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“Can you help us pull together a website?”

At FocalPoint, the answer is, “Sure, we’d love to be your go-to company on your website project. But let’s talk about this before we get started.”

If this is our first work with a new client, we initiate a lot of conversations before we touch the cursor. We like to think of this as “Website Design and Development 101.” It really is a prerequisite before we begin work.

Why? Because the best place to begin is to really consider why you want a website in the first place.

  • Is this to replace or update an existing site? Why replace it? What was right and what wasn’t about the existing site?
  • What is your single most important message and why?
  • What does the site need to do?
  • Answer questions about what you do or be a resource to provide info or tools to existing customers?

We want to be sure that your website is more than a place to talk about who you are and what you do. If that’s all your website does, it won’t drive traffic. It will probably just sit there as a line on your business card.

For a website to do what it’s supposed to do, it has to:

  • Is your website responsive?
  • Draw you in
  • Provide you with needed information right off the bat. In three minutes, a potential customer should know who you are, what you do, and why your company matters
  • Be strategically engineered to drive readership
  • Built around intuitive navigation (i.e., making your key points easily understood and getting eyes further into the site to provide more information)
  • Set a strategically considered tone with color, visuals and copy.

Once we begin communication with new clients around the strategic design of their website, we often uncover previously undiscussed topics, for instance:

  • What really sets you apart from your competition?
  • How does what you do matter?
  • Does your logo accurately reflect a sense of what you are/what you do?
  • Does your tag line provide memorable new information about your company, or just sit there because you’ve used it for ten years and never thought much about it?

Even after the site work is begun, we’re really just getting started. Because once that website is up, you’ll need to manage it to keep if working for your business, adding fresh content from time to time.

So yes, we can help you build and design that new website. But with us, the site will be much more than new.

It will provide the right information to your audience at the right time. It will drive the right kind of traffic to your business.

It will also provide your potential client with a reason to contact you to learn more.

This is how we think at FocalPoint.

We position our clients strategically to succeed.

A Big Social Shift to Video is Underway – How Is Your Business Adjusting?

Social media is changing so fast today. Having worked in the marketing and technology arena for over 25 years, I realize it’s the nature of the beast. However, I feel like in just the last six months there of been an incredible amount of breakthroughs on the big social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

It got me thinking, if you are a business that isn’t engrained in social on a daily basis as part of your marketing strategy – figuring out where to start would be mind boggling. So much so, I think it’s no wonder that this uncertainty often creates paralysis when it comes to social media marketing.

If you’re a business you may be wondering…

  • How am I supposed to keep up?
  • What am I missing out on?

Most importantly, you’re probably trying to figure out what actually makes sense for you and what type of budget it requires.

To me, this very topic hits right at the core of any great client-agency relationship. You see, our job at Focal Point is to help you navigate the latest updates updates and put together a social media marketing strategy that actually makes sense for your business.

With that said, I am going to give you the quick, 30,000 ft. view with what’s going on with some of the big players in social media right now. There’s a major trend/common thread I see continuing throughout 2017 and beyond. And that trend is video on social.

Video Is Everywhere on Social Media

I read a prediction recently that suggested in the next couple of years, 80% of all social media will be video posts. That’s right, 80%. I can’t say I disagree with that. In fact, I recently wrote a blog post about how you can get the most out of video by using it to propel your marketing strategy.

There’s no doubt toward the end of 2016 and into 2017, we’ve seen an explosion of video across all social networks. More specifically, live video. Social networks are betting big on live video. But should you? I’ll get to that in a moment.

Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg has put plenty of resources behind the roll out of live video at Facebook and has clearly given preference to such videos in the newsfeed. We’ve seen many new features rolled out with Facebook live that indicate it’s here to stay. Further, more and more news channels/media outlets are using Facebook live to increase their reach greatly.

Facebook has also added more features for brand pages in the way video is delivered. This includes built-in calls to action (CTA’s) and automatic closed captioning features. This is big as many people view videos on social with the sound off at first.

Even more is on the way, too. 360 degree photos area already here and video is next.

Twitter

On the Twitter side of the equation, we’ve also seen the rise of live video. Periscope (live video broadcasting tool that used to be a standalone app) is now baked into Twitter and you can go live right from your Twitter account. Additionally, Twitter increased the video length to over 2 minute videos and media (photos and video) no longer counts toward your 140 character total.

While there has been some buzz about the future of Twitter…it’s clear to see they’re investing big on video as well.

Instagram

Instagram quadrupled its bet on video by taking the previous 15 second video upload limit and increasing it to 4X that amount to a full minute. This Facebook-owned social network also rolled out live video and a host of other features such as Boomerang and Stories (a page out of the Snapchat playbook) which allow for more creative video posts.

