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After focusing on relationship building, audience targeting and creative messaging, it can be confusing when a consumer abandons their online shopping cart. Were they simply window shopping? Or, did something go wrong?  

It is estimated that almost 70% of shopping carts are abandoned. More than ever, marketers and retailers are teaming up to resurrect these lost sales. How? By reaching out to the consumers. One way e-commerce merchants can get in front of interested customers is by sending a message straight to their inbox.

Why are Shoppers Leaving Their Carts?

Let’s first understand why shoppers are clicking the “Add to Cart” button, but not following through with purchases. The folks at SaleCycle, a behavioral marketing company, conducted a survey of their customers and examined external data to better understand the phenomenon around cart abandonment in the retail sector.

The single biggest reason shoppers abandon their carts is browsing. They are looking without plans to make a final buying decision. These users typically abandon before even starting the checkout flow.

If we filter out that first segment, we see that more reasons are directly related to the checkout process on a website. Over a third of respondents say they leave items in their cart because they are asked to create an account before finalizing their purchase, which feels cumbersome. (Hint: having a “checkout as guest” option is worth it.) Twenty-three percent mention the cost of shipping felt too high or there was  a lack of shipping options. The smallest group said they simply wanted to compare prices.

Shoppers are also browsing away from the checkout screen because they feel the cost of the item is too high, the check-out process is too complex or too long, they can’t see the total cost easily, their preferred payment type isn’t available, the return policy isn’t satisfactory, or website glitches prevented them from finishing the transaction.

The good news is that most of these can be resolved! Some through design updates on your website, and some through touchpoints with your consumers. Enter: email!

How to Follow-up By Email

Before you reach out over a lost transaction, you need to understand why the consumer shopped, clicked, and then dashed. Consider doing a survey of your email list or social media feeds to see why your audience tends to leave full shopping carts behind. Encourage personal comments and you might get direct feedback that pertains to a transaction that was never finished.

Side note: Have a customer service pro from your team on standby to mitigate any unhappy consumer comments. This is also a chance to turn that sale around!

Let’s get to that follow-up email. When you track your users via IP addresses, they’ve already signed up for your email newsletter or you use mapping technology, you have a way to reach out to individuals that have left unpurchased goods in their carts.

The savvy folks at Shopify, an e-commerce platform for online stores and POS systems, says that many customers don’t mean to abandon their carts and that over a third of clicks from follow-up emails lead to purchases. Here’s what they think works in follow-up communication.

  • Remind the customer what’s in their cart. A website crash or external factor (like a crying child) may have taken their attention away from their screen. Reel them back in with a simple, “Hey, do you still want this item?” Or, play into your brand’s voice and tone, especially if you can be playful.
  • Encourage the consumer to complete their purchase. If the cart feature timed out or they accidentally closed the browser page, a helpful link that points directly to the shopping cart might be all it takes to complete the sales cycle. Don’t make them add it back to their cart.
  • Provide incentives or create a final offer. Here’s where you can use what you learned about the consumer to overcome their main pain point. Offer a discount, free shipping, guest account, or one-click payment method to make the transaction easier than before.

A fabulous follow-up email should be snappy, direct and well-written. The copy doesn’t need to be long, but it should be easily skimmable and flanked with the retailer’s logo, images of the items in the carts or pleasant imagery to entice the reader to engage. The email subject line should serve as a gentle reminder to complete the purchase, with a dash of urgency. If you don’t see results from the emails, make some adjustments or even try A/B testing.

Abandoned Cart Email Message Sample

Abandoned cart email messages vary widely among retailers, but each one we browsed seemed to have an air of humor and always focused on the buyer’s needs and the enjoyment that comes from having the product. If you are a growing brand, the education around your brand and products can be a pain point so don’t hesitate to offer a video or another resource to inform your buyers.

Let’s pretend we sell pink flamingo lawn ornaments. They’re super stinkin’ cute, so it’s hard to imagine anyone would think twice about this purchase. But, it’s possible. Let’s follow-up!

To: you@youremail.com

Subject: There’s Still Time to Get Your Flamingo Fix!

Dear You,

Our flock is wondering where you went? The 12 Extra Large Pink Flamingo Yard Ornaments in your shopping cart are ready to migrate to your lawn ASAP.

You’re one click away from being a proud flamingo owner. Use this LINK (or have a big button) to complete your transaction and become the envy of your neighbors.

Have questions? Concerns? Hit reply to this email and we will swoop in to help.

Sincerely,

Sarah, CFW (Chief Flamingo Whisperer)

Cool Yard Art Dot Com

Writing abandoned shopping cart emails allows you to get a little creative and be direct with your consumers. If you feel lost with your e-commerce marketing content, Volume Nine can unruffle your feathers. From doing an SEO audit to draw more customers to your website, to crafting copy that converts, we’ve got your back (not flamingos). Drop us a note.

The post How to Create an Abandoned Shopping Cart Follow-up Email appeared first on  Volume Nine.

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This V9 interview features Robert Lane of Buhv Designs, Founder and President of the Denver-based web design and digital marketing agency. We at V9 Digital would like to thank Robert of Buhv Designs for taking the time to chat with us about his vision for Buhv and his expertise in marketing a multi-location business online.

1. What do you have planned in 2019? Where do you see Buhv Designs headed in the next few years?

At Buhv in 2019, we’re focused on building for the future of multi-location marketing. Our goal is to allow companies to focus on their day-to-day operations and utilize our team to help scale and manage their marketing programs and platforms.

2.  Is there an ideal way to set up the online relationship between the corporate website and local marketing efforts? Do you recommend keeping everything on one domain or setting up separate local microsites?  

Great question — and one we hear a lot from potential clients. And to be honest there’s not a right answer, or at least not an obvious one. We feel it’s always best to keep it on a single domain whenever possible. With a franchise, or when companies merge, we don’t always have the opportunity to make that decision. Keeping it all in one place does usually make it much easier and efficient for a marketing and development team to manage the process.

3. If a brand decides to have off-domain websites, how do you recommend sharing corporate assets or setting up cross-linking? Basically, how much control do you recommend that corporate has over these off-domain sites and how much support should they provide?

It’s so important to set a brand standard for how to use a logo, messaging, personas, and more. There’s also a huge opportunity for a brand to leverage its site value to help a local or off-domain site. But they need to really be aware of what’s being published or represented by an extension of their brand. Again, there are many scenarios that call for off-domain marketing, but a corporate brand really needs to own it’s messaging and assets. All that being said, there are two major benefits that come to mind from off-domain sites:

  1. New marketing ideas and ways of using a website that corporate may have missed
  2. Additional doorways, links, and SEO value into the corporate site  
4. What is your general advice when it comes to managing third-party platforms like Google My Business and sites like Yelp? Is this done at a corporate level or by local managers? What pitfalls do you see with each approach?

