Category Archives: Inbound 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.

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!

 

 

Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing 101

What is inbound marketing, and why should you care about it? Inbound is the new, shiny tool in the marketing shed when it comes to sharing with others what your company is all about and why they should care about you. In the digital world we live in, businesses can’t afford to give inbound marketing the side eye; rather, you should opt to embrace this immensely powerful tool to give your company’s marketing strategy a boost.

The 2-Way Difference

This form of marketing focuses on a two-way communication system, engaging and informing consumers about your products or services while simultaneously receiving information from said audience. Inbound is all about establishing and maintaining connections with customers, rather than trying to give them a hard sell like the traditional methods (although both have their place in your strategy).

Customers want solutions to their problems. Inbound marketing strategies give the people what they want by providing answers to questions, innovative solutions to problems, and rich content that engages an audience and leaves them with a delectable taste in their mind’s mouth when it comes to your business.

The Mediums

Inbound is chock-full of digital mediums to explore in your marketing strategy. A few of our key favorites we like to get people started with are:

Websites are an absolute must if you want to make it in today’s marketplaces. Without a dependable online hub for your audience to visit, your company will quickly be forgotten and consumers will travel to the next competitor that has what they’re looking for.

Blogs are an exceptional way to help engage customers, build your credibility, and do some essential SEO in the background to boot. Providing rich content that solves problems positions you as a credible, go-to source and leaves an audience coming back to you for more. Plus, blogs are great for building a strong SEO foundation to help you stand out and be more easily found by potential customers.

Social Media presence is a vital ingredient in the well-rounded marketing cocktail, too. It offers wonderful platforms to receive customer feedback and to showcase what you have to offer, and even allows you to share that hilarious meme your followers will get a kick out of.

Use It or Lose It

What makes inbound marketing even more wonderful? Analytics. These digital avenues provide exceptional data on who is coming to your material, what they’re doing during visits, and so much more. Wielding this information to your benefit is made easier than ever before with fabulous tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights. The more you know about your audience, the better you are able to give them what they want. It’s a win-win.

Ready to get your inbound marketing strategy up to snuff? Our team can help get you started in the right direction. Give us a call today for more information, and to set up a time to chat about implementing these innovative solutions into your marketing strategy today.

Traditional VS Digital Marketing

Marketing Smack Down: Traditional vs. Digital

When it comes to your marketing strategy, how do you know where your efforts and budget will be best spent? With countless options available in both the traditional and digital marketing worlds, it’s best to weigh the pros and cons of each to determine what will be best for your unique business and budget.

Traditional Marketing

What is it?

Traditional marketing’ – also referred to as ‘outbound marketing’ – is the oldest form of marketing. This method relies on one-way communication to share a message with an audience.

Examples include:

  • Print – print ads, magazines, newsletters, brochures
  • Direct mail – post cards, catalogs, fliers
  • Broadcast – radio, TV

Pros and Cons

Pros of traditional marketing: Traditional marketing allows you to reach a high number of people with your specific message or promotion. This can be an extremely efficient way to blanket an intended area or audience with what you have to offer.

This method of marketing also provides you with the opportunity to give potential customers something tangible to touch and feel, physically connecting them with your brand. When done well, these materials can give them a great impression of your brand that will have a long-lasting effect.

Cons of traditional marketing: Because it relies on one-way communication, this method of marketing is more direct and less personable, lacking the ability to establish a trusting relationship or an open dialogue with potential customers.

Generally speaking, traditional marketing tends to be more expensive overall than digital alternatives, and the platforms on which many of these materials are featured – such as newspaper and cable TV – have seen a steady decline over the years.

 Digital Marketing

What is it?

Digital marketing’ is the newer kid in town. This umbrella term encompasses all of your online marketing efforts and is heavily focused on fostering two-way, open communication with existing and prospective customers.

Examples include:

Pros and Cons

Pros of digital marketing: An online presence is a must in today’s world. Everything from the way people shop to how they work has shifted to the digital side. Digital marketing allows you to take advantage of this by connecting with people where they are. Plus, with digital you are able to better target your audiences and drill down to people’s likes, dislikes, online searches, demographics, location and more.

Digital marketing is an extremely cost-effective method because it does not rely on the production of tangible pieces, such as magazines or brochures. In addition to the cost to produce and promote digital content being substantially less than traditional methods, the results generated from your digital spending and efforts are more quantifiable.

Cons of digital marketing: The extremely rapid pace at which digital marketing methods and best practices evolve is enough to make one’s head spin; what was hot at 1 p.m. may not be so hot at 2 p.m. This fast-paced flow requires businesses and marketers to continuously and diligently research, test, and implement the latest and greatest to stay relevant.

Because digital marketing focuses on two-way communication, building trust and relationships with people, businesses have to be immensely attentive and cautious. Solid customer service has always been essential to the well-being of a brand, but with today’s digital world one disgruntled customer can publicly shake up your brand’s world in seconds flat. Authentic and helpful responses in a timely manner are essential.

 

Balancing the Two
Overall, the whole point of marketing is to connect with people at the right time and place. These two methods do exactly that, each in their own uniquely effective way.

An important and still relevant component to a well-rounded overall strategy, traditional marketing will always continue to serve an important purpose for businesses. The key to success here is to ensure you’re using these tried-and-true methods to the best of their ability – know what mediums your audience uses and craft your message appropriately for the platform on which it is shared.

On the flip side, it has become evident in recent years that your marketing strategy must include a digital/online presence to stay relevant and ensure that potential customers can easily find you. Meeting people where they are, helping them easily find you, and being a useful resource will prove beneficial to your business, regardless of your target market or industry.

 

Looking for some guidance as to what your marketing strategy should include? We recognize that every company has its own services, audience, and goals, and that it is essential to understand that what’s best for one business won’t always be right for another. Our team is here to help you craft the perfect plan of action. Get hold of us today to discuss how we can help you build and implement it.