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Do you remember when was the last time you saw an ad without any appealing design or images?

Well probably no.

That’s because it’s almost impossible to capture anyone’s attention without a catchy headline combined with colourful graphics or attractive visuals. This is especially so when the typical attention span of a consumer lasts only 8 seconds.

In a study conducted by the Technical University of Denmark, the results suggest that the “collective global attention span is narrowing due to the amount of information that is presented to the public”.

“As consumers are inundated with new content almost on a daily basis, it can exhaust their attention and increase the urge for a sense of newness, said Philipp Lorenz-Spreen of Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

With more things to focus on, consumers can only concentrate on certain things for short periods of time- causing their attention span to be short-lived.

Humans are 90% visual beings

To grab and hold anyone’s attention, image plays an important factor.

The human brain is designed to process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. As a dominantly visual being, people can remember images better and faster, processing entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds.

Picture Superiority Effect

In a similar time frame of 3 days, an individual can remember 65 % of information that is accompanied by images. Compared to information which only has text and/or audio, the same individual will only recall 10% of the information!

Hiring a creative agency

Given the importance of images in making a long-lasting impression on the human mind, companies cannot do without hiring a creative agency.

When it comes to marketing, creative assets Is a big part of every campaign or project, especially so for social media marketing and dynamic social ads. In this period where digital marketing is fast becoming the norm, companies will need  the combined expertise of content strategists, advertising specialists as well as a team of creative professionals to bring out the best of what their company has to offer

Even with a powerhouse sales or inbound marketing team to sell your story, you’ll still require the support from a team of creative designers to bring your ideas to life.

Still not convinced? Well here are some examples which are bound to change your mind after watching them.

Introducing the new iPhone SE-commercial by Apple

Apple is a prime example of what it takes to make an effective advertisement.

The video which lasts for less than minute can inform the audience about all the features of the phone without boring the audience. With a combination of fast-changing images, bold fonts, rhythmic beats and a mix of dark and bright colours, the ad is capable of keeping the audience wanting for more.

This is not the first time Apple has used such a style for its ads. Over the years, Apple has successfully acquired an advertising format that is uniquely recognised as Apple. This emphasises the critical role of a creative team which can make or break a brand.

Valentine’s Day Print Campaign for Mcdonald’s (Thailand)

Did you do a double-take when you first saw these images?

Released on Valentine’s Day for McDonald’s  (Thailand), these are printed ads which showed pictures of people supposedly leaning in for a kiss…with a burger! Ditching the usual family-friendly approach with McDonald’s  ads, the creative team behind this campaign decided to turn up the heat and bring in some romance. Toying with the idea of two people kissing, the pictures showed individuals leaning towards their favourite burger cleverly shaped like a person’s face.

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, everyone can say “I’m lovin it” to these burgers!

Spotify My Year in Review Outdoor Ads

Another unforgettable ad campaign is Spotify’s outdoor billboard ads which sought to poke fun at its customers by revealing their weird listening patterns and creative playlists.

Driven by data and the use of humour, Spotify’s billboards success can also be attributed to the use of clearly defined branding elements. It’s almost impossible to miss their use of bright colours and bold fonts which is both attention-grabbing and memorable even among non-Spotify listeners.

The use of consistent tone and message also helps to pique and renew interest in the brand among existing and potential users. It creates conversations and keeps people talking about it which effectively spreads Spotify’s brand awareness. Consequently, it also builds brand loyalty as it unites the Spotify community every year to talk about these hilarious listening statistics.

Attonics: Spectroscopy from lab to pocket

Antayra (our Creative Strategy Lead) and her team created this fabulous video for Attonics marketing campaign. The campaign was recently featured on Bestdesign.co’s as one of the 10+ Best Marketing Campaigns Of 2020 (So Far)

Despite being an essential tool that many industries should invest in, a spectroscope is widely known for its high price and huge build. To address the lack of spectroscopy application in these industries, Attonics Systems created an extremely high-performance spectroscope at a price that is unprecedented by many. Unlike traditional spectroscopes, the Atto3 fits weighs a mere75g and a height of 6cm.

Our creative approach:

Since the spectroscope essentially generates high-quality colour measurements, our creative team played around with muted colours to match its function. Abstract images, heavy fonts and music-matched animations were added to give the Atto3 a modern and upbeat feel that attracts different industries

Spectroscopy from lab to pocket – Attonics Video
Campaign featured on Bestdesigns.co

Wrapping Up

By now, I hope you can see that visual design is a critical factor that can increase the success of any marketing campaign these days. To stand out from the myriad of ads online, a business will need the use of visually impactful designs. This is especially important since a customer’s attention span lasts for a mere 8 seconds today, and online ad formats are getting shorter and shorter. So, before you start your next campaign, remember to hire a creative agency that helps you create designs that can attract and sell!

Discover more with 2S Creative Services

We are a full-service digital marketing agency based in Singapore. From strategy to execution, we provide personalised digital solutions, including creative services for over 300+ clients ranging from MNCs, government institutions to local SMEs. Recently, we’ve also been featured as one of the 35 best creative agencies in Singapore.

Discover more works done by our diverse team of creatives who’ll bring your ideas to life with impactful designs. If you’re looking for a branding and visual communications expert, don’t hesitate to contact us.

As the world struggles to contain the spread of COVID-19, brand promotion doesn’t seem like the best move for any company. Most ad agencies agree that trying to advertise during these times is a difficult balance. In a phone interview with CNBC, Ian Henderson, chief executive of ad agency AML Group, said, “There’s a very fine line between being helpful and flogging stuff on the back of a crisis”.

Examples of brands using their marketing to share helpful information have been few and far between. Most brands have also avoided addressing the crisis or mention anything remotely close to the topic of COVID-19. Even companies that are directly impacted by the outbreak such as those in the travel sector, have refrained from addressing the issue directly in their campaigns.

During this period of uncertainty when consumer behaviour is unpredictable, marketers often ask themselves, “ How can we as marketing professionals be more helpful to our customers through these trying times?”

Marketing in times of crisis is not easy. Several brands have been doing their best to make things work during this period. In this article, we share 4 successful examples of brands who shifted their business-as-usual mindsets to lead in times of uncertainty.

Read on to find out how these brands balanced creativity with crisis management, and also demonstrated how marketing is all about knowing your company’s core value and using them to your advantage.

4 Brands That Exercised Creativity In Their Marketing Amid COVID-19

1. Lush invites people to wash their hands in their stores 

Lush, the popular cosmetic retailer from the United Kingdom, is inviting the UK public into their stores to wash their hands for free. The initiative is launched across all their stores in the UK, amid the UK government’s push for better basic hygiene practices in the country. The aim is to educate the public and to minimize the spread of the virus.

Any customer who enters the store to have their hands washed will be given soap to use and are under no obligation to buy anything.

Constantine, a representative of Lush, shared that companies should turn crisis into opportunity, and use this period to initiate public service campaigns. These campaigns would have the objective to help highlight the role of basic hygiene in minimising the spread of viruses. “If people just get in the habit of washing their hands properly, it will make a dramatic difference to public health.”

2. Nike’s “Play Inside, Play For The World” campaign

Nike’s latest campaign, “Play Inside, Play For The World” is a public call for everyone to do their part by staying home. With a clever twist on its message, Nike successfully highlighted it’s brand purpose while still inspiring people through the power of sports.

