Monthly Subscription Boxes May Be the Next Big Business Boom

Our online lives are drawing a curtain over the real world. We’re rapidly moving away from real-life experiences in favor of digital fulfillment, and at our fingertips is a world wide open with uninhibited possibility. But for most of us, that’s an incredible prospect. Having whatever we want available whenever we want it, especially with the help of monthly subscription boxes, can be overwhelming and confusing.

The online business world is feeling the effects of a limitless marketplace. Products and services abound, and even with filters such as internet search and B2C marketing, it’s a challenge to find interesting products that align with consumer interests. In that ether between what we want and how we find it, subscription boxes have come to life.

What Is a Subscription Box?

open orange bulu subscription box with giftsThe subscription box is a regularly scheduled, curated, and specially packaged goods delivery that caters to a specific market or interest. The concept borrows from the business model of the milkman, in which fresh deliveries of milk came to customers’ doorsteps carried by a friendly delivery expert. Customers could touch, taste, smell, and experience the product before them in real life, which contrasts rigidly with the intangible nature of our culture of online consumption.

That delivery model may be on its way back. Already, subscription boxes such as Birchbox, a monthly makeup and beauty product box, and Naturebox, an all-natural organic snack box, are reaching the size of traditionally successful enterprises such as corporations and chain stores. Small-time business owners are finding just-right-sized success with small customer bases and continuously creative offerings. The entire system is still remarkably new, and its shape will be molded just as much by customers as it will by subscription box creators.

What Makes Subscription Boxes Successful?

The pioneers of subscription boxes, including Birchbox co-founders Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna, have made the beginner’s mistakes and grown from them. They and others like them have learned what will stick with customers and what will push them toward the unsubscribe button. Together, these brave business heroes have created a blueprint for a successful subscription box company, and sites such as Cratejoy have built software systems that facilitate building from that blueprint.

cratejoy subscription box logo with lit red letters

Subscription box companies that grow their subscription base, profits, and influence share four characteristics:

  1. Earned Loyalty – Subscription box crafters need to have an honest inclination to curate box contents. Customers want to feel that the products they receive come from a company that shares their love, and the products that company provides have to fulfill actual needs. Boxes based on novelty tend to nosedive after the charm wears away.
  2. Consistent Change – Consumers are likely to scoff at even an item or two that is repeatedly delivered in a box over which they have no control. Duplicate items represent a lack of interest in dazzling the customer and are a concrete way to trim the number of subscribers to your box. Build a box concept around an interest with a wealth of competing products and make sure there’s freshness in every box.
  3. Multiple Revenue Streams – Don’t stop at subscription boxes unless you aren’t looking for growth. The most prolific monthly subscription box companies have set up e-commerce shops on their websites where customers can buy more of the products they love most from their monthly boxes. Storefronts work two-fold for your business: they will market to customers who are less in touch with e-commerce and provide immediate satisfaction to loyal subscribers.
  4. Sustainable Business Models – don’t go overboard with software development and overmanned sales teams. Stick to the script until you find your niche, then focus on growing that specific customer base through multiple channels. Keep overhead low by enticing vendors with free advertising if they provide free or discounted samples and full products for you to include in your boxes.

Consumer Benefits

graze monthly subscription box with fruits nuts chocolates and box art

At the forefront of the subscription box is the consumer – the beloved, fastidious, fickle consumer. The monthly subscription box business model relies on a steady monthly stream of subscriber money to maintain profit, and while the predictable income is a boon to business owners, it also means that customers are in strict control of growth potential.

That’s why clever business owners recognize and worship the benefits of subscription boxes to consumers:

They rekindle the elements of surprise and discovery

You’ve likely heard the comparison to an eternal Christmas with monthly boxes. When you get a new package of surprises every month, the delight of tearing open the package that you may remember as a child returns when your box arrives. Buying things you want is fun, but getting things you didn’t know you wanted is powerful.

They bring to light curiosities that are tough to find in a limitless marketplace

Customers can be blinded quickly by the most influential and well-known brands that cater to their interests. Exploration of new and exciting items is intimidating when products designed to please are available everywhere at all times. Well-curated subscription boxes provide a source for the lesser-known items that may cater to more individual wants and needs to reach target audiences.

They save consumers time when searching for new and interesting products

Streaming music services such as Spotify boast an intensely large library of available music on-demand. But Spotify customers don’t always know what to listen to when faced with such an array of choices, so the company provides playlists, searches, and filters to help guide customers to the music they want to hear. Monthly subscription boxes do the same in the consumer goods market – they provide a preset filter through which customers can discover what’s available without having to make guesses.

Business Benefits

Behind the scenes of the subscription box are the men and women who make each box magical. The monthly subscription box business model is still in its infancy, which allows potential business owners to shape it to their needs and goals without the added pressure of the grow-or-go traditional business model.

Business models are flexible for small and large businesses

Your subscriber limit and the ability to reach it will direct the scope of your subscription box business. Some of Cratejoy’s box curators sell just enough boxes to pay the bills and are not looking for additional growth. On the other hand, Birchbox’s owners are seeking prolific expansion. (Edit: Previously, we had mentioned that Birchbox bought Glossybox from European entrepreneur Charles von Abercon, but a kind reader pointed out that Birchbox had bought Joliebox, not Glossybox, as a part of their global expansion.)  Subscription box businesses can splash in the shallow end or dive into the deep end shame-free.

Structure allows low barriers to entry for hopeful entrepreneurs

Since most box businesses are low-overhead operations with few employees, it only takes the classic characteristics of hard work and dedication to make a subscription success. There’s no golden profit line and relatively few competitors. The landscape is open to creative ideas from just a few go-getters who want to create a business without the hassle of creating a business.

Creates opportunities where they may not exist otherwise

To launch a full-fledged enterprise is a gigantic undertaking. You need a solid business plan, a team of investors, and the will to sacrifice personal time to get things running. Or, you could create a solid product that stands out in its market and let your customers decide whether or not you should succeed by creating a subscription box specifically for your product. The small-scale business opportunity affords a chance of success to those without the startup capital or time to build an empire.

Marketer Benefits

Marketers who work in tandem with monthly subscription box companies receive something of a dream assignment when they sign on for services. Traffic for subscription-based companies tends to outpace funding in almost every scenario, which means marketers have plenty of resources with which they can work.

Target audiences are hand-picked

The success of most subscription boxes depends on the depth of the niche through which it is trying to delight customers. LootCrate has an easily researchable and well-targeted demographic to which it sends boxes. The target audience will be the only consumers of the product, and the marketing practically writes itself.

