Author Archives: Edge One

Marketing During the Winter Holidays

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December is here, the New Year is rapidly approaching, and holiday marketing is in full swing. This time of year, consumers are flooded with holiday messages, promotions, and sales from every channel. Finding ways to stand out from other brands can be difficult. Consider these trends, strategies, and campaigns when planning your holiday marketing in 2023.

Diversity and Inclusivity

“Diversity, inclusion, and belonging are increasingly becoming more important to the customers you serve, even more so when they or someone in their circle is a part of a diverse group.”

Forbes

Diversity and inclusivity in holiday marketing are extremely important. While over 90% of consumers celebrate Christmas, it’s not the only major holiday celebrated in December. Hanukkah and Kwanzaa combined are celebrated by 20% of consumers. Tailoring your message to each of the major holidays will help you stand out from other brands.

Hanukkah is a Jewish festival commemorating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is observed for eight nights and days, beginning the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar. Because the Hebrew calendar differs from the Gregorian calendar, Hanukkah is celebrated anytime between late November and late December depending on the year. If you choose to incorporate Hanukkah into your holiday marketing plan, be sure to research the holiday and use imagery that depicts the traditions, festivities, and colors.

Kwanzaa is the annual celebration of African-American culture. It is observed from December 26th to January 1st, ending with a communal feast called Karamu. Unlike other holidays, Kwanzaa is focused on reflection and community rather than gifts. Instead of promoting sales targeted toward Kwanzaa, consider recognizing and supporting businesses and non-profits owned by African-Americans.

Another inclusivity strategy would be to take a neutral stance and not market toward any specific holidays. Focus on a winter sales campaign rather than a holiday campaign and use seasonal imagery (snowflakes, hot chocolate, etc.). Your brand will stand out by not capitalizing on any particular holiday.

Start Holiday Marketing Early

According to Mintel, 45% of U.S. adults plan to shop before Thanksgiving, and 43% shop throughout the year to take advantage of deals. In fact, 39% of U.S. adults indicated that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not as important or relevant because there are other great deals during the holiday season.  The takeaway? Start your holiday marketing before Thanksgiving and run your promotions throughout the entire holiday season. Consumers are looking for seasonal and holiday promotions all year long, so take advantage of that!

Holiday Campaigns for Social Media

There are a variety of holiday campaigns you can run on social media throughout the holiday season. Here are some to consider:

  • Holiday Video Campaign: Videos express emotions and holiday spirit better than images, and they capture attention better than traditional posts. This can involve anything from adding holiday music to posts to Reels that showcase your deals, products, or brand.
  • Holiday Giveaway: Giveaways are an excellent way to raise brand awareness and generate leads for future campaigns. Plus, if executed properly, they can increase engagement levels and boost your analytics.
  • User-Generated Content (UGC): Get your audience to promote your brand for you! Use a hashtag campaign to get your followers to post original content about your products or services. From there, you can repost their content to your socials and tag the user that submitted it. It is a cost-effective strategy, and it is more authentic coming from people who have used and loved your brand. (Note: this differs from influencer marketing because you are not paying your followers to promote your brand.) 
  • Gift Guide: Compile a guide of your products and services. There are many approaches you can take with this. For instance, you can break down your gifts by interests (outdoorsy, plant lover, coffee fanatic, etc.). From there, you describe the products or services you have to offer for that category.

The Takeaway

Marketing during the holiday season is an opportunity to show your brand’s value, whether through gifts and services or through company culture. As you create your marketing plan for 2023, give careful consideration to how you can stand out from your competitors during the holidays. Consumers value diversity and inclusivity, and they are looking for brands that align with their values. Use the strategies and campaigns described here as inspiration when developing your holiday marketing plan.

If you need help creating an effective marketing plan, we can help! Reach out to us with any questions, concerns, or support you need to give your brand a refreshing edge.

Planning Your Social Media for 2023 (And Tweeting on Twitter With Elon Musk)

RefreshingEdgePodcastSeason2

We’re back with another episode and this time we invited Erica, the Social Media Strategist from Edge One Media, to discuss the ever-changing nature of social media for 2023.

