Digital Marketing

How to Fight it & Flourish

As spooky season approaches and Halloween is around the corner, we’re thinking a lot about our biggest fears. But today we’re not talking about ghosts or goblins or even Michael Myers. We’re talking about one of the scariest things of all to any workplace…complacency.

“Complacency is man’s biggest weakness. It creeps up on us when we least expect it.” – Jay Mullings

Even if you think your company isn’t anywhere near complacency, there’s still always room to evaluate and grow. And, you may be surprised by what’s lurking behind the door of contentment. Complacency is not only bad for your company, but good for your competition, which we’d assume will give you a bit of a fright. If employees aren’t challenged to improve, things are the way they are because it’s the “way they’ve always been”, and the company isn’t growing, it’s definitely affecting your revenue. But don’t worry – it’s never too late to change. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the best ways to avoid company complacency and ensure you’re periodically updating and enhancing your culture, practices, and marketing.

Complacency’s Cause

Complacency can sneak up on any company without warning, shielding it from growth and stifling creativity and innovation. Why? Because if companies are seemingly doing “fine” and meeting their goals on paper, they feel no “need” or urgency to change. That’s where the biggest mistake is made, because companies should always be looking to evolve and thinking about their vision for the future. If not, ideas become stale, talent becomes bored, and eventually, the company comes to a jarring halt without any clue of how they got there.

When everything seems to be going well, it can be difficult to disrupt successes. And it may feel like the right decision to let processes and practices take their course rather than think about next steps and development, but often “the riskiest thing we can do is just maintain the status quo.” Without urgency and consistency for change, employee performance shifts and can even decline. Statistics show that only 30% of employees in America are actually engaged in their work, and only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged in their office environment. With such low numbers already, it’s so important to keep employees excited, energized, and motivated for what they’re doing and what’s to come.

Combatting Complacency

With complacency being a bigger, scarier possibility than you may have assumed, it’s important to keep it top of mind and to make sure you’re doing your best to combat it. Start with communication of your company’s mission, vision, and values. Make sure they’re clear, known, and maybe most importantly – accurate and true. Know who you are. If you do – your employees will too, and in turn they’ll feel more connected with and motivated by your workplace. Allow employees to see their contributions to the bigger mission, and their worth as an asset to the overarching vision.

After all, having a good (and growing) company culture is key to combatting complacency and ensuring workplace satisfaction. How do you improve your culture? Many ways, but the most effective tools are company newsletters, employee highlights, group meetings, and employee appreciation. Again – make your employees feel valued, and they’ll more likely provide value.

Additionally, make sure team members feel important and part of the greater whole. Encourage managers and team members to communicate within their individual teams, and make sure responsibilities are delegated and well distributed. Employees are more likely to become bored when they’re doing the same tasks over and over, so give them room to be creative and explore new opportunities. You never know who may have the next best idea.

Lastly, be prepared for whatever may come your company’s way, and never be too afraid to challenge the status quo. If we’ve learned anything these past two years, it’s that anything can happen, and that the saying “it won’t happen to us” is just not realistic. It’s important to listen to the ideas of your employees and always be prepared for what’s to come with an open communication structure. Make sure you have multiple decision makers, not just one, and that employees feel comfortable enough to make some decisions without “permission” from a leader. Training your employees to make decisions on their own will be a key factor in combatting complacency.

Refreshing Without Fear

Almost as important as your workplace and its people is your brand and marketing. Without change and evolution, your marketing can quickly become out-of-date right under your nose (causing your employees to lack company pride and your audience to lose interest). But how do you know when it’s the right time to update your brand and marketing?

A sure sign (these days) of lack luster marketing is an absence of social platforms. Some would even say if you’re not online, you might as well not exist. And although we think that sounds a little spooky, we’ll admit that it holds some truth. If you’re hard to find and not posting relevant content and imagery, target customers may be choosing your competitors (who are more accessible and approachable) over you.

Also important to your brand and its relevance is your website. In this day and age, it’s very easy to tell when a website has been left alone so long that it’s developing cob-webs. If you’re finding that your website traffic is down and your customers aren’t interacting with it, it’s time for an upgrade. But, before any big changes, compile data and make purposeful decisions. What is your audience looking for? What do they respond well too? How can you quickly and easily get them to have interest in your company and purchase goods?

Additionally, make sure you keep your advertising and customer communication – whether digital or physical – energized and creative. Combine direct and digital marketing to reach specific audiences and keep your brand top of mind. Don’t settle for just one medium that “seems to be working” if multiple channels of communication could bring you more success.