Managing third-party platforms can be a huge undertaking for any marketing department, particularly within a multi-location or franchise model. The challenges that arise are related to scale and brand messaging.

With a company with 50-100 locations, scale proves to be a challenge because of the sheer amount of data, reviews, menu updates, booking systems, hours, etc. to manage by a single marketing department. Many times, that marketing department has 2-4 people at the corporate level, none of whom have time to keep up with it. Things like managing basic location data is easily achieved at scale with tools like Yext, but it doesn’t solve the other 5,000 tasks to manage within each platform. At least not in a proactive or timely manner.

The pitfall with corporate management of third-party platforms and location data is that it tends to get very “templated” and reactive over time. Which makes sense if you think about it. Imagine writing a unique profile description, setting up UTM tags, managing reviews, and updating location page links for 150 locations. You’re bound to find the most efficient way (read: cheapest route) to make those updates.

For privately run companies with a corporate management structure, there can be a huge advantage to having it managed at the local level. They know their customer at a deeper level and can be much more agile in using platforms like Google My Business to drive demand or create a buzz about their business. This is really hard to do with more than 10 locations or a very strong management team. There’s also the personal touch that can be lost when a marketing manager sitting three states away is responsible for “representing” an individual location.

Managing at the local level has its own challenges as well. Rogue employees, inappropriate responses to reviews, or the posting of misinformation can ruin a brand’s reputation. So then, the right approach is usually a mix between the two. What is required is a well thought-out strategy to implement as a brand, and a process to manage the many platforms and moving pieces that drive online visibility.

5. Tell us more about what you are seeing in offline conversion tracking. What new technologies are emerging that will help locations measure foot traffic, offline sales, and other online metrics?

Offline tracking is always the holy grail for digital marketers focused on brick and mortar or multi-location. It remains difficult — though, in reality, data providers like Google, FourSquare, and Facebook have this data in droves. They just have to be careful about how they use it.

You always have the tried and true promotions that you can reference back to a digital advertisement, promo code, etc. Those are easy to track if you run a shoe store offering 10% off, or a restaurant with a “free beer” promotion. But you still have to track it, and that is difficult with hundreds of stores.

As for the next wave of tech that will (hopefully) help this problem, here are a few to watch:

  • Using beacons to track Bluetooth enabled devices
  • Using device ID, device lookback, and geo-fencing to market and remarket to customers
  • Using device ID, device lookback, and geo-fencing to market to your competitor’s customers
6. If you could provide advice to a corporate marketing team for a multi-location brand, what would be your one or two best nuggets or tips for digital marketing?

First, pick a platform or focus on finding an agency that can help you systematize all of the “non-brand” specific marketing items — especially managing third-party platforms and location data control. Second, build an actual strategy, no matter how basic, about what digital marketing is within your company and communicate it to your location managers. Third, brand wins above all else. Focus on building a badass brand and make sure all of your multi-location “loose ends” are tied up so that you reap the benefits.


Robert Lane is a father and entrepreneur. He thrives in a visionary role with a focus on growth and thought leadership and is experienced in building startups, teams, and established organizations from $0 to >$1M in revenue.

The post V9 Interviews: Robert Lane of Buhv Designs appeared first on  Volume Nine.

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Your brand’s blog gets updated weekly. You’ve learned about SEO, crafted stories that speak to your target audience and follow a publishing schedule to keep the posts flowing. You feel on top of your digital marketing game, but something just isn’t playing out.

If you’re wondering why your site isn’t seeing an upswing in traffic despite following a calculated blogging strategy, it may be because your plan doesn’t target users at each stage of the decision-making process and funnel them toward your site.

Think of the quantity of content gracing your inboxes and social media feeds. While much of it is from your friends, family, and brands or accounts you follow – a lot of it isn’t. You didn’t ask for this random content to appear, so how did it get there?  

Your Next Step: Content Amplification

Every brand wants (and needs) to get their message out there. But just putting something “out there” isn’t enough – this is where content amplification comes in to play. By using the right methods and tools, you can figure out how to put your message in more places where more members your target audience are likely to be.

How do we do this? We crunch the numbers from behind-the-scenes analytics and look for consumer patterns so we can create a content amplification strategy that meets your specific goals. By creating a meaningful online presence for your audience that resonates with their interests and needs, your business stands out.

5 Content Amplification Actions

For many brands, posting a link to their most recent blog post, with a bit of snappy copy, is the start and end of their content amplification efforts. A week after the blog post was published, it collects virtual dust and pageviews dwindle.

At Volume Nine, we know more can be done. And, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to content amplification. Twitter readers want something different than fans on Instagram. We realize your audience varies depending on the specific product or service you’re promoting. And when it comes to creating messaging, unique social posts for each platform keeps readers engaged.

Five of the strategies we use to amplify content for our digital marketing clients include:

  • Influencer marketing: We can partner with popular bloggers and social media personalities who have audiences that mirror your ideal consumer to promote your content. Bring on the new wave of viewers!
  • User-generated content: Social media users love to be seen. We can use your content as a focal point to start additional conversations online. We’ll ask your fans to follow-up by tweeting with a specific hashtag or posting a pic to Instagram that illustrates how they use your product or service.
  • Email marketing: Need an e-newsletter? We can polish your content and arrange it in a tidy email piece that’s informative and fun for readers on your email list to explore. This is a great way to compile a week, or month, of content and serve it up once again.
  • Sponsored posts: One way to put your blog content in front of more eyes is by turning your social media updates into paid sponsored posts. We can tweak this option and run it in waves (TOFU, MOFU, BOFU) so your ideal buyer persona and target audience are addressed at various stages in the sales funnel.
  • Content repurposing: Finally, think of your blog posts as flagship pieces of content. We can turn segments of them into videos, quotes, memes, Tweets, newsletters or any other type of content you need. We believe in the idea of creating once, then sharing many, many times.

All of these content amplification methods funnel readers back to your company’s site, in-turn bolstering your brand identity and customer satisfaction.

What You Can Do Right Now

If you want to test the waters with a few quick amplification techniques you can implement in just a few minutes, consider these ideas.

  • Entice readers with preview posts. Tell them what’s coming up next on the blog and why it will benefit them. This is a soft onboarding process to get them used to updates on specific days or times, and gives you an opportunity to promote a subscriber list so they never miss another post.
  • Engage on social posts. Using your brand’s profile, leave thoughtful comments on posts from partner programs, influencers you work with or related businesses. This builds your visibility online for when you’re ready to launch a more structured outreach.
  • Think beyond the 9-to-5 audience. Start posting on a 24-hour cycle (using scheduling software) to nurture your customers in other time zones. This is particularly important for travel-focused brands, online retailers and global chains.

Are you ready to make your marketing budget work harder for you? The team at Volume Nine can help you amplify your blog content to an audience that’s eager to learn more about your brand positioning, products, and services. Contact us here.

