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Biggest Digital Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2017

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Wed, Jan 25, 2017 @ 12:33 PM

A new year has arrived and with it, the potential to reach more customers and earn more revenue. And thanks to technological advances and new channels emerging, digital offers some significant ROI if you know what you’re doing.

With this in mind, here are some of the biggest digital marketing mistakes to avoid in 2017:

Producing Content Without a Goal

You know how there are a lot of people on a gluten-free diet, but if you asked them what gluten is or why they think it’s bad, they wouldn’t be able to answer. They’re basically following a health trend without really knowing what that trend is all about.

Sadly, the same thing is happening in content marketing. Many brands are creating content because they know they should, but they don’t really grasp the reason why they should. And so they write a bunch of ineffective garbage that does little else than create more digital noise.

You must have a goal in mind when creating content. That goal could be to create brand recognition, get people interested in a specific product, or get prospects to sign up for your newsletter. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, it just matters that you have one and that you create content around it.

Having goals will not only make your content more effective, it will make sure your multi-channel campaigns feel unified and cohesive.

Using Social Media to Sell

This has always been one of the biggest digital no-no’s, and yet many organizations are still doing it, particularly those who have relied on traditional marketing. Offline, when new channels emerged, you could still use them to blatantly sell. First there was the newspaper and your ads sold your product or service. Then came radio and you could sell, then TV and, same thing, you could blatantly sell.

But digital has changed everything. Digital puts the power into the consumers’ hands. They will ignore your messaging easier than a moody teenager ignores his parent’s numerous requests to pull up his pants. Consumers no longer want to be sold to, they want brands to engage them and help them in some way. And one thing they absolutely won’t stand for is being sold to on social media.

Your goal with social media should be to create a following and then have a conversation with your audience. Use these conversations to gauge your audience’s needs, likes, fears, goals, etc. This is how social media was meant to be used and this is what will help propel your business in 2017.

Juggling Too Many Channels

No one says you have to have a presence on every single digital channel. In fact, that is marketing suicide. There is simply no way you can create enough engaging content and monitor all of the conversations.

The reality is, you only need to have a presence on those channels where your audience hangs out. If your audience doesn’t really use Pinterest or Instagram, then why on Earth would you waste any time there. If they use Facebook and LinkedIn, focus on those channels instead. Don’t spread yourself too thin, just learn who your audience is, what channels they prefer, and then create content that will live there.

2017 could potentially be a really big year for many brands. But unless you know exactly what you’re doing online and off, your campaigns may wind up being budget-sucking duds.

Need some help creating and delivering your messaging? Get in touch with us. We’d love to help your campaigns succeed this year.

 

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Topics: digital marketing

Are You Making These 6 Common Digital Marketing Mistakes?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

Even savvy and experienced digital marketers can launch a campaign that turns out to be a dud – AKA – it doesn’t yield the desired results. So it makes sense that small businesses who have relied primarily on print advertising would stumble and make some common digital marketing mistakes when just starting out.

Here are 6 of the most common digital marketing mistakes you should avoid making to ensure your campaigns give you big returns.

Not Having Clear and Measurable Campaign GoalsNot Having Clear and Measurable Campaign Goals

This has got to be the biggest mistake businesses make. If you don’t establish clear analytical goals before launching a campaign, you’ll never be able to track it or know what’s working and what’s not.

Always define goals – calls, sales, sign ups, form completions – and be sure that proper analytics are set up for these goals. These insights will help you adjust your current campaign and develop optimized campaigns in the future.

Targeting the Wrong Audience

Creating valuable digital content is not enough if you’re promoting it to the wrong audience. With digital communication channels becoming more and more crowded, it takes focused effort to cut through all the noise and get your message noticed.

Best way to do this?

When defining your target audience, don’t just think description or demographic, think behavior, relevant life events and purchase behavior. Also, consider using tracking pixels and cookies to reach out to people who have visited your site or blog.

Believe That Email Marketing is No Longer EffectiveBelieving That Email Marketing is No Longer Effective

Dangerous myths pervade even the digital marketing world. Just as print IS NOT DEAD – email marketing is very much alive and well. Sure, mobile and social get all of the attention, but who cares, these channels often can’t deliver as well as email marketing.

