The real reason we start celebrating Christmas in July

Craft Creative Cross Channel Campaigns:
Every year, Bergdorf Goodman creates elaborate holiday window scenes in their flagship New York City store. These themed displays are a highly anticipated holiday tradition that shoppers consistently look forward to every season. To build excitement, Bergdorf begins previewing their displays months in advance with Instagram and YouTubeteasers.” This is a perfect example of a cross-channel campaign that drives interest both on- and offline. When crafting a cross-channel campaign, use hashtags, promotions, or sales previews – like Bergdorf – to roll out information slowly and to encourage potential customers to engage socially before ultimately ending up in-store or on your website, where a sale is most likely to occur.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Public Relations:

If there is one time of year when you should consider engaging with local journalists and publicists, it’s the holidays. Gift guides and feel-good holiday features are an opportunity for your company to showcase your products or values within the community. If your company is committed to giving back or championing sustainability standards, the holidays are a good time to expose those ideals. Local and regional journalists are often open to these types of stories, so don’t be afraid to reach out and pitch an idea. Your marketing agency partner can also leverage any media contacts they might have to facilitate placement and fit. Similarly, gift guides such as the outlandish (but highly celebrated) Neiman Marcus “Gift Book” (and its parodies) offer easy, lighthearted ways to gain exposure.

Give it Away:

This is the season to give and receive, so give something away! Contests are a great way to encourage potential customers to share your content. In fact, Facebook data indicates that more than 63% of their user base will share a link or tag a friend in hopes of winning a promotional giveaway. Because people are often looking for gift ideas during this time, they are especially likely to engage with this type of content. Giveaways don’t need to be huge expenditures for your business. The key is ensuring that whatever you’re offering – whether it costs $5 or $500 – is of value to your customer base. This is especially easy if you work in a service industry and can offer a trial, sneak preview, or private variation of your product.

Nail the Big Sale Dates:

If you’re in retail, you should know when all the major sale dates occur. Here’s this year’s lineup: Black Friday on November 24, Small Business Saturday on November 25, Cyber Monday on November 27, Green Monday on December 11, and Free Shipping Day on December 15. You should expect to offer both online and in-store promotions for each and every one of these days (even for those specifically geared toward one channel or the other) because your customers are expecting to shop. Participation in these sale dates is the rule, not the exception, whether you’re a big business or a small mom-and-pop shop … so be prepared. Your e-commerce platform should be ready for traffic, your ads and retargeting campaigns should be scheduled, your social outreach should be polished, and your team should be ready to put all hands on deck. Use an agency partner to make sure all your bases are covered and you are appropriately staffed for extra action.

It’s Not Over Until It’s Over:

One of the most popular times to shop is directly after the holidays. People are returning gifts, cashing in gift certificates, and purchasing the items that didn’t get checked off their wish lists. This is an especially great time to launch an email marketing promotion or retargeting campaign highlighting popular items that may have gone out of stock, or items that were abandoned in your customers’ shopping carts. Use your digital data to determine exactly what you should promote or discount to enjoy maximum benefit. And remember, just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean your customers are done shopping

Click here to learn more about how BIGEYE can grant your holiday wishes with successful seasonal outreach. Although we can’t promise you a white Christmas here in Orlando, we certainly can promise you a joyful and profitable one.  

Nursing home marketing & print ads go hand-in-hand

If we were to tell you that print ads go hand in hand with nursing home marketing, you might be tempted to reach for a joke about the slow decline of the print industry and aging clients’ reticence to adopt new marketing technology. It’s true that print ads do perfectly complement and support nursing home marketing … but not for the reasons you might think.

Print ads deliver tangibility and credibility:

When making an important and difficult decision, like where to spend your golden years, marketing bravado is the last thing you need to complicate the process. While print ads may not prove the presence of your expected level of service or desired facilities, there is something to be said for holding a tangible, high-quality brochure in your hands to validate a brand’s image. High-quality print marketing materials suggest that the brand is willing to invest in its clients and has enough liquidity to produce expensive assets. Regardless of whether these assumptions are always true or not, print ads do lend an air of credibility to your marketing efforts by providing something potential clients can take home, hold, review, and consider. Marketing psychology has proved time and again that the weight and finish of paper used in marketing collateral can have a profound influence on the perception of a brand. Possibly for this reason, direct mail boasts a three-time better response rate than email according to the Harvard Business Review. We’ll take those odds.

