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The Top 5 Holiday Content Marketing Tips You Need To Know

120919 The Top Holiday Content Marketing Tips You Need To Know

Content marketers love the holiday season. Unlike the lazy days of summer, there is more than enough inspiration to go around for email marketing, social media, blogging, and any other avenue you can think of.

There’s just one catch – there are just so many great ideas out there, there’s not enough time to do them all. Fortunately, we have you covered and we’re exploring the best ideas right here.

1. Updated festive visuals
Add a Santa hat to your profile pic, a menorah to your cover image, flashing lights to your Snapchat Story. Above all, make sure your holiday-themed content has imagery.

2. Flash sale
Have you looked at the calendar lately? It’s a bit too late to do a “12 days of deals” type deal. However, it’s still fair game for quick “limited time” social-media-exclusive sales. These do surprisingly well, especially as many of us procrastinate. Make sure the sale is worth people opening up their wallets for them because a lot of “wish lists” are complete!

3. Seasons greetings
Email marketing is a fantastic avenue to send out holiday wishes to your loyal customer base. As always with E-blasts, it is important to send out content that isn’t 100% pushy promotions. A holiday greeting email will do just the trick to make your readers smile.

4. Pics from the team
Whether you post (not embarrassing) pictures from your Christmas party or your team reaching out to the community for a volunteer event, this idea adds a healthy dose of humanity to any marketing campaign. This type of content, above all else, should be promo-free.

5. Content your audience will share
Cut out some of the promo posts in your content calendar and make room for some wholesome holiday fun. Preferably content that your audience members will want to share to their friends and family. Festive videos, recipes, craft and party ideas are just a few ideas that can generate engagement.

Maybe the holiday season snuck up on you this year, or you’ve been grasping at straws for what to publish. Either way, the above ideas will help you finish off the holiday season on a high note so you can focus on the new year!

Contact us today to help you make every day great on social media!

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How to Tie the Holidays Into Your Social Media Posts

100118 How to Tie the Holidays Into Your Social Media Posts

You know the holiday season is right around the corner, but what does that actually mean for your social media strategy?

Well, I could tell you to do steps X, Y, and Z to update your social media plans and all your woes will vanish! Christmas shoppers will rush to your website and the garland around your tree will be made of shredded $100 bills!

But that isn’t how this works.

I can’t tell you what’s going to work perfectly for your business in your unique situation. What I can tell you, though, is that Marketing Dive found that 80% of shoppers are planning to spend at least as much on holiday shopping as they did last year. The holidays are simply too lucrative not to plan for them.

So how do you learn what you need to do? You study the best. I’m going to show you some of the most successful holiday campaigns, explain exactly what made them such hits with their audiences, and give you some tips on how you can replicate those results.

Starbucks’ holiday cups have earned them a lot of attention over the years, and the 2017 holiday season was no different. The face of coffee let their customers design their own holiday cups and have a chance for their work to be shared by Starbucks by using the #GiveGood hashtag.

What’s their secret?
Starbucks has a huge fanbase of active, loyal customers. When they were given the chance to create content for a company they love, there was no hesitation. This influx of user-generated content (UGC) got Starbucks a lot of positive attention and plenty of fresh content for advertising, all without paying a dime!

#GiveGood was also a key part of their success. It showed users that Starbucks wasn’t thinking about themselves, but was instead focusing on the spirit of giving. That brought in a human element for customers to relate to, so suddenly they were getting into the holiday spirit and not just buying coffee from one of the largest corporations in the world.

What’s the lesson?
UGC is almost always going to endear you in the eyes of your audience. It’s also important to remember that, as the holidays come closer, you can’t beg your customers to buy from you. Show them your human side and let them be naturally excited about your brand.

2. UPS
UPS started a #WishesDelivered campaign to share real, touching stories from their customers of how UPS made a difference in their lives. Every time users shared or submitted stories with the hashtag, UPS donated a dollar to one of three charities.

