showing a customer their hotel room

7 Hospitality Digital Marketing Trends That Every Hotel Owner Should Know

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There are over 700,000 hotels and resorts worldwide. In the United States, 62.2% of all hotels and motels are occupied at any given time.

Hotel marketing strategies are a vital part of ensuring the percentage of occupied rooms stays high. That's why hospitality digital marketing is so important.

Most travelers find out about where to stay by doing an online search. If you run or own a hotel or any other dwelling where people can stay, continue reading.

We've got seven digital marketing trends everyone in the hospitality business needs to know about.

1. Hospitality Digital Marketing Differs Depending on the Generation

Baby Boomers have reached a stage in their lives where less is more. They also prefer traditional travel experiences such as touring and sightseeing, while Gen Z travelers value experience over everything.

Meanwhile, Gen Xers prefer relaxing on the beach or spending time in the spa. There is not one target market in hospitality.

Have Separate Campaigns for Each Generation

If you're not creating hotel marketing strategies for each generation, you're losing out on potential business. It's important to understand each target audience.

Learning what they want, how much they're willing to spend and where they spend most of their time helps you determine the best strategies to reach them.

2. Begin a Hospitality Email Marketing Campaign

One hotel marketing strategy that's been around for 40 years and still continues to offer a budget-friendly ROI (Return on Investment) is email marketing.

There are over 3.8 billion email users worldwide. It's the easiest way to get in front of your target audience, but it's useless if you don't know what you're doing.

How to Use Email Marketing

Start by personalizing your emails. Since the average person receives around 121 emails per day, using their first name makes recipients more likely to open up the email.

Your subject headline needs to be strong enough to get people to open up your email. In the body of your email, use eye-catching images and highlight local tourist attractions.

3. Social Media Marketing

While social media is a great place to share your stunning photos, remember that other competing hotels are doing the same thing.

Since every hotel has gorgeous views, focus on what sets your hotel apart from all the rest. That's where your hotel's personality comes into play.

Find influencers to help you spread the word. Make sure they have a strong following and relevancy to your niche.

The Best Sites for the Hospitality Industry

Facebook, SnapChat, and Instagram are the three best social sites for the hotel industry. Create a regular posting schedule to maintain interest.

Always respond to comments or complaints as quickly as possible. People want to know they're engaging with humans, not a hotel, even on social media.

4. Make Your Website Pop

Use your website to show off your property. Then add in design elements like CTA's (Call-to-Actions) and photo galleries.

Make sure your site loads quickly. No one wants to wait longer than 2.7 seconds for your site to load.

Make Your Site Safe

Ensure booking a hotel on your site is easy and safe. If your website doesn't have an SSL certificate and other signs you've taken steps to prevent hackers from entering your site, you're vulnerable to attacks that might keep paying customers away.

Promote what you think your target market views as a priority. Having multiple offerings allows you to cater to a wide audience.

If you specialize in weddings or other events, make sure your site clearly advertises that.

5. Use Images and Videos

Guests want to know exactly what they will experience before they reach your hotel. Hire a professional photographer to take photos of the various rooms you offer.

Show off your pool, bar and other amenities. Don't forget to include tons of photos of the surrounding area. Add photos of any local sites and attractions nearby.

Hire a Professional Videographer

Don't forget to include videos. Create videos for advertisements that show guests what they can expect to experience at your hotel. Leverage these videos on social media.

Encourage influencers to share videos of them staying at your hotel and documenting their experience. Make sure images and videos positively reflect your brand.

6. Content Marketing

Content is king and it always will be. Content marketing includes not just the written word, but blogs, pictures, videos and interactive experiences.

People want to get a better sense of what they're investing in. They want to compare how your hotel stacks up against your competition without having to visit both hotels in person first.

How to Use Content Marketing

Use content marketing as the foundation of your strategy. Not just because it's highly effective, but because it's the most budget-friendly of all hotel marketing strategies.

Write content that interests your guests. Tell them exactly what they'll experience at your hotel. Show them something they can't get anywhere else.

Use this approach to welcome your guests before they've even booked a room with you.

7. Online Reviews

hotels.com reviews

Online reviews are a must in the hospitality industry. Your guests want to know exactly what staying with you is like.

Online reviews are trusted like a friend or family member giving a recommendation. Reviews are also a great way to have your guests share their experiences with others.

Negative Reviews are Okay

Don't worry about negative reviews. You can't please everyone. Learn from negative reviews to help improve your hotel.

Always reach out to those posting negative reviews, but make sure you're calm when you do it. Your audience wants to see how you handle bad reviews.

Thank people who leave great reviews. One easy way to encourage reviews is to leave a card in each room asking guests to leave an online review and provide them with a simple link.

Get Help

Managing a hotel is a huge responsibility that involves a lot of work. Delegating your hospitality digital marketing campaigns to a professional marketing firm is a smart idea.

We can help you create campaigns designed to reach your target market and stay within your budget. Don't wait, click here to schedule your free consultation.


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13 Of The Best Social Media Marketing Tools For Smart Automation

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67% of marketing leaders depend on marketing automation.

The top marketers in the world leverage marketing automation, and it's good enough for your business too.

While you might not think social media marketing tools can do what you can manually, if you set them up right - no one will know the difference.

Continue reading or watch our video to learn about some of the best social media marketing automation tools for business so your business can go to the next level.

These Social Media Marketing Tools Will Blow Your Mind

When you're growing your business from the ground up, having as much help as possible will allow you to get the best results.

If you're trying to do all the work on your own or without tools, you might experience burn out.

The following tools will help in your quest of taking over the web without taking up all your time:

1. Buzzsumo

When you are using social media to get people to visit your site, you need to create content people want to read. If you create content that is boring and not what they're looking for, you'll waste time and money.

Buzzsumo is a paid service that offers unlimited plans. You can use searches on Buzzsumo to find content likely to go viral, then see which content has gone viral on social media and create similar content.

This tool allows you to get a sneak peek into the content of your competition, so you always know what is going on. If you aren't sure what to write about, head over to the search tool and type in your competitor's website.

You can see which of their blog posts are the most popular and other sites that link back to their content.

2. Buffer

If you're spending time manually posting your social media content, Buffer will save you time. Buffer has a free option you can use to schedule posts, but to add more platforms they'll charge you a small monthly fee.

Buffer allows you to put articles in a queue to publish in pre-selected time slots, or you can schedule them for a specific time. When you go to schedule a post, you can select which account(s) you want to post to. If you make a mistake, it is easy to edit within the dashboard.

Scheduling your posts in advance allows you to free up time so you can focus on other areas of your business. It is important to work on your business vs. working in your business all the time.

3. Tailwind

Tailwind is a powerful social media marketing tool that is most known for auto-posting on Pinterest and recently added Instagram.

Tailwind analyzes your Pinterest account and gives you insight on what is happening with your pins. You can see which pins are performing well, how many repins they get and more. The analytics section of Tailwind is enough to make you want to sign up for an account.

There is a free version of Tailwind with different levels of paid membership. One of the major perks to Tailwind is Tailwind Tribes. With Tailwind Tribes, you're able to share other niche content for shares from other people in your niche.

4. Unsplash

Unsplash is a website that allows you to grab free photos to use without watermarks. Having high-quality images to share on social media is key.

If your images aren't crisp and high-quality, people won't respect or trust your company. Whether you need them for feature images on your blog or thumbnails for your YouTube videos, there are plenty of uses.

5. Canva

canva photo and graphic editing tool

Canva goes hand in hand with Unsplash. You can take the photos you get on Unsplash and make amazing graphics using this social media marketing tool.

Canva is one of the best ways to make images for your social media posts on all platforms. When you get your free account, you'll be able to use various templates or create your own through their platform.

When you are working inside of Canva, there are many free templates and images you can use, but there are some you will have to buy if you want them. If the images, graphics or templates cost money, it will say so to the side.

6. WordSwag

Wish you could design amazing graphics right from your phone? WordSwag allows you to create images for your social media profiles, graphics to share on social and more.

