When it comes to the importance of video marketing, the numbers speak for themselves. In fact, Facebook has reported 10 billion+ daily video views and Instagram Stories touts an impressive 150 million daily users.

While the data alone shows the evolving presence of video in marketing, it’s no surprise that brands big and small are looking to incorporate this element of content into their overall strategies.

Now, more than ever, video is becoming a popular vehicle for consumers to consume their content on-the-go. And, when these videos are optimized for social media, it’s a win-win.

This brings us to an important question, “How do you leverage video marketing to improve your social media strategy?”

I thought you’d never ask.

Here are my three quick tips to get you started.

Set goals.

Just as with any marketing campaign, right out of the gate you want to establish your goals. Whether you’re looking to build brand awareness, increase engagement, or generate leads, you’ll want to set the overarching goal of your videos.

If this seems a little overwhelming, let’s take a step back and look at the big picture of your overall marketing strategy. Keep your upcoming campaigns and product/service launches in mind and figure out how video could help supplement those initiatives. When you can pinpoint what exactly it is you’re trying to accomplish with your videos, you’ll be able to cater that content to fit within the context of the given social media channel.  Setting your goals from the beginning will help keep you focused throughout the creation and implementation of your video marketing efforts for that particular campaign.

Define your audience.

Now that you’ve established your goals, you need to figure out who you’re marketing to. The rule of thumb when it comes to any form of content marketing is to create content with your target audience in mind. When you do that, you’re going to be able to craft a message that resonates with your target audience because the content is relevant to them. This same notion applies to video marketing. Before you can create a video marketing strategy, you need to understand where your audience spends the most time. This information will guide your strategy because you’ll have a better understanding of the length, format and overall feel of your videos. To get a deeper understanding of your audience, utilize tools like Google Analytics and Sprout Social to gain a holistic view of who you’re trying to reach.

Provide value.

As is with any content marketing strategy, you want your video marketing campaigns to provide value to the end user. Once you’ve determined the overarching goals for your video marketing efforts, you need to think about how you can provide value to your target audience. Will your video entertain? Educate? Inform? No matter the end goal, you should always ask yourself this question when creating a video, “Would I want to watch this?” If the answer is no, go back to the drawing board and pinpoint how you could make that piece of content more engaging, more educational…more valuable!

Those were my three video marketing tips to get you started. In the coming weeks, I’m going to discuss the video marketing metrics that you should be considering.

Until then, check out this quick video clip from Hubspot.

Decades ago, a man with a harmonica sang, “The times they are a-changin.” It’s true across the country, around the world, even in the marketing industry.

At the risk of sounding like a crone, I remember the days when companies didn’t say who their competitors were in their marketing, they’d just call them the “leading competitor” before stating how the advertiser’s products would get your floors cleaner and your whites whiter.

Today, increasingly more brands are using marketing not only to tout their victories over named competitors, but also as a platform to address the company’s stance on social issues. This is in the hope of forging a stronger connection with like-minded consumers and building brand advocates. Companies are staking a position on social media, to the equal clamor of supporters and dissenters. They’re creating campaigns focusing primarily on an issue, be it the environment or marriage equality, with the brand playing a secondary role.

But the question I ask is this: Is addressing social issues in marketing pioneering or pandering?

Who You Are

For decades brands have associated themselves with consumers’ lifestyles and aspirations, be it athletic, domestic, adventuresome, etc. But the key to successful execution of such a message in the marketing industry is how well it relates to the brand as a whole. If you’re manufacturing the fastest sports cars, suddenly showing a soccer mom loading up the roadster for a Saturday at the fields doesn’t really connect with your corporate identity.

The same applies when a company takes a side on a divisive social issue. If you’re known as an open, liberal company, but suddenly try to ally yourself with a conservative opinion because it’s popular, it will be painfully obvious that you’re just in it for the customer boost.

But the challenge goes even deeper than that. How does the issue connect to your brand as a whole? Tylenol, a company already in many families’ medicine cabinets, recently launched “How We Family,” indicating that they view “family” through a broad lens. I think the idea of keeping your family feeling good, regardless of whom you count under that family umbrella, works for Tylenol. But if you’re just trotting out interracial and same-sex couples to sell burgers or trucks, it may not ring true for the audience. Being inclusive for the sake of checking a box doesn’t really feel like you’re committed to the idea.

