Millennials: Changing the Marketing Game One Day at a Time

Millennials – you can’t go anywhere without hearing about them, including this CMG blog! But, why? Millennials make up 23.3% of the US population right now and companies need to start marketing to this group before it’s too late! Your great aunt on Facebook may say that millennials are lazy, self-righteous, unwilling to work, and self absorbed. Now that may be true for some, but this demographic makes up a huge part of the US workforce and accounts for $65 billion in consumer spending per year. And this will only continue to grow.

Some of you may still be unsure of who actually fits in this generation, you may actually be a millennial yourself.  Millennials include anyone born between the years of 1983 and 1999. These people are highly aware of what images and advertisements they let affect them. They spend much of their day behind a screen, whether computer, phone, or other. So, businesses –  take note!

 

Want to learn more about how to appeal to this stakeholder generation? Here are a few tips:

Avoid “hype” and “fake news”

With so much content out there, advertisers are fighting for digital space, and if you’ve got it, you better make it worthwhile. Millennials aren’t going to waste their time on an ad or site that has low quality images, out of date text, misspelled words, or other errors. They want to get the information they need and get out. Use professional design tips and tricks, incorporate high quality images, and modern fonts and colors. These strategies will increase credibility and attract those hard to get clicks.

Be on the right apps

 

via GIPHY

With so many platforms out there it is easy to misstep when planning on where to advertise. Although Facebook was created to cater towards college students, millennials spend their time elsewhere. Facebook has become increasingly popular for women aged 50+. Millennials still have FB accounts to keep up with extended family or use the popular Facebook Messenger feature, but their time on the platform is scarce and decreasing as other apps become increasingly popular.

Instagram and Snapchat are the winners in the game for millennial attention. These platforms create small bits of information and allow for more creativity and customization for the user. You can check in multiple times throughout the day, you’ll likely never see duplicate or recurring posts, and you are able to keep up with friends 10 seconds at a time. On the other hand, 32% of millennials use Twitter, this is down from years past but this platform is still holding strong for many users. Social media is exceedingly popular not just for millennials but for many age groups. Being present on these outlets is essential for any company striving to have a strong online presence.

 

Cohesive branding is key

Millennials are less likely to follow through with brands that are not cohesive. Companies that have different messages, logos, colors, and images are confusing. Your marketing components should have a common thread that forms a connection in the minds of consumers. If the content that you release is visually related, targeted millennials will form a positive brand image in their minds and are more likely to interact with these companies in the future.

Invest in the right kind of advertising

Millennials are getting force fed information through every outlet they spend their time on. Typical ads are being overlooked all the time, so how do you avoid this? Eye-catching, trendy advertisements such as interactive video are more likely to catch the attention of millennials and others alike.

Avoid something like this!

A few great looking ads make a greater impact than a large number of ads that look “spammy” or like clickbait. Professional ads can leave a lasting impression. Low quality ads that come up and follow you everywhere can leave an even stronger impression in a bad way. Retargeting is a great way to get the attention of potential customers, but these buyers don’t want to see a cheap advertisement. A professional, attractive ad may be all it takes to turn a first (or second, or third!) impression into a lasting relationship. By investing your money in the right ways you are able to form a positive relationship that can turn into future sales.

 

Millennials have a huge amount of buying power, the time to start getting their attention and brand loyalty is now. By following these recommendations, you will start seeing a return from this influential demographic!

If you need to rethink your branding or advertising strategy, contact Columbia Marketing Group today!

Santa at the Movies: A Real-Life Email Marketing Fable

Many business owners I meet emphatically push back when I mention email. “No way! I hate spam email! I get so much!”

Thanks to the hyper aggressive retailers of the world – we get it. That being said, email is still a FANTASTIC, low cost way to reach your customers, if done strategically. If you’re not doing email – YOU SHOULD BE.