Printed nursing home marketing materials appeal to young decision makers:

It is also important to realize the decision makers choosing (and financing) nursing home contracts are not always the future residents themselves. As the Baby Boomers continue retiring and aging, their children will slowly shift from care-receivers to caretakers. More than 50% of Generation X and Y view magazine and newspaper print ads in favorable light, compared to their staggeringly low 10 – 20% favorability toward digital PPC and banner ads, according to a study by Kantar Millard Brown. To digital natives, a good website is an expectation — a print ad or brochure goes above and beyond. For this group of decision makers, digital advertising is simply an annoyance standing between them and the content they want; whereas well placed print assets can serve as true supporting and educational material.

Print ads drive action:

So, what’s the bottom line? In our hyper-digital world, we are sometimes shocked by the reality that few channels drive action better than direct mail print ads. Close to 80% of consumers will act on direct mail immediately according to the CMO Council. Still in doubt? Email marketing only delivers a 45% immediate action rate. Choosing a nursing home is a deeply personal and sometimes sensitive decision, so any channel than can inspire immediate action is beneficial to the customer and the service center itself.

Print ads still signal service, and with that, we can’t think of a tool better suited to support nursing home marketing needs. When considering how to maximize your marketing spend as a care and service provider, always assess how and where print ads fit into your marketing mix. No matter what technology emerges, print will always have a place in the middle of the marketing funnel when consumers seek education and deep information about a brand. For examples of how we have used print to support brands like yours, read more about our services or contact us to talk directly with a member of our creative team.

Read how Apple caught up to Google Play’s app feedback feature

Apple’s App Store and Google Play have been neck to neck, with 2.2 and 2.8 million apps for download respectively. Both big-name brands have been striving to set the tone for developers and marketers hoping to break through the clutter with the “next big app.” … And on March 27th, Apple just tightened the race even more. Since 2013, Google Play has supported a feedback platform where app developers can request additional information from customers who rated their app. Apple originally limited the feedback loop in hopes of reducing the amount of customer service requests mistakenly filtering through the App Store. Their latest iOS release, however, debuted an entirely new app rating and feedback model that improves the customer and developer experience.
Why marketers should care?

If your target audience has mobile phones, you need to care about this. According to Smart Insights, apps account for 89% of mobile media time. This means that the majority of time your customers spend on their phones is inside an app. Additionally, most app usage helps customers solve a real task: order groceries, navigate, find transportation, purchase movie tickets – you get the idea. Reliable feedback about how their app is performing allows marketers to understand whether their app is valuable and invest dollars to support its functionality or invest those same dollars elsewhere.

Realizing that customers are consistently using apps and expecting them to solve their day-to-day problems gives marketers another important tool when creating a holistic marketing experiences that engages their most valuable audience. Knowing how well your output is serving that audience is priceless. While you may hope your app is serving a need, knowing where you are doing well and where you are falling short can dramatically improve your adoption and usage metrics … which ultimately impacts your bottom line. Consistent, relevant, and clear feedback is as important for your brand as traditional data and analytics insights. Even a handful of thoughtful, qualitative reviews can provide key customer insight into areas of improvement.

How the new feedback system works:

Thankfully, Apple’s new feedback system helps you get there. Now, when customers complete a rating, developers can request additional information and ask questions to generate actionable feedback rather than just static comments. They can also reply to negative feedback or issues directly within the app to encourage goodwill and build a positive relationship. This allows developers to clarify confusing comments and get to the heart of the issue, rather than simply managing a flood of customer service crisis. The new system also limits the number of times developers can ask for feedback or a rating about an app in order to improve the overall customer experience for users who don’t want to participate in the feedback process.

