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The Top 6 Benefits of Digital Marketing

The benefits of digital marketing are more apparent than ever in 2018. Digital marketing can help increase your brand exposure as a business.

In fact, more than 1.1 million small businesses have taken off in the past four years.

If you want to thrive in this economy, it’s important to grow your digital marketing strategies right now.

1. Digital Marketing is Cost-Effective

There is no doubt that marketing your company takes money. You need to fuel your business with real dollars in order to see real results. Digital marketing has slowly become the new norm in terms of how to market your company in the real world.

Digital marketing is a cost-effective alternative to other forms of marketing. When you include targeted digital marketing campaigns, you can save money. Once you determine who your target audience is you can tailor your campaigns and advertisements to be seen by a select few.

For example, a small business can utilize the power of social media in minutes. You can easily run an ad on Instagram where your targeted audience will see your ad show up on their feed based on advanced targeting measures you determine.

This can cost a small business anywhere from $5-$500. The engagement with the ad will be much higher than even the results created from expensive television and radio ads. You will be able to target your ideal buyers in no time.

2. Digital Marketing Hones in on Customer Loyalty

Another strength to note with the benefits of digital marketing includes the development of customer loyalty.

One customer purchasing clothing from your online retail website is the first step in the right direction. Sales are obviously important to you as a small business owner who needs to make revenue to keep the business going.

However, it’s also crucial to hone in on the value with customer loyalty. You want that same customer to return again and again and even spread the word about why she loves shopping on your site in comparison to your competition, right?

Customer loyalty is another aspect of digital marketing that you can work on growing. The digital marketing strategies used by small businesses to grasp the concept of customer loyalty continue to show impressive results.

Turning one customer into a loyal customer is possible with digital marketing. How do you accomplish this? Create a reputation for having great customer service. If you have a huge following on Instagram or even Facebook, be sure to constantly check your direct messages to respond to your customers that way!

Speaking of social media messages, always respond to comments on your posts and engage with your audience!

3. Create a Global Outreach

Digital marketing gives you the opportunity to reach even more customers than you could ever dream of if you focused solely your local and traditional marketing channels.

Give digital marketing a chance because you can increase your customer base by implementing the right techniques to boost your following across the globe.

People living around the world could see your efforts as the Internet continues to be a means of communication to find new markets and explore larger audiences.

Social media marketing will give you the freedom to potentially expand your small business into these new global territories, too.

4. Your Customers are Waiting for You on Social Media

Don’t be afraid of social media! Even if you have an old company, you need to start creating an online presence to tap into the market you are missing out on right now.

With so many millions of people using their phones to purchase on a daily basis, you need to create a space to increase your sales online because over 2.4 billion people use social media platforms on a regular basis.

Encourage your customers to interact with you on social media, too. Offer them incentives to follow your social accounts. Giveaways are a huge way to gain new followers and grow your audience in an organic nature.

Social media has the potential to help you conquer your digital marketing goals once and for all. Of course, with the help of experts at Octopus Creative, you can achieve your goals in less time than you would on your own!

5. SEO Optimizes Your Content

There is no point in spending hours of your time and hundreds of dollars producing content if nobody sees it.

SEO, search engine optimization, is another excellent example of a digital marketing tool to assist you in your journey to grow your client base.

Here is how SEO works:

When a potential customer uses Google to make a search for “fall boots” the top results are shown. You need to incorporate keywords into your content found on your website to boost your ranking according to Google.

Once you channel some important SEO rules into your posts, you will see your ranking improve over time.

It’s difficult to make your retail store show up on the first page without implementing any of the powerful and effective SEO techniques necessary to improve your local SEO rank.

Talk to the professionals at Octopus Creative Inc. for more guidance with SEO related strategies.

6. The Benefits of Digital Marketing Drive Sales

The proof is in the sales. It’s seen within your revenue streams. It’s also proven with the obvious signs of higher growth expectancy in your business.

You’re going to see much higher conversion rates once you begin practising the art of digital marketing. Digital marketing influences conversions as soon as you determine a targeted audience to attract.

These trackable results are set up to show you exactly how much money you have earned through digital marketing strategies put into action. You can see how much money one digital campaign has earned for you through your website analytics.

Tracking your web analytics, using Google analytics, for example, will show you real-time data that can guide you to understand what tactics work and what needs to be changed about your current campaigns for better outcomes in the end.

Why Not Take Advantage of the Benefits of Digital Marketing?

The benefits of digital marketing show you how important it is to consider adding these online strategies to your small or corporate business.

All six of these reasons are meant to prove the power behind creating social media platforms and utilize them to your advantage to draw in new targeted customers over time.

Interested in learning more about digital marketing? Submit a Marketing Discovery Form on our website to get in touch with us today.

Why You Should Invest in Hiring Expert SEO Services

Do you need to improve your site’s SEO? Hiring expert SEO services can help.

You invested a lot of time and resources to build your website and make it perfect. Now comes the hard part – driving traffic to it. There are several ways you can drive traffic to your site – social media, SEO and email newsletters are just a few of them.

With SEO, people are looking for information and they’re looking to buy your products or services. In fact, search engines drive 93% of all web traffic and it has a higher conversion rate than other ways to market your business.

Yet, only a small percentage of websites rank in the top 10 after a year.

Instead of banging your head against a wall trying to figure out how to improve your ranking, read on to learn why you should hire a professional SEO company.

Technical Expertise

SEO is much more than keywords.

Google is said to use around 200 factors to determine search results. They range from your online listings and your site architecture to the number of links to your site & keywords.

An SEO firm can point you in the right direction to improve your search listings. They’ll do professional keyword research and make content recommendations.

They’ll also take a look at the back end of your website to make sure your most important content stands out in search results and your site architecture is clear for search engines.

Better Online Presence

Have you ever looked up a company online and found different phone numbers and addresses for them?

It’s frustrating, and it leaves a bad impression of your business. Potential customers will be confused. It’ll confuse search engines, too.

