Pokémon Go is the funnest fitness app ever – use Pokémon for marketing!

Pokémon Go is the funnest fitness app ever – use Pokémon for marketing!

No kidding, Pokémon Go is revolutionary. Overnight, sedentary people from all walks of life are on their feet, walking around, day and night! Kids and us biggies alike. And unlike boring, expensive fitness wearables which are targeted primarily at adults, Pokémon Go is (gasp) Free, and (bigger gasp) Fun!

Released on the 6th of July 2016, mere days ago, it is on target to become more popular than Twitter by some measures. Kids and adults alike are hot in pursuit of new Pokémon which have appeared across America from parks to playgrounds and all places in between.

Chances are that if you have a local sign nearby, it is on the Pokémon map! Since it’s got Augmented Reality support, you can see the Pokémon you’re about to catch via your phone’s camera. It is having a huge impact on people – they are out and about, walking their neighborhoods, phones in hand looking to catch virtual Pokémon.

We were Instantly Hooked

To say Pokémon has gone viral is an understatement – from the moment one of our twenty-somethings showed it off at the office (and explained it patiently to us dinosaurs), it was immediately downloaded by all of us, followed by us checking the map to see where we would have to walk to catch Pokémon. And I’ve heard the same story repeated by businesses across the country – it looks and feels like fun and draws you in! Its more of a social revolution than a mere game.

How to use Pokémon for Marketing your Business

Lure Customers To Your Local Business with Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go uses your phone’s GPS and camera to augment the real world, transforming local landmarks and businesses into Pokémon Gyms (where trainers go to train their Pokémon and battle other teams) and PokéStops, which players can physically visit to stock up on free accessories and items like PokéBalls.

Your business could be one of these Gyms or PokéStops! If you are, get ready for foot traffic and potential customers. And most importantly, welcome and entice them, don’t turn them away! (If you’re a local business owner and haven’t yet checked out this game, I’d highly recommend downloading it for free from the Android or iPhone App stores.)

pokestop marketing

How to install Pokémon Go after downloading the app. More importantly, here’s how to play Pokémon Go.

Get creative and photograph the game stops next to your business, and write about it on your website and social media. If your business is a Pokéstop, and you serve food or drink, create a Pokémon-inspired offering. Offer customers who show you the game on their phone a discount!

You can even add the location of Pokémon on this handy map, directly from Google, to help others catch those pesky critters.

Pokémon Lure Modules can bring Pokémon and potential customers to your business

Pokémon GO has a purchasable in-app option called a “Lure Module” which attracts Pokémon to a particular PokéStop for 30 minutes. Those Pokémon are visible to everyone in the nearby vicinity. You could use it during a typically slow period of your day. Use the opportunity to market the option and use your creativity to turn visitors into paying customers. Here’s how to add a lure.

pokemon lureConsider dropping a Lure Module before events. Advertise it on your Facebook Page beforehand – there’s nothing more enticing to players than knowing ahead of time when and where they can catch a bunch of Pokémon!

Here’s a Facebook example of how Rage Agency successfully used Pokemon for marketing a free talent event.

 

Blog about Pokémon and Be Relevant

Pokémon is one of the most heavily Google’d terms currently. Use the opportunity to write about how your business is connecting with this social phenomenon – you might show up on a potemtial cusomer’s next Google search!

Pokémon is exploding in popularity, and it could have a nice impact on your business. Embrace the opportunity while it lasts.

Graphic Design the Easy Way: Canva.com

Graphic Design the Easy Way: Canva.com

The tagline says it all – Canva makes design simple for everyone. Create designs for Web or print: blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers, flyers, posters, invitations and so on. And it’s true! We recommend it! We use it!

We’re a creative design agency, and we’re always on the lookout for tools that make our lives easier and better… and if our clients can use the tools too, then even better. Canva is one such tool. Easy, clever, capable – it is all this and more. No need to learn Photoshop or any other complex tool. No need to remember what size image to create for the platform.

An example of how to use it: to create a Facebook post image, simply create an account and login to Canva.com. Choose the Facebook Post design.

Select a template that looks like it will best meet your needs.

Upload and use a background image or use one of their million and one images. Optionally add a partially transparent item over the image for the text to stand out and arrange the transparent item under the text. Change the text to your quote or offer.