These simple updates illustrate the important trade off of earned value (presumably from your app) and information from your customers. Most marketers believe you shouldn’t ask for information – whether that’s a review or an email address – until you are providing a clear benefit in exchange for that information. This model champions that natural give and take and will hopefully improve the quality of data developers are receiving while improving the overall customer experience. App customers now know that ratings can be used to improve their overall experience and will hopefully be more inclined to share bug fixes and customer service insight for a holistic feedback loop.

Learn more about BIGEYE’s application development philosophies and how we can help you fit these tools into a comprehensive, multi-channel marketing strategy and data gathering system.

Real estate profs: Our PPC advertising can decrease your CPC

We already told you that search optimization is a critical success factor for real estate marketing. What we didn’t tell you was that our PPC advertising agency can actually lower the cost of your CPC campaigns. It’s vital to utilize natural as well as paid channels to reach people who are researching housing options. The trick is to optimize your ad spend so that you can invest as little as possible in paid search marketing and leverage your natural content and digital assets to your advantage.

To do this, you need to find and partner with a PPC advertising agency who can serve as a trusted search advocate. Here are three pro tips we help all of our clients accomplish when they work with us on their search needs, to get you started.

1. Invest local, optimize global: One of the best strategies a PPC advertising agency can support is investing in local ad spend. Unless you have a massive budget, you may find it difficult to compete on the national (or international) level, so use your digital marketing agency to determine who your regional competition is and let the games begin. By focusing narrowly on key, local terms, you can reduce your CPC because there are fewer people bidding on those words; however, when targeted correctly, you can maximize exposure in your own back yard. And in the real estate market, it’s your own back yard that matters most. On the flip side, your agency should also be able to help you optimize your content and website for organic search so that you still have that national and global presence you crave.

2. Test everything: All pay per click management companies have the ability to test how your PPC spend is performing in the market. Ask them to test multiple ad bid and spend combinations to find the sweet spot where you’re getting results without increasing your CPC. Additionally, when you choose a PPC advertising agency that is creatively driven, they can help link your ads to your holistic marketing strategy to your cross-channel goals. As customers increasingly switch between devices, it’s important that every channel – whether it’s paid or not – works together seamlessly.

3. Don’t forget about social: Because word of mouth is such a powerful referral source within the real estate market, using PPC ads on social media can support your desire to appear authentic, local, and more natural. Paid social media ads (more so than search ads) are designed to look and feel like shareable, organic content. By doing so, you get two opportunities to reach future residents: first, through the ad itself; and second, when those people share your content.

Balancing CPC campaigns against your other advertising efforts and natural search optimization is one part art and one part science. Let our team show you how they’ve struck the perfect balance for clients just like you.

4 marketing secrets to increase customer engagement in hospitality

Having an amazing destination or an amazing hotel isn’t enough to keep today’s jet set consumers coming back to your property for their annual vacation anymore. There are simply too many other enticing options vying for their attention and disposable income. But as US unemployment rates drop to the lowest they’ve been in close to eight years and the average wages skip past historic highs, there will be more revenue to go around for everyone. The rise of picture-based social media such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook have made it easier than ever for travelers to virtually explore new destinations, plan trips that fit their budget, and delve into new tourism options. As a result, the tourism and hospitality market is expanding – which is good news for you. To remain competitive, you simply need to remain relevant. Hospitality Marketing and engaging with new and existing customers online is an incredible way to pique their interest in your destination and help increase your reach to new audiences. The trick is: how?

Constantly seek new audiences to invigorate your hospitality marketing: 

Use social media to engage new audiences (not just those users who are already interested in your brand) and create a bridge between your tried-and-tested marketing campaigns with your point-of-sale experience. Blog posts, customer references, social listening, contests, and social influencers are all lynch pins when increasing your reach to new audiences. It’s especially important that all your channels complement each other so that no matter how new prospective customers discover your brand, they are receiving a seamless, on-point experience.