Lastly, avoid complacency by focusing on helping the customer rather than selling to them. While the overall goal of most companies is to generate sales, it’s essential you show your customers that you care about their pain points and needs. To see all of these tactics in action, check out our recent blog on how to create successful marketing campaigns.

Company complacency can sneak up on you like a ghost in the night and lead to missed opportunities, poor customer service, and disengaged employees. Stay aware of the possibility of contentment and make sure you’re always exploring, evolving, and rising above the rest. Change is inevitable, but complacency doesn’t have to be.

For more information on what we do at Strata and how we can help you fight complacency with one of our marketing solutions, contact us today.

With a Combination of Direct & Digital Marketing (and the Right Partner)

Maybe you’ve heard about the paper shortage, or maybe you’ve experienced it first-hand. Either way, it’s something you should know about, as it’s seemingly becoming a bigger issue in our field day by day. But, before we sound all doom and gloom, we do have good news. Although it’s a current issue we’re facing, there are ways to combat it and work around it. In this blog, we’ll walk you through what exactly is causing the shortage, what it means for us (and you), and how we all can continue business as (almost) usual.

What’s Happening with the Paper Shortage?

So, what’s really going on? Well, there are many shortages going on right now – primarily due to all of the craziness that’s ensued over the past few years. The pandemic has been the primary factor in most shortages, from toilet paper to manufacturing products, and everything in between. Something else that’s suffering? Lumber, and in turn – you guessed it – paper.

Back in 2020, the demand for paper dropped by “up to 75% in some segments” due to drops in education and office space usage. Because of this, “paper mills reduced or curtailed production…which caused inventory to drop to levels which have not been seen previously.”

More recently, there’s been a “convergence of Canadian lumber tariffs, increase in demand for home remodeling and building of homes brought on by the pandemic, and hiccups in supply related to transportation.” From home projects to home purchases, we’re now using a lot of wood. More wood demand has called for changes in processes for these previously idle lumber suppliers, which has slowed production – and even worse, transporters impacted by Covid-19 risks has made for fewer available drivers to carry out shipments from mills and shipping ports.

Generally, one thing has led to another, causing a domino effect that’s triggered lumber prices to skyrocket, and has disrupted several industries.

What Does This Mean for Marketers & Print Projects

Yes, the paper shortage is concerning, but it doesn’t make print and direct mail marketing impossible or any less effective. With that said, don’t go overboard. Be aware of the materials you’re using and try to keep a close eye on the balance of supply and demand. While the lack of resources is a hurdle, the shortages are actually giving printers and marketers an opportunity to get creative with project execution by combining print with digital and trying new outreach possibilities.

How Can We Combat the Shortage?

There are several ways to work around the current hurdles we’re facing. The first? Using more digital technology wherever possible (and effective) – like QR codes, for example – to cut back on the paper needed to communicate a message or tell a story. Not only can QR codes and PURLs, or other tools help you use less paper, but they can help you more effectively track, monitor, and enhance your campaign. You can also try supplementing your multiple direct mail touches with other tools like digital ads and emails. A multichannel approach is always more impactful than a single channel, anyway.

Next, look into making your mailers, flyers, and other print marketing materials more cost effective by using a smaller paper weight, or stand out in the mail with a smaller but more uniquely shaped piece.

Lastly, look to work with a company with paper buying power and ample experience. They’ll be aware of the current issues, and will understand what’s best for your company’s marketing needs.

Reach Out

When it comes to shortages of any kind, remember to be patient and plan ahead. The paper shortage most likely won’t be around forever, but the more flexible you can be, the more you can mitigate the issue. After reading this, we hope you’re feeling a bit more knowledgeable of the current shortage as well as what you can do to combat it. If you’re interested in learning more about how Strata’s working through the shortage with our client (and on our personal projects), or are looking to work with us on your next multichannel marketing campaign, feel free to reach out.

Let’s Get Ethical

Marketing ethics has always been a never-ending conversation, especially considering the ongoing changes in our technology and the way we market. Today, we’re talking about ways your business can promote ethical marketing, and how to apply these practices in your next campaign while navigating through the Information age.

Advancements in Ethical Marketing

At first glance, marketing ethics can come off as simple – often viewed as just being honest with your advertisements and not promoting scams. But with the integration of digital marketing, there are much more complex, ethically charged dilemmas at hand that marketers come across on a day-to-day basis. If handled incorrectly, these dilemmas can hurt your brand’s reputation and cost you customers. Recent surveys show that 35% of consumers have stopped buying from brands they perceive as unethical, even if there’s no substitute available. That said, there are many approaches your company can take to tackle these ethical dilemmas and promote brand integrity.

