Account-Based Marketing

4 Essential Steps to Account-Based Marketing

Want to strengthen your CRM response and boost the ROI of your digital marketing efforts? It sounds like you are ready to adopt an account-based marketing strategy.

Account-based marketing is a strategic digital marketing approach that depends on customized marketing tools to reach out to customers, individuals, or client accounts on a personal level. On a small level, this may mean target emails instead of mass emails, on a larger level it could mean personalized responses based on browsing habits, interests, etc.

Account-Based Marketing

Add a Personal Touch for Measurable Results

While intimidating at first, account-based marketing is an extremely effective digital marketing tool with the potential for a large ROI. Customers like personalized service and this service essentially recreates the personal attention of a clerk in the store and places it in your customers’ inboxes.

How Do I Launch an Account-Based Marketing Campaign?

Getting started however is usually the hardest part for CRM or B2B teams that are new to account-based marketing. A simple process known as the Curve TEAM Process simplifies the journey. TEAM stands for Target. Engage. Acquire. Measure. Each essential step leads to measurable results that make the journey worthwhile.

TARGET Your Base

Before you can launch an account-based marketing campaign, you need to launch a targeted discovery effort. During this part of the Curve TEAM process, you will zero in on your niche customer persona and create a unique sales proposition that addresses both their interests and pain points. Using the information you find during the discovery process, you will create brand messaging that speaks directly to them and allows you to move onto the next step, creating an engagement strategy.

ENGAGE Your Target Customers

Now that you know your target customer base, you have to actually create tools that will catch their attention and make them pay attention to your products and/or services. Similar to the sales clerk in the opening paragraph, it is now your turn to reach out and grab the attention of your base. You may not be able to physically strike up a conversation, but you can create brand messaging, a website, and CMS integration that replicates the conversations they want to have. There are dozens of ways to engage your target customer base including but not limited to sales scripts, webinars, brochures, targeted digital ad campaigns, social media content, and case studies.

ADVOCATE for your Service or Product

If your target discovery is accurate and your engagement strategy is effective, your customer will be teetering on the edge of completing the sale. Your job at this point is to close the deal. Connect with them and give them plenty of ways to buy. Reach out on email, text, social media, or create microsites for a niche within your niche. Your customer is probably ready to buy, but you have to put the opportunity in front of them. The average customer won’t search out a chance to spend money, but if you make it as simple as a click they will probably bite.

MEASURE and Re-evaluate Your ROI

A truly effective account-based marketing plan is never complete. The last step of the Curve TEAM process is measure for a reason. At the end of a month or other pre-designated period of time, evaluated your current digital marketing program and measure your ROI. If it is not as high as you like, it’s time to go back to the first step and look at how you can fine-tune your efforts to get it higher. Each time you reevaluate your process and build on it your ROI will strengthen leading you towards better, more powerful results.

Interested to hear more about account-based marketing? Let’s chat!

Newspapers

How a Newsroom Works, and How to Get Their Attention

Newsrooms the world over seem to change week to week. Not only are there fewer and fewer people working in them, but there are less of them in general, thanks to a drop in consumption of traditional media formats.

This means it can be difficult to get organic coverage of your business or your story in a newsroom where resources are scarce, and where timelines are ALL the time (rather than working to the older deadlines of broadcast and print) as reporters file stories and updates online and via social media, and where assignment editors are having to incentivise teams to cover more each day than the one-story-per-reporter-per-day of old.

Newsroom Works

How does a newsroom work, anyway?

Here’s how things generally work in newsrooms though, regardless of the sands of time stripping out elements such as morning meetings, midday check-ins, and filing to deadline.

Many newsrooms have two areas of focus – the day-of news, which is exactly what it sounds like; and feature items, which usually take longer to cultivate and have a timeless element when it comes to when they run. Unfortunately most PR pitches are feature items which are, nowadays, at the mercy of the day-of news resources. This means a pitch you’ve been working on for weeks or sometimes longer, can be cancelled or postponed at a moment’s notice because a big day-of story happened, and all the newsroom resources were reassigned to cover it.

One example of that is a pitch Curve worked on a couple of years back, where we had a specific week we had scheduled the CEO of a busy new cannabis business to be available for media interviews. We had several of them lined up, plus we were going to do week-of and day-of repeat pitching just to make sure we had any last-minute reporter or camera availability sewn up.

Our pitch week turned out to be the same week as a horrible news story where two teens from Vancouver Island went on a terrible shooting spree, which then turned into a cross-Canada manhunt. Understandably, all the newsrooms in the country were suddenly focused on this huge story, as the search for the two continued. Also understandably, our booked segments and interviews were mostly cancelled.

You can’t help what happens in the world of news, and that’s why we always tell our clients that PR is the coverage you pray for, and advertising is the coverage you pay for. You can have every single media outlet in the world lined up for an interview, but if there’s a big news story that week, you can end up losing every one of them.