Tune in as Nicholas and Erica predict what’s to come regarding video content, Augmented & Virtual Reality, Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, and which new social platform has the biggest breakout potential!

Learn all about that and more on this week’s episode of the Refreshing Edge Podcast!

Create Active And Loyal Customers With Experiential Marketing

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Post-Pandemic Marketing

In 2020, in-person events and experiences were suspended, forcing a transition to virtual interfaces. Throughout the pandemic, brands shifted their marketing efforts to focus more on the digital world. We are seeing an increasing number of brands on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and other social platforms. This boom in the digital world means that brands need to find new, unique ways to stand out from the rest.

Consumers have indicated that a brand’s values and culture are huge factors in determining whether to buy its products or services. They are looking for connection and a sense of community when interacting with a brand. It comes down to quality over quantity in terms of brand exposure and interaction. There should be a two-way connection built between you and your audience, enhanced by transparency, authenticity, and inclusivity. Experiential marketing is an excellent way to foster this connection.

Defining Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing uses real-life experiences to raise brand awareness, build connections, and increase sales. Exposure to your products and services occurs through events, activities, and experiences rather than just ads and social content. With traditional marketing, your customers are passive recipients of brand information, whereas with experiential marketing they are active participants. There are a variety of ways to incorporate experiential marketing into your strategy, including both offline and online experiences.

Augmented & Virtual Realities

Augmented reality (AR) is the use of technology to augment or enhance a person’s perception of their physical environment. This is done by overlaying a digital experience over the top of a physical one. Virtual reality (VR), on the other hand, is a completely immersive digital experience. By putting on a headset, the display replaces your physical environment rather than integrating the two. Both AR and VR connect the real world with the online world, providing interactive experiences immersed in a virtual environment. Using this experiential marketing strategy engages potential customers with your products in a memorable way.

Nikeland: The Nike Soccerverse

Nikeland is a shared digital space built by Nike in the Roblox online platform. You can create a personalized avatar and unlock clothing, accessories, and superpowers by playing games or participating in the Nike Cup Clash. Users are also able to create their own minigames, earn UGC items, and explore the digital world to their heart’s content.

Classes & Workshops

Providing classes and workshops is a great way to connect your audience with the people behind your brand. Establish yourself as an expert by teaching small groups of people how to make or do something relevant in your niche. Leverage your current customer base to create events that complement your products and services while being of interest to your audience. These can be held in person or online.

Wine & Paint Events

Wine and paint nights are a classic example of how you can connect with your audience through classes. During these events, an artist walks the attendees through creating the selected painting for the night. They give step-by-step instructions on what colors to use or blend and how to create the right texture with the brush. The participants have the option to follow along exactly or to create their own variation. Wine and paint nights are fun for the participants, especially if they come with friends, and the artist gets to share their work and skills.

Co-Branding

Co-branding is when two or more companies collaborate on a joint experience that benefits all of the brands involved. These events work best when the products and services of each brand don’t compete with one another.

Joybird & Sherwin-Williams

Joybird is a home lifestyle brand that sells home furnishings and interior decor. They collaborated with Sherwin-Williams, a paint company, on a campaign that combined home furnishing and color palettes. Together, they provided inspiration for customers to easily choose paint colors that complemented their home decor.

Conferences

Conferences are a place for like-minded professionals to gather and discuss industry topics. These conferences typically include live talks, in-person trainings, and networking events. You can share your expertise, educate others, and create personal connections with your target audience.

Social Media Marketing World

For the past three years, our marketing team has participated virtually in the annual Social Media Marketing World conference. During this conference, we participate in live talks with experts in social media marketing and have the opportunity to ask questions during a live Q&A. We have enjoyed attending and learning the latest tips and tricks for marketing on social media.

Product Demonstrations, Samplings, & Trials

Providing demonstrations, samples, and trials appeals to customers because they are able to try out your products or services before purchasing. They can make informed decisions based on their experiences. This is a great way for you to promote brand awareness, generate leads, and increase sales. Be sure to implement a lead- or purchase-tracking system to monitor the results of the campaign and determine if it was a success.

