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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.

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

Prefer a phone call? Dial 1.800.871.4130


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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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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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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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Let’s Talk About Reputation Management

Prefer a phone call? Dial 1.800.871.4130

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

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. 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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Google launches new privacy tools empowering users to reject cookies, which works to Google’s advantage.

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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.

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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?

See Full Article

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

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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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What You Should Know About Inbound Marketing - Eminent SEO

What You Should Know About Inbound Marketing Before You Hire an Agency

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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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. 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.

Read More About Color in Marketing

 

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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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. 85: How to Get Results With Social Proof Marketing

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Vol 85 Newsletter

Social media campaigns aren’t going to guarantee your business brand awareness, integrity, engagement or conversions, especially when there’s ample competition out there being viewed on multiple screens.

Saying your products or services are one-of-a-kind or the best-there-is only brings noise to the proverbial marketing table. The proof is in the social pudding.

If you’re using online media platforms it doesn’t mean you’ve got social proof. And if you want to stay competitive in this space and stand out within your industry, you’ve got to prove yourself in the social stratosphere. Not sure if you can prove anything? Fake it ‘til ya make it.

Check Out These Quick Hits to Get Proven Results:

  • Get Credible. Investigate your industry experts and find out what licensing or certifications will help build business credibility. Then see what’s applicable to what you do and do the work, take the classes, fill out the forms and get certified.
  • Join Forces. Put more time into nurturing relationships in your B2B alliances. Cross-promote to tap into their audiences. Chances are you’ll gain some new followers and get in touch with people who are already interested in what you have to offer.
  • A Word in Edgewise. You know your business. So talk about it, whenever and wherever you can. Remember, social media is meant to position you and your company as a valued resource, not a vehicle for direct sales, at least not initially. Blog for you, blog for others, get your name out there.
  • Numbers Don’t Lie. People love to see active progression, best shown through dynamic numbers. For example, if you’re trying to hit a goal in a commitment to a charity, for example, post a ticker clock on your website banner. The motion in numbers indicates active interest and growth. Now who doesn’t want to be part of that?

Need Social Proof Added to Your Online Marketing?

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Want to Know More About Social Marketing?

Social ProspectingOur free interactive social prospecting workbook can teach you the fundamentals of translating social media conversations into leads for your business.

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Additional Marketing Tip

@eminentseo
@eminentseo

''With so much noise in social media it’s hard to distinguish between what’s real and b-s. Social proof helps take the guesswork out of online presence adding credibility and, in turn, sales.'' - Melanie Stern #socialproofyourbusiness

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From the Eminent Team

We’ve been in the social aspects of digital marketing longer than most, with team members who love the digital realm of the industry but also have roots in traditional media as well. Together, we can help you formulate the best way to identify and reach your target audience.

If you’re not getting the type of response you think your social media outreach deserves, read more about how social proof marketing works:

How to Get Results with Social Proof Marketing: The Ultimate Guide

How to Get Results with Social Proof Marketing

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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. 84: Avoid These 4 Marketing Budget Snafus

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Vol. 84: Avoid These 4 Marketing Budget Snafus - Eminent SEO

Marketing Budget Mishaps We’re All Guilty Of

Intro content While statistics can tell ad execs a lot about what’s working and what isn’t, the subjectivity of marketing often supersedes fact. It lives in the minds of creatives tasked with campaign ideology that must persuade prospects and existing customers to buy in and convert. Together, they partner with sales. But there’s a price in the typical disconnect.

Success stories in digital and traditional marketing spends are founded on some basic principles that often get lost in one-off trends.

Before you start identifying how your marketing budget will be spent for 2019, take a look at your performance this year. Use the following as a guideline. It might be painful. Nonetheless, it will serve as a powerful reminder of what’s important for strategy going forward.