What’s their secret?
The short version: people love stories. Everyone wants to feel good, and #WishesDelivered gave people a reason to spread the word about what a difference UPS was making. Combining easy charity donations with the chance to spread positive, holiday-themed news made this campaign an instant success.

What’s the lesson?
Tell your customers how you’re helping them! Even if you can’t afford a huge donation to charity right now, let your customers interact with your brand by telling stories of how you did right by them. Hashtag campaigns can work wonders for spreading your message.

Nobody said the holidays were all exchanging gifts and kissing reindeer. HotelTonight’s holiday campaign acknowledged that sometimes the holidays just suck, especially when family is involved! They posted jarring (in a good way) caricatures of unpleasant family members, and encouraged users to share their worst stories of staying with relatives.

What’s their secret?
HotelTonight was simultaneously funny and reminded its customers why they needed to book hotels over the holidays. It’s hard to say “I’ll just bunk with mom” when you’re thinking about your great-aunt Muriel’s Scrabble tournament!

What’s the lesson?
Holiday marketing doesn’t have to be happy. If your brand’s personality isn’t one that cares about Santa and eggnog, that’s fine! This is also a lesson that you should be establishing empathy with your customers wherever you can. Show them that you know what they’re going through, and they’ll flock to you!

You don’t want to copy these brands, but you should take the ideas behind each success story and make them your own! The holidays are a chance for your business to score some big victories, so don’t waste this opportunity with tired marketing strategies! Now get out there and show your customers why they need you this holiday season!

Did you find this advice helpful and want to see how else you can improve your marketing strategy? Reach out to The Go! Agency today for a free consultation!

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Blast from the Past: A Look at the Digital World 10 Years Ago

Blast from the Past_ A Look at the Digital World 10 Years Ago

Remember what the digital world was like in 2009? It might not feel that long ago, but 10 years have passed! With all of the forward-thinking technology that’s made its way into our lives and the constant changes of the online marketing landscape, there’s a lot to reflect on.

So, where do we start?

Let’s dive right in and take a look back at some of the biggest trends and predictions from 2009.

Apps, Androids, and More 
There’s no doubt that 2009 was the year that the tech world was booming—and for good reasons. For starters, Apple was paving their own way with the rising popularity of the App Store, which first came to life in 2008. With the release of the iPhone 3GS, mobile users were also introduced to in-app purchases which allow developers to still offer their app for free.

And let’s not forget the steady competition that Apple now faced with Android. Mobile devices with this operating system were—and in some ways, still are—cheaper alternatives to the Apple products. Users also got to experience Google’s own version of the app store.

But…which app really made a difference in peoples’ lives?

Would you be shocked if I told you that it was turn-by-turn auto navigation? Yep—the iPhone started to give GPS companies a run for their money by providing mobile users an app offered by TomTom. The catch was that you needed to pay $100 for the app, which if you think about it, isn’t awful considering you would be paying that same price or higher for a GPS device on its own. Although, in the distance, you could hear Android users rejoice at the fact that a similar software was being offered on their phones for free.

In addition to the new wave of smartphones and apps came the steady rise in sales of netbooks, Amazon’s Kindle, and tons of other tech products that seemed to make life just a little bit easier.

Predictions For the Future of Digital and Online Marketing 
You’re probably thinking, “Wow, we’ve sure come a long way in the past 10 years.” And, you know what, you’re right! At the time, these technological advances were no doubt next-level. Even though consumers had access to the best products yet, there was still hope that both the tech and online worlds would evolve into something even better when 2010 came around. That’s where a few key predictions were made.

Both online video advertising and video streams were thought to increase in the next year along with the rise of digital ad spending. In addition, it was predicted that many brands would start utilizing more targeted ads in the future to really aim themselves at the right customer; although, more consumers were predicted to utilize ad-blocking software.

