Your Basic Guide To Influencer Marketing

Companies have used influencers for their advertisements since the dawn of businesses. We're sure that when the first cavewoman that started selling produce to her fellow cave-dwelling friends, used the influence of a powerful caveperson in the community. Maybe it was the buffest, most athletic mammoth slayer who loved getting a boost from her freshly picked veg, or the Regina George of the village who wore the coolest sabertooth necklaces and ate only the crispiest produce. Having a spokesperson who had used the product, enjoyed it, and had the prominence to get others involved really does help boost a business. An influencer connects the audience to the product. It allows the audience to see themselves using it. If it worked for the influencer, they believe it can work for them too.

Even if you have a small business, you can still obtain an influencer and boost your sales. The influencer you use might not have a major celebrity reputation like Beyonce or Justin Bieber, but they can still hit the target market that you need. Think like that cavewoman and pick out someone from your area who fits your target market. Using a local social media influencer can truly help to up your reach as well as your sales. Luckily enough, we live in the 21st Century. So influencing a wide audience it very possible through the channel of social media.

Take Parabo Press for example. They are a small photo printing service located in California, who ship printed images to their customers. They recognize who their target market is and found a clever way to make their audience become their influencers. A large chunk of their target market included millennial girls who use the prints to decorate their space. Most millennials are heavily involved in imagery, as they are consistently on social media sharing pictures. Instagram itself is specifically designed with photos in mind and allows a printing service to be strongly relevant. A customer can use their service to print their Instagram photos. This opened up a perfect opportunity for Parabo Press to sell their service through their own audience of Instagram users. Why not make the young people who already use the service into influencers? That's just what they did. The post below shows how they even advertised to their audience to become a Parabo Campus Rep.
Here's an example of using an influncer account to promote your local business. If you click the tags in the image, you can see that this young influencer is hosting a giveaway for a variety of small businesses. She's wearing the swimsuit, using the wall hangings, and therefore proving that these products are just as cool as she is. She's local and gets tens of thousands of views, which makes her perfect for small businesses in the area to get a spotlight. This post shows that a real person uses these products, and so should you.
Even larger companies use local Instagram influencers to promote their services. The Von family from Salt Lake City uses their high follower account to post about their vacations. Royal Carribean uses the Von's real-life life experiences to promote their cruise services. Other moms scrolling through their social media will see this average everyday family having a blast at sea, and it could influence them to prep their own family vacation with Royal Carribean.

Still curious about how the big shots make it work? Here's an example from Puma's partnership with model/actress Cara Delevigne. It almost seems like a print ad, but it's casual enough that it looks like Cara just posted about it herself. (We personally think adding the hashtag #ad is a little tacky, but mentioning that it's a partnership is necessary. A better way to do so is just to casually talk about the brand and tag them in the post. A paid partnership location option is also available at the top of the post.) This post collected millions of likes, proving its success. It's a relatable picture and quote, which is exactly what an influencer post needs to be.

Be your own #Muse. #ad

A post shared by Cara Delevingne (@caradelevingne) on

Ready to start influencing? Contact us at Avant8 and we'll match you to the perfect influencer for your business!  Head to our contact page to get started.


iHob: International House of Bad Marketing Decisions??

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you know that the American icon of the International House of Pancakes has changed its name…and therefore its catchy acronym. IHOP is now IHOb, the International House of Burgers. The internet went wild. Which is just what the breakfast (now, burger) chain wanted.

They started their marketing tactic by announcing the ‘p’ in IHOP would be flipped into a ‘b’ and asking their followers to guess what the ‘b’ could stand for. 30k people responded and the brand left people hanging for a few days before the big reveal.

The change from pancakes to burgers created a buzz of both positive and negative reactions.

Initial reactions around our own office were along the lines of the tweet below. IHOb stood for the International House of Bad Marketing Decisions. Many of our employees still think that. But researching into the brand’s reasoning may help the haters realize that the idea isn’t as bad as they think.

IHOb is circulating a storm of media, both positive and negative. But here’s the thing, it got people talking. How often were crowds mentioning IHOP before? It’s all they can talk about now. Even other brands are jumping on the virality of the pancake house’s big announcement. Burger joints like White Castle, Whataburger, Burger King, and Wendy’s all attached themselves to the marketing hit from IHOP.

Here’s our two favorite IHOb memes:

IHOP has had burgers on the menu since they opened in the 1950s, but how many people actually knew about them or actually ordered these burgers? According to AdWeek, “IHOP accomplished exactly what they were after: drawing attention to an increasingly popular non-breakfast item that’s always been on their menu.” The new “steakburgers” are the centerpiece to this marketing ploy, and the brand wants to emphasize people to come and try them during lunch and dinner, when less customers enter the store.

