Author Archives: Jenny Stradling

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About Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

How to Use the “Surprise and Delight” Strategy to Improve Customer Loyalty

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“Surprise and Delight” Strategy

What is a “Surprise and Delight” Strategy (or for those in the know S&D)?

“Surprise and Delight” is a marketing approach that seeks to attract and nurture customers through the lead pipeline through interactive experiences, unexpected gifts or rewards and personalized content.

Over the last decade this idea has been gaining traction with business owners and marketers as a smart way to enhance the overall brand experience for prospects and existing clients. A genuine sign of appreciation for your customers is a great way to breathe new life into existing marketing campaigns while also creating a powerful connection on a more emotional level.

Data from a study conducted by LoyaltyOne shows that a 94% of customers who received a surprise gift or special recognition felt more positive about the company and 34% of them said the experience lead them to give the company more business.

That’s huge.

Improve Customer Loyalty

S&D is More Than a Rewards Program

A customer Rewards or Loyalty Program is a great way to keep your clients coming back for more. However, it’s somewhat expected these days, especially for retail shops and restaurants. You can implement “surprise and delight” strategies into your existing Loyalty Program to give your customers unexpected perks. These unexpected gifts can help boost purchases, support brand loyalty and can help educate consumers about new products or services.

Reward your existing customers and welcome new clients in new, interesting and unique ways by personalizing your surprises. Loyalty is hard to buy. When you invest into developing and providing a custom experience that was tailor-made for each user, you’ll wow your client base and improve your chances of seeing a longer ROI from your efforts.

Why Understanding Your Clients Pays… Literally

When you look at brands who specialize in implementing effective surprise and delight strategies, you find the same three commonalities:

  1. They know who their users are
  2. They know what their users are doing
  3. They can capitalize on both of the above two points to deliver a memorable customer experience

People want to feel recognized and valued. When you serve your clients that are triggered based on their unique behaviors, you speak to them on a personal level. Automating on-line micro-experiences for your digital audience will help you connect with them in real time. Also, by building a customer database you can collect important details on your clients which you can then use to create those automated campaigns.

Client Anniversaries, for example, can be added to your CRM and email marketing tools. You can create a personalized message in advance and then schedule the tool to automatically send an anniversary card to your client on the preset date.

What’s a client anniversary? Anniversaries are a great excuse to re-engage with your customers. Think of it as the day your client started with you. It can be the date of their first purchase or sign-up with your company. This is an easy date to track and create an annual reminder for with any popular customer relationship management tool on the market today.

Client Anniversary Email Example

Client Anniversary Email Example from theSkimm

Unique Ways You Can Try the “Surprise and Delight” Strategy for your Business

S&D Tip #1: Send a Handwritten Note

If you’re like me you can remember the days where text messages and social media were not the primary way to communicate. Technology has made emails more commonplace than receiving a handwritten card or letter in the mail.

Emails might get the job done, but if you want to stand out as a business, why not leverage the power of a handwritten note to express gratitude and recognition of your employees and customers?

Handwritten notes help build relationships by providing a level of intimacy you can’t get from digital communications.

S&D Tip #2: Send a Birthday Card and Gift

Go the extra mile with your customers by remembering their birthday. Like anniversaries, birthdays present the perfect opportunity to connect with your customers. Sure, you can send a digital card. And, depending on the size of your client list (and budget!), digital cards and email automations might be your only option. However, if you want to stand out you might want to consider the impact a real, paper birthday card might have.

All marketers know that it’s less expensive to keep an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. Customer loyalty is an increasingly important aspect of any business. According to research from Hallmark Business Connections, sending customer birthday cards increases loyalty by 10%.

Surprise Your Clients with a New Birthday Card

S&D Tip #3: Create an Interactive Experience

With the noisy digital landscape, brands are in a constant battle to produce more impactful content and customer expectations are rising. If you want to meet the demands of your customers, you can’t just do what you’ve always done.

Content is just as, if not more, important in delivering a positive customer experience than ever before. Interactive content helps pull users directly into the experience you’ve created by requiring their engagement and providing them with something valuable in return.

But what is interactive content? Videos might be considered a form of interactive content. However, an interactive experience offers content than actively calls for input from the users. Examples of interactive content include:

  • Surveys and Polls
  • Personalized Assessments and Quizzes
  • Tools and Calculators
  • Interactive Infographics
  • Other Digital Media, such as White Papers, Reports and eBooks can also be made Interactive

Creating and sharing thoughtful, interactive content leads to more engagement, better leads and improved loyalty from your customers.

S&D Tip #4: Make them a Custom Video Message

If you’re in sales, you know how hard it is to stand out among the hordes of automated emails, screened phone calls, and busy schedules your prospects are juggling. I personally know how challenging it is to try to get a response from an outreach email, even when you are sincerely trying to help.

One way you can really stand out is to use one-on-one video messaging. Everyone is using video calls and tools these days. A video message is essentially the same thing. It’s just a virtual message in place of what you would say to the prospect or customer if you were meeting them in their own office.

One-to-one videos are meant to be short, personal messages that you can send through email, social media, or a text message. And, good news: these videos don’t have to be highly produced or even scripted.

Looking to improve sales? Reps using personal videos are reporting a huge uptick in response rates:

  • 40% higher open rate
  • 37% higher clickthrough rate
  • 3x reply rate
Custom Client Video Message

Image courtesy of https://www.saleshacker.com/

S&D Tip #5: Celebrate Milestones and Big Wins

Making an effort to celebrate your customer’s success is a great way to show you care and increase loyalty in return. Although attracting new customers is important, as mentioned above, retaining an existing client is much more cost effective in the long-run. Make it a priority to reward your long-time customers to show them just how important they are to your business.

It’s easy to share your own big wins… but what about your clients? What are their goals as a brand? How do they measure online success? By understanding what milestones are important to your clients you can benchmark, track and measure them. When you see a client has met a major goal, surprise them with a congratulations and a special offer or even gift or invitation to meet to celebrate in person!

Milestones don’t have to be just major company wins; they can also be life events. If a customer gets married, has a baby, runs a marathon, moves into a new house, sends a child off to college or has another major achievement in their life, this is the perfect time to connect and show that you care about more than just their business.

S&D Tip #6: Call for No Other Reason Than to Check-in

You never want to waste someone’s time. However, existing clients aren’t the same as leads in your pipeline. Paying customers appreciate hearing from their service provider from time-to-time, even if it’s just to “check-in” and see how they are doing.