With the rise of mobile usage and apps, it’s no surprise that many social networking sites and apps were predicted to only get bigger and better in 2010. For example, Twitter was thought to continue building its audience as one of the “newer” social media channels. Spotify had also just begun to climb the ladder as an audio streaming service, and Netflix was teaming up with electronic companies to bring video streaming straight to consumers’ TVs. Many believed that streaming services like these would become dominant within the average home.

Flash forward to 2019, and many of these predictions have come to life. It’s no secret that as time goes on, the tech world continues to evolve and improve. Reflecting on everything that’s been accomplished in 2009—and now in 2019—makes me excited to see what’s next in the future!

What do you think the next trends will be in the future?  Let me know in the comments below!

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You Can’t Do It Alone: Building the Ideal Team

Go Blog 091218

When it comes to sorting out your social media marketing campaign, working with a knowledgable marketing strategist is an absolute must. They should be experienced and well-versed enough to provide you with the inside track on what you need to be doing, so that you can efficiently execute your plans and quickly achieve your goals.

Or will you?

One of the downsides of getting a robust and forward-thinking plan from an expert is that you still need a certain level of skill in order to execute that plan. I know, it seems like a catch-22: you get a plan from an expert because you are not an expert, but expert plans are best executed by experts. Even with the perfect plan there are hundreds of pitfalls that need to be avoided. 

In my experience, I find companies that use a team to execute their social media marketing strategies tend to be the most successful. I have trained teams ranging from 100 to 2, and the common factor to success is simple: each team member knows the roles and knows who will be in charge of that role’s duties. 

Don’t worry about getting new staff for each role: one person can be in charge of multiple roles, as long as that one person is skilled in each. Not everything is trainable, especially on the fly. Social media marketing is an investment into your online future, so you want to make sure that you trust the leaders of your team. Your reputation will be on the line. Here are the six main roles that you should be thinking about when you are getting ready to execute your social media marketing strategy. 

  1. Project Manager: This person is key, as they will be in charge of, well, managing the project itself. Project Managers ensure that team members meet all objectives and hold everyone accountable to deadlines and budgets. 
  2. Copywriter: What is social media all about? Content! If you do not have the time or the skills to create quality content, you need to enlist a copywriter. Grammar, punctuation, and attention to detail are a must. 
  3. Graphic Designer: How do you make sure that your brand looks consistent across the board? Visuals, my friend. Whether your visuals consist of images, videos, slideshows, or channel branding, you’ll need a pro (if only to ensure that your graphics don’t look like they were designed by an intern). 
  4. Advertising Specialist: Do you know how to utilize social media advertising platforms? If you don’t then you need to hire someone who does. Of course, you could always wing it and risk losing tons of time and money with little to no results. 
  5. Analytics Specialist: Are you successful? What is working for your brand and what isn’t? If you have no idea, then you need someone who revels in tracking data. This role should extend beyond social media and into your website itself!
  6. Website Designer: If you hired a website designer to create the perfect website (perhaps at a substantial investment) without making arrangements for ongoing maintenance, you’ve made a mistake. Having a support person on hand is necessary in today’s digitally-driven world! This is especially true if your objectives are sales, conversions, email signups, and similar goals via your company website. If your website isn’t working, then neither will your marketing efforts on social media, or anywhere else, for that matter. 

So there you go! These roles will form the basis of a nice, well-rounded team. Although I have seen all of these roles filled by as few as two people, most teams will need more. This goes back to what I said earlier: you must make sure that anyone filling any of these roles–especially employees who fill two or more roles–is qualified, professional, and actually has the time! Remember: you are only as strong as your team!

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Why You Need to Start a Facebook Group Today

Why You Need to Start a Facebook Group Today

Facebook groups are the hottest new trend in Facebook marketing. But why? What can they do that posting to your Facebook page can’t?

That’s what I’m going to show you.

Here’s everything you need to know about why Facebook groups are the new must-haves for your Facebook marketing strategy.

