Business in the Digital Age – All Marketing is Now Content Marketing
In the world today, there are roughly 4 billion Internet users and over 3 billion people on social media. In total, more than three-quarters of Americans are online every day with a quarter of them constantly connected. Given these figures, it is no surprise that 9 out of every 10 businesses today use content marketing to reach customers. But using content marketing and having a content marketing strategy are not the same. For many companies, a significant gap exists between the two.
By recent accounts, nearly two-thirds of all business lack a content marketing strategy. Understanding the potential impact such a strategy could have, it seems incredible that some companies neglect this essential component of their marketing plan. Today, all marketing is content marketing. And in order to succeed, a business must not only have a content marketing strategy but also appreciate the best content marketing practices. Otherwise, they may very well not have a need for one at all in their future.
“A lot of marketers are under the assumption that simply creating more content than the competition will get them the results they want. I beg to differ. If Google algorithm updates like Panda and Penguin have shown us anything, it’s that quality trumps everything else.” – Neil Patel, Cofounder of Neil Patel Digital
The Rise of Content Marketing
Without question, the digital age is the primary reason for the necessity of content marketing. But its more than just having information at our fingertips that has resulted in this evolution. Though it is true that media companies no longer control the distribution of content, access is not the only explanation for content marketing’s appeal. Instead, there has been a shift in the expectations and preferences of customers that have truly driven this change.
In the past, marketing involved television ads, mail campaigns, radio spots, and more. But today, essentially all marketing efforts involve digital content that can be widely distributed in an efficient and effective manner. Why? Because customers no longer tolerate passive advertisements that are uninformative or simply self-promoting. They demand quality content that they can trust that also addresses their specific needs. This has been the real driver that has shifted all marketing toward content marketing.
“Content marketing is really like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second date.” – David Beebe, Founder and CEO of Storified Hospitality Group
Businesses Today Must Know Content Marketing’s Best Practices to Succeed
Does your business have a content marketing strategy? Is the content marketing you have effective in advancing your business? Many misperceptions about content marketing exist, even today. After all, marketing is a constantly evolving field that demands staying abreast of the latest trends and changes. With this in mind, the following offers some insights about how your business might want to approach its content marketing plan moving forward.
Make Content Relevant, Engaging, and Informative – Customer attention span continues to shrink, and time is becoming increasingly valued as a resource. In order to attract customer attention, content must be engaging and informative while being relevant to customer needs. Talking about what you want to talk about is a luxury you can no longer afford. Content marketing today must identify what customers want while providing valuable insights in the process.
Content Should Be Timely, Targeted, and Convergent – If marketing in the past offered a shotgun approach, content marketing today must use a rifle. Identifying your audience and target consumer is essential for business success and a critical element in content marketing. At the same time, content marketing needs to have a unified message across of digital media to promote both branding and customer trust. Divergent and inconsistent marketing content is certain to lose customer interest and faith over time.
Leverage Quality Content to Create Customer Relationships – By following the previously described best practices, high-quality content can be created. But at the same time, using this content to develop a relationship with your customers is similarly important. Use interactive content to explore customer needs and wants. Provide content that enhances customer knowledge, awareness, and trust in your business. And be creative in how you connect with your customers using content while potentially generating additional revenues for your business. These practices have long-lasting, beneficial impacts on your business.
Make Sure Your Content Marketing is Effective and Productive – While you may believe your content marketing is on par with your competitors, the proof is always in the pudding. Is your content driving customers to your business? Are they returning once they have used your services or bought your products? Today, data analytics and a variety of marketing metrics are available to measure just how effective your content marketing is. Knowing your ROI can help you greatly in developing the right content for your target audience.
How Effective Is Your Content Marketing Strategy?
For businesses to excel today, investments in a quality content marketing strategy is important. Many companies have recognized this fact and are actively engaged in creating powerful relationships with their customers through these strategies. And while specific techniques in marketing will continue to evolve, content marketing will likely be an essential component for decades to come. If you need assistance with your content marketing plan, contact us at Hashtag Creative today. As content marketing experts with vast experience in all marketing areas, we can help ensure your business is well positioned for future success.
When is the last time that you’ve sat down and evaluated your content marketing strategy (be honest, here)? Chances are, it’s been a while! And yet a great content marketing strategy will not only help to build new business relationships and create a sense of loyalty to your brand, it will also allow you to position yourself as a thought leader (or an authority) within your area. Moreover, a truly great content marketing campaign gives you the opportunity to sell your brand and to give value and knowledge to your target audience. In order words, a great content marketing campaign is vital to your success!
