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Marketing

What’s on your back burner?

When managing a company is your responsibility, a lot of important detail work gets put on the back burner.

So what’s simmering on your back burner?

  • Updating your web site with fresh page content?
  • Better utilizing social media?
  • Updating the navigation of your site?
  • Making sure your web site if properly protected?
  • Preparing trade show materials for your soon-to-be-released product?

Or maybe it’s larger than that. Perhaps what you don’t have the time or energy left to do is revamp your marketing strategy to bring in new business.

Interestingly, what’s relegated to your back burner can have a huge impact on the very thing that’s stressing you out right now. Such as your last quarter ROI.

That’s because when your marketing is taken care of strategically with a practiced eye towards your industry, your job gets a little less intense as your ideal customers begin to take notice of what your company can actually provide to them.

What you do

Carve out a 90 minutes to meet with us when the time is right for you. Tell us what you don’t have the time or the people to do, and what results you’d like to see. Give us your parameters, financial and otherwise.

What we do

When you say go, we do the work, providing you with feedback, details and a few fine-tuning decisions along the way. We don’t make assumptions. We research your niche and come up with several positioning approaches that tell your story to the right people — in a compelling and memorable way. We also adjust to your budget and your timeframe.

What we do is eye-opening. Don’t be surprised if we uncover a few fascinating things about your own rapidly shifting marketplace that raise your eyebrows. Or help you determine how your company can make the most of its sweet spot through well-placed ads in carefully researched places you may not even be aware of.

It all starts with a 90 minute meeting.

Say when.

 

 

 

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Your Partner in Strategic Planning

The end of the year is a good time to take an in-depth look at your company’s strengths and weaknesses.

If you hit your targeted goals, terrific. But if not, why not?

That’s where we come in. Because while you are the undisputed experts on what you offer, FocalPoint can help you understand the rest of the marketplace.

Having a research team at your disposal can help you more fully understand what your competition is doing and why. And shed light on the where your industry is headed, so you can get ahead of next year’s learning curve.

Once you know where you stand within your marketplace niche and what your competition is doing and why, you can more accurately plan how to best set and meet next year’s goals. For instance, instead of correlating goals with quarterly growth desires, they can be strategically set for the marketplace as a whole, carefully defining your place within that market.

Defining the bigger picture

FocalPoint crunches numbers with the best of them. We also mine external data your business may not have access to. Beyond that, we think it’s essential to look at cultural norms that may be shifting including the businesses and professionals that depend on you.

Unfortunately, strategic planning doesn’t include a crystal ball, but it does glean as much information as possible from the resources at hand, forming a 360 degree view of where you’ve come, where you’re going, and what you are up against.

Once that information is set, a marketing plan it determined that targets your audience in the best way possible.

That could mean utilizing seven different social media sources and a series of correlating radio commercials. Or creating industry specific journal ads targeting key buying cycles.

Or none of the above. It’s good to shake up the expectations and break new ground. Especially when the research suggests a fresh voice is just what’s needed to break through your industry’s ‘tried and true.’

What we’ve come to understand is that although are clients are the experts about their businesses, there are bound to be a few blind spots.

We can help fill in the gaps and help broaden the marketplace view. Then together, we can set up your 2018 for new triumphs.

 

 

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Adding Video to Your Website Can Bolster Search.

Not only can this be a cost-effective use of good creative work, but it can also help increase traffic to your site. By embedding the video directly to your site – such as on a landing page – you can increase search, keep visitors on your site longer, and increase repeat visits.

In fact, studies show that practically nothing beats the SEO benefits of landing page video right on your domain:

  • Search results found via a video have a 41% higher click-through rate than text alone and 30% higher than still images
  • According to a recent comScore study, “Visitors who view a video stay on average two minutes longer and are 64% more likely to purchase than other site visitors.”
  • Bingo! Combine high dwell time (staying on the page) with low bounce rates (see below), and you’ll have an enviable SERP — and an increased conversion rate.

That’s because videos tend to make your pages sticky. In other words, they help people pay attention to your site longer. They also tend to remember more about your product after watching.

The average online attention span is less than eight seconds. When visitors click onto your site and then lose interest and click away without moving to another page, you get a high bounce rate.

And that hurts your site’s SERP ranking.

Simply put, a compelling video on your web or blog site is a great way to make people stay. With that in mind, here are some best practices for adding video to your website from the team at FocalPoint:

  • Don’t let your video host monopolize your traffic. Embed video directly to your site. We can show you how.
  • Entice your readers into clicking the video with an engaging preview. Just give them a taste of what is coming up.
  • Use accurate video titles. Don’t deceive your potential viewer.
  • Add text where appropriate to highlight key points
  • Where to place the video is also critical. You want to imbed your video “above the fold,” meaning the imaginary line where users have to scroll to see additional content.

 Keep it short and sweet

In a world where even thoughtful articles get skimmed, videos can be a terrific way to communicate effectively. So, besides being enjoyable to watch, informative, and relatable, they should also be short and to the point. You might also consider adding closed captioning for those who watch videos with their sound off.

So yes, quality video marketing will improve the way you approach SEO to your website. That alone is worth more than all the search engine hacks, tips, and secrets you can dig up.

 

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Creating a compelling video

Videos have super powers.

