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How to Enhance Your Digital Marketing in 2014

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Digital marketing done right has the potential to provide a great return on investment to help build your audience online and increase customer engagement. Maybe your digital marketing is performing the way you think it should or maybe you know there’s a better way to do what you’re doing, but just not sure how to do it. Regardless, there’s always room for improvement (for us too), and we’ve identified some ways that you can enhance your digital marketing efforts in 2014.

Nathaniel Seevers

Want to immediately improve your marketing in 2014? Tighten up your mobile presence. 50% of people use mobile as their primary Internet resource. Imagine that. If half of your market is using mobile as their only means to access the Internet and your site isn’t built to engage and convert on smartphones and tablets…

Oh, and there are plenty more compelling mobile stats where that came from. Check out more here from Digital Buzz.

Though we recommend responsive sites as the way to go, you don’t have to blow up your current site to prepare for mobile. If you already have great content and user-friendly navigation on your desktop version consider tools like bMobilzed to adapt your site to a mobile-friendly version. There’s no reason to make it difficult for people to connect with you online.

Colin Smith

It’s a new year, and with that comes new trends. Content marketing is on the rise, and knowing what content to post to which social media outlet allows companies to communicate directly with their target audience, as well as other businesses. By now, a vast majority of companies use social media giants such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to post their content and broaden their outreach.

2014 will present more opportunities to use a wider range of social media sites for marketing purposes. Smaller platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, Vine and even Snapchat provide companies with a way to show, not just tell. When used correctly, these smaller platforms can really elevate your online and mobile presence and keep your brand a step ahead of competitors.

Gretchen Ardizzone

One of the ways you can enhance your digital marketing this year starts with first making an assessment of what you’re currently doing—what are your strengths and weaknesses, and where are the opportunities. After you’ve identified those, it’s important to compare against the goals you have set to achieve this year. By doing this you may realize a potential gap in your ability to reach these goals. I’ve worked for companies in the past that have clearly defined what they want to achieve online, but the reality is that department didn’t have the manpower or expertise to reach these goals. That’s ok. One option is working with an outside resource to fulfill the needs to accomplish your goals. Yeah, that may seem like a plug for our services, but it’s really not. This is simply is why companies like Shout Out exist. To serve as a digital marketing partner or an extension of your existing team. Teams like ours can help you plan and execute individual initiatives, or serve as a team of experts to implement an entire digital marketing strategy.

Marsh Williams

Learn the difference between sales and marketing. So many firms use sales and marketing as interchangeable words when it comes to sending out messages that will hopefully generate new business, but they are very different and your expectations should be set accordingly.

Marketing is about establishing your organization within the target audience. It is about giving them a sense of your organization and establishing “pre-sales” knowledge. In this sense ,marketing takes time and has to be done with the regularity of a drumbeat. Marketing efforts take months or years and should have expectations set accordingly.

Plan a marketing calendar, even if you only try one avenue such as blogging, or social media, just pick one area and learn to use it effectively in 2014. You will be surprised by what you find at the bend of a year.

Shannon Blair

One way to enhance your digital marketing efforts in 2014 is to focus on and enhance who you are as a company. Examine the digital marketing work you do and with that – the work you want to do more of in the New Year. One way to do this in an efficient way is to follow your measurements and metrics. By pulling data from various aspects of your digital marketing you can analyze and enhance the parts that you want to do more of. If you haven’t done so already, give Google Analytics a try!

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Great Marketing in 140 Characters or Less

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Twitter is something special. We all know that now. There are many elements that contribute to its uniqueness and influential status. Twitter helps connect people and movements, it eases the spread of radical ideas, and it creates a forum for the world to debate on. But one of the core ideas of Twitter is what gives it relevancy in today’s overly indulgent world; it’s tricky and thought-provoking 140 character limit. The character limit forces everyone to think about what they are saying and how they are saying it. It makes everyone pause to determine if what they are saying truly gets to the heart of the message they are trying to convey.

At Shout Out we often ask ourselves how we can help people and their businesses. That conversation almost always leads us to think about what great marketing really is, and more often than not, it gets a little long-winded. Today we thought we would take a moment to think about what we really think great marketing is, and then say it with gusto à la Twitter style.

Gretchen Ardizzone

“Great marketing is storytelling with confidence. It’s real, engaging and ever-changing.”

Luke Pierce

“Great marketing is creating passion, emotion, a deep sense of loyalty, and a tremendous desire to share and spread those feelings.”

Shannon Blair

“Great marketing is having pride in what your company can do, with the confidence and knowledge to do it.”

Nathaniel Seevers

“Great marketing is listening and understanding before speaking. It’s a two-way street. It’s dialogue.”

