Category Archives: Digital Marketing

Why Marketing Matters For Co-op Success

Co-op Marketing Fort Worth

For many businesspeople, marketing is one of the scariest parts of actually running things on their own. A lot of people become entrepreneurs or rise in a larger business due to their dedication to the niche or type of work, not marketing itself. As a result, there are a lot of unknowns, and as we can see, there are many high-profile marketing blunders that can not only drain your wallet, but cut into your customer base.

But what if there was a way to try and minimize this risk, and find a way to pool resources for advertising that can stand up against the larger names in your niche? What if there was a way to potentially use the audience and name of one of those larger niches to increase your own chances of success? This is the basic principle behind co-op marketing, something that may help get your business to the next level.

The Basics on Co-op Marketing

In essence, the idea behind co-op marketing is a smaller company putting money into an advertising budget, and having that money matched by a corporate partner. One of the biggest examples of this is car dealerships. If a car specializes in a certain carmaker’s offerings, they may get some advertising money from the carmaker themselves. The reasoning from the carmaker is that they have someone out there supporting their brand, so it makes sense to try and put some money their way.

Think of it this way: it’s been proven statistically that there is a growing interest in local advertising as opposed to massive corporate advertising. This is for a number of reasons, from cynicism on the part of the consumers to a basic interest in supporting local businesses. From the larger advertising partner’s perspective, it makes sense to try and financially support a smaller company’s advertising efforts. They still get the sale they want, but target a consumer who may tune out their commercials or radio ads.

There are other common examples of co-op marketing you may see every day without thinking. For example, in a shopping center or mall, you’re likely to see advertisements for each retailer in said center. In addition, they may also put out advertisements in the local newspaper for popular holidays or other times where there’s a significant spike in shopping. Again, this works to the benefit of the larger company. It’s a lot easier to advertise your product to certain groups in certain regions if you have first-hand knowledge of what they like. No one knows this better than local retailers.

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Why Bother With Co-op Marketing?

Co-op marketing is a very versatile option, but at this point, we’ve only covered the benefit to the larger companies working with smaller ones. However, the smaller company also sees a variety of different benefits from entering a co-op marketing partnership.

The major benefit, especially for small businesses, is how co-op marketing can drastically reduce the potential money you need to set aside for marketing endeavors. On average, a manufacturer will pay anywhere from 50% to 100% of the cost of placing a local ad. Not only does this allow you to reap the benefits of exposure to a larger audience, but also not have to worry about affecting your cash flow to do so.

Speaking of exposure, this tends to work in two different positive ways for the smaller company. For one, there’s the sheer matter of volume and reach, the fact that more advertising dollars mean that you can put together a more extensive and effective campaign. However, working with a larger brand and having your name associated with theirs also lends an air of legitimacy to your business. The sight of your business’s name next to an internationally known manufacturer is a clear sign of success.

Another way that the smaller businesses benefit is from knowledge and osmosis. Large, global companies pour massive amounts of money into studying advertising and their consumer base in order to get an idea of what they respond to most. This allows the smaller companies a chance to learn some effective strategies for a fraction of the cost.

As a final add-on point, while these are the most common co-op marketing relationships you see, it’s also possible for multiple small businesses to try and band together to do something similar. For example, two non-competitive businesses with a history of working together may pool together advertising money for a campaign which highlights both. The trade is that you don’t have the benefits of the resources of a larger company, but there is more freedom in what you can do, which we will get to in a moment.

Co-op Marketing

The Key To Effective Co-op Marketing

When it comes to co-op marketing, what many people describe as a drawback is the fact that you’ve committed to the advertising standards of whatever entity you choose to work with. This can play out in terms of:

  • Having a certain standard of advertising quality
  • Utilizing only a specific type of advertising
  • Hidden requirements
  • Limits on what the advertising money provided by the larger entity can be used for

This isn’t always a bad thing. Remember, larger companies make a lot of investment in understanding what works in advertising, so it may behoove you to try and follow their lead. However, no one wants to be caught off-guard, so the first thing you want to do in co-op advertising is getting a clear understanding of the rules with an attorney.