However, when calling a client, it doesn’t hurt to also have some additional value to provide. Here are some ideas you can try to ensure you have something fresh to say:

  • Urgent or Breaking Industry News
  • An Updated Client Success Story
  • Upcoming Events
  • Ask Open-ended Questions

If you don’t have anything specific to call about, try asking open-ended questions. If you’re stuck, asking closed-ended questions (yes/no questions) is better than asking none. However, if you want to really understand what matters to your prospect or client, try starting with phrases like: “What’s your opinion on…”, “How do you think…”, “To what extent…”, “What led up to…”, etc.

By allowing your customers to form personalized answers to these open-ended questions you’ll get a much clearer picture on what is important to them and can use these insights to further surprise and delight them in the future.

Customer Loyalty Means Repeat Customers and Brand Advocates

Customer Loyalty Means Repeat Customers and Brand Advocates

Surprise and delight marketing strategies serve a two-fold purpose:

  • They create repeat customers
  • And, they create loyal fans

Everyone likes to feel special and that their dollars matter. Nothing says “I value you” better than when companies take the time to provide a personalized surprise for their customers. By giving just a little back, customers who already like your brand are incentivized to become on-going customers or repeat buyers.

Repeat buyers are, well, awesome! But loyal customers can help the business get even more visibility by also becoming an advocate for the brand. A brand advocate is someone who elevates the brand through word of mouth marketing. For example, they might leave a review on your Google My Business page, leave a positive comment on your social media, refer new customers and even generate and share content on your behalf…

Isn’t all that worth investing into?

Avatar for Jenny Stradling

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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2019 Graphic Design Trends Recapped and 2020 Design Trends We Love (so far!)

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Eminent SEO - Graphic Design Trends 2020

Graphic design is always evolving. Every year new trends emerge and old fads become obsolete. We work online so we look at a lot of websites and, as designers ourselves, think it’s extremely important to know what is going on in the design world. 

So, here are the 2019 graphic design trends recapped, 2020 design trends we love so far this year, fun examples of the changing face of design… and what you (still) have to look forward to in 2020! 

2019 Design Trends Recapped

Design helps us understand our world. Trends place us in time.

The overarching design trend for 2019? Just like in every other part of life, it seems, we were in opposition with ourselves. Last year was all about contradictions. Design trends from conflicting eras and opposing ends of the visual spectrum all vied for our attention… So, who won?

Let’s recap what the graphic design world saw in 2019:

Early 2019 showed signs of oh-so-fresh color pallets. Maybe everyone was just over the holidays or just ready to mix up their feed a bit, but either way, January 2019 design brought us color trends, such as:

Vivid Color Combinations

In 2019 graphic designers used vivid colors to capture a user’s attention. You only have a split second to communicate a message in today’s busy marketplace. Color can help a designer grab the audience and create a lasting impression for the brand.

Vivid Design - 2019 Graphic Design Trend

Design by Mohamed Samir

Pro Designer Tip:  When using vivid colors in your design, make sure you clearly distinguish the differences between the items in the forefront and background so it’s easy to still read your message.

Dreamy Color Combinations

Vivid was taken from abstract to soft and dreamy with patterns inspired by liquid.

Liquids move and when they do, they create natural shapes, patterns and textures. This fluidity, combined with the trending futuristic colors, inspired graphic designers to make magical and dream-like art.

Dreamy Color Combinations - 2019 Graphic Design Trends

Design by Quickfish

See more examples of Dreamy Color Combinations by Visual Artist Magdiel Lopez on his Insagram account.

Designs with Human Illustrations

Sure, stock photos are cool but have you used humanistic illustrations? 2019 brought us illustrated people and we are already well into 2020 and still seeing this design trending hard, especially in software and technical websites.

Even Eminent SEO embraced this trend with our own blog posts and social media:

How to Write A Ranking Blog Post

Image source: https://www.eminentseo.com/blog/how-to-write-a-popular-ranking-blog-post/

Let’s face it, we’ve all seen enough cheesy stock photos to last a lifetime. Humanistic illustrations are an easy way to add a visual element to your content without having to use, well, real people. 

Sticker Trend 

Possibly one of the cutest trends of 2019, Instagram stickers brought so much YES! to the graphic design world. How do they work? Basically, you create a graphic that looks like a sticker and slap it on any image for a seriously fun and easy way to make your brand stand out!

Sticker Trend - 2019 Graphic Design

Image source: https://later.com/blog/instagram-overlay-stickers/

The 2019 Sticker Trend is still super cute! In this post, you’ll learn how to create your own Instagram overlay stickers, discover creative examples from influencers and brands, and find out how to successfully incorporate stickers into your feed: https://later.com/blog/instagram-overlay-stickers/

Contrasting Textures

Who doesn’t love a smooth surface or a shiny object? Texturing provides the surface of a design a specific look and feel, giving personality and bringing the design to life. Textures give depth to backgrounds and visual intrigue for the user.

You can use a texture to actually highlight a specific aspect of your design personality. For example, if your brand is sustainable and about saving the planet, think organic and natural colors and textures.

Contrasting Textures - 2019 Design Trend

Without texture, life would seem pretty flat. And the same goes for your designs. Learn how to turn heads with textures with Over.

Botanical and Leafy Shades 

One of my personal favorites. This trend speaks to my softer, more feminine and romantic side. Something about using plants to create an aesthetic really speaks to my soul. However, this leafy shade trend took the whole thing to a new level!

I’m talking about plant shadows!

Botanical and Leafy Shades - Graphic Design Trend 2019

We saw these beautifully integrated into social posts, ads, flyers and blog banners. Did you use this trend last year?

Bold and Creative Text Posters

Short but BIG and BOLD typography, creatively positioned, was a big trend in poster design for 2019 graphic artists. With text playing the role of the illustrated art, designers had fun breaking up words, scattering and rotating letters and even extending giant text beyond the borders.

Posters weren’t the only products getting bold typography. Packaging, social media posts and merchandise are all perfect for this fun design trend.

Bold and Creative Text Posters - 2019 Graphic Design Trend

This example uses the 2019 sticker trend as well. Loving it.

Bold and Creative Text Poster 2 - 2019 Graphic Design Trend

Synth Futurism

What is Synth Futurism? Don’t worry, we didn’t know either, so we looked it up for you, and it’s basically a throwback to the dawn of the digital age when people imagined what the future would look and sound like. It’s all about glowing neon, geometric shapes, colorful duo-tone gradients, grid landscapes and other abstract or unexpected elements.

This trend brought out the rule-breakers. Just place that square anywhere, you brave little designer you! 

Synth Futurism - 2019 Graphic Design Trend

If you’re looking for a design trend that’s achingly cool and gets eyes on your brand, Synth Futurism could be just the thing.