Here are some common ethical dilemmas of the information age:

Data Ethics

How you obtain and use your data is everything when it comes to marketing tactics and campaigns. Surveys show that around 1 in 4 employees are uncomfortable with not only how their companies buy their data, but how they use it. This leads to the conversation of data ethics and establishing goals within your company to promote ethical data use. Data goals look different for every company in terms of tracking, reporting, and level of controls. This requires internal transparency and accountability, as there aren’t clear universal rules. A good start is to design your programs from the start to be transparent, for everyone in the company, and for consumers. There should also be equal expectations for data usage with your partners, suppliers, and publishers.

Privacy & Transparency

Privacy is another concern that’s always on consumers’ minds, and we can’t talk about its standards and rules without mentioning the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR is by far the most comprehensive set of data protection regulations in the entire world, and provides clear digital marketing guidelines on consent, data transfers, breach reporting requirements, and limits on automated data processing. While 47% of people say they have greater trust in companies because of GDPR improvements, providing security to ensure your consumers’ data is not at risk should always be a priority. Since 84% of customers say they’re more loyal to companies with strong security controls – it’s safe to say (no pun intended) that an extra security spend is worth the cost. Ultimately, privacy boils down to being transparent with your consumers while keeping their data and information confidential.

Ethical Targeting

Advancements in digital marketing have enabled marketers to target their advertising campaigns around specific user data and demographics, which can lead to several different ethical dilemmas. The American Marketing Association spoke about these targeting issues best, by saying, “While there are some good ways to target by group, targeting or excluding by race, sex, sexual orientation or other immutable traits is largely ineffective and, at worst, unethical.” This leads to the concept of ethical target marketing, where companies will research consumers to see what ways an individual might purchase a product without taking advantage of their information. While companies can advertise to certain groups, there needs to be an emphasis on making sure the message isn’t offensive or discriminatory.

Honoring & Upholding Commitments

This may come off as obvious, but it’s important to place integrity on your company’s end when marketing a product or service. Make sure your commitments within marketing statements are both upheld and correct, and that you’re actively deleting loopholes within your advertisements and contracts. Then, ensure that all content presented is not misleading and easy to follow. Provide complete information on product features or service specifications.

We know there are a ton of moving parts when it comes to marketing ethics – and it can be overwhelming. That’s okay. At the end of the day, what’s most important is putting your consumer’s needs, privacy, and safety first – and letting everything else fall into place.

Feeling informed and motived? Contact us today to learn more about how we can take your next (ethical) marketing campaign to a whole new level.

How to Take Advantage of These
Tiny Lapses of Time

In today’s digital world, whether we realize it or not, we’re surrounded by buzzwords. As we evolve and try to keep up with the newest technology and trends, these buzzwords continue to evolve as well. These terms can be intimidating if you’re new to the digital marketing realm. However, they’re usually simply better ways to understand digital strategies, tactics, and optimizations available to your company. The more comfortable you get with buzzwords, the more involved your company can be with this ever-changing digital world, especially over your competitors. In this first blog of the “Buzzword Alert” series, we’ll be breaking down a very popular buzzword – the “micro-moment.”

Micro-Moments – What Are They?

“I want it NOW” is what today’s buyers are saying during their buying journey. They want immediate gratification, and they’re making decisions faster than ever before. This moment of instant need is called a “micro-moment”; the moment of intention when a consumer turns to their device to act on a need or want. Micro-moments are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences are shaped. In these specific moments, consumer expectations are higher than ever. Whether they’re looking to learn something, do something, discover, watch, or buy, they want to act in that exact moment. Since consumers are never too far from their devices and can find just about anything by the click of a button (91% of people use their mobile device to research information in the middle of a task), micro-moments are a game changer for many companies.

Why is it Beneficial to Know About These Moments?

Like we said, it’s so easy for consumers to quickly find something on their phones, giving your company the opportunity to utilize keyword research tools and social listening to help better understand where, when, and how they’re making purchasing decisions. These tactics will allow you to better optimize your products and services in real time based on your customer’s needs. And ultimately, this strategy will put you in a great spot (over your competitors) to offer more personalized content for your customers. If your company’s site pops up at the right moment and offers a buyer what they want, your brand’s performed a successful customer engagement. Maybe they’ll bookmark your page for later, send a link in a text message, watch a video, or – the end goal – buy your product.

