5 Important Digital Marketing Strategies Remaining Post 2020

Digital Marketing Strategies Post 2020

Recently, the Governor of Florida declared that the mask mandate will soon be dropped statewide. This is just the latest news in a year of people desperately trying to return to “normal.” However, the long-term alteration of consumer behavior and attitudes is very likely to have an ongoing impact on digital marketing strategies, and Planned Growth has been paying close attention to help our clients navigate this new world.

What follows are the five most prominent shifts in consumer behavior post pandemic:

1. Work at Home, Play at Home, Stay at Home

In a recent interview with CNBC’s Closing Bell, Hershey CEO Michele Buck observed that “stay-at-home trends are outlasting the pandemic.” And she is not alone. Forbes has even gone on record to say that almost three-in-four consumers are hesitant to resume regular activities outside the home.

The fact is, after spending the better part of a year at home for both work and virtually all activities, usage of popular online entertainment platforms has skyrocketed and consumers remain hesitant to reengage with normalcy by going into the office, using public transportation, or traveling, let along going to a hair salon, restaurant, the movies, or the gym. It is very possible consumer behavior never returns to “normal,” even after the coronavirus is a thing of the past. Everyone’s marketing plans should be geared to accommodate such a possibility.

2. Localized Marketing is Becoming Key

For the first time in recent memory, more consumers are moving out of urban areas, preferring the suburbs and rural regions to living in crowded cities. And 2/3rds of consumers are now shopping primarily in neighborhood stores or buying more locally sourced products. If these trends continue (and they appear to be), localized marketing is bound to become more prominent. Personalizing your content will be critical in strengthening the connection to your audience, and localization drives marketing automation and data mining as you look to improve ROI.

3. Digital Shopping Is Not Going Anywhere

E-commerce and omnichannel services were on the rise before the pandemic, but social distancing and stay-at-home recommendations have forced entire consumer demographics to shop differently. Post-outbreak, data suggests an increase in e-commerce purchases by as much as 169% (mostly from new or low-frequency users). Most consumers who have already increased their use of services such as home delivery, curbside pickup, or purchasing from social media platform links, project to maintain these habits well into the future.

4. Decreasing Global Footprints and Direct Customer Interactions

While some decry the loss of interconnectivity, many consumers intend to continue such contactless activities as self-checkouts and curbside pickups. That said, single-use packaging continues to be popular, at the expense of reusable packaging, which makes maintaining sustainability a tricky goal. Yet, surprisingly, most consumers *want* corporations to continue to stay committed to long-term decarbonization. When you need help trying to reach customers who want to avoid crowds but are concerned about the long-term health of the planet, call Planned Growth. We have some ideas.

5. Brand Loyalty Is Not What It Used to Be

Brand loyalty may be one of the more surprising casualties of Covid-19. Nearly half of all consumers are now willing to try new brands, while a third are including new private-label brands into their weekly shopping lists. Bottom line: Shoppers are migrating between brands, and the recovery cycle will favor the brands that increase promotional activity and reinforce relationships with their consumers. Trends point to an increase in loyalty and retention marketing expenses with a reduction in product or performance-based marketing, for what appear to be excellent reasons.

Such transformative changes require all of us to reconsider what we know about consumer changes and the best ways to reach and engage them. All businesses are now consumed with how to accommodate the changes to how people live, work, and shop, and Planned Growth is ready to ensure your brand is agile, innovative, and ready to experiment is what is now a constantly evolving marketing landscape. Give us a call at 800-625-GROW or get in touch here and a marketing engagement expert will reach back out to you ASAP!

New Service Alert: Planned Growth Now Offers Press Release Distribution

view of the daily newspaper press release

Planned Growth is excited to announce that we now specialize in Press Release Creation and Distribution.  With this new service, we can professionally write your press release and publish it where the people you want to read it will see it.

Here’s how it works:

1. We Write The Perfect Press Release

If you’ve never written a press release before, it’s best advised to leave it up to the professionals. The structure, style of writing, and the language has to be just right.  This is where we come in. Our team of press release writers will craft the perfect press release to get your news across in a professional manner. You’ll have unlimited revisions and we won’t distribute it until it’s just right.

