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The Kinda Complete Guide To Marketing

*Disclaimer* Why is this only the “Kinda Complete Guide Series?” Well to be a complete guide, everything in the entire marketing world would have to be covered and we don’t know everything in the entire marketing world. Nobody knows everything in the entire marketing world (those fancy fellas at Hubspot think they do but they don’t) *. That is what makes marketing such an exciting atmosphere to work in, there is always another bend in the trail and mountains of opportunities to climb. In this series, we are going to touch on some broad elements of marketing while giving you the opportunity to dive deeper into topics that you find interesting by clicking on the internal links. Now we present to you… the Kinda Complete Guide Series!

The Kinda Complete Guide to:

 



The Kinda Complete Guide to Handling Humans

 

Humans are the only creatures on the planet who own, operate, and shop at businesses (however, a horse selling horseshoes would be a killer business model). Our human customers drive business and drive change. Every choice we make as marketers circle around the wants and needs of our customers. What they like, what they don’t like, what they think is cool, what they think is useful, what they think tastes good, and what they think will make them more popular. So it’s only right to know how to handle these humans in a way that will benefit both them and us. In the following guide we’re going to show you how:

Real Relationships

Relationships are hard, ask any couple who have been married for a long period of time and they will tell you it’s a lot of work. In the end, a successful relationship is worth all the hard work. Professional relationships are hard too… be it your clients, employees, customers, or potential customers, you have to work hard to build, nurture, and maintain those relationships.

One of the most important relationships you have to build is with your customer. While you might not be able to memorize every customer’s dog’s birthday, you can show your appreciation to them by simple gestures like 10 Ways to Thank Your Customers. Small actions go a long way in showing someone you mean a lot to them. Send them a birthday card, wish them Merry Christmas, or even just thank them occasionally for doing business with you. It shows that you care and that their patronage is meaningful to you.

What about customers that aren’t your customers yet? Building relationships with prospective customers is important as well. There are Proper Ways to Prospect new business and there is also a wrong way. Do not, I repeat, do not be pushy as this will drive people into the next county just so they can get away from you. Prospecting new business comes down to one simple thing, being a nice human and giving people information that can help them make an informed decision when it comes time for them to buy. Everything else is just window dressing.

Relationships with clients or outside entities are supposed to make your life easier and take some of the load off your plate. In a lot of situations, however, that is not the case and it actually leads to making your life more stressful. These relationships closely parallel, marriage relationships in the Top 3 Ways to Improve Client Agency Relationships. Being open and transparent with each other, trusting that everybody is doing their best, and over-communicating are all things that make a client/agency relationship run smoothly.

Now the most important of all the relationships, the people that you work with every single day. Your employees and co-workers’ relationships are paramount to the success of your business. Culture starts from the ground up and it’s impossible to build culture if everyone you work with doesn’t like each other. An easy way to improve these relationships making sure everybody knows what is expected of them. For example, if your CMO has a three-year plan, they should share that plan with everybody do the company knows What Your CMO Wants 3 Years From Now.

Other Real Relationships Blogs: Human Resources Marketing, Getting the Best Out of your Actors

 

Experience is Everything

The options in today’s world are positively endless. Say you want to go on vacation, there are hundreds of tourism rich areas in the world who are all begging you to come to their state and each of them has different sections of the state that they want you to go to. So if there are so many options then why do Disney Parks continually see more tourists than nearly every other place in the world? Because they Sell an Experience.

Disney wins the race the same way that Nike, Apple, and hundreds of other companies do, they don’t sell you their product, they sell you an experience centered around their product. People buy a sweatshirt from Patagonia not because it’s the comfiest shirt they’ve ever had (though they are darn comfy), but it’s because it says something about you and what you stand for.

Experience will only become more key as Millennials and Generation Z gain buying power in the coming years. Even though sometimes we are hard on Millennials, we need to Give Them a Break as they know that experience drives businesses forward. Combine that with The Future of the Customer Experience, where convenience and personalization are key and you’ll be ready to take on the future generation of experience-based buyers.

More Experience is Everything Blogs: Connect Your Brand with Millennial Moms

Unexpected Circumstances

COVID-19, the most unexpected circumstance of all time appeared in 2020 across the entire globe. Businesses struggled to gain traction during this time with many losing huge portions of their revenue streams and some going out of business entirely. So what do you do when unexpected circumstances arise? You focus solely on your customers and the basic human aspect of your business.

At the core of every business in the world, the goal is to provide a service or product to our customers. When our customer’s world’s get turned upside down, we have to show them how much we truly care about them. When COVID-19 was added to our vernacular, the word “new-normal” came right along with it. Everyone wanted to know how to get Back to Normal and what our new normal was going to be. Demonstrating that they are not the only ones thinking about these situations can help put a customer’s mind at ease, ever so slightly.

