The Attention Show: How to Build Your Brand During the Holidays

 

Watch the Full Episode on YouTube! Click Here!


 

Many companies think of the holiday season as a time to increase revenue and close more business. However, it’s also during the holidays that customers are most likely to decide whether they like buying from you or would prefer to buy elsewhere. With this in mind, don’t discount building your brand during the holiday season!

The Attention Show: How to Build a Loyal Brand Community

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Watch the full episode on YouTube! Click Here.


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Building a brand community that resonates with loyal customers is a difficult task. There are a number of defining characteristics that allow companies to engage customers in creating these communities around various brands. In this weeks Attention Show, John and Chris talk about the different aspects and what it takes to build an engaged brand community.

How to Get 5-Star Google Reviews

Google is one of the most powerful information sources on the planet – and it could crush your business in a day.

A 2013 BrightLocal survey with 2,100 responses found that 85% of people use online reviews to research local businesses.  Even more important, Zendesk found that 90% of people are actually influenced by those online reviews.

So the question stands, how can your local business acquire positive reviews on sites like Google?

There are no secret tricks or black hat tactics that your business can practice in order to get better Google Reviews. It really boils down to your businesses brand – which leads us to our first tip.


DON’T ever let finances or operations get in the way of running a customer first business.

As a business owner or manager it’s [really] easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle – but you can never forget about your customers.

While our team at Good Monster is all for transparency and honesty, you can never let the ups and downs of business negatively affect your businesses ability to serve your customers.

And don’t ever let your emotions come into play when responding to social media or online reviews.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. Think of something quickly, before they go to your competitor.

DO operate as a customer-cherishing business

The most important thing that your business can be, is caring for it’s customers. It is THE most important thing.

Solving peoples problems comes before making money, reducing costs, marketing, sales and just about everything else.

In fact, if your company is not solving problems – you might want to start looking for a new job.


DON’T beg for good reviews

This is just a bad idea all around.

First, it shows your customers that you have a hidden agenda and are apparently using them for their reviews. Second, if you do it publicly (ie. give a good review and we will give you a prize) it shows everyone else that you have to ask for reviews, and cannot get them organically.

DO let your customers know that they can review your business on Google

I am not saying you can’t ask for reviews, you just have to do it in person or privately – and you should piggyback on people’s great experiences. For example, if you own a gym and someone just lost 50 lbs after 3 months of working out, you should say: We are so proud of you – would you want to share your story with the world in a Google review by chance?

Hopefully they will say yes because they are pumped about their results.


DON’T get in a digital war with anyone who gives a negative review

As I said earlier, don’t let your emotions get in the way of loving your customers. I know you are passionate about your business – I mean it’s literally your whole world. But if someone leaves a bad review, you absolutely can NOT retaliate.

Any weaknesses in your customer service department will open more than just a can of worms. People will feed off the negativity and dish it right back 1000 fold; especially online.

DO offer something amazing to people who had a bad experience at your business

Instead use this as an opportunity to show that person, and the entire online community that your business cares more about them than anything else in the world.

If they received a broken product, send them two new ones in the mail free of charge.

If they had a hair in the food, reply that you are requiring all cooks to wear hair nets from now on, and you are giving them and two of their friends a free 3-course meal.

If they had a car repair done at your shop, and their brakes failed – you might want to call a lawyer.


DON’T make it hard for your customers to communicate their problem with you

Make it as easy as possible for people to directly contact you or your customer service department. The longer their problem goes unattended, the more likely they are to go to Google to vent their frustrations for everyone to see.

DO be transparent with your efforts to fix their problems (it’s good PR)

As I said above, be transparent in your efforts to fix their problem. Remember, the more public your efforts , the more people can see how much you care.

This above and beyond attitude towards your customers will pay off in branding and eventually, sales.


DON’T leave the customer service up to the personalities who work for you

Everyone has their own personalities and agenda, and it’s nearly impossible to know what sets people off. Leaving customer responses up to an untrained customer service team is a disaster waiting to happen.

Make sure that everyone in your company who has any contact with potential customers is well-trained on not only how to handle different situations, but more importantly, what your company’s core message is.

A core message is a simple description of your company’s purpose in life.

DO demand that your employees follow strict customer interaction guidelines

In the book Made to Stick, author’s Chip and Dan Heath explain how Southwest Airlines’ core message, THE low cost airline, shapes their entire business – from corporate investing all the way down to in-flight food.

Make sure your entire company eats, breathes and lives by your core message to ensure that your customers get the same love no matter who they speak with.