I totally see this as an album cover or for a social series that promotes a CBD brand or something. Maybe both.

Brutalism

Another design trend for the rulebreakers (let’s be honest, us artists are really all rulebreakers), Brutalism was seen a lot in 2019 urban fashion brand marketing campaigns and used for ads and event posters.

Brutalism is not for everyone. But for those that wanted something a little more punky or edgy, the clash of colors and stark, sort of analog style that brutalism brings seemed to really hit a note with designers in 2019. 

Brutalism - 2019 Graphic Design Trend

And, Finally the 2019 Color of the Year: Living Coral

The 2019 Pantone Color of the year was 16-1546 Living Coral. The message was clear. The ocean is dying. It was pink… but now? Well, whatever color it is now, it’s not alive. So, they named their color “Living”. I think that’s pretty powerful. There is a deeper message here. I like that.

2019 Color of the Year Living Coral

Image source: https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/living-coral-is-pantones-2019-color-of-the-year/

The Pantone website says:

“Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.

In reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life, we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy. Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.

Representing the fusion of modern life, PANTONE Living Coral is a nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media.”

The 2020 Pantone Color of the Year

The 2020 Pantone Color of the Year

Image source: https://www.pantone.com/color-intelligence/color-of-the-year/color-of-the-year-2020

The 2020 Pantone color of the year is classic blue. 

From the Pantone website

PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue

“A timeless and enduring blue hue, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue is elegant in its simplicity. Suggestive of the sky at dusk, the reassuring qualities of the thought-provoking PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue highlight our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.

Imprinted in our psyches as a restful color, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit, offering refuge. Aiding concentration and bringing laser like clarity, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue re-centers our thoughts. A reflective blue tone, Classic Blue fosters resilience.”

PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue

Am I the only one that sees the correlation with their choice to go with classic blue, the color of the Democratic party the same year that President Trump, a Republican, is up for reelection? I mean, even the words they use to describe why they chose it: “our desire for a dependable and stable foundation”.

Stable Genius - Trump

And, then, this next part too: “Classic Blue brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit, offering refuge.”

Human spirit.

Refuge.

Refugees are humans

Anyone else think Pantone might be hinting at something here? 

Just me? I digress…

What to Look forward to in Graphic Design in 2020

Now that we’re well into 2020, we can start to see some trends emerging for the year. Between the looming presidential election and the worldwide lock-down from COVID-19, there’s a strange but exciting feeling in the air, like anything can happen…

Let’s take a look at the graphic design trends of 2020 so far:

Handmade Humanism

From ripped edges to handwritten lettering, designers who want to incorporate a more organic touch have started making art with a more handcrafted feeling. This style is simple, yet emotionally compelling. The DIY-influenced aspects to this design make it feel more approachable for a fun and fresh way to present a brand or artist.

Handmade Humanism - 2020 Graphic Design Trend

Image source: Lera / Adobe Stock

Color Gradients

Can’t stop, won’t stop.

This is what graphic designers are saying about this design trend for the third year in a row. The design world agrees: gradients are here to stay.

One common use is the use of colorful gradients as a background for your website images, like in this example from Inc.com:

Image source: https://www.inc.com/profile/laura-behrens-wu

Gradients are incredibly versatile and a great way to add depth to a blog, social or email design. Some graphic design websites are indicating there is a shift in 2020 from bold to softer colors. However, it does look like either way color gradients are here to stay.

Color Gradients - 2020 Design Trend

Abstract & Dreamy Illustrations

You’ve probably noticed that illistrations have made it into mainstream design over the last few years. Where you used to see mainly unedited stock photos in many graphic designs you now find fun, cartoony feeling illustrated art.

The trend of abstract or dreamy illustrations exaggerates the concept by pushing the boundary even further by using unrealistic proportions, placement or color. This can be a great way to engage the user by giving them something visually interesting to break up long-form content.

Graphic-Design-Trends-2020-Abstract-Illustrations

Image source: https://www.behance.net/gallery/75516539/2019-Illustration-Vibes

There are a lot of ways to combine design trends to make a truly unique piece of art. How cool is this illustration by artist Guille Manchado?

illustration by artist Guille Manchado

Image source: https://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/a-look-into-guille-manchados-abstract-illustrations-/

Focusing on conceptual illustration, his work is dominated by an abundance of abstract and anonymous characters, each in his unique style of round shapes with a minimal color palette. Searching for a contrast between the complexity of meanings and the simplicity of aesthetics, Guille believes illustration is a way to solve problems and make people reflect and think.

Who doesn’t want their art to do that?

Heavy & Simple Fonts

Typography has taken on a more minimalist and handwritten quality over the last few years. However, more recently you can see big brands and design agencies are moving towards bolder font choices.

2020 has already shown more ads featuring a font with a heavier weight. We’ve also noticed that designers tend to favor typography that allows a lot of contrast. One font can have several weight classes. By choosing to use a font with multiple weights a designer has more flexibility within their designs, while still staying on brand.

Shapiro-Font-5

When I think of simple and bold, I think of MailChimp. I always thought their design was forward thinking. They are a great example of a big font as the focal point for their design.

Heavy & Simple Fonts - MailChimp

Updated Art Deco

Graphic design has often pulled from building and architecture design. However, it wasn’t until the end of 2019 we started noticing art deco in more and more graphic art, particularly in eCommerce and product shots.

If you aren’t familiar with the style already, art deco is the predominant decorative art style of the 1920’s and 1930’s, characterized by precise and boldly delineated geometric shapes and strong colors and used most notably in household objects and in architecture.

From simple to seriously intricate detail, the art deco trend seems to incorporate geometric patterns, metallic elements, sleek typography and add an elegance that helps elevate brands.

Art Deco - 2020 Design Trend

Art Deco Graphic Design Trend 2020

Image source: https://www.designcuts.com/product/fish-scale-art-deco-patterns/

Semi-Surreal

Another dreamy and artistic design trend we’re excited about: semi-surreal.

What does that mean?

Surrealism is a bizarre mix of elements, often jarring and seemingly nonsensical. Images can be surreal, like the melting clocks in Salvador Dali’s paintings, but can also be represented in strange, dream-like moments from everyday life.

Every artists dream, right?

Semi-Surreal Design Trend 2020

Would love to see more of this trend in 2020.

Semi-Surreal Design Trend 2020 example

Image source: https://www.skillshare.com/classes/Photoshop-for-Lunch™-Surreal-Collage-Effect-Paths-Cloning-Warp-Blend/1635326606

Branded Animations

Yes, GIF’s have been around for (what seems like) ever! But, a new design trend has emerged. Animation and motion graphics have become powerful tools for advertisers and creative marketers all over the globe. They’re now so much more than a funny GIF. in 2020 we are talking about everything from small movements seen represented in images on most of the popular social sites and apps to full scaled promo videos with custom motion graphics.

