A recent publication of the Sunday New York Times had six different full-page print ads from big-name companies like Mastercard, Campbell’s, Olay, and others.
As many of you have probably heard in the past, print — and especially print advertising — is supposed to be dead (though it’s not technically ad dead as we’re all told). But still, what’s causing this semi resurgence from major brands over the past couple of months?
With coronavirus and America’s issues with racism and inequality taking over the news, brands have decided to turn back to full-page and even full-text ads to reach their audience.
Why companies are choosing print
A majority of these full page ads are focused on showing how the brand is making changes to better itself or how it will attempt to rectify past mistakes.
The companies are choosing to use a more permanent medium to really showcase their stance rather than relying solely on a fleeting digital ad or quick ad spot on a streaming platform.
While these companies are going back to an “old” way of advertising, it’s not necessarily the same way they advertised many years ago with print.
The ads that made an appearance in the Sunday edition of the Times are statements on how the brand is going to better support equality. Not urging the reader to purchase a product or service as a typical ad would, but rather stating the brand’s values.
They’re showing you what they believe in and are hoping you share the same beliefs as them — or if you see the ad and are a fan of the brand that you’ll revisit your values.
A couple of examples of these types of ads include an ad from last year from Secret deodorant calling for gender equality (below), and MasterCard placing a two-page ad committing to equal treatment, equal opportunity, and equal rights.
Here, Secret commits to help close the pay gap for the U.S. women’s national soccer team. Secret wants those who purchase from them to know where the company stands, especially when it comes to equal pay.
Brands like this believe that they need more than their typical Twitter character limit or 15 to 30-second ad spots to show where they stand and what they are doing to combat inequality.
An advertisement for values is still an advertisement
While Secret or many of the other companies who take out print ads are not directly advertising for customers to purchase, they are selling what they believe in as a company.
By doing this they’re hoping to win customer allegiance and broaden their customer base among those shopper who put emphasis on company values.
Winning a customer with values often means winning a customer for life.
At least, that’s the gamble.
As protests and debate rages and our country’s citizens seek to educate themselves and better understand the issues, many will choose (or choose not) to patronize certain brands who align with their values.
At times like this, staying silent is a statement in and of itself.
If your company is looking to take a stronger stance or you don’t feel that your message is being heard, then a long-form print ad may be right for your company.
It doesn’t need to be shared in the New York Times or a national newspaper. For example, if you’re a local restaurant that wants to advertise your values, you could print an ad in your local newspaper to amplify your message to current and potential customers.
Based on the response these ads got from the New York Times audience it seems that these full-page print ads are a revered and effective way to help audiences understand what your company is trying to do and how you’re working to help achieve equality — not only at your company but within the country as well.
So, don’t be afraid to give print advertising a try if you’re looking to make a bigger impact with your message, especially if that message transcends your products or services.
Why IMPACT video training is a marathon, not a sprint
I have a confession to make; outside of IMPACT, I’m addicted to fitness. If I’m not at my home office, I’m at my CrossFit gym training, training, and training some more.
And not only am I training myself, I coach group classes as well. My classes all have a variety of fitness levels; it’s not uncommon that I have a 74-year-old grandfather and a collegiate gymnast taking the same class, performing the same workout.
As a trainer, it’s my job to take the workout presented, and not only teach my athletes how to modify it for their fitness level, but also to break down the purpose and show them how it fits in overall with the plan they have made to invest in their long term health and wellness. There’s an understanding that we’re all on the same fitness journey, but we’re all at different stages.
Since joining the IMPACT team as a video trainer, it’s remarkable how much coaching CrossFit classes and video training are related.
But more importantly, like fitness, whatever the regime, a long-term plan is important to remain successful and to stay on track with your goals.
In comparison to my fitness clients, our video training clients come from different backgrounds of the video world. They have their own unique styles and abilities but by investing in video training, they all have a similar goal.
What’s the goal of your video strategy?
The goal of video training at IMPACT is to establish a culture of video using the principles of They Ask, You Answer.
Investing in three months of video training is a good start, but I would equate that to a new athlete coming into the gym, having never touched a barbell and telling me, their trainer, that they want to qualify for Olympic Weightlifting. Or someone who comes in with a 14-minute mile saying they want to run a marathon in three months.