Nike’s Play Inside Play For The World Video Campaign

Many Nike athletes, including Cristiano Ronaldo, supported the campaign by sharing Nike’s campaign slogan on their social media.

3. At-Sunrice’s #standupandwashup campaign

Using their expertise as one of the leading culinary schools in Singapore, At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy launched the #standupandwashup campaign. It is a public service campaign that aims to raise public awareness on the proper handwashing technique.

The campaign gathered some of Singapore’s top chefs together in a series of 11 videos in 6 languages, to demonstrate the best handwashing methods, and provide tips on proper food handling practices. The chefs featured include familiar names such as Sebastien Lepinoy of 3 Michelin-star Les Amis and Chan Hon Meng of Michelin-starred hawker stall Hawker Chan.

StandUp & WashUp with Chef Emmanuel (Restaurant Saint Pierre)

Note: We are proud to be the official digital marketing partner for this meaningful campaign and we hope everyone continues to do their part in being socially responsible by adopting better hygiene practices.

4. Netflix “Spoiler” campaign

Created by a group of talented students from Miami Ad School, the “spoiler campaign” is a series of out-of-home advertisements that showed spoilers from some of Netflix’s popular drama series. The campaign’s purpose was to encourage people to stay home, so they can avoid seeing the spoilers when they are out in public.

While this isn’t an actual ad campaign affiliated with Netflix, the “spoiler” campaign has been widely praised for its creativity that injected some fun into the message of asking people to stay home.

What Can We Learn From These Brands?

These brands have demonstrated how to market to their target audience within the context that is relevant to the current crisis. They refocused the way they promoted themselves and provided value-add content, be it as a PSA format (Nike promoting people to stay home) or Lush’s public service campaign to educate the public on better handwashing practices. Going back to basics, these brands remembered to provide value in their marketing response to COVID-19.

Just like these 4 brands, what your business can do is to be sensitive about the ongoing situation. This is not business as usual. Acknowledge the new reality. Give your customers updates about your operations and reinforce the message that you’re here to help. You should also focus on cost-effective digital channels such as marketing automation which can help you share and convey your messages.

Most of your customers are also spending more time at home now, which means there are greater opportunities for them to see the content you put online. Use this period to educate your customers and provide content that can add value. This can be in the form of simple videos and actionable guides. This will allow you to engage your existing customers and potentially grow your audience. For example, our agency strives to add value via educational online webinars as well as free website audits to help other businesses during this critical period.

For example, our agency strives to add value via educational online webinars as well as free website audits to help other businesses during this critical period.

Wrapping Up

If you’re a company that needs help with your marketing campaign or you’re in need of digital marketing advise, feel free to contact us.

If you’re looking at ways to motivate your remote teams in this period, you should refer to our guide on how you can motivate your employees who are working from home

If a picture paints a thousand words, a video must speak millions. This must be the reason that 79% of consumers watch a video to learn about a brand and its product, according to a 2017 study done by Wyzowl.

In addition, 84% of consumers take action after watching an explainer video. This action includes signing up for a newsletter or ultimately making a purchase.

Video is everywhere. Outside social media, audiences watch five billion videos on YouTube every day and Cisco believes video traffic will become the largest traffic contributor for any brand by 2020.

If you haven’t considered making videos for your brand, now’s the time. It’s not that difficult to create a video content production if you’re prepared.

What It Takes to Create a Compelling and Excellent Video

Indeed, professional video content production takes great planning and coordination between producers, directors, talents, and other suppliers.

The characteristics of modern video content production are as follows:

  • Talent: You’ll need professionals to act and speak for you. You need experienced lighting professionals to illuminate video aspects you need. A good post-production team will give the high-quality result you’re looking for in professional videos.
  • Narrative: Producers and directors with experience in creating brand messages through videos can cost a bit. However, they guarantee a compelling narrative based on your objectives for the video. Under their helm, they can maximize resource allocation for an excellent production.
  • Internet Marketing: A digital marketing agency gives you insight about which video and content appeals to your target audience. They can also help you determine the right distribution channels and concise messaging that helps drive home your video’s primary objective.

Read: Seven Things Big Brands Can Teach You About Excellent Storytelling

Six Reasons Video Content Get More Visibility

digital-tv1. From TV to Digital

Most Internet users are individuals who grew up used to mass media. The Internet’s evolution has changed and helped moved video from television to on-the-go and on-demand online video streaming.

Some claim that the new TV or broadcast media is social media. However, video content is overtaking the social networks as well. Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, sees 100 million hours of Facebook video views each day from billions of users.

Facebook once used top social media influencers to create live content providing a collective $2.2 million budget. It had gained more than millions of dollars in revenue in promoting its video feature.

2. Human Attraction to Movement

The human eye naturally follows movement. Static text is excellent content, but every marketer knows you only have 8 seconds (maybe even less) to convince an audience that the presented content is worth their time.

Videos should maximize its first 30 seconds to create a meaningful experience for audiences. According to Vidyard, humans understand a visual scene in less than one-tenth of a second. Text or audio requires more time to describe a particular scene. The human mind is able to piece each minute detail together quickly making video a most compelling and easily digestible format for audiences.

Additionally, Invisia’s research shows that 82% of Twitter users watch video content. This means more audiences prefer watching lengthy videos than reading 120-character microblogs, which are short enough as they are.

3. A Fluid Content Presentation Demanding Full Attention

Think With Google’s research shows that Millennials, which are the majority of smartphone users, are better focused when watching videos. This is because video is a very sensory medium, using more than one of your senses at a time.

While text only requires sight, and audio requires hearing, video is different. It combines the two, urging you to give your full attention. They’re processed 60,000 faster according to Vidyard which prevents cognitive strain among audiences. This compels audiences to stay glued to their screens for longer as they’re less likely to be distracted.

4. High-Quality Video and Content Builds Better Brand Authority

A high-quality video with superior production and research shows the lengths a brand is willing to go to in order to build a better brand image.

Going back to Vidyard’s research, videos are effective because they are visually stimulating and can create stronger connections with viewers. Even simple explainer videos that feature a speaking human combined with attractive visuals is enough to create a memorable connection that helps “humanize” the brand. If a brand is able to evoke a consumer’s emotions, they become more impactful and memorable, building a stronger brand authority. Just take a look at Lego’s latest video ad campaign, which was designed to look like Hollywood’s blockbuster movie, complete with playful banter to ignite excitement within the younger demographic.

5. Contributes to Better SEO

Videos with excellent content and production add value, entertain, and create a connection and a memorable experience all at the same time. This makes them viral-ready content that audiences can share quickly on social media.

When people share content, it inadvertently creates better backlinks, leading to better organic traffic to the source – you.

Even videos hosted on web pages can rank highly especially if brands manage the video’s SEO technicalities effectively such as metadata, targeted keywords, and others.

video-content-daily

6. Mobile-Friendly and Accessible

Going back to Think With Google’s study, it found that 40% of audiences access YouTube videos through their smartphones. From their research, they discovered that 98% of 18-34 year olds watch video content using their smartphones.

In addition, majority of live stream videos, which are becoming more popular through smartphone live broadcasts, are streamed through small-screened devices. Indeed, having a TV in your pocket is convenient and the beauty of live stream videos is that they provide instant entertainment anytime, anywhere.