How to Effectively Show Up in These Moments

Once you understand when and where your current and potential customers are showing up, make sure you are as well. The best way to show up and present your brand in these moments is to strategize being responsive and supportive. It’s one thing to make yourself available, but another to know how and what works best for your audience. Whether this is through a chat box, pop-up ad, or video, create a strategy that works across multiple channels so you don’t miss any potential customers. Usually, the more places you are, the better. Of online consumers, 69% agree that the quality, timing, and/or relevance of a company’s message influences their perception of that company’s brand. Make sure that when your customers are in these moments, they’re experiencing relevant content that resonates with them. Customers want deeper levels of engagement, so if you’re going to appear within their micro-moments, make your content something worth clicking on. With relevant information comes an effortless process to deliver it. Make your message intriguing yet simple to understand to minimize the chances of customer drop off. And if they do drop off – be sure to retarget. Autopilot found that brands who stay in touch with consumers every two to four weeks generate twice as many leads as brands who don’t. 

See These Moments in Action

Here’s an example of relevant and easy placement. You’re on your computer streaming your favorite show and – in this moment – ads for the brand “Missguided” appears – offering relevant, related content. This clothing company’s advertising the same clothing women are wearing on the show you’re streaming. The brand’s realized that their target audience is often interested in this show, providing them the perfect moment to bring these outfits to your attention.

Another example? L’Oréal’s created a personalized mobile app called “Makeup Genius.” Within this app, when you take a picture of yourself, you receive customized makeup recommendations. These are rendered on the screen, and soon after, the app allows you to purchase the recommended makeup right from your phone. Here, L’Oréal both creates and takes advantage of these micro-moments of need.

In marketing, the name of the game is thinking ahead and being one step in front of your competitors and consumers. Micro-moments are all about showing up at the right time and place, with relevant and easy-to-digest information.

Interested in working micro-moments into your next digital marketing campaign? We are here to help! Contact us.

How to Attract Your Audience

Video ads aren’t anything new, but keeping up with the rise of their increasing online presence is. Most of us don’t even realize how often we come across video ads. With so many different apps and sites, it’s important to get your company’s video ads out there, in the right places, and noticed. The key is to look beyond traditional practices and dig deeper into the variety of different ways and places you can utilize them. Follow along as we take you through best practices for video ads.

Rise of Video

With the rise of social media and its many marketing uses; video advertisements have been more popular than ever before. So popular that, in the past 30 days, more video content has been uploaded than video created by major U.S. television networks in the past 30 years. Moreover, it’s estimated that the average person currently spends 100 minutes every day watching online videos. This is a 19% increase compared to daily viewing minutes in 2019, which stood at 84. What all of this means is that it’s not just that people are watching more video than ever before, but that competition for this space is on the rise. Stay on top of new trends and ways to engage your audience over your competitors with our five tips and tricks, below.

1. Choose the Right Video & Placement

The right video placement can be the determining factor for your video advertising success. Before anything else, make sure your company has a clear idea of where you want these ads to be – and where they’ll best meet your potential customers. Here are four highly successful video ad placements to keep in mind as you’re getting started.

Skippable in-Stream Ads: Skippable, in-stream ads play before, during, or after other videos. After five seconds, the viewer has the option to skip the ad.

Non-Skippable in-Stream Ads: Non-skippable in-stream ads are 15 seconds (or shorter) and play before, during, or after other videos. Viewers don’t have the option to skip the ad. 

Native Video Ads: This video ad format blends in with the website’s layout for a seamless interaction.

In-Banner Video Ads: In-banner video ads are videos built inside a banner ads.

Knowing these four placements can allow for your brand and message to be properly delivered the way you’d like it to be within your diverse video ads.

2. Captivate

When we say captivate, we mean make a good first impression. It’s best to keep your videos around 15-60 seconds, because most of your audience may drop off if your ad drags on too long. The message may begin to get drawn out and blurry, causing the viewer to forget it. Short and sweet is the rule of thumb, and grabbing their attention in those first 3-5 seconds is key. You really don’t have much time before the viewer may click “skip ad” or exit out completely. Keep users engaged by using upbeat music, compelling questions, humor and more, based on your brand voice. Once you have your general ad idea ready, figure out the best place to position the ad. 79% of the people say a video ad has convinced them to buy a product or software – so make sure its length and creative makes it memorable. Not sure where to start? Take a look at one of our personal video ads below for inspiration.

