The most important time of the year for retailers is fast approaching! In the U.S. alone, holiday retail sales are expected to increase 4.5 percent from last year’s $658.3 billion. So, how can your business ensure this season will be jolly?

 

  • Put together a marketing schedule. After you’ve finalized a marketing strategy and determined the tactics and channels you’ll be utilizing, map out a schedule indicating when every eblast, blog, Facebook ad, etc. will be sent out. This will ensure all of your well-thought-out tactics are launched on time and in the smoothest way possible.

 

  • Review the audience your ads are targeting. Media costs tend to go up after Thanksgiving as retailers ramp up their schedules. In some areas of the United States, advertisers have reported a price increase by as much as 20-30 percent. It is especially important this time of year to focus on who is being targeted by your ads to ensure an ROI with your ad spend.

 

  • Don’t forget your existing customers. Consider offering current customers early access to sales or personalized promotions based on their purchasing history, and keep them well informed about all of your holiday promotions through email marketing.

 

  • Make checkout easy. By offering additional online payment options, you’ll convert more visitors to your e-commerce store into customers. If you’re currently only accepting credit cards, consider adding alternative payment methods, including debit cards and Paypal. Some payment processers such as Braintree, Stripe, and Worldpay accept both credit cards and debit cards. However, it may not be clear that both are accepted within your site’s checkout page. It is important that all payment options are clearly listed within your online store.

 

 

A Final Thought

Don’t just focus on your marketing strategy or website’s online shopping experience during peak sales times. Consistency is key. Without it, your customers will likely jump ship after the holiday shopping season is over!

 

Online advertising has grown considerably in the past couple of years. If your business is not allocating any budget online, odds are you are feeling the pinch. With all of the options for advertising online, such as Google AdWords and all of the other social media platforms, Facebook might be the easiest to use if you wanted to dip your toes in.

With that being said, Facebook has evolved into a pretty complex marketing tool. A few years ago, Facebook allowed advertisers to run down a list of targeting options from the target customers’ location to what interests they had. Nowadays, you could find yourself with a few questions.  This article will provide some insights as to why your Facebook campaigns may not be working the best these days and other newer features to consider when creating a new Facebook campaign for your business.

Before launching a Facebook advertising campaign, it’s important to start off by thinking about what your end goal is for the campaign. Most people who are using Facebook are there to catch up with old friends, post braggadocious vacation photos, or admire the newest addition to their friend’s family…that cute, new puppy they adopted. What this means is that your ads need to be able to catch someone’s eye rather than get scrolled by.

One thing Facebook is a huge stickler for is the use of imagery in ads.  Like the old saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.” However, try not to use a thousand words over the top of your picture. What I mean by this is that your image should contain less than 20% text or better yet, none at all.  Facebook is trying to help you create an eye-catching ad without letting the target (customer) know it is an ad.  If your image is enticing, you will draw that customer out of “puppy-mode” and into your business.  In the case of this BBQ ad, you can clearly see the image of the BBQ will draw you in much better than the logo of a company that clearly looks like advertising.

Another common mistake is narrowing your targeting down too far. Adding demographic targeting, location and interests can really add up quickly and turn an otherwise promising campaign into a non-converting campaign.

For example, say you are a BBQ restaurant owner who knows your key demographic is 40-60 year old males. Now you start building your campaign on Facebook and entering the target info focused on 40-60 year old males who live in your city and have an interest in BBQ. You only put in a few criteria. However, you may have narrowed your target too far to produce working results. Let’s say your city is 100,000 people. Then you narrowed it to men between the ages of 40-60.  That brought the possible targets down to 10,000. Now you include that out of those 10,000, they should have an interest in BBQ.  That might bring that total down to fewer than 1,000 with just two – three targeting options.

To run a better campaign, open up the targeting to women, as well (who tend to tell their husbands/significant others where to go).  Don’t narrow it down to just BBQ as an interest either.  Open it up to include restaurants as an interest. Get some new people who may not have tried BBQ before. With these new targeting options, you might end up with an audience of 10,000 – 15,000.

The last thing I would like to touch base on is not necessarily a new feature but one that is oftentimes overlooked as an option.  This is using a custom audience and a Facebook Pixel. Does your business have a mailing list that you send emails to? Perfect! Facebook allows you to import a .csv file of your contacts directly into their advertising software.  Once loaded into the Ads Manager, you have the ability to create not only a target of your current email subscribers, but you can create a lookalike audience which has the same interests as your email subscribers. Now other people on Facebook who have similarities to your subscribers will be served ads.

