Marketing your Identity: Define your Mission and Vision Statement

When we sit down with clients, one of the first things we want to know is how well they know themselves. Have they defined who they are, what they do, and why and how they do it?

Before you start any marketing, make sure you’ve documented your identity with a mission statement (what do you want to accomplish now? Why? How?) and a vision statement (what do you want to accomplish in the long-term? Why? How?). Most
businesses could tell you what they’re about, but distilling that knowledge into concise statements is a challenge that’s worth the time and effort involved.

But what makes it so important? Every marketing effort you make will flow out of the identity you’ve defined for your business. Drawn from one of Dave Ramsey’s presentations at EntreLeadership’s Master Series event; here are three reasons why your documented identity needs to weigh in on every decision you make:

It keeps you from fatal distraction. “A mission statement is an out-of- bounds marker,” Ramsey says, “It defines what you are not as much as what you are…” The danger of distraction applies to marketing just as much as anything else. Stay focused on your goals and your target audience.

It reminds you, and your market, of what you can do. What are your go-to products and/or services, and what marketing initiatives will make your specific skillset shine?

It reveals your personality, dreams, passions, and values. Why does your business exist? Where do you want to take it? Questions like these are the elements that inspire both you and your customers to continue doing business.

You can’t truly present yourself if you don’t know yourself. Invest in creating a vision and mission statement, and the insight will set you on the road to marketing success. Need help defining and documenting your identity and using it to connect with your market? Contact us for a free consultation, and look for next week’s post, where we’ll discuss how you can transform your unique identity into your brand.

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern

The Case for Video

When it comes to converting, engaging, and selling to consumers or business clients, what’s the most effective medium? If you had to guess, you’ll probably pick the medium that most recently or powerfully struck you. If you’re like many, you picked video.

Video Done Right
While a poorly-produced video makes your brand less attractive to consumers, videos produced with consistency and quality will powerfully attract users to conversion. Why? Because captivation precedes communication. Consumers are eager to connect with a
brand by experiencing direct value and relatability before they even make a purchase. It’s not just about the biggest billboard or the most web ads– it’s about showing consumers what you have to offer by providing media that really matters to them in the way that they want to receive it.

Here are a few reasons why Keech Media considers video to be one of the most foundational elements involved with almost any marketing portfolio, including dynamic statistics from sources like the Animoto Online and Social Video Marketing Study.

1. It’s an industry standard. According to Animoto, one in four consumers will
actually lose interest in a company if the company doesn’t have video. That means
consumers consider the use of quality video to be a fundamental litmus test for
whether or not the business understands their communication preferences. Quality
video means credibility.
2. It’s popular. Animoto discovered that four times as many consumers would rather
watch a video about a product than read about it. Insivia reports that 90% of users
say that seeing a video about a product is helpful in the decision-making process.
3. It’s powerful. Compelling video content is one of the most dynamic mediums when
it comes to lead conversion. Unbounce reports that using video on landing pages can
increase conversion by 80%.
4. It’s versatile. Because you want a variety of content for different consumers, think
about re-editing a video into 30- or 15-second commercials, or using the video
script as an outline for a blog post or sales sheet. When it comes to getting the
biggest return on your investment, video content is a great resource for creative
media repurposing.

For every value proposition and every target audience, there is an ideal medium. While
video isn’t the right media channel for every marketing landscape, it’s a popular, powerful,
and versatile way to connect with your market. For help discovering the media channels
that fit your marketing goals, contact us.

 

By Keech Media | By Michael Finnern

Passionate about Production Calendars

Whether your goal is brand awareness, lead generation, sales, or another specific result, your mission is to build trust with your target audience. Present the same consistent quality with your marketing media as you do with your products and services, and you’ll show consumers that, whatever you put your hand to, you’re never a one-and- done type of business. If you’re serious about consistency, you need a production calendar.

Goals, resources, timeline, and adjustments
Production calendars aren’t about chaining you down—they’re about providing a bird’s eye view of your marketing efforts so you can take off and keep flying. A production calendar allows you to visually map out your goals and resources (or, in this case, your work capacity) as well as to think about how those elements relate to each other and affect your timeline. This insight equips you need to be both intentional and flexible in your production, which actually helps you post quality content much more consistently.