When unexpected circumstances arrive, there are many avenues to take for both customers and businesses alike. Giving people different options such as, 8 COVID-19 Initiatives to Consider can help them see a different perspective that they may have not thought of before. A lot of us head to the internet when we don’t know what to do, whether it’s how to plant tomatoes or how to handle COVID, it’s nice to get a second opinion.

All in all, when things get throw into a whirlwind remember your roots and know that you can still be there for your customers, you just have to be creative in the ways that you do it.

More Unexpected Circumstances: 3 Considerations of Marketing During COVID-19

Mean Humans on the Internet

We all know them, the keyboard warriors who seek revenge on a business through a computer screen. While reviews are a valuable tool and some bad reviews can be justified by a bad experience, every once in a while a bad review turns to borderline slander. In today’s world the same customer who told their server that the food was “very good,” goes home and leaves a one-star review. It is an unfortunate situation but one that must be handled correctly.

Before we go any further we just have to say that every review, both good and bad, should be responded to. If someone took the time to leave your business a review please tell them thank you, it’s the least you can do for them helping you boost your online reputation. Now on to the meat and potatoes, how to Handle the Harmful Review. If a bad review comes across your screen the first thing to do is not overreact. Knee-jerk reactions to bad reviews can be easy to make and responding in that tone is only going to hurt the situation. Instead, take a little time to assess the situation and find out what you can about the reviews experience at your business. Then respond back by addressing their concerns and clarifying any untrue statements the reviewer made. A calm, fact-driven response will make you look professional and trustworthy.

Turning a bad review into a good customer service moment is a thing of beauty and something to not be taken lightly. Don’t Let a Bad Review be the Death of You and instead benefit your business through a negative review and how you respond to it!

More Mean Humans on the Internet Blogs: There’s the 4Ps of Marketing, But are you Missing the C?

As far as we know, humans aren’t going anywhere soon and they will continue to be confusing, not know what they want, and drive business like they always do. Although the methods may change, keeping humans taken care of will always benefit your business.


 

The Kinda Complete Guide to How To’s / Tips & Tricks

 

The way people learn how to do things they’ve never done before has shifted dramatically in the last 25 years. It used to be that a father was leaning over a motor with his son or daughter teaching them how it all works, or a mother teaching them how to make her world-famous blueberry pie. Nowadays, if you don’t know how to check your oil or turn your oven on, you head to the internet! “How To” videos and articles are among the most popular forms of content online today. While instructions on how to boil noodles and fold fitted sheets (which is physically impossible) dominate this space, “how-to” content can be extremely beneficial for your business.

To first break this down, we have to look at the two different kinds of this form of content. On one hand, you have content that informs the user how to do a very specific task, such as How to Rock Your Next Media Interview. Then there is content that gives pointers and forms of assistance in a broader context, like 6 Tips to Keep Yourself Organized. Let’s look at the later first.

 

Tips & Tricks

Purveyors of the internet love tips and tricks and we can’t blame them for it. Essentially what you’re saying when you produce content like this is, “let me make life easier for you.” The biggest key to creating meaningful tips and tricks content is finding a universal problem that people need help with. This problem could be very broad or specific to the certain industry you work in.

The category of broadly approached tips and tricks is great because it resonates with nearly everyone in your audience. Everyone can appreciate tips on how to deal with their Stress Mess or ways to be more efficient during the workday. Anyone can write an article telling you to Stick With It and be persistent in your endeavors. These are essential topics to cover for your audience, however, it can be difficult to grow your audience of this type of content. While very helpful, these are the types of articles that number in the millions online. It can be nearly impossible to break through to the first page on Google and grow your audience, that’s why you also need to take a more targeted approach as well.

Getting specific can benefit your business in ways you’d never imagine. Many writers want to stay in the broader realm of things as to not leave anybody out of the conversation. However, with more specified, industry-specific content you will be able to capture people from far and wide who have the exact problem you know how to solve. You’re an expert in your industry and this is your time to show your chops. For example, at Midwest Marketing, we will create content like 4 tips to Improve Your YouTube Video and Consumer Insight Tips. These are little things that people outside of our industry may not know and giving them some insider information can be extremely helpful to them.

 

How To’s

You can unleash your bossy side (inner leader) when it comes to “How To” content. The only reason you should write a how-to is that you know exactly how to do something and you’re going to share it with the world. For example, if I know How to Write a Good Blog, I would produce content that walks you through how you can write a good blog as well. “How To” content allows you to show your expertise while also helping your audience solve a certain problem they are having at the time.

At Midwest Marketing we know there is a proper way to wrap an extension cord, and if you wrap it any other way you’re wrong (only partially joking). We know most people do the trick where they wrap the cord around their elbow and then back up around their hand. While this can suffice, there is a better way, so we showed you how to do it in our video: How to Wrap a Cord Like a Videographer. It really is as simple as that, if there is a problem and you have a solution, let people know what the solution is!