Another way to serve ads on Facebook is by using a Facebook Pixel.  This allows you to remarket to customers who have been to your site along with other sites and actions you specify. Let’s say a customer got to your site, browsed around and left without making a purchase.  You now have the ability to display that product they were looking at in their newsfeed.  The Facebook Pixel allows you to bridge the gap between online research and talking directly to your customers while they are on Facebook.

As I’ve mentioned, if you’re looking to dip your toes into online advertising, Facebook is a great place to start. Don’t let fear of change get the best of your business. Start advertising online today!

 

Like many fields in today’s workplace, marketing is collaborative. If you’re employed by an agency, you will likely find yourself working very closely with colleagues. This provides an excellent opportunity to learn from others while expanding your skill set, but it’s possible you’ll hit a few bumps in the road. Differences in personality and the way work is approached can often delay a project’s progress. Below are a few communication guidelines to help future workplace collaboration go smoothly.

Practice active listening.

One of the first steps in improving communication is learning how to listen. During conversations, it’s easy to get lured into letting your thoughts wander…thinking about what time kids need to be picked up from practice, what you’re making for dinner, or what’s left on the day’s to-do list. This, alongside the backdrop of a busy office, can prevent you from understanding important messages managers and coworkers are communicating. Always try to keep your focus on actively listening to what others are saying. Maintain eye contact, give encouraging non-verbals, and don’t interrupt or shift too much of your focus to what you’re going to say next. By actively listening to others, you’ll foster respect and prevent future misunderstandings.

Keep an open mind.

It’s human nature to make snap judgments about others. Many people, for example, categorize millennials as entitled, lazy or self-absorbed. Of course, not every millennial conforms to those qualities, and making assumptions about colleagues can cause real problems. They’ll drive a wedge between you and your coworkers and prevent you from uniting as a team.

Communicate face-to-face when possible.

In today’s workplace, there is a heavy reliance on emails, texting and instant messaging. And as our use of technology has increased, face-to-face interactions have become markedly devalued. As a result, messages often get lost in translation. When possible, speak to coworkers in person, and if email is necessary, focus on making your message concise and easy to understand.

Be straightforward.

Whether you’re presenting an idea or project at a meeting or emailing a request to a coworker, it’s easy to get longwinded. When this occurs, people can lose sight of your message’s objectives. Strive to make your workplace communication speedy and straightforward with your goals made clear.

React sympathetically.

Before you react to what you believe is baseless criticism, consider the source of the attack and the possible circumstances surrounding it. When people are having a bad day, they sometimes respond by attacking others for no reason. After hostilities have defused, contact the coworker to learn more about the problem they’ve communicated and how you can help address it. When heads are cooler, the coworker may admit they’ve overreacted and that the attack had nothing to do with you or your work.

 

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On the surface, writing product descriptions sounds like a simple enough task. However, even the most seasoned copywriter can fall prey to a common mistake: writing a description that only describes a product.

Product descriptions are to be thought of as a sales tool. Customers need to know why they should buy the product. A list specs, features and other technical details can help a customer visualize a product. However, a description limited to those items fails to illustrate the product’s value, and what truly sells a customer on a product is its perceived value.

So, what is considered valuable? When potential customers read a product description, they’re looking at the fairness of its cost and how and why the product will be helpful to them.

An effective product description well clearly illustrate a product’s unique benefits, engage the reader, solidify your brand’s voice, and include keywords.

As you embark in the description writing process, here some additional tips to help your conversions grow:

  • Focus on the solution. As we mentioned before, it’s easy to write about what a product looks like. However, for a description to really resonate with a reader, it needs to provide them with a solution. Before you start writing, ask yourself questions similar to, “How will this product increase a customer’s happiness? How will it make his or her life easier? What problems does it solve?”

Say, for example, you’re selling lipstick online. Through research, you may find women are annoyed with how their lipstick dries out their lips or rubs off too easily. If you were to write an effective product description, you’d provide a clear explanation on how your product combats these common issues.

 

  • Consider the text’s readability. When shopping online, potential customers are likely skimming your content. It’s important your text describes your product’s value quickly and clearly. Customers will read a description more thoroughly once you’ve piqued their interest. Sub-headers and bulleted lists can both help make content easier to read. Also, try to avoid being redundant.