The thoughtful design and and rollout of your content marketing campaign is important to its success. Arguably the most important question a content marketer can ask is: why exactly am I creating this content? Put another way, simply posting new blog posts and sharing a some relevant articles that you saw on social media without planning it out just isn’t going to cut it. You shouldn’t create a piece of content without first setting goals, otherwise you won’t know what to measure to determine if it’s been successful! Also, the ability of your team to evaluate content marketing activity from design to distribution is crucial. Your team can use analytics to identify problems (and opportunities!) in your content strategy.
Let’s take a look at the TOP 3 WAYs to start developing a great content marketing campaign right away:
1) Clearly define your goals and objectives.
It’s going to be very difficult to reach your content marketing goals if you don’t know what you’re looking to achieve in the first place. Because different types of content work better in pursuit of some goals than others, it’s important to clearly define success from your organization’s viewpoint first, so you don’t waste efforts that don’t line up with what you want to accomplish. Take some time to brainstorm with your team here and work to develop ideas and themes for your marketing materials.
What you’re trying to avoid here is writing content marketing without a defined purpose or goal, and still hoping to see positive results. A recent article from Forbes on Content Market campaign points out that “Without the well-defined goals and strategy that come from a decent understanding of content marketing, your content is just noise — noise that neither you nor your customers will be satisfied with. Whether you’re cooking up a blog post or compiling a masterpiece for The Wall Street Journal, you need to know that piece’s purpose. What should people do after reading your post?”
2) Develop a content calendar.
Put simply, a content calendar is a shareable resource your team can use to plan all content marketing activity. The benefit of using the calendar format, as opposed to a long list of content to be published, is that you can visualize how your content is distributed throughout the quarter (or the year). This allows you to:
Plan content around key events in your industry or important dates (Do you have an upcoming conference to attend? Is there a holiday coming up?)
See where you have gaps in your content plan, and come up with creative and effective ways to fill those gaps with different types of content.
Ensure you have your content ready in plenty of time to publish on a consistent and regular basis.
Make sure that you have a varied and interesting set of content marketing materials (long form articles, short blogs, email marketing, white papers, a video presentation, a podcast, etc.).
3) Track and analyze your efforts.
How well did you do on your content marketing campaign? Well, without continuously analyzing your efforts, your team won’t know how your campaign did. Having a bird’s-eye-view of your social media activity helps put things into perspective.
You’ve already identified goals, developed your content calendar, and have started releasing your content marketing materials — now it’s time to make sure you made the right decisions. This can be tricky to figure out, because about almost half of content marketers are unsure if their social strategy actually created revenue for their brand. This is why having clearly defined goals and well structured content calendar will help. There are all sorts of programs and tools (including free ones!) that your team can explore to help track and monitor this progress. For example, Google Analytics helps you see which posts drove the most traffic, conversions and overall revenue.
As we’ve shown in this article, an effective content marketing campaign can be tricky to pull off, but is absolutely worthwhile to the success of your company. Defining goals, creating a content calendar, and then measuring and analyzing the results of your campaign will help you to stay on track and hopefully increase your bottom dollar.
But you don’t have to go it alone.
Let the professionals at Hashtag Creative help your content marketing efforts. We work effortlessly to create amazing content that will turn strangers into paying customers through social media, email marketing, blogging great content and tracking all your actions in a whole new way. Reach out to us today to get started!
In our modern digital age, it’s all too easy for your target market to become totally saturated with online advertisements through social media and mass email marketing campaigns. In fact, it’s likely that you’ve opened your email only to be inundated by a slew of ads and marketing materials. But have you considered that you may very well be neglecting one of the best ways to reach your clients? Yes, we’re talking about good old fashioned print media. Skeptical?
Check out these facts: A new article in PrintIsBig.com on U.S. and worldwide industry statistics shows that “U.S. advertisers spend on average $167 per person on direct mail to earn $2,095 worth of goods sold.” That’s a possible 1,300% return on investment- talk about an impressive ROI! Still not sure if investing in print media is right for you? According to Forbes, print materials and publications offer your customers and prospects “a brand experience that can’t be replicated online.” Here are the top 4 reasons that will show you the importance of print media and why it will make a lasting impact on your target customer:
1. Less print media in general means MORE for you!
Forbes notes that with more and more businesses relying solely on the Internet for their advertising needs, “the decline of print publication can actually be used as a marketing advantage. The publications are less crowded, allowing more room for your ad to shine, and possibly even cheaper prices for that ad space.” Think about that for a minute. Less and less companies are using print media because they only see value in digital marketing, but as we’ve pointed out, this a misguided approach that misses a huge opportunity to create and maintain new business by utilizing print media. But hey, in this case their loss is your gain. In other words, because there is less overall print media out there, yours is going to stand out even more!
