Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 45 – Why Use Instagram Stories

I am admittedly late to jump on the Instagram Stories bandwagon. It is January 2019 and I posted my first story last week. The reason? I just never had the time or the interest to flip through the stories of those I follow and so I never felt the need to post my own. However, I know that is a terrible excuse! When it comes to choosing your marketing channels, it should never be based on anecdotal evidence but true, honest data and the data is pretty clear.

Why use Stories

Instagram Stories is a trend that is not going away and in fact becoming more and more popular and I cannot ignore it anymore. How popular you ask? Well between June and October of 2018, the number of users grew by 100 million to an estimated 400 million users daily. So at least I’m not the only one who is late to the party.

Here is a chart of that growth up to june of last year. Source: Statista.com (click the image for direct link)

Now in my defense, the demographics using stories does tend to be younger which is not exactly my target audience. That being said, some of my clients do fall into that age range and therefore it is a channel that I want to explore.

It is also a channel that my followers are using and by not being there, I’m definitely missing an opportunity. According to Ad Espresso, 80% of all daily active instagram users are watching stories as often as they are browsing their feed.  Source: AdEspresso 

So here is a very active and popular media space that you need to be exploring. Last week I spoke about capitalizing on “Micro-Moments” and stories was a prime example of how to do that. If you are trying to get your message in front of Instagram users and keep your brand top of mind, then you need to diversify your messaging and understand some users might be looking at their feed while others are looking at stories.

Stories are fantastic at keeping your audience engaged with short messages and there are lots of creative ways to make that message fun and entertaining. Not to mention, you can and should use those to expand your Instagram profile by creating Highlights. These are saved stories that remain at the top of your profile which is a perfect way to showcase different products or services that you provide.

The point is that Instagram is an amazing channel for engaging your audience and advertise your business. However, if you’re not using stories, you’re not getting the most out of the platform and you’re missing a huge portion of your audience.

Stay tuned next week when I continue to spread the Insta love and talk more in-depth about HOW to use stories for your business.

Have A Great Week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 44 – Instant Marketing

The landscape of digital marketing is changing. In fact, it has always been changing and evolving, the trick is trying to stay on top of change and lasting trends. One of those lasting trends that I want to talk about and focus on for myself even, is the Instant marketing trend.

What is instant marketing? Well there are 2 aspects to this concept of Instant marketing and the best way to illustrate them is to think about how you consume media. The first part is about our expectation for “instant” as consumers. For example, if you have a problem like your toilet is backed up, you will probably google plumbers and hope to have a solution within minutes. The same goes for shopping with sites like Amazon really pushing that instant solution, and speedy delivery.

As consumers, we are all becoming increasingly demanding with our need for instant solutions to our problems, and as marketers we need to be aware of that, and cater to it.

The second aspect is how we actually use our devices. Statistics show that we are online a lot but that’s a total amount that is generally made up of many short bursts. So if you think about your day you probably looked at your phone when you had time. You might have spent 10 min here, 15 min there, checking social media, or shopping when you had a few minutes to spare.

Google actually coined the term “Micro-Moments” to define this behaviour of usage and demand that seems to only be getting more micro as digital media continues to evolve. The fact is that the window of time that advertisers have, to be in that right place at the right time, is becoming shorter and shorter.

Digital marketing may have always been considered “instant” but new channels and tools are making your regular Facebook posts look like a week old newspaper because of their increased immediacy. To stay on top of this trend we need to think micro, think instant, and even right now.

Here are 2 ways to stay on top of this and deliver your marketing to consumers in an effective way:

1. Live streaming

Live video is a very powerful tool that I have talked about before but I will say it again that you should be live streaming things like events, sales, and special promotions to cater to that “in the moment” mentality. You want your message to be shorter but more frequent and across more platforms. Live streaming is instant because it is happening right this moment and your followers will get notified when you go live.

2. Stories

Stories should also be a key focus for you in 2019. So Instagram and facebook stories for example that allow you to craft simple but short messages that disappear in 24hrs. These are capitalizing on the immediate with an added sense of urgency as the posts are usually deleted after 24hrs so it’s a great place to post about a sale that your followers won’t want to miss.

I for one have been late to jump on the story bandwagon for my own business but one of my resolutions for 2019 is to kick that into high gear. So stay tuned for next week when I talk more about stories, why they are effective and how to use them to your advantage. See you next week!

Have A Great Week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 23 – Stay Consistent, Stay Top of Mind

Sometimes consistency can be hard. If I were to do these videos whenever I felt like it, you wouldn't hear from me that often... certainly not today after just returning from an exhausting 2 days of travel with my family.