4 Marketing Budget Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Forgetting Who You Are. Revisit the company mission and vision. Review your current position and how you stack up against competitors. Do your marketing initiatives define your product/service brand? If not, you’re marketing spend is off-target.
  • Clueless about Customers. When was the last time you did a survey or email campaign that focused on existing customers? Do your social media silos help identify and define who your business aligns with best? Who you want your customers to be may not equate to who they really are.
  • Knee-Jerk Reactionary Spends. Fear of missing the boat on being part of whatever is trending in marketing looks a lot like throwing money down the drain. One-off initiatives are more effective when they can be embedded into a larger, ongoing campaign. Cross-channel marketing works.
  • Buying Social Boosts. Consumers are savvier than ever before. If a social post has a lot of views but minimal engagement, you’re not fooling anyone. People want their info real and raw. Don’t waste a lot of your budget on boosts or paid ads, build your audience organically with substantive content and real time interaction.

Need a Deeper Dive into Marketing Budget Strategy?

Read More

Additional Marketing Tip

@eminentseo
@eminentseo

''An annual marketing budget is like winning the lottery. You have dollars at your disposal. Spend them well and the investment grows. Spend them wrong and you're back at zero.'' - Melanie Stern #marketingbudget2019

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From the Eminent Team

Our approach to content and marketing budgets is simple, straightforward and effective. Have a look at what we can do for you.

For more insights into the best ways to formulate marketing campaigns and how to distinguish wise budget spends, canvass these resources from our blog:

Examples Of Neuromarketing Marketing Strategy - Eminent SEO

Examples of Neuromarketing Done Well to Help Inspire Your Marketing Strategy

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Business Success Guide Rise And Shine - Eminent SEO

Business Success Guide: Rise and Shine with These Hacks

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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Ethical Addiction Treatment Marketing Alternatives to Paid Ads

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Ethical Addiction Treatment Marketing Industry Paid Ad Obstacles - Eminent SEO

Dear Rehab Owners: Beware of Shady Marketers and Lead Generators

I am part of an ethics in addiction treatment group on Facebook. Some of the members are marketers, like me, but most of the members of the group seem to be treatment providers. What they have to say about the shady practices is pretty disturbing, and it goes well beyond digital marketing.

One member asked about the ethics and legalities around addiction treatment marketing, and after reviewing the comments, it was clear that there is still a lot of gray area.

Some acted like all marketing is bad. Others implied that it was how the marketer was paid.

Can You Legally Market Your Addiction Treatment Center?

Marketing is an umbrella term for so many tactics and channels. You’ve got ground marketing, referral partnerships, online advertising, lead generation, traditional and digital forms. You’ve also got branding, content development, local, paid ads, organic, etc. etc.

The problem is all of these are legitimate forms of marketing, yet all can also be easily distorted and manipulated. So, when the law gets involved, they’re not always sure where to draw the line. There is a lot of gray area and the people writing and enforcing the laws don’t always understand the full scope of what’s going on. This leaves a lot of loopholes for anyone looking to scam the system.

Unfortunately, with technology and the law changing so fast, rehab owners can’t keep up with it all. Think about the implications of even owning and operating your own website. Is it safe and secure? Can you be sure your content is medically accurate, even blog posts from years ago? Do your leads go to a HIPAA compliant tool?

Don’t think this matters? Think again.

If you’re making claims and can’t back them up, you’re going to be in trouble. Not just with generating leads, but with insurance companies and, yes, the law.

Certain aspects to what falls under ‘marketing’ can be looked at as illegal. You can’t lie and manipulate. You can’t patient broker, fee split or take kickbacks. If you violate HIPAA compliance, they’ll be coming for you.

Defining Ethical Addiction Treatment Marketing

So, what defines addiction treatment marketing and how can you ensure you’re doing it ethically?

Most will agree that “marketing” is neither illegal nor unethical. To further clarify, addiction treatment marketing is when a treatment business hires an agency or salaried employees to:

  • Create a website with proper SEO and messaging.
  • Perform outreach and networking tasks on behalf of the facility.
  • Utilize digital marketing channels and assets to promote the brand.
  • Run paid ad campaigns to raise awareness and generate leads.
  • Attend conferences, man a marketing booth and network to promote the facility.
  • Educate other providers, such as EAP groups, unions and other potential referral sources.