Eric Stahl, senior vice president of product marketing at Salesforce Marketing Cloud said it best, “As the lines between sales, service and marketing blur, email remains the customer journey’s connective tissue.”  

A survey from Marketing Sherpa found that 91% of US adults like getting promotional emails from trusted brands. Of those, 86% said they prefer monthly emails while 61% preferred weekly emails.

If you’re not embracing this digital channel, you’re losing out on a goldmine.

Ignoring Mobile

Unless you’ve been living under something very large and very heavy, you have most likely heard that mobile has quickly become the dominant and preferred digital platform consumers use. Does your company have a mobile strategy in place?

Your first step is to ensure your main website is compatible with all mobile devices. Failure to do this will unequivocally lead to loss of revenue. Beyond this, consider whether an app might be a good platform for you to directly engage with customers and deliver relevant and meaningful content that nurtures relationships.

And finally, be sure you have sales and special offers that are tailored specifically to mobile sites.

Not Embracing a Customer-Centric Mindset

If you want to keep customers coming back for more, you must deliver a customized brand experience. This can be done through a customer-centric mindset and personalization, targeting, journey mapping, and data analysis.

Using Social Media to Sell

We’ll end with another one of the biggest digital marketing mistakes, and that is using social media as a platform to broadcast your sales pitch. Remember, sites like Facebook and Twitter are really meant to be a space for dialogue and engagement.

Use these platforms to inspire, answer questions, share thoughts, and develop deeper relationships with customers. Though these acts don’t blatantly sell, they do increase sales over the long run.

There’s no denying that the marriage of print and digital can be powerful and beneficial to your bottom line. And, as long as you avoid these 6 common mistakes, your digital campaigns should give you the returns you’re looking for.

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7 Digital Marketing Strategies to Help Small Businesses Dominate Their Local Market

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 03, 2016 @ 02:50 PM

Many small, local businesses neglect to spend much effort (or advertising dollars) online. This is mostly due to the fact that the Internet is crowded, and typically dominated, by large, national brands.

But what small, local businesses fail to realize is they are not competing with these giants and can easily dominate their local market by incorporating the following 7 digital marketing strategies.

Have a Mobile Friendly WebsiteHave a Mobile Friendly Website

While every sized business should have a mobile-friendly website, it’s particularly important for local businesses. Your prospective customers might find you when they’re out and about and do a search on their phone or other mobile device. If your site isn’t optimized, these prospects will have a hard time interacting with it. And, because Google’s mobile algorithm won’t necessarily show non-mobile-friendly websites in a mobile search, prospects may not even see your site to begin with.

Optimize for Local Search

It goes without saying that if you want local customers to find you, you have got to have a robust search strategy. Make sure your website not only includes information about your products or service, but also your location. It won’t do your restaurant much good if people in other states can find you but no one in your local community can. Make sure you include keywords that specify your location. You’re not just a diner serving breakfast all day, you’re a diner serving breakfast all day in Youngstown, Ohio.

Have a Great Looking Website

As I just mentioned, many customers are going to find you during a quick search on their mobile device. When people search for information on a desktop, they tend to care more about the information they are looking for (how to get rid of ants, how to pay down debt, how to build a new deck) than how the website looks. But this isn’t the case with mobile searchers. These people will only give you seconds to see if you are the establishment where they want to eat, shop, or get their oil changed. Since you only have a few seconds, your website needs to look great and be easy to navigate. In other words, make sure it is professionally designed.

Use Social Media to Target Your Local AreaUse Social Media to Target Your Local Area

By now you know social media is a great way to extend your brand’s reach, but for small, local businesses, the key is to extend that reach in the right direction. When using sites like Facebook to advertise, be sure your campaigns target relevant customers in your immediate area. Leverage the targeting capabilities within these social networks to maximize your budget and your campaigns.

Claim and Optimize Your Local Listings

Sites like Google, Yelp, and the online Yellow Pages also provide customers information and reviews about your company. It’s really important that you claim these listings so you can control and optimize the information they contain.