The other important piece of this is making sure that your company’s internal structure is ready to take on the added workload of a proper advertising campaign. Many smaller companies may have a small ad here or there, but it’s a big step up to regularly produce print or web advertising, even if you have the money. Make sure you have the marketing personnel either on staff or hired to do the bulk of the actual planning and formulation.

Another important key is making sure that you have open lines of communication with all the members of your co-op. This is going to be essential for a variety of reasons. For one, you need to be able to understand quickly whether or not your partner approves or does not approve of any advertising material before you send it out. In addition, communication makes it easier for them to give you general advice as needed. However, don’t think that you’re bound to whatever they say. For example, digital marketing is essential for advertising success. If you read or learn about a concept that you think makes sense to use, bring it up. Remember, larger companies want to use the up-close experience their smaller partners have as well.

Because there are several different companies or entities putting their money together for co-op advertising, it’s that much more important that you put together a proper formal strategy that allows everyone to benefit. This means not just recruiting professional help for putting together branding materials, but also at the thought stage. This is where Glint Advertising is so helpful. We understand how advertising has evolved, as well as the mechanisms that drive consumer response. Whether you’re ready to start a campaign or just want a consultation, we are here to help guide you down a path of successful marketing and advertising strategies.

Essential steps to properly engage with your target audience

Audience Engagement To successfully grow a business, you need to connect with the target audience associated with your growth plan, especially in cases where you are starting a new business. You’ll need to have a firm idea of who your customer base is as this is half the battle in getting your brand noticed. You also need to be aware of how to properly engage with your audience and how to strengthen and maintain the relationships you form with customers, to keep them onboard and attract new customers.

In the article below, we’ll go over the critical steps you need to take for effectively identifying and adequately engaging with the right audience for your specific products or services.

Researching Your Target Audience
To properly engage with the audience for your brand, you need to know their precise interests and who they are. There are many things you should be considering when researching the perfect customers for your products or services. The most effective approach for accomplishing this is to develop a market segmentation plan.

Market segmentation will allow you to find the key factors driving your target audience. This research can include many things depending on what you are trying to sell, but generally, it comes down to a few things for most businesses:

Geographic Segmentation: Depending on your services this can be a significant factor and defines precisely where your customers work and play.

Demographic Segmentation: Things like age, gender, job, and income. These are big for everyone and are things to focus on in any marketing strategy.

Psychographic Segmentation: These are the more niche factors, like lifestyle, personality, and customer values. All crucial things to consider for any business.

Once you’ve been able to answer these questions and those unique to your business, you’ll be well on your way to understanding your audience fully. Once you do, you can properly engage with them to increase brand awareness and overall sales.

Man Looking At ROI

Engaging with Your Audience
Now that you have a firm idea of who you are trying to target, we can start engaging with them. Building a relationship with a customer takes time and effort and gaining a customer’s trust is beyond valuable. Customers who are loyal and trust the brand they are buying from will provide you with repeat sales and word of mouth marketing on social networks and within friend and business groups.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to focus on customer service and engagement, two things that go hand in hand when it comes to marketing.

When engaging with your audience, whether it be email, a social post, or replying to a customer on the phone, keep these things in mind:

Be Consistent: If you are only hitting your goals with your engagement every once in a while, you won’t make it very far. While people do remember the good things, they really remember the bad, so make sure everything is always consistent with your brand. Consistency in brand applies to service, the tone of voice, and graphical style. Customers want to feel like they know you, if you are constantly changing it up, they won’t get that feeling from your business.

Be Accessible: If you are going to take the time to engage with your customers via comments, content efforts, email, or in-store, you need to be doing it in a way that resonates with them. An excellent way to accomplish this is being accessible. Accessibility means making your content and messages easy to understand, and if you can, engaging and entertaining.

Be Personal: When communicating with your target audience, avoid sounding like a robot. Go out of your way to act as if you were talking to a friend. Cater all your responses directly to the needs and personality of the person you are dealing with. Communication is a great place to show your dedication to your customers.

