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Pat Dwight

Pat Dwight

17 April 2019 Blog

Persuasion

Ways to 'High Five'

It’s often hard to persuade people to evaluate your product or service … especially if they’ve never heard of you. So how do you turn that around? Keep in mind that your marketing message should focus on content that’s relevant to your audience. So exactly what’s it takes to actually do that?

1.  Introductions Matter

The importance of your “About Us” ranks on top. It’s your chance to establish credibility and highlights what you stand for. Nike has done a great job of doing this. After reading their “About Us” page, consumers quickly ‘get’ that the company’s objective supports people similar to them who are at different stages of their fitness journey. 

2.  You Have What ‘They’ Want

Rather than jot down a series of campaign slogans, consider how your company culture connects with your base. Think about your consumers’ emotional needs—not just the ones provided by the competition. Finding the emotional “hooks” in your message differentiates your product from all the others. Start telling people about it.

3.  Crystalize Product/Service Benefits

Balance the emotional impact with facts ... a generic “ours is better than theirs” statement won’t get you there. Offering them stats and real testimonials defining your product’s superiority is the secret ingredient for success. Just start writing facts down and you’ll see the powerful messages you may have overlooked.

4.  Prove It

Combining an emotional thread with logical reasoning is a solid first step to good creative, but until you keep those promises, it’s all empty boasting. Once you decide what qualities create a long-term connection with consumers, enlist the help of your entire organization to bring those ambitions home. Otherwise, your customers might feel they’ve been misled.

5.  Counter Competitive Messages

This is a tricky strategy but can be done with fines by mentioning your competition by name. The trick is to do it without sounding boastful or tasteless. Next, be sure to showcase your weaknesses in a positive way. A perfect example of this happened years ago when Avis came in second behind Hertz in annual sales statistics. Avis quickly developed a tagline “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder.” Simple taglines such as this don’t brag to attract customers—but rather reveal a company’s strengths and honesty.

6. Let Er Rip

Perhaps the most straightforward but hardest motivator is your Call to Action which requires

Being Concise – get their attention and Being Specific-- guide them in the right direction. Get the, there by explaining their next steps as clearly as possible. By using action words such as “buy,” “download,” or “submit” in your Call to Action, you don’t limit your outreach to those who already understand how your business works.

The objective of effective creative is to make a lasting impact on consumers which results in them taking the next step – learn more or purchase. The above persuasion marketing tactics establish stronger connections to those you wish to attract or retain … and isn’t that the point?

Just know that your message should focus on content that’s relevant to your audience and not just toss in clever words and attractive graphics.

Strategic use of persuasion usually turns potential consumers into active customers. Sounds easy but sometimes pulling the components together require a bit of help. That’s where HQZ Experts can assist. If you’re message isn’t working, let us offer some fresh ideas and new approaches.

HQZ Experts assists clients in creating effective B2B marketing tactics to manage, track and refine content marketing approaches.  Let's talk about your approach

Call us and learn more - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

Yes You Can Recycle Stuff

Simple and easy steps help strengthen your social media content.

Rewrite:

Take a look at your ‘past’ content library to see where you can pull tidbits of information then create new content from that material. Often older pieces still contain relevant takeaways or quotes that your universe finds valuable. This also helps extend or reinforce the life of your content.

Reorganize:

Segment or select sections of a larger asset to create smaller, more detailed breakout pieces. For instance, pull stats or key figures from an infographic and repurpose them in new posts as the focal point. Doing so expands the length of a campaign and highlight relevant sections by channel audience interests.

Retire:

Remove posts that are outdated. Social media is instantaneous, so the last thing you want is to have your brand appear out of touch. Since you still occasionally want to reference old social content, create archive folders to keep the content alive, with less visibility.

Redesign:

Transform an old piece into a new piece. Sometimes an asset just needs refreshed branding to feel new again, and there’s really no reason to reinvent the wheel. Consider taking an existing asset and designing it for a different audience.

Because the electronic universe is so vital you have lots of options in ‘refreshing’ used slogans, photos, statistics or studies … there’s always new eyes searching for information and interesting material.