If you want to create quote graphics, WordSwag is the perfect app for you. It's a paid app, but it's cheap, and you will get value from it right away.

7. Storyheap

With social media stories from Snapchat, Instagram and more, companies realize they need to get on board. If your company notices an opportunity with stories, but you aren't sure how to pursue it, Storyheap might be the service for you.

Storyheap allows you to manage your stories right from your desktop. While it may be easy for users to create their personal stories on the fly, it isn't as easy for companies to get it done. Using Storyheap solves this problem.

Vertical video is here to stay and is something else you need to think about when you're going over your video marketing plan.

8. Upleap

Companies want to see followers on Instagram. If you don't have a big following on Instagram, your company may not get the attention it deserves. Many social influencers use Upleap to get attention for their Instagram accounts.

Upleap interacts with accounts and hashtags similar to your audience or your desired audience. The idea behind this is they will see your feed and be interested enough to follow.

As content marketing trends move more toward Instagram and its influence, having a strong following is a must. Upleap has a virtual team that does the work for you, so you don't have to.

9. Sprout Social

If you want to have fewer logins and still get the main tasks done on social media, then Sprout Social is a great tool for you. Communicating with your social media followers is key when you want to win in the social game.

Sprout is one of the most powerful social media marketing tools available.

Starting social conversations and engaging in them online has never been easier than with Sprout Social. You can use multiple social media profiles for each of the platforms so if you have a big team; you can put them to work for you.

10. Sendible

If you're managing social media for clients, Sendible will allow you to do that easily. Not only will you be able to manage your social media profiles, but you'll be able to look at the analytics so you can help your customers see a return on their investment (ROI).

Understanding what the actual ROI is will allow you to answer to your clients and yourself, so you know if what you're doing is working.

11. MeetEdgar

Scheduling social media posts for your business is one thing, but when you have posts that are evergreen, it can get frustrating trying to keep them in the mix. If you forget to add them, then you're missing out on great content that could grab the attention of winning customers for you.

With MeetEdgar, you can easily recycle past content. If you know there is content that will continue to be relevant for your brand, you can use their features to share it again.

If you have edits or updates, you can bulk edit or update your postings through MeetEdgar. When you have a lot of social media content, it is important that you can edit it at a large scale and this tool is great for that.

12. Brand24

people in black silhouettes with speech balloons

Do you wish that you could eavesdrop on what people are saying about your brand online? Getting an insider perspective about what people think about your brand - good or bad - is priceless.

When you know what people think about your brand, you can make improvements on what you're doing poorly. And you can keep doing what people love about your brand.

Brand24 allows you to eavesdrop on the people that are talking about your company. If there are major changes in the discussion volume chart, you can see what is happening and get ahead of any breaking news.

Do you want custom alerts? Brand24 allows you to set up custom updates so you're always in the know when people mention you in specific ways.

When you see any information you would like to review, you can easily export it to PDFs and other file extensions. Exporting this information will allow you to analyze it in any program you put it through.

13. IFTTT

If you want to automate your social media and your world, IFTTT is the perfect thing for you. IFTTT means if this, then that. You can set up "applets" that will trigger certain actions to happen.

Once you learn how to use IFTTT for social media, you have a powerful tool at your fingertips. You can set your Twitter to tweet out your Instagram posts after you publish them.

You can look through the services page to find different actions to automate. As you look through the different tools you can connect, you'll see some useful applications for your social media strategy.

Putting Together a Successful Social Media Campaign

With these social media marketing tools are your disposal, it is easy to get excited, but you need to take action beyond your excitement. Taking the first step toward automating your social media is all it takes to feel how great automated results are.

When you're planning your campaign, keep in mind it is, in fact - a campaign!

If you forget that you're launching a campaign, it is easy to post content on social media randomly. While random posting may get some attention, it will not get the attention you want.

When you start a campaign, you need to have a measurable goal. If you don't have metrics you can measure, you won't know if your campaign is successful or not. Use the analytics in the social posting tool you choose and keep track of what is working and what isn't.

As you're thinking about what to do for a campaign, you need to think about what kind of campaign you need at this stage in your business. Do you need to boost brand awareness? Maybe your business needs to bring in sales right away.

Understanding where you are right now and how you can use social media to get you to where you want to go is important. Social media is a great way to boost your business when used properly.

If you aren't sure how to make social media work for you, you may work with an agency or a consulting firm to set up a winning campaign.


conversion rate optimization line chart

Advertising 101: 14 Ways To Increase Your Website's Conversion Rate

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Conversions in your online business can be the end all, be all for your campaigns.

A small business looking to grow?

A big corporation going for a better bottom line?

Having better conversions spells success for your site.

If you want a high conversion rate, strive to be in the top 10%. They are getting as much as 11.45% conversions with their methods.

How do you even achieve something that high?

We have 14 ways so you can boost your website conversions.

From your forms to your blogs - these proven strategies can help harness your traffic and improve your online percentage conversion.

Are you ready to optimize your traffic?

Here’s what you can do:

1. Reduce Fields in Your Forms

The first move you can make is reducing the number of fields in your forms. When asking people to sign up to your business, you want to make it as easy as possible.

By having fewer fields, you’re lessening the chances of doubts. You’re cutting down on the feelings of intimidation.

You would want to do this in all your sign up forms, then get an opt-in confirmation phase after. Through conventional wisdom, you want to get at least their full name and email address.

Get additional details in the opt-in stage.

2. Add a Social Proof

The internet market has undergone massive shifts in trust. The social proof, which is the trust in people like you, is one essential tool that people care about.

If you want to increase your online percentage conversion, here’s what works. You need to use people’s reviews and testimonials for your social proof.

Having a ton of legitimate reviews means people trust you, which is an excellent way to markup trust and quality of work. People also believe that the more social proof you have, the fewer risks they take.

This becomes their seal of trust.

You want to ask for these reviews and testimonials to come from actual people. They should be as genuine as possible to prevent sowing ideas of distrust within your user base.

3. Don't Force too Much Content at Once

Your site needs content regularly, but you shouldn't shove it all at a user the moment they reach your landing page. That won't lead to higher conversion rates — it will increase your bounce rate instead.

The goal is to focus on a smooth and comfortable User Experience (UX). Your landing page should stay streamlined, allowing the content to funnel visitors to a call-to-action option while engaging them.

4. Start A/B Testing

A/B Testing is crucial to finding strategies that resonate with your audience. Something as simple as changing the words in your copy can make the difference.

Where you can, create different copies that convey the same message.

Have relevant copy that dares your customers to make emotional sales decisions.

If they believe you resolve issues in their lives (and you genuinely should aim to do so, they'll be more likely to convert.

5. Throw in a Guarantee

Businesses should have to trust their products to gain the customer’s trust. If your products create second thoughts before conversion, here’s what you do.

Throw in a guarantee. Offer a money back guarantee for your product. Add a no questions asked policy if possible.

What a guarantee does is remove the risk for the customer. It eases doubt, which then gives free rein for the customer to buy. The safety of the sale lets customers convert with little distress.

6. Use Social Media

Social media is one of the best ways to get your online percentage conversion increase.

With the right social activity, you can connect with your audiences and have an indirect impact on your organic rankings. This helps your branding and garners more interest.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are still top social media sites to help boost your conversions. You can share new product reveals along with promos and discounts, which will translate into new leads.

7. Use Visuals and Video

Leveraging visuals and video are always an effective tactic to get people to care. By using images that resonate with people, here’s what happens...

They will attach that good feeling to your business. Visuals and video that ring an echo into people’s lives get more people supporting it.

Start with visuals that show off your brand. Provide competitive, professional looks and make people care. Show the benefits that your product or service can bring in their lives.

8. Track Your Campaigns with Analytics

Gather data for your campaigns and work your way from there. Data will never lie to you, so you want to see which of the strategies you create increases impressions to your business.

A smart way to do it is to use Google Analytics to see which of your content marketing works. With the information, you can find which pages work or not.

You can also find which social media posts work for your specific target audience.

9. Assess and Change Your Offer if You Have to

A good way of increasing your online conversion percentage is to perform an honest assessment. Check your offer if it is adequate for a conversion.