By simply paying attention to your customers – their problems and what makes them happy – you can greatly increase your chances of getting great reviews on Google.

If you get a negative review, which you probably will at some point, respond with grace and authenticity to turn their frown upside down.

Go way beyond an apology, and you will probably get a new customer (and their friends) for life.

4 Instagram Facts Every Business Owner Needs to Know

At the end of 2013, Instagram was the fastest growing social media network in the United States (GlobalWebIndex Q4 2013).

Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr (Wikipedia).

Using Instagram for business poses a few questions in business owners minds: How can we market our business on Instagram? And how can we make it a valuable platform for driving new business?

First off, lets make sure we know the in’s and out’s of Instagram:

Fact #1: Instagram photos crush video posting 96% to 4% (trackmaven.com)

What this means: Quite simply post more photos than videos. Use videos to tell longer, well-thought-out stories about your business. For example, instead of just posting a video of an employee being goofy – organize a staff wide dance-off, or a limbo contest, or an eating contest. Get it professionally edited, throw some graphics in there to spice it up and get your message across to your audience. In the days leading up to the launch of your video, tease your audience with behind the scenes and curiosity-peaking pics.

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Fact #2: For every 33 likes, you will get 1 comment (trackmaven.com)

What this means: Across all social media platforms, people tend to be “like” happy – often clicking the “like” button before they even realize what a post is about. Likes are good because it shows authority and popularity, but comments will open up a line of dialogue, which can be more valuable. If you are doing social media right, you will be keeping a close watch on your conversations – making sure that you respond to all (or most) of people connecting with you. One way to open up the lines of communication is to comment on other peoples posts. This will get your brand out there and show people that you want to chat.

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Fact #3: Urban, ethnic, younger, middle income demographics use Instagram the most (pewinternet.org)

What this means: All consumer brands can see great branding and audience engagement results with Instagram; but if your target audience falls into any of these categories, you can build a huge following on Instagram.

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Fact #4: Mayfair and no filter get the most interaction out of all the filters

What this means: You can get engagement from any photo and filter combination if it’s a work of art. However if you’re business is new to Instagram, stick with great natural lighting, taking pictures from angles and be sure to focus your lense (tap the screen if using a smartphone). If you’re not sure, try the Mayfair filter to add some character.

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Conclusion: Post artistic pictures, know your audience and be engaging

What this means: Using Instagram for business is a great way to engage your audience and introduce them to your culture. To post artistic pics, make sure you take pictures from different angles and good lighting, and don’t rely on filters too much. Plan ahead for high quality, engaging videos – make sure they are well produced to get the most miles out of your post. Always keep in mind the type of engagement you want – if you want more comments you have to open up the lines of communication by being proactive, not just reactive to comments.

Syracuse Business Needs to Step Up Their YouTube Game

YouTube isn’t anything new – in fact they just celebrated their 9 year anniversary in February. Even though they have over 1 billion unique users globally, each month, local businesses still are reluctant to utilize the valuable platform for their own marketing.

Good Monster’s hometown of Syracuse is often the subject of our “local” studies and research. Recently, we did a little digging into the global statistics of YouTube usage and compared to which Syracuse businesses were using it effectively.

Take a look at the results:

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While Syracuse is a little low on the Richter scale of YouTube domination, there are plenty of opportunities to inject their story into your audience’s hearts using the super valuable platform.

For ways to build your brand with YouTube, check out – 5 Ways to Build Brand Power With YouTube.

What is the Fastest Way to Attract New Customers?

There is an old saying, the best way to get someone’s attention is to stop giving yours.

Why is that?

Think back to the relationships in your life; most of you have experienced that feeling of emptiness after an argument, breakup or worse – the no-call-back after a few dates.

There is nothing that draws on a person’s curiosity more than the unknown; and when you aren’t sure what someone you care about is thinking, that unknown space seems to consume your entire being. You start thinking about all the possibilities, and your imagination runs wild with curiosity.

Curiosity.

What if I leave just one more voicemail, will she pick up? What if she is just really busy? What if maybe I just need to shower him with love? Most likely, none of these “possibilities” are true, but what if?

Now, let me be clear, I’m not suggesting that neglecting customers will attract them to your brand – definitely not. I am however, suggesting that you can spark curiosity through thought-provoking questions, stories that your audience can relate to, testimonials of people that have had success with your brand and anything else that can perk up their imagination while drawing them closer to your brand.

It works in relationships when one party stops paying attention to the other; What if I leave just one more voicemail?

It works in scary movies when the victim is tip-toeing through an empty house looking for the bad guy; Gee, I wonder if the bad guy around the corner?