Click the Share button to put it on your Facebook feed. Done. In 5 minutes or less. And importantly, the final product will look AMAZING.

Why we love it: It has up to date picture sizes for all social media platforms. Trying to keep up with changing image requirements is a royal pain, and Canva not only solves that but it also helps create the graphic designs!

Are there any downsides? A minor one – it has upsells. Pick a design or image that is premium and you have to pay for it. Not much mind you, but there could be a fee when you try and use it. Images are around $1.

Why do most websites fail to generate business?

Why do most websites fail to generate business?

The simple fact is that your website isn’t just about you and what you’re trying to sell. A website is like a billboard. The main reason it exists is to attract interest from people and turn them into customers. So doesn’t it stand to reason that your website and the experiences you provide there should cater to your visitors first and foremost? When visitors land on your website, it should be very clear to them exactly what’s in it for them, and why they should care about your product/service. More often than not, websites fail to meet the needs of the visitors.

The Wrong Audience

The problem with most websites is that they are usually designed to make the owner of the website happy. These websites fail miserably at meeting the needs of the visitors.

It happens all too easily – more often than not, you engage a group to design your site, and the team focuses entirely on satisfying your needs, rather than carefully considering the needs of your website visitors.

Research shows that the more a website visitor spends on a site engaging with relevant content, the more likely it is that a sale will result. So here’s the rub – to create engaging content, you first have to decide who your website visitors are in order to create that engaging content.

Introducing Website Personas

Increasingly, big businesses are realizing that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to website design is not as effective as one that provides content targeted at specific segments of site visitors. By doing so, they are finding that their engagement rates rise dramatically, and greater sales result from their efforts. These visitor segments are known as website buyer personas.

Website buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are arrived at based on real data about your customer demographics and online purchasing behavior, to which has been added speculation about their personal histories, concerns and motivations.

For instance, if you are a hotel looking to get new business, you might target four buyer personas: a business traveler, an event planner, a family on vacation, and wedding receptions. Each of these distinct personas have different interests and needs. A website that speaks to these needs in general, falls short in its ability to answer the specific “What’s in it for me?” question each individual buyer persona has. By directly addressing the particular needs of each individual persona, the answer to “What’s in it for me?” becomes clearer and personalized, leading to a far more successful website.

But I already have a website!

We know it isn’t always practical to go back and redesign your website from scratch, but investing the time in identifying your business’ website personas is invaluable. Once you have your website personas you can choose one or more of the following approaches to adapt the messaging of your website to fit the needs of your different buyer personas.

Design (or Enhance) Your Website for Your Buyer Personas

Once you have a clear understanding of your business’ various buyer personas and what makes them tick, you can cater your website experience to the interests of these different customer segments.

Include Self-Select Links on Your Homepage

Consider adding links on your homepage or in your website’s menu that allow visitors to self-select who they are. This will allow them to receive the most relevant content and website experience possible. This has the added benefit of eliminating any question of what the site visitor should do next. It allows you to more easily guide your visitors and expose them to specific website content, and gives you greater control over their actions.

Create a Specific Website Page for Each Persona

Point the self-select links on the homepage or menu to a customized page for each of your buyer personas. These pages will allow you to feature targeted language, messaging, and video content, as well as provide useful links to targeted content, product pages, offers, etc., that appeal to that particular segment or buyer persona. Using our hotel example above, you could create a page for each of those separate personas: business travelers, event planners, vacationing families, and couples planning their wedding reception.

Create Landing Pages & Content for Each Persona

Create targeted landing pages — and content to go with them — for each persona. This allows you to create everything from blog posts  to premium offers like ebooks, webinars, product demos, etc. You can use this content as links within your individual persona pages, your website’s general resource center, and in lead nurturing campaigns catered to those particular personas.

If you already have content and offers that suit a more general audience, you won’t have to start from scratch. By modifying the generally targeted content you already have, you can address the specific needs of your different segments. Look for ways to cater to the persona’s individual needs, problems, and interests; adjust formatting, depth, and length; modify language and tone; and incorporate industry/persona-specific examples.