Use Apps to Target Hyper-Local Customers

There’s local targeting and then there’s hyper-local targeting. Mobile apps now allow local business owners to target prospects who are in close proximity to their business. Why not use an app like Foursquare to send alerts about a sale or offers to customers who are shopping nearby?

Pay Attention to What Works

If you’ve been advertising for any length of time you already know some things work and some things don’t. You’ve got to really monitor your campaigns and pay attention to your results so you can refine strategies and keywords as necessary. Look for what’s driving the most measurable results – those conversions like emails, phone calls, walk-ins and actual sales. Whatever is actually driving customers to your business – do more of that and cut out whatever gave you no results.

You may be small, and you may be local, but to your immediate community, the products and services you provide may be hugely appreciated. Don’t be intimidated by big brands. Use these 7 digital strategies to dominate your local market.

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7 Digital Marketing Trends for 2016

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Feb 02, 2016 @ 03:45 PM

Saying that digital marketing evolves quickly is like saying the sun is hot or bacon is really good – a big understatement indeed. Each new year brings advances in hardware and software and new user preferences. In order for small, local businesses to stay competitive they’ve got to be aware of the latest trends in consumer behavior as well as what is and is no longer working.

As 2016 unfolds before us, here are 7 trends to consider as you plan your marketing strategies:

 

  1. More Budgets Will Be Allocated toMore Budgets Will Be Allocated to Social Marketing Ads Social Marketing Ads

An Adweek survey of 5,000 marketers found that 70% plan on spending more of their digital marketing budget this year on social marketing ads. A sizeable 66% of those companies surveyed consider social media fundamental to their business.

 

  1. Content Marketing Becomes Even More Impactful

Content marketing has been king for quite some time, but 2016 will see it become even more impactful to bottom lines. A Smart Insights survey found that nearly 20% of marketers feel content marketing will have the biggest impact on their businesses. This far outweighs the combined totals of marketers who believe organic search, paid search and social media marketing will make the biggest impact.

 

  1. Organic Social

The same Adweek survey found that 70% of marketers plan on using content marketing to up their organic social marketing game as a way to build their online presence and expand their brand reach. Brands plan on using useful and entertaining content to complement their social media ad spend and drive action.

 

  1. Mobile Websites Become Critical

In May of last year, Google announced that mobile traffic outpaced desktop traffic in several countries, including the United States. Data from Smart Insights suggests that the average time spent on a PC isn’t really decreasing, but that time spent on mobile devices is rapidly increasing. Marketers have been hearing for years that they had better ensure their websites include a mobile design, and 2016 is the year brands will definitely feel the sting of lost revenue if they haven’t already heeded this advice. This does not mean efforts on updating desktop sites are unimportant, as these efforts remain as important as ever.

 

  1. blank-video-project-final-3-hed-2015.jpgMore Ad Spend on Video Content

Video ads are not new, and 2015 saw many companies experience success by uploading video ads onto social media sites and YouTube. Google also began testing video ads in their PPC search ads, and marketers found using Facebook paid ads worked well. This year we can expect more brands to spend ad budgets on promotional and creative videos.

 

  1. Marketers Will Spend More Time Wooing influencers

Since the beginning of advertising and selling goods, business owners have always looked for the best way to acquire new customers. Come 2016, marketers will realize the newest and best way to gain new customers is to chase and woo influencers.

Called influencer marketing, the strategy of having an industry expert or even celebrity mention or promote your offering to their followers is expected to grow faster than PPC and SEO in the coming year. There are different ways marketers might attract these influencers such as sending free products to review, offering a cross promotion, or even just paying a fee.

 

  1. Email Marketing Remains a Core Pillar of Online Business

Adweek’s survey also found that nearly three-quarters of business owners felt that email marketing remained a core pillar of online business. You could say that the money is still in the list and can expect good chunks of marketing budgets, specifically for paid and organic search, to go toward capturing emails and list-building efforts.

How much time will you be dedicating to these 7 digital marketing trends in the new year?