And it works in marketing when you give your audience a platform to engage their imagination; what if….

What if I get those shoes, will I run faster?

What if I buy those golf clubs, will I hit the ball further? Straighter?

What if I purchase that concealer, will I look younger?

These are all common responses to traditional TV, print and radio advertisements, which show celebrities or actors who look faster, stronger and younger – but what about social media? How does social media peak curiosity?

In the most powerful way possible, that’s how.

In fact that is precisely why social media is so huge. Not only does the storifying nature of social media excite curiosity more than any other platform – but it immediately satisfies that curiosity by letting followers take a peek inside another person’s life and learn from them through information sharing.

People used to wonder wonder what it’s like to walk a mile in someone else shoes. Now social media allows them to come pretty close by following them and engaging with their stories.

This rapid, recurring cycle of curiosity-sparking and information-sharing makes social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter rather, addicting (we will be the first to admit, we have a problem).

So whether you’re crafting a tweet or a TV commercial, give your audience content that will peak their curiosity and excite their imagination. They will follow you until they satisfy that curiosity.

If you’re really good, you’ll do this over and over, effectively keeping the audience’s attention – just like a good horror movie.

Think Differently: “I’m an Individual, Not a Demographic”

Many times in the marketing industry we get caught up with thinking of our target audience as a single unit – a demographic. However, with all the personalization abundant in our society today, people expect to be treated like an individual, not a demographic.

It’s time that we started approaching our marketing research and implementation with the goal of engaging people on a personal level. This can be accomplished by creating opportunities for your audience to express themselves while simultaneously connecting with your brand.

Now you might be thinking, “How can we possibly develop a campaign that creates an individualized experience for a million different people, or even a thousand for that matter?” I never said it would be easy – but it is extremely valuable if done right.

Let’s use a simple example of a wallet company (we can call them “Wonderful Wallet”) promoting it’s new slim, yet highly functional wallets. Wonderful Wallet could buy display ads on a reputable ad network like DoubleClick, Facebook or AdMedia to direct people’s attention to their unique wallets. By using remarketing tools, their ad can follow it’s fans around the internet, displaying it on many different websites that they visit within the ad network. This sounds like a good way to keep reminding potential customers that they will love your product right?

It sure is. But what about a company that doesn’t have $50,000 to dedicate to display advertising and another $15,000 for remarketing? And what about developing a website and spending time engaging the 15 social media channels? thos cost time and money!

Well this is where getting personal with your audience engagement gets creative.

Instead of trying to fund a $100,000+ marketing campaign, what if Wonderful Wallet spent their time and effort reaching out to qualified customers – identified by performing social media channel searches for #wallet #fashion or #money. Wonderful Wallet customer service reps then start reaching out to – and chatting with – these individuals to see what they like, dislike, want and need. They offer to help them answer questions about finance, bills, style or just tell them jokes over Twitter; anything to pull them into the Wonderful Wallet brand. The entire time, Wonderful Wallet customer service reps are taking notes on those individuals, but instead of just compiling the data into a spreadsheet and slapping numbers on the “audience”, they give each person they chat with a unique gift, maybe a $5 off coupon for a wallet; maybe the contact information for a stylist in the individuals city – something that makes them remember how much Wonderful Wallet cares about you.

This is just one small example of how to think more personally and less demographically in order to attract new, loyal customers.

Remember your personal brand and business brand work very similarly; first impressions are everything, give them one that will put a smile on their face.

The Death of an Advertising Agency, The Birth of a Brand Innovation Agency

We are not your typical ad agency.

Yup, this is a statement blog post if I’ve ever heard written one. I will be the first one to tell you that not many at our agency come from large ad agencies, or any ad agency for that matter. But this is why we are extremely effective at what we do; we have the creativity and develop the strategies that any agency can develop, without being stuck with the politics, bureaucracy or traditional ways of a typical ad agency.

We are an eclectic group of very talented, extremely dedicated, friendly professionals. We bleed creativity and strategy, with the foresight to use today’s technical platforms to build brand awareness. We don’t have the agency experience stuck in our minds to tunnel us into repetitiveness. What we do have is a real life view of the world, we notice what stories capture us and move us. We have the ability to look past ad dollars and see what people really want, and why you can’t force them into anything.

Now let me interject, this is not an intentional bash-fest of the traditional ad agency; I mean, if none of us have ever worked at one, we definitely don’t have the right to bash them. This is simply a realization from working with our clients that things like listening, establishing trust and friendships – and to never do what other people are doing – are the most important things that we do as an ad agency.

