About Michael Lewis

How to Boost Revenue with Content Marketing

April 4th, 2017

Content MarketingWhy Content Marketing?

With the digital world full of brands promoting themselves with sales and gimmicks, the masses are beginning to see past the smoke and gravitate towards voices that they trust. Consumers are sick of being ‘sold’ so they’re relying on their gut-reactions, forcing brands to earn their attention with excellent content. What exactly does that mean?

Content is material that serves either an entertaining and/or educational purpose in an effort to tell a brand’s story in a unique way.

Brands spend 25%-43% of their marketing budget on content – Business2Community

45% of marketers say blogging is their most important content strategy – Social Media Examiner

While many brands create and distribute content, having a pre-planned strategy with detailed execution and data analytics is key to maximizing their spend. Here’s what’s earning brands more revenue!

Building Your Strategy

Brand Identity

Your brand demonstrates how you want your business to be perceived, so your image must remain consistent across all channels. Content should reflect your brand, and while the individual message might vary, the tone, verbiage, and overall content imprint should remain consistent. A strong brand adds a personal touch to your business and will assist to establish a loyal following.

Demographics

For optimal results, maximize ad spend and overall efficiency by focusing your content to meet the needs of your intended audience. This means tone, verbiage, colors, and other communication methods should be in tune with your branding and demographics. Research and evaluate the proposed content prior to publication to gauge its effectiveness, as it is crucial to the bottom line.

Your target audience should identify with your brand, so it should meet their perception of your brand’s personality to stand out. If your brand were a person, your potential customers should want to be your brand’s friend!

Documenting Your Strategy

While it might seem redundant, it’s important to record your strategy for the same reason you would document your business plan – so it’s in writing and clear to everyone involved. This will also keep everyone on the same page to promote branding and cross-channel continuity, as well as a cohesive messaging strategy. Documenting your plan makes it easier for your team to reference your strategy as well.

Not convinced yet? Here’s a nugget to consider:

Did you know that 70% of B2B Marketers planned to increase their Content Marketing in the past year? – Content Marketing Institute

Implementing the Strategy

Putting your strategy into action is often easier said than done. Beyond almost anything else, success requires persistence and attention to detail. Remember, details must be transparent and relevant assumptions are unacceptable. Every metric should strategically tie in with your branding or demographics appeal. While this phase is important, it’s how you’re able to adapt and improve your strategy that will define your long-term success.

More food for thought:

The top three B2B goals of Content Marketing are Lead Generation (85%), Sales (84%), and Lead Nurturing (78%) – Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs

Testing and Analyzing Data

Managing the data you collect is just as important as mapping and executing your strategy. Think of your content strategy as if it were a science experiment. You have statistics and other demographic-based information which leads to a:

Hypothesis: Form an educated prediction based on the given data on hand

Preparation: Draft content in an effort to prove your hypothesis (based on the data provided)

Test: Execute your drafted strategy

Results: Compare the results to your hypothesis and deduct a productive conclusion

For the purpose of Content Marketing, you can use this basic scientific method to determine how your content is meeting or exceeding expectations. Once it complies, take it to the next level by exploring more detailed metrics which will provide more insight as to why your content is or isn’t resonating with your target audience. Useful tools such as Google Analytics show historical data so you can harvest metrics that support your hypothesis and deliver measurable results!

In short, use the data at hand to make the most educated conclusions. Go with what works.

Timing

Constantly base the timing portion of your results on trial and error and don’t ignore the metrics. You should be looking for promising results over an extended period of time to reach a conclusion that will lead to a profitable outcome.

Engagement

If using certain verbiage, design strategy, or any other measurable element in your content that outperforms others of its kind, it might be worth looking into. Maybe condensed copy performs better, or using humor – the point is to never ignore your data. Pay attention to what your audience is telling you and adapt to it. The longer you adapt your content message to reach your target audience, the stronger and more personalized your brand and content strategy will become.

A profitable Content Marketing strategy can be a huge difference maker for your business. Could you business benefit from an increase in customers and revenue? Contact the experts at Active Web Group for a complimentary analysis to see how your business can maximize profits.