When you hire expert SEO services, you’ll find that they’ll improve your entire online presence. They can help you clean up your listings across all directories so they’re consistent.

Expert SEO Services Saves Time

When you hire expert SEO services, you ultimately save time and energy. How much time do you have to learn what the 200 factors Google uses to rank websites?

After you learn what it takes to rank your website, do you have the time and resources to implement those changes yourself?

No, you don’t. You have a business to run.

Hiring an SEO company would be a smart move because they already have the technical expertise, they have the training, and they know how to implement an SEO strategy to get results.

Improved Conversion Rates

Almost half of all searches are local. Out of those local searches, about 75% of those will call the results on the first page of search results.

Imagine ranking on the first page of Google and getting some of those calls. What kind of impact would that have on your business?

Even if people click through to your website, there’s a good chance that they’ll contact your business because they’re already searching for your product or services.

That improved conversion rate could improve your bottom line in a big way.

Increase Referral Calls

Many businesses rely on referrals to get new business. For 85% of businesses, this is the top way to drive leads. If your business is part of the 85% of those who depend on referrals, SEO can ensure that you’re getting all of those.

Right now, you might be leaving money on the table and not even know it.

Put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes for a moment.

If you’re looking for a particular service, you’d ask people you know. You’ll then get a few recommendations and the first thing you’ll do is look them up online.

If you can’t find that business online or if you find different phone numbers for that business, will you call them? No, you’ll just move on to the next business.

SEO expert services can ensure that your business appears in search results and that your information is consistent across directories and platforms.

That will result in phone calls to your business.

You’ll See How Your Marketing Dollars Are Spent

When you invest in SEO services, you want to make sure you’re getting a return on investment.

The great thing about investing in SEO is that you can track just about anything. You can track keywords people use to get you’re your site and what they do when they get there.

Compare that to other forms of advertising where you invest a lot of money and assume that it works.

You’ll have access to detailed reporting, so you can see exactly how your marketing dollars are working for you.

Stay Ahead in a Constantly Changing World

We mentioned how many factors go into search results. On top of that, Google changes its algorithm frequently, up to 600 times a year.

Technology changes, too. We’ve gone from searching on desktop computers to mobile devices. The next frontier for search is voice search as people use devices like Google Home or Amazon Echo in their homes.

A professional SEO company knows what’s next in SEO and can help you get prepared for those changes.

What to Look for in an SEO Company

When you hire an SEO company, it helps to know that there are good companies and companies who promise a lot and don’t deliver. Here’s how you can tell the difference and hire an experienced company.

SEO Takes Time

When you invest in SEO, be prepared to play a long game. Any firm that tells you that they can get results in a month is probably using black hat SEO techniques.

Understand Your Marketing Strategy

SEO plays a role in digital marketing, but it also works together with social media, content marketing and branding.

Results in SEO don’t happen in isolation, but each component of marketing influences the results of the others to drive results.

A top SEO firm will take the time to look at your entire marketing strategy and implement strategies for each component to maximize all of your marketing results.

Hire Expert SEO Services

An expert SEO services company can help you save time and generate money for your business. They can also improve your overall web presence so it’s consistent to those searching for your business, products, and services.

If you’re ready to hire an SEO services company, we’re here to help. Contact us today.

7 Simple SEO Solutions You Need to Try for Yourself

In 2015, there were more than 1.1 million businesses in Canada. Basically, this means you’re up against a ton of competition as a business owner or marketer.

One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is through SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is the process of getting your pages to rank higher on Google and other search engines, which will lead to more traffic and more sales.

We’ve compiled 6 simple SEO solutions that you should try out that will make you say, “Shell Yeah!”

Check them out!

1. Find Your Keywords

The first thing you should do when starting with SEO is deciding on your keywords. The whole point of SEO is ranking higher on search engines for specific keywords and phrases! So you need to make sure you’re trying to rank for the best keywords possible.

This happens through strong keyword research efforts. Think about what people are searching for when they look for your business’ products or services.

What do they Google? If you’re a pet store owner, people might search for “dog store in Seattle” or “pet store in Washington.” So you would want to rank for these terms.

Do some research with a professional SEO tool to find out what people search for most. You can also utilize free tools like Google Trends.

2. Content, Content, Content

Another SEO key is producing content. But it shouldn’t just be any content. It needs to be valuable and relevant.

Find topics that people are curious about in your industry. What topics could you write about that will get people to your website?

Once they’re on your site, you can make an offer to them… which means more cash for you! Yeah, buoy!

You should also produce content on a regular basis. Google prioritizes pages that are fresh.

This also attracts readers because you’re providing interesting and helpful content. Whether these are blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, infographics, or videos, content is a huge part of SEO in 2018.

So make sure you have a writer and a designer on your team who can produce these pieces.

3. Load Quickly: One of the Biggest SEO Solutions

The bottom line is that when websites load quickly, people are satisfied. The opposite is also true: when sites take forever to load, people leave.

This will happen to a certain extent no matter what. In fact, the average bounce rate is 26% to 40%. But many sites are at a much higher level, which negatively affects their bottom line.

Google understands this and so sites that load slowly are negatively affected in terms of SEO. This is because, in order for Google to be successful, they want to provide the best experience possible. And if the first couple of search results for a given query all load super slowly, the user is going to get frustrated and go to a different search engine to do their searching.

This is Google’s worst nightmare. So to avoid this. They give preference to sites who rank quickly.

To improve your site’s load times, there are lots of things you can do. Start by optimizing your images and getting rid of pictures with huge file sizes. Instead, compress them using an online tool.

Also, consider switching hosting providers (there is a reason that some hosting options are considered discount). Sometimes this is the core of the issue.

4. Pay Attention to Your Titles and Descriptions

This is a simple thing with a big impact: optimize your page titles and descriptions. These are the pieces of text that tell both users and Google what your page is about.

