Marketing to Millennials : Understanding the Changing Rules

Marketing to Millennials : Understanding the Changing Rules

As the buying power of millennials grows, marketers have worked diligently to capture the attention of these consumers. The habits of these buyers differ to the patterns once observed in the generations before them, however, making it vitally important for small businesses to experiment with innovative advertising and marketing techniques. In the United States alone, millennials account for some 76.6 million individuals, making it imperative to focus on courting their pocketbooks.

The Power of Choice

Before the advent of the Internet, buyers were extremely limited in their options. Millennials have grown up surrounded by choices, however, with myriad brands and businesses competing for their attention. In the average millennial buyer, this has created an expectation of multiple price points and variations of the same products or services. Shifting social pressures and unstable economic environments have further altered the traditional marketing model, as millennials pursue different paths in adulthood. Whereas baby boomers were marrying and having children in their early twenties, many millennials take things more slowly. Some of these buyers still live at home with their parents, while others are singletons pursuing high-level careers without the added responsibilities of domestic life. Catering to the various segments within the millennial population is a challenging equation.

Examining Wants & Desires

Marketers have always worked to address the wants and desires of buyers, often creating a perceived need even when one does not exist. In a report compiled by global insight firm CEB, businesses were found to be more successful with millennials when they embraced three key marketing strategies: understanding the audience’s values, realistically assessing the buyer’s spending power and lifestyle, and “involving” these consumers, as opposed to simply selling a product. Real-world applications of these strategies are particularly evident in the hospitality industry, with restaurants working to cater to the millennial crowd. Millennials are more apt to spend time eating out with friends, as they’re not limited by spouses and young children. Furthermore, these buyers are on the hunt for a multitude of choices, as evidenced by the popularity of services like Yelp, which highlight a number of businesses operating in any given area. To answer this need, many chefs work on creating new menus at varying price points, which can help keep young buyers engaged with the brand. Life will be changing rapidly for millennials in the years to come, as many of these young adults begin to settle down and establish families of their own. Marketing trends experts still believe millennials will be driven by a desire for plenty of options, however, and the core values of these buyers will likely remain constant. Because the nature of the millennial marketing game is evolving, it’s important for small businesses to carefully monitor the situation and not feel hesitant about trying various techniques to see what works best.

The Power of Business Blogging: Why You Need to Start Today

The Power of Business Blogging: Why You Need to Start Today

No matter whether you’re an established brand or a budding startup, using a blog to grow your business could lead to dramatic growth for your company. Consider this simple fact: brands that create 15 blog posts a month average a whopping 1,200 new leads in that period. (source) With statistics like those, it’s hard to overlook the hidden potential business blogging offers. Looking for even more benefits? Consider the following six reasons business blogging simply makes sense.

1. Blogging Leads to More Followers

According to Twitter, interesting content is one of the top reasons users follow brands on social media. As a social media marketer, you’re competing with billion-dollar companies, entertainment conglomerates, and every other business tweeting around the clock. Without content that resonates, you’ll struggle to gain any traction. Start blogging and watch the visitors come knocking on your door.

2. Companies with Blogs Receive 97% More Links

Getting others to share the word about your business is an important goal, and few techniques are as effective as creating a blog. In fact, research suggests that companies with blogs receive 97% more links than sites with static content—that’s nearly twice as many inbound links.

3. Blogging Makes a Long-term Impact

When it comes to spending your marketing dollars, it’s important to consider the overall return on your investment. Whereas PPC campaigns and other advertising initiatives only influence immediate traffic, blogs can pull in new visitors for years to come. Focus on creating “evergreen content”—content that is not time-sensitive—to maximize your blog’s potential.

4. Frequent Posts Impact Your Search Ranking

Appearing higher in the results on a popular search engine is about much more than vanity. The higher your site ranks for a particular keyword, the more likely a web user will click your link. Frequently posting encourages search bots to index your site, while the ranking algorithms use factors like the number of active posts to determine site authority.

