Category Archives: Digital Marketing

Writing a blog

5 Steps to Build a Better Business Blog

Stop making excuses or procrastinating; if you’ve thought about posting regular business blogs or you’d like to sharpen up your skills and increase your posting frequency, the time is NOW!

Why are blogs so important? They:

  • – Improve SEO so you’re easier to find
  • – Give businesses clout to position you as an industry expert
  • – Increase leads
  • – Open lines of communication with customers

Learn how to write a blog for your business with these 5 steps:

Blog Target Audience

Marketing communication is all about your consumer: Who are they, what do they like, what are their goals, hobbies, and interests? Find answers to these questions and formulate customer personas to more effectively connect with your audience.

A woman standing in a crowd waving.

This will help you choose topics, guide your writing style and find the best avenues to promote your content. You spend valuable time writing excellent content, so make sure it speaks to the leads you are trying to generate!

How to choose a blog topic

You have identified who you want to speak to, now it’s time to choose something to write about. Keep your business blog conversational and not entirely product- or service-oriented.

Potential clients want a solution to a problem – not to be bombarded with messages about your product or service. Keep your content focused on topics that offer useful information that adds value to the lives of your customers.

A person drawing black business graphics.

 

How to write a blog headline and intro

Content is surely king these days when it comes to a marketing strategy. We live in a Game of Thrones-esque world where there are more kings than you can count, with more and more popping up each day. In order to conquer the content world, you will need an epic headline and an intro that not only grabs attention but keeps the readers wanting more. Using numbers, keywords, and exciting verbiage is key – tell them why they must read this article!

How to organize a business blog

You’ve figured out the who and the what, now it’s time to write, organize, and condense your content so it is easy to read and retain.

Start with research. You’re well versed in the products and services your business offers, but it’s also helpful to research what others are doing and search for industry updates. This allows you to see how you stand out from the competition and helps you find new, unique, and interesting ways you could connect with potential clients or solve their problems.

A person typing on a laptop, the screen shows a WordPress blog.

After research, organize your information for optimal readability. Try breaking up the information into 3 to 5 sub-topics that would be most beneficial to the reader. This helps to keep your blog full of valuable information but organized in a way that the viewer can easily retain.

Remember to keep it short and sweet. Your blog doesn’t need to be a novel with every last feature and benefit, just something to answer potential clients’ questions and get them interested. A good starting point to go by is a maximum of 1,000 words but remember every blog goal is unique so do what works best for you.

Posting and promoting a blog

Once you’re done writing, the fun begins! It’s time to take a break, delete the blog from your brain for a bit (at least a few hours!), and focus on something else. Giving yourself a little time to refocus will allow you to have fresh eyes and reassess what you have written, reorganize, and edit better.

It is paramount that your content flows well and doesn’t contain grammar and spelling errors, which can reduce the blog’s credibility. Always allow an outside set of eyes with grammar and spelling strengths to take a second look and make necessary proofreading corrections.

Two people sharing an Apple laptop.

After that, you are ready to post and promote. Writing your blog is only half of the equation; in order for potential clients to see and benefit from your content, it is vital that you choose where the best place to reach your target demographic is, both online and through your active social media platforms.

We get it – building and writing a business blog can seem like an extremely daunting task when you aren’t one of the few who loves to write, but not having a blog can be a business marketing killer in this modern research- and consumer-driven market.

Let us check this task off your to-do list with our team of professional content creators, who love to write engaging and shareworthy content. Meet the team today by getting hold of us at 701.757.2000.

Visual Marketing: How Video & Images Impact Your Strategy

Images are worth a thousand words, and videos are worth nearly two million. Using visuals in your marketing isn’t just a suggestion, it’s vital to attracting, converting and retaining your target audience. Nearly 40% of marketers consider visual marketing – use of video and images – to be the most important kind of content used in their strategy, second only to blogs.

Research shows that when people receive information in different ways, the retention rates are drastically different:

  • – Video: 95%
  • – Text with relevant photo: 65%
  • – Text only: 10%

With additional statistics like these, it’s clear the need for visuals in marketing is a given:

  • – Watching video accounts for 1/3 of all online activity
  • – Posts with images are shared over 2x more
  • – 88% of users spend more time on sites that feature video

Attract

The amount of content thrown at us on a daily basis is staggering. Finding creative ways to set yourself apart is vital if you’re going to catch anyone’s attention. Videos and images are two of the best ways to accomplish this.

A great example: This ad from Specialized Bicycles is different, relevant and something you’ll remember. Maximizing their timing and placement by capitalizing on the excitement surrounding the 2018 Tour de France with their star sponsored athlete, Peter Sagan, made for a winning combination.

 


Information presented through stunning imagery and visuals is easier for people to process and retain, compared to the written word. Find ways to think outside the box and use images to cut through the white noise and help your marketing stand out.

Inform

Today’s consumers are more likely to do their research and be on the look for companies providing a solution to their problem. Videos and other visuals are an exceptional way to share a lot of information about your products or services in a short amount of time. Product tutorial and testimonial videos, interviews, infographics, visual instructions – these are all great examples of how to utilize visual marketing to your advantage.