Take a look at this screenshot showing a few rows from our production calendar. People build production calendars to fit their varied needs, and ours proves that it doesn’t have to be complex.

To the left, we have the brand for which we’re writing. Then, we work backwards. When do we want to post? July 15. Okay, so we should have the final draft to our social media specialist (Erika) by the end of the day on July 14. In order to have a couple of hours to finalize the draft for Erika, we’ll need to have the draft approved by our creative director by about 6:00 p.m. on the 14th. In order to give our creative director a day and a half to approve our draft, we should send the draft to him by the end of the day on July 12.

Just get it on the calendar—even if it’s in pencil
With all this planning ahead, remember that target dates like these set everyone up for success, especially because success doesn’t necessarily mean the fulfillment of every deadline, every time. Rather, planning target dates allows for smooth, productive communication when adjustments are needed—and they’ll be needed often.

For example: Let’s pretend the employee who frequently writes your content is going on vacation. Instead of assuming that there won’t be any content posted for those three weeks, the production calendar empowers him to be proactive. Because he has a bird’s-eye view, he already understands he needs to work ahead, adjust dates, find substitute writers, communicate with the team, and take any other action necessary to ensure that content keeps flowing while he’s gone.

That’s the difference between your target audience experiencing three weeks of radio silence and three weeks of engaging, consistent content. And because we’re all about engaging, consistent content, we’re passionate about production calendars. For help with yours, contact us.

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern

The Results of Content Marketing

In order for your marketing to succeed, you need to define what success looks like. You need to pinpoint the results that you want your business to obtain from content marketing. According to industry research, four of the five items shown below are the most important results to B2B marketers in North America. The fifth in this list– Web Traffic/SEO– is one of the most important results, in our opinion. How many of the following results stick out as
ones that your business needs to pursue? Which is your most important?

Lead Generation
On HubSpot.com, Anum Hussain says that generating leads through content is about making an organic, genuine connection in which someone “indicates interest in your company’s product or service in some way, shape, or form.” Someone who signs up for your newsletter, requests more information about you, comments on one of your posts, or shows interest in some other way has become a lead. By presenting content that is valuable, funny, or inspiring, you’re perpetually prospecting for leads, inviting consumers to investigate you. When a consumer encounters your content and shows they’re interested, you have obtained a lead that is of better quality than you would have gained from something like a cold call.

Lead Nurturing
According to Lindsay Kolowich on HubSpot, 50% of leads aren’t ready to buy at the time of conversion. That means there’s a transition between interested consumers and invested customers. According to this infographic by Eliv8, nurturing the conversation and connection with a newly-converted lead involves persistent and relevant email marketing.

Sales
When it comes to closing the deal, research conducted by LinkedIn shows that 86% of buyers will listen if sales professionals provide insights about their business. Whether you are your own sales rep or you’re working with a sales team, remember that, according to an excellent article by Alex Lopes at the Content Marketing Institute, today’s largely digital marketplace means that it’s not just about face time; sales efforts need a generous dose of
valuable content in order to demonstrate credibility, build relationship, stay top of mind, prove you solve the problem, and speak your prospect’s language.

Brand Awareness
It’s not just about the biggest billboard, the smoothest cold calls, or the most web ads– it’s about showing consumers what you have to offer by providing real value for them on a regular basis, even before they make any purchase. By consistently teaching, entertaining, or inspiring your readers with content that reflects your brand, you will prove yourself as a thought leader in your market and, as a result, come up first in a consumer’s mind when their need arises.

Web Traffic/Search Engine Optimization
Quality content will drive traffic to your website. With proper consultation and analysis, you can make sure that your content is both appealing to audiences and organically optimized for search engines. You don’t need to cut corners when it comes to search engine optimization; simply be intentional about producing a stream of varied content that addresses your target market’s problems or interests and use relevant keywords in every place you can, including metadata and image descriptions.

Smart Marketing=Specific Results
Smart marketing is all about producing better results. Which of these five results does your business need to focus on the most? What other results do you want to glean from your content marketing? For more tips on defining your results, laying your foundation, and planning a customized marketing campaign that achieves your goals, check out our series titled Tools for Your Marketing Campaign.