This example helps show the kind of personality and uniqueness that every business should produce for their own brand.

Unique Animations - 2020 Graphic Design Trend

Image source: https://www.behance.net/gallery/79947869/Frisky-and-cheerful

I mean, how cute is this GIF?

For really talented graphic design teams, morphing is also gaining momentum in 2020. Morphing is when an image or an animation seamlessly morphs into another image or shape. The concept of morphing a logo, characters, brand images or other objects in a video is becoming a 2020 trend you don’t want to sleep on.

Morphing is a 2020 Design Trend

Image source: https://dribbble.com/shots/3947176-Hello-World

2020 Design Trends are Diverse

What might be most exciting about design in 2020 is how diverse the trends really are. There isn’t one specific type of art that seems to be dominating the graphic design world in 2020 so far.

We live in a digital world full of content and big sets of data. Graphic design helps make the internet a more visually interesting place. We predict 2020 will play an even bigger role on how facts, stats and data are represented online.

From abstract to surreal, we’re excited to see how far the design world pushes graphic art trends in 2020. What about you? What design trends are you hyped about this year? Share with us in the comments.

Avatar for Jenny Stradling

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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Helping Small Businesses During COVID-19

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Support Local Businesses From Home

Over the course of the past few weeks, life has changed dramatically right before our eyes. With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting America hard, government officials called for non-essential businesses to close their doors. Forced to close, many small businesses founded on hard work and innovation are facing adversity like we’ve never experienced before.

Although it’s challenging, is has also been amazing to see businesses transform within just days. Restaurants offering special menus with home delivery services, hairdressers dropping off how-to instructions and color on their clients’ doorsteps, yoga and exercise studios offering virtual classes- the list goes on.

Here at Eminent SEO we work with a number of small businesses and understand how difficult it is to close your doors. However, we believe that together we will all come out of this stronger, with more compassion and innovation than ever. And, we want to help.

Support Local Businesses

Ideas to Help Support Local and Small Businesses

If you also want to help support your favorite local businesses, here are some ideas on what you can do (while still maintaining your self-quarantine, of course!):

  • Gift Cards

Buy a gift card from the business website. Even if their store or restaurant is closed right now, buying a gift card is a great way to show support. Remember, businesses still have expenses, so by infusing them with cash now, this ensures they can still pay their bills.

  • Online Reviews

Give your favorite business a great review online. Look them up on Google, Yelp, Facebook or a directory within their niche vertical (TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, Manta, even Amazon) and let the world know how much you love their brand.

  • Social Engagement

Like, comment on and share their social media posts. Every major social platform has an algorithm and when you engage with a business’ posts, this helps their brand get more visibility.

  • Subscribe and Share

Subscribe to their company newsletter or blog posts and send the updates to your friends and others in the local community. Note: if you already have a paid subscription, continue paying it if you can.

  • Book Events

Buy tickets for a future event. If you’re not sure what and when you can attend, consider buying a gift certificate from your favorite event venue to be used on a future date.

  • Get a Voucher

Book (and pay for) a future service or lesson. If you or your children normally get haircuts, dance lessons or work with a trainer, consider booking or simply prepaying for a future appointment.

  • Order Delivery

Order pickup or delivery from your favorite neighborhood bakeries and restaurants. Give a generous tip to the driver, if you can.

  • Shop Small

Shop online for your favorite goods, even if the small business has some delays. Order a custom skirt, shirt, pillow, mug, framed photograph, whatever and put your artisan friends to work.Support Local Businesses

  • Donations and Financial Aid

Donate what you can to a Kickstarter or GoFundMe campaign the business has setup for aid during this time. Many small businesses have fundraisers already running to help raise money to support their staff and pay for their bills.

  • Buy Local

Buy from local specialty shops over the big box stores. Call ahead to make sure they are open and next time you need essentials, go out of your way to buy from a local, family-owned pharmacy or grocery store.

Let’s Work Together to Help

If you decide to support local, tell your audience (online we mean) by sharing your efforts on social media. Take a picture, share it on your accounts, tag the business and let your friends and followers know why you are posting in support and what they can do to help out as well.

We’ve already started the party, so if you want to work together, head over to our live posts and tag your favorite local business and how we can support them during this challenging time. @ them (or your own biz!) in the comments or DM us to be featured on our page.

Instagram Small Business Support Post

Show Your Support on Facebook Here

Support Local Businesses

 

Community Over Coronavirus

We know it can feel hopeless in times of uncertainty. We can’t control a pandemic, it’s true. But we can control how we give back and support our local communities and other small businesses online. We can control our own attitudes and behaviors. If you don’t have the financial means to show support, you can still reach out and check on small businesses. Say thank you and ask if you can help in any way. A simple gesture of kindness can mean a lot and go a long way. And remember… gratitude doesn’t cost a thing.

Take care of one another.

Avatar for Jenny Stradling

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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Vol. 96: Tis’ the Season…Is Your Site Ready for the Holidays?

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Vol. 96

Increase “Buy Now” Clicks with Help from a Recent Google Study

To increase online sales, it’s vital to track the latest consumer trends and understand how people shop online. A recent Google study tells us more about what influences online consumers’ decisions to buy.

Google Online Shopping Study[click image to enlarge]

Here are the key takeaways to getting your site ready for the holidays based on these trends.

TL;DR – Lowest prices, free and fast shipping and a great mobile experience is where your eCommerce business’ priorities should be right now.

Google-Study-Lady

American Shoppers Are “Deal Seekers”

Out of the 23 reasons to buy, price point is one of the most important purchasing factors for American online shoppers, followed closely by free shipping (who doesn’t love that?). Most will go out of their way to investigate several different sites to find the retailer that offers the best price, the best shipping rates, and additional perks to make their purchasing decision.

Keep Your Prices Competitive

If you sell in a moderately saturated market, your price points should jump out at potential customers who view your products online. Take time to research your market; determine your top competitors and the average median prices for the products you sell.

Buyers looking for soft goods are looking for the best deal, sales or promos more than anything else according to the study – and they will go out of their way to get the lowest price possible!

Prepare for Last-Minute Shopping Surges

Regardless of purchase, American shoppers value free shipping among the top 3 reasons to buy according to the study and due to the increased availability of free and fast shipping options from many online retailers, many consumers feel less pressured to do their holiday shopping ahead of time.

