Millennials are a different type of Marketing

This is a clip art of Millennials and marketing.

I find research for millennials and what they want very fascinating. See, I love the psychology of marketing and what makes people want to do things and work with companies. First, let’s define what a millennial is, it is said that a millennial is born between 1982 and 2004 although some demographers just say early 1980’s to mid 1990’s or early 2000’s. There are approximately 76 million of them in the United States alone and according to a recent article, 81% of us want to work with a company that are community advocates and boast about it. As a matter of fact, millennials will go through pain to support a company that does. I heard a story once that a gentleman bought a new pair of shoes every 6 weeks even though they were uncomfortable just because the company donated a pair of shoes for every pair he bought. Now that is loyalty!

Multitasking is the new normal for millennials. They have this innate ability to switch between cell phones, tablets, desktop and laptops all within a minute and understand everything on all the screens. What is my friend doing today, how is the latest celebrity spending the day or whatever the latest trend is in the life of a millennial, this is the relaxation that they look forward to. The social life of a millennial is the most important thing in their life and that is all done through technology. The next generation is not getting any better either, as a matter of fact it is getting worse. I think any parent of teenagers today will agree that the worst thing in the world for their teen is having their phone taken away or taking away technology in general. Their life is over if you do that. Telling them to walk down to a friends house and see if they can hang out, is something they think is from the caveman days.

So, how do you get these generations to act? It is relatively simple yet difficult at the same time.

1. They are very click minded individuals and very social. So, you must go where they are, which is Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, podcasts and many other social sites that are out there. These generations do very little reading, unfortunately, so you must make your writing concise and to the point. The best way to get the attention of this generation is video, however they need to be powerful and very concise. Their attention span is only a minute or so.
2. Show that you are community advocates and you support organizations like homelessness, veterans, or women’s rights. As human beings, we all want to help and many of us do. It is not done because we want publicity or even recognition. It is done because it is the right thing to do and we want to help. Why not do both though? You can support organizations that you believe in and also get publicity for your company. So go for it!
3. You must get personal with this generation. They want to be acknowledged as individuals and not part of the crowd. Everything you do must individualize the experience for them. Tell a story and do not command them to do anything.

Here is the great thing about millennials, they are the most loyal group that you will ever have the pleasure to work with. The old quote, “People do business with people they like and trust” are not just words for millennials. It is required and they WILL tell all of their friends!

Who cares about Voice search? You should!

This is a Google Home device.

We keep hearing about voice search and how important it is going to be, therefore, we want to take the time to explain what it is. Voice search is asking an intelligent device a question and getting an answer.

The four most popular devices that use voice search are:
Alexa – Made by Amazon, some say that it was the first “Voice Assistant” available. It also utilizes the Bing network for answers.
Siri – Mostly used on Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad. It was utilized by Bing originally, however it switched to Google services towards the end of 2017.
Cortana – Microsoft made this available on many laptops and tablets. It answers via the Bing network.
Google Home – Created by Google to compete against other “Voice Assistant” platforms. It uses the Google search engine.

You are probably thinking, “Who cares? I don’t have one!” However, this couldn’t be more wrong if you are a business owner. “40% of adults now use voice search once per day,” according to Location World. Furthermore, “50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020,” according to comscore. The no screen revolution is coming and you need to be ready!

How do you get ready? Well, it all comes down to SEO!

First of all, the way you think about keywords must change. Most voice searches involve more than five words that are spoken. People do not talk in Keywords. When was the last time you said “Restaurant near me” to anybody? You may have even typed it into a web browser this way. When we speak to voice search we say something like “Hey Alexa, Who has the best fish fry in Milwaukee?”. Your site needs to reflect these words to be ranked. So having keywords is great but you also need to keyword how you speak. Put yourself in the shoes of the potential client, the way that you would ask questions would most likely be the way they do. Of course, this means that your keyword research is going to require a lot more work.

One great way we recently read about is creating a frequently ask questions page with the answers. Brainstorm with your team the top 20 questions the team gets asked and create a page for the questions. Say the top one you get asked is, “What is the best process for creating a great website?” then use it and keyword it. This way, when someone asks Alexa “Hey Alexa, what is the best process for creating a website?” your information will come up and say, “According to www._____.com the best process is…..”