The burger business is growing. At least by 3 percent a year, and ‘burgers’ have a high clout score…a much higher score than pancakes. IHOP jumped on the trend not only to increase it’s own social media engagement, but to sell more of its lesser popular menu item.

According to an article by CNBC “the name change isn’t permanent. The same day the meaning behind the “b” was revealed, the chain restaurant announced in a press release that the move was “just for the time being.” The marketing strategy will promote the seven new burgers that the restaurant is adding to its menu.”

This name-changing marketing tactic is no new strategy. Pizza Hut once changed its name to Pasta Hut in 2008 to promote their new kinds of pasta.

Stephen Anderson of the Maxim Group claimed that despite its mixed reviews from audiences, the pasta sales at Pizza Hut increased by 1.5 percent.

If nothing else, IHOPs popularity and mentions have skyrocketed since the announcement on June 11th. But will it translate to sales is the big question. Only time will tell.

What do you think about IHOPs temporary name change??

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you know that the American icon of the International House of Pancakes has changed its name…and therefore its catchy acronym. IHOP is now IHOb, the International House of Burgers. The internet went wild. Which is just what the breakfast (now, burger) chain wanted.

They started their marketing tactic by announcing the ‘p’ in IHOP would be flipped into a ‘b’ and asking their followers to guess what the ‘b’ could stand for. 30k people responded and the brand left people hanging for a few days before the big reveal.


BOO! Using Prank Videos in Marketing

Audiences consume viral video content like a fat kid in a candy store. It's no wonder brands and businesses are wanting to satisfy this craving. A viral video means an enormous audience reach and marketers are looking to take advantage by filling social media feeds with promotional prank videos.

This prank approach fits right in with the entertainment content consumed on social media. Audiences will laugh, tag their friends with phrases like "This is so funny!" or maybe "You'd totally fall for this!", and the best of these videos will be shared to personal profiles to show all their followers/friends. Sharability skyrockets with a viral video. Comedy is universal feel-good content that can be shared across age-groups, demographics, psychographics, etc. which is why brands have utilized pranks to create this shareable social media content.

The brands that seem to use the viral prank video approach the most are movies. Usually, action or horror films use this tactic. They have an exact goal in mind of turning the movie's element of fear into a funny prank. They ask the question, "What would you do if you were in this situation?" If you witnessed a telekinetic teen attack bystanders, or if you saw that a flash freeze was imminent via the news, how would you react?

This first video gathered over 68 million hits to promote the remake of the famous classic horror film, Carrie.

Here, the action film Geostorm (which depicts crazy weather events destroying cities) tries its hand at the viral prank trend.

Besides films, products have also fit strongly into this trend. LG, the electronics company, used two prank videos in two different countries to promote the 'realness' of their tv screens. The first was placing their TV screens on the floor of an elevator to mimic falling tiles.

The second video by LG involved using their TV as a fake window and simulated a meteor falling on the city. Reactions to this one are golden.

One of our personal favorites is a prank video geared to understanding the design and marketing process of ad agencies.  What if the ridiculous questions bad clients asked of creatives was also asked of everyday business-owners, park-goers, taxi-drivers, and the like? It's funny, but also teaches customer's how to better work with marketers.

Prank videos have always been popular, and they bring a brand right to the forefront of a customer's mind. Many brands are using prank viral video marketing to boost exposure and sales. Is your brand suited to this humor-based marketing tactic?


The Success of Wendy's Twitter Roasts

It seems like all fast food chains have social media on lock these days. Brands are getting smarter on the internet and learning to become "one of the guys" with their followers. Wendy's is uber successful in employing this tactic of fitting in with social media culture.  They've become one of the most popular brand accounts on the internet, and it's all about their unique customer engagement.

The Wendy's Twitter Roasts all started with their Twitter account responding to negative comments from internet trolls in ironic and tongue-in-cheek ways.

Audiences began to crave receiving the honor of being roasted by Wendy's so much, that Wendy's now answers hundreds of questions and comments a day.

The tweets between Wendy's and their followers became so massive in number, that it became popular for YouTubers to film reaction videos to the tweets.

 

This brought the conversation to a whole new social media platform, and it became just as trendy to react to Wendy's tweets via YouTube. The video above has 9 million views, and many of the other popular Wendy's tweets videos each have millions as well.

Wendy's has even responded to the YouTube videos, poking fun at the comments YouTubers made towards their Twitter content.

Perhaps what brought Wendy's the biggest Twitter fame was the accidental success of #NuggsForCarter. It all started as a classic Wendy's Roast towards a follower who wanted free nuggets from the restaurant.