Categorize Web Page Content by Persona

Even though you may carefully create dedicated, persona-based pages to link all of your persona-targeted content and offers, you should also make the rest of your website persona-friendly. This is because your website visitors may not use the self-select links, or come in through the custom landing pages. Put a few safeguards in place to make sure that you can still deliver relevant content and experiences to those site visitors.

  1. Resource Centers:  Organize your website materials into easily found materials. Color code the materials. Tag them. Categorize them. Make them easily identifiable to each persona.
  2. Use different pages where needed. Sometimes it is simply easier and neater to split materials and messaging onto a page for each persona.  In the case of products for sale, this may already be in place, but just may need clarification and alignment with other materials.
  3. Tagging. Tag and highlight materials on pages to help attract and clarify the intended persona(s) for the materials.

Create Calls-to-Action (CTAs) for Each Persona

Last but not least, to ensure you have effective lead generation, create call-to-action buttons that correlate with targeted offers to personas. Include these calls to action buttons and offers on the pages of your website dedicated to those personas.
Take time to consider what copy, design, and imagery will work best with each particular persona and build calls-to-action that take these into account. And if in doubt, test, test, test!

10 FREE Awesome Mobile Apps to Make You Fall in Love with Marketing Again

10 FREE Awesome Mobile Apps to Make You Fall in Love with Marketing Again

Digital marketing has become a drag – SEO, social media, content writing… get back to basics and the act of creating. Here are 10 FREE Awesome Mobile Apps to Make You Fall in Love with Marketing Again

We thought we’d share some of the iPhone IOS apps that we use and love at our marketing agency. Whether you’re a cog in a big business or you’re the big wheel at a small business, these are all useful, fun and applicable to you. We collectively use hundreds of apps, but when we narrowed them down to just 10, these are the ones that stood out. Enjoy!

hyperlapse

 

Hyperlapse. $15,000 used to get you smooth time lapse videos. Until Hyperlapse. You have to see what people have done with it to get a real sense of its abilities. We love it and have to restrain ourselves from overusing it. Watch what The Verge had to say about it.

directr for business

Directr for Business. Who needs a director and crew or our fancy-schmancy cameras and equipment when you have this amazing storyboard-driven video creator. It is especially useful for creating rough drafts of the final product. (quite often it is our final product!)

pigment

Pigment. Ok, so this has nothing to do with marketing, but if you’re looking to get your inner creative mojo back, and see life as a kid again, this is fun! A coloring book for adults. Wheeeee!

periscope

Periscope. Simply the fastest, best way to broadcast live video, and all the while building your social value.

triller

Triller. Create mash up video mixes at work? Sure! Life’s more than a series of endless spreadsheets and meetings – show your world at work from a different angle.

filmic pro

FiLMiC Pro. Anyone can record video, but to make epic videos you need to be able to control every aspect of the camera. Enter FiLMiC Pro. Unbelievable.

slash keyboard

Slash Keyboard. Start your love affair all over again with this keyboard app. The app connects to more than a dozen services to ensure that you almost never need to switch apps while typing. Whether you want to look up a map location, search Google, Amazon, your contacts or or the App Store, Slash Keyboard lets you seamlessly do it from your keyboard.

adobe post

Adobe Post. Want to quickly create fabulous looking social posts? Adobe Post is new and just like their other stuff, works magic! Whee, wow, wonderful!

gifsart

GifsArt. Marketing without animated Gifs is like seeing in black and white. Gifs makes pics and clips pop with color and excitement. Addictive, beware.

storehouse

Storehouse. A possible breakout app for 2016, you get to turn photos and videos into shareable stories. Rather than the mind numbing upchuck of Facebook and Twitter, you get to build something meaningful. Sure it might complicate your existing content process but then again, it might be a lot prettier and look a lot less like the overprocessed stuff we see all the time.

Of course there are tons of other FREE awesome apps out there that we use all the time at our marketing agency – those that didn’t make the top 10 cut include Google Drive, Google Maps, Flipboard, Camera+, GoPro, Skype, Waze, Tumblr, Instagram, StumbleUpon, Algo, Feedly, Hootsuite, WordPress, Buffer, Nimble, Feedly, Ted, Slack, Asana, Evernote, Genius Scan, Eventbrite, DayOne…and the list goes on. And now that Apple’s big iPad has been released, we’re likely going to be adding even more.

