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Is It Time To Double Your Investment in Video?

Soon you’ll start to notice that the “Videos” tab on Facebook brand pages everywhere is looking strikingly similar to YouTube.  From the featured video section to the ability to organize videos into playlists, Facebook is going to be implementing some of YouTube’s organization features.  Truth be told this is long overdue, but the timing makes perfect sense as Facebook is investing more in video lately.  As you might have noticed, the auto play videos of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge filling the news feed have transitioned full steam ahead to videos highlighting brands everywhere.  From McDonald’s using Facebook videos to set the record start about what’s actually in their food to Jerry Seinfeld posting video sneak peeks of his hit series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, videos are only going to continue to show up more and more.

Jerry Seinfeld

As I was thinking about this trend (it’s not just Facebook), I thought more about the reasons why video just makes sense for every business.  I really think it’s as simple as this – the majority of people don’t want to read.  Your potential customers, probably don’t want to spend a great deal of time reading about your business.  And if given the choice, they’d prefer to watch a 2-3 minute video instead of reading all about your company history.

Here are 2 really good reasons to think about doubling down on your investment in video.

Videos Can Easily Be Repurposed
Let’s say you’re in charge of managing the company blog.  Things are off to a good start and you’re publishing 3 posts a week.  Traffic is increasing, then all at once it happens….

You hit a dry patch.  Suddenly you feel like you’ve already talked about the 3 points of difference over and over.  No matter how long you stare at the computer screen, the words just don’t want to come to you.  Then you start to think about that great story the CEO was telling just the other day about how the company was started by his dad back in the 1920’s.  Knowing that his time is limited and you’d be hard pressed to get him to sit down to write a blog post, you start thinking about what to do.  Then the thought dawns on you…it’s time to add some video!

Suddenly the 2 minute video you record of your boss telling the story is not only your most viewed video on the website, it’s the top performing blog post.  Because after he told the story on video, you were able to write it all out, add the historical photos and create the connection to the company through words as well.

Sometimes video is just easier.  And once the video is created there are so many ways to repurpose it – including creating a blog post or multiple blogs.  That same video could also be turned into a podcast.  Now you’ve got another way to reach customers on the go.  Come to think of it, the YouTube Channel sure could use some love lately.  Now you’ve got a video to feature when someone visits your channel. There’s so many ways to go with video once it’s created.  Video really is the ultimate piece of content to repurpose.  Invest the time and money to have the video content created by a professional once and think about all of the ways to get extended mileage.

People Are Watching Less Traditional TV
Odds are you or someone you know has cancelled their cable service recently.  Like Netflix bringing about the end of Blockbuster, cable companies are headed for trouble.  Why?  More people than ever before are watching videos online.  Well, that and people are sick of paying the high prices for cable service.  But more than ever it’s all about watching what you want to watch, when you want to and on the device that you want to.  With other low-cost services out there such as HBO, who will offer standalone streaming starting this year, Netflix, Hulu Plus and HD antennas available to get all the local channels – cable box after cable box will continue to get turned in.

netflix-logo    hbo_go_logo_feature

What does this shift mean to your business?  It means that since behavior is changing, there’s going to be more attention placed in online video.  More people online watching video = more chances to be seen = greater opportunity for conversion.

How Are You Using Video Now?  Is It Time To Double Your Investment?

I understand that for many marketing professionals, the whole thought of “doubling” an investment may seem a bit overwhelming.  I’m not literally talking about money here.  The point I am trying to make is that when looking at a marketing strategy, if there’s one type of content that I see paying the biggest dividends now and in the future – it’s video.

I’d strongly urge anyone reading this to take a moment to think about their video marketing strategy.  Think about how one video could become a blog post, podcast, social media post, email topic, etc.  Also, understand that not every single video needs to be a complex  video production.  In fact, I’d recommend a two prong approach.  Think about what video content you can turn out quickly and consistently with limited setup, such as; video case studies, client testimonials or mini educational videos about your business or industry, now think about what other types of more involved videos would complement this content and allow you to extend your brand message.

