One Word. How will you start 2015?

One Word. How will you start 2015?

The curtain is about to fall on 2014. Most people are looking back to see what was successful, what wasn’t and how to change that for the New Year. As you start making your list of resolutions for 2015, ask yourself this; are these the same resolutions I made last year? If your answer is YES, don’t you think it is time to change the resolution game?

You still have time. The ball hasn’t dropped. Confetti has not been thrown. Champagne bottles are still on ice. So how are you going to make 2015 different?

According to Statistic Brain, 8% of Americans are successful in achieving their resolution. Are you in the 8%? Instead of making a list of all the things you are going to do this year, lose weight, start a new business, and get out of debt or a million other statistically unachievable resolutions, how about you start with One Word.

In Q4 of this year, a wonderful person gave me a book to read called “One Word that will Change Your Life” by Dan Britton, Jimmy Page and John Gordon. And it has. This book focuses on choosing One Word that will dictate how you live your life personally, professionally and spiritually for the next 365 days.

No false resolutions. No unobtainable goals. Just One Word that will set the course for success for the New Year. And your word can be anything; Success, friendship, risk, forgiveness. But the most important part of this One Word is the One Word choses you. You don’t choose your word.

Think about your goals and passed resolutions. What is important to you to move forward in life and in business? Sit in peace and silence like I did and read the book. As you let your mind be silent, open your heart and be 100% true to what YOU want to do to be a better person and in floats your word like a soft feather landing in your open hands.

This is the first year that I am giving this new idea of resolution a try. I have set resolutions in the past. Some I achieved. Some I didn’t. But I think that if you pick a word to live by, try to become a better person in conjunction with and hold yourself accountable, any goals or resolutions along the way have a better chance of coming to fruition or changing and evolving based on new successes within the confines of your word.

So before you close the chapter on 2014, let’s ditch the resolutions and find our One Word for 2015. I’m game, are YOU?


New Year = New Importance on Video Marketing

Remember when MTV first aired? Well some of us will remember this. Some reading this may not have been born yet. The first video shown was Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles.

Fast forward to 2015. MTV no longer shows videos and content marketing is changing to show me to don’t tell me. So is video killing content driven marketing?

We concentrate on telling our clients’ story as marketers so they can connect to their audience and customers. But what is more effective? Reading it or hearing it from the horse’s mouth?

In this technology savvy, fast paced, instant gratification world we live in, attracting your potential customer base needs to be short, sometimes sweet and unforgettable. Video is the best way to convey a story and message in under 60 seconds. In 2015 this will be the best way to segment your marketing and track the analytics behind it to ensure you are reaching and engaging the different customer groups that will translate into sales.

Data and Video

If you are not tracking and analyzing your data as a marketer, you might as well stick your head in the sand. Knowing who your customers are, how they are finding you, when they are engaging and how to convert that information into leads and closed business is why data- driven marketing is now a standard component of marketing strategy and not the exception.

As marketers start using video more in 2015, the analytics behind it will track more than just views.  You will be able to see who is watching, when they are engaged and when they drop off. Video analytics will show you who your customer groups are and how you can create targeted marketing and translate that into real time sales.

Hit Play and Watch

Hitting play will be your call to action technique for the New Year. Did you know that according to Invodo that 70% of marketing professionals say that video is the medium that converts potential customers to clients and sales?

Yet only less than 10% are using video and video analytics to develop lead generation. Are you in that 10%?

Video will be used in your email marketing, replace content on some pages of your website, link social media to both and used for SEO in order to increase brand awareness in your marketplace.

You Tube or You Don’t

You Tube IS the main media holding spot for all things video. If You Tube is the Queen, then Vine is the Jester running in and out of the palace in less than six and a half seconds.

You Tube is a great way to increase your reach and expand your audience but other than showing you how many people viewed your video, there isn’t any other data collecting and tracking.

If the point of storytelling via video is to track what is working or not, than this is not the platform for all of your video marketing.