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6 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2016

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 22, 2015 @ 08:51 AM

Autumn has arrived. There is an unmistakable chill in the air that blows the gold and crimson leaves off the trees. Kids are back in school, and already every store in town is stocked with Christmas decorations. What does all of this mean? It means the New Year is just around the corner, which means it’s time to look ahead at the digital marketing trends we can expect to see in 2016.

Content Marketing Becomes a No-Brainer

content-marketingContent marketing, or inbound marketing, is not a new tactic in the least. It’s what many businesses of all sizes are using to engage their customers and prospects, build trust and develop their brand. What will be different in 2016 are two main things:

  1. The sheer volume of both B2B and B2C companies who currently use a big chunk of their marketing budgets to create and distribute content across multiple channels will increase and illustrate a new marketing mentality - if you’re NOT using content in your marketing plan, you will be left behind

  2. Business owners will start to embrace more forms of content in the New Year, especially visual content such as videos

Common Sense SEO

Speaking of upping your visual content game, marketers who do will find they automatically get a boost in their SEO ranking. With each Google algorithm update we have seen a definite trend toward the search company favoring websites that focus on providing great content over optimizing keywords.

One way search engines determine which web pages their customers find to be quality is to measure how much time they spend on each page (aka “Dwell Time”) and if they click through to other pages on the site.

Visitors that land on great visual content are far more likely to stick around and find your website helpful to their search query.

Another SEO shift we’ll see is more complex search queries resulting in a demand for relevant content. As SEO best practices change with technological advances and adoption (ie – improved speech recognition software in smart phones), marketers will be able to focus on generating actual useful content instead of spending budget money on hiring “SEO experts” to get a set of keywords ranked.

kids-telling-secretsContent Co-Creating Between Brands and Consumers

The other content marketing change we will most likely see in 2016 is more brands embracing user-generated content and leveraging its power. From social media posts and online reviews, brands will relinquish control over their marketing and allow their customers’ voices to create a positive impact in their prospects’ minds. Content co-creation between a brand and its consumers will become a popular marketing trend.

Even More Data to Mine

A CMO article by Adobe has suggested that wearable technology will see a user adoption rate of 28% by 2016, which means there's going to be even more (read: a massive amount of) data for marketers to mine. If you’ve had success with the intuitive advertising solutions offered by Facebook and Google, which can target customers based on the actions they take online, you’ll most likely be thrilled by the idea of being able to target prospects by their day-to-day habits.

As “The Internet of Things” (IoT) becomes more of a reality, we can expect big data sources to significantly grow and advertisements native to wearable technology spring up in the New Year.

More Effective Metrics at Your Disposal

Marketers currently only have so-so metrics at their disposal to measure a campaign’s success. A great deal of focus on social metrics such as shares, likes and tweets has resulted in empty “vanity” data that offers little real-world applications. 2016 will see a rise in better analytical tools that will help marketers gauge their campaign’s success.

A Focus on Millennials will Become Irrelevant

About a decade ago the entire marketing world became obsessed with focusing on and catering to millennials. But just as happened with baby boomers and every other generation, millennials are not a niche “youth” segment but a group of people who are aging as we speak and will give way to a newer, younger generation. Those brands who have been millennial-focused will find in the coming year and beyond a need to change their marketing game in order to stay relevant and current.

2016 promises to bring new technology, tactics and tools that may help you reach your target audience and turn them into paying customers.

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Topics: digital marketing

Raise Your Hand if You’ve Heard of Digital Media

Posted by Scott Olson on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 @ 01:29 PM

Yep, every hand in the room, just what I thought. It’s no secret that digital media has everyone's heard of digital media and for the first time digital has taken the lead on traditional mediaexperienced exponential growth since Al Gore invented the Internet. And by now each and every marketer throughout the land, the entire land, has heard of and is trying to figure out the best practices for instituting digital media into their business. Either for themselves or their clients. So on the surface this isn’t anything new. Here is what’s new: for the first time digital media consumption (not advertising) has overtaken traditional media.

So while newspapers have predicted their own death for the past five years and everyone, and I mean everyone, has been harping on publishers for not adopting models that monetize digital since, again, Al Gore invented the Internet, now all traditional media better pay closer attention to what’s happening. It’s time for television to take a hard look at what their networks are doing in terms of disseminating their content and making a transition to digital.