So how do I get my story to the newsroom?

For the most part, newsrooms will connect with their assignment desk in the morning – whether that’s for a full online or in-person meeting, or more usually nowadays, reporters are individually assigned a story remotely and they either work from home, or they meet a camera at an interview location.

1) Find a specific person to contact

Reporters, producers and assignment teams do get to pitch story ideas to their editors – and if you have a specific day you want a story to go out (say for example a press conference or the day something is opening or launching), the best thing to do is to find a specific person who has covered that type of story before at their outlet, and reach out directly to them with lots of lead time.

They will always tell you they’ll try their best, and that they can’t guarantee anything if news happens, but at least if you’ve connected with them personally, it’s harder for them to say no, and it gives you a chance to repitch it on a day when nothing is happening.

2) Be flexible with your schedule

A better idea is to give a reporter a range of days when you are available, so it gives them more options if something happens on one of those days. In the case of the Canada-wide manhunt, it lasted the entire time the CEO was available. Luckily he was very understanding about the difficult situation, and he was pleased we were still able to get him an interview on a national radio show.

Probably the best option of all is to work one-on-one with a reporter for a “timeless” story for which you are able to be interviewed at any time, and which can run at any time, giving the reporter flexibility when it comes to setting something up.

The downside is that you can’t offer the pitch to multiple news outlets, as some don’t like to run a story if their rival has already done it; plus you never really have a “launch” date that coincides with the piece running. If that isn’t a big deal, then this is the ideal scenario.

3) Make your story as compelling as possible

If you do have a story that MUST run on a certain date, you have to make it as compelling as possible to ensure as much day-of coverage as you can. Think of your story as that big day-of news event. What is the absolute number one thing people need to know about it?

If you’ve heard the expression “burying the lead,” this is where it comes from. You DON’T want to hide the main point of the story when you’re pitching it – so make sure your press release, or your call to the newsroom, or your direct email or social media pitch to the reporter gives ALL the details, in as FEW words as possible, in the FIRST sentence. Reporters are busy – they won’t read past that first line – I guarantee it – so you have to make every word count.

If your first pitch didn’t stick, it’s worth following up just to check they got the email and that it didn’t get caught in their spam. But make it friendly and quick – don’t become a thorn in their side. You don’t want to be “that person” who is constantly bothering the writers or editors, because if you are, they will ignore all future pitches.

Also, don’t call every phone extension in the newsroom to make your pitch, one call after the other. Those phones are likely all within a 10 metre radius, and they will know what you’re doing, and OOPS, you become “that person” again.

One final thing when it comes to newsrooms in 2021 – and it’s actually a depressing one: check social media before you pitch, just to make sure the person or the outlet you are looking to reach out to is still there, that there haven’t just been layoffs, and that they are still doing local news.

It’s a really sad thing to say, but it happens so often these days, that being aware of what an outlet may be going through… or may have just been through, is just respectful, polite and shows you care. If bad stuff has happened, don’t pitch. If everything is fine, pitch away – because tomorrow or next week, more changes may be on the way.

If you want to chat more about PR, and how to navigate a newsroom, head over to our contact page. We’re happy to chat.

Email Marketing Guide

How to Engage Your Lead with a Strong Email Marketing Sequence

Digital marketing has exploded over the last decade, and there are now dozens of ways to reach out to customers. However, there is still one technique that rises above the others. Believe it or not, email marketing still has the best ROI, even beating out social media marketing.

Why email marketing?

Probably because people tend to pay more attention to their email. You can scroll through a newsfeed aimlessly, but email needs more direct attention since it can contain important information. Catching your target audience when they are paying attention is the key to successful marketing.

Of course, that is easier said than done. You want to evade spam filters and give customers something useful, all while managing your own successful company.

Let’s face it, you don’t have the time to manage personalized email marketing campaigns for each customer, which is where managed email sequencing comes into play. Building a strong email sequence is the foundation that will lead to strong sales leads in the future.

Email Marketing Guide

Work smart with email marketing automation

You DO have time to create a winning email sequencing strategy.

So how do you make the magic happen for you and boost your ROI? It’s this simple, focus on your consumer and your brand. It’s a time-tested formula that never fails.

The best email marketing campaigns are multi-faceted so that you take advantage of every potential lead. Set up multiple email sequences and watch your digital marketing returns skyrocket.

Trigger-based email sequences

These are more customized because they capitalize on the real-time movement and behaviour of browsers and/or potential customers. These emails are pre-set to be sent whenever a user browses your website, abandons a shopping cart, purchases a product, or downloads content. The purpose of these highly effective email sequences is to show the consumer your brand cares about them and is always just a click away.

For instance, a shopper leaves their cart behind and a day passes. The sale may seem gone, that is until an email pops up the next day reminding the shopper to finish their purchase. A cute little tagline and photo of their car works wonders. Maybe they got interrupted or didn’t feel like grabbing their purse, but now your email is giving them second thoughts and they click back to finish the purchase.