Optimize Your Site for Mobile Consumers

Mobile web traffic is an incredibly important part of modern eCommerce. Mobile traffic accounts for more than 70% of all online traffic these days and a site that isn’t optimized for mobile will make your customers work harder to get your product – the last thing you want. According to the study, “77% of smartphone shoppers are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps allow them to make purchases quickly.”

Looking for more guidance in streamlining your 2019 holiday eCommerce efforts?

Get in Touch

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Ecommerce Competition Win More Sales Holiday Season - Eminent SEO

Still Relevant Today:

Google’s ‘Medic’ Algo Update Threw Us All for a Loop. Now What?

The holiday season can bring a nice boost in sales, but it can take a lot of work and extra expense to make it happen. We’ve compiled this guide to help you get the most sales possible from the time and money you invest in your marketing this season.

Read More

 

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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Vol. 94: Why Storytelling Is Your Marketing Win

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Stories Without Substance Are Like Breathing Without Air

Your business might experience a slow death, but nonetheless, lack of substance will kill your relationships in B2B and B2C verticals.

Though there’s more to substance than simply having content on your website and social platforms. The substance must be substantive to your audience. This is where many biz stories go south.

Honesty Overrides Strategic Manipulation

Today’s consumer is different. As Gen Zs take a stronghold of America’s buying power their preferences will be more important than ever to your marketing initiatives.

Gen Z

Not only do they research products and services to the nth degree, they genuinely care about brand story and company mission. If these don’t resonate with your audience, they will be on to the next (your competitors).

If you’re lucky, they won’t virally call you out for disingenuousness. But we all know how much people tend to use any excuse to rant. Avoid the negative rant. Tell your story as if your corporate life depends on it. Because it does.

Hone Your Elevator Pitch

Never heard of an elevator pitch? No, it’s not a pitch deck. An elevator pitch is a quick message (that you verbally share) that explains who you are, what you do, and why it’s relevant. Said in a matter of 45 seconds or less.

That’s. Not. Easy. But it’s crucial to your marketing content. Here’s why.

Employees Are Salespeople

Business owners had an idea and a vision when they first opened their doors. Reflect back on your early days. Now, if you asked any one of your employees what your company’s elevator pitch was, how would they respond?

Imagine if your writers and designers didn’t know your elevator pitch and they are the ones ideating and generating your marketing content. No wonder your marketing is off-target! Once you can encapsulate your brand messaging succinctly, your storytelling is better able to reach your audience(s), authentically.

‘Why’ Should They Care?

When you remember your ‘why’ – the purpose of your company’s being, your storytelling will have a built-in foundation to draw upon.

No matter the subject matter your content represents, it must be written and visually display a story than aligns with your ‘why’.

Best Practices in Storytelling

  • Decide on presentation angle; fiction, non-fiction, or fantasy
  • Identify your audience and position content to them
  • Ensure that copy tone and language support audience
  • Ensure that imagery (or lack of) aligns with story
  • Ask yourself, “If I were the reader/viewer, would I care?”
  • Create a beginning, middle, and an end
  • If you want to engage social responses, allow room for followers to consider alternate story endings
  • Always review content to gage whether it reflects your brand.

Need a Better Pitch or Compelling Story? Get in Touch

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From the Eminent Team

Growing Your Business By Targeting Your Smallest Viable Audience

Growing Your Business By Targeting Your Smallest Viable Audience

Business success and market reach go hand-in-hand, though more isn’t necessarily better. Targeting a smaller audience that naturally believes in your brand or finds your story compelling is best and will lead to more conversions.

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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Growing Your Business By Targeting Your Smallest Viable Audience

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Growing Your Business By Targeting Your Smallest Viable Audience

Business isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago. The internet changed the world in ways we’re still trying to fully understand. 

Companies can no longer continue on the same path as their larger rivals. In the past, old school business models provided a format for up-and-coming entrepreneurs to follow. But in today’s business world, that format doesn’t work.

For the first time in history, the five most valuable companies in the world are all tech companies:

  1. Apple
  2. Alphabet (Google)
  3. Microsoft
  4. Amazon
  5. Facebook

And, unlike their outdated counterparts, today’s tech companies are agile and fast. They work with designers and creators empowered to innovate and make better systems and solutions soon to become adopted as the new norm. The ability to test and fail means fail and fail more often. And failing more often means more chances for success as well.

The rules are different now. It seems like tactics have overtaken strategy and short-term wins have become more important than long term gains. 

With the rules of business changing, the marketing rules have changed along with it. Before the internet, marketing a new brand required creating mass appeal. Today, in the digital marketplace, targeting the masses is just not a great strategy.

You see, targeting the masses means creating a product or service with a brand and message that appeals to everyone. And online, ‘everyone’ is any number of the 7.7 billion people that exist on the Earth today. 

Check the Current World Population here

What brand has the capacity to appeal to billions of people? What start-up enterprise could even afford to market to everyone? 

Of course every entrepreneur dreams of reaching a maximum market reach. Every artist dreams of having millions of fans and followers… and every hard working business owner hopes to realize high-yielding returns on investments.

But, the problem is, the masses like AND hate everything. They love humor, though are offended by it as well. They care about art and design or function and efficiency. They are carnivores and vegetarians. They are advocates and adversaries….

The masses are everyone. You and your brand are singular, with a message and story that are meant to call your own, initially. And, if you dumb it down to please everyone, you take out the very element that makes you unique.

Seek the minimal viable audience

You’ve heard it before, today’s marketing is about storytelling. It’s about surprising and delighting the audience.

Chances are you’re not going to delight very many people if your message is watered down for the masses. Instead, determine who your minimal viable audience is, and go after them. Hard. 

Why waste your time on other people who, for the most part, don’t really care about what you’re trying to do?

When you focus on your minimal audience, or specific buyer personas, the aspects of your messaging and story will become more impactful to the individuals who matter.

From one of my favorite authors and the person who inspired this post, Seth Godin:

Seek the minimal viable audience - Seth Godin Quote

But the problem is, when you’re trying to make the best, the best is different for everyone. 

Who is your minimum viable audience? 

To understand who your minimum viable audience is, consider the smallest group of people you could target or work with that will sustain your business.

Minimum Viable Audience

When you’re just getting started, it’s hard to determine an ideal buyer. More seasoned marketers will tell you this set of information is developed from layers of data pulled from years of marketing campaigns. However, when you’re working with a new brand, a new concept, a new service or a new division, the old data won’t tell you who your new audience could be.

Instead, this is the time to dream a little. To make a wish list of who your audience would be, if you could choose. Imagine their hopes, their vision, their views on the world, what they’re passionate about, why they do what they do… it’s all up to you.