2. It makes your business seem both credible and tangible.
Something about actually physically holding that piece of print media in your hands (whether it’s a card, a flyer, a brochure, etc.), conveys a sense of legitimacy. The prevalence of online browser popups (ugh!) and banner ads on the web can be a bit overwhelming and the fear of spam and viruses is enough make people nervous enough to not open the link.
On the other hand, there’s nothing threatening or particularly risky in a print ad. Print media items can stay in your potential customer’s offices or houses for months (or, heck, even years!) after they’ve received it. While many digital marketing materials are useful for a single purpose, the benefits of print media go farther than you may have thought, it’s truly a one-time gift that just keeps on giving! And not only will print media lend tangibility to your business, but it will also give it more credibility.
Think for a minute the feeling you get when you see Wall Street Journal (or your favorite newspaper or magazine) on the shelf at the grocery store; there is something to be said about the feeling of legitimacy that comes from print that makes you feel comfortable and confident in reading it. What’s more, print media requires actual real estate (i.e. it takes up physical space and can’t be closed as easily or quickly as clicking “x” on a web browser or hitting “delete” on an email), which is great for your business because a printed piece placed on an office desk or refrigerator at home will be there day after day until it is picked back up to be viewed.
3. It’s permanent.
Believe it or not, websites are often viewed in as little as 4-5 seconds per visit! To make it worse, studies show that 80% of people have never clicked on a banner ad. That’s right. Only 20% of the population will even click your ad when they see it online. Think about it: how many times have you picked up a brochure or browsed through a magazine while waiting in line at a store? We’d bet a lot more times than you’ve clicked an online ad! Printed media is a permanent physical object that can be viewed over and over again (Do you have a stack of magazines sitting at home on your coffee table, or magnets on your fridge from your local pizza joint or favorite bar?) When consumers save printed materials (magazines, magnets, brochures, flyers, etc.), they’re seeing your advertisement repeatedly. While digital media is forgotten as soon as the website is closed, the printed media is there to stay!
4. Physical touch is super important
Go ahead, pick up a newspaper, magazine, a flyer or brochure and hold it. Feel the weight, fip the pages, smell the paper and listen as the pages turn. Now pull up your favorite website and look at the digital advertising covering the page. Can you physically feel it? What does it smell like? Our guess is that you’ll perceive it’s presence very differently than a physical piece of media. In this sense, print media is unique in that it’s sensory experience. When you interact with print, you’re really engaging with the content on a level that digital can’t capture, no matter how hard it tries. In fact, studies show that we associate things different based upon our ability to touch and hold objects, so in a lot of ways, a physical copy of something is worth more to us than a digital one (this translates to money for your business!) So,
No matter how well designed a digital media ad may be, it still can lack a certain something. Having the ability to physically touch your brand has the effect of familiarity rather than the meaningless and often random click-throughs of a trip along the internet.
Your company should never underestimate the sheer power of a fantastic logo, but while your brand is more than just your logo, a logo is a vital part of a company’s brand; think of it as the face of your company. And though it may seem pretty darn obvious to some people why it’s important to invest in a well-designed logo, many entrepreneurs and small business owners don’t get why logos are so important, and that’s not good for business!
Close your eyes for a second and think of infamous golden arches at McDonald’s. What comes to mind? For many, it’s a mouth-watering burger, fries, a nice iced cold soda, and all of the wonderful smells and sights that go along with their favorite fast food chain experience! Or, think of the ubiquitous Lululemon logo that looks just like the Greek letter “Omega”. When people see this, many will immediately and positively associate it with their favorite upscale yoga and athleisure brand they love to wear. A ton of research, thought, and energy goes into the cultivation of these images to make them successful. In fact, “A company’s logo is its shorthand, a visual cue that tells a story of the brand’s culture, behavior, and values” according to New York based brand strategy firm senior advisor Su Mathews Hale in a recent article on of logo design.
Face it, it’s a visual world with an ever-decreasing attention span (studies show the average length a potential customer will look at your logo is under four seconds!), so your business’s logo design can be all the difference between success and failure. A professional looking, well designed logo will help your business build trust, and gain new prospective customers If, on the other hand, your logo looks like it was hastily designed in Microsoft Word, these potential customers may very well question how well your company deliver your business products and services. Let’s look at why a great logo will make your company stand out in a very crowded marketplace:
Help customers identify your company.