Better Organic Reach
Facebook has been killing business’ organic reach for years. Your posts just aren’t seen by as many people anymore; that’s where Facebook groups come in.

These present a new opportunity to engage with people interested in your industry. You get a new platform to share blogs, link to your website, and share industry tips. For example, if your company sells cosmetics, it’s in your best interest to start a makeup-lovers group where you can connect with people who care about your products.

And Facebook groups are free, people! There’s simply no reason to pass up on organic reach. Even if it’s a little more time put into your marketing strategy, it’s going to pay off when you’ve got a thriving group of potential customers who are taking cues from your brand.

Increased Brand Authority
The key to any good Facebook group is engaging conversation. But who starts that conversation? Most often that falls to the group owner, which in this case will be your business.

When you’re guiding the conversation, people will look to you for new topics about your industry: trends, best practices, etc. And that’s GREAT for your business!

You want people to look to your brand as an authority. It not only means that they’ll trust your brand, but they’ll trust your products/services, too. They’ll be more likely to make purchases from your business, recommend you to friends, etc. It pays to have people trust your brand’s expertise!

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Free, Round-the-Clock Advertising
The benefit of groups isn’t just that you can talk to people who join—groups give businesses free advertising.

When someone is in a group, they’ll get suggestions for other groups based on their interests and what groups their friends are participating in. That means that your brand’s group is going to come across newsfeeds all the time without you paying a dime! And since these recommendations are targeted, you’re likely to grow your Facebook group without ever asking people to join.

New Prospects
Your Facebook group can be a great tool for growing your prospect list. Just post an opt-in offering (an ebook, a newsletter, etc.) and ask people to submit their email addresses. You’ll be able to email them all of your offerings and track them as they move through your marketing funnel.

While you could theoretically do this with your regular Facebook updates, experience has shown me that this tactic is much more effective in active Facebook groups. If you’ve got a spot where people are engaging with your brand and having conversations about your industry, then you should absolutely use that to pick up a few new prospects!

Receptive Audience for Offerings
When you post a new product, service, or deal onto your Facebook page, you might be a little disappointed by the lackluster reaction. While your Facebook page is sure to have people in your target demographic, they might not be terribly engaged with your business.

Whereas in a Facebook group, people are commenting on your posts and asking you questions. As a marketer, I can’t imagine a better audience for rolling out an announcement. So when you’ve got something new to show off, your Facebook group will be filled with people who can’t wait to try out this new offer!

Don’t Wait
Facebook groups have a ton of benefits for your business to take advantage of, but who knows how long they’ll be there? The time to act is now, so roll up your sleeves and start making your business’ Facebook group!

Not sure what the focus of your Facebook group should be? We’ll discuss it during your free consultation with The Go! Agency!

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Senior Care: Make the Most of Social Media During the Holidays

100318 Senior Care_ Make the Most of Your Social Media During the Holidays

Yuletide is all but upon us and for a lot of people, that means thinking about their families. When people consider holidays in assisted living or with a home health company, it’s common to imagine frigid nursing homes with poorly-lit trees and public domain Christmas carols playing in the background.

Obviously, that is not a good look for your brand! This holiday season, you need to be showing how well-cared-for your residents and care recipients are, and I have some ideas that can help!

Below is a checklist of content that you should be publishing throughout the holiday season. Nothing gets more attention than real caregiving photos and stories, so get that camera ready!

Must-Have Senior Care Posts This Holiday Season

Decorations: Your staff probably spent a lot of time decorating the community, so show it off! Families want to see how their loved one can feel at-home during the holidays. Start with photos of your team members hanging up lights and decorating trees, then show what those decorations look like when they’re finished and seniors are enjoying them.

Food: This time of year, you’ve probably already planned to have at least one (if not several) holiday-themed meals. Quality of food can be a big concern for people looking at your community, so promote the delicious meals that your residents get to enjoy!