Let me give you an example. I have two daughters, Avery (age 4) and Autumn (age 3). On December 11, I took them to see the new Disney movie, Moana. We’ve seen previews for weeks and have been in total countdown mode. “Mom, how much longer till Moana? Three days?? Yay! Two days? YAY!!”

Moana Day arrived, and two excited little girls danced at my feet in the ticket line. When the salesperson handed me the tickets, she also gave me a tiny slip of paper. Here’s what it said:

Santa at Moana

Are. You. Kidding. ME???

Mommy is mad!

Had I known I could’ve waited one week and bought my girls to see Moana AND SANTA at the same time, AND get free tickets to come see another movie – I would’ve been all over that! But there I was, with two deliriously happy little preschoolers, tickets in hand eye-balling the popcorn. Message delivered TOO LATE.

So – are you a local business owner, not taking advantage of email? Then consider this:

Your loyal customers WANT to hear from you.

Point made above. I walked out of the theater saying, “Where do I sign up to get this info faster??” Seriously. It’s not spam if it contains free useful info and offers your customers can redeem to get the products and services they want.

72% of consumers say that email is the way they prefer to communicate with businesses.

Facebook doesn’t work anymore.

Not without paying, that is. The data varies, but some sources are saying that un-paid Facebook posts only reach 2% of the people who like your page. 2%. Let that sink in. So if you have a modest following of 500 fans or less – then your fun, creative, time-consuming Facebook posts will MAYBE reach 10 people.

I follow the local movie theater on Facebook and never saw their post about the Moana/Santa special.

Facebook has sucked the ROI right out of organic post strategy for small businesses. It’s sad but true. We don’t even recommend that small businesses invest time and money into growing likes of their Facebook page anymore. Boosted posts and larger scale Facebook campaigns to a targeted local audience are what will deliver return in 2017.

Email continues to deliver ROI, and will in 2017.

Marketers would not invest in email if it weren’t delivering results. Don’t believe me? Just check out EmailIsNotDead.com, a lovely little resource that reviews all the best email studies and published literature. Here are the highlights:

  • 80% of content marketers use email marketing.
  • 55% of companies generate more than 10% of sales from email.
  • Email is 40x better for acquiring new customers than social media advertising.

Don’t be an angry mom whose kids missed their chance to see Santa at the movies. Be one of the smart marketers in 2017 getting massive ROI from email.

Why you can’t ignore Google Plus anymore

Google Plus is often times considered the red-headed step child of social media platforms. With only around 300 million of its 2.5 billion accounts still alive and kicking, it is a shock that the social media network made it to its fifth birthday.

The +1 on Google Plus is similar to Facebook and Twitter likes.
The +1 on Google Plus is similar to Facebook and Twitter likes.

But despite its lack of hype, the platform holds the key to one sector that all other networks lack: search engine optimization (SEO). With a parent like Google, the king of all search engines, local businesses ought to adopt Google Plus account if it means increasing organic ranking on search engine results. By increasing this ranking, your business will stand out among your competitors.

Here, we highlight five ways that Google Plus can help strengthen a local business’ online presence.

1. Google Plus has a strong influence on SEO.

Building a strong network, or “circle,” on Google Plus has a stronger impact on search engine results than your Facebook or Twitter presence. According to one metric, Google +1s (comparable to Facebook and Twitter likes) had the single highest correlation with Google search rankings compared to other social signals. In other words, it takes more Twitter and Facebook likes to have the same impact on SEO as Google Plus interactions.

Building support on Google Plus may be easier than it sounds. Although there is a limited amount of activity on the platform, there’s a pretty good chance that your loyal customers and employees already have a Google Plus account. Gmail, the most popular free email service in the world, can be easily linked to a Google Plus account without the need to fill out a separate account set-up form.

If you, a family member, friend or loyal customer already have a personal Gmail account, you can easily build a circle and start generating +1’s on your company’s content.