But whatever you do start thinking about it now.  Because I promise your competitors are.

Want some ideas?  I’d love for you contact me to talk video strategy. 

My 4 Top Marketing Posts from 2014

What a great year it has been!  I want to take a moment to thank all of my readers and clients who have helped make this another successful year for Focal Point.  As a small business in Indianapolis, we couldn’t do what we do without our wonderful community and your support.

To bring things to a close for the year, I want to share 4 of my most popular articles all about marketing trends and things to look forward to 2015.  One thing I learned this year in my writing is that some of my most well received posts were all about creating a strategic marketing plan moving into the new year. Whether this is your first time reading my blog or you’ve been here before, I know you’ll find some valuable information below.

4 Questions Every Business Should Be Asking This Time of Year
It seems like just yesterday that I hit “publish” on this post, yet here we are at the end of the year.  Originally published at the beginning of Fall, this post is all about taking the time to evaluate your online marketing plan throughout the year.  How can you define what “success” means to your business without having some sort of plan in place?

As we head into 2015, this post can serve as a reminder to schedule time in your calendar during the new year to take a look at your big wins, the areas where you fell short and put a plan in place to improve performance throughout the year.  I recommend making the time to do this on a quarterly basis.  This seems like the right amount of time to get good data on if your marketing plan is working while giving you enough time to make adjustments as needed.
Find out all 4 questions to ask yourself in the full post here!

stock-photo-26981117-drawing-businss-concept

 2 Must-Haves for Every 2015 Online Marketing Plan
Is your 2015 online marketing plan sign, sealed and delivered?  Well, you better take a moment to make sure these 2 things aren’t missing.  In the world of website design and social media marketing, this articles covers 2 of the biggest trends that absolutely will make or break your success in the coming year(s).
Discover the 2 must- haves for your plan here!

2015 Online Marketing Predictions

3 Movements Every Digital Marketer Must Watch Now
There are some big movements taking place in the digital marketing world that’s for sure.  As marketers, it’s important that we are aware of these dynamic shifts as they will greatly impact the way we reach our potential customers and they way our customers do business with us.

In this post, I go into more detail on each of these trends and even include a special video about some major changes Facebook will be rolling out at the start of the new year.
Don’t get left behind – check out this post here! 

Apple Watch

New SEO is Now Online Branding?
In my latest post prior to this one, I pose this very serious question.  It has been said that SEO is dead, but is is possible that online branding is simply taking it’s place?

With Google acting more and more like a human and less like a robot, it’s more important than ever to establish a good online reputation and brand trust.  I recently watched a webinar from Rand Fishkin of Moz where he unveiled some of the big changes and tactics to position your brand for growth.
Get all the key points on how to increase your online branding here!

Google Search

 

New SEO is Now Online Branding?

As 2014 comes to an end, this is the time when marketers naturally reflect on the past year and look forward to the new one.  Over the past couple months, I’ve written about must have’s for 2015 marketing plans and some dynamic shifts in Internet marketing as we know it.  But I wouldn’t be considered an online marketer if I didn’t touch on one of the most dramatic changes we’ve seen over the last couple of years – the evolution of SEO (search engine optimization).

I recently participated in a webinar with Rand Fishkin from Moz entitled: Cracking the SEO Code for 2015: Tactics to Love vs. Leave and I’ve got to tell you he pointed out some pretty eye opening things.  These are things that many online marketers are doing wrong and things that must change if there’s any hope in your website showing up in Google.  I’m going to break it all down with a few major points from the presentation.

Gone are the Days of Traditional SEO
The good old fashioned tactics of trying to match on-page for exact phrase keywords by using the phrase in the domain, headings, within the content and links are just that – old fashioned.  That’s no longer what SEO is about.  In fact, Rand pulled up several Google search examples showing the first few results not even mentioning the exact keyword phrase at all in the traditional on-page SEO way.