Wrapping Up

Videos are gaining popularity. As a medium, the shift from TV to digital is rapidly rising and video is evolving along with it.  There’s on-demand, online streaming, YouTube videos that make entertainment convenient and easily accessible to anyone.

Video also gains more attention because the human eye automatically locks to motion and can process images fast. It is because they are a highly stimulating medium that they are capable of bridging across emotions that helps humanize a brand.

If you want to get started on your first video content marketing campaign but are feeling helpless, 2Stallions are here to offer their expertise!

Storytelling has been a part of ancient human tradition for as long as we can remember. From paintings etched onto cave walls to modern bestselling novels found in bookstores, it remains an important part of human communication.

Storytelling is effective in helping people remember things easily as it helps to paint a picture in their minds. It also often pulls on their emotional chords, helping them to relate better to one another.

This is why some of the world’s biggest brands are the best storytellers. They’re able to package their brand stories in well-made, emotionally-packed and empathetic narratives. They deliver them in the form of marketing campaigns that allow them to touch upon their audiences’ sensitivities, creating a bond of friendship and reliability. There are plenty of things to learn from some of their most successful video storytelling campaigns.

Emotion and Empathy Guides Every Consumer Step and Decision

Emotion is a universal language. It makes it possible to enjoy music regardless of language. Empathy is the understanding and sharing of emotions between two individuals.

Businesses that can create strong emotional bonds, as well as unique and authentic connections with consumers, have more than double their lead generation and conversion rates. When compared to rational and combined rational and emotional marketing, focusing simply on emotions in storytelling deliver the highest success rate for any campaign.

Read: Brand Storytelling in a Nutshell

Seven Great Video Storytelling Examples and Key Takeaways

Airbnb: Authenticity

Airbnb, the world’s leading property-sharing platform, always focused on the idea of “living like a local.” The chain’s objective to break the boundaries between travelers and countries to make foreign lands feel like home is manifested in their brand storytelling campaigns. They let the two sides of their customer chain, the property providers, and the bookers, to share a unique experience together.

In this light, Airbnb positioned itself as a “friend” who refers you to this reliable fellow with a home who guarantees a great place to stay. In addition, the brand guarantees an experience you’ll both never forget.

In its “Based on a True Review” playlist on YouTube, Airbnb has a collection of true stories from hosts and customers. One of the best ones includes a customer who got lost finding her initial host and ended up finding a new one and received the same great experience thanks to Airbnb.

Given that hosts and customers are real strangers interacting directly with each other, the resulting stories in the videos show authenticity in the emotions and happiness felt by both parties in each video.

Adobe: Nostalgia

When you say “Photoshop,” you cannot help but think of Adobe. The product name has become synonymous with photo editing and manipulation it has become a verb (just like the term “Google”).

Adobe has marketed its products through instructional materials in the past, but its 2016 campaign featured the recreation of a nostalgic character: Bob Ross. Millennials, the generation adept at new and upcoming technology, had a penchant for nostalgia and liked the 80s recreational painting host’s show. Adobe was quick to move in on this trend.

The brand did not cut corners in finding the most authentic and convincingly nostalgic way to implement its “Joy of Sketching.” It went as far as to use children’s book illustrator Chad Cameron to play the Adobe-style Ross and worked with Bob Ross Inc. to ensure the video measured up to the standards of the old recreational instruction videos.

Chevrolet: Heartfelt and Touching

Chevrolet, an American car brand, had an idea. It would use a woman and her dog in its one-minute video commercial. You might think “But what does a dog and a woman got to do with a car?”

Chevrolet used the heartwarming storyline of a woman’s relationship with her dog to allude to Chevy’s campaign tagline: “A best friend for life’s journey.”

The idea was unconventional and broke the stereotype of car ads always being about speed and performance. It used the storyline to evoke warm and fuzzy feelings which helps to capture the customer’s attention and keep them watching. Instead of blatant advertising, director Lloyd Lee Choi wanted to create compelling content to make the brand more relatable to its customers.

However, the emotional ride allowed the brand to evoke empathy in its consumers and like Maddie’s owner (or vice-versa) they will always be there looking out for their customers.

Nike: Inspiration

No one will ever forget Nike’s famous tagline that won its seat amongst the biggest shoe brands in the world: “Just Do It.” The powerful tagline, coupled with inspiring stories, makes a shoe and sports brand capable of firing up inspiration in almost all its commercials.

In one of its campaigns, the “No Excuses” commercial featured wheelchair basketball star Matt Scott. The top athlete who plays for the Warhawks was born with a condition called spinabinifida, making him wheelchair-bound. The video shows his story as he went on to lead the Warhawks to three national Wheelchair Basketball Association championships from 2004-2007 and having taken part in the Paralympics from 2004-2012.

The message is clear from Matt in the video: if you want something, you’ll do everything. No excuses. It is another way of saying “just do it,” but just as powerful.

TED Talks & Education: Innovation and Ideas

TED Talks and Education’s style is to get an inspiring individual to share his or her struggles and explain the methods and mindset he or she has used to achieve success.

If it’s not about an individual, they talk about different topics that encourage viewers to think. Their “Schools Kill Creativity” video raises the idea that a point system in class encourages a reward system rather than a learning system. Another video such as the “Power of Vulnerability” shows why weakness is as important as one’s strength.

These fact-driven inspiring talks continue to gain views over the years, keeping viewers watching for longer, moving from one TED Talk to the next, or even sharing short clips with their network on social media. TED Talks truly inspire engaging and shareable content.

FCA: Strange But Memorable

In the United Kingdom, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is not a brand name but a government body that regulates banking activity. In the last few years, the country’s bank industry plunged into disarray due to its oversight after millions of UK borrowers purchased an insurance policy they were ineligible for, egged on by commission-hungry bank employees.

The decades-long financial scandal came to an end in 2017. The FCA had a plan to ensure each borrower could make a claim. In their communication campaign, they used a fake, disembodied head of Arnold Schwarzenegger on tank tracks, telling people to “make a decision” and “do it now.”

The surreal yet funny video definitely paid off because by April 2018, the campaign helped boost claims numbers by 40% according to the FCA. This shows that sometimes the strangest things burn a deeper impression into our minds.

Usher: Interactivity

Usher’s “Chains” music video is an amazing example of its potential to become more than just a passive medium that you can play and pause at your heart’s content. Music videos aren’t exactly the first niche you would think of when it comes to ground-breaking video ideas. However, Usher and his team looked beyond the idea of using images to spread his message. “Chains” music video, hosted on a website, urged viewers to keep on watching.

It was iconic because the video does not simply show Usher singing and dancing. Instead, it shows photos of police brutality victims while the music plays. If viewers turn away, the music will stop. The site does this by asking users to turn on their webcams prior to watching the video (and it won’t go forward unless they do). The webcam uses facial recognition software that stops the music if it detects the user looking away.

The interactive video received 500,000 viewers in just four days, with an average of two minutes and 30 seconds spent on average. It became a huge sensation across the web and made headlines, too. Talk about harnessing the power of video and holding someone hostage (or in “chains”) to ensure they’re glued to the screen for the entire video and boosting his personal brand.

Wrapping Up

Video storytelling is a powerful medium because it combines dialogue, text, audio, and visuals in a single consumable item the brain can process in a short amount of time. Through emotions and empathy, any brand with a compelling video can create an authentic connection with their customers, helping them improve their brand’s recognition, relevance, and overall performance.