Every page on your site should be optimized to include that page’s keyword. This helps Google’s bots understand exactly the purpose of your page. So if your pages aren’t optimized in this way, water you doing?

This is also the text that appears in Google search results when your page ranks. So being clear and getting to the point helps web searchers know exactly what they’ll get on that page.

If possible, you should also include the keyword in the H1 on your pages. An H1 is the main header at the top of the page. Google also pays attention to this.

5. Optimize Your URLs

Also, don’t forget about your page URLs. Google’s spiders look at your URL as well to understand the content of your page.

If possible, include your keyword in the URL as well. This will make things super clear.

Don’t make your URL too long. When it’s super long, it’s easy for the bots to get confused. Shorter is better in this case!

6. Don’t Forget Those Links

Link building is one of the fundamentals of SEO. Google likes to see that sites are linking back to you because it improves your reputation in their eyes.

This is especially true when the links come from domains with a lot of authority! So if at all possible, work with large publications and websites to get a link back to your site from them.

The other part of link building has to do with your site itself. Your site should also have plenty of internal links. This shows Google that your pages are related to each other and it helps paint a better picture of what your website is all about.

So go throughout your site and include links wherever possible.

7. Hire an Expert

When it comes to SEO strategy, do you feel like you’re standing at the seashore screaming, “Kelp! Kelp!”? If so, consider hiring an expert!

SEO is complicated and is always changing. An expert from an outside agency will be able to provide information about the latest strategies.

They’ll know what’s working right this moment to help you rank as well as possible. Our team has years of experience working in SEO and is happy to help you! Contact us today to learn more.

What’s Next?

Now that you’ve gone through these SEO solutions, it’s time to make some changes in your business. Implement some of these on your site as soon as possible! In other words, it’s time to seas the day!

Have questions or want professional help? Get in touch with us and we’ll be your marketing sidekick.

Brand Out & Stand Out: Top 4 Benefits of Strong Branding

Is your company lacking the adequate branding it needs? Without those crucial elements, your company might as well be a boat without an oar.

While you’ve thought of a clever business name, a colour palette, and a logo, that proves to be not enough. These days, people want to be intrigued and wowed by brands. They’re no longer buying products that speak for themselves– they want to buy into brands that are authentic and compelling.

A few terms to keep in mind when developing your brand further is quality, credibility, and experience. Think of these keywords as the secret ingredients to your fantastic recipe for creating a brand.

Still not convinced on why branding is important? Allow us to explain the benefits of branding so you can see why it’s vital.

Here we go!

Be the Big Fish in a Little Pond

Rather than be the small fish swimming about in a big pond, strong branding can make you the opposite. To be the big fish, you need to hone in on what makes you stand out in a crowded market.

Whichever industry you’re in, differentiating yourself from your competitors is a must. You and the competition probably have similar products or services but it comes down to your branding in order to make people choose you.

Sure, you can go out and purchase a premade logo for a cheap price. However, you need to have more than that.

Set yourself up for success by thinking beyond a logo. Good branding is more than “nice colours” that you may like slapped together. It’s more than just ordering clip art to be used as a logo.

Think of the reasons you got into business. Was it to empower the local economy and create jobs? How about selling product so you can donate to local organizations?

Pinpoint what makes your business unique by digging deeper. Good brands have clear purposes, remember that.

It’s All About the Money, Money, Money

Obviously, that’s not how that song goes. But let’s be real here: you didn’t create a business to not make money.

When your branding game is strong, that means you can actually charge what you’re worth. Especially when you’re just starting out, finding those customers or clients can be a struggle. No one knows who you are yet so you think it’s a good idea to undersell yourself.

Wrong. So wrong, in fact.

You can’t build a sustainable business if you’re cutting prices all the time just to gain sales.

Solidify your branding first before you launch. That way, you can dazzle those who see you for the first time. They’ll have no choice other than to get on board with your company 😉

If you didn’t get the chance to perfect your brand before you launched, it’s not too late. Revamp it to where you can start charging the proper price of your products or services.

Customer Loyalty Is the Name of the Game

Customers are the heart of every business. They’re the reason other people hear of your company. When they spread the word, it spreads like wildfire. Why?

Because when your friend tells you of a new product or service, you believe them when what they have to say is positive, right? Your friend hasn’t steered you wrong yet, so you trust their recommendation.

People want to connect with brands who also share the same values as them. If you give donations to cancer research, that may be enough for someone to do business with you, especially if they know of someone with the disease.

Not only do the values you abide by win you customers, but the promises you deliver on ensure you of their return. If you promise a new product launch at the end of the month, you best follow up on it.

If you don’t, it’ll be hard to win their trust back. Not to mention they’ll be less interested in another product launch for fear it won’t be delivered when promised.

Keeping your company values and promises in check will be sure to win you more customers. And when more customers have trust in your company, the more referrals you’ll receive.

Having a Solid Brand Means You Won’t Regret it Later

We’ve all been through these days where we can’t seem to make up our minds. One morning we want coffee, the next we’re craving tea. There’s no consistency.

With a brand, you need to be consistent. In order to do that, you need to be content with your branding. That means loving the colour palette, the logo, and the vibes you put out.

If you went for the cheapest options possible when first building your brand, chances are you won’t be happy in the long run. Once you start making money, you’ll see that you want to hire a graphic designer to make you a killer logo. That means you’ll be changing your logo which means that’ll confuse your customers.

If you would’ve set a good foundation in the first place, you wouldn’t have to change anything within a year or two of being operational. That’s why it’s crucial you take your time to build a brand so that way, you can keep it intact for years to come.

That not only saves you time but money as well.

The Benefits of Branding are Hard to Ignore

Whether you spent days or years developing your business, branding is where it’s at. These days, markets are oversaturated so that’s why it’s more important than ever that you stand out like a starfish in a sea full of barnacles.

It’s the key to standing out and gaining more revenue. After all, who couldn’t benefit from an extra doubloon or two?