One traditional media form, out-of-home, a.k.a. billboards, bus stops, bathroom ads, etc., has already integrated digital media into their platforms in the form of making digital versions of each of their outlets. Have you seen one? Chances are you’ve seen the marquis or the screen behind the batter during Major League baseball games, and hopefully you’re a quick reader because you only have about three seconds to catch the ad.

Either way, the consumption of digital media is forecasted to reach new heights, with a total daily time spent of more than five hours, PER DAY. That’s a lot of Words with Friends. Regardless of how many games you might have going on at once, you have to try really hard to spend five hours expanding your vocabulary. I shouldn’t forget about Facebook . . .

When it comes to breaking down the time spent, the dual screen phenomenon is certainly contributing. For instance, included in eMarketer’s prediction is the assumption that an individual watching TV AND tweeting on their tablet counts as an hour with the boobtube and an hour with their tablet. To make matters worse for traditional television providers, namely cable and satellite, IPTV continues to steal market share.

MediaPost reported last week that both cable and satellite providers are losing subscribers to households moving to Internet Protocol television (IPTV).

      satellite and cable television subscribers are being reduced as more consumers turn to digital platforms                                         

“In the second quarter of 2013, U.S. pay TV providers shed 352,000 subscribers, according to IHS, due mostly to a loss of 588,000 cable subscribers and 162,000 satellite subscribers.”

If you do the math, and consider each subscriber is worth somewhere between $75 and $200, that will make a difference on the balance sheet. While some may think these are all households moving to Apple TV or Hulu Plus, MediaPost reported IPTV added 398,000 subscribers in the second quarter. And don’t sleep on Netflix, as they continue to build out their stable of television style series including House of Cards, Arrested Development, Orange is the New Black and Bad Samaritans.

What it comes down to is you need to know how to integrate traditional and digital media. Digital will continue to grow, but we all know that can’t be your only strategy for success. Traditional media will never completely go away. If you’re interested in learning how you should build a successful campaign that includes print and digital, check out our eBook titled ‘The CMOs Guide to Integrating Print and Digital.’ If you want to go strictly digital, you need to reach local audiences. We have a great starting point for that, too. Download ‘The Smart Marketer’s Guide to Local Digital Advertising.’

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

Download  The Smart Marketer's Guide to Local Digital Advertising

Scott Olson is the director of marketing at Mediaspace Solutions. His career has spanned marketing positions in the non-profit, software and utility sectors providing various marketing experiences. You can connect with Scott on FacebookGoogle+Twitter or LinkedIn.

Hands photo courtesy of Stina Johnson on flickr.

Satellite photo courtesy of Ruddington Photos on flickr.

Topics: digital advertising, digital marketing, digital advertising campaign, digital publishing, TV advertising, TV commercials

Don’t Overlook Seniors in Your Next Digital Advertising Campaign

Posted by Kyle Stowe on Mon, Aug 05, 2013 @ 12:05 PM

As marketers further embrace digital platforms and continue to craft online campaigns, you would think that grandma and grandpa are the big losers, right? Children and grandchildren alike have heard the questions before:

“What is the Facebook?”

“Why are you tweeting like a bird?”

“Do I need a board before I can surf the web?” 

Senior citizens’ proclaimed digital media hardships have even inspired in-depth tutorials such as this:

While seniors’ interactions with the digital world can occasionally be the subject of a good laugh, it’s important to recognize that this demographic many online marketers choose to forget is worth more attention than a simple chuckle. Your grandparents may not share your knack for applying the perfect Instagram filter, but they are picking up on digital platforms faster than it might take you to create your next 100-like status. The data speaks for itself: More seniors are logged onto the Web than ever before, and in an engaging manner that should make marketers think twice about ignoring the old folks.

According to a recent study, MediaPost reports 52% of U.S. seniors (ages 65+) are “engaging with online content on the daily basis.” Throw that figure into the computer and you’ll find 52% means more than 20 million U.S. seniors are scrolling through digital media every single day. That’s a big number to disregard.  The same MediaPost report states 77% of seniors “now view the Web as the number one source for gathering a variety of content,” illustrating a significant majority of seniors are becoming comfortable enough to rely on digital media as their primary information platform. Turns out, Gladys and Don down the street may know how to navigate Google Chrome a little better than you expected.