Who You Were

It’s important to note that, if your company is considering taking a public stand, you should first review your corporate history. Companies were not always as inclusive in their hiring practices and treatment of employees of different cultures as they are today. If you try to say that you’ve “always included all people” and the opposite is found, it may take a lot of quick-thinking to come out of the situation looking positive.

Who You Can Be

Regardless of personal opinions on an issue, taking a stand as an organization can be a challenge. Whichever side of the issue you’re on, if it’s divisive, you will offend some potential customers, and must be prepared for that.

If you have buy-in from all of the necessary internal parties and your organization is passionate about making this part of your brand identity, it can be done and it can be done well. But it will take a commitment to a quality content strategy to ensure that every message coming out on behalf of your company appropriately reflects the same tone.

If you’re ready to embark on this journey, but want someone in the marketing industry by your side in developing your content strategy, Flying Cork is here. Let’s talk!

Social media continues to evolve every day. What once started out as a meeting place for young people to connect with others has now expanded its reach to help companies connect to their audience too.

As a digital marketing agency, we understand whole-heartedly just how important social media is in building a better business.

In this day and age, social media is in the driver’s seat and continues to steer companies in the direction of what’s trending.

The older generation of businessmen and women sometimes grapple with understanding the importance of social media for a brand. They seemingly stick to the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.

What I mean by this is that they think if they aren’t on social media, no one will talk about them or their company. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth because the world of social media never sleeps and people are always trying to connect with and talk about the brands that they like and dislike.

That’s why I want to highlight the importance of social media as it continues to illuminate the intersecting paths of companies and consumers.

Though we aren’t at the dinner table, etiquette is definitely needed when using social media and today I’m going to serve up some do’s and don’ts of how to use social media for your benefit—but be careful, these tips are coming in hot!

The Do’s & Don’ts of Social

Don’t be fooled – social media is not private! At its core, social media is in fact public. With this being said, always keep in mind that anything you post will be seen by the public. So, don’t write things that you wouldn’t want to be shared with others. In short, everything on social media is fair game, so write with caution!

Do review your content before hitting “send.” Have you ever written a text about a person and mistakenly sent it to the person that you were talking about? It’s that heart-stopping, cold-sweat inducing panic that can be felt when you publish a social post only to find errors after hitting the send button. Posts that are riddled with misspellings and grammar mishaps lessen your brands’ credibility. How can a consumer trust a company if they can’t spell correctly or write in complete sentences? On the same note as the previous tip, social media is public so always review your work prior to publishing. If you want to send a private message, double check that it is, in fact, a private message. Attention to detail is very important when it comes to social media.

Don’t blindly share things from the internet. As the saying goes, “sharing is caring;” however, that notion can take a turn for the worse if you share something that offends someone. Always remember to fact-check your posts prior to publishing. Sometimes, you may share an article that you thought was seemingly innocent, only to realize after hitting “send” that the article contains inappropriate content. As a word to the wise, always read articles in their entirety before sharing.

Do interact with others. Social media isn’t a one-way street. In fact, it’s like a highway that allows consumers to merge their opinions with different brands which in turn opens the lines of communication between both. Just as a company can publish posts to the public, they should always be prepared to respond to consumers as well.

Don’t schedule out posts. Though this is a super tempting, time efficient way to ensure that you follow a publishing schedule, imagine if a post that you had scheduled weeks in advance publishes on time. Sure, that sounds all well and good, but, this post, in particular, causes a firestorm of comments from angry consumers. To add insult to injury, you’re away from your computer and you can’t access your account in order to begin the damage control. Though this is a situation that could give any social media manager a sense of anxiety, it can be avoided.

The solution to this problem is to post in real time. But, there are times when you can schedule posts, for instance, motivational quotes are usually safe from backlash. When scheduling, think objectively and ask yourself the question, “Does this post have the potential to make anyone angry?” If you are wavering, your best bet is to publish while you are near a computer or better yet- don’t post it at all!

Though some people are slow to jump on board, the social media train has left the station and isn’t showing any signs of stopping. So, the next time you post to social media, take note of these tips or you might end up kicking yourself in the caboose!

Marketers spend tons of time and money trying to connect with the right customers, often through getting them to fill out an online form. Designers, developers, and content creators spend endless hours fabricating, testing and fine-tuning the online experiences to optimize lead generation.