2. We Distribute The Press Release

Once we have received your final approval to release your professionally written press release, we’ll move into the distribution process. We first distribute via some premium industry news channels and then we manually submit to other online media outlets for review.

3. View Your Placements

You’ll get to see every single publication of your press release and where it ended up on the web.

Just a few of the benefits of our new press release service include:

Instant Exposure

You’ll get instant online news publications on press release websites.

Natural Promotion

Companies and brands have been distributing press releases way before search engines, and even today, it is a great way to get your breaking news out there to your audience.

Brand Authority

Publishing a press release gives the impression that you are the leading authority in your industry.

When you’re ready to launch your next press release, contact us and let the Press Release Professionals at Planned Growth handle it for you, from start to finish.

5 Benefits of Online Reviews

online reviews

Reviews are an important part of building a positive online reputation and growing any business. Whether you’re completely online, a brick and mortar business, or you do business in both your physical store and online, you want your new and potential customers to trust you. Reviews from past customers will help you build that trust, especially when they’re displayed right on your website!

 Did you know that (according to Spiegel Research Center) almost 95% of shoppers check online reviews before making a purchase? Or that having the reviews displayed on your website can increase conversion rates by up to 270%?

 Those are some pretty impressive stats, right? To better understand why reviews are so effective, let’s take a better look into why reviews are so vital to your business.

 1.  Reviews act as great “word of mouth.” In the digital age where people are more likely to rely on reviews instead of asking what their neighbor has to say about a product, it can be easy to see how reviews are the next big “referral program.”

 2.  Reviews make your company and products more visible. No matter where your reviews live (hopefully on your website, but we’ll get more into that later), when new reviews are being added consistently, the searching engines see this added content and will rank you higher. Content is still king, and new reviews will put you on top!

 3.  Increase your trustworthiness to potential customers. Taking into account the fact that most people are checking reviews before they purchase, you can see how honest and positive reviews can help you build trust with your customer base. The more positive reviews you have, the more trustworthy you will become.

 4.  Reviews have a direct impact on sales. Again, going back to the fact that more and more people check reviews before they make any decisions, the more honest reviews you have, the more likely people are going to be to make a purchase. Now of course they will be more likely to pull out their wallets if you have more positive reviews, but even increasing your reviews ranking by the slightest amount can increase your chances of making a sale. In fact, one study showed that just increasing your Yelp rating by just 1 star proved to have a 5-9% increase in sales.

 5.  Opens up a conversation with customers. We are seeing an increasing trend of users going out of their way to leave a negative review instead of contacting customer service and asking for help. For cases like this, we can actually be thankful that we have reviews. When a bad review happens, you as a company, have the chance to reply publicly and offer your help to correct a problem. Even though the initial review may be a negative one, what comes out of these situations (most of the time) is positive. Other potential customers will also see this interaction and customer service in the reviews and will be reassured that if there is a problem you are more than happy to make it right.

Now that you can see the benefits of customer reviews, you may be asking, “but how do I get reviews directly on my website?” Planned Growth has the answer with our Review Management service.

 With Review Management by Planned Growth, you can:

  • Secure a Review

  • Push Reviews to multiple online platforms (Google, Facebook, etc)

  • If you are a service based customers with technicians, people from your team can “check-in” at a job

  • Start a live conversation with website visitors (an added bonus!)

  • Build better local SEO

  • Enhance your site with maps of checks, pictures added by reviewers, and new reviews mean new content!

  • Share reviews from your website right to your company’s social media sites

With real and honest reviews displayed directly on your website, your future customers won’t have to look far to see what people are saying about you. When you’re ready to take your company’s trust building game to the next level by adding reviews to your website, Contact Us at Planned Growth and we’ll put together a plan that will best benefit your business.

Why you should Choose Zoho Meetings

Zoho Meeting is a tool to help make hosting your online meetings, webinars and conferences simple for everyone.