Adopt a social media policy and protect your brand

Adopt a social media policy and protect your brand

Why adopt a social media policy? To protect your company’s brand and reputation! Social media mistakes can made the news and go viral. Examples like the Burger King employee in Japan who posted a photo of himself lying on a pile of burger buns to Instagram, or the photos of Taco Bell and Domino’s Pizza employees doing disgusting things with food should be enough to frighten every business owner. Many other social media gaffes and abuses don’t go viral, but all of them inevitably hurt the brand involved.

Loose Lips Sink Ships

The number of people commenting, liking, sharing and tweeting every part of their life is growing exponentially. The concern is how to manage employees’ social media use and the impact it can have on the company’s brand.

“No matter the size of your company,” says David Jackson of Rage Agency, a social media adviser to companies, “you need a social media policy to educate and advise your employees of the potential impact of their actions.”

use-social-media-safely

Yes, Even You Need to Adopt a Social Media Policy

A social media policy is basically a guide for employees using social media in their personal lives. Your social media policy should remind employees that they should keep themselves – and your business – above reproach, in both deeds and appearance.

Employees should adhere to the principle that they are responsible for maintaining their employer’s credibility, no matter whether they are online or offline. Even if they aren’t using social media tools yet, they might want to someday, so they should still be familiar with your policy.

A Social Media Policy in 3 Statements

  • Integrity is everything. Integrity is your company’s most important commodity: Employees should avoid writing or posting anything that would embarrass your company or compromise their ability to do their job.
  • No separation. Employees should assume that their personal and professional lives will merge online. This will happen regardless of the care they take in separating them.
  • Privacy doesn’t exist. Even if your employees use privacy tools (for instance, determining who can view their profile, page or post), they should assume that everything they write, receive or exchange on a social media site is public.

Where To Start?

Depending on how big your company is, involve other people from other departments. Make sure to include management, legal, info technology and human resources. Each each department has different insights as to risk and impact.

You could hire a consultant to work with the team and draft the policy, alternatively you could use a tool like this online social media policy generator.

There is no need to craft a policy from scratch. A list of published social media policies from companies can be found at the Social Media Governance site. You should easily be able to find one that works for you and which you can change to suit your company.

Finally, your final social media policy should be reviewed by your legal department before you share it with and educate all your employees.

Make Business Referrals part of your Digital Strategy

Make Business Referrals part of your Digital Strategy

Referrals from happy customers should be your #1 source of new business. You can’t get a better business lead than someone referred to you. You can’t get a more motivated business prospect to your business than someone sent by a satisfied client.

We’re often asked: How do I get my clients to promote my business to their professional and social networks?

The answer is elusively easy: You have to train your clients to promote you. You have to remind them to do it. Constantly. And make it easy to do so.

The magic words you want your referrers to learn: “I know of someone who can help you.”

“The reality is that people almost exclusively do business with people they know or know of, rather than with strangers,” says Brian Polacek at the Rage Agency Marketing Firm. “A personal recommendation from someone you know and trust is far more reassuring than cold calling around.”

The 6 steps to add to your marketing plan to realize better and more business referrals:

1. Ask clients for referrals. Constantly.

Ask regularly. During the sales cycle. During the close. During delivering excellent service. And regularly thereafter. The best time to ask for a referral is while you are actively involved with your client and have their full trust and attention.

Don’t be shy. Asking does not threaten your client relationship – studies show the opposite – it enhances client relationships. “Asking a client to recommend you makes things personal,” says Polacek. “you’re asking your client to judge you and to make a personal decision about supporting the future of your business.” Clients can become raving fans when approached properly.

Keep yourself motivated by setting referral goals, and asking systematically. Use an “ask method” that fits with your personal and professional demeanor.

Start with the assumption that your clients would be happy to refer you. But let them tell you (and explore why) if they are uncomfortable doing so.

2. Teach clients how to refer you. Constantly.

Don’t assume that your client knows how to refer you. Many clients would be happy to refer you but don’t know how. Give them:

  • Printed information.  Include your value proposition and some client results. Answer these two questions about your business for them:  ”What do we do?” and “Why us?”
  • Permanent space. Reserve a space on your print and email newsletters. Add links to your site so that the reader can get a full answer to the two questions.
  • Review sites. Provide instructions on how to go on review sites like Yelp to give you a review.
  • Business card. Consider adding a request for referrals on the back of your business card.