All of this is legitimate and ethical, assuming you are working with honest people. Where you get into a gray area is when the individuals are also paid a commission based on admissions to the program. Many legitimate marketing positions, where all business is conducted in the light of day, include such incentives.

Many in my ethics group are confused why commission is allowed, but fee-per-referral is not, or is at least frowned upon. There are still hordes of websites and social media pages that seem to be making money from addiction treatment referrals.

Can You Refer Addiction Treatment Leads Legally?

Whether you are a facility owner or not, there are plenty of reasons why you might have to refer a lead to a treatment center. If you are an MD, psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, run EAPs or have some other related affiliation, from time to time you may need to refer clients to an effective addiction treatment provider.

Please note that I am not a lawyer and therefore I can’t give legal advice. However, based on popular public opinion, I can say there are a few things you can do to avoid violating HIPAA and professional codes of ethics:

  • Pre-qualify any treatment center you partner with.
  • Only refer patients to facilities qualified to treat the specific needs of this client.
  • Host and transfer your treatment center leads in a HIPAA-compliant system.
  • Never sell your leads to the highest bidder.
  • Don’t accept kickbacks for patients you refer.

The laws around lead referral seem to vary per state, so if you are in the business of referring leads, you should definitely consult a lawyer and make sure you understand what you can and can’t do legally.

Alternatives to paid ads

Generating Addiction Treatment Leads the Ethical Way Isn’t Easy

I can’t say I don’t understand why so many treatment centers resort to buying leads. Generating your own leads has always been hard. But, generating leads for addiction treatment is harder than ever.

At one point, before Google decided to eliminate the ability for addiction treatment centers to bid on treatment-related keywords, the cost per click on their paid ads had skyrocketed to $100 to $150 per click. This meant that Google ads were altogether too expensive for some of the smaller rehabs.

Alternative forms of marketing, such as branding and social media, can also be expensive and take time to get results. Plus, there are no guarantees. Take Facebook ads for example: After Google crushed AdWords, many rehabs moved to Facebook paid ads. So much for Google’s plan to stop shady rehabs from advertising, right?

Wrong.

Per this post from LegitScript on August 8th, 2018, LegitScript Addiction Treatment Certification Expands to Include Facebook:

“Starting today, Facebook will require LegitScript certification for providers of drug and alcohol addiction treatment who want to advertise in the United States. This partnership follows the official rollout of our program, which began at the end of July after an initial pre-launch phase. Now both Google and Facebook will require LegitScript certification for addiction treatment providers looking to advertise.”

So, now you have to have a LegitScript certification for both Google AND Facebook ads.

Viable Marketing Alternatives to Paid Ads for Rehabs

Here’s what to do/try if you’re a rehab business and not LegitScript certified:

#1: More of What’s Already Working

SEO Client Organic Rankings Growth Chart

Want growth like this? An organic approach to multi-channel marketing can rank your website for thousands of keywords and drive countless qualified visitors to your site and branded assets:

  • On-page SEO
  • Organic Link Building
  • Local Marketing
  • Strategic Blogging
  • Content Marketing
  • Asset Development
  • Branding
  • Outreach and Engagement
  • Email Marketing

#2: Test Other Ad Platforms

YouTube Stat 2018

Google and Facebook are not the only tech giants selling ad space. Why are these other channels of marketing and paid ad opportunities not being more heavily tested? Someone give us a budget so we can test this stuff already, such as:

  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Bing
  • Yahoo

If you do decide to test other ad platforms, just keep in mind that each work differently and may need to also utilize a supporting lead nurturing campaign.

When considering the buyers journey most ads on social platforms will reach buyers at the top of the funnel, or beginning of the journey. These leads can be nurtured into sales with the right strategy, but don’t expect to convert the majority of your visitors from the first touch.

You can learn more about this strategy here: How to Convert Leads into Sales by Understanding the Buyer’s Journey

#3: Get Listed on Relevant Sites

There are numerous high traffic sites that still sell ad space or offer directory listings. Trusted sites, such as PsychologyToday.com, offer brand visibility and referral traffic for a monthly fee.