How To articles can also be a little more on the in-depth side of things as well. One thing we always run into at Midwest Marketing is the question, “How the Heck Do You Track That?!” so we provided a look at how tracking every detail of a marketing campaign should not be the goal of your marketing strategy. While we can track many details of how a campaign is doing nobody in the world can account for the randomness of some humans!

“How To” content can span a wide array of topics and categories. It is typically best practice to produce this type of content around your area of expertise. If you’re a mechanic focus on automotive repair if you’re a chef focus on the world of culinary creations, and if you’re a marketer focus on the world of advertising. We talk about everything from How to Rock Your Next Media Interview to how to do Marketing During a Downturn and Walking Before You Run.

No matter what we do or what we sell our main goal is to be helpful to others. Making life easier for someone is priceless and may even lead them into being a patron of your business at some point in time. How To’s and Tips and Tricks is not a game of instant gratification but when done correctly can pay off in great dividends.


 

The Kinda Complete Guide to Internet, Digital, and Mobile Marketing

 

Ah, the 21st Century. We’re all in it, yet some marketing strategies are still hanging out in yesteryear. Internet, Digital, and Mobile Marketing are essential tools for successful advertising in this day in age, and it’s important to stay up to date on this ever-changing world of advertising. If you really think about it, your phone is your little pocket butler. It answers all your questions, gives you directions to go anywhere you want, summons your loved ones through texts and calls at a tap of a button, and SO. MUCH. MORE. Because of this unique connection we have with our phones, Mobile Market Domination is important and ideal for reaching existing and future consumers. Although advertising for mobile devices is important, that’s just one bite of the elephant that is digital marketing. To truly get a grasp on the interworkings of the world wide web, we need to bow down to the all-powerful Google and learn its ways.

As you should know by now, Google is much more than just a search engine. It is arguably one of the most subsidiary marketing tools any business in the 21st century can use to significantly improve its brand. We all know about the confusing world of Google Ads (previously known as AdWords), Google Analytics, and Google My Business, but Google is constantly coming up with new features and applications to keep their place as #1 (or Number Zero). As intimidating as Google may seem, they are not always successful. For example, in 2019 Google+ was laid to rest after a little over 4 years of activity once they realized they couldn’t compete. Other failures include Google Glass, Google Video, Dodgeball, Google Answers, and so many more.

Aside from these swings and misses, Google not only keeps up with the latest marketing trends but often dominates. They make Constant Updates to improve their services and it can be hard to keep track of their 100+ updates each year. There’s no need to worry too much about every little individual update since they usually send out major updates to Gmail accounts that have Google My Business pages so you don’t miss anything important. Why should you care about updates you may ask? They could affect your online marketing plans and help improve your business strategy. A good example of this is Google’s Possum Update – 2016. This update blurred the city lines for search results allowing higher ranking businesses that were slightly outside the city limits to appear in search results. This update also filtered out sub-departments/businesses under the same location address on the list of initial search results. New additions to Google are always worth trying out if it means it’ll make an aspect of your business easier to manage. The Click-To-Text Google Extention for search ads could unlock a new source of revenue and may just be what your business has been missing for SEO.

More on Google updates: Google Small Thanks Update

Google can help with many things outside of advertisements. They have features like Custom Google Surveys which you can take advantage of to create a simple survey for a maximum of ten questions and pay for each survey answered which only comes out to about $0.10 to $3.00 each. There’s also Google My Business which I mentioned a little bit before. Google My Business is where your Google Reviews live. Reviews are extremely important to keep track of and even more important to respond to. There are a few main types of reviews, and once you get used to responding to each of them, you’ll be able to expertly navigate any words thrown at your business, positive or negative. Tracking customer’s experiences through reviews is important because they average your Google star rating and too often consumers look only at the star rating when searching for a place to take their business. Another way to track customer experience is through Google Analytics. Google Analytics has hundreds of ways to track the visitor traffic on your website and really see what pages interest them most. Google Analytics are also what my grandpa would consider Robots Inside Your Phone. However, these robots are very helpful in helping you create custom targeting ads in the future.

More on Digital Ads: The Power of Programmatic Ads , AI Takeover

Analytics isn’t just important to keep track of on Google. Facebook analytics and insights are important also. Facebook can give you similar analytics Google does, but specifically for ads, you run on Facebook. You can track click-through-rate (CTR), Reach, Engagement, and more to improve all aspects of your online ads. If you’re new to Facebook advertising or digital marketing in general, read up on How to Extend Traditional Marketing to Facebook.  Starting digital advertising can be intimidating, and with adblockers, you may be wondering if it’s even possible to get through to the consumer! Well, what I say to that is don’t fear ad blockers. Sure, they can be difficult to get around, but they will just make you think outside the box and more creatively than before with your marketing strategy. Feel free to give Midwest Marketing a call at 605-716-5666 if you need any help with Internet, digital, and mobile marketing. We would be happy to help!