Convert

Conversions – site visitors who are paying customers – are one of the end goals you seek when it comes to users on your website. How can you get these potential customers to become a paying customer? Visual marketing can have a huge impact.

Landing pages that feature video have been shown to increase conversions by over 80%. That coupled with the fact that 87% of marketers worldwide use video in their marketing, it’s easy to see that if you’re not upping your visual marketing game, you’re falling behind your competition.

The need for visuals is clear – now how do you go about getting them? We have several different avenues for you to explore, whether you’re a start-up with a next-to-nothing marketing budget or an established company looking to significantly invest in your visual marketing.

Stock Images

There are tons of sites – both free and paid – that have hundreds of millions of stock photos that you can download. For free options, use the advanced search settings in Google to only pull up images that are free to use or modify (even on the commercial level), as well as free sites, like Pexels or Pixabay, that have high-resolution images that are free to use (note: some may require crediting the photographer, so watch for those restrictions).

Paid options such as Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, iStock and Fotolia feature photographs and videos that can fit just about any industry’s needs, too.

When using stock images, keep in mind that you are far more likely to see the same photo used on a lot of other sites, social platforms or other branding efforts by companies. For that reason, the stock photo option may work for you in some cases but is not the best method to solely rely on in the long run if you’re trying to set your business apart from the rest.

Build Your Own Library

The best way to maximize the potential of your visual marketing strategy is to use as much of your own, custom videos and images as possible. Building a solid library will take time and effort but is well worth it for the longevity of your brand.

It’s like the difference between borrowing a suit from a friend who is slightly bigger than you, compared to a professional custom-tailoring one to your exact measurements. Invest now to give your business material to use far into the future. That could mean hiring a professional to help you out, brushing up on techniques yourself to capture visuals or a combination of the two.

At Stray Media Group, we’re in the business of helping companies reach their maximum potential. Learn more about how we can help shine a light on your brand through creative ideas and custom video marketing services today.

Phases of the M.O.A.B. (Marketing on a Budget)

Building a marketing strategy that works for your business (and budget) is as essential as it is challenging. It must be as unique as your business and molded according to what you can afford, while ensuring you’re hitting all the crucial components you need to grow your company.

How can you have an effective marketing strategy on a budget? Working your plan through a series of phases can help you succeed.

Start with what you know you absolutely need in order to function as a business. Every business will be different, and your plan will be determined by the amount of resources available to you through your marketing budget. Typically, this would include a website, social media activity, basic SEO and maybe some office essentials like business cards.

The key to phase one is to have a foundation that opens the lines of communication between you and your target audience. If your budget is a little bigger, the first phase of your strategy may reach far beyond the few aforementioned components. If your budget is on the smaller side, maybe you’ll be able to start with one or two of these and build on them as your company grows.

Wherever you are, start with the essentials your customers will need in order to find you and learn more about your business.

As your company grows, so should your marketing budget and strategy. Enter phase two! Break through the plateau at the end of phase one by putting more of your budget into expanding on what your current strategy includes.

Maybe your initial budget only allowed you to have a one-page website with a company description and phone number, but you’re ready to transform it into a several-page site complete with a blog, photo gallery and product videos.

If you started with a Facebook page to establish a presence on social media, enhance your strategy by increasing the frequency of posts and activity, and exploring other social media platforms on which to create business pages to increase your reach.

Look into upping your SEO game in phase two if your initial budget in phase one only allowed you to do the basics. This will help you be more easily found by potential customers and like-minded audience members across the web.

Continuously reshape your strategy to expand and cover more bases as you grow. Use phase three as a time to continue to expand your current efforts, while also exploring other marketing avenues to research and invest in that will allow you to reach more of your target audience.

Again, every business’s strategy will be different, including its timeline from one phase to the next, level of growth and avenues for marketing. Start where you can and always be reworking your strategy so it’s in line with your ever-developing company.

At Stray Media Group, we work with businesses of all shapes and sizes to help them find the marketing strategy that best fits their needs while being conscious of their budget. Our goal is to help you succeed within the means that you have, so you can work on growing your company to its full potential.

Contact our team to learn more about how we can help you define and execute a marketing strategy for your business today.

Video Marketing Stray Media Group

4 Things Your Video Marketing Strategy Needs

Connecting with your audience and building relationships – this is why we do what we do in the marketing world. There are countless ways it can be done, but some frontrunners prove time and again to be the most effective. A specific genre of marketing that amplifies your overall strategy by providing viewers with a dynamic and captivating way to consume content is what we like to call video marketing.

Did you know 65% of your audience are visual learners? With content marketing best practices continually evolving to accommodate short attention spans and cutting through the overwhelming amount of content already out there, video marketing can be your cut-to-the-chase saving grace.

What makes great video marketing? Here are four of our go-to tips:

Add value

Your video marketing strategy should have a strong focus on providing value. Just like in a content marketing strategy, it’s important not to push a sales angle but rather give answers to the questions that your audience is asking. Testimonials can also be a valuable tool – having other real people talk about how your products or services actually helped them will be a great addition to your strategy. Positioning yourself as a reliable and follow-worthy expert in your industry will help you build credibility, grow your audience and gain leads.