5. Small Businesses with Blogs Generate More Leads

Thinking blogging only makes sense for big brands with thousands of active followers? Think again. Research shows that small businesses with blogs generate up to 126% more leads, as opposed to businesses that neglect online marketing altogether. Can you think of a single reason not to double your leads with a blog?

6. New Content Keeps Users Engaged

Attracting an audience online is a tricky equation that requires plenty of hard work. Pulling new visitors to your site is only half the equation; you also must work on keeping their attention. Routinely publishing new content helps keep your followers interested in what you have to say, which in turn affects the overall health of your business.

Sam’s Six: SEO Podcasts.

Sam’s Six: SEO Podcasts.

Economist Radio.

Not specifically for SEO, but having a general grasp on economic trends is incredibly useful for thinking about abstract SEO concepts. Because of the rapid nature of technology, it is useful to pay attention to general business trends. With new developing technologies like blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, and autonomous machines it is good to be on the forefront, and in the know. SEO is all about having that preemptive edge.

My only gripe is that you have to be particularly engaged to get the most out of this podcast. The Economist is a rather stuffy.

This podcast can be accessed without an economist magazine subscription via Spotify and Apple Music.

 

Secret Sauce

Secret Sauce is a podcast tailored to those doing SEO for the restaurant and hospitality industry. The podcast is produced and narrated by James Eling veteran restaurant SEO for the website: www.marketingforrestaurants.com. Since West 54 Media has many clients in this sector, Secret Sauce is invaluable. If you are in the restaurant and hospitality market, this is the podcast for you. Eling said, “only people with problems use Google.” Blew my mind with truth.

 

The Digital Marketing Podcast.

With a name like that, how could you ignore this one? This podcast is put on by www.targeinternet.com, a website that gives online SEO classes. These episodes go into detail of common SEO woes and questions. Each episode is premised around a single topic, so if you really want to get into depth, this a great podcast, also it is not as boring as you might think. It is narrated well by award winging Daniel Rowles, and Ecommerce expert, Ciaran Rogers.

 

Planet Money – NPR

In the same vein as the Economist Radio, this podcast is not specifically an SEO podcast, it is a general economics podcast. However, I have gotten so many fresh ideas from these guys. Wildly entertaining, strangely funny, and surprisingly profound at times, this is one of my favorite podcasts in general. It is a nationally syndicated radio show, so the content is timely and produced well. Since NPR is partially government subsidized you are in a way already paying for it, so why not listen?

Freakanomics Radio – NPR

See Planet Money. Freakanomics radio is similar but often takes a much more micro approach to economics. Also, there is a bit more social and political examination. Not recommended if you have staunch beliefs.

TED radio hour – NPR

If you couldn’t tell, I am an NPR junkie. If you are not aware of TED talks, which would surprise me if you weren’t. TED Talks cover the latest in business, tech, science, and social sciences. I have said it already and I hold firm, you can get SEO tips about direct questions, but thinking about SEO in the abstract is going to be better in the long term.

 

Wondering about how to maintain your brand identity in this brave new world? See this article by West 54 Media.

Tweet This: How to Maximize Your Social Media Impact with Status Scheduling

When it comes to building a dedicated following on social media platforms, most people fall into one of two camps: you either can’t get enough, or it feels like a massive chore. Whether you’re wasting too much time on Twitter and Facebook, or you can’t bring yourself to craft a single update, scheduling your statuses in advance can have a powerful effect on your overall social strategy.

Think you’re ready for the challenge? Use the following keys to maximize your social media impact and save time, too.

What is Status Scheduling?

Most casual social media users write statuses on a whim, uploading this information through the sites of their favorite social platforms. Heavy users and marketers instead rely on tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.

These tools allow you to simultaneously update multiple accounts, shorten links, and schedule your statuses far in advance. It’s also worth noting that Twitter now allows business users to schedule tweets in advance through Twitter for Business.

A scheduled status looks just like a normal status, except it’s uploaded into the system in advance of its eventual publication. If you’re trying to keep your feed continually updated, you can schedule statuses to appear like clockwork every few hours or days, based on your unique social strategy.

