Sep 21
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

If you are familiar with sales and marketing, chances are you have heard of the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey is the process that a potential buyer goes through when making the decision to purchase (or not purchase) a product. The buyer’s journey consists of three stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. By understanding the buyer’s journey, you can help customers decide if you product is the best to fit their needs, or update your product to meet buyer demands.

Why it matters: Sixty seven percent of the buyer’s decision is made before they even reach out to sales. The large majority of customer’s are making decisions about purchases on their own, before ever reaching out to your business for more information. Make sure that you have an updated Buyer Persona so that you can help provide valuable insight to your potential customers to help guide them towards the solution they have been searching for, and show them that you can offer them their best option. Being aware of what stage the customer is on can help you offer them guidance on getting exactly what they need. This will help them move in your direction and gain their trust, rather than driving them away.

Awareness: The first step in the buyer’s journey is awareness. This is when the buyer realizes that they have a challenge or opportunity and start to search for answers. Many users will turn to Google to being solving the challenge, so make sure your company is up to date on SEO. It is important to recognize how the buyer is describing their goal or challenge, how they are educating themselves, what the consequences of not taking action would be, common misconceptions or problems they might run into, and how high of a priority their goal or challenge is to them. For example, say the buyer has a sore throat and fever. They are likely to search for a solution to their problem, as they will want to recover as quickly as possible. However, say the buyer notices that their car is getting a lot of miles on it, but still running well. This buyer might start casually looking for a solution, but it is not as dire as the buyer looking for a solution to their illness. Take in to consideration how urgent the buyer’s need is, and find ways to help them at the earliest stage of their journey. Writing informative blog posts is one helpful way to accomplish that, by offering more information and introducing buyers to your company.

Consideration: As the second stage of the journey, buyer’s have identified their issue and have committed to addressing it. This is the stage where they will evaluate their options, and do the most research on what is best for them. If you have gotten them to take your business into consideration, this is the phase in which you need to build a relationship with the customer. Keeping up with your website and social media channels will help you achieve this. Having reviews from previous customers will help as well, as they can see unbiased opinions from buyers with personal experience with your product. Keep track of what kinds of solutions buyers are researching, how they are deciding what is best for them, and how they are deciding the pros and cons of each solution they are researching.

Decision: In the last stage of the buyer’s journey, the buyer comes to a decision on the best solution for them. Research the criteria they used to come to their conclusion, the pros and cons of your company vs your competitors, who needed to be involved in the decision making (family, friends, etc) and additional preparations outside of the main purchase the buyer might need. During this phase, you will hopefully convert your lead into a customer as well. Make sure to delight them with your product and provide excellent customer service to thank them for trusting your product as their ideal choice. Continue to interact with them and show them new ways that they can use your product.

By researching the buyer’s journey, how your buyer’s typically go through it, and what their outcome tends to be, you can help make their purchasing decision much easier for them. Customers can go through these three steps very quickly or very slowly, so be patient and helpful as you help guide them. Without customers, you wouldn’t have a business, so make sure to treat your buyers with the care and respect they deserve.

Sep 14

Creating A Call-To-Action

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Creating a Call-To-Action

Getting customers to do what you’d like them to do can be difficult, especially for those just starting out in marketing. They abandon shopping carts, ignore well written blog posts, and choose not to sign up for informative newsletters. If they are already visiting your website, chances are they are interested in your product or service already. So how do you keep them on your site, and convince them to finish what they started? By creating a compelling Call-To-Action (or CTA) you can boost sales and gain subscribers. Here are some do’s and don’ts of creating a CTA, as well as some examples of how to integrate them into your website.

CTA Do’s: CTA’s should be kept short and sweet. For example, if you are selling t-shirts, have a “Shop Now” button in plain view by the product. While you could choose to have your CTA as “Shop” or “Shop Here” or another similar phrase, “Shop Now” gives customers a sense of urgency and encourages them to purchase them item right away, rather than abandoning their cart and potentially forgetting about it. Button color is something else you need to take into consideration. There is no right or wrong color to use, and your button color will vary depending on your company and website colors. A/B testing and color psychology should be used to determine the most effective color for you. Button placement is also an important factor. Your CTA should be easy to find and clear. If customers have to hunt for it, they are more likely to turn to one of your competitors for an easier checkout experience. Take into consideration what step of the buyer’s journey your customer is on, and use your CTA to help them. You want to please your customers, so making their buyer’s journey as easy as possible will ensure a quality repeat customer base.