Subscriber bases are smaller

Even the largest companies in the industry tend to have fewer than 1 million subscribers at a time. Where traditional businesses may deal with millions of unknown customers every year, box companies nurture a loyal base of interested men and women who rotate much more sparingly than customers at a storefront or e-commerce shop. Marketing for these solid, smaller customer bases tends to be much more focused.

bark box with dog treats and dogContent creation is more interesting and personal

Excitement is part of the allure of subscription boxes, and it doesn’t have to begin and end when the package arrives at the door. Getting audiences electrified about the company’s next offering affords magnificent opportunities to wow audiences with creative copy, illustrations, videos, and whatever else your marketing team can dream up.

Organic growth is indispensable

Low-cost production and the need to earn customer support leads naturally into healthy, organic growth. Marketers can take advantage and sharpen their approaches to inbound marketing through showing customers what their clients’ subscription boxes can offer in the realm of new and interesting consumer goods, and will relish the times when business is flourishing organically.

Will the Monthly Subscription Box Model Last?

Numbers look promising for growth in the subscription box industry. When profits began to rise enough for boxes to be a reliable business in the first quarter of 2013, it would have been difficult to guess that growth would explode by nearly 3,000% in the next 3 years. With about 11 million subscribers in 2016 in hundreds of different product categories, the demand is certainly scaling with the supply.

empty blue mailbox transparent backgroundHowever, Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali asserts that these businesses may be at the bursting point of a huge bubble. “The energy has already died down,” she says, and she may be right. Despite the shocking appearance of the growth charts, the entire industry is terrifyingly new. There’s no long-term reference to the possibility of success, and the joy of receiving monthly gifts could wane when something newer arrives.

Large-scale companies already threaten the smaller markets as well. Sephora uses advanced loyalty data analytics to determine what customers want most in a box and send their Play! box monthly to subscribers for $10. Starbucks started the Reserve Roastery that offers artisan coffees to enthusiasts at a paltry $19 a month. Established businesses may well take over the open marketplace before new box services reach their ultimate potential.

Until we see the ultimate rise or fall of monthly subscription boxes, however, the potential still exists to turn classic charm into gold. If subscriptions take off, we could see an unprecedented quake in business, marketing and the way that customers consume goods – perhaps permanently.


TL;DR – Starting with a handful of remarkable successes, subscription box companies have grown exponentially in just a few years. Consumers, business owners, and marketers all get something out of the business model, but consumer benefits may decrease as the novelty of monthly surprises wears off. Major, well-established companies are also eager to take a large share of the market before new business owners have a chance to succeed with ventures from Starbucks and Sephora already in the works.

To some market researchers, the trend seems like just a fad, but the monthly subscription box model is too new to make a sound judgment. Either way, it would be wise for consumers and business owners to heed their current popularity.


The marketing team at Leverage Marketing is adaptable to all kinds of markets. Talk to us about your subscription box service and find out how our marketing experience can help you achieve your dreams. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for up-to-date marketing news and invaluable tips you won’t get anywhere else!

4 Tips to Increase Traffic with Older Blog Posts

You publish a new blog post, promote it on social media, and watch your page views go up for a few days. Then the page views start to decrease, and you move onto the next post on your content calendar. What’s wrong with this picture?

You’re not getting as much out of your blog posts as you could be.

If you’re taking the time to write and promote blog posts, you should maximize their value—and that means looking for ways to drive traffic to high-quality older content. Not sure where to start? Check out our four tips for getting the most out of your existing resources.

Spruce Up Your Evergreen Content

Trimming Hedge

When reviewing your past posts, look for your evergreen content. These are the pieces that aren’t tied to current events or frequently-changing technology—the posts that remain relevant to your audience month over month (possibly with a few minor updates). If the post is mostly evergreen but has some outdated elements, remove or change those parts to make the content relevant again.

That’s exactly what Michael Holeman, one of the PPC analysts at Leverage, did with the blog post ‘4 Ways to Track Conversion When Your URL Doesn’t Change’.  Michael noticed that the blog was consistently getting a lot of hits, even though it had been published over two years ago and included some out-of-date information. In March of this year, he reworked the post to cover Universal Analytics rather than Classic Analytics and changed the sample code snippets mentioned in the post based on updates Google had made. Since then, that blog has been one of our most informative and top-performing posts every month.

Updating the post didn’t take long, but the payoff has been significant in terms of driving more traffic to our blog.

Add Images

Breathe new life into old posts by updating them with relevant images. Articles with images get 94% more views than those without, and adding images can help you get more traction if you recirculate your posts on social media (more on that in the next section). To make your images especially social media-friendly, try superimposing the name of your post over a colorful image, as pictured below:

web designer painting web page

You can do this using a free tool like Canva; it doesn’t take long, and it will allow viewers to quickly identify the subject of your post on sites like Pinterest where images are more prominent than headlines.

One quick caveat: make sure you’re using royalty-free images so that you don’t run afoul of copyright law. Try a free stock image site like Pixabay or Morguefile, or spring for a subscription to a stock photo site like Dreamstime.

Recirculate Posts on Social Media

Try re-sharing posts on your social media channels, even if you’ve shared them already. Recirculating an old post can lead to more engagement than you might think: some marketers see as much as 75% of the engagement of their original share when they share their posts on a site like Twitter for the second time.

Rather than just randomly re-sharing old posts on social media, look for opportunities to promote the posts when they’re most relevant. For example, if you wrote a post last year with Black Friday tips for ecommerce businesses, promote the post in the lead-up to Black Friday this year.  

Write a Response to an Older Post

Has your perspective on any of your older posts changed? Are there new resources available that enhance your understanding of the subject? If so, consider writing a new piece that engages with and links to the original post. On a similar note, if you’re writing a new post that references something you talked about in an older post, you can include a link to the original post in the body. Get familiar with your blog archives so that you can identify relevant posts to link to whenever you’re working on new content.

 

TL;DR: Repurposing old blog content is a low-risk, high-reward way to drive more traffic to your website. By updating content with new information and images, recirculating posts on social media, and linking to older blog posts in new content, you can increase the value of your existing resources.

Don’t have time to update your blog posts or to produce blog content at all? Contact Leverage Marketing to learn how we can create an effective SEO and content strategy for your company.

 

How Your Healthcare Practice Can Reach New Patients Online

Want to bring new patients to your healthcare practice? You’d better have an online presence. Consumers expect to be able to do just about everything online, and that includes looking up health-related information and making medical appointments.