Activities: The most important thing for people to know is that their loved one is going to be happy in your community. Showing real seniors engaged in holiday activities tells families that they’re being cared for on a personal level. Some easy go-tos are showing seniors singing Christmas carols, decorating cookies, or otherwise taking part in some seasonal merriment!

Visitors: Organize a visit from a local school! A choir class would love to visit and perform for some seniors, and a video like that would go a long way toward building a connection with your audience!

Presents: We all want the holidays to focus on love and positivity, but it’s at least 50 percent about gifts! Show your seniors opening their presents! Family members who can’t be there in person will appreciate you catching their loved one’s surprise on Christmas morning!

Personal Stories: People love a personal connection! With the approval of the senior and their family, post a photo of them along with one of their favorite holiday stories. This shows that you’re taking an interest in the lives of your seniors, which will make people more sympathetic toward your business.

Family Time: Undoubtedly, some of your seniors will have family visiting for the holidays. Get everyone’s permission, then snap a photo of them all huddled together in front of the tree. Your audience will see how happy that family is, and they’ll want that kind of happiness for themselves! No ad campaign will be more effective than showing a family and their overjoyed senior!

Winter Wonderland: No matter where your seniors are located, you can get some holiday-appropriate photos of them outdoors! In colder climates, photos of seniors bundled up and enjoying a white Christmas are nothing short of social media gold. If it’s warmer, don’t hesitate to brag about how your seniors don’t need coats in the winter. Take the environment you have and make it a feature!

And that is how you seamlessly work the holidays into your assisted living or home care social media posts! Take the strategies that work for you the rest of the year and adapt them into something new and charming for the holiday season. Follow this checklist to make sure your audience is attentive and engaged during the most wonderful time of the year!

Do you need a hand with managing your social media this holiday season? The Go! Agency has the expertise to help! Contact us today for a free consultation! 


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Your Metrics System: How to Track Results

092618 Your Metrics System_ How to Track Results

You’ve done it! You created and survived your holiday marketing campaign!  While it would be nice to revel in the feeling of accomplishment, you’re not done yet.  

“But the campaign was a success!” You say, “we earned so much money! What’s left to do?”

Nothing much . . . only determining if your campaign was actually worth the time, money, and energy you spent on it.

I hear this sentiment all the time from business owners. After they’ve dipped their toes in the marketing world for the holiday season, they decide to leave the pool until the next fall. 

“Why would I ever need to know all those marketing stats?” They ask. 

This attitude will doom your chances of long-term success. These metrics affect your business, your brand, and your bottom line.

Those “marketing stats” will help you in a myriad of ways. They 

  • are necessary for calculating your return on investment (ROI);
  • give you valuable demographic information;
  • help you determine your upcoming budget; and
  • give you insight into and ideas for your future marketing initiatives.

Here are a few metrics you should consider measuring at the end of your holiday marketing campaign.

Impressions are the number of times an individual person sees a piece of content (ads, tweets, updates, blogs, etc.). This is an awareness metric. Although impressions are important, it can be a vanity metric. Focus on the quality or the effect of the impressions. How many times did a person see your ad before taking an action? 

Reach refers to the number of people who saw your ad. I’ve already discussed how important it is to target the right audience, and this metric lets you see if you hit your target! Did the social media network, website, and/or publication you chose for ads live up to your hopes? Did you get the customers you expected, or did you see a boost in traffic from an unexpected demographic? For instance, video games are marketed to teenagers, but parents are usually the people who actually buy them.

Engagement is, essentially, interaction. It shows that your audience actively participated in your content. Likes, clicks, shares, comments–all of these are ways your audience engages with your brand. Think of engagement as the active result of reach and impressions!

Click Through Rate (also known as CTR) is found by dividing the number of individuals who clicked a link or ad on your webpage by the total number of users who viewed the page. If your page was viewed by 380 people, and 7 of those people clicked the link to your storefront, then the click through rate would be 1.84 percent. That CTR isn’t horribly low, by the way. According to Hubspot, search ads average a CTR of 1.91 percent and display ads have around .35 percent.