The tweet became so popular that Ellen Degeneres herself met with Carter. She joked that she'd ask her audience to keep retweeting her Oscar's selfie, which was crowned the most retweeted tweet ever at the time. But despite that "threat", Carter's nugget tweet beat the all-time retweet record...even though it didn't make it to the highly improbable 18 million.

No brand could have asked for better social media publicity.

Other brands have attempted to step foot into Wendy's spotlight. Some have also gotten that classic roast:

And others have played along and drawn in more followers:

Wendy's achieved the seemingly impossible and achieved mega-internet popularity as a brand. And it's all because of this: Wendy's social media marketing strategy connects the brand to the new generation by making their content personal. It creates that one-on-one conversation between customer and restaurant, that draws more and more people to click that follow button. Audiences on Twitter were excited to be engaged with by someone who spoke their cultural language and liked to make jokes just as much as they do.

The Wendy's Twitter account hooks younger audiences to their brand all by being funny and ironic. But how many brands could go this far? It's all about understanding your audience. Many young people eat at fast food restaurants because it's affordable for them. So, Wendy's reached out to these young people through a channel young people love...social media.

Maybe we'll be next and have the honor of being roasted on Twitter by Wendy's.


WE'RE OPEN: History of Neon Light Advertising

WE’RE OPEN. Everywhere you go, this neon sign shines brightly from the windows of both local and chain businesses in every city in America. It’s reminiscent of the 20th Century’s obsession with decking every roadside attraction with neon signs. Las Vegas took the trend to a whole new level. Everywhere you look in Sin City you’ll see hotel signs blink and flicker, bright arrows point to different shows, and casinos beckon with a whirlwind of colors. Neon signs were the most popular way to advertise and the bigger and brighter your sign, supposedly the better your business. But how did this American love of neon signs start? It all began not with a Yank, but with a French engineer.

Georges Claude invented the neon sign back in 1902 and started patenting his work 8 years later. He first sold commercial neon signs in France to his colleague’s barbershop business. When neon signs finally made their way to the States, America was thriving in the Roaring 20’s, making it the perfect time to sell extravagant signs. Packard Car Dealership was the first American company to jump on the trend. The dealership paid $24,000 for two massive signs from Claude; signs that still stand to this day.

Neon signs spread like wildfire (so it’s no wonder they were coined by excited audiences as “liquid fire”). Advertisers loved how these signs could be seen well in the daylight and also shine brightly at night to drive in foot traffic. Neon signs in a design sense were (and are) very visually appealing. They really emphasized a brand’s personality. Neon signs became a national symbol of America’s inventiveness and creativity.

The 50s saw the biggest influx of neon signs dotting across towns nationwide. Every diner and movie theater was decked with neon. It was a pop culture phenomenon. Artists began to get creative in neon light designs. Examples included outlines around various shapes, lights added to the architecture, and fonts that varied per storefront. But over time, the trend of neon faded out for cheaper alternatives.

By the 60s, neon signs weren’t requested by new companies, but the old signs from earlier decades remained. Lucky for us, because these retro signs stand as an inspiration for the design and advertising world. They still stand as a testament to an older America. They make us wonder, what’s next in the world of advertising? If brick and mortar stores become a thing of the past, how would everything be marketed only online? Would WE’RE OPEN signs ever transfer to another medium? Maybe even via Google Glasses? Only time will tell.

Neon signs teach us a lesson or two. They’re proof of simple eye-catching design working as a strong marketing tool. They give us a look into the past and inspire our future. Nostalgia is a powerful hook for audiences and neon signs use that to their advantage. Next time you drive down the street, drink in those old signs you pass. Maybe stop by that small cafe with a blinking red coffee cup you used to go to as a child. You should also consider staying until the sign starts to blink WE’RE CLOSED.


How to Overcome Data Dump and Conquer Analytics

It’s easy to fall prey to accumulating tons of data. But how many businesses actually know how to utilize this monster of data they’ve collected? When data needs to be presented, why go through slide after slide of super-small text just to fit all the analytics in? Will any of the information stick in the client’s mind with that much content to sift through? Without having a specific purpose or end-goal in mind, you may as well not talk about data at all. Don’t waste company time on info that is only interesting. Instead, center on what will make a difference.

It’s time to make these analytics presentations not only easier for you, but for all involved. Get out of the data dumping habit, and learn how to share your analytics the right way.

It’s time to hone in on only the data that is "need to know". Data that will help improve your business rather than just be intriguing to look at.

