digital marketing

In the Know - May 23-29

This week we look at some of the most popular social media and digital marketing articles:

  • How to Make Remote Work Actually Work.
  • 4 Statistic-Based Strategies For Reaching Millennials via Social Ads.
  • 6 Key Notes on Managing a Digital Crisis via Social Media.
  • Why Bad Customer Service Is Burning Your Bottom Line.
  • What Should Your Content Marketing Priorities Be in 2016?

How to Make Remote Work Actually Work

May 23, 2016 by Corey Wainwright

remote work

On Setup & Technology

I have very little in the way of tech savvy, but I do know that a good operational and technical foundation helps remote workforces stay productive. This is where two key teams come into play: Finance & Accounting and IT... Read More Here.

On Communication

The best IT setup in the world doesn't help unless we're all using it toward the right ends. At the risk of being trite, the most successful relationships between in-office employees and their remote team members comes down to good communication from both parties. And figuring out what good communication means is kind of a beast. So bear with me while I try to break it down to its most pertinent parts for our purposes here.

When communicating without the benefit of body language or tone, clarity with written and verbal communication is more important than ever. In an ideal world, everyone's already really good at finding the right words to say what they mean. But that's not reality, so we're left with a few options here:

1) Try to be better at it. If you're writing an email, take a beat to reread what you've written. See if you've really communicated what you're trying to say clearly and succinctly.

2) Know that reading comprehension matters. If you're on the receiving end of a com... ask clarifying questions before responding with an equally confusing answer. 

3) Avoid reading into tone. People's tones suck sometimes. Especially over email. If a typically bubbly person didn't include a barrage of emojis or explanation points, they're probably just running late, or feeling stressed ... or something else that has nothing to do with you.

On Management

If managers are interested in hiring remote team members, they'll have some specific responsibilities to keep things chugging along nicely. Most of this is just about setting the right precedent for how to think about remote work for your team -- I've broken it down into the stuff you need to do proactively, and what you need to squash.... Read More Here.

After you've got the infrastructure set up, to me, most of this really comes down to good hiring. Get the right person, for the right role. If you've got capable people you can trust in a role, you should be able to trust that not only are they doing good work, but that they'll let you know if and when they need something different from you.

The right person can make even roles that you don't think will work in a remote scenario, work. (Unless that role is chef. Then you definitely need to be at work.)

-Read More At:


May 26, 2016 by Carolyn Berk

photo credit:

photo credit:

It's undeniable that the Millennial generation will shape the economy for years to come. With over 92 million Millennials in the US alone, the generation born between 1980 and 2000 is the biggest in US history. And according to a Goldman Sachs survey, Millennials are turning to social media when making purchasing decisions - which means brands need to explore social advertising in order to reach this group.

Here are some strategies to help ensure your social hit the mark with Millennials.


Millennials are massively mobile. In fact, one in five Millennials access the internet exclusively through mobile devices. If marketers want to get in front of this group of smartphone fanatics, mobile advertising is the way to do it. 

Travel company features several elements that read particularly well on the smaller screens of tablets and smartphones in the Facebook ad below.

The ad uses vivid imagery and bright colors to create an interesting visual effect that leaps out at users as they scroll through their Facebook News Feeds. The ad also sticks to a simple theme of letting users choose between two trip activities - this theme's easy to understand and doesn't require reading a convoluted wall of text, which can be a difficult task on older devices like the iPhone 4. Yet this concept also communicates the wide variety of activities that millennial audiences can access when they use to plan their trips.


Millennials value the opinion of their peers. According to eMarketer, nearly 70% of Millennial social media users are at least somewhat influenced to make a purchase based on friends' posts.

Providing social proof of the quality of your product or service is vital for winning over young consumers. Therefore, it's important that you prove - not preach - why audiences should be interested in what your company has to offer by sharing customer testimonials or enlisting the help of social influencers.