HQZ Experts assists clients in creating effective B2B marketing tactics to manage, track and refine content marketing approaches.  Let's talk about your approach

Call us and learn more - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

Improvise Then Take Your Chances

Growing your company gets tougher all the time. But, since marketing your business requires blasting your company’s unique story, it’s wise to frequently re-examine your marketing content. If you expect to be competitive and grow your business, you gotta plan for success … it’s just not optional. Businesses that ‘wing it’ - with no strategy or plan – will always be disappointed. And, creating a plan, yet not using it is worse!

Nominal Basics You Should Already Know:

  1. Goals & Objectives: The most common goals include increasing website traffic, growing social audiences, and increasing contact form submissions or newsletter signups. It’s not all that hard.
  2. Audience Segmentation & Characteristics: Know your target audience - their motivations, pain-points and what they’re searching for: keyword researches, website analytics and a sales team that already knows the customer’s profile.
  3. Brand Message: Content marketing strategies must define and tell your brand’s story - the message you want to communicate to your audience. TELL THEM what sets you apart from your competition.
  4. Multi-Channel Connections: Customer relationships include multi-touch points on multiple channels (social media, search, digital ads, news posts, customer review sites, etc.) Select your channels based on how it specifically helps you most effectively reach your audience. Then define your specific objectives for each channel.
  5. Content Types: From blogs and ads to podcasts and videos, define the content types and tactics you plan to use for each. Always consider whether you’re trying to attract, engage or convert in a target’s buying cycle.
  6. Content Topics: Content marketing must provide the best answer to what your audience seeks, and when and where they search for it; then determine whether your content fulfills those needs.
  7. Measure Results: Measure the effectiveness of your content marketing and the channels where you promote. Doing so highlights whether you’re hitting your objectives, and if not revise as needed.

To find your balance, experiment and improve, measure conversions and tie activity to revenue. Doing so identifies which metrics to focus on; and if yours don’t, begin using the steps defined above NOW.

AND NOW PHASE 2:

Paid Promotions

Since 66% of companies use paid methods to distribute content (meaning that a third of marketers rely on organic reach and existing subscribers as the resource for placing their content) it’s critical to at least evaluate paid social media and paid search ads to incorporate comprehensive content promotion.

Build A Community

Only about 20% of B2B marketers use community building and audience participation to nurture followers; but it often helps to participate in forums through social media by encouraging 2-way conversation.

Get / Use Customer Intel

Marketers rely on good data, yet customer conversations aren’t mainstream for most research (only 50% of companies talk directly to their customers.) First-hand knowledge from real customers in real-time is invaluable, so implement steps for your sales and customer service teams to collect customer data then share it with you!

Tie Content to Buyer

The buyer’s journey should trace everything from keyword and topic selection to final purchase. Focus on blending the ‘Attract’, ‘Engage’ and ‘Convert’ content stage, with the emphasis on “Attract”.

Invite Influencers In

It’s good to develop relationships with influencers who can help promote your content. Through co-creating with influencers you’ll see a boost in motivation, amplification, and attraction to the new message. Just keep it simple.

Own Your Audience

Social media sites own your audience on their platforms and you just pay them for access to those customers. So, it’s crucial to bring your audience to your own universe – which occurs by building a subscribed audience that allows them to opt into your content (and likely into your community).

Measure Your ROI

Proving the value of your work via ROI matters because you get larger budgets for the next planning cycle. And, effective measurement and reporting matters to management since it benefits any organization looking to improve their bottom line.

Tactical content marketing management has to happen, and yes it is risky but the steps help you get started or fine tune your marketing strategy ... stimulate customers or prospects.  If you wing it again your results won't improve.  That's why your next step matters!

HQZ Experts assists clients in creating effective B2B marketing tactics to manage, track and refine content marketing approaches.  Let's talk about your approach

Call us and learn more - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

3 Examples of Rebranding Approaches

Sit up straight now, breathe deeply, and relax. Then let’s talk about product rebranding. Yes, changing your brand’s icon is a frightening venture, but often it just makes sense to take the plunge.