Lady Choosing Technology

Use the Same Platforms Your Customers Do
If you are planning to utilize social media and content marketing to try and boost engagement as you should be, then you need to know where your customers tend to spend their time online. Discovering relevant channels will be another step you’ll have to take when doing your research for your target market. If you are running even the best content on the wrong platforms, you are just wasting valuable time and money.

If you are planning on creating your content marketing via social media, be sure to research each platform and find out which your customer base is using, and which would best suit the type of content you want to be using.

For businesses that are trying to tackle emails, personalizing your emails to your target market will be key to success. If your customers don’t tend to interact with their inboxes much, something the younger generations can be known for, then you can also be wasting your efforts here.

If your customers are coming to your website to engage with your business, it would be best to focus the bulk of your efforts into this area. Website content can be the best way to market, as it is completely under your control, where on social media you may have to fit your content into specific guidelines.

Plan your tactics accordingly in this area, and you’ll be well on your way to success. The core steps to engaging apply to all tactics, but make sure you are selecting the appropriate platform, and researching everything before you begin creating content.

Your Business Needs to Engage with Its Audience to be Successful
For you to thrive in highly competitive spaces, you need to be setting yourself apart and building loyalty with your customers. If your audience doesn’t have a good reason to pick you over the other guy, they may jump ship.

Give them excellent customer service, engage with them appropriately, maintain a consistent brand, and you’ll be sure to see improvements in all areas of your business. If you need help engaging customers with your branding, advertising, or marketing, please let us talk with you. Email us at agency@glintadv.com or better yet, give us a call at 817-616-0320.

Creative Messaging Is Key To Success

Creative Success Messaging Graphic

When it comes to marketing in the online space, it can be easy to get lost in a pile. Think of the digital environment as a community of brick and mortar stores, not unlike what you see outside in the real world every day. In fact, the online shopping industry alone is growing 3x faster than traditional storefronts. Unsurprising, now that about 51% of the population prefer to shop online over visiting a store in-person.

This means we can apply a lot of the same tactics to both areas. A key difference to keep in mind though is that there is a lot more business in the digital community of stores then there are on a street and it is a lot harder to see all the business available in an online environment. This serves as a strong reminder that your competition is a lot larger than may you perceive when you just think of your local competition.

What tends to be the biggest factor of change when moving from physical to digital is not how we engage, but where. This is why you can find so many digital marketing agencies focused on things like behavioral targeting, banner ads, and automation. What most fail to take into account is that these companies are only providing you with where you’ll be shouting your message from, but if your message isn’t engaging, it won’t matter how many places you are displaying it.

The success of your marketing efforts, be it traditional or digital, will come down mostly to the strength of your message, creatives, and content.

Credit Card Computer Screen

Your Key Message and Why It’s So Important
Your key message is one of the most important aspects to consider. The first question you should be asking yourself is what your key message is. Organizations of all types have key messages intended to help them get across why you should use their product or service. While you likely could form a pretty long list around this, it’s best to whittle it down to one key message you want to use to define your business.

Essentially, your key message is what you want to be known for, and this message needs to be consistent across all your marketing materials and brand.

This will provide a certain level of control over how people talk about you, as we give them one simple thing to focus on. Having control of the conversation about your products or services can be invaluable if you push forward a clear and effective message about what you provide.

Tone and Style
As part of a consistent brand and key message, we need to make sure we have established a consistent tone and style. Your tone and style should fit in closely with your key message.

Writing is arguably the most shared form of content. Even if you are running image-heavy campaigns, you will likely find yourself in need of some written work for captions and social media posts. Whether you are writing for your company blog or just updating Twitter, you need to be sure you have the same style and tone all throughout.

Contrary to popular belief, tone and style are not the same things. A style is best applied to short, catchy sentences, great for social media posts. A tone conveys authority, it’s the vibe you give off and the feeling you get when you read something written by someone who knows their stuff. These two things intertwine and will eventually end up creating what we call your voice.

So, does it all matter? Absolutely. We are trying to convey a consistent message and to do that we need a consistent style, tone, and voice as well. They key to a great brand voice is first and foremost consistency, but being creative and different is key to standing out amongst the competition.