Many experts have different ways of dealing with voice search as it is still so new. We are all figuring it out, however, rest assured it is here now and it is here to stay. There is no fighting it, you must embrace it, and not only embrace it but get ahead of it.

Website redesign! How do you do it right?

These are lines of code on a computer screen.

As marketers we run across people all the time that need a website redesign. Either it is not mobile, it isn’t optimized or it just looks old. Everytime we talk about redesigning the website, they have a large fear instantly. “What will happen to what I have?” “What will happen with the SEO I have already done?” “How do I do it without losing my competitive edge?” Well, we are here to tell you that those are fears you don’t need to have. If done right, all of these fears are not needed. So how do you do it right?

  1. Keep the old site live—When redesigning the site you do not immediately take down the old site. You will need it for content that needs to be rewritten, for pictures that you may still want and for traffic to your location during the rebuild.
  2. Run reports prior to website redesign—You need to know where you are coming from to know where you are going. Run an analytics report. Run listing reports. Run a website grader report. Hold on to that information so when you launch your new, modern site you know how far you have come and where you need to go.
  3. Run a Screaming Frog report—Recently, while doing research for this blog, we ran across a program called Screaming Frog. What a difference it is making for us. We know exactly what is happening on every page of our site, including link data. We highly recommend you run one on your site prior to redesigning.
  4. 301 redirects—You must redirect all of your old URLs to new ones. This should be the first thing you do with a new site. When the new site is live you will want to go through your list of old URLs from you crawl report. This way you know that everything 301 redirects properly.
  5. Content is king—When you have content that performs well currently, you will want to minimize changes. You will have a lot of opportunity in the future to do tweaks to the site so for now, minimize the amount of changes to content and work on tweaks after your site is indexed and ranking.
  6. Backlinks—Make sure you look at sites in your analytics report that currently send traffic to your site. Once you have the list, please reach out to webmasters and ask them to update their backlinks as quickly as possible.
  7. Internal links—Your crawl date should help you ensure that your internal links are properly set up. If you have pages that have had thousands of internal links, you need to make sure they are correct or it will have major impacts on your indexing and ranking.
  8. Sitemap—Make sure you update your sitemap across the web. Sitemaps are still and will most likely always be an important factor for ranking. By not having the proper sitemap indexing, the web will not see changes when crawling your site and therefore your rankings will be affected.
  9. Rankings—Do not expect to be ranked higher instantaneously. Fluctuations will be commonplace, however, make sure you have a comparable baseline. Keep in mind that, especially with bigger sites, it may take some time for pages to be recrawled. If you do discover issues, fix, adjust and reindex ASAP.
  10. Organic—There is no way to know at all times what is tracking and when, so make sure you are consistently looking at the analytics to compare the keywords for organic traffic. Adjust as needed and reindex.
  11. Google Search Console—Google Search Console is a free tool that gives you great information. Everything from tracking your 301s and 404s to search analytics all in one place. If you are having issues then Google Search Console will provide you with great insight to your page you can create actionable data from.

If you pay attention and you follow the items above, you will make your relaunch as successful and more successful than your site before redesign. However, keep using these tools. The tools and information are not just for redesign. These tools and steps will also give you great information for you to act on and fix. Remember, no matter how much you work on all of this, it won’t mean anything if you have an unattractive, bulky and non friendly page. So in conjunction with these steps, you need to make sure you follow the other rules like the 3 click rule, proper branding rules, and make your site look like the way you want to represent your business. Your site is a direct reflection of you and your company, so if it is unattractive, it shows your business as unattractive to the user. If it is hard to navigate, it shows your company as hard to navigate. If your branding is not correct, it shows as indecisive and confusing.

It all starts with you and what you want people to know about you! Happy redesign!

Why Do I Need Video?

In today’s day and age people are very visual in nature. I know that at my house my kids are watching videos all the time. What amazes me even more is that I talk to people who say they are too busy to talk or to decide or even to go to the bathroom. However, those same people message me and say “Did you see the video on youtube? Wow, it was amazing”. Then I look at the video and it was the latest fails of the week. This is the world we live in now! People do not have the time to do as much as the world moves quickly but they can always watch the latest video.