As a video trainer, I can give you the tools to be successful on this journey: in three months we can cover the basics, review the concepts and implement the content and be on our way.
But there is so much more to master that is focused neither on the skill level of the videographer nor the understanding of the types of videos to create. Production quality, process creation, and the general strategy of inbound sales and marketing video is easy to learn and understand. It’s simple information transfer.
But to consistently take action on that understanding is another story entirely. These habits that must remain long after working with IMPACT involve a cultural change, which happens much more slowly than the informational understanding.
To really adopt a culture of video, we need to think of it as a marathon and not a sprint; there are many factors that come into play, nuances to master with team personalities and stylistic techniques to conquer that really require at least six to nine months to embody adopting a video culture in a company.
If we look at the Michael Phelpses, the Tom Bradys, and the Mat Fraserses of the world, they all have coaches who pick apart the small details of their game to make them better athletes and overall optimize their performances.
What is video training?
Let’s get this out of the way, when you start video training, we’re not teaching you how to be a videographer.
True to the TAYA principles, video training is centered around creating video content that answers your customers’ questions, and using those questions to build a library of video content that positions you as an industry leader in educating your customers.
Even though this journey is one you can take on your own, enrolling in video training can get you to where you want to go faster.
Hold up, didn’t I say earlier that this is a marathon, not a sprint? I did, and that’s still true. Working with a video trainer will shorten the learning curve to producing the best educational video content for your company, but refining that content and producing it is still going to be time-consuming.
We’ve worked with top-class videographers who needed more than a year of weekly meetings to create the change in their company they required to be successful.
Previous video training clients who truly become the most trusted visual educators in their space have invested $22,500 (nine months) to $45,000 (18 months) in weekly training sessions and offline video review.
A snapshot of a long-term video training relationship
Below, you’ll find a breakdown of what to expect when you commit to video training for a year. It’s important to point out that the first three months might feel a bit clunky; this is where we’ll do a lot of experimenting with video in our organization and really hone in not only our brand style, but our voice as an educator in our industry. By the end of the first three months, we should have a clear bird’s eye view of what our plan to implement video for our organization looks like.
In the next six months, we’ll put our process to the test and create videos to be used on our website and YouTube channel. We’ll also integrate with our sales team and build the foundation of video as part of the company culture.
Missing out on three and six months would dramatically decrease our productivity, and could be overwhelming to the videographer once they realize how much content they really do need to create to be successful. Having an established relationship with a video trainer for at least a year will ensure that adopting a video culture can be a smooth transition, and set clear goals and expectations for the journey of creating consistent video content.
First 3 Months:
- Define Production quality standards and video creation processes
- Produce the basics of website and sales enablement videos
- Determine the common subject matter experts that will be on-camera
- Streamline what is required during pre-production to begin filming
- Master the Video 6 Formula to ensure that all videos have a specific purpose and value.
- Create a YouTube channel that educates your prospects at an industry-level
- Produce Big 5 content for your website and YouTube learning centers
- Improve the communication between sales and marketing teams so that sales team members begin to request videos needed for their processes
- Refine the tone of your videos to feel as unbiased, honest, and highly produced as possible
- Introduce 1:1 video that your sales team uses during sales processes to assign content and humanize interactions
- Produce a consistent two to three videos per week that are being properly published and maintained online
- Challenge the creation process to ensure that habits have been formed and tested so that two to three videos will be able to be created in perpetuity
- Identify ways for a video culture to be better implemented in the organization’s sales & marketing teams
- Meet with Sales leadership to ensure that best practices are being followed with 1:1 video and assignment selling video
- Ensure that communication channels are as solid as possible and video is being adopted and leveraged by the entire organization
- Review video viewership analytics to identify how they should adapt the sales process with specific prospects and how the marketing team should improve the production of future content.
The end goal of video training
This is an oversimplified statement, but generally, a company is ready to stop working with a video trainer once they have successfully adopted a culture of video and have become the most trusted visual educators in their industry.
