Tag Archives: marketing

Pros and cons of outsourcing your marketing

Coworkers meeting in trendy business office.If you’re just starting out, or if you’ve been too busy with other aspects of your business to think about marketing, you may be considering outsourcing your marketing efforts to an agency.

If, however, the thought of hiring an agency and paying thousands of dollars for your marketing intimidates the hell out of you, you’re not alone. One way to get around the fear is to think rationally about the pros and cons associated with outsourcing. That way you will be much more comfortable if, and when, the time comes to pick a marketing agency.

Pro: Saving time

Perhaps the biggest benefit of outsourcing your marketing is the amount of time you save. If you don’t have much experience with marketing, you may not be willing to take the time to learn all the ins and outs. Because an agency’s main focus is on marketing, this allows them to dedicate more of their time to your brand’s needs than you possibly ever could. Hiring an agency to do your marketing can save you valuable time that you can use to focus on your own area of expertise.

Con: Price

The first con that might pop into your head is cost. You may not be in a position to spend thousands on outsourced marketing or may not see the value in paying someone to do something you can learn to do yourself. The cost of hiring an outside agency is definitely something to factor in, especially if you’re at an early point in your business.

Pro: Experience

The only thing worse than no marketing is bad marketing. If you aren’t experienced in marketing, you risk creating campaigns that aren’t received well by your audience and don’t reap the benefits that a good marketing strategy should. Hiring an agency to handle your marketing can be beneficial because they likely have more experience than you and can produce high quality results. An experienced marketing firm will be able to provide your business with all the necessary tools required for a substantial marketing presence, from social media to search engines. The key to finding the right agency for your business is to do plenty of research beforehand and make sure the agency’s experience fits your brand.

Con: Being on the same page

Another reason you may shy away from hiring an outside agency is the fear that they won’t understand the vision you have for your company. Often times it can be difficult to find the right people who are truly able to be understand your thoughts and your business. Your brand’s personality may be lost when hiring a marketing agency that doesn’t understand what you are looking for. It is important to make sure you understand who you are working with before you hire an agency to make sure you get the most out of your relationship.

Pro: Outside perspective

An agency provides a fresh, objective perspective on how to market your company. It is easy to be blinded by your own ideas when you have worked so hard on creating a successful company. Outsourcing your marketing allows an unbiased party to say what they feel is best for your marketing strategy. It’s also easier for them to provide constructive criticism that will help your marketing strategy in the long run.

Con: Less control

When working with an agency, you may feel that you’ve given up a certain amount of control. While you may have less say in the decisions that are made in regards to marketing, your agency is dedicated to the business and you are the overall decision maker. You hired an outside team for a reason — they often have more experience and will likely have a better understanding of what’s best for the business. It’s important to understand this compromise when outsourcing your marketing. If maintaining a large amount of control is important to you, outsourcing marketing may not be for you.

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

 

 

4 Reasons Why Content is Key

3-Key-Takeaways-from-Social-Media-Marketing-WorldProducing great content is what draws people into your business and allows your audience to discover what you can offer them.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “the strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”.

Content marketing includes a broad range of tools for you to attract your audience. It can be anything from blogs and images, to webinars and social media posts. Your content should be something that both educates your audience and encourages them to take an action.

Now, why exactly is creating the right content for the right audience so important?

First impressions

It’s human nature to make initial judgments on new things. When you meet someone new, you probably form an opinion about them before you’ve even had a conversation with them. People will do the same thing with your content, which is why it’s so important to make a good first impression. Part of making a good first impression is understanding your audience. Make sure that you research your target audience to understand what they are looking for. If you research your audience enough beforehand you will waste less time on creating content that may not apply to them.

When sending out email newsletters, for example, catchy subject lines will persuade your audience to open the email rather than ignore or delete it. If you’re creating graphics, make sure they are attractive and easy to read. Creating a distracting image can often be a turnoff for people or cause them to misinterpret your message. Lastly, when deciding on a title for your blog be direct and informative so that your audience can easily understand what you are going to tell them.