3. Personalize

Online video ads tend to differ heavily from traditional television ads. This is primarily due to the personalization of online ads. Using personalization tactics can give you an impactful advantage over your competitors, so take advantage of this and research and study your customer demographics to better understand their behavior and buying patterns to properly place your ads in the right places. For example, if one of your demographic audiences viewed your services and clicked through the contact us page, but didn’t submit any information, you can infer that they got the chance and had the time to go through your website (showing some interest) and look over your services, but weren’t ready to take any next steps. In this case, a video ad with personalization could be used to help them progress, reading something like, “Learn more and get in contact with xyz to see how x company can help you with…” This way, you’re serving as an outlet and solution to their unanswered questions, and gently pushing them make that next step, instead of placing an ad for them to see that doesn’t apply to their current situation. The same goes for the placement of the video ad. If you find that the majority of your audience is viewing your content on Facebook or Instagram, place an ad within these platforms. Similarly, if you’re communicating a lot through email with potential customers, place a video ad in an email. An initial email with a video ad can receive an increased click-through rate of 96%. And, using the word “video” in your email’s subject line can increase open rates by 19%, click through rates by 65%, and cut the number of unsubscribes by 26%.

4. Make it Relevant

Make sure your ads are relevant. Don’t just interrupt your viewer in the middle of their browsing or shopping – add value to their day. Make them do a double take when scrolling to keep your company top of mind for your high performing audiences. The best way to do this is by empathizing with their needs and pain points, especially right off the bat (like we said, in that first 3-5 second). It’s helpful to create different or slightly different versions of the same video ad to ensure they fit seamlessly into whatever page they are placed on.

5. Represent Your Brand

Be sure, possibly above anything else, that each video is a good representation of your brand. Add a logo into the corner of the ad, or place it strategically within the video on certain frames. 3X more people are engaged with an ad when a brand name and message is presented in the first 10 seconds. Also be sure to include a clear & concise call to action (CTA), and use ad copy space to provide additional information about your product or service that didn’t make it into the video. You can even try adding a short teaser phrase or question to the video that compels people to view longer or check out your website, blog, landing page, or other platforms.

Reach Your Target Audience

Lastly, partner with advertising creatives to get your video ads done efficiently and in a timely manner. Having captivating, personalized, relevant information that’s positioned correctly will ultimately put your company in the best position possible to reach your target audience. If you’re looking to learn more about video ads, feel free to contact our skilled creative marketing team, here.

7 Ideas for Your Digital Strategy

So far in the Power of Digital series, we’ve highlighted digital’s general power and presence in today’s world, and shared key tips and tricks to plan, execute, and get the most out of your digital marketing campaigns. This week, we’re shifting gears a bit to take you through 7 unique and effective ways you can use digital in your next marketing campaign.

1. Content Marketing

Content is key and king, and that will most likely never change. Especially on digital platforms, content can make or break your marketing campaign. Almost every channel can benefit from content marketing, but those that benefit most are websites, blogs, e-books, white papers and one pagers, infographics, online brochures, social media, and digital advertising. You can expect about 67% more leads every month if your brand has a blog (compared to those who don’t). Digital content marketing can help you get noticed, help customers find you, and build brand reputation – and high-quality content can make you a subject matter expert, thought leader, and front-runner in the industry. A good online presence created through valuable content can earn your audience’s trust and influence prospects to take action, especially if that content includes an effective call to action.

2. Social Media Marketing

As widely used digital marketing channels, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, can help you expand your digital audience and reach (and connect with) people in several areas of the internet. Social media is an excellent, easy, and often free way to promote your business through visual and valuable content that can be uploaded in seconds – whenever and from wherever. Like we said, social media is a great place to reach, interact with, and communicate with customers. It’s a place where customers know they can reach you quickly, get instant gratification, and grow to feel more personally connected to your company. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are useful for sharing announcements, blogs, landing pages, and more, and all of this content can also be shared, liked, and commented on by your customers and interested prospects. In fact, 53.6% of the world’s population uses social media, so take advantage of the crowd.

3. Video Content & Advertising

If you’re not already taking advantage of advertising with online videos, the time to start is now. According to Optinmonster, video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year. Video is an effective, memorable, and authentic way to share company messages. It can be inspirational, entertaining, thought provoking, surprising, educational – you name it. It’s a great way to tell a product story, make announcements, or show the faces behind a company. Just make sure when you’re making video content that you know your intentions. What do you want to tell your audience? What do you want to show them? How do you want them to feel? And maybe most importantly, what do you want them to do? The best channels to post your video content are YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin – but video content can be posted pretty much anywhere, and can be broken up and used on several different platforms to target audiences in different stages of the buyer’s journey and acquire varied results.