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern

Tools for your Marketing Campaign: Part 4

In this series, we’ve explored some of the tools involved with planning and executing a good marketing campaign. We can either produce content because “that’s what we’re supposed to do,” or we can use effective tools to define our “who, what, where, and when” so that our media accomplishes our “why” and connects with our audience.

You’ve created your content for the best channels based on your goals and your audience. Now, when do you post? After all your effort, you don’t want to preach to the choir or, worse, to an empty room. When it comes to promoting your media, it’s clear that certain posting times are better than others.

So, when are the perfect times? Get your pen ready, because…

…it depends. Peak times on various channels differ heavily, depending on your audience and a number of other elements.

From our perspective, gaining insight from voices like Hubspot, The Huffington Post, and Social Media Today on social media posting times that are generally optimal is a good place to start. Those voices agree, however, that the best times to post are very different depending on your “why, who, what, and where.”

The Tool: Audience Interaction Data from your Content Calendar

In a future post, we will discuss the beating heart of every content marketing initiative– the content calendar. In addition to helping you plan for consistency in your posting (an element that we think is even more important than posting at the perfect time), a content calendar allows you to document direct results surrounding each of your posts, helping you define your peak times for your audience. Use your calendar during production to define the deadlines surrounding each post, and then add a column to record the audience interaction after the post has gone public. For example, audience interaction data can be as simple as the following:

Content Title 1: Facebook: Posted 5:30 p.m. Friday 7/29: Nine shares and 23 likes
Content Title 2: Facebook: Posted 8:00 a.m. Sunday 7/31: One share and four likes
Content Title 3: Facebook: Posted 12:00 noon Tuesday 8/2: Four shares and 44 likes
Content Title 4: Facebook: Posted 4:30 p.m. Thursday 8/4: One share and 18 likes

What insights do you gain from this small snippet of (fabricated) data? Of course, there are many factors that affect audience interaction, but accounting for posts that are relatively similar in nature and yet receive different response rates at different times of the day or days of the week can shed valuable light on the posting times that are best for you. 

For help in selecting the right tools to create a campaign that accomplishes your goals, contact us for a free online marketing analysis.

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern

Tools for your Marketing Campaign: Part 3

Part Three: What to Produce?

The previous post in our Marketing Tools series helps you find your “who.” Identifying your audience based on your customer data equips you, in turn, to produce targeted media that fits specifically with your audience and your goals.

Media that speaks to your Who
In preparing to reach out to your market, you’ll face a constant choice when it comes to media. You can create marketing media because “that’s what you’re supposed to do,” or you can invest time and effort to define your “who, what, where, and when” so that your media accomplishes your “why” efficiently and effectively, with no wasted effort.

To find your “what,” you’ll use your “who.” If you have established a buyer persona, consider his or her motivations, problems, and corresponding questions. Just like real people, customer personas have multiple and interdependent characteristics. Define and document what your different buyer personas really want, and you’ll be surprised by the topic ideas that arise. For an example, one of your buyer personas might harbor the following:

Motivation
“I want to complete my work as quickly as possible.”

Problem
“My computer is running slowly.”

Potential Question(s)
“Should I get a repair, or is it time for a new computer?”
“How can I nail down severity of the problem without having to pay a diagnostic fee?”

If you’re a computer repair specialist, you’re all over questions like these. But how should you present your expertise? A blog post? A video? Remember, one factor among many is that, in this case, the buyer persona’s computer is faulty. During work time, one of the first things I do when my computer is running slowly is pick up my smart phone and catch up on reading or email. If I were to look for help regarding my computer, it would be through my phone. So, in this case, we’ve gathered data and defined a best practice: questions about computer repair are answered more efficiently through mobile-friendly mediums.

The Tool: Customer Journey Mapping
How do you bring someone from “my computer is running slowly” to “I need someone to fix it.”? And then, “I want [you] to fix it.”?

Customer journey mapping is similar to a sales funnel; you want your audience to become (1) interested, then (2) engaged, then (3) invested, then (4) loyal. Apply the “motivation, problem, question” principal to each of these stages and then plan the perfect media to help them through the journey. That’s what customer journey mapping for media is all about. Base your research, decisions, and plans on foundational inquiries like these:

– What questions are buyer personas asking at each stage?
– Within which media channels are they looking first to find their answer?
– And how can I format my content to that channel?
– How can I make my content recyclable so I can tweak it to supply multiple channels?