Sophisticated CRM management software can make trigger-based email sequences an automatic process so you don’t have to lift a finger, but your customers feel like you gave them individualized attention. It’s a win-win situation.

Time-Based Email Sequences

The second type of email sequence is time-based. Sometimes referred to as automatic emails, these emails can also be scheduled ahead of time to email customers in a predetermined fashion.

For instance, every new customer that opts-in to your website or downloads content will receive a welcome email, and then thirty days after they sign up will receive a second email. Maybe you send out weekly emails that highlight your weekly specials and offer a piece of informative content. Set up the sequence once and let your email marketing campaign do the work for you so you can focus your efforts elsewhere without losing any leads.

If you want to talk about your email marketing, your CRM or marketing automation in general, book a call today or send us a quick note.

To download our sample email sequence, click here.

Social Media

How to Use Canva to Stand Out on Social Media

Creating eye-catching social media posts when you’re not an Adobe Photoshop or InDesign pro can be challenging. But gone is the era of stern and boring images for your social media pages.

If you lack the time or the desire to learn the Adobe suite to create stunning images and videos, Canva is the tool you need. This user-friendly online platform turns all of us Adobe suite foreigners into graphic designers, and for free (premium memberships available).

In short, Canva combines a myriad of publishing and editing tools into one online design platform, plus it gives you access to thousands of templates, images, fonts, stickers, and much more!

Follow this quick guide to learn how to create stunning images using Canva, easily and in no time at all.

Social Media

1) Choose your format

Whether you’re looking to create an image for a social media post, a brochure, a blog banner, or even a logo, you’ll find templates that fit the exact dimensions for the platform or design of your choice.

Upon login, click on the purple ‘Create a design’ button at the top right-hand corner and either select a custom size or choose a design from the suggested ones (i.e.: Facebook post). This will open a new window with a blank white page in the requested dimensions.

2) Start designing

You have a blank canvas in front of you. Now it’s time to make the magic happen. Choose from the hundreds of templates available for your specific dimensions or start creating your image from scratch.

i. Starting with a template

On the menu bar on the left side of your screen, you will find a ‘Templates’ tab. Scroll through the hundreds of them available to you and choose the one you prefer.

Once you’ve selected a template that works for the purpose of your post, swap out images for one of the thousands available under the ‘Images’ tab or upload your own through the ‘Upload’ tab.

ii. Starting from scratch

From the menu bar, choose to add images, text, or stickers to your creative. Canva offers thousands of elements to bring your vision to life, and makes it easy for you to search through their extensive library of elements with a search bar.

With access to hundreds of fonts, as well as elements such as frames, stickers, lines, shapes and even charts, Canva enables you to let your creative juices flow in the easiest way possible.

 

Social Media Likes

3) Save your image or video

While Canva automatically saves your designs every minute or so, it is always safer to take the time to click the ‘save’ button once in a while for good measure. To do so, click the ‘file’ menu tab in the top left-hand corner, then click ‘save.’

Once you are satisfied with your design, and the status bar you see at the top of the screen says ‘All changes saved,’ it is time to download your design. Simply click on the ‘download’ button and choose which format you want your design to be saved in, and click ‘download.’ Your design will automatically be saved in your download folder.

You now know how easy it is to create fun and eye-catching designs to supplement your social media posts and boost engagement on your pages. Take your time learning about the platform and experiment with everything it has to offer!

Digital Marketing

Quick Guide: Digital Marketing Foundations

The term digital marketing gets thrown around a lot these days. People know they need a well-designed website or a couple of posts on Instagram a week, but anything further than that seems a little intimidating. Pixels? Retargeting ads? 2% lookalike audiences for people aged 20-35?!

We know, it seems like a lot! Don’t worry though — digital marketing can be as simple or complicated as you make it. You don’t need big bucks to get some benefit, and a lot of the work is in laying a good initial foundation for your business.

Check these steps off your list, and you’re on your way to a digital marketing strategy that gets your amazing product in front of all the right people.

Digital Marketing

Know Your Customer

This one’s true for all marketing, but particularly useful in the digital space. Customers these days are drowning in choices. They can visit any e-shop in the world, all from the comfort of their couch.

With all that competition, you want to make sure your business gets seen by the right people. And to do that, you have to know who those right people are!

Answer these basic questions:

  • Who is my customer? Age, gender, geographic area, spending power, other interests.
  • Where do they spend their time online? Social media, reading blogs, watching videos, nonstop Netflix marathons.
  • Why did they go looking for your product? This is called a pain point, if you want to get jargon-y.

These are just starting points. The best way of figuring out the answers to these questions is by asking a real customer! Maybe you’re a rock star, and you understand every little detail about your customers, but it doesn’t hurt to double check with the real deal.