Why to Schedule in Advance

Scheduling your regular updates in advance can help you save time and keep your social media accounts fresh. If you routinely go weeks without updating your social profiles, scheduling large blocks of updates several days in advance can help you stay on top of your strategy. Simply set your statuses to publish and forget about it.

Dos and Don’ts to Follow

Think you’re ready to start automating your updates? Before you jump in feet first, keep the following keys in mind:

● Do: Focus on evergreen content. Don’t write time-sensitive updates that won’t be relevant when they appear days later.
● Don’t: Automatically tweet to people who mention your brand. This feels inauthentic and spammy.
● Do: Smatter your relevant updates between scheduled statuses to keep your feed spontaneous.
● Don’t: Overlook the performance of your statuses. If you’re using a tool like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, it’s easy to review how many people are clicking your links, favoriting your updates, and sharing your content with others.
● Do: Carefully consider when your statuses should appear. It’s smart to target users when they’re likely active on social media. Before work, lunchtime, and in the early evening are all great options.

Scheduling tweets and updates far in advance has some great applications. Use it to stick to a tight editorial calendar or schedule a bunch of statuses to update while you’re disconnected on a long vacation. Whatever you do, don’t allow automation to make you lazy. Continue to invest your best efforts into your social strategy and you’re bound to see results.

Plenty of brands successfully use automation to simplify their social media activities. While it may appear intimidating at first glance, learning to schedule updates is quite simple. If automation fits within your social strategy, pay attention to your social performance and continue making tweaks to ensure you’re getting the most out of your social media presence. Happy tweeting!

Is it Time for a Website Redesign?

Is it Time for a Website Redesign?

Establishing a presence on the Internet serves a number of important purposes, but the simple existence of a web destination won’t sufficiently benefit a business’ bottom line. Many companies neglect the ongoing maintenance of their websites, in turn alienating would-be customers. According to statistics from the Stanford Persuasive Tech Lab, nearly half of all surveyed consumers find a website’s design to be the biggest indicator of a company’s credibility. If your website hasn’t been redesigned in some time, use the following keys to evaluate how a visual overhaul could benefit your business.

Examining User Experience

Web users are notoriously fickle, with countless distractions working to divert their attention when browsing the web. From pop-up advertisements to social media notifications, today’s webmasters have to cut through the noise with clean, modern sites that reflect the identify of their brand. Unfortunately, many older websites struggle to respond to user requests, with outdated navigation bars and poorly-optimized graphics making it difficult for visitors to browse through the site’s pages. These factors contribute to an undesirable overall experience, in turn negatively impacting the consumer’s perception of the company.

Catering to a Mobile Customer

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of mobile web design, with a whopping 80% of all web users turning to their smartphone to browse the web. The digital landscape has changed enormously in a short time, as just five years ago most websites weren’t optimized for the mobile consumer. Today, visitors simply expect responsive design, where sites change to fit the size of the reader’s screen. In fact, 48% of consumers reportedly believe a poor mobile experience indicates a business “does not care.”

Further complicating matters, Google recently changed its search algorithm to prioritize responsive sites over websites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices. This massive change has a huge impact on site ranking. A site designed just a few short years ago is already out of date, as far as the search behemoth is concerned. Google also reports that 50% of visitors who land on a small business site visit the company’s physical location that very day, further underlining the importance of a great site for restaurateurs and other local service providers. </>

Turning Visitors into Customers

The Internet once represented a niche sector of the marketing industry, but today it serves as one of the most important tools available to small business owners. As the industry has shifted, marketers have developed savvy strategies for better reaching web consumers. A well-designed site uses a thoughtful layout, catchy copy, and effective calls-to-action to capture a reader’s interest—sites that haven’t been updated in some time simply can’t compete.

Investing in a web design overhaul makes financial sense for companies in every sector, thanks to the undeniable benefits a great website provides. When optimized for modern browsers and devices, a company site can generate more sales, build clout, and contribute to customer loyalty. Best of all, an effective website acts as a company’s best salesperson, working around the clock without stopping.