An often overlooked (or at least underestimated) element of the journey from prospect to purchasing customer is the experience offered right after a form is completed: the thank-you page. Too often, this experience is just doing that: thanking you for filling out a form. But think about it for a moment: your prospect just raised their hand, showed interest in your product or service, apparently wants to engage, and now you’re just saying “thank you”?

Instead of this rather cold shoulder, consider ways to build upon the momentum and provide ways to further engage with your brand. It’s nurturing time!

Some examples of how to make better use of your thank you page:

1. Be More Personal

If you captured a first and last name, speak to him or her directly. Use the name in the thank you (“Thanks for signing up, John Wayne”). It’s warmer, friendlier, and creates a tighter connection. Don’t overdo it or make it creepy.

2. Provide Next Steps Information

Now that they have become a lead, what should they expect to happen? Are you going to call them? Email them? Make sure they know what comes next.

3. Keep Selling

Cross- or upsell other related products or services (“You might also be interested in …”). Create the opportunity to buy more, perhaps with a nice discount as special thanks for being a customer. Don’t forget to provide an easy way to buy later (“Thanks, not now, but maybe later”).

4. Share the Joy

Let new leads share the joy and enthusiasm of their purchase with their friends. Use social media shares that make it easy to post. You could even provide prefabricated posts. Amazon does a great job with this; after a customer makes a purchase, they provide an image of the product bought plus brief copy saying “I just bought [product name]”.

5. Subscribe for More

You collected data about someone’s interest. Use it to recommend related news resources, or subscriptions.

6. Refer a Friend

No better time than now to ask for a referral. Make it easy to refer a friend, or if you want to take it a step further, offer an incentive. You can also offer a discount to the referee!

7. Provide Access to More Content

It is best practice on landing pages to confine users to that very page so they can concentrate on their one task—converting. Once they have completed that task, keep the new lead engaged by providing access to more content. Since you’ve already captured their details, there is no longer a need to confine them to your landing page. Set them free! Let them navigate away (to your properties, of course).

8. More Funneling

If the form was just the first step into your marketing funnel, think about ways to make the next step easy. Maybe now they would like to subscribe to your newsletter or your blog?

9. Ask for Feedback

Show interest in your new leads’ opinions. Ask for their feedback or suggestions on how to improve. A simple survey might generate some surprising insights.

10. Congratulate

Especially when your new lead has just purchased a product or service, congratulating them on their purchase and making them feel good about it can further strengthen their connection with your brand. Testimonials are a good way to achieve that feel-good effect as well. Make them part of your existing fan base!

11. Educate

Now that you just sold them a cool new kitchen tool, don’t leave them without proper resources that ensure they will enjoy using your product. Show them how. Give them recipes. Make sure they have a place to start!

12. Follow Up

Nothing shows you care about your new customer more than following up with them to make sure all is going as expected and they are happy with what you have delivered to them. This goes a little beyond the thank-you page, but it’s worth mentioning it regardless. Genuinely caring about your customer, and showing that care, goes a long way!

Not sure where to start with your lead generation strategies? Drop us a line!

Now that you know all about the advantages of using Pinterest for your business, how can you tell if the content you’ve created and shared is attracting customers to your website? How do you know if anyone’s actually using that “Pin It” button? Sure, you could always check your referral traffic in Google Analytics (GA), but there’s a way to get even more data than what GA alone will give you. Pinterest isn’t just for fun—there are ways to measure your success and shape new strategies if you have a business account! A business account gives you access to Pinterest Analytics, which can provide a lot of insight on how to adapt your content strategy based on specific user interests and trends.

If you haven’t configured your account as a business account, you’ll want to do that first. While a business account will automatically give you data specifically for your Pinterest boards alone, you’ll want to attach Pinterest Analytics specifically to your company website so that you can monitor pin-able content originating from your domain. To get this data, you have to verify that the site is yours; Pinterest will generate a unique code that you have to insert into your website’s HTML. Once that’s in place, head on over to analytics.pinterest.com to start mining information through the “Activity from [your website]” tab.

Once you’ve shared content on your website with your Pinterest audience, you can start to use some of these Pinterest insights to help refine your website’s content strategy.