Secondhand clothing retailer thredUP uses the power of social proof in the Facebook video ad above. The ad features a compilation of current thredUP customers singing the company’s praises. Instead of dictating to audiences about why it’s so wonderful, thredUP lets actual customers advertise the company in a more relatable, realistic and resonant way. Millennial audiences who view this video will be tempted to learn more about the service after seeing real social proof that thredUP is worth their time and money.


When it comes to crafting ads that appeal to Millennials, it helps to be helpful. 

64% of Millennials respond positively to content that they find useful, and 31% say they are more likely to buy from a brand that delivers interesting content that teaches them something. Ads that provide handy relevant information to Millennial audiences won’t have a hard time catching their interest and attention.


Samsung uses Instagram’s new video carousel ad unit to reach young audiences looking to capture brilliant pictures to post to the image-sharing site. In the video portion of the ad, Samsung subtly promotes its phone camera functions by showing off tricks and lighting techniques from professional photographer Matt Doscher. The video organically showcases the camera features that come with the phone while providing helpful information. The copy of the ad also avoids the hard sell, instead inviting audiences to click through the ad to learn even more tips from Matt.


Millennials are much more likely to connect with your brand and increase awareness among their peers if you can provoke an emotional response with your ads – and that includes amusement. According to NewsCred, 70% of Millennials say their main reason for sharing content is that it makes them laugh. Music streaming service Spotify tailored the Twitter ad campaign below to put a humorous spin on a popular discussion. After the Super Tuesday primaries in the United States, Google searches for “how can I move to Canada” surged.

Spotify took a cue from this trending topic and designed an animated Twitter ad offering playlists of Canadian music that audiences should listen to if they decide to go ahead with their relocation up north.

By contributing to a conversation that’s already happening online, providing a silly take on politics, and posting an ad on a primarily mobile, news-focused channel like Twitter, Spotify is able to become a part of the discussion in a way that Millennials will appreciate.

- Read More At:


May 27, 2016 by Steve Poole

digital crisis via social media

Data breaches have become more common than most industries care to admit. The aftermath of high-profile cases like TargetHome DepotJP Morgan Chase and Heartbleed have resulted in digital communications teams rethinking their crisis communications plans, especially via social media.

Having been in the trenches, the biggest challenge is often consumer perception. While some consumers understand that a breach is often third-party related, many others simply point their fingers at their financial institution. They assume their bank is at fault because their account was hacked and money is missing or compromised.

Luckily, a strong, comprehensive crisis communications plan can help address this issue, as well as many other problematic conversations that take place on digital channels.

From credit card hacks to stolen identities, integrating social media into your crisis communication plan will help you even the digital playing field during an emergency.

Here are six key tips:


While it seems almost elementary, many organizations still don't have a defined plan that details when or how social media becomes part of the data breach communications strategy.

In today’s world, Facebook updates and tweets are just as important as media releases and member communications. While a reassuring and informative phone call or email is preferred, it’s not always possible - more and more consumers are turning to social media during a digital crisis. As a result, questions and conversations will need to be addressed within the channel they originated. Following a more traditional crisis communications plan and simply issuing a press release does little to help calm customers who are actively tweeting away or posting on Facebook.

Tip: A standard best practice should be to keep the content and messaging brief, yet reassuring and informational.


In the event of a data breach crisis, your internal team will need to act fast. Immediately get your internal stakeholders together, whether it’s in person or over the phone, and discuss the crisis. Gather the facts quickly, and discuss how your company and customers will be affected by the breach. Make sure the entire company is on the same page internally. Once the facts are straight, prepare the narrative you wish to communicate to your customers and execute any existing crisis communications plans. 

Tip: Social media managers should use monitoring tools to search for specific mentions of the issue across digital channels, but hold off on engagement until facts are collected and the appropriate responses are ready.


While social media is an important facet of digital communications, it’s important to leverage internal customer communication first. Whether it’s a phone call or email, communicating your narrative to your customers first will pull you ahead of the situation. Be sure to act fast once your narrative is in place because the last thing you want is your customers finding out about the breach somewhere else.