 

Inspire

Messages should be compelling and inspire viewers to do what you are promoting. If they are not moved by it, why would they share it or even keep watching? We are bombarded by ads all day every day (some estimate upwards of 5,000 a day) so when it comes time to press that ‘Share’ button, it had better be worth the customer’s time and effort.

The feeling you’re going for here is like this:

via GIPHY

 

Dare to be different

Dare to be humorous, edgy and fun. Show a human side of your business – people connect with this engaging type of content, so it provides an exceptional opportunity for them to see your team, products or services in a different light.

Some companies or more professional industries feel that taking risks with their content – written, video or otherwise – is too dangerous. In our eyes, it’s more dangerous to be so cautious that you end up morphing into every other business just like yours. It’s important to note that “edgy” should not be confused with explicit or offensive – there should always be a level of tastefulness to any marketing strategy. Rather, our caution here is to not stifle yourself into a boring state for fear of daring to be different.

Dare to be different...its where the magic happens

 

Make videos concise

You’ve got about 10 seconds (or less) to captivate your audience with a video before they hit ‘Skip’. Make it so good they can’t possibly click that button. Give them the valuable content that they are looking for, but in a concise and to-the-point manner. In the vast sea that is existing content, it’s important to cut through the noise. Package up those videos in nice, quick and informative nuggets so they’re easily digested by audiences.

65% of audiences are visual learners

Video viewership continues to increase exponentially each year, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. This medium gives audiences a fast, convenient way to get the information they want, in the visual manner that has proved to be how the majority of consumers prefer to learn.

Every business can benefit from including video marketing in their stratgey

One of the best things about video marketing? It could be applied to literally ANY business, industry or promotion, and – with the right SEO – get successful results. We believe video marketing should be a cornerstone in every company’s strategy. If you’re ready to shine some lights, camera, action on your marketing plan, give our team at Stray Media Group a call to see how we can help.

 

Target Audiences

Target Audience – 3 Need-to-Knows

Marketing is all about connecting with people – you must listen to what they want or what problems they face that need solving, and be the business to provide the solution they’ve been pining for. Before you can swoop in and save the day, your business must first know who your target audience is, what they are saying, and how to reach them with your solution.

 

What a Target Audience Is

Target Audience – the demographic of people most likely to want your product or service. Essentially, these are the people with a problem that your product or service can help them with. When you think about it, we’ve all been doing this for ages. Back in your young days, did you ever ask your dad for permission to do something because you knew that your mom would say no? Classic case of targeting your message to the right audience for the best result.

Definition of Target Audience

The scope of target audiences varies greatly from wide to narrow. For example, let’s say you own a specialty dog boutique with high-end supplies for the die-hard pooch enthusiast. Your audience is going to be narrower than that of a general pet supplies store that is geared towards a wider audience of pet owners, from cats and dogs to parakeets and gerbils.

Or perhaps you own a car dealership that specializes in expensive luxury sports cars. This product will need to target a sliver of the consumer population that can afford that price tag, such as business men in their 40s or 50s that make over $250,000 a year, vs. your local pre-owned car dealership.

Regardless of what your company does or produces, every business needs a target audience and a strategy for how to reach them.

 

Why your business needs a target audience

Why are target audiences vital to the success of your business? To market or advertise your business, you first need to know who you want to reach and where to find them.

If you’re thinking to yourself “Why would I limit my audience to a small group of people instead of sharing what my business has to offer with the entire world?” you are not alone. While on the surface that may sound like the more logical explanation – to include everyone – when you have a defined marketing budget that isn’t labeled “sky’s the limit” (psst…none of them are) you need to work smarter, not harder, to reach people.

Work smarter, not harder, to reach your target audience

By defining your target audience and marketing to the people you already know would potentially be interested in buying (or at least learning more about) your product or service, you are able to:

  1. Craft your message to speak to them directly
  2. Make a relevant connection between a potential consumer and your brand
  3. Focus budget dollars on mediums you know are more likely to reach your audience

 

How to find your target audience

You know what a target audience is, and understand the importance of defining it for your business. What now? Go out and get it! Thorough market research is key here, whether that means hitting the pavement to do your own legwork or gathering data from research companies or resources.

Ideas for market research include:

  1. Experiments or trials
  2. Focus groups
  3. Interviews
  4. Observation
  5. Product pricing
  6. Social media insights
  7. Surveys
  8. Website analytics

The goal here is to get to know your potential consumers, what problems they experience, what they do about them now, and how your product or service can make their life easier. Learn the ins and outs of where they get their information and outline game plans for how to best reach them.

Is your product an online project management program for small businesses? Chances are your audience is more likely to be reached through digital marketing – website, blogs, online ads, email marketing, etc. – vs. more traditional methods that may be more fitting for targeting a specific area with offers for your local supermarket – print ads, direct mail, TV commercials.

Need a helping hand to define your target audience and develop a marketing plan for how to best reach them? That’s what we’re here for. Our team at Stray Media Group would be happy to meet with you to determine where your business is and what we can do to help you grow. Learn more about our work and how we can take your marketing to new heights by contacting us today!