These seven examples from the world’s top storytelling brands serve as excellent ways video remains a key part in building your brand story. It’s easier to evoke emotions when you’re engaging your audience’s senses through powerful visuals, content, and sound, helping you leave a longer-lasting impression.

As the use of the Internet grows every day, so does the popularity of content marketing as well as content marketing myths. It should be a priority for you because every website, social media campaign, and even Adwords campaign, thrives on content. As a digital marketing agency, we’ve noted how clients have reaped long-term benefits from creating and publishing quality content. They enjoy an expanding reach, grow their new customer base, and have established brand authority through content written years ago.

Content is the heart of any digital marketing campaign. Without it, the beautiful aesthetic of a website or an expertly edited video is ultimately useless in converting a visitor. However, there are some myths that have proliferated over time as well. Some content marketers still espouse and back these statements, which we’d like to dispel. Want to know what they are?

5 Content Marketing Myths and Expectations

Myth 1: Quantity of Content Trumps Quality

This wasn’t a content marketing myth just a few years back. Back in 2011, when you published more content, you would expect a much larger reach via organic search. As a result, marketers sacrificed quality for quantity to rank for more keywords on Google.

The Google Panda update in 2011 started penalizing “thin content” sites and every new update to the algorithm since has further clamped down on poor quality content. Today’s marketers have realized that pushing out a high volume of content doesn’t help them achieve their goals.

Why is quality content attractive? It is information people are searching for and provides well-researched depth on the topic. If you spend the time and effort to research the facts and put it together coherently in a quality article, people will love you for it, and your reach will widen for sure. Remember, a single blog post that reaches thousands of people is more valuable than a thousand blog posts that reach a handful of people.

Myth 2: Great Writers Come Cheap

Have you ever heard or thought – “Anyone can do the job, it’s just writing!”

A major reason behind a company’s failed content marketing attempt is setting unrealistic expectations of high quality content in a short space of time for the lowest cost. Like any project, the Project Management Triangle holds true for content marketing as well.

You may think it is easy to write quality content that goes viral, and are therefore unwilling to pay for the right content writers. If you hire a cheap writer, chances are your results probably won’t be spectacular. Even if you find a needle in the haystack, eventually, they would be demotivated – so invest in a good, quality content writer.

It is not easy to produce quality content. Writers have to invest time and effort to develop a genuine understanding of your brand and your audience in order to create amazing content that resonates. In the long term, it will be worth it. Looking to work with an agency for your content creation? Reach out to us.

Myth 3: It Costs Too Much!

This content marketing myth can be busted quite easily. First, let’s come to terms with the fact that every major marketing platform today will cost you money to reach an audience at scale.

Therefore, on the surface, content marketing can seem expensive. You can spend a lot just developing producing quality content. Then, you have to invest in SEO and/or online advertising to drive traffic to the content.

However, it is very interesting then, that according to CMI, B2B marketers choose to spend 39 percent of their marketing budget on content marketing. Why do they see the value in content marketing? It is because studies show that 68% of consumers spend time reading from a brand they’re interested in, and B2B researchers do 12 searches on average prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site. Companies who actively market their content enjoy 67% more digital leads. All of these statistics point to content marketing being a great lead generation tool.

It is imperative that you focus on the ROI rather than the cost. Over a prolonged period, your content marketing costs will seem minute compared to your gains.

Myth 4: It’s Not For OUR Audience

Whether you’re selling watches for a niche audience or a mass consumer product like cheese, content is for everyone. It’s simply a matter of what FORM the content takes. While advertisements work for some brands, 70 percent of consumers prefer to get to know a brand through an article instead of ads.

People crave personalized content these days. This is why companies who make their audience feel like a part of their community, through conversation and useful information, see promising yields. Based on your customer persona, your audience may enjoy viewing photography, illustrations, infographics, videos or even slideshows instead of reading long-form blog posts. So mix and match these other formats with your written format to appeal to your audience. However, understand that it’s the content that draws them in.

Myth 5: We Don’t Have What it Takes

Content marketing is still quite young in the digital marketing world. As a result, marketers and companies still have a lot of learning to do before they start seeing results.

In a survey of 1,000 marketers, it was found that the biggest challenge with content marketing was creating the content. Despite this, 80-90% of both B2B and B2C marketers still choose to strive towards creating quality content because they understand its ability to create stronger brand authority and retention among customers.

It can get overwhelming trying to learn content marketing from various sources – hence we suggest finding a course or even reading a book. We’ve recently released our own Content Marketing on Steroids ebook on Amazon that you may choose to learn.

Alternatively, if you have the budget, you can work with a digital agency to run content marketing for you.

Content Marketing For The Long-Term

There are plenty of reasons to allocate a portion of your marketing budget towards content marketing. However, you should always consider your business objectives. If you’re looking for immediate payoffs, then content marketing might not be for you. Investing in PPC advertising and email marketing would be better.

It’s always good to have a mix of short-term and long-term goals. Content marketing may take a longer time to yield results but is certainly a good one. With the content marketing myths debunked, we hope you’ll go ahead with your content marketing strategy!

If you’re looking to learn everything you can about content marketing, I’ve got the perfect book for you! Check out my first eBook “Content Marketing on Steroids” to learn from tried and tested methods. Create a content marketing strategy that works and gets you the ROI you’ve been looking for! Get your copy on Amazon now!

Customers like small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in Asia for their consumer-centric approach to products, services, and after-sales support. In fact, SMEs come close to achieving customer satisfaction at the rate of 56.3% compared to 60.9% for larger companies.

Making a great mark on your consumers helps not only your sales, but also your brand identity. As an SME, CRM software and marketing automation is critical to evolving and expanding your reach. You can easily manage the activities, complaints, suggestions, and other concerns of your growing customer base.

CRM software can help your business grow further because of the following benefits:

  • A Birds-Eye-View of Everything: CRM software can collect every bit of information about a client, generate reports, and provide updates on a client’s most recent interaction with your company. This makes it easier to pick up where you left off with a particular customer quickly.
  • Increasing Sales: Comprehensive reports make it easy to identify the personalities and preferences of every customer in a database. This leads to better sales performance and productivity because businesses can identify sales qualified leads more quickly.
  • Real-Time Updates: Get updates on marketing qualified leads and organize, track, and manage them from a single source in real-time. This helps improve the business’ response time by a mile than without the use of CRM software.
  • Social Media Tracking: Many consumers use social media. But tracking each update and every single consumer conversation across the various platforms can be a hassle. CRM products can collate all these information in a single, easy-to-understand report. It even includes valuable information about the common responders in a business’ social media account.

According to Capterra, the biggest impact businesses saw after using CRM is on their customer retention and customer satisfaction rates. To determine what works best for your business, you should choose it based on the following criteria:

  • Value for Money: Growing businesses work on a limited budget. The more useful features and data the CRM delivers for a specific price point, the better.
  • Business Operation Size: As an SME, you are no stranger to receiving and managing hundreds of customer calls every day. Depending on the size of your business, you can select the software that best suits your operational size needs.
  • Features and Capabilities: All CRM software log sales activities automatically. However, different software have different features and capabilities that give some an edge over the others.

If you’re ready to invest for your business’ growth, here’s a list of great CRM products to use.

