Why You Should Continue Marketing Through These Tough Times

To say the last few weeks haven’t affected all of us both personally and professionally would be a disservice to our families and businesses. We want to reassure you that we are here for you and remind you of the importance to stay engaged with your clients – even online.

It may be your gut instinct to preserve your business by making cuts to your budget – particularly in marketing. However, studies of recent recessions have shown that businesses that refocus spending outperformed businesses that made sweeping cuts. Businesses that take a more progressive approach to spend during recessions have higher profitability and come out of recessions ahead of their competition.

That’s why it’s so critical to not direct funds away from marketing, but instead, reallocate funding into marketing. When we work together we can ensure that your sales and marketing efforts will not only continue but potentially thrive and lead to a greater chance of success when this time of crisis passes.

Here are some suggestions we have for continuing to reach your customers during the pandemic:

1. Be Easy to Find Online

There are currently more people online than there are people in their cars or walking around outside. Eyeballs are on screens. It’s never been more important to be searchable online.

Now is not the time to be hidden online. You should have:

2. Stay Active on Social Media

It’s not just to remind your customers that your business is still here and needs support, it’s an opportunity to show your audience real empathy. Never has been there a more ideal time to stand out in the marketplace by showing sensitivity and consideration toward people.

Show the people behind the business – staying at home, managing social isolation just like everyone else. Show how you care and how you’re helping – maybe by doing charitable acts or

fundraising. You can promote these good deeds on social media to build your brand. This will resonate with people and they will remember when this pandemic passes and money can flow more freely again.

3. Focus on SEO & Online Reviews

During the very few times many of us leave our homes, we want to stay close by to get food and supplies. Using SEO strategies to optimize your website can help put you closer to the top of the list of search results when people are making location-based searches.

Additionally, now is a great time to accumulate positive online reviews. If you can provide great service during a time of crisis, you can prove the best of your business’s reputation. Ask past customers and, especially, customers you serve during this time to leave you a review either on Google or Facebook.

4. Be Flexible & Connect in Uncertain Times

Nobody really knows what’s going to happen with how COVID-19 plays out and how much it will affect the economy so it’s imperative to remain flexible and fluid with your business during these times. Stay in touch with your customers – via email, social media, snail mail, website, or otherwise – and let them know how you’re adapting your business during these times. For example, if you’re a restaurant – delivery or curbside pick-up. Or if you’re a consultation-based buisness– online meetings only. Let your network know how you’re handling the changes as they come.

5. Use the Downtime to Finish To-Do Lists

Now that we’re restricted to working from home and have reclaimed some time from daily commutes back and forth to the office, it’s likely you have some extra time. Now is a great time to address those marketing to-do list items that have been sitting on the backburner.

Maybe your website needs a redesign and update, or you need some new blog content or social media content. Perhaps you want to start a new email campaign. Now is a great time to outsource that work and get it done. Here are some additional ways to spend marketing dollars on a budget.

Conclusion

We need to stay relevant and top of mind with our clients, especially when the dust settles from this coronavirus pandemic. This disruption will not last forever and we can still reach clients via email, social media, website, and snail-mail. Simply stated virtual is now our reality, but content is still king! As you know, the content that you present becomes your voice. Please reach out to CommCore Marketing if you need assistance with marketing during these uncertain times. Our thoughts go out to all of those affected by this crisis, please take good care of yourself and your family.

What is ROI?

ROI is Return on Investment.

This is actually not a new term, as entrepreneurs and the like have been using it for decades to describe the measurable success of marketing and advertising.

Before there were established metrics for digital marketing, anyone could claim themselves as a “digital marketing guru” and sell desperate business people a variety of un-measurable methods of digital marketing.

That era was like the Wild West– self-acclaimed gurus were essentially scamming businesses, just hauling in money without any real knowledge of what they were doing… because no one really knew what they were doing when it came to marketing online without any way to track or measure it.

