Lend Us Your Eyes
Everyone wants eyeballs on their content. But humans have the attention span of a gnat. Such is the Catch 22 of modern marketing.
By 2020, half the world’s population will be online every day. That’s almost four billion people, and the average attention span of those people is about eight seconds and declining all the time.
So long gone are the days of folks sitting down with the newspaper (and accompanying newsprint on their fingers) for a few hours, it’s almost impossible to imagine anymore.
The competition among marketers for those eight seconds of our attention is fierce, and the ways to get it are many. Only a strategy that employs a multimedia approach has a fighting chance of engaging your target audiences.
Different Learning Styles, Different Media
Even more important than identifying what kinds of content to produce (the list is long) is understanding why and for whom it should be created. People learn and engage in a variety of ways and through many different media channels. Generally, there are three different learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (learning through touch).
Visual Is King
Nearly everyone processes visual content more quickly and easily than text. It also stays in our long-term memory longer. This is why videos, photos, animations, webcasts, slideshares, and infographics are so important to a robust marketing campaign. Most smart phones today have high-quality camcorders, so producing simple videos and uploading them to YouTube (the second most popular search engine after Google) is inexpensive and relatively straightforward, as long as your content is engaging, meaningful and consumer-centric. And super awesome, too.
Multimedia utilizes all learning styles and appeals to almost all consumers.
Where Is Your Audience?
So Many Screens. Reaching consumers on the platforms they frequent is every bit as important as the types of media you choose to deliver your messages. The average adult 18 and older spends as many as 11 hours a day looking at a screen. Most of that time is spent watching live TV, and a large portion (almost two and a half hours) is spent on a smartphone. Only about a half hour is spent at a desktop computer (outside of work) or on a tablet.
Social Media. While Facebook has become decidedly uncool among people under 25, 72 percent of Facebook users are between the ages of 50 and 64, and 62 percent of seniors 65+ are on Facebook. Younger audiences live on YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and binge-worthy TV, such as “Game of Thrones.” Brands are also wise to leverage Twitter, where 37 percent of people aged 18-29 and 25 percent aged 30-49 follow their favorite celebrities, athletes and politicos. About 347,222 tweets go out per minute.
WWW. Your website is your virtual front door. This is where all your owned content lives and where prospects will either engage with you or move on to your competitor’s site. It’s safe to say that nearly all segments of society consult and expect comprehensive information from a website and have at least a basic understanding of how to navigate around. A killer website is an absolute must for all businesses today, no matter how small. There are just too many fish in the digital sea for anything less.
Print. Print is still a viable marketing medium, even in today’s online world, and resonates more with older audiences who still value the experience of receiving something tangible in the mail. Print also has special appeal to those who learn best through tactile experiences, as modern printing presses can do some amazing things with surface texture!
Email. Nearly 4 billion people across the world use email, up 100 million from last year. Needless to say, email campaigns are also still relevant, especially if they include good storytelling, personalization and interactive features.
Consumers Demand It
There’s no going back to the days of three media: print, radio and TV, none of which facilitated any conversation with audiences. Today’s consumers are “prosumers,” active participants in the buyer journey with the ability – and willingness – to advocate, critique, persuade, dissuade, advise, share, upload, download, and build up or tear down a brand before the entire world. They demand engagement – experiences – and only a multimedia marketing approach will satisfy them. Anything less will knock your brand back into the dark ages and leave you wanting for leads and customers.
Let our team of experts help you strategize, develop and deliver the best multimedia campaigns for your unique audiences.
IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.
This Sunday is the live telecast of the 91st Academy Awards, otherwise known as The Oscars, the “Super Bowl” of celebrity worship. Millions of people around the world will be glued to their sets to see who wears what, who says what, and who wins the top prizes. (This year, we’ll also find out who will host, but that’s another story.)
Why do celebrities captivate us so? Psychologists say it’s because humans are social creatures, and it benefits us to pay attention to the dominant members of our society. If we know what’s going on with people of top status, we’re going to know better how to acclimate socially ourselves.
This is nothing new. The traditional white wedding dress comes from Queen Victoria, who wore a white dress for her marriage ceremony in 1840. Now it’s a rare bride who doesn’t wear some shade of white. Who knows? We may get our next fashion cue or hairstyle from our favorite actor this Sunday.
This is the power of influencer marketing, which is a whole different animal than traditional celebrity endorsement advertising.
But first, just the stats, ma’am. Influencer marketing is reported to be effective by 94 percent of marketers across a broad swath of industries. Second, “influence marketing” as a Google search key phrase is up over 400% in the past three years.