Ready to take the plunge? Get in touch with us today and see how we can help set you up for success with expert branding services!

HTTP vs. HTTPS: What’s the Difference?

The internet can seem like an endless sea of data – an estimated 1,200 petabytes worth of data are stored on just Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft servers.

With so much information shared between people, securing it is important for any business to stay afloat. Unsecured data can give hackers access to millions of users’ sensitive information. Leaks can sink even the best ship, so they must be prevented at all costs!

That means using HTTPS to communicate with customers and not regular HTTP. Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP, used to be what everyone used in the early days of the internet.

Now, after the technology industry standardized security protocols, HTTPS is the only way any business should interact with the online world. It can be difficult understanding the difference between the two, though. HTTPS is just the secure form of HTTP. And it didn’t earn the ‘S’ at the end of its acronym for no reason!

To learn about how HTTP and HTTPS are different, and why you should use HTTPS, keep reading!

Data Sent Over HTTP Is a Treasure Map to Personal Information

Imagine if pirates didn’t try to hide their treasure. They wouldn’t ever hide their treasure maps, and anyone would be able to steal their loot. In security terms, this unhidden treasure map would be written in something called plaintext.

The text you are reading right now is something called plaintext. This is exactly what it sounds like – text that hasn’t had anything done to it.

The data that is sent over HTTP is the same way. Anyone who can get their hands on it will be able to read it. This is why most financial transactions over the internet are not sent through HTTP.

So, if a hacker decided to set up a man-in-the-middle attack between your computer and Amazon’s server, they would be able to see your debit card numbers if you made a purchase.

HTTPS tries to make sure this can’t happen.

HTTPS Buries the Treasure and Hides the Map

Rather than hold the map up for everyone to see, pirates hid the path to their treasure. HTTPS does the same thing.

Data sent through HTTPS is encoded before your browser sends it off. It uses a type of security method called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

SSL takes the data you type in, and everything else that is sent off, and encrypts it. This means that if you tried to look at the data, you would just see gibberish.

So, if a hacker obtains your data as it is sent through HTTPS, they will not be able to read it or really do anything with it.

By encrypting data this way, HTTPS secures a person’s personal information as it navigates the internet. Even if that information doesn’t reach its destination and someone else opens that message in a bottle, they won’t be able to read it.

Computers Can’t Trust Each Other With an Ocean of Data Between Them

When you log into a website like Facebook or Amazon, you are actually just connecting to another computer. The servers websites use for their websites are really just big, expensive computers like the one you’re using to read this, with the only difference being many people can use them at once.

Think of them like ports, with many people coming and going all the time. Only sometimes, you may think you’re at one port when you’re really at another.

Hackers will sometimes make a website that looks a lot similar to a Facebook or Amazon login page. When people log in to these fake pages, they can be fooled into giving a random person their login details.

HTTP connections have no way of telling if the computer it is connecting to genuinely belongs to Amazon, Facebook, or anyone else. There is no way to tell if you’re at the right port.

Without a way to tell the difference between a true server and an imposter, users could hand over sensitive information without even knowing it.

Land-ho! HTTPS Will Make Sure You Get Where You’re Going

HTTPS is like having a navigator on board who knows the seas like the back of their hand. They will be able to tell if you end up in the right port.

Because HTTPS uses SSL, it can verify that the computer a user connects to is actually who they claim to be. The verification is done through a thing called an HTTPS certificate.

These certificates act like keys to decrypt the encrypted information sent over HTTPS. When data is sent from a user to a server, the information is turned to gibberish to protect it.

When it reaches the server a user intended to send it to, it needs to be decrypted. This is done through a private key.

SSL essentially puts a padlock over information by encrypting it, which can only be unlocked with the right key, which only a genuine server will have. These keys are actually long strings of random letters and numbers but are essential to proving that a server is real.

Basically, it’s like your navigator will only let you dock somewhere if they recognize the area.

Certificates are issued through third-parties responsible for making sure they are going to the right people. Operating systems come with a list of known third-party issuers and automatically trust them.

Getting an SSL certificate also does more than just secure information. With an SSL certificate, a company’s brand will be boosted as it develops customer trust and loyalty.

Without a certificate, customers will receive a warning message whenever they connect to a company’s website. This can make potential customers nervous, and cost the company valuable business.

There is More to it than Just HTTPS

Even though it is the standard for online communication, HTTPS is not entirely secure. Malicious users can obtain self-signed SSL certificates, which can be used to better impersonate trusted brands.

These certificates are generated through free software and enable HTTPS connections between a malicious server and users. They trick browsers into thinking a server is genuinely from a particular website when it can actually be malicious.

Everyone Needs a Crew to Navigate the Digital Seas

People are less likely to purchase from a business that is not secured in some way since it puts their personal information at risk. A truly secure business does more than just build an online presence and go where the customers are. It also develops security protocols that protect themselves and their customers.

This involves building a website with servers that have been tested against penetration or injection attacks. The servers for any reputable online business must reliably hold massive amounts of customer information, without any leaks.

Building such a network of servers can be impossible for the business itself. Instead, most businesses opt to use third-party developers. They usually understand the technical nuances of building an online business beyond just implementing HTTPS.

To recruit your next crew to help you on these treacherous digital waves, just contact us!

Brand Aid: 10 Reasons You Need a Strong Brand Identity

It’s an old concept but marketers still rely on the Rule of Seven. The idea is simple. A prospective client must see your brand at least seven times before they will remember you. While people may argue about the exact number, the message is clear. To be recognized by consumers or other businesses, you need to present a consistent image.

Imagine if you walked into a building with a Starbucks sign, and they sold light bulbs. You would be more than a little confused, especially since you were obviously after a jolt of caffeine.

When we think of the Coca-Cola or Facebook logos, the colours red and blue immediately come to mind. In fact, colours play a big role in brand identity and companies purposefully use distinct colours.