For new potential customers your logo will help set you on the path to success, but they first need to understand what your company does, and why it stands out above the rest. Think, for a second, that your clients don’t know you or your business yet. Your logo will help you connect with your clients and convey to the world what your new business is about. Are you selling software products? Are you running local brewery and bar? Are you operating a real estate agency catering to beachfront properties?
From the second you get your first client, your logo will help you define your business identity. So don’t just settle for a cheap logo template, rather, invest in your logo and it will bring you the customers your business deserves.
Draw attention and build trust.
When you’re starting a new business, it can be a challenge to get others (potential customers, vendors, or even investors) to trust you. And before they even try your product or service, they assess appearance (including your logo). Think about if you visit a website that looks like it was designed straight out of 1999, It doesn’t exactly instill trust or confidence, does it? You’re probably more likely to keep searching until you find a competitor with a better site.
In contrast, a great logo can inspire someone who doesn’t know anything about your business to start to gain trust and interest in what you do. It can also help build loyalty over time, as your business grows. For example, think of how seeing a Starbucks logo on someone’s coffee cup first thing in the morning makes you feel. It probably makes you want to grab a fresh cup of their coffee, right?
By designing a great logo and putting it on your website and other business materials, you’ll convey that you are a serious and professional business, and people will trust that. Also, because 70% of companies say it’s cheaper to retain a customer than acquire a new one, the more you can do to build trust, the stronger your business will be.
Differentiate your company from competitors.
In an endless ocean of competition, every business is trying to make the largest wave in order to be seen. Because of this, you have to assume that all of your competitors are working to have the very best logo designed for their company. Therefore, you need to stay ahead of the curve with a logo that blows the rest right out of the water!
Regardless of what industry your company is in, you’re going to find yourself facing some serious competition. And if you want to succeed, you have to make yourself different. While obviously the most vital way you can make your business superior to others is by offering the best value, products, and services to your customers, you still need a logo and brand that people trust and like so that they can associate it with you! Basically, you’ll still need to grab your customer’s attention, and you’re never going to get to show them the value you can add if you get lost in this endless ocean of competitors.
Your logo is a prime opportunity to stand out. A unique and attention-grabbing logo is a great way to set yourself apart from the competition and stand out to your customers, and get them to explore and see what makes your company different from your competitors and why they should work with you above other competitors.
So in a nutshell, a great logo will help your company establish an identity, draw attention to and built trust towards your company, and help to differentiate you from your competitors. But be warned, not just any logo will suffice. Like we’d said, a bad or shoddily made logo will not be looked highly upon! We highly recommend using a group of professionals who can help you design an excellent logo.
So let’s get started! Reach out to the team of logo and brand experts here at Hashtag Creative, and we’ll work with you to create a stellar logo design that you’ll love. We also specialize in print materials – from brochures to invitations to annual reports and everything in between. Let us wow you with design that looks great and reaches your marketing goals!
Having a killer website just isn’t an option in 2018: it’s a necessity. A poorly designed or maintained site will cause your business to not only lose customers, but money, too! Many businesses opt to design their own websites to save money and have more control, but most of the time they don’t truly understand the concepts of good web design, leading to a website that’s, well…less than ideal!
Let’s face it: web design is an art form, and a great website has to give its viewers a unique and impressive experience. Web design is meant to combine form and function in a way that makes a website fun, informative and usable. Here’s the top 6 biggest mistakes that companies make when designing their websites:
1) No clear description of what your company does or why they should chose you!
We believe that this mistake is probably the biggest one that you can make when designing your website. Why, you ask? Because once your page loads, potential customers form an opinion in .05 seconds (according to recent studies), and if they don’t like what they see, they’ll head over to your competitors sites. At the least, you should have your services/products in clear view as well as awards, testimonials,, and industry affiliates.
In the same token, many sites either neglect or incorrectly implement their CTA (Call to Action). Your website has goals and targets: sell products and services, market products, collect email addresses, promote a cause and other reasons. This is where you will want your ‘Call To Action’ to be front and center. A good Call To Action will get your visitor to take the next step (sign up for a whitepaper, newsletter, or webinar, to enter a promotion, get a discount off of services, and so on.
2) Your contact information is hidden or missing
Not listing your contact information is one of the most common website design mistakes. People hate digging around to find contact details, and the moment a potential customer decides to make a purchase or use your services is crucial. It’s vital they have your basic contact information the second they decide you’re the right company for them. If they have to spend time to to search through your site for contact info, they are more than likely going to get frustrated and head right over to a competitor site. Your “Contact Us” page should always be just a click away, or (at very least) your information should be at the bottom of every page: email, phone number, office location, and any other pertinent details should be listed right there.