Helps with SEO

Content marketing is key to driving organic traffic to your website. Producing useful content opens up many opportunities for your business and will lead more people to visit your site who will actually find value in it. Including your site’s keywords every chance you get, like when writing informative blog posts, will increase your rank in Google search and provide many SEO benefits.

Shows your creative side

Creating valuable content is an opportunity to show off the personality of your business, so don’t be afraid to have fun with it! The content you create will be associated with your brand, so use your content to create a voice for the company that people can easily associate with your brand. Don’t hesitate to get creative and catch the eye of your audience in an entertaining and engaging way. Being creative provides more value to your audience because they’re more likely to pay attention to something that stands out yet is still personable.

Connects with your audience

Your content is a great avenue for connecting with your audience on a more personal level. This is your platform to directly speak and interact with your customers. Social media channels give you the chance to receive feedback and learn more about what they’re looking for. Research and understand their needs so that you can produce content that is right for them.

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

 

4 Hot PR Tips for Summer

laptopbypoolSummer is on the horizon, and the weather shouldn’t be the only thing that’s heating up.

While the summer may feel like a chance to take a vacation from work, the season is actually a great time to rethink your PR strategy and try out some new tactics. Check out these tips to help you stay on top of your PR game during the dog days of summer.

Embrace the Season

Summer is often people’s favorite time of the year. Kids get a break from school, you can hit the beach, or host a barbecue. The possibilities are endless! Embrace this era of opportunity by  finding out what summer events are happening in your area. With all the festivals, concerts, and shows occurring during the summer, you never know what attraction could connect you to potential customers. Use these events as an opportunity to meet new people or find a way to connect your business. Whether you’re partnering with the event and getting your name on the marketing materials, or you’re just attending as a guest, use these summer events to your PR advantage.

Have fun

Summer should be fun, so don’t forget to have fun with PR! No matter what your business is, find something summer related that makes you happy and incorporate it into your strategy. If you own a restaurant, create a summer themed menu to draw people in. Your creativity will be appreciated by your customers and people will tell their friends about their great experience. Attend events where you can promote your product service so you can gain more exposure and enjoy yourself at the same time.  Don’t let the summer be a bummer!

Make a Plan

Summer can be an extremely busy time for everyone. People can easily get distracted or run out of time to accomplish the things that they want. To fight this issue, create a detailed calendar for the summer. Mark any important dates like holidays or events happening in town to use as a reminder. This will prepare you for any surprises or obstacles. Remember– you can never over plan or be too prepared! Also, considering the timing of your posts is crucial. Make sure they are relevant to what is currently happening. This will make them more popular and relatable.

Be Social

A crucial part of maintaining your brand during the summer is by staying active on social media. Summer is a social season, so don’t neglect your social media presence during this time. Interact with your online audience and make them feel valued. You can also incorporate summer themed words into your messaging by using summer related puns, create graphics, or run fun contests. Don’t forget about using hashtags either! Ask for engagement from your followers. If you own a store or restaurant, run campaigns where people are invited to post pictures of their visit to your business. You can also create a friendly, conversational tone by posting a tweet like “My favorite summer treat is _____. What is yours?”. Invite your customers to join the conversation!

 

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

Six ways to make direct mail work for your business

Back in the day, the only way to get your marketing material in front of potential customers was directly through their mailbox.

Fast forward to the era of email, websites and mobile apps and you now see less direct mail than you used to. Translation? It’s an opportunity to be one of the few in your market who uses direct mail to get in front of potential customers!

How can you leverage snail mail to build your customer base and make the process pay for itself and then some? Here are six ways to make direct mail work for your business:

Personalize

An important rule of direct mail is to make it as personalized as possible for the recipient. That means having their name on the address rather than “Resident” or “Homeowner.” If you have access to a direct mail service that hand-writes short notes then this can be an effective way to drive up open rates and prospect engagement; it’s a more expensive option and best used on occasion to keep the homeowner intrigued. Nobody can pass up a handwritten letter!