One of the most important components to consider when reaching new patients online is having a website full of patient-friendly information. In addition to building up your website, it can be valuable to engage with potential patients on the social media networks and review sites they’re most likely to frequent.

Need more tips to get started? Below are five ways your healthcare practice can gain new patients online.

Optimized Health Practice Websites

Medical Center Website on Mobile

According to a recent Pew Research Center report on U.S. smartphone use, 68% of respondents have used a mobile device to search for information about a health condition. Because of this trend, mobile design is an important component to acquiring new patients online. Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a web development process that allows patients to view your medical practice site across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices without lag or disruptive design elements. This approach will enable your medical practice to provide a rich site experience and empower patients with quality information about symptoms and health conditions when they need it most. Another benefit of having responsive web design is that users will be easily able to access one of the most important components of your site: the contact form. Optimized contact forms should be quick to fill out and should only request essential information needed to follow up with the patient.

Health Content

Google reports that around 1% of all search queries they receive are about health symptoms. Searching for illness indicators to self-diagnose is all part of the digital patient journey. However, one of the biggest challenges for some healthcare practices is providing easy-to-understand health information to prospective patients. An easy way to draft and implement content for your medical practice site is by focusing on common health conditions first and then moving upwards into more complex illnesses. A content strategy for your site should include critical information about diagnostic methods, possible outcomes, and ways your medical practice can provide solutions. Having this type of search engine-optimized content will allow your medical practice to gain new patients who are seeking health-related information.

Quality Care through Online Services

A recent 2016 Physician Compensation Report found that most doctors spend around 13 to 16 minutes with each patient. With such limited time, your medical practice can face challenges meeting the new demands of quality care. An effective way to improve efficiency through your website is by enabling online users to submit documents such as patient questionnaires and other intake forms electronically. Adding this feature to your medical practice site can help speed patient wait times and improve overall satisfaction. Another way to improve the quality of care and gain new patients is to provide additional online support after the consultation. Website content about common procedures, chronic illnesses and medication guides can empower patients to make necessary recommendations, support adherence to treatments, and improve outcomes.

Social Media Engagement

Embrace social media and acquire new patients by building relationships and credibility. Many healthcare practices avoid using social media because of the liability of patient information and other legal considerations. However, it is possible to create protocols for social media communication that are compliant with all regulations and state laws. For a full list checklist on how to use social media for your healthcare practice, check out the Forbes guide.

Online Reviews

Doctor on Laptop

Healthcare review sites such as ZocDoc and Yelp are important to patient acquisition. In fact, a Software Advice survey found that 77% of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor. Review sites can provide your practice with a wealth of information regarding patient experiences and overall satisfaction with the services provided by your practice. This valuable feedback can be used to make improvements in quality of care and present to prospective patients the key benefits of choosing your practice over others.

Considering technology use, search trends, and emerging services can help your healthcare practice get new patients and retain existing ones. Your website should serve as a portal with the most reliable and up-to-date health information. You can make that information accessible using proven and reliable web optimization strategies that connect new patients with your services.

For more information on establishing your medical practice website, contact Leverage Marketing and ask about our web design and content creation services.

Key Takeaways:

  • Creating your site using responsive web design will help patients reach your site across all devices. This is especially important for patients who want to book an appointment on mobile devices without any lag or annoying web design problems.
  • Before looking for a doctor, patients first search for health symptoms to self-diagnose. Having easy-to-read content about common health conditions, symptoms, treatments, and potential outcomes will help your site reach those patients.
  • A higher level of service can be achieved by taking advantage of timesaving processes such as electronic patient questionnaires and providing additional patient education sources.
  • Don’t be afraid of using social media for your practice. Establishing proper protocols that comply with regulations and laws can help you establish relationships with new patients.
  • Analyzing patient reviews on sites like ZocDoc and Yelp will help you gain a better perspective of your practice. Use positive and negative reviews to come up with ways to improve the overall patient experience.

5 Tips for Content Marketing on Reddit

Reddit is a beast of a content curation tool, and it’s certainly not for the weak willed. It has the potential to put hundreds of thousands of eyes on your content overnight, but you must be armed with confidence and clad with knowledge to come out of the Reddit arena victoriously. You’ll also need some serious fight in you to claim ultimate exposure for your content.

Reddit users, lovingly called Redditors by the online community, are given a massive amount of power for the shockingly low price of free when they sign up for a Reddit account. Each person can vote for or against a piece of content once per piece, and they can comment with the loftiest praise or the foulest criticism as often and loudly as they see fit. Redditors determine what other Redditors see and with what they interact, and their hammer of judgment is mighty.

How do you walk amongst Internet titans and stake your claim on the pages of Reddit? You follow these 5 tips for pushing content to Reddit, and you start on them early.

 

1. Know Reddiquette

reddit logo with reddiquetteRedditors have composed an extensive list of guidelines for all users to follow that help govern an otherwise completely lawless content board. The Reddiquette document is available anytime to anyone on the Reddit website. Ideally, all users would follow the rules set forth as a token of loyalty to the community ethos, but as you spend more time on Reddit, you’ll see the rules uncannily broken on a daily basis.

But if you want to be taken seriously and would like to see others fairly criticize your content, take the high road and follow the rules. The people you want to impress are those who understand the value and power of a content curation machine on the scope of Reddit. The people who read, understand, appreciate, and share your content that follows Reddiquette are the thought leaders who will push your content to the top – provided it deserves to be there.

Read and Follow Subreddit Rules

reddit rules for worldnews subredditCommunity rules don’t begin and end with the almighty Reddiquette document, though – you’ll also need to read and adhere to the conditions set forth in each subreddit, a forum within the grand Reddit framework. Most subreddits will have an easy-to-spot link at the top of the page to their rules or will list them in the sidebar so you can easily access them.

Most forum moderators will also direct you to the subreddit guidelines just before you post a link or comment so you can make doubly sure that you’ve checked off every item on their wishlist. Take advantage of this opportunity – your content may fall off immediately if it violates a condition of the subreddit.

 

2. Develop a Reputation

As in any other community, every member has a reputation, but Reddit actually records your reputation and puts it on display in the form of karma points. The higher your karma count, the more reputable you may be considered, though the actual mileage of those Karma points is negotiable among Redditors.

Even if you’re representing a company, you’ll need to develop morally righteous Reddit skills and experiment with posting, commenting, and sharing knowledge and insight in areas that you feel comfortable speaking as an expert. Start building your reputation by:

  • Helping people with their problems
  • Providing courteous responses to simple questions
  • Politely and fairly participating in hot discussion topics
  • Genuinely critiquing the work of those in your field
  • Contributing to community content curation with upvotes and downvotes

Take a moment each day to do one or more of these and you might be shocked at how quickly your karma and reputation builds.

thank you comments on reddit

Grateful reddit users adding thank-yous to threads.