You Need More Than Metrics...You Need KPIs

There can be plenty of interesting metrics in your collective social data. Metrics range from page views (and who doesn’t want to see how many times people clicked your blog right?), impressions, followers, and time on page. These are all interesting factors to look over, but how do these numbers connect with business success? Here enters the importance of KPIs. These metrics are specific to your core business outcomes.

KPIs that could be imperative for your company include monthly active users, loyalty members, and conversion rates. These adhere more specifically to how your company may want to improve. If these numbers are low, you know where you need to improve. If they’re high, you can see what you’re doing right.

Now don’t go overboard and consider too many analytics as a KPI. That misses the point. Pick maybe a few per department. Get as specific as possible. Narrow it down. Don’t dump tons of info into a small funnel.

Shoot Towards a Target

It takes a lot of hard work to forecast what targets your company should aim for. With this in mind, remember to target KPIs that are worthy of this hard work. The analytics you’ll uncover will be well-worth the time.

What does your company consider as an indicator of success? Before you comb through data, make a specific numerical target. Without these, there won’t be a way to chart whether performance is good or bad.

With time, your company will be much faster in finding helpful information, forecasting company plans, and directing money solely towards analytics that make a real difference.

Now get out there and conquer your mountain of data! Impress those clients and prove that your company knows how to make a campaign successful. After all, you’ll have that right data and analytics to prove it.


7 KPIs Your Company NEEDS To Be Tracking

Are you aware of what makes your marketing campaigns successful or unsuccessful? Do you have the power of KPI in your marketing toolbelt? This knowledge is imperative and crucial to running a business. You need to know what is and what isn’t working in your marketing efforts. This data is known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and they are essential to reaching your goals. Living in the social media age makes it so easy to measure analytics to chart your successes and failures. If you don’t already track KPIs, then it’s time to get started.

Measuring your company’s KPIs will not only allow you to understand your company better but to help you improve your success.

“If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it” -Chuck McMahon

Here are 7 KPIs your company needs to track:

  • Website Traffic to Website Lead

The people that visit your website are prospects to become paying customers. Understanding your website traffic allows you to discover what type of people are drawn to your site and how many of them return to it to make a purchase. Improving these conversion rates is a common goal for businesses. Tracking the ratio between website traffic and conversion rates (that then become leads) helps you understand who’s interested in your company and how you can hook them to your brand.

Website Traffic Analytics can include:

-Number of Sessions

-Number of Users

-Number of Page Views

-Average Session Duration

-Bounce Rate

The funnel from website traffic to customers is listed below.

Visitors - Leads - MQLs (Marketing Qualified Lead= more engaged) - SQLs (Sales Qualified Lead= worthy of a sales call follow-up) - Quotes - Customers

  • Blog Post Visits

Do your customers like the blog content you create? Researching which of your articles received a higher click-through rate and even what time of day they usually visit your blog is extremely helpful. Curating your content towards what your visitors want will drive more people to your site and invite them to return more often.

Blog posts are a huge traffic driver, which is why almost every online business has a blog page on their site. Don’t forget to remind your audience when your newest blog is live, either through an email newsletter or social media. If you don’t post about it, most people won’t know it’s there.

Keep up with writing your blog. Many companies fail to maintain consistent blog writing and lose traffic because of it.

  • Sales Growth and Leads

Be sure to chart your sales revenue. It will take time to compile, but the results will be well worth it. Recognizing what marketing tactics caused dips or rising in the amount of money made will help you understand what worked and what didn’t.

No company wants to pay for something that isn’t earning them money. Charting revenue allows a company to recognize where they should and shouldn’t put their funds.

  • Cost of Customer Acquisition (COCA)

Cost of customer acquisition is when a company has convinced a prospective customer to officially make a purchase. To calculate the cost of obtaining customers through marketing tactics, divide the total marketing investment (the amount of money you spent on sales) by the number of customers acquired. The numbers don’t lie. They’ll tell you how your marketing campaign really went.

  • Customer Lifetime Value

To maintain customer value and extend their connection with your company, reach out to your current customers. Keeping up communication with these customers will increase their satisfaction, help you discover new leads, and retain your customers even longer. After all, the biggest goal for a business should be converting average buyers into lifetime customers.

To calculate the lifetime value of a customer, multiply the average sale per customer by the average number of times a customer buys per year and by the average retention time in months or years for a general customer.

  • Landing Page Conversion Rates

No matter how attractive your landing page, if it isn’t increasing conversion rates, it isn’t working. Make sure that the content and design you’ve crafted for your landing page is driving more than simply traffic, but customer purchases as well. Be sure to monitor your landing page’s conversion rate as often as possible. If a campaign doesn’t seem to be doing as well, update the page with either more persuasive copy, clearer, and more navigable design, or with positive customer testimonials.

