Owning a small business has its challenges. Or, as we optimists like to say, ‘opportunities to grow’. And that might seem cliché, but it’s true. Each challenge I’ve faced as a small business owner, and on behalf of small business owners has given me a breadth of knowledge I didn’t previously have. Lessons learned turn into positive outcomes in the future for both Baseline Creative and our clients.
Millions of homeless animals end up in shelters every year. Abandoned by their owners, they feel vulnerable and scared. The future of a shelter animal is uncertain. Time isn’t on their side. Nearly 50 percent are euthanized due to overcrowding (Humane Society). These are not “problem pets” who are locked up because they are “damaged.” Shelter cats and dogs are loving pets who are desperately looking for a second chance at life. Unfortunately, the odds of a happy ending is against them. Baseline Creative is passionate about pet adoption and saving lives. This is why are so proud of the work we do with PetBridge and their shelter software.
Your dog or cat is lost. They are out there in the world feeling confused and afraid. Without your love and protection, your furry friend is in great danger. Traffic, people and other animals pose a threat to their health and safety. As domestic animals, your pet doesn’t know how to find food or water. Your dog or cat could also be picked up by animal control and be lost forever in a shelter. Their lives are in danger and time is of the essence. You don’t know what to do or where to turn. Take a deep breath! Everything is going to be okay. This is why PetBridge has launched its innovative Lost and Found Poster Generator – the latest shelter software creation of Baseline Creative.
How do we do this? According to an article by Google, it’s imperative to predict what these micro-moments might be for your customer and increase your presence in search results in all those moments. Google suggests performing searches in mobile and on desktop for all the top searches relevant to your business and do the same for your competitor. Whatever gaps you find, you can start to close. How? Start by focusing on four key moments for consumers — not just the moment they are ready to purchase a product, but along the way to that moment they click “buy”.
These are the moments in which a consumer is researching products. They have searched for a product type and are clicking on the pages they feel have the most relevant information. You need your product and your company to be in those search results to capture this micro-moment.
In this moment, the consumer is searching for the closest physical location. Make sure your company, if applicable, has a store-locator function, allowing the potential customer options to come directly to you.
This is that moment when a consumer is standing in the store, deciding between products. They will read online reviews, consumer reports and any other relevant information. Make sure you’re on their radar.
I’m not sure about you, but I’ve searched on YouTube for how to fix my dishwasher and my daughter is addicted to tutorials on hair and makeup. These moments capture the consumer by giving them the educational content, in an interesting way, that they need and want. YouTube reports that searches related to “how to” are growing 70 percent year over year.
What do all these have in common? Content and intent. Look for top searches, trending searches and question-phrased searches that apply to your business. Make sure you know where to be and create the content you need to be present in that space. It’s not just enough, however to simply be present. Your information must also be useful or users will leave, fast. In fact, Google reports only 9 percent of people will stay on a site if they can’t find the information they want or need or navigate quickly. Consumers are looking for quick, relevant content, not a “hard sell” when they are online.
Time is of the essence for most online activity, but especially in micro-moments. Your business should take steps to be as fast as possible. You can do this through several methods.
1. Eliminate Steps
How many steps does it take for the consumer to accomplish his or her goal? How can you eliminate those steps, until you have just what is needed? Google suggests one-click functionality, drop downs and other form-filling time-savers. Also, give the consumer alternative ways to finish the transaction — maybe it’s not the click to buy, but giving a customer a map to get to the store or a click to call button.
2. Anticipate your consumer needs before they want it.
Prominently display your calls to action on your website and in mobile apps. Once you have converted a sale, you know what kind of messaging they will be interested in for future sales.
3. Fast load speed is vital.
If your site takes more than three seconds to load, chances are, you’ve lost a potential customer. Most consumers will not wait for site loading. Work closely with your development team to make sure you have the optimal page loading time.
Progress can be measured by looking at the full-spectrum of where your customers find and engage with your brand and products. Mobile sales aren’t just measured by the device on which the sale is completed, but rather, what role did mobile play in getting the consumer to your product. Online reviews, videos, social media, all play a role in mobile’s path to a sale.
The times are a-changing and we, as marketers, have to change with them or risk being left behind like a shuttered Blockbuster Video store.
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Back in 1980 the band The Buggles released a song called, “Video Killed the Radio Star” and for a long time that seemed like it would always be true. Generation X rocked out to MTV and video was king. And then Millennials came along. Truly these throughly modern young people would embrace video? Yes. They did. Digital videos, YouTube, Snapchat, Vine, virtual reality and Instagram have taken video and images to a whole new level. But then, these video voyeurs decided to throw us for a loop and become significant consumers of podcasts.
Podcasts! We honestly thought these were dead back in 2007. But podcasts have steadily grown over the past 13 years and in the past two years, popularity has exploded. Mostly due to Millennials who love the on-demand content for not just music and other entertainment, but for news programming as well. Millennials will binge-listen to podcasts as much as they binge-watch Netflix.