All of these factors comprise brand identity and they determine not only how we view a brand but also, what we expect from them. Read on to learn about why you need a strong brand identity.

5 Reasons Your Brand Identity is Important

When you’re rushing to constantly create content for your brand, it’s easy for brand consistency to get lost along the way. It’s important to take steps to ensure that you are projecting a consistent brand identity to your customers every time they interact with you. This builds awareness in your customers’ minds and creates trust between a brand and its customers.

1. It Determines the Recognizability of Your Brand

There’s a reason Coca-Cola has used the same script since the early 1900s. Even when they changed their branding from black to red, the brand was easily recognizable. If they were to suddenly change brand identity, not only would customers struggle to recognize their products, it would also create distrust about the brand.

Another part of brand identity is slogans and jingles. Brands use these memorable phrases or melodies to get embedded in consumers’ minds.

You can’t help but chuckle at Canadian Tire’s, “Give Like Santa. Save Like Scrooge.”. The phrase “Roll Up the Rim” immediately brings Tim Horton’s to mind, in the same way “Just Do It” reminds people of Nike.

Brand identity is not just about the appearance of your brand. It’s tied to your brand values as well. Customers expect accountability from brands now more than ever, and part of brand identity means showing that your brand values align with your customers’ values.

2. A Strong Brand Identity Leads to Increased Sales

Having a consistent brand identity is crucial for building customer recognition. Whether you are a B2B or B2C company, customer recognition is what leads to sales. The majority of consumers conduct significant online research prior to making a purchase.

For example, consider a parent purchasing hockey equipment for their son or daughter for the first time. When they arrive at Canadian Tire, they are faced with a myriad of options for each thing they need.

When presented with a half dozen different brands of skates, helmets and hockey bags, how do they choose which brand to purchase? Assuming prices and product quality are consistent, they’ll purchase based on brand recognition.

3. Your Brand Identity Separates You From Your Competitors

McDonald’s and Wendy’s are essentially selling the same thing, but consumers are die-hard loyal fans of one and hate the other. The same goes for competitors like Pepsi and Coca-Cola or makeup companies Revlon and Maybelline. In a saturated market where products are similar, brand identity is the only thing that separates you from your competitors.

Your preference between Coca-Cola probably comes down to whichever one you grew up drinking. But what about when you need to buy a product that isn’t marketed to you? Suddenly, you see the impact that brand identity has on your purchases.

Brand identity also helps distinguish you from companies with a bad reputation. For example, after United Airlines’ recent spate of customer service debacles, Delta Airlines and American Airlines are relying on their brand identity to distance themselves from United.

4. Your Brand Identity is Synonymous With Your Company Identity

The brands with the strongest brand identity gather an almost cult-like following from their loyal fans. One of the best examples of that is the tech companies where employees identities are defined by their employment. At Microsoft, the employees are Softies. Over at Amazon, they’re known as Amazonians.

These brands are revered for the empires they’ve built and that has become part of their brand identity. These companies have projected a consistent brand identity for years which is now ingrained in consumers’ minds.

For example, consider luggage brands Louis Vuitton and Samsonite. Even if you aren’t in the market for a new suitcase and not particularly familiar with the industry, you will associate one of these brands with luxury and the other with durability.

These associations are due to each company’s brand identity. These brand identities have been reinforced by marketing campaigns or, in the case of Louis Vuitton, celebrity endorsements.

5. Your Brand Identity Is A Guide For Your Employees

A brand identity is created and built by a company’s employees. Once a brand identity has been established, it’s up to a company’s marketing team to use that brand identity as a guideline when designing marketing campaigns.

Brand identity is not just upheld by the marketing team, but by your customer service representatives as well. Amazon, for example, is known not just for being the world’s largest marketplace, it has also gained a reputation for having impeccable customer service.

They’ve been able to build this into their brand identity by empowering their customer service team to be themselves and have fun while helping their customers.

Building a Brand Identity is Crucial For Successful Companies

Just like your personal identity is how others see you, your brand identity determines how clients and competitors see you. A strong brand identity places you firmly in the minds of both parties and is essential for successful companies.

Not sure how to build your brand identity? Get in touch with us today and we can help you get started!

Post Production: 10 Reasons Your Business Needs a Corporate Social Media Policy

Did you know that Facebook recently reported over 2.2 billion monthly users throughout the world?

With that kind of exposure, it’s no wonder that businesses are turning to social media to market their products and services.

But how can you make sure that your use of social media doesn’t hurt your company?

It’s simple! Implementing a corporate social media policy can help you make sure that business booms because of your company’s posts.

Read on for 10 reasons your business needs a corporate social media policy and what it should include.

Why You Need a Corporate Social Media Policy

In a world where the emerging working generation has been on social media platforms for 10+ years, it might seem unnecessary to create and enforce corporate social media policies.

Let’s get one thing straight. It is absolutely necessary!

If you’re struggling to understand why your business should have a social media policy, read on.

1. It Reinforces Brand Identity

By establishing a social media policy you’re making it possible for posts across all platforms to reinforce your brand identity.

The goal is to make it sound like there’s only one person behind all the accounts and posts.

Including guidelines about the type of content, the voice, the personality behind social media posts can help you accomplish the kind of continuity that makes a business successful on social media.

2. A Policy Protects Your Company’s Reputation

If you look it won’t take long for you to find an instance when an employee posted inappropriate content to a corporate social media account — or even to their personal account.

Be clear about the kind of content that is appropriate.

Some content may vary depending on the type of business or industry or even the brand. But some topics are universally inappropriate and should always be identified as such in your policy, such as;

  • discriminatory posts directed at any race, gender, religious preference, sexuality, or political affiliation
  • derogatory posts directed at any race, gender, religious preference, sexuality, or political affiliation

Consider whether any other subjects should be included in the list of topics that are banned from your businesses social media posts, or can result in discipline even if posted to personal accounts.