Relevant

In every aspect of marketing your brand it is important to know your audience — and direct mail marketing is no different. Make sure you’ve done your research and are targeting the right communities when sending out your mailers. You want the people receiving the mail to think of your promotional material as useful or relevant to their lifestyle or general needs to decrease the chances of it getting tossed into the trash.

Commitment

A general rule of thumb in marketing is that it takes 5-7 touch points with a prospect to be remembered. When launching a direct mail campaign, you should plan on running it for the entire year to get the best results.

Patience

It takes time to see a return on your investment in any marketing or advertising initiative. At any given time direct mail will yield less than a 1% response rate, and of that you may close 25% of those leads. Prepare yourself for the long haul. It will pay off over time!

Budget

Make sure you know what you can afford to do in order to keep your marketing campaign sustainable. If you send out 1,000 postcards and blow your budget then you’ll be dead in the water. Better to start small and build your empire over time.

Call-to-action

Perhaps most important of all, you need to give your audience a reason to contact you by providing a call-to-action (CTA). For instance, you can offer a special deal if they like your page on Facebook or follow you on Instagram – building your social media following while also providing a CTA! Change up your CTA to see which ones work better than others. Regardless of your offer, make sure you provide your phone number, website and email to make it easy for them to reach you.

About Sam Lauron: Sam Lauron is a Communications Associate at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with digital marketing, social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications provides digital PR and marketing services in Austin, Denver and Houston and for any national brands seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

 

 

Should your business be on Snapchat?

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Marketing a business requires the ability to adapt and stay up to date on a wide variety of marketing tools to keep in touch with current customers and find new prospects. Snapchat is rapidly becoming a new social media advertising tool that marketers have to pay attention to if they want to reach millennials.

According to a recent article by Bloomberg, Snapchat has 150 million daily users, which is even more than Twitter! Nearly one in five Americans will use Snapchat this year alone, and eMarketer states that the mobile app is anticipated to grow by 27 percent. Around 44 percent of Snapchat users are between the ages of 13 and 24, according to a survey by Variety.

Needless to say, the audience potential for Snapchat is huge!

However, before investing your time, energy and even budget into Snapchat, you should learn more about the app’s marketing potential and whether it’s a good fit for your brand. Here are a few things to know about Snapchat advertising and how you can use it to grow your audience:

Promote your business

B2C businesses could benefit by using geofilters to promote themselves to people in a local community. By using an inexpensive, on-demand geofilter to promote an event, like a President’s Day sale, you’d raise awareness from all sorts of people in the surrounding areas of your store. People snapchatting in the area will see and possibly use the filter, which their friends would in turn see, thus spreading the word about your sale to a potentially larger audience. A key to your success is to market the right product or service to your target millennial audience; no sense in running a special on retirement centers to twentysomethings!  

The option to create a sponsored national geofilter is also available, but you’ll have to be prepared for a big hit to your budget. Sponsored geofilters can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars; according to Snapchat, however, national geofilters typically reach 40 to 60 percent of the daily Snapchat users, which explains the higher price point. This is a great way for large businesses to advertise, but it’s not a practical option for smaller businesses.

Unique content

Thanks to Snapchat’s features that allow you to use filters, unique drawings and text to enhance a photo or video, you have the ability to create unique and engaging content. To stay top-of-mind with your followers, you should add these photos and videos to your “story,” which allows those who are following you to see your “snaps” for 24 hours. Doing so is completely free, so any small or medium businesses (SMB) are able to afford keeping their prospects interested and engaged at a fairly low cost — just the time you spend coming up with entertaining content!