Snapchat

Speaking of Snapchat, the new(er) kid on the block is certainly making some waves out there. With over 200 million users and updates to its advertising capabilities, Snapchat is sparking some interest from businesses. And guess what – they’re rolling out more video features. You can now add videos to your Stories, send a video Note and have a video Chat.

Organic Social & Paid Social Advertising

It’s worth noting that this trend toward video is happening majorly on both the organic and paid side of social media advertising. Soon ads will be a part of most video experiences on social media, including live video. As more and more videos are viewed via social media and on the web, I think advertisers that have traditionally used television will begin to make a shift in their ways as well. It’s this simple: more eyeballs will be on mobile devices than TV screens consuming video.

So, What Next?

Now you’ve got a better understanding of this social shift that is taking place across networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. But what are you supposed to do next? If you’ve never even published a video from your business on a social media network, you may be overwhelmed with all of the things to consider.

Then there’s live video. Just because it is available and on the rise doesn’t necessarily mean it makes sense for your business. In fact, I’d say there are some things you should definitely consider before you jump into live video. All things that I’d be happy to discuss.

Let’s Talk

My hope is that I’ve started a conversation with this post. It’s a conversation that needs to take place if you’re at all in the game of social media advertising. And it’s a conversation I’d love to have with you.  Here’s how to reach me…

Brien Richmond Business Card

 

How Video Can Add a Snowball Effect to Your Online Marketing Strategy

Many businesses are oftentimes wondering where they should start when it comes to online marketing. Might I suggest considering a video production to get the ball rolling.

Why? Well, because the snowball effect of a great video can lead to months worth of solid online marketing strategy.

The power of video is undeniable. Video is proven to help with conversions on your website. Video is quickly overtaking social media. So if you have to pick one place to start with investing your marketing dollars; video just makes sense.

Taking the time to plan a quality video production is well worth the investment. If done correctly, a solid video can easily be repurposed for:

  • New web pages
  • A series of blog posts
  • Social media strategies
  • Email marketing newsletters
  • Podcasts

Sure, you could always start with the blog or website and work toward the video. But from my experience I’d say once you have the video done the other stuff can come very naturally. Just take a minute to think about it…

Web Pages

Once you have completed the video, it’s easy to have the content transcribed. With the written word, you can put together a new web page or series of web pages. This will naturally help with your search engine optimization as making the written content available on your site will give someone additional for Google to crawl and discover.

Blog Posts

Most of the time, you could get several blog posts out of every video you produce. Each new post could be examining the video from a different point of view. Or, if you’re really stumped, you could always do these series on every single video…

  • Why you wanted to make the video
  • What was the purpose of the video
  • Behind the scenes – how you did it

Much like adding the new page (s) to your website, creating a blog series is a great way to maximize the visibility of your video online throughout search engine results.

Social Media Strategies

The common theme among all of the booming social media sites is the focus on video. In fact, Facebook recently added a special video tab to it’s main navigation to make video easier than ever to find. Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram continue to advance their video capabilities and more and more the future of social media is pointing to video.

The beautiful thing about a well produced video is that you can chop it up into several small segments. With just a little thought given to sound bites, you can come up with videos to fit all desired formats and lengths. Now,all at once you’ve got a head start on some social posts that can be extremely effective in driving views and conversions.

Email Marketing

Ask any experienced marketer where they see the most immediate responses and I’ll bet they answer email. Email has always worked and it continues to work. Combining the mediums of email and video with a powerful message can produce some great results.

One approach to take here is creating a drip campaign that would highlight different parts of the same video over time. Maybe one week is looking at the portion of the video that talks about your company as a whole and its approach. Maybe the next week, it’s taking a closer look at who your employees are. You get the idea. In other words, a series of message spread over a few days or weeks that methodically educates your audience.

Vidcasts, Podcasts & More

A well produced video production, will also have some great audio segments that can be taken from it as well. Why not repurpose those in a podcast format?

The key here is thinking about all the distribution channels you have available and asking yourself what makes sense. Maybe you recently launched a podcast and your video includes the perfect soundbite from a customer talking about the work you did for them. Why not drop that in your podcast to help you get the most out of it?

Key Points

The key point out of all of this is getting the most out of each piece of content you produce…and doing so in a way that’s easy and cost effective. That’s where a partnership with Focal Point comes into play.

Not only can we help you plan and shoot a video production that will put you in a position to generate several weeks worth of effective content. We can help you execute on those marketing strategies and measure the results.

All it takes is a call or email to get started. So, what do you say? Let’s get the snowball effect going with your marketing strategy.

* Photo from Pixabay.com

3 Things to Help Engage Your Creativity

Most of us are stress junkies. Especially if we run a company or own a business. It goes along with a fast-paced life.