Lead your customers to the platforms you control and can see the data behind and still use you Tube to fill in your pipeline with a new audience.

2015 is all about show me the money and not tell me about it. You know the old saying; the shoe cobber’s kids have no shoes? Yep. I guess it time I start video blogging huh?



Why Brand Matters

Today, all you have to do is turn on the television for a matter of seconds or flip through the pages of any Northern Virginia newspaper or magazine, and you are instantly visually assaulted with a wide variety of quickly recognizable brands. From a simple swoosh to a familiar six-colored peacock, brands have been imprinted on every aspect of our lives.

With the amount of brands seen on a daily basis growing each and every day, as a small business owner, you might feel as if your brand might fall through the cracks and not matter to your business in the long run. But as a matter of fact, your brand does matter! We constantly refer to the three R’s of branding: Recognition, Reputation, and Reach.


Imagine trying to live in a world without any corporate brands or logos. People would be berating one another on a daily basis asking questions like “Who made those shoes you’re wearing?” or “What was that white truck doing at your house today?” But because of the brands that are on each of the products and services offered today, people are able to instantly recognize the company associated with those products and services. By creating a brand that people are able to associate with your small business, it works to instantly expand your reach.


If five people have an item branded by your small business, and they travel in five different directions, they immediately help to expose others to the products or services that your company provides – exposing your brand to quite possibly hundreds or thousands of potential customers that may not have heard of your brand before. For consumers, seeing a new brand that may directly pertain to their needs will spark curiosity about your brand, and will cause them to ask about it. Whether they decide to invest in your brand or not comes down to the reputation you build for your brand.


Reputation can be seen as a brand enhancer or demolisher. Customers rely on the past experiences that they have had while using a certain brand to form a positive or negative opinion of the product or service that you offer. One of the goals that your brand should try to achieve is to create a positive reputation for you and your small business. Working to create and maintain a positive brand image will enable your company to grow and continue to reach new customers due to the increased attention it will receive from new potential customers.

If you’d like to talk with us about tips on how to make your brand stand out from competitors in the marketplace, we are more than happy to share our thoughts and experiences


Determining Your True Social Competitors

When we talk about conducting a competitive analysis on your various social channels, you’d be surprised how often we get this question: But who are my competitors on social media?

Your brand might know who it’s competing with when it comes to local brick-and-mortar sales, but it’s harder to tell on the open terrain of social media – unless you’re being diligent about discovering how people are searching for content, products, and services in your field, and who they’re finding.

The good news is, it’s simpler than you think. The bad news is, you’ll kick yourself that you’re just getting started now.

Step 1 – Search Engine Research.
First, let’s do a little search engine work. Open an incognito browser window – one that’s not trained to come up with search results that you personally are likely to click on.

One by one, search for the top 5 search terms you want people to associate with your brand. For instance, for Simply Measured, I might choose “Best social media measurement tool.”

Record all the brands mentioned on the first page of the Google search for each word/term. Be sure to include sites/brands mentioned in news articles and blog posts that come up on that first page, too.

Step 2 – Share Of Voice Analysis.
Keep the brands you’ve found nested under the search terms by which you found them – so, around five categories in all.

Then, compare the brands from each category to find out who’s seeing the highest relative volume of mentions across all social channels for each category.
Relative Volume By Term
Now you’ll have a good idea of where your competitors stand in each category.

Step 3 – Competitive Analysis.
Take the top brand from each category and run a competitive report between all those brands for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Now is the time when you get to choose which competitive stats you’re most interested in.

Is it follower count?

Twitter Comparison - Total Followers

Is it engagement on brand posts?

Fan Page Comparison

Do you want to take everything in at once?

Competitor Leaderboard

Add your own brand into the mix for the competitive report, since it’ll be nice to see where you stack up next to your competitors. The results are often surprising.

Now you know where you stand!