One of the great things about Zoho Meeting is that because it is web-based, online meetings and webinars can be hosted and attended in Zoho Meeting without the need to download any software.

There are many great elements to Zoho Meeting that cannot be found elsewhere. You can conduct webinars and meetings with both audio and video; in addition, hosts can share their screens in real time. Or, if it’s preferred, hosts can also record their meetings and webinars so they can be shared online or downloaded for future viewing/listening. Dial-in telephone numbers can also be utilized to join meetings via phone when needed.

There are many features that can help when It comes specifically to planning meetings. With Zoho Meeting you can:

  • Schedule a meeting for the future or meet instantly
  • Meet with up to 100 people!!!
  • Send invitations including RSVPs. (Invitation emails are sent to attendees with a tab with three response options: Yes, Maybe and No. Participants can click an option and the presenter will receive an update.)
  • Add meetings to your calendar
  • Receive meeting reminders
  • Embed links to the meeting on your website
  • Share recordings
  • Download recordings
  • Lock meetings for security purposes when desired
  • Remove or mute specific participants
  • Share keyboard and mouse control with specific participants
  • Meetings can also be easily edited, rescheduled or cancelled

When it comes to Webinars, there are also a lot of benefits to using Zoho Meeting. You can:

  • Organize webinars with ease
  • Connect up to 250 attendees
  • Deliver presentations though screen sharing
  • Answer your attendees’ questions through Q&A chat
  • Customize registration for your webinar, including adding questions, fields, etc.
  • Use “screen sharing” to deliver presentations
  • Include a co-organizer or make an attendee the presenter
  • Create and launch polls, and get instant results
  • Share and/or download webinars
  • Export your webinar’s analytical reports

To use Zoho Meeting, all you need is a computer with a compatible operating system, speakers and a microphone (or desk phone), a web camera and a supported web browser.

Are you interesting in using Zoho Meeting for your next Meeting and/or Webinar? Contact Planned Growth today! Planned Growth is a certified Zoho Partner with extensive experience helping companies just like yours successfully use Zoho Meetings. CLICK HERE to contact us and start enjoying the features of Zoho Meetings today!

Create your own Personalized Survey Form Fast, with Zoho Survey

Have you ever wanted to create a survey for your company but fear the task may be too daunting? With the help of Zoho Survey, you can create a survey in minutes! You can also reach your audience on every device, view results in real time, and view them geographically!

Zoho Survey offers more than 25 question types, in addition to other features such as piping, auto fill, white labeling, skip logic and more – all designed to help you create an efficient survey personalized to your needs. You can even liven it up with customizable themes that are best suited for your brand and style!

There are also plenty of survey categories available on Zoho Survey, including Customer Satisfaction Surveys, Human Resources, Education, Marketing, Events, Health Care Surveys, Non Profit, Government, Political, and Business Surveys.

When you are done creating your perfect survey, you can share it instantly via social media and email campaigns. And you can assure your audience that all surveys are safe and secure, thanks to features like password protection, multiple-response prevention, CAPTCHA, and SSL certification.

The features continue even after the surveys are completed. Once you have the responses, Survey’s customizable reports can help you see response trends, which can help you make more informed decisions for your brand and product!

Zoho Survey is truly all you need to help make the survey process simple, efficient and beneficial for your needs!

How to Use Story-telling to Market Your Business

One of the most important ways you can convey your message to your audience is by telling a story. No matter what you are marketing – whether it’s a product, service or your business itself – it is critical to remember that there is a human being on the other side of your marketing message. And human beings respond to good storytelling every day.

So how can you tell the right story for your marketing needs? Here are some tips:

  1. First you need to make sure your audience knows who you are. Start with sharing the history of your company, including how it started and the steps that were performed to help make it is what it is today.
  1. Share information not just about you, the owner, but about your entire team. People love to read about other people, and they tend to buy or do business with people they like or can relate to.
  1. If you want your company to be known for a specific product, make sure to talk about the history of that product. Include where the idea originated and how it can help the people to whom you are marketing.
  1. Your story can include testimonials from your customers. Ask your customers to share their stories of how your product helped them and what valuable it brings to them. Your audience will find your marketing story more credible if they believe your business or product is beneficial to others too.