3) Not keeping your website updated
It’s crazy how many sites include old, dated content. If a prospective customer goes to your site and sees that that last thing you’ve posted (whether it’s a blog or an update) was a blog article about your worries about Y2K, you’ve got a problem! Make sure to keep your site fresh and updated daily for best results. You just can’t afford the loss of credibility that can come from having dated content. Also, make sure your content is accurate, and if you should find an error, fix it!
4) Poor or weak SEO
Poor or week website SEO (search engine optimization) can mean that your customers might not even get to your website in the first place, but rather they’ll head right over to your competitor’s site because they had better SEO and showed up first on search results. This means that you could be losing business before anyone even gets to your website! You might be an awesome company, have some really sweet products to sell, but if we can’t find you, you just won’t be successful. Therefore, a well executed SEO strategy that leads customers to your site is absolutely vital. If nobody knows how to find you, and you don’t show up in a search result, then you’re going to have some real trouble building your business!
5) Not easy to navigate
Your website should be super easy to navigate. Period. It’s not only frustrating to be have to go back four or five pages to get to other areas of a site due to not having any type of navigation bar, but it’s also a waste of time. There should be a navigation bar on every page that guides visitors to other areas of the site. Position the bar along the top of the page or along the left side so it will always be visible regardless of screen resolution. Add an easy-to-find site map in your main navigation bar to give your visitors an “at a glance” view of every page on your site.
6) Slowwwwwwwww Speed
The internet promises us super sonic speed. If your customers can’t figure out where to go next quickly and get there easily, they’ll head on to the next website…your competitor! In fact, a recent study by Akamai Technologies, commissioned through Jupiter Research, showed that online customers will only wait on average four seconds for a site to load before clicking away. If your site is loading significantly slower than this, figure out what’s going on with your server speeds, and disable flash or other add-ons (we recommend NOT using flash on your website!), that may be slowing things down.
So, now you can see why we said that designing a truly great website is an art form. You could go the route of trying to do it yourself, but you put yourself at a very high risk of making one of the mistakes we’ve just talked about (and by the way, these are just the top 6…there are many more mistakes that someone could make!) This is why we absolutely recommend using a professional team of website designers for your site. They’ll be able to ensure that you have a site that’s fun, informative, navigable, and discoverable!
Why not consider the experienced team of website designers over here at Hashtag Creative, who will handle the entire process of your website design? We’ll begin with a site map, or blueprint, for your new site. Then together we select the design that will work best and complete the construction with a final stage of bug testing. We will handle and manage of any errors for 30 days. In other words, we’ll make sure that you have a killer website that’s sure to bring in more customers, and get your business more money! Contact us today, and let’s get started on building out your great website.
No matter what business you’re in, branding represents an important part of your marketing efforts. After all, a great brand creates customer loyalty, which helps ensure steady market growth. Likewise, customer loyalty invites new customers through testimonials and word-of-mouth marketing. This naturally strengthens your brand even further. But how do you create an awesome brand for your business? In a word…storytelling. At the heart of every great business brand is a great story. For this reason, if you want a successful brand, you need to tell your business’ story well.
Why Tell Stories?
As individuals, we love a great story. Stories help us connect with others, and stories also help connect your customers with your products and brand. In fact, over 70 percent of the information we retain comes from stories. In contrast, only 10 percent of what we recall comes from data and statistics (hopefully you will remember these stats!). Why are stories so powerful? Because they help people connect at a more emotional and meaningful level. Likewise, stories allow us to relate more effectively to a person or a product based on our own past experiences.
Unfortunately, most businesses fail to connect with their customer adequately in this manner. More than two-thirds of customers today believe companies are only driven by profits, and therefore, they often do not trust their advertising messages. However, nearly 9 in 10 customers state they want a more meaningful relationship with the brands they purchase. This is where storytelling becomes important. Storytelling not only allows you to tell your customers who you are and what you sell, but stories allow you to build real relationships.
The Basic Rules of Storytelling for Businesses
When it comes to storytelling and growing your company’s brand, a few basic rules must be considered. First and foremost, effective storytelling demands authenticity. There is a reason why many consumers distrust marketing messages. Businesses make the mistake of telling customers what they think customers want to hear. This is the wrong approach. Authenticity requires you to define your company’s mission, vision and values and allow these to guide everything your business does. If this level of congruence is in place, then storytelling becomes quite simple…and authentic.
The other essential aspect of brand storytelling pertains to creating an emotional connection with your customers. When customers feel emotionally connected, they are more likely to share your brand with others. This connection also supports customer loyalty for your products and brand. As a general rule, consumers choose products and services based on how they feel. While specific information can help a consumer make a rational decision, ultimately, it is how a customer feels about your product that persuades them to buy or not.