Here is where reality crosses with marketing. We get calls everyday about video because that is what we do. Everybody wants to make a video that goes viral to promote their company. Did you know that less than 1% of videos go viral? To say that anybody has the secret sauce to make a video viral would be a lie. Not to mention, is the best representation of your company really a viral video? Viral videos are silly or show what not to do a lot of times. However, if you can get a 6 second video ad during the pre-roll of a viral video, it makes a lot of sense. The key to it is making the most out of 6 seconds. That we can do!

Having a video on the homepage of you website increases conversions by 80%. This statistic varies based on who you look up the statistic with; however, there is one common theme. Video gives you more conversions than words. Think about how many conversions you currently have from your site. Now think of how much your website costs you per lead. Who wouldn’t want the cost per lead to go down and the amount of leads to go up?

What do we record? You are not looking to be the next viral video so stop thinking it. You are wanting to show why someone HAS to have you as their vendor of choice for the project they have or why they have to buy the product they want from you. You do not have to reinvent the wheel but you do have to tell them why you! I have said it many times. Know the why of what you do. Why do people come to you? Why do people need you? Why do you exist as a company? If you answer those questions in a 15–30 second video then you can watch your leads roll. Do not try to shove 50 years into 30 seconds. It will not show well at all. Show the why now! I believe that there’s a place for history videos, bio videos and product videos, however, that place is not on your homepage. Furthermore, you should absolutely have those videos as well. Those videos should be throughout your website and they should all link to your Youtube page therefore fulfilling one requirement of content marketing.

So in short, should you have video as part of your overall strategy? YES, for sure and definitely!

To Be Found Or Not To Be Found, That Is The Question

This is a woman searching something on Google on her laptop.

When you go into your phone and you type in air conditioning repair you get a list of people nearby that do that, right? Imagine if you are the business owner and somebody is 20 feet from your location and they type in air conditioning repair but your name doesn’t come up? That would probably upset you, correct? Well that is because you are not listed correctly with the major search engines. The last I checked there are over 700 online directories that you can be listed on. Do all of them make sense to you? NO.

There are many directories that are specific to industries that do not make sense for everybody. If you are a doctors office then it makes sense to be listed on WebMD however if you do AC repair then it does not. How do you know which ones you should be listed on? How much time does it take to go into each one individually and make sure everything is exact. That is where a Marketing company comes in with listing expertise.

Listings are very important to SEO for a website. There are a lot of decisions that have to be made with listing and no matter how little you think they are it is very important that you make decisions prior to starting the project. Decisions like Spelling Avenue or using Ave with or without a period? What phone number do you want to use? What email? What are your hours? If you are a restaurant do you want the menu? What pictures do you want to use? What keywords do you want to use? These all seem like basic things but they are very important because ALL of your listings need to be EXACT across all platforms!

Furthermore if you take this project on yourself you have to go in and fix these on a very regular basis. There are crawlers that will go in and change the information within 6 days of fixing it. At first it is one or maybe 2 sites. After 30 days over half of the sites you fixed are changed. That is why it is much more cost effective to work with a Listing Power user service like we are. We constantly fix listings and once they are fixed the crawlers can not change them. There is a fee of course, however how much would it cost you to have to go in and fix them all the time?

What I hear all the time is that I will hire an employee to do this and make sure I stay up to date. Let’s figure this out mathematically. You pay an employee $10 per hour to go in and fix your listings and keep them up to date. Each listing service will take about 30 minutes to fix. That means you are paying that employee $360 every time they have to go through all 72 sites. Now only about half of them get changes monthly. So you will have to pay an employee $180 every month to keep them fixed. These numbers do not include taxes, insurance and all the extra payments you need to make for every employee you have. For a listing professional to come in and have them constantly fixed it will cost you between $100 – $150 per month. So the math is easy right?

You are found online, now what?

When creating a website there’s many things to think about. You want it to represent you and your company. You want it to represent your core beliefs and how you want the public to perceive those beliefs.

