Do you have the RIGHT Instagram Followers?

Do you spend too much time being envious of those Instagram accounts that have tens of thousands of followers? Don’t be.

Do you get disheartened with the people who follow you just to unfollow 2 days later? Don’t be.

It does NOT matter the # of followers as long as you have the RIGHT followers.

Are your followers local to your business? If your small retail business is in Oakville, ON and 85% of your followers are from the US, those followers are not the right followers.

Instagram Insights - The Right Followers

The RIGHT followers will:
– Give you consistent likes and meaningful comments and feedback on your posts
– Be local to your business

See above photo of the Instagram Insights for @HTdesignsca . We only have 600 followers in 5 months, but we are happy with that. The majority of our followers are from the GTA – Toronto, Hamilton, Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga. This did not happen by chance.

Get the RIGHT followers without spending a fortune on ads.
– Use local hashtags ie/ #burlon – People who are also using that hashtag will
find you, and you can also search and follow people using that same hashtag.
– Follow and chat with other local businesses, and like-minded individuals
– Engage with your followers in an authentic way and you will see your account grow
organically

Remember that if you want likes and comments, you have to reciprocate and do the same to others. Be authentic, and create real relationships.

Path of Brand Adoption

The journey of a fan from brand discovery to purchasing a product for the very first time to becoming a loyal ambassador is very important to the marketing planning process.

This concept is built with 3 key objectives in mind: EDUCATE. ENGAGE. EMPOWER.

Path of Brand Adoption - The Journey of Brand Discovery

If you are a young brand, your marketing will be heavier with tactics involving educating and engaging potential fans. If you are an established brand, your tactics will lean towards engaging and empowering your fans to tell your story in an authentic way.

Every brand’s tactics will be different, but each will target a different customer who is at a different point in their journey.

Interested: Introduce your brand to a new target customer and educate them about the reasons they should try out your product or service. Possible tactics: Media Preview Event for articles and product reviews / Media Ads / Banners Ads on industry sites

Research and Purchase: This is about giving the potential customer all the information they need to make that initial purchase. Possible tactics: Website with product specs and stats / Product reviews / Email highlighting product launch / Facebook Page with product reviews / Customer Service

Fan:  The customer has bought the product and loves it, so they dive deeper into the brand to find out more. Possible tactics:  Blog posts / Videos / Social Feeds / Industry Events

Community: The fan is ready to go deeper and wants to chat with like-minded individuals who are also fans of your brand and your experience. Possible tactics:  Social Platforms / Branded Events / Giving Back Partnerships

Ambassador: The fan has become a loyal customer, and tells everyone about your brand. Empower them with ways to become a true influencer of your brand. Possible tactics: Seeding Product / Loyalty Reward Program / Social Takeovers

The brand experience is important through EVERY step of the customer’s journey, and yet businesses often are so focused on trying to get new customers, that they forget about the ones that they already have.

Educate. Engage. Empower.

To download your chart, visit: Toolkit – Path to Brand Adoption

Visit our website to learn how we can help your brand come to life!

What Creates The Total Brand Experience?

Build relationships with retailers and consumers through multiple touch-points to create the TOTAL brand experience.

The Brand Experience Diagram

In-Store
Displays: Floor, wall or table-top displays have been proven to increase sales by upwards of 45% or more. Having a section that stands out from the clutter will have people looking at your product before the competitors.
Promotions: In-store contests or a Gift with Purchase (GWP) is a great way to introduce your brand or product to new customers as well as build brand loyalty.

Sales Tools and PKs
Kits and product knowledge sessions for the floor staff give the tools and education they need to sell your product with confidence. Creating sales incentives will keep your brand and product top of mind with the sales team.

Seeding
Seeding your product to the right influencers will drive word of mouth business, build product reviews online and create photography for social feeds.
For example, if your product is for a specific industry such as Kayaking, develop relationships with Kayak instructors and organizations/clubs.If the instructors love the product and wear it on the job, they will recommend your product to each of their students.

PR and Media
Building relationships with media will help tell the right story and will build trust with retailers and your potential fans.
Co-op/MDF: Local advertising helps drive traffic into the retailer to find your product. Brands and retailers usually split the cost of a MDF program 50-50 up to 5% of their total bookings (orders). This is a great way to support your retailer and help drive sell-through plus ensure an increased booking the following season.

Digital Storytelling
Create a digital asset kit for your retailers so that they can post your brand’s stories on their website and social accounts, as well as be used for in-store screens.
Social Currency:
Create innovative storytelling that allows fans to engage with your brand in a different way and allows new fans a sense of discovery.

Events
Creating brand activations at a local event in a community or at one of your retailers helps build brand awareness and brand loyalty.

Future blog posts will expand on each of these touch-points to give you ideas of what you can do create your TOTAL brand experience.

(Original Post : October 2012 / Revised December 2016)

5 Reasons Why You Should Not Skip Creating Wireframes For Your New Website

What are Wireframes?  It is a simple layout that outlines the specific size and placement of  site features, page elements, call-to-action areas (CTAs), and navigation of your site.  They are devoid of colour, font choices, logos, graphics, or any real design elements that can take away from focusing on the site’s structure and functionality.