If you’re using lead magnets, don’t create a single one. Instead, you want to provide different offers and see which one works.

Not all audiences will care for a specific product so if you diversify, that can help for sure.

10. Clear Web Design

Gone are the days where a web page has to feature fancy Flash videos and many quirky visual flares. To raise conversion rates, you don't need a lot of visual noise to distract the visitor.

Instead, focus on a clearer, cleaner design.

This is important because every important element of the page becomes easier to spot. The user won't feel overwhelmed or lost.

It won't be as much of a mess to find items such as the contact link.

11. Optimize Your Landing Pages

Creating a proper landing page for your offer is one of the best ways to improve your online conversions. With your landing pages, show off what you can do.

Provide the benefits of your offer and how it relates to your customer’s lives. Solve their pain points.

When working with landing pages, you want to perform A/B testing as mentioned above to see which one works best.

12. Blogging

Blogging is online marketing 101, and people often neglect to invest time in it.

When blogging, don’t be afraid to talk about loosely related topics. Talk about your industry, the changes and knowledge you can impart.

Whether it educational or news-style information, go for it. You will find people who will agree with your thoughts. And if they don't that can create fun engagement too.

13. Call-to-Action Placement

A very common practice is to place the call-to-action button or link at the bottom of the page.

This makes sense since you want the reader to subscribe, purchase or conduct another conversion option after going through an informative blog post or ad.

However, you shouldn't forget the top of the page either.

Add a call-to-action option up there too. It could be a simple subscribe button or an easy-to-see contact link.

This increases the chances of a visitor doing something on your site, regardless if they digest the content on the page.

14. Apply the KISS method

Don’t confuse people with too much pizazz on your web design and in your content.

Your process on your website should follow the K.I.S.S. Method – Keep It Simple, Stupid. Aim for minimalism in your content. Reduce the workable elements within every page.

michael scott from the office keep it simple stupid meme
Why? People don’t like clutter. They also want pages that are fast and reliable, instead of fidgeting with every element.

When writing content, go with your core message and make your final design both readable, clean and appealing. As always, A/B test all elements, from colors to typeface.

Get More Website Conversions Now

To increase your website’s conversion rates, there are many improvements you can make. Something as simple as reducing the fields in your forms can ramp up your rates.

Follow our tips and get more website conversions than ever before. These are simple, easy and they work!

Are you looking for expert digital marketers and brand savants that can help grow your business? Do you need a team of experts that can show your way around?

If you want to skyrocket to success, consult with us at Glenmont Consulting.


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Ways to Repurpose Content Across Multiple Digital Channels

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The secret to a winning content marketing strategy is knowing how to repurpose your content across multiple digital channels.

This means you take a piece of content and use it in so many ways, to help bring in more audiences and gain more exposure.

How do you do it?

This blog explains the best ways to take your content and distribute it amongst many other mediums.

Watch our video summary below:

Step 1: Begin with written content

Start off with a piece of written content - a blog post, for example.

This is the easiest type of content to produce, and you can put it on your website and drive traffic towards it.

Make sure the content applies to your brand and interesting enough to lure people in.

Then, you can start repurposing it.

Step 2: Convert your article into a video

Next, you can take your piece and transform it into a video.

female editing videos on laptop

This can be an animation or live action, but the aim is to take all the information from the blog post, and put it in video form for people to watch.

Many people find it easier to digest information when they watch a video, so you instantly appeal to a new audience.

Ensure that you upload your video to the most popular video and social platforms - most notably YouTube and Facebook.

Then, optimize them so you attract more viewers through these sites, gaining more views.

You should also upload the video to your website and use it as a new piece of content.

This updates your site, which gets a big thumbs up from Google, and you can optimize it for SEO.

The final step is to promote the video through your other social channels and email marketing lists.

Step 3: Convert video into smaller portions

Start with one long video, then cut it up into segmented portions.

This makes them perfect for sharing on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram.

Videos on these platforms are around one or two minutes long so you can post these snippets as content.

The brilliance of this idea is that you are promoting the original video with these snippets.

So, you reel people in with a taste of what the content’s about, but leave the most significant aspects out.

As a result, you encourage them to click on a link to the full video, which further drives traffic to your website.

Step 4: Turn it into an advertising video

Online ads are one of the most effective ways to create awareness for your brand and drive traffic to your website.

When you’ve cut your video down into segments, they’re perfect for an online video advertisement.

Create one that teases the crux of the content, which tempts people into clicking the advert and going to the full video.

YouTube and Facebook are the best tools to use for this.

You can buy ads on these sites and play your short videos to your target demographic.

It’s a more ‘in your face’ version of Step 3, but it yields great results as you broaden your reach through advertising.

Step 5: Create supporting visuals

This is another tactic that works well on social media channels.

It's where you create a visual component that represents your content.

For example, I could create a simple infographic for this article that shows the Top 7 Ways to Repurpose Content.

content repurposing journey infographic

Then, I could post the image on Instagram and include a brief rundown of the points in the post description.

I won’t give everything away, so there’s a link to the full video/blog where people can understand the points in more detail.

The same goes for you and your content; create visuals that are eye-catching and will divert people’s attention away from other posts on their feed.

Then, push traffic to your original video.

Step 6: Convert the video into a transcript

We’ve almost come full circle in that we’re repurposing the footage back into written content.

Instead of completely re-doing the original blog post, now we’re converting the video into a transcript.

It’s genius because you still have a unique piece of written content, and it offers people a chance to ‘read’ the video if they can’t watch it.

By publishing this on your website as new content, it keeps your site updated, and you can use it for SEO purposes to drive traffic.

You can also link to the main article or video to drive traffic to those pages.

Step 7: Upload original article to Amazon Polly

Through the previous six steps, you’ve been able to create a blog post and repurpose it five times.

Four times were through video content, with the fifth turning it back to a written form.

Now you can take your first article and convert it into voice content.

Amazon Polly is a cost-effective service where you upload text, and it transforms it into speech.

amazon polly logo

This gives your audience a chance to engage in the content in an entirely new way once more.

It’s almost like a podcast in that they can just plug their headphones in and listen to your article while on the train or walking to work.

You can download and embed the file onto your website, which helps you drive more traffic to it with a new form of content.

Summary

To round things up, it’s clear that repurposing your content is the way forward.

If you want a solid content marketing strategy, you'll need lots of new and unique content.

Instead of trying to come up with entirely new blog posts every day, you can repurpose a piece of written material multiple times across different media channels.

The benefit is that you appeal to different audience members and consumers.

This allows fans to engage with your content more and it helps raise brand awareness.

If you’re struggling with new content ideas, try these tips to repurpose an existing article!


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The Best 10-Step Brand Development Strategy for Your Professional Services Firm

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Did you know that consistent brand presentation across various platforms increases revenue by approximately 23%?

Unfortunately, many businesses do not realize that brand development is a lot more than a logo design.

Every piece of company collateral should maintain a similar tone, color scheme, and should communicate the same message.

Have we got your attention yet?

Continue reading or watch our video summary below to learn more!

What Is A Brand?

Your brand is intangible, yet the most crucial element of your business for communicating with your clients. It's the primary reference point for how your clients perceive your business.

Professionally, your brand is the reputation your firm puts out there. Your brand gives your firm visibility in the marketplace.

Reputation, multiplied by visibility, measures the strength of a brand.

What Is Brand Development?

Brand development refers to building and strengthening the professional image of your firm. By building your brand, you'll consequently develop your business.

Creating a brand is easy. The challenge lies in making a strong and successful brand.

Your business should always stand out from the rest of the competition. To do that, you must do more than build a brand.

What Is The Importance Of Brand Development?

You might be skeptical about the importance of brand building.

Why would you want to spend a significant amount of money on developing your brand?

The brand is an abstract concept, but these are the areas of your business it affects.

Referrals

hand holding chalkboard with person icons displayed

A position reputation usually has the effect of increasing the number of references to your site.

When people feel attracted to your business, they are likely to refer their contacts to you. When non-clients realize you have a good reputation, they’ll want to work with you.