 

The Kinda Complete Guide to Building Personal Customer Connections

 

Have you ever been watching a TV show and find yourself rooting for those two lovebirds to get together? I’ve been there more times than you can shake a stick at and at times had to force myself to take a break from Ross and Rachel (which ironically is what they were fighting about).

It’s a connection that we have with our favorite TV characters. Maybe you are interested in what Ryder and the Paw Patrol gang have going on, or you’re like me and sympathize with Ron Swanson, or you’re really old school and can’t wait to see what Barney Fife is up to this time. We can take this artificial connection to our favorite TV characters and apply that to our marketing.

In this world of fancy gadgets and gizmos, customers used those devices to spend over $450 billion online in 2017, and that number continues to grow. In reality, many of your customers will never swing open your front door and experience your outstanding customer service first hand. It can be difficult to build a rapport with these customers but not impossible. It may not be the classic handshake and a smile but there are effective ways to build true connections with customers you may never meet.

 

How it Kinda Works

Content marketing is all the rage and for good reason, it works! The bare-bones cut and dry definition of content marketing would be; a marketing strategy that revolves around creating, publishing and distributing content for your specific target audience. This content typically uses blogs, social media networks, and other online platforms to be presented to your target audience. In the Kinda Complete Guide Series, we will be focusing on blogs, more specifically the blogs of Midwest Marketing to show you examples and let you explore topics you find interesting in even more depth.

Content comes in many forms, some are good, some are bad, and some are ugly, but they are all content nonetheless. However, there is one form of content that helps build a relationship with your customers better than all the rest. This is what we like to call “You Content.” Are you ready for the most self-explanatory sentence to ever be said in the history of sentence making? “You Content” is content that focuses on you! “You Content” can be broken down into four separate categories that have their own distinct purpose for showcasing you. Let’s take a look:

 

Havin’ Fun

The whole notion of saving the best for last doesn’t apply here. Havin’ Fun is quite possibly the most important category of “You Content.” In many cases your customers don’t buy your products, they buy you. Havin’ Fun is all about showing customers, potential customers, really anybody in the world that will listen, the real you. The “real you” encompasses more than just you the individual, you should be showcasing everyone in your company.

For example, as much as we love Dawn at Midwest Marketing, not everything is about her (I’m sorry you had to find out this way Dawn, but it had to be said). We spread the love around at Midwest and give everyone their time to shine and let everyone learn a little something new about our team. Showcasing all your employees gives customers the opportunity to feel more connected to your company and the people behind it.

Asking people, a question, and having them write a response to that question is a great way to give people a peek behind the metaphorical curtain. We asked the Midwest crew what their Favorite Mom Moments were and ended up with an article of heartfelt answers that tug at the ole heartstrings. I must warn you if you read the entire blog you will have an overwhelming feeling to call your mom and tell her how much she means to you. You can ask everything from How Was Your Summer to What Are You Watching On TV and create engaging blogs that will connect with your audience.

What’s more fun than talking about brews and fine wine (well probably drinking it)? At Midwest we aren’t too stuffy and every now and again enjoy an adult beverage or two, so we decided to write about it. Why Advertising Agencies and Adult Drinks Go Hand in Hand is a perfect representation of showing how your business can benefit potential customers while also showcasing your ability to have fun. Now the ever-looming question, “I think beer tastes like grandpa smells and wine is too pretentious for me, so what do I do?” Apply a hobby or pastime of yours to the same format. Do you like to golf? Talk about how golfing and business meetings go together like spaghetti and meatballs. There is a realm of possibilities for correlating work and play and if you can lump the two together your customers will appreciate it.

More fun: Get More Sleep They Say…, Get Tuned In, Why #FirstSevenJobs Matters

 

Holidays

There are two kinds of holidays, real ones and fake ones. Now, I’m not saying that Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day (yes, it exists) isn’t a celebrated holiday. It, however, is not as well-known as say the 4th of July. Nevertheless, holidays are a great reason to create content that connects to your customers.

Let’s start with the “real” holidays. Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other nationally recognized holidays are fantastic for connecting with customers. The best/easiest way to do this is to ask your employees to share a couple of sentences on their holiday traditions. It is fun to see the unique traditions that everyone’s family has and customers that share the same traditions will have a, “I do that too” moment. You also never know what you may find out about your coworkers!

Now for the “fake” holidays. Every single day on the calendar has a holiday on it, while most of them are ridiculous like Step in the Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day (yes, that exists too) some of them can be very helpful for your business. If you own a bait and tackle shop, National Go Fishing Day on June 18th is a big day for you. These quirky national holidays can relate to your business and help draw in customers. However, these crazy holidays don’t have to always relate to your business at all. The Black Hills are known for their beautiful hiking trails, so on National Take A Hike Day, we let everyone know what our favorite path in the woods was. It was great to see everyone’s thoughts on hiking and possibly teaching people about a new spot they have never heard of (although Todd wasn’t much help with that).