Video training graduates understand how to measure the ROI through their videos, they are able to produce two to three videos each week, and their sales team members are both asking marketing for new videos and are also effectively using video throughout the entire sales process.
I recognize that a service like “video training” can sound vague and difficult to buy into without understanding exactly what you’re going to be covering, but the truth is that this journey is very consultative and the path for each client is very different.
What stays consistent across clients is the outcomes that we strive to achieve together.
We created our 6-Month Video Training Roadmap for new clients trying to wrap their heads around what they will receive from video training. This roadmap is a general overview of the topics that will be covered during Video Training.
To be clear, no one follows this roadmap exactly. There are many clients who are able to skip entire months worth of training in this document. But the important information to understand here is the outcomes that we’re striving for from each month.
That’s where we’ll keep our gauge of what’s important for your team, and what’s not. Everyone’s path is different to achieve the same end goal.
Is video training right for my team?
Just like starting a new fitness routine, you can do it yourself.
You can go online, educate yourself using free resources, and start creating video content. And you’ll hit plateaus and milestones. You might even master it on your own, but creating all that content will most likely take years of frustration, trial and error.
If you’re committing to invest at least six to nine months in a relationship with a video trainer like me, then you’re agreeing to implement a culture of video the right way, the fastest way, and the most permanent way. The relationship requires a lot of work on your end, and your team will only be successful if there is buy-in for this change from the top-down.
When one of my athletes hits a milestone in their training, we celebrate, but we also look forward to the next milestone.
Video training is a journey that takes time, effort, honesty, and an open-minded attitude. The investment in changing your company culture to include video — in a world that relies heavily on this medium — will set you up for success for years to come.
8 Books to Help Make You a Better Writer
Every good marketer is also a good writer—or at least, they should be.
Whether you’re on the content marketing team and it’s your primary role, or if you’re in management and you’re tasked with writing blog posts, almost all professionals need to have a decent level of writing competency.
But even the best writers need help sometimes. Whether you feel like the words aren’t flowing like they usually do, or your commas and apostrophes seem very out of place, we’ve got you covered.
Here are 8 books that will help anybody hone their writing skills.
Everybody Writes is a guide to attracting and retaining customers in an increasingly digital world. Although it seems like the digital landscape is filled almost exclusively with clickbaity headlines, hashtags, and gifs, the need for good writing has never been greater. It’s important for businesses, especially digital ones, to choose their words carefully when they communicate with their customers. Whether it’s a blog post, lead magnet, or anything in between, good writing is now more important than ever. This book gives you all the information and tools that you need to write well in the digital world.
The 3-Minute Rule By Brant Pinvidic
As technology has advanced, it seems people’s attention spans have gotten shorter. Just as consumers have become accustomed to everything else in their lives being streamlined, you need to streamline your writing and presentation skills. Cutesy, fluffy, and schmaltzy is quickly being replaced with concise, tactical, and clear. The quicker you can capture your audience’s attention and get your point across, the better. Learn how to say more with less words, and get your message across in under 3 minutes.
642 Things to Write About by The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto
Practice makes perfect, and this book enables you to do exactly that: practice your writing. This book is filled with prompts or phrases that are intended to help you not only practice, but get out of your writing comfort zone. The prompts range from happy, to sad, to scary, to hilarious, and they all will give you plenty of things to write about. If you think writing about dying is scary, try writing about your first kiss…
You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins
This book provides a lot of tips and good practices for writing, making it a must-have for writers everywhere. But, at its heart, this book is geared toward the people that are either burned out on writing or are scared they don’t have what it takes to become a good writer. Intertwining his tips throughout his story of self-actualization, Goins talks about the steps he had to take to become a professional writer and overcome his own self-doubt. He explains to you what he did, and why you need to do it too. This book is not only tactical, but it’s a genuinely good read.
The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment by Susan Thurman
There is a lot that goes into being a great writer, but it’s impossible without having a solid understanding of grammar. Grammar may seem boring and pedantic to some people, but it’s the foundation that all good writing is built on. That’s why it’s important for writers to have a place where they can get all of that important information. Your message doesn’t matter if you can’t clearly get it to your audience. This book is timeless, and will be as helpful 50 years from now as it is today.