Conversions are actions taken by visitors. These actions can include completing a purchase, filling out a survey, or subscribing to an email newsletter. Tracking conversions enables you to retarget consumers. In retargeting, you present ads to consumers who visited your page but did not complete an action (e.g., added items to the digital shopping cart, but never paid).

All of these metrics will vary according to your goals. Too many novice marketers make the mistake of only analyzing these metrics after the holidays or another big campaign, but that is asking for trouble. You need to do this throughout the year! Take stock of where you are so that you can get to where you want to go!

Voilà! I’ve told you everything you need to know about running your holiday marketing campaign! If you have additional tips (or cautionary tales), share with us in the comments below. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions about digital marketing, seasonal campaigns, or one of my many Christmas cookie recipes!

Do you need more help with your holiday marketing campaign? Don’t wait for a Festivus miracle! Contact The Go! Agency today for your free consultation! 


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Creating Your Timeline for Holiday Marketing

092418 Creating Your Timeline for Holiday Marketing

The holiday season is just a few weeks away! So far, I’ve told you what you need for your holiday campaignhow to target your audience, and where you should focus your budget, among other tips from my years as a marketer. Now I want to address the schedule. 

Your holiday marketing campaign isn’t a high school project: you can’t expect to reach your goals if put everything off until the last minute. You need deadlines! I’ve found that there are three pillars for a good deadline. Good deadlines must be . . . 

1. Good for Your Budget: The deadline must fit within the confines of your budget. Will you have enough money to run ads for a given amount of time? Will you have enough in the budget to cover your personnel needs until a specified date? These are the questions you’ll need to consider.

2. Good for Your Bandwidth: Speaking of personnel, you must give your team deadlines that are reasonable. Don’t assume that your staff will be able to pull off a Christmas miracle! Factor in human error and human nature by giving yourself and your staff a buffer. Never set deadlines at the last possible minute! 

3. Good for Your Campaign’s Effectiveness: Will this deadline further your goals? In other words, are you spinning your wheels? Determine which actions are priorities, and which actions can be postponed.

Let’s start with a list of everything you need to accomplish or complete for your campaign. You’ll notice that some of these lead into the next item (i.e., you cannot complete Y until X is done). Generally, holiday campaigns include:

  • Final Strategy: When will you have your final plan? This is the blueprint that you’ll be sticking to for the entire campaign; so while you can (and should) be flexible, your campaign plan should be complete.
  • Budget: When will you have your budget ready? Do you need to hire any contractors or agencies to take on extra work of the campaign? It might sound silly to include deadlines for strategy and budget, but it will help you keep an analytical perspective toward your campaign.
  • Creative/Visuals: When do you need your final designs? This aspect includes layouts for ads and any new website or landing page visuals. Do you use a contractor for design work? Remember that contractors might book up quickly for the holiday rush!
  • Copy: When do you need all of your campaign’s written content? This should include landing page copy along with advertisements, posts, and blogs. You’ll need to account for editing content in addition to the approval process for ads.
  • Advertising: There are a few aspects to keep in mind here. The first is practical: what is the deadline for submitting ads for a given publication, website, or platform? The second aspect to consider is when will your ads have the greatest impact? For example, you can’t expect a lot of engagement from a Cyber Monday sale ad if won’t be approved until Tuesday morning.
  • Website Landing Page: You could generalize this to your entire website, but focus on the landing page for your holiday promotion or campaign. When will you need to have it up and running? If you use a contractor or another third party entity for your web design, what is their turn-around time? Will the holidays affect their schedule and availability? 

Finally, you should consider the timing of your overall campaign. The timeline for a campaign that peaks on Black Friday is drastically different from a timeline for a campaign that peaks during the week of Christmas. 