Our good buddy, Jim Peake, of Addiction-Rep, has a good-sized drug rehab directory list on his site here. Some of the listings are free, but most decent websites want to charge you for valuable real estate on their site.

You do have to be careful about what sites you buy ad space from, however, as there are still so many shady third-party sites that fake their statistics and the quality of their traffic, banking on the ignorance of their buyers.

#4: Everything Else I Already Said Before

I don’t want to be redundant, so if you missed it, I provided some other interesting marketing ideas in my previous article here: Can Rehabs Survive Big Changes to the Addiction Treatment Industry?

In Closing

Unfortunately, there are no cheap solutions or quick fixes here.

Effective marketing requires addiction treatment center owners and advertisers to work together on reaching clients where they are with the right messaging. If Google and Facebook can eliminate your ability to bid on paid ads practically overnight, then your other channels of marketing and lead-generation sources could dry up in the same way.

The key is to diversify, test everything and use a smart marketing strategy that is always focused on what is working NOW … and focused on the tried-and-true solutions that provide long-term gains, like SEO.

See How We Approach Rehab Marketing

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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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Cannabis Marketing Challenges – and 10 Strategies You Can Try

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Cannabis Marketing Challenges Paid Advertising - Eminent SEO

Most Advertising Platforms Will NOT Accept Cannabis Ads

If you own a medical dispensary or work in the cannabis industry, you might already know this by now, but hear this: The big ad platforms are not your friend.

I know, I know, this is totally counterintuitive to our typical multi-channel marketing approach, but hear me out.

The United States is a big place and our country operates at the federal and state level. So, even though states like Arizona, California, Colorado, Washington and 24-plus other states have made the drug legal in some form, it doesn’t mean the big advertising platforms are happy to host paid ads.

In fact, with the changing political landscape, four of the major ad sellers – Google, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – have all decided NOT to allow marijuana brands to run paid ads on their platforms, at least at this time.

Facebook and Instagram Shut Down Cannabis Accounts

But, it’s not just paid ads the big tech giants have cracked down on. Both Facebook and Instagram are infamous for taking down cannabis-related accounts.

Look at what others are saying:

Facebook Cracks Down on Marijuana Firms with Dozens of Accounts Shut Down

“We tried to log into Instagram, and a message said we violated their policy, but they won’t say what that violation is,” said Rick Scarpello, CEO of Incredibles, a Denver-based edible company. “I’ve written them every day, saying I’m not doing anything illegal and please reinstate my account.”

Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

Did Instagram Change its Marijuana Marketing Policy?

“Instagram does not allow people or organizations to use the platform to advertise or sell marijuana, regardless of the seller’s state or country. This is primarily because most federal laws, including those of the United States, treat marijuana as either an illegal substance or highly regulated good. Our policy prohibits any marijuana seller, including dispensaries, from promoting their business by providing contact information like phone numbers, street addresses, or by using the ‘contact us’ tab in Instagram Business Accounts. We do however allow marijuana advocacy content as long as it is not promoting the sale of the drug. Dispensaries can promote the use and federal legalization of marijuana, provided that they do not also promote its sale or provide contact information to their store.”

Read this line again: Our policy prohibits any marijuana seller, including dispensaries, from promoting their business by providing contact information like phone numbers, street addresses, or by using the “contact us” tab in Instagram Business Accounts.

Wait, what?

A Long Way to Go – Another Example

The Cannabis Industry Is Still Fighting for Legitimacy on Social Media Platforms

“It’s been frustrating for us not being able to advertise on Facebook and Google because of our involvement in the cannabis industry,” said Jeffrey Zucker, co-founder and president of Green Lion Partners, a business strategy firm focused on early-stage development in the regulated cannabis industry. He added that he has had to deal with influencers who have spent a lot of time building up their followings suddenly seeing their accounts deleted without any prior messaging or warning, and often with no recourse.

So, what can you do?