Get Your FREE Marketing Analysis

Or Call our Experts at (800) 978-3417

Does Ivanka Trump Need to Rebrand?

March 8th, 2017

Photo Credit: Michael Vadon

Due to political boycotting, clothing retailers, starting with Nordstrom have begun to drop Ivanka Trump’s clothing brand. Consumers are associating Ms. Trump’s clothing line with her father’s controversial policies. As a result, her business has taken a major hit.

Putting politics aside, Ms. Trump needs to review her business strategy and assess the direction she intends to bring her brand. Besides political backlash, there are other considerations as to why her brand is being dropped by retailers, such as the fact that Ms. Trump’s clothing brand is nearly a decade old. Ivanka Trump has to treat this matter like as any other PR Crisis. With the bottom line in mind and as with any other brand, Ms. Trump needs to consider how the public perceives her and how it might impact her brand and business.

With more retailers including Belk, Neiman-Marcus, TJ Maxx and Marshalls rejecting her brand, Ms. Trump should consider rebranding to limit unnecessary attention. From a Public Relations perspective, damage control must begin with refocused, and effective brand messaging.

The best course of action would be for Ms. Trump to distance her brand from politics, and focus solely on her business. She might consider flying her brand under the radar by reintroducing her line under a name other than “Trump”. While many believe she has already attempted to distance herself from her father’s politics with her infamous dress post, the name “Trump” is believed to already hold too much baggage, and stunt the growth of future damage control initiatives.

Below are the results of a SWOT Analysis, a popular planning method AWG’s Public Relations Professionals use to assess their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. For a reactive campaign such as this, it’s clear to AWG that the Opportunities section suggestion should be Ms. Trump’s primary course of action. When considering the shape of Ms. Trump’s brand, the analysis reflects as shown:

Strengths

Weaknesses

Quality products are well-targeted

Current identity crisis

Opportunities

Threats

Weaknesses can be turned into strengths

Current damage can increase if not attended to

To address and repair the initial damage, AWG would recommend a proactive approach, involving her new brand with charitable and environmental causes, to specifically avoid the stigma associated with her father’s politics. The goal is for Ivanka Trump’s brand is to address her audience and represent opposition to the stigma that has created the initial boycotting of her brand.

Beyond charitable donations, Ms. Trump’s new brand might benefit largely by building partnerships with non-profit organizations specifically those focused on building environmental and cultural awareness. Creating a system of positive press will force consumers to focus on one thing – the clothing, which is the primary objective.

In addition to positive press, Ms. Trump might find an opportunity in selling domestic-made goods, which will not only silence critics, but will generate applause, and build value for her brand. This is another way to communicate that she is listening, also that she will do whatever it takes to please her current and potential customers. By distancing herself and her brand from her father’s politics, then and only then will Ivanka Trump find her own voice, and, most important- her brand’s new followers.

By accentuating the positive aspects of the brand (the focus on charities and environmental causes) and away from her name’s negative connotations, Ms. Trump would rebuild and refocus her brand. Branding is largely about capitalizing on opportunity – and this is Ivanka Trump’s chance to shine, stand out, and silence her critics.

Ivanka Trump’s brand dilemma underscores the fact that not all publicity is good publicity; effective PR is about communicating strategically and effectively. Is your brand communicating the right way to the right audience? Contact the experts at Active Web Group and experience the true power of professional branding at 1-800-978-3417!

Why Your Brand Should Take Advantage of Virtual Reality in 2017

February 7th, 2017

Virtual Reality in 2017Video has become more dominant in digital communication. In 2017 it is expected to take new forms that will change the digital advertising landscape forever. Based on click-throughs, online users are already demonstrating more interest in video content than text. Now, video is poised to enhance the personal user experience as well via Virtual Reality.

Virtual Reality (or VR) promises to change the direction of online advertising, taking this communication format in an entirely new direction. Brands are already becoming proficient in the art of storytelling, which is proving to be an excellent tactic for breaking through the clutter of our content-saturated world. What if these stories became more real? With VR, they will be. Advertising and overall branding will become more of a personal experience, rather than a video on screen. The engagement will be unparalleled, as prospective customers will literally be able to visualize themselves with a product or service. The phrase “seeing is believing” has never been more true.