CTA Don’ts: While you want to use CTA’s to help funnel customers deeper in to their buyer’s journey, you can go overboard with your Call-To-Actions. Don’t plaster them all over your website, rather place them only where they are convenient to your customers. Make sure that they stand out enough that they are eye catching, but also not over the top or obnoxious. Another mistake that is often made is not A/B testing or changing CTA’s over time. Keeping your website updated ensures that you are staying with current trends and meeting customer demands.

Connect CTA: One of the most basic and popular CTA’s is the connect to social CTA. This invites your website visitors to look at and interact with your social media pages. Often, websites feature the logos of their social media accounts with a link to their page. These CTA’s are typically found on the bottom of the page, but also can be placed on the top or side. You can write something such as “Follow Us” above the logos, or simply place them wherever they fit best. This encourages your customers to interact with your social media accounts and makes it easy for them to visit your pages with just a single click.

Post CTA: So you wrote a great post, now what? For customers that follow your blog or interact with you frequently, encourage them to subscribe at the bottom of your posts. Many companies even add an extra incentive by offering a small discount when new customers sign up for their newsletter or blog. In addition, you can offer special sales to those who are subscribed. At the bottom of your blog post or email, tie in a CTA encouraging customers to get in touch with you to learn more about your product or service. If they trust your content, they are likely to trust your product as well.

Review CTA: After a customer orders and receives a product from your store, send them an email asking them to leave a review. Give them the option to leave a review directly from the product page as well by placing a “Leave A Review” CTA on the product page. Letting customers give you feedback encourages them to take action, lets you know what they liked and didn’t like, and allows you to update your products to best fit your customer’s needs. Having reviews on your products also encourages new customers to purchase your products, as they can see what others who are more familiar with your business thought of their purchases.

There are many other types of Call-To-Actions that you can add to your website. It is good to choose more than one and to test them to see how customers are responding to them. While this seems like an easy and basic component, keeping up with your CTA’s can have a great positive impact on your business.

Sep 7

Emotional Marketing

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Every day, we feel dozens of emotions. Some good, some bad, all specific to our attitude, circumstances, and social situations. A study done in 2014 says that we are only capable of four basic emotions: happy, sad, afraid, and angry. However, mixing these emotions together creates a “wheel of emotion”, as shown by Robert Plutchik. So what does a wheel of emotion have to do with your marketing efforts, and how can you use emotional marketing to draw in a larger audience?

What is emotional marketing? Emotional marketing typically chooses one core emotion to make the audience notice, share, and buy. By focusing on one core emotion, you are more likely to get a response from your audience. Depending on your audience, you might need to go deeper into a feeling on the wheel of emotion, rather than staying on the surface with a vague core emotion. For example, you might want to excite your audience rather than simply making them feel happy, or spark anger in them rather than annoyance.

What makes emotional marketing work? Like it or not, people cannot help but feel a range of emotions on a daily basis. Think back on past events in your life that have had a big emotional impact on you, good or bad, and chances are you remember those events more than ones that did not provoke emotion. Events such as getting married or a heartbreak are more clear in your mind because of all of the emotion they carry with them. When you add emotion into your marketing and advertising, the same concept carries over.

Emotional marketing helps you make a better first impression to your customers. Picture an advertisement that simply discusses their product, and one that makes you laugh. You are more likely to remember the funny advertisement. This leads customers to tell friends and family about the funny advertisement so they can enjoy it as well, and can even lead to them sharing the ad on social media so that all of their friends can view it. The same goes for advertisements that make you feel emotional, such as Always Like A Girl campaign. Studies have proven that campaigns that are emotional do twice as well as those with only rational content. Customers tend to rely on emotion over information when making decisions.

