Does Social Influencer Marketing Actually Work?

By finding the right influencer, social influencer marketing can deliver authentic messaging, a targeted audience, and more profits to your business.

Almost everybody has made at least one purchase because somebody they knew — or at least, knew of — introduced them to a product or service. Today’s social media influencer marketing just takes old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing online to active social platforms. After all, such social sites as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are one of the first places today’s consumers turn to look for advice about purchases. Learn more about potential benefits of developing an influencer marketing strategy and how to go about finding the right influencer for your brand.

How social media influencer marketing works

Traditionally, marketers might have found a celebrity or authority on a topic to mention or promote products. Today’s social platforms have given birth to an entire new industry filled with people who attract a large audience through their own content. Finding the right influencer means having a spokesperson who has already attracted an ideal audience for your brand.

For instance, sales of your exercise bike or nutritional shake mix might benefit from the exposure a popular online fitness guru could offer by reviewing it for an Instagram or YouTube video. Similarly, a beauty company might look for a popular model or beauty expert to demonstrate their products.

Since there are so many social sites and influencers online these days, you might also benefit by working with an influencer marketing agency instead of trying to handle everything on your own. These are some of the tasks that an influencer marketing agency can help with:

  • Understanding your brand and products to determine the ideal audience
  • Helping to develop an influencer marketing strategy, including the choice of goals and metrics
  • Selecting and vetting social influencers and negotiating terms and rates 
  • Running and monitoring campaigns
  • Reporting upon the outcome and suggesting the next steps

According to HubSpot, an overwhelming 94 percent of marketers had a positive opinion about influencer marketings. On the other hand, almost 80 percent admitted that determining the actual ROI of their campaigns has proven challenging. That’s why you should not skip the second step that includes setting goals and figuring out how to measure them.

Can influencers help drive sales?

Influencers don’t always need to have massive audiences to benefit your company. For instance, some businesses have enjoyed great success with so-called micro-influencers who have less than 10,000 followers. Most important, any representative for your brand should have a good reputation and a loyal and targeted audience. In addition, your small business or startup may find that influencers with smaller audiences will work within your budget, increasing the chance of earning a profit. In fact, HubSpot highlighted one study that found micro-influencers tend to command more engagment than big-name celebrities.

No matter how big of a following an influencer has, it’s important to make certain they’re credible, possess a positive reputation, and won’t engage in any tactics that can do more harm than good. According to Neil Patel, millenials still tend to trust influencers but less than they did a few years ago. He says that most campaigns tend to earn decent returns, but a little less than one in five make nothing at all or even lose money.

In particular, influencers with millions of fans may charge tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for just one post or video. This underscores the point that some businesses may want to begin by looking for microinfluencers who may lack massive reach but can deliver a good return for a few hundred dollars instead of several thousand per post. Once you’re certain you know how to use influencers to deliver your marketing message and make a profit, you can always scale up by either finding more small influencers or a big-name celebrity.

As a note, Patel also agreed that marketers he had spoken with said the biggest challenge was measuring ROI. Testing with a smaller, budget-friendly audience can give you the confidence you need to pursue bigger audiences.

Yes, social media influencer marketing still works

A thoughtful influencer marketing strategy can deliver many benefits to your business. Some examples include brand recognition, exposure to a targeted audience, an authentic delivery of your message, and valuable word-of-mouth advertising. If you’re new to influencer marketing, you should make sure you have clear, measurable goals and choose your influencers wisely.

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How Out of Home Advertising Complements Digital Marketing

Do I need a billboard for my business? Learn how out of home advertising and digital marketing work together for great results.

While scholars believe human societies were first introduced to oral advertising, it did not take long for those old-time marketers to discover the power of signs. At least, they’ve found papyrus advertising posters that date back to ancient Rome, Greece, and even Egypt. In societies with low literacy rates, they relied upon pictures.

In the Digital Age, you might wonder how an out of home advertising agency can possibly still help achieve your business goals. After all, isn’t everything online now? Actually, buying a billboard and working with an OOH advertising agency may serve as the perfect solution to some struggles you face attracting more attention to your social media, digital ads, and business site.

Is an outdoor advertising agency beneficial to digital businesses?

