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Creating an Irresistible Local Brand

As we find ourselves just a couple of days away from February 14, it is a great reminder to share a little love with the businesses in our local communities. And as business owners, Valentine’s Day is a perfect opportunity for your business to show some self-love by reflecting on ways to bring more customers through the front door (virtual or otherwise!)

While organizations are constantly looking for ways to engage consumers, striving for compassion, clarity and creativity is a best bet for any business during the season of love and beyond. When struggling to determine next steps in your marketing strategy, simplify things and consider what your customers need and work to communicate authentically.

This week, we’ll explore how to optimize your local organization’s marketing strategy. Check out 4 ways to help your business feel the love from local consumers.


Do Your Customer’s Love to Shop? Be Sure to Look into Where, When and on What Device!


In the business-to-consumer (B2C) world, customers have more shopping options to choose from, more research channels to utilize to evaluate organizations and their products and more flexibility to choose the medium on which they ultimately purchase products. As a result, organizations need to become well-versed in a customer-centric approach to both earn new business and maintain their current consumer base.

Through data analysis, organizations often find that there are a range of channels customers utilize, a range of devices they browse for products or information on, a certain period of time they look for a good or service and so much more. For example, a study conducted by Forbes found that in 2020, 40.3% of respondents visited physical locations significantly less frequently because of COVID-19. While this was a major blow to many businesses who did not initially have a digital presence, organizations across the nation took measures to match their consumers’ needs. One such measure was investing in an e-commerce platform.

By definition, e-commerce is the buying or selling of goods or services using the internet, and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions. According to the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, U.S. retail e-commerce sales for 2019 were estimated at $601.7 billion, a 14.9% increase from 2018. Not only has there been a steady monetary increase in e-commerce sales, but the percentage of total sales e-commerce represents has increased year over year since 2010.

While consumers have done the lion’s share of their shopping virtually over the course of the past 10+ months, we would be remiss to not take a step back and highlight why small businesses need to maintain their e-commerce shopping solution after the initial investment and as the world returns to a semblance of “normal”:

  • Impulse buying will continue to spike
    • If you’re currently working remotely, you’re most likely spending exponentially more time in front of your computer screen and on your phone. As such, it’s much easier to bounce on over to your favorite clothing site or peruse the latest and greatest in electronic accessories. Don’t miss out on your chance to tap into this consumer base.
  • Comparison shopping is here to stay
    • Not only will your company’s or your product’s reputation be compared online, but the price of your products will be compared to competitors. Namely, affordability will be compared to quality. Leading retailers are on the offensive by guiding product insights to make the purchasing process quicker, easier and more satisfying.
  • Buyers want to buy local. Give them the ability to do so!
    • Roughly 50% of American consumers frequent small businesses 2-4 times per week. The reasons?
      • Convenience (61%)
      • Better customer service (48%)
      • Familiarity (41%)
      • Loyalty (36%)
      • High levels of trust (31%)
    • Establish brand credibility and stability.
      • When a consumer is researching businesses within your industry, what will they come upon when they reach your online profile? Your job as a business owner is to earn people’s patronage. Ensure that products are well-received by costumers and resolve problems when they are not. Your online reputation goes a long way.
    • Manage inventory and cash flow more effectively.
      • Wouldn’t it be nice to manage customers and invoices, update inventory levels, set prices and track order statuses all from the same place? With an e-commerce site you can.

Need Some Assistance? We’re here to help. The Times Union Media Group’s Express E-Commerce Website Solutions empowers our clients to sell their products online with their existing website or a separate E-Commerce microsite. User experience matters – big time. On average, roughly 70% of online shoppers will abandon their carts without buying anything. While you can’t control all of the factors that contribute to this high rate of abandonment, you can control the consumer’s user experience. In fact, 21% of consumers abandon their cart due to a checkout process that is either too long or too complicated. What’s more, 13% of consumers abandon their cart as a result of errors on the website or, even worse, a website that has crashed.

Our e-commerce solutions create simple, easy to use product category navigation. We build your online store with a sophisticated look and feel that establishes brand credibility. In addition, we thoroughly test all possible product selections and perform quality control measures. Our proven process and expert team help local businesses launch their online store and start receiving order in weeks rather than months.