To appeal to the younger audience that uses the platform the most, businesses need to create a steady stream of fun pictures and videos. Fresh, unique and funny content is more much shearable than outright sales overtures. Create a nice video of the inside of your store, or take funny pictures of staff to humanize and personalize your brand; that may in turn make prospects more likely to do business with your company!

Engage directly

One of the best things about using Snapchat for business is personally getting to send messages to those who reach out to you. If a follower sends your business a “snap” responding to a story or of them at your store, you have the ability to respond to them individually with something fun and personalized. In any social media platform, it’s important that companies converse with their audience, and Snapchat makes that engagement simple and entertaining like no other social media platform can.

Personalize your brand

Your audience needs to understand that there’s more to your company than a logo and a transaction. There’s so much more that goes into your company’s culture and history, but sometimes it can be hard to show that side of your business to customers. Snapchat is one of the best ways to connect more personally with prospects and humanize your brand. Show your unique company culture, traditions and products that make your brand special in a fun way and you’ll be rocking the Snapchat game in no time!

Get started!

Want to be ahead of the game and appeal to millennial consumers? Consider setting up a Snapchat account for your business and then put the account info on your business card. Who knows how many more young people you can reach if you just make the jump? Again, make sure your brand is in alignment with the buyer personas typically found on Snapchat or you will surely end up firing blanks. Knowing they can can ‘snap’ you with you on any pre or post-sale questions could give you a truly unique advantage over the competition.
About Kris Bushong: Kris is a student at Texas State University in San Marcos and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with digital marketing, social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications provides digital PR and marketing services in Austin, Denver and Houston and for any national brands seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

5 Surprising Marketing Uses of Press Releases

imgresRemember the famous Florida orange juice commercials that said, “Orange Juice, it’s not just for breakfast anymore?”

Well, we can now say this about the staid, good-old press release: “Press releases, they’re not just for the media anymore!”

True, press releases still help you communicate news announcements to the media in hopes of getting news coverage. But today any small business, whether a tech startup in Austin or a boutique fitness gym Chicago, can use a press release to spread “news” directly to customers and prospects in hopes of getting more business.

Here are five practical marketing uses for press releases that you may not have thought of before:

1. Inform customers of new offerings: It’s always easier to grow revenue from existing customers. Press releases can inform them of how your products and services are helping others. Customers will always want to know more, so why not help them learn more about your products and services by informing them of your new offerings, customer successes and new accomplishments?

2. SEO: Improve search engine rankings through by optimizing your press releases for key words that relate back to your website. In fact, thanks to PRWeb.com, press releases have taken on a brand new life as content marketing tools that deliver highly relevant content while at the same time increasing search engine rankings with back-links to your website.

3. Communicate a call-to-action: A call-to-action can immediately elicit a response to a promotion. Many consumers who may be turned off by advertising may react differently if the same promotion is part of a “news announcement” that describes the offer in less “salesy” terminology.

4. Win new business: Got some new prospects you want to close? Consider sending press releases to them to inform them of your latest news as part of an overall drip marketing campaign. People are naturally nosy, so sending “breaking news” is a side-door way to pique their interest in what you are doing. In other words, you’re selling to them without actually looking like you’re trying to sell to them.

5. Social Media content: Add share buttons to press releases so they can be shared to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more. Social media is now an indispensable part of the marketing function, so utilize it in all possible ways. Allowing your press release to be shared on these platforms will help you gain a larger following and more views, ultimately resulting in more website traffic and new business.

Have a question or other tips you want to share? Leave them on our Facebook page or in the comment section below.

About Dave Manzer: Dave Manzer founded an Austin PR agency for startups and emerging-growth businesses in 2009 as one of the only PR agencies in the country to provide performance-based PR pricing. In 2010, Dave launched PR over Coffee to provide small business PR advice so that entrepreneurs and startups could practice “DIY” PR and promote themselves directly to media outlets. For more information about Dave or PR over Coffee, email info(@)PRoverCoffee.com.

 

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