Category Archives: Online Advertising

4 Ways To Start Using Video To Build your Brand

Are you looking for some ways to get motion and video built into your brand? Here are four tips to get you started.

MoGraph

  1. Get an early start. Motion designers can help you tell your brand story in unique ways, and including them in the development stage of your brand be beneficial in telling the story of your brand. Remember, motion and video is an essential part of branding, not just an add-on.
  1. Team effort. Give motion designers, cinematographers and animators a collaborative opportunity to work with the rest of your branding team. Motion designers have a different way of thinking that can shed new light on ideas, and it’s valuable for them to hear the discussions of how your brand should come together.
  1. Be flexible. Allow motion designers the flexibility to push the brand in new and different directions. Often times a video can lead to a whole new direction in brand experience that can be retooled into web and print solutions that further push effective multi-channel marketing, thus driving brand recognition. It doesn’t hurt to play a bit and stretch into new territory. You never know how your brand could be elevated from the experience.
  1. Build a library. Lastly, give your work a place to live and breathe. Keep an archive of your motion projects online on channels such as Vimeo and YouTube. This can be an effective branding tool, and is nice to compile as your brand changes and evolves. Plus, older videos can still be accessed and enjoyed for years to come.

It isn’t hard to start integrating motion and video into your brand, and the payoff can be tremendous. If you have any questions about how to start the process for your business, give us a shout.

Moving Pictures: Storytelling on the Web

Humans are social beings, and we have an inherent need to connect with others to create a sense of belonging and acceptance. You may have not thought about it in this way, but a large part of Facebook-Videothat connection with others is telling stories – everything from your uncle’s hunting tales, to reminiscing with college [studying] buddies, and even the “I remember” conversations you get by looking at your old family photos.

All of these examples are stories that build history, value and connection between people. Stories are so ingrained into our existence as humans that no matter how far you look back into history, every culture’s beliefs, artistry and writings are really just a collection of stories about hope, fear and knowledge that are passed from one person to another over the course of time. Our need to use stories as a connection and communication tool has not diminished with the onset of technology – not by 35mm’s, or even a pixel. The film industry alone is at $88 billion per year, only rivaled by the essentials of modern existence – power, construction, medicine … and Wal-Mart.

Do you have a story to tell? Video is a format that changes how a story is told. We live in a spectacular time when the tools to create video are more accessible than ever before. You don’t need an $80 million blockbuster budget or a 30-person crew either. Quality cameras are affordable (every phone has one), and powerful graphics and animation software is cheap (or even free!). The audience doesn’t have to imagine what you are trying to say, because you are not just telling your story, you can show them. You can easily have your own web video channel about parenting, how-to series about car repair, watch product demos, or have your own web cartoon – and place it in the palm of anyone’s hand.

As our culture changes, the way we consume information and tell stories will follow suit. Thanks to the Internet and smartphones, your story is now only a click or swipe away. The days of text-heavy websites – overflowing with tables, paragraphs and bullet points – are long gone. Everyone is busy and on the go. Statistics say 40% of us are engaging other people on our tiny, handheld portals to the Internet. Since time and accessibility seem to be the issue, I know I would rather experience a story in 30 seconds, with full-screen video and audio, rather than try to absorb the same story across four screens worth of 10-point Helvetica. I certainly do believe in the power of the written word, being a creative writer (and now blogging here on TKGenius!).

Writing in general will always holds its value with expanded explanations, imaginative narrations and abstract thoughts. A novel will always have greater depth and details than its movie counterpart. Unfortunately, I can’t process the novel-version of that same story in the same hour and a half with my fourth-grade reading speed. Video lends itself to the modern web because you can use focused storytelling to rapidly engage audiences with a complete story that can easily be shared on any web page, social media forum, or sent through email.

If you have a very clear message to convey in a short timeframe, consider video. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but video is worth a thousand words twenty-four times per second – and has its own soundtrack. We all have a little time for a great story. How are you telling yours?