Wireframe Examples

5 Reasons Why Wireframes are so Important to the Web Design Process:

  1. Wireframes Display Site Architecture Visually
    Wireframes take the sitemap and converts it into a visual framework that ensures all parties are on the same page before design and development begin.
  2. Wireframes Focus on Functionality and Priority of Content
    Creating wireframes forces everyone to look objectively at a website’s functionality, behaviour and priority of content. Wireframes will point out flaws in the site architecture and navigation.
  3. Wireframes Allow for Clarification of Features 
    Clients may not understand your jargon (ie/ Hero Image / CTAs / User     Experience…) so wireframing provides a clear communication to a client about how these features will function and where they will live on any specific page. Often prototyping or showing live examples of features allows the client to make an educated decision on whether that feature is the right experience for their customers.
  4. Wireframes Help Identify How Content Growth will Affect the Design
    Your website needs to accommodate growth of your business without impacting design, architecture or functionality. Wireframing lets you plan out how additional products and services will affect the layout and behaviour.
  5. Wireframes Save Time and Money 
    Wireframes avoid misunderstanding with the design team, and the development team. They allow clients (and other team members) to provide feedback earlier in the process, so that changes are not being made to full design mock-ups or after programming has been done, saving on additional costs to the entire project.

Once the wireframes are signed off on by all parties, they are then used as the base for the graphic design team as they take the content and creatively build out the brand experience.

Related Blog Posts:
Why a Responsive Website?

 

What is a Key Performance Indicator?

Key Performance Indicator (KPI) definition:  A business metric used to evaluate factors to determine the success of the key objectives of a marketing plan, event, or campaign.

Analytics - Metrics

For KPI’s to be useful, they need to be monitored, reported on and analyzed on a regular basis.

Best Practices:
1. Aligned with the business goals of your entire organization.
2. Well defined and quantifiable
3. Insights from the KPi’s should be actionable.
4. The measurements you choose should be easy to obtain.

What should you be tracking?
Sales Revenue from Inbound Marketing Campaign
Customer Acquisition Cost (Cost per lead)
Web Traffic Conversion Rate
Campaign Landing Page Conversion Rate
Social Media Conversion

SMALL BUSINESS:
I often get the question though, “What KPIs can we put in place if we are attending an event, and our main objective is brand awareness?”.  No matter how small the campaign or business, there is always a KPI that can be put in place to judge whether it was the most effective use of your time and money. You have to have goals in place BEFORE the event. Just looking at the stats afterwards is meaningless, as you won’t know if you reached the performance you needed to make it worthwhile.

Here are some examples:
# of overall attendees at event
# of attendees to come into your booth
# of participants in your activation (ie/ photobooth / contest)
# of email signups
# of app downloads
# of uses of your event hashtag
# of promo codes used
% Increase of traffic to your website and even more specifically Increase in UNIQUE visitors to your site
% Increase in followers of your social profiles during and immediately after the event
$s generated at event or immediately following the event
Cost per lead

Resources:
Marketing Action Plan Worksheets – Download Toolkit

 

Visualize Your Target Audience

Target Audience

Visualize Your Audience.
To help your team relate to your target audience, create a BUYER PERSONA that includes demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, and more. Add images, and give names to your buyer profiles. Assigning a name to the persona helps everyone on the team think of the buyer as a real person rather than just prospective business.

Hubspot’s definition of a Buyer Persona: A semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

Create a Day In The Life.
One of our clients has done this to perfection.  They have created a full fictional life for two profiles – one for each gender. A full visual essay that shows where they live and why, their occupation and ambitions, what they do in their spare time, their favourite restaurants, their go-to clothing brands, their favourite TV shows, where they like to spend their vacations, and more.

This does not mean that all of their customers will like the same brand of coffee and live in the same city. What this allows their internal team to do is visualize and relate to their audience. They can ask, “What would Alex do in this situation?” or “Would Katie share this content?”.

Start with the basics.
A consumer profile will be different from a B2B profile but the information template is relatively the same.

          Age Range:
          Gender:
          Education Level / Income Level:
          Title / Position: (Busy Mom vs National Sales Director)
          Key Responsibilities:
          Daily Tasks:
          Pain Points / Concerns:
          Purchase Drivers / Buying Motivation:
          Role in Purchase Process:
          Place (s) They Most Likely Find Information:
          Preferred Content Medium:
          Days / Times Most Likely to Consume Content:

If your business services other businesses, you will most likely have several distinct personas that you will need to lay out.

       – Gatekeeper
       – Influencer
       – End User
       – Decision Maker

Once you have the basics you can build out the fictional story that you can share with your sales and marketing teams and help them connect the dots from the brand to the end user.

OTHER RESOURCES:
Small businesses can not afford big Market Research projects to help them build out their consumer profiles, so Buffer Social has compiled a list of Market Research Tools that will help you gain insights on your current and potential audience.

Why a Responsive Website?

Definition: A responsive website responds to the needs of the user and the devices they are using. The layout changes based on the size and capabilities of the device.

We used our own HT Designs website as a test to prove why a responsive website is so important for business.   HT Designs Responsive Website

In the year, leading up to the launch of the new website, our Bounce Rate was averaging 60.7% and we had very minimal mobile visitors.  This means that over half of our site’s visitors immediately exited our site after viewing the page they landed on.

Increase in Mobile Visitors in the first 6 weeks

We designed and developed a new responsive website that gave us some astounding results within just 6 weeks of launching.

Not only did our bounce rate drop to 8.04%, but we have seen a 68% increase in visitors per week, and there has been a 28% increase in mobile users. Wow! If that does not answer the question of “Why Responsive?”, then I don’t know what will.

We know, the site is not perfect, but as we monitor and analyze the site, we will continue to work on creating a better experience for our customers. We will continue to update this post with new and revised stats.

Please visit our site as your feedback is always appreciated!

Updated on December 2, 2016 with revised stats.