The post What is Content Amplification? appeared first on  Volume Nine.

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When you log into Google Analytics and see conversion data, you might not realize you are looking at “last touch data.” You’re seeing the last channel that drove a person to your website, and that channel is likely the one that gets the “credit” for the conversion. In Google Analytics, last touch data is referred to as “last interaction data.” First interaction data (a.k.a. First touch data) determines the first time a user came to your website: how they got there and how they ultimately converted. For example, social traffic is rarely a last interaction attribution channel. Most people don’t come from Facebook to a website ready to buy or fill in a lead form. But social media traffic plays a big role in driving awareness, making it a common first interaction channel.

The case for different attribution models

Most marketing campaigns focus on last touch attribution, but you can track different attributions using Google Analytics beyond just first and last touch. In fact, by only looking at last touch, you’re ignoring common customer journey paths and the data they might bring forward.

For example, imagine a customer goes to a website via social media. They leave the site. After doing a Google search for similar items or services, they recognize the brand name in the search results page. Finally, they click on the site link directly and decide to buy the product or service. In this case, the last touch attribution model would credit the direct channel (the site link found in SERPs) for the sale. The first touch attribution model, on the other hand, would credit the social channel for the sale. However, the actual customer path was social to organic to direct. To which channel do you attribute this?

Google Analytics has attribution models other than last interaction and first interaction that can be beneficial. These include:

  • Last non-direct click. This model ignores all direct traffic and credits the last channel before converting.
  • Linear. This model credits each touchpoint in the conversion path equally. For example, social, organic, and direct.
  • Time decay. This model credits the touchpoints closest in time to the sale or conversion. In the example above, this would be direct.
  • Position-based. This model credits 40% to the first and last interactions. The remaining 20% is distributed to the interactions in the middle. In our example, social and direct would each receive 40%, while organic would receive 20%.

Google Analytics also has a helpful model comparison tool that compares the impact different attribution models have on the valuation of your marketing channels. But what about your site visitors’ other behavior that didn’t result in a conversion? This behavior is still valuable when analyzing engagement. Luckily, Google Analytics has a feature called “Assisted Conversions” to help you track this data.

The power of assisted conversions

Assisted conversions are the number of times that a channel appeared on a customer’s conversion path, but was not the final conversion interaction. In our previous example, the social to organic to direct path would be considered an assisted conversion because of the social part of the customer’s journey. They visited the website through social traffic but didn’t convert, then they came back later through another channel and converted. Though social media isn’t often the last touch, it commonly drives early visits to a site in a customer’s journey, making it a common assisted conversion channel.

How to use assisted conversions

You can use assisted conversions in Google Analytics to check the role a specific channel tends to play. In the Assisted/Last Click or Direct Conversions feature, Google Analytics will show a numeric value beginning at 0. When a channel has a value close to 0, that means that channel tends to drive more last click or direct conversions. A value close to 1 means the channel evenly drove conversions and assisted in conversions. As the value exceeds 1, that means the channel acted as an assist.  

Let’s use a basketball team as an example. On a typical basketball team, the primary goal of every player isn’t just to score points. Let’s take three core positions – the Point Guard, the Shooting Guard, and the Center:

  • The Point Guard is the person who usually dribbles the ball down the court to set the play. Their job is to coach the team from the floor and call the shots; they can equally pass the ball as well as they can drain shots.
  • The Shooting Guard is the person who can drain 3 point shots. Their job is to generally keep outside the paint and be ready to sink their shot. Generally, they may score points more than assist shots.
  • The Center is the larger person in the paint who gets rebounds. Although an effective Center can certainly get points, most of their job is to rebound the ball and pass it back out to their teammates.

When analyzing your channels, most channels both assist and drive conversions. And, much like a basketball team, it can help to realize what role they play on your marketing bench.

It’s easy for businesses to see the last interaction channels as the superstars of the team, but most basketball fans know that a championship-winning team isn’t about having the best Shooting Guard — arguably the Point Guard and Center are more critical roles on the team.

Now let’s apply this analogy to email marketing. Email marketing is a very popular channel for brands to invest in, as it has a very high conversion rate and great ROI. However, if you aren’t driving email signups through your other channels and growing that list, it doesn’t matter if you are sending out the best emails in the world. Arguably, the channel that is driving email signups should be as much of a hero in your marketing mix, because it’s assisting the sale.

Choosing your own attribution model

Remember that different marketing campaigns will yield different results. Certain attributions may make more sense depending on the campaign. It’s important to evaluate the whole picture for each marketing campaign you are running. For example, evaluating assisted conversions is probably a better KPI than last touch interaction—which is the Google Analytics default—on a brand awareness campaign. Using multiple attribution models can help you refine stages of the customer journey, evaluate the effectiveness of recent campaigns, and provide data when considering a new approach or campaign.

The post First Touch vs. Last Touch Attribution With Google Analytics appeared first on  Volume Nine.

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Publishing content regularly nurtures customer relationships, fuels lead generation and boosts sales. But, if that content isn’t being seen by the right people, your projections and goals will fall flat. Why? Everyone who sees your content isn’t your target audience. Let me explain.

You’ve likely generated a buyer persona, or a fictional representation of a member of your audience. Now it’s time to go one step further and embrace audience targeting by using data to define your actual, real-life audience, not just your ideal customer.

How Do You Define a Brand’s Audience?

If you want your content to resonate with your actual (not perceived) audience, and boost conversation rates, audience targeting should get on your content strategy radar ASAP.

At Volume Nine, we talk with our clients about their history of formal persona building and branding exercises, then ask additional questions about who they want to pinpoint with their messaging. We help brands determine their target audience by digging deep into Google Analytics to learn about visitors to their website, blog and social media.

Data ranging from viewers’ zip codes, gender, hobbies, buying habits and even the type of phone they’re using can be harnessed, building an accurate representation of the people engaging with your content. This qualified audience then becomes the centerpiece of future content creation, from developing ideas that are relatable and reaching the right people on social media ad campaigns, to building keyword maps and lists.

Example: Finding Yoga Enthusiasts on Facebook

We had a local yoga studio reach out to us to help locate folks who need more mat time. The business wanted to build brand awareness and bolster its presence in the community before a competitor moved into the neighborhood.

To reach their current fans and entice new yogis to try their services, we focused on using Facebook’s targeting capabilities to locate yoga lovers in the surrounding zip codes. We asked Facebook to send our paid ads out to fitness enthusiasts, especially those who’ve used the same email address to sign up for updates from the yoga studio and log in to Facebook.

That list of email addresses was used behind the scenes to build a look-alike audience of Facebook users who have similar habits to the established yoga studio customers. The look-alike audience members who like the same Facebook pages and comment on the same topics as those who’ve already expressed interest in yoga become warm leads for the studio’s campaign goals.