Measure everything:

Measure everything. We simply can’t say it enough. Before you generate or release any creative content, consider your goals and what you want success to look like. This will help you craft the appropriate call to action for each activity. With a bevy of data tools to choose from – from Twitter, Google and Facebook analytics, Klout, and HootSuite, to more robust platforms such as Adobe Analytics and Campaign Manager – you can track almost any output in the digital world. As certain channels and entry points prove valuable, you can begin investing more in those areas. This systematic measuring allows you to make decisions in a world where your customers expect you to be everywhere they are … even if you haven’t met them yet.

Intelligently invest in your hospitality marketing:

While returning guests are the bread and butter of any business, they should be part of your maintenance strategy – not necessarily your growth strategy. Methodically invest in high-impact marketing tools by testing new channels and entry points in a way that won’t expose your business to too much risk. For ideas on how to test new ideas that will break through the clutter and keep your marketing materials fresh and engaging without overexposing yourself, partner closely with a creative, multi-platform agency like our team of Orlando marketing experts. Click here to see how we have helped customers like you add new to their foundational marketing plans.  

Pay attention to new hospitality marketing trends:

In that vein, don’t be afraid to try new things. The hospitality industry is constantly changing, and your marketing techniques should reflect those changes. Social media is often a “safe space” to introduce new ideas, survey your audience regarding potential product or service enhancements, and gain customer insights about experimental ideas. The tourism industry, perhaps more so than any other, is constantly changing as new ideas and trends enter the market, so keep up.

Embracing new audiences, setting goals, investing in new techniques, and staying on top of emerging trends are all ways to keep your customer base engaged with your brand and eager to visit you again and again. Our team is here to help create a comprehensive marketing plan that allows you to do all of these things with ease. Give us a call today to find out how. 

10 things healthcare providers should know about content marketing

If you’re in the healthcare industry, a strong content marketing strategy can help you differentiate your practice from your peers, or position your organization as a subject matter expert. Although you may be dealing with more complicated or sensitive topics, the basic principles for successful healthcare marketing campaigns aren’t much different than if you were in the marketing or financial services industry. To get you started, here are our top ten healthcare marketing ideas and why they work for healthcare professionals:

1. First, provide value:

Your patients are flocking to the internet to research their ailments, furnish their own second opinions, and understand their bodies more than ever before. Being a source of trusted information for your patients when they are in your examining room OR surfing the internet builds deeper doctor-patient relationships, helps solidify your reputation, and can expand your practice. Providing value to your patients is as simple as posting real, actionable information and answers to common questions on your website. If you’re a nutritionist, provide starter meal plans or supplement regimes. If you’re an internist, share common tips for preventative care. If you’re a plastic surgeon, talk about the pros and cons of certain procedures. We know there’s no substitution for a face-to-face consultation, but a little foundational information goes a long way. Giving your patients access to substantive information will teach them to seek your guidance when they need to and use your website for self-service when they don’t, creating a healthy and effective patient lifecycle.

2. Optimize for keywords:

Make sure your potential patients can find you. The vast majority of people choose service providers based on reviews or referrals and cross check their decision against the internet to set expectations or prepare for their visit. Optimizing your content by the keywords your patients may be searching for will help your audience find you and encourage them to reach out for a consultation. If you’re new to SEO or medical marketing, don’t worry. Simply write your website copy the way you would if you weren’t thinking about keyword rankings. Next, use Google Trends to find words specific enough that you aren’t competing against mega-corporations with multi-million dollar marketing budgets, but general enough that the average person would search for your practice using those terms. Last, plug them in where the content makes the most sense by replacing existing phrases. And that’s it.

3. Don’t underestimate gated content:

If you are still growing your practice, try using gated content to generate leads and invite potential patients in for a consultation. Gated content is marketing speak for downloadable information that is only accessible once you’ve entered your email address or phone number. For example, during flu season, you may offer a white paper outlining common symptoms and ways to avoid exposure in exchange for your potential patients’ contact information. Next, simply follow up by offering a consultation, flu shot, and winter survival kit. Gated content allows your potential patients to self-select into your practice and for your to reach out to a pre-qualified patient base.