When contemplating a brand refresh, you never know how your loyal customers and the consumers will react. That is why a brand refresh is so ominous and often avoided. Always remember your buyer’s passion for consistency ... they like routine. And, when done well, the results can be financially and emotionally rewarding. The examples of three famous company’s rebranding efforts below portray different motivation, approaches and outcomes.

Approach Backfire: Tropicana

Tropicana learned the hard way when they decided to change their look - Tropicana orange juice cartons with the fresh orange stuck with a straw on the front convey ‘refreshing.’ But when parent company Pepsico announced their plan to “simplify” the design to something entirely new, the unexpected happened. Consumers revolted. A 19% decline in sales ($33M loss after refresh launch) was immediate and certainly unanticipated for their brand refresh plan.

When asked, Tropicana consumers called the new design a generic “store brand” and ugly. With such a significant reaction, the fallback prompted Pepsico to roll back its brand refresh plan and return to their original logo and packaging.

The moral of this example is to always trust your consumer’s passion for consistency and sticking to what they know and trust. Some upfront research also provides real market insights. Understanding what keeps consumers coming back to you rather than your competitors is your starting point! Don’t gamble until you do solid research.

Deliberate Approach: Starbucks

Starbucks coffee drinkers are very brand loyal. So, when Starbucks removed the words “coffee” from their logo, the company couldn’t know what the reaction would be. Well, the new brand wasn’t all that dramatic. People immediately recognized the original central design girl-with-crown which automatically prompted immediate association while remaining traditional yet a fresh new look. Their rebranding was a smash; their brand is

Whenever you’re considering rebranding check your data before making any big moves. While trusting your consumers, also follow your intuition since rebranding includes instinct, and in this case, Starbucks chose to do just that.

Homerun: IHOP

One of the best brand “refreshes” was from IHOP. One reason to embark on a brand refresh is to regenerate interest in your company and remind people that you’re still around, still relevant, and have something new to show them. When you offer pancakes … but that’s working now … you announce that you’re more than a pancake house.

IHOP’s new message “In My Feelings” sparked an intense media surge. IHOP’s online draw grew more popular than it has ever been in the company’s history. Millions of posts about IHOP’s new slogan struck a chord with social media enthusiasts. The hype translated from just posts about the refresh itself to a meme later on, keeping IHOP in the news for months. They also gained a 30% rise in stock during the campaign.

We can learn a lot from IHOP in this case. Sometimes, unexpected ideas drive the greatest change. The old slogan … “Change is constant, Change is Good” really fits IHOP’s decision. Remember, just because you’ve been doing one thing for years, doesn’t mean it’s working. And if you add new elements to your offering, you must reapply lipstick to your story!

Consumers may disagree that these companies made “good” or “bad” choices, but we always have to be prepared for some heat, because some folks won’t like the changes you make during a rebranding period.

Again, do your homework. Ask a lot of questions. Do some trial testing. Once you decide to leap and have the strategy in place, stick to your vision and HIT GO!

Rebranding is an adventure. Some win, some lose, some get rained out. But when – not if – your brand begins to sag, or your competitors are taking market share from you, give your brand some thought. As you see, rebranding is a process and doesn’t happen overnight.

New can be fun, try it.

HQZ Experts has worked with clients through re-branding planning and look forward to helping you explore your product or company rebrand journey.

Call us and learn more - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

22 February 2019 Blog

Email Headlines 1-2-3

Check My Headline - See How This Works!

Recent studies show that 33% of email recipients open them based on subject line alone. And, since everyone is inundated daily by tons of emails, catching folk’s attention and getting them to stop and read your email … is your objective.

So how do you write email subject lines that cut through the noise? Creating headlines that work takes knowing how to construct it. One researcher in this field has cracked the code for writing the perfect subject line. After hundreds of subject line tests, he filtered proven data to the following five tips that will greatly improve your subject lines and increase your open rates.

1.  Important Words First

What makes your email more important than all the others in their inbox? Just get to the point! Simply changing the leading structure of the headline text with the important keywords can increase open rates by 10-20%. As an example, a recent email headline from Chase to their Sapphire Preferred cardholders said: “Earn 10K bonus points – Invite a Friend”. Rather than asking recipient to do something first, Chase front-loaded the subject line with the benefit the reader will receive. Boom.