Stress gives us a rush and makes us temporarily more alert, which in turn, helps us achieve a high productivity level. But this stressed state of mind is not only temporary, but also very left-brained.READ MORE

Go for it! Trust your Idea.

Whether you are a brilliant entrepreneur, businessperson, author, architect, brain surgeon, or technical advisor, it doesn’t matter how brilliant and gifted you are if your work doesn’t get written, coded, built, created, or used in some fashion.

If you have a brilliant idea, but it remains an idea, what’s holding you back?

Stop daydreaming, planning, and procrastinating. Stop worrying about perfection, funding or selling your idea.

Push it forward without hesitation. Talk to trusted advisors. Find out what it would cost to build and market. Take the plunge! It’s the only way to find out if your idea has traction.

And along those lines, talk to us. We have quite a few success stories on how to get the word out about new concepts and products – locally, nationally, and internationally.

4 QUESTIONS EVERY BUSINESS SHOULD BE ASKING THIS TIME OF YEAR

Well, Fall is officially upon us and Winter is fast approaching. You know what this means – the holidays are quickly approaching as is the end of the year.  Yep, I said it; 2016 is coming to a close and 2017 will be here before we know it.  It seems like October is that magical month when businesses take a long hard look at what they’ve accomplished throughout the year, what they can wrap up in the last few months and begin planning for the new year.  So today I wanted to follow that up by sharing with you some of the questions that every business should be considering this year as it relates to a marketing strategy.

 

 

What Are Our Big Wins So Far This Year?

Think about the first 9 months.  What are the 3-4 big wins that stand out to you?  Maybe it’s a big deal that you closed or a social media marketing campaign that was very well received.  What did you accomplish that helped you or your business move closer to where you want to be?  Whatever it was, take a moment to think about why it was successful.  All too often, we get caught up in the day-to-day stuff and forget to take a step back to evaluate things.  And I’ve got news for you, if you don’t get this done in October there’s no way it’s happening in November or December.  We all know how crazy that time of the year can get, so take the time to search for those golden nuggets NOW and learn from them.

Where Did We Come Up Short?

No doubt, there will be some areas over your overall marketing plan or business strategy where you’ve fallen a bit short.  It’s much easier and more beneficial to identify those things now rather than at the end of the year.  Let me cover that again, think about and begin dealing with your shortcomings NOW rather than at the end of the year.  Sometimes we get too caught up in moving forward forward forward, that we forget to look back at things we might be able to easily fix now.  Maybe earlier in the year you were working on a website redesign and rushed things a bit when it came to the content development convincing yourself you’d come back to it later in the year.  Well, now’s that time.  Or perhaps you were thinking about getting some commercial photography work done for your new product line to update your online catalog, but just didn’t get around to it.   It’s important to identify these things now, and I will tell you why on my next point.

How Will You Make the Most of the Next 3 Months?

After taking a step back to look at your big wins and places where you fell short, think about how these things fit in with what’s left of your 2016 marketing plan.  What can you learn from these successes and setbacks so far to make the most of where you’re going next?  Your answers to these questions my change the plan moving forward.  Perhaps your original marketing budget didn’t have enough built in for social media marketing or hadn’t taken into consideration the benefits you might get from producing an online video to follow up with the one you rolled out in quarter 2 that was so successful.  While it’s always important to stay on budget, where you allocate that budget needs to always be open for review and discussion especially this late into the year.  And I’ll tell you one thing – doing things the same way you have always done them in the past is a recipe for getting left in the dust of your competition.  In other words, just because you spent X on a TV commercial or radio ad last year around the holidays and included that same budget this year doesn’t mean it’s in your best interest.

What’s The Plan for 2017?

Now that you’ve taken some time to look at the first 3/4 of the year and make sure you’re on the right track for the last quarter, it’s time to turn your attention to next year.  The good news is that by answering the first 3 questions, it will make building out your 2017 marketing strategy much easier.  Start by visualizing where you want your business to be at the beginning of the new year.  Let’s say the New Year starts off with a bang and everything is going great – what does that picture look like for your company?  Now, ask yourself that same thing about the end of the year next year.  Next it’s time to work backwards – what do you need to do to connect the dots from the most successful year beginning to the most successful year end?  Identify the mini-goals that need to be achieved along the way so you have nice, bite-sized chunks to tackle one at a time.  If you’re in the right business, answering these questions is sure to get you excited for new year.  After all, there’s no reason why it can’t be your best yet.

Answer These Questions NOW

I am going to wrap things up by echoing what I said earlier.  NOW is the time to answer these questions. I say this for 3 simple reasons:

1. It’s not too late to get back on track even if 2016 isn’t finishing the way you had hoped.

2. It’s never too early to start planning for the new year.

3. End of year/holiday craziness will soon ensue.

Need help with your strategic marketing plan?  Here’s how we can help.