Subscription Boxes

Subscription boxes are excellent for experiential marketing for two reasons: (1) they typically offer a free trial box so you can see if it would be a beneficial subscription for you, and (2) the products in them are smaller sample-size versions of quality items. These boxes work for most industries and products, including food, beauty, home decor, and art supplies.

Tours

Tours provide your audience with a behind-the-scenes experience of your company. Whether self-guided or staff-led, these experiences are ideal for tourists and brand enthusiasts. They get a chance to learn more about your brand, your history, and how products are made, and even try samples of your products and services.

Tillamook Creamery

Tillamook Creamery offers free self-guided tours of their facility. Visitors can learn more about the company’s history and heritage by exploring the Farm Exhibit and Viewing Gallery. During the week, you can watch as employees cut and package the cheese blocks. They also offer a paid touring experience where you can learn about their cheesemaking process and get an exclusive hands-on look at some of their premium products.

VIP Experiences

With these exclusive offerings, a select few people have the opportunity to experience a brand, product, or service in a new and meaningful way.

Philadelphia 76ers

In 2021, the Philadelphia 76ers hosted the VIP Ticket Holders Tent Party. This exclusive event was a chance for loyal fans to cheer and celebrate their favorite team, complete with a 360 Video Booth to instantly share their unique experiences on social media.

Advantages of Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing presents the opportunity to create meaningful experiences that transform your audience from passive recipients to active participants. This marketing strategy raises awareness of your brand and fosters authentic connections between you and your customers, ultimately driving sales conversions.

If you want to learn more about how experiential marketing can boost your existing marketing strategy, reach out to us today!

Using Mobile Optimization To Improve Your Website

A man and women standing back to back looking at their smartphones

What Is Mobile Optimization?

Alice is looking for an auto shop to repair her car. A friend recommends a great local business, so Alice pulls out her phone and Googles the company. She clicks on its website to learn more about its services, rates, and locations. The page takes a few seconds to load, and even when it does, the website is clunky. The layout is skewed, images aren’t loading, and it’s hard to find the menu or a contact form. Alice abandons the website altogether and looks for another reputable auto shop.

This is where mobile optimization comes in. With mobile optimization, website content changes to adapt to the mobile device. It is scaled according to the screen size and eliminates unnecessary elements, like Flash videos and large images. This is different from being mobile-friendly, which means that the website displays accurately on smaller screens (e.g. contact information that initiates an email or a call when clicked).

Why Should You Care About Mobile Optimization?

In 2021, over 60% of organic search engine visits in the United States were made using mobile devices. Many users research companies, products, and services before making purchasing decisions. The use of smartphones in that process is increasing. For instance, Google mobile searches with the term “best” increased by over 80% in 24 months. As mobile use increases, so does the importance of mobile optimization.

Google’s algorithm ranking has switched to mobile-first indexing. This means it prefers mobile-optimized content and ranks those websites higher in the search results. Having an optimized mobile website can reduce bounce rates and increase traffic, leads, and conversion rates. Plus users are more likely to return to your website in the future if the mobile experience was good!

How Can You Optimize Your Website For Mobile Devices?

Responsive design plays an integral role in mobile optimization. You want your website to have a clean, minimal design that adapts to the screen of the user. This could mean layout changes, smaller images, a change in font size, and more. Streamlining the content and navigation of your website will help with this as well. A smaller screen means limited space, so the focus should be concise messaging that encourages action. Additionally, the placement of the navigation bar affects how users interact with your website. Changing it from a top bar to a hamburger button can improve navigability. At the very least, the navigation button should be noticeable and consistent throughout the mobile site.

Thumb zone on mobile devices. Three phone screens. One for the left hand reach. One for the right hand reach. One for left and right hands combined.
Source: Plerdy

When you are setting up your responsive design, it’s important to keep the Thumb Zone in mind. The screen size, finger size, and hand the phone is held in differ by person. Essential interface elements should be within thumb reach for ease of use. For instance, the menu button, as well as the menu that drops down, need to be within thumb reach. If you’re unsure of where to place items on your mobile website, using a heatmap can help. Heatmaps can show you how users browse on the mobile version, where they click, what problems are occurring, and how to remove obstacles.

