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!

What to Look for in a Creative Ad Agency

What to Look for in a Creative Ad Agency | Asterisk Creative Getting customers in the door is a priority for all of the business owners we know. Unless you’re an experienced marketer, getting your message + your look + your branding just right in your advertising will likely go awry. This is definitely something you want to get right and an area where you should look for help. But what should you look for in a creative ad agency?

First, ask yourself whether you need a creative ad agency. As mentioned, if you’re an experienced marketer, or if you have one on your staff, the answer may be no. More than likely, though, if you’re asking yourself this question, you need a pro’s help.

Next, think about your project and/or goals. Do you need to take the advertising load off your staff? Are you looking to expand the audience for your product or service? Is this a short-term solution or are you looking for a long-term relationship? What’s your budget? Knowing these answers will help you look for a creative ad agency with the hands-on skills to complete your work at a price you can afford.

Once you have that big picture, it’s time to start narrowing down. Many creative ad agencies have specific niches on which they focus. You’ll want to find an agency that specializes in your industry and/or your locale. You’ll also want to consider where you want to spend your budget (outside of what you’re paying the agency). Do you want a digital agency? Are you looking for traditional advertising outlets? Do you want both so that a full-service creative ad agency best fits your bill? At this point, you may also want to consider paying a consultant for an audit to help you determine where your audience is, where your dollars would be best spent, and what type of agency you need.

Before you make your final decision, you’ll want to make sure that the creative ad agency you choose is the right fit for you on more than just a skills and knowledge level. You’ll want to make sure they’re a good fit for your company culture, too.

  • If you have expectations on communication (like how soon you’ll get a response to your questions, how often you should expect reports, how many meetings or calls you’re allowed per month), find out now – not after you’ve signed a contract.
  • For expectations on transparency (like the types of communications you expect on work being completed, how you work with deadlines and approval processes, etc), again, find out if the agency you’re talking to can work with that structure now.

If you don’t take this important step, all parties on all sides are going to be miserable while you work together, and you want your creative ad agency to be excited about promoting your business!

When you’re looking for a creative ad agency, the team at Asterisk Creative would love to be considered! We have a host of case studies and knowledge in various industries. And we would love to be the right fit for you!

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!

The Power of Color in Design

The Power of Color in Design | Asterisk CreativeWhen it comes to design, color has power. Everything from how your brand is perceived by potential clients to how well your brand stands out amongst competitors is influenced by the colors you choose. So how can you harness the power of color?

First, you need to be aware of what cues colors send. Red, for example, imparts passion and excitement. Yellow sends a message of happiness. Orange screams “high energy”. Greens and blues signal tranquility. Purple is traditionally equated with royalty. Brown is associated with nature. Pink is seen as feminine and romantic. Black ranges from sophisticated and luxurious to sorrowful. White is the symbol of purity.

Once you’ve considered the colors’ meanings, think about what you want your brand and marketing materials to convey. Studies have shown that color can increase brand recognition by up to 80% and that many first impressions about a brand or a product are formed solely on color. So choosing appropriate colors can be just as important, if not more important, than the words you use. If you’re promoting a high-energy dance club, a tranquil blue is probably not going to attract the right crowd. Conversely, if you own a yoga studio that specializes in restorative classes, reds and oranges won’t send that message effectively.

At Asterisk Creative, branding is a specialty of ours. Between our branding team, our design team, and our website developers, we are well-versed in using color to appropriately convey your brand’s messaging and values. We know how to take a competitive analysis and also use color to help you stand out in your crowd.

When you’re ready to harness the power of color, give us a shout and let us help take your brand and your company to the next level!

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!

Digital Wellbeing for Business Owners

Digital Wellbeing for Business Owners | Asterisk CreativeOn the Google blog, they recently released a post called “Find a better balance with our tips for Digital Wellbeing”. The premise of the article is that, even as technology is making things easier for people, it’s also adding stuff to their plates; Google has put together a course on how to handle the extra stress and take care of ourselves in the midst of all this.

Day after day, we hear these same things from our clients and potential clients. Technology is making the life of a business owner easier in many respects. Social media and company websites allow affordable solutions to getting a business’ message out there. But by the same token, they’re adding items to the to do lists. Remembering to post on each outlet. Keeping up with algorithm changes to keep the website ranked. The new to dos go on and on. So here are a few of our tips for digital wellbeing for business owners.

  • Hire help.
    Yes, this seems like the natural one for us to suggest first. But it’s also the easiest for you. No one person can keep up with SEO algorithms and best practices for the three major search engines, the algorithms and best practices for the ever-growing number of social media outlets, best practices in website design, maintaining relationships with the proper media folks to implement great public relations strategies, etc. That’s why at Asterisk Creative, we’ve built teams of experienced practitioners to tackle all of these items. One person isn’t in charge of all of them. But we work together to put all of our skills to use for you in the best way possible while staying within your budget.
  • Focus, Focus, Focus.
    Whether you’re hiring help or taking on your company’s digital life on your own, our advice is the same: narrow your focus to just the items you NEED. No company needs to be on every social media outlet that exists. They’re all just not a good fit. Not every company needs an 800-page website. Focus your site’s pages to just the information you need the search engines to find (while working with what their algorithms are looking for, naturally).
  • Take a break.
    Put the smartphone down. Walk away from the computer. Even if it’s just for a 10-minute walk at a time, a few times a day, get away. Your brain will thank you. Your eyes will thank you. And your wellbeing will thank you.

When you’re ready for Asterisk Creative to help with your digital wellbeing, give us a shout! We’re here and ready to give you a hand.


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!