When you think of the largest players in online advertising, companies like Amazon, HBO, Apple, and Google probably come to mind. According to The Outdoor Advertising Association of America, these companies ranked in the top 10 for money spent on out-of-home ads. Netflix, the online streaming service, made it to the top 15. Just as surprising, the OAAA said that tech-related companies made up 25 percent of the biggest spenders.

Together, Facebook and Google will contribute to over one-quarter of the total spend. Not only that, outdoor advertising had experienced constant growth every quarter since the Great Recession, not counting the coronavirus outbreak. According to the president of OAAA, Nancy Fletcher, companies spend money on this kind of advertising because it provides the perfect complement to their social, mobile, and search tactics.

Of course, these days, an out of home advertising agency might suggest electronic billboards and not just static ones. In that way, you might think of them as giant monitors in very visible locations. These allow advertisers to display very slick, sophisticated ads that can cast a very wide net. In other cases, the old-fashioned, static kind may also serve your purposes.

How can a billboard advertising agency help your business?

To understand how an OOH advertising agency might help you find outdoor ad placements to help improve your overall marketing plan, it will help to consider an example. For instance, Apple solicited images from iPhone users to use on the digital billboards they used for their ads. The “Shot on an iPhone” campaign helped demonstrate the types of photos that people could capture with their phones. It also gave contributors and their own social circles plenty of incentive to share images on social sites.

In this case, the digital and outdoor advertising worked together to help Apple enjoy a sort of synergy that they could not have achieved with either one alone. People saw the billboards who might not have visited the company’s digital platforms. In turn, contributors were quick to share their own photos to have them displayed both online and outdoors.

In simpler cases, businesses can use a billboard at the top of their marketing funnel to help attract more attention. Interested people will return to their computers and phones to seek out more information about the quick message they saw while they were commuting or running errands.

Does outdoor advertising work?

Some outdoor advertisers have also used mobile phone data to detect when people pass near their outdoor signage. In that way, the physical and virtual world of advertising merge even more.

For some other examples:

  • A study from Ocean Neuroscience found that almost half of mobile users were more likely to click on an advertisement after first seeing the brand advertised on a billboard.
  • Another study found 46 percent of people said they’d searched for something after first seeing it mentioned on an outdoor advertisement.

Online advertising has grown increasingly competitive and expensive. Ad blockers or simple online ad blindness have also made attracting attention on the internet more challenging. Engaging billboards can help attract more visitors to your business site or social pages and serve as the perfect complement to digital marketing. If you’ve been considering ways to grow your audience, don’t overlook the power of signs.

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Raise Your Instagram Strategy Game With Experiential Sets

Adding experiential experiences to your content marketing strategy can help grow and engage your audience online and offline.

Instagram, the popular photo and video site, will celebrate its 10th birthday in 2020. According to Sprout Social, just about a billion people use Instagram regularly, with about sixty percent of these users logging in at least once a day. While Instagram isn’t the largest social site, it is remarkable for the sort of famously Instagrammable experiences that its devoted audience has come to expect from content providers. As a marketer or content marketing agency, learn one way that you can tailor your Instagram strategy to include such an experience.

Developing an Instagram strategy around experiential set design

Many kinds of businesses have used Instagram as part of their effective content marketing strategy. Lots of other businesses even owe their starts to this unique social platform. As an important example, Instagram has even birthed an entire cottage industry of off-line sets that creative people develop just to generate the perfect backdrop for Instagrammable experiences.

Lately, these typically colorful and well-designed places have been called experiential sets. Fast Company referred to them as a sort of Disneyland for the selfie set, designed to appeal to short attention spans and a be-seen culture. Besides typically charging an admission fee, they also generally have sponsored rooms or galleries.

What is experiential set design?

To understand experiential set designs, it helps to consider some examples. Fast Company highlighted the Museum of Ice Cream’s debut in 2016. It launched in New York City, and then later attracted such celebrities as Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, and Katy Perry as it spread to Los Angeles and Miami. Copycats with similar ordinary themes and extraordinary sensory experiences popped up soon afterwards. Some examples include the Museum of Pizza and the Egg House. Of course, the most obviously named one is called the Museum of Selfies.