Fortunately, that era has passed and we now have far more ability to measure the success of our digital marketing efforts as well as a wealth of data to support the marketing choices we make. But…

 

Measuring Digital Marketing Can Be Difficult

Nobody wants to, or should, throw their money at digital marketing without being able to later evaluate the ROI. Yet despite improved metrics, businesses still experience difficulty when it comes to measuring ROI as it relates to digital marketing.

90% of global marketers are not trained to calculate ROI and 80% struggle with being able to properly demonstrate to their management the business effectiveness of their spending, campaigns, and activities (The Fournaise Marketing Group, 2014).

Between content marketing and SEO, social media marketing, and online ads, it can all get tricky to track. This is in part due to the fact that we try to track our digital marketing with the same traditional methods that we use to track traditional marketing– like TV ads, radio, newspaper, etc.

There are far more factors involved in digital marketing and it can get very confusing when trying to measure the new ways with the old methods.

A Simpler Measurement

It’s far easier to measure ROI for digital marketing by calculating the revenue to cost of marketing ratio.

For a good ROI ratio, we recommend 5:1. This means that for every one dollar spent on marketing, you yield five dollars in sales.

What should count into this ratio?

  • Cost of content production
  • Pay-per-click ads
  • Display ads
  • Social media ad campaigns
  • Cost of outside marketing and ad agencies

Measuring in terms of a ratio makes it far easier to determine whether your digital marketing efforts are worth the cost or not. If you only make a 2:1 ratio, for example, you’re only really breaking even. In that case, your efforts might not be worth it.

That being said, not every marketing effort can be measured perfectly. Oftentimes content can generate leads months after the content is published. With this in mind, you can see how this might be difficult to track.

This is why the ratio is ideal for measurement. It’s ongoing, it’s all-encompassing, and it’s simple.

There Are Tools to Help You

You don’t have to stress over measuring your ROI. Analytics software and software programs like HubSpot, Marketo, and Google Analytics all provide tools for you to more easily measure ROI more efficiently.

So create an ROI ratio goal for your business and focus your marketing efforts on achieving this goal. This will be far less stressful on you and make your digital marketing efforts that much more justifiable.

CommCore Marketing can help you measure your ROI and improve the return on your marketing investments. Reach out to CommCore today.

A Crash Course in Content Marketing

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action (Content Marketing Institute).

 

 

 

 

Content can mean:

  • Blog articles
  • Web pages
  • Landing pages
  • Books
  • Photos
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Social media posts
  • Ads
  • Flyers and other print material

Content in any of the above formats can provide value to an audience. And if it is both relevant and consistent enough, it will drive profitable action from your audience.

 

Content Marketing Actually Offers Something Your Customers Want

Traditional marketing is becoming far less effective while content marketing is on the rise. Why?

Because content marketing provides what traditional marketing doesn’t: value and relevance.

When you understand how the buying cycle works, you can start to see where content marketing succeeds and traditional marketing falls short:

 

  • Awareness: The customer becomes aware there is a solution to a need they may have
  • Research: Upon becoming aware of a solution, the customer will educate themselves on offerings of solution
  • Consideration: After deciding they have obtained enough information about the solution, the customer will compare and evaluate the tangible solution offered by different vendors
  • Purchase: Once the customer has selected a vendor to fulfill their need, they will move forward with the transaction

Traditional marketing is good for the last two steps— offering an option, a sales pitch, and a call to action for how to buy the product or service.

Traditional marketing is also known as push marketing which is all about pushing the ad message out in front of anybody.

Push Marketing vs. Pull Marketing

In push marketing, there’s no room for the first two steps of the buying cycle.

But with content marketing, the first two steps are the most important. The aim is to raise awareness and then educate an audience on a solution they may not have previously considered.

By tapping into the first two steps of the buying cycle, content marketing does a great service to consumers by offering them honest, valuable, and relevant information. There are no strings attached. There is no luring and no shady sales tactics in content marketing. It is honest and upfront.

This is why this type of marketing is otherwise known as pull marketing. Because it is designed to attract customers through search engine optimization, which allows the consumer to find brands through relevant searches.

The consumer is pulling marketing to themselves that they find relevant and of value.