Now, what would you make to help improve their lives? What would you choose to make specifically for them because they are the only ones watching? Because, remember, in your dream vision of who your audience is, there are only people who care about you and what you’re doing.

To take the exercise a step further, pretend you’re minimal viable audience consists of only 10 people. That your entire mission is to entertain these 10 people. That everything you build, everything you say, everything you share only has one job: to delight these 10 people.

Would you still be making the content you were making now? Would you still be sharing the same messages and offering the same services you are today?

Ignore the non-believers

It’s really easy as a business owner or entrepreneur to get distracted by the haters. There will always be non-believers and people who think things should be done differently. Don’t get caught up in what they might say or how they might react to what you’re creating. Remember, you’re not creating it for them.

By concentrating on the few and ignoring the non-believers you can stay focused on the work that matters.

Then, ironically, your work will spread.

The only way to create anything with meaning is to find the right audience and make things for them. When you work for people or on projects that aren’t in line with your mission, you prevent that magic from happening.

Targeting Your Smallest Viable Audience - Marketing Quote - Jenny Strdaling

I know this because I’ve been there. I know this because I spent 10 years trying to figure out who I wanted my audience to be and, let me tell you, the struggle is real.

Redefining your target audience

If after years of doing business or working towards a project online, you have found yourself questioning your target market and strategy, you’re not alone.

Unfortunately, if you’ve been primarily working with an industry that has undergone significant changes, you can be impacted for a number of reasons. 

Industries change all of the time, especially in today’s fast-paced, digital solutions based world. 

If you’re getting ready to do a complete company rebrand or simply tweak your marketing messaging, here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Look at your current customers. Are your solutions solving the problems these people handle on a day-to-day basis?
  • Have your solutions changed? Do you need to adjust to accommodate your client base or should you go after a new market completely?
  • If you’re going after a new market, does this audience typically purchase products or services that are similar to yours?
  • Why are you offering this specific product or service?
  • What are your target demographics?
  • Where do they live? Where do they work?
  • What do your buyers have in common?
  • What are their values, interests and hobbies?
  • How does your target audience engage with others online?
  • What drives this audience to make buying decisions?
  • How can you best reach your target market?
  • What are the other brands your target audience already follows and engages with?

Each of these questions should be deeply considered and researched before you decide to change your branding and messaging.

Be the best option available

In an instant gratification world where there are literally endless online results for any type of query you can think of, users demand the best.

Buyers only care about the best.

People don’t want the average T-shirts. They want THE best T-shirt online. 

But how can you be the best T-shirt for everyone?

Being the best for a select few, by offering something made for your minimum viable audience. Target the people who share your views and mission. The people who are inspired by your message and want to wear a shirt that represents and honors who they want to be in the world.

If you are a sustainable business for example, and you’d like to sell merchandise, story building around your world views and your message regarding the importance of people, and planet before profit, is key to resonating with your audience.

A person’s way of viewing the world and how they interact with brands is a big indicator of how they make decisions and the types of stories that compel them to act.

If you think about it, a worldview can be an even more effective way to identify market segments than simply utilizing customer demographics. What people believe to be true is a more accurate predictor of online behavior than age, gender, or even social or economic attributes.

Tips for using worldviews in your value proposition strategies: 

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do your potential and current customers strongly believe to be true?
  • What do they value and what do they think is irrational?
  • How do people perceive the world today?
  • What benefits do I offer that contrast with the general market?
  • Have we discovered something unusual or surprising that we’d like to share?

Target audience versus value proposition

Now that you’ve defined your target audience or redefined your buyer persona types, it’s time to address your value proposition statement.

A value proposition statement indicates why a customer would choose your brand over another. It explains your angle in the marketplace and includes things like costs and benefits to show the value that your organization can deliver to its customers.

When determining your value propositions, you first must review the problem you aim to solve. Similar to developing out your target audience strategy, it’s imperative that you understand your buyers and their needs so that you can be sure your offering fits the demand.

If the demand is there, but your sales are still down, here are some other questions you should be asking:

  • Who is my competition and how am I different from them? You need to see how you stack up against others in your space. Take a look at things objectively and make decisions for your own brand that you know will help you stand out.
  • What pain points does my product or service solve? How does your business or product solve a problem for your customer? Does it save time? Money? What is it that you provide that similar companies don’t?
  • What is my mission? What is your company’s vision? What do you stand for? Developing a mission requires you to answer three additional questions:
    1. Why is it important to us?
    2. What is our ultimate goal?
    3. How will we measure our success?

Once you’ve determined your unique mission as a brand, this will also help you distinguish what sets you apart from your competition.

Here is an example of a great value proposition that has evolved over time: 

Company: Dollar Shave Club

Marketing to your Minimum Viable Audience

Image cred: Frugalbeautiful.com/blog

This brand has been disrupting the razor industry since they first came onto the scene with their viral video campaign in 2012. They literally built their business around the pain and  inconvenience of having to go to the store and spend a lot of money for big-name razors from “those other guys”. 

Their solution? A low-cost razor that gets delivered right to your door on a convenient, automated basis.

Over the years their messaging has evolved to better reflect their unique value proposition. 

They started with a slogan of “Our blades are f***ing great”, which is a nod to the humor you see throughout their advertising campaigns. However, in more recent years, you can see they cut back on the humor a bit and went for an even more direct approach.

Clever taglines and incorporating humor can be great tactics to help a new brand stand out. However, as a brand becomes more recognized and has a stronger following, it makes sense that their messages would evolve with them over time.

Dollar Shave Club clarified their message and, in doing so, helped take their startup and viral video campaign into a billion dollar business venture for the founder.

You see, on July 19, 2016, Dollar Shave Club was acquired by Unilever for a reported $1 billion in cash. Not too shabby. Source: WikiPedia.

What else can we learn from Dollar Shave Club?

  • What video can do

Look, I’m probably preaching to the choir here but in today’s marketplace, video is more powerful than ever. 

Video provides a brand with the opportunity to establish a direct connection with their audience. It’s a visual experience that can only be provided in this format. 

Dollar Shave Club came up with a concept that would work well in a video format. But,making a video isn’t enough. You get a sense that the promotion of this video was strategic, not just viral, as the campaign piggybacked off of a press release, that appeared to help pivot the already live video into the eyes of a wider audience.

Branded Video Content

  • How important storytelling is

Today, digital marketing can be focused on any number of platforms and mediums. But the distribution of an asset, such as a video, is only as good as the story the brand has to share. 

Dollar Shave Club didn’t just make a video to share on YouTube or social outlets, they determined who their minimum viable audience was and focused on delivering compelling stories.

Video and YouTube, in this case, were the obvious choices to distribute the content and reach the targeted audience. Dollar Shave Club took advantage of that in a smart and unique way. 