Getting into the holiday spirit is essential for a business and it could not be easier to make the holidays work for you. The holidays, either real or fake are a home run and something you should look to take advantage of.

More Holidays: Top Valentine’s Day Gifts, Memorial Day

 

What’s Happening

This section is simple, I mean really simple. All you have to do it answer the question Bugs Bunny could never get an answer to, “What’s Up, Doc?”

Keeping customers and prospective customers in the loop of what is going on with you, your business and your area can help them feel connected even if they are thousands of miles away. One great way to keep everyone in the know is to announce when you’ve hired a new team member and have them introduce themselves. Letting people know who the face behind the email address is, can go a long way to making people feel connected. Always let people know if there is a New Kid on the Block.

This next tip is hard for some and easy for others; brag about yourself. We’ve met people that are both good (yeah Nate I’m talking about you) and bad (don’t be so humble Megan) about this so aim for somewhere in the middle of Nate and Megan and you’ll be just fine. If your company did something amazing let people know about it, don’t shy away from the praise, embrace it! In 2017 our very own Dawn Claymore was the recipient of the AAF – Black Hills Silver Medal (which actually isn’t second place, even though it sounds like it). We let everybody know how awesome Dawn was and that she received recognition for her hard work. Brag yourself up a little bit and let everyone know how cool you really are.

Lastly, take advantage of events in your community. Every area has its own cultural flair and showing that off gives some context about the environment your business resides in. Here in the Black Hills, we like things with horsepower. Both the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo are big events here and highlight the culture of our home in two different ways. Nashville has country music, Philly has cheesesteak and we have hairy old guys on Harley’s, either way, culture is another way to connect!

More of What’s Happening: Meet the New/Returning Guy, You’ve Got to Stand for Something

 

Storytime

Here at Midwest Marketing, we have authors who just took the wrong career path and ended up at a marketing firm. If some dominos would have fallen in the right direction instead of talking about Hemmingway, Faulkner, McCarthy, and Frazier, you would be reading the works of Batteen, Goetz, Mattice, and Claymore. Well, you’re stuck with those bums for now, but you can catch some of our short stories on our blog from time to time.

Writing in the form of a story can be deeply personal and open up avenues that many people would never have realized about the author. Telling your story through the keyboard is one of the greatest ways to connect with people. When you start to tell a story, it takes away the business and reveals the person who helped make the business what it is.

In our writing, you can see the interworking’s of our lives and how our unique experiences shaped who we are today. From Todd and his Hunting Buddy to from Dawn going to The Ball Game with her dad, to Bret encapsulating what Sunsets, Pine Trees, and Fishing Line mean to him. Don’t be afraid to share more than you may think in these pieces. Putting an emotional connection between you and your customer can be the difference in a lifelong relationship and not. A great example of this Failure & Unanswered Wishes, a blog written by Bret about some tough realizations he had to make in his life. These stories give you the biggest peak behind the curtain of any content we put out to the public and consequently they are always the most popular.

More Stories: My Life As a Graphic Artist, Vilhjamlmur & the Ethics of Advertising, “The Hunt“, Find Your Herd

While handshakes and “how do you do’s” may be a thing of the past, it is still possible to create truly meaningful relationships with your customer. Although it may be alike on Facebook instead of a thank you, know that by using these tactics building relationships is still possible in the gadget-filled day and age we live in.

If you want more info on connecting with people on through social media and the internet check out: The Kind Complete Guide to Social Media Marketing and The Kinda Complete Guide to Internet, Digital, and Mobile Marketing.


 

The Kinda Complete Guide to Self-Promotion

We understand you’re a humble person and that’s a great trait to have. The only problem is, that sometimes you have to brag about yourself! This humble self-bragging is what business people refer to as, “self-promotion.” Even if you are so down to earth that it feels uncomfortable to promote yourself, somebody’s gotta do it and that somebody is you! Self-promotion is more than just bragging about yourself though, it’s based around informing people of what you do, how you do it, and how good you are at doing it. You could be the best painter in the tri-state area but if you don’t tell anybody or show them your paintings nobody will ever know.

Self-promotion can be a tightrope walk for people and you don’t want to fall off of that tightrope. In the following paragraphs we’ll walk you through the different tactics of self-promotion and how to benefit your business in the process:

 

The Why’s

Why do you do what you do? Probably because you’re passionate about it or because you’re excellent at it. Either way, the “why” is what drives you forward each and every day. However, most people don’t know the “why” behind your business and that means you need to tell them.