 

We come across one issue all the time. We offer free web reports and listing reports as part of our service. The web report is graded on many levels with 100 be the highest score that your website can get. 90 if you do not have a SSL certificate. We constantly run across sites that are 85-90 without SSL certificate. Pretty good right? Wrong! See the issue is that they are not getting conversions off of the site. The site is Mobile, It is Keyworded, it is maintained, updated, easy to navigate and linked to analytics. It ticks all of the boxes for a good site except one.

 

Can you guess what it is?

This one thing it is missing is more important than anything else.

This one thing they are missing is the largest representation of the company that can be.

This one thing is what makes people want to click to learn more.

Do you give up on what it is yet?

 

ATTRACTION! Yes I said attraction! You can have the best site in the world. It can get people to come to your site by the hundreds or even thousands. However if it does not look good than people will not want to know more about your company, product or service? Why do people want to click the contact form if they do not like what they see online? 81% of consumers research you online before they make a decision so in this case you are found but you do not look good as a company.

 

Imagine a website likes this scenario. You are looking to buy a car. You run across 2 ads for the exact same car and the exact same price and mileage. One is an ad that is just words and the other has pictures and a video. Which ad will you request information from? The same goes for your website. You can have the best wording in the world and you could have a literary genius write it but if people can’t see it then they can’t relate to it. I read this statistic recently “90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual which the brain will process 60,000 times faster than text information. That is an amazing number. I also read another statistic that having a video on your homepage will increase your conversions by 80%. We are in a visual world so your website needs to be as well!

How do I choose the right Marketing company?

An image of a group of people working together.

Choosing the right Marketing company is a very difficult decision and I would say that you have to do your homework and due diligence. You would think that you need to find a company that has worked with your product before. A company that has had success in your product line before or a company that knows your product. This thought is both right and wrong in my opinion. I know some great Marketing companies that do a very good job that do have verticals. They do the same thing with the same type of company and they have had great success with that model. I also have know some great marketing companies that concentrate on only one client in any specific industry or vertical. I have worked with both types of companies and they both have given me success in one form or another.

What I suggest is go with a company you trust. Interview all options and go with the person that you feel is truly going to give you the best bang for your buck. There are 5 simple questions that you should ask a marketing company.

What Key performance indicators do you measure?
Key performance indicators are one of the most important measurements to know that your Marketing Company is working hard for you. Depending on which Marketing avenue they are doing it could be calls, clicks to a site, conversions, impressions, views, or many other things depending on if it is Traditional or Non-Traditional based advertising.

How do you evaluate your success with my business?
A Marketing company must be able to track what is happening with your account. It is
very difficult sometimes to track everything however ultimately a Cost Per lead should be
established and evaluated on a regular basis.

Who will be working on my account?
Most times it is not the Account Executive that will actually be handling the day to day of your account. So find out who the manager is and what their experience is.

What marketing medium do you favor?
There are many different kinds of Marketing companies. Some specialize on Digital Marketing, some on website design and other on traditional avenues. A great company can work with all of them so you can get one Fantastic overall plan.

What do you know about my company?
Ultimately this all comes down to trust. Do I trust you with my money to spend in the advertising world? Therefor any good Marketing company is going to do some research on your company before they get there. They may even give you reports or a synopsis of what they found or how they found you. If they don’t then how do they even know they can help you?

After all this you will have a feeling of trust with the company that you choose. Ultimately that is what you need. A Marketing company that you choose should be a will be a major part of your team.

It’s Time to Start Thinking about Budgeting

This is vector art of a content marketing strategist.

It is the middle of August and it seems very strange to be thinking about 2018. You are still finishing up vacations and the kids are on their way back to school. The question is how long do you want to wait? In today’s business world marketing budgets take longer to prepare, especially when Content Marketing is the largest growth possibility in 2018. If your business is grossing  more than 5 million in revenue, according to the Small Business Association, your company should be spending 8% to 10% of the total gross revenue in order to grow. If less than $5 million in gross revenue, a company should be spending 10% to 12%. It is further suggested that in 2018 a company spends ⅓ of this on Digital and ⅔ on traditional marketing avenues.