  • The value in knowing (and targeting) your audience

I think it’s pretty safe to say that Dollar Shave Club knew their target audience well. They used language and humor to reach people in a new way. Prior to their unique campaign launch, most razor brand positioning and messaging seemed to focus on the more serious side of their audience.

Knowing their audience allowed them to take bigger risks with their marketing, delighting their minimal viable audience, turning strangers into leads, customers, and loyal brand promoters. 

  • Why value propositions matter

Marketing and messaging for a brand today can span the full digital spectrum, from your website to your social and email campaigns. 

Catchy one liners and humorous videos are not enough on their own to push the buyer along the journey from awareness into consideration and, eventually, a purchase. By combining their unique messaging with powerful proposition statements throughout their digital properties, Dollar Shave Club created a campaign focused on what makes them better than the competition, at every stage of the journey. 

Steps of the buyers journey - Jenny Stradling - Eminent SEO

  • How viral marketing is about shareability

I always thought it was strange how much money was invested into large advertising campaigns that only aired on television. Digital media is shareable and therefore the type of content that can reach a much larger audience. If you’re creating messaging that can go viral, why wouldn’t you provide an easy path for your audience to share that content?

You can’t share TV ads unless they’re online. Dollar Shave Club knew this and used their traditional media in their online marketing strategies as well. 

That’s not only a great way to build trust through consistency in your messaging, but also just a smart way to repurpose “physical” assets into digital assets for the brand (aka turning a TV ad into a YouTube video).

Repurposing saves the company money by not having to make new assets for every platform.

  • How humor (being authentic) can work for any brand

Marketers will tell you they’re very specific reasons that people feel compelled to share content. Everyone has their own emotional triggers, but the average person is said to feel inclined to share a piece of content if they experience: anger, shock, awe, humor, sadness or another strong emotional connection that they believe is relatable to their peers.

The Dollar Shave Club video is clearly made to poke fun at the brand, in an amusing way. That works for them and their audience. But that doesn’t mean that every brand story needs to include self-deprecating humor.

The point is, they knew their audience and built a message that would work well for them.  

Authenticity is what really matters in brand storytelling.

What do you think?

    • How did you determine your minimum viable audience? 
    • How did you come up with your unique value proposition? 
    • How do you use it for smarter marketing? 
    • When should you redefine your value proposition?
    • What can you take away from successful brand campaigns that focus on the minimum viable audience and a defined value proposition?

     

  • brand storytellers - Eminent SEO
Avatar for Jenny Stradling

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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Vol. 93: Ignoring Your Haters Gives Them More Power

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newsletter header Vol. 93

There’s a great line in an award-winning ad campaign (old school) for Head & Shoulders shampoo: “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”

While that helped sell a lot of shampoo through television, imagine magnifying the impressions to a much wider net. Yeah, that’s exactly what social media does. In fact, Head & Shoulders shampoo provides the perfect symbolism for reputation management. Here’s how.

Negative Reviews and Nasty Followers Are Dandruff to Your Brand

A bad social reputation is like dandruff. It won’t go away by itself. Unless you treat it properly. It will ruin the way your current followers, existing customers and business prospects perceive you.

To be head and shoulders above your competitors, you have to face your online reputation and do what it takes to clean it up and make it shine.

How to Get Control of the Out-of-Control

Social media outlets, including review sites, are a hot mess – and that’s on a good day. That’s why many businesses would rather turn a blind eye to the verbose trashy commentary they receive, than deal with it.

In fact, chances are you’ve tried to nicely and professionally respond to these kinds of posts, only to be met with more sarcasm, defiance, and distrust in what you and your brand stand for.

Here’s a hint: You can’t please everyone, so stop trying.

Instead, learn how to identify which posts deserve a response and those that should be ignored. Remember. some people rant and rave on social just to be heard.

reviews on mobile

Crucial Steps to Own Your Social Reputation Again

It’s never too late to get a handle on your online presence. To begin, add these practices to your social marketing:

  • Do a full audit of your digital representation (social channels, google my biz, review hubs, press sites, your website blog)
  • Assess if your brand positioning, mission, and culture are accurate and align consistently
  • Ask for feedback about the customer experience; if it’s good, ask for a review
  • Dedicate a person or team to go through social channels often to engage post responsiveness

Read more about successful Reputation Management


Industry News

Bad Google Reviews Are Worse Than Yelp or Facebook

In a recent study, 97 percent of business owners said that their online reputation management is important, yet many don’t commit to the necessary steps to stay on top of it, let alone turn their social presence into a consistent and positive one. What can a poor Google rating cost you? 33% less in annual revenue. Here’s how to improve your rating.


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From the Eminent Team

How to Deal with Bad Reviews

How to Deal with Bad Reviews and Other Online Reputation Management Tips

Getting caught up in reactionary emotions from social posts and customer reviews gone bad? We’ve got you covered with industry tips and details that make online presence easier and a must have.

See the Full Article

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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Vol. 90: Why Negativity could be the Downfall of your Brand

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Vol. 90

One Bad Apple in Your Business Can Sour Your Brand in Seconds

Excuse us for taking a few minutes to shift business dealings to address an issue that is extremely personal, though within the last few years, has become a much more public affair.

As advocates for ethical media practices and representing many behavioral health businesses in their marketing efforts, we believe it would be irresponsible if we didn’t bring the following to your attention. This may not be for the faint of heart.

Perhaps you heard about the young woman in Malaysia, just 16-years old, who basically put her life’s worth out on social media.

No, this is not about her financial asets or her family’s sum total of net value. Davia Emilia deeply questioned her own value on this Earth and whether being here really mattered. Searching for an answer (though this act indicates ongoing emotional trauma, disconnect or both) Davia put the question out to her Instagram followers. Here’s what happened.

Should I stay or should I go? Should I live or should I die?

She received resounding responses and, of them, 69 percent were in favor of her own self-demise. So she did the unthinkable (to many of us) – she obliged her audience, and committed suicide.

This is devastating on so many levels. And as every business will encounter at some point or another, negative life circumstances can touch your business brand.

The following scenario is not meant to minimize the severity of Davia’s plight and unjust end, but to illustrate how anything, at any moment, can turn your business upside down.

What would you do if this young woman delivered her life or death Instagram post while wearing a polo shirt with your company’s brand name and logo on it? What if she presented her question to thousands of followers while sipping on your beverage product brand, which then got shared to millions?

How do you reverse, let alone predict, that kind of social marketing damage?

You can’t. And the negativity associated with your brand just hit the global stage.

This is the trouble with social media. You don’t have control.