Letting people know why they should work with you is easy and can be approached in two different ways. The first way is to look at a difficult problem that someone is having and let them know how you can solve that problem for them. For example, we know that buying media can seem like a foreign language to most people. So letting our audience know Why Hire a Buyer was important to us. Match your “why” with your customers’ needs and self-promotion will be very easy for you.

The second way to look at this is that you tell people why they are not doing a good job. As mean as that sounds sometimes it is necessary. In marketing, we find that many people believe they can handle their own social media accounts because on the surface it seems pretty simple. In reality, most people do a poor job handling these accounts and it hurts them. Why You Should Let Experts Handle Your Social Media was a direct response to this problem we saw. In as nice of a way as possible, we addressed this situation and showed the value we offer in return.

A great way to get started on this “why” content is to start with a very broad statement, like Why You Should Hire Midwest Marketing. A general blog for the uninitiated, such as Outsourced gives even someone with little knowledge of what you do a jumping-off point for their research. Starting broad gives you an easy platform to work with and lets you highlight the very best your business has to offer for the general consumer.

 

Let The People Know

People are lazy, I’m sorry but it’s the truth. The average person isn’t going to seek you out and find out exactly what your business is all about, you have to let them know. Whatever makes you stand out from the pack, double down on that and shout it from the rooftops. Identify your top three things that set you apart from your competition and put the pedal to the metal creating content around it.

These topics can be as broad or as narrow as you need them to be. They can range from We’re in the People Business to why Hiring a Marketing Firm is Like Hiring a Contractor,  Whatever you feel gives you a competitive advantage, let the people know!

The biggest thing with letting people know is that you can’t just create one piece of content around it and think you’ve done the job. Don’t be afraid to revisit these topics and continually remind people what makes you stand out from the crowd. To avoid this content sounding like beating a dead horse, have the same message come from different sources from around your business. Working Proud at Midwest Marketing drives home our same message but in a different way than you would typically see it.

An effective way to show your worth to a potential client is find a universal analogy that everyone understands. Most people will know what you do on the surface but not the full breadth of how valuable you are. How many times have you heard someone say, “you guys do that?” That’s why at Midwest Marketing we like to use the analogy of, why Hiring a Marketing Firm is like Hiring a Contractor. It takes a common thing that most people understand that gives us a platform to show everything we do.

While the customer expects a lot (A LOT) from us, we also have to have some expectations for our customers as well. Letting your customers know what they need to know can lead to successful relationships for years to come. How To Get the Most Out Of Your Agency Relationship is an example of letting people know what they can do to make everyone’s life easier, while knowing we will be giving our all to help them succeed.

More Let the People Know Blogs:

Small Business Strategies, The AMI Manifesto, Changing Leaves and Business


 

The Kinda Complete Guide to Social Media Marketing

 

Like, favorite, comment, reply, share, follow, react – what’s the point? Why should you or your business have an active presence on social media? Well, the short answer is it’ll help you pull in more business and appear more personable to your customers. Think about it. Right now, if your business doesn’t have a Facebook page, your customers only see your business as a building with a service or products inside. If your business has a Facebook, your customers can see how you, a person, interact with them. You’re essentially putting a “face” to your business instead of just a logo. A Facebook page makes you appear more personable and gives your customers a place to ask questions before using your product or service. Being able to ask questions as a consumer and being able to answer those questions directly as a business is extremely important. This goes for Instagram as well. Read our blog about How to Use Instagram to Grow Leads.

More on expanding leads using Social Media: Ways to Use Periscope for Marketing

If you’re thinking, “but I have TONS of social media accounts but can’t seem to connect with my customers!” Then, there’s a good chance you’re doing it wrong. There are several Social Media Don’ts that affect the success of your business’s online presence and having too many accounts is one of them. Stick to a couple of platforms and do them WELL.

While social media marketing has expanded greatly in the past ten or so years there is still one king, Facebook. That doesn’t mean you should ignore The Wonderful World of Snapchat, Instagram, or the other platforms that can make a large influence on your business. However, most social media marketing is niche-based. Meaning that for some types of businesses Instagram is a big driver of business why another business shouldn’t waste their time with it. Facebook is the one social platform that I nearly universal and everyone should know how to conquer the Facebook marketing platform.

Facebook

Facebook can be a tough beast to tame, but once you get into it the opportunities to promote your brand are endless. Having a Facebook business page can help consumers feel like they’re always connected and are able to engage in events and promotions without actually being there. For example, if you have an event that you’ve been promoting on Facebook through ads for a while now, you’ve probably gotten the word out enough that people who couldn’t make it would still like to feel included. That’s where Facebook Live comes in or posting videos and pictures frequently during the event. Read our blog about The Unwritten Rules of Facebook Live to get the most out of your audience and make sure you’re event is enjoyable for everyone watching!