3. Social Media Policies Can Protect Your Business From Liability

Regulating your employees’ “after-hours” activities can be a tricky and legally vague business.

And while you can’t legally prevent your employees from complaining about work on social media, you can implement policies that prevent them from implicating your company in posts that would drive away customers or prevent business.

Be explicit about your expectations for your ebehaviours behaviors on their own personal social media accounts that could affect your business.

4. It Enables Business Growth

Social media policies aren’t just a list of “don’ts.” They can include direction on how to make your business grow through the appropriate use of social media platforms.

If you need a little guidance, don’t be afraid to use a professional to manage your social media accounts, or advise you on best practices. Many professionals offer a boatload of services:

  • Total social media management: They do all the posting, replying, liking, etc. for you so you can focus on your business.
  • Campaigns and promotions: They can create email campaigns, social media promotions, etc. to increase your following and drive sales.
  • Account setup: They’ll create and manage accounts in a variety of social media platforms and post appropriate content for the demographic that uses each one.
  • Strategy: They can help you create an effective and realistic social media strategy that will serve you!

Reach out to us if you want a little help using social media to grow your business.

What Every Corporate Social Media Policy Should Include

Here are a few things that every corporate social media policy should include and why!

5. It Should Include Education

Make sure that the employees responsible for social media have a thorough understanding of each platform that is used to advertise.

Consider having an educational crash course on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and any other platforms that your business has a profile on.

Make sure employees understand the terms and conditions, purposes, tools, and demographics for each social media outlet. That way they’ll be able to optimize the usage of each platform.

6. Every Corporate Social Media Policy Should Have a Style Guide

Publish a company-wide style guide that helps employees keep social media posts and graphics cohesive.

Your style guide should include (but not be limited to):

  • Company colors
  • Approved fonts
  • Graphics, logos, and vectors
  • Taglines and other verbiage

Your marketing team can be responsible for your style guide.

7. Personal Vs. Professional Social Media Use

Make a clear distinction between the types of words and subjects that are appropriate for corporate posts.

Whether or not employees choose to abide by those regulations on their personal social media accounts is their own choice.

But you can and should create guidelines about the content and words that are used in your company’s name.

8. Guidelines On Intellectual Property

Be sure to educate employees on what is considered intellectual property (IP).

Whatever you define as such should be considered off limits to social media posts on both personal and professional accounts.

Make it clear that legal repercussions are a natural consequence of the violation of your business’s policies on IP.

9. Clarify Who Is Being Represented

Remind employees that at all times they serve as representatives of the company. The content posted to corporate accounts should reflect that.

The voice used on social media profiles should reflect that of the company, not the employee.

10. Disaster Response Plans

Despite your best efforts, there may be a situation where company policies are violated or an error occurs. It’s always a good idea to have a plan for when disaster strikes.

Disaster plans should include things like:

  • How and when to delete posts
  • How to apologize for the inappropriate content
  • How you will discipline violators
  • How you will reassure employees and customers that the same mistake won’t be repeated

Don’t assume that you’re safe from social media fails. Have a disaster response plan in place for when (not if) you need it.

Remember This!

The purpose of a corporate social media policy is to protect your business, protect your employees, and increase growth.

And contact us if you need help developing your policy or using social media to grow your business!

Hitting the Tweet Spot: 10 Great Tips for Social Media Data Analysis

What good is a marketing campaign without social media data analysis?

It’s not the 1950’s anymore, and marketing has gone beyond pen, paper, and television. Big data is already valued at $42 billion worldwide and expected to climb beyond $100 billion by 2027.

A portion of this growth can be directly attributed to the marketing industry’s adoption of Big Data. 84% of social media marketers surveyed use data analytics to help set goals and objectives. And 69% believe that most of their marketing decisions will be primarily driven by data in 2018 and beyond.

Believe it or not, you don’t have to the scientist to understand analytics. Don’t miss these 10 tips for leveraging social media data analysis in your marketing.

1. What Do Those Impressions Really Mean?

Social media engagement is more than just comments, shares, and likes. impressions play a significant, but more hidden role, in engagement analysis. Unlike a comment, impressions are vague. One tweet, for example, is likely to receive more impressions than anything else, so it’s important to understand what’s behind them.

A single user viewing a piece of content the first time around counts as one ‘reach.’ But each set of eyeballs on a post counts towards impressions — even if the same person saw it three times, that’s three impressions. Analytics separates the two, so you can get a more accurate picture of how your audience is experiencing the content.

2. What Are People Saying About You on Social Media?

Now, it’s time to eavesdrop on your audience. Social listening yields valuable insights on what your target audience is staying across all social media platforms.

Social listening involves tracking the following activity:

  • Twitter lists
  • Trending hashtags
  • Testimonials
  • Complaints
  • Conversations
  • Reaction videos
  • Live streaming
  • Twitter mentions
  • Social media feuds

Yes, you read that right – feuds. In fact, social media feuds are one of the fastest rising strategies in user-generated content marketing. So grab some popcorn and a front row seat.

3. How to Consolidate Your Social Listening

Social listening itself isn’t difficult, but it produces a lot of data. So what do you do when you have multiple social media accounts?

This is where your social media management tools come in. Most, if not all of them, provide a way to view multiple accounts in real time through one dashboard. You can also respond to multiple posts at once and download data reports for your social media activity.

4. How to Analyze Social Media Data

Social media data is useless if you don’t know what to do with it. That’s why it’s critical to define goals for your marketing strategy. This way, you can visually and logically understand your performance metrics from start to finish.

One of the most reliable goal-setting models is the SMART goal method. This will help you define goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, results-based, and time-sensitive.

Most importantly, it provides a clear model to measure your data against.

5. Analyze Your Follower Count

Are people clicking on your content but not subscribing? Are they watching your videos but not commenting? Your follower count is a critical piece of your social media data analysis.