As topic ideas, ideal media channels, and other conclusions arise, make sure to write document them in a directory based on their location within the customer journey.

For a different look at several models through which you can map your customer journey and nail down your perfect media channel, check out George Stenitzer’s Sharpen Your Content Marketing: 4 Ways to Model the Buyer’s Journey. He has gathered several templates for mapping customer journeys, depending on your “why” and your “who.” My favorite, template number four, includes samples of different media channels that often correspond with the different stages of the customer journey.

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern

Tools for your Marketing Campaign: Part 2

Zooming in on your “Who”
Who do you want to reach with your marketing? “Everyone!” We believe you– but an effective marketing campaign is filled with purpose on every front. When it comes to people, each of your campaigns should be like a camera zooming in on one or two faces. Others will be caught in the frame, but the focus is on getting a perfect snapshot of the audience that corresponds with your goals.

Based on your marketing goals, your target audience might be an unreached potential market, consumers from a target region, your favorite customers, or another specific representation.

No matter your target audience, your next goal is to know them well. And to know them well, you need to ask questions. Talk with real members of your target group. For breadth, give a survey; for depth, conduct interviews. Gain solid data, including your audience’s demographics, passions, and, most importantly, their problems. What are their pain points, and how can you solve them?

The Tool: Buyer Persona
HubSpot’s Stephen Higgins defines a buyer persona as a “semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”

Like calculating an average from a list of numbers reveals a representative number, creating a buyer persona based on your consumer data manifests a representative character. From the data you’ve gained about your target audience, create one or two fictional, representative people toward whom all your media outreach will be slated.

Each character should account for the data that you gained through actual interaction with your target audience, including representative name, income level, personal life, motivations, passions, and problems. From there, it’s all about how you can use your media outreach to connect with your audience and provide them with value.

When you’re making decisions on media for your campaign, pretend your buyer persona is over your shoulder. Ask yourself: “how would Annie, my buyer persona, respond to this? Why is it valuable to her? How can I make it more accessible to her? Which of her problems does this solve?” Have a conversation with your buyer persona and see where it goes. Non-marketers will call you crazy, but we know that the tighter you are with your buyer
personas, the more focused and effective your media outreach will be.

Establish your “why” and your “who,” with some robust buyer personas, and you’re ready to plan and produce media that fits snugly into your target niche.

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern

Tools for your Marketing Campaign: Part 1

Tools for your Marketing Campaign

Part 1: Defining your goals

In our Fundamentals series, we discovered that establishing your marketing homestead involves your goals, your website, your media outreach, and your strategy. In this series, we’re diving deeper into furnishing each area within your marketing homestead with specific, documented answers to key marketing questions. We’ll start by equating that process with a term that’s a little less wild-west: planning your marketing campaign.

According to Entrepreneur.com’s Small Business Encyclopedia, a marketing campaign is a specific, defined series of activities used in marketing a new or changed product or service, or in using new marketing channels and methods. (emphasis ours)

Planning a marketing campaign involves focused answers to fundamental questions: why you’re marketing, who your audience is, what your message is, and where and when you’ll reach out. In order to help you plan your marketing campaigns, we’re excited to present effective tools and tips for addressing each part of the process.

Specific goals help to define success
As we mentioned in part one of our Four Fundamentals series, when it comes to building your marketing campaign, defining the “why” behind your marketing efforts is first priority. It specifies your goals, which, in turn, clarifies what success looks like for each particular campaign. Every campaign that you build must have a specific goal—or set of goals—at its foundation. But how do you define your goals?

The Tool: Check out step 1 of Content Marketing Institute’s workbook: Launch Your Own Content Marketing Program. It provides catalysts for defining your needs and strengths, including questions like the following:

– Are you a start-up that needs to gain awareness in the marketplace?
– Are you having difficulties distinguishing your business from your competition?
– Do you get lots of leads, but have trouble “closing the deal”?

Contact us for face-to- face help in finding the gaps in your sales funnel, specifying marketing goals that fit your needs, and leveraging your unique strengths to achieve results.

In the next post, we’ll explore how to define your target audience—finding the “who” behind your specific marketing goals.