2.  Ask a Question

Since people love to talk about themselves and their interests, asking your addressee a question right away piques their curiosity. And, as a result, they’re likely to respond positively by opening more of your emails. One email from a fitness instructor phrases her subject line as a question to engage her recipients: “Need Motivation to Work out? Watch This” The call to action is right there in the headline!

3.  Numbers Often Help

Numbers are easy to read, help us make sense of complex concepts, and set up the expectation (e.g. 5 Things Your Subject Lines Are Missing). Godiva used numbers to do both in this headline idea: “2 DAYS LEFT: Up to 40% Off Flash Sale

4.  Personal Names Work

People really like to see their own names or pronouns - “you” or “your” - for a more a personalized touch. A study by Experian finds that using emails with a personalized subject line is 26% more likely to be opened (depending on industry.) Oddly, 70% of companies do not personalize emails. One SiriusXM recent email about MY free trial ... by adding the recipient’s name to the subject line. Clearly SiriusXM sees them as a person and are truly interested in them. “Michael, Your SiniusXM Trial Just Got More Awesome!”

5.  Rhymes, Alliteration, & Puns Now and Then

Writing a subject line that rolls off the tongue, will get a higher open rate. While it’s not easy to come up with these crafty word plays very often, when you do, they work.  Here are two very good examples: “Social Music Marketing: Bands, Brands and Fans” and “An Unusual Arsenal: Tech Tools to Topple a Tyrant.

Writing appealing email headlines takes practice. You can stop writing clunky or boring email subject lines. Writing them shorter and sweeter works better, so why not take the time to practice. Write several, send them out and watch the responses.

Have some fun. Check My Headline - See How This Works!

Call us and learn more - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

The More Concrete Your Research - The More Sensible Your Plan Is

Homework Makes You Smarter … Well, Dah! Knowledge gained from research offers stability and provides objectivity to any plan. So, the more concrete your research … the more sensible that plan becomes since it gains strength as your wisdom improves. You get there by using the following tactics:

  • Product or Service: Learn what makes your product/service different, better and more desirable. Find ways to improve and add value to it.
  • Benefits: Research the benefits offered by the product should be reflected in your marketing plan.
  • Market: Plans occur in conjunction to an entire marketplace, so be wise and become expert in your market before starting your planning.
  • Industry: Viewing your industry as a whole helps you see both vulnerabilities and opportunities by highlighting both learned successes and failures.
  • Competition: Realistic marketing plans are created according to dreams adjusted to proven competitive dynamics.
  • Customers: Your customers and your competitors’ customers provide a rich source of data so figure them out and pay attention to them.      
  • Prospects: Marketing plans specify who your prospects are since your research identified and included them in the plan creation.
  • Media: Identify the best ways to reach your target prospects and incorporate what you've learned about the media in your marketing plan.
  • Internet: Vast information is available on the Internet so dig into your niche for sound marketing intelligence before writing your plan.
  • Technology: Utilize all of the technology available to disperse your effective marketing programs.

Now summarize your results; they should point you in the right direction with more than enough momentum to hit your targets.

HQZ Experts can assist you in researching and writing your next marketing plan.
Call us and learn more - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

A Few PR Tactics To Consider

Each new year forces those in the Public Relations world to anticipate and predict what changes will occur. The following expectations offer food for thought as you set your Public Relations course for your company.

  1. Diversify - More Than Last Year - Traditional PR has evolved from just focusing on reputation management to market/technology-driven activities including:
  • Crisis Management
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media
  • Content Creation
  • Media Influencer
  • Analyst relations

New PR skills should also evolve in ways such as increased digital content (videos and podcasts) dedicated to producing content for a wider range of digital platforms that shape broader awareness.