 

The real question is how do you use it? Where do you spend it? What do you spend it on? The answer is Content Marketing! I know what you are thinking, “You are nuts, that is against all marketing principles and that puts all of my eggs in one basket.” I would agree with you unless we are talking about Content Marketing.   

 

Content Marketing is a marketing art that combines both Traditional marketing and non-traditional marketing. I like to explain it as a spider web, You have your Mooring threads, these we would explain as Traditional and non-traditional marketing, these connect to your anchor point which is your business. Your frame threads are your different avenues, TV, Radio, Newspaper, social media, digital advertising and many other avenues. Your radials are your different possibilities in your categories which include items like ABC, CBS, Facebook, Instagram, Journal Sentinel, google in our local Milwaukee market. Finally you have the most important element and that is the Viscid thread. The Viscid thread ties it all together and create the foundation for the success of the web. That is the part that creates the personal touch for the consumer all leading them to the Hub of the web which is your website, your location, a phone call or email.

 

Imagine you are watching TV. Then you see an ad that shows you what is possible with a certain laundry detergent. Then you look on Youtube and see a different story for the same company that shows the same story in a different way. Then you look on Facebook and see an ad for the same product telling the story of the Laundry detergent. Now imagine you are in the store trying to pick out a laundry detergent. You are most likely to relate to the story they provided and get the detergent that you saw in all those advertisements. That is Content Marketing!

 

We believe that “Your success is our Success” It is what makes us different. It is what makes us Paragon.

Don’ts of Digital Marketing

This is a magnifying glass focused on the word, copyright in a book.

Something has come up a lot lately, and we would like to share it with you. In small businesses, many companies simply do not have the budget to pay for images, articles or even design. They do not have the budget to hire a reputable marketing company so they have their friend, a non-marketing employee or family member do it. After all, free is always better right? WRONG! Remember, when someone posts on social media on behalf of your company it is not only a reflection of the company, but the owner of the company is legally responsible for what is said.

There are many rules, regulations and laws that must be observed. Here are just a few:

  1. Photos: If you do not have the rights to the photo then you are infringing on copyright laws. These copyright laws could get you in big trouble with the creator of the image. You could even get sued or serve jail time if it went that far. Small businesses are not immune to these laws just because they don’t have big budgets. There are a many free sites out there that give you the ability to use the photo and by downloading it you have authorization from the artist. There are also some great sites that by buying the image at reasonable price you also have the rights from the artist. Paying for a perfect photo for your advertisement could cost $1 or $10; however, either way, it will not cost you your business or livelihood.
  2. Celebrities: Just because a celebrity photo is on the internet does not mean you can use it and attach your logo or design to it. Celebrities are paid endorsers of products. By taking a photo off of the internet and customizing it to you, you are using their likeness for financial gain and you must pay them to do so. Legally and technically you are required by law to have what is called “modeling rights or releases” from anybody that you use for advertisement purposes and, yes, this includes employees.
  3. Movie stills: At the beginning of every movie you see the FBI warning on piracy. We all love that blue screen that we see, and in today’s digital age we skip past or ignore it. Well, let me tell you, it is REAL. As a matter of fact the law was updated many years ago to include films, audio recordings, electronic media, software, books, and photographs. For this alone you can be heavily fined and you can also go to jail. You can not use these for monetary gain and, yes, social media is considered monetary gain as it is a form of advertisement.
  4. Music: Music almost has the same rules as movies. You must obtain permission from the artist or creator prior to using that in your advertisements and videos. Again, there are sites that you can purchase the rights. However, no matter what you use, please get permission. You can not just grab a mainstream song done by a large named singer and attach your logo or advertisements to it.

Now all of this sounds scary and it was meant to be that way. We as a marketing agency take these laws and rules very seriously. We specialize in working with small businesses and we definitely take copyright laws very seriously and so should you. We will not risk our livelihood by reproducing any illegal item and we will not take that risk for a client. Our suggestion would be that you as a small business owner take the time to understand the laws or hire a reputable marketing agency that specializes in small business marketing. Either way, you will be covered from a legal standpoint. By the way even this photo  on this blog has a copyright, it was downloaded from Pixabay so now we know we are legally covered to use it.