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Marketing Tag

Good design + good content = increased readership

Outdated, confusing or convoluted design can greatly diminish your content’s effectiveness. That’s true whether your content is web-based, or a PowerPoint, newsletter, print ad, or social media.

But a well-constructed, thoroughly planned design can brilliantly lead the eye through content, illuminating key points, and facilitating understanding.

Effective marketers know that design and content are intricately linked together. They are also very good at understanding what drives human behavior. Because (of course), the nature of human behavior affects everything we do. And buy. Which means that to be an effective marketer, you’ve got to be focused on what will persuade your potential buyers to see, appreciate and “get” what your product/s are all about, no matter what format you are using.

Powerful persuasion is the point. And it is both an art and a science.

To get there, you’ve got to use effective design and psychology to engage readers in specific behaviors, leading the eye and the brain toward creating calls to action at the ‘right’ times.

Good design persuades users to engage with your product or content in the way you want, leading to a specific outcome – brand influence, product awareness, understanding, reinforcement, and/or the desire to purchase.

The opposite is also true. If your user confronts five pop-up ads, a long loading time, or a sea of disclaimers before they reach your primary content, chances are good they won’t stay long enough to be persuaded.

So how do you get someone’s attention long enough to present them with information, using good design and good content?

That’s where the true art of persuasion comes into play. You not only have to be good at understanding human nature, but you also have to be a good storyteller – on two very distinctive levels.

That first level of effective storytelling is a very central one. It is message and fact oriented. You reach your audience with Focal Point Designinformation specifically framed to reinforce attitudinal thinking. For instance, “This paint is formulated to cover colors better. Here’s how…” This is sometimes referred to as central route processing.

The second level of good storytelling uses secondary influence such as visual appeal, presentation and enticements like sex or humor to engage users on a more superficial level. For example, “Look how rich, colorful and smooth this paint can look when applied to your (drab and boring) walls.”

The best marketing uses both effectively, since some people are more drawn to having all the facts and want to know the “why” behind what they purchase, and other folks are more interested in having what’s cool and beautiful. Since most of us seek a little of both types of information, the best messaging and design addresses both as seamlessly as possible.

In summary, truly effective marketing understands what will drive all types of end users. The advertising messages need to be relevant to the consumer and easy to access and understand.

They must be written and designed professionally — in a way that takes into consideration psychology, design, and technology — to influence or motivate a desired outcome, a purchase decision. Because if one of those elements is missing, the desired outcome is far less likely to happen.

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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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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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Big picture. Small steps

Spearheading a new product launch or marketing initiative? Although all of us understand change is ubiquitous and needed, it does seem to be in our very nature to resist it. And that we all do, in big ways and small.

If the marketing launch you are undertaking is massive, here at FocalPoint, we recommend taking small steps from the gate. Here’s what we mean:

For instance, separating communication about the initiative from action. Start by outlining what’s changing and provide a clear “why.” Customers, staff, senior advisers and folks on down the line – even the voice in your head – all need that.

Follow that first step by parsing out a series of additional ‘bite-sized’ steps, and attach a dateline to each. This way, you can provide those in your organization with a chance to taste success one step at a time, and build confidence along the way.

Every couple of weeks, provide a status update and remind your team (and your customers, as appropriate) of the big picture.

Breaking any big marketing change down into smaller elements while keeping the big picture in mind can help everyone in your organization appreciate the ultimate goal, gain positive momentum and contribute to its ultimate success.

In 3… 2… 1…

You’ve got less than 5 seconds to pique someone’s interest enough to click on your link.

The first few sentences of any presentation determine whether your idea gets heard.

Studies show that each of us has to connect on some level with any new idea or product at least three times before we are willing to give it a chance with our pocketbook.

How does the information above square with your marketing campaign?

Here are basic questions to ask before you launch any new marketing campaign:

  • What need does this fulfill?
  • Are there typos?
  • Is the idea sexy?
  • Is the design compelling?
  • Is it this offer too good to be true?

You can’t blame your prospects for ignoring you. You’ve got to know the game and cut to the chase differently, faster, and most importantly, memorably.

Stand apart from the crowd in a way that is memorable. And timely. Then you will be heard above the fray.

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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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