Search on Mobile

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
If you take a moment to consider what actually makes you click an article, pick a video game, or buy a certain food item, you’ll likely come up with two answers, convincing written copy, like an article headline or catchy phrase that sticks with you, or the visual content associated with it.

Visual content accounts for so much of what your customers will perceive that it is arguably more important than your written content. Having the two work seamlessly together is the makings of a great piece of content.

To do this, we need to keep our images in line with the rest of our message. This means it should match our style, tone, voice and key message. This is going to require us to get pretty creative with our message and find ways to convey it visually.

The key to producing great image content is to focus on these key aspects while keeping your overall brand in mind at all times.

Capturing the Viewers Attention: Before we can start to convey our message to our target, we need to have their attention. Strong, eye-catching visuals that scream your message are perfect for drawing people into your other content. Afterall, 93% of communication between people is visual and 90% of the information sent to the brain is visual.

Claiming a Spot in Their Memory: What do you want people to walk away with? If I’ve viewed your ad, what types of things should invoke me to think about it again? The answer to both these questions is found in your key message and brand voice, as we want them to walk away with that being the takeaway point. Creative imagery can be far more effective than body copy for achieving this, as people tend to remember visuals more clearly.

Why Creativity is So Important
Being creative with your brand voice and key message is key to success. In a world where it gets harder and harder to compete and get noticed, you need something to make you stand out. A common mistake is to check out competitors and copy what they are doing, and while this can prove to be valuable, it can also hurt your overall exposure. Being unique is key to standing out amongst the crowd. If you plan your key message creatively, the rest should follow suit much more easily, setting you up to emerge at the end with a truly unique and creative brand that will stand out amongst your competitors, both online and offline. If you can achieve that, you’ll be well on your way to overall success.

None of This Changes Between Digital and Physical
The takeaway here is that no matter where your advertising is operating from, your campaign and business will benefit from creative messaging. We are trying to create a consistent voice and message for our brand, which means it needs to extend to both the online and offline spaces. It doesn’t really matter how targeted your ad is if your brand message is speaking to an entirely different group then you are targeting.

It’s important to distinguish that while digital and physical spaces require different strategies on a whole, your message should remain in use and unchanged. This makes implementing creative messaging into your materials a universal approach for both markets. In short, your message doesn’t change depending on whether you’re online or not, what does change is how you get that message delivered.

If adding a layer of support to your branding, advertising, or marketing would be beneficial, we would love to talk with you. Email us at agency@glintadv.com or better yet, give us a call at 817-616-0320.

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7 Questions to ensure you don’t get duped into SEO

SEO Considerations

Much like an online dating site, at first glance SEO can seem quite attractive. You correspond back and forth, and when you feel you have a connection, it’s time to meet and take your discussions to the next level. You start prepping for the big day, get your hair just right, put on your best outfit…afterall, you’ve bought into the initial connection, and you’re ready to impress.

You finally get together anticipating a smooth continuation of the initial impression that was advertised only to discover their initial image is not what you’re seeing now. Not to say looks and first impressions are everything, but let’s be honest…they’re essential. Needles to say, it’s now a little uncomfortable and you feel you’ve been duped and getting duped is not OK.

Setting the right expectations up front is crucial to any relationship. Especially relationships in business where trust, honesty, and a strong ROI are needed to gain long-term prosperity.

Like the example above, there are unfortunately many businesses that would like you to believe they’re the best partner for you, when in fact, they have no intention of ever developing a genuine relationship built on trust. The lack of delivering on intentions can be devastating for companies needing expert assistance to help propel their marketing and advertising strategies forward, especially in the realms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Many of us have been conditioned to believe that SEO is all about one thing, having our site listed in the number one spot on Search Engines. Though strong ranking is a by-product of good SEO, should that really be the goal? We find the real purpose of SEO should be to attain more customers. A strategy that actually converts visitors is what pays the bills and grows the brand.