Remember also to keep things as fresh as possible. There are some Redditors who have dedicated almost all of their free time to Reddit, and they may have considerable influence over how well-received your content is. Karma is divided into link karma and comment karma, so you’ll need to take 2 separate approaches to your reputation growth.

Post a Variety of Content

a variety of content on the science subredditDon’t stick to blogs or articles exclusively – there’s so many ways to consume information on the Internet, and those who spend a lot of time in the digital world become bored quickly.

Spice up your content cocktail with fun videos, infographics, interesting products, and even animations to really grab the attention of your fellow Redditors. Though they may not realize it, they’ll be quenching their thirst for entertainment and knowledge and see your name next to their favorites.

Comment Often

Comments get buried by other comments fast. Eager Redditors will leave replies in the desert of feedback miles away from those few relentless commentators that make it to the oasis.

If you want to make an impact on readers, have a large footprint. When you have something to say, comment, and do it with confidence. Above all, never be rude, and don’t participate in digital tantrums.

 

3. Strike a Balance Between Self-Promotion and Community Interaction

In most cases (and is so written as a rule on many subreddits), Redditors don’t want to see content posted by someone who has a connection with the content’s host. At the very least, they’ll expect you to contribute articles from sources other than the ones you’re associated with much more regularly than you post your own content. Accordingly, you’ll have to balance self-promotion and community interaction.

The 9:1 Ratio

Reddiquette recommends that for every link you place on Reddit to your own content, you should also post 9 links with which you aren’t affiliated. The rule has 2 functions:

  • Prevent spam – In an openly linkable world like Reddit, it’s easy for users to post unreasonable amounts of articles and blogs in a bid to gain karma points and page views. The 9:1 ratio helps keep posts thoughtful and engaging rather than spammy.
  • Encourage interaction – The 9:1 ratio pushes users to explore content that isn’t their own. This helps open the gates of your chosen subreddit to opinions that force you to think outside your own carefully crafted box.

Corralling one’s ego is tough, but the 9:1 ratio provides users with a great excuse to learn what competitors are up to and how they’re failing and succeeding. Armed with the knowledge of your 9 community posts, your 10th post that promotes your own content will enjoy rapid evolution every time you post.

 

4. Decide Which Content is Worth Pushing

In accordance with the 9:1 ratio, provided that you follow it, you won’t be able to push out absolutely every piece of content that you create. Choose carefully the stuff you want the world to see, then run it through this checklist:

  • Is it new?
  • Is it worthy of discussion?
  • Is it well written, drawn, or edited?
  • Will Redditors care?

Keep in mind that digital age youth are now becoming adults and will soon become thought leaders in the very industries that create your salary. Young men and women in the digital age have an attention span averaging no more than 8 seconds. It doesn’t stop there – the age range for those with waning attention spans is also swelling.

top reddit frontpage content

Redditors want it fast and easy to digest.

Consequently, there’s a new need to limit the content you promote to ideas and thoughts that will challenge the 8-second attention limit. Hook your audience with powerful messages and witty writing and keep them coming. Don’t sit all of your engaging thoughts on the shoulders of your content. Let the body of your work share the burden.

Once you’re convinced that Redditors will select your content, put it out at that same quality or better regularly. You’ll gain the trust of Redditors, and they’ll start to promote your content for you. Congratulations, you’ve engineered some serious brand awareness.

 

5. Learn to Deal with Difficult Feedback

Redditors are real human beings with genuine thoughts, but the shield of anonymity provided graciously by the Internet gives them the keys to the criticism machine, and their fuel can be anything from jealousy to wonder. You’re not likely to post anything without hearing about how terrible or wrong it is, so get an approach to criticism ready before you share your content.

Spot Fake Experts

Everyone knows better than you. The legions of subject matter experts on Reddit will be sure to let you know that as often as possible.

Keep in mind that the community in which you’re posting content is opinionated and will transform their opinions into facts if they can pull it off. Fake experts are quick to criticize and cite anecdotal evidence without prejudice. Know your content back to front and be ready to back it up with real facts if you choose to reply.

Identify Trolls

rude comment from redditor

Comments like these, which are neither kind nor constructive, are commonplace on Reddit.

Some folks just relish in pushing people’s buttons, even if that person is across the world. When a Redditor tugs at your emotions, always take a step back. Set your ego aside and take personal attacks at face value, which actually amounts to nothing. If you overcome the instinctual need to bicker, comments from Internet trolls will meet the grave and fertilize real discussions with meaning.

Pick Your Battles

Don’t ignore your critics, just vet the ones that aren’t contributing to thought evolution. If someone has an interesting idea or a new take on what you’ve provided to the community, engage with that person in an enlightened discussion. You and many other fellow Redditors will enjoy the exchange and you’ll earn karma, page views, and exposure.

Never forget – Reddit is not and never was a marketing tool. It’s a place to share groundbreaking content with a captive audience, and marketers would be wise to treat it as such. Respect the community, share new ideas, and overcome the negativity, and you’ll learn to walk one of the brightest paths to success in awareness and engagement.

The marketing team at Leverage Marketing can handle your content marketing alongside paid search, social media management, and search engine optimization (SEO). Right-size your marketing team or sign up for our newsletter below for more tips and awesome information about marketing in Austin and beyond!

Should You Put Your Money on Video Marketing?

If your online marketing efforts don’t include video, you’re now in the minority. An estimated 87% of online marketers are using video content in some form, and advertisers are spending $10 million annually on digital videos. Of course, “everyone else is doing it” isn’t enough to justify using video for marketing. Let’s look at some of the advantages of video marketing that may help sway you if you’re still unsure where to allocate your digital marketing dollars.

Benefits of Video Marketing

Informative and entertaining online videos can provide a great return on investment for your business. Videos can:

  • Increase your links and brand visibility. That’s because 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with people in their network, according to Invodo. Having videos from your site shared doesn’t just increase your visibility, it also helps your search engine rankings.
  • Increase a web user’s average time on your site. Many web users prefer to consume information through videos rather than text; in fact, Diode Digital found that video promotion is 600% more effective than print and direct mail combined. Web users are more likely to engage with your site if they can watch a video. More time on your site means greater engagement and a boost in search engine rankings.
  • Help your potential customers make a purchase decision. 90% of web users say that watching a video about a product helps them decide whether or not they want to purchase it, according to Insivia.
  • Help your B2B company reach its audience. Insivia also reports that three-quarters of executives watch videos on relevant business websites on a weekly basis.
  • Boost your email engagement. Forrester found that adding video to a marketing email can increase the click-through rate by 200-300%.