3. Remind them to refer you. Constantly.

Reach out to your current and past clients on a regular basis, and always include a request for referrals. My long-time mortgage banker hasn’t contracted new business with me in years, but I get a letter from her every two months that reminds me that she appreciates my support and would love my referrals. (She openly admits in her letters that referrals are the lifeblood of her business. This motivates me because I want to help her.)

4. Look for ways to make it easy to review you. Constantly.

  • Website – Consider adding links on relevant pages of your website to review sites where you appear or want to appear. (Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.).
  • Communications – Add links to review sites when you send a client communication: Put them in emails, on Facebook company pages and Facebook postings, and in direct mail.
  • Write it. Create a PDF of your “What do I do?” and “Why me?”  and place them on your website. Include the PDF link on all communications. Here’s what our PDF looks like.
  • Sample reviews. People are often reticent to write a review from scratch, so share reviews that other people have written as models. (Keep it honest – don’t write the reviews for them – we’ve all become good at spotting fake reviews, and some companies like Amazon have initiated legal proceedings against fake reviewers.

5. Say “thank you.” Constantly.

Reach out and thank and recognize referrers – not only is it good etiquette, but it is good for business. People feel that they are doing business with a caring company when they are recognized for their favors. There is no need to offer financial rewards, in fact many businesses have restrictions against it.

“Most referrers are motivated to help you because you helped them,” says Polacek, “they not looking for a reward for themselves.”

The best reward is a referral back to them, if appropriate for their line of work.

6. Give. Constantly.

One of the best ways to get referrals is to generously give them. If you have the opportunity to refer an associate or link two contacts together, do so. Attending a networking event? Make a point of introducing people to one another. People will appreciate the referral, and it inspires them to respond in kind.

Referrals should be the number-one tool in your tool belt. Reach for it often–as often as you glance at your phone, and get more business.

Caffeine for your Brand – Storytelling

Caffeine for your Brand – Storytelling

Social has become a business imperative

These days it isn’t sufficient for businesses to only have website for their online presence. With the unrelenting growth of social media, consumers no longer rely on websites, instead they linger on the social media channels of their own choosing. Businesses need to be understand where their consumers are online, and be omnipresent with an integrated approach to social media.

Businesses who tell engaging stories over direct marketing will realize a connected community of consumers who will follow and enjoy their brand. Moreover, businesses that pursue a social is business approach, the final stage in the Social Maturity Model, will reap huge rewards.

The following slideshow from a recent presentation at our monthly series, Caffeine for your Brand – Storytelling meeting introduces and discusses these topics.

Caffeine for your Brand is a monthly networking opportunity featuring coffee, donuts and marketing conversations. The idea came about as a result of talking to our clients, all of whom share a healthy dose of curiosity, a lack of time to focus on marketing, a desire to know more about the discipline, a strong interest in networking with other companies, and the eternal need for coffee and donuts at least once a month.

Caffeine for your Brand sessions are held on the last Thursday of each month, from 7am to 10am, at the Rage Agency studio in Westmont, IL. The event is free and open to the public. Coffee and donuts are always at hand.

What’s the point in hiring a digital marketing agency?

What’s the point in hiring a digital marketing agency?

You hear about it all the time – the Internet is driving a lot of new customers to your competitors. And they don’t seem to be spending a fortune to make it happen.

You’ve decided to use digital marketing

So now you’ve decided you need to get on board the internet marketing bandwagon and strike gold too. Sage advice from friends has let you to believe you should sign up for Facebook, put ads on Google, and maybe you’ll even try that Twitter you’ve heard all about. And you intend to pretty up your website when you have spare time. And to save money, you’re going to do it all yourself.

For many companies, digital marketing intentions remain unrealized. Often hampered by a dated looking website that doesn’t function properly on a mobile device, with a hodge-podge of unbranded, inconsistent social platforms that fail eto excite and bring in new customers.

Sure you’re doing the digital marketing yourself and saving money, but at what cost?

You aren’t an expert in digital marketing

The reality is your knowledge of online marketing is not extensive. After all, your expertise is in what you sell, not how to market it online.