The Five Best CRM & Marketing Automation Softwares

5. Capsule

Capsule is a browser-based CRM platform that focuses on simplicity while delivering powerful features for users.

Dashboard: Capsule’s dashboard is excellent because it acts like everyone’s personal assistant. It briefs you on new updates or changes in files, tasks, and reports based on consumer interactions in any channel the business has. Capsule’s interface also allows users to filter these data for faster browsing.

Leads List:  The contact list allows you to see every email conversation, tasks, notes you have added, opportunities, cases, and other activity related to the particular person.

Calendars and Tasks: A simple tracking calendar that notifies any user of an upcoming deadline, report, and time it takes to complete a task. It’s also a great tool to measure milestones in marketing campaigns.

Sales Funnel: The best CRM products must have an excellent sales data management that allows them to list down, identify, and associate certain web forms with certain lead goals. Capsule does this, and allows the creation of custom milestones for accurate reports.

Cases: The cases feature is similar to the leads list, except it shows every single file, note, task, and other interaction of users. It offers the ultimate birds-eye-view to everything and can be useful for upscaling SMEs.

4. HubSpot

If you have no budget at all, you would be pleased to know that Hubspot CRM’s basic product comes free! Do note that in the free version, your Contact activity is only stored for the first 7 days, making it a passive CRM at that cost.

Dashboard/Sales Funnel: An intuitive interface similar to Capsule. It gives each user a heads up for every update on new files, consumer activity, cases, and other aspects of a given project or lead. The dashboard appears like a contacts list that shows the closing date of deals and allows users to categorize them based on the progress of each deal from set to completed appointments, buyer journeys, and pending cases for rectification or improvement.

Leads List: Each client has an individual wall that tracks all their activities and the user’s own client actions, such as sending an email, making a call or note or any other interaction on social media. Users can create lists to classify leads, which is helpful in improving actions on certain leads and de-prioritizing others.

Calendars and Tasks: A calendar that tracks all user activities, perfect for integrating actions with other users and managing marketing campaigns.

3. Act-On

Act-On is an affordable CRM product with a host of useful features such as:

Dashboard: More than a CRM tool, Act-On shows all its features in its dashboard. Clicking on a feature shows a report on how things are doing in that aspect. For example, if the business recently had a webinar, the “Webinar” option displays the audience’s response post-airing. It does this for CRM, Web Analytics, and even Social. It makes for easier data digestion while having a birds-eye-view on everything.

Leads List: Act-On’s CRM function is outstanding. It allows users to automate lead nurturing based on scores set by the users themselves. It also displays the history of all interaction a customer has with the business from email to social networks.

Custom Email and Content: Act-On also allows the automated sending of personalized email responses, creating targeted lists, A/B testing for landing pages, forms, and content and image integration. You can even use WebEx or Adobe connect for customized invitations to webinars or offline events. Everything marketing campaigns need is in one place!

Calendars and Tasks: The calendar shows all activities from marketing to CRM lead follow-ups and deadlines for closing deals.

2. Sharpspring

Sharpspring makes the list because it concentrates effectively on CRM, marketing automation and management all while delivering great bang for your buck.

Dashboard: It might be a little intimidating when you first use it, but the dashboard shows the performance of all marketing channels including website visitors, social media campaigns, CRM, and others in pie charts. It’s so easy to see everything on a single page. Instead of getting overwhelmed by the different features, take it slow or customize it so it doesn’t look confusing.

Custom Email and Content: The software product has its own email editor. It allows users to customize emails for particular lists and leads. The blog-style approach to creating emails, along with A/B testing for marketing maximization, makes Sharpspring one of the best email marketing software in existence. The landing page and blog builder, which also has A/B testing, are the cherries on top.

Lead Lists: Sharpspring displays each lead as if it were a social network profile. All interactions with the customer, along with his or her communications in social networks and other media, are recorded automatically. Users can also create lists of these leads for better project integration. Additionally, the system scores leads based on their demographics and online behaviors.

1. Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft caters for both CRM and marketing automation that SMEs in Asia truly need. Watch Raj Shah, owner of Math Plus Academy, share how Infusionsoft helped his business run more efficiently, reducing time spent on billing from 20 hours a week to less than three. 2Stallions is an Infusionsoft Certified Partner and we’re avid users of the software ourselves, so if you’re looking for guidance, get in touch with us! Infusionsoft also works just as well for B2B businesses.

Dashboard: The dashboard shows all CRM and Marketing progress in simple tables with the ROI and profit amounts being the priority. This is helpful information especially for improving sales for SMEs. Users can add dashboard widgets or even customize this page for optimum usefulness.

Leads List: Everything you need to know is on the contact’s page. Users can see where their lead came from, their activity on your website, emails they read, landing pages they visited, forms they submitted, their sales interest, and any purchasing activities.

Visual Campaign Builder: Multi-step marketing campaigns can be created as flowcharts in Infusionsoft’s campaign builder and automated. Now there’s no need to send emails out manually. You can even integrate landing pages, web forms, and email formats that you need to use.

Here’s a comparison of each product’s general features:

  Price Storage Contacts Limit Users Limit Emails Limit Content Customization Add-ons
Capsule $12/monthly per user 2GB per user 50,000 Dependent Unlimited Yes (Third Party) Yes
Hubspot Free Unlimited 1,000,000 Unlimited Unlimited Yes Yes
Act-On $2,000/monthly Unlimited 2,500 100 sales users, 6 marketing users Unlimited Yes Yes
Sharpspring $800/monthly Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Yes Yes
Infusionsoft $299/monthly Unlimited 10,000 5 50,000 Yes Yes

 

Wrap-Up

CRM software play a huge role in an SME’s success. You can automate and simplify customer interaction, identify loyal customers, improve brand recognition through positive customer care experiences, and expand your market through a single platform. Productivity improvements and the potential to upscale quickly are two benefits of CRM and marketing automation that would prove invaluable to your business. In short, investing in a CRM is a must for every growing business.

What other CRM software do you use besides the five we mentioned and how have they helped your business? Share with us in the comments below!

 

Your marketing team, no matter how good, is only human. From managing marketing campaigns, customer engagement and multiple social media accounts, there are many marketing tasks that require daily attention. The smaller your marketing team, the harder they find it to stay on top of campaigns, which affects your business’ efficiency and ability to generate sales qualified leads.  Fortunately, there is a way to keep up with your company’s marketing tasks all at once – Automated marketing.

Never heard of it before? You’re probably not alone. A whopping 90 percent of marketers don’t know what automated marketing is and how it can reduce workload while increasing productivity. By the end of this article, you’ll be glad to have joined the remaining 10%.

Marketing Automation And Getting Good Results

As a business, personalization is key to connecting with your customers. This helps to build positive relationships and encourage loyalty. However, as your customer base grows, it’s harder to keep up with personalizing every single interaction you have with them.

Such was the issue for Math Plus Academy, a children’s tuition agency aiming to create a fun learning experience for kids.

Founder Raj Shah implemented several marketing strategies to boost his agency’s performance but achieved unsatisfactory results. They overspent on online advertising and several marketing obstacles made the academy’s offers unappealing, making expansion hard. In fact, their marketing objectives took precious time away from developing their primary product: fun-filled courses for the kids.

However, Shah was introduced to Infusionsoft, an integrated automated marketing platform. It efficiently managed his business with its automated customer relationship management (CRM) system, allowing him the time he desired to work on his product. His courses sold better through an integrated and efficient e-commerce module creation, expanding his reach.