 

  • Optimize your products. Get products to the top of Google searches by optimizing your content around keywords and phrases. Incorporate keywords into product headlines, description content, and title tags. Also, be sure to throw in some synonyms for good measure (search engines are getting better at guessing what people want when they enter a search word of phrase).

 

  • Sprinkle in some humor. Humor speaks to humans on a very basic level and can nudge potential customers to act on a call to action. It gives the tone of your copy a personality, helps hold the attention of readers, separates your brand from that of the competition and will ultimately make potential customers more receptive to purchasing your product.

 

  • Don’t copy the competition. While you may feel pressured to fall in line with what other successful competitors are doing in their online stores, it’s important you don’t replicate them. Yes, you’ll benefit from knowing what they’re doing, but if you want to sell, you need to communicate through a unique voice.

 

  • Avoid overselling. If your description isn’t accurate, you’ll find yourself with product returns and poor reviews. Be sure to always double check sizes, weights, and colors.

 

Are you an online shopper? What do you look for in a product description? What has helped convince you to make a purchase? Let us know in the comment section!

Applying for an internship? Smart decision! College internships help students develop valuable professional contacts and are a powerful addition to any resume. It will show you have experience in a specific field and that you put in the extra effort to gain this experience by juggling the position with school.

With that in mind, there are general rules that apply to all internships. The following tips can help ensure your internship experience is a success:

 

Practice effective communication

A successful internship experience requires strong communication skills. While you may feel a degree of uncertainty with your ideas and the new industry lingo, it’s important you speak clearly and enthusiastically. This is especially important for interns at a marketing agency. When working with clients, marketing professionals must deliver suggestions and strategies in a clear, confident manner.

Take notes

Whether your manager is explaining a new project or providing feedback on your performance, taking notes will help you remember the details. Plus, it will show you are taking your work seriously!

Seek out help when you need it

This is super important. There is nothing worse than saying you know how to tackle project when you know it’s outside your realm of expertise. It’s a waste of everyone’s time. As an intern, it is your responsibility to ask questions and for assistance when you need it. Check your ego at the door.

Commit yourself

Show up on time your first day and every day following it. If you know your team is working on a project with a tight deadline, monitor your emails outside of the office to ensure you can answer any questions that come up in a timely fashion. If you notice a coworker is overwhelmed or planning to stay late, volunteer to help them. Sacrificing a little free time to show your commitment will pay off in the long term.

Approach the position with an open mind

At your internship, you’ll be introduced to a diverse group of coworkers with a wide range of talents, educational backgrounds, and knowledge. Use this to your advantage, and be sure to ask a lot of questions! As Bill Nye the Science Guy once said, Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”

 

 

Learn More

For additional insights on how to prepare for a college internship, be sure to check out what Baer Performance Marketing’s interns had to say about their internship experience. Get an overview of the challenges they faced, what they learned along the way, and the tips they collected for future interns.

Blog post by: Drew Rhodes, Baer Performance Marketing Intern

 

In business, you have a product or a service, and your goal is to differentiate yourself from competitors in your market. If your market is crowded, and you, as a business, are repeating the same selling points as your competitors, your business will get lost at sea, and brand irrelevance is on the horizon.

Successful businesses also know how and when to take risks while avoiding being too risky. The word “risk” is a scary one. We are human and mostly just want to be comfortable, but most people and businesses that become successful will tell you that they didn’t get to where they are today without taking risks.

 

Understanding Your Market

When you begin developing a new marketing strategy for your service/product, you may ask yourself, “How do we take chances while staying true to our values and brand?”

It’s a tough question to answer–especially living in a world where consumers seem to be easily offended by everything.

You have to be careful, and before taking the leap, it’s important to get to know your target market and current customers through focus groups and surveys. Additionally, the risks you take with your brand should support your brand values. Consumers are increasingly seeking out authenticity in the brands they support.

 

Old Spice Took the Risk, Came Out On Top 

Old Spice is a perfect example of updating and reformatting a brand. They were known as the deodorant for “old men.” Today, they are the top deodorant in the market…all because they rebranded themselves. They wanted their brand to be “swaggerized,”and they did just that–now targeting men in the 18-34 year range (explains the commercials).

