used the product and had positive results.

--- #4: Test Different Copy Lengths

There’s a common misconception that short copy Facebook ads perform better than long copy ads. In fact, it’s a misconception that any post on Facebook performs better when it has shorter copy. Though the theory is good, in reality, it’s not the case.

With all Facebook ads, it’s important to test, because one industry and audience might react differently than others.

When you’re writing your ad copy, you need to understand whom you’re writing the ad for. Write a message that will resonate with your target audience.

With Facebook advertising, there’s no single key to success. There’s no one thing you can do that’s guaranteed to work. It’s a continual process of testing and optimizing. Over time, you’ll begin to notice trends and see things start working. That’s when you can scale campaigns up until they’re profitable.

(Click here for full article and more details via Gavin Bell at Social Media Examiner)