Digital Trends to Watch Out for in 2016

Digital Marketing WordsOnline marketing is a constantly changing industry, and with each new evolution comes a host of new challenges and opportunities. That’s why, at the end of each year, we take time to reflect on the year behind us, and think about where our industry is heading.

So as 2015 comes to a close, we’re putting together our list of digital trends that we predict will have the biggest impact in the upcoming year. Read on for an exclusive look into the digital trends projected to shake up 2016:

1. Increasing Need for Marketing Automation

Let’s be honest, most visitors won’t make a purchase the first time they visit your site. That’s because it takes time and repeat exposure to form the kinds of relationships that lead to conversions.

In order to facilitate meaningful relationships in 2016, it will become essential to filter content and tailor your messaging to meet your audience’s needs. Personalized follow-up content goes a long way in establishing relevant touchpoints with your audience, and could make a serious impact on your conversion rates.

2. Immersive, Interactive Content will be King

In 2016, interactive content will become necessary for a successful digital presence. No longer is text-based content enough to tell your story. Without immersive, visual storytelling, your content will simply not be as effective in 2016.

Here’s a particularly compelling example from BuzzStream: In 2013, the most popular pieces of content from both BuzzFeed and the New York Times had something in common. And it was not that they were well-researched, journalistic pieces. They were quizzes. And this trend is not going away. As we move into the New Year, effective content will need to actively engage your audience. Passive content simply won’t cut it.

3. Data Will Help Guide Digital Efforts

Consumer behavior has become increasingly complex in recent history, a trend that we expect to continue into 2016. More sophisticated data analysis will be necessary in the New Year in order to understand this complex consumer behavior and guide digital marketing efforts going forward.

If you’re not thinking about customer relationship management, usability or cross-channel marketing, you’re likely doing your audience and your business a disservice. By understanding the ways in which your users interact with your brand in the digital space, you are much more likely to be successful in your digital marketing efforts.

4. Mobile Marketing is No Longer Optional

The use of mobile marketing will continue to be one of key digital trends in 2016. In order for your website and supporting marketing materials to be effective, they must lend themselves to an easy, streamlined mobile experience.

Trust us; geo-targeting, social advertising and responsive design are not just passing fads. As marketers learn more about the ways users interact with their mobile devices, they will continue to push the envelope of mobile marketing – and it’s important that your business doesn’t fall behind.

From responsive design to social and content marketing, TKG has the skills and resources to help you prepare your online presence for the New Year. Contact a member of our team to discuss your digital needs for the upcoming year.

Have other predictions for 2016’s biggest digital trends? Share them in the comments!

The Glorious Callout Extension

Ad extensions are very helpful for people trying to find your website, or are searching for a site within the scope of yours. Ad extensions provide the ability to customize additional elements of your ad outside of specific page links.

Though sitelink extensions are the most popular form of ad extensions, they should not be the only ad extension used. Specifically, callout extensions can be quite helpful in conveying a small message to the ad’s viewer. A callout extension shows a specific callout message that you want to convey, such as specials, or features of your business that make you great. Remember, the goal is to help drive people to your site. One idea would be to use a callout that brings in regular customers or customers from your other advertising media. One other nice feature of callout extensions is that they do not need their own landing pages as sitelinks do. This makes for an easier set up of ads right out the gate for your new campaign, or if you have limited resources for landing page creation.

call out

As seen in the above example, callout extensions are in place saying ‘Free shipping’, ’24-7 customer service’ and ‘Price matching’. Not only do these three callouts provide incentives for someone looking at your ad to click through, they also allow for more description for your ad. Currently there can only be 35 characters per the two allotted lines of a text ad in AdWords. Throwing in promotional callouts allows for a more descriptive and keyword-centric ad, as they show up at the bottom and do not count against the main text’s character count.

The key here is to use callouts in a way that works best for your customers. They can be scheduled to show up at different times of the day, or to be mobile-specific. Some callouts could be used to highlight inventory, such as ‘Stereos, TVs & More’ or promotional callouts such as ‘New Deals Every Day’.