10 Cannabis Advertising and Marketing Strategies

1. Play by the Rules

You can still create branded social accounts. However, if you are going to use Facebook and Instagram, then you MUST play by the rules:

  • Add a disclaimer: “You must be 21 or over to follow this account.”
  • Don’t EVER post a product for sale.
  • Don’t use a “Contact Us” direct contact button on Instagram.
  • Avoid claiming any direct medical benefits.
  • To advocate for legalization and use, give strain and product reviews.
  • Don’t offer a physical address or phone number to buy any products.
  • To promote your store, direct people to your website for location information.

And, don’t think this is everything. These popular social platforms tend to update their terms of service quite frequently. As a cannabis business owner, it’s imperative you understand and keep up with the laws and changing restrictions.

2. Use Engagement and Outreach

If you’re going to play nice and use social media for your cannabis brand, you really need to get creative with your strategies. Even with ads, clients can have a hard time standing out online and getting new followers.

If you expect to grow your organic reach, you must identify, target and engage with your prospects. Try this on:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • YouTube

Bonus engagement tip: Your biggest fans may already be engaging with your brand regularly. Don’t ignore those users. Instead, focus on building a relationship with them first. When relationships are nurtured correctly, fans can turn into powerful brand advocates who actually create engagement and viral opportunities for your business.

3. Brand Your Business

As this industry grows, the marketplace has become saturated with new products and brands. With so much to choose from, branding is key to ensure your marijuana business gets found. Try:

No matter which marketing channels you choose to leverage for your business, you need a memorable brand identity with a solid personality in order to gain customer engagement and brand loyalty.

Why does loyalty matter? If people like your brand, they might come back to buy again. If they love your brand, they’ll pick you over your competition every time. And, if they just can’t get enough of your brand? Well, they’ll tell all of their friends too.

4. Buy Media on Relevant Sites

Sure, Instagram and Facebook might not allow you to buy ads, but there are some digital advertising networks that do allow cannabis media buys, such as banner ads and other dynamic display ads.

Popular networks and media ad sites include:

However, buyer beware: As with any form of paid cannabis advertising, having rented ads on these sites isn’t cheap. Most will cost you at least $500 to $1,000 per month. Want to play with the big boys? An ad on the HighTimes.com online magazine starts at about $5,000 per location.

5. SEO Your Website

As an SEO agency, we might be a little biased. But, the data doesn’t lie. Websites with the right search engine optimization are getting the most traffic and best conversions. With the ongoing social media roadblocks and paid ad restrictions, organic website marketing is even more crucial to gaining visibility for your marijuana brand online.

Effective SEO tactics today include:

  • Identification of your ideal buyers
  • Keyword research and selection
  • Optimized metadata and image alt tags
  • High quality, unique and keyword rich content
  • AMP and mobile responsive pages
  • Rich schema markups
  • Local business citations
  • Mixed media for user engagement
  • Outreach and link building

The right SEO strategy can drive huge amounts of qualified search traffic to your website. Check out this organic case study on one of our local medical marijuana dispensaries. Now, after just a few more months into their campaign with us, they are getting HUGE amounts of organic traffic to the site.

In the last 30 days, they have had more than 8,000 visitors, 6,700 of which are organic. This is what expert SEO can get you.

Marijuana Dispensary Website Traffic Data - ESEO

6. Tap into Local

From Google My Business to Yelp, if you are a geo-targeted business, you MUST have a local presence. Did you know that your Google My Business page can rank for hundreds of keyword phrases? Just like organic SEO helps drive relevant traffic to your website, local SEO helps drive geo-targeted traffic to your Google My Business page.

Think about this: Most users are searching for cannabis-related products and dispensaries “nearby.” Google understands search behavior and therefore assumes specific keyword phrases are intended to produce a local result. Because of this, many terms will return the Google My Business listings before any organic website listings, even if they don’t include a geo-target or the words “near me.”

For example, I searched “medical dispensary,” a generic keyword phrase, and Google assumed I wanted local help:

Medical Dispensary Google Search - ESEO

Having a Google My Business for your cannabis shop, medical dispensary or marijuana product line is a no-brainer. If you don’t have one, go make one now: Google My Business

@eminentseo
@eminentseo

“In cannabis, it's an education-first mindset, not product first.” – Matt Rizzetta, CEO of public relations agency N6A

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7. Share High-Quality Content

For decades now, cannabis has been illegal, forcing a lot of misinformation and stigma around the plant, including its uses and benefits. Many cannabis businesses are left with the task of raising awareness and spreading education around the facts.