Create a Social Media Presence

Social MediaOn average, people spend 2.5 hours a day on social media. Let’s make the most of that time.

Since you now know where your customers spend all their time, you should know what social media they use the most! Make sure you set up social media accounts for your business. Even if you don’t post at all, it’s good to at least prevent other people from taking your name.

You SHOULD be posting though, since regular posts and interactions on social media boost your brand awareness and familiarity. On top of getting the word out about your great products, social media lets you interact with customers and your niche community in totally unique ways.

Some quick tips for building your social media presence:

  • Figure out your voice early. Some brands are relaxed and friendly, others are more formal. Whatever tone you decide to use, make sure it stays consistent. Your decision should align with what you just found out about your customers!
  • Find your industry hashtags. Every industry has its own subculture on social media. Try a quick Google of your industry + social media platform, to get an idea of what hashtags, groups, and trends you should be watching.
  • Stay visual. Use as many images and videos as you can. Posts that have accompanying media do better in terms of reach and engagement. Also, it’s just more fun.
  • Engage with your audience. Every now and then, ask a question to your followers. Try and get some dialogue going. People love to be listened to, so when appropriate, tag or reply to other accounts on the platform.

All of this work builds your credibility in the industry, with the added bonus of building a community of loyal customers around your brand.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Have you ever wondered how Google decides what search results to give you? Basically, Google has a complicated algorithm that decides if your site is relevant, easy-to-read, and trustworthy. The better you score on these three categories, the higher up on the page you’ll rank.

Of course, you want to be as close to the top of the search results as possible. Most people don’t bother scrolling to the bottom of page one, much less glimpse page two. To climb to the top of rankings, you’ll need good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on your site.

To improve your SEO, you first have to think about what sorts of things your customer searches for. These search terms are called “keywords.” The more keywords you have in your website content, the better your SEO is. While your content should already have a bunch of important keywords, it doesn’t hurt to have a quick skim through, and make sure that you’re writing about what your customers are looking for.

SEO is a pretty deep topic, and we promised a “quick” guide. So here’s a snapshot of what you need to know.

  • Keywords – You know your customer pretty well by now, right? Think about what they’re Googling, and make sure you’re answering that on your website.
  • Blogs – Google likes sites that are regularly updating with interesting content. For most sites, this means a blog. That’s why you see blogs on everyone’s site nowadays. They help with rankings, and they allow you to put different keywords into your site.
  • Yoast – We could list all the little technical things that go into SEO, (H1 tags, alt text, meta descriptions, etc.) or we could give you the handy dandy tool that spells it out for you. Yoast plugs into websites seamlessly and gives you a foolproof checklist for your pages and posts. Find it in your web host plugin section or right here.

Unlike most things in the digital landscape, SEO takes awhile to show results. Think of it as Google taking a bit of time to get to know your site. Keep at it though, and you’ll see your site climb the rankings soon enough.

Digital Marketing Foundations, Easy After All

That’s it for our quick guide on digital marketing. If you tick off everything on this list, you’re off to a great start in your digital marketing journey.

However, there’s always more you can learn and do to promote your business. Read our Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Tracking, if you want to dive into the wonderful world of digital advertising.

Still got questions? Let’s chat! We’re happy to help.

Pia Lim is a Content and Digital Marketing Specialist at Curve Communications. She’s got a passion for communication. Online or traditional, spoken or written, she’s interested in everything to do with sharing ideas and stories.

Social Media Strategy

4 Questions to Ask Before Creating Your Social Media Content Strategy

When it comes to creating your social media content strategy, it’s good to have a strong understanding of what you want to achieve before you dive in. That’s why we’ve curated our top four questions to ask yourself before creating your social media content strategy. By considering these four questions, you’ll find creating your monthly content will be much easier than you thought! Let’s get started.

Social Media Strategy

1) Do I understand my audience, and do I know where they “hang out” online?

This is the first question you should be asking yourself when it comes to creating your social media content strategy. Knowing who your audience is, and where you can find them online is a crucial aspect in creating meaningful, engaging, and worthwhile content. Here at Curve, we suggest that each of our prospective clients conduct a “discovery,” which is a deep dive into their company, their current marketing initiatives, and how they can better reach their target audience through our customer persona exercise.

Whether you’re a small local business or a large corporation, conducting a discovery analysis should be your first step. Understanding your brand as a whole will help you better understand what you want to work on, and how you should prioritize your time. The end result of a discovery not only answers the above question, but it gives you a crystal-clear roadmap of your marketing steps and who your target audience is.

2) Do I have a concrete plan for execution?

It’s great to have a better understanding of who you’re marketing to and how to execute your marketing, but without a concrete plan, what’s the point? We suggest assessing your current social media content strategy in what we call a social media audit and setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based (S.M.A.R.T.) goals that you can achieve on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. In doing so, you’ll find it easier to gauge your strategy’s success. And when it comes to creating your monthly content calendar, you’ll be able to execute with ease!