  1. Coverage - Always King - A well-earned hit in a prime media outlet is sweet - whether in print, broadcast, radio or social.
  2. Social Content on Steroids - When producing podcasts or writing I-articles, the entire scope should have a social facet. Experts predict the 'rapid response' process will become even more social.
  3. Stories Prevail – If you prefer writing whitepapers, articles or blogs, be sure to showcase writing skills with content creativity.
  4. SEO Boost - Whether with links back to client’s sites or links to their social media, every piece of content produced must deliver embedded SEO value for the company.
  5. Spotlight PR To Taste - People always ask “what impact” PR has on their bottom line. What sales growth does PR produce? What’s the difference between PR and advertising? We tell them that PR makes a critical difference to their company. The world quickly spots the difference between a bought placement and true editorial; placed copy feels like hype and it is.

The convergence of PR, marketing and advertising often compete and seem redundant. As editorial and advertising evolve, the pay-for-play content appears more repetitive which means it will be skipped. In the end the market and your audience wind up making the decision. Just remember that a free and impartial press is integral to honest and balanced messaging.

PR by its very nature combines the story, a benefit, relationship to a topic, and background facts that create a platform. This combination builds trust and builds reputation between an organization and its target audience. Each actually needs the other to maintain a bond of trust critical to everyone in the loop.

Pat Dwight - 1-20-19  

HQZ Experts writes effective PR  Call us and learn more - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

We Use Them Every Day … But Really Take Them for Granted

Anyone who uses a computer knows what a mouse pad is. Stop for a moment and consider this overlooked but very necessary tool we all use. We’ve learned from experience that without using a mouse pad, our mouse gets wonky, and even seemingly independently flitting all around your screen, behaving just like a three-year-old in the toy store.

Even though we use them constantly and need them without question, how often do we stop to consider our mouse pad? Likely not often or never. That means we all take them for granted.

Stop and think about your mouse pad. Is it required? That depends on your frustration level. With a mouse pad, your work remains stable and ‘smooth’; without a mouse pad, your work is clunky, haphazard and takes longer.

The three proven benefits of the mouse pad are: higher speed, more precision, and user comfort. A secondary benefit keeps the desk or table surface from being scratched and worn by continuous hand and mouse friction. Lastly the mouse pad reduces debris collection under the mouse which reduces display pointer jitter.

Besides guiding your curser and keeping it aligned, without a soft surface to ‘mouse around’ the desk surface wears away the mouse pad foot caused by constant friction on a desk surface. It’s unavoidable. If the feet on your mouse itself are worn down to the point that the plastic body drags, your mouse functionality is inhibited. While a mouse pad doesn’t completely alleviate this, it allows the feet to last longer.

Gamers

Many optical mouse users (especially gamers, designers, and other heavy users) prefer a mouse pad for comfort, speed and accuracy, while preventing wear to the desk or table surface. The consistent tracking of a conventional mouse pad is a huge boon to gamers, especially those who play games with fast movement like shooters or MOBAs. Most “gaming” branded mouse pads are oversized, allowing for consistent big sweeping tracking motions that are impossible to do with a standard pad. Still other specialty models cover an entire desktop - underneath a keyboard and all else used on your desk.

All size and mouse pad designs are available in any office supply store or online. They’re expensive and come in a wide variety of sizes. Your company may also design personalized mouse pads with a slogan, logo or industry related image more relevant or more fun or entertaining. Some firms even create a personalized mouse pads for every employee using their name or photo. This way the employee takes ownership of their own mouse pad. And, it’s always safe because no one else will use another person’s mouse pad.

Be Kind To Your Mouse:

Have some fun with your mouse pad. HQZ Experts can help your company design your company’s mouse pad graphics. Any size, style, color, just let us know.

Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

Out With the Old in With the New

I’m finding it hard to believe that we will soon enter 2019. Not sure I’ve ever seen a year go faster. But, with 2019 almost here, it’s time to review those last few items on your list to begin the new year prepared.

Interactive Training Means 2-Way Participation

Training professionals strive hard to ensure that their training sessions are engaging. Trainers consider a job well done when they see improved class participation, evidence of real learning and participation, and practical application of the knowledge they learn will improve their work performance.

HQZ Removes The Guesswork From Marketing

We make it simple and we do it right!

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