Counts of Impressions, Repins and Clicks

An impression is a count of how many times a pin is displayed in user searches; a repin is a count of how many times a pinner has added your content to their own board, and a click is a measure of how many times a user arrives at your website through a shared pin. In other words, clicks send quality traffic to your website, and that’s what you want! Remember that you can only get clicks if you’re getting impressions, so you’re going to want to optimize those pins for

search (which we’ll discuss below). If you have a high amount of impressions but few clicks or repins, it means that your content is showing up in user searches, but isn’t convincing pinners to take a closer look. Drilling further into Pinterest Analytics can help you figure out why users aren’t clicking.

Audience Interests

If you want to get a better feel for what pinners are looking for, check out the Your Audience tab, then click on Interests. Here, you’ll be able to see the different subjects and categories your followers are interested in. Are the subjects of your website’s posts aligning with the interests of your audience? Are there other, related interests being identified that you haven’t thought about speaking to yet? Use those interests to fuel ideas for future blog posts or content! Say you’re a coffee shop, but a lot of your audience is showing an interest in tea. Stop focusing on flavored seasonal lattes and blog about your tea selection for a little while! Pin your content to your boards, making sure it links back to your site.

All-Time Highs

Once your website is linked, you’ll be able to see your all-time best-performing pins. Here, you’ll see what has been pinned the most and what shows up in searches most often, and you can start to analyze why. Do these posts have a well-optimized description? Make sure you’re using the Pinterest Widget Builder to craft automated, keyword-rich descriptions that will be applied to pins users curate from your site. The Pinterest algorithm uses pin descriptions to judge relevancy, so be specific. For example, instead of describing a new pin as “cupcakes,” use the more accurate “lemon cupcakes with strawberry filling and homemade vanilla buttercream.” Hashtags have even started to appear on Pinterest, so don’t be afraid to use them! Don’t forget your original image files, either; those should also have optimized names. Pinterest content can show up in a Google search, possibly even above your organic website results! Help Google find you with optimized image names. Analyze the results of your all-time highs: Are your optimized pins getting the highest impressions? What keywords are drawing impressions or clicks?

Identify Power Pins

“Power Pins” have a high combination of repins, likes, comments, sends, shares, clicks, and other interactions. They’re the pins that are creating a buzz. Are you surprised by which content is receiving the most attention? If so, focus more on creating content that follows a similar vein. While Audience Interest can help you expand into areas you might not have explored before, Power Pins can help you narrow down what’s already working for you, so you can take advantage of it.

Pinterest Insights

Pinterest is not going to let you flail around; it wants your brand to be successful on its platform (hey, your success is their success!). In order to help you, Pinterest has scattered tips across their Analytics tool that will help you polish your pins and better connect your audience to your website (and vice versa!). Each tip will link you to an article in the Pinterest Help section that thoroughly explains how to take advantage of it. Listen to Pinterest, reap the rewards.

This is by no means a list of all the things you can find in Pinterest Analytics, but hopefully, it will give you a better idea about how to adapt your content to interests and trends. The great thing about a Pinterest Analytics account is that it gives you access to more emotional data than just a Google Analytics profile. With the ability to tap into users’ related interests and passions, you’ll be well on your way to capturing more site traffic and interested consumers through a fun-to-use digital marketing tool.

Still not sure about the role Pinterest can play in your website content strategy? Don’t worry – that’s why we’re here. Our expert content and social teams can help you mine Pinterest Analytics for the most actionable, useful data. Just say the word!

Digital marketing was long thought of as the direction that the marketing world would head in the future. This is no longer the case: the future is now. Say goodbye to the days when billboards, television commercials, and banners on the side of a public bus were the top advertising options; say hello to the days where marketing that makes use of computers, cellphones, and tablets is king.

As an analytical individual with a background in economics, I’ve found that one of the main benefits of using digital marketing is that it is very measurable. Calculating the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing efforts allows you to know exactly where you should be spending your advertising dollars. This enables you to see what strategies are working in real time and allows you to adapt your strategy accordingly.

Let’s take a look at five ways to quickly establish a strong digital marketing presence for your business.

1. Search Engine Optimization

There are those who look past the paid search ads on the search engine results page (SERPs) and look directly at the organic listings when performing online searches. They know the listings at the top of the page have been paid for, and they trust that their search engine is showing them the most relevant information in the section that does not have advertising dollars tied to it. In order to ensure your site shows up here, you need to focus on Search Engine Optimization, most commonly referred to as “SEO.” The key to successful SEO is not to rely on the black hat tactics (keyword stuffing, invisible text, etc.) that might have worked back in the early days of searching. The search engines have caught on and the algorithms have been adjusted to weed out those who try to skirt the rules. Go about your SEO the right way: offer real value with your site. Providing quality and relevant content is a great place to start.
 