The way you position your brand also attracts expertise-based referrals.

If you come across as an expert in the field, people will want to interact with you for your expertise. One way to grow your expertise-based referrals is to promote your brand through blogs posts or articles.

The more visible your business brand is to your target audience, the higher the chance of increased sales from referrals.

However, remember that getting referrals is only half the battle. Beyond attracting referrals, you need proactive strategies to convert them to sales.

Lead Generation And Business Development

A strong brand has a positive effect on lead generation.

As a smart marketer, you can’t separate brand development from lead generation content. One of your brand development goals is to convert a prospect’s interest to an actual need for your solutions.

To achieve this, create valuable and relevant content to make prospects willing to share their contacts details.

Once you have their details, you can’t afford to have them disappointed by what you offer. Depending on how you handle the prospects, your sales will increase.

A firm with a well-developed brand will have fewer obstacles in converting leads to sales.

Firm Valuation

If you've got a strong brand, you can easily command premium rates in the marketplace. Firm valuation determines how much a customer will pay for what you offer.

With strong brand development, clients can trust your brand.

They’ll have no reservations about paying a premium because of the value they place on your brand. When your firm has a high value, you'll experience faster growth and increased profitability.

It's clear you'd want to gain these advantages of brand development.

Here are well-thought-out steps you can follow to be successful in developing your brand:

1. Identify What Your Brand Represents

Why did you create your business and what problem did you want to solve by establishing it?

One approach to developing the purpose of your brand is to create a mission statement. The mission statement need not be on public display to have an impact.

Your mission statement should serve as the internal guiding light that inspires your employees. If they know what your company represents, they will progressively work towards delivering those values.

2. Consider Your Business Strategy

What are the strategies you’re using to make your business grow? What are the specific, long-term goals you can achieve through the evolution of a successful strategy?

Remember, your business strategy affects all areas of your business. It’s directly connected to the needs of consumers and competitive environments.

Your brand is the component that makes you a powerhouse. A well-developed and differentiated brand will make it easy for your business to grow.

However, if your overall business strategy is wrong, brand development might not adequately complement it.

3. Identify Your Target Clients

hand with pen drawing graphic lines

When developing your brand, the main aim is to draw the attention of your clients.

If you don't have a definition of whom your clients are, chances are you'll fail miserably. When you have clearly defined target clients, your approach to brand development will best suit them.

High growth and profit firms come with defined target clients.

The more you narrow down on your target market, the faster your growth will be. If your definition of your target market is too diverse, it will dilute your marketing efforts.

4. Be Unique In Your Presentation

You probably have the same competitors selling the same products or services as you.

How do you ensure that you stand out and customers prefer to buy from your firm? The secret is in how you brand yourself.

The secret to aggressive marketing is in how you position your brand. How are other competitors positioning themselves to the target market?

Take all that and identify the opportunity to get more creative.

You can make your brand stand out through your unique value proposition. This tells your customers what to expect in their interaction with your brand.

Your customers should be able to feel the quality of what you provide. The intellectual property of your products or services is the total of the ideas your brand brings to the market.

5. What Is Your Messaging Strategy?

The next most crucial step is the messaging strategy you adopt.

It should translate the positioning of your brand into information your clients can understand. Your target audience includes the potential employees, referral sources, and potential clients among other influencers.

Your core branding strategy must cut across all audiences.

However, each audience shows interest in different aspects of brand positioning. Each audience will want you to address specific concerns.

They will also require you to offer different evidence to support your messaging strategy.

Remember that your messaging plan should address these concerns. This is crucial in making your brand stand out to your audiences.

6. Develop Your Website, Tagline, And Logo

One element that modern consumers look for in a brand is the website. This goes hand in hand with the logo and tagline.

They are the ones that jumpstart your customer experience. You, therefore, need to be very intentional when creating them.

How you design your website gives visual cues about the essence of your brand.

Your tagline expresses the personality of your brand in words. The elements of your brand are potential points of contact between customers and your brand.

Strive to maintain a positive impression that is as engaging as possible.

7. Conduct Market Research

For you paint the correct picture about your brand to the market, get to know them. This is only possible through market research.

There are an assortment of tools you can use to help define your ideal client. These include surveys that allow you to uncover their thoughts and feelings about services and products.

You can also research the market through focus groups.

They give you the platform to interact one-on-one with your audience while observing body language. Social media is another outlet where people let their guards down and say things as they are, particularly in private groups.

Alternatively, you can use online forums to find out what people you think could be your clients are saying about your brand.

These aren't the only avenues you can use to conduct research. You need to be flexible enough to reach out to many markets.

8. What Do You Bring To The Table?

cartoon office workers sitting at a table

In carrying out all the above steps, be ready to tell your clients why they should care about your brand.

What are you doing differently that adds value to them? Your buyers should see what’s in it for them.

Write what motivates all of your buyer personas. This motivation should be at the core of every marketing message.

Find the most powerful motivators and focus on them for the success of your brand.

9. Build A Marketing Toolkit

One more step in brand development is to build a marketing toolkit.

This can be a one-page sales sheet that describes all your services or markets you serve. It can also be an overview of the key offerings of your firm.

Your marketing toolkit will be more profound if you can include a video. Popular video topics are case studies, firm overviews, or “meet our partners.”

10. Implement, Monitor, and Review

It won’t make sense for you to go through the above stages and not implement them.

Implementation is the most important thing you can do for your brand development strategy. Unfortunately, most businesses miss this step because other business processes overtake it.

After implementation, track to see how well the brand development strategy is working.

Analyze how each step is working towards growing and strengthening your brand. If any of the strategies are not working as they should, review and revise accordingly.

Final Thoughts

Brand development is more than just having your business name in the marketplace.

Remember that it's about having a strong reputation. However, it should be a positive association that will bring you sales and grow your brand.

Clients should want to associate with your brand.

To make them do this, develop your marketing language and value proposition. Let your clients know what you’re bringing to the table and what makes you different from the competition!


customer-id-cards

How To Identify Your Ideal Customer Avatar

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Whenever you’re marketing a product or service, you need to understand who you’re aiming all the content at.

Ask yourself:

  • Who is your absolute dream customer?
  • What do they do?
  • What are they like?

These are just a few, but there are countless questions that go into figuring out your target market and creating a customer avatar.

Some of you may have heard of this term before, while others may refer to customer avatars as buyer or customer personas.

But, it all means the same thing; you’re creating a blueprint for the perfect customer.

By doing this, it allows you to figure out so many things revolving around your product/service and marketing strategy.

If you identify your ideal customer avatar, then you’ll soon understand the best ways to reach them, what marketing techniques work best, how you should construct your content, and so on.

So, here comes the million dollar question;

How do you create a perfect customer avatar?

In this guide, we’ll provide as many tips as possible to help you understand everything there is to know about your target customer.

Video summary here:

Demographics: Who are they?

Begin by figuring out who your customer avatar is.

This is where demographic research and analysis comes into play.

Mainly, you’re looking at these seven key things:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Language
  • Income
  • Marital Status
  • Occupation

By conducting your research, you’ll soon be able to paint a nice picture of who your ideal customer avatar is.

diverse group of people segmented in pie chart

For now, we’re dealing with the basics - it’s marketing 101 - know your demographic.

But, if you stop your research here and assume that’s all it takes to identify buyer personas, you’re doing it wrong.

Finding your demographic data is probably the easiest part of building these profiles - mainly because you have easy access to a lot.

You can look at your existing customers and spot common themes in their personal information to help build your avatar.

Pro Tip: There are industry reports from Google and Facebook that help you out, along with census and analytics data.

That’s probably the best way to get as much info as possible; via web analytics.

Use tools on your site to see the people that are visiting your pages and making purchases.

Soon, you will slowly have concrete answers for all seven of the key demographic questions.

There are many more things to consider, but this is an excellent place to start as it builds their profile.

Plus, from this info, you will already have a decent idea of what might work for this customer.

Psychographics: Why are they making a purchase?

"If someone buys something, there’s a reason behind it."