Being proactive in these situations is the best route you can take. 

Tip: It’s important to remember that any private customer communications will likely end up in a public domain, either via social media or another medium. Make sure you’re comfortable with your materials being shared. 


Once you’ve proactively communicated the agreed upon narrative to your customers, it’s time to take the conversation to social media. Before posting to your social media channels, it’s extremely important to cancel any existing updates. Your customers and the public won’t care about updates unrelated to the digital crisis. You should focus your posts on the breach or crisis for a few days until it’s behind you. In addition to your narrative, consider posting additional tips about how to protect your personal information for the future.

In addition to posting updates on social, putting a message on your website in a prominent area will be beneficial to your communications plan.

Tip: When posting to social media, it’s important to tailor your messaging to each channel. Social media was built for brevity - less is often more, even on networks with no character limits. Approach each channel with information the average consumer will understand. 


Customers who've been the victim of a data breach or digital crisis are often very emotional. When dealing with these issues, be overly empathetic. Your social responses cannot be the same canned response when addressing their concerns. Always address questions, comments and concerns with a customized, empathetic response. This helps you avoid looking like a robot and shows your customers you understand their worries and frustrations.

If a customer becomes irate on social media or asks too many technical, industry-specific questions about the data breach, politely take the conversation offline. Ask the customer to private message you their phone number or email and let them know someone from your management team will reach out shortly to speak with them. 

Tip: Never argue or debate with a customer on social media, it'll only hurt your brand. In the same vein, long conversations on social media about the tedious ins and outs of a specific issue can sometimes be harmful when you’re still navigating through the issue yourself and don’t have all of the answers.


Keeping your customers up-to-date with the most recent information about the digital crisis is key. As new details emerge, repeat the initial steps you previously took to inform your customers and the public.

Tip: Be as transparent as possible, but not overly technical with details that could confuse the average consumer. Sharing consistent, constant communication will gain the respect and trust of both your customers and the public.

From crafting your message, to keeping your customers up-to-date with the most recent knowledge, integrating social media communications into your crisis communication playbook is a vital part of effectively handling a digital crisis. It'll benefit both you and your customers by providing transparency, access and support during a digital crisis. It could even end up saving your company’s reputation.

- Read More At:

Why Bad Customer Service Is Burning Your Bottom Line

May 28, 2016 by Verónica Jarski

What Should Your Content Marketing Priorities Be in 2016?

May 29, 2016 by MICHELE LINN 


Your order may be a bit different, based on the maturity of your content marketing program. However, you can use this list, which starts with the activities most organizations should be prioritizing. However, what you rank as important in your organization may vary, so use this list as a guide so you can have conversations with your team on what you should prioritize so you are all working toward the same goals.

  • Better understanding your audience
  • Creating more-engaging content
  • Better understanding what is and isn’t effective
  • Finding more/better ways to repurpose content
  • Content optimization
  • Creating visual content
  • Becoming better storytellers
  • Becoming a stronger writer
  • Content curation
  • Content personalization

-Read More At:

In the Know - April 24-30

This week's In the Know we will look at:

  • Need A Digital Marketing Consultant? 3 Important Questions to Ask
  • Meet Talkshow, the latest viral app the Internet is freaking out about.
  • How to Create a Facebook Business Video in 6 Easy Steps
  • The Definitive SEO Checklist for Your Business [infographic]
  • The Top 9 Tactics for Finding New Customers Online [Infographic]

Need A Digital Marketing Consultant? 3 Important Questions To Ask

April 26, 2016 - by Brad Friedman

digital marketing consultant

A major component of a small business’s online success lies in their ability to implement an effective digital marketing strategy, which takes on even more significance when you consider the fast evolving pace of the digital marketing landscape.


While some digital marketing consultants come with a hefty price tag, they're generally much more affordable than the alternative - hiring your own digital marketing team. As a rough example of what a digital marketing team would cost, here’s the average salary for mid-career professionals in the digital marketing field.