Storytelling Creates a Positive Brand Culture
Storytelling requires that you know not only your business but also your customers. In order for your brand (and story) to connect to your customers, you need to know their needs (even if they don’t). Great brand stories are able to connect the benefits your products offer and vital consumer needs. Likewise, great brand stories explain why your product is better than your competitors’ offerings. If your brand story shows your authentic commitment to meeting your customers’ needs, then the opportunity to develop a positive brand culture with your customers develops.
Let’s take a couple of examples. For example, Costco’s mission statement is “Do the right thing.” This mission is supported through values like accountability, fair practices, honesty and trust. These foundations drive everything at Costco placing customer value above everything else…including shareholder value. The result? Costco not only has tremendous brand loyalty among its customers, it also has a backlog of people wanting to work for the company. The Costco brand story works because itcreates a culture where customers (and employees) trust Costco to meet their needs. And employees happily tell Costco’s story along the way.
Similarly, Zappos’ story places its customers as its main priority. Through dedicated Customer Service Loyalty teams, Zappos goes above and beyond to meet customer needs. Because Zappos’ story is backed up with authentic actions, customers gladly support the Zappos brand even when their shoe prices may be significantly more than competitors. Here again, Zappos’ story supports a positive culture for customer relationships that breeds loyalty. When storytelling is authentic and tells a story that customers want to hear, the potential for tremendous brand strength and loyalty exists.
Tell Your Business’ Brand Story
Does your business have a story to tell? Do you want to create a brand image in which your customers will believe? At Hashtag Creative, we know exactly how best to tell your story and create a culture and connection with your customers in the process. When it comes to branding, storytelling is essential. Let our professional marketing experience and knowledge help you tell your business’ story. Contact us today at email@example.com.
May has just about come and gone, and summer is well on it’s way! The weather outside is heating up, and so are content marketing strategies! We’ve taken a look back on the hottest new trends in content marketing this May, to make sure that you have a full run down on what’s happening, just in case you missed it:
Nom Nom Nom…More Snackable Content, please!!
You heard right – Snackable Content – ever heard of it? It’s defined as “content or information that is quick and easily digestible.” The end goal is for your audience not to have to dedicate minutes to reading or watching it, which makes it ideal for creating visual content for your social media channels. Creating these “snackable” content pieces can also help with keeping consistent when it comes to posting frequency.
The importance of snackable content in content marketing can be seen in the success of social media platforms like Instagram “Stories” (as well as Snapchat), where you can post a quick video (even in real time) to your audience. We’ve also seen traditional content become more “bite-sized”, such as the transformation of recipes or quick workout videos into short video clips on social media platforms.
Reinforce your brand voice and establish awareness
Drive traffic to larger content pieces on website
Promote on or offline initiatives or deals
“Surprise and delight” your audience
Create deeper and more long lasting connections with your audience
In fact, that same article points out that the reason for the increase and prevalence of usage of snackable content is due in large part to how simple it is to create the content, and how easy it is for your audience to watch it: “Instagram is often cited as a favorite platform by social media users, and is a popular platform for business. A lot of its success comes down to its simplicity, and the potential for brands to create snackable content that allows users to dip in and out of their feeds when they feel like it.”
The article also notes that some of the best snackable content out there is creative and outside of the box: “Get creative and try to create your own visual snackable content! If something is visually pleasing and informational, there are more chances of someone sharing that graphic – which gives more visibility for your brand (and hopefully to like minded individuals).”
In our new age of digital art used for marketing, graphic design trends are constantly changing. You don’t want to be caught using last year’s outdated trends that are no longer in style. So in order for you to stay on par with the most current graphic design trends of 2018, check our list of the top 3 trends here:
1) Bright Colors are IN…the bolder the better!
Bright and bold colors are in this year, and look to be the strongest graphic trend of the year so far. “2017 has been a riot of colour, with graphic designers making big, bold choices,” says Shaun Bowen, creative partner at B&B studio in a recent interview for a fantastic article on graphic design trends by GraphicMama. He goes on to say that “Perhaps in an effort to inspire positivity after a difficult year in 2016, we’ve seen an influx of bright colours, often with flat graphics and only one or two colours used at any one time”.
In the same interview, Mireia Lopez, creative director at DARE, adds a similar sentiment that “We’re seeing the use of vibrant colours in juxtaposition with bold imagery,” and adds that “This can be seen as a response to minimalism and material design, from using white spaces and clean layouts to unexpected colour combinations and distinct varied typographical styles – and is across all areas of branding as well as digital.”