4. Audio Content

As consumers are settling into their new routines of life at home, consumption habits are dramatically shifting across digital mediums. Podcasts are all the rage these days, and for good reason. Businesses, influencers, and thought leaders have started to realize that no matter what someone’s schedule, while they may not have time to watch, they’ll often have time to listen. Whether it’s on the traditional radio or via a podcast, audio has become an extremely relevant medium to offer on-demand listening for your busy audiences. Even better…audio marketing can often be easier and cheaper to produce and distribute highly tailored content than other forms of marketing.

5. PPC Advertising & SEM

PPC (Pay Per Click), advertising and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) efforts can draw a ton of traffic to your website. PPC focuses on driving search traffic with direct commercial intent. Pay-per-click ads through the Search Network help ensure you’re fully visible and front and center on an SERP when users submit queries that are relevant to your brand offerings. This digital marketing tactic varies in its cost, because the advertiser pays the publisher depending on how often their ad is clicked. Yet, the more you pay, the more possible prospects you’re likely to get. This type of advertising’s a great way to show off your brand to individuals who are actively looking for products and solutions that your brand has to offer. 65% of B2B companies have acquired customers through LinkedIn ads alone, just one of many places these advertising opportunities exist.

6. Digital Display Advertising

This subset of SEM efforts is also a great way to reach new customers using text, images, banners, rich media, interactive imagery, and video. Digital display advertising presents you with the opportunity to showcase your brand in a wide variety of ad formats. Display advertising is an excellent way to build brand awareness and get clicks, conversions, and sales from users who have an interest in your business and have found your display ads to be relevant to the solution or product they’re searching for. Digital display ad messaging can be easily customized based on your customer’s interests and shopping behaviors, but before getting into display advertising, make sure you choose an expert to work with to get the most out of your efforts and obtain higher ROI.

7. SEO

Lastly, SEO is a good digital focus for your company to have if you’re looking to increase organic search rankings for your website. The higher your pages rank on Google’s SERP, the better chance you have of growing your business and brand awareness. Having a high ranking also builds consumer trust and company credibility, and betters user experience, making it more likely for customers to become repeat buyers. The mediums that most profit from SEO auditing include websites, blogs, and infographics, but almost every channel can benefit from improved SEO.

Ready to enhance your next digital campaign? Contact us. We’ll help you brainstorm and execute, and make sure you get the most ROI for your digital marketing efforts.

5 Tips & Tricks to Enhance Your Digital Campaigns

Last week, in our first blog of the Power of Digital series, we discussed how powerful and plentiful digital is in our increasingly technological world. This week, in part 2, we’re giving you a few tried and true digital tips and tricks that businesses can use to increase the power of their marketing.

1. Set Goals

When creating an effective and accurate digital campaign, it’s very important to create goals early, and define them with purpose. Loosely defined goals will just lead you to a loosely defined, unsuccessful campaign, so outlining measurable goals should be your first step. Many companies use the SMART method to develop these goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based) because it ensures you hit every key factor of effective goal-setting. While many goals should be focused on sales and leads, they can also be set around other variables, such as increasing social media followers, email subscribers, and/or engagement. A recent Harvard Business study revealed amazing statistics relating to goal setting and success. It found that the 14% of people who have goals are 10 times more successful than those without goals – so set, and don’t forget.

2. Define Demographics & Use Personalization

Your online audience heavily varies based on a lot of different factors, such as gender, age, location, income, and more. Since there’s such a large range of possible digital viewers, it’s important to research, define, and customize based on your specific audience. Creating personalized marketing that caters to each demographic is the most effective approach when it comes to digital campaigns, so once you’ve defined your specific target audience, think about what will resonate with them, and incorporate that into your copy, images, and overall strategy.

3. Know (& Use) Your Voice

Again, knowing your audience is key, and if you know them well, you’ll know how to speak to them. If your social media posts or emails look like those of every other company, you’re doing your digital wrong. You won’t catch their attention if you blend into the vast digital crowd. Make sure your content and messaging are relevant, consistent, and always showcases your brand voice and brand story. Also, it’s important to make sure everyone in your company has a good idea of this brand voice, so that your salespeople, staff, and representatives showcase it correctly and authentically. Developing brand voice standards and distributing them will help ensure these are streamlined all over digital – and in the physical world. Over time, as your audience and goals are bound to change, these standards may change, so make sure to always adapt your messaging.