No matter the theme, they’re always designed with a photogenic quality in mind; however, they usually offer a live experience that appeals to multiple senses, such as feeling, smelling, and even tasting. Naturally, the admission to the Museum of Ice Cream includes a free scoop, provided by rotating vendors, who hope to gain more exposure both offline and online.

This new trend in experiential set design for events has moved to established museums or galleries and traveled as popup exhibitions. Critics have sometimes belittled these sets as dumbing down culture for the digital age and exploiting patrons by letting them pay high admission fees for superficial art and blatant advertising.

Great examples of experiential settings

At the same time, some efforts have been taken more seriously. As an example, The Color Factory has enjoyed serious design credibility with its focus upon color, creativity, and the way people experience spaces. They’ve even collaborated with such prestigious designers as the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. While the developers keep it a kid-friendly place, The Color Factory also appeals to couples on dates, tourists, and of course, Instagram and other social media influencers.

Of course, major brands have started sponsoring their own experiential settings. One good example includes the Escape the Room games that HBO sponsored at SXSW. They provided sets inspired by popular HBO shows, including Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicone Valley. These games immersed players in the shows’ stories in an incredibly engaging way.

Using experiential set design for B2B on Instagram

It’s sort of intuitive to see how a B2C content marketing agency can make use of these experiential sets to help improve brand recognition and grow their audiences. For example, Refinery 29’s contribution to this new industry, 29 Rooms, has had branded rooms from such companies as Smirnoff, Kraft, and Revlon. Non-sponsoring celebrities and social influencers might simply use the interesting backdrops of the venues as imaginative settings for their photos and videos. Meanwhile, the settings themselves may benefit from plenty of online exposure, admission fees, and sponsors.

At the same time, the concept of experiential sets can also lend itself very well for marketers who want to gain exposure for B2B on Instagram and other social sites. It’s important to note that a Bizzabo survey of hundreds of experienced marketers found that 87 percent of C-suite executives think live events will begin to factor much more in their marketing strategy.

Turning life events into Instagrammable experiences

For some good examples of way the executives might consider spending some of their marketing budgets on experiential sets for live events: 

  • Look at the Healthymagination marketing campaign by GE. They designed realistic medical settings that include demos of the ways that their tech helps improve them.
  • For something a bit more colorful and in line with other experiential settings, consider the way that HubSpot has designed their inbound marketing conference, complete with a giant #INBOUND hashtag sculpture to remind attendees how to find their posts and tag their own.
  • If you want to add a high-tech approach, you might even follow Intel’s lead in using immersive augmented and virtual reality tech to create a memorable and Instagrammable experience. One highlight included a hologram of one of their general managers, Gregory Bryant, speaking to the crowd.

Live events can lend themselves perfectly to serving as venues for Instagrammable experiences. Of course, it’s possible to turn the setting into its own event. Businesses can create their own branded experiences, either to keep in their headquarters buildings for visitors or as a popup that they can move around to trade shows and conventions. They can use their sets to highlight their company’s history, products, and community service. All the while, they can turn this immersive experience into something very sharable, so they benefit from both offline and online attention.

Should experiential sets become part of your content marketing strategy?

If you can find an experiential set relevant to your business, you may find that a great venue to produce sharable content. If you’re looking for a novel, competitive edge for your content marketing agency, you might even come up with your own ideas for a photogenic, mini-Disneyland for the selfie crowd. You can improve exposure both online and offline, plus add another revenue stream to your business.

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Adjusting Your Hotel Digital Marketing Strategy During COVID-19

When it comes hotel digital marketing during COVID-19, here are some tips on rethinking messaging, audience targeting, and marketing platforms.

Rosie Sparks of Skift may have had one of the best introductory takes for tourism digital marketing during the coronavirus outbreak. To paraphrase, she said that hospitality marketers will have to walk a fine line to develop hotel and resort marketing plans during the crisis. Naturally, potential guests have grown increasingly and understandably cautious about leaving their homes for non-necessary travel. On the other hand, some relatively low-risk marketing tactics could attract the revunue that hotels and other travel businesses need to stave off disaster.