We are different: we think differently, we work differently, but this is what leads us to remarkable work.

Top 5 reasons we are remarkable:

  1. All of our talent is in-house; that’s right, instead of contracting the best, we hire the best. This allows us to be effective, efficient and remarkable.
  2. We have an open policy for employees allowing them to work when and where they want as long as our clients’ brand is growing in a timely fashion.
  3. Our clients are more like friends, and our dogs play together.
  4. When we are hired for a project, we do un-billed research on other resources that might help improve the outcome of the project and engagement of customers.
  5. Everyone knows everything. All of our employees get the opportunity to follow each other around for a day to see what the other teams are doing. The website team knows what’s up with video, the video team gets a flavor of SEO, and metrics knows how to turn on the video camera.  We are a well-oiled machine.

So it might seem like I am tooting our own horn, and I am! But not because I am cocky, it’s because I want to show everyone out there, that it is still possible to be in the business of making people happy. Sure we are a company based on digital tools, but relationships are our backbone. Happy employees make happy clients. Happy clients make happy businesses. Happy businesses make happy Good Monsters.

That is all, good day to all you good monsters out there!

Why Your Business Is Looking At Pinterest All Wrong

Pinterest is quickly becoming a gold mine for both online and offline retailers. From restaurants to shoe stores, clothing boutiques to salons, millions of businesses are finding that beautiful images paired with the right message make people want buy. It’s no secret that this is especially true with women. Need a little proof?

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Pinterest has amassed 70 million users in it’s brief (3 year) life. With 80% of Pinterest’s user base being women, and women controlling 85% of America’s purchasing influence, Pinterest is not a marketing platform that businesses should take lightly. But posting your company’s special of the day with your smartphone is not enough. So what approach should you take?

If you’re a woman, what would make you want to re-pin an image about your products or services? If you’re a man, you need to think like a woman; and if you’re like most men, you should probably just ask one. Whatever the case is, you can pin all the content you want, but if it doesn’t speak to a woman’s desire to succeed, to be beautiful, to be loved or to laugh, then you’re wasting your time.

Here are a few things to know get your pins re-pinned:

  • If you are selling anything worth looking at, hire someone to take beautiful pictures of it
  • People are looking to dream when they are on Pinterest – show them you can full fill their wildest ones
  • Pinning happens at night
  • Use hashtags to attract pinners
  • Put images on your website
  • Put “Pin It” buttons next to the images on your website
  • Post clever copy with your pins
  • Re-pin allied brands images for more visibility

Just remember, social media platforms like Pinterest are only valuable for a brand if you can get your users to share the love. Pinterest is all about desire and beauty – keep these things in mind and you could start seeing dollar signs from your Pinterest account.

14 Ways Your Blog Can Bring Local Customers to Your Business

Many small businesses are still stuck with the impression that the best way to advertise locally is in the paper, on a billboard or with a radio ad. While these media platforms definitely have some value, typically they are not the best use of time or money when it comes to marketing your business.

Now, I know what you are thinking; and yes, while we are certainly a little biased, we also have seen the power of online marketing at driving customers to make purchases.

Blogs and social media networks are low cost marketing platforms that have a potentially wide spread reach. Blogging to the local audience can have a profound impact on driving customers to your website, and eventually your front door.

Check out these 14 ways that your blog can bring local customers to your business:

Content Sharing on Social Media

This is a no-brainer, but pumping out valuable information through your blog gives you content to share on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Reddit and all the other platforms out there. Just think, if you get one customer from any of these networks, it was worth it! So get posting!

Increased Exposure with Facebook Advertising

Facebook’s relatively new feature to boost a post to more viewers has allowed any business to get their message out to a larger audience. However, it is limited in what options you can target. An even better feature is in the Facebook ad creation area. This area allows a business to specifically target viewers based on geographical area, interests, and a host of other options. Blog posts can be promoted on Facebook with a high level of targeting to your potential customer right in your hometown. Jackpot!

More Links and Headlines With Your Local Business Name

Updating your blog with company news using your business name will pump the search engines with more content tagged with your name. You can post titles like Jack’s Plumbing in Brooklyn Is Fully Insured or The Cookie House Awarded “Best Place to Work in Syracuse”. Just like it used to be with traditional media like newspapers, TV and radio, the more your name is out on the Internet, the more visibility you will have. The power of “search” is huge on the local level – upwards of 80% of people go research a product or service online before actually making a purchase – and if your business name is there, your chances of getting picked go “ding-ding-ding!”