2. Paid Search
 

While SEO is certainly important, it can take time to get your site to show up at the top of the SERPs. Paid search, on the other hand, can be effective immediately. It consistently drives relevant traffic to your website through targeted ads. There are two major players in the paid search world:

Google Adwords

If you are looking to get leads or drive traffic to your site, what better way than to show up at the very top of the Google SERP? With two-thirds of the search market share, Adwords is the top dog of the paid search world.

Bing Ads

Bing Ads, which also includes Yahoo! Search, may not have as large of a reach as Google does, but at around 30% of the search market share, it simply cannot be ignored. In our experience, the Yahoo! Bing Network has less competition, which leads to much lower cost-per-clicks.

3. Facebook Ads

Facebook has more than 1 billion users who build very detailed profiles of themselves. Advertising on Facebook allows you to target a very specific portion of that audience and market to them. Whether you are looking for individuals in a particular area, of a certain age or gender, or those who have an interest in something related to your offering, Facebook’s custom audience targeting offers many different segments that allow you to reach your target market.

4. Social Media

Establishing a social media presence beyond paid ads is an excellent way to get your company noticed. If you do not yet have at the very least a Facebook and Twitter account set up for your business, go do that right now. Engage with those who are interested in what you do. Interact with your target audience. Tell your business story, show off your company culture, and display your brand’s personality.

5. Email

Email marketing is an art. It’s not just sending out an “email blast” or “spamming” – at least, not if you want to do it successfully. With an average ROI of 4,300% if developed the right way, the ROI of a well-planned email marketing strategy is second to none.

If you are looking to throw your hat into the digital marketing ring, some combination of these five methods is an excellent place to start. If you are looking for guidance to get started or to help find that right combination for your business, we would love to help!

 

Social media is constantly evolving and is becoming the backbone to many companies’ marketing efforts. Social media allows a company to engage with consumers and to show not tell their followers what their brand has to offer them. It’s on these networks that companies can put their best foot forward and stand out amongst their competitors.

However, in order for the latter to happen, your brand has to come to battle equipped with a social plan and strategy for each specific social media platform.

Today, in particular, we want to “pin” down some tips on how to use Pinterest to your advantage.

Before we share our Pinterest tips, let’s take a quick overview of this social network. In short, Pinterest allows its users to visually share and uncover new interests by “pinning,” otherwise known as sharing, videos, and images to their own boards (a collection of “pins” that usually fit into a common theme).

So, without further ado, here are five Pinterest tips to benefit your business:

Credibility

Pinterest is a great outlet for businesses to use because it gives them a chance to show their credibility and expertise in their specific industries. Let’s say that you own a coffee shop and you create a Pinterest board that features coffee inspirations. Not only could this type of board attract possible new customers, it also has the potential to increase your credibility as a business. Your boards can increase your value to future customers, as well as existing customers.

Visibility

At its core, Pinterest is a visually stimulating site, and each category, whether its fashion, food or home décor, offers the user what seems to be an endless scrolling experience of engaging images and videos. Well, there is more than what meets the eye with those pins. In fact, from a business standpoint, Pinterest can provide your brand with more back-links, which are hyperlinks from one page to another. In this case, the back-link would be to your website. Back-links are a key SEO ranking signal that will, in turn, better your company’s visibility.

Creativity

When creating your boards, be sure to come up with a creative and catchy title. To go back to the coffee shop example, you wouldn’t want to create a board that was blandly titled, “Coffee.” That’s why it’s a great idea to think outside of the coffee pot and create more robust titles that will draw users into clicking through your boards.

Pin-ability

“Pin It.” This is a great tool to add to the content on your website. The “Pin It” icon encourages consumers to actively engage with your company’s content. I’ve talked about social icons before, and this icon falls into the same category because it allows users to share content from your site to their Pinterest boards. Not only does that give your brand visibility, it also gives your company a gauge of what type of content is resonating with your audience.

Regularity

Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining your boards. Creating a pinning schedule is a great way to help keep you on track when it comes to updating your boards on a regular basis. By doing so, it will keep your presence on Pinterest known. Take the time to scour the site and look at popular pins in your industry to get a better idea of what type of content your audience is favoring. From there, you can better choose what type of images and videos to pin to your boards in order to create traction around your profile. Sticking to a pre-determined schedule is a great way to stay on the consumer’s radar and to keep your thumb on the pulse of the industry.