Doing this video today has not been an easy task. Sometimes however, you need to just suck it up for the sake of Brand Consistency. I have committed to putting out a new video each week (that I'm not on vacation) and here's why that commitment is so important.

There are really 2 parts to branding consistency. Those are Recognition and Repetition. That's because it's important to be consistent visually, meaning when people see your ad they immediately know who it's for. If you need help with this, I have done an episode on just this called 3 Ways To Lock Down Your Brand Like A Bank

And Repetition is important to staying top of mind. It is especially important when it comes to content creation. If you have made a commitment to produce content on a regular basis like i have, you better stick to it or your audience will not know what to expect and therefore lose interest much faster. 

The important thing to remember is that being consistent does not mean that you cannot change. In fact the opposite, as brand consistency should be a pivot point for change.  That's because it's connected to your core mission and values, not just the products that you offer. 

In my video I use the example of Blockbuster and how if they had a mission to provide affordable and accessible entertainment, it should have guided them in multiple directions, not down the drain. There could have been many alternatives and the Netflix model is just one. 

Starbucks is another example where consistency is key. Think about the fact that you can go to a starbucks anywhere and get the same drink and the same experience from coast to coast. With that as their focus they have the felxibility to make changes to their menu and their products if the market demands, as long as they change across the board. 

So as I often say, be fresh, be bold, be consistent, and be seen. See you next week!

 

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 21 – Why Customer Testimonial Videos Are Effective

Today has not been my friend. It's one of those days where nothing seems to be going right and I'm racing against the clock and losing badly. So as i try to get this video and blog out first thing in the morning, I realize that sometimes that is not going to happen and I need to just live with it.

Anyway, one of the reasons I was rushing today was the fact that I was shooting a customer testimonial for one of my clients. Because of that, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about why testimonial videos are so effective.

You may have seen my recent episode about selling experiences which got a really great response. The point of the video was that people can most likely find what you’re selling from multiple sources but they buy from you and come back because of a positive experience. That’s why authentic customer testimonials are really effective because they are telling that story.

When we share those positive customer experiences we are establishing credibility and laying a foundation to build trust. That’s because this customer giving a testimonial had such a great experience that they were willing to go on camera and share it. That is so much more compelling and believable than you telling me you offer the best service.

Don't believe me? Check out this testimonial we shot for the same client last fall:

When shooting a testimonial, the focus should be on how the client felt at all stages of the process. That’s what your potential customers will connect with because really, we all want to be that success story, to know we put our trust in your company and had a positive experience from start to finish.

So ask yourself who are your clients with the best stories, the ones that make you look like a superhero who went above and beyond the call of duty. That’s who you want telling your story.

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 20 – Avoid Wasting Advertising Dollars

Today I want to talk about how easy it can be to throw money at advertising and hope for the best. Well hope no more, here are 3 simple things that you can do to avoid wasting your advertising dollar.

 

I know a lot of businesses that still invest in print and in certain markets and certain publications, that is still effective. This is a public service announcement/rant that I want to share with you about a call I received a while ago from someone selling print advertising but it illustrates a lot of vulnerability that I think we all have when it comes to any form of advertising.

I live in a relatively small town, cottage country sort of area and I know pretty much all of the print publications that are around. One day someone calls me to tell me about this amazing opportunity to advertise in a magazine that goes out to all of the country clubs in the area. He’s telling me that it is the best way to get in front of wealthy clientele (which is not really my target) but he went on and on about other businesses that were eager to advertise with him. He also insisted that I commit today.

I asked him to send me more information. I wanted to see more demographics, distribution numbers etc. It was kind of a nice way of saying I’m not interested but if it really is a good opportunity I may bring it to the attention of some of my clients.

So red flag number 1, I had never heard of this magazine. To me it sounds like a pretty good scam to assume that I don’t frequent country clubs and therefore I would just forgive the fact that I’ve never seen it before. But red flag #2 was the urgency. I managed to get off the call with “I’ll think about it” and he called me the very next day. At this point I told him flat out, no, I’m not interested. That’s when I discovered how full of it this guy actually was. He pretended to act surprised, almost hurt claiming “wow, no one has ever said no before, I’m seriously surprised”. Really? You’re cold calling and you’ve never heard no before? Shut the front door...

My point is that there are lots of great and legitimate advertising opportunities out there. However, this call pointed out how easy it can be to waste your money because we all want it to be easy. We want to pay money so that we can get more business and that’s it. I wouldn’t doubt that this salesperson has made sales because that’s exactly what he was selling and he was doing a pretty good job right up until he turned into Dwight Schrute.