Callout extensions were recently added to one of our client’s ad groups in AdWords. Two of the new extensions were served up with the ads for multiple conversions over the last two months, where the data points to there being fewer conversions. It also shows a lower cost/conversion when these are present as opposed to the whole ad group statistics. In this case, one callout was used to describe the product further, and another was used as an extra a call-to-action. They may not lead directly to a page on your site, but they can contain other important keywords and actions.

Looking to implement callout extensions on for your ad groups or PPC campaigns? Watch this video for helpful tips from the friendly people at AdWords.

Want some help setting up your PPC campaign with callout extensions, or looking to improve your paid advertising results through AdWords? I just might know someone who can help.

How Can a Small Company Compete with the Giants in the World of SEO?

Search marketing has grown in popularity as online search continues to evolve from a novelty to a standard feature in our everyday lives. Almost every business, big or small and regardless of industry, has a web presence, and everybody is competing for a handful of positions at the top of search-engine results pages.competing with giants

Since larger companies already have millions of inbound links, a lengthy history of content, and a recurring base of online visitors, is it any wonder they generally appear in the top ranking positions when people search for commercial products? Regardless of what industry you’re in, you’ll always have at least one competitor who has been around longer and has allocated more budget and resources to building their visibility in the search engines.

So, how can a small company with limited experience and resources compete with that level of online domination?

Thankfully, SEO is no longer about sheer volume. It’s more about which page or website is the most relevant for the searcher.  Thus, there are several strategies that can give a small company the edge over the giant competitor.

  • Specialize in a niche – One of the best things you can do as a small company is give yourself a niche focus. If you pour all your effort into one or a handful of keywords, you’ll be able to achieve a much higher visibility than if you have a wide range of keywords and your relevance for each of them is somewhat low.
  • Leverage locality for optimization – Another way to beat the competition is by targeting a much more local audience. Local search is becoming more relevant and more important, so in today’s context, being the best widget maker in Cleveland is far better than being a so-so widget maker on a national scale. Even if your company does operate on a national, or even international level, you can still capture a niche market share and edge out your competitors in at least one key area by optimizing for a specific local area.
  • Personalize your social engagement – Aside from local search optimization, you can also increase your chances of overcoming larger competitors by stepping up the ‘personal’ factor in your brand strategy. Large companies can lose a portion of their personality once they hit a certain point in their growth, but being small and nimble can be an advantage in giving each follower a more personal experience.
  • Become a recognized content publisher – Building brand awareness, loyalty, trust and credibility requires frequent and quality content publication. Maximize the reach of the content you publish to maximize your return on investment, and be consistent with your publication schedule so you become recognized as a dependable authority.

There’s no shortcut to rise to the top of the search engine rankings, especially when there’s a giant competitor on the scene. But, with a strategy that leverages your geographic location and your agility, you can selectively overcome that giant in specific key areas. Give yourself the best odds by narrowing your topic and keyword focus and increasing your location-specific relevance.

6 Signs It’s Time For a New Site

The speed that technology advances is getting faster and faster. Once you actually get the hang of the phone you have the next model is already out. The internet is no different. From social media to SEO, it is changing daily. Website designs change to comply with the increase in mobile traffic and incorporate social media, content needs to be changed as visitors expect more and more visual content. If you’re wondering if it’s time for a new site here are some key points to take a look at.6 signs