4. Include Clear Call-to-Actions

Call-to-actions can be just as important as the digital campaign itself. Emails with a single call-to-action increased clicks 371% and sales 1617%. Don’t forget to brainstorm, discuss, and review them to perfection. Whatever you want your customer to do when they see your display ad, read your email, or scan your social, make sure it’s obviously displayed. Don’t make them guess. Your call-to-action should be front and center, easy to find and direct. The first word of your call-to-action should be first-person oriented and action oriented. And, like we said, make sure you focus on the language of the call-to-action and ensure it’s clearly connected to your brand as well as your products and services. Avoid generic call-to-actions like “read more” or “learn more here” – as customers are so bogged down by these and not enticed by them anymore. Try other, more unique phrases like “Try for free”, “Join us”, or “Give it a go”.

5. Design Effectively

Digital campaigns leave a ton of room (literally, endless room) for creativity, but make sure to use that design space thoughtfully and effectively. It’s essential you think about not only what the digital campaign is, but where it’s going. It’s likely your users are absorbing your campaign touchpoints in more than one place (on phones, tablets, or laptop screens), and that it’s surrounded by other images and advertising – so make sure it fits, and make sure it pops. To stand out, use high-quality images, unique brand elements, and enticing content that is relevant and consistent to further reinforce your positioning and brand experience. If you’re not certain something will work, still try it! The best campaigns are sometimes the most out-of-the-box, and A/B testing can be used to give new ideas a try.

If you’re ready to take your next digital marketing campaign to the next level, contact Strata today.

Convenience, Connection & Speed

You may have read our last blog series, The Power of Print. If you did, you know we have a lot of trust and are well versed in print services and print marketing materials. Print is how we started our company, and we’ll always believe in its power. We could probably go on for 15 more “parts” of the power of print series, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t switch over to another very important aspect of marketing (especially in today’s world) – digital.

Digital marketing is powerful on its own, and even more powerful when it’s mixed with print. It has so many different avenues, varieties, and uses, and is so commonly used today that it’s become almost unknowingly intertwined with our daily lives. Many times, we don’t even notice that we’re being marketed to at all when it’s through a digital platform.

Today, we’re living in the most digital age yet, and our world seems to get even more technology-driven every day. To start this new series, The Power of Digital, we’re looking at why digital avenues of communication and marketing are so incredibly powerful.

Convenience

First and foremost – we all know that the smartphone is taking over. Why? Convenience. Many of us wake up to a smartphone alarm, use it to check the weather, contact friends, family, and coworkers, to track our wellness, check social media, and later, look up how to make dinner…you get it. We’re on our mobile phones all the time. Gone are the days of turning on the TV to check the weather channel, hopping on the computer to respond to an email, or digging out the cookbook to find a recipe. Smartphones have seriously given the word “convenience” an entirely new meaning. 

With a few taps on your phone, you can find, order, and pay for something in seconds. You can view a photo or video in real (live) time – or just seconds after it’s taken. Conveniently, consumers can get something when, where, and how they need it, right away if they’d like. If your business is found digitally, and is convenient to get to, you’re seen as useful, easy to buy from, low-effort, simple to understand, and responsive…the list goes on. In fact, 52% of customers in a recent study said that half or more of their purchases are influenced by convenience. 

Being a part of the digital world and having a strong online brand presence shows customers that you value their time and energy. Having a positive digital presence can not only increase consumer awareness, but can also work to strengthen your brand by building credibility. Today’s consumers will naturally expect to find your business online. If they can’t find it, they may question your reliability and even your authority. Your presence online displays a sense of professionalism that allows you to prove your authoritative expertise and stand out against your competitors. 

Connection

With so many avenues of convenient communication, customers feel more connected to their favorite (and least favorite) companies than ever before. As technology advances, so do interactions between consumer and company. Customers are even so used to getting digitally contacted by companies that welcome emails have an average open rate of 82%! 

Digital communication opens many doors to how and when a company or customer chooses to communicate. Whether they choose social media messaging, emailing, chatting, advertisements, or another medium, they’re able to quickly and easily connect with a customer or business. A customer’s experience with one or more of your touchpoints can make or break a sale. Every digital touchpoint interaction should be optimized & simplified to make sure your customers have the best experience possible. This will guide them through the sales funnel so they can convert from a prospect to a customer. The easier and simpler the communication with a company, the better. Simplifying every touch point of digital communication can ultimately be the reason consumers connect with a company over its competition.  