3) Do I have access to a social media scheduler that will work for me?

Scheduling your social media content across all platforms is one of the best things you can do. It saves time, allows you to create a month’s worth of content at once, and gives you peace of mind when you’re busy with other tasks.

Here at Curve, we’ve worked with a variety of social media scheduling software including Hootsuite, Planable, and Facebook’s Publishing Tools, all of which cater to the different needs of our clients. There are so many scheduling platforms out there at different price ranges, you’ll be able to find one that fits your needs and your budget accordingly.

4) Do I have the right content creation tools?

When it comes to creating content, it doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, but it does need to get your point across to your audience. If you’re just starting out with content creation, you’ll need access to the right tools to get the job done. Whether you’re looking for user-friendly graphic design platforms, digital writing assistance tools, or the best free stock images online, there are hundreds of places to find them. We’ve made it easy and rounded up our top three online tools here:

Canva is an online graphic design platform with thousands of templates, a great selection of fonts, and other graphic design elements that will come in handy. Canva offers a free version that includes access to a majority of their features, and the upgraded Canva Pro version costs you less than $20 a month. It’s a great investment that our team uses on a daily basis for organic social posts, Facebook and Instagram ads, branded presentations, and monthly reports.

Unsplash is an online library of more than two million FREE stock images. We use Unsplash on a daily basis for almost all of our clients. Unlike the traditional stock image websites like iStock and Adobe Stock, Unsplash allows the use of images for commercial purposes without needing to credit the artist or pay per image.

Grammarly is an online writing assistance tool that can be used virtually everywhere! We love Grammarly because it offers both free and paid versions, so you can choose a plan that best suits your work style. It’s an awesome tool to use if you spend a lot of time writing, even if it’s not directly for social content. Grammarly is great at catching the little things that we often look past, especially after a couple of rounds of editing!

Conclusion

Once you’ve answered all four questions, you’ll be off to the races! We’re sure you’ll have more than four questions when it comes to starting your content strategy, especially if you’re starting from scratch, and that’s totally okay! If anything, these questions will act as a basis for you to build from.

Interested in learning more about how Curve Communications works with our clients to build top-tier and engaging content? Book an appointment with our team here.

Have a drink, just relax

How To Manage Your Marketing Agency While Homeschooling in the Next Pandemic: A Non-Definitive Guide

Marketing, Parenting, and Pandemics

Amongst all the sourdoughing, online yoga and Zoom calls, all the “omg it’s soooo rewarding to spend this time with my family,” and the “let’s use lockdown to appreciate the relationships we have, the people we love, etc. so that hugs will be so much more meaningful in the future”s of 2020, I honestly can’t remember much about anything from March of last year to today. That is, aside from trying to homeschool while at the same time trying to pivot to help our clients (and ourselves) survive whatever fresh hell this has been, and of course pouring myself a large bowl of wine at 5:01pm – sleep and repeat…

There may well have been a pandemic in 1918, but I don’t remember the book those poor souls wrote on running a marketing company during a global shutdown, so that’s why I’m here now. Depending on which news outlet you believe these days, the next pandemic could be next Tuesday, or in another hundred years. In case it’s sooner than later, I thought I would write a handy future best-selling guide on How To Manage Your Marketing Agency While Homeschooling in the Next Pandemic.

Have a drink, just relax

1) You are a parent, not a teacher

Recognize that you did not choose to go into teaching for every single reason that properly-trained and educated teachers DO go into teaching. You do NOT have a general awareness of all (any) topics, nor a desire to teach said topics to young minds who may or may not be interested in them.

Furthermore, you are not capable of imparting correct information without Googling it first (and the right answer isn’t always on the first link you see – hey – that’s a little something I learned from marketing!) Oh – and you don’t really like other people’s kids. While many found, during “The Great Pandemic of 2020-to-what-feels-like-2099,” that they developed a new appreciation for all teachers, I also developed a new appreciation for the fact that I am not one.

2) Learn to balance marketing plans and child management

You will find that you can flush 12 months of marketing planning down the toilet with one hand, whilst simultaneously creating multiple new plans from scratch in minutes, not months, for a variety of clients who are having to switch their entire business models to online, e-commerce, delivery, etc. etc. – but you CANNOT teach a child to get their own glass of #$*!@! water so they don’t dehydrate and pass out in the next eight minutes – nope, you are gonna have to do that shit yourself.

3) Best laid plans are nothing to the harshest critics

Planning Board

Prepare for the fact that your beautiful Google sheets, Excel docs and wall charts (or whatever virtual, airborne system of witchcraft you now use to plot the future), long the envy of co-workers as a means to plan, document, and keep track of myriad campaigns, ensuring delivery is on time and on budget (and most importantly so that you see when anyone has a fun holiday coming up), will be viewed with utter disdain by your offspring when created in the form of a lesson plan.