While the story of this mentally distraught teenager may have little to do with marketing in the traditional sense, it does bring to the surface the issue of negativity in our social platforms.

If Fear Drives Our Messaging

Before we take for granted our content creation and brand positioning, let’s revisit how we prepare for the launch of any digital campaign.

Before You Go Live, Tread Lightly And Carry A Big Stick

Damage control is the aftermath of reputation management gone awry. For every action there is a reaction. If you choose to lead your brand marketing with negative output, be ready for the backlash.

If it’s attention you’re after, negativity can be effective but it’s not for the faint of heart and isn’t representative of the classy way to build your business. Though depending on your product, service, geo- and demographic targets, bitter, angry or depressive messaging can be effective.

How a Few Wrongs Can Make It Right

An integral part of building your brand, be it business or personal, is through a strategic development of company culture. Once established, it oozes out like oil off a pipeline rig rich with opportunity for all who touch it. Company culture is just one way that can pose negativity but provide a positive light.

Negative Spins that Turn into Marketing Benefits

  1. Boujee company culture
  2. Slapping the competition in your campaigns
  3. Guerilla marketing
  4. Social smut

While we advocate for long-term organic marketing, strategic outreach, and positivity whenever possible, there are instances where negativity used in discretion can be quite powerful.

A Final Note On This: If you know or suspect anyone who is having suicidal thoughts, please help them get help. Call 1-800-273-8255

Need Some Help With Your Brand Image And Messaging?

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From the Eminent Team

Workplace Rudeness iMac Computers Open Desks - ESEO

Since When Did ‘Rude’ Become Acceptable in the Workplace?

Have you ever heard that no matter how beautiful one is on the outside, if they’re ugly inside it eventually shows? This affects business too.

See Full Article

Wrong Social Media Strategy Can Cost You Thousands - Eminent SEO

Social Media Takeover: How the Wrong Social Media Strategy Can
Drain Your Marketing Budget

Nothing will test your marketing agility more than the social space. Do you have what you need to survive?

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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Vol. 89: Remove your Disconnect in Client Expectations

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Client Expectations

Setting Business Expectations Early Saves the Relationship

When you think about it, most of us spend more time with our business associates and coworkers than our families and personal partners. It’s like a marriage of sorts but we don’t always have the opportunity to formulate a plan for the future and revisit those goals as often as we do with our loved ones at home. But maybe we should.

Not everyone delivers communication in the same way. Moreover, not everyone receives communication in the same way. This painful truth, left unchecked, will continue to set the marketing agency and client relationship at odds. Why?

We forget that behind the business titles and job responsibilities, we are all just people. How we perceive words, imagery, body language, voice inflection, and other clues that reveal how we think and the way we might act are often left in the digital dust. And no, emojis just won’t cut it here.

This is our greatest challenge: Knowing that we communicated expectations effectively and verifying that they were received with the same understanding.

But in this virtual age of how business gets done, not every marketing agency can take it old school and meet with clients face-to-face often. Though that would help.

If well-meaning and congruent intentions were enough to keep clients happy, we’d all be with the same advertising and SEO company for the lifetime of the business (or at least a 5-year span). But who does that? Nobody. Would it be easier if we did? Yes.

While we can’t promise that you’ll maintain the marketing alliance or client for an extended period of time, the following will help you get on the same page right from the get-go: from initial contract signings, scope creep, and unexpected business shifts.

3 Rules to Healthy Marketing Agency/Client Relationships

  1. Say what you mean.
  2. Mean what you say.
  3. Document it.

These must-dos will keep emotions on an even keel and help guide your initiatives as a collective transformation, taking ideation into realization with positive results. But your attorneys won’t be invited to this party, because expectations are best set when they are understood, revisited, and attainable. Here’s how.

Read More About Agency and Client Marketing Expectations

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From the Eminent Team

The Marketing Agency of 2020 A New Paradigm Is Around the Corner

The Marketing Agency of 2020: A New Paradigm Is Around the Corner

Creative and strategic agility are the foundations of marketing in today’s climate. Is your business ready for the next shift?

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Nurturing and building customer engagement is more complex than ever before. Finding that sweet spot isn’t as simple as counting on your brand reputation…

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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Vol. 87: Cultural Differences Affect How You See Color in Marketing

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Vol. 87

It’s hard to not judge a book by its cover when it comes to the visual display of marketing. Whether a billboard, banner ad, company logo, or landing page, each person will bring their own perception (or misperception) to the proverbial opinion table. And how to sway them in your favor is where color comes in.

No, we’re not talking about race relations here. But what we do want to share is how specific colors and their hues can either make or break your brand. When color is used effectively, it can be the best moniker to your name and carry its weight in gold (blue, brown, red, pink, white, etc.)

Color in marketing isn’t as simple as picking the one that you like or what you think your customers will be attracted to: Colorizing your brand might even require global acceptance. But how can you make the world happy when colors have different meanings from culture to culture?

It all comes down to strategy.

Once you understand the aspects of color and how they impact a person, color choice and positioning are better calculated:

  • Color is Feeling. Perhaps the most elementary aspect of color is how it makes us feel. It’s our first response to a bold fuchsia or muted gray as to whether we accept the visual stimulant or find it repulsive.
  • Color is Meaning. Personal experiences and traditions affect the way a person perceives color. For example, if you grew up in a beach town in Southern California, you might be drawn to royal blue and seafoam green, associating them with comfort.
  • Color is Light and Darkness. There’s a spiritual element that comes into play with color. Judeo-Christian theologies will often equate white with purity, while darker shades evoke mystery, the occult, or death. However, these connotations will vary from continent to continent.
  • Color is Tone. You may have heard about wearing a power red tie or blouse to an important meeting. Invariably, it will set the tone for the communication between people. Color can make a statement, without saying a word. Choose your colors wisely.
  • Color is Motion. Think about the last time you stopped and watched a sunrise or sunset. The colors that were first there changed over time. Your brand colors should be just as reflective of changes to your business. This is why having a color palette provides you more latitude in design strategy.

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What Does Eminent Seo’s Brand Mascot Max Say About Who We Are?

According to the Colours in Culture graphic, our orange Max is…

  • Friendly (Western/USA)
  • Balance, Energy, Flamboyance (Japan)
  • Courage, Desire (Hindu)
  • Family, Learning (Chinese)
  • Healing, Learning (Native American)

We think that is all very fitting for our lovable little monster.

Max

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From the Eminent Team

6 Questions To Ask Designing A Company Logo - Eminent SEO

Fundamentals of Logo Design: 6 Questions to Ask When Designing a Company Logo

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Avatar for Jenny Stradling

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:

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