You never make a purchase on a whim, with no prior thought at all.

This is essentially what the psychographic information tells you; why is your customer behaving in this specific way?

african american male marking purchase from iphone with credit card

As the name suggests, we’re moving into the psychology behind your customer’s behavior here.

This is such an important aspect of identifying your ideal customer avatar, yet so many businesses neglect it.

They think it’s all about the demographics, leaving the psychographic to sit alone in the corner doing nothing.

Now, buckle up, as there are loads of psychographic concerns to go through.

You really have to get inside the head of your dream customers, and it begins with their goals and values.

Goals & Values

Some people refer to goals as aspirations, but we’re talking about the same thing; what do they want to achieve?

Everyone has a goal, and you’re hoping that they’ll need your product/service to achieve this.

As a basic example, imagine you have a small business owner who’s looking to grow their online presence.

Their goal is to increase social media followers and drive more traffic to their website.

This is critical information for a digital marketing agency as they see these goals and can market their services to align with them.

"Our services will help you achieve YOUR goals, so pick us."

Similarly, think about the values the person might possess.

What type of customer are you really catering to?

Do they care about doing things by the book?

Or, are they open to trying more risqué things to get results?

Their values really help drive your content marketing strategy as you create content that speaks to their values and hits them deep within their core.

Concerns

Next, you have the concerns of the buyer.

What’s worrying them about your product/service?

Or, more accurately; what might concern them?

Think about what could put people off, and this helps you address it before it becomes too much of a concern.

A typical example of this is the price.

Consumers will always have price point concerns, but your job is to ensure they don’t worry about it.

So, an excellent way to address something like the price is by providing reasons its great value for money, and so on.

Mostly, their concerns tell you why someone might not buy your product and will buy someone else’s instead.

Pinpoint the key concerns of your ideal customer, and you can work on fixing them.

Lifestyle - Interests/Hobbies

From here, do research into their lifestyle.

What makes your target market tick?

What things do they enjoy doing - are there any hobbies or interests that commonly pop up?

When really getting to know the psychology behind a buyer, gain an insight into their life.

If you know what people are interested in, then it’s much easier to develop a content marketing strategy that appeals to these interests.

As a result, you increase your engagement and have a better chance of making sales or generating leads.

Challenges & Pain-Points

The last piece of psychographic information is the challenges your customers might face.

What are they having particular trouble with?

Also, what are their primary pain points; what’s worrying them the most?

This links in with their goals and aspirations; if someone’s goal is to grow their online presence, then a key challenge is achieving this growth while not going over budget.

Similarly, they’re worried about losing customers to other businesses with a larger presence.

If you figure out what’s challenging someone, it lets you work on how to best advertise and market your services to address their challenges.

It’s vital you get your hands on all of this psychographic data.

You will probably find this isn’t as straightforward as finding demographic data as you dig into Facebook Insights and Google Analytics.

Pro Tip: Check Affinity Categories and In-Market Segments under Interests in Google Analytics.

There are three main ideas to consider:

  • Use web analytics: this gives you a very basic insight as you can see what your web traffic is clicking on, which provides a sign of their goals and aims.
  • Discuss things with your sales team: your sales team has a close relationship with customers, which means they should know them on a deeper level. Here, they can inform you of any concerns, challenges, or lifestyle points.
  • Conduct interviews: for a more detailed look at things, interview via focus groups or surveys to understand your customers. Here, you have the advantage of customizing your questions, so you get answers that provide the info you’re after.

Information sources: Where are your customers?

Looking at the demographics tells you who your customers are, the psychographics tells you why they make purchases, and information sources show you where they are.

digital signage recognizing customer demographics

Basically, you need to conduct research to figure out the key information sources that your customers depend on.

This is often achieved using detailed web analytics software to track their online path.

But, there’s nothing wrong with using a questionnaire or survey to find this out.

By understanding what people use to gain their information, it presents you with a perfect idea for what platforms you should market on.

For example, if your research shows that your target market gets all of their information via websites and blogs, then you now know where to place advertisements, and can create blog content they’ll engage with.

Final Thoughts

All the information above will help you identify your ideal customer avatar.

Start with the demographics and figure out all the basic personal information.

Instantly, you breathe life into your avatar and give them a more personal feel.

Then, dig deeper and think about the psychology behind these people.

Consider their goals/values, concerns, challenges, and lifestyle.

This will give you a detailed look at why your customers behave the way they do.

Lastly, figure out where your customers are likely to spend most of their time gaining information.

Do they read newspapers, blogs, social media?

By combining everything, you will create a customer persona that gives you so much information.

Now, you’ll know exactly how to market and advertise your products/services to appeal directly to this specific target customer.

It’s vital you take the time to identify your ideal customer avatar as it helps you save money during marketing.

Pay for things and use ideas that will work, rather than wasting it on concepts that don’t appeal to your target audience.


adults waiting for train using their phones

Move Your Brand: Importance of Mobile Marketing

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Imagine your customers having access to your product, services and brand information right in the palm of their hands anytime, anywhere.

If you use mobile marketing, they can do just that!

In digital marketing, the new sheriff in town is mobile marketing, and everyone who has a smartphone or tablet is the target audience.

meme about mobile marketing

Continue reading to learn how to update your advertising strategy to keep up with marketing on the go.

Facts About Online Consumers

Look at these statistics about online shoppers:

People have discovered the ease of click, point and buy from their mobile devices. Most businesses can take advantage of this trend to boost their sales and online visibility.

Consumers also use their phones while shopping at brick and mortar stores. They use the 'near me' search function when looking for goods and services in their local area.

They look up reviews and product information to make informed decisions, compare prices or to find coupons and online discounts.

What Does This Mean For You?

Consumers are ready to buy, and if they can easily find your product or service on their smartphone, they will purchase it NOW!

They're on their smartphones and tablets from morning until night. They wake up and check the news, weather, sports stats and text messages.

They scroll through their social media feeds during meals, on breaks, while waiting in line or relaxing at home.

Checking one's smartphone is also usually one of the last things a person will do before going to bed.

With the broad reach of the internet and an online business, you have a worldwide market at your fingertips. With the right mobile marketing strategy, your business can be front and center 24/7.

For customers today, online shopping makes sense because it is simple and practical.

It provides immediate access to information and products, quick responses to search inquiries and instant gratification with 'buy now' options.

Consumers have reviews available at the touch of a button and they can provide instant feedback of their own.

Even when shopping at a local store, they can still go online and do a comparison of prices, inventory and quality.

This all adds up to greater revenue for your business if you have an engaging, targeted and easy to understand mobile marketing strategy.

How To Make An Impact With Mobile Marketing

Visual learners can watch our video summary here, or continue reading:

You Need to be Remembered

With an increase in online retail traffic, customers become overwhelmed with all the businesses to sort through to find the one right for them. You want to stand out from your competition by creating unique company identifying features.

One of the first things you need is a logo. You should keep it simple with a minimalistic style that reflects your business theme and personality. Initials (acronyms or abbreviations) are trending and very popular now.

Try using clear and easy-to-read fonts. While it's tempting to get fancy and creative, keep in mind your logo will be seen in different formats, sizes and on various backgrounds. The letters or words should stand out.

Bright colors are the way to go. There are psychological factors behind color, so it's important to reflect the right emotion for your logo and your business.

Blue represents authority and intelligence. Red speaks of energy and action. Green shows growth and balance. Yellow points to happiness and confidence. Purple leans toward creativity and quality.

You should choose geometric shapes. Straight lines are stark and edgy, while curves are softer and more appealing.

There is a definite connection between marketing and design. Pulling it all together can be a challenge, but the payout for your business will be worth it.

Check Your Website

You need to have a mobile-friendly website. As stated above, with more people researching and shopping online, it is imperative when they click on your website it optimizes the information for a cellphone or tablet screen.

Google is also focusing on mobile-first indexing, which means it will use the mobile version of your website's pages for ranking.

In addition, make sure there is a seamless flow from product information to the shopping cart to check out. If your customer has to search around or continue to hit the back button to find what they need, they will give up and move on to another site.