  • Digital Marketing Manager - $73,000
  • Social Media Manager - $49,000
  • SEO Marketing Expert - $60,000
  • Web Designer - $47,000
  • Graphic Designer - $53,000
  • Copywriter - $55,000

So if you went out and hired a team of experienced freelance professionals similar to the group above, you’d be looking at a pretty steep bill running into the tens of thousands a month. And that doesn’t include the benefits package you would provide.

A digital marketing consultant or agency would cost much less and provide the same marketing value with a twist.


Through the traditional in-house marketing hiring method, the only way you would be able to increase your marketing output to see better results would be to hire more employees.

Consulting agencies have access to teams of skilled individuals able implement changes in a digital marketing strategy at a moments notice.


A team of in-house marketers usually don’t have much time to read up on the latest graphic design, SEO, or social media marketing trends - and they definitely don’t have time to tell you all about them. The same applies to an outsourced team online.

With a digital marketing consultant, you gain access to the latest internet marketing trends from an educated individual whose job is knowing what changes might be lurking around the corner. This means staying up to date with the latest Google algorithm changes and knowing which marketing channels are best suited to your business’ niche.

So now that you understand some of the major benefits that come with hiring a digital marketing consultant, let’s talk about 3 key questions you should ask potential consultant’s or agencies before signing on the dotted line.


You need to get a rough idea of what your prospective consultant has done for customers in the past, both online and off. 

If you want to be really thorough, contact a few former clients and ask about their experiences - this way you get a good idea of how the consultant communicates, as well as what their areas of expertise. It’s also wise to favor candidates who’ve worked in your industry or a similar industry before.


After you’ve got an outline of a consultants track record, you need to find out exactly what it is they can do for your business.

Does their skill set complement your business niche? Have they published any related articles in major magazines or authoritative websites? What can the consultant offer their competitors can not?


It’s vital to have a prospective consultant give you their honest input on your current digital marketing plan. When giving them your plan, it’s also important to provide them with context on your current situation.

If they give you a semi-automated reply that gives you no indication they payed attention to your current unique situation, then you might be better off seeking a consultant whose willing to pay attention to the small details. On the flip-side, if you received a detailed response outlining an honest assessment of your marketing efforts, including your plan’s strengths and weaknesses, then you may have a winner.

There's an endless number of ways from which you can gauge the efficacy of a digital marketing consultant, but knowing what you want in a consultant - as well as what to ask - is the first step toward realizing a more effective digital marketing strategy for your business.

See more at:

Meet Talkshow, the latest viral app the Internet is freaking out about.

April 27 - by Samantha Murphy Kelly


A new text messaging app called Talkshow became the buzzy new social platform on Tuesday for its quirky concept: it’s like “texting in public.”

The iOS-only app lets users host message-based “Talkshows” about various topics, from sports and politics to TV and music. People notify followers when a Talkshow is live, encouraging anyone who’s watching to send messages, post reactions and GIFs or even join in as a co-host. It’s like Periscope for texting.

People can view the public text messaging conversations in real time or after a Talkshow has wrapped; it can also be shared outside the app and embedded on other sites.

After downloading the app, you can find friends on the app via Twitter, Facebook or your email contacts. To kick off a show, you pick your host (or host alone), select a title and an alert will be pushed out to followers. It’s also possible to discover live Talkshows from the app’s homescreen and chime in. And if you feel compelled to jump in as a co-host, you can send a request to do so.

See More at:

How to Create a Facebook Business Video in 6 Easy Steps

April 29, 2016 - by Stephen Baldwin

Facebook Business Video

Facebook has a tool called “Your Business Story” that lets SMBs create videos highlighting their unique selling propositions in a simple and effective way. The tool's easy to use, and the results  - while hardly Hollywood-grade - are attractive enough to convey an effective message.

Fifteen minutes after we started, the video was on our Page, performing as well  - in fact better -– than much of the other content there.