So here are 3 simple things that you can do to ensure that your advertising dollars are not wasted:

  1. Always ask for demographics - The onus is on the advertiser to show and prove that their audience is right for you. If they can’t or don’t provide enough information then it might not be worth it.

  2. Track your success - Digital advertising can be easier than traditional media but you want to actually review those results. Back in my direct response advertising days we had complex tracking involving unique phone numbers for each channel and publication and we would review our responses weekly and cut anything that was not working and invest more into what was working. Now I don’t expect you to be as thorough as that but you can easily create different email addresses, or simply ask new clients how they heard of you. It’s not perfect but it can give you some sense of what is performing and what is not.

  3. It might be your ad - It’s not always the channel that isn’t performing. Consider that your ad may need to change. It may be that it doesn’t stand out, the message isn’t right, or the call to action gets lost. There are a lot of reasons why an ad doesn’t work so switch it up.People don’t like seeing the same thing over and over again anyway so keep it fresh.

I know that might not make things as easy as you would prefer. I just hate to see people throwing their money away. If you can just take a little bit of extra time to plan things out, get informed and try new things, your advertising will do better and so will your business.

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 19 – Selling Experiences

Do you sell a product or service that cannot be found anywhere else in the world? Probably not. So why do your customers go to you and not someone else? It’s all about the experience.

No matter what business you’re in, no matter what product or service you are selling, the experience is what your clients are buying. So stop focusing on product features and benefits and let’s talk about how we can improve your marketing by selling experiences.

Tourism is a great example because it is without a doubt selling experiences but most tourism advertisers still don’t seem to realize this. They continue to focus on features and benefits. What do I mean by this? Well a few months ago I was seeing a lot of ads in my Instagram feed for visit Japan and visit Alberta. These are two very different parts of the world but the ads looked almost exactly the same. Both were showing mountain ranges and hiking, eating at a restaurant... These are merely features. I mean wow, you have mountains, trails and restaurants? Why should I visit yours over another? Oh right Japan, you have some pretty cool architecture... That’s a benefit but it is in no way compelling me to experience that specific country.  

Seriously, advertising in this way is the equivalent of saying, hey buy my car because it has 4 wheels, a steering wheel and a radio. Um, ya, so does every car in the world.

An experience is actually connecting me to the journey of not only seeing the sights, but igniting my other senses and emotions as well. I am also using this example because I've had a lot of success marketing tourism destinations with more of a focus on experience. Check out our most popular example here - http://bfresh.media/2016/10/25/newfoundland-in-ten-days-a-viral-success/

 

It sounds complicated but it’s really about telling great stories. Here are some tips on how to actually do that:

  1. Use Video - video is one of the most efficient tools when it comes to storytelling. You will be able to say more and connect with your audience more quickly and effectively with video.
  2. Focus on a positive customer experience and tell that story. Testimonials are great for this. Another example is the fast food chain A&W ran a campaign not too long ago where they introduced people on the street to their hamburger. So it was not trying to introduce us to the entire menu but 1 single product and they captured authentic reactions of people trying this hamburger. They were also told a little bit about the quality of the ingredients (the benefits) as they ate them but the focus was not on those ingredients but rather the customer’s reaction and how that information made them feel.   Check out that video here: https://youtu.be/lT_POsrIIBs
  3. Simplify your message. Just like the A&W campaign, focus on one item from the menu, convince me that it’s made with heart and passion and I will order the combo. Going back to the tourism example, don’t try to show me the entire country. You’re not doing it any justice by showing me that you have mountains, trails, restaurants and beaches.
  4. Target your (simplified) message. We have the technology! It’s really not hard to target your advertising to specific age groups and interests. So if you are marketing to seniors, show seniors. If you are marketing to millennials, show millennials because those audiences want to see themselves in the experience. Don’t try to create a one size fits all because it just won’t work.

So ask yourself what is the experience I’m selling and how can I communicate that to my audience. Your marketing will be better for it, I promise. 

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 18 – Greatest Lesson In Customer Service

This is the greatest customer service lesson I learned when working in retail. It’s simple, it is “always return the toaster.”

Let’s say that someone came to your business, to return a toaster but the problem is that you don’t sell toasters. What do you do?

Well this actually happened once when I was working at a “Sporting Lifestyle” store. If you don’t know what that means, it’s just a pretentious way of saying that they don’t sell equipment that you might expect but instead mostly clothing and even Prada activewear. So they definitely were not in the business of selling toasters.