As a wise man once said, “You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.” Get your trunks and bikinis on and know exactly what lies in wait for you on the ocean floor with social measurement that works, works quick, and works easy. Knowing who your competitors are allows for better business decisions and, more specifically, better decisions on social. What else can social measurement show you about your competitors? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Lucy Hitz, Simply Measured


Seven Steps to LinkedIn Marketing

Many see LinkedIn as a sales prospecting tool, but what is sales prospecting anyway … it’s marketing. Use LinkedIn the way it was designed to work.

1. Be There
The first step in the process is to have a presence on LinkedIn. Company pages are fine but LinkedIn groups are the best places to get leads because you can create groups by topic or vertical and engage people. Monitoring activity allows you to see how interested people are in you and your company.

2. Raise Awareness
Implement the perpetual promotion machine, in which you re-market, re-message, and then re-target. By doing this, you reach people everywhere, appear bigger and more important, get people coming back to your content, remain number one in your potential customers’ minds and get the most of your dollars spent. LinkedIn can help by providing relevant content to an interested audience.

3. Market for Leads
Content is a great way to market for leads. There are a number of things that increase sharing among content and engage those who may end up being leads.

4. Leverage Employees
Your employees can be a great brand army. Get them on LinkedIn, actively grow their networks, and ask them to share news and content to their LinkedIn feeds. Your employees are visible, and can spend time in your groups to help foster relationships at all stages of the funnel. In particular, this is great for grabbing attention at the top of the funnel.

5. Prospect for Leads
Find new prospects with the Advanced People search in LinkedIn. LinkedIn can help you get in the door, and the advanced search functionality allows you to search for granular groups of people such as CEOs at companies with more than 5,000 employees, or people who work in a specific industry with a certain job title, among a number of other search functionalities.

6. Nurture Leads
LinkedIn groups show you interacting and helping and having a positive impact on an established social community. LinkedIn positions you to be viewed as a viable choice. Contact leads via InMail. LinkedIn helps you take a cold call and make it a hot lead. But remember don’t act like a used car salesman, but instead to be authentic.

7. Advertise
LinkedIn advertising is still an evolving product and it is mostly used by B2B companies, targeting job titles, companies, industries and LinkedIn groups. Some of the major metrics, according to his presentation, are more costly on LinkedIn versus Facebook and Google AdWords, but it is still quite affordable. It costs just seventy-five cents to reach 1,000 people advertising on LinkedIn. LinkedIn advertising allows you to narrow your targets on a platform where many of your prospects are spending time and, perhaps most importantly, keeping their profiles up-to-date.

(This post is based on a webinar held by Brian Carter of Social Media Examiner.)


5 Tips for Improving Your Social Media ROI

Almost 90% of marketers want to know how to measure social media ROI, and yet calculating the social ROI still remains elusive to many companies. It’s true that it’s difficult to put a number on a “like” or “comment” or this thing we call engagement. And yet, engagement is the name of the game for social media. If you’re not engaging with the people following you, then really you should just delete your account now.

However as more of the buying cycle falls into the laps of marketers, we are increasingly being asked to prove the ROI of our efforts. So just how do we measure what we’re doing on social? Unfortunately the fact is that not everything related to social media is quantifiable. However, when you start to track what you’re doing on social, you’re able to get a much clearer picture of your ROI.

Here are a few tips to follow when developing a strategy to calculate the ROI of your social media efforts:

  1. Align with the goals of your business. Are you a new start-up and trying to build brand awareness and/or establish yourselves as thought leaders? Do you need to field a lot of customer service questions and complaints? Are you trying to establish a community through a social network? Do you want to use social to capture new leads? Simply put, don’t create a Facebook page just to say you’re on Facebook, but go where your audience is.
  2. Define relevant metrics. Once you’ve decided which business metrics matter most to your organization, you then need to figure out which metrics are viable and reportable. For thought leadership, maybe it’s reach and impressions across the web. For customer service, maybe it’s response time, and sentiment.
  3. Align again! Now that you have your goals and metrics, it’s time to establish a publishing schedule based on your content calendar. See what campaigns are coming down the pipeline. Sync with your PR team to see what announcements are being made and what publications they are working with. Talk with your events teams so you know what webinars and conferences you have coming up that you can drive people to.
  4. Social + Marketing automation = ROI! Track all your URLs. Create unique links within your system platform to be able to see which social networks are bringing in traffic and downloads. Connecting these systems helps your tools work a whole lot smarter so that you aren’t necessarily working harder.
  5. Nurture and build. Once you’ve captured data on the people you’ve brought in from social in your Marketing automation system, you can then put them into a nurture campaign and track what other interactions you’re having with them. From there you can score that lead and potentially pass it on to your sales team.

Social media is really about building relationships, and it’s important that among all the tools and processes you put in place, to always have a human touch.


Why a .3% Click-Through Rate for a Banner Ad Is Perfectly Acceptable

I have seen this blog by Michelle Eichhorn of Apologia Educational Ministries, reposted several times this week. So between me thinking the information here is really worthwhile to share and all of my marketing peers thinking it is worthy to share … here it is!

Back in 2007, Ford ran a banner ad that was a simple yet attractive photograph of the inside of an Explorer. It was a sleek-looking interior, and I could easily envision myself sitting in that vehicle, my young children safely strapped in the back seat. It made me feel good to just imagine that for a moment. However, at the time, I drove a year-old 15-passenger van, so a new vehicle purchase was not on my radar.

Did I click on the ad? No. What would be the point? I wasn’t ready to purchase.

Three years later, a driver crossed the highway median, hit us head on, and totaled my 15-passenger van. The replacement vehicle purchased with the settlement money was (surprise!) a Ford Explorer.

And that is why a .3% click through rate is perfectly acceptable.

Because what are the odds that at the very moment people see a banner ad for a product, they are going to have their wallet open, ready to purchase?

So, why bother with online ads if consumers aren’t going to click on them and purchase?

Online ad response looks even more daunting when we look at reality. According to Pew Research, in 2011 companies spent $32 billion dollars on digital ads an increase of 23% over 2010. Online ads make up 20% of all advertising in the United States.

Looking at those numbers, it’s obvious that consumers cannot possibly make a purchase with every ad that is presented on their screens.

What is important about online banner advertising?

It’s not all about the immediate click-throughs and immediate purchases your digital banners produce.

What is important is “potential eyeball and retention” PEAR. A key goal with online advertising is brand retention and recognition. You want to have the consumer seek out your product when they are ready to make a purchase.

Here are five ways your company can achieve PEAR.

1. Design banner ads that reflect your brand and keep your message consistent

If a single banner placement brings a .3% click-through rate, don’t interpret that as an immediate message failure. The goal is to repeatedly get your consistent brand message in front of customer eyeballs.

You may want to test several designs that reflect your brand and message, but with slightly different graphics or a different accent color. Then test to see whether there are any differences in response. Note, though, that it takes more than one week on a site or one appearance in an e-newsletter to conclude that a banner ad is ineffective.

2. Research your audience and be selective about placements

Who is your demographic? What types of sites do they visit? Do they visit blogs? Are they reading hobby-related e-newsletters? Carefully analyze your placement options. Don’t simply place an ad on a site because its pageviews are high. What’s more important is that the audience demographic match your product.

Study the blog, site, or e-newsletter placements you are considering. How many other banners are visible at the same time? Will your banner rotate with others each time a customer lands on the page? Are you the sole banner in the e-newsletter or is it buried somewhere near the bottom?

3. Use visual opportunities via your social networks

Study your blog, Facebook wall, Pinterest boards, and Twitter account for available visual spaces.

