4 Blogging Tips for Marketing Online

Some people just get it. I recently met up with a new client, Carla Donnelly for lunch to discuss the promotion and marketing of her new blog. Carla is a Family Law attorney with the firm Gentile Horoho & Avalli, P.C. located in Pittsburgh. Her mission is clear-To provide clients with quality information and advice to empower them to make good decisions.

When I meet with clients or prospective clients, most agree that blogging can be an ideal way to increase the amount of traffic a website receives. They’ve researched the subject online well enough to understand that blogging can largely increase the amount of indexed pages and keyword usage on their website; allowing search engines to rank their site higher in search engine results.

What many do not realize, however, is that writing without a clear marketing objective is a waste of their precious time. Not Carla. Carla gets it. I asked her four questions. Spontaneously, mind you. While eating a delicious salmon salad at Bravos. I was expecting her to hesitate, replying with vague answers and unclear objectives. I was wrong. I couldn’t take notes fast enough. She was able to clearly identify her audience.

Carla explains,” I am speaking to future clients based on my ideal client profiles addressing their pain points and offer true guidance and help. I believe my future clients will have much of the same pain points as my past and current clients.  The concerns of those facing divorce and custody issues are universal and I wanted to address them in my own voice.”

Carla’s marketing objectives are clear.

Here are four basic questions to help you begin structuring your blog site strategy. Answer these as thoroughly as you can. Then begin your writing.

Who is your intended reader?

Describe your customer persona in as much detail as you can. Answer questions concerning:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Earnings
  • Family Size
  • Location
  • Interests
  • Frustrations

This list can go on for miles. You get my point. Be as detailed as possible, including as many factors as are relevant.

What are their pain points?

In other words, what problem does your ideal client currently face that you can help them solve? Write about it. Address and identify with their pain. Help them solve the problem that they are struggling with.  Carla’s list, in part, looked like this:

  • Fear of “Making it on my own”
  • Husband or wife earns substantially more than their spouse
  • School district-geography issues after divorce
  • Does she (when representing a woman) need to go back to work? What issues will she now face?
  • Is mediation a viable option?

What should the blog accomplish?

  • What is your blog’s objective? Write with the end in mind. Again, using Carla as our example:
  • Educate the audience. Answer their questions (broadly) and give them points to ponder that they may not have previously considered
  • Build trust. Blog should establish Carla as a trusted source of reliable and valuable information
  • Comfort the reader by showing authentic sincerity in a personal way. Communicate that they are not powerless; their legitimate needs and concerns can be resolved with good council.

What do you want the reader to do after he or she reads your blog? What action steps or call-to-action should they now take? (CTA)

Here are just a few options:

  • Call for a consultation/meeting
  • Newsletter Sign-Up to grow your email list
  • Gain followers on social media platforms

Writing a blog can be a waste of your precious time or part of an effective marketing campaign if you write with a clear marketing and advertising strategy.

Visit us online for a full list of our services or shop here for branded promotional products.

 

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Bagged Up-The Best Promo Product of 2016

A study from the Advertising Specialty Institute  found that in 2016 promotional bags generated more advertising impressions in the U.S. than any other promotional product. More than pens, calenders, mugs and even the beloved t-shirt.  Although women in the U.S. are much more likely to own a bag than men (57% of women vs. 42% of men)  promotional bags are an excellent way to showcase your business brand, logo or campaign/event message. A logoed branded bag generates over 5,700 impressions on average. That’s a pretty healthy number when considering the cost per impression compared to other advertising medium.

The age group among women most likely to own a logoed bag is 18-24 at 57% (Think college students and young professionals as a target market here.)  49% of senior women,  ages 65 and older are also a great demographic for targeting with a promotional bag. Woman carry things. For everyone it seems. If they consider your company’s logoed bag a good looking and useful item, you can count on residual marketing for a few years at least depending on the material quality and functionality. I remember bags from vendors for years. Estee’ Lauder’s promotional gift bags are some of my favorites. Always well-designed with great quality workmanship. Its interesting to me (and a great lesson) as a marketer that the logo is not always pronounced on the item itself-a blind embossed logo or zipper pull. Minimal real estate is used to create a classy look, yet I remember and even refer to it as my “Estee’ Bag.”

Men too are increasingly aware of the brand value of carrying handsome bags to and from the office, home and travel sites.