Persuasive Writing: How to Harness the Power of Words by Peter Frederick
Marketing is a profession of persuasion, so it makes sense that every marketer should learn what goes into persuasive writing. Not only do you need a good product, but you have to convince people to buy it. Frederick provides 27 rules of persuasion that are used in massive ad campaign writing and have been proven to work over time. If you properly implement these rules in your other content, your writing team will quickly start to feel like a sales team.
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
Stories are engaging. They make people listen and remember. And as a New York Times best-selling author, there aren’t many professionals more qualified to tell you that than Donald Miller. Miller’s StoryBrand process has been proven to generate results for businesses by harnessing the power of a great story. By teaching the 7 universal story points that people respond to, how to simplify a brand message, and how to effectively communicate through anecdotes, he shares critical information that helps businesses grow faster than ever before. Who knew the secret to copy writing was thinking like a novelist?
On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
This book has become evergreen, constantly updating throughout the years. It’s often praised for its advice, as well as Zinsser’s insights into the process of writing. It’s a classic book that has only become better over time and has sold over a million copies. From writing a book, to a blog post, to an email, On Writing Well is intended to any writer—or person who simply needs to write—improve on their prose.
3 Skills to Build and Renovate Your Digital Portfolio
Digital assets are very popular in today’s world where the time individuals across almost every generation, income level, and lifestyle spend vast amounts of time online. However, many large investors and stakeholders have yet to enter the market, thus missing the potential appreciation of these products. In today’s post, we discuss how to build a digital portfolio or renovate an existing portfolio. Recognize when we talk about a digital portfolio, we’re not talking about buying stock in companies with a strong digital presence, like a social media platform. Instead, we refer to building a website that’s profitable as an investment instrument, for instance by building value the owner recoups by selling the website, renting in out, or monetizing it through links or other tools that create value.
3 skills to invest in a digital portfolio
There are 3 key skills that work to build and renovate a digital portfolio:
- conversion rate optimization
By learning these skills or hiring folks who already have them, you turn the skills into improved valuation and returns for the site.
In building a digital portfolio, there’s no need to start from scratch since many platforms allow you to purchase sites that already have an earning history, so you only have to utilize these 3 key skills to stimulate an increase in the earnings and valuation of the site.
A firm like Future PLC do this strategically by purchasing an already established business and domain showing promise then use their wealth of digital marketing skills (including the 3 skills included in this article) to increase the valuation of the website and therefore their digital asset portfolio. Not everyone can afford the services of a firm like Future PLC, but most offer great insights on how to invest in digital assets for the rest of us. Or, simply read on.
SEO – Bringing in free traffic
SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimization’ which involves tactics designed to increase the quantity and quality of traffic when users query Google or any other search engine. The better your SEO, the more traffic you attract, which increases the chances you’ll turn visitors into customers.
When you improve the SEO for a digital property, links to the site show up higher in queries related to the products offered on the website (SERPs). Higher ranking websites attract more visitors since users commonly choose top results to provide the information they need. Once you drop to the second page or beyond in SERPs, your organic search traffic dwindles to almost nothing.
An owner improves SEO by improving the quality, frequency, and value of the content produced on the website and related social media properties, since most metrics used to determine ranking are reflected by user signals of high quality such as these. When implementing an SEO strategy, you almost instantly see improved metrics such as time spent on a page and bounce rate, which signal Google about the improved value of your content.
Another technique related to SEO is keyword research, which involves carefully choosing which keywords (actually, in recent years keywords are really keyword phrases – called long-tail keywords — and the increase in voice search dramatically changed keyword research to represent natural language. Choosing keywords that bring the “right” traffic to your website not only results in increased traffic but increased sales. That’s because connecting to consumers who possess the need, money, authority, and desire to buy your product (as reflected by the words used in their search) results in higher sales.
It’s important to remember that great content is essential for the keywords to be effective, so avoid over-optimization and other tactics designed to “fool” search engines because they only work until the search engine finds the tactics don’t sit well with users. If consumers find the content to be valuable, they are more likely to buy from you, which increases earnings for your site.