They will scoff at your efforts in the same way a restaurant critic would react to an old cheese sandwich only fit to file your nails with, and they will walk away as you beg them to take a look… just one tiny look… because you worked so hard… you even got a pointy stick…

4) Wear all the hats, spin all the plates

As you juggle your clients with the skills of a plate spinner trying to set a plate spinning world record, while at the same time – in true marketing style – not letting any of the plates know that there are other plates, it’s perfectly acceptable to feed your child a bowl of dry Froot Loops for lunch.

5) Time management, don’t let time manage you

Regular school may end at 3pm, but homeschool ends whenever you goddamn say it ends.


 

The point is this – and it’s something we as marketers are guilty of (because if we can’t PR ourselves, who can we PR for?) – sometimes it’s all too much.

If we’ve learned anything in the past 12 months (apart from the fact that pandemics spawn a bafflingly large appreciation for words like “unprecedented,” “together,” and “now more than ever” FFS), it’s that memes telling us to be kind to ourselves, to go for a walk, to appreciate the good things, aren’t realistic when you are a business owner dealing with uncharted waters for yourself and all those you represent.

Amongst all the online advice on how to homeschool, and the (sometimes laughable) social media triteness to not sweat the small stuff, this is the post I’ve found the most relatable and realistic, and I hope that THIS is the message that survives above all else, and is shared by Marketing Moms in the next pandemic and beyond:

Parents: what we are being asked to do is not humanly possible.
There is a reason we are either a working parent, a stay-at-home parent,
or a part-time working parent.
Working, parenting and teaching are three different jobs that cannot be done at the same time.
It’s not hard because you are doing it wrong. It’s hard because it’s too much.
Do the best you can.
When you have to pick – because at some point you will – choose connection.
Pick playing a game over arguing about an academic assignment.
Pick teaching your child to do laundry rather than feeling frustrated that they aren’t helping. Pick laughing and snuggling, and reminding them that they are safe.
If you are stressed, lower your expectations where you can,
and virtually reach out for social connection.
We are in this together to stay well. That means mentally well, too.
– Emily W. King, Ph.D.

Small to Medium Business

5 No-Nonsense DIY Marketing Techniques for your Small or Medium-sized Business

Running a small to medium-sized business can be daunting and stressful, especially these days, and the thought of doing your own marketing is even more so – mainly because marketing probably isn’t your area of expertise. The key is to focus and don’t overreach. To keep things simple, here’s the Curve Communications simple step-by-step guide to marketing your business, whether it be business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C).

1) What is your unique sales proposition (USP)?

This is often referred to as your elevator pitch. Your business’ unique selling proposition (USP, also known as unique selling point) is what you do that differentiates your business from your competitors, such as the lowest cost, the highest quality or the first-ever product of its kind. A USP could be thought of as “what you have or do, that competitors simply don’t.” Refining your USP for internal and external marketing will help focus your team for best success moving forward. It will also provide clarity for your revenue team — marketing, sales and customer fulfillment. A USP isn’t a brag; it’s a valid point that reveals the most sellable thing about your business. Really think about what your customers want, and focus on how your product(s) or service(s) will uniquely provide the solution.

Here are some good examples of products with a clear USP that has been included right in the company tagline:

  • Anacin: “Fast, fast, incredibly fast relief”
  • Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free.”
  • FedEx: “When your package absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
  • M&Ms: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
  • Metropolitan Life: “Get Met. It Pays.”
  • Southwest Airlines: “We are the low-fare airline.”

What is your unique selling point?

2) Define your perfect customer or buyer persona

Your customer or buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your “ideal” customer. It is essentially someone who gets their exact needs met by what you’re offering. The more detailed or niched down your persona is, the more you will be able to target your marketing to that exact person. This will save you time and money on your marketing and make you more money. It will also be easier to measure success. Here are a few questions you can ask to start defining them:

  • How does this ideal client act?
  • What do they want?
  • What do they like or dislike?
  • What are their challenges?
  • What motivates them?

Remember: think about what exactly your buyer persona needs from you, not what you need from them. If you can target that customer persona and their motivations, you’ll increase your odds of real conversions or sales in the long run.

3) Getting your message to your customers

Picking which medium to use is a crucial step. If you have your USP and your customer persona defined, you can make the obvious – and sometimes intuitive – step of choosing the right platform to reach them. Is it Facebook, Instagram, Google Search, legacy media like direct mail, out-of-home, radio, print or TV or some other new form of media? The three main factors you should think about are your message, your audience, and your budget. By considering these factors, you can fully optimize your advertising and marketing successfully. No matter what medium you choose, your message, and how you deliver it, needs to both grab your potential customer’s attention, and show them how what you are selling can fulfill their needs and wants.