The strategy Glint takes on SEO is very comprehensive. Everything from creating unique content, link building, citation building & management, keyword management, reputation management, and monthly analytical reporting are utilized. Also, we set clear expectations around the length of time SEO takes to implement correctly and that the strategy should be created for long-term impact vs. short-term boost.

Before you become disappointed with an SEO strategy that looks great in the beginning, below are seven questions to help ensure your brand has long-term success?

  1. “Please discuss your experience in branding and how you ensure my brand integrity is never compromised by the content you generate.”
  2. “What kind of content will you be generating to drive results?”
  3. “How often will you be generating unique content for us?”
  4. “Do you utilize an in-house team or is the management of our content outsourced?”
  5. “Please elaborate on how you approach link building and the systems you use to accomplish this.”
  6. “On average, how many links per month will you be researching for us?”
  7. “How do you protect our company during the link building process?”

Asking pointed questions like these up-front will help you vet those that have your best interest at heart and establish a good foundation for the relationship based on clear expectations.

In conclusion, we believe that every agency should be able to create visually impactful assets that get you noticed. However, without first understanding YOU and your goals, it’s impossible to discover if you’re an excellent fit for each other. By taking the time to listen and setting clear expectations up front, you can ensure a positive outcome that won’t leave you feeling duped.

To download a more in-depth overview of considerations for choosing an SEO partner, click here.

If adding a layer of support to your marketing team would be beneficial, we would love to talk with you. Email us at agency@glintadv.com or better yet, give us a call at 817-616-0320.

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Customer Journey Mapping

The Science Behind Cave Paintings & Storytelling

One of the oldest forms of human communication is not language, but rather storytelling in the form of cave paintings. For years, scientists believed storytelling to be strictly entertainment. But, as more great minds studied the science of storytelling, they discovered it to be an instrumental aspect of human and technological development.

Customer Journey

Listening to stories allows us to learn from other people’s failure and success, and even experience events we haven’t already experienced for ourselves. Take the above painting, for example; one can gather that this is a warning to the hunter, “Big prey can be dangerous, watch out for their horns.”

Storytelling is What Makes Customer Journey Mapping Invaluable. As a business, it is imperative that you take the time to step into your customer’s shoes and see the world through their eyes, experience their problems and feel their feelings — it’s a difficult perspective that can best be accomplished through the art of storytelling or in marketing, Customer Journey Mapping.

Customer Journey Mapping is the process of telling the story of your customer’s experience from Point A to Point B — in other words from the initial point of contact, through the transaction and finally to fostering a long and healthy business relationship.

You Need an Outside Perspective. This marketing and consumer behavior process is something that is practiced by the world’s largest brands and something you should consider utilizing within your own. But, in order to carry it out effectively, you should bring in an outside perspective that has no bias towards your customer base. At Glint, we have been conducting Customer Journey Mapping for years with brands interested in better understanding who they are selling to.

Our process of discovering the customer journey map is a story that consists of 4 parts:

1. Discovery.
Every relationship begins with an introduction of the plot and characters. There are two characters in this story — your brand and your customer. We work to deeply understand these two characters. Understanding you as a brand comes down to branding (which you can read more about here), but understanding your customer takes stepping into their shoes and seeing the world through their eyes.

2. Engagement.
After understanding the characters in the story, we need to understand how they interact and engage with one another. In other words, what is their relationship? And, how can we make this relationship better, more interesting and more valuable?

3. Conversion.
In a love story, often times relationships are unconditional. This is not the case in marketing and business, relationships are very conditional — your customers are paying you their hard earned money for value. They are paying you on the condition that you are providing value. During the conversion stage of our process, we discover what those conditions are. We then figure out ways to meet and exceed these conditions.

4. Reward.
If the reward section were in a story, it would be the finale, the end… the happily ever after. This is the section we sit down with you and answer one question — how can we make your relationship with your customer one that will last for years to come? Often, this is accomplished through ongoing value your brand provides in the form of rewards of some type.

Take Some Time to Better Understand Your Customer.

If you are interested in understanding your customer better, give us a call at (817) 616-0320 or send us a note here. If you haven’t take the time to step into your customer’s shoes, you need to… it’s what keeps you in business.