While these are off-page SEO, on-page SEO is also crucial to boosting your conversion rates. On-page SEO is more user friendly; making it easier for search engines such as Google to index your pages and increase search rankings. A few techniques to help with on-page SEO are decreasing your page load time, optimizing headings, and writing summaries of the page’s content (meta descriptions) to help Google know the topic of your posts, which improves visibility on a search engine results page.
SEO is a key skill to build and renovate a digital portfolio, as it increases your visibility and reach online, which ultimately leads to higher sales by driving more traffic to your site and generating higher conversion rates. You need not be a large company to use this skill effectively as you can make minor improvements easily to increase site earning.
Implement SEO by using keywords associated with your products as naturally occurring when your target market searches for products like yours. Use these keywords judiciously in your headings, emails, page titles, URLs, web pages, and content to increase the opportunity for higher conversion rates.
Copywriting – Encouraging purchase
Copywriting, when discussing a digital portfolio, is the ability to convince people to purchase your products using the written word. Many copywriters use different formulas for copywriting to attract, engage, and turn prospects into potential customers — driving traffic down the funnel toward conversion.
We should note a few points when copywriting to utilize its full effectiveness.
First, the easiest formula used to make sure you have the basics of conversion optimization down is AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action — see the image above). This formula guides you in structuring your copy, ad, or campaign.
To grab readers’ attention, use a catchy headline. Make it interesting for your target audience to read by solving a problem, providing entertainment, or reinforcing purchase. Promote the benefits of your product (rather than features) and prompt them to take action with explicit calls to action (CTA). For, effective and great content use this formula as it includes key elements of good copywriting.
Second, keep content simple, clear, and to the point so that your consumer can understand what they are looking at or reading straight away. The easier it is for your consumer to understand the value of your product, the more likely the sales to increase. So, when creating a copy, always keep your target audience in mind. The more simplistic your content, the more scannable it is for your consumers; the more likely visitors will read and understand your content.
Using bullets, headlines, bold, and highlighted quotes and information makes it easier for the readers to peruse text quickly. This not only keeps their attention but encourages them to read more content when they discover your high-value information.
Writing clean copy means you cannot cram everything.
Lastly, writing an interesting narrative or story helps visitors identify with the brand to encourage engagement and purchase. Interesting narratives can be anything from reviews to high-quality advice for your product that addresses commonly encountered questions, such as including an assembly video.
It defiantly helps to grab consumers’ attention with something snappy right off the bat. So, instead of writing why the product is great, show images of the target market enjoying your product, such as Nike’s slice of life commercials.
These copywriting skills take a lot of practice, but when you use some of the techniques mentioned above effectively, your site will earn more and increase valuation.
Conversion – turning visitors into customers
Conversion rate optimization is the ability to build your site in a way that attracts people to buy. Creating a lot of traffic is only good if it converts to a sale, signup, or a download.
To help optimize your conversion rate, you can use a few proven techniques. Some of these overlap with earlier advice but modifies how this tactic is used.
Using an effective headline is crucial, as it is the first thing a visitor sees when they are on your website. It needs to summarize the content on that page and interest the visitor enough to stay on your site long enough to read.
Headlines should either stimulate the curiosity of visitors, ask or answer a question, solve a problem, or give instructions, as well as including keywords as we mentioned above. Making the headline unique is important, as that reduces the bounce rate. Such optimization increases your conversion rates as a good headline can encourage visitors to become potential consumers by providing them with valuable information.
Another way to optimize conversion rates is to make navigation simpler. The simplicity of your site means consumers can easily navigate back to the landing page or to any other page of interest. However, removing the menu bar on the landing page increases conversion rates as visitors are more likely to make a purchase, subscribe or download due to not having those extra options.
Also, page load time matters as the optimum speed leading to conversion is around 2.4 seconds. Essentially the faster your page loads, the higher the conversion rate. People hate waiting, especially when something is loading, so by decreasing the load time you instantly decrease the chances that consumers will leave your page without having made a purchase.
Finally, using verified payment systems, trust symbols, and free shipping builds trust between you and your customers, which can increase your conversion rates. People are more likely to buy, sign up, or download from a trusted and convenient source.
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