Most of all, remember that telling a story is something all of us do naturally every day. Don’t overthink it. Subtlety will go farther than being over-the-top when sharing your company’s story.

To make things easier, you may want to first create an outline of what you want to include in your story. This way you will be sure not to forget anything you want to include in your finalized product. Once you have that outline done, feel free to storytell away!

Tips to Avoid Internet Marketing Scams

The internet can be as dangerous as it is helpful. In today’s world, scammers and hackers lurk around every corner of the web looking to take away your information, time, and money. These attacks vary victim to victim, but lately there has been an increase in internet marketing scams. Internet Marketing Scams target business and individuals looking to grow the online presence of their brand, along with promote their products or services. With so many different online marketing agencies and professionals looking to advertise their skills, scammers have a clear path to take advantage of unsuspecting professionals. When looking for a marketing agency, here are some helpful tips to consider in order to avoid becoming the next victim of an internet marketing scam.

Inability to Explain

If someone is telling you that they can help your brand reach millions, but offer vague directions on how to do so, it is most likely a scam. Authentic marketers will be able to walk you through step-by-step of their processes and explain to you the reasoning behind all of their actions. Internet marketing scammers may approach you saying that their plan has seen success across multiple backgrounds and promise you will be the next they help elevate. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Different products and services have to be marketed a specific way to reach their target audiences.

Pay Attention to Details

Often times, you may be directed to a homepage of an internet marketing scam through an ad on another page. These ads will disguise themselves as buttons on the page you are currently on. Be careful of what you click, and for added measures install a pop-up blocker on your browser. Another point to consider is to rethink visiting websites that are “http” instead of “https” as the “http” (without the “s”) is not protected and can open you up for hackers and scammers if information is given.

Research

Most importantly, researching is your best tool. A quick internet search of the company that you are considering or that contacted you may pull up a large thread of users showing that company is in fact fraudulent. If a company is persistent in getting you to sign up without giving you the proper time to do your due diligence and think over the decision, that may be another sign of an internet marketing scam. Marketing agencies work for you and are there to help make your business grow. When dealing with a marketer that sounds like a salesperson, there may be some reason to suspect they are part of an internet marketing scam.

5 Marketing Trends to Look Out For in 2018

What a year 2017 was for marketing! If you had to describe it – it would probably liken to an explosion due to the way social media and data management practically took over the Internet and gained traction as the most powerful tool online. It makes one wonder what 2018 will bring – and the experts are all pitching in with what they believe will be the year’s marketing trends.

It’s All about the Experience

Last year one of the phenomenons to catch the imagination of the world was Pokémon Go. The game is an experience unlike no other – magical reality! In 2018, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence will all converge to create incredible consumer experiences. It will personalize real-time interactions and be more appealing to the eyes, ears, and mind. These applications will transform marketing and the right choice can mean the difference between ranking number one and increasing patronage and revenues or dropping out of the race completely.

Data Management Platforms (DMPs) will Surge in Use and Popularity

As the backbone for data-driven marketing, DMPs enjoyed a remarkable breakthrough in 2017 – and proved itself to be worthy of the investment and effort. Companies with DMPs were able to store, use, manage, and analyze consumer behavior and third party data and improve their bottom line. This kind of integrated technology is expected to grow even more in 2018 targeting high-value audiences with immense success.

Live Videos

Analysts reveal that quality live videos provide a shocking 113% ad view growth rate year-on-year. More importantly, live streaming itself is growing faster than expected and is expected to reach $70.5 billion in revenues by 2021 – that’s just 3 years from now!

A study revealed that 81% of Millennials and Gen Z’ers watch at least one hour of online video a day and majority tend to make purchasing decisions based on what they see on social media and videos. Live streaming, when you think about it, is the most powerful medium for social technology, and soon, for consumer behavior.