If done right, they can engage, entertain and educate an audience like nothing else can. That’s because using visuals, spoken voice, music and good editing, videos can break through to your audience intellectually and emotionally.

Videos forge a connection and built rapport.

Or – not.

It’s just as easy to miss your mark, losing an audience by packing in too much information, boring them with nothing new, or coming across as out of touch.

Finding the right mix of intellect, humor and emotional appeal is a delicate balance. The magic is difficult to explain, but — you absolutely know it when you see it. And when a video hits the right mark, making you laugh or want to watch it again, your impulse is to share it.

And that’s when you know you’re onto something – when a video gets shared. That’s the goal.

So, how to create a video with super powers?

It starts with clear vision, a great central idea, and excellent writing.

Then the magic really happens in production. All the elements come together; music, sound and narration, timed perfectly with effective visuals.

In a world where even thoughtful articles are skimmed rather than read thoroughly, videos should be concise and on point. And off-beat, funny, irreverent …or charming. Humor can be very effective and memorable.

What’s especially great about video today is that technology is making video more accessible than ever. You don’t need a six-figure budget to create a great video.

 How to make your video affordable:

  • Talk with us, for starters. We do our video work in house.
  • Use simpler video formats. Videos don’t have to be movies with actors and special effects.
  • Animation is compelling and can be very simple.
  • Include video with other marketing services such as websites, landing pages and enhanced listings. Use it or versions of it in lots of places. That can help keep costs down, too.

Yes, Virginia, videos really do have super powers. So by all means, consider a video as a part of your marketing strategy. Consumers like video, use video, share video, and remember video. And that means video brings marketing power to your site’s SEO.

 

 

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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.

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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.

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Is networking marketing?

At FocalPoint, we think it’s fair to say networking is on the marketing spectrum. After all, it is a way to get your brand or name out there using communication.

 

The biggest difference is that unlike paid advertising, networking is impossible to control. You don’t know what is being said about you or your company – or where your business card or a friend’s text may end up. Could be deleted or thrown out. Could be put to good use. Who knows?

 

Of course, there is always a chance that it could lead to a key contribution to your work, or can impact someone else in your network, or become a customer by virtue of their sphere of influence, network, or present job. And yes, they could also screw things up for whomever you connect them to, reflecting badly on you.

 

Most importantly, networking outside your usual planes has the potential to broaden your knowledge, gain new perspectives in life and business, and maybe help open doors for someone simply needing help to build a new opportunity. We’d say that’s well worth the effort.

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How Hot Will Your Brand Be Tomorrow?

The hottest newest brand or brands attract a lot of consumer and media attention. When they’re hot. But whatever is hot today is rarely still hot next quarter.

 

Updates, fads and trends are coming faster and more frequently.

 

That’s why former hot brands like Dell soon get crushed by Microsoft. And Microsoft gets toppled by Apple. And Blackberry moves out of favor as iPod comes on the scene, and so on.

 

At FocalPoint, we think there is a lesson in all of this for the rest of us. As soon as a hot brand becomes exceptional, it’s hard to grow, move ahead and make changes. Why? Because the ‘wow’ is working too well for you at that moment, and it’s hard not to drink your brand Kool-Aid.

 

We think brand evolution and flexibility are the best responses to the ever-changing, fast-paced competitive marketplace. So we work with our clients to continually improve our client’s brand. Even when it’s hot. This is particularly true in today market.  I just came from a speaking event where the subject was in part how the product lifecycle has changes and you really do need to be reinventing your product or service while it is still a hot commodity.

 

We want to be sure our clients’ positioning re-earns attention and re-connects in new ways so it stays in line with what’s important to their customers.

 

We make it a point not to drink any brand’s Kool-Aid here.

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shake-things-up

Shaking it up

Do you want your marketing to fit in with everyone else’s? You want to stand out. Get noticed.

We thought so.

At FocalPoint, we know it takes real work to become a stand out. It takes questioning basic assumptions and trying a few crazy new ideas to create something different. Something of value.

If you have a vision that’s different from the norm and a passion that pushes you to move forward with it, here at FocalPoint, we consider that a gift.

We like to work with the movers and the shakers in the business and tech world. We enjoy working with folks that aren’t looking for different just to be different. Like us, they are looking for different to be better.

If that sounds like you, let’s shake a few things up together.

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Getting it right

Attention to detail is big for us at FocalPoint.

We believe in getting things right. The first time.

And – what we seek to get right that first time matters more than just about anything else. Like what’s really important.

Really important like…

  • Creating a product or a service you are truly proud of
  • Addressing a workable business plan that meets a real need
  • Hiring a team that cares about the dream and the details
  • Building shrewd creative marketing around your business model that will speak to your mission and your audience

About that last bullet point…

FocalPoint creates marketing strategy with an end point in mind. The tag line won’t simply be ‘catchy.’ It will support that business plan you lost sleep over.

We understand that there will be endless details to get right before you launch your web site and your social media plan. That’s the ground point where we work best together. Before you have something that you’re truly proud of. That’s an ideal place for us to be. So together we can create, double check, test, and launch with more than just a hunch.

We want to get things launched right— right alongside you and your team. Greeting success together after hard work ironing out what’s most important.