Interested in doing the same? Just perform the following 6 steps:


Facebook will prompt you to log on if you’re not logged on already. You need to be an authorized Administrator for a Facebook page in order to proceed further. If you’re an Admin for more than one page, choose the page you want to create this business video for.


Facebook “Business Story” videos are simple sequences that dissolve between images you upload. The tool lets you easily select and sequence your photos so that they provide the movement required to tell a story. If you haven’t yet uploaded 8 photos, Facebook will prompt you to do so.

Confirm your photo selections and proceed to the next page.


Facebook only gives you 90 characters to express your business saga, so you’ll need to think carefully about a short statement that describes your business. Your 90 character statement will appear after Facebook’s canned text (“We’re in the business of…”), so choose a statement that makes sense in this context. Once you’re happy with this text, choose “Confirm Your Story.”


You’re not going to find a lot of musical choices here, nor do you have any options to upload your own sound track. Your selections are limited to “rock”, “synth”, “electronica”, and “percussion", and all of the offered tracks sound pretty innocuous (which was probably Facebook’s intent). Still, they’re pretty adequate, especially for SMBs who don’t want to make profound statements.


Facebook wants you to agree to some additional, boilerplate language beyond its standard TOS. These added terms grant it a worldwide, non-exclusive right to display your video around the world. Unless you have an objection to these terms, click “I Agree” and you’re done.

Step 6: Wait about 10 minutes

Facebook processes these videos very quickly: our test video was live on the intended page within about 10 minutes. The video, when it appears, will be formatted in a square (1:1) aspect ratio – which is quickly becoming the standard aspect ratio for social video. You’ll also notice that Facebook has added a gentle, Ken Burns-like “zoom out” effect to your image sequence.



Facebook’s Business video tool won’t please you if your business requires sophisticated video effects or custom audio. But for many SMBs – especially those who want to cultivate a homegrown, “authentic” feel, the attractive, albeit low-tech results are probably more than adequate. And equally important, you can be up and running in less than a quarter of an hour.

See more at:

The Definitive SEO Checklist for Your Business

April 30, 2016 - Nirav Dave

Definitive SEO checklist for small business

The Top 9 Tactics for Finding New Customers Online

April 30, 2016 - Irfan Ahmad

top 9 tactics for finding new customers online

Stages of a Buying Process in a Digital World

steps on buying process

For any business that sells a product it is important to know that there are stages in a buying process. Of course this is not new news. However, many small businesses struggle with these stages when converting them to a digital marketing platform.

Today, I would like to walk through 6 stages and give a brief idea of how you can utilize each stage in your own digital marketing campaign.

It is important that before you begin thinking through these stages of the buying process, that you understand your target audience, otherwise anything you do to market online will be like throwing darts blindfolded.



To create awareness for your product start by optimizing your website for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Add titles, descriptions, and meta tags where ever appropriate. Also don’t forget to use alt tags on any image on your website. This allows your images to help when your site is being indexed by search engines.

Then buy PPC (Pay Per Click) ads through Google for long-tailed search terms so they can capture the consumers who already know what they are looking for. This can also be done with Facebook and Twitter Ads if your company has a good presence on those social media platforms. 

Lastly, consider partnering with group-buying websites like Groupon or Living Social. Awareness can be spread locally to those customers that never knew the company existed. 

This would be a great start to spread awareness that would continue through satisfied customers on social media and review sites. Of course, not all of these methods may work for your product, but it might help you think of another way that you had not considered.



Once a consumer is aware of their need for a product, they begin to develop focused reasoning for why they need it. This is where building their confidence in your brand is important. One effective strategy is by creating a company blog that writes about topics related to your products while sharing tips on social media.

This would help them become a resource where customers can come for advice and insight. “The beauty of this is that as they find you and like what you’re putting out there, they’ll share it and the effect snowballs” (Payton, 2012).



After a consumer is aware of their need, they begin to research companies that can satisfy that need. Product reviews are important to have since many people look to these first, but differentiation is most important for any business that wants to be successful. 