Though Pinterest might not be suitable for every company out there, if you feel that you can create boards and fill them with interesting, relevant content, odds are, Pinterest is a great asset to add to your marketing strategy!

If you don’t have your business on Google+ yet, now might be the perfect time. Google recently introduced another update to their search algorithm that aims to make local searches more relevant and helpful than ever before. So if you want to increase your chances of appearing higher in the SERPs, it’s a good idea to get yourself on their maps and social media platform. Like it or not, Google represents the majority of local search traffic, and their algorithm will give you a nice pat on the back for doing things their way.

Enter Google+ Business. It’s marketed as a way to engage your customers, but it has a definite impact on whether or not your business ranks during a local search query (for now, anyway; the algorithms are constantly changing, but that’s a topic for another blog post). Business Pages are designed to be the Yellow Pages of Google, complete with basic business information, customer reviews, and other content that can appear in SERPs even when your main website wouldn’t.

Don’t know how to set up a page? It’s easy!

Creating a Page

It’s free to join and list your business on Google+, but first, you need a Gmail account. Even if you have a personal e-mail through Gmail, it’s best to create another account solely for your business.

Page-Creation.jpg

Next, go to google.com/business and click on “get your page.” There are a few different options here: storefront, service area, or brand; choose the one that’s relevant to you.

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When you’re taken to the map screen, enter your full business address into the text box in the top left-hand corner of the screen.

Find-Your-Business.jpg

A lot of times, Google is aware of your business and will be able to provide your existing street address. If you see your business’s current data, click on it. If, however, your business data does not appear after entering the full address, click, “No, these are not my businesses,” and a new set of text boxes will appear where you can fill in your business information.

Verifying Your Business

This is probably the most important step you can take with Google+ Business, because if you don’t verify, your page won’t go public. Verifying ensures no one but you can claim your business. To prove to Google that you are, in fact, the owner of your business, you have to obtain a unique code to complete the process. Google does this via postcard.

Code-Verification.jpg

To get the postcard, continue through the prompts after you’ve entered your address and click “Mail me my code.” This signals Google to send out the postcard, which should arrive in 1-2 weeks. Be warned, though: sometimes it takes longer, and sometimes you have to request a postcard more than once. (Word on the street is that we had to request a postcard four times for one client to get verified. It’s Google’s world, and we’re just living in it.)

You can skip this step and verify later if you want, but since there’s a chance for delay, it’s best to request that postcard sent as soon as possible.

While you wait with bated breath, you can get to work setting up that page. You’ll need:

Basic Information: Provide accurate business hours, your address, contact information, and business categories. Google uses categories to index these pages, so choose wisely. Since you can only pick from their pre-populated options, pay attention as you’re typing—relevant categories you may not have thought of could pop up. You can put in as many categories as you’d like, but you should absolutely list a minimum of one, or else Google has no way of knowing what kind of business you have!

An Introduction: Use some of that keyword research data (because you did some keyword research, right?) to craft a conversational description of your business and services. It’s the perfect opportunity to showcase your personality as a business, so take some time here and think about how you want your potential customers to perceive you.

Introduction.png

Some Photos: To further personalize your page, you can add a cover photo and a profile photo. A cover photo is the largest photo on the page, and it would be the perfect place for a group picture of your staff, the exterior of your store, or an example of your product. The profile photo, on the other hand, would be great for a logo! For more detailed information on photos sizes, visit Google’s support center.

Additional Administrators: You don’t have to be the only one that manages your Google+ Business account. You can add any other administrators you’d like as long as they have a Gmail account, too. One caveat: If they’re admins, keep in mind that they will also be able to make changes to your page.

Google will let you know how complete your profile is, so keep checking the status bar. Until you get your business verified, you’ll only be able to get 90% completion. Potential customers won’t be able to see anything you post yet, so this is a great opportunity to start crafting a content strategy while you wait for that postcard!

In my last post “Everyone Can Win,” I talked about the important role your internal partners should play in defining your website strategy: What have they learned in working with customers? What are the key differentiators they’ve used to help make company successful? Now it’s time to look at the other side of the coin – your external stakeholders, aka, your customers.