More importantly for marketers, seniors are taking action after viewing online content, especially after watching videos. MediaPost points out 57% of baby boomers and seniors were “inspired to visit a retailer” after viewing an online video and 37% “called a business or organization as a result of seeing a particular online video.” An eMarketer report adds that nearly 64% of seniors made at least one purchase online within in the past year, and “spent an average of $297 on online purchases in the prior three months.” This data shows seniors have the capability to be influenced and spend money online, granted you take the right approach.

Senior Citizen GraphNot forgotten in the hubbub surrounding the digital advertising market for seniors is the bruising reality that senior citizens do not consume online media like their middle-aged and young adult counterparts. According to eMarketer, nearly 57% of the U.S. population uses a smartphone, compared to only 23% of seniors. The 65+ age demographic still has some distance to cover in social media usage as well: 67% of the U.S population will visit a social networking website at least once a month, while a significantly less 36% of seniors can say the same. Even though seniors may represent a smaller portion of the digital audience pie, the big takeaway is that the millions of seniors who do surf the web are engaged and ready for your marketing pitch.

As a part of building a digital campaign catered to seniors, it’s important to understand the strategies available to better reach your target audience. At Mediaspace Solutions, we understand the benefits of local digital advertising and work with businesses to identify local strategies that can increase campaign visibility online. Check out our eBook titled The Smart Marketer’s Guide to Local Digital Advertising to learn more about how local digital advertising can enhance your next campaign. 

Download  The Smart Marketer's Guide to Local Digital Advertising

Kyle Stowe is a marketing intern with Mediaspace Solutions. He will begin his senior year at the University of Minnesota this fall majoring in journalism with an expected graduation date of May, 2014. His previous internships include stints with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and the Walt Disney Company. You can connect with Kyle on TwitterLinkedIn, and Google+.

Topics: digital advertising, digital marketing, video advertising, online engagement

What Can a # do for Your Advertising Campaign?

Posted by Kyle Stowe on Mon, Jul 29, 2013 @ 12:05 PM

Trying to find one word that describes the social media revolution of the early 21st century is near impossible. With so many social media websites in play, it’s difficult to find that one magic word that can perfectly describe the capabilities of each individual platform. There is, however, one 21st century buzzword that can relate to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, and other like-platforms on the worldwide web. Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce you to the hashtag. A word that your grandma may confuse with hash browns or price tag, but a word that is central to the promotional and content-sharing features of several social media websites today. If you haven’t already, now is the time to get in touch with this industry essential.

describe the imageAfter bursting onto the scene with the advent of Twitter, the hashtag has now been integrated into a number of social media websites including Pinterest, Tumbler, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, and most recently Facebook. While you may have heard someone close to you announce that he/she is “#winning,” the concept can take on a much more important and serious role in the business world. For marketing and advertising purposes, hashtags have become a valuable tool in an effort to improve the one thing everyone wants in a digital world: online visibility. By investing time in learning how to properly use hashtags, industry workers have been able to raise brand awareness and engage with consumers in a way that has little alternative.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand the logic behind the whole hashtag concept. According to b2bmarketing.net, using a hashtag in content-sharing activities makes it possible for users to “associate their content with a theme denominated by the hashtag itself.” For example, using the hashtag #shoplocal in your post would correlate the content you’re sharing with conversation around local shopping. Because they become automatically indexed, users can then click on #shoplocal and see all posts that have incorporated the same hashtag. This ability to link users and businesses together through a hashtag drives social conversation and in effect helps marketers find engaged consumers.

Wendys Twitter campaignHashtags can also serve as a market research tool and form of advertising to marketers wishing to grow their brand online at virtually no cost. By encouraging users to incorporate specific hashtags in their posts, a brand can receive free promotion from the best possible source: consumers themselves. Rather than relying solely on your business to increase brand visibility, hashtags allow marketers to let social media users help find new target audiences. As a market research tool, hashtags can assist marketers in learning what potential consumers are talking about online, and thus gain a better understanding of how to reach them in a campaign. Businesses can also address consumer ideas, questions or concerns by asking users to attach a specific hashtag to a post, making consumer-to-business communication very easy.