Speed

Last but not least, digital is almost always much faster than any other marketing and communication medium. Reach someone right away by direct message and quick notifications. With this instant gratification, customers and businesses alike feel no need to wait anymore.

Your customers are bombarded by so many options on the internet. So it’s important to use digital ads and content to your advantage to stand out among the competition, and like we’ve said before, it doesn’t hurt to combine digital with print marketing in an effective multichannel campaign.

By 2024, digital advertising spending worldwide is projected to exceed half a trillion to $524.17 billion. Make sure you’re yielding the power of digital marketing and when you’re ready, contact usto start brainstorming your next digital strategy.

Make a Mint off of Print

In last week’s blog, part 1 of the Power of Print series, we discussed how powerful print marketing really is, and how beneficial it can be as a central branding and promotional tool. This week, we have for you, part 2 of the series. Now that you’re convinced of its importance and relevance, we’re giving you key tips and tricks your business can use to enhance the power of your print marketing.

We know you’re busy, and you likely want to save all the time you have for productive business efforts and possibly some great marketing, so, we’re making this a quick and easy read. Like we said, we have more than a few (8, to be exact) top practices to create effective print marketing materials…

8 Ways to Improve the Power of Your Print

Know Your Audience

Any print material you distribute should be at least somewhat personalized and developed with your key audience in mind. Make sure your messaging and visuals speak to the people you’d like to reach above all else. Before even creating your print marketing materials, take time to research and understand your audience, looking into not just their wants and needs, but also their pain points and expectations.

Don’t Push Design Aside

You may think design can come as an afterthought – the last piece of pulling it all together and getting your marketing printed, but the total opposite should take place. Think through your visuals just as you would your content and call outs. Use them to connect with your audience and grab their attention. And, don’t skimp. Print’s already very cost effective, so spending that extra bit on design, paper, and colors is worth it, and could be the reason your audience starts to love your brand or continues to be loyal.

Have a Clear Message

When you’re dealing with print, there’s usually a limited amount of space available, at least compared to digital. There’s not as much room to “say it”, so your forced to “say it right” (which can be a great thing when determining necessary messaging to entice customers with fleeting attention spans). Make sure your message, especially your call to action (what you want the customer to do or know) is loud and clear – not hard to find. Don’t clump all of your products into one postcard. Instead, feature a few products, or better yet, use data to personalize the material and feature that specific customer’s favorite merchandise.

Make it Relevant

We’d like to reiterate – because of just how important it is – to always research, understand, and consider your target demographic before creating print materials. Why would your product or service interest them? Why would they need it? How could your material catch their eye? Personalizing this content will make it much more memorable and impactful. In fact, in a study conducted in 2019, 72% of consumers claimed they only engaged with marketing messages that were customized to their specific interests.

Engage the Senses

When it comes to creating print marketing, don’t just think about what the eyes can see. Print marketing is very much a multi-sensory experience. Consider textures, sounds, and scents (yes, scents!) that evoke  feelings within your customer – whether those feelings are excitement, envy, importance, or nostalgia. Incorporating a three-dimensional effect, such as a texture, embossing, or thicker areas of material, can help your print marketing stand out among the rest.

Use a Call to Action (CTA)

Like we said before, you want your call to action to be loud and clear. You don’t want your potential customer setting down your print material without clarity on what you’d like them to do. Make sure to include your address, phone number, and any other applicable contact information like an email address or social account(s). Consider including a coupon for them to use or a sign up for a rewards program, subscription, or membership.

Combine it with Digital

Gain trust and credibility by incorporating digital touches within your print marketing, like QR codes, PURLs, social accounts, and other web references. The best part? Doing so will make campaign attribution a breeze, and will make it easier for you to follow up with interested customers. 

Pick the Perfect Printer

The last step of any print marketing process is finding the right printing company to work or partner with – that has affordable yet reasonable rates – and quality print products. Seek out a company that will not only print your materials, but will care about your bottom line and success (almost) as much as you do. They’ll likely offer a variety of printing options, and will have a creative vision for your campaign and/or overall marketing.

Not to toot our own horn (okay, maybe a little), but at Strata, we’re print experts and it’s in our DNA. We’re prepared to work with you whenever you’re ready to brainstorm your next print marketing project. Just contact us when you’re prepared to make smart happen.