Would you save money by redoing the lighting system at your company? Or remodel your shop to make it more appealing to customers? You probably wouldn’t want to take the chance of wasting time and money on a DIY project that might end up disappointing your customers. Digital marketing in in the same realm – a poorly executed DIY effort can turn potential customers away.

You don’t have the right tools

Maybe you have been reading up on digital marketing and even have been doing it for a while with some success. Are you properly equipped to do a good job? From photo to video editing, writing to proof editing, there are many tools you have to be familiar with in order to do quality work.

The reality is you don’t have the time and experience to master all the tools necessary to do a great job.

digitalmarketingagency2

You see things your way

How many times have you looked at a website or an email and remarked to yourself how that business doesn’t seem to understand what your needs as a customer are? More often than not, your customers are remarking on the same thing about your digital marketing messages.

The reality is you can’t see your business as a customer sees it.

You think all social platforms are created equal

This is one of the biggest marketing issues for business owners. They simply don’t know what social platforms to use. And how to use the ones they choose.

The reality is each social platform has it’s own audience. Where do your customers gather online?

 

Digital marketing has become complex. What platforms to use to reach your desired customers, what tools to employ, how often to use each platform, what content, what conventions, how to tie it all together….the list isn’t endless but it is exhausting. Many business owners start off with good intentions but are quickly overwhelmed and can’t find the time to keep up the effort required and still run their businesses.

Hiring a digital marketing agency breaks through these barriers – agencies have the experience, utilize the right tools, see things from a customer’s perspective, and understand the value of each social platform and how to leverage them for your gain.

Spotlight On

Spotlight On

We feel a kinship with those who let a passion for their work guide their lives. Our Spotlight On Series is a collection of vignettes that feature craftsmen, artists, and entrepreneurs who have embraced social media to share their passion and in doing so have created a following, a social community.

We typically depict a mere slice of people’s lives, using mundane realism depicting everyday experiences. There is no intention on our part to lecture nor go into great depth. The series is meant to be uplifting and interesting, not a college course.

You’ve got a passion and boundless energy – share it using social networks and inspire others.

how many followers you have, but how much you help, inspire and motivate others.

Interested in sharing your passion?

  • Step 1: Figure out the story you’re trying to tell.
  • Step 2: Pick a short and self-explanatory name.
  • Step 3: Choose the social-networking site that you think best matches your interests.
  • Step 4: Design a group page if possible. Wherever possible, include pictures and videos when you post to the social platform.
  • Step 5: Promote discussion. You might get new ideas and inspire others.
  • Step 6: Promote your social page. At a party? Talk about your passion and page. Meeting someone for the first time? Don’t be shy about  about it.
  • Step 7: Pay forward. Take the time to thank others, to promote good causes and to practice good citizenship.

 

Caffeine for your Brand – Monthly Morning Coffee Chats

Caffeine for your Brand – Monthly Morning Coffee Chats

Caffeine for your Brand is a monthly networking opportunity featuring coffee, donuts and marketing conversations. The idea came about as a result of talking to our clients, all of whom share a healthy dose of curiosity, a lack of time to focus on marketing, a desire to know more about the discipline, a strong interest in networking with other companies, and the eternal need for coffee and donuts at least once a month.

Storytelling through Social Media has become critical for businesses

Social Media can be your biggest strength or a thorn in your side.  More often than not, it’s a weakness. Most business owners focus on sharing and selling on social media, the result of bad advice. The issue is that no one teaches businesses how to properly cultivate lasting relationships. At Rage Agency, we teach how to tell a story on social media, how to engage leads and develop conversations.

Storytelling covers many topics – learn to:

  • Brand your business on social media
  • Develop engaging social media content
  • Generate highly-targeted leads for less than $10 a day on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
  • Use LinkedIn for B2B connections
  • Grow your Instagram account for FREE and cultivate connections
  • Use Twitter to gain new customers every DAY
  • “Be everywhere” at once
  • Develop YouTube videos that complement your social media strategy
  • Hashtag your way to success
  • Connect with the news media and bloggers on social media for added buzz

Caffeine for your Brand sessions are held on the last Thursday of each month, from 7am to 10am, at the Rage Agency studio in Westmont, IL. The event is free and open to the public. Coffee and donuts are always at hand.