Category Archives: marketing

How to choose blog topics

Blog How-To: Choosing Blog Topics Viewers Want to Read

Picking a blog topic – easy, right? Not necessarily. The process of writing a thorough blog that hits all the proper check marks – captures your audience, answers questions, provides value, positions you as an expert – requires many layers of work.

Where to begin? Here is a cheat-sheet for how to pick a blog topic that your customers will want to read:

Research

Man looking at a wall covered in papers

Start with some good old-fashioned research. You have more resources at your fingertips than you may realize. Before you put pen to paper, ask yourself these questions:

What are people searching on Google?

Many of us don’t remember life before Google, and would be lost without it. Use this to your advantage by viewing Google-suggested search options to see what others are looking for on the search engine giant. This will give you tons of great blog topic ideas that are relevant to your audience and industry.

Google search on "how to improve your SEO"

What questions do you get from customers?

Don’t make the mistake of forgetting about your customers – they are one of your best resources because they are already using your products or services, so they have an edge up on subjects that would be beneficial to write about, compared to just anyone off the street.

Question mark on gray background

What questions do you get from customers all the time? Is there a topic or some information you wish they had that would help to resolve issues your audience commonly encounters? What questions do you get in the comments from your other blog posts? Seek these questions from your audience and answer them to position yourself as the go-to industry expert.

Is there a common subject your competitors are addressing?

Look at what your competitors and fellow industry colleagues are writing about and put your own spin on it. This is a great way to both give your business clout and be involved in relevant conversations surrounding your industry.

Woman and mans hands on a table pointing to a chart with a pen

Use these tips to help get your blog topic juices flowing with an everlasting supply of great ideas to write about. Still a little hazy on the details of writing a business blog or how to get started? Give our team of experts at Stray Media Group a call to learn how we can help.

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.

Email Marketing

5 Quick Tips for Stellar Email Marketing

Email marketing can be a tricky business. There is a fine line between a recipient looking forward to receiving your awesome content regularly and doing the eye roll of the century at yet another useless email that they instantly trash.

These lovely people have given you the wonderful marketing gift of allowing you into their beloved inbox – don’t abuse it by overwhelming them with annoying daily emails that they couldn’t give two hoots about. Or even worse, having content they would actually love, but sending so often that they completely glance past it.

Rather, honor them and the opportunity they’ve provided you by consistently offering valuable content that people welcome with open, loving eyes. We’ve got 5 quick tips to help you get a fabulous start.

 

Score with Your Sender Name

Make sure your business’s sender name is something unique and easily recognizable. After all, it is the first thing they will see! Once it’s set, don’t try to get fancy and experiment with a bunch of different options. After a few emails, your sender name is easily recognized by recipients; changing it up could cause them to trash your beautiful message if they have to question for even a second who it’s from.

 

Subject to Stunning Results

What is the second element of your email viewers look at? The almighty subject line! Make sure to keep it classy, sassy and concise, while also portraying how this content will offer value of some kind to their life. Are you solving a problem they have? Giving away some goodies? Let them know in a fun and enticing way while keeping it short and sweet. The goal here is to stun them so hard they can’t help but click that bad boy open. Get creative with it! Here are some great tips to help you get started.

 

Let's Get Personal

Regardless of whether you’re sending to 2 or 2,000 people, when writing content remember to focus on the individual vs. the masses. Additionally, today’s handy-dandy email marketing tools, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, make it super easy to get personal with your audience by inputting their name into the email message to give it that extra touch. Keep it classy, though, and don’t overdo it by littering the email with their name all over the place – that’s creepy and warrants some opt-outs.

 

Value Above All Else

Put the highest emphasis on what kind of value you are providing your viewers. You can have all the flashy, fascinating subjects and graphics, but if you aren’t presenting content that offers value to their lives, you will quickly lose your audience. Know your customer, their challenges, and how your service or product can truly change their lives in a positive way. They will thank you by continuing to click those links open and share your content with others, because they truly believe in your business. Win-win-winning. Get some killer content tips here.

 

Test for Success

Okay, so you’ve crushed #1-4 and you just cannot wait to hit that send button – we totally get it, you did fabulous work and you want to share it with the world; kudos! Before you take that step, give yourself a chance to test once, twice, three times if need be to make sure everything looks perfect before you send it off to the masses.

Proofing is your best friend here – there is nothing worse than spending all your time and effort to create killer content just to have the only thing your audience remembers be that misspelled word. Trust us, a second set of eyes or even just taking a break and looking at an email with fresh eyes will make all the difference in the world. Test for the best!

 

We hope these quick tips get you sending super awesome emails that inspire those viewers to click and learn more! Too busy actually running your business to even begin thinking about where to start? We feel you – give our team at Stray Media Group a buzz and let us take that piece of the marketing pie off your plate. We look forward to making your email marketing dreams come true!

 

Team SMG a Year in Review

Team SMG – A Year in Review

With Christmas and the end

of chapter 2017 so near,

 

Team SMG reflects on the year’s

events we hold so dear:

 

A growing team full of

creativity, laughter and life.

 

Led by the dynamic duo, Dave and Heather,

who happen to be husband and wife.

 

2017 brought to us Tim’s friendly service

with a smile, coupled with his analytical mind.

 

The year also gifted us with Alexa,

a creative brain as talented as she is kind.

 

We were thrilled to celebrate our first anniversary of working

with Keely, our top risk manager and graphic design guru.

 

And we took a journey with Jen to Montana,

as she set up her wordsmith shop in a land anew.

 

The past year has been filled with creative ideas

and hard work for customers new and old.

 

We look forward to 2018 and continuing to do

what we love, in ways that are fresh and bold.

 

Our little family of marketers is gearing up with ideas and ready to shine,

with the help of our beloved office dog, Reagan, who will surely keep us in line.

 

Doberman office dog at Stray Media Group