  1. It doesn’t work well on mobile- Many older sites don’t load correctly on mobile devices. It is often hard to read the content or difficult to navigate the site. With around 50% of site visits being on mobile devices this means if a site is not mobile friendly, users get frustrated and a site may lose about half of it’s potential visits/conversions.
  1. It’s slow- Let’s be honest, we love instant gratification. Studies show that a page with a load time of 4 seconds resulted in a 25% drop in traffic. That may seem a little crazy but when it comes to the internet we want and expect it in the blink of an eye.
  1. It’s hard to update content- Content management systems have come a long way over the years. They now make it easy for anyone to go in and change content and keep the information current without needing a whole team to edit code to update.
  1. You’ve outgrown the site you have now- This point is by no means a bad one. If your business has outgrown your site congratulations you’re running a successful company! There are different reasons you may have outgrown it. Maybe you made the original site shortly after startup and have since added more services or products. It may be more difficult to navigate the site with these added items. Or perhaps you’ve changed the image of the company or shifted the primary focus. A revamp of the site to more accurately represent the business is a great plan to continue to grow.
  1. Users aren’t converting- The whole point of having a site for your business is to generate leads or make sales. If your site isn’t getting either of these but is getting decent traffic it may be time to consider a redesign. High bounce rates, short time on site, and low page views are pretty good indicators that the time has come.  There are different reasons why users may not be converting. Poor landing pages with content that doesn’t give users the information they were looking for, a lack of calls to action, or it could simply be because there haven’t been and conversions set up.
  1. No social media- Social media has become a huge part of business. It not only helps generate leads but keeps current customers up to date on what the business is doing. If your site doesn’t have links to the company’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. you’re missing out on a great opportunity to interact with users.

If you’re having any of these issues, or if your site was made in Windows 95, it may be time to ditch it and consider a redesign. If you need some help or have any questions we are more than willing to assist you.

What I’ve Learned at TKG

I have been interning here at TKG for a little over two months. Sometimes it feels like time has flown. With just a few short weeks left I thought now would be a good time to reflect on my time here and what I’ve learned.

what ive learned_edited

With this internship brought many firsts. My first internship, I couldn’t have asked for a better company to intern with. As anyone would be, I was a little nervous to start the job. From day one each and every employee was kind and helpful. It also brought my first look into the industry. We learn all about business in school, but learning isn’t doing. The Karcher Group set a good program for a first time intern to lead me into the world of marketing and web design. Being that all my previous jobs were outdoor labor intensive jobs (such as grounds crew on a golf course) this is my first office job. For those who have worked both types of jobs you know how different they are. There was a period of adjustments and a learning curve.

Since being here I have worked on various projects ranging from social media libraries for clients to assisting in the development of a new site. With these I learned programs to complete the project including content management systems and Google Analytics and have become Google Analytic certified. With each project I find it becomes easier to know exactly what we want the end result to be and how to get there. I’ve also been able to see which parts on the industry I love and which parts maybe not so much.

They say that happy employees are hardworking employees. At The Karcher Group I’ve been able to see how true that really is. There seems to be something going on almost every day. With employees riding scooters through the office, playing foosball, darts, and pool it’s clearly a fun work environment. At a glance it may look like it is all fun and games but employees here play hard and work harder. In fact, each month an employee is elected by fellow employees and awarded the brain award for outstanding work and get to spin for various prizes from gift cards to extra vacation days. This is just one of the ways they show appreciation for the hard work put in by their employees.

As a first time intern I really had no idea what to expect. Going based off the stereotypical intern I thought I would be getting coffee and doing all the stuff around the office no one else wanted to. Within the first week I knew it was anything but a typical internship. I was already being taught programs and tools on the first day and was given projects shortly after. Although I only have a few short weeks left I have really enjoyed my time at TKG and am excited to see what I can learn in my remaining time.

Five Mistakes to Avoid to Ensure Social Media Success

Today, everyone and their mother is on social media. According to We Are Social, the number of social media users exceeded 2 billion in 2014, and that number is steadily increasing by the day. Naturally, there is a lot of selling power in social media. Brands are noticing this and are taking action.

While avoiding social media all together is not your best bet (unless you’re Apple), using it incorrectly could hurt your brand more than help it. Here are five mistakes you need to avoid to keep your brand’s social media endevours successful.