For example, we learned the established yoga studio fans like posts and pages related to vegan meal planning, meditation apps and athleisure wear. When Facebook complied a unique audience of fitness enthusiasts for our ads, they focused on people engaging with these specific topics, rather than general health or exercise demographics.

When we use Facebook, we often run ads in three waves. The first outreach is geared at a wide variety of people with interest in a specific product or service. Then we queue up a second ad that appears only to people who viewed or engaged with the first ad. On the third wave, we niche down and offer a special to those who interacted with the first two ads because they’re most likely to take action. This three-step process helps us identify our client’s target audience on Facebook.

Does your brand need help to identify, then communicate with, your target audience? Our team at Volume Nine is ready to work some magic with you. Contact us today.

The post What is Audience Targeting? Isn’t Everyone My Audience? appeared first on  Volume Nine.

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Seeing someone similar to yourself in the videos and blog posts you consume is validating and relatable. It helps you imagine sharing laughs with your group of friends in that trendy new hotel bar or how yoga pants might actually look when you perfect a downward-facing dog.

Brands, more than ever, are becoming intentional about including scenarios and visuals that closely mirror their actual, not perceived, audience and fans.

What is Inclusion and Diversity?

The longstanding definition of diversity in marketing as being gender and race-inclusive is outdated, according to the Guide to Diversity and Inclusion in Modern Advertising from Maryville University in Missouri. Today diversity has many facets. Inclusion ensures that these diverse populations feel accurately represented.

Visit the local shopping center or public transportation station. You’ll notice a melting pot of ages, races, genders, health conditions, sizes, hair colors, economic statuses, clothing styles and people displaying their religious preferences at every turn. This sampling of diversity reflects our society at large, exactly where we are in this moment.

Shouldn’t our marketing pieces do the same?

Stock photo agency Shutterstock has conducted research about how society, culture and people are represented in visuals for the past three years. In October 2018 they partnered with Censuswide to question 2,500 marketers across the globe about how they select and use photos in their content. Here are a few insights that stood out:

  • 88 percent of Generation X and 90 percent of Millennials believe “a diverse representation in their campaigns” help a brand’s reputation
  • Over the previous year, the marketers started including images that featured same-sex couples as well as transgendered, disabled and gender fluid models.
  • The motivators for including a diverse population in the marketing campaigns revolved around eliciting emotional reactions, sharability of images, representation of modern society and connecting to the brand message.

The research concluded that there’s room to use more diverse images in campaigns to accurately reflect modern society. But, why?

The Importance of Being Inclusive

As digital marketing professionals, we strive each day to create content that speaks to the audiences of the brands we represent. The messaging must be authentic to people’s experiences and relatable on a personal level. The most effective way to do this is by weaving real-life situations and imagery into our campaign strategies. Following generic buyer personas and bare-bones demographics are short-sighted.

Without accurately representing consumers, fans, readers and audiences, there’s no reason to create digital content. If we don’t speak to the actual people who are browsing websites, clicking on shopping links and reading blog posts, we’re ignoring the power and purpose of connecting through digital communications.

At Volume Nine, we’ve partnered with some amazing brands that champion the status quo and offer their real readers, inclusive advice and genuine awareness.

Aspen Snowmass // Give A Flake - YouTube

These Brands Excel at Representing Diversity

In our partnership with Jim’s Formal Wear, we embraced and acknowledged the increase in same-sex marriages by offering gay couples advice for planning their big day in a blog post titled Same-Sex Wedding Formal Wear Tips. All brides and grooms seek information to enhance their engagement and wedding planning experience, and Jim’s Formal Wear is always the helm to help.

Aspen Snowmass recently launched their Give a Flake campaign geared at creating awareness around environmental sustainability, breaking barriers, equality for all and LGBTQ rights. They also host Gay Ski Week annually to celebrate diversity on the slopes.

We’re also proud to be part of a2 Milk®‘s initiative to create awareness and acceptance for those who have health concerns or need to follow a specific diet. And then there’s Swift Passport. In the coming year, they’re publishing blog posts that focus on travel for single parents and LGBTQ couples.

It’s really an exciting time in content creation. A focus on diversity and inclusion is at the forefront of our digital marketing campaigns and ideation strategies. Why? Authentic audience targeting matters to us and the brands we work with each day.

Is your business looking for a new digital marketing strategy that speaks directly to your audience? Volume Nine is ready to help! Contact us today to learn more.

 

The post What Does Diversity and Inclusion Look Like in Digital Marketing? appeared first on  Volume Nine.

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Filling your lungs with fresh air as you gaze at Mother Nature’s handiwork is exhilarating. We love feeling the Earth beneath our feet and sharing how to enhance those experiences.

Today we’re reflecting on what’s coming up in the year ahead for digital marketers who represent the outdoor brands that take our adventures to the next level. We’re discussing pain points and how to revolve them; digital content trends and staying relevant to our audiences and are opening up about who we should target in our upcoming campaigns to be effective.

It’s an eye-opening, validating conversation with many actionable takeaways that we hope will inspire your approach to outdoor marketing in the year ahead too.

Meet Our the Roundtable Guests

We gathered insight from a handful of marketing professionals who spend their days thinking about the outdoors — absorbing it, preserving it and sharing it with others.

Danielle Kristmanson, Principal + Creative Director at Origin

Danielle has worked with some of the biggest players in the mountain sport and tourism industries. With strong insights into brand and consumer engagement, Origin’s creative leader oversees the brand development and creative by-products of multi-channel campaigns and strategies for all of Origin’s clients. A sought-after speaker, an avid snowboarder and mountain biker, and with a client list that reads like the who’s who of outdoor sports means Danielle’s “downtime” is spent traveling to some of the best mountain destinations around.

 

Harriet Riley, Lead Digital Content Strategist at Nemo Design

A creative strategic thinker with an instinct for the next, Harriet Riley crafts savvy plans to bring ideas to life in the digital realm. As Lead Digital Content Strategist at Nemo Design, her approach isn’t just throwing another ad in people’s feed. She seeks to add value to the platforms, ignite conversations, and create more possibilities for people to engage. If you give consumers a path and reason, they’ll come to brands on their own term for the long term.

 

Brian Lich, Senior SEO Specialist at Volume Nine

My name is Brian Lich and I’m a Senior SEO Specialist with Volume Nine, located in Denver, Colorado. At V9, we work specifically to help companies ‘Turn Up Their Brand’, so to speak. Essentially, it’s our way of helping outdoor brands play above the online noise, by aligning all channels toward a singular goal and cutting through the clutter.

 

Crystal Stewart, Vice President of Booyah

Crystal Stewart launched her career in travel and outdoors 14 years ago at a Destination Marketing Organization. She has since expanded her marketing and media prowess across all aspects of outdoors over the past 11 years at Booyah. Her experience spans outdoor gear brands, outfitters, National Parks, ski resorts, and more. Her passion for the outdoors and love for travel keep her loyal to this industry for life.