Customers are fickle. So how much weight should you really give them when crafting your site’s content strategy?

What Do You People WANT?!

In the smallest of nutshells, your company needs to solve a problem for your customers – fill a void, close a loop, etc. But chances are you’re not the only company offering your particular service(s), so what makes you the right choice?

You can say you know what your customers want, but unless you’ve actually spoken with them, you’re just making dangerous assumptions. As part of your user research, you need to actually speak with customers to find out what motivates them.

Start with a content audit, interviewing customers about your current website – what resonates with them, what doesn’t, and their opinions on finding information on your site. This will help you identify your site’s strengths and weaknesses, and information holes and overflows.

Next, expand the conversation to learn what drives your customers in their decision-making processes. Once you learn these motivators, you can more accurately determine how your company can address them.

Factor in as many opinions as possible: hold a few phone interviews, cast a wide net and distribute a survey, even host a focus group or two. You don’t need to talk to your entire customer base, but you do want to ensure that you have enough data to be representative. If you can connect with prospects or lost leads, even better!

Yes, This Really Is Possible

In short, talking to your internal partners can help you discern why customers should choose you.
Talking to your customers can help you identify why they would choose you.

It may seem like that’s just a matter of semantics, but the key is to take what you learn from your internal stakeholders and apply it to your customers’ drivers.

But one final caveat: Don’t be disingenuous. Speak to your customers, but don’t try to sell your organization as something it’s not. Be true to your mission, and use what makes your company unique to illustrate why you are the only choice for your customers.

Still having trouble striking the right balance? No problem – that just means it’s time to enlist the help of a content strategist. Luckily, at Flying Cork, we’re ready to handle just such a request. Contact us to find out how we can help you make your website work for all of your customers – internal and external.

Times are changing faster and faster, nowadays. Founder of Delco Electric, Charles Kettering once said, “The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” Don’t worry; I’m not going to get all deep and philosophical. I make this point simply because this philosophy has always proved true in the world of digital advertising and online lead generation, and I always stress this to our clients. It’s important to understand what’s changing and how to adapt to the new climate.

Ads, Ads Everywhere

In its infancy, quite a few advertisers saw the internet as a giant billboard; buying up all the ad space they could afford on the most popular websites, and this worked, but only for a while. Since that time, consumers have been inundated with ads everywhere online, and site owners have developed platforms and strategies to squeeze ads into every possible ounce of real estate on their sites and monetize whatever they can. Meanwhile, the effectiveness of these ads starts to fall off, drastically.

“Ad Immunity”

This type of advertising has saturated the web for so long that many consumers are practically immune to any messaging delivered in this manner Here’s an example: : You’re in the market for the new iPhone, so you decide to do some research online. You find a great article on a reputable site that has some helpful information on the device, but about a paragraph into reading the article: BAM! Pop-up ad! Apparently, “Tom’s Electronic Expo” is having a 20% off sale. At least that’s what you thought the ad said. You’re not sure because you didn’t really read it anyway, before clicking that big red ‘X’. Annoying, right? You’re not alone. . If you’re the advertiser in that pop-up, you’ve just wasted money serving that ad to someone who didn’t even give it a chance. On top of that, you may have even given your brand a negative connotation because you’ve actually impacted the user experience.

A Solid Lead Gen Strategy Can Help

Now, I can’t claim that all of these types of sites are ineffective for everyone. There are a few ways to make this type of advertising work for advertisers, especially if you’re looking for branding, exclusively. If you’re trying to tie these types of efforts to a CPL however, your dollars would be better spent in paid search or other lead generation channels.
If you’re in the dark about how to best develop your online lead generation efforts, ask your agency to come up with a strategy. Demand things like clear calls-to-action, and an outline of possible lead channels. Make sure they can provide demographic information on anything they recommend testing, and ensure it matches your own. Finding effective lead channels can require a testing period, but the right agency should be able to point you down the right path.

What was once thought of as only a number symbol, the pound sign has since evolved into what we know today as the ever-popular “hashtag.”

Facebook, Google +, Instagram, Twitter, Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s “Hashtag Skit”, these are just a few examples that show just how powerful hashtags are in this day and age.

Though one might think that a hashtag is nothing more than an option young adults use on their overly-filtered Instagram picture or in sassy Tweets to their friends (ex: #sorrynotsorry), hashtags can actually be powerful tools that companies can and should use to spur on engagement with consumers.