10 Things Healthcare Providers Should Know About Content Marketing4. Make it shareable:

Some studies suggest that the average person spends 61% of their day in front of a screen – whether it’s their computer, a television, or a smartphone. People also love to share information about themselves or ideas that engage them. Making your website easy to read, informative, and actionable will encourage patients to share your information. And don’t forget to maintain a presence on social media. We aren’t suggesting you cultivate inappropriate personal relationships with your patients, but having an open account for your practice, or even a generic (secondary) set of profiles for yourself, can help humanize your services and make you more relatable to your patients. It’s an easy way to boost your bedside manner and make your patients feel comfortable entrusting you with their bodies.

5. Showcase your value:

Being a generalist is good, but don’t be afraid to show off your professional interests and specialties. Your unique value proposition sets you apart from the competition and lets your practice shine. Talk about your medical passions, your recent niche trainings, and any publications that have peaked your interest. Whether you choose to share this by posting on social media, blogging, or creating a projects overview page on your website, your patients will thank you – and enjoy – understanding why you are different from the many other providers out there. As insurance becomes more widespread and medical networks fan out, your patients have more options to choose from than ever before. A strong healthcare content marketing strategy that shows off what makes you – well – you can help your practice stay on the cutting edge as the medical industry evolves.

6. Size matters:

On the flip side, you don’t want to overwhelm your web visitors with information. The sweet spot for healthcare marketing pages is between 300-500 words. After that, your audience will probably start skimming or tune out all together. Especially when translating medical information to a non-medical audience, it’s extremely important to keep your messaging short, sweet, and to the point. Keeping your pages and posts around 500 words also helps search engines crawl your pages for the most important content. Google and Bing rank search results based on relevancy and follow a strict quality over quantity policy. Ensuring that your keywords, and most relevant content fall within the first 500 words of each page will help boost your search rankings dramatically.

7. Audience engagement:

Give your audience a chance to interact with you. As a medical provider, patients feel reassured that they can reach out to you with questions. Giving them comment forums, Q&A sections, or email access to your practice is a great strategy to drive engagement with your healthcare content marketing materials. It’s wonderful to provide useful information, but people also like to know that their situation is normal, or share their unique experiences.

8. Never save the best for last:

Put your best information front and center on your homepage. Although it’s tempting to build a complicated website ecosystem of links, backlinks, and sub menus that seems hyper-organized to you, this can be confusing for the average visitor because they aren’t living and breathing the information everyday the way you are. It can also hurt your search ranking. Put all the most common and relevant information on your homepage and build depth into pages that you feel may be frequented less often. If you’re unsure what content is most important, try running some simple A/B tests using a tool such as Optimizely. You can place certain information on the homepage and test it against other content. To determine which is resonating most with your audience, track web metrics such as time spent on site, clicks, and email submissions.

9. Pictures are still worth 1,000 words:

It almost goes without saying that few things build an emotional bond the way pictures do. Sharing pictures of your staff, your office, or your tools, can help patients connect with your practice on a new level and envision themselves receiving care with your team. This is especially important for hospital marketing or if the work you do has any fear associated with it. Knowing that your office is a safe, peaceful environment can encourage patients to seek medical attention more frequently and feel less hesitant to reach out. Pictures act as a powerful healthcare marketing tool that builds a human and emotional bond between the services you provide and the people you serve.

10. A little blog goes a long way:

We know that healthcare professionals log long hours and dedicate a lot of emotion and time into the job. Which is why we also know that the thought of writing a weekly blog might seem tedious or like a waste of time. That said, we couldn’t emphasize the importance of blogs enough. They are one of the most powerful medical marketing tactics and help boost SEO rankings, user engagement, brand awareness, loyalty and leads. They are a chance for you to showcase yourself, generate shareable medical marketing content, and spread the word. Writing 300 words per week (or even every other week) is a key strategy that shouldn’t be overlooked no matter how many other items are on your to do list.

Many of the tactics we discussed are tried and true practices that most major corporations employ. For medical providers, healthcare content marketing serves the added bonus of elevating your practice – and website – to a safe place where your patients want to visit … not just need to visit. For more strategies on developing the best content marketing strategy for your brand, contact our team of experts today to get the conversation started!