It’s now about understanding user intent and moving away from keyword matching to topic association.  What topics are you the authority on and what type of content naturally revolves around those topics?  Sure, keywords are naturally going to be used, but it’s not necessary to setup a new page for every single keyword – it can all be grouped together into one page with info around a specific topic.

Google Search

Google is Becoming Smarter
Google is functioning more like a person and less like a robot.  It’s getting better at understanding user intent.  It knows what people actually want to read based upon social signals and the searcher’s  behavior.  Results are also becoming more personalized and it’s increasingly difficult to “dominate” a keyword or phrase across the board.  It’s now about what Google is able to associate with your brand vs. what keywords you’re using.

Real Brands are Winning Search
Google is now learning more toward rewarding brands.  Brands are what people know and trust.  Brands are what create quality content that people actually want to read.  The days of being able to setup a website, publish a few articles and expect to instantly begin getting traffic for the keywords your site is targeting are history.

Ranking well in search engines such as Google is now about being in more than one place, developing a reputation and consistently producing different types of useful multimedia content.

Winning at the New SEO is Winning at Online Branding
If you want to be successful in getting your website to rank well in search engines such as Google and get a good deal of organic traffic, it’s imperative that to truly understand your company’s brand.  What are the unique strengths of your company and how can you create a truly unique online experience centered around those strengths?

The best tactic to employ here is what Rand referred to as “modern content investments.”  What type of content marketing plan can you put together to create information that is:

  • One of a kind – it could take weeks or months to develop it, but no one else ever has
  • Relevant – extremely on point with user intent
  • Helpful – solves a problem or multiple problems the user is facing
  • Uniquely valuable – there’s a high level of worth to the info you’re providing
  • Great UX – the content is easy to consume/interact with on all devices
  • Likely to spread – who will share this content and why?

What to Do Next
Take the time to really think about your brand.  Not just the way you see it, but the way your customers do.  What do you want to focus on and what problems are you trying to solve?  Now, every single piece of content you put out should easily be tied back to solving those problems or discussing those topics to create the ultimate brand association in Google’s eyes.

If more brand development needs to be done, that’s OK.  The sooner you can nail this down, the easier it’s going to be to understand how you’re going to be able to win at the new SEO – online business branding.

Need help?  Contact me to talk online branding strategies.

3 Movements Every Digital Marketer Must Watch Now

As always, there are a lot of changes going on in the digital marketing world right now.  From the ever evolving social media networks to new technology to radical shifts in the way traditional services are delivered.

One thing is for sure, 2015 is going to be an exciting year.  A year where I think digital marketers are really going to have to think long and hard about the way they are reaching customers.  As I was thinking today, there are 3 things that come to mind that I will to be paying attention to in the new year.  Things that, while not exactly related, have the potential to represent big changes in the marketing world.

Facebook Algorithm Changes

There is a lot of buzz in the social media marketing world right now around upcoming Facebook changes that will begin in the new year.  To sum it up, basically Facebook is going to give even less visibility to “overly promotional” posts.  While most businesses understand that their fans do not want to see “overly promotional” content in the first place, it’s still unclear exactly where the line is going to be drawn.  One thing is for sure, it means even less organic reach for Facebook brand pages.  And if you are a social media marketing manager or just happened to inherit that responsibility at your company – you know organic reach has already dropped significantly.

What does it mean?  Well, it simply means now more than ever if digital marketers really want to reach people on Facebook in a meaningful way, it’s going to require a budget to do so.  Facebook is continuing to adopt a pay to play model and that’s not going to change anytime soon.  This also means that other social networks will quickly follow and begin to move toward this model.

The other thing that this means is that some companies will simply drop their Facebook page all together.  One notable company to already do so is Copyblogger.  A very well known name with over 35,000 likes and they dropped it.  Why?  Because the ROI on the organic side just wasn’t there.  I highly recommend watching this eye opening video (it’s a bit on the long side, but 100% worth it) regarding Facebook advertising.