Marsh Williams

“Great marketing is getting the person you are “speaking with” to want more. Always give them just enough to make the decision to want more.”

Top 5 Small Business Marketing Tools

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We have a running joke here at Shout Out that EVERY time we have a meeting somebody suggests a new internet tool that I haven’t heard about yet. There are so many tools out there that it will make your head spin. For instance, the following list of marketing tools can hardly even be considered the tip of the iceberg. *Note please scroll through to the end for the Top 5

Marketing Tools

For social media there is:

Hootsuite

SproutSocial

Engagor

RaffleCopter

For Website Analysis there is:

SEM Rush

SiteBeam

SEO Quake

Optimizely

*Click through to see more tools and the top 5.

read more

Digital Marketing Horror Story

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Cue the blood-curdling scream…

It’s that time of year when the weather changes and we all prepare for the usual Halloween activities like trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, horror flicks, hayrides and haunted houses. Given the seasonal timeliness, the subject matter of our marketing meeting yesterday ended with each of us telling our own Digital Marketing Horror Story. Please avoid these terrifying tactics at all cost.

Luke Pierce

You know that iconic vision of a haunted house? Those once beautiful Victorian homes that have sat lonely on a hilltop rotting and decaying for years? Well, the Internet is riddled with their website equivalents. It’s horrifying.

Some believe that a website is a one-and-done type of thing. They believe that once it’s built, it will sit in pristine condition until the end of time. The truth is, it is just like our haunted house. It decays over time without attention. It gets forgotten about. People stop visiting. It starts to inhibit ghosts of your copyright past. Frankly, there is nothing that scares the shit out of me more than when I log onto a website and see 2002 ©.

Marsh Williams

So… we’ve all been there. We’re looking for something and we click a Google ad and poof… we’re magically transported to the mystical land of landing pages. Once I’m there I resist the siren call to give them all of my information before I learn more about the product. I attempt to go to the corporate website and read some more, but noooooo, I’m trapped! I’ve fallen for the oldest of gambits, next to “Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line,” and there is no way to leave the landing page. No link to the company home page, no hidden link in the company logo, no link anywhere to other information the company would probably want me to know about. Yes, worse than a corn-maze with no exit, a landing page with no way out.

By the way, I’m still stuck on the page and can’t seem to find my way home. Send pizza…

Many thanks to read more

Admirable Brand Marketing

Admirable Brand Marketing

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We spend a lot of our time helping brands increase their marketing effectiveness, but yesterday we sat back and took a moment to appreciate those who are doing it right. Here are a few brands, big and small, we admire for thinking holistically when it comes to marketing and telling their story.

Gretchen Ardizzone—Warby Parker

When thinking about admirable brand marketing, for me, it’s got to be Warby. I watched this brand go from undercover indie to mainstream cool, all while managing to maintain their authentic, genuine, do-good attitude. Warby Parker launched in 2010 with its home try-on program and a mission to offer boutique-style glasses at affordable prices.

What makes it admirable is what they’re marketing is bigger than just eyewear. The brand evokes a physical representation of literacy. Heck, the name was even born from two character’s names, Zagg Parker and Warby Pepper, from writer Jack Kerouac’s journal. read more

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If Your First Website Sucks, it’s Probably Not Your Fault

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We just took over a client’s first website that was a fiasco. The site was done in WordPress but everything, I mean everything, including all of the copy, was put into the site with images. That means, from the viewpoint of search engines, there was literally no searchable content on the site. In addition, the site had no web analytics, search engines were blocked in WordPress, there was no sitemap, etc., etc.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time we’ve seen this. We’ve been involved in several projects where a client’s initial site was poorly executed with many of the essential basics overlooked or just flat left out. It makes me nuts!

People pay good money, which is a start-up is precious, and end up with a website that sucks. How does this happen?

Usually, it’s the client’s first-ever effort at creating a website, which means they are not yet educated buyers of these services. This is not a shot at anyone, it’s just a fact. Imagine if someone asked you to buy a 747 for the first time. You’ve never done it before so you don’t know what you don’t know. Some people describe this state as unconsciously incompetent. How can you possibly make a good buying decision without someone helping you who knows the process? read more

Keys to a New, Better Website in 2013

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A new website might be in your organizations future. Maybe it’s even part of your new year’s resolution.

Here’s some keys to helping your new website be the best it can be in 2013.

Identify The Value of An Effective, New Website

Knowing how valuable the website will be for your business is absolutely critical before you explore who might be building it for you. Are you a software company and your website might help reduce your customer service calls? Are you an independent insurance agency who needs to compete with engaging websites like those of Geico and State Farm? Are you embarrassed to direct potential clients to your website? read more

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