What Your Brand Can Do

The paradigm shift in 2017 will reach groundswell proportions as the majority of companies will enter this marketplace. How can you position your brand to succeed?

Free Branding Consultation

The sooner your brand adapts to VR, greater success will be achieved. Eventually, all brands will take part in the virtual experience, but the early adapters will make the most impact. This offers a limited window of time for your brand to make a statement. For virtual reality in 2017, the time to act is now.

VR is about interaction, so your brand should focus on providing user excitement! Position your product/service as an experience instead of a conventional promotion.

Potential customers should be able to readily see the benefits of using your product/service, which is one major advantage that VR has over other marketing tactics. For instance: if you’re selling a car, you would likely want to focus on the interior and how it would make potential customers feel, rather than the specs.

Showcasing your brand and products as an experience will not only take the best advantage of VR, but will enable brands to reach their online goals faster!

Are you having trouble building or maintaining your digital brand? Contact the experts at Active Web Group for a FREE Analysis to learn how we can grow your brand! As a full-service digital agency, we have experts ready to tackle your business obstacles head on! Click HERE for your FREE Analysis or Contact us at (800) 978-3417!

How Space Exploration Can Brand a Car

January 4th, 2017

Digital Branding
It’s amazing how a name can be synonymous with a brand, and how that name can influence the overall perception people have of that brand.

CEO, Elon Musk’s intention to travel to Mars has grabbed headlines and attention worldwide. Visiting the red planet has been a sci-fi fantasy of eons, however, Elon Musk and SpaceX stand determined to take us there within our lifetime.

With such innovative plans, it’s no surprise that Elon Musk has become branded as futuristic, as will anything he creates, or has part in. So what does this mean for Tesla Motors? While Tesla vehicles are already innovative electric luxury cars with self-driving capabilities, there’s additional notoriety (and market share) to be gained in having a CEO that speaks of going where no man has gone before. This adds substantial credibility to any and all of Musk’s intentions, and puts Tesla Motors in a league of its own from a marketing perspective.

Get a FREE Digital Branding Management Strategy Analysis

Taking a deeper look at Tesla Motors’ branding enforces one marketing principle – finding a niche and perfecting it. This is exactly what Musk has done with the Tesla. Tesla Motors’ branding has become more than just about cars, it’s about alternative energy and change. This dynamic concept is appealing when most other luxury cars look about the same. As a relatively new company (founded in 2003), Tesla Motors has done the best job of any car manufacturer at standing out from its competition. The ever-increasing demand for Tesla cars underscores that claim.

So What Does This Mean?

Tesla Motors can market their cars differently than their competitors because of their incredibly unique branding. Musk has already succeeded in his outlandish, almost Mission Impossible, task of altering our universe through modern, eco-friendly, human transportation! No need to settle for a Delorean, Tesla is the automotive brand for today, and the intergalactic future. Tesla’s cars are unique, so their marketing can be unique. Tesla Motors marketing team has created a niche that is creating incredible demand, largely in part because of Elon’s futuristic appeal.

Effective branding can be the difference between a company failing or succeeding. Thinking about the branding for your business? Contact the experts at Active Web Group and experience the true power of professional branding at 1-800-978-3417!

Get a FREE Digital Branding Management Strategy Analysis

Active Web Group Gives FitSmallBusiness One of Their Top Marketing Ideas

December 19th, 2016

Active Web Group has been featured in FitSmallBusiness, giving our expert opinion on small businesses and how they can stand out from their competition. Social Media and Brand Account Manager, Jessica Moreno told FitSmallBusiness to “Re-think Mobile” by considering new ‘social’ purchasing trends in order to increase engagement and revenue on mobile devices. “Utilizing this is ensuring that you are giving your customers every opportunity to purchase as you are adapting to their needs.”

You can find the rest of Jessica’s suggestion here: http://fitsmallbusiness.com/small-business-marketing-ideas/

Mobile Browser vs. Native Apps

December 12th, 2016

While many have said that native apps were the future, research suggests that mobile websites have already become the more dominant source for mobile information.