WATCH: Facebook Fraud

Wearables

Wearables are everywhere right now.  I’m not just talking about smartwatches here, I’m talking about fitness bands like the Jawbone Up 24 and Fitbit Flex.  We are now able to monitor more than ever and get data in real time.  The more connected we become throughout the day, the more avenues digital marketers will have to reach customers in new ways.  While the messages may be the same, the delivery and strategy behind reaching people at the exact moment in time on the exact device that’s right for them will present new marketing challenges. 

I expect all of this to be taken to another level when the Apple Watch is released.  When a player like Apple comes to the market, it has the ability to really change everything.  If Apple gets its watch right on the first try, we will see an accelerated growth and mass adoption come very quickly.

What does it mean?  This means one more place potential customers will be looking at your marketing message.  It means making sure your message reads well on an even smaller screen.  Making sure your website is 100% responsive – even on a watch.  Basically, it means one more thing to add to your overall marketing strategy when you think about your typical customer life cycle.

Apple Watch

Uber-Sumer Movement

By now most of you have probably heard of services such as Uber (rideshare and taxi service company that gets you a driver in minutes via an app) and Airbnb (services that allows you to rent a place to stay from local hosts in 190+countries), but have you heard of Feastly?  Feastly allows “everyday” people to become cooks and essentially turn their house into a scaled-down version of a restaurant. 

This shift powered by the millennials of  everything being right now.  People are becoming used to getting things immediately, the way they want it and how they want it.  Instant gratification is being taken to a whole new level and it’s becoming expected from consumers.

What does it mean?  It means taxi services, hotels and even some restaurants are potentially going to have to reinvent themselves or die.  These concepts could be what services like Netflix were to Blockbuster.  It’s a radical shift, but it’s one that’s very real and cannot be ignored by marketers.

Uber

What Do You Think?

How do you think these changes will impact marketers in 2015 and beyond?  I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. Contact me.

3 Simple Pieces of Advice to Save Marketers Loads of Time

The holidays are upon us and 2014 is coming to a close.  This time of year tends to bring out the best in marketers…and also the worst.  This is especially true when it comes to retailers.  We all know a lot of money is spent this time of year and for many it will make or break their 2014 success.  While I consider myself a marketing professional, I am also a student of the game. I’m always observing and learning from others to make notes of what I like and don’t like.

This year, as I was reading blogs, emails and social media posts I couldn’t help but think of 3 simple pieces of advice or rules of business that I think a lot of marketers forget.  Those that slip up often end up losing or offending customers while those that stick to these values even when things get chaotic will always come out on top in the long run.  As simple as these pieces of advice may seem, sometimes they make all the difference in the world.  Let me explain…

1. Just be honest (and don’t fake it).
I have to say, I saw a lot of retailers faking “deals” this Black Friday.  I know it’s a huge shopping day, but consider this for a minute.  Nearly everyone will receive dozens of emails with big time deals.  On this day in particular, people are looking to save a lot of money.  Sending out an email about Free Shipping and calling it a Black Friday “deal” just doesn’t cut it and certainly won’t break through the clutter.  Worse, it could offend your customers.

I know it can be tempting for retailers and many feel obligated to offer a Black Friday deal, but if you don’t have one, you don’t have one.  If you aren’t able to offer a competitive discount on that particular day because it doesn’t make sense for your business, why not send out an email the following week with a message that’s honestly the best deal you can offer and not disguised as something else.  I promise your customers will appreciate it more.

2. Tell a great story.
At Focal Point, we are all about storytelling.  This could be through video, social media or email.  A great story is what engages people with your brand.  And once they’re engaged the selling comes naturally.  This time of year, I can’t help but think of this John Lewis TV advertisement because it’s all about the story and people love it.  Give it a watch below!