The core four: While emotional marketing is a powerful tool to help you advertise and make more sales, it can also help you build a brand. The more audiences feel of the four core emotions, they more likely they are to share. When audiences see a video that makes them happy, for example, they are going to want to show people they love so that they can be happy as well. Good news travels faster than bad news, and happiness is contagious. Sadness lets people empathize and connect with one another. This leads audiences to lend a helping hand to whoever is in need. ASPCA is famous for their advertisements featuring sad pictures and videos of animals being rescued with a woeful song playing in the background before asking for donations. Fear (or surprise) make customers cling to what is familiar and helps foster brand loyalty. Using fear can be tricky, as you do not want to actually frighten customers. If used correctly, fear can be used to show that your brand can always be trusted and is consistent in a world of changing and unknown things. Anger can make audiences passionate, and can be a good choice for political issue or tragedy. Similar to happiness, passion and anger can encourage people to share content, therefore you can reach a wider audience organically.

How to use emotional marketing: As with all marketing plans, make sure you know your audience before you start. This will help you decide which emotion you want to use to sway your audience, and allow them to get the most value from your efforts. Make sure that your colors match up with the emotion that you are trying to evoke. Color psychology plays a huge role in market success when done correctly. Use your ad to tell a story and create a movement or call to action. Show your audience people using your product or service, how it has a positive impact on them, and ways that they can also improve their lives or the lives of others by using your company. Keep track of your ROI to see how your audience is reacting, and where you need to make changes.

Adding emotions to advertising can be tricky, but it is a tried and true practice to allow customers a more personal relationship with your brand. Do your research, plan wisely, and listen to your customers to create your most successful advertising campaign yet.

Aug 31

A Beginner’s Guide to ROI

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Companies often spend a lot of time, money, and effort into creating a content marketing plan that they think their target audience will love. However, without a positive return on investment (or ROI) there is no point in having social media accounts or running campaigns. While trying to measure social media ROI might sound like an impossible task, if you use the correct tools and create a plan it is easy to gather data and achieve results.

Metrics: First of all, what metrics do you need to be tracking? While this varies a bit depending on what social media platform you are measuring, there are four primary areas you need to measure: Conversion rates, leads generated, increased site traffic, and brand awareness. Although these all tie in with one another, it is helpful to analyze them one at a time to truly get an idea of where you are doing well and where you need to improve.

Once you decided which of these four areas you would like to focus on first, optimize your ROI by taking action. Interact with your audience, engage them, and search for niche community sites to mingle with. Monitor and observe where you are being mentioned, where you are getting positive and negative reviews, and where you are influencing your audience online. Mention is a great resource to track where and when audiences are talking about you. Use free tools such as Google Analytic to track your website’s visitors and conversions. Once you have a decent amount of information, create a report that correlates social media to Key Performance Indicators (or KPI’s). KPI’s include measurable things such as revenue, orders, leads, phone calls, and referrals.

What should I measure: The social media metrics you track will depend on your social media platform, as well as your company’s individual needs. Some examples of metrics to track are inbound links, ratings on other websites, comments and mentions, downloads, membership increase (such as an increase in followers), engagement, page views, and subscribers. Of course, there are many more than these, but tracking basic metrics such as these will give you quick insight to how your company is doing. Define KPI’s you want to track or improve while looking at these to help boost your social media and ROI. Choose to look into metrics that can translate into new sales or leads, and specialize KPI’s to different networks. For example, you might want to increase the number of followers you have on Facebook, while your goal for Twitter could be more re-tweets.

There are 5 main metrics you should look into tracking: Audience, interactions, brand perception, expenses, and sales. While tracking your audience, look at who you are reaching- is it your regular customers, influencers, potential customers, or the general public? See who is viewing and interacting with your pages. Looking deeper into the interactions, tracking views, shares, likes, and comments across social media. Use call-to-actions or promotions to see how your audience is responding to what you are putting out. You can use interactions to help track how your brand perception has changed. Customers will either have a positive or negative response to your social media marketing, and keeping up with how they view your brand is crucial to helping you create the brand image you are aiming for. Running adds, using subscription websites such as HootSuite, and spending valuable time creating and executing social media campaigns can add up more quickly than many companies realize. While social media is still much more cost efficient than traditional marketing methods, make sure you are keeping track of how much money you are spending vs how much money you are making.