“One of the key pieces that any guy can own is a nice leather briefcase,” says Sabine. “A nicely made bag should last generations.”

All types of branded bags are making inroads to once female preferred gift wish lists-laptop bags, backpacks, duffels,  messenger, shopping and travel bags. Corporate Gifts that are most likely to be valued by men are name brand upscale leather bags. Many of our clients at Fina Promos are choosing handsome leather bags as executive gifts, service awards and client thank you gifts. One of the favorite golf outing gifts we provide for The Annual Arnold Palmer Golf outing for Latrobe Hospital is a black leather shoe bag.

According to a recent article on Forbes.com, a recent study found that half of the people working for large organizations in the U.S. would be proud to wear company gear outside of work.   Do not underestimate promoting your company brand to your own employees, as they can have a positive impact spreading goodwill about your organization and company culture.

Read MoneyCNN’s article about why men should own a man bag.

Here is a revealing infographic from the Advertising Specialty Institute

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Promotional Bags are the most popular Promotional Product Item in 2016. Need help creating an effective promotional strategy for 2017?  Sign up for our newsletter and get promo product ideas delivered to your inbox twice monthly.

2 Reasons You Should Use Emojis in Brand Marketing

When it comes to communication, I’m an impatient person. Voicemail takes too long and email often requires too much effort. Like most people I know between the ages of 12 and 70, text messaging is the go-to method for communicating- with co-workers, friends, family and (sadly) the person in the next room. Enter the EMOJI.

“Emojis help companies add a human touch to digital marketing communication. Brands should think about what their audience cares about.”

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and emojis are just the next evolution of communicating, sometimes even complex thoughts or emotions, with simple pictures.  Brands are recognizing the usefulness of the Emoji in online marketing communication.  Here are 2 reasons you should be using the cute smiley faces as a marketing tool.

1. Emojis can transcend  language barriers. A smiley face is universal, (you know this if you have ever traveled overseas) and now there are literally thousands of emojis that are gaining worldwide acceptance and allowing an entire generation to communicate across borders. A smile. A wink to a heart. The simplicity of these images breakdown linguistic obstacles, in turn, enhancing brand recognition and generating positive impressions. Marketing experts say emojis allow recipients to fully comprehend the intentions of the brand, no matter the worldwide location of the consumer.

2. Emojis help companies add a human touch to digital marketing communication.When I see a brand using an emoji, I can instantly relate on a personal level to the conveyed emotional message of that brand. Most marketers understand that emotion is more effective than promotion by more than 2 to 1. Let’s face it. They’re cute. Who doesn’t like cute? O.K. Maybe Scrooge. Or Archie Bunker. But you get my drift. Most people are jaded to perfect PhotoShop images and slick online lead generation tactics.

How can emojis  be used in brand marketing? They can be incorporated into instant messaging applications, text, email, promotional products and social media messages to convey brand emotions. Developing your own emoji image can be a great way to extend your marketing reach to millennials. HubSpot has an Emojis for Dummies Translation Guide to help you get started. Transport the online experience into tangible residual marketing. Check out these great specific examples of national brands using Emoji Marketing from Ad Age to get your creative ideas flowing.

These branded emoji “Flingers” fly through the air with a flick of their tongue! The cute guys  (we have girl emojis too) are a fun new item that is sure to grab attention at your next function. They are part of Fina Promos emoji based product line. Why not run an Emoji contest? Think about using these guys as part of your next tradeshow giveaway, meeting, Facebook or newsletter sign-up gift. Take simplistic messaging to a whole new level!

All my best,

Audrey Gotto

 

A logoless company is a faceless man.

“A logoless company is a faceless man.” This is my absolute favorite quote on the subject of branding and logo design by David Airey, from his book  Logo Design Love .  (Purchase this book  if you are a graphic desiner!)  As a marketing professional I always feel drawn to a well designed logo, brand identity or graphic design piece that  has the ability to”speak to me” and literally stop me in my tracks. No, really. It annoys and sometimes alarms my friends and family (especially when I’m driving and staring down a great billboard, or sign graphic.)