How is Influencer Marketing Different from Traditional Celebrity Endorsement?
- We trust influencers more. Unlike movie stars or athletes who are told verbatim what to say by the brands that hire and pay them exorbitantly, influencers are those who would willingly vouch for a brand, whether they are paid to do so or not. (Note: most influencers are paid, but a product or service is already aligned with their beliefs and expertise, so the value for them is intrinsic and significantly more trustworthy.)
- We’re already engaged. Most of us will focus more on one famous person when watching the Oscars than another. That’s because we’re already interested in them, we already follow them (often literally on social media), and they have some sway that comes from inside of us, not the “push” form of celebrity endorsement. In short, influencers tap into an existing community of already engaged audiences.
- They’re not always super-famous. The big trend today is “micro-influencers,” according to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). This is someone less like Kim Kardashian (a macro-influencer) and more like “the girl next door” who’s carved out her own nook of authority and built an organic following.
- They speak in their own words. Editorial freedom is paramount to influencers. They want to advocate for your brand in their own words and personal style of communication. They care about content authenticity, as do consumers, and their own voice is far more compelling than a canned script written in the board room.
- They are more selective. Because their own reputation and following is on the line, influencers are more personally invested in the brands they endorse. Their sign of approval carries far more weight than a signed contract between a business and a high-powered celebrity – with both themselves and their audiences.
- They empower us. In today’s world where everyone can weigh in on everything and, in the case of Twitter, even communicate directly with influential people, the command lies with consumers. Influencer marketing thrives on social media, where audience participation is the driving force. Long gone are the “Mad Men” days of suits in skyscrapers creating campaigns designed to sell and self-serve. Genuine, consumer-focused content rules the modern-day roost.
- They are FTC-monitored. Influencer campaigns are required by the Federal Trade Commission to state up-front, before the first word or image, that content is sponsored.
How to Launch an Influencer Campaign
Regardless of your company’s size or budget, it’s likely that you can employ some degree of influencer marketing, particularly with the micro- and nano-influencers that are gaining steam on social media. Whomever you tap to support your brand, whether LeBron James or the mommy blogger in town with the great parenting advice, you can leverage these strategies to your customers’ benefit (and yours, too, but that must be secondary in today’s world of content marketing):
First, keep in mind these qualities of a potential influencer:
Demographic: Are the people following the influencer similar to your brand’s buyer persona?
Expertise: Does it make sense that the content of your campaign would come from this influencer?
Reach: Is the influencer on the same social media channels as your audiences?
Notoriety: Is the influencer universally well-liked, or is there something attached to him/her that would negatively impact their mass appeal?
Next, consider these tactics with influencers, which take time and careful cultivation:
- Offer them a valuable experience. If you’re thinking free products, forget it. This is not the way to attract sought-after influencers, who seek to expand their base by gaining exposure with new audiences and other influencers. Build a relationship with them by making them aware of the value of your product or service and aligning with their genuine interest in it. Invite them to a well-attended event at which they might speak; interview them about a topic in their wheelhouse that is relevant to your brand and air it across your digital platforms. Ask them to be a guest blogger on your site.
- Solicit their advice. Ask an influencer if they would be willing to act as an advisor or “resident guru” to your company. Stress the value of their savyy. Influencers are naturally inclined to share their ideas and knowhow, or they wouldn’t have a following in the first place.
- Pay them for their own words. Wait, what? Didn’t we say that influencers are not the paid celebrities of mega-ad campaigns? Yes, we did. But here’s the twist: you can allow the influencer to create the content and compensate them for it. Whether it’s a product review, testimonial, or blog that supports your brand’s values and goals…whatever medium you and your influencer agree suits your mutual benefit, let them create it, and keep your red pen out of it. It’s their influence you’ve chosen (considering the influencer qualities noted above), so why would you dictate what and how it’s said?
Where to Find Influencers
PRSA advises that influencers can be found through Google search, hashtags, marketing networks, and subscription platforms.
But our team would add that you can also find influencers “hiding in plain sight.” Ask yourself who the ideal person to endorse your brand would be. Is it the vigilant and research-intelligent adult child of a senior in need of care? The administrator of a hospital specializing in cancer treatment? A millennial with a YouTube following of their self-assigned product tests? A writer with a hometown publication or a local TV anchor?
Whoever that “perfect person” is, go out and find them. Check their social media platforms. Do they have large followings with lots of commentary? Have they spoken before large audiences? Are they a respected authority in their niche? Are they at a nearby event that you can attend?
Guided by the tactics noted above, brainstorm whom to tap, and get on your way to building real relationships with your intended influencers. They may be just around the corner.
IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.