Once you have a good idea of where your customer is or what media they are consuming, depending on your budgets, you will need to decide whether this will be a paid campaign or some kind of free campaign like social media or public relations. No matter what, they all take time and money; and don’t forget, your TIME is money too, so don’t choose the cheaper option because it might cost you more in the long run. Often we tell our clients that if they don’t have time to do the work to get the free exposure (pitching media and writing content takes time), they should find some money to pay for marketing and put those funds into paid advertising. As the old saying goes, advertising is the publicity you pay for, PR is the publicity you pray for. To put it simply, it means that while advertising is paid media, public relations (PR) is earned media.

Target Persona

4) Content and advertising

Assuming you already have a website that tells your story and sells your brand, make sure it communicates your USP and is written for your perfect customer as noted in points 1 and 2. Coming up with messaging that causes your perfect customer to ACT, is something different altogether. For both your ads and your content, consider this list from Target Public:

  • What Makes You Stand Out?
  • Use A Powerful Headline
  • Make Them An Offer
  • Talk About The Benefits
  • Tell Your News
  • Take Away Their Fear
  • Call To Action
  • Make It Seem Urgent
  • Use Testimonials
  • Use Exciting Graphics
  • Complete Contact Information

5) Measure and Scale

Marketing your small or medium-sized business does not guarantee a sale or a new customer, but it sure helps. If you follow the above steps, you can grow your business.

Before you start, make sure you have what you need to measure and scale your marketing and for that matter, your business itself. First you need to decide what you want to achieve financially from your marketing, also known as your marketing return on investment (ROI).

Return on investment is a metric that compares how much a team EARNS, to how much it COSTS. It’s calculated using a simple formula: [(money gained – money spent) / money spent] x 100 = ROI.

So if you spend $100 on customer service and, as a result of that service, you earn $150, your return on investment is 50% (150 – 100 = 50; 50 / 100 = 0.5; 0.5 x 100 = 50%). The formula works for product ROI too.

Small to Medium Business

Generally, we recommend that clients spend around 10% of their budget on marketing, which can include a wide array of items including advertisements, staff, events and so on. Based on that math, the above-noted product would require $15 to market as part of your “money spent” portion. In other words, you should be willing to spend $15 for every $150 sale.

Assuming you want to make 1000 sales in a year, then your gross marketing budget should be 15 x 1000 = $15,000. Likely for many small businesses, that is a manageable budget for media like Google, Facebook and others. But you need to be efficient, and you will need to test and measure before you scale.

Testing requires that you know where a lead or sale comes from. With digital marketing, that is pretty straightforward, but with people phoning or walking in the door, you need to find other ways to track sales. And remember, your ads or other marketing initiatives may not hit the perfect ROI at first, but you should always have a goal.

The good news is, once you hit that magical ROI, you will have information to scale and really start growing your business, which is what future marketing of your business is all about.


 

By George Affleck, Founder and President of Curve Communications. If you want to talk to George about your company’s marketing strategy, click here to access his schedule.

Track Users on Your Site

Beginner’s Guide: How to Track Conversions with the Facebook Pixel

In business, the ability to see direct results from advertising efforts matters a lot. That might seem simple in theory, but many lack the tools and knowledge to track those results and be able to tie them to specific marketing and advertising campaigns. This guide will help you understand the different ways to measure results and track conversions on Facebook through a powerful tool called the Facebook Pixel.

Understanding the Facebook Pixel

Facebook is a powerful marketing platform that can bring much success to your business if used correctly. In the last few years, Facebook has developed its tracking tools to provide marketers with the ability to get the most accurate data. And the one tool at the centre of all tracking efforts is the Facebook pixel.

This snippet of HTML code (which can be generated from every advertiser’s Business Manager account) is added on the backend of your site and tracks information about the people who interact with your ads. The Facebook pixel follows those people when they visit your website, tracking their interactions with it, the pages they visit, and down to the actions they take such as filling out a form or purchasing an item. From the moment a visitor enters your site, the Facebook pixel will track them and continue to gather information about them, such as their age, gender, location, interests, etc.

Keep reading this article to find out how to set up your Facebook pixel and conversion tracking events.

Track Users on Your Site

Setting up your Facebook Pixel

Setting up your Facebook pixel is simple and takes under ten minutes. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Go to ‘Event Manager’ on your Business Manager page
  • Click the green ‘plus’ connect data sources button and select ‘web’
  • Select ‘Facebook pixel’ and click ‘connect’
  • Add your pixel name
  • Enter your website URL to check for easy setup options
  • Click ‘continue’
  • Then copy the pixel and paste it in the header section of your website, just above the closing head tag and save.

