Are You Asking This Important Question?

Wednesday, 01 August 2018 Written by Published in Projects

how to determine your marketing budget

What is your annual marketing budget? No, that’s not the important question, the important question is this “How did you hear about us?”, and here’s why – unless you are quantifying your marketing efforts, you will never know what drives people to your business and where your marketing dollars are making an impact.

If someone orders a sales item that you’ve spent money to advertise on your social media, paid to update your website or had signs designed and printed for your windows, how do you know what caught their eye and created a sales success for your company unless you dig down and ask the question?

Does the question seem awkward to ask?  Practice it and after just a handful of people, it will be part of your natural rapport. Plus, it opens communication with your customers and you’ll get to know them better.  Customers remember where they feel appreciated and heard, and it can be a deciding factor in your getting repeat business.

Make this part of your entire staff’s training.  Create an easy-to-use, trackable system to record the data. Update the tracking system when you make a change.  When you make a change, pointedly ask the question to your patron, e.g. “did you see our ad on the website, too?”, “what did you think of our new sign outside?”, “did you use our app/read our newsletter?”  It’s ok to ask.  It’s ok to drill down.  It’s how you get feedback and it’s how you improve your company.

Do You Need A Secure Website

If your business or website can be found via Google, you’ll want to read this next part: Free SSL certificate offers can do more harm than good.  We’ve been receiving a lot of questions from companies who are receiving email offers and robocalls about ways to make their website HTTPS secure.  We’ll talk about why being certified secure is important in a moment, but first, here are the issues with the offers you may be receiving:

  • They may be a bait-and-switch program.  A salesperson may offer a “free trial” only to begin charging you an exorbitant amount of money down the road.
  • “Free offers” sometimes translate to the option of issuing a self-signed SSL.  Self-signed SSL’s are certificates that an organization may certify for themselves rather than a certificate issued and verified by a trusted Certificate Authority.  While self-signed SSL’s are free of charge so they are appealing, they come with many downfalls, mainly that they will pop up security alert warnings to your site traffic.  This may scare off your visitors, and ultimately it can cost you your customers’ trust and impact your brand reputation.
  • Fake SSL’s exist.  Fake SSL’s means that your web visitors’ information is not properly encrypted and can be intercepted without detection.  It’s important to get your SSL certificate from a reputable and trusted resource.
  • Improperly applied SSL’s can disrupt your site and how it functions, both externally and internally. What seems like a simple security addition may break your email client, or worse.

SSL certificates can deeply impact your company.  Google has been pushing for companies to switch from an HTTP to an HTTPS site since 2014.  The goal is to encrypt sites so that both the company and the user’s data are protected.  This is a very good thing, however, doing so incorrectly can cause headaches, even loss of business and have legal ramifications.

You’ll notice on browsers, like Chrome, that if your site does not have an HTTPS it will be flagged as “Not Secure”. You’ll also notice that if you do a Google search, your company will not have a green lock next to the result.  Not having the green lock can do a couple things:

  • You may drop down in Google’s ranking
  • You may be harder to find in search results
  • You may notice a deep dip in website traffic
  • Customers will hesitate to visit a site that is not SSL-secure, especially if they are entering information such as their credit card number or social security number.

If you are ready to switch from an HTTP to an HTTPs, it is vital to have your site assessed so that nothing is broken by the changeover.  Each and every client is different, which is why A Media Marketing offers a free consultation to determine what is the safest and best practice to upgrade/update a website’s SSL-certificate.  If you’re ready to get your green flag and improve your website’s encryption, schedule your review today. Contact Us Now

 

Can a Cat Beat the Social Media Algorithm?

Tuesday, 03 July 2018 Written by Published in Projects

can a cat beat the social media algorithm

Oh, social media, you had us at algorithm. What I mean by “had us”, is you confused us, toyed with us, and made us change our approach, again…and again…and oh, yes, it will happen again. Anyone marketing on social media knows there have been drastic changes over the past 24 months, and social media platforms are not making it easier.


What’s the algorithm, why should you care, and can you master it?
If your lifestyle is in anyway dependent on marketing and customer reach, you should care about the algorithms employed by sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. We could say an algorithm is a deep, dark cauldron full of toad stools and magic beans, that somehow determines our entire social media presence, but that’s overkill. It’s simply an incredibly complex, ever-changing set of parameters that determine what we see, how often we see it, and for some reason thinks it knows better than we do what we’re interested in. Algorithms are understood to be a necessary evil to filter the “best results” for the platform’s customers, and lots of people invest truckloads of time, money, and energy into competing with other algorithms to keep your attention. Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick and easy handbook to follow; it takes observation, practice, and testing to see if you are mastering the algorithm.


Social media moguls have been listening to their users about their dissatisfaction regarding the inundation of sponsored ads and are finding ways to maximize THEIR customers’ experience, not YOUR customers’ experience.
(That’s important to keep in mind when planning your marketing approach; it’s best to not put all your eggs in one social-media basket.) Through a process called Deep Learning, Facebook has been a pioneer of sorts manufacturing its newsfeeds into a balance of viral fluffy pet videos, family and friends, and advertising. Whether or not you’re spending ad dollars on a social media platform, you may be noticing that your reach is not going as far for the money you are spending. It’s because through processes, like Deep Learning, the social media platform can guesstimate if your post is going to be engaging or not and determine if they want to use their precious balancing time to promote your particular post.

Do not despair! This does not mean that the big guys, like Coca-Cola and As Seen On TV, automatically receive the bulk of the allotted advertising spots. They may not be getting their dollar’s worth either because their ads do not have what the social media platforms desire:

  1. Connecting, emotional story lines. This is why big brands are partnering with more influencers because influencers can have bookends on their videos and platforms, they can plug an item midway through a video, and so on. The impression goes further when it’s delivered or partnered correctly.

  2. Image recognition. Have you liked more than five posts with cats? Well, then by gum, you are going to see more cats! Deep Learning tracks the images that appeal to you and will show you similar images as often as they can to keep you on their app. Does your brand make the most of image recognition without being tagged as “fake news” or “spam”? Be honest in your pitch. If people like office furniture and you sell office furniture, then show them office furniture. With a cat on it.

  3. Death on Click Bait! Social media has been hit hard by fraud and fake news, often driven through click bait so they are fighting back. Learn what click bait is and how to avoid it.

  4. Engagement. Likes aren’t enough anymore to ensure more impressions will be made. It’s truly about conversation. Struggling with engagement? Ask friends and family to engage. Pay a homemaker, a college student, or a retiree to comment “Wow, that’s great” and then make sure your social team replies with “Thanks, it’s also on sale this week. What color would you like?” or something equally brilliant. Ask questions. Start a poll. Start a hashtag. Be creative, but work on your engagement. Create posts and test to determine what is the most engaging way to involve YOUR audience. Test often because the algorithm changes and what worked in July may not work in October.

  5. Reachability. On TV, sometimes you’ll see national advertisements for products or services that you can’t buy in your area. That’s not as likely to happen on social media because advertisers have the power to select fairly specific demographics and locations, and that impacts the algorithm.

  6. Oh, there’s more. There’s LOTS more. Remember, this algorithm is complex and ever-changing. That’s why it’s important to be fluid, alert, and adaptable.


Want to learn more about social media advertising and the algorithms?
Schedule social media training with Leslie Laney at A Media Marketing. Contact us today!

 

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