And now, on to our three-part discussion!

Brands Have Pain Points

Q1: As the outdoor industry evolves, there should be some common recurring issues that emerge. Can you share a handful of the most common concerns outdoor brands face within this competitive market?

Crystal, Q1: Understanding of goals and ultimately where marketing focus should weigh most heavily. Most commonly, brand marketers do not have a knowledge of their customer retention rate, ways to re-engage their customers and ultimately drive higher loyalty and customer lifetime value.

Harriet, Q1: From a marketing and advertising perspective, the key recurring issue is having to make quick, game-time decisions with an outdated understanding of the market. We have the data that proves there’s an influx of new outdoor participants and the corresponding demographics. Yet, we lack compassion and storytelling around these new individuals. We don’t have a clear picture of why they are coming into the space, what they are seeking from outdoor brand and how they find them. Every brand is left to understand and fend for themselves.

Here are three main concerns I often tackle with clients:

Representation: Brands have to choose who to represent in the marketing material. Until recently, this choice has been relatively simple, as it’s often mirroring the brands strategic target. If you’re selling skis, show a skier using them. Better yet, show a competitive athlete using them. These days, it’s a bit more difficult because brands have been pushed to the front line of culture. Here, they’re being pressured to use their voice and market presence to get up and outside of themselves – by galvanizing a bigger cultural issues that surround their brand/product/business. We’ve seen many brands edge into women’s and minority marketing, which has been awesome to see but it does beg the question: is it a true stance, or just marketing for marketing sake? It’s clear that getting outside of the high earning, single income, Caucasian household narrative is enough to be differentiated, but where does it go from there? These are the kind of questions that are a concern to the Outdoor industry, for one misstep can lead to a proper thumble in the marketplace. Diversity and inclusion are too big of marketing issues today for the Outdoor industry to ignore.

Copy: A second concern for outdoor brands is copy. From headlines to CTA’s, almost all brands sound the same. I believe this is because all copy is still written for that long-standing strategic target. If we can evolve who we represent in the marketing material, then perhaps we’ll also evolve the way we speak to them. I am not simply pointing to a language translation or a change of tone. I mean, everything that copy is responsible for – attracting us, helping us, indulging us… it’s just as important to speak someone’s language as it is to show them.

Ecosystem: A third concern is the ecosystem a brand creates for its community. Right now, almost all brands have look-a-like ecosystems that tend to be very clunky. Newcomer brands are bringing with them exceptional UX/UI, SEM, CRM, etc that make the older brands feel really…old. Just as much as Outdoor brands need to heavily consider who they represent and how they talk to them, they also need to be thinking about providing a frictionless experience.

Brian, Q1: Developing a successful approach for Amazon is an immediate pain point which comes to mind. For some brands, this may seem like a no-brainer, but Amazon Marketplace is not always a good fit. We find ourselves approaching this issue often and we’re confident it’s felt by many brands within the Outdoor Industry.

Danielle, Q1: The biggest issues—and frankly they are ones that the industry has been giving lip service to for many years—are accessibility and inclusivity. Presenting the outdoors as a challenge or threat to be conquered was a mechanism for performance brands to showcase their technical product. Their successes resulted in most outdoor brands adopting that same technique, and as a result the outdoors is generally presented as in inaccessible place that requires special skills, knowledge, guidance and gear. This has begun to change in recent years with challenger brands adopting different approaches. On the inclusivity front, the “whiteness” of outdoor participants was identified over a decade ago as a barrier to growth. Representing ethnic and gender diversity has become a priority in outdoor sport marketing, but so often it feels forced.

Q2: What solutions or strategies have you found to be successful in alleviating these problems?

Crystal, Q2: Building a cohesive omnichannel strategy that focuses on the entire customer journey and loyalty loop. Benchmarking new versus repeat customers and applying ad strategic targeting approach for driving repeat purchases and booting average order value of repeat purchasers. Likewise,having unique goals associated to each channel and where consumers are with their loyalty level. For example, understanding the potential higher ROI of marketplaces such as Amazon or retail sales velocity of 3rd party retailers and weighing against the cons of missing personal customer data. A smart marketing approach have a balance of all of these platforms and incorporate strategies for building a brands direct to consumer relationship and loyalty through direct site buys and email sign-up.

Harriet, Q2: Data-driven insights: Getting in front of real people is often time-consuming, difficult and expensive. This is why I think many brands start to revert to their own experience and intuition. I strongly believe that we should be paying attention to the online conversation to uplevel key insights… it’s a great way to peg away at producing original content.

Targeted Creative: Focus on one big content shoot with a variety of talent. Take the time in post-production to break up the content pieces, pair it with tailored messaging and put it on the right platform. Just because there’s diversity in the market, doesn’t mean that each segment needs its own shoot.

Redesigning the online experience: Optimize all web experience to be a 1-3 click process that is super easy and simple to navigate. Capture sales by making it easier to make the purchase.

Brian, Q2: Being methodical and diligent, while ignoring a one-size-fits-all approach to Amazon.

Danielle, Q2: This year Origin produced a short film for Canadian outdoor retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op (Canada’s version of REI), called Facing Sunrise.  The film featured the story of a 40-year-old Muslim woman’s introduction to hiking and camping. During production, skeptics suggested that it “wasn’t mountain enough” to attract the audiences we were looking for. The project was vindicated when it won “Best Short Film” at this year’s Banff Film Festival. I think that win speaks to the type of stories that outdoor sport audiences are now looking for.

Digital Content Trends

Q1: Where do you see marketing for the outdoor brands industry trending in 2019 in terms of messaging context and publishing formats for digital content?

Crystal, Q1: Maintaining brand and price consistency across all platforms and distribution points is important to consumers and partner retailers. For example, we recently took over a winter outdoor gear brands Amazon presence and paid digital marketing programs. Our first work of order was to get Amazon listings optimized and pricing in-line with their website to get a true gauge of performance, unbiased by price. The result of having price control alone

led to them selling out of product on Amazon and their website. What happened following was a pleasant surprise to all of us – the brick and mortar stores that historically denied their product because of price concerns started surfacing and ordering their product. The echo effect of

sales across Amazon, their site and brick and mortar led to two complete restocks from their production facility and with still 2 months left of the season, we’re almost out of product again.

Harriet, Q1: Individualism: Stop speaking to everyone the same way. We don’t all want to get to the same mountain top or bomb the backcountry. Some of us just want real premium gear for the adventure ahead, because none of us now where we’re going, who we’ll meet or where it’ll all take us.

Creative techniques: The outdoor industry is plagued with Kodak moments. Look at how the fashion and music industry have evolved to using creative techniques like glitch, vaporwave, etc to break through. We should be exploring these kind of creative solutions.

Color: We love black and white in the Outdoors. It shows how powerful and timeliness the industry really is,  But then brands like Fjallraven and Topo designs, Hydro Flask show up and really stand out with their use of bright color pops. We should all be exploring these different areas.