Armed with my advice, creating your campaign timeline should be a breeze! I mentioned this already, but it’s important enough to repeat: keep your plans firm, but allow for some wiggle room! Life happens. You realize that your copywriter will be out of town for Hanukkah. Your social media manager is hosting a horde of relatives and cannot work any overtime. Your IT guru will be on PTO all of Thanksgiving weekend–and you approved her request back in March. 

This guide should help you create the optimal timeline for your holiday marketing campaign! Now let’s go!

The holidays are coming in fast–is your marketing strategy ready? The Go! Agency can help you get results! For a free consultation, contact us today! 

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Contests, Promos, & Giveaways: What You Should Know

091918 Blog Contests, Promos, & Giveaways_ What You Should Know

Whether your business centers on a product or a service, the holiday season is filled with opportunities. But how can your marketing compete when all of your competitors are pushing for the same clients? Why not incentivize your customer with a contest, promo, or giveaway?

In my years as a marketing expert, I’ve noticed that companies fall into one of two camps when it comes to incentives. The first camp consists of the anti-incentives crowd. These brands might feel that giving a free incentive would denigrate their product or service. They believe that such promotions (or even discounts) could damage the brand even if they attract new customers. Antis see incentives as pandering to their consumers. The second camp is filled with pro-incentives people. Such brands believe that people love free stuff, therefore free stuff will attract customers. This group is all about giving away promotional materials, too. (Coincidentally, brands like these are the reason we have uniquequirky, and just plain weird marketing swag.)

Both sides make fair points. You don’t want your brand to appear aloof, but you don’t want customers to take you for granted, either. There’s a way to balance both. Let’s discuss contests, promos, and giveaways, along with incentives!

Contests are events in which individuals (or teams) compete for a prize. They are a great way to get user-generated content (UGC). Often, brands will ask customers to post pictures or create videos that meet certain requirements. 

Tagline: “Send us your best pic, and the winner will receive an all-expenses-paid cruise!”

Promos (short for promotions) are limited-time offers or events that are held to encourage consumer engagement. Brands want to attract new customers, so they’ll offer free shipping for a given time period. Some companies offer discounts to new users or members. In several U.S. states, the school year is preceded by a “tax-free weekend,” in which the government forgoes sales taxes in an effort to increase back-to-school shopping at local establishments. 

Tagline: “Buy-one-get-one-free sale on pens this weekend only!”

Giveaways are when a brand gives an item or provides a service free of charge to consumers for promotional reasons. These can range from a free gift with purchase to giving out promotional swag to passersby. 

Tagline: “Free gift with every purchase!” 

As you decide what you want to do, you need to think about the following points.

1. Competition 
This point could just as well be labeled “research.” Find out what your competitors are doing. While you want to stand out from the crowd, knowing industry norms will keep you from looking reckless or foolish. For example, a Porsche dealership wouldn’t hold a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) for free deal on cars, but they might throw in free oil changes and other maintenance for the lifetime of the vehicle.

2. Incentives
There are actually two types of incentives. The incentive could be a reward, i.e., something that could be considered a bonus. With the above example, a reward might be the inclusion of an official Porsche crest keyring. The incentive could be a motivator, i.e., something that would push your audience through the decision process faster. In the previous example, the free maintenance acts as a motivator. The great thing about the types is that you can combine them or use them concurrently. One final note on incentives: it should be something complimentary to your service or product. An insurance company might give out a free umbrella to new clients, for instance.

I personally believe that incentives can be great for your brand’s sales and reputation. I’ll leave you with a story that, to me, proves the value of an incentive.

The Go! Agency handles the marketing for a franchise of assisted living facilities. One challenge they faced was that caregivers of potential residents who toured their properties would love what they saw, but choose another home for their loved one. These decisions were often based on price and other factors that our client could not control. We decided to add value to the tours by creating an ebook that explained what you should ask about a potential assisted living facility. At the end of each tour, the guide would say, “I know that you’ll probably continue looking around and researching your options. We totally understand–you want to find what’s best for your family! Anyway, the website has a link to an ebook we’ve written. The book gives you some questions that we’ve had people ask time and time again. We’ve chosen the most important ones, so it should be useful if you tour another residence.”