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern

The Four Fundamentals of Sustainable Marketing: Part 4

The Four Fundamentals of Sustainable Marketing

Part Four: Roofing and Renovating

First, we introduced the marketing landscape. Then, we talked about the foundation of it all—your website—and gave some examples of good pillars to form your framework. Let’s explore how the last marketing fundamental complements your homestead and sets you up for constant renovation.

 

Secure your Rooftop—Fundamental #4
A solid foundation and consistent framework of inbound marketing “pillars” is an excellent start to marketing outreach, and it will put you ahead of many competitors. A step further, however, is finding ways to synthesize your individual “pillars” to form a marketing strategy.

“Marketing strategy?” You might be saying, “That’s way beyond my budget.” But not so! If you’ve already been thinking intentionally about which marketing “pillars” work best for you, you’ve already begun your marketing strategy. From there, consider how your “pillars” relate to each other. Do they compliment each other or compete with each other? Do they work together to provide a smooth path to your website? How can they connect even more seamlessly and reach out to different consumers in various situations? How can you eliminate distractions?

In future posts, we’ll explore specific applications for marketing strategy. This post is focused on first things first—when you’ve intentionally chosen your marketing landscape, established an excellent foundation, and assembled a purposeful framework, you’re already equipped to cap your marketing homestead with a strategy that ties it all together.

Consider how your media works together and record your observations and ideas on paper. With that, you’ll have the raw materials to implement a tangible plan. With some research and perhaps a little help, you can keep it going into a fully measurable and ongoing analysis that, like any other business plan, helps you make informed decisions, measure your Return On Investment, and manage change.

Start Renovating and Scan the Horizon
In the marketing landscape, your homestead is always evolving. No matter how robust your foundation, framework, or rooftop, they will require maintenance and occasional remodels. But the reward for establishing these elements properly is marketing that works day-and- night for you.

Choose your land intentionally and build right the first time. You’ll find your efforts multiplied drastically through new leads, brand awareness, customer loyalty, search engine visibility, and much more. While those who cut corners are busy keeping their marketing media from collapsing, you’ll be scanning the marketing landscape, looking for your next development.

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern

The Four Fundamentals of Sustainable Marketing: Part 3

The Four Fundamentals of Sustainable Marketing

Part Three: Defining and Designing

After selecting your marketing land and establishing your foundation, it’s time to define and design your marketing framework—the media “pillars” that will support your outreach and attract consumers to your website.

Design your Framework—Fundamental #3
Almost always, the marketing outreach that forms your framework will be categorized as inbound marketing. Inbound marketing involves providing content that is valuable to consumers. Through videos, blogs, social media, podcasts, and countless other outlets, you can create media that, through the Internet, is working day-and- night on behalf of your business to raise awareness and promote relationship. You’re drawing people to your website by giving them value, rather than relying solely on a sales-pitch or an ad.

The way you design and build your marketing framework is a lot like designing a physical home—your choices depend on your end goals and your resources. It’s your marketing homestead; build the framework that fits your business, and remodel as your goals and resources evolve. Consider just a few examples, below.

Video
Relevant, dynamic, artistic, and concise—excellent for inspiring consumers to pursue you further. For an example of a production that informs and inspires, check out this promo for Woodbury clothing boutique, Sisu.

Written content

Clear, informative, essential for search engines, and flexible—written content can be as comprehensive a blog or as brief as a catchy caption. You’ll need both in order to connect with consumers. Make it attractive to search engines, comprehensive, and easy to navigate.

Social Media
Personable, current, adaptable, and interactive—social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others provide an atmosphere for consumers and businesses to bond. It’s about connecting with consumers on an even more personal level and cultivating conversation that is relevant to your target audience. When built correctly, your social media will create a measured following of consumers who are eager to encounter your personality as well as your promotions, new products, announcements, and more. Check out MyWoodburyMN on Facebook to see an example of how social media can establish an excellent marketing “pillar,” giving your business a platform to cultivate conversation.

Just like a physical homestead, the design of your marketing framework will always be open to remodeling. In order to pursue the right developments, however, you need to view your “pillars” as united under one roof. In part four, we’ll explore how your marketing strategy is the rooftop over your homestead. We’ll also explain why starting your rooftop doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds.

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern