Marketing Predictions for 2020 from Asterisk Creative

Marketing Predictions for 2020 | Asterisk Creative | Award-Winning Marketing AgencyOver the last couple of months, lots of experts and pundits have made their lists of predictions of what will happen with marketing in the next year. So here are our marketing predictions for 2020.

Visual marketing will continue to grow.

This one’s a bit hard to believe. Given the rise of voice search through devices/apps like Alexa, Siri, and Google Home, it seems implausible. But mobile search is still on the rise, too. And studies have shown that people do not engage with plain text at the same rate as with visuals. (Visuals, in this case, could be videos, images, infographics, or other visual content.)

Consumers will expect more personalization in marketing.

Technology allows for more than just email marketing to be personalized now. In turn, consumers are now expecting it more. Given the data that is shared via all the various outlets that exist, personalization can come in the form of retargeting, lookalike audiences, product recommendations, and more.

New SEO tactics will need to be employed to reach digital marketing goals.

With the rise of voice search, mobile search, and local search, only optimizing site content around keywords will no longer be effective. Companies will need to invest time and/or funds into optimizing all on-page elements, as well as their profiles on outlets like Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places, etc.

Spending on influencer marketing will increase.

As trust in celebrities (down to local level) continues to rise, spending on brands they recommend will continue to rise. As such, companies will need to look more into how to leverage influencers in their own social media marketing campaigns. This doesn’t necessarily mean marketing budgets will have to increase. It may mean business owners and marketing managers will need to take an in-depth look at their current marketing efforts to audit for what’s working and what’s not, then shifting funds as appropriate.

As an award-winning marketing agency, we’re adept at looking at what’s happened in the last year or so with successful marketing campaigns and judging what will be successful moving forward. If one of your 2020 business goals is to get your marketing on the right path, give us a shout!

What Does it Mean to be a Marketing and Communications Agency?

What Does it Mean to be a Marketing and Communications Agency?At Asterisk Creative, we pride ourselves on being an award-winning marketing and communications agency. But what exactly does that mean?

Bascially, a marketing and communications agency takes a full-service approach. We understand that no matter the set up, marketing must work with public relations which must work with digital and so on and so forth. It’s best for all involved when all of those entities can be under one roof.

At Asterisk Creative, we have teams that are segmented by specialty. However, we all work together to offer you a holistic approach. Whether you’re in need of branding, public relations, SEO, social media management, marketing materials, web design and development, or some combination thereof, our teams work together to make sure your messaging is cohesive and your overall goals are met. All of your campaigns are multi-faceted, and all facets are designed to work together. Your marketing communications are custom-designed to speak to your company and each of its target audiences. What you get in return is a higher lead generation count which ups your potential to increase sales. This is exactly what you should expect from a marketing and communications agency worth its salt.

If this sounds like the type of help you need – or that you’ll be looking for in the new year – give us a shout. We’d love to add you to our client roster and get your business going gangbusters!

Find Marketing Opportunities in Competitors’ Fails

Find Marketing Opportunities in Competitors’ Fails | Marketing Tip | Asterisk Creative | Marketing Firm for the SoutheastThere’s a special kind of karma for those that revel in the pain and suffering of others. But there’s nothing wrong with learning from others’ mistakes. Here are a few tips from the team at Asterisk Creative on how to find marketing opportunities in your competitors’ fails.

1. Check out your competitors’ online reviews like those on Yelp, Google, Trip Advisor, etc. Is there a common complaint you see? Can you fill the void(s) those customers are finding? If so, use that information as selling points in your own advertising!

2. Mine Twitter for intel. If you search in Twitter for your competitor’s name + :(, it will return tweets that contain the two. Since the frowny face typically connotes disapproval, you’ll get a list of tweets that express a less-than-stellar reaction to the brand. Just like with the online reviews, look for common complaints and areas you can tout yourself as offering a better experience.

3. Search Google (and the other search engines) for questions being asked about your competitors. When folks have questions, many search for answers before contacting the company directly. By gleaning what searchers are struggling with when it comes to your competitors, it can give you insight into where you may excel in comparison.

At Asterisk Creative, we offer an in-depth competitive analysis as part of our marketing strategy service. As a result, we can help you find all of the areas in which your competitors fall short in comparison, and we build our service for you, in part, around capitalizing on that information and building it into your messaging. Contact us today to get your marketing messaging headed in the right direction!

Lead Generation in the Face of the Death of Sales Calls

Lead Generation in the Face of the Death of Sales Calls | Asterisk Creative | Southeast Branding and Marketing AgencyA recent study showed that nearly 90% of consumers no longer answer their phones. This is particularly true if they don’t recognize the number calling. Arguably, the increase in telemarketing and spam robocalls led us here. So if the unsolicited sales call is dead, how is lead generation supposed to happen for a business?

Many attribute success to inbound marketing. This is generating leads by marketing in a way that leads consumers to reach out to you. In order to be successful, businesses need to expand their prospecting, marketing, and communications strategies to reach their audiences through the channels the audiences prefer. More and more, this is moving toward digital marketing, especially through various social media outlets. Businesses lead potential customers to contact them through Facebook ads, boosted posts, and sponsored Instagram posts, for example. By leading clients to reach out – whether through phone call, direct message, or email – the sales close rate dramatically improves.

Let the team at Asterisk Creative help. We’re skilled in merging the many aspects of social media, email marketing, website design, branding, and public relations to reach our clients’ lead generation goals. Contact us today!

Benefits of Hiring a Marketing Strategist

Benefits of Hiring a Marketing Strategist | Asterisk Creative | Marketing Firm for the SoutheastMarketing is a broad field that encompasses a lot of different outlets. Of course, the end goal of all marketing is to increase your company’s revenue. But how do you make that happen? Hiring a marketing strategist may be the answer you’re looking for. Here are a few of the benefits.

A marketing strategist is well-versed in a wide variety of tactics that will make your brand and company more visible. As well, they know tactics to engage current and potential customers. Employing their knowledge can help your business grow in a way faster and better targeted than you trying to go it alone.

Another benefit to hiring a marketing strategist is that they’re knowledgeable of the outlets that exist. They’re able to narrow down which outlets are appropriate for your business and your budget. This ranges from traditional marketing outlets (like magazines, newspapers, and direct mail) to newer digital ways of marketing (like social media, blogging, podcasts, and more). They also have the resources to research new, upcoming outlets that can help you stay ahead of the game, marketing-wise. Can you imagine having to sort through all of your options alone, without the guidance of those in the know?

In addition, consistent messaging across all outlets is important in establishing your business’ authority in your field. A marketing strategist worth his or her salt is not only going to ensure this happens, but they’re going to make sure the content created for each chosen outlet is appropriate for its audience while staying on message. When it comes to online outlets, they’re also going to know proper image sizes, the correct content length, current best practices, etc to best convey your message in that arena.

Finally, marketing strategists are going to know how to analyze the results of your efforts and use that data to make better, more informed decisions moving forward. While there may be some trial and error involved, in the end, this will save you time…and more importantly, money.

Don’t let things fall through the cracks. Let the team at Asterisk Creative make sure your marketing messages and strategies are on point. Contact us today!

Top Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Top Benefits of Social Media Marketing | Asterisk Creative | Social Media Agency for the Southeast

Many business owners understand that social media marketing is a necessity in today’s landscape. However, they don’t necessarily understand what all it can bring them when done right. Here are the top benefits of social media marketing from Asterisk Creative.

  • Expanded brand recognition.
    Having a presence on multiple social media outlets increases the chances for potential customers to encounter your business. When your branding and your message is consistent, it makes your business recognizable across these outlets as well. There’s an old marketing adage. It says a consumer needs to interact with your message three to seven times before they take action. The more recognizable your brand is across social media outlets, in addition to traditional marketing outlets, the faster they reach that threshold. This, in turn, cuts down on the lead time to a sale.
  • Growth in brand loyalty.
    As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, social media has become a customer service outlet, just like phone calls and emails. The more you engage with your audience on social media, the more likely they are to be loyal to your business and your products.
  • Insights into Your Audience.
    Every social media outlet has its own version of analytics. This information tells you not only how your posts are performing. It also gives you data on your audience that you won’t find anywhere else! You can use this to know not only what to post and when to post on social media but also match it to the demographics and psychographics of other outlets to target your advertising, public relations, and more.
  • Increased website traffic.
    It should come as no surprise that using your social media outlets to publish links to your website drives more traffic to your site. But there should be a method to the madness. When you publish a new blog post, that can be fodder for social media posts. When you launch a new product, a link to that product on your website can easily drive sales. A targeted social media marketing strategy in this respect can help your bottom line, as well as your search engine optimization efforts.

When done right, social media marketing can bring you more customers, more traffic, and more conversions. If you’re interested in reaping the benefits of social media marketing but feel a bit lost, contact Asterisk Creative today!

Marketing During the Holiday Season

holiday marketing | Asterisk Creative | Southeast's premier marketing agencyThe holidays are rapidly approaching. Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday. Hanukkah. Christmas. Kwanzaa. Diwali. The new year. In fact, people around the world celebrate over 20 holidays between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

Business owners planned their holiday specials a while back and a set a marketing strategy in a perfect world. But if you find yourself a little behind the eight ball, hope is certainly not lost. Here are a few things you can do:

  • First of all, studies show shoppers tend to plan their Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday plans during the week before Thanksgiving. If you’re offering a special for any or all of those days, put it out now. Promote it heavily where you can between now and Thanksgiving. Social media outlets are amazing for this! Particularly with Facebook and Instagram ads, they can be set up and running quickly. They can also be highly targeted to work with a tight budget.
  • If you offer gift certificates, remind your fans and followers. Target Facebook ads to show to friends of your page’s fans.
  • Video is becoming increasingly popular. Therefore, this is the perfect way to showcase your holiday sales items. If you don’t have the resources to create a holiday-specific video, showcase items you’ll have on hand all throughout the winter season or even year-round. There are even DIY video editing options that allow you to put together a video with photos and text.
  • As always, go where your audience is. Look at the data provided to you via your Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Instagram Insights, Twitter Analytics, etc. What does it tell you about who your market is? Are there other outlets that target this same audience that you can still get into with a holiday ad?