Another big reason that bright colors are so popular is that it
“…helps content stand out from meme-filled social media,” notes Nathan Sandhu, founder and creative director of Jazzbones Creative.
Bright colors can definitely make a graphic design pop. We’re confident that this trend will continue on be among graphic design trends 2019.
2) Fonts and Typography are getting creative!
Creative fonts and typography come in as a strong second on our list of leading trends for graphic design trends 2018. When it comes to designing and utilizing creative fonts and typography, the designer’s own imagination is the strongest asset. Creative typography can be combined with other techniques or used solely in the design: Things like cropped typography, chaotic typography, and typography with real life elements are seen everywhere right now.
Another way to add some eye-catching features to your designs is to use some bold or handwritten fonts. This is another trend that seems to come from the design world, moving away from boring minimalism as a whole.
Bold and handwritten typographies are will help your company to stand out against otherwise looking simple or overused fonts that your competitors may be using, and will help your written content to really jump off the screen in an eye catching way.
3) In a retro nod to past times, custom illustrations are all the rage
Custom hand-drawn illustrations land in at a solid third place on our list. Custom graphics are something that has always been in style, and will always be in style, because it’s so creatively unique and can be totally customized for each different business or company.
In the same article on graphic design trends references earlier, Nathan Sandhu of Jazzbones Creative says that “Hand-drawn images have been particularly big in 2017,” adds Sandhu. “The personal touch that they provide to branding and marketing is undeniable,” and adds that “In a world ever-more dominated by screens, there’s just something appealing about the hand-drawn that resonates with many.” Likewise, designer Dan Bramham of Greenwich Design, says that the recent rising in black and white handwritten graphics is a very interesting trend, and that it “goes hand in hand with the movement away from the very technical and a return to an artisan approach, which we’re seeing across everything from food to the resurgence of handicrafts, and the search for a more balanced way of life.“ Simon Wright, Managing Director at Greenwich Design, also adds that they are seeing more print advertisements than in the past: “One of the things we’ve noticed in 2017 is the desire to be more personal through design – a nod to a previous era,” and that “Clients sending a beautifully designed postcard or a hand-written letter for example; a return to old-fashioned methods of communication as a means to stand out.”
Looking to have some of these hottest new graphic design trends for your website, logo, or printed media? We’ve got you covered! Chat with the experts here at Hashtag Creative, and our designers will get to work to create you the best graphic designs that will undoubtedly pull eyes to your content!
Having a strong social media presence for your business is absolutely vital in this digital age where everyone is online and a great social media presence can truly help to make or break your business. But you can’t just set up a Facebook account for your business and then leave it alone, this won’t work! An effective social media presence means consistent –and quality– posts along with relevant information for your customers. If you feel like your social media presence is lacking, or want to boost it, check out our advice to keep your business on top of social media.
The Two C’s: Commitment and Consistency
To create and maintain an effective social media strategy, your team first needs to plan out an effective roadmap and calendar that contains all planned social media activity for the foreseeable future (i.e. the upcoming quarter, the upcoming year, or whatever time frame works best for your company). You’ll also want to make sure that you have a dedicated team of individuals working on your social media content, which can mean creating a new team or designating an existing group of employees to head up and maintain social media efforts, and then having them commit to your planned strategy, so that there is no room for error (i.e. long period of time where no new content is posted, and so forth!)
In a recent Forbes article on maintaining social media presence, Gina Michnowicz of Union+Webster stated that “if you have a small team, you can establish a light-weight strategy for social media management. If you rotate the responsibility between team members by week, it can be a good way to keep your social media channels active and give team members a fun challenge. You just need to establish your tone up front to make sure you’re consistent on your channel.”
Second, you want to be consistent in the approach with your social media strategy. This means ensuring that you are active on your social media platforms on a regular and consistent basis. A good idea here is to take a look at what your competitors are doing on their social media channels for ideas: monitor their blogs, their posts, and so forth, and ensure that you are producing the same (or better yet, superior!) materials.
In that same article, Kelly Samuel of Qode Media noted that “Many agencies haven’t completely warmed up to the idea of social media being a standalone service for digital marketing. It requires more than a post here and there to have an active community. Create a comprehensive calendar, mapping out which content will be posted when and on which channels, complete with social media copy.”
Be goal oriented and check results often.