Getting to Know Automated Marketing

For Math Plus Academy, marketing automation led to an overall increase in business efficiency and sales. In fact, companies that utilize automated marketing experience an 80 percent increase in leads and a 77 percent increase in conversions, according to VentureBeat. There is a lot to be gained if you’re willing to take the time with the initial set up.

Three Major Channels of Automated Marketing

Marketing automation allows marketers to utilize software to perform repetitive online marketing tasks. When we think of repetitive tasks in terms of digital marketing, we can distribute them into 3 broad online channels.

1. Email Marketing (also SMS Marketing)

If you have a large, well-segmented audience, sending out emails or SMS can be a full-time task, even with a few templates prepared. Fortunately, you can turn to software to automatically send out emails or SMS that are triggered by certain events (a new subscriber, an enquiry, etc.).

2. Social Media Marketing

Managing multiple social accounts for your business can be time-consuming and even disorganized. However, automated marketing software lets you manage multiple accounts on a single platform and even automates your social media engagement. It allows you to connect with your followers and leads with the least amount of effort.

3. Landing Pages

Landing pages are what your customers see when they click through on links in your emails. In the past, it took a lot of time and effort in designing landing pages that appeal to your audience. Marketing automation makes it easy to customize landing pages and content to your segmented audience depending on where they are in the sales funnel.

 

Getting Started with Automated Marketing

1. Organize Your Contact List

The first thing you need to do is establish a centralized list of contacts. This may be the most time-consuming step of the process as you gather these contacts into a single list.

Jog your memory a bit; where do you typically store contact names and email addresses? Search through your desk for business cards, look at email sign up forms, and squeeze your hard drive dry of any spreadsheets with email addresses. Once you have them all, be sure to discard contacts that you’ve not been in touch with for over a year and are unlikely to remember you.

Make sure to create contact groups based on criteria relevant to your business. Organize them according to their interests to make it easier to send personalized emails. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to import them into your marketing automation software.

2. Know Your Audience

Sending the same email to everyone doesn’t work as customers want to feel connected to your business on a personal level. Catering to your customer’s personal interests is one way that helps you create that connection. Use Google Analytics for insights on your site visitors, and develop email content based on the customer personas you have created for your business and their interests.

3. Create Your First Email

There are many types of emails you can try sending. For example, welcome emails, qualification emails, trial emails, newsletters, and DIY Course emails.

Start by repurposing high-quality content from your business’ blog to send as an email. You can experiment with different approaches and find out which are successful and which are flops. Infusionsoft (2Stallions is an Infusionsoft Certified Partner), among other automated marketing software, can help you design your first email, save templates, and organize a profitable contact list. If you’re having trouble designing an eye-catching, quality email, utilize software that can guide you with templates and newsletter creation interface.

4. Create More Content ­

When someone gives you their email, they are inviting you to be part of their digital lives. In return, you have to dish out quality, gated content. You can send them eBooks, whitepapers, online courses, and more. The goal is to build a relationship with your contact list over time and see it prosper.

See to it that you only send relevant content. For instance, if a portion of your contact list consists of fitness enthusiasts, send them workout routines courses that they can do from home.

5. Track and Improve Performance

It is great that you’ve invested time and effort to connect with your audience. However, there is always room for improvement, and you should find out how you can take your automated marketing strategy a step further.

Analysing your email list is one way to find out. How many contacts did you start off with and how many do you have now? Open rates and click-through rates can also give you an idea of what content your customers are interested in and what they are not. Data such as these matters if you want to expand your reach and improve your marketing efforts. Below are some metrics to keep an eye out for once you launch your automated marketing venture:

 

  • Contact List Size: Keep tabs on your contact list size and track its growth. Decide on a goal to reach by the end of the year. How many contacts are you aiming for at the end of the month? Ask yourself these questions and work towards crossing out achieved goals at a steady pace.
  • Email Open and Clickthrough rates: You’ve experimented with a lot of email approaches and techniques. Which ones received the best open rates? Keeping this in mind will allow you to recalibrate your focus and invest more time and energy on the strategy that works and decrease efforts on flop approaches.
  • Engagement: Figure out what kind of content is best received by your audience. Which blog post reeled in more traffic? What sort of CTA got more visitors to take action? Utilize Google Analytics and find out which stuff works and what doesn’t. This will help you understand what type of content your audience wants to see more of for a better bottom line.
  • Unsubscribe Rate: An “unsubscribe” can be a little heartbreaking. However, it is important to pay attention to how many people are unsubscribing from your email list. If the rate increases over time, perhaps it is time to rethink your strategy, sending schedule, and content.

Automated Marketing Is Your Friend

Like anything new, automated marketing can seem intimidating. Despite this first impression, don’t let this great opportunity slip away. Automated marketing will require some effort and research on your part, but believe me when I say that the returns are worth it.

If you encounter any roadblocks to understanding and setting up your automated marketing strategy, leave a comment below or shoot us an email. We’ll be glad to shed some light on your issue and might have solutions to make your venture easier!

The growth of the Internet has provided companies with a wealth of online marketing options, including social media campaigns. Now, businesses can promote their brands on social media to increase visibility, revenue, and customer reach.

According to We Are Social’s Digital 2020 Global Overview Report, there are 3.8 billion social media users worldwide. The report also found that smartphones account for more than half of the time spent online.

This means businesses, big or small, should be taking advantage of social media platforms. It also means that it time to transition from traditional marketing (i.e. TV ads, print ads, etc.) to social media marketing.

Unlike traditional media, social media fosters a conversation between the brand and the consumer. The audience can comment, like, tweet, share posts, and more. Not to mention that social media posts can be edited or deleted when necessary.

Keep on reading to learn more about how you can harness social media’s marketing potential.

More About Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing uses platforms to establish brand awareness. It also increases customer reach, monitors customer feedback, and a variety of other things.

It involves running campaigns and sharing content to drive audience engagement and conversion. The major social networking services today are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Each platform engages audiences in different ways. Here are the metrics used to measure engagement across the three platforms:

  • Facebook: shares, likes and followers
  • Twitter: re-tweets and followers
  • Instagram: likes and followers

What Is A Social Media Campaign

Social media campaigns are a planned marketing effort executed on one or more social media platforms. Campaigns come in different forms such as polls, contests and giveaways, events, or podcasts, to name a few.

These social media marketing initiatives focus on a business goal. The common goals include:

  • driving direct sales
  • generating new leads
  • getting direct customer feedback
  • boosting web traffic and brand recognition
  • building a strong, engaged and loyal community
  • creating an email marketing list of engaged customers

Inspiring Social Media Campaigns You Can Learn From

Starbucks, Dove and IHOP are a few top brands that have launched successful social media marketing campaigns. Let’s take a closer look at why their campaigns worked.

1. Starbucks: Unicorn Frappuccino

As part of its 2017 Frappuccino Happy Hour, Starbucks rolled out its one-week-only, pastel-hued beverage: the “Unicorn Frappuccino”.

starbucks, unicorn, frapuccino,

Image by: Starbucks

With its limited offer period and  ‘Instagrammable’ appearance,  the drink and its hashtag #UnicornFrappuccino generated nearly 155,000 Instagram posts.