Loading speed is another major factor in mobile optimization. 53% of visitors will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. That’s over HALF of your potential customers! Optimizing your images can help with this, among other things. Google’s mobile website speed test can identify areas of improvement, as well as show how your website compares to your competitors.

Other optimizations include:

  • Minimizing pop-ups by focusing on the campaigns that can be embedded in the content of your website. If you do include a pop-up, make sure it is easy to close (i.e. clearly visible “X”) and that it isn’t covering important information.
  • Including local SEO and keywords throughout your site. Mobile searches using the phrase “near me” have increased by over 300% in the last few years.
  • Using keywords in your meta titles and descriptions. These are your first impressions in the search results. Let the user know what to expect from your site.

The Takeaway

With over 60% of organic searches occurring on mobile devices, mobile optimization is becoming increasingly important. Taking the time to ensure your website is optimized can lead to higher search engine rankings, increased website traffic, a better user experience, and higher conversion rates.

If you need help optimizing your mobile website, we can help! Reach out to us with any questions, concerns, or support you need to give your website a refreshing edge.

Livestream Shopping: The New Online Shopping Experience

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Do you remember watching TV infomercials and shopping channels? The host would address common pain points in their industry, show off the featured products, demonstrate how to use them, and offer limited-time deals to encourage viewers to purchase. They always created a sense of urgency with phrases such as “not sold in stores,” “limited TV offer,” “but wait, there’s more,” and “for the low, low price of $19.95.” 

This style of marketing and sales has morphed and evolved in recent years. Though still focusing on product promotion, it has moved from televised pre-recorded infomercials to unedited, real-time videos streamed through e-commerce apps, social media platforms, and websites. During these live virtual shopping events, viewers can leave questions about the product or service in the comments and get an immediate answer from the streamer. The livestream is less scripted and focused on demonstrating the product or service, so it is more authentic than traditional marketing strategies. As a result, brands that use livestream shopping as a strategy report conversion rates ten times greater than e-commerce conversions. The success of this marketing technique is largely due to the appeal: livestream shopping is entertaining, people are bored, and people love to shop.

There are four main elements of a livestream: the platform, the host, the product or service, and the content of the video. The shopping event can be hosted on e-commerce sites or social media platforms. YouTube is the most popular, with 30.2% of U.S. businesses marketing through its platform. Close behind are Facebook (29.2%) and Instagram (28.9%), then Amazon (20.7%) and TikTok (19.8%). As with all marketing strategies, it’s important to use the platform that best fits your target audience demographic – you want to broadcast where your audience is.

The host of the livestream can make or break its success: if the host is not entertaining and engaging, consumers will continue on to the next video. Influencers or celebrities are highly effective, as they have an established audience that trusts and engages with them. In fact, 17% of U.S. consumers frequently watch influencer livestreams. However, if partnering with influencers is not your style, there is nothing wrong with hosting it yourself!

Livestream shopping can be used by any industry, ranging from fashion to technology. The majority of these events (36%) are hosted by apparel and fashion brands, followed by beauty (8%), fresh food (7%), electronics (5%), home decor (4%), and automobile (1%).

The final piece of livestream shopping is the content, or rather, the experience offered to the audience. While the main goal is to sell or increase awareness, the best consumer experience occurs when there is an entertaining demonstration as well as a reward for watching. Raffles, giveaways, promotions, limited-time deals… These are all common tactics to keep viewers engaged throughout the process. They build hype and a sense of urgency while you educate, entertain, inform, or connect with your audience. 

Livestream shopping is a rising marketing trend, not just for sales but for awareness and engagement, as well. 78% of brands indicate that they use it to build deeper connections with their audience. Brands also implement livestream shopping events to make their videos more accessible (66%), humanize their brand (59%), engage with their audience (57%), and achieve higher conversion rates (28%).

Utilizing this strategy can result in boosted customer relationships, marketing reach, and sales conversions. It has boomed in China over the last three years, growing from a market worth $3 billion to $171 billion. It is currently estimated to be worth $11 billion in the United States and is projected to reach $35 billion by 2024. 

If you need help navigating livestream shopping, or want help with your marketing strategy in general, reach out to us today!