Mobile Marketing Skyrockets in 2018

In 2017 about 30% of consumers relied on their mobile devices to browse and access the Internet. As phones become faster and more features are added, it is expected that mobile use will expand and make cross-pollination between different platforms seamless and quick.

Already, mobile use is dominating online activities and in the US 71% of all digital minutes use mobile devices. The average mobile time of the typical American adult is 87 hours a month and only 34 hours on a desktop. Of all the trends expected to explode in 2018, progressive web apps (PWA) appears to be the next big thing. PWA is simply web applications that work like apps making user experience more responsive and engaging.

Virtual Assistance with Chatbots

Experts predict that by 2020, around 85% of customer interactions will be automated and run by bots. The bots are fast becoming so genuinely human-like, already 27% of consumers can’t tell the difference.

There are quite a few other predictions about 2018, including the revival of LinkedIn as the social media platform to be on, optimization of voice-enabled gadgets, enhanced graphics, better social media analytics, and continued growth of social media as a major influencer.

Getting the Inside Track on Small Business Saturday

On November 25, Small Business Saturday is all set to benefit small business owners in the United States, Canada, and the UK. It’s an event that has been around since 2010 and launched by American Express to counter the big box retail days known as Black Friday and Cyber Mondays.

As a small business owner, this is your day to shine. With excellent marketing planning and strategy, you can bring in a lot of sales just like that of Cyber Monday or Black Friday! Last year (2016) there were more than 6,700 small shops and stores and 480 organizations that signed up to participate, which was a 63% increase from 2014. Awareness of this unique shopping day was reported at 72% on a national level, with an astounding 112 million customers enjoying special treats and discounts and spending an estimated $15.4 billion!

Here are some tips on how you can take advantage of this once-a-year international day of shopping for small businesses.

Market Heavily Online

Although Small Business Saturday targets brick and mortar shops, you can and should use the Internet to create advanced promotions and marketing to as many people as you can reach. You have the advantage that Small Business Saturday falls in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so consumers have not depleted their savings yet and are still hot for deals primarily with the holidays fast approaching.

Decide on the items you can give huge discounts on and post them on social media and your website if you have one. Join active local online campaigns for Small Business Saturday, such as those from credit card companies, newspapers, and community newsletters, to name a few. Make regular announcements that include teasers of the freebies, and attractions consumers can enjoy when they walk through your doors on November 25.

Now is the best time to get professional help because the competition has become so fierce. It’s not just local and national competition, but even international consumers who are starting to dictate who gets the sale or not. Fortunately, international buyers don’t care very much about the size of a business as long as it is run correctly, upright and ethically upholds standard business practices. Thus, a good image is critical to your online success and Planned Growth Small Business Services could help take advantage of this Small Business Saturday and expand your online market.

Start a Text Messaging Campaign

Text messaging is a powerful marketing tool because it can reach more American consumers than email, TV, print ads, and even social media. In fact, studies show that 98% of those who receive text messages open the message to read it; so if your message is short, catchy, and enticing, they won’t trash it and may even forward it to friends and family. And don’t forget to use the hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday!

Consider Bundle Marketing

If you have a lot of inventory and you want to move slow items, bundle them with favorite items! However, always make the products available individually and display them prominently alongside the bundled package. This way, you don’t make the shopper feel forced to buy something just to get that one item. They will feel scammed. The best strategy is to give them the option to choose.

Partner with a Worthy Cause

There’s still the option to to partner with a charity or neighborhood cause that will benefit both parties. You can offer part of the proceeds to the charity or give exclusive discounts to anyone who donates to the charity or cause.

Offer Personalized Services

If you are located in a cluster of shops, offer special services like package deposit, home delivery within a particular area, gift wrapping, free parking, free drinks or cookies, seats for tired feet, VIP check-out, daycare, and a dedicated space for husbands, wives, partners, the elderly, or children who can sit and relax but still feel part of the community while the other half goes shopping! These small details can mean big loyalty for the future.