Determining Your Online Video Costs

Filming Online Ad

It’s clear that there are numerous benefits of video marketing for your business, but can you afford the upfront costs? The good news is that the barrier to entry for video production is lower than you might think. You can even make company videos using a smartphone, some basic editing software (typically costing around $40-$100), and your in-house team. Of course, the quality of the video generally increases along with the budget. Marketing company Hinge estimates that a basic 1-2 minute video produced by a professional corporate team will cost about $5,000-$20,000, while a premium 1-2 minute video with top-level talent, high-end cameras, and a studio will cost $25,000-$50,000.

Free to $50,000 is obviously a pretty wide range, so if you’re thinking about using video for marketing, you’ll need to spend some time working out your own budget and determining if the cost is worth the benefits.

Your budget can be broken into three basic categories: time, labor, and equipment.

Time

If you’re making a simple explainer video with members of your in-house team, you might only need to set aside a few hours for shooting, but if you’re making a larger-scale video advertisement or case study, shooting might take a few days. In addition to actual filming time, you’ll need to account for pre-production planning, writing the script, traveling to and from the filming location, and editing. Remember that you’ll have to account for the time of everyone working on the project, so the more people you have, the more man-hours you’re likely to log.

Labor

Some companies are able to produce quality videos using employees as their actors, camera crew, and editors. However, if your in-house team has limited experience with video production, you may need to set aside part of your budget for hiring a professional videographer, editor, and/or spokesperson. The more experience these contract workers have, the more you can expect to pay.

Equipment

As previously mentioned, it is possible to make a DIY online video with a smartphone camera and basic editing software. However, for a more polished product, you may need to purchase (or rent) high-end cameras, multiple lenses, and sound and lighting equipment. Depending on the shots you have planned, you may also need specialty video production equipment such as a tripod, dolly or jib crane. Each of these items will add to the cost of the final product.

Investing in Video: Know What You Want to Achieve

Video Streaming

Before deciding exactly how much you want to spend on video marketing, it’s important to determine exactly what you’re trying to achieve. For example, are you trying to increase your brand visibility with top-of-the-sales-funnel advertising? Are you trying to show consumers who are at the decision-making stage how to use your product? Are you trying to establish yourself as an authority in your industry? Make sure the goal of your campaign remains top-of-mind with everyone working on the project so that your online videos have a significant impact.


Still unsure how much your company should invest in video marketing, or any other form of online marketing? Talk to our team at Leverage– we’ll be happy to help you come up with a strategy for success.

 

Why Your Site Needs More Than an Instant Audit

This blog post was written by social media intern Ali Flowers. Ali is a Senior at the University of Texas at Austin, where she studies Public Relations. Ali enjoys good food, good friends, and spending time with her family.


So you’ve decided your company needs to invest in digital marketing. Great! Every business or organization can benefit from actively promoting themselves online. You are on Google and you search for ‘digital marketing near me’. You’ll likely be served thousands of results and several top-of-the-page advertisements about digital marketers in your area. Regardless of what link or ad you click on, you will probably be offered an instant audit.

What’s an Instant Audit?

With an instant audit, a marketer (or marketing automation software) analyzes various aspects of your business or organization’s online presence so that they can then advise you on the efforts you should take to promote yourself online. Some agencies claim they can audit your site in minutes or even seconds.

This might leave you thinking: Great! I can get all of that information at the click of a button? Who knew! Well, yes, but just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Why are Instant Audits Risky?

Digital marketing is a huge investment in both time and money.  It ranges from things like search engine optimization to paid search and even social media, all of which can work together to increase your sales, and none of which are free. Would you really feel safe making such a big move for your company based off of such a quick assessment of your site? That would be kind of like buying a house immediately after seeing a few pictures of its exterior online.

So What Should You Do?

You do need an audit–but one that is done thoroughly. You need trained professionals to look at your previous marketing efforts and your competitors’ marketing efforts, find your strengths, identify your weaknesses, and then give you a full overview of your company’s situation. Your marketing agency should conduct interviews and create a report of your company’s digital marketing history so that you can identify specific areas for improvement. A real, fully-developed audit takes time, and you shouldn’t just settle for one that was given to you at the click of a button.

If you are ready to move your company into digital marketing, find a company that will provide you with a thorough audit. Look for a marketing partner who can accurately tell you where to invest and how to push your business forward. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your audit shouldn’t be either.


Check out our methodology page to learn about the in-depth analysis Leverage Marketing performs for prospective clients. If you’re ready to have us review your digital marketing opportunities, schedule a call.

What is Google’s Semantic Search?

Google’s semantic search attempts to improve on the search formula intended to produce relevant search results for web users by creating rules that define a searcher’s intent and the contextual meaning of search terms.

Every language harnesses the power of semantics to define, clarify, process, and change the meaning of words or words in combination. Since language is the tool that the everyday web user employs to scour the boundless frontier of sites and pages on the Internet, it only makes sense that Google’s inimitable search algorithm would begin to evolve just as language does.

So how does Google develop ways to emulate the intricacies of language? Most of what happens at Google offices is a closely guarded secret, but we can certainly make educated assumptions based on the state of current semantic search capabilities and how they fit into indexing and organizing the web.

What is Semantic Search Technology?

Google is not the only company working on a semantic search engine. Specialized database searches and site-search tools also take advantage of semantics to make sure they are operating at their optimal efficiency and customers don’t drop off when they can’t find what they’re looking for.

Semantics is born of thousands of minute neuro-processes that work in conjunction to create a final meaning. Fortunately, those innumerable processes fit fairly neatly into a few underlying concepts that developers use to create quantifiable semantics.

Complex Ideologies

These are features of our world that our brain processes instantly and without effort — which means we usually take them for granted. Computers have a harder time than we do nailing these down.

leverage monster demonstrating complex ideologies with green bookContext

There are relevant constraints that help us define a word, phrase, or sentence more narrowly so we can produce a reply that makes sense to our interlocutor. We call these restraints context. Search queries are no different – we expect a reply from the search engine that fits the context of the thing or idea we search for. To recreate context, engine developers rely on data and assumptions.

For example, a search for “virtual reality headset” is most likely submitted by a young person or a tech industry professional, an assumption we can make based on the demographics of searchers. A search for “Etta James” is likely submitted by someone older since we can harness data that says the height of the artist’s popularity occurred in the 1960s.