Do you own a business without a logo, or without a well designed logo?  Are you proud of the face of your company? You should be. Like it or not just as we tend to judge one another by personal appearance, we judge companies by their personal appearance. Oftentimes I am handed a business card, look at the logo design, and decide immediately if I would like to conduct business with you. Am I a design snob? Maybe. But let me tell you that people associate your business worthiness with your brand identity. So, what are the qualifying characteristics of a good design? There are many. Here are just two qualities that I admire (and are proven to be effective). These are the ones make me stop in my tracks.

 It Tells Your Story. “What exactly is it that you do?” Many times a great logo answers this question. No words necessary. Just great graphics. Katie Morgan senior designer at 300millions, designed this logo for The Guild of Food Writers. I just love the use of negative space showing a spoon inside a pen nib. Take away the copy. You are still left with a great design that tells a story. The-Food-Writers-Guild-logo-designed-by-300millionsThe Design Is Simple  (but not boring.) Stay focused on one strength. Not two. Not three. Just one. What is the one thing that you want others to identify with your brand? I know it is very tempting to want to emphasize the countless wonders of your products and services, but stay focused. What adjective would others use to describe your company? Chose your design and logo color accordingly. Use a focus group if you have to, but pick your strongest asset(s) and start from there.  An excellent example of this is Cisco’s new logo and the colors they chose for their re-branding. Cisco is not an acronim.  It is an abbreviation of “San Fransico.”

 

cisco.logo

 

 

The name “Cisco” was derived from pride in the city name,  which is why the company’s engineers insisted on using the lower case “cisco” in its early years. The logo is intended to depict the two towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. The blue color depicts prosperity, excellence and calmness, while the red color represents determination and business responsibility. It is said by John Morgridge, the 34th employee and the company’s first president that the creators of the company thought of this name while making their way to Sacramento for registration of the company. As they laid their eyes upon the Golden Gate Bridge structured in the sunlight, they decided the name of the company there and then.

Put on your best face. Hire a designer or create your own. Just don’t be the faceless man.

-Audrey Gotto

   

The Impact of The ” Joe-Cool Factor” On Your Brand Image

As a kid, I loved the Peanuts characters created by Charles M. Schulz. In particular, my favorite cartoon character was Snoopy. He was the original cool and trendy dude. Joe Cool was my hero. His trademark round sunglasses and “Joe Cool” turtleneck sweater (imprinted with his name, no less!) continues to be a timeless fashion statement. With his little buddy Woodstock following in tow, he projected the silent (Literally, silent. He was a character that did not speak) message that if you were to be seen with him, you must project your own trendy coolness.

What does Snoopy teach us about building our brand image? – That it’s hard to overstate the power of cool! When a product has that cool factor, you appreciate it, tell your friends about it and want to associate yourself with it. Whether that comes from a killer feature, a unique design, or a striking aesthetic, branded products that wow the recipient will give your business a trendy brand image.

So, How can your business and brand be more like Joe Cool? How do you wow your audience? One easy way is to incorporate the latest retail product trends into your marketing programs and company events. When choosing premium customer or employee gifts, promotional items, or even apparel branded with your logo, pick (appropriate) branded products that say “trendy’ like a Bluetooth Activity Band. Doing so will allow you to take advantage of an already hot trend.. 

Fina Promos Bluetooth Activity Band

Wearable technology is huge right now in the consumer market. I was meeting with a client last week who was wearing one of these and I have to admit that I felt a bit left out of the cool factor. After all, I am in the branding business. I SHOULD have the latest trendy tech products items, right?! My point is to put the latest consumer trends to work for you and your marketing brand.  Whatever promotional item you decide to align your brand with, be sure it is associated with quality, popularity, and a positive emotion.

Visit our promotional products catalog pages for the latest trends in branded products or tap on image for more products that project the “Joe Cool” factor!

See 12 More Trending Promotional Product Ideas!

13 product ideas of what’s cool and trending right now.

2 Ways For Your Brand To Score Big On Game Day

Align your brand with game day to create community awareness.

Align your brand with game day to create community awareness. Click on image for ideas.

Can you smell autumn in the air? The evenings are becoming just a bit cooler. The trees are slowly changing color. Time to pull out the fuzzy winter sweaters, plan your fall day hike with the fam, and brew some fresh apple cider with cinnamon. And then there is the fall sports! As a self proclaimed sports diva, I must admit to getting a rush just hearing the words “fantasy football” and the Monday Night Football jingle,Are you ready for some football?” (I know you’re singing the jingle in your head right now.)