This was a big risk for them, but it paid off. The lesson here is: Your products might not change, but you can change how you present them. Knowing when to present it to the public is also important. Too early, and the market could take it the wrong way–too late, and you could be seen as a copycat. It’s also important to ensure that new content and new formats correlate directly with the brand you’re looking to project.

 

How do You Know When to Change Course?

There is no clear cut answer for this. Many companies struggle when deciding whether they should continue with a current marketing/creative plan or change it up. They often ask themselves, “Will this change bring in new customers or annoy faithful ones?”

There are many different factors that go into a decision on when to change, but the key is understanding your market and how customers feel toward you moving in a different direction. Again, market/customer research will provide a great deal of value here.

 

In Conclusion

Brands must evolve to stay afloat. That means taking risks without being risky. The smart brands are those that will take risk in a well thought out and strategized manner. As long as you stay true to your brand values and understand your clients and the market you are in, you should be closer to taking a risk that propels you forward.

 

Blog post by: Drew Rhodes, Baer Performance Marketing Intern

 

Relationships in business mean everything, and today, technology can further build and strengthen those relationships. Consumers are placing an increasing amount of trust in what they read online. First impressions are being made through profile pictures and social media advertising, and after a quick peek at a rating, we’re climbing into strangers’ cars and staying in other people’s homes while on vacation.

And while face-to-face recommendations and referrals will always be a part of bringing in new business, today, the battle is also won through positive online reviews. By inserting social proof online for potential customers to see and including it as part of your marketing strategy, you will build confidence with prospective clients and draw them into your business.

There are a few things any business can do when trying to build relationships with a faceless online customer:

 

Establish an Easy System

The first step in building positive reviews online is “establishing a system” that allows your previous customers to conveniently write a review about your company. Unless the customer has had a terribly upsetting or negative experience with your business, they probably aren’t going to go out of their way to leave a review. You must encourage them to do so while making the process as easy as possible for them. Consider placing links to your review profiles in other marketing channels, including email marketing, printed newsletters and your website.

 

Promotion Plan

Once you start collecting positive reviews from customers, be sure to have a plan in place with how you will promote them! Reviews can be incorporated into graphics and shared through social media or paid online advertising campaigns. They can also be displayed on your website to help build trust.

 

Reward Referrals

The best PR is a personal recommendation. In today’s technology-driven world, there are countless ways to generate referrals, but the most successful programs typically present some sort of value to both the customer providing the referral as well as the potential customer receiving the referral. UBER, for example, incentivizes referrals by offering current customers $5 off for every new rider they refer. The new customers are then given their first ride for free. UBER also makes it easy for riders to invite new customers through social media.

 

Conclusion

If your online marketing strategy relies on driving search traffic to your business’ website, then it also relies, to a major extent, on online reviews. And while you can’t expect every customer to take the extra time to leave a review or pass along a referral—even when you ask—if you develop a process or routine that can be followed consistently by your sales and marketing staff, you’ll see them accumulate.

 

If you have any questions or experiences you’d like to share regarding online reviews and referrals, please connect with us in the comment section!

 

 

Baer Performance Marketing is a marketing firm representing national, regional, and local businesses. Our company offers a diverse and fast-paced environment for expanding professional skills and career development.

Position Description:

The marketing internship is a temporary position intended to provide undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity for professional development in the rapidly-evolving marketing industry.

Interns will be assisting in media planning and buying, writing radio and television advertising scripts, writing media releases, updating social media, brand development, market research, blogging, preparation for client meetings, and much more.

The internship will last for at least 12 weeks, and the schedule is flexible. Exact hours will be discussed and agreed upon by the successful applicants, Aaron Baer (company President), and academic advisor (if internship is being used for class credit).

*****Please note that while this is an unpaid internship, many of the current clients provide perks for BPM’s interns.*****

Qualifications:

Interns will be selected based on applicable coursework and experience relating to Marketing/Communications/Public Relations. To be considered, applicants should have completed a significant amount of upper division coursework.

Necessary skills include:

· Strong communication skills, both oral and written

· Intermediate to advanced computer skills

· Strong critical thinking skills

· Demonstrated ability to manage multiple assignments

· Must be a go-getter and possess the ability and desire to bring ideas to the table

To apply:

Email resume and cover letter to Molly Behnke at molly@baerpm.com.

Please check out www.baerpm.com for additional information.