Search results from a semantic search engine can be refined based on these data and assumptions – as long as the search engine understands them. Marketers are already taking advantage of the importance of context in defining searches by focusing efforts on context marketing, wherein marketers match their target markets with demographics reflected by searches.

Intent

If you start talking about oil and how it affects the health of every nation, your conversation partner can probably assume that you mean crude oil. But when a search engine sees the keywords oil and health, it may think that you want to know about how olive oil affects your physical health.

An effective semantic search will strive to guess your intent. A successful system is already visible in countless Google SERPs. If you type “What is it called when you think you have a disease but you don’t?” into a search engine, you will get results for hypochondria. Even though keywords like disease are very ambiguous in this sentence, the engine is still able to parse your intent, among other remarkable things.

Variation

Variation in language use can be regional, age-specific, industry-specific, or rely on any number of demographics. Semantic search engines must be prepared for language variation and know how it fits into searches. They have to know that people searching for elevators likely live in North America, but those looking for information on lifts are probably looking for UK-related articles.

Location

From city size to climate, economics to local leadership, countless concepts can affect search results based on location. Google does a fantastic job of indexing and prioritizing business-related searches, and its deep integration with the Maps application is a prime example of how location fits into the semantics of a search.

Linguistic Considerations

Since we rely on typing queries into a search engine in our mother language rather than code, the semantic search engines have to translate what we say into a form it can understand, then produce results based on what it thinks we mean. There are a few phenomena of language used in our search queries that are difficult to reproduce outside of the human brain.

Synonyms

Search engines can make educated guesses about the user’s intent and offer synonyms for keywords, but subtle differences in meaning can produce irrelevant results. Engines must learn what nuances exist between synonyms and how SERPs should be adjusted to reflect those nuances.

Google semantic search understands that money is a broad concept of currency, even though we use it as an analogue to cash in everyday speech. But type cash into Google and you’ll find some handy places to get payday loans or turn your checks into hard currency. Google knows that while we use the terms interchangeably in everyday life, there’s a subtle but important difference when typing either term into a search engine.

Concept Matching

google concept matching with filmLike money, some keywords and queries represent large concepts with subcategories that can be rolled into one term. Searching for film will provide results based on movies because the Google semantic search formula understands that film is now a concept that is deeply intertwined with movies.

Search engines develop a notion of concept matching over time as their idea of relevance evolves. A user may become frustrated if searching for film directs him or her to a SERP that provides places to buy rolls of film, and semantic search engines must learn to anticipate such frustrations by matching concepts.

Natural Language

Long ago, AskJeeves attempted to simplify web searching by creating an algorithm that answered real questions written in natural language. As a focus, the concept never really caught on, but now more and more users are relying on natural language queries to find answers.

To tackle natural language queries, semantic search engines have to assign purpose not only to unusual terms like prepositions (in, on, around) and articles (a, an, the), but they have to learn how groups of words fit together to create abstract concepts. Observe the following natural language search queries:

  • A. I need a place to work out
  • B. I need a place to work out of

The only difference between these two queries is the word of. Because of is a preposition, it carries very little in the way of concrete meaning. However, it holds incredible influence over semantics.

Query A provides results for gyms and answer pages from users who have asked similar questions on forums.

Query B gets confused – it can’t really tell if you’re asking for a place to lift weights or a place at which you can perform your job. To us, the addition of the word of clarifies so much of the searcher’s intent, but to the search engine, of is just too abstract to be able to guess accurately what the user wants. You will still see occasional results for leasable office space, however.

Again, relevance will play a large role in helping define natural language searches. The more people search with natural language and click on what they want to find, the more narrowly semantic search engines will be able to define natural language.

Semantics in a Digital Landscape

Users and developers alike must remember that semantics as a digital feature is still very much in its infancy. It wasn’t long ago that all searches were keyword-based and keyword stuffing was a viable SEO option. However, semantic SEO is on the horizon, and smart inbound marketing teams are already ahead of the curve learning how to maximize research potential and produce quality, informative content in line with semantic goals.

Problems with Semantic Search

Semantic search is far from perfect, but it’s certainly not the fault of developers. The human brain is just too complex and powerful for us to understand its processes in full, so until we do, we can’t quantify what it does and turn it into a carbon copy artificial intelligence – which is a scary concept anyway.

Ambiguity

The problem of ambiguity, or flexible meaning in a single word, is also something second language learners struggle with. For instance, the word band can mean “a group of people,” “a strap or belt,” or “a frequency interval.” Even if Google semantic search is able to learn which is the most common meaning its searches are seeking, how can it make sure that those searching for other meanings are still able to discover relevant websites?

Content Saturation

The early days of Google search meant looking for new ways to game the system for Search Engine Optimization experts. Efforts to stuff keywords and appeal to the search algorithm caused a tidal wave of content to hit the Internet, and that content was hardly useful to users as an information source. Even worse, most of that leftover content still exists today.

Some SEOs are also still married to the idea of paying full attention to search engines rather than the user experience when developing content, so the modern algorithm that focuses on quality content marketing has to deal with old and new content that isn’t optimized for it. Data gets confused and relevance is not always clear, and it’s mostly because of the sheer volume of content available on the web.

Semantic search developers who want their engines to take the reins have to deal with confusion from content saturation. Old, poorly designed pages contain unreadable content from which search engines have to parse data. But those engines can’t learn semantics from content that has no meaning. Until semantic SEO catches on, semantic search technology will have to wade through a sea of content debris.

Answers to Personal Queries

an example of a personal query in the google search engineUntil artificial intelligence is so close to our own brain chemistry that it can simulate our senses and draw conclusions based on emotional input (which may or may not be impossible), even a semantic search engine won’t be able to answer questions that require thinking on a personal level. Ask Google What is my future like? and you’ll see an endless list of quizzes that “predict your future.”

The results are simultaneously a testament to Google’s ability to computationally understand language and proof that it’s still a robot. Still, the search engine is using semantics to try to guess what you want from it – just try to simplify the search to my future. Semantic search’s capacity to squeeze more meaning out of your search queries will only advance as search technology moves forward.

Is Semantic Search Worth It?

Yes, semantic search, once it has evolved, will provide a search experience not unlike having your own personal assistant. The search will be able to anticipate your needs based on ideologies and linguistic concepts that you harness in everyday life to gather information from human sources.

While a semantic search engine won’t ever be able to answer questions like “Where was that place I put that thing that time?” without invading your privacy, semantic search developers are working toward a concierge-style semantic search that can process more meaningful information in less time.