By sharing knowledge, our client is now an expert. 


By trying to help out caregivers, our client is now a resource.


By emphasizing that they understand, our client has now endeared themselves to that family.

All because of an incentive. 

Contests, promos, and giveaways are great for encouraging engagement from your audience and drawing attention to your brand. You can do so much with these events, both in terms of money made and buzz generated. 

Do you need help with with an event, or your overall marketing strategy? Discover what my team of marketing experts can do for your brand! Contact me today for a free consultation!


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7 Questions to Answer When Creating a Holiday Sale

091718 7 Questions to Answer When Creating a Holiday Sale

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday . . . . We’re about to enter the holiday sales season!  

I have seen so many brands crash and burn when it comes to holiday sales. Either they do no promotion at all or they go overboard and spend a fortune promoting the sale. You don’t want to do either! Sales should be organized, promoted, and measured. Never wait until the last minute to plan your sale! And remember that you have to budget for the whole season: you should never throw all of your holiday budget into promoting your Black Friday sale, for example. 

I’ll let you in on a secret: you can learn a lot from your competitors! What are their promotions like? How far in advance did they begin promoting the sale? What discounts are they offering? Do some research and see what the norms are for your industry.

On to the nitty-gritty! Here are seven big questions you should answer. 

1. What is Your Goal? 
What are your desired results from this sale? Do you want to reach new customers or gain exposure? Do you want to make room for new inventory? Do you want to make money? This will affect the details of your sale, like prices and discounts.

2. Does Your Sale Revolve Around the Price or the Product? 
“But wait,” you say. “Don’t sales involve both?” I’m talking about discounts versus bundles here. Are you offering your merchandise at a blanket discount (“20% off the whole store!”) or are you grouping products/services into bundles (“Buy One, Get One half price!”)?

3. How Will You Measure Success?  
Determine what metrics you will use to gauge your success. One thing you should absolutely find out is the total amount grossed from the sale, minus the total amount spent on promoting the sale. Other metrics might include counting unique website visitors, new email marketing subscribers, or social media engagements.

4. Where Are You Going to Promote It?  
You should definitely advertise your sale on social media, but how do you choose which platform? The obvious answer would be: the platform which is most frequently used by your target audience. Boosted or sponsored posts on the right platforms are crucial!

5. What is Your Promotional Budget? 
Speaking of sponsored posts, you’ll need to determine your promotional budget. What will you spend on ads and boosted posts? For online merchants who also have brick and mortar stores, will you be making any physical materials like flyers or signs? Keep in mind that this might not be the only sale you will have during the holiday season–budget accordingly!

6. What is Your Timeline?  
This not only includes the time of the sale itself, but the lead-up to the sale. How long will the sale itself last–a few days, one day, a few hours? A good timeline is thorough! You should include deadlines for writing ad copy, designing visuals, and placing advertisements; additionally, you need a deadline for sending your website or IT team the necessary codes and information for the website! As I mentioned above, you should look at your competitors and other companies in your industry to determine discounts, duration, and other specifics. 

7. Is Your Website Ready?  
The doomsday scenario for every online merchant is a website crash on the day of a major sale! Don’t let this happen to you! Consult with your website design team to double check that your online store is stable and ready for an influx of customers. Contact your web host to ensure that their servers can handle the anticipated above-average volume of traffic. If possible, ask your IT person to be on standby during the sale–especially for weekends or holidays, but expect to pay for their time–in case of emergency issues.

There you have it! These will help you plan the holiday sale–without losing your holiday cheer! I’ve learned from experience that there’s no such thing as a stress-free sale, but these questions will help keep you focused!

Do you need marketing help for the holidays and beyond? Contact us today for a free consultation!


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