2. Google Plus can amplify your Google My Business account.

Want to increase the visibility of your Google My Business account? Utilize Google Plus, an already built-in tool that allows you to post updates in the same way as a Facebook status or tweet.

If you create an individual account for your business, Google will automatically create a default account. You want to make sure to post to the "brand" account, linked to Google My Business.
The “Brand Account” is linked to Google My Business.

As a local business trying to attract people searching for services in your area, it is important to stand out among your local competitors. One way you can amplify your Google presence is to begin building an active Google Plus presence. And there’s a good chance your competitors are not already tapping into this useful tool.

The tricky part with this is you want to make sure that you’re posting to your “brand” account rather than the default account provided by Google. The “brand” account is linked to your Google My Business account, rather than the default account provided when signing up for any Google services account.

3. Google Plus pairs well with other Google services.

Along with platforms such as Gmail and Google My Business, the Google family also includes YouTube which reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any cable network in the United States.

Your Google Plus account will strengthen your presence across all Google platforms. Already have an active Youtube presence? Strengthen your web presence by creating a Google Plus page for your channel or videos.

Another way you can utilize your Google Plus account is to provide a strong social presence. Want to respond to a positive or negative review about your business? Create accountability by interacting through your Google Plus account.

4. You can recycle content from Facebook for more visibility.

Google Plus operates a lot like a Facebook page. There are no limits on the number of characters to use and your website links will create a visual preview. To amplify your reach, posting to more than one social network will attract different users. Not to mention, Google Plus posts are more likely to show up in search engine results than Facebook posts.

If you want to maximize the number of keyword searches that drive traffic to your website, cross-posting content to Google Plus is a great way to increase the visibility of your content.

5. The more routes you create to your website, the better it is for your web performance and Google ranking.

Like mentioned before, social signals are likely to increase your Google ranking, along with organic website visits. Google Plus may not be the most popular social network out there, but it does serve as a useful tool for increasing your web presence. The service is also free if you already have a Google My Business account.

Interested in using this tool to increase your web traffic and improve your online image? Follow this quick guide for getting started. 

NAP errors: a common problem for Mid-Missouri businesses

NAP – what the heck does that stand for?

In the world of web, NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone Number. Over 50 online directories list business names, addresses, and phone numbers and affect what comes up when individuals search for businesses. Two of the most popular and important directories are Google My Business and Yelp.

NAP errors happen when inconsistent or incorrect name, address, or phone number information appears in these directory listings.

A Common Problem in Columbia and Jefferson City

We’ve found that NAP errors are extremely common in Mid-Missouri. Many Columbia and Jefferson City businesses experience 30%, 60%, or even 100% error rates.

Why worry about NAP errors?

Here are 4 reasons:

  • Today, 4 in 5 consumers search for local businesses online. Being found in local searches is critical to your success.
  • When consumers find incorrect information online, 73% lose trust in that business.
  • Incorrect information online causes small businesses to lose potential customers.

Fixing NAP Errors

How easy is it to fix NAP errors on your own? Not as easy as you’d think. It can be tricky to prove ownership and claim listings. The process is normally slow, laborious, and sometimes ineffective.

But, it can be done – just check with each directory to confirm the process for claiming and updating listings.

Here’s a list of the top 50 local directories.

Remember to keep an eye out – if listings aren’t claimed, they can be changed by competitors, and sometimes the directories change without permission if they detect new NAP information from another source.

A More Efficient and Effective Option

If you don’t have time to monitor 50 local directories on a monthly basis – then consider a power listing option. CMG offers a power listing service that due to unique integrations, can correct your NAP errors in one click.

In addition, you can add featured content (like special offers, photos, or menus) at any time. Small changes to directories each months helps boost your local search visibility.

And, as part of an overall reputation management offering, this system monitors online reviews and allows you to respond or share them with one click as well.

Interested in CMG’s power listing service? Contact us today or call Jamie: 573-480-1319.