So, what are low-risk digital marketing tactics? Skift mostly focused upon marketing isolated or outbreak-free destinations to help allay tourists fears about traveling during a pandemic. For instance, they published examples of a social and display advertising strategy that consisted of showing idyllic pictures and videos of fairly isolated places that hadn’t been touched by the coronavirus outbreak. These included African savannas, smaller European cities, and remote jungles.  Other marketers have also highlighted the ideas of staycations that can give travelers a way to give into their understandable urge to simply get away from it all. 

Is promoting virus-free staycations a viable digital marketing tactic for hotel marketing?

The publication noted that government and health organizations from all over the world have urged people to stay home during the outbreak. Right now, they admitted that promoting any tourism at all can damage brands. While some destinations have enjoyed a certain amount of success with this tactic, it’s risky because it’s controversial and also, won’t work for everybody.

For instance, residents of some of these mostly virus-free places have protested against attracting too many out-of-towners to their location for fear they may bring the disease with them. People who agree that it’s best to shelter in place as much as possible may also resent this kind of messaging during a crisis, even if they don’t personally have anything to lose. Most of all, not every hospitality marketer has the luxury to promise a place to escape that’s far from the pandemic.

Suggestions for a better digital advertising strategy for the pandemic

So how can resort and hotel marketing companies best use their precious marketing budgets productively during the coronavirus outbreak? Mostly, you have to find ways to adjust your audience targeting for the times. Because you’ve changed your audience, you should also recognize their needs and concerns within your messaging. To understand how to proceed, dig deeper into some examples.

Rethink your display advertising strategy budget

You may have to work with a lean marketing budget while your business slumps. You can take heart from knowing that your competitors also have to trim expenses, so you may have opportunities to enjoy some bargain placements from publishers, search, and social platforms.

For example, Skift noted that Google’s typically robust travel search has almost become unrecognizable because of the lack of ads. Once you narrow down your message and target audience, you should have plenty of opportunities to test your marketing for much lower rates than you paid a few months ago.

Uncover low-hanging fruit to target

Figure out which people still might visit your business. Even though most people have chosen to stay chose to home, some hotels have managed to keep a steady flow of bookings with visitors like these:

  • According to USA Today, thousands of hotels have signed up with an organization called Hospitality for Hope. This matches hotels with agencies in need of lodging. An obvious example of guests this can attract would include healthcare workers who have ventured into cities to help with coronavirus hotspots.
  • Similarly, hotels have worked with hospitals, city or county governments, and individuals to help house medical workers, loved ones of patients in hospitals, or even people who don’t need medical care but still need a comfortable place to self-quarantine away from family. For instance, many doctors and nurses have chosen to isolate themselves in hotel rooms for the durations to reduce the risk of infecting their families.
  • Besides essential businesspeople who still need to travel for important work, local remote workers have checked into hotels as alternative workspaces. For instance, a parent with a house full of kids may need a quiet place to attend to a day full of video conferencing meetings. With typical work-sharing venues closed down, a hotel can typically provide the amenities these employees need.
  • The idea of offering staycations may still work, but instead of trying to attract international travelers to exotic destinations, any city or suburban motel could offer staycations to people who just want to leave home but not travel very far. Hotels and resorts can offer room service, in-room entertainment, and other amenities to help attract guests who live nearby but still want to feel like they’re getting away from it all. Some hotels have worked with local restaurants to promote gourmet weekends with a variety of meals that get delivered right to the front door.

Naturally, once you uncover an existing demand, you may want to tailor packages that will appeal to these people. Whslasile most marketers caution against slashing rates too low to attract guests, you might consider ways you can add value to your packages without reducing revenues too much. Some ideas that other hotels have promoted include discounts for long-term stays, packages that include room service and other upgraded amenities, and of course, relaxed cancellation policies.

Choosing tourism digital marketing platforms

Naturally, you should maintain your presence on any robust social sites you already inhabit. Some content ideas might include:

  • Use graphics and videos to demonstrate the extra steps you have taken to protect the health of your guests and employees during the outbreak. For instance, you might even produce a video of your cleaning staff working to sanitize a room for new guests. If you do have rooms for people who need to self-quarantine, you might demonstrate that you have established this block of rooms on a different floor or wing than the rooms for other guests.
  • Describe the packages and offers you have developed to help attract your new target markets. Let people know about your long-term stay rates or staycation amenities. If you’re close to a local hospital, you might consider offering transportation or free video calling services as part of the deal.
  • For something likely to appeal to the homebound masses, you could have your staff create content that highlights their specialties. For instance, your chef could do cooking demos, your spa employees might demonstrate relaxation techniques, and your cleaning crew could even demonstrate the best way to sanitize surfaces.
  • If possible, you should consider including all sorts of hotel employees in your ads. You can let the public see the faces behind your hotel and remind potential guests that their stay at your venue helps keep these poeple employed.