  1. Not Having a Strategy
    So, your brand has a Twitter account—now what? If you’re posting random content whenever you feel like it, then you’re doing it wrong. Think about what your brand is trying to accomplish with Twitter and keep that in mind everytime you post.Consider making an editorial calendar to map out all of your posts for the coming month. Then, you can schedule your posts ahead of time—this will make your job easier and keep your social media consistent.
  1. Posting Too Much Promotional Content
    When managing a brand’s social media, marketers tend to lose sight of what social media is all about—fun interaction. By simply putting out your brand’s main talking points and products, you’re not correctly utilizing social media.Finding a balance between engaging and promotional content is key. Try tweeting about a trending hashtag or replying to a tweet in a witty and humerous way. Humanizing your brand will encourage the most social media interaction.
  1. Being Impersonal
    We’ve all heard the auto-responses-gone-wrong horror stories (cough, cough American Airlines), but the lesson to take away here is to always respond in a personal manner.Auto-responses that don’t entirely make sense are hurting your brand. When replying on social media, it is important to display human characteristics like humor or empathy.
  1. Picking the Wrong Channels
    Before you create an Instagram account, for example, you need to ask yourself why your brand should be on Instagram. If the answer is because everyone else is doing it, you might want to do some reevaluating.If your brand does not rely on visuals, then Instagram might not be for you. Think about your brand in the context of the various social medias and choose the ones that make the most sense for your brand.
  1. Not Doing Your Homework
    On July 4, 2014, American Apparel decided to post on Tumblr to commemorate the America’s independence. This seemingly harmless act turned into a PR nightmare of epic proportions.Whoever made the post mistook the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion for a firework (don’t ask me how). You can imagine the backlash that ensued. Before you post, make sure what your posting is appropriate and the image you plan to use is what you think it is.challenger explosion

What it all comes down to is keeping in mind that social media is meant to be fun. Promotional content is not fun for you or your followers. Keep them engaged and entertained. This will humanize your brand and make it more approachable. So, have a strategy, pick your channels appropriately, engage in interaction, do your homework and, most importantly, have fun!

Need help with your social media strategy? We can help. Contact us to see how we can help grow your brand’s social media.

Win Them Over: 5 Ways to Turn Leads into Clients

YesWe seem to be programmed to instantly be skeptical of salesmen, almost involuntarily telling them “no” when approached with an idea. We’ve all done it. Think of walking into a retail store and being approached by an employee asking, “Can I help you find anything?”  Chances are you replied, “No thanks, I’m just looking.” Why is that? We all know we could use some help finding whatever it is we’re looking for whether it’s a shirt size or a new marketing strategy.  Sales are the driving force of any company. I’ve put together some key points to turn those skeptical leads into clients.

  1. Listen, don’t pitch – Listening to what a customer needs is key. Knowing their needs and desired outcomes is the starting point for a promising business relationship. Put yourself in their situation to try to see the issue from their perspective. Make conversation, not pitches. This way they feel understood, not sold.
  2. Ask the tough questions- This part isn’t fun for anyone. It’s like enjoying a meal at a restaurant and then getting the check. Take your time getting to this point, only when you feel that you’ve gained the trust of the client can you ask the questions of budget, timing, or what results they find realistic. Offering different options for each of these keeps them comfortable.
  3. When in doubt, take a break- Sometimes the conversation can become a little heated, the negotiations can get tense. When it comes to this point it is better to suggest taking a five minute break to breath and gather your thoughts. There is nothing wrong with being upfront and honest. If you feel that being frank about the situation isn’t the best idea simply excuse yourself to the restroom. Even just a minute or two can help you and your clients keep a cool head.
  4. Be persistent- Some clients need more to win them over than others. This is where it can become difficult to find the line between reminding them how you can help them and being too pushy. Some clients may take long amounts of time to respond to emails, call, etc. Don’t give up, leave them reminders that you’re there and what you have to offer.
  5. Know what you have to offer – Never bad mouth the competition, but always know what you have to offer and how it will benefit them more greatly. Ask them what’s most important to them whether it’s price, customer service, quality, etc. and let them know how you can deliver.

At the end of the day you can’t win them all, but we’d sure love to try. Remember it’s not making a sale, it’s creating a solution. I hope this article provides you with some helpful tips and will help you get skeptical leads to say “yes.” Having trouble generating leads? We can help. Curious how? Feel free to contact us and ask any questions you may have.