The statistics surrounding content marketing budgeting in the past few years – even months – are fairly remarkable. We’ll share some here, but let’s start by saying that businesses are now devoting as much as 42% of their marketing budget to content, and 71% of them are increasing their content marketing budgets overall.
We know that content marketing works, and businesses and organizations are no longer fighting to justify expenditures in this realm. On the contrary; they’re scrambling to figure out how best to leverage the marketing stratagem that has taken the world by storm.
As companies are looking ahead to 2018 and where they’re going to allocate resources, now is the optimal time to consider the impact of content marketing and the elements therein. Before you sharpen your pencil, consider this:
• Content marketing figures to be a $300 billion industry by 2019, according to MarketingMag.com
• In the last seven years, the number of indexed pages on Google has grown from one trillion to over 30 trillion, meaning that there is an awful lot of content out there with the potential to land one website higher in the search engine ranks than another
• The U.S. is the world’s largest market for content, at over $12 billion in annual revenues
• 37% of marketers blame unsuccessful content marketing on marketing budgets that are too low
• 70% of B2B marketers created more content in 2017 than they did in 2016
Consider this too: content marketing is like a runaway train; it’s not stopping. WordPress alone is publishing two million new posts each day, and Google’s indexed content has increased by over 30 million pages in the past ten years. Forty percent of the world’s population has access to the web and 83% are literate, compared with only 12% in 1820. What’s more, content marketing fosters emotional connections with audiences in ways that more expensive (and increasingly outmoded) outbound marketing cannot.
We know content marketing is the new power tool in the marketing tool box, but what are the elements of a robust strategy? What, specifically, should businesses and organizations invest in?
• Detailed, scheduled content marketing strategy
• Secure, responsive and optimized website
• Social media over multiple platforms
• Original, optimized blogs
• Press releases
• Published content (print and online)
• Post boosters
• E-newsletters and campaigns
• Curated (shared) content
• Landing pages
• Interactive forms
• Visual media (photos, videos and infographics)
In addition to these elements, a hardy campaign should make room in the budget for consistent content regularity, whether weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc., depending on your audience, industry and other factors that our marketing experts can explore with you. Without fresh, updated content, not only will your audience and prospects likely move on, search engines will also pass you by, as only new content makes search engines continuously crawl, cache and index your pages.
Our marketing team can help you plan a budget with allowances for all the components of a successful content marketing strategy and effectively execute each of these tactics for your business.
Subscribe to our blog for more information!
IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.
More revenue is generated from email marketing than all other types of digital marketing combined, according to a 2015 survey of marketing executives. However, leveraging email marketing is becoming more and more difficult as the technology continues to evolve.
Email came on the scene in the 1970s strictly as an inter-office communications tool. Today, 2.6 billion people across the world use email, and a typical email looks more like a webpage than the plain text messages of yore. Soon, an email to your car could turn on the A/C.
But all the advances in the world won’t help your campaign if you’re not creating content that your audiences will actually read and engage in. Here are some tips to take your email campaigns beyond the inbox:
- Have a goal behind every email. Make sure you know exactly what you want to accomplish with each email you send. Is it a call to action (CTA), useful information, a special offer? Is it better as a single message or an e-newsletter? If you’re not sure what you’re trying to achieve, your recipients will be equally confused.
- Use subject lines related to your topic. Subject lines that highlight your message have higher clickthrough rates. “Did you know that (community name) now offers pay-per-month rental units?” will capture attention better than “News from (community name).” Steer clear of “clickbait,” luring readers into content that has little to do with your subject line.
- Send only to people who want to hear from you. If you have contacts who have submitted forms, you’re already ahead of the game, because they chose to respond to your content. Customize your messages to them. But take a hint, too. Recipients who rarely or never open your emails do not want to engage with you, especially if they’re cold contacts from an imported list. It’s okay; remove their names. You will only annoy them or, worse, jeopardize your domain reputation by being marked as “spam.” If your open rates have fallen, it means you’re no longer meeting customer expectations, and you need to back off on sending to them until you find a better way to reach them.
- Experiment and test. Repeat. The only way to engage your audience is to know your audience. The only way to do that is to continuously try new strategies – often – tailor them to each of your lists (you should have several, each with its own “personality,” based on needs and preferences, not just demographics), and keep track of the results.
- Send from a personalized account and on different days of the week. “Noreply@company.com” is a no-no; recipients should be able to respond to a real person. Vary the days you send your email messages, too. Conventional wisdom says that the best days to email are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays; however, the market is bloated on those days. Change it up; try sending on a Monday or Friday…heck, even a Saturday, when people are less swamped and more likely to respond to a CTA.