When you’re designing your social media strategy, or if you’ve already got one in place, it’s important to remain goal oriented. Develop a social media strategy the lines up with your company goals and then clearly define your metrics for success. What you don’t want to do is dive right into social media without a specific reason and a goal that you are trying to accomplish, because this would be a waste of your time and would most likely not help to positively boost your social media presence! Take some time to think about how a goal oriented approach to your social media strategy will help with things such as brand awareness, customer retention, lead generation and sales, and build your social media strategy forward from those ideas.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re consistently evaluating and analyzing the goals that you’ve set. So if your goals were to raise brand awareness, increase website traffic, and get higher conversion rates, you need to actively monitor and evaluate how your social media strategy is working to help meet these goals. This means checking your metrics through software like Google Analytics, HubSpot, or something similar. Monitoring and evaluating your goals and KPI’s will help to show you if you social media strategy is working, or if you need to make some tweaks and try again.
Blog often, very often…but stay focused!
It’s this simple: if you want an effective social media strategy, blogging needs to be a big part of your efforts. According to new research study, “80% of people prefer a series of articles versus an advertisement; 70% of people agree that content marketing makes them feel closer to a product or business, while 60% credit content for helping them make better product decisions”.
Indeed, blogging is one of the most effective ways for your company to 1) drive traffic to your site, 2) establish brand identity and awareness, build trust, generate new leads and retain existing customers, keep traffic coming back to you site, and to boost your SEO and organic searches.
It’s equally important to plan out the content of your blogs and content articles so that they are relevant to your customers, and provide a consistent theme or tone. Staying focused is key here. Starr Baker from INK points out that “…business owners will have the most success with social media initiatives if they are very clear with themselves — and thus their audiences — as to their point. Being all things to all people on all platforms is unsustainable. Narrowing in on a topic that can be shared, discussed, and expanded on in both short- and long-form creates a path on which to execute and which audiences can follow.”
So there you have it: commitment and consistency, being goal oriented and checking results, and focused blogging are three big keys to a successful social media strategy at your company. This can be quite a daunting task, especially if you and your team are already busy on a day to day basis running your company! For this reason, it can be very helpful to have a professional team of experts handle all aspects of your social media strategy.
Your website is the focal point of all of your marketing efforts. It needs to be attractive, informative, and responsive to a laptop, an iPad or any other type of mobile device. Customers make up their mind within minutes of seeing your site, so there is no time to waste when making that first impression! Here are the reasons why your business needs a great website now:
People are judging, and first impressions count!
In this digital world, first impressions count. In a business landscape where people Google search before they shop, visit online review sites like Yelp before they buy or check out TripAdvisor before they get a hotel, and check-in on Instagram or Facebook as they go about their life, you want your first impression to be the best that it can possibly be. Starting with your website, potential (and current!) customers are making judgements and decisions about whether or not they will even visit your store, restaurant or do business with you. They’re likely to dismiss you entirely if they think that your website doesn’t reflect the kind of experience your business should offer.
No website means you’re losing business. Period.
In 2018 this should go without saying, but If you don’t have a website for your business, then you’re missing out on vital opportunities for customers to identify who you are, and what services you offer. If potential clientele are doing a search for your type of business and find websites to your competitors but don’t find a website for your business, well, then they’re most likely going with your competitor. Frequently this doesn’t even have to do with ratings or reputation, because by simply not having a website, many people will not even know that you exist!
Your competitors have websites.
Consumers usually start their buying journey with research and recommendations from peers and social network connections (Google searches, Yelp reviews, etc.). And research has shown that once a consumer has an idea of what they need or want, they’ll start researching online, and just over 70% of them will go online to find educational material, reviews, and testimonials. If you’re not staying competitive with your own competition, you’re simply giving potential customers a reason to buy from another brand, and you don’t want that!
A good website = extra local business + more global business.
Even if you’re a brick and mortar business, having a great website can mean extra business. Local clientele will often locate your website by performing searches online, which encourages them to give you business. If they find your competitor’s website and it looks more attractive or reputable than yours (or if they have a web site and you don’t), you’re going to lose business. And, when you’re mentioned in the media or on review sites such as Yelp or Angie’s List, you’ll need a website to help people find you.
Aside from new local business, a great website can also bring you new business from around the world. Since the information on your website is available 24/7, people from all over the world can visit and inquire about (and order!) about the and services that you offer. A website gives you a global reach to the international market for your business.
You don’t need to be a programmer or technical guru to have a great website.
When you’re ready for a great website, send us a message here at Hashtag Creative. Our expert team will work to build out a beautiful custom website that will drive traffic and help boost your business. When you contact us, we’ll work with you to create site map, or blueprint, for your new site. Then together we’ll pick the design that will work best and complete the construction with a final stage of bug testing, and we’ll handle and manage of any errors for 30 days. Let us handle everything from A to Z and we’ll even help get the traffic flowing to your new show piece! So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started on your new website today!