Know Your Customers

You know what you want to sell, but do you know who wants to buy it? Who is your target customer? What is their medium age? What is their average income? What about hobbies and family dynamics?

All of this information is vital in helping you develop a mobile marketing plan.

Check out your competition.

Who is their audience?

You need to read the reviews on their sites.

What is being said positive and what improvements are people wanting?

You can then tailor your advertising to provide what others are missing.

Research what people are curious about.

What knowledge or product are they seeking? What is the angle they are looking for and how can you connect with that?

The more specific details you have on your potential customers, the more precise your ads will be.

Keep Their Secrets

It's impossible to do business online these days without giving up a little piece of ourselves. It's a risk we all take and the price we pay for the convenience of this online global market.

When your customer provides personal information, protect it! Security is a premium commodity and their brand loyalty depends on your ability to keep their information a secret.

Invest in high-quality security software and make sure someone updates it regularly. If there is a data breach, notify them right away and help to mitigate any leaks or damage.

You are developing a relationship, even if only online. Just because you do not see them face to face, it makes them no less valuable to your long-term success.

Be a company they can trust in and they will be loyal and spread the news.

Mobile Notifications

SMS/MMS

We live in a texting world. It is part of everyone’s daily life.

Why not benefit from it by using SMS/MMS (Text) marketing?

Text message marketing has a higher open rate than email marketing because they are shorter. It's almost guaranteed they will read the entire piece of content, and most of us like to keep our message inboxes clean.

It is an excellent way to engage with your customers and get them excited about your product or services. You can provide links back to your website, and with MMS messages, you can embed images or videos to further motivate them to research your brand.

You need to get permission to first send these messages, and once you send them, pay attention to the feedback. If someone reaches out with a question or concern, respond quickly.

You are making a personal connection, and it is important to keep the conversation going.

Push Notifications

If your business has an app, you can enable push notifications.

This is a message that appears on the screen of those users who have downloaded your app. The user does not have to be in the app or even on their device to receive it.

You can offer downloadable coupons, sales information or live event invitations. These notifications go directly to your targeted customers and also work better than emails. You can send a mass message notification or personalize one for specific users.

The content should be engaging and to the point. Users can turn off these notifications, so always keep them interested and eager for more information.

The Impact Of Social Media

Like and share. Share and like.

These are two powerful words in social media mobile marketing.

Your goal should be to create informative and engaging posts. The greater the impact, the more likely users will be to like and share your content.

Condense your message. People are constantly on the move and do not have the time or desire to read long posts. Get to the point. Use graphics or authentic visuals, and easy-to-read copy.

Build an organic following slowly based on quality and good reviews. Every business wants to have a million followers, but if only 10% read your posts or they don't engage, the numbers have no value.

Social media success is difficult to get quickly. Be in it for the long term.

Your mobile marketing strategy is to have a consistent presence. Trending viral posts are great, but aim for being a reliable source of information and quality products.

The Video Component

One of the best ways to maximize your mobile marketing budget is to use videos on social media. There is a personal connection made when someone clicks on your video link and you are talking directly to your customer.

People love funny videos. They also enjoy emotional and touching videos. When possible, try to incorporate these elements within your product information.

Video can help showcase your product. You can provide a 3D view explaining features and benefits.

Tutorials are popular, and you can tie in testimonials from satisfied customers. People love to be on camera and an outside recommendation will go a long way!

One of the best forms of video marketing is a live feed. You should try posting from an event or do a random video highlighting a special sale or new shipment.

Unscripted and honest talk creates a relationship with the audience. The audience can then become your customer.

It is easier than you think to use video in mobile marketing. Most smartphones will work just fine, but you still need to check the sound quality and lighting.

It is also a good idea to include subtitles on your videos. People often access them in places where they cannot use the sound.

Write and even rehearse what you want to say, even if you are preparing to do a live video. Invest in a good editing app so you can add text and other visual components to your videos.

Where To Post Your Videos

Facebook videos can go up to 45 minutes, while Twitter only allows two minutes and twenty seconds.

Instagram allows for minute long videos, but IGTV allows up to 60 minutes. You can even link to your IGTV videos in Instagram posts and stories.

YouTube allows videos under fifteen minutes, but if you verify your account you can add videos of up to twelve hours.

LinkedIn is also on the video bandwagon and depending on your industry could be a great way to get your brand out there.

It is always a good idea to follow up with an analysis on which videos performed best and which ones fell short. You can make adjustments and try again next time.

A strong video component is a vital addition to your advertising plan.

The Bottom Line

As a business owner, one of your main objections is to get the word out on all of your product and services. Advertising comes in many forms and has transformed over the years.

Mobile marketing is the wave of the future. It puts your business and brand in the hands of potential customers all around the world.


hands putting two puzzle pieces together

Marketing Consulting Services: Objective, Evidence-Based Solutions

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When you’re looking to devise a marketing strategy, there’s often the need to call for outside help.

And no... you can't call Ghostbusters for this one.

We can’t all be marketing experts, and you won't get the desired results if you don’t know what you’re doing.

As a result, many business owners turn to digital agencies to help them out.

But, is this always a wise choice?

Here at Glenmont Consulting, we believe there’s a better way to market your business - by using marketing consultants.

Most people assume a consulting firm is just another term for a marketing agency, but the two are very much different entities.

With our marketing consulting services, we provide the resources to develop a strategy for you based on evidence and unique problem-solving skills.

It starts with a client meeting

With our approach, we begin every initiative with a client meeting.

client meeting handshake

By meeting you first, it helps us figure out your main goals and aspirations.

We'll ask questions such as:

  • What do you really want to achieve through your marketing strategy?
  • Do you have specific traffic figures in your head?
  • Or are you hoping to generate more sales through your website?

Regardless of your answers, we as consultants listen to everything you say and then figure out which services are strategically best suited to your needs.

Our purpose is to provide you with all of our marketing expertise and to give you the solutions to your fundamental problems.

This is where we differ from agencies, as their focus is to just give you more manpower to carry out a marketing strategy that you've developed.

They provide you with access to a talented team who will help you with your current marketing efforts.

We give you the knowledge you need to construct a strategy that will yield long-lasting results.

We work with our clients

A huge part of what we do revolves around teaching you new things.

That’s what a consultant is there for.

We don’t barge in and completely take over - we sit with our clients and make sure they know what we’re doing and why we do it.

This supervision is something you rarely get with marketing agencies since they allow their team to proceed with your plan with minimal intervention.

Our clients are much more engaged in their entire marketing campaigns.

By being more involved, and understanding the ‘why’ behind it all, this sets you up for future success.

Even after our job is complete, you now have the knowledge in your head to maintain a winning strategy and enjoy continued success.

The problem with many agencies is that they often have a set it and forget it approach.

They may help create a good initial campaign, but they don’t leave you with any tools to build from it afterward.

We offer evidence-based solutions

As we mentioned, everything starts with a problem.

You have your initial meeting with us, and you tell us your goals and the issues you face.

We’re interested in these problems as we use a unique approach to problem-solving.

We want to find the best solutions for you, and the only way to do this is by calling on our previous experience.

At Glenmont, we’re blessed with a wealth of talent in the marketing industry.

We’ve also worked with a fair amount of clients over the years in different sectors over the years.

With that expertise in mind, we call upon our experience to look at what the evidence says.

man with magnifying glass looking at data

We don’t just look at your existing marketing strategy and try to improve what’s already there.

Instead, we look at things from a fresh perspective and figure out which solutions will be the solution for your issues.

If there’s evidence from previous work that something specific helps drive traffic to your website, then leverage it as a solution to that problem.

You always get value for your money

We find that most digital marketing agencies are primarily concerned with making money.

We get it - business is business - and you have to make money to stay alive.

The problem is with money always on their minds, that they don’t always do what’s best for their clients.

It’s often more a case of doing what their clients think is best and taking their money in the process.

If you go to a digital marketing agency and ask them to improve your search ranking for a set of keywords, then they’ll do it with ease.

They have the talent to carry this out, and you’ll see results.

But, are they going to look at your keyword list and explain that it’s not really optimized for your business?