What not to do: While learning to track ROI, it can be easy to get off track. There are some simple mistakes marketers tend to make. First, make sure you have a plan for measuring ROI. It is easy to get excited and want to jump right in, but having a plan for what you intend to do will help you stay on track and make the most of your time. Measuring everything, instead of focusing on one area at a time, is another mistake many marketers make. By trying to measure everything at once, you are putting yourself more at risk to miss important data or overlook information that could come in handy. Not tracking your progress is a costly mistake that is common. Keeping up with how you’ve improved is very important so that you can analyze what you have changed and how you can continue improving. If you are making changes and not seeing results, that is a sign that you need to update your marketing plan and possibly do some more research on what your target audience is looking for. If you are working on a team, do not keep your progress to yourself. Set up a regular meeting time to go over what you have found and keep each other updated on your research.

Tracking ROI is worth the effort if you are looking to grow your business and reach a wider audience. If you are not getting a return on your investment, it is time to rethink your marketing strategy. Not only do you want to make sure that you are spending your time and resources wisely, you want your customers to feel heard and appreciated as well.

Aug 24
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

For many business owners and marketers, it can seem like there is a large divide between search engine optimization (SEO) and social media. However, that could not be father from the truth. While SEO and social media are not the same thing, using them to work together creates value and relevance for your target audience. A well thought out digital marketing plan should include SEO and social media working together to boost one another. Here are 5 tips to use to get started using social media to boost your SEO.

Use social media to drive customers to your website: Using social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter can introduce new customers to your product or service, encouraging them to visit your website. Not only will this potentially increase sales for you, but it can boost your SEO ranking on Google. While Google keeps pretty quiet about how to get your website ahead in search rankings, they like to offer customers the most relevant content to their search. This means if you are getting more website views, Google will start to rank your website as more relevant and you will start to move up. If you are using “sponsored” or paid ads on social media, you will start to turn up more on customers’ other social media channels that they have linked together.

Build engaging social media content: Now it is easier than ever to get feedback from your audience on social media. While you do not want to make every post a poll or survey, asking questions every so often gives your audience a chance to interact with you and voice their opinions. It is also an easy way to collect data on what your customers like or don’t like, as well as their opinions on certain topics. Twitter polls are easy to create and show voters the poll results after they submit their answers. Instagram has a new feature on their stories where users can opt to ask a question and be given an answer, which is then posted for everyone else to view anonymously. Facebook and Instagram are both useful for posts where businesses ask a question in the caption and ask users to answer in the comments, and can even lead to conversations between customers. If you choose this method, it is important to moderate the comments to make sure that everyone responding is being respectful of one another so that all involved feel comfortable and safe voicing their opinions. By asking questions and starting discussions, you are creating a sense of community and helping drive traffic to your accounts, all of which will boost SEO.

Brand awareness helps SEO: Brand awareness is a great way to increase SEO, and social media is great way to increase brand awareness. Customers are more likely to trust a brand that they have heard of. They are also more likely to search a brand that they have heard of. By putting time and effort into your social media accounts, you are helping to increase your brand awareness. Running some social campaigns such as the Share A Coke campaign gets people talking about your product, and drives traffic to your social accounts and websites. Social media acts as a search engine of its own, with customers searching for business accounts to get a feel of the brand’s personality, as well as reviews from other customers and company updates. Using analytics on your social media accounts can help you collect more data to see what kind of posts customers are resonating with, and keep track of when you rise or decline in page views and interactions. Building a strong, unique brand image will help you create brand awareness and drive traffic to your website.

Form strong relationships: Social media revolves around relationships, so make sure that you have a strong connection with your followers. A good reputation will get you more website views, social media profile views, and will get customers talking about your company in a positive light. This will help boost your SEO by having your company’s name come up higher in keyword searches, especially when your name is ranked with other positive keywords. Affiliate marketing can help you spread the word about your brand, by using brand ambassadors or partners who have a social media following to promote your product. Typically, brands will send their affiliates a free product, which the affiliate then shows themselves using with a positive review. By teaming up with the affiliate, your outreach has dramatically increased, and your brand name will be linked to the affiliate’s in keyword searches.

When used well, social media can dramatically boost your SEO. By using social media to reach out and make connections, you can forward those efforts to increase your SEO. Using a strategic approach to collaborate the two can make your efforts go far with amazing results.