While apps were once requisite, it’s become increasingly apparent that they have become unnecessary for most of the functions required to facilitate using mobile devices. Native Apps began as a result of connection issues, which we no longer face thanks to our 4G and Wi-Fi-everywhere world.

Native (or Mobile) Apps are great for frequent tasks like communicating with friends and co-workers. For these necessary actions, dominant apps such as Facebook, Slack, and WhatsApp will clearly continue, even gain in popularity. The same however, cannot be said for smaller native apps.

While native apps are ideal for some things, we have found that they trail responsive websites for many other actions. In short, everything that the dominant native apps can’t give us, browsers can.

Apps like Facebook act as a hub for discovering social and general content based on our interests, which makes them incredibly valuable. Many Americans download zero apps per month, which means they use their must-have apps (Like Facebook and WhatsApp) and see no need to look for additional apps.

While dominant native apps will almost definitely have a place in the future of mobile, don’t be surprised if companies start to shift their focus toward responsive websites instead. Having a solid, responsive website ensures its accessibility everywhere and anywhere for everyone. Once active, a responsive site also leaves no lack of continuity for information or design between desktop and mobile, which is essential for brand messaging.

This is not only effective for functionality, but works from a cost perspective, as well. In 2016, over half of online users are using mobile devices, which means that a responsive website has become imperative. Additionally, Google has begun to “favor” sites that have responsive versions as opposed to those that do not. Having to download a mobile app to make one or two online purchases might also affect the buyer’s mood, which makes having a fully responsive website even more important.

When we talk about the future of mobile, we have to consider what people are using now and why. The top native apps are thriving, while the rest are falling short to mobile websites that are better equipped to handle user’s needs. Technology will always evolve around what users want, and the demand for mobile browsers over native apps has proven to be just that.

5 Steps to Enhance Your B2B Branding

December 2nd, 2016

Enhancing your brand can be one of the most profitable long-term decisions a business can make. Effective branding leads to cohesive messaging, which communicates more to your audience than just your name. A well-executed identity strategy can create the opportunity for long-term profits. It’s what sets your brand apart, ensuring more business and greater ROI.

Establish a Brand Style Guide

Having guidelines sets the rules for all brand stakeholders. This provide a best practices manual for your logos, fonts, colors, and anything else that would be used to visually express your brand’s identity. With these guidelines in place, everyone will be able to work towards the same goals, protecting the same brand, thereby creating effective branding continuity.

Revisit Your Mission Statement

Mission and vision statements can become outdated and lose their true meaning over time. As your company evolves, so should your mission statement. An updated mission statement will ensure a business never loses touch with its core goals, or its targeted demographic.

A mission statement should identify who your company is, its long-term goals, and how to achieve said goals. If this mission statement (which is essentially a formal executive plan) is written correctly, its execution is simply to pursue your company’s stated business goals, within the stated timeline.

Strengthen Your Company Culture

Every part of your business should represent your brand, including your employees. You have to live by your brand daily. Successful branding should tie directly into the company’s desired public perception. Any lack of cohesive messaging can skew your brand’s unique meaning and intent, which can negatively impact public perception as a whole.

Put the ‘Social’ in Social Media

Social media is an excellent way to extend your brand messaging. Using Disney World as an example, brands can make themselves instantly recognizable, just by their logo design, choice of font, coloring, or wording they choose. Perpetuating this messaging can be as easy as sharing your latest updates and communicating with key audiences on social media.

Implementing Public Relations Strategies

Creating relationships with third-party endorsements that tie into your brand is also beneficial. Having someone considered an authority in another field talk about your brand establishes its credibility and extends your brand’s reach by association.

While the right relationships are essential for any successful brand, it is especially crucial to maintain a custom link building campaign, which can attract more qualified traffic to your website. The process is organic, and takes time and effort, as it is essentially a relationship-building exercise. However it can reap sizeable benefits in higher rankings, drive more quality site traffic, increase conversions and ROI.

If you have questions regarding B2B branding, call Active Web Group. We are a full service digital marketing agency that provides and branding initiatives and account management for businesses of all sizes and industries. We also offer responsive web design, SEO services, email marketing, PPC, social media campaigns, and more! For more information regarding an effective AWG B2B Branding campaign, contact us at (800) 978-3417.