Will they explain that you will improve your ranking for these keywords, but there’s almost no point as you aren’t targeting your ideal customer?

Realistically, they won’t!

But, that’s because they’re paid to do what the client wants...

With our marketing consulting services, you get value for money because we don’t do what you think is best.

We do what you NEED.

If you come to us with a vision to improve your SEO and have a list of terrible keywords, we’ll tell you they’re awful.

We’ll let you know which keywords are better, so we work together to produce results that will help increase traffic and generate leads.

You'll get a better return on your investment because we don’t just take your money and blindly obey; we help you find what’s best for you!

Services to help all your needs

A Glenmont, we’re proud of the diverse array of marketing consulting services we offer.

Our company can help you with any of the following:

  • Brand development
  • Marketing automation
  • SEO
  • Digital strategy and positioning
  • Content marketing
  • Social media management
  • Digital advertising

You can see our full range of services on our site, and the variety allows us to cater to your specific requirements.

We can customize our services, so we only provide consulting in the areas you’re having particular trouble finding success in.

So, if you want to improve your marketing strategy and see results that generate a positive ROI, then choose Glenmont Consulting.

Don’t waste your money on digital agencies that don’t take the time to get to know you and your goals.

Get in touch with us today, and we’ll guide you towards a strong brand identity and a dominant digital presence.


click fraud

Block the Bots: Smart Ways to Protect Your Brand Against Online Traffic Fraud

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It’s an ordinary day...

You get to work, sit down at your computer and check the report from your latest PPC ad campaign.

You’ve been crushing it recently and expect the same solid returns.

But what’s that?! A Google Ads bill for $20,000?

Surely, a mistake. It makes no sense. You only expected to spend a thousand or so! What on earth happened?

Click fraud happened.

This scandalous practice is unfortunately becoming increasingly common in the marketing world.

The implications of it are no laughing matter. Some businesses are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in PPC advertising costs as a result of fake clicks.

Indeed, it’s said that digital fraud of this nature is responsible for one-third of all ad spend.

A few years ago, in 2016, online advertisers lost over $7 billion as a result of fraud. As the reliance on web advertising increases, we can only expect that figure to grow with it.

What can you do to protect your ad campaigns from such miscreant, damaging behavior?

Thankfully, there are certain ways to minimize the impact of click fraud and maybe prevent it from happening in the first place.

Keep reading to find out how.

What is Click Fraud?

Knowing what we mean by click fraud is a good first step to protecting your business. You have to know the enemy before you can protect yourself against it, right?

Let’s begin then.

Remember those pay per click (PPC) ads that you set up to drive traffic (and potential business) to your site? And you know how you pay a certain fee per click (the price of which varies depending on how competitive your chosen keyword is)?

Well, some companies have bigger budgets than others. Your major competitors may be willing and able to spend far more per click than you. When they pay more, they rank higher and get more business.

But imagine finding your competitor campaigns. You know that clicking on their ad will charge them money.

With enough clicks, you can effectively sabotage them by racking up a hefty Google bill.

Even better, imagine creating a bot that does it for you. It’s like setting the dogs on your competitor’s ad campaigns. With no effort at all, you can drive thousands of clicks to their campaigns.

They get a giant bill. There’s nothing like financial damage to turn away the competition. You win (so you think).

Unfortunately, they can do the same right back to you, and more often than not, when you poke the bear, or dogs in this example, that's what happens.

dog attacking man in body suit

It goes even further than that though. In actuality, click fraud describes the practice of using illegitimate interactions with an ad campaign to make advertisers pay up.

That may be competitors sabotaging your campaign. Or it could be Joe Blogs down the road trying to earn a quick buck from the adverts on his site.

Who is Responsible for it?

Who actually does this stuff? Aren’t we all trying to make a success of our marketing?

Well, yes. And that’s part of the trouble.

There’s always somewhere to point the blame. The fake traffic and interactions don’t come out of no-where. Someone, or something, somewhere, is actively interfering with your campaigns.

We’ve already noted the usual culprits. Oftentimes you can trace the damage to over-eager competitors.

Their goal is to bully you out of the marketplace and take pole position. If it isn’t them, then it’s a third-party, or a bot, doing it on their behalf.

If it isn’t the competition, then it’s someone looking to make money. Publishers may try to leverage the ad setup and click through to get paid by the advertiser.

Heck, you might even experience blackmail: give me money or I’ll keep clicking your ads.

Why Should You Be Bothered?

There can be major implications of this practice on your business. The damage that’s done is varied, wide-ranging, and extensive.

Here are a few of the main issues:

Money, Money, Money

We’ve already mentioned this one.

But again, click fraud can cost you thousands of unwanted, and unnecessary, dollars.

Theoretically, there’s no limit to the number of times your ad gets clicked. After all, that’s why you put it up there.

But these are empty clicks, with no return on investment, which empty your pockets in the process.

Greater CPC

Another unhelpful implication of such massive clicking is the chance of the CPC going up.

Clicks rack up. Google senses it. The price goes up with it.

That price hike might mean you can no longer afford the same ad campaigns. It’s a double-whammy.

You get a hefty bill upfront, and then can’t afford to do another one.

Skewed Data

It’s estimated that 52% of all web traffic is from bots.

That’s an insane number. And it’s bad news for your ads.

How can you accurately assess the ROI of your campaigns when the majority of clicks are fake?

Your data becomes almost meaningless. You’ve paid a ton of money for data you can’t rely upon.

Those are just a few of the main issues with click fraud.

Want to know the best part?

There’s currently no way to 100% prevent it happening. It just isn’t possible.

However, there are certain things you can do to make it far less likely. Or, at the very least, limit the damage that gets done.

More on this next.

How Can You Stop It From Happening? 3 Clever Click Fraud Solutions

Click fraud can have a major negative impact on your marketing campaigns. It’s in your interest to stay on top of it.

Here are 3 ways to protect yourself from this online traffic fraud:

1. Spot the Bots Early

Think about how you protect yourself from intruders in your home.

You have alarms, CCTV and spotlights to alert you to the danger, right?

Treat your ad campaigns in the same way. You need to know as early as possible if there’s an issue. Then you need to fix it.

Choose not to and you open yourself up to more problems. Remember, click fraud is a fact of life. It’s happening every day. You can’t afford to not address the issue.

You have numerous options.

Start by monitoring your campaigns as they run. Keep a tab on how much you’re spending.

Watch for surprisingly high numbers of clicks, and see how they compare to your other ongoing campaigns. Another key indicator would be a spike in clicks at unexpected times of the day.

Likewise, take into account other metrics too. How’s your bounce rate and dwell time?

Significant alterations from the norm (high bounce rate, minimal time on page, etcetera) could mean you have a problem.

It’s hard doing it alone. You could spend your whole day tracking everything. Thankfully, there are certain programs you can use to help.

Google Ads itself offers ways to do it, but hey’re often insufficient.

Paid software is often better. They operate as detection tools and do the legwork, monitoring your campaigns for anything suspicious.

2. Run Sensible Campaigns

There are good campaigns and bad campaigns.

Bad campaigns present easier targets for bots and malicious individuals. By running a good campaign we mean adhering to certain principles that make it more difficult to commit fraud.

One part of this is to advertise on high-quality websites only. The smaller, lower-quality websites are a haven for fraud. Limit your campaigns to large, reputable sites that you can guarantee are teeming with potential customers.

Another way to limit such fraud is to avoid advertising in certain countries. Poorer countries with high unemployment often find favor in click fraud circles. Advertising in specific countries, relevant to your business, may reduce the potential for problems.

You need to monitor what’s going on, too. It’s the only way to spot problems early.

Sensible campaigns are tracking their metrics at every turn. Only trust ad tech providers that offer complete transparency. Knowing how the tech works will help you partner with the right people.

Oh, and consider changing what you’re paying for. Many advertisers struggle with the lack of data their advertising network offers. It becomes harder to decipher fake traffic.

Try paying for a particular action that provides a measurable value, instead of just traffic.