One day a customer came in with a toaster in a bag, no box, no receipt, and they wanted to return it. There was no convincing them that they did not purchase the toaster from that store. They were certain that they bought it there, paid $30 and they were not satisfied so they wanted their money back.

Now here is the situation, I’m not saying that you should let people take advantage of you but look at the big picture. In this case, the customer had a purchase history, they spent a lot of money at the store, multiple times in the past. We knew this because the store asked for your phone number and kept a record of sales by customer number. Despite that, there was no record of a toaster being purchased nor was that item even in the system. Yet the customer still wouldn’t back down.

Also I will say, in their defence, there was a small table near the checkout where a lot of odd nicknacks would end up. With that in mind, there was a slight chance that they did in fact purchase it from that store... but still unlikely.

So what did the manager do? They returned it and gave the customer a $30 in-store credit. Because at the end of the day that is the equivalent of maybe a 10% discount or less based on average sales at that store. It’s was nothing to make that person happy and to send them in to the store to shop instead of storming out to tell everyone about the terrible experience they had.

From that experience I learned the very definition of the cliche “the customer is always right” and I never forgot. So if you ever find yourself in a similar situation just remember to always, always, always return the toaster.

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 16 – 2 Tactics for Customer Retention

School’s out for summer. What does that mean for your marketing? Does your business slow down or speed up this time of year?

No matter what your seasonality it’s important to keep your marketing going even when your audience is on vacation. However, instead of focusing on acquiring new customers, a slow season can be a perfect time to focus on retention. That is holding onto your own customer base by bringing them back for more and here are 2 ways to do that.

  1. Focus on customer service. When you can leave your customers wowed, they are more likely to come back. Not to mention if your customers are raving about an amazing experience that can often be the best word of mouth marketing.
  2. Customer appreciation. Time to give back, to say thank you in a big way. Try throwing a party, mailing out coupons or gifts, or wow just one customer.

If you do a big giveaway consider capturing it on video. There’s often a marketing opportunity hidden within public events. A video is a great way to amplify that story. A great example is the WestJet Christmas Miracle campaign that WestJet runs every year.

Do you have a great retention strategy that you want to share?

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 14 – Why Live Video is Important

I just saved myself so much time I almost don’t know what to do. To give you an idea, my typical Monday morning I spend a good chunk of time finalizing my Happy Freakin Monday videos. I need to export them for Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and then creating the thumbnails and captions... It’s a lot of work for anyone let alone an entrepreneur with a baby napping next door.

So this morning, (on my Birthday) I am giving myself the gift of a live video. Both on YouTube and Facebook. If you didn’t realize that YouTube does live video, I don’t think you’re alone. Pretty much every social media channel is making a push for live streaming and this is an important tool to use because it is a way to engage with your audience on a new level.

Certainly edited videos have their place. With an edited video, you have the ability to add captions, text on screen, graphics plus you can refine the picture and sound quality and selecting the best takes are all perfect reasons not to do a live video. Especially when you are as awkward as I am.

A live video on the other hand eliminates a whole post production workflow from your plate. It saves a lot of time but that’s not the only benefit. Your followers are notified when you go live and while you’re shooting you can see who is watching and their comments. This is an amazing way to engage with your audience by responding to their comments and questions right in your video. Plus once it’s finished you can post it so people can still watch it anytime and continue gaining views.

The great thing is that all you need is a phone, tablet or laptop which I’m guessing most of you own either one or all of the above. However, I would suggest a few small things to improve the quality of your videos especially if you are shooting on a phone or tablet.

  1. Get a tripod. It’s really easy to mount your phone or tablet on a tripod for your live videos. You will need an adapter but I got mine on amazon for under $10 and I use it all the time.
  2. A microphone will make a huge difference in the sound quality. Most cameras, tablets and laptops do not have the best onboard microphones. I picked up a small lavalier microphone specifically for phones and even mounting it to a stand about a foot from my mouth it picks up my voice really well. I like the fact that it’s not in the shot but you can also clip it to your shirt depending on the length of the cable.
  3. Lighting is really important too. If you don’t have any lights to brighten up your shot try shooting in front of or next to a window. My home office is not the brightest so I set up a small LED light to brighten things up. It’s important to remember not to sit with a window behind you as that will most likely be backlit where your face will be too dark compared to the bright outdoor light.

So that’s it, live video is really the way of the future but make sure you still plan out your content and plan your setup for the best possible results. And try to be less awkward than me 🙂

See you next week!