Don’t let the holidays stall your marketing efforts. Contact Asterisk Creative, the southeast’s premier marketing agency, today to get your holiday marketing up and running!

Using Facebook Messenger for Business

Facebook Messenger for Business | Asterisk Creative | Southeast's Premier Social Media Marketing AgencyIn our last post, we touched on how adding a live chat feature to your website could add to your company’s trustworthiness. Honestly, we know that that’s not possible for many business owners for a variety of reasons. But if you have a business Facebook page, you have a chat feature of sorts at your disposal.

Facebook Messenger offers customers and potential customers the ability to reach you directly and chat with you in real time, even though it’s not housed on your website. Folks look for this feature at an increasing rate, as it turns out. Studies show, in fact, that the Facebook Messenger app is used almost as much as native text apps on mobile phones.

Additionally, if you consistently respond quickly, a badge goes on your business page that indicates to users that you’re responsive. This is another piece that plays into that trustworthiness factor. (In this case, “quickly” is defined as roughly within an hour or so.)

What’s more, Facebook also offers a chatbot feature for Messenger. Chatbots send an automated response that businesses can use to communicate when there isn’t a dedicated person to do so. There are two types of chatbots for Facebook right now. One is a subscription bot that offers users information (like weather, traffic, etc) when they subscribe to get those messages. The other offers customized messaging such as receipts, shipping notifications, and live automated messages that pull responses from a repository based on terms in the message from the user.

Chatbots can help get users engaged with your company. And we all know that’s a great thing! However, there are some downsides.

  1. They’re not free. You either have to build your own or purchase/subscribe to one through a service that offers them.
  2. They do not offer personalized messages to your subscribers/those that message you. It’s pretty much canned content all around.
  3. Messages are sorted into one of several inboxes when they come in. If they go to your spam inbox, there’s a good chance both you and your chatbot will miss responding.

As you can see, there are pros and cons with Facebook Messenger bots, as there are with most things. If you’d like to “chat” about whether a bot could help your business or how you could be using Facebook Messenger for business in general, give Asterisk Creative a call today!

Ways to Make Social Media Not So Overwhelming

social media | asterisk creative | southeast's premier social media agencyMost anyone who’s been near a computer in the last 10 years has probably found themselves down the rabbit hole that is social media. Add in the fact that you’re a business owner with a business to run, and thinking of spending time marketing via social media can seem more than daunting. Here are a few tips to help.

  • Focus on your overall marketing goals and objectives.
    Just as you wouldn’t run print ads in every publication in your market, don’t try to be everywhere online. Match the social media outlets where you market your business to your marketing goals and where you’ll reach your audience.
  • Use social media to be social.
    Don’t focus your posts on “me, me, me” and solely talking about your products or services. Focus on the potential clients within your fans/followers. Talk to them. Ask them questions. Use the opportunity to “start a conversation” about how you can help them.
  • Use a calendar and a timer.
    Set aside a specific amount of time each day to work on your social media. Schedule out your posts to make sure you’re posting consistently, but be sure to leave some time to monitor the comments and such your posts are receiving and respond as necessary.
  • Don’t go it alone.
    Understand the value of your time and where your business needs you to be focused. Enlist help to make your social media efforts manageable.

At Asterisk Creative, we pride ourselves on offering the ability to work with our clients’ budgets and create results through social media marketing. When paired with our other services, like public relations and an overall marketing strategy, we can help you hit the mark with your audience and take your business to the next level. Contact us for help today!

How Important is a Competitive Marketing Analysis?

competitive marketing analysis | Asterisk Creative | southeast's premier marketing agencyWhen considering your marketing plan, a competitive marketing analysis is a critical piece of the puzzle. Here’s why.

  • A competitive analysis will reveal your direct competition (those selling the same products/services as you in the same geographic area) as well as your indirect competition (those selling products/services similar to yours – not the same – that solve the same problem for the customer). You’ll need to know and understand both sets of competition to set the right strategy to give you a competitive advantage.
  • Knowing where your competitors are advertising can inform decisions on where you should advertise, too. We’re not saying place ads beside your competitors everywhere they are. But it’s possible that outlets they’re using but you hadn’t considered could be a good fit for you, too. It’s also possible that some of their advertising speaks to a niche market you hadn’t thought of before but makes sense after all.
  • Your competitors’ marketing messages can reveal their strengths and their weaknesses. Playing on their weaknesses, so to speak, differentiates your business from theirs, and this may speak to a pain point for a segment of clients you can help and they can’t.
  • Partnership and cross-promotion opportunities may present themselves. Just as knowing where your competitors are advertising, knowing the types of businesses they’re using for partnerships or cross-promotion can spark ideas for you, too.
  • Knowing which publications cover your competitors gives you a list of publications for your public relations people to target as well.

The marketing team at Asterisk Creative are pros at conducting a competitive marketing analysis for our clients, then setting a goal-focused marketing strategy from the findings. Contact Asterisk Creative and get your marketing analysis started today!