Quality content can help a brand reach prospects and partners. If doctors are going to prescribe marijuana, they must understand it. By educating doctors and other health care providers on the benefits of the plant, dispensaries can earn trust, respect and new partnership opportunities.

You can develop and host high-quality content on:

  • Your own website
  • The company blog
  • Your public social media platforms
  • Your local listings

You can also write and share a company newsletter, offering users a gateway to other relevant content on your website and other branded platforms.

8. Leverage Email Campaigns

Another great way to share and spread quality information is through email marketing. In addition to a monthly newsletter about your brand, why not tap into targeted email marketing campaigns?

The Direct Marketing Association says for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return on investment is $40.56. Not a bad ROI, huh? However, there’s a lot more to an effective campaign; sending out emails is only part of the strategy.

For effective email marketing, try this:

  • Develop specific landing pages to match your email offers.
  • Create multiple opportunities for new users to subscribe to your lists.
  • Organize your existing contacts into related groups.
  • Send each group offers and content relevant to their specific interests.
  • Use catchy headlines to increase open rates.
  • Test various send times and dates, and use analytics to optimize your delivery strategy.
  • Use your social media platforms to build a bigger audience.
  • Include personalized visual content, such as videos and GIFs.
  • Showcase client testimonials, case studies and other social proof.
  • Hire a designer to create a custom template and awesome graphics to wow the audience.
  • Always include a desired call to action. And, track everything!

Bonus Tip: Don’t oversell. Remember, when a user subscribes to a list, it’s because they believe they will receive something of value from it. Oftentimes, prospects are not ready to “buy now.” Instead, personalize your emails and become a trusted friend, someone your readers rely on for information they need. Provide value and the sales will come.

9. Try Text Messaging

Did you know that you can send short messages right to your employees, partners and customers using a text-messaging service? What better way to share daily quotes, specials, event updates and other important information with your clients? With text messaging, you can get your message directly to your audience in a cost-effective way.

With group texting services, you can:

Run Drip Campaigns:

  • Welcome texts
  • Updates on new products and sales
  • Detailed information about the service you offer
  • Transactional messages
  • Reminders about events
Send Business Promotions:

  • New offers and deals
  • Product announcements
  • Invitations to exclusive sale events
  • Announcements about sales
  • Product promotions

You can also segment your subscriber lists and send different messages to various groups based on their specific interests and buying patterns.

10. Traditional Marketing

This isn’t as much a tip as it is an option. Traditional marketing is expensive, but for cannabis?

“You have a handful of websites; you have print ads, which are abnormally popular, [and] dispensaries spend more on a cost-per-impression basis than a Super Bowl commercial to get into a local print publication,” Joel Milton, CEO of Baker Technologies, told Adweek.

Trying radio or TV? Good luck getting a prime spot:

“Most TV companies will only let you advertise if you can prove that the TV station or radio station has less than 30% of listeners that are under 21 years of age,” says Celeste Miranda, co-founder of The Cannabis Story Lab.

However, billboards might still work:

“We’re seeing a lot of marketers turn to out-of-home in place of digital opportunities,” says Kyle Del Muro, a consultant with several cannabis clients. “In Vegas, billboards are becoming a big thing,”

But, similar to online magazine ads, billboards are not cheap. To run a billboard ad in most small to mid-sized cities in the US is roughly $1,500 to $4,000 per month. Larger markets can reach $14,000 per month!

Canna King Billboard Oregon - ESEO

(Twitter Photo/@420dispensary)

Final Tip to Overcome Cannabis Marketing Challenges

Cannabis marketing and advertising isn’t easy. As the political and legal landscape continues to evolve, expect even more changes in the way cannabis businesses do marketing.

Get ahead of the curve, implement effective, long-term marketing strategies now, such as cannabis SEO, and reap the rewards for years to come.

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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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