When the first two steps of the buying cycle are accomplished by you, the marketer, you have established ethos with the consumer. With that trust, you can establish customer loyalty far more effectively than any form of traditional marketing can.

So How Do You Get Started?

First, you need a plan. Like with any marketing, it’s not wise to just throw money at something and trust that it will work simply because someone told you it would.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I trying to achieve with content marketing?
  • What media make the most sense for my target audience?
  • Which social platforms do my target audience spend the most time on?
  • What kind of content schedule can I commit to?
  • What kind of content should I create?

When you have answers to these questions, you have the skeleton of a marketing plan in place, which is all you really need. You shouldn’t wait and dither around until the cows come home. Having some content out there is better than having none.

So then, it comes down to execution.

You have a few options when it comes to executing your content marketing.

  1. Do it yourself
  2. Assign the role to someone in-house
  3. Hire a professional content marketer to do it for you

Pros & Cons of DIY

Pros:

  • Saves you money
  • You have full control of your brand voice
  • You have full control over your content distribution

Cons:

  • Huge time commitment
  • Takes a lot of energy away from your business
  • You have to stay up to date on the best content marketing practice like SEO and the best times to post

Pros & Cons of Doing it In-House

Pros:

  • Might save you money
  • Takes the job off your plate so you can focus on building your business
  • Might be more reliable than doing it yourself

Cons:

  • Takes away some control of your brand voice
  • Your in-house staff person may or may not be a good writer, and they may or may not have the aforementioned skills required to be a good content marketer

Pros & Cons of Hiring a Professional

Pros:

  • You get high-quality professional work
  • You get someone who’s highly considerate of your brand voice and your target audience
  • You work with someone who understands the context of a larger content strategy with your goals in mind

Cons:

  • You relinquish a lot of control of your brand voice
  • A good writer might not quite fit your budget if you’re not fully invested in content marketing

Some freelancers will charge you per hour, some will charge you per word,

  • but many professionals with marketing experience will charge per project

Interested in learning more? Email us at LauraD@CommCoreMarketing.com or call 314.308.0799.

What Are Cookies and How Can they Help your Business?

Mmm, cookies. Delicious, right? But I’m not talking about the kind the Girl Scouts sell. I mean the Internet kind. But what are Internet cookies? We hear them referred to often, especially when browsing.

 

An internet cookie is actually just a tracking device that stores information. When you visit a website, a small text file with an unique ID tag is saved to your computer and the website saves its own copy. This file can store various information — like which pages you visited on a site or how long you spent on a certain page. When you revisit the site, it can recognize you by matching up your ID tag in the database.

 

As long as a computer user’s cookies are enabled (there’s an option to turn them off), and the computer user fills out a form when they visit your site, a cookie will be created. Cookies are only created when a visitor fills out a form on the site — not if they just visit the site. Many people opt to disable their cookies so that sites cannot track them.

 

Now that you know what a cookie is, you can begin to understand why they are an enormous asset to businesses. They are able to pull useful marketing data in an unprecedented fashion.

 

First of all, they can tell you how a visitor found you — a digital “How did you hear about us?” Survey that’s completely automatic. As any good marketer knows, lead tracking is imperative in effectively growing your business. So a cookie will tell you how a visitor arrived to your site — whether it was organic, a paid search, or a referral from another website. Once you know how your visitors find you, you can find more of them.

 

Cookies can also tell you how many pages, and what pages, a visitor has viewed. This is important because by observing visitor patterns, you can determine who’s a serious lead. The more pages a customer visits, the hotter of a lead they are. Even better if the customer visits the site numerous times, which a cookie can also track.

 

Perhaps one of the best uses of cookies is that they can notify you when a visitor is on your site. How cool is that? They can let you know a potential customer is thinking of you right then! You can use this information to reach out to the person, since your business is already on your mind in that very moment.

 

There are many analytic tools you can use to track cookies: Google Analytics, Hubspot, Facebook Insights, Twitalyzer, ClickTale, Compete. No matter the analytic tool you decide to use, you should definitely take advantage of what cookies have to offer! When used to their fullest extent, they can work wonders for your business on the web.