3 Sources to Boost Your Persona Research

October 18th, 2016

shutterstock_228129856The most effective marketing campaigns require extensive preparation before moving into specific strategies. Effective initiatives and campaigns are developed from an understanding of your goals and objectives. Funneling these goals and objectives into detailed marketing personas has become a popular and efficient way of understanding target audiences and assisting marketers to channel their efforts directly to their stated demographic. Realizing these personas will chart your enterprise’s course for success.

Social Media Research

One benefit of social media data is that it users have basically laid out their interests and views, which allows for easy market segmentation. To take this up one more level, social analytics tools like Facebook Insights and Audiense can supply ample information to be used to create the ultimate marketing personas. This data can easily provide insight into how your customers think, and what drives them to take action. Social media monitoring tools can also help find potential customers based on what they’re looking for, which in turn supplies more data for your ever-growing marketing persona.

Customer Surveys

Encouraging customer feedback from is one of the best ways to learn from them. Customer surveys are especially unique because they give direct responses. Consider a survey with 7-10 open-ended questions posted on popular sites like Survey Monkey can give actionable information that you don’t have to interpret. Few (if any) methods are more informative than direct responses, as these provide straight forward answers based on customer experience. No further analysis is required until all the data has been gathered.

Website Analytics

Knowing what your customers are looking for is crucial when analyzing them from a marketing perspective. Using tools like Google Analytics can provide insight as to where (your) site visitors are coming from, what keywords they used to find you, and how much time they’ve spent on your site. In addition, these analytics tools can also shed light on where these visitors are clicking, providing indirect feedback as to what is or isn’t resonating with your audience and what is driving the digital customer experience.

For over a decade, Active Web Group has provided our comprehensive Digital Agency skillset to promote businesses of every size and in almost every industry. Utilizing performance models such as customized performance personas, we assist our clients to achieve their business goals and objectives. We also provide social media strategy, account management, programming, email marketing services, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and web design services. For questions or to learn more, please contact us at (800) 978-3417.

3 Free PR Strategies to Make Any Campaign Better

October 7th, 2016

shutterstock_215381881Any digital campaign can benefit from some good PR – and who can argue with free? Getting the most for your digital marketing efforts is vital, and these three tips will help improve any digital campaign on any budget.

Guest Blogging

Aside from its value in exposure, guest blogging is also very helpful for Custom Link Building (CLB) efforts. The real question here is ‘how do you find the right guest blogs to write for’? It’s all about establishing and maintaining relationships with the right connections. In this case, pitching reporters and blog owners for topics on personal areas of expertise can be very helpful long-term. In the event that they lack solid topics for you – they might be more inclined to point you in the right direction if you have established a good relationship.

The benefits of guest blogging, you ask? Free exposure with useful links that lead to your website can help exposure and your search engine rankings, which can be twice as effective in boosting your digital campaign.

Sourcing Press Mentions

Using free programs like Google Alerts allows users to get news as soon as it hits the web. This gives a PR pro the opportunity to frame the news and make it about themselves or their client. The timeliness is what’s really key for these programs; the more time you have to prepare, the better off you are. You can also get the jump on your competition and be vying for exposure against a thinned herd of prospects. These programs can also be used to track your competitors’ press – this can provide insight as to what direction your company might want to take.

Benchmarking Competition’s Social Media

Social Media Marketing is evolving every day, and like other forms of advertising it’s about breaking through the clutter and getting noticed. While you’re always looking for the next big strategies, it can be very helpful to benchmark your competitors and see what’s working for them. Maybe they’re tweeting to fans more, or using more videos. Regardless, this is a great opportunity to get the idea that can catapult your social media efforts to the next level.

With so many free tools that allow you to analyze your content, you can compare your own data to your competition’s results. With free tools like Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics available, it would be crazy not to take advantage of them! Once you compare the data, you’ll be able to use this knowledge to gain valuable organic traffic.

If you’re not satisfied with your social media accounts, call Active Web Group. We are a full service digital marketing agency that provide social media strategy and account management for businesses of all sizes and industries. We also offer responsive web design, SEO services, email marketing, PPC, and more! For more information: (800) 978-3417.

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