Like social listening, you can track your follower counts with analytics. Taking YouTube as an example, follower analysis can help you understand your subscriber-to-view ratios and make changes where needed. You may need to include a visual call-to-action at the end of your videos to boost your subscriber count, or, produce shorter videos that are easier to digest.

6. Follow Behavioral Trends

When does your audience engage the most with your content? When’s their favourite time to share your posts? When are they least likely to engage with your content? These are just a few of many questions to consider in your social media analysis.

An easy introduction to social media behaviour analysis is Twitter Analytics. Twitter analytics uses data visualizations to reveal peak points in activity, irregularities, your most popular tweets, and weekly engagement patterns.

When you break down the data, you get a clearer picture of what to tweet and when to tweet in.

7. The Power of Polling

Polling isn’t just for politics. Social media polls are a fantastic way to gather valuable data from your audience.

There are several tools you can use to generate and embed polls on your social media pages. Twitter and Facebook also have option for tweeting polls directly to your follows. You can ask your audience simple yes or no questions to gauge excitement for an upcoming movie, event, or product.

Another smart trick is to create poll questions based on your social listening data.

8. Gather Feedback for Your Social Media Data Analysis

Feedback doesn’t begin and end with polling. There are several ways to gather valuable social media data from user feedback.

For example, you can post a survey that rewards users in exchange for their opinion. Other feedback methods include free trials, email surveys, social media contests, Twitter chats, and Facebook Messenger.

9. Does Your Social Media Translate into Dollars?

Your social media posts may look fantastic, but are they converting into real sales? Shares, comments, and likes are just a fraction part of the full conversion picture. If you’re worried about your lack of product sales, turn to the data. as

Your social media data analysis will reveal your click-to-convert ratio. Increasing your conversions could be as simple as speeding up your website or including more enticing calls-to-action.

Remember, when in doubt, look at the data.

10. Know How to Organize Your Social Media Data

Last but not least is organization. You don’t want any of that valuable data falling through the cracks. That’s why it’s critical to run CSV reports from your social media management tools. Simply upload your CSV data into Excel, or Google Sheets, to create easy-to-navigate spreadsheets.

Each social media channel should have their own spreadsheet complete with data columns. If you don’t keep accurate data reports, you have nothing to measure against the following fiscal year.

Now it’s your turn to analyze the data.

Remember, social media data analysis is all about the details, so leave no stone unturned. Get your social media management tools up and running as soon as possible and keep accurate data records throughout the process.

To assist your analysis every step of the way, check back often for tips on managing your social media marketing.

8 Creative Marketing Strategy Examples That Will Inspire You

For marketers, creating a campaign can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. How do you stand out when a single individual sees up to 5,000 ads a day?

Across the world, this concern has led to some innovative and creative marketing strategy examples.

Feeling lost? A bit underwhelmed about your campaign? Take a look at these eight creative marketing strategies for inspiration.

Creative Marketing Strategy Examples

Whether it’s in Canada or across the pond, marketing agencies have created some unusual and unique ideas to gain attention.

1. Google’s Pop-Up Donut Shops

Last year across the US, citizens began noticing some strange shops popping up in their cities.

With the creation of the Google Home Mini, a smart speaker about the size of a donut, Google created donut shops around the US. Visitors entered, rang a bell, asked the Google Home Mini a question, and received a box from a conveyor belt.

Inside the box, they would be given either a free donut or a Google Home Mini. The action caught worldwide attention and was splashed across the international news.

2. Anthon Berg’s Generous Store

In a similar manner, another pop-up store gained national attention back in 2012. In Copenhagen, Anthon Berg’s Generous Store opened for a single day. During that day, customers could purchase chocolate for good deeds.

Users would select a good deed for their chocolate, then post the deed on social media as “payment” at a later date.

The campaign reiterated core company values and reconnected their brand with the idea of generosity.

3. Verizon’s Augmented Reality Treasure Hunt

Who doesn’t love a treasure hunt?

Although technology has been used many times in the past to bolster a campaign, Verizon took marketing a step further with this promotion.

Utilizing the same method that made Pokemon Go so popular, Verizon reached out to thousands of customers through cells. Customers in participating cities in America could scan a code that would provide a series of clues. The clues would lead to the ultimate “treasure”: an iPhone 8.

Or at least the sweepstakes for one…

4. Coca-Cola’s Small World Machines

Across the globe, Coca-Cola impressed us again with its marketing prowess, this time in a new use of vending machines.

Relations between India and Pakistan have never been overly positive, but in keeping with one of its core messages, Coca-Cola managed to bring citizens from these two nations together to share in small bits of happiness. Vending machines equipped with state of the art webcams were integrated into malls in each nation.

In order to get a free drink, users had to connect with participants from the other country. A Pakistani citizen would approach the machine and see whoever was on the “other side” in India. The machine would ask them to join hands, trace together or complete other tasks.

The reward was a fresh drink.

For years, Coca-Cola has been famous for its efforts at joining communities, which sometimes resulted in campaigns that reached across nations and ethnicities. In holding true to that company value — and their brand of happiness — they continue to gain attention through their marketing endeavours.

5. Game of Thrones’ Dragon Shadow

Consistency is the key to successful branding and marketing. It fosters brand recognition and illustrates stability, a promise that the company is maintaining its efforts on what it has demonstrated before. Humans learn to associate images with specific emotions, and you want yours to be positive.

Utilizing this idea to their advantage, the marketing specialists for Game of Thrones decided to spread their image in a place where many would see it: The New York Times newspaper. When readers opened up their typical morning paper in February of 2013, they were met with a sprawling dragon shadow that tinted parts of their articles a light grey.

A few days later, the silhouette appeared again, this time on the side of a building. Within days, you could find images of the silhouette all across the internet.

Not only did the marketing team maintain a consistent image throughout this campaign, but they also utilized integrated marketing communications to its fullest extent, reaching large audiences across different channels and letting them spread the word further.