Here you must find what your unique differentiator is as a company. Once you find this…you must exploit it. Find other bloggers that review similar products that have high followers. Then send them a personal email and offer publicity for their blog in return for a review. Also, send them your product for free to use (if that’s possible).

Go to and find a forum where people would be interested in a product like yours. Basically, look for online communities where your product would draw interest and get involved in those communities. Answer questions and ask for help. This will make you more personable and less a troll that everyone ignores because they think you are just there to advertise.

By doing this and utilizing your own company blog and social media regularly will help generate trust and positive reinforcement to your brand. Overtime these reviews and buzz will populate the first page of Google searches when people are trying to research other companies selling similar products. The more (positive) talk they see of your product, the more likely they will consider you.



The next stage in the buying process is evaluating the product or service and making a selection, which is where demonstrating value and emotional connections are most important. Providing valuable “content and information that enables and empowers your customers to do their jobs better is the ultimate way to thank them for their business, and support their success in ways that will serve volumes to your advocacy marketing” (Batista, 2013). 

This is also where having a blog that shares advice, tips, and insights is helpful not only in differentiation but in maintaining a customer community that builds brand loyalty. You can also demonstrate value by sharing personal stories via social media to humanize your company in a positive light, which in return helps your customer get to know you a little better which is a form of relationship building (Batista, 2013).

A rewards program would also show value to your customer because it creates excitement to get free stuff and return customers. Remember if a customer has narrowed their decision down to you and one or two others, they will look to see who will give them more value over time. The details matter most in this stage.



When shopping in a real store, it’s easy for people to put something in their shopping cart thinking they needed something at the time, but after walking around for awhile they talk themselves out of it. This is why it is extremely important to guide the customer through a very simple shopping and secure buying process (The buying process, 2002).

There are still people out there that are not comfortable buying things online, and they need to feel like they can trust you and your site. Having different payment options like Apple Pay, Paypal, and Google Wallet will help ease some people’s discomfort, but having the “s” after “http” also helps because that indicates it is a secure website.

Ultimately, the idea is to make people feel good about buying from you by giving them peace of mind that nothing bad will happen all while making the buying process as simple and easy as possible.



In the last stage of the buying process it is important to look at the Model of Intention, Adoption, and Continuance which is a consumer behavior framework that shows the importance of continuing your relationship with your customer (Cheung, Zhu, Kwong, Chan, & Limayem, 2003). The idea is that the customer will be loyal to you and return to buy more while being an Advocate for your brand to others (Hawley, 2011). 

When a customer is excited about the experience they had with your company, they will want to share it which is a from of viral marketing. A great way to stay in touch is by getting customers to opt-in to your emails so that they can stay up to date with your latest products and services. You may not be able to control what a customer says or does, but you can at least help guide them to what you want them to do.



The ideas and examples talked about in the different steps would be a great starting point for any company. They would need to be reevaluated the following year to see what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly. Every company is different and nothing I say will work for everyone, but the stages are the same and are an excellent guide to build from. I would recommend every company to have a brainstorm session over each stage of the buying process and see how you can improve on what you are currently doing. Remember that no matter how good your company is doing, it can always be doing better.




Batista, A. (2013, July 10). 5 ways to demonstrate value to your customers. Retrieved from


Cheung C. M., Zhu, L., Kwong, T., Chan, G. W., & Limayem, M. (2003). Online consumer behavior: A review and agenda for future research. Retrieved from$FILE/16Cheung.pdf


Hawley, M. (2011, March 07). Research Methods for Understanding Consumer Decisions in a Social World. Retrieved from


Payton, S. (2012, January 20). How to create customer confidence for your new business. Retrieved from


The buying process leads to a decision to buy. (2002). Retrieved from


7 Types of Digital Marketers

If you are a small business owner it is common to not have a full time digital marketer on your payroll. But you may find that some digital marketers create content differently than others. So before you spend money on your next digital marketer, research a few different types and see if maybe your company might fit better with a specific type or two.