- Brand your emails so that your customers recognize you as a trusted sender before they even open your message.
While email marketing is rife with possibilities, it is getting harder to do well, as content creators vie for attention in an ever-evolving landscape. The right marketing team can help you chart this fertile territory and reap its many rewards.
Ivy Marketing. Come Grow With Us.
We’ve explored the power of a cutting edge website and dynamic call tracking in building an effective, successful marketing campaign in the senior housing arena. A third tool in the toolbox is paid digital ads. Ugh, right? What could be more annoying than those pop-ups and flashing banners that interrupt our web searches and derail our concentration? In fact, 64% of internet users actively avoid online ads by enabling ad block extensions.
So why invest in digital ads? Because, when executed the right way, they can be immensely useful in increasing awareness of, traffic to, and desire for your community. Pushing ads onto people who have no known interest in or need for your senior living environment is not only irritating and intrusive to them, it’s ineffectual and a waste of your resources.
But through what’s known as inbound marketing—drawing prospects in instead of going out to get their attention—an experienced marketing team can help you leverage helpful, relevant content to engage potential leads in your campaign. Based on information gleaned from various feedback channels, you can also target your digital ads in ways that are truly valuable to would-be residents and their families.
Here’s what your marketing team can help you do:
- Offer your prospects something meaningful. “Native advertising” is inherently non-disruptive and designed to build trust among consumers. This kind of advertising is by nature ideal for senior housing marketing in that it provides more profound, helpful information than traditional, purchase-oriented display ads. The ground is significantly more fertile for those trying to convey the value of vitality, social connection and security in later life than for those promoting a particular brand of tissue paper, for example.
- Take advantage of the social media explosion. While seniors may not be flocking to join the various social media platforms that dominate the current online landscape, their children increasingly are, and their grandchildren can’t get enough. Sponsored native ads match the form and function of the platform on which they appear (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), feel and look less like traditional ads, are not disruptive, provide useful content, and can be highly targeted.
- Know thy prospects, target thy prospects. Through various feedback and tracking technologies (including the dynamic call tracking we discussed last month), your marketing team can help you add value to your potential leads by knowing who they are and what moves them. Instead of blindly blitzing everyone, you can tailor your messages to those who are most likely to find them interesting and intelligently anticipate their needs. In the case of social media, your digital ads can also be aimed at people who follow certain users or post about certain topics.
Research shows that in the senior housing arena, greater use of digital ads executed properly could be a valuable asset to your campaigns. An experienced marketing team can show you how effective, non-intrusive digital advertising can yield fruitful audience engagement.
Join us next month for more about the tools to build your best campaign.
IVY Marketing. Come Grow With Us.
Last month, we examined a cutting edge website, the “power tool” of a truly robust, multi-faceted marketing campaign in the senior housing arena. We also stressed that the senior housing market is singularly unique in that it offers quality of life, an intangible, priceless “commodity” that must be genuine, caring, and careful to a fault.
With that in mind, let’s look at another vital tool in the toolbox—in-depth phone call tracking. As effective as call tracking technology has proven to be across multiple industries, it is the most under-utilized resource among senior housing executives. This seems paradoxical, given that the senior population is likely to engage by telephone.
By assigning unique phone numbers to each of your communications, both print and digital, your marketing experts can tell which have garnered the most inquiries and are, thus, the most impactful. Over time, you will know what moves your prospects, allowing you to fine-tune your campaigns accordingly and improve your return on investment.
Ideally, your call tracking system should include:
- A unique phone number on traditional ads (TV, radio and direct mail), providing you with a record of calls resulting directly from a particular ad or campaign and allowing you to follow up with leads knowing exactly what content inspired their call.
- Source identification for inbound calls, revealing which ads, promotions, key words, etc. are driving phone conversations. This intelligence also enables you to size up the strength of a prospect, direct promising leads to appropriate team members, and adjust messaging.
- Web page analytics for a comprehensive understanding of which pages on your website drive the most calls.
- The ability to listen to inbound calls, allowing you first-hand knowledge of prospects’ needs, interests and concerns as well as insight into the quality of your customer service.
- A higher value on inbound calls. Paramount to improving your campaign results is the inclusion of phone numbers in prominent locations in both conventional and digital advertising. Studies show that conspicuous placement yields a 30% increase in inbound calls!
Lay your marketing foundation with dynamic, in-depth phone tracking that informs you of precisely who is responding to your specific communications and how best to reach your prospects, based on this valuable insight. Let our team get you on your way.
Join us next month for more about the tools to build your best campaign.
IVY Marketing. Come Grow With Us.