So keep searching knowing that each time you submit a query and find the result you need, you’re making a sound contribution to a 100% searchable Internet with semantic search.

10 Digital Marketing Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

Setting lofty self-improvement goals is a time-honored New Year’s tradition, as is breaking those resolutions partway through the year. While it might sound cynical to talk about broken resolutions when we’re only midway through January, it’s worth bringing the subject up so that we can all start thinking about how not to be in the 64% of people who fail to keep their resolutions for more than six months. If you’re setting digital marketing goals for 2016, it’s a good idea to make them tangible and specific. By setting smaller, manageable goals, you’ll be able to steadily work towards your larger goals without becoming overwhelmed. Help your marketing department get past the talking phase of goal-setting for 2016. Here are 10 actionable suggestions for digital marketing resolutions. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

1. Add social share buttons.

This resolution is for all the businesses that regularly post great original content on their site but fail to promote it. Your content may be amazing, but it’s not likely to attract much traffic unless you promote it. There are lots of strategies for promoting your content—Buffer has a list of 11 you can try—but one incredibly easy way to start is to add social share buttons to your blog. You can do this by using an app like ShareThis, which will give you a snippet of code to embed on your site so that visitors see buttons that allow them to share the content they like on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks with one click.

2. Add calls-to-action and contact buttons.

In addition to adding social share buttons, try adding calls-to-action and contact buttons to relevant service pages and at the end of your most successful blog post. This makes it easy for site visitors to go to the next step of their research or purchasing process with minimal navigation around your site. If you regularly communicate with clients or customers over the phone, add a click-to-call button so that visitors who are looking at your site on their smartphone can call you instantly by pressing a phone icon.

3. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly.

In May of last year, Google rolled out their ominously nicknamed ‘Mobilegeddon’ update, which was designed to give a search engine rankings boost to sites that looked good and functioned well on all device types (desktop, tablet, smartphone, etc.). If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you may be ranking lower on search engine results pages than competitors who have optimized your site for mobile. Not sure if your site is mobile-friendly? Try Google’s handy test. If your site isn’t up to date, it’s time to have a web designer make some changes.

4. Survey your new clients.

Resolve to make digital marketing decisions that are based on data, and start by surveying your clients or customers to get valuable feedback. Consider asking about how they found you, what they like about your process, and what part of your process they think needs improvement. Keep the survey short so that clients/customers know it will take very little time and energy to fill it out.

5. Join a LinkedIn group.

Joining a LinkedIn group relevant to your industry can help you expand your network and increase your authority, which is especially valuable if you’re a content marketer. You can start a discussion with members of your group to get ideas for new content, ask for feedback on an article you’re currently working on, and keep up with the industry news that other members are sharing, just to give you a few ideas. To get started, go to LinkedIn’s Group Directory and search for terms related to your industry or target audience. Once you’ve found at least one group that you like, set a goal to stay relatively active in discussions throughout the year (otherwise, you won’t get much out of the group).

6. Do a quick GA analysis.

If you’re still putting off going into Google Analytics to see how your site is performing, the time to stop is now. Anyone who has anything to do with a company’s online performance can benefit from taking a look at Google Analytics every now and then. Whether you’re a copywriter, designer, web developer, social media specialist, or a manager, owner or junior level employee

At the very least, go into the Behavior section of reporting and Check out the pages with the most pageviews, highest bounce rate and pages with the highest average time on page. This will give you an idea of which pages are performing the best and worst overall and then you can go about analyzing them and try to make the worst pages perform more like the high performing pages.

7. Audit your site’s page load speed.

Did you know around 25% of users leave a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load? That number only gets lower as time goes on. Google provides a free page load speed tool for web developers to check the load speed of their company’s web pages. Use this free tool to check your website to see if there are any major improvements to be made. The Page Speed Insights tool will also let you know how your site performs on mobile, and it will tell you what changes to make to improve the overall speed of your website. Read more in our blog about improving your page load speed.

8. Audit your online listings.

Review your company location, name, address, hours, etc. online. Make a list of all the places your company’s basic information is listed such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Yelp and others. Be sure to do a search for your company and make sure that someone else hasn’t incorrectly posted your information. Make changes as needed. There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer or prospect trying to find you than calling a wrong number or showing up at the wrong location.

9. Check your site’s meta data.

Use a quick SEO tool like SEO Spider to pull up all the pages on your website and do a quick review of the title and meta description tags on all the pages. Ideally, your title tags shouldn’t be longer than 60 characters and your descriptions should be under 170 characters. Make sure the tags are giving the right message to your audience and to search engines. In other words, make sure appropriate keywords are included. If you have the time, look at your H1 tags as well.

10. Update your search ads.

Review and update any ads you may have running from last year. Make sure they are still relevant and linking to an appropriate landing page or web page. Nothing makes people bounce faster than landing on an irrelevant web page or clicking on an offer that has expired.

 

If you have a team to help you, these 10 resolutions can be taken care of in just a couple of days. If the overall state of your website and online presence aren’t so great, these could take a lot longer, but it is well worth the time to go through all of these and make sure your site and your company are ready for the year. Acting as the online marketing team for many of our clients, we go through at least these basic housekeeping points to get our partners started going in the right direction and to start the year off right, so should you.

 

Co-authored by Madeline Jacobson & Natalie Parra-Novosad

5 Ways Networking Can Improve Your Content Marketing

Content marketing isn’t something that happens in a vacuum. Inspiration and tips for your content marketing can come from unexpected places, including networking events. The next time you’re debating whether it’s worth going to that after-work professional get-together, consider these five ways networking can jumpstart your content marketing efforts.

Find New Ideas for Content

Sometimes when I’m trying to come up with new ideas for content, I’ll go to Quora, see what digital marketing-related questions are popular, and write a blog post addressing one of those questions. You can generate content the same way at networking events, with your fellow attendees in the place of Quora commenters.

Pay attention to the questions other attendees ask about your company or industry and the conversations that start as a result. Keep in mind that these are probably some of the same topics that interest your potential online customers. After the networking event, jot down some notes about questions that came up multiple times or particularly engaging conversations you had, and use these to fuel new content for your company.

Connect with Interview Subjects

You’ve probably met someone in your industry who has unplumbed depths of knowledge on a particular professional subject or a fascinating story about their journey down their career path. Why not follow up with them to see if you can interview them for a blog post, short video, or podcast episode? Interviewing leaders in your field is a great way to produce authoritative content and get new insights on industry topics. It’s also a good way to strengthen a professional connection—your interview subject is much more likely to remember you after you produce a piece of content around them than they would be if you only spoke briefly at a networking event.