Though hashtags can be a helpful tool, there are instances on social media when people and businesses alike overuse and misuse them and essentially defeat the purpose of this social tool.


Here is a quick list of tips to keep in mind the next time you update a status or tweet for your company:

Hashtags for everyone- Contrary to popular belief, hashtags aren’t solely meant for Twitter. In fact, hashtags can and should be used on all social platforms. By using the same hashtag on all social mediums, you are creating an opportunity to broaden your reach while continuing the conversation across all platforms. For example, if a person predominately uses Facebook and doesn’t have a Twitter account, they will still have the opportunity to engage with your brand and join in the conversation.

Don’t go overboard- #Dont #Hashtag #Everything… Sometimes with hashtags, less is more. What this means is that adding hashtags to every word in a sentence doesn’t add more value; in fact, it does the exact opposite and makes your message feel too forced and market-y. So, in short, don’t have more hashtags than words.

Pay attention- Check your social media feeds to see what’s trending. But, before you choose that hashtag, make sure you know exactly what it means so that it’s not offensive or controversial in any way. The last thing you want to do is attract negative attention from your audience. Also, just because a topic is trending, doesn’t mean that you have to use that hashtag. For instance, if #BrittneySpears is trending, it wouldn’t really make sense for a civil engineering firm to use that hashtag in their social media posts. As a rule of thumb, if you have to think twice about using a hashtag, odds are you don’t want to be part of that conversation.

Spell check- Inaccurate hashtags could result in missed opportunities. Always be sure to double and triple check your hashtags to make sure that they are spelled correctly. If a tag is spelled incorrectly, people won’t be able to find your message and in turn will not be able to join the conversation.

Be Original- Tailor your hashtags to people who will be interested in what you are posting. The more specific and original you can get with a tag, the better your chances of reaching the audience you want to target. For instance, if your business doesn’t have its own hashtag already, look for one or two hashtags out there that make sense with your business and brand. Do your best to be specific and original without overdoing it. Remember, as we previously mentioned, less is more in the world of hashtags.

Hashtags can be beneficial to businesses because they allow a company to engage their audience and potentially expand their reach if used correctly. Furthermore, this social tool gives businesses the opportunity to broaden their horizons and their social scope. So, the next time that you want to post to social media, take note of our tips to point you in the right direction!

Your website is arguably your most powerful marketing tool – when someone wants to research your company, that’s likely where they’ll go first. (After they search for you, which means your search engine optimization efforts are also crucial, but that’s another post for another day.)

Because a site is so important, it’s only natural that almost everyone in the organization has an opinion about what belongs on it. But is that what your external audience (aka, your customers) really needs to see? And when it comes down to it, whose needs should drive the final decision?

In this two-part blog series, we’ll help you determine how to balance the needs of your internal and external stakeholders when it comes to something as crucial as your website.


The First Contender: Internal

Your internal partners – everyone from the C-Suite on down – know better than anyone what your company does best, and can quickly espouse all of your competitive differentiators. They also stand to gain (or lose) based on the outcome of a user’s decision. Your site needs to not hinder their ability to do their jobs, particularly if they’re in sales or another client-facing role.
You can’t launch an effective website without the buy-in of your key corporate team. They steer the proverbial ship that defines who your organization is; ignore them, and you run the risk of flying completely solo, without the team support needed to get the site off the ground and support your company’s success.

Learn What Makes Them Tick

This doesn’t mean that your website strategy should be developed around a boardroom table with a team of executives. Instead, before you begin writing copy and wireframing the structure, conduct user research – and that includes internal user’s at all organizational levels. Learn what has made your company successful to date. What is driving customers to continue working with you? Gather the information various employees have learned from their customer relationships, and what both customers and your internal partners view as your greatest strengths. Find the sweet spot where these competitive differentiators and customers’ decision points intersect, and you’ve found your unique selling proposition, the anchor of your website messaging strategy.

What about the Customers?

All this is not to say that external customers’ opinions aren’t important. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Weighing the input of all key users – both within your company and outside – will help you build a site that will resonate with your users and, subsequently, your company’s bottom line – a win-win for everyone. But more on weighing customers’ opinions in an upcoming blog post.

Don’t know where to start with research like this? That’s fine, because Flying Cork does! Contact us to find out how to avoid building a website for everybody, and focus on building it for the right somebody.