Brian, Q1: It’s seemingly been a trend for the past few years, but video marketing is here to stay. Making this approach cost-efficient is a challenge and we’re working to improve. Additionally, we’ve seen the industry embrace change, welcome diversity and encourage advocacy amongst customers. Channeling this into a digital marketing approach, we’ve stayed conscious that not all outdoor consumers want to climb Everest, but rather, many simply want functioning equipment that performs well in a variety of conditions.

Danielle, Q1: As marketers we intuitively understand that context matters when we’re looking at media. Beer ads work during a Super Bowl broadcast, designer clothing ads work in fashion magazines, ski gear ads work on outdoor sport websites. What’s driving me crazy right now with marketers buying programmatic digital media placements, is that so many of them appear to be forgetting the importance of their message being in front of the right person at in the right place, at the right time (context). It is so basic, but the almost cult-like adherence to audience-centric buying, is leaving context out of the equation. What’s even more maddening, is that the digital world allows the ad, the message, the context and the audience to be programmed so specifically in ways that could get the perfect alignment, but hardly anyone is doing it. Placements in mass pubs to broad audiences through ad networks is the de facto approach and I don’t understand it.

Q2: How are you adapting your services to stay current and relevant to your audiences in the year ahead?

Crystal, Q2: Amazon is the biggest player in the retail space now and stats show as high as 90% of consumers will leave a retailers site or store to buy the product on Amazon — for convenience over price. Amazon is a consumer-focused platform and severely understaffed for brand support. Having highly focused expertise specific to Amazon on both the operational and advertising side are helping our clients stay ahead of the curve and increase their market share. Despite Amazon lacks the crucial direct to consumer relationship & customer data sharing, it will only continue to grow and is an absolute must for outdoor brands to lean heavily on.

Harriet, Q2: Consumer Insights: Unique research approached, phased plans and workshops to help set up client teams for success.

Digital Partnerships: Looking outside the outdoor space to bring something new and emerging to the table.

Hiring Digital Natives: Young people simply rule. I love hiring interns and doing workshops with them to find out what brings them joy and confidence to go forth.

Brian, Q2: Because of this, we’re working hard to develop long-form storytelling and brand-building techniques across digital channels, while also recognizing the necessity to address traditional and old-school foundations (i.e. technical health, product page optimizations, CRO, etc.)

Danielle, Q2: We’ve hired content strategists and specialists in the areas of social, digital media and distribution, not because we plan on offering that service, but because understanding the publishing suppliers, formats and trends is key to our creative being effective. Gone are the days where media agencies define the buy and creative agencies just produce ads. It is a collaborative process and creative agencies need to understand how to work with their media/distribution counterparts.

Learning About Audience

Q1: Understanding our audiences from both demographic and psychographic perspectives is the key to effective targeting. What population(s) do you see emerging as potential consumers of outdoor products that brands should include in upcoming campaigns?

Crystal, Q1: This is a great question and I suspect it varies widely by category within the outdoor space. For ski, we’re watching the most loyal skiers age and the loyalty among a younger generation fade away – particularly as big season pass conglomerates like IKON & EPIC form. For outdoor gear and outfitters, all ages apply and I have to imagine the longevity created by a healthy lifestyle and life frequently in nature will give these brands a longer customer lifecycle.

Harriet, Q1: Mixed background, leaning Hispanic & Asian: It’s in the data. Both are growing in participation rates, yet we rarely see any of them, or a mix represented.   

Non-Outdoorsy, Outdoor Person: Poler Stuff really was onto something. We see Coleman killing it. There’s room to grow!

Brian, Q1: As mentioned earlier, we’re seeing the industry trend toward inclusivity and diversity. For example, during January of 2019, Sisu magazine was launched. This magazine focuses specifically on “women, people of color, trans/femme/binary/genderqueer, and men who have been charging through life, challenging the status quo, and passionately spreading their love of adventure and the outdoors to others.”

Danielle, Q1: The outdoors is hot right now, so we’re seeing new audience segments emerging from within every market—urban, suburban, ethnic, gender, age (young and old), high performance, adaptive, recreational…you name it, there’s a niche audience who are interested in a unique point of view from within it. I think this represents a huge opportunity for brands to double down on specific targets. Our ability today to target through media, makes the opportunity for niche and rich stories.

Q2: How can we capture the attention specifically of these population(s) with all the online noise being caused with so many brands producing content?

Crystal, Q2: The more ad formats, social platforms and web content pages develop, the more cluttered the marketing space will get. Brands do need to find a way to be disruptive with their messaging – be unique in how you target your audience, give a message that resonates with them and deliver it across a combination of ad formats (both rich and direct response) to stand apart. It’s funny, we used to focus so heavily on optimizing to reduced frequency and higher reach when I first started my career in digital marketing. Now, frequency across multiple channels, devices and ad formats is necessary to stand apart. Media strategy must also be coupled with creative execution as creative drives as much as 70% of your campaign’s performance. We believe to never stop testing and evolving your message is crucial at

Booyah. There’s a free tool called Moat.com that may give brands some guidance on what other brands are doing in the display space, at least, and help to think through a strategic approach to creative testing and audience segmentation.

Harriet, Q2: Real Inspiration: Meet them, talk to them, get outside of the Outdoor conversation to get some true story on who they really are, where they come from and where they want to go.

Anti-story arch: Use a video pulsing technique instead of the traditional story-arch. It works with attention spans and is a good way to avoid generalizing audiences.

Core purpose is to be life-changing, social impact: We need to rethink Maslow Hierarchy of needs and how technology plays a role in getting us outside. Right now, the two are at odds but with the growing trends in wearable and health tracking, shouldn’t we be seeing them together?

Brian, Q2: Smaller, more specific audiences allow us to tell meaningful stories and build personal connections with the customer. Be it through social, blogging, email, etc., we find merit in Seth Godin’s minimum viable audience approach. Whether this be for the seasoned ultra-runner looking for the perfect shoe or the urban outdoor hobbyist in search of new rain gear, we try to find the highly qualified audience and speak to them directly.

Danielle, Q2: As I’ve mentioned above, paying attention to niches and micro-markets will be the answer I believe.

Thank you, Crystal, Harriet, Brian and Danielle for sharing your expert insight on where the 2019 outdoor market is trending. In the year ahead we’ll no doubt see an increased focus on goal setting and agile marketing strategies based on real-time data and insights.

We’ll spend more time discovering our audiences. We’ll focus on how and why consumers are finding our products and..

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Product videos are one of the best ways to engage potential and current customers, as well as share the benefits of a given product. Customers are much more likely to purchase when they can see a product in action and get a more detailed description of its features. Becoming increasingly popular with consumers, leveraging video is a worthwhile investment for an e-commerce website, both in time and resources.