Connect with People Who May Want to Share Your Content

If you’re dedicating time and energy to producing great content for your company, you should also be promoting that content to make sure the right audience discovers it. And content promotion is a lot easier if you have other industry bloggers and media connections in your corner. Get to know people who write for publications that frequently share the type of content you create, and they may share some of your highest-quality work with their audience—or even let you contribute an article to a high-traffic site.

As with all aspects of networking, remember that this should be a two-way street. Don’t ask for a social share or guest post just because it will help your company—show your peer how this kind of exchange can be mutually beneficial.

Leverage Live Events for Content

If you’re hosting or even just attending a large networking event, you’re sitting on a goldmine of potential marketing content. You can, at the very least, write a blog post or press release summarizing the most important takeaways from the event. If you’ve invited a speaker, or if someone from your company is leading a presentation or workshop, you can film or record their presentation and use it as a video or podcast. Need an example of how to create content around a live event? Check out Content Marketing Institute—they do a great job of crafting articles and press releases about their online Content Marketing World conference.

Learn Content Marketing Lessons While Networking

Content marketing and networking have a lot in common (check out this Small Business Trends article if you don’t believe me). One lesson from networking that I’ve found particularly useful in content marketing is that you should give to others, rather than just thinking, “What’s in it for me?” You won’t make too many meaningful professional connections if you open every conversation by asking for a favor. Similarly, if you try to use a “hard sell” approach in content targeted at people who are just beginning the research phase, you risk turning potential customers off.

Build a connection by offering your assistance first: for example, you could share a relevant blog post from someone you met at a networking event or write your own how-to guide to walk potential customers through a task that’s giving them trouble.  When you take the time to build trust with your network connections, they’re more likely to offer their help, and when you build trust with potential customers, they’re more likely to move past the research phase and make a purchase.

Want more tips on digital marketing strategies? Subscribe to our newsletter or contact us directly.

4 Texas Companies with Killer Unique Selling Propositions

No matter what products or services your company offers, you have competition. Even if you’re the first to market with, say, a unicorn that helps out with household chores, you’re bound to see other companies offering a similar product soon (let’s not get too caught up in the logistics of the unicorn business analogy). The only way to survive is to show that you are different and can deliver something to your customers that others cannot.

This is your unique selling proposition (USP), and it should clearly explain how you set yourself apart from your competition.

So what makes for a really, really good USP? Rather than trying to nail down a magic formula (there isn’t one), I’m going to share 4 examples of businesses that I think do a great job of connecting with customers on the basis of their USP. And, since Leverage is an Austin-based business, I’ve chosen to highlight 4 other companies headquartered in the Lone Star state.

Bunkhouse Group

Photo Credit: Todd Dwyer

 

Most vacation rental and hotel groups tend to focus on their properties’ modern amenities and nearby attractions. However, the Austin-based Bunkhouse Group has taken the opposite approach with their El Cosmico vacation rentals—they emphasize the lack of modern technology and nearby metro areas—and it’s working.

El Cosmico is a collection of tents, tepees, yurts, and trailers in sparse West Texas, near Marfa. Most rental units don’t have their own kitchens, but there is a communal cookhouse. Showers are outdoors. Cell phone reception is spotty. And somehow, Bunkhouse makes this seem amazing by tapping into a desire that many of us have to temporarily disconnect from the modern world. Check out their ‘Mananifesto’ to see how they really sell this concept.

Sometimes it pays to take the opposite approach of others in your industry. Tweet: Show how something that might be perceived as a weakness actually make you stronger and sets you apart.

Scrypt

Perform a Google search for ‘cloud faxing’ and you’ll find that there’s actually a pretty crowded field. Scrypt is one of many, but they manage to stand out by targeting a specific demographic: healthcare and insurance providers.

Scrypt’s cloud faxing system is HIPAA-compliant, meaning it adheres to strict regulations that have been established to keep patients’ personal healthcare information private. The average small business owner or freelancer might not need such a high level of security for their faxed documents, and as a result they probably won’t turn to Scrypt. However, Scrypt’s HIPAA-compliance standards are ideal for customers in healthcare—which is a $2.9 trillion dollar industry. Scrypt certainly isn’t hurting for having targeted its unique selling proposition to one vertical.

Don’t try to be all things to all people. Tweet: Hone in on a selling point that will appeal to a specific demographic whose needs aren’t being met by your competitors.

Fueld Films

Fueld Films specializes in turnkey video production (meaning that if you need to film a commercial production, they’ll source an entire production team and make it happen) and currently has offices in Austin, Denver, and Salt Lake City. There are plenty of other companies that have the resources and connections necessary to put together a production crew, but Fueld Films positions themselves as the company that really connects with their clients and understands creative industries. Here’s an excerpt from their ‘About Us’ page:

Our production team gets to know you, your client and your creative idiosyncrasies. We’re the best friend you can call in the middle of the night and we’ll show up with booze, or ice cream, or that extra camera no one thought you could afford.

I’m not currently planning a large-scale video production, so I haven’t tested Fueld on their middle-of-the-night promise, but I like that they take a friendly, offbeat approach to describing their services rather than simply saying something clichéd like “We go the extra mile”. They’re able to show off their dedication in a way that is likely to appeal to clients working in creative industries.

Tweet: Don’t be afraid to sound like a real person when sharing your unique selling proposition. You’re selling to humans, so connect with them by showing the human side of your company.

Vital Farms

Photo Credit: Vital Farms

Eggs may not be the easiest product to make unique, but Vital Farms has found their niche. They started as a single farm just outside of Austin, with 50 egg-laying hens roaming around plenty of open pasture space. The business now consists of about 90 family farms which collectively produce 1.5 million eggs every week. As the company has scaled, they have remained true to their original vision: they take a humane and ethical approach to chicken farming that yields high-quality eggs.

Vital Farms’ eggs aren’t cheap—a dozen typically costs between $4.99 and $8.99 at grocery stores. To be able to sell their product at such a high price point, Vital Farms has to work hard to show that the cost is worth it. Their website is full of valuable information about the benefits of pasture-raised eggs, and each carton of eggs comes with a mini-newspaper (The Vital Times) that cover topics related to sustainable agriculture and the hens raised by Vital Farms. Their significant growth in the past couple of years shows that the approach is working.

Tweet: Think about what motivates your customers. People are often willing to spend a little more for a cause they believe in.

Know of any other unique businesses in Texas, or anywhere else in the US? Let me know about them in the comments!

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