Tag Archives: marketing strategy

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.

Marketing Strategies – Essentials from the Experts

The many facets of marketing can be daunting. What does your business’s marketing strategy actually need? How much should you be spending on a marketing? How do you get potential customers to connect with your brand?

The answer is there is no ‘one size fits all’ method when it comes to marketing. Your business is as unique as your fingerprint and should be treated as such.

While there is no single method, there are components of marketing that every business needs to think about. Our team has put together their marketing genius to help get your gears turning.

“Having a clear vision of your brand and maintaining that in all of your creative and social content. Your brand identity is the best tool in your sale’s kit. It is what drives customers to want to interact with you. Until that first person-to-person interaction occurs your only goal should be to sell who you are and not necessarily your product or service.”

Tim, Account Manager

“I think the most important part of marketing is adding value to people’s lives. Instead of thinking about how you can sell something, think of how you can impact their lives in a positive way.”

Mariah, Account Coordinator

“Being on target with your message and delivering it clearly. Too many commercials and advertisements make me say, “What the…?” because I have no idea what message they’re trying to get across to me. It’s one thing to be clever but being unclear is another.”

Heather, COO

“Figure out who you want to market to. Once you know your target audience, you can create messages that will resonate deeper with people. Connecting on a more personal level will help to improve communication and build customer loyalty.”

Alexa, Graphic Designer

“Know what the goal of your message is. Are you trying to evoke an emotion from viewers? Inform people of something? Have a clear vision of what your overall goal is so your marketing is continuously working to achieve it.”

Keely, Graphic & Web Designer

“Having your own unique voice and brand persona. The style you write content in, how you interact with followers on social media, the look and feel of your creative material – all these elements give your audience a glimpse into who you are as a business. Use these opportunities to tell your story and connect people not only to your products and services, but your overall brand.”

Jen, Content Creator

The boss of the apple sauce has two must-haves to share:

“First is simplicity. Whether it’s a big billboard or a business card, if your material is too busy or complicated to grasp right away, the chance to connect with your audience will be lost.

Second, and perhaps the most important of all is brand standards and consistency. Too many businesses have an “it’s good enough” attitude which stunts their growth. Consistently holding your marketing to the highest level of standards across all of your marketing mediums and your brand will not only be elevated in appearance, but more trusted by the people you are trying to communicate with.”

Dave, Creative Director

 

Incorporate these essentials into your marketing plan for a well-rounded strategy that gets results. Still not quite sure where to begin? Our team of marketing gurus has your back – give us a call to chat about how we can help build the strategy that fits your business best.

 

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.

Brand fingerprint and brand identity

Brand Fingerprint – Does Yours Leave a Lasting Impression?

The millions of businesses in the world are as unique as the fingerprints of the billions of people on Earth. Why do some stand out more vividly than the rest? It all comes down to brand identity.

Let’s first clear up some terms that can be confusing: brand vs. brand image vs. brand identity. They all sound similar enough to be used interchangeably, right? Let us be brief – no. Your business’s marketing strategy will benefit from learning the distinctions between them to more clearly define and share what sets your brand apart.

 

brand vs brand identity vs brand image definition

 

Still sound too close for comfort? Examples are our friends: let’s say you’re Apple Inc. and break it down like so:

 

brand vs brand identity vs brand image example

 

While they all seamlessly work together, each has its own purpose when it comes to presenting your brand to the world in a professional manner. They paint consumers a picture of what your brand is all about, so that if your identity resonates with them, you can begin to establish relationships and build brand loyalty.

Now that we know the what – let’s dive into how you create a solid brand identity.

 

Understanding touchpoints

 

What is a touchpoint? Every. Single. Thing. Associated with your brand. Have employees? They’re your walking, talking brand billboards. Company vehicles? Check. Business cards, website, social media pages, merchandise, storefront signs – when we say everything, we mean every little detail a consumer would associate your brand with.

 

Definition of touchpoints

 

We like to paint a picture of how your brand’s touchpoints affect your image – almost like that of a rollercoaster. Your employee answers the telephone with a pleasant demeanor: brand image goes up 25 feet. Company’s website is user-friendly and has a modern, aesthetically pleasing design? Advance another 50 feet up, Mr. Fancy Pants. Company vehicle cruising around town with the driver chatting away on a cell phone, cutting people off? Hang tight, because that rollercoaster is about to take a steep dive down 100 feet.

Understanding the vast amount of touchpoints your brand has and the importance of keeping your standards high in every facet will help your brand showcase its identity properly and develop a positive brand image in the public eye.

 

Consistency is key

 

The key to many things in life is consistency. Want to stay fit? It’s not going to happen if you break a mean sweat for three days and then couch potato it the rest of the year. Trying to master the accordion? Don’t expect to sell out any venues if you play once for your mom (who said you were amazing, of course) but fail to practice regularly.

 

Trust is built with consistency - Lincoln Chafee

 

Branding is no different – consistency is a staple in solid branding strategies. Consistency makes it easy, almost natural, for consumers to recognize any aspect of your company and know without a doubt that it is your brand. When everything from your website and business cards to employee uniforms and koozies is cohesive and presented consistently, it just makes sense.

Why do you need to make it easy for people? To be blunt, a lot of people won’t give a hoot enough to look into what sets your brand apart; they want you to (concisely) tell them what you’re about and how your brand or product is going to solve all their problems. First establish the trust, then build the loyalty.

 

Standardize

 

Standards – whether low or high, everyone should have them. When it comes to your brand, make sure your standards are high and create guidelines for everyone to follow, both internally and externally. Do not leave it up to Joe Schmo at the local newspaper to size and color-correct your ad or logo. Rather, set your standards and follow through to make sure the final product looks professional and properly represents your brand.

At Stray Media Group, one of the many things we recommend is that all businesses have logo standards sheets ready-made for everyone from your graphic designer to your screen printing vendor to follow step by step to ensure it’s represented correctly.

 

Any of this feel a little out of your realm? Not to worry; that is what we’re here for. We often refer to ourselves as ‘The Guardian of Your Brand’, always fighting in your corner to make sure every aspect of your branding is top notch. Give us a shout to learn more about how we can help.

 

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.