  • Social Media Traffic:

Tracking the metrics from your social media can prove just how much (or how little) traffic it’s bringing your business. Social media is a free tool that all companies should utilize and maintain. No matter the social media accounts you use, don’t forget to chart the leads, customers, and percentage of traffic to see how it’s improving your sales.

Mobile is now one of the most popular ways that people visit sites on the internet. Be sure that if a customer clicks to a landing page from your social media, that your website is optimized for mobile and still easy to navigate.

Want to learn more about COCA and Social Media? Keep an eye out for our upcoming blog! We’ll get into the nitty-gritty on how to utilize these.


Market With YOUR Origin Story

How do you make your company stand out? Is there a secret formula for finding success and triumphing over the competition? Truth is, there really is a way to market yourself without using up all your dough and resources (so you don't need to seek out a magic genie to grant your wish for a profitable brand). The process is so simple and sadly, not enough small businesses take advantage of it. The secret is this: Tell your company's story.

No one has the same unique story as you. Utilize that! Think like a skilled movie producer. What attracts us to a film is not how many (or how few) awards it's gotten, but it's the plot that draws us in.

A great example comes from superheroes. Every superhero has an origin story. Would you be as drawn to Spiderman if you had never heard how he got his powers? Would he seem very relatable if we never learned about Gwen Stacy or Uncle Ben? No. You wouldn't feel as interested in what happens because he seems too distant from your own life. It's important to bridge that gap between the brand and their audience.

Now let's transfer that to your business.

Let's say you own a dog food company called "KibbleBits". You're starting a marketing campaign and planning on using TV ads, along with social media, to increase customer awareness.

Which of these ads stands out more to you? "Buy my dog food, KibbleBits! It has real, fresh ingredients for your beloved pet." OR  "I've grown up with pets my whole life, and when I saw that my collie, Scooter, was hardly eating his food. I decided to make a change in his diet. Then my company KibbleBits was born."

Which ad do you think a customer would connect with more? The second one! It shows a person behind the product and a reason for what they do. It creates a human connection between businessman and customer.

Use your social media to connect with your customers. If you do own a dog food company, share videos of cute dogs running around, discuss trending topics like the Olympics (maybe add that dog-sledding should be included this year), and of course share pictures of your dog and how you came up with the idea for your business.

Whatever your business is, it has a story. Tell people how your company came to be. Your brand's story is unique to you and no one else can claim it as their own. Show your customers what you're all about and why they should listen to what you have to say. Give them a story to latch onto.


Extra, Extra...Social, Tech, Creative, Insight, Success FYI!.... Click for links that stick.

We at Avant8 value your time. In this light we’ve scoured the net for 3 of the best Articles & Lists & Links you may have missed this week. Staying updated & in the know is essential to success. Don’t be left behind.

We do the searching while you do the enjoying. Get caught up with us!

A Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Insights

READ HERE

10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

READ HERE

3 Critical Metrics in Measuring Community Engagement

READ HERE

Virgin Airlines Goes Back To The Future

October 21st 2015.

The iconic date that Marty McFly travels forward through time to, in the second installment of the legendary Back To The Future Trilogy. For years fans have been fascinated by the 1989 version of modern day life and now we get the opportunity to compare the 80’s interpretation with the facts of 2015. But how does it measure up? We have drones, communicate by video conference and definitely have too many films in movie franchises (no Jaws 19 but we’re get close with The Fast & The Furious). However, we’re still deprived of hover boards, flying cars and self lacing sneakers. Actually, we’re close getting pretty close on the self lacing sneaks – keep up the good work Nike!

Tragically, 2015 is not how it was presented to us by Doc Brown and the gang (unless you’re a Cubs fan), but we do get the chance to celebrate that greatest of days, October 21st, which is a perfect excuse to re-watch movies that the world will not doubt love until 3015.

As a marketing agency, we had all kinds of creative ideas as to how to celebrate the occasion (check out our bottle of Pepsi perfect here), but we decided to stick with what we know best and put together a campaign. We chose to feature Virgin Airlines because they embody many things that we respect – constantly pushing boundaries, providing a new outlook on an otherwise stale industry, outstanding customer service and almost unrivaled success that came from humble beginnings. Virgin, we salute you!

To the man that made Virgin Airlines happen, Sir Richard Branson, we love your hustle, your self belief and your work ethic, so we figured we’d save you some time and take care of your next campaign for you. Take Wednesday off and get some BTTF going on Necker Island…

Enjoy. We certainly enjoyed putting it together.