3. Use Special Fraud Prevention Software

Finally, put fraud prevention software at the top of your shopping list.

Such software is designed specifically to combat this issue. You can’t guarantee you’ll face zero fraud. But it’s an extra level of protection that is likely to pay for itself in the long-run.

Each tool might work in different ways. However, a useful tool to look for is one that provides search reports. These reports highlight the websites that are sending unusual amounts of traffic to your website.

Time to Get Protected

There you have it: everything to know about click fraud. Plus, how to protect yourself against it in 3 steps.

This type of digital fraud is a growing problem in the industry. It’s costing companies billions of dollars every year.

Your competition may play dirty, or someone might try to get some money from you. Regardless of the source, knowing how to protect yourself against it is crucial.

Doing so will save you money and preserve your data.

Get ahead of the problem by spotting the issue early. Be vigilant with your campaigns and employ software to raise the alarm.

Run sensible campaigns that reduce the potential for harm. Finally, purchase specific click-fraud prevention software to safeguard against attacks.

Keep this knowledge in mind and you’ll be far less likely to suffer at the hands of fraudsters. Good luck!

Want support with your fraud prevention endeavors? Be sure to contact us today.


hand raising money sticky note in chat bubble

How much should my small business marketing budget be?

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Marketing budgets are one of the most debated topics in the business world.

Everyone wants to know how much they should spend, particularly small business owners.

It’s only natural, after all, you rely on a good marketing strategy to help promote your business and bring in customers.

So, you’re willing to spend a fair bit, but there’s always a balance between spending enough to have a positive impact and spending too much to the point where you make a loss.

Obviously, the main topic of discussion is how much should your small business marketing budget be?

As a general rule, companies with revenue under $5 million should allocate roughly 7-8% of their revenue to marketing.

This isn’t set in stone, but it’s a good guideline to show how much other people are spending.

If you’re worried about your marketing budget, then it’s all right!

Everything is going to be fine, and we’ve put together a guide to help you take a strategic approach to things.

Follow this advice, and you will understand how to create a budget that suits your business needs and goals.

Understand Your Target Customers

Putting together a small business marketing budget begins with your customers.

More specifically; WHO are your target customers?!

pinning down target customer on sticky note

It’s impossible to put together an effective marketing strategy if you don’t understand everything there is to know about the people buying from you.

So, the first step is getting to know your target audience.

Here, you should work on creating a customer avatar that tells you everything you need to know about your dream customer.

It will look at the following main points:

  • Who are they? (Age, gender, location, occupation, etc.)
  • Why do they want to buy? (Aspirations, challenges, lifestyle, etc.)
  • Where are they? (what websites do they use, etc.)

By conducting your research using a combination of analytics, interviews, focus groups, and surveys, you will create a customer persona.

Now, it provides insight into how you can attack things from a marketing perspective.

You will see what methods of marketing work best for your target audience, so your focus can be on them.

Mostly, the aim of understanding your customers is to prevent yourself from spreading your marketing efforts too thin.

You don’t have to invest in every single technique out there; only the ones that will target your customers.

Split Your Budget Into Two Sections

A small business marketing budget should ideally be spread across two different sections.

These are brand development costs and the costs of promoting your business.

Brand Development Costs

Here, you’re spending money on everything that will help build and promote your brand.

We’re talking social media, SEO, your website, blogs, and so on.

A strong brand provides your marketing strategy with strong foundations.

Just look at companies like Apple and McDonald's; neither of which really do anything too different from their competitors, but they’ve worked tirelessly on promoting their brands, which is why they have so much success.

Costs Of Promoting Your Business

This refers to everything you spend money on to directly promote your company.

For example, advertising, specific campaigns, and special events.

Every business needs these promotional ideas as it allows you to push your business out there and get in the public eye.

Many small business owners make the mistake of only focusing on one of these two sections.

In reality, your budget has to be split between the two.

It doesn’t need to be an even split, and we’ll discuss some of the best ways to spend your money later on.

Think About Revenue Margins

We said in the introduction that the general rule is to set aside 7-8% of your revenue if you’re generating under $5 million.

It’s essential that you understand this refers to your overall income for the year, not your final profits.

This figure is given with the assumption you’ve also got revenue margins of 10-12% after expenses - including your marketing budget.

So, if you’re generating $5m in revenue, but your margins are much less than this, then you have to rethink things.

Many people assume this means lowering your marketing budget, but what you should do is try to reduce your expenses to widen these profit margins.

Cut out some money here and there, which you can then dedicate to your small business marketing budget.

It’s not ideal, but think about it this way; with a well-funded marketing strategy, you can bring in more customers, create more leads, and make more sales.

As a result, your revenue will hopefully increase so you can afford to invest a bit more back into your business after.

Leverage Different Channels

One of the worst mistakes you can make is spending all of your marketing budget on just one or two channels.

For example, everything gets spent on online advertising or influencer marketing.

If you restrict yourself to a couple of channels, the chances of failure are greater.

Remember, your small business marketing budget is an investment, so treat it like any other one!

You should diversify and spread the money across various channels.

marketers hard at work across different channels

For example, invest in your website, SEO, email marketing, social media, and so on.

When there’s money going into different things, it won’t be too catastrophic if you see slow results from one channel.

Your email marketing might not be firing on all cylinders, but it’s okay because your SEO and website are generating leads like crazy.

Having said that, there’s a point where you have to say enough is enough.

Don’t invest your budget in everything you might find as this will just spread your resources too thin.

In essence, go back to the first point about knowing your customers; they’ll help you figure out how to best diversify your spending.

Utilize Cost-Effective Solutions

You will get more from your marketing budget if you use the most cost-effective solutions out there.

There are so many marketing ideas and tools that cost little-to-no-money at all.

But, they’re highly useful as they enhance your strategy without forcing you to break the bank.

Here are a few ideas you should really think about using:

Building A Strong Website

Having a solid website is pretty much integral to your marketing strategy.

It’s the center of your online presence; where everyone goes to make a purchase or learn about your business.

There are so many cheap solutions to help you build a professional and responsive site - like WordPress.

Anyone can set up a WordPress site in a few days, and you can pick and choose how it looks and functions, saving thousands of dollars on web design.

Now, you have a place to drive traffic towards.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

We can’t discuss your marketing budget without touching on SEO.

Along with your website, this helps build an online presence and get your brand out there.

The great thing is, because SEO deals with organic and not paid searches, there are so many free tools you can use.

Google has a keyword research tool that helps you pinpoint the best keywords to use in your content, allowing you to rank better in your main searches.

Then, there are tools like SEO Minion, which you can use for free to check the health of your SEO and identify the weak points.

The bottom line is that you can save so much money by using these free or cheap SEO tools - and they all provide stellar results.

Email Marketing

Again, it’s so easy to set up an email marketing strategy without spending loads of money.

Tools like MailChimp are cost-effective ways of setting up a mailing list and sending out numerous emails to your target market.

It’s such an effective way of generating leads and converting them into sales.

If you invest in cost-effective ideas like these, then you don’t have to spend as much money on the more expensive ideas like paid ads and social media.

Yes, they will help your campaign, but you limit how much you need to spend.

Big businesses don’t really have to worry about this as they have the money to invest heavily in whatever they want.

But for a small business, the smart approach is to use all the free software out there.

Summary: How Much Should My Small Business Marketing Budget Be?

To summarize everything, your small business market budget will probably vary depending on your business and the industry you’re in.

Manufacturing businesses tend to spend as little as 0.7% of their revenue on marketing every year.

On the other end of the scale, retail companies can invest up to 20% of their income.

But, if you want to follow the general rule, then it’s 7-8% of annual revenue (if you’re generating less than $5m) provided you have revenue margins of 10-12%.

Many of you may look at this and think it’s impossible to create a budget that roughly aligns with it.

In which case, use the advice above to help construct your small business marketing budget.

Focus on the customers first, and this helps point you toward the best channels to use.

Bring costs down elsewhere in your business, meaning you have fewer expenses and can spend the extra money on marketing.

Finally, ensure you use all the most cost-effective channels to save cash and avoid blowing your budget on other things.