To get the most traction from your e-commerce product videos, there are a few things to keep in mind:

What is a Product Video? The Basics

A product video shows your customers how your product looks in the real world, how a consumer can interact with it, and what benefits it provides. While quality photos can show what a product looks like in a posed environment, a compelling product video can help consumers visualize exactly how it can be used. Product videos can also advance search engine optimization strategies by:

  • Increasing the amount of relevant content on your e-commerce website
  • Keeping visitors on your site longer
  • Creating more backlinks to your site

Unlike a commercial video, which is more likely to focus on describing a product’s general value or introducing a viewer to your brand, a product video actually demonstrates its uses and benefits. Product videos can also more effectively highlight product specifications and directly indicate how the product addresses a consumer’s pain points.

Highlighting Your Product With the Right Video

For simple products, you can often use one short video to explain their purpose, features, and benefits. Show the product in action and describe its specifications so that users can see firsthand how it works and how it can address their needs. a2 Milk does a great job of this with a simple video intro into what makes their milk different — and how people can benefit from using it.

For more complex products, you may want to create a series of videos. Use a shorter video to introduce its basic purpose and most essential features, but then create additional product videos to add depth and cover additional components, uses, or benefits. A video series gives customers a chance to take it step-by-step and to focus on which features are most important to them.

A great example of this is Asana and their use of YouTube product demonstrations. They’ve created an entire series that covers common product questions and tips for their users.

Another popular option is the unboxing video, walking consumers through each step of the set-up process from when they receive the product through its first use. Show the packaging exactly how a buyer will get it in the mail and take them through the unwrapping of each component. Explain each item and its purpose and show how it all comes together. This is a great way to leverage user-generated content (UGC), which is highly trusted and heavily consumed by most audiences. Companies are using Instagram stories and Facebook “unboxing” videos as a great way to collect UGC videos, like Horti, a plant subscription service.

How to Create E-commerce Product Videos Planning

The first step in creating e-commerce product videos is to plan. Before you start creating a product video, make sure you have a clear idea of who your target audience is, where you’ll be sharing your video, and what you want to communicate.

At minimum, product videos should always include:

  • What the product is
  • How it can benefit consumers
  • How it can be purchased

But the best e-commerce videos show off the product’s best features and how they provide real value when addressing the consumer’s need. Consider any frequently asked questions about your product, the most common positive feedback it receives, and its most unique qualities when creating a script for your product video.

And don’t forget to provide transcripts of your video. Transcripts support both an improved user experience (by allowing users the opportunity to read instead of listen) and an SEO boost (by helping search engines better “read” your audio content).

Positioning

Once you’ve got a plan for what to include in the video, think about where you want people to see it. Videos on your product page or on YouTube can usually be a little bit longer, but videos shared on social media platforms do better when they’re kept short and sweet.

On your e-commerce website, video should be included alongside product photos, specifications, and purchase information. On other platforms, consider the avenues consumers will take to find your video; relevant keywords and hashtags, for instance, are important to keep in mind when planning and creating product videos.

How Long Should a Product Video Be? Optimal Lengths

Videos can vary widely in length depending on the complexity of the product, how detailed you want to be, and whether you’re planning one video or a series. But generally speaking, less is more. In a world where content is everywhere and information is constantly vying for consumers’ attention, you want to keep product videos to the point — and visually appealing.

According to a study from Animoto, consumers are willing to stick around longer to watch product demonstrations than they are customer testimonials or information about your company. Animoto found that 27.1% of those surveyed were willing to watch product demos for 30 to 60 seconds, while 38.1% said they would watch 1 to 3 minutes of demonstration and 21.2% said they would watch for more than 3 minutes. The recommended sweet spot is 1 to 2 minutes for demonstrations.

Platforms

Ideal video length also depends on your platform. For instance, YouTube viewers tend to watch longer videos than viewers on social media platforms. For Instagram, 30-second videos are more likely to get views, likes, and comments than longer videos. On Facebook, that benchmark is doubled: videos that are one minute or less are most likely to get higher engagements and shares. And it’s probably no surprise that shorter videos do the best when it comes to Twitter: try to stay under 45 seconds.

Use YouTube for Video Marketing Search Power

YouTube is the second-largest search engine today. For this reason, it’s much more likely that videos will be served to your target audience when you upload and optimize videos per YouTube’s best practices. As an information source and a platform for sharing product information, it is indispensable. Plus, it’s free!

Engaged Viewers

You may find that you can leverage YouTube for all kinds of marketing purposes, but the product video is one of the best uses for the platform. Take advantage of an engaged audience and share your product’s most important features. Don’t forget to drive viewers back to your website with links, annotations, and cards (often found on the lower case “i” at the top right of videos.

Annotations and cards are clickable links and buttons you can add right into your video, allowing viewers to move seamlessly from one video to the next, or to the product or purchase page on your e-commerce site.

Leverage Video Marketing for Better Reach

By 2020, online videos will make up more than 85% of all consumer internet traffic in the US. As a result, video content is becoming exceedingly important to product-based businesses and brand, as it appeals to consumers who are new to a brand or product, as well as those you’ve already converted. Whether they last 30 seconds or 3 minutes, product videos are one of the fastest and most effective ways to show consumers the true value of your product.

If you’re wondering how product videos can boost your brand awareness and help you grow your e-commerce business, Volume Nine can help. Learn more about our e-commerce offerings and schedule a time to chat!

The post E-commerce Product Videos for SEO & Beyond appeared first on Volume Nine.

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Stories stick. When you share a moment from your past, you probably relay it in story form to give your listener additional context. This makes the information more relatable, have purpose and easy to remember.

Brands have discovered this storytelling approach also works for influencing consumers online, establishing a brand identity, growing their audiences and, in turn, boosting e-commerce sales.

Spinnaker Support, which provides assistance navigating Oracle and SAP, recently published a post on their company blog that goes beyond the usual troubleshooting and how-to content a software support company generally offers.

The article Women in STEM Fields: Stories of Success and Support takes a behind-the-screens look at several female employees and how they found their way into technology careers. Not only does the article shed light on the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, but it also lets current and potential customers learn more about some of the staff, beyond their support roles.

Readers may see themselves reflected in the women’s journeys, or simply admire their dedication to their career path, then feel inspired to reach out and learn more about Spinnaker Support’s services  — or consider a career in STEM themselves. That’s a win-win for readers and Spinnaker Support.

How We Remember Great Marketing

Research published in The Journal of Marketing Research from the American Marketing Association finds the viral nature of online content is influenced by its emotional nature and resulting physiological arousal. It’s believed the characteristics of the content influence how your audience will respond, and if they will become dedicated fans, and hopefully consumers, of your product or service.

Doug Stevenson is the CEO and owner of Story Theater International. He’s coached sales trainers and businesses leaders in the art of storytelling for business for more than 20 years. He says stories (versus other types of message relay) are memorable and when a listener recalls the point you made, it becomes actionable. In marketing speak, those actions translate to click-throughs and responses to our calls-for-action.