2. Dove: #SpeakBeautiful

Dove promises to deliver body confidence and self-esteem through its campaigns. In its #SpeakBeautiful campaign, the brand partnered with Twitter to show the effect of insults on people’s images.

Video by: Dove

Twitter’s technology identified negative tweets about beauty and body image. The Dove account then sent responses about confidence, optimism and self-love.

3. IHOP: IHOb

IHOP, the International House of Pancakes, flipped the last letter of its acronym upside down and temporarily became IHOb. The brand asked its Twitter followers to guess what “B” stood for—and more than 70,000 users reacted and responded to the tweet.

Tweet from: IHOP

While the name change lasted only for a short time, this gimmick increased burger sales.

Key Components Of Successful Social Media Campaigns

1. A Well-Thought Plan

Your campaigns’ successes depend on your social media strategy. Review your social media goals and identify the ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how.’

Who. Identify who your target audience is. Determine ideal customer characteristics and demographics that your business can best cater to.

Shaping your audience personas will craft the right message and brand voice for your social media campaigns.

What. Find out what social media channel your business will use. Choose the ones that best support your strategic goals.

Explore the big four social media channels—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. You could also look into other platforms such as YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, or Snapchat.

Why. Understand the motivations behind your prospect’s goals, reasons for their challenges, and the issues they face.

Once know the answers to your strategy’s whys, it would be easier for you to proceed with the how.

How. Learn how your brand, products, and services can best address your customer’s pain points.

List your audience’s choices and responses along your customer journey. Then, map out a plan that will entice them to take part in your campaign.

2. Compelling Content

Build social media campaigns around compelling content. A campaign with impressive storytelling and accessible information has a greater audience engagement.

To impress your audience, your content should be:

Optimized for viewing. Social media optimization and search engine optimization are two different things but they support each other. Here are two of the best practices that SMO can borrow from SEO:

  • Keyword Research. This technique identifies phrases and topics your target audience searches for. This way, you can create relevant content for them.

It also helps determine hashtags and phrases to use in your social media posts. Hashtags make it easier to find your content, even for people who are not following you.

  • Profile Optimization. Website optimization is a crucial step to SEO. Optimize your website and its content so search engines know what your website is about.

The same thing applies to social media optimization. Your company’s social media profile contents—profile phone, username, bio, etc.—should be complete and consistent to get the attention they deserve.

Fun and informative. People love sharing useful things on social media. These could be tips, suggestions, fun facts, and quirky stories that tackle difficult topics like science or math for example.

Make your content easily shareable to increase the chances of drawing your audience’s attention. For example, create videos that tell relatable stories or tug at your customer’s heartstrings (like Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful campaign).

Craft memorable content to boost your social media shares. Incorporate the element of surprise into your strategy, like what IHOP did with its IHOb campaign.

Short but sweet. Writing long-form content in today’s time-starved world is not always the best option. Squeeze your content into something that is easily consumed. Focus on a single topic, include a graphic or visual, and feature an enticing headline.

3. Rewarding Promotions

In website marketing, creating an email list is simple if you can offer something in exchange for customer information.

For instance, Netflix and Spotify give a “Welcome Bonus” to new registrants that let them try out the paid service for 30 days. After the promotion period, customers can decide whether to stop or continue.

spotify-rewards

You can use social media to advertise your ‘free’ product. Anything free and compelling has a high chance of going viral. Contests for high-end or high-value products are also great for promotion.

4. Thorough Analysis

Like with SEO, you must measure your social media campaigns performance through their analytics:

  • Are you reaching qualified people?
  • Are you engaging with qualified people?
  • How many of your social media fans inquired about your product or service?
  • How many of them actually become customers?

The things you can measure vary in every social media platform, but tend include:

Engagement. This measures how many people have engaged with your social media posts. It also plays an important role in how far your posts travel (aka social media reach).

Engagement metrics include clicks, likes, shares, comments, brand mentions, profiles visits, and active followers.

Reach. Social media reach is the number of users who viewed or watched a particular content on a social media channel. Unlike engagement, this metric has no definite amount as it is only an estimate.

You can measure reach by tracking the number of followers or fans, impressions, and traffic.

Leads. A lead refers to any information that you can use to follow up with your fans or followers. It could be a name, a phone number, or an email address. This valuable item value could develop into hard leads—qualified prospects or customers.

Customers. The main objective of social media campaigns is to attract new customers. If you have found the right leads and kept them engaged, they will be more likely to buy your product or service.

By tracking customer acquisition and conversion rates, you will know how many fans made it to the finish line. Built-in analytics tools such as Facebook Insights, LinkedIn Company Page Insights, and Pinterest Web Analytics, come in handy when measuring social media performance.

Switch to Social Media

Social media is a gold mine for followers, leads, and customers. It allows businesses to increase exposure, boost traffic, and gain market insights.

If your brand is not making the transition from traditional to social media, now is the time to make the switch. Take advantage of ever-increasing social media users: launch social media campaigns to generate qualified leads and increase your conversion rates.

Need help with your social media marketing efforts? We got you covered! 2Stallions can assist you throughout the entire process. We perform social media audits to optimize profiles and help with content strategy, execution, quarterly review and tweaking.

The Internet is an inexpensive way to spread the word if your company can do it effectively. Search engines, video streaming sites, and social networks have become the new television. An SEO agency or specialist can provide plenty of affordable solutions, but who should you put your money on if you’re about to undertake a new campaign?

Digital marketing firms can be completely focused on SEO.  Most agencies offer an “all-around” solution to all your web needs including social media promotion, content production, local-oriented SEO, and other factors that can help you rank your website.

Another is the independent SEO specialist, who is considerably reliable based on their case studies, previous projects, and testimonials from previous clients. These individuals are often active in business forums, helping and providing informative, actionable solutions for businesses.

A business can spend an average of $75 – $200 an hour using SEO firms, according to Moz’s SEO pricing costs survey of 600 and more agencies. The data also indicates that the service prices vary depending on which country the company is situated. Moz even shared its insight that an SEO agency working on a project basis with a client costs about $1,000 – $7,500, amounts usually set as budgets with defined expectations between the firm and the client.

Moz’s data also suggests another thing: Some SEO companies earning these amounts usually have 1-5 employees; about 52.2% of their respondents have a 1:1 employee-client ratio. If you will have a singular SEO specialist, then you can deduce that it can be affordable to use an independent SEO specialist instead.

If you get what you pay for out of an SEO project, you can consider it as money well spent. To ensure you do, the service must have done you a favor when it comes to the following areas:

Resource Management: An SEO agency or specialist’s ability to use affordable but efficient sources to meet the deadlines often lowers their costs (and makes them reputable if they have previous case studies). They guarantee there are no overhead costs even after the project and they account for all receipts regarding any software, tool, or other resources they used.

Frees up Your Time for Priorities: Any business owner will hire a specialist or agency because industry-dedicated and studious professionals allow them to free up their time to focus on business growth and other business essentials.

Accountability on Results: Speaking of outcomes, the SEO agency or specialist, having not met the deadline’s expectations, must hold itself accountable for extending their helpfulness towards a feasible resolution of the particular aspect with their clients. They can offer further revisions depending on the initial agreement before using their services.

Point by Point Comparison

Cost-Efficiency

Most SEO specialists, given their years of experience in the field, have all resources in place ready to process your issues and manifest the expectations you develop with them. These professionals work with your business intimately and handle any other issues that crop up personally. If you have a minor problem that limits the performance of your SEO campaigns, you can hire a specialist that works by the hour and spend less (which is excellent resource management on your part).