Tracking conversions with the Facebook Pixel

Now that your Facebook pixel has been set up, it’s time to set up conversion tracking. There are a few ways you can track Facebook conversions using the Facebook pixel. Depending on the type of conversion you are looking to track, some might be more appropriate than others.

a) Basic tracking with the Facebook pixel

By setting up your Facebook pixel, Facebook will automatically set up basic traffic tracking for you.
Go to ‘Event Manager’ on your Business Manager page. There you should see a graph and data resembling this:

Facebook Graph

The graph gives you a visual representation of the traffic directed to your site, while the event ‘Pageviews’ gives you the exact number of visitors your site is getting.

b) Tracking direct purchases with a Custom Conversion event

The easiest way to track direct purchase conversions on an e-commerce site is to set up a Custom Conversion event on your Business Manager page. All you need is a custom URL (such as a Thank You URL). By setting up a unique Thank You URL and automatically redirecting everyone who has made a purchase to that URL, Facebook will be able to know that the person who visited that specific URL is a conversion.

How to set it up:

  • Create a custom URL such as www.yourbrand.com/thank-you-purchase-abcd/
  • Make sure traffic that purchases something gets redirected to that URL and that your Facebook pixel has been set up correctly on your site and tracks traffic on ALL pages
  • Go to ‘Events Manager’ on your Business Manager page and then to ‘Custom Conversion’
  • Name your Custom Conversion tracker, select your data source and set your ‘Rules’ as ‘URL’ ‘Contains,’ and the URL you set up. DO NOT set it up as equals, as the URL will assign a unique number to each customer and thus won’t be the exact URL you set up.
  • Click on the blue ‘Create’ button and let Facebook work its magic.

Tracking conversions without the Facebook Pixel

If you are looking for a quick way to know if investing in Facebook advertising is worth it and will get you ROI, here’s what you need to do:

  • Run a Lead Generation ad (ad where Facebook users fill out a form directly on your ad without leaving Facebook) and see how many leads you generate and convert. Lead Gen ads give you live data on whether or not your advertising efforts work and are worthwhile on Facebook.
  • Set up a discount code specific for Facebook and run a traffic ad (ad with a button leading to an external page such as your website or a landing page). By using a discount code specific to the Facebook/Instagram platform, you can easily track conversions and know your ROI.

Now you know the ins and outs of the Facebook pixel and how to track conversions. If, despite this guide, you are still lost and need help, reach out to our team at contact@curvecommunications.com.

plan_built_for_you@2x

How to Write Blog Posts That Drive the Right Traffic to Your Website (And It’s Way Easier Than You Think)

This week I gave my agency team the ultimate challenge: 52 blog posts in 52 weeks.

The ideas for post subjects came from a list of attention-grabbing headlines I found on a Facebook group (btw — Facebook groups are great places for inspiration and knowledge building), courtesy of Vietnam-based content provider Jos Aguiar (https://iamjosaguiar.com/).

Ready to Blog

I was surprised at how excited my team got. I sent them 74 possible headlines (see full list below) and said first come first served. In other words, whoever tagged their favourite headline first would likely make their life easier on the writing side.

Now — to be clear — just because Curve Communications does marketing and advertising does not mean all of us are writers. So the idea of writing 500 words on any subject did intimidate some, but it also thrilled others, mostly based on their writing skill levels.

The thing is, any small to medium-sized business can do this, and I would argue they NEED to do it. Content on your website and in your social feeds is king. Original content that is helpful and that evokes the personality of your business is even more crucial to engaging your current audience and enticing new people to buy your products or services.

The key to this process is to be fast at it. Choose your title, fill in the blanks, and start writing based on your knowledge base. You don’t have to be an expert but one would assume that if you own a small business, you likely are skilled at what you do. The fact is, once you have the title of the piece, the hard work is done.

I am writing this first piece of the series right now – so far, what you have read has taken me ten minutes to write. I am a pretty good writer, but I’m also a major procrastinator when it comes to getting my fingers on the keyboard. So if you are like me, or like some of my staff who are challenged by time or a writing focus, there are some shortcuts you can take.

For my team, I have said I will let them outsource the work, but they have to come up with a title first using the list below. Sites like Fiverr.com, CrowdContent.com, and Upwork.com are perfect for finding great writers. Or if they really want to, the reluctant writer in my group might want to slip 50 bucks to a fellow team member and get them to do the work. However, I am hoping they don’t do that and instead take the time to write what they know better than most. It should be a proud moment to shine.

So — what are you waiting for? You too could have 52 articles about your business’ focus that will be helpful to your customers or clients and drive new visitors to your website. And — in a way — it’s great to build team spirit and share knowledge internally and externally. Right, team?!

Stay tuned to this page and our social feeds because over the next 52 weeks there WILL be new content here from a variety of sources, giving you a ton of great marketing information, and it will hopefully inspire you to do the same. Happy New Year!

(74 Killer Headlines for your Blogs!)

74 Great Headlines

George Affleck is the Founder of Curve Communications, a Vancouver-based digital marketing agency focused on lead generation for small and medium-sized businesses. His team loves it when he comes up with ideas like this. If you would like to chat with George about your business’ marketing, schedule a free consultation here.