How can your company brand participate in the spirit of the fall sports scene? Primarily in two ways:

Associate your brand with having an amazing time. Start thinking of creative ways to get in on the team spirit in the air. Whether you focus on your city’s professional sports teams (We love our Steelers and Pirates in Pittsburgh), local colleges, or even high school sports, be sure to be an active participant in either the event planning, promoting, or volunteering associated with sporting events in your hometown region. Could you create a Game Day Photo Contest on your business Facebook account? Have “Steeler Day” at the office? Sponsor a team or fund raiser? If you are able, actually attend the event and network with other business leaders in the community. Associating your  marketing brand with  local influencers goes a long way to scoring points for your small business.

Create “Game Day” branded promotional products to get fans on their feet.  Ask yourself this       question: What is my ideal customer’s marketing persona? In other words, define your demographic     and choose sports related branded promotional items that would appeal to them. Could you give           away a game day chair as a prize or sweepstakes? Hand out those fun foam #1 hands, or foam         hats co-branded with the team logo and your company logo. Set up a booth so that potential clients     can sign up for your company newsletter in exchange for a free promotional football or baseball.

Watch our video for 13 product ideas. Click on the megaphone for mega-great ideas and give your brand the shout-out it deserves.

Regards,

Audrey Gotto

CLICK ON THE MEGAPHONE FOR MEGA-GREAT MARKETING IDEAS

CLICK ON THE MEGAPHONE FOR MEGA-GREAT MARKETING IDEAS VIDEO

3 Ways To Market Your Brand to Teens and College Students

According to the American Psychological Association, teens influence over $600 billion (with a “B”‘)  worth of spending annually. That’s a ton of crayons, folks! What is your small business doing to market to this growing group of purchasing giants? Back-To-School marketing for colleges, high schools, and even elementary grades can add significantly to your bottom line while showing goodwill as a local business.

Whether you want to reach students, teachers, professors, parents, or the community try these three tips to get your brand image out there before the bell rings in September.

  1. Follow Their Eyeballs.

Have a legit account on the social media sites that they visit. No, it’s not a waste of time. Instagram is now the most popular photo-sharing site among teens age 12-17. One million of them visited the site last July alone.

Add to that the 93% of social media–using teens who have a Facebook account (according to Pew Internet research), and the 16% who use Twitter (a figure that has doubled in recent years), and you’ve got a lot of teenage eyeballs.

But to connect with a teen target market, you must do more than simply have a presence on the sites they use. You must also pay attention to what motivates and inspires them. Pay attention to what they post and WHY they post.  Most teens (and adults) love to be associated with the latest cool gadget, piece of technology or brand fashion item that everyone else seems to be enjoying. (Remember carrying ginormous boom boxes to school?) They want to be recognized and validated for their unique contribution to the world around them. How can you help them do so? Think outside the box. Could you offer a social media contest that appeals to these needs?

2. Know where the parents hang out. 

Always, always, always try to associate your brand and logo with having a good time, being helpful, or educating the community (value). One of my favorite clients, Clearview Credit Union decided to give away a “college student laundry bag” to every parent who opened a college savings account or college loan with them. On one side of the bag, we printed the bank logo along with laundry instructions. The opposite side had the logo of the participating college. Talk about helpful, fun, and educational!! They were a huge hit.

Click for 13 Back To School Promo Items

Click for 13 Back To School Promo Items

3. Give them sweet promo items as a gift. 

Who doesn’t love cool FREE gifts? I still get excited when I see a great logo or graphic on a promotional product and I’ve been in the business for 25 years. (think…your favorite t-shirt, logo’d sports bag, athletic shoes, purse or pen) I continue to love my Pittsburgh Pirates logo’d baseball I received as a gift for signing up outside PNC Park for another credit card I didn’t need. I still have that Pirates baseball and yes, I still use the Mastercard.

Word of caution: Be sure your promotion has a purpose. In other words, what is it that you want the promotion to do, exactly? Perhaps you can capture email addresses to build up your newsletter readership by gifting an item in exchange for an email address. Do you want to drive more traffic to your website or add more followers to your social media sites? Use the promotional products to ensure your marketing goals are reached.

Feel free to contact me any time if you need specific suggestions for your next project. Any more ideas? Comment below in the reply section.

All my best,

Audrey Gotto