Podcasts have grown in popularity and have turned talk radio on it’s head. The uber-popular “Serial” podcast had people from every age group glued to their ear buds to find out more about a whodunit murder case. From how things work, to comedy shows, quiz shows and traditional news programs, podcasts have become a surprising favorite for millennials. Surprising, because in this age of super-tech, podcasts seem like a throwback to the Golden Age of Radio but instead of gathering around the radio, millennials take the show on the road, to work, to the gym and to Starbucks.
An interesting podcast by Diane Rehm called, “The Growth of Analog in a Digital World” touched on the resurgence of “analog” products such as vinyl records, flip phones and “brick and mortar” stores from online retailers such as Amazon.com. Her guests discussed the reason these kinds of “analog” products are coming back into popularity, especially with younger people. Overall the growth in these areas is attributed not to nostalgia, as one would think, but rather, because they are different than digital products, and new to this generation. New and different, even though the technology is older.
So what does this mean for marketers? First, it means we need to definitely consider podcasts when it comes to consumer touchpoints for our brands — don’t write off the power of a well-told story and a beloved host. Second, familiarize yourself with the podcasts out there. Which podcasts are a better fit for your brand? Podcasts are fairly niche, so be sure you align with the podcasts that best fit your brand. Finally, how will you measure your ROI? Set an objective (sales is a given here) and track it with a special offer code or similar tool. Podcast advertising or sponsored content is expensive, but can help you reach your target market who will be less likely to tune your message out.
We asked some of the Baseline team members which podcasts they listen to. Most of the those who listen fall into the millennial generation. Here are their top picks.
- Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me – a trivia show from NPR
- Storycorps – a collection of the stories that are common to us all
- Criminal – a true crime show in which each episode is a new story
- Serial – an audio documentary of controversial cases and each season is a new story
- The Splendid Table – a podcast about food, exotic and interesting
- The Documentary (BBC) – a product of BBC, this program examines different stories of all types each week
- This American Life – short stories from people with unique perspectives or unique experiences from American life
- Modern Love – essays about love read by celebrities
- Tiny Desk Concerts – listen to performances from musicians recorded at the host’s desk
- Lore – true life scary stories (we’re told this one can be gory)
- TED Radio Hour – new inventions, inspirational stories, TED Talks tackle interesting topics
The New York Times has some recommendations for podcast listeners too, with their best podcasts of 2016.
- Code Switch – journalists reveal some of their personal experiences with race and identity
- Homecoming – a fictional story about a traumatized veteran and the therapist who is helping him
- Bad with Money – the host shares her tales of financial woe and invites others to share and offers advice even though she’s admittedly bad with money
Even if you’re not a millennial, you might give podcasts a listen. The ever-growing industry promises to bring enlightenment to listeners and has huge growth potential in ROI for marketers. And, don’t forget about “analog” technology — it might be just what catches the eye, mind and heart of your target market.
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By: Nathan Williams
From Don Draper (Mad Men) to Larry Tate (Bewitched), and Ron Richardson (Mr. Mom), the stereotypical ad agency experience has been portrayed as a ruthless business that has little regard for employees which seem to be expendable based on narcissistic whim, or the occasional poorly cast spell. And sometimes, there’s truth in that. This business is known for chewing people up and spitting them out. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
When I founded Baseline Creative in 2006 I wanted something different. A place for people to feel appreciated and cared for, a place people would like to come spend the day. We would do good work for good clients and take care of our people. When I started, I literally worked out of my home. Our small staff would meet there around my kitchen table with laptops to work. Clients would come to my house for meetings and sit around the same kitchen table. Sometimes I would have made fresh bread for all to enjoy.
A couple of years ago, my wife walked out into the kitchen in the morning with clients in the living room and staff in the kitchen and as she poured her coffee she said, “It’s time for a new office.” She was right. We were growing and didn’t have room for all we needed to do in my house anymore. It was the right decision, but I didn’t want to lose the culture of home and hospitality that we had built.
If home is where the heart is then part of my heart lies in the historic Dockum building at 110 N. Hillside. In our space we have an open air environment with lots of gorgeous natural light. We still greet each other and visitors enthusiastically. We still laugh hard and work hard. We still break bread together.
In 2015 we were voted one of Wichita’s Best Places to Work by the Wichita Business Journal and I am humbled by that honor. I don’t think being in this business and being good to people are diametrically opposed and I’ve built a business on just that. Baseline Creative isn’t just my business, it’s an extension of my family. Our clients, our staff, our neighbors, even the work we produce, all have a special place in my heart. If you’re in the neighborhood, please stop in and say hi. There will probably be homemade cinnamon rolls and fresh coffee but you can count on genuine smiles and people who are glad to see you. And this, my friends, is success.
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