Love is an Art… What Advertising Creative Gets the Most Customers Through Your Front Door?


In an environment where people are surfing the web, watching television and checking out their social media page on three different devices at the same time, creating a marketing campaign that can efficiently insert itself into this overstimulation is more important than ever.

What content format has the ability to be on all three of a consumer’s active screens? Video. Video has become the format to educate, entertain, engage, share news and drive sales. Oftentimes, these five elements appear in a single 10 or 15-second video (or in Facebook’s case, a mere 6 seconds).

Admittedly, getting started with video marketing can be overwhelming. However, if you want a video advertisement that is great for brand awareness, ad recall and product or service consideration, pre-roll videos advertisements should be your top choice.

By definition, a pre-roll ad is a video advertisement that automatically plays directly before a featured video. Pre-roll videos have the ability to play on both desktop and mobile devices, which is important as 75% of all video plays are on mobile devices. With pre-roll ads, your organization has the ability to target consumers based on interests, topics, online behaviors, other videos viewed and much more. Running an ad directly before a viewer’s desired content automatically creates an engaged audience for your organization’s promotional piece.

It pays to focus on providing value to your ideal consumer. Rather than listing off facts about your product, service or company, dig deep and discover what your ideal consumer is truly looking for.

Moral of the story – Endearing + Engaging + Valuable + (Humor) = A Successful Pre-Roll Ad


Some Leads Need More Tender Loving Care Compared to Others


Research has shown that consumers generally do not contact a business the first time they see their ad. In fact, it takes roughly 6-8 touches to generate a sales lead. That’s a significant amount of activity to say the least.

As the modern consumer journey begins with awareness, moves to interest and conversion and culminates with a purchase, establishing that both a broad targeting approach and a granular targeting approach are in place to nurture leads is critical. Ensuring that consumers who were initially interested in your good or service continue to be served engaging, relevant ads to maintain their level of interest and eagerness to make a purchase is a fundamental concept. Then, monitoring how your target audience has responded (or, equally important, not responded) to your various marketing strategies helps to determine next steps or if any modifications need to be made.

While simply having the data at your fingertips is a vital piece to the puzzle, interpreting the data correctly and charting a course that leads to better results given the data is key. Although there may be a learning curve to analyzing campaign results, not doing so will undoubtedly be costly. Now, more than ever, marketing budgets are being shifted away from campaigns that are not fruitful and towards campaigns that are both cost-effective and achieve the desired results.


All You Need is Love… And Some Profitable Distribution Channels


The challenges of the past year have shown marketers and consumers alike the power of originality and the value in utilizing new, fresh advertising channels and mediums. While there are numerous ways to creatively and effectively separate your organization from the crowd, some are more cost effective than others. Leveraging marketing tactics with your business goals and priorities in mind is an important factor when determining the marketing avenue to pursue.

Over the course of the past couple of years, we’ve seen a shift in ad spend away from cable television and traditional radio into advertising channels that provide more audience targeting capabilities.  One such advertising channel are podcasts.

According to recent data released by Edison Research, there are over 1.5 million podcast shows and more than 34 million episodes available to download (as of October 2020).

The power of podcasts has been growing steadily over the course of the past few years. The strategy is extremely versatile, consumer targeted and above all, educational. Podcasts allow brands to communicate their message and mission directly to consumers in an engaging, easily digestible manner.

So, what are kinds of podcasts are people listening to? Currently, the most popular podcast genre in the United States is comedy. Statista found that 22% of their survey respondents were very interested in podcasts that made them laugh.

Looking to reach a younger audience? Podcasts may be for you. Check out a few stats below:

Age of monthly podcast listeners versus US population:

  • 12-34: 48% (vs 37%)
  • 35-54: 32% (vs 40%)
  • 55+: 20% (vs 23%)


Wrap Up


Take into account what your business needs – both in the present and in the future. As with any other marketing strategy, breaking down and analyzing goals is the first step to launching a successful advertising campaign. As a business owner, three questions you may want to start by asking yourself include –

Who do you want to target?

When do you want to reach them?

Why do you value them as prospects?

Adapting to the changing times and leveling up your marketing game is challenging. However, there are numerous marketing platforms at your disposal to reach your target audience and do so in a unique way before your competition does so. And remember, the Times Union Media Group will be here to help every step of the way.


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