To learn more about businesses that have successfully integrated hashtags into a variety of marketing campaigns, check out this article on socialmediatoday.com. 

While hashtags can serve a very valuable purpose as a part of a large-scale national campaign, they can also be used to help identify and zero in on potential consumers at the local level. At Mediaspace Solutions, we understand the many benefits of local advertising and work with businesses to identify local strategies that can increase campaign visibility. Check out our eBook titled The Ten Benefits of Local Advertising to learn more about how local advertising can take your ad campaign to the next level. 

Download the 10 Benefits of Local Advertising eBook

Kyle Stowe is a marketing intern with Mediaspace Solutions. He will begin his senior year at the University of Minnesota this fall majoring in journalism with an expected graduation date of May, 2014. His previous internships include stints with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and the Walt Disney Company. You can connect with Kyle on TwitterLinkedIn, and Google+.

Topics: digital advertising, digital marketing, hashtag

The ‘Right’ Digital Ad for your Business

Posted by Scott Olson on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 @ 12:55 PM

selecting ad type in digital or print media is difficult due to the endless list of optionsToday the options are nearly endless when it comes to digital ads. Selecting the ‘right’ ad for your business, whether it’s business to business, business to consumer, tangible product, or service, can be very difficult. And things aren’t going to get any easier in the near future. One of the main reasons why is that the digital ad world continues to evolve. The rules, the benefits, the tracking, all of this takes time to figure out and then to deploy. Oh, and you have to come up with the right creative to drive action, whether it’s click-throughs, video rolls or sales.

Lately there’s been a lot of hype about native ads and why and how they benefit both advertisers and publishers. In a recent post on iMedia Connection, Brandon Carter, Marketing Manager at Outbrain, talked about how publishers are involved in the native ad game and what they can do to help advertisers and in the end, themselves. One of his main takeaways is that publishers need to establish rules for their business to live by. By doing so, according to Carter, the “guidelines will help the sales team determine not only which brands to work with but how to work with them.” The guidelines can serve as a sort of creative brief, in which expectations are set for both the publisher and the advertiser.

These expectations will be even more important as browser manufacturers update and change their rules in terms of how they treat advertising and the cookies that get placed on the machines of the millions of users on the Internet every minute. There have been a number of articles written about Mozilla’s upcoming release and how they will treat native advertising versus the digital ads from ad networks. You could also call this first-party versus third-party. What it comes down to is this: Mozilla is considering blocking third-party advertisers from placing cookies on a user’s machine, while first-party advertisers will still have that ability.

The Digital Advertising Alliance is criticizing Mozilla for taking this step and asserting this will hurt advertisers and publishers who rely on advertising dollars to sustain their businesses. At this point, however, the developer of the cookie blocking software, Jonathan Mayer, hasn’t perfected his code to differentiate between first-party and third-party cookies. Mozilla was hoping to get the ad-blocking procedures in place sooner rather than later, but it’s turning out to be a bit more difficult than anticipated.

While all these conversations are going on regarding native digital ads and cookies, sponsorship advertising is on the rise as a new method for advertisers to reach their target marketssponsorships are on the rise, according to eMarketer. The reason? Sponsorships are the latest shiny object. They’re new and different than ad networks and traditional ad networks, so advertisers are jumping on board to get in on sponsorship opportunities in digital newspapers and magazines. However, what’s happened in other digital ad formats is affecting sponsorships as well. The difficult part is defining what a sponsorship is and how to measure it. In the meantime, spending is on the rise, to the tune of an expected $3 billion by 2017.

So what is the ‘right’ digital ad for your business? Great question. The answer might be one thing today, and something different tomorrow. What you need to do is determine what matters most to you. If you want to know exactly what sites you’re appearing on and where, native ads and direct buys are most likely your best bet. If all you’re after is impressions and you don’t care how or why, ad networks might still be the best route. Two words of wisdom on those though: good luck.