Social media can be intimidating when first getting started. Posting two to three times a week may not seem like a lot, but after a few months, ideas may seem to feel like they’re running out. Don’t underestimate the power of the nearest holiday! For a couple of Halloween examples, read our blog about Social Media Tricks and Treats. Content is something that can be hard to track the success of, but with Facebook, there are helpful insights that are great to take a look at so you can see which organic posts got a lot of engagement from your page viewers. This way you can create more posts like those to get more business, and your viewers get to see more content they enjoy. Win-win! Read more tips like this in our blog called The Importance of Social Media Analytics.

Facebook is constantly changing, and it helps to keep up with their latest updates and policies. Sometimes they’ll change their layout sizes or get rid of certain requirements on posts. Read our blog Facebook Goes Back to Their Roots for an example of how we like to keep up with the latest Facebook updates and news so we are staying on top of the game. It’s also not a bad idea to anticipate changes based on the newest technologies that pop up not just in social media platforms, but in the real world in general. It’s never a bad idea to ask yourself every once in a while, “What Will Social Media Be Like in 10 Years?” just to keep you on your toes.

More on expanding technology: The Next Mobile Platform: Your Car

Social media can seem a tad overwhelming at times, but the important thing to remember is that it will make a world of difference by helping you to connect with your customers.

 

 

The Kinda Complete Guide to Trends and Branding

It’s time to talk about branding, I’m not talking about that hot stick that lets everyone know that those cows belong to the Rafter 7 Ranch! Your brand is the identifying feature that identifies your goods and services as distinct from your competitors. I wise red-haired man named Tyler Childers once said, “it takes twice as long to build bridges you burn.” The same goes for your brand, it takes a lifetime to build your brand up and seconds to tear it down.

 

Brand Standards

The first thing you need to do to make sure your brand stays rock solid, is establishing brand standards. Brand Standards are basically a set of guidelines that provide the colors, graphics, logo, spec, and fonts that your brand is made up of. These are set up to protect your companies brand identity and keep you recognizable to customers.

Brand standards may seem like standard (get it) boring stuff but it is crucially important to establishing your relevance with customers. People like consistency, so don’t be constantly switching your logo around. You don’t see Nike getting rid of the swoosh anytime soon, do you? Then do go changing your logo all willy-nilly!

More Brand Standards: Top 5 Logos No Beans About It, Logo Overhaul

 

Why Your Brand Is Important

Your brand is your connection with your customer. It’s what the customer feels, not thinks about when they hear your name. What Your Brand Actually Looks Like will vary from each individual person. It is formed through each interaction that the customer has with you, either physical or digital.

When you think of Nike what do you think of? High-performance gear, the swoosh, professional athletes? All of these things and more come together to make-up the Nike brand. Their brand is your life experience with Nike, personified. So you can see how one wrong step can lead that all to come crashing down.

More Why Your Brand is Important: Big Brand Spotlight (Starbucks)

Switching gears now to how strong branding can help keep you in the loop. Everybody wants to be in the loop because we know that outside of the loop is a bad place to be. We love the loop, but the loop doesn’t always love us. The loop is constantly changing and that makes it a difficult place to stay and it’s almost a full-time job just to keep up with the loop. What makes the loop go round is this little thing that we like to call, “trends.” Trends are hard to put a finger on and what causes something to be trendy or trending can be nearly impossible to figure out. However, you don’t need to be a trendsetter to take advantage of these things. In the following article we are going to discuss ways that you can use trends to your advantage and have your brand as a whole benefit from them:

 

In With the Old

Some things never change, don’t believe me check out, Things That Stay the Same in Marketing. It’s true, somethings we have just gotten so absolutely perfect that there was no need to change them. In marketing, some of those things are: building strong relationships, creating meaningful messages, and not being an asshole.

It’s true that once upon a time, these ideals were thought to be new and revolutionary but now have become a reality of our everyday lives. Taking advantage of these tried and true “trends” and you’re halfway to conquering this phenomenon.

More In With the Old: Outdated Advertising Practices,   The Three Best Ad Campaigns of All Time

 

Hop on the Bandwagon

Other than a select few things, not much stays the same in marketing. While it is hard to Imagine the “Next Big Thing,” you have to try. Being on the Lookout for Trends is part of every good marketers’ job. While you can’t typically predict what the next viral video will be, you can often times see the momentum building and be prepared to hop on the bandwagon!

Hopping on the bandwagon often gets a bad rap, but when done right, it is a marketing gold mine. Is there a new Netflix show that everyone is raving about? How about a sports team that is having an unbelievable season? If the world is interested in something going on, that means your customers are interested in it as well. Run a poll on social media, change your logo to match the current trends, or just have conversations with your customers about how crazy the current trend is.

While some trends are worldwide, there are smaller regional or local trends that you have to look out for as well. If a local musician with a large following is playing a concert in your area that can be a point of interest for your customers. Setting up a ticket giveaway with a local radio station is just one example of how to take advantage of that specific local trend.