Create a Facebook Cover graphic that is a larger version of your latest digital marketing banner. When Facebook implemented Timeline’s large Cover graphic, a major car company used a photo of its office building as its Cover photo. Was the brand message that it wanted to put in front of consumers really a steel and metal building? Was the company using the same building in its digital banners and advertisements? Likely not…

Build a presence on Pinterest, and create a Pinterest board for your digital ads and banners. Pinterest now drives more traffic than Facebook. Do what it takes to get that traffic coming to your boards where they can view your digital ads. A board or two with your current digital and print ads is acceptable among your other, content-driven boards.

However, just as with other social media, you should also aim for conversation, not just repeated broadcast of marketing messages; you’ll want to have more than just promotional boards on Pinterest, for example. Don’t forget to disseminate links to your boards via tweets and Facebook updates.

4. Partner with key bloggers in your market

Do not underestimate the reach of bloggers. Some may not have the large number of pageviews that a business site enjoys, but they have engagement with a very targeted audience.

Banner placements on blogs may bring extra perks. Some bloggers will also promote their advertisers on their other social networking accounts. That may not yield direct click-throughs to your site, but it does get your brand name in front of eyeballs. Again, think PEAR.

Arrange reviews and giveaways. In a survey of consumers from March to June 2012, found that 84% of respondents needed to view the brand as trustworthy before they would “interact” with the brand, and 41% of those surveyed said being able to read reviews on social networks increased their trust in a brand. Nielsen surveyed 28,000 Internet users in 50 countries, and 79% of the respondents said they trust online reviews of products.

So, before approaching blog owners, read their other reviews and get a feel for their review style. How do they handle features they think need improvement? Is it a writing style that meshes with your brand? Do they blog photos of their family using products? In the survey, 34% of respondents said seeing pictures of other customers using the product was one way to build trust in brand.

When arranging the review of your product, provide the blogger with a graphic of your banner ad, links that maybe of interest, and product to give away. If as a result you attract 300 participants in the giveaway, that is a very targeted 300 sets of eyeballs learning about your product (and, possibly, looking at your banner ad).

Bloggers often promote such giveaways on Twitter and Facebook, and some even require entrants to tweet a specific message about the giveaway again an opportunity to get your brand in front of eyeballs and in the memory of your target customer.

5. Commit the funds and time

Two or three well-placed banner ads over the course of a year will get your banner in front of your audience, but it most likely will not get your product retained in consumers’  brains.

Unless a banner ad is so creative and memorable that it goes viral on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, you will need to plan on placing your banner ads repeatedly and consistently in front of your market’s eyeballs.

Companies are allocating a larger percentage of their ad dollars to digital marketing. Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reported a 25.5% increase in dollars spent on digital ads from 2009 to 2011. Your competition is most likely following this trend, so you need to as well.

Here are the five takeaways:

  • Focus on PEARpotential eyeball and retention rate. If you focus solely on click-through rates, you’ll miss the long-term goal of ensuring that consumers think of your product and brand over the competition’s when they are finally ready to make a purchase.
  • Pageviews and subscriber rates are important, but also consider the demographic of the audience. Sometimes the focus can be solely on the quantity of the audience and not the quality, but think both.
  • Review the available digital spaces on your social networking accounts. Are you fully making use of those spaces and bringing a consistent banner campaign, message, and branding to those available areas? Each can be effective on its own, but to have a collective and consistent message across social media spaces boost PEAR.
  • Partner with bloggers for reviews and giveaways. The quality of engagement they have with very targeted markets can exponentially increase the PEAR opportunities through their Twitter and Facebook reach. In addition, research indicates that brand trust is gained through reviews.
  • Budget for repeated placements. The spend on digital banner ads is increasing. Most likely your competition is following the trend, so you need to as well.

About Michelle Eichhorn

Michelle Eichhorn is director of marketing and events for Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc.. She can be found on the Web at and @eyecorn on Twitter.


Handling Negative Comments

Social media tools such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn are used to promote business and build brand. Many also rely on online tools such as Yelp and Angies List for third party endorsements.