6. Octopus Creative Inc.’s Co-Op

How do you persuade owners in two Co-ops to vote for an amalgamation with the other? By creating a slamming slogan that’s simple, effective and–as the folks at Octopus Creative put it–sexy. The campaign slogan was dubbed “Better Together.”

Using simplicity and positive connotations, the slogan was effective. And with interactive advertising that reached a trading area of more than 280 kilometres, it was ultimately successful. Both Co-ops had over 90% of voting owners agreeing to the amalgamation.

Talk about success!

7. Poo Pourri

It’s exactly what it sounds like, and the Poo Pourri marketing campaign is an excellent example of video and humour used correctly. Without the restrictions of television-based advertising, this marketing campaign was free to run wild on YouTube and social media, and the crass, all-too-true humour it utilized about feces and its associated smell went viral.

This promotion also had a specific target audience (young women who “don’t poop”), but it appealed to a cultural norm known throughout the world. Further, it offered a solution for an issue everyone experiences. As a result, people were all too happy to share the videos and product with others.

Talk about bringing something refreshingly new to the table – or, perhaps, the toilet.

8. Half.com, Oregon

In one of the most unique twists on marketing we’ve ever seen, Half.com put itself on the map – literally. In 1999, Halfway, Oregon announced it would be changing its town name to Half.com, Oregon.

In an effort to make itself heard, the startup company offered a package deal to the town to foster its economy. In return, Half.com became the first ever dot.com city in US history.

Bringing Creativity to the Forefront

From viral videos about poop to pop-up stores everywhere, creative marketing strategy examples that work aren’t difficult to find.

Are you inspired yet? You should be. After all, each one of these campaigns began with someone who was ready to be bold and innovative, someone just like you.

If you’re ready to take a dip into otherworldy marketing, read our article about interactive content. You’ve gotten the inspiration; now, it’s time to spark your ambition to create a marketing campaign the world will never forget.

The Blog Slog: 5 Key Benefits of Content Marketing for Your Business

 

Believe it or not, nearly half of all small and medium-sized businesses don’t have a website. Even those that do build a site, get it up and running, never to look at it ever again. If they never explore the benefits of content marketing, they’ll never know what kind of brand presence they could be missing out on.

Here are 5 of the biggest benefits to content marketing.

1. More Content for Your Site

While it seems pretty obvious, having more content on your site brings a boatload of benefits. One of the biggest ones has to do with how long you keep customers around.

When you’ve got one article that links to three other related articles, you give your visitors an opportunity to learn more from you. As you build the amount of on-site content you can offer, you keep them around. If each article also aims to make visitors familiar with your brand, the longer visitors stay on your site, the more excited they’ll be about your products.

If you offer great content, your users will be excited to share links to your writing with friends. Your blog could be a pretty powerful tool in your promotional belt if you use it wisely.

2. Improved SEO

If you’re still new to SEO, you need to get hip to how it works. Search engines use a variety of criteria in their algorithm to decide what makes one website a better match for your search over another. Search Engine Optimization is the name for the variety of choices you make to position yourself toward the top of the list.

SEO can help to increase profit by bringing higher quality traffic to your site. If your blog uses important SEO elements, like keywords, location identifiers, and lots of reputable links, you’ll rank highly on search engines.

Search engines also privilege domains that update their site often. If you add lots of content based on frequently asked questions and issues your users might have with your competitors’ products, you could see traffic spike. The more often you talk about the subjects that are most important to your clients, the more often you’ll appear in search results.

Multiple search result rankings give you an added boost in perception.

The higher quality your content is, the higher your domain authority will be. When you use those reputable external sources and get links from other reputable sites, the people who click your links will come with an initial respect for you. They will know that you’re in the same league as the other sites they know and trust.

3. A Better Social Media Presence

One of the most important ways to reach out and connect with your audience now is through social media. People using social media like to see that the brands and companies that they know and trust have real people working for them. Some brands are taking this to the extreme and building unique voices around their company on social media.

When you write quality content on your blog, you create opportunities for people to share your writing. The more often people see links to your site on their feed, the more they’ll begin to trust your brand. They’ll start following you on social media, giving you more opportunities to connect with them.

Add social media buttons and links to previous posts throughout your blog and you’ll find that your circle of followers will grow. Your new followers will share your articles and continue to spread news and information about your products while you focus on other aspects of marketing.

4. More Conversions

Getting users to your site and to your blog is only the first step in the sales process. This is where they enter your sales funnel and open up the opportunity to pitch your products. If you deliver the goods on your blog, you’ll eliminate the time it takes to turn a curious visitor into the regular client.

Your blog can inform and help your readers with common problems they have. To generate content, you should make a list of the 20 most common questions you get asked about products and services in your industry. Likely, these will be the questions potential clients will type into search engines.

When you answer their questions, giving your products and services as a solution, you can pitch while you inform. Your blog will be tactfully selling your clients on your latest products and services without hitting them over the head. When you provide quality information to go along with your sales pitches, you’ll win trust from people across your industry.

Building a reputation is difficult but if you’re giving helpful and informative material, you’ll be offering value before you even ask your clients to open their wallets. People will think highly of any brand willing to offer a lot beyond their own personal gain.

5. Build Connections With Other Brands

Every company is looking to build a network of other businesses and owners to connect their products to. If you’re in the health and wellness industry, for example, there are surely lots of other brands you’re not in competition with at all. A yoga studio and a natural skin care brand can work together without stepping on each others’ toes.

If you’re willing to broaden the amount of information that your blog has to offer, you can ask to trade guest posts with other brands. Otherwise, you can talk about your experience with their products and ask that they talk about their experience with yours.

Guest posting gives you the opportunity to write sincere promotional material about products and services that your customers would also enjoy.

The Benefits of Content Marketing Go On

Beyond these 5, you’ll find that the benefits of content marketing will pop up over time. You’ll see more people coming to you based on something they read, more people linking to you, and more traffic that turns into sales.

If you’re looking to get those newly converted customers to write reviews, check out our guide for more info.