Storytelling subconsciously conjures up images and feelings that allow us to make an emotional connection to the information being presented. When a business does this well, their audience sticks around. Loyalty and trust are established.

For example, a2 Milk USA partnered with Joy Bauer to tell the story of how their milk is different than other brands and why it matters. There’s no sales push or store locator mentioned in the following video. It’s simply quality storytelling that serves to inform and inspire viewers to think about their nutritional needs and do what’s best for their bodies.

Joy Bauer Visits the Farm

Joy Bauer heads to Hourigan’s Farm in New York to learn about how a2 Milk® is disrupting the dairy industry.Watch the full story here!

Posted by a2 Milk USA on Saturday, June 16, 2018

How to Approach Effective Storytelling

Stories presented in a clear, captivating way surpass data sharing when it comes to being persuasive and relatable, explains Gregory Ciotti, a Content Marketing Lead at Shopify, in an article written for Psychology Today about the psychology of storytelling.

This approach to content creation encourages us to imagine a scenario, allowing our brains to drift to another place (away from all that multitasking we do) and razor focus on the information being presented.

A story becomes engaging by:

  • utilizing suspense so we wonder what’s coming next
  • creating detailed imagery both with words and pictures
  • relating to human motivations that we identify with
  • showing the possibility of transformation and change for the better
  • using classic literary techniques, such as metaphors, to help the story settle into our minds
  • writing for your audience, within the context of their needs and desires

These approaches work across all digital content, from video-based social media updates to blog post and e-books. And, they’re most memorable when the conclusion of the story is positive and triumphant.

Are you intrigued by the idea of telling stories about your company and the benefits, back story or features of your products and services? The editorial team at Volume Nine is ready to help you create storytelling-focused content so you can connect with your readers in a meaningful, memorable way. Let’s chat about your digital marketing needs.

The post How Storytelling Creates Brand Loyalists appeared first on Volume Nine.

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Branding, whether your company is B2C or B2B, is critical if you want to stand out from the crowd. Especially online, where every target audience is exposed to upwards of 4,000 direct and indirect ads a day, strong branding is what cuts through the noise. In order to effectively capture the attention of users, a brand needs to utilize creative tactics to present their story, products, and services on the channels where their target audience is active.

This requires a thorough understanding of your target audience, what they care about the most, what you can add to their lives, and where they spend the bulk of their time online. But before we dive into the who and how of creating brand awareness, you’ll need to understand exactly what brand awareness means and what it can do for your company.

What is Brand Awareness?

Brand awareness is the degree to which consumers are aware of a brand and what it sells or provides. Branding helps a company differentiate itself from other competitors in the same field, while marketing is used to ensure that branding gets visibility needed to gain traction. Thus, a brand marketing campaign is needed. Better brand awareness can result in:

  • Brand loyalty & returning customers
  • Increased amounts of positive UGC (User-Generated-Content) 
  • Credibility & authority in the market
  • Trust from current and future customers
  • Helping your bottom line, as consistent brand representation can increase revenue by more than 20%
  • Future launch success for new products or services, thanks to the strong reputation the brand has created

Brand awareness is also the start of the customer journey; it could be the first touchpoint a user has with your brand. From that first point of awareness, it’s a marketing team’s job to ensure that other exposures to the brand move a consumer or potential client further through the customer journey.

Online Brand Awareness Campaigns: Where to Start?

Just like high-quality branding, an online brand awareness campaign can’t be created overnight. Instead, it takes time to set up and plan. To make it as effective as possible, a marketing team will need to take into account:

  • Defining target audiences: Narrow down large audiences with specific targeting, based on demographics, interests, behaviors, income, and competitor interests.
  • Identifying marketing channels: Understand which channels your target audience is most active on — and select those channels as the method for delivering your brand awareness campaign.
  • Developing creative content: Create content that captivates a user and makes them pause and pay attention to your brand while scrolling through their feed. 
  • Developing messaging: Speak directly to the user with helpful, succinct messaging that resonates with a users’ emotions. 
  • Establishing success metrics: The main KPIs or metrics needed to measure brand awareness campaigns are reach, impressions, and engagement. Establish goals for these metrics and what success will look like for your brand at the end of the campaign.
  • Setting a budget: Before launching any ad campaigns, make sure you have a budget established and allocated for the campaign.

Because social media is one of the best ways to get in front of target audiences & gain visibility, it’s where many companies choose to start their awareness campaigns.

5 Tips for Setting Up Brand Awareness Campaigns on Facebook & Instagram

50 percent of people follow at least one brand on social media, which makes platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn some of the best tools for increasing brand awareness. To help you get the most from your brand awareness campaigns on social media — specifically Facebook and Instagram  — here are a few expert tips:

  1. Use a mixture of campaigns with the objectives of ‘Brand Awareness’, ‘Reach,’ and ‘Engagement.’ These objectives in Facebook Ads Manager are the types of campaigns that are best for achieving brand awareness. If you have video content, you could also add a ‘Video Views’ objective. You can promote existing content already published on your brand’s Facebook and Instagram pages as well as include new content.
  2. Utilize keyword research in Facebook Ads Manager. This tool helps you see the different types of topics and themes you can target to build qualified audiences. 
  3. Use paid and organic Instagram stories. Instagram Stories are relatively new to brands and a great method of increasing reach & impressions. Use images or videos with sound & stickers to attract people tapping through Stories in their feed. Bonus: IG Stories ads are created using the Facebook Ads Manager, which means your team will be able to pull metrics from both Instagram and Facebook ads on a single platform.
  4. A/B test your ads. Try out different messages while keeping the type of content and audience the same. See which message resonates best with your target audiences.
  5. Don’t use duplicate content on multiple platforms. Ads and content built for Instagram should be different than the ads and content made for Facebook. They should also be unique to each platform’s best practices to ensure optimal user experience and successful results.
  6. Use video whenever possible. Video doesn’t have to be a massive production expense. Try creating videos in the form of slideshows, gifs, or quick animated text videos. Doing this will allow you to build an audience of users who engage with the videos, which is great for future retargeting and middle-of-funnel content.

Here’s an example of a video we created for a client, To-Table, that promotes a narrative about how making a romantic dinner using their products is a good idea for Valentine’s Day.

And while the above tips are all useful in implementing a brand awareness campaign, the one thing you should keep in mind — wherever you’re instituting your campaign — is to pick a differentiator or message that users actually care about. After all, 89 percent of American consumers are loyal to brands that share their values. Do the research to discover the main reason(s) people like your brand, products, or services and then speak to that. Find memorable, valuable ways to connect with your audience; businesses see the returns on their investments when they do.

The post How to Create a Brand Awareness Campaign Online appeared first on Volume Nine.

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