These leave us EXPOSED!

Whether bad-mouthing a product via Twitter or leaving a scathing review on Yelp, unhappy customers or mischievous competitors can and will sully your business, often through anonymous accounts.

While brand-bashing is nothing new, the tools of the web and social media make the comments from these meanies even more lasting and impressionable.

Here are some simple ways to fight back?

Determine whether the comment deserves your attention. Some people leave outrageous comments with the sole purpose of generating conflict. If they don’t seem to have a following, and anyone can see their comments are routinely malicious, their venomous feedback might not rate any reaction.

Make a quick response your first priority. The longer you let a negative comment go unanswered, the more credibility it gains with a user’s friends and followers.

An immediate response shows that you’re paying attention and concerned about the problem.

Apologize, even if the customer is incorrect. A petty argument about who’s right and who’s wrong will accomplish little.

Plus most observers see silly complaints for what they are.

Continue tricky conversations in private. Provide an initial response in public, but move ongoing discussions with difficult customers to private channels.

Thank customers for their feedback. Treat any complaint – however harsh – as though it were constructive criticism.

After you’ve apologized for their unsatisfactory experience, let them know their feedback is appreciated and that you’ll seriously consider their suggestion for improvement.”

Be sure you follow through on your promise.

Remember … When social media attacks, fight back with kindness and understanding.

This blog was adapted from MarketingProfs

Keyword Research = Strong SEO

Keyword research is the backbone of any SEO endeavor when trying to create a page that is search-engine friendly. Using certain types of keywords will help businesses build websites that are not only optimized for high-rankings, but also designed for a user-friendly search experience that will keep customers satisfied and on your website longer. Search Engine Journal lists the following groups of keywords that should be incorporated into any search-engine friendly website:

Base KeywordsThese form the basic foundation of your Keyword Research, to be used on the homepage and throughout the website.

Secondary KeywordsWhat keywords are your customers looking for? These are keywords customers will add to the base keywords while searching, also known as shopping keywords as the customer has narrowed their query and is more likely to purchase. These keywords help Google identify specific pages and also help customers navigate the site.

Supporting KeywordsSupporting keywords identify exactly what a customer is looking for, and are also known as buying keywords. If a customer is using these keywords, they more than likely know what they want and are ready to buy.

Undeniable Benefits of Social Media

Social Media is a Worthy Investment

Social media is cheaper than most other marketing methods
Many businesses thrive while using social media, all without spending much money at all. Only a few promotional techniques yield a higher return on investment (ROI). Most of the costs of using social media involve design and implementation.

The most popular social media platforms today, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr and Instagram (in order) are free to use; the biggest investment is time. Building up a successful online network requires time; but once a company gains some traction, things often take off and grow quickly.

Social media results are measurable
Tracking social media marketing results is quite easy. One simple way the success of a campaign can be measured is by the number of followers, fans, shares, likes, and additional website visitors it generates. All of those can directly relate to increased sales and leads as well. At Conveyance Marketing Group, we take that a few steps further and apply our ECHO approach to measuring our clients social media successes.

Businesses cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity
In the past, having a social media presence was beneficial but not something that most businesses were doing. Today businesses that are not using social media are not only missing out on an opportunity but also sustaining damage because of their absence.

The domino effect of social media increases results over time
Consumers today are conditioned to share – especially the 40 and under crowd. When something entertains, educates, or inspires them, they are very likely to share that content with their own networks. That can be described as the domino effect of social media.

Social media content lives on forever
Yet another benefit to marketing online via social media is that content shared on the Internet usually lives on forever, unlike a one-time advertising campaign that takes place and then is forgotten.

Every piece of information shared by a business via social media is archived. Each interaction that businesses have with potential or current customers can be seen and referenced publicly for years. That is why you must be diligent in you social media campaigns. As long as a certain level of momentum is maintained, online social networks continue to grow and become more effective marketing tools over time.

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