Agencies are often firms created by pals who have worked at one point as independent specialists, which is often true for many digital marketing firms. Given their collective experience in the field, they have a better variety of tools that allow them to meet your goals. Most companies also give you a budget estimate that they will strictly follow, making it unlikely to have overheads post-campaign implementation. Creative Cali believes the right company will never have hidden fees and will care deeply for clients, too.

Positive Contributions to Business Growth

Specialists handle each client individually and use a variety of solutions based on their knowledge and professional interpretations derived from their analytic tools. Given they work individually, they have a complete view of the entire campaign’s details from keyword research to view-through rates of your social network or YouTube videos. They can let you focus on growing your business while they handle your SEO needs, but they can introduce overhead costs in some occasions especially if they outsource certain duties to other SEO specialists in certain fields to meet your deadlines.

SEO agencies work with your budget and have a selection of specialists that excel in certain SEO fields. Both senior and junior teams work together through structured processes, which make their analytic interpretations produced fast and accurate. The immediate presentation of data makes it faster to scale your campaigns because you can make an informed decision with the presented data. However, their contributions depend on the availability of their clients and the budgets you set; most firms will divert their attention on large-budget projects to meet deadlines.

Accountability on Results

Specialists work on a timetable and monitor campaign’s performance consistently. They can offer a heavily discounted monthly rate for this service because the maintenance of the SEO’s performance is the only goal. However, specialists on a project-based fee can provide one or two months of free maintenance to their clients.

An SEO agency can offer revision services after each project depending on the service packages they provide. In general, high-budget projects often have unlimited revisions.

Verdict

And the winner is…
Both service types.

Both SEO specialists and agencies can be used on a situational basis. If you have a big project that needs a wide-scale implementation within a short timeframe, you will want a team to focus on the task and only paying once regardless of costs makes agencies a great and profitable solution. If you have a small project that needs a quick solution at a fixed price, specialists can be right up your alley.

Wrap Up

Any SEO agency or specialist you hire must meet these three variables to ensure you get your time and money’s worth when using their services. Small and medium-sized business thrive on a shoestring budget and every penny counts. Digital marketing is affordable, but it can still be costly if you invest in the wrong party.

Make sure to note the concept of the Iron Triangle before making any decision to hire. If you want it done fast and good, then you will have to pay a premium in exchange. Want something quick and affordable? Then you compromise the product’s quality. If you want something affordable but with great quality, then you will have to wait for longer. You can also check out 2Stallion’s SEO services page for more details.

Neuromarketing is a term that has been gaining a lot of traction in recent years. But somehow, the exact definition of neuromarketing seems unclear. For me, the best way to define neuromarketing is that it scientifically studies the brain to benefit marketing. For example, medical technologies like brain scanning and brain activity measurements are used to gauge a person’s response to different marketing elements like packaging, videos, ads, billboards, etc.

Sounds like utter science fiction right? But here is some food for thought – large companies like Ford motors and Coca-Cola have been investing heavily on neuromarketing since the 1990s. Today, a lot of other companies have already followed suit.  There are good reasons why you should start thinking about using the consumer brain when it comes to your marketing. Let’s discuss the most notable ones.

Five clever ways companies are use Neuromarketing

Great packaging

Have you ever gone through an entire aisle of potato chips in the supermarket and had to choose one among the multitudes of bright collared packaging? It turns out, the brand you pick might be the work of your brain’s preference.

Companies have figured out through Electroencephalogram (EEG) what elements consumer prefer on their packaging and subsequently, what they do not like. When Chips Ahoy decided to use neuromarketing in their packaging, they discovered that people had a negative emotional reaction to the “resealable” words on their packaging. This is because people found it a bit hard to read.

Surprisingly, the photo of the chocolate chip cookie on their packaging failed to garner great reactions amongst the test subjects. As a result, Chips Ahoy redesigned their packaging with a “resealable” tab that was more clear and a cookie visual that is more exciting (with flying chocolate chips).

Image by Neuro Science Marketing

Simply put, making sure that people will like your packaging is one great way to steal their hearts.

Limited Editions

Have you ever heard of the story about limited edition Nike sneakers causing mayhem among “sneakerheads” on opening day? Well, there is a reason for that and that has something to do about Neuromarketing.

The effect of consumers love for limited editions and limited-time offers are called marketing with scarcity. Marketers put limitations on a product like timed offers and dwindling supplies to pressure them into buying fast. Creating a sense of urgency for the customer has been a technique that has been used countless times and has proven to be so effective. Think midnight sales, limited edition items, and McDonald’s McRib.

Image by Summit Evergreen

Think about this, a report by Experian has noted that emails with words of urgency have a 14% higher open rates and a whopping 59% higher transaction rates. Marketing scarcity rushes the consumer mind and is a great tool to turn up the sales.

Multisensory stimulations

Companies are taking their marketing efforts to another level nowadays. This includes giving their customers an experience that goes beyond sight and sound. As marketers keep learning more and more about how the consumer mind works, we are going to see a lot of marketing elements that utilize the other senses – smell and touch.

A good example is the video game, South Park: The Fractured but Whole. In order to promote the game, the developers invited journalists and bloggers to try their latest gadget, the Nosulus rift. This gadget is supposed to be an accompanying peripheral for their game that emits an ungodly odour for various scenes. This blends perfectly well with South Park’s crass humour.

Suffice to say, the journalists love it and the story went viral. This just goes to show how various companies are turning their attention beyond visual marketing.

Striking Headlines

Headlines are one of the most important elements in advertising and its impact has not waned to this day. Oftentimes, headlines are what grabs the attention of people in an ad. So making sure that your headlines are attention grabbing and exciting is very important to surprise the human brain.

Here is a great tip: Try a technique called “Hippocampal Headlines.” This means that you can use familiar everyday phrases and tweak them a bit. This type of headline activates the brain making your headline more eye-catching and memorable.

For example, Silver Patron tequila used the slogan “Practice Makes Patron” as a twist on the familiar phrase, “practice makes perfect.”

Image by Neuro Science Marketing

Effective web layout

Neuromarketing in web layout aims to improve your visitor engagement and conversion rate. This is based on the cognitive preferences utilised within your website’s content and design. Little things such as the font, colour schemes, and layout have an effect on the visitors.

You’ve probably recently encountered websites that utilises modern horizontal design. This is often done by designers to keep up with the current trends. However, neuromarketers found out that the traditional vertical design engaged visitors more than the newer horizontal design.

The study revealed that people are more inclined to explore websites that are designed vertically. Neuromarketers explained that the vertical design sends a signal to the reader’s brain that there are more contents below, as opposed to the horizontal design. You can also read more about how you can optimise your website in our Design page.

Neuromarketing is here to stay

Neuromarketing is a relatively new player in the realm of business. However, the effects and results of neuromarketing have been impressive, to say the least. Marketers should be on the look-out for future neuromarketing trends such as eye-tracking and biometric engagement.

The consumer mind is still continuously evolving and companies have turned to science to keep up. There are still so many opportunities to explore and a lot of research to be conducted. With that, it definitely looks like that neuromarketing is here to stay and is definitely worth a look at.

*This article was first featured in The Singapore Marketer July-Sept 2017 issue. 

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