To learn how to do digital effectively, especially local digital, download our latest eBook, The Smart Marketer’s Guide to Local Digital Advertising. If you want to learn more from a publisher perspective on native ads, get our interview with John Kerr, director of multimedia sales with The Press-Enterprise, and get started today.

Download  The Smart Marketer's Guide to Local Digital Advertising

Digital advertising is changing and John Kerr is leading the way at his newspaper

Scott Olson is the director of marketing at Mediaspace Solutions. His career has spanned marketing positions in the non-profit, software and utility sectors providing various marketing experiences. You can connect with Scott on FacebookGoogle+Twitter or LinkedIn.

Topics: advertising capabilities, digital advertising, mobile advertising, digital marketing

Use Local Marketing Automation to Accelerate Revenue

Posted by Scott Olson on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 @ 10:38 AM

In terms of buzzwords and potential gobbledygook, ‘Use Local Marketing Automation to local marketing for revenue acceleration might sound like gobbledygook, but it's much more than thatAccelerate Revenue,’ has to rate near the top. However, it’s a keyword rich headline that grabbed your attention, didn’t it? And now you’re interested in learning more about how to automate your local marketing to increase your bottom line. Good for you.

Last week I told you about a few local marketing strategies to ensure success in your local advertising campaigns. At the end I promised we’d revisit the whole local marketing idea and that’s the path we’ll walk down today. The thing is, there are a ton of valuable resources for us to tap into and learn about how and why local marketing automation is important. One of those is the CMO Council, who published the Brand Automation for Local Activation report. I referenced that report last week, but it’s just not possible to cover 75 pages of content in a 600-word blog post. That’s why we’re back at it again.

We’re big on automation at Mediaspace. We have a small marketing team focused on delivering results and checking things off our project list. But that’s not the only reason. Automation also ensures we’re following up with our prospects and giving them a better understanding of the benefits of working with Mediaspace. According to the CMO Council’s report, “Of those marketers who already have automated systems and are able to deploy both local and national campaigns simultaneously, 88 percent believe this immediate deployment has provided a competitive difference for their brand, with 38 percent believing that it creates not only differentiation, but also a significant advantage over the competition.”

local marketing execution is seen as a distinct advantage compared to competitors for marketers who were surveyed by the CMO CouncilGraph from the Brand Automation for Local Activation Report

Reason being, not everyone has figured out marketing automation, and even fewer have figured out how to take those automation strategies and apply them beyond national campaigns. That takes a lot of work, trust me. We’ve been working on it for a while now and are seeing the benefits, but it wasn’t a 15-minute project. Probably the best thing about local marketing automation and the ability to connect national and local campaigns are the metrics that can be pulled out and the detailed reporting automation solutions can provide.

I’m speaking from experience, but the CMO Council report backs up my personal feelings: “Marketers currently leveraging local marketing automation are measurement mavens as 63 percent have implemented a formalized system to measure local campaign impact and success (compared to 40 percent of the overall respondent pool). And more of these local automation-leveraging marketers (77 percent of respondents compared to 60 percent of the overall respondent pool) are using the data and insights that are being collected to further improve the relevance and outcomes of local campaigns. “

In short: try it, measure it, evaluate measurements, make adjustments, try it again. Like I said, marketing automation, especially local marketing automation and the union of national and local campaigns, isn’t a 15-minute project. You’ll want to invest some time and resources in this one.

Here’s the upside, and let me close with this: “When strategy is enabled by technology—versus strategy trying to catch up to technologies—the customer is greeted with a brand experience that is not local or corporate, but rather just a seamless experience with the brand that is more relevant and sticky.”

That sounds good to me. If you want to get started with automating your campaigns we have a couple resources to help you along. The first is our eBook on local digital marketing and how you can create effective campaigns. But digital isn’t the only media hitting local markets. Print does a pretty good job too. Check out our eBook on integrating print and digital and you’ll be a local marketing genius in no time.

Download  The Smart Marketer's Guide to Local Digital Advertising Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

Topics: local digital advertising, local advertising solutions, local marketing, digital marketing, local