Increase In Search Engine Rank

As we know search is king. When people click on your blog post links, whether through social media or from search engines, it tells Google people care what you have to say. This increase in traffic will boost your search rankings and again, make your business more visible to the people that matter.

Ability to Ask Customers to Comment

Many businesses are scared sh*tless of having people posting opinions about their products or services on their blog, Facebook or Twitter. Our team at Good Monster thinks it’s one of the most valuable aspects of social marketing. It gives the people that buy from you a voice, a sense that their opinion matters. Where you might see a bad review, we see an opportunity to show them you care. Where you see bad visibility, we see an opportunity to show the public that you want to give them the best possible product/service. Encourage your readers to comment and start a conversation with them. Give them more than they expect and your business will reap the benefits.

Hashtags Will Bring Searchers and Potentially Readers

“Hail the hashtag!” Hashtags grew in popularity on Twitter, but have now been adopted by virtually every social media network out there. They are a way to search keywords that people tag their posts with. For example if someone wants to find what’s going on in Rochester they can use Facebook’s search bar to search #Rochester. Or if they want to find a lawyer in Sacramento they can type #SacramentoLawyer. This is nice and all, but the real value is to use already popular hash tags to boost visibility. If you share your blog post about Apple computer repair on Twitter with #Apple, you best bet that you are going to get some hits.

Include YouTube Videos To Build A Larger Audience

YouTube is a huge resource for business of all sizes. The big ones can put high-budget videos online promoting their services and make people laugh or cry their way to sharing their content. The small ones can use them to show people why they are the best at what they do and improve search ranks in Google. YouTube videos are search engine gold, especially when the right keywords are included in the title.

Promote Blog-Only Product Specials

Social media makes it easy to drive people to read your blog. Another great way to draw people in is to run contests and/or specials on your blog. For example maybe a restaurant could run a “Freebie-Friday” giveaway in which they give away free meal coupons to the first person that comments on your most recent blog post. Another example is a dry cleaning company could give away a “free dry clean to the fifth person that sends us an email using our email form on our website” – this has two benefits. Number one you are getting people’s email addresses for future targeted marketing, and two you are engaging your customers with kickbacks for being loyal.

Get Affiliated Businesses to Share Your Posts

Most businesses have professional relationships with vendors or neighboring businesses. Make good use of these relationships by offering to help them get their word out on your social media channels, while they do the same for you. Encourage them to share your blog posts, especially if they are relevant for their business. This is a great way to attract customers that might not have been exposed to your business before.

Educate Your Customers

This is one of the easiest ways to keep a local crowd coming back to your blog. If a law firm educates people in Boise, Idaho about changes in city laws and ways to avoid legal trouble, it will set the firm apart from other law firms. The local public will see that they are very knowledgeable in the legal field and will be more likely to think of them when they have a legal issue. Give your customers repeated valuable information and they won’t forget you.

Make Your Posts Sharable on Google+

As you know Google is king when it comes to search engines. About 65-70% of this world uses Google to plan their purchases, map their routes, read their news and find entertainment. Even though when it comes to social media networks, Google’s Google+ is not at the top of the food chain; there is one major benefit to sharing posts (or making your posts sharable) on Google+. Google seems to play favorites in this instance, and websites that are getting a lot of “+1’s” or shares on Google+, are getting ranked higher. Moral of the story, post good blog content and add a “+1” button at the top of your blog.

Use an Email Signup Form to Increase Readers

Making your blog easy to read for your potential customers should be your number 2 goal, behind posting great content. The easier it is for them to see your great content, the more they will read it. This is why having an enticing pitch on your website, as to why they should signup for email updates of your blog, is important. If they receive your blog posts in their email every day or so, and don’t have to actually go to your website on their own, you have a much greater chance of getting them to read your content.

Post and Link to Reviews and Testimonials

About 90% of people trust positive online reviews to guide them on business decisions, as outlined in a study by Dimensional Research. Why not make these reviews more easily visible to your customers to by highlighting them on your blog. To ensure that people don’t think you are making them up, link to the actual review on Google or Yelp. If you cannot link to a testimonial, because it’s written on paper or in an email, take a picture or screenshot and post that on your blog.  Whether it’s a testimonial or a review, it proves that you know your stuff and that people trust you.

TV, Print and Radio Ads Cost Way More

Let’s be honest, what would you rather pay for advertising space, 1,000’s of dollars or zero dollars? Blog’s offer a low- to no-cost advertising platform that is more personal and engaging to your potential customers. With a little bit of time and effort, blogging can reach your local audience with a relatively small dent in your ad budget.