You might also consider targeting some publishers that already attract your potential market. Consider medical publications to appeal to healthcare workers, business publications to find employees who need workspaces, and even local food and travel blogs to find families, couples, and individuals who would splurge on a staycation. You might assume that some of these publications have also suffered revenue drops, so they may offer lower rates for premium spots.

Craft your messaging carefully

Right now, travellers have grown increasingly and understandably cautious. You certainly want to reassure your guests that you can offer them a safe place to stay. You can also let them know that you’ve made your booking and cancelation policies more flexible to accomodate their current needs.

Beyond that, you may soften up your call to action to help entice hesitant bookers. For instance, you might formerly asked ad viewers to “Book Now.” These days, it’s probably best to lighten up with something like “Learn More.”

It’s also time to take a page from the hotels that have pushed their remote destinations as an alternative place to stay during the outbreak. Formerly, your website and ads may have featured your bustling lobby or crowded restaurant. Today, people want to avoid the sorts of crowds that might have attracted them before. You might want to replace those images with scenes from quiet parks, private rooms, and scenic vistas.

Can hotel and resort marketing still thrive during the coronavirus outbreak?

Nobody doubts that most hospitality venues have struggled during the current crisis. As marketers, you probably have to make due with a leaner budget. At the same time, your failure to market at all won’t improve the situation. You can make the best use of the resources that you have by uncovering the most likely demand, utilizing your resources, finding discounted advertising rates, and of course, providing your audience with the right messaging at the right time.

In the long run, you will discover some winning strategies that will help you maintain business and emerge stronger once the worst of the crisis has passed. You might even decide to retain some of these effective programs because they will also work during normal times, but you just never would have thought to add them otherwise.

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Restaurant Marketing and Customer Acquisition After Coronavirus

Restaurants affected by COVID-19 are getting creative with their customer acquisition strategies. Read our restaurant marketing tips for inspiration.

The restaurant industry has been singled out as one of the kinds of businesses most impacted by the coronavirus crisis. Government orders have closed dining rooms across the country. At the same time, many eateries have struggled to hang on with delivery and takeout — and some have even done quite well. Thus, it’s still not time to abandon the restaurant customer acquisition ideas that can bring in revenue now and help you emerge even stronger after the coronavirus outbreak finally passes.

Restaurant customer acquisition ideas for during and after coronavirus

Pre-coronavirus, the National Restaurant Association projected almost $900 billion in revenues for American restaurants in 2020. In March, out of about 700,000 jobs lost, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of the laid off employees came from the hospitality and restaurant industry. John Harkey Jr., the CEO of Consolidated Restaurant Operations, called this crisis a financial tsunami for the restaurant business. In any case, it’s clear that the restaurant customer acquisition and marketing plans that businesses had before the shut-down and stay-at-home orders will need to change quickly.

Consider online ordering, pickup, and delivery

With the growth of delivery services and consumers’ growing desire for convenience, delivered, takeout, or drive-through meals already accounted for a significant and growing percentage of overall restaurant revenue. Some kinds of restaurants, like pizza places and fast food, had already based a large portion of their business around delivery and takeout. Still, as various state and local governments began to close dining rooms, some restaurants had to scramble to put online ordering in place.

Sometimes, they did not have time to do much more than post a menu on their website and social sites and offer customers a phone number to call for curbside pickup orders. Still, depending upon the existing following these restaurants had, they still managed to keep a steady flow of customers.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that Orlando restaurant marketing has focused upon delivery to offset the loss of in-store business. They gained assistance in their efforts when Uber Eats, one of the largest delivery companies, waived their fees for any orders from independent restaurant businesses. Some of the larger chains already offered their own delivery, and they’ve also begun to stop charging fees as a gesture of goodwill to their patrons and an incentive for more people to order.

Exercise enlightened self interest

Pickup won’t work for all restaurants. Harkey, the CEO mentioned above, said that they operated most of their restaurants out of malls, and since the malls have closed, they can’t easily offer pickup and don’t really have the structure in place for deliveries. At the same time, delivery companies like DoorDash are heavily promoting an #OpenforDelivery campaign that pushed their services, the restaurants they work with, and even such competitors as GrubHub and Uber Eats.

Some restaurants have balked at using these kinds of services because of the extra delivery charges, but for restaurants without capacity to offer certain services, they might serve as a handy option in more ways than one. In addition to pushing national chains, they’ve also helped promote local restaurants they deliver from. Another example of related businesses sharing resources includes a group of businesses that agreed to donate a percentage of revenue to coronavirus-relief charities. As they all promote the relief effort and their own struggles to keep employees working, the digital presence of the charitable organization also promotes the companies that sponsor it.

Create compelling digital content for your restaurant

Certainly, you attracted diners because they loved your food. Even better, you may have retained business because your customers loved your facility and even you. With that in mind, you can develop content that helps strengthen your connection.

You could give your audience a behind-the-scenes video tour of your kitchen. Introduce them to your staff or let them watch you prepare one of your specialties. For example, one high-quality Italian restaurant shared an engaging recipe of the process they used to make, cut, and cook their homemade pasta. Another produced a series of cooking videos. Don’t overlook introducing your audience to your hard-working employees in order to remind customers that their patronage helps keep people working.

These kinds of content tend to do very well on Facebook, YouTube, and other social platforms. Don’t worry about giving away all of your secrets, you’re probably just going to make more of your audience hungry than eager to attempt your recipes. If you need extra revenue, you can even monetize your content with ads and sponsors on some platforms. Don’t worry if you don’t have any production experience. While you should strive for quality, you can find cell phone apps that will allow you to shoot, edit, and upload decent videos.

Don’t abandon marketing and advertising

Plenty of research from other downturns demonstrates the wisdom of maintaining a marketing budget. Business that do tend to weather the crisis and emerge even stronger. As with other hospitality businesses, you might need to adjust your restaurant customer acquisition strategy a bit, but you certainly should not abandon it.

Realistically, you may have to trim your budget, but you may find that some advertising platforms have grown less competitive as your competitors have done the same. You may also find you can do more with less as you focus upon satisfying existing demand within your community.

Geo-fencing for restaurants

Geo-fencing refers to setting a perimeter around your physical restaurant. For instance, you might use this technique to connect with people who are within the same shopping center, at work in a nearby essential business, or even just passing by your door. When they pass within the perimeter, this technology can alert them with a ping from a social network advertising platform, text, or message from a mobile app.

Geo-fencing for restaurants has proven to convert really well. It might offer you the perfect way to improve your takeout business now and entice more customers in the future after you have opened up your dining room again.

Retargeting

When people search online for the kind of takeout that you offer, why not concentrate on the hungry customers who have already visited your website or social platform in the past? Plenty of industry marketing analysts have suggested that businesses with limited marketing resources may enjoy better returns by focusing on ready-to-buy customers instead of trying to generate a new demand.

Build mutually beneficial relationships

One restaurant owner saw that hospital workers had an increasingly tough time accessing meals because cafeteria dining areas had closed and only essential staff could enter the building. He spoke with hospitals and found an opportunity to use his own catering vehicles as distribution points from outside the hospital, so hospital workers could pickup food and distribute it inside.

Besides generating an extra revenue stream, the restaurant had a chance to develop a lot of good will both at the hospital and within the community by featuring the story on social media and in press releases. They also began operating food trucks and started a GoFundMe campaign to help offset some extra costs, which also helped generate even more publicity.

I still need more marketing ideas for my restaurant 

If you still need a few more tips, you can find plenty of good examples from other restaurants around the country. You might include some of these promotions in your advertising to help attract new customers without increasing operating expenses:

  • You can save money on delivery costs by encouraging curbside pickup. You might incentivize customers to stop by with such incentives as a free dessert or appetizer.
  • Incentivize their next orders by offering customers discount coupons and gift cards along with each pickup or delivery. Also, work to promote gift cards that customers can buy to save for later or give to others as gifts.
  • Try offering family meal packs or kids-eat-free specials to help attract all those families who now have their children home from school.
  • Consider simplifying your menu or even offering a fixed-price meal deal. You can also try rotating a smaller set of menu items to help you reduce inventory and provide encouragement for customers to try next week’s menu.
  • Promote discount bulk orders that you package for easy storage and reheating. Some restaurants have even started offering meal kits that give customers the ingredients and instructions to duplicate some of their dishes at home.

Whatever you do to adjust your menus, hours, or business model, make certain that you keep employees and customers updated by posting updates to your website and social media. Also, let customers know about the steps you take to protect both them and employees. This current crisis will pass; however, most people will probably retain a heightened awareness about the many ways that germs and diseases can spread. You can help reassure them that you work hard to protect them now and will continue to do so in the future.

Restaurant marketing after the coronavirus starts now

The restaurant customer acquisition strategies that you develop today can help sustain your business through this tough time and help you emerge with a larger customer base than you had before. Once this crisis passes, and it will, diners will be eager to enjoy restaurants again, and you can make sure they intend to reward themselves with a trip to your dining room.

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Why the Best Time to Invest in OTT and Digital Media is Now

Consumers are cutting cable but still watch favorite shows by streaming them. Invest in CTV and Local OTT Media to maximize your marketing investment. 

Even some researchers who conducted a recent survey of cord-cutters expressed surprise at their study results. Cord cutting refers to people who have canceled their cable TV accounts but kept internet as a way to access streaming content. This content may include their favorite TV shows and streaming-only programs. People still watch television shows, but far less of them watch via cable these days.

While it’s obvious that regular TV ads won’t reach as many people as they used to, you can find out how savvy marketers can enjoy even better returns from accessing local OTT media and CTV advertising.  These kinds of ads reach the viewers that cable cannot and offer plenty of benefits.

The importance of digital media for advertising

The survey mentioned above occurred last year and involved 5,000 Americans. The survey takers believed that their demographics tended to skew a bit younger and more budget-conscious than average, but they still included residents of each state and people from age 18 to 69.

The results uncovered surprising insights and trends: 

  • Almost 60 percent of the respondents had already canceled their cable service.
  • Meanwhile, almost 30 percent said they had not yet cut the cord but were actively considering it.
  • In summary, about 90 percent of survey respondents had already canceled their cable TV subscriptions or planned to do it in the future.

Meanwhile, industry analysts expect the trend to continue. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon already offer billions of dollars worth of content. Such devices as Roku Streaming Stick and Google Chromecast let viewers access multiple services from older TVs, and newer sets often come with built-in internet connectivity. Of course, people can also watch content from their laptop, mobile phone, or tablet, so they really don’t need a television at all.

Rather than choosing an expensive cable package, many consumers have found they can get more content for less money by streaming. Even cable companies recognize the trend and have begun to offer stream-only accounts that give customers internet access to basic and some premium cable stations. In addition, most cable and network stations offer free and paid plans to let viewers watch their favorite shows through an internet connection.

Also, you can only access some new network programs from, like the new Star Trek series, through a paid app. With that CBS app, for example, the basic paid plan still shows ads, and viewers need to pay more to remove them. As another example, you have to have paid cable access to see some AMC shows, and you still have to pay more to remove advertisements.

In any case, the numbers from the survey may not exactly illustrate the behavior of all Americans. Still, they represent a large population of internet-aware, budget-conscious consumers. If that sounds like your market audience, you should consider the digital media marketing options that will let you reach them.

What is OTT Vs. CTV advertising?

Very often, OTT and CTV advertising get used interchangeably. More precisely, CTV refers to connected TV or even any device used to watch content through an internet connection. OTT stands for “over the top” and refers to using a service to access content from the internet. For instance, people still need to get bandwidth from their cable company, but they may need a subscription to such OTT providers as Hulu and Netflix to watch a particular show. 

The anachronistic origins of over the top came from the days when people usually placed their gaming or streaming device physically over the top of their cable box. Anyway, you can usually think of OTT and CTV advertising as having a similar meaning, depending upon context, but they may not always exactly mean the same thing.

So, you might see CTV and OTT advertising more precisely described like this:

  • CTV advertising: CTC advertisements generally describe short-form, professional video ads that marketers can offer to targeted audiences of people who use connected TV.
  • OTT advertising: Advertisers can have OTT ads inserted inside of OTT content in much the same way that viewers are used to seeing ads on network shows. Subscribers will not see ads for external businesses on Netflix or the HBO app. However, some services have subscription levels, so the provider will display ads to bring in additional revenue for the cheaper plans. Examples of these services include Hulu and the CBS and AMC streaming apps.

Benefits of OTT and CTV advertising

Before discussing the benefits of digital media advertising, it’s a good idea to consider the drawbacks of traditional media:

  • Targeting: Traditional TV, radio, and even print ads generally cast a wide net. You may have had some ability to target an audience by choosing time slots or media; however, you can’t tune that well enough to target things like your previous website visitors or people who have or haven’t seen your ads before.
  • Analytics: After your ads ran, you may have figured out how to gather some rough metrics. For instance, you might have asked viewers to call a particular phone number or ask for a specific TV-only deal. Still, you had no way to track the buyer’s journey or know exactly which of your efforts effectively gave you the best returns.

Besides knowing that you’ll gain an increasingly larger audience by targeting online content, you should understand the rich features of streaming ad platforms.

Targeting

Sophisticated digital media marketing platforms offer these kinds of popular targeting options:

  • Geographic location: In the past year, local OTT media marketing grew by 127 percent, which amounted to seven times the increase for all digital media marketing put together. You can also use IP targeting to find customers in specific geographic locations.
  • Your own insights: You can use your own website visitor tracking, subscriber list, and other first-party data to find your audience.
  • Demographics: As with other kinds of ad platforms, you target by personas, age, gender, income, and many other demographic variables.
  • Frequency caps: You won’t have to worry about overexposure when you can set frequency caps to avoid showing your same ads to the same people too many times.
  • Retargeting: Besides targeting your own website visitors, you can also target the same people across multiple devices, such as their connected TV, mobile phone, and laptop.

Metrics

Just as you’re probably used to from typical online analytics and advertising program, you will get a free suite of metrics to monitor performance. Some common examples include:

  • Site visitors: You can track visitors to your website or individual pages. You will also know which first-time visitors you attracted and which visitors have visited your site before. You will even get completion stats to see how many people watched your entire video to the end.
  • Performance statistics: You can also track performance data by device, local region, publisher, creative, time of day, and much more. This will give you the information to test every aspect of your marketing plan. You will know which campaigns performed well and which ones you need to discard or modify.
  • Specific costs and conversions: You will have the information to calculate exactly how much you paid for each view, and you can follow your audience through to your website or phone system to calculate conversion costs as well.

Other OTT advertising benefits

Perhaps best of all, viewers don’t appear to mind OTT ads. For one thing, TV viewers have already grown accustomed to commercial breaks during their favorite shows. Unless they have paid for a premium subscription, they accept ads as a price they will pay for their content. In fact, many platforms see video completion rates in excess of 90 percent. Most of the time, the viewer cannot skip the OTT advertisement if they want to finish watching a show, so perhaps this isn’t so surprising.

When you promote your business on high-quality services and programs, you can also help protect your brand image in a way you cannot always do with typical display ads people view on websites.

Why it’s time to invest in OTT and digital marketing media now

Right now, the majority of households access at least some content through CTV and OTT. Many people have already canceled their regular cable subscription, so they only access content through the internet. By 2021, according to eMarketer, almost three-quarters of American households will rely solely upon OTT and CTV to deliver the kind of content they used to watch on cable television.

Meanwhile, during the current coronavirus crisis, viewing habits will increase by about 60 percent, according to Nielsen. Nielsen observed that people tend to consume more programming during times of crisis in order to remain inform, connect with other people, and of course, to entertain themselves. Beyond the overall trend for more digital media consumption, right now, interest is definitely spiking.

Besides the increase in audience size, your marketing efforts can benefit through sophisticated targeting and analytics tools that you will use to promote and measure your efforts. If you ignore the power of OTT and CTV, you risk losing your audience as the cable companies lose customers.

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