3. Connect with PEOPLE.
One of the best ways to connect with people is to have other people tell your story for you.  This is why customer testimonials are so powerful for every business.  As the holidays approach, a lot of packages are going to be shipped and I can’t help but think of this FedEx #ShippingSpree video where FedEx enabled customers to tell their story by connecting with people through real life examples of things they would ship to that special someone.  In video below, Mike talks about his sister who is a cancer survivor and describes each item he’s shipping as he puts in the box.  Check it out here…

Great Marketers Don’t Take Shortcuts
I guess what I am trying to say here is that there are no shortcuts to great marketing campaigns.  All too often I see people asking questions such like: How do I get to the first page in Google?  How do I make my video go viral?  How do I get 50,000 Facebook likes?

The best place to start?  Follow the 3 pieces of advice above.  The results will come.

Need help telling your story?  Contact me now so I can help.

Educating Your Prospects for FREE Makes Them Better PAYING Customers

Everybody wants somethings for free, but businesses need to make money to, well, stay in business.  So what if I told you that giving away free information to your prospects actually results in better paying customers?  Would you believe it?  In fact, as a business, giving away free information might be one of your best content marketing strategies.  Let me explain…

Your Customers Want To Feel Empowered.

They’re reading online reviews, watching how-to videos and listening to podcasts.  And they’re spending more time doing these things prior to purchase than ever before.  A large part of your marketing strategy when it comes to content development should be putting a plan in place to educate your customers by providing them with free information.  The reason why is simple – if your prospects/customers don’t find you when doing this type of research, they’re going to find “someone else.”  That “someone else” is going to be your competition.  Let’s jump right into a couple of case studies to show you what I mean.

Case Study: Lowe’s Fix In Six

One of my favorite examples of a business that does a great job of educating its prospects and turning them into customers is Lowe’s.  Just take a look at this Vine video…

Pretty cool, huh?  Who knew that real mayo could help remove wood stains?  Side note – I haven’t actually tested this yet, but I am taking Lowe’s word for it.  Now that’s some pretty useful information.  Information that doesn’t really directly make Lowe’s any money (last time I checked they didn’t sell mayo at Lowe’s), but indirectly goes a long way at establishing them as the authority in home improvement projects.  While it’s just 6 secs in length, I am willing to bet a few hours (if not more) went into planning and shooting just this one video.  This type of video marketing is clever and resonates well with customers.  It’s no secret that people don’t like being sold to.  But what they do like are helpful solutions like an easy way to remove water stains from wood and they’ll remember the company that published this info.  Not only will they remember it, but they will share it with others.  Furthermore, the types of people searching for and watching videos like this one are….BINGO….you guessed it….people who like to do home improvement projects AKA Lowe’s target market!

Case Study: Pampers

Let’s completely shift gears from home improvement to baby care.  Pampers has a content marketing strategy that includes producing videos which showcase quick and easy baby tips.  These short videos cover basic topics that new parents are sure to be searching for such as tips for traveling with a baby or how to get your baby into a sleep routine.  While Pampers products are shown during the videos, there is not a hard sell. Again, it’s about being the brand that puts the information out there that your customers want and need – especially during a time when they might be establishing brand loyalty for a necessary item like diapers.  Take a look…

Develop A Content Marketing Plan To Put This Into Action

Now, it’s time to put these tips into action and develop a content marketing strategy that will help move your business forward.  Here’s how to get started…

  1. Log into Google Analytics or whatever analytics platform you use.
  2. Drill down to the report showing the keywords driving organic traffic (in Google Analytics it’s under Acquisition->Keywords->Organic).
  3. Use the search feature within that report to find keyword phrases using words such as “how,” “what,” “why,” etc.
  4. Write down the top 5 keyword phrases within each of these searches.

So, what happens next?  First you must realize that in just those few minutes you have uncovered the golden nuggets of your business. These are the questions or problems that people finding your site are trying to answer/solve.  If you can help prospects easily find the answers and possibly even expand upon each one with other variations then you are establishing trust.  And once you’ve earned their trust, it’s far easier to earn their business.

How do you go about answering these questions?  Contact us and we will help you develop a content marketing strategy to do just that!