Hop on the Bandwagon: Top 12 Marketing Insights from 2017 to Carry You Into 2018

 

Keep em’ Informed

People love the loop and they love even more to be in the loop. As a marketing professional, you have access to information that your consumers may not, or your knowledge level of a certain current event is deeper. Don’t keep this information close to your chest, share it with the world!

One example of those nuggets of information that you have access to is reporting data. Here at Midwest Marketing, we subscribe to Nielsen’s which gives us access to some very useful and oftentimes fun reporting data. The Halfway Mark – Music Report gave us the opportunity to share with our audience music listening trends across the United States that they would never have known. Even if it isn’t groundbreaking data, it’s an entertaining read and that really is all people want, to be entertained.

Current events are hard to keep up with, if you’re not ultra-interested in a specific topic then it may be difficult to know what is going on. If there are big things happening in your industry the best way to let people know is to compile them and write short but in-depth summaries of everything the average reader would need to know. The lists don’t have to be long, even just 2 Things to Know will do.


 

The Kinda Complete Guide to Traditional Marketing

 

“Are the good times really over for good?” This is a question the late, great Merle Haggard asked in 1981 in his hit song by the same title. Marketing has changed greatly since 1981 there is no doubt about that, but there are still tried and true marketing tactics that withstand the test of them. We call these tactics, traditional marketing.

Traditional marketing refers to any type of marketing that is not done online. Including print, broadcast, direct mail, phone, and outdoor advertising. While all of these mediums have been greatly impacted by the onset of digital marketing, they still play key roles in marketing strategies across the country. In the following paragraphs we are going to discuss the role these traditional marketing practices have and how you can use them to your advantage:

 

A Little Old in the New School

In 2019 digital spending surpassed all other forms of media for the first time ever. This goes to show the popularity of digital in the modern world, but that still means that nearly 50% of the market is made up of traditional marketing practices. That is a HUGE percentage! We’re not saying you should go back to the old school permanently, but don’t ignore it.

Finding a mix between your digital strategy and traditional strategy is key for a successful marketing campaign. Extending Traditional Marketing on Facebook and other social media platforms is a great way to bridge the gap between the past and the present as well. Having a steady mix with a consistent message across all mediums is key to driving home your message.

If you’re going to use traditional marketing tactics as a stand-alone strategy, there are good and bad ways to do it. Like we discuss in, 7 Offline Marketing Tips, using proper direct mail techniques, guerrilla marketing, and even cold calling can lead to results when done properly!

Speaking of direct mail, the Direct Mail Comeback is here and stronger than ever. 79% of people say they read or scan direct mail ads that they get, which is much higher than any email open rate you could think of. This could be attributed to the fact that physical mail is becoming less and less common every year and people get excited when a letter is in their mailbox. To stand out with your direct mail, even more, get very creative with your artwork which we will touch on more in the next section!

More A Little Old in the New School Blogs: Do Coupons Really Work?, 5 Lessons from the Father of Advertising, 7 Reasons Why You Need a Marketing Plan, Making the Most of Your Marketing Through a Co-Op This Year

 

Creativity is Key

Traditional marketing is a catalyst for creative ideas to flourish. Taking traditional marketing mediums and adding a brilliant creative spin on things makes you stand out ten-fold compared to digital. One example of this is establishing your Packaging Brilliance. If your business is one that ships packages to people, turn that little brown box into a traveling ad for yourself! If you’re not allowed to customize the box, design and buy novelty tape to seal your package with. The tape can have your logo or fun saying on par with your brand on it.

Billboards have been locked in a Great Billboard Debate for years now. Outdoor advertising is everywhere, so much so that most people don’t even notice it most times. The only time we take notice is when someone designs an awesome, creative outdoor ad. The best way to take advantage of your billboard space is to keep things simple and your billboard should always be Five Words or Less. People are flying by your billboard at anywhere from 45 – 80 miles an hour, if you put more than 5 words on your billboard there is no speed reader in the world that could get through it! Use outdoor advertising space to create eye-catching designs and things people will take notice of as they drive down the interstate. And please, don’t put your mugshot on your billboard!

Putting a creative spin on a jingle can even make your business stand out amongst the rest. As we said, put your creative thinking caps on and your traditional marketing will pay a dividend. But don’t think it comes easy if you’re not willing to put the work in or traditional marketing doesn’t fit your business this may not be the path for you like we discuss in Why Your Business Needs a Jingle (or not).

“Are the good times really over for good?” Well, Merle, I wouldn’t say they are over but they have no doubt changed. While traditional marketing used to just be called marketing, it still looks